“Hayots Ashkhar” scoffs at opposition claims that the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly’s rapporteurs on Armenia, Georges Colombier and John Prescott, have dismissed Armenian government claims that “the March 1 page” in Armenia’s history has been turned. “This is an absolute lie,” says the paper. “First of all, the authorities never declared that March 1 page has been closed. They only said that we must be able to turn that page and move on if we want to rid ourselves of the scourge of public rift, generated by [Levon] Ter-Petrosian, and restore the atmosphere of public tolerance in our country.” The pro-presidential daily says the March 2008 violence in Yerevan will remain an open wound “as long as Ter-Petrosian, the main organizer of the mass riots, is not brought to account.”
“The March 1 page is turned for those people who do not want such things to be repeated in our country,” deputy parliament speaker Samvel Nikoyan tells “Iravunk de facto.” “And those who want to constantly talk about March 1 are somehow seeking a repeat of such phenomena. Do we want to move our country forward or constantly live with March 1?”
Interviewed by “Aravot,” Alvard Petrosian, a parliament deputy from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), explains why her party has been far more critical of Ter-Petrosian than of the current President Serzh Sarkisian. Petrosian says Dashnaktsutyun and the administration Armenia’s first president were “carriers of radically different values.” The nationalist party espouses “deeply socialist principles,” whereas Ter-Petrosian “destroyed something that did not have to be destroyed” following the Soviet collapse, she says.
“As for Serzh Sarkisian, apart from all of our debates and differences, we share a very common field, the same value system relating to national issues, a whole path that we have followed [together,]” continues the Dashnaktsutyun deputy. “Now too I want to say words of praise about him. I may not accept his approaches to Turkish-Armenian relations but will never believe that Serzh Sarkisian can solve issues at the expense of Artsakh.”
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” blasts the Armenian government’s handling of the economic crisis, saying that government officials have only been preoccupied with saving their own businesses. The opposition paper claims that the large-scale anti-crisis loans provided to Armenia by foreign sources have mainly serve this purpose.
“In 2010, the Turkish-Armenian diplomacy will move forward even faster,” political analyst Richard Giragosian tells “Zhamanak.” Giragosian at the same time expects slow progress in Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks. “2010 will be a year of serious political changes, in good or bad directions,” he says, adding that they will mainly occur inside Armenia’s leadership.