“168 Zham” says most Armenians sympathize with the mainly young activists campaigning against a construction project in Yerevan and other controversial decisions made by the municipal authorities. “That is absolutely natural and understandable, especially given the inactivity of political forces,” comments the paper. But it insists that just because civic groups are now more active and successful does not mean that they can be a substitute for opposition political parties.
“Zhoghovurd” says the problems provoking those protests affect not only disaffected citizens but also government officials and police officers using force against protesters. “Everybody without any exception suffers from the situation reigning in the country,” writes the paper.
“In essence, a fight is now underway between business owners and tramps,” “Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” writes on the subject. “As for maintaining public order, it is obvious that that is a pretext for law-enforcement bodies to beat up citizens fighting for their rights. What’s the problem? Let those people close Komitas Avenue for half an hour in protest. The foundations of statehood will definitely not be shaken as a result of that. For instance, Bagramian Avenue [in Yerevan] is closed at least twice a day, when Serzh Sarkisian goes to work and returns home.”
Artak Zakarian, the chairman of the Armenian parliament committee on foreign relations, tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that Armenia’s desire to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union reflects its “multi-vector” foreign policy and is in no way an attempt to capitalize on the West’s rivalry with Russia. Zakarian says the six former Soviet republics included in the EU’s Eastern Partnership program have different expectations from the scheme. Armenia, he says, will take no steps that would call into question its military alliance with Russia.