“Azg” says Armenians should be offended by the chief of the Russian presidential staff Dmitri Medvedev’s remark that the reported transfer of Russian military hardware from Georgia to Armenia is an issue that concerns only Tbilisi and Moscow. The paper says Medvedev thereby implied that the Russians do not care about whether Armenia wants to see that military equipment on its soil.
“Official Yerevan, meanwhile, keeps silent,” continues “Azg.” “In this case, silence is not only a sign of agreement but can also be interpreted in the following way: Russia uses Armenian territory for military purposes at will and arbitrarily. Moscow is clearly abusing the reality called Armenian-Russian military cooperation.”
In an interview with “Aravot,” the leader of Armenia’s United Labor Party, a small pro-establishment organization represented in parliament, criticizes the ruling coalition for refusing to accept Council of Europe recommendations on constitutional reform. “They put the country under attack,” says Gurgen Arsenian. “I have realized that one must closely watch all of their steps,” he adds. “They may get the country in trouble on any issue.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” quotes a senior member of the Hanrapetutyun party, Suren Sureniants, as saying that the Armenian opposition is making “active preparations” for another bid for regime change. “If the preparatory stage drags on, the situation will become pathetic.” Sureniants says the opposition has failed to unseat the government in the past because it was squarely within the Russian orbit and hoped that “the benign Kremlin will solve their issues.” “There has now been a reorientation of [opposition] values,” he says, adding that it must be followed by “concrete actions.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” laments “the total absence of a viable opposition in almost all spheres of the country’s political life.” The paper says the opposition impotence makes a radical realignment of Armenia’s opposition camp just a matter of time.
“Aravot” is concerned that the Armenian authorities may rig the planned referendum to enact their controversial constitutional amendments. “In our country, the outcome of referendums is decided not by the people,” says the paper. It says the Europeans are well aware of this reality and want to make sure that President Kocharian’s amendments meet European standards before they are put to a referendum. “If the Europeans succeed in getting the ruling coalition to accept that, then the authorities could botch the referendum by using their levers and then say ‘We respect the people’s choice’.”
Human rights ombudsman Larisa Alaverdian tells “Haykakan Zhamanak” that “certain individuals” in government are using “KGB methods” in a bid to force her to resign because they did not like her recent annual report on human rights protection in Armenia. Alaverdian says she has failed to live up to their expectations.