(Saturday, August 6)
Levon Mkrtchian, the parliamentary leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the recognition of the Armenian genocide and the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border are among the conditions for Turkey’s accession to the European Union. “A state blockading a neighbor can not be a member of the European community,” he says. Mkrtchian says the lifting of the blockade would be more beneficial for Turkey than Armenia.
Another senior pro-government parliamentarian, Gagik Minasian of the Republican Party, complains about the continuing opposition boycott of the National Assembly. Interviewed by “Hayots Ashkhar,” Minasian claims that Armenians who voted for the opposition in the last parliamentary election must be very angry. “I don’t think that our citizens are happy with the almost two-year boycott,” he says.
“I believe that [former Karabakh army commander] Samvel Babayan is not a citizen of the Republic of Armenia,” Hovannes Hovannisian, leader of the opposition Liberal Progressive Party, tells “Aravot,” commenting on Babayan’s political activities in Armenia. “I have nothing against Samvel Babayan’s personality and always appreciated his past actions during the liberation movement. But that doesn’t mean politics is a sphere which everyone must enter to solve their personal problems or fulfill personal ambitions.”
Another opposition politician, former Yerevan Mayor Vahagn Khachatrian, has just returned from Georgia and shares his positive impressions with “Aravot.” “I don’t want to say that life immediately improved there,” he says. “I’m not saying that people think life should change at once. Nonetheless, it turned out that promises given during the [November 2003] revolution are being gradually put into practice and citizens of Georgian are feeling those changes on their skin. The difference between [the situations in] Georgia now and two years ago is evident. And those who believe that the same can be achieved in Armenia without a revolution are wrong. [President] Saakashvili and his team have changed the system in Georgia.”
But the Russian head of the Yerevan office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Vladimir Pryakhin, is far less enthusiastic about the revolutions in Georgia and elsewhere in the ex-USSR. “Hayots Ashkhar” quotes him as saying that “those events were rather a manifestation of generation change.” “Armenia and Russia passed that phase earlier,” says Pryakhin. “In general, an evolutionary, non-violent democratization is always more preferable than revolutionary upheavals that are inevitably accompanied by violence, bloodshed and, as was the case in the Kyrgyz events, widespread looting.”