“There has emerged an unnatural, inadequate situation in Armenia where the overwhemling majority of the public is much more progressive and ethical and much more in tune with the contemporary world than its rulers who have buttoned their provincial pettiness and reactionary perceptions into their expensive suits,” writes “Taregir.” “So what will happen on April 9? What will the people do? The people have two things to do. Either to totally ignore the authorities and patiently wait until they exhaust their resources and set in motion a mechanism for self-destruction, or to continue to public protest against repressions and to fight for their freedom and rights.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” makes a highly positive assessment of Robert Kocharian’s ten-year presidency. The paper says that througout his presidency Kocharian has sought to “maintain achievements registered on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue” and to “put the country on a path of progress.” “Robert Kocharian faced a diffuclt and complicated task [in 1998,]” says the paper. “For about two years after winning the 1998 presidential elections he had to work in emergency situations. One period of political struggle was followed by another … The nearly two-year period of turbulent and unpredictable developments exposed Robert Kocharian’s ability, skill and will to control the situation and to find ways out of the most difficult and even seemingly hopeless deadlocks.”
“Azg” defends Kocharian’s March 1 decision to use force against opposition protesters in Yerevan. “He was certainly obliged to defend the state against the danger of civil war,” says the paper. “That is perhaps his greatest service to Armenia not understood by the majority [of citizens] yet. As long as it is not clear whether Serzh Sarkisian can display, if necessary, such determination, as long as the danger of adventures by first President Levon Ter-Petrosian continues to threaten the Republic of Armenia, as long as neighboring Azerbaijan is waiting for an opportunity to restart a war with Armenia, we will need Robert Kocharian’s resolve, especially on the issues of security and defense.”
Writing in “Haykakan Zhamanak,” a former spokesman for the Armenian Foreign Ministry, Vladimir Karapetian, says that Azerbaijan is not interested in a compromise solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “I think that Azerbaijan will do everything to use the next two or three peaceful years to complete the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Akhalkalaki-Kars railway sponsored by Baku and Ankara,” Karapetian says. “If Armenia fails to use this time to achieve a breakrthrough on the diplomatic front -- the prospects for which seem more than murky today -- the project’s completion will be fraught with a use force or a real, not theoretical, threat of use of force against us. Armenia’s sole leverage lies in the development of human resources and internal consolidation.” Also important, according to Karapaetian, is a democratization of Armenia’s political system, protection of human rights and fulfillment of the country’s obligations to European bodies.