Garik Kerian, a political science professor, explains to “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” why he thinks Levon Ter-Petrosian’s return to power would be bad for Armenia. “We must understand that times have changed,” he says. “In those years [when Ter-Petrosian was in power] Russia was ruled by Yeltsin liberals who are not around anymore. Russian liberals are now serious opponents of Putin’s regime. Thus, Levon Ter-Petrosian’s close ties with Russian liberals are no longer useful.” Kerian says Armenia’s current leadership maintains close ties with a Russian leader who is in no mood to leave the political arena. “So is it worth calling into question the things that have been created in the last ten years?” he asks.
“Aravot” notes that Ter-Petrosian is the only presidential candidate criticizing Armenia’s political and economic system. “The other candidates who claim to be in opposition are quite passive at the moment,” editorializes the paper. “The first president’s rally speeches, whether the authorities like them or not, are exposing the real flaws of the existing political and economic system.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” rejects Ter-Petrosian’s claim that the privatization process was much more transparent and lawful during his presidency. “One has to be at least blind to justify the voucher privatization [of the early and mid-1990s,]” writes the paper. “That was simply a ploy to disguise the plunder that was taking place during the first phase of the privatization.”
“Zhamanak Yerevan” reports that talks between the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) and some opposition forces on the establishment of a “third pre-election pole” have stalled. “According to some reports, at this point Dashnaktsutyun and [Vazgen Manukian’s] AZhM are working on their ratings, trying to persuade negotiating parties that their candidate is best suited for the presidency,” writes the paper. It says Dashnaktsutyun insists that only its nominee, Vahan Hovannisian, can lead the would-be electoral alliance, while Manukian imagines only himself in that role.
“Hayk” carries Manukian’s answers to questions asked by readers of the Hetq.am online publication. The veteran politician is quoted as denying that his refusal to endorse Ter-Petrosian resulted from his enduring antipathy and jealousy towards his former foe. “I can’t understand why I should envy Levon Ter-Petrosian,” says Manukian. “The 1996 [election] blow was not directed at me. The blow was directed at our people, their will. And I can’t spend my life repairing past relationships. Years ago I myself called on Ter-Petrosian to enter the political arena. Of course, not as a candidate.” Manukian adds that he publicly attacked Ter-Petrosian only after the latter declared that failure to endorse him is tantamount to backing Serzh Sarkisian.