(Saturday, December 10)
“Aravot” reports that opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian encountered unusually strong police presence when he walked to the presidential palace in Yerevan on Friday to deliver his accusatory open letter to Robert Kocharian. The paper says about a dozen police vans and cars were parked near the building. The presidential administration’s reception was closed by that time and Hovannisian had to put the letter behind the compound’s railings. One of the policemen at the scene picked up and “carefully hid” the letter.
“Hayots Ashkhar” attacks Hovannisian over the questions contained in the letter. “He took this questionnaire to Ukraine for unknown purposes and handed it over to the recipient only after his return,” says the paper. “This is the behavior of someone who speaks of Armenia’s national interests.”
“The most amazing thing about the opposition behavior is that they don’t seem to have a sense of guilt for the referendum,” comments “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.” “They can not or do not want to accept that November 27 was a serious defeat and that they are to blame for that defeat. The people were well aware that the proposed changes are bad and entrusted the opposition with countering them. The opposition has botched that task.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” likens opposition attempts to capitalize on the referendum controversy to a passenger who missed a train and is desperately trying to catch it. The paper says the opposition crowd was even thinner on Friday. Only a few hundred people turned up for the latest rally, it says.
According to “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun,” attendance of the opposition rallies demonstrates “how many people are ready to ignore the danger of police persecutions, overcome any obstacle and fight against Kocharian’s regime.”
“The people do not trust both the authorities and the opposition,” writes “168 Zham.” “That in turn means that the people want to see new faces on the political arena.”
“Golos Armenii” blasts a Russian folk music show staged in the Armenian parliament by a visiting delegation of Russia’s upper house. “What happened in the lobby of the National Assembly was unprecedented in the history of Armenia’s parliament,” writes the Russian-language paper. “When guests behave in the parliament as though they are in a tavern, it is the host’s fault. It looked as if they came not to the parliament of an independent state but a tavern located in a [Russian] outpost. We will never believe that our musicians will be allowed to interrupt a session in the Federation Council building [in Moscow] with songs, dances and a tread.”