(Saturday, January 16)
Interviewed by “Hraparak,” Aleksandr Arzumanian of the Armenian National Congress (HAK) scoffs at Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) demands for the National Assembly to ratify the Turkish-Armenian protocols with “reservations” reflecting last week’s Constitutional Court ruling. “The decision by the Constitutional Court contains one sentence saying that these protocols conform to and do not contradict national laws. Period,” argues Arzumanian. “This is the substantive part of the decision. What is written in the [ruling’s] preamble is simply meant to let Dashnaktsutyun save face. Either Dashnaktsutyun doesn’t understand what is said in that ruling, or it cut a deal with the authorities right from the beginning.”
Speaking to “Zhamanak,” political analyst Richard Giragosian says Armenia will come under international pressure to make more concessions to Azerbaijan if it goes ahead with a compromise settlement with Turkey. “This is not honest and Armenia must be ready to defend itself,” says Giragosian. He also claims that Armenia is now “weaker than before” because of its government’s “lack of legitimacy” and the “absence of democracy.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” carries an interview with Arman Grigorian, the HAK representative to the Council of Europe. Grigorian says Council of Europe officials have told him that the two representatives of its Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) monitoring the political situation in Armenia cancelled planned visits to Yerevan late last year because the Strasbourg-based body did not want to put pressure on the authorities lest it undermine their Western-backed policies on Turkey and the Karabakh conflict. He says the PACE rapporteurs will not visit Yerevan this month as well. He suggests that this was the reason why the Armenian authorities are now saying that the issue of the March 2008 violence in Yerevan is closed.
“The model of democracy built in Armenia is certainly far from being perfect,” writes “Hayots Ashkhar.” “And not because its main features are not similar to one or another Western sample. And not because someone -- the president himself or the government or the parliament -- is suppressing that democracy. The subjective factor always exists in history but it is not decisive at all. That main reason is different. As was the case in the past, democracy in Armenia resembles a building which began to be constructed from the roof … The foundation and the walls are still not there.”