(Saturday, February 19)
“Aravot” comments on the 17th anniversary of the start of a popular movement for Karabakh’s reunification with Armenia. The paper editorializes that the “heroes” engendered by that movement are not only Armenian army generals that now justify their ownership villas and luxury calls with their role in the victorious war with Azerbaijan. The real heroes, says the paper, are those war veterans who now struggle to make their ends meet and do not like to talk about their military exploits. The Karabakh movement also brought to the surface the “human slime” that now holds dominant positions in Armenian society. The paper says Robert Kocharian and other individuals who came to power in 1998 “have done everything to discredit the movement and its leaders because they are afraid of a revanche.”
“Golos Armenii” compares the track records of Kocharian and his predecessor Levon Ter-Petrosian. “Kocharian is Ter-Petrosian’s antipode. For people like him who lack a bright charisma, it is difficult to come to power. But once at the helm of the state, they do everything to stay on top in all senses.” The paper says Ter-Petrosian was a “destroyer” while Kocharian is a “creator.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” comments on the second anniversary of Armenia’s 2003 presidential election. The pro-opposition paper says Kocharian’s hotly disputed reelection was a victory for “ordinary criminal elements.” “The elections determined which type of persons will reign in the country and decide its future,” it says. “The type [that won is the one] which managed to ignore everything and everyone, to enter polling station and terrorize those inside it and to stuff ballots into ballot boxes. So the target of a presumed and much talked-about revolution must be not Robert Kocharian but the criminal elements that wield the real power in the country.”
“Aravot” reports that parliament deputy Hakob Hakobian, who was briefly kept in jail in the United Arab Emirates for alleged shoplifting, has acknowledged that he does not read books because he considers that a waste of time. “I think scientists have proved that the human brain functions at 8-13 percent of its capacity,” explains the pro-government lawmaker. “If you try to load your brain with other things -- I don’t know, some models, sports or other things -- your brain will naturally get overloaded and you will underperform in your legislative work.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the renewed opposition talk of another anti-Kocharian campaign only demonstrates that the Armenian opposition “has no resources and desire to stake any serious step.” Far more serious and interesting, according to the paper, is the intensifying intra-government struggle for Kocharian’s succession.
In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar,” Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian skirts a question about his participation in the next presidential election. “The presidential elections are still a long way off,” Sarkisian says. “And I personally have made no decision yet, at least for myself.” He is also strongly opposed to any pre-term elections and believes that there are no prerequisites for an anti-government revolt in Armenia.