“Authorities in Armenia have for years rigged all possible elections, trampled on human rights and fundamental freedoms, openly disregarded Armenia’s constitution, and whenever a political force has raised these issues it received the same answer, ‘Now is not the time for democracy, we are at war,’” writes “Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun.” But now, says the opposition paper, President Serzh Sarkisian is saying something different and stressing the importance of human rights and democracy for national security. “This can truly be regarded as an ideological revolution,” it says.
“I don’t exclude that a partial regime change will happen in some circles and that the Armenian National Congress (HAK) will become a part of the authority,” Armen Martirosian, a leader of the opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage) party, tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” “But that wouldn’t translate into radical reforms.”
Martirosian scoffs at HAK claims that the latest concessions made by the Armenian government mark a major victory for to the opposition alliance led by Levon Ter-Petrosian. “This is at least not comprehensible for me because in 2008 Liberty Square was open until March 1, there were virtually no political prisoners, the issue of solving the March 1 [violence] didn’t exist at all. We have simply returned to square one. If returning to the starting point is a victory for some people, it’s not for us.” Martirosian also all but rules out the possibility of snap elections demanded by the HAK.
Razmik Zohrabian, a deputy chairman of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), tells “168 Zham” that the government is only now making gestures to the Ter-Petrosian-led opposition because it wanted to maintain “internal stability” in the country in the face of continuing war threats from Azerbaijan. “We have to opt for reforms and a process of dialogue in order to bolster national unity,” he says.
“Kapital” reports that Armenia and Russia’s Gazprom energy conglomerate have signed a new agreement detailing the volume of Russian natural gas supplies to the country in 2011. But citing a spokeswoman for Armenia’s gas distribution network, Shushan Sardarian, the business daily says the two sides have still not agreed on the cost of those deliveries. “Negotiations are continuing,” Sardarian is quoted as saying.