(Saturday, October 18)
Friday’s opposition rally in Yerevan is the main theme of next day’s Armenian press commentary.
“Golos Armenii” is unimpressed by attendance at the rally, saying that Levon Ter-Petrosian’s earlier calls for tends of thousands of his supporters to gather outside Yerevan’s Matenadaran museum on October 17 fell on deaf ears. The pro-government paper says that despite earlier promises of “decisive” anti-government actions, Ter-Petrosian told supporters that he is suspending street protests in Yerevan to prevent more Armenian concessions on Nagorno-Karabakh. “Foreseeing a natural reaction [from the crowd] to the timeout, Ter-Petrosian urged them not to draw hasty conclusions and stressed that he is taking a break at a moment of his movement’s rise, not decline. He should not have done said that. In politics as well as every other sphere, you have to lie moderately.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” declares, however, that the latest opposition was the “greatest victory of the movement and Levon Ter-Petrosian personally.” “In effect, with yesterday’s rally Levon Ter-Petrosian acquired the right to make political decisions because with their presence outside the Matenadaran the people proved that they trust him,” says the opposition paper. “Furthermore, it became clear yesterday that the movement leaders can no longer be afraid of making unpopular decisions because they now enjoy sufficient [public] trust.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” wonders if the opposition can resume its fight against the government next year. The paper notes that it was the shortest of the rallies held by Ter-Petrosian since his return to active politics last year. It also claims that the number of the demonstrators was “extremely low.” “That the movement has died out and that the revolutionaries’ struggle has entered a deadlock is a fact,” it says.
Citing an unnamed source purportedly privy to details of the March 1 suppression of Ter-Petrosian’s post-election rallies, “Aravot” says that many of the young conscripts serving in Armenia’s interior troops refused to obey their commanders’ orders to shoot at opposition protesters. The paper says they fled the scene of the clashes and found refuge in a nearby canyon. “Some of them were already wounded, but a few managed to reach the Kilikia neighborhood,” it says.
Interviewed by “Hraparak,” a deputy chairman of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) condemns former parliament speaker Tigran Torosian for criticizing President Serzh Sarkisian in a recent newspaper article. Razmik Zohrabian says Torosian should have raised his concerns about Sarkisian’s Karabakh policy before his ouster. “This means that [Torosian] has a strong grudge against the party for not letting him keep that post,” says Zohrabian.