Armenian newspapers continue to comment on former President Levon Ter-Petrosian’s speech at the weekend congress of the Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh).
“Hayots Ashkhar” wonders how popular Ter-Petrosian’s views on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and Turkish-Armenian relations are popular among his loyalists and the opposition in general. “We believe that it is impossible to make anyone except old-style HHSh members think that open borders [with Azerbaijan and Turkey] to be gained in return for a defeatist stance can contribute to the progress of a broken and demoralized nation,” editorializes the paper. It says that would only aggravate Armenia’s demographic problems. “Therefore, Ter-Petrosian’s slogan is primarily addressed to those external forces that can not fail to properly appreciate the former president’s conciliatory line,” concludes “Hayots Ashkhar.”
“If Armenia was in Azerbaijan’s place, it would have to declare that it is ready to give up Karabakh,” Tigran Paskevichian, a pro-opposition intellectual and columnist, tells “Kapital.” Paskevichian says that mutually hostile rhetoric between the parties will sharply ease if Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations become “substantive.” “My impression is that the parties are sometimes happy when one of them drags out the process,” he says. “The Azerbaijanis talk with pleasure about Armenia’s failure to respond to the updated Madrid principles, while our leaders [talk] about the Saint Petersburg proposals.” He also chides those political groups and ordinary Armenians who believe Armenia should try to revive the 1920 Treaty of Sevres and lay claim to lands in modern-day eastern Turkey.
Ashot Manucharian, a veteran political figure, tells “Aravot” that Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) is Armenia’s most important but “not the only” opposition force. “Since it’s a leading political force, the activities of both the Congress and its leader are subject to detailed analysis and, in case of mistakes, relentless criticism,” he says. “But in this case there is one very important specificity. Unlike other political forces, the Congress and its leader have another status, which transcends the political system and is much more extensive.” Manucharian describes the opposition alliance as “the backbone of Armenian resistance.”
“I think that the people no longer have time to wait for the next elections,” Aram Sarkisian, a leading HAK member, tells “Irates de facto.” “The public can have no expectations especially from the  parliamentary elections because it believes they are elections catering for the interests of a single individual and his party. The people have expectations from only one election: the presidential one.” That vote, he adds, must be held well before President Serzh Sarkisian completes his term in office in 2013.