“There are also good things in our life,” Alvard Petrosian, a writer and parliament deputy from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” “We must be able to see that good. Otherwise, somebody will come out and say that these roads have been built not with the budget money, but the Lincy Foundation. But having [multimillion-dollar assistance from] the Lincy Foundation is due to the state. The state has managed to explain to dear [Kirk] Kerkorian that not everything is being stolen and plundered here.”
“Yerkir” notes that President Robert Kocharian has signed into law a parliament bill that will prevent an eventual release from jail of Nairi Hunanian and his four accomplices.
But as “Ayb-Fe” points out, the law “will not apply to the October 27 criminals” as it will formally come into force after they are sentenced to life imprisonment. The paper also quotes one of the prosecutors at the Hunanian trial, Gagik Avetisian, as saying that the prosecution sped up court proceedings this summer because it wanted the defendants to be sentenced to death before the full abolition of capital punishment in Armenia. “But we were not given such a possibility before everybody’s eyes,” he says, blaming families of some attack victims.
“It is wrong to draw parallels between the Armenian and Georgian oppositions,” writes “Yerkir.” It’s not that the Armenian opposition was not resolute enough in its bid to oust the current regime, the Dashnaktsutyun weekly says. It simply displayed a “much more responsible approach to the country’s future.” “The authorities must pursue the right policy towards the opposition” and stop treating its leaders as enemies. The paper calls for a “dialogue” between the authorities and the main opposition groups.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” carries an analysis of Georgia’s likely next president, Mikhail Saakashvili, portraying him as a “tough and intransigent” politician who is not averse to expressing “extreme views.” The paper sees similarities between him and Armenia’s Kocharian, saying that the latter is no less intransigent. It adds that Russia does not conceal its dislike of Saakashvili and “will periodically try to make use of Kocharian’s services” for holding the new Georgian leader in check. All of this makes “new complications” in Armenian-Georgian relations likely. Besides, predicts “Haykakan Zhamanak,” Saakashvili will seek to dispel persisting rumors about his ethnic Armenian roots, seen as a political liability in Georgia, with actions that will hardly be beneficial for the Armenians.
According to “Iravunk,” by helping the Georgian opposition topple President Eduard Shevardnadze the United States and Russia signaled to other ex-Soviet states that they do not intend to prop up their corrupt and unpopular regimes. “Further preservation of such regimes becomes a serious destabilizing factor in the entire region,” the paper says. It means that Kocharian and his allies will find it increasingly difficult to maintain Armenia’s “oligarchic clan system.” The events in Georgia have also raised public expectations of “drastic positive changes” in Armenia. “But conditions are not yet ripe for an Armenian velvet revolution,” “Iravunk” says. “The authorities still have a possibility of avoiding a revolutionary situation through real reforms.”