“Zhamanak Yerevan” says the upsurge in violence in the Middle East shows “just how dangerous authoritarian regimes are for peace and stability.” “The policy of freezing the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which is pursued by the current regimes in Armenia and Azerbaijan, could also lead to such sad consequences in terms of an increase in both the scale of war and the number of participants,” explains the paper. “Hence, the importance of a quick resolution of the Karabakh conflict and the establishment of a lasting peace.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” is worried about the future of Lebanon’s Armenian community which it says “embodies the cultural, political and spiritual face of the Western Armenian survivors of the genocide.” The paper says it is therefore wrong to encourage the Lebanese Armenians to immigrate to Armenia.
“Aravot” says a popular upheaval in Armenia will remain a real possibility as long as most Armenians are unhappy with the existing situation. “And in order for the situation not to explode sooner or later, there need to be attempts to change the status quo, serious reforms from top down,” says the paper. “At the moment, however, there are no Gorbachevs looming on our government pyramid.”
Opposition leader Aram Sarkisian tells “Aravot” that by joining the Republican Party Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian is seeking to gain some measure of “public tolerance.” “The Republicans, for their part, will benefit from being joined by a person who, unlike them, has real administrative resources,” says Sarkisian. “Time will tell what will come out of all this,” he adds.
According to “Zhamanak Yerevan,” President Robert Kocharian approves of Sarkisian’s alliance with the HHK because he is bent on a “smooth transfer of power” to his most trusted lieutenant.
“The Republican Party could become a trap for newcomers,” political analyst Aghasi Yenokian tells “Haykakan Zhamanak.” The paper reports that among those who have joined the HHK in recent weeks is Gagik Beglarian, the mayor of Yerevan’s central administrative district close to Kocharian. “Incidentally, Gagik Beglarian will also be included into the HHK council,” it says.
“Aravot” quotes opposition leader Vazgen Manukian as expressing concern at these developments. “Serzh Sarkisian controls not only the army but also a considerable part of Armenia’s financial and economic resources,” says Manukian. “By becoming a member of the HHK and joining forces with Andranik Markarian, who controls the rest of the country’s resources, they turn the HHK into a monster party which will control the entire economy. A single-party system is being formed in the country. An attempt is behind made to monopolize the country’s economy through a monopoly on power.” Manukian acknowledges that the Armenian opposition is presently too weak to confront this force.
“Hayots Ashkhar” complains that Armenia’s democratization is primarily associated with free and fair elections and other things that “hinge on government actions.” The paper says creation of a strong civil society and “self-organization” of the people is far more important.