"Orran" says the political situation in Armenia is too calm at the moment. Little suggests that the country will be holding presidential elections in the near future. The opposition should have already put forward someone whom the Armenian public would see as a credible alternative to the current president. "One must be conscious that we are running late day by day," the pro-opposition paper notes alarmingly.
"Haykakan Zhamanak" claims that the authorities "fear the Levon Ter-Petrosian/Boris Yeltsin duo and the exceptional warmness of their relationship." The paper, which is sympathetic to Ter-Petrosian, says Tuesday's dinner between the two former presidents was "not just a meeting between two old men." "The fact is that two of the most influential Russian and Armenian figures decided to meet and God knows what will occur if they manage to achieve political agreements."
"Azg" also points to Yeltsin's "particularly warm relations" with Ter-Petrosian, but takes the view that the Russian ex-president's visit to Armenia will contribute to Robert Kocharian's reelection campaign. "After all, it was he who invited Boris Nikolaevich and the latter is his guest. Yeltsin will not help Ter-Petrosian's pre-election campaign first of all because the first president of Armenia will not participate in those elections. If Yeltsin were to support Ter-Petrosian, he would have done so in 1997-1998 during the inner-government crisis in Armenia," the paper reasons.
"Hayots Ashkhar" brushes aside commentaries linking recent visits by top Russian officials to the unfolding presidential race in Armenia. "This only shows that the majority of the presidential contenders are well aware that they have no serious support base and real chances of victory." Hence, their hopes for assistance from an outside power.
In any case, says Haykakan Zhamanak, both the government and the opposition are campaigning with clearly pro-Russian platforms. Each party is keen prove that it is more pro-Russian than the other.
"People really think that elections in Armenia are predetermined by Russia or the West," writes "Aravot." "This wrong belief harbored by the opposition is the reason why instead of taking more serious and active steps in Armenia, boycotting National Assembly sessions and…working with the public, they are turning to the north or the west with the 'extremely important' aim of getting a go-ahead for their candidates." Still, the paper agrees that Russia is likely to "actively intervene" in the Armenian elections by using "blackmail and threats."
Armenian politicians' pro-Russian stance is also criticized in "Hayastani Hanrapetutyun" by a former Ter-Petrosian adviser. Ketrich Sardarian argues that Armenia's relations with Russia are already too close. "So our political forces and their leaders are competing for something for which there is no need," he says, adding that the Armenians should instead focus on normalizing their relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan.