“Hayots Ashkharh”, which often defends President Robert Kocharian points out that fewer people participated in yesterday’s opposition rally. “Hearing the same things in repeated protest rallies makes people tired”, says the paper.
Another pro-presidential paper, “Azg” writes that what took place on Friday was not a protest rally but “theatre”. People were lazily leaving the scene, not even waiting for it to end.
The opposition “Haykakan Zhamanak”’s report on the rally is basically descriptive in nature. The reporter, without exhibiting much enthusiasm mainly emphasizes the final declaration of the opposition parties in defense of democracy.
“Or” also points out that the traditional Friday rally had fewer participants this time, because inevitably protest rallies tend to lose momentum. Even the organizers have this same perception, and now they have to prepare a plan of action for the future.
“Aravot”’s commentator believes that the appointment of defense minister Serzh Sarkisian’s possible appointment as prime minister, if not inevitable, is at least a necessity, both if Kocharian decides to announce his candidacy for the presidency and even if he does not. In case of his candidacy, Sarkisian will be the main mover and shaker behind the campaign. As defense minister this would pose a problem of interference in politics. And if Kocharian decides not to be a candidate, then the main levers of power end up in the hands of whoever is prime minister. In this case, Sarkisian as prime minister can guarantee guaranty Kocharian’s immunity and a smooth transition of power.
“Hayots Ashkharh” complains that the deadline for the declaration of income and property by senior officials has long passed, but the public is still not informed of the results. It seems that the process really did not expose the reality that many officials are quite rich, although they would like to convince the public that they bought their expensive properties with money saved from their ice cream funds when they were little children. Their opulent life could perhaps be tolerated, if it was not for the widespread misery found everywhere in the country.
Expounding on the “nobody loves us” dictum, “Aravot” says that as we constantly praise Russia as our closest ally and friend, Armenians are constantly harassed there. It seems that the Russians want to tell us that we are nobody but refugees but we don’t want to listen.
A leader of Dashnaktsutyun, Vahan Hovanissian in an interview in “Hayots Ashkharh” says that Russia’s foreign policy apparently has no clear direction. This is the result of Moscow’s desire to have a balanced policy toward the West and the United States. This is important for the Russian elite, but in the final analysis things cannot continue like this. “Russia has to regain its role in our region”, says the ARF leader. He also cautions the Americans that if Turkey’s role is over-emphasized in the region, “Armenia will have no alternative”.
“Azg” argues that the revitalization of the Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Commission with the inclusion of new members can put official Yerevan on the defensive by resulting in political and psychological pressures on Armenia. In this light, the upcoming meeting of the Armenian and Turkish foreign ministers is a welcome sign. It is not wise to leave the future of Armenian-Turkish relations to the whims of a few adventurers.