“Haykakan Zhamanak” sees striking similarities and differences between continuing street violence in Ukraine’s capital Kiev and the 2008 post-election clashes in Yerevan. “More cars have been burned down in Kiev than in Yerevan in 2008,” writes the paper. “More shops have been looted there than in Yerevan. It does not matter much who did the looting. Policemen have been beaten up more brutally in Kiev than in Yerevan in 2008. But they are not killing protesters there. They killed in Yerevan.”
Eduard Sharmazanov, the spokesman for the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), is quoted by “Hayots Ashkhar” as commenting on the weekend rally in Yerevan against a controversial pension reform implemented by the government. Sharmazanov says the protest organized by apolitical groups demonstrated that many Armenians are unhappy with not only the government but also the mainstream opposition. “In effect, this is a new manifestation of civic activism which I consider positive,” he tells the paper. “The more active Armenian citizens are, the more respect for democratic values we will have.”
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” dismisses this line of reasoning adopted by “the state propaganda machine.” The paper believes that attendance at the rally was much stronger than at previous protests against the reform because Armenia’s main opposition parties helped to organize it.
“Aravot” says young Armenians have reason to distrust government assurances that their pension contributions will not be squandered given the track records of the current and former authorities in Yerevan. The paper also thinks that there is nothing wrong with active opposition involvement in the protest. “In which other country [opposition] political forces would behave differently?” it asks. “All over the world opposition parties exist to show voters just how bad incumbent authorities are and just how good they would be in case of coming to power.”
“Hraparak” lavishes praise on the 10,000 or so people who rallied in Yerevan’s Liberty Square on Saturday, saying that they deserve “sincere admiration.” The paper describes them as “dignified and brave” citizens who never stop fighting for their rights and who hold the key to the country’s future.