“Iravunk” says the upcoming political battle in Armenia promises to be unusually tense and uncompromising. The latest personnel changes in the security agencies are a clear indication of the “climate of confrontation.” The paper says the opposition Artarutyun alliance and the National Unity Party are holding negotiations in a bid to coordinate their “drastic actions.” It says there is “public demand” for such actions. “Therefore it is very likely that a tough government-opposition standoff will get underway some day in April. Political events in Armenia are now entering an unpredictable phase of sharp confrontations.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that an Artarutyun leader, Albert Bazeyan, is now trying to convince National Unity’s Artashes Geghamian to join in the opposition assault early next month. “But those negotiations have so far not yielded any results, and it can already predicted that the Artarutyun alliance will act along this time as well.” The paper says Artarutyun may succeed in toppling the regime if it manages to assemble at least 100,000 people and keep them on the street for two or three weeks. It says opposition lawmaker Victor Dallakian is confident about pulling such a huge crowd. Dallakian says Artarutyun has drawn up detailed contingency plans for various scenarios of government reaction to the protests.
Newspapers continue to comment on Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian’s threat to “swat” the opposition if it resorts to “unconstitutional” methods. “Our elders like to say that a bear always screams out of fear,” a prominent Communist, Khoren Sarkisian, tells “Aravot.” “The threats do not testify to wisdom or a correct understanding of the situation,” says Artarutyun’s Vazgen Manukian. “I think that nobody is frightened by such threats.”
Geghamian also joins the chorus of criticism directed at Serzh Sarkisian. He notes in an “Aravot” interview that Sarkisian failed to sue him for saying that the defense chief is “the godfather of corruption” in Armenia who spends public funds on gambling.
But as “Golos Armenii” writes, the only thing the Armenian opposition has achieved in the past five years is to convince a part of the population that regime change is imminent. People think that the opposition can not fail endlessly. The paper says the only thing Demirchian, Geghamian and Aram Sarkisian agree on is that Kocharian’s resignation is inevitable. “But when push comes to shove it turns out that the interests of these three men are different. They are solving different issues at this stage.” It is only Aram Sarkisian who stands to gain from an anti-government revolt, according to “Golos Armenii.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” says attendance at the Artarutyun rallies in the region has been poor, making nonsense of the bloc’s grandiose plans to set off a revolution. The paper says there are no longer prerequisites for a socially motivated anti-government uprising in Armenia and points to external factors behind opposition activity in Armenia. It says that “the European Union and especially the United States have begun to make consistent efforts to change Armenia’s traditional geopolitical status in the region.” The pro-presidential daily claims the opposition actions were timed to coincide with this Friday’s visit to Armenia by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.