In an interview with “Golos Armenii,” President Robert Kocharian launches a fresh attack on his predecessor Levon Ter-Petrosian and the former ruling party HHSh, again harshly criticizing their track record in government. “I declare openly that the HHSh abused the people’s trust,” he says. “The HHSh wrecked the country’s economy, turning Armenia into one of the world’s poorest countries.” Kocharian also accuses Armenia’s former leadership of “betraying” the 1988 movement for Nagorno-Karabakh’s unification with Armenia. “The national ideology is alien to the HHSh. It is ready to forget the [Armenian] genocide and turn Armenia into an appendage of Turkey,” he says.
The HHSh’s main aim, continues Kocharian, is not win the presidential election but to make Ter-Petrosian the undisputed leader of the Armenian opposition. “To put it colorfully, he seemed to tell the opposition, ‘I am your dad, I am ready to lead you and will be forgiving towards you in case of [your] obedience.’ That undertaking failed with a bang. He did not become the opposition leader.”
Ter-Petrosian, meanwhile, gives an interview to a leading Russian daily, “Kommersant.” Ter-Petrosian says he is confident that Russia “will not do in Armenia anything similar to what it did in Georgia and Ukraine.” He claims that Moscow will not help Serzh Sarkisian become Armenia’s next president. “The Ukrainian and Georgian schemes will not work here,” he says. “There is no division here between pro-Russian and pro-American forces.”
“Zhamanak Yerevan” says the main purpose of government-sponsored opinion polls giving Serzh Sarkisian a big lead over Ter-Petrosian is to convince the ruling elite that the Armenian prime minister has no serious election challengers. “The prime minister’s real entourage is now bewildered,” says the pro-opposition paper. “Especially after Robert Kocharian stated that the future president will not be able to hand out posts to those under him. So who will divide all that? Serzh Sarkisian or Robert Kocharian? What if none of them? For those making up the ruling elite these questions should have received answers a long time ago.”
“Hayots Ashkhar,” meanwhile, defends Armenian pollsters, comparing them to meteorologists. The pro-Sarkisian paper says they can only detect the existing mood in the country and can not forecast what public opinion will be in the future. Its say the main reason for widespread distrust in the credibility of their polls is that “somebody doesn’t like the published figures.”