“Hayots Ashkhar” blames the Armenian opposition for Sunday’s violence at the anti-government rally in Gyumri, saying that it was part of an opposition plan to “turn people against each other, shed blood.” The paper says most residents of the city support President Robert Kocharian and dislike his foes. “We are happy with Kocharian’s work. Let Demirchian and gossip-loving Geghamian not stir up trouble in vain,” it quotes one of them as saying.
Another pro-Kocharian newspaper, “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun,” says the Artarutyun alliance and the National Unity Party want to bring about not a regime change but a “redistribution of property.” “Their leaders will still not give in to one another,” it writes.
According to “Haykakan Zhamanak,” the opposition remains defiant and bullish. It quotes a leader of the Hanrapetutyun party, Smbat Ayvazian, as claiming that the authorities will soon have trouble hiring agents provocateurs “even for organizing the Gyumri-level clashes.” “Within several days there will be such psychological changes inside the regime that will compel the state apparatus to distance itself from Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian as much as possible. The same is true for the ruling coalition,” Ayvazian says.
“Many of the high-level officials are increasingly becoming victims of their own irrational fear which is not substantiated with any calculation,” comments “Iravunk.” “Hence, the spate of absurd bans, the plans for mass arrests and the collection from wealthy individuals of huge financial resources meant to intimidate and bribe the masses.” The pro-opposition publication also points to the latest cadre changes in the highest echelons of the government and security agencies. All of this, it says, is only demoralizing the state bureaucracy. “In any case, the time to throw eggs [at opposition leaders] will be followed by a time to collect eggs.”
“Our big business has once again proved how dependent it is on the government,” “Aravot” comments on Tuesday’s statement by about 40 entrepreneurs warning against a destabilization of the political situation in Armenia. The paper says the statement was “dictated” by the regime. It claims that Armenia’s leading tycoons have been instructed not to leave Armenia within the next month. Some of their bodyguards have been ordered to participate in “provocations planned by the authorities” for the upcoming opposition demonstrations in Yerevan.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” notes that the businessmen’s emphasis on “the maintenance of constitutional order” amounts to a call for regime change because it is Kocharian who has methodically violated that order. “At any rate, yesterday’s statement carries no words praising the current authorities or criticizing the opposition.”