Speaking to “Zhamanak,” Karapet Rubinian, a dissident member of the Armenian National Congress (HAK), criticizes the opposition alliance for its cautious strategy of political struggle. “I don’t know if there is any desire to restore the past strength and clout of the [opposition] movement,” he says. “If there is such a desire, then that has to be done in a slow, step-by-step way. But I don’t rule that there will be just an ordinary rally on September 17.” Rubinian says HAK leader Levon Ter-Petrosian may well fail to present any “substantive program” of further opposition actions because “unfortunately the dominant mood is that there should be a prolonged struggle.” That in turn would mean that the HAK has failed to force pre-term presidential and parliamentary elections in Armenia, he says.
Ohan Durian, a prominent Armenian conductor strongly supporting the HAK, tells “Haykakan Zhamanak” that the opposition bloc should avoid any violent clashes with the authorities. “The authorities dream about clashes and violence,” he says. “If all citizens angered, plundered and made jobless by Serzh Sarkisian gather on September 17, if all citizens planning to emigrate, all people complaining about the army and the police come to the rally, then Liberty Square will be ours without a clash.” Durian believes that the government’s refusal to let the HAK hold the rally in that square testifies to its persisting fear of the opposition.
Ara Simonian, a pro-government parliament deputy, assures “Hayots Ashkhar” that the HAK is only keen to remind Armenians of its existence and to show that “it’s still breathing.” “The people are not interested in all that,” says Simonian. “Because, first of all, it’s autumn, a harvesting period, and farmers are going about their business. And in the cities, people have other problems.” Therefore, continues the parliamentarian, the HAK is “completely finished.” “Their objective is to occupy that brand, Liberty Square,” he claims. “I don’t think that the municipality show allow that place, which it itself has turned into a recreation zone, to again become an arena of political tempers.”
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” dismisses the Defense Ministry’s plans to tackle army abuse with a new Disciplinary Code. “Something may indeed change [as a result] and for the better,” says the pro-opposition daily. “Things just can’t change for the worse. But the question is whether the existing legislation allows prison laws to function in army bases, army officers to beat up soldiers and make them work for free in their businesses and so on. The absence of such a code is not the root cause of the problem.”