The 16th anniversary of a referendum that led to Armenia’s declaration of independence, officially marked on Friday, is the main theme of Armenian press commentary.
“Independence is a political stance, an appropriate economic base, a system of new moral-psychological perceptions, a sense of one’s place in the world, and a set of security measures and guarantees stemming from it,” editorializes “Hayots Ashkhar.” “The entire nation voted for independence [in September 1991.] Therefore, the entire nation bears responsibility for it. And if we fail to be the masters of our destiny, then, as a nation and state, we will have no prospects and future.”
“We are witnessing a paradoxical phenomenon,” writes “Taregir.” “Today the public is more unhappy with independence than it was during the mid-1990s when the country was beginning to straighten its back. At that time the person embracing independence understood that it is necessary to subordinate their hardship to the future awaiting their growing child in the Republic of Armenia. But what they understand is that the generation of independence has been lost because those dictating tastes and the laws of life are not the ones they coped with hardship for.”
“Hayk,” another newspaper supportive of Armenia’s first post-Soviet leadership, recalls the popular enthusiasm that reigned in the country on September 21, 1991. The paper says many Armenians rushed to polling stations to vote for their republic’s secession from the Soviet Union. “Now some of those people are disappointed,” it says. “Others are looking for their happiness abroad. But there are also many people who realize that they can’t resent independence because of Robert Kocharian or Serzh Sarkisian. They realize that our people need independence like air and water.”
“Aravot” carries an editorial on Dashnaktsutyun leader Armen Rustamian’s warning that those who will dare remind his party of its troubled past will face even more serious counter-accusations from Dashnaktsutyun. (The warning appeared to be primarily addressed to Sarkisian’s Republican Party.) “Dear comrades, how come you have lived quietly and peacefully co-existed with your coalition partner during so many years, while having credible information about its criminal sins?” asks the paper. “Why have you kept silent and have not appealed to relevant bodies to punish those guilty of sins known to you?” The paper also wonders if the HHK leaders will admit having “sins” or will consider the Dashnaktsutyun threat a slander.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” notes Rustamian’s remark that Dashnaktsutyun would welcome former President Levon Ter-Petrosian’s possible participation in the presidential elections. The paper says this means that Dashnaktsutyun is unlikely to make harsh personal attacks on Ter-Petrosian should the latter decide to run for president. It says such attacks would greatly help Sarkisian. He now risks being overshadowed by what would be an exciting ideological battle between Ter-Petrosian and the Dashnaktsutyun candidate, according to “Haykakan Zhamanak.”