(Saturday, March 19)
“Hayots Ashkhar” lays the blame for the recent skirmishes in Nagorno-Karabakh on Azerbaijan, saying that Baku is trying to blackmail the international community. The paper cites Ilham Aliev’s rejection of any mutual compromise between the conflicting parties. Azerbaijan is trying to clinch concessions from the Armenians and international mediators “through a military-political blackmail.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the Armenian opposition accused Robert Kocharian of pursuing a “defeatist” policy on Karabakh at a special gathering on Friday. Opposition leaders said they prefer renewed war to unacceptable concessions to Azerbaijan. “Against this background Armenia’s government will be able to present itself to the international community as a moderate force which needs to be protected against an extremist opposition,” says the paper.
“Aravot” notes that many of the oppositionists criticizing Kocharian’s Karabakh policy now were saying the same things about his predecessor Levon Ter-Petrosian in 1997-98. The paper suggests that their pronouncements be published in a book and compared. It charges that “the majority of politicians are opportunist and treacherous.” “Our society is more surprised with a politician who has never betrayed their principles and comrades-in-arms. Therefore, the fact that politicians change their views at an incredible speed and fail to deliver on their pre-election promises has absolutely no impact on voters. Everyone knows who is who in Armenia. Unfortunately, that doesn’t prevent notorious people from holding high positions and getting hold of parliamentary mandates.”
“Everyone seems to have held their breath in anticipation of money,” “Golos Armenii” says of the Armenian opposition. “The only thing that worries opposition leaders now is that Western dollars will end in their rivals’ pockets.” The paper says there are also “realists” among the oppositionists. They are now preparing for the upcoming local elections because their outcome will determine “who will make it into the next parliament and occupy the president’s post.”
“Our parliament has managed to prove that for this National Assembly legislative work is really grueling,” writes “Aravot.” “Deputies act much more professionally in neighborhood fights … and circle dance projects. But it is not fair to accuse our deputies of thinking only about their stomachs. Parliament factions and groups, for example, began receiving yesterday a letter from an adviser to [speaker] Artur Baghdasarian which asks those [of their members] who play football well to sign up.”