“The authorities are terrified of such [opposition] actions and are trying to intimidate those who are going ahead with their plans for regime change,” “Zhamanak Yerevan” writes, commenting on Wednesday’s clash between opposition demonstrators and police in Yerevan. The paper says the authorities can not stave off more protests with the kind of heavy-handed actions which they took three years ago. “People are now in a more resolute mood, while the regime seems to have exhausted its arsenal of violent actions aimed at stopping democratization,” it says.
“Aravot” notes that of all establishment parties only the Republicans have born full responsibility for “numerous vicious phenomena” that have been registered in Armenia not only in the past four years but during the country’s entire post-Soviet period. “At least, they are not hiding somewhere and saying, ‘No, it wasn’t our fault,’” explains the paper. Turning to the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), the paper notes its “deep ideological roots.” “Whether or not you like their programs, it is clear who they are and what they want. And that is definitely a plus these days.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” carries an open letter to Gorik Hakobian, head of the National Security Service, written by Artyom Khachatrian, a government critic whose Yerevan apartment was also searched by the NSS at the weekend. Khachatrian suggests sarcastically that the NSS also search the homes of President Robert Kocharian’s chief of staff, Armen Gevorgian, Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian, and businessman Gagik Tsarukian. “You know better than me what you would find there,” he says. “With the stuff confiscated there you would become the father of Armenia’s economic miracle.”
Citing an unnamed source close to Kocharian, “Iravunk” says that the newly appointed Defense Minister Mikael Harutiunian is a “compromise figure” who will serve until the presidential election of 2008. The paper says Dashnaktsutyun was incensed by Kocharian’s failure to appoint one of its senior members, Artur Baghdasarian, as defense minister. It says that is the reason why Dashnaktsutyun leaders distanced themselves from the government and criticized government policies during their election campaign.