Armenia’s print media provide different commentaries to the ten-year presidency of Robert Kocharian, who formally handed over the reins of power to his successor, Serzh Sarkisian, on Wednesday.
Sharing his thoughts with “Hayots Ashkhar”, Zhirayr Dadasian, artistic director of the state-run Pantomime Theater, praises Robert Kocharian as a leader who had assumed ‘a certain historical mission’ and ‘managed to ensure peace and development in the country in the past decade.’ “The head of state shouldered responsibility and carried it to the end. I am particularly proud of his foreign policy. Kocharian is a man who, in the past ten years, presented at international instances issues that had been given up for lost before that, and he did so in a clear and convincing way deserving of respect.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” carries a diametrically opposite opinion. “Robert Kocharian’s guilt before the Armenian people and state is that during his tenure he weakened all state structures, turning them into puppets governed from one center,” the daily’s commentator writes, suggesting as evidence the state of today’s parliament, courts and government. “Let alone economy and entrepreneurship,” the paper concludes.
“Aravot” editorializes on the Wednesday inauguration of the new president, Serzh Sarkisian. “I don’t want to walk along city streets on Inauguration Day and feel my fellow citizens breathe with such hatred or see how they grumble about the new president. It isn’t a normal situation. There shouldn’t be such a massive wall in society,” writes the editor, criticizing the authorities for the uncalled-for “show of strength” in a military review in Liberty Square following the inauguration ceremony.
“168 Zham” quotes Serzh Sarkisian’s words about the “wall”: “Even if a wall of misunderstanding stands between us, I urge you to join us in eliminating that wall” and provides its commentary. “Those who followed the news coverage of the event, including those who did not vote for Serzh Sarkisian, may have thought when hearing those words – well, maybe something will really change for the better? But those who were out in the streets of Yerevan were opposing “live walls of police” as those words were being uttered.”… “The impression was that all roads were leading to a blind alley and the new president was shielding himself from his own people.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” publishes a letter of Karabakh war veteran and Member of Parliament Sasun Mikaelian, currently remanded in prison on charges alleging his role in the March 1 unrest.
Mikaelian, in particular, writes: “I have met Hrazdan police chief Avetik Abrahamian on several occasions before. When we were having a conversation once, he said that his brother died during the Karabakh war defending his homeland. Now, I want to remind him that Arshavir Bozinian (currently on a hunger strike in support of Mikaelian), who sustained a heavy wound and subsequent disability on the battlefield in the same war can also be ranked as deceased, since half of his body is dysfunctional. Unlike other fallen warriors, though, instead of going into a grave his fate was to get into a wheelchair… And today, our respected police chief, forgetting all sacred things, has also forgotten for whom and why his brother died. With his motorcade he enters the town of Vanatur, orders his inferiors to assault disabled Arshavir and steal his tent, leaving him in the open air.”