“Haykakan Zhamanak” writes that although the format of the latest meeting between the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents was “non-traditional,” nothing “extraordinary” happened as a result of the talks.
“Iravunk” says a Karabakh settlement based on mutual compromise is fraught with serious political risks for both Ilham Aliev and Robert Kocharian. The paper claims that the latter has an exit strategy of handing over power to Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian in the event of a popular backlash against major concessions to Azerbaijan. It further alleges that Kocharian and Sarkisian fear that their plans could be scuttled by Prime Minister Andranik Markarian and parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian, and have launched a “smear campaign” against the two men.
“Iravunk” quotes in that regard an unspecified senior member of Markarian’s Republican Party (HHK) as expressing concern that the recent promotion of Minister for Local Government Hovik Abrahamian may have been the first step toward the prime minister’s dismissal.
“The decisive section of the government is beyond control, and behind a figurative curtain there is a greater force which really reigns in the country and whose style of action is of concern,” opposition leader Vazgen Manukian tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” “The personal authority of those individuals who are in power at present is not that great. There is an established, closely knit and informal system that hampers the country’s development.”
Manukian is also asked about the Armenian opposition’s indifference to local elections. “It is pointless to talk about those elections because those are local elections that will see clashes aimed at reinforcing the positions of local clans and some government factions,” he says. “Democratic issues are not solved at that level if you have failed to secure practical results in parliamentary or presidential elections … It makes no sense for the opposition to participate in this game.”
“Aravot” comments that Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov has stemmed the tide of anti-government revolutions across the former Soviet Union in a very brutal manner. “If the existing [Uzbek] regime faced a civilized, pro-Western opposition, the international community’s reaction to the actions of the Uzbek authorities would be totally different. That is why Karimov has a free hand. That is, in order for the Western patrons to turn a blind eye on the destruction of an opposition with gunshots, it is necessary to have Al Qaeda terrorists or other radical Islamic militants within its ranks.” The Armenian authorities will not find that kind of individuals among their political foes, concludes the paper.