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Press Review


The Armenian Revolutionary Federation’s decision to leave the government is the central theme of Tuesday’s Armenian press commentary.

“Dashnaktsutyun’s disaffection is not unfounded,” writes “Aravot.” “By staying on in the ruling coalition after the latest developments, that political force would lose its last remaining sincere supporters while retaining opportunists trying to be close to the [government] trough.” The paper believes that Dashnaktsutyun simply could not be part of “a government whose actions raise concerns even in non-nationalist circles.” It says the next few months will show whether those skeptics who think that Dashnaktsutyun continues to cooperate with Serzh Sarkisian are right. It says the authorities will prove them wrong if they soon crack down on Dashnaktsutyun-linked businessmen or the Yerkir-Media TV station controlled by the party.

According to “Hraparak,” Dashnaktsutyun’s exit “created a new political situation in the country.” “And that can not be linked with the elections of Yerevan mayor,” says the paper. “It is unlikely that the last-minute opposition Dashnaktsutyun will fare well in the upcoming elections.” Nonetheless, it says, some of the factions remaining loyal to President Sarkisian are now “in panic.” “The authorities have no right to weaken themselves as that could lead to a loss of power.” Other government factions are “jubilant,” setting their sights on the government posts made vacant by the Dashnaks.

“Dashnaktsutyun was ready to work together with Serzh Sarkisian as long as it was certain that his intention is to deceive the outside world,” writes “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.” That is why, claims the opposition paper, Dashnaktsutyun leaders did not take Sarkisian’s statements on Turkey seriously until recently. When it turned out that Sarkisian has no choice but to take concrete steps they decided to jump ship, according to “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.”

Vahan Hovannisian, one of the Dashnaktsutyun leaders, tells “Iravunk de facto” that his party will now act like a genuine opposition force. “I am skeptical about the concept of constructive opposition,” says Hovannisian. “Everyone -- citizens, the authorities, the opposition -- in the country must be constructive,” he adds. “That is everyone’s civic duty. In that sense, yes. As for extremism, true, we did have extreme opposition manifestations in the 1990s because the situation was extremely severe at that time. I think there is no need for that now. Besides, there is no lack of extremists in the country today.”

Hovannisian also makes clear that Dashnaktsutyun does not intend to cooperate with former President Levon Ter-Petrosian and his Armenian National Congress (HAK) for the moment. “But political developments will show,” he says. “If they take constructive positions and adopt our approaches, then why not? It will be possible to think about that. But we haven’t thought about that yet.”

(Tigran Avetisian)
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