(Saturday, December 6)
“Western-style democracy can not exist in our country,” writes “Hayots Ashkhar.” “Otherwise, we would rip each other apart. That is why our democracy can only be like school self-governance. Schoolchildren are allowed, for example, to maintain order during class breaks. But it is the principle who has to solve the issue of school repairs.” “As long as a system of real political competition is absent in our country we will turn to the mighty forces of this world to protect ourselves against arbitrary practices,” adds the pro-government paper. “Some will succeed in doing that. But the majority [of the population] will remain little human beings of no significance to the authorities who can be harassed with impunity.”
“Zhamanak Yerevan” says that government operatives are visiting imprisoned opposition supporters in jail these days and urging them to ask President Serzh Sarkisian to grant them an amnesty. “This action by the authorities has a dual purpose,” says the pro-opposition paper. “First, to reward and free the several [jailed] individuals that have no links with the opposition and were implanted by the ruling regime to organize the March 1 looting [of several Yerevan shops] and discredit the opposition. Second, to try to clinch amnesty requests from some arrested oppositionists. In the end, they will present this to the Council of Europe and say, ‘See, so many people have been set free in the March 1 case and all of them requested an amnesty from His Excellency Serzh Sarkisian.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” claims that some Armenian government factions are pressing Sarkisian to free the arrested oppositionists because they feel that the existence of political prisoners in the country is reducing their political clout. “After all, the establishment of dictatorship presupposes the concentration of all [power] levers in the hands of one person or group,” says the opposition daily. “And this means that over time the coalition logic of [the formation of] the authorities could be undermined.”
“The oligarchs are categorically against the release of political prisoners,” disagrees “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.” “That is understandable. They don’t care about political issues and are guided only by economic interests and criminal norms.” The paper claims the oligarchs want to get their hands on business assets of opposition-linked entrepreneurs such as Khachatur Sukiasian. Another reason for their stance, it says, is that some of the government-linked tycoons played a part in the March 1 suppression of the post-election opposition protests in Yerevan.
“Kapital” reports that the Russian military plans to set up special “mountain detachments” within its troops stationed not only in Russia but Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Armenia and Tajikistan. The paper says those units will be trained to conduct “combat operations in mountainous areas.”