“In effect, both the authorities and the opposition are never guided by the people’s opinion when organizing their activities,” “Hraparak” writes in an editorial. “Armenia has never developed a tradition of surveying public opinion and taking that opinion into account.” The paper says it is therefore not known that most ordinary Armenians want from the country’s government and main political forces. “That is the reason why nobody can say whether the people agree with the government-opposition dialogue,” it says.
“Aravot” believes that Armenia would not have a serious opposition force had former President Levon Ter-Petrosian not returned to the political arena in 2007. The paper notes at the same time that there are “schizophrenic elements” in Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) that are characteristic of marginalized opposition groups in Russia and other authoritarian states.
In an interview with “Yerkir,” Hrant Markarian, a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), denies Ter-Petrosian’s claims that his party is seriously worried about the dialogue between the HAK and the government. “Ter-Petrosian has changed his tactics and he doesn’t want to openly explain why,” says Markarian. “Perhaps there were a number of reasons for that change … One of the reasons is that he understood that a confrontation [with the government] would not bring him success. He exhausted all possibilities and got scared of responsibility. Scared in the positive sense.”
Political analyst Aleksandr Iskandarian tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the planned dialogue will be unprecedented. He suggests that the HAK and the government are now trying to change Armenia’s political culture by setting “rules of the game that would be acceptable to the main political forces.”
Another analyst, Manvel Sargsian, tells “Zhamanak” that unlike “revolutionary” movements in other states the HAK has not spurned cooperation with the ruling regime. The Armenian authorities, for their part, have responded to that with three specific concessions. “The authorities no longer have anything to talk about,” he says. “They have quite strengthened their international standing and spread big doubts within the society.” Sargsian speculates that the authorities could at the same time hold fresh elections demanded by the HAK and “score a brilliant victory.”