“Hraparak” carries a commentary on the 25th anniversary of Mikhail Gorbachev’s appointment as the Soviet Union’s top leader. “With his reforms, he destroyed the foundations of Soviet totalitarianism, put an end to the Cold War, repelled the threat of a nuclear war and war propaganda in general, withdrew Soviet occupation troops from Afghanistan, contributed to Germany’s reunification, eliminated the Communist Party’s monopoly on power, the global socialist system and the Warsaw pact,” writes the paper. But, it says, Gorbachev failed to reform the Soviet command economy and resolve simmering ethnic conflicts across the USSR. That was the root cause of the Soviet collapse, it concludes.
“Zhamanak” quotes Vladimir Karapetian, the foreign policy spokesman for the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), as claiming that by deciding to meet Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Washington President Serzh Sarkisian signaled that “we agreed to the Turkish agenda of negotiations.” “What does Armenia have to discuss with Turkey if there exist [Turkish-Armenian] protocols?” says Karapetian. “If we say that we are not going to talk about Nagorno-Karabakh, that we are not going to ratify [the protocols] before Turkey, what else does Armenia have to discuss with Turkey?” He says Sarkisian and Erdogan must have definitely discussed the Karabakh dispute.
Political expert Aleksandr Iskandarian tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that unlike the European Union, the United States is in a position to exert overt pressure on Turkey. “The tools used by the Americans are different and relate to regional issues, including the security sphere,” he says. According to Iskandarian, Washington is basically telling Ankara that normalizing relations with Armenia is essential for playing a major role in the regional security system. “Washington apparently understands that Turkey will hardly ratify the protocols before April 24 and is doing everything to make sure that the process is not dead by that time,” he says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Sarkisian will go on vacation and spend it abroad immediately after his trip to Washington. The paper says the presidential press secretary, Armen Arzumanian, on Monday declined to specify where Sarkisian will spend the vacation.
Interviewed by “Aravot,” opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian says that Sarkisian and his two predecessors, Robert Kocharian and Levon Ter-Petrosian, are to blame for Armenia’s existing political and other problems. Hovannisian says a meaningful political dialogue in the country should therefore go beyond these three men.