Lragir.am “thanks” the Armenian authorities for making 2009 an “active” year by keeping political prisoners, continuing to put pressure on opposition forces, signing agreements with Turkey, allowing street protests by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) and giving rise to talk of a rift between the ruling Republican and Prosperous Armenia parties. The online journal also finds noteworthy Nikol Pashinian’s registration as a parliamentary election candidate. It says his participation in the January 10 election would be a litmus test for not only the future relationship between the government and the opposition but also for opposition unity.
“In the authorities’ opinion, the greatest achievement of the past year was the Turkish-Armenian protocols, whereas the opposition considers that the biggest setback of the past year,” writes “Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun.” “And this despite the fact the Turkish-Armenian dialogue has not yielded any results yet.” “Nevertheless, it can not be said that 2009 has been a total failure [for the Armenian authorities] in terms of foreign policy,” the paper adds with sarcasm, arguing that they have managed to avoid international sanctions and secured “huge loans.”
“It is no secret that in Armenia de facto power belongs to the one who can persuade oligarchs that he will be the most effective guarantor of the security and longevity of the oligopolistic system,” writes “Zhamanak.” “But in order to achieve success in that endeavor, Serzh Sarkisian should not touch the system and structure left over from Robert Kocharian. And yet the secret of his power lies in changing that structure because Robert Kocharian has more control over the current structure than he does … In this sense, Serzh Sarkisian’s plight is really not enviable because he seems to be in a whirlwind of permanent persuading.”
In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar,” deputy parliament speaker Samvel Nikoyan, who headed a parliamentary commission investigating the March 2008 clashes in Yerevan, comments on PACE officials’ criticism of the commission report released in September. “The commission’s conclusion was directed at the Armenian public in the first instance,” says Nikoyan. “I have always said that the people’s opinion is of paramount importance to us. Of course, the reaction of international organizations is also important. But when representatives of international organizations, in this case the [PACE] rapporteurs on Armenia, who are representatives of foreign parliaments, evaluate work performed by members of the parliament of another country, Armenia, and present their views as supreme truth and our mass media take what they say at face value … that is simply ridiculous.”