“Aravot” is encouraged by the impending release of Armenian opposition members remaining in prison. The paper says that will herald an important change in the country’s intolerant political culture.
“168 Zham” carries an interview with one of those prisoners, Nikol Pashinian. “The government claims’ that there are no political prisoners in Armenia because those individuals were sentenced under articles of the Criminal Code are simply ridiculous,” Pashinian tells the paper. “According to the authorities’ logic, bringing a criminal charge against someone is enough for not considering him a political prisoner,” he says. “How come Stalin didn’t try political prisoners on charges of theft? If Andrei Sakharov was charged with drug trafficking, he would have ceased to be a political prisoner.”
“Zhamanak” attacks those who accuse the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) of betraying the public and cutting deals with the government. “It is understandable that people are faced with the danger of a real marginalization,” it says of them. “But they care not about that but the fact this phase of marginalization could cost them parliament seats. For three years those people have dreamed that because of a serious confrontation with Levon Ter-Petrosian, Serzh Sarkisian will turn to them for help and will try to hit Levon Ter-Petrosian by giving them more space. Now those dreams are crumbling as for some reason Serzh Sarkisian and Levon Ter-Petrosian have decided to play a game with mutually acceptable rules.”
“Yerkir” says that the rapprochement between the Sarkisian administration and Ter-Petrosian’s HAK is raising the prospect of a “serious realignment in the political landscape.” The paper says it remains to be seen whether the HAK will put forward more demands to the government or cooperate with Sarkisian and gain “some power levers” in the process. “The third, most prudent option is a step back, which neither party will take because that would be tantamount to suicide,” it says.
“What the HAK formulated several months ago in the form of demands addressed to the authorities is already being realized by the authorities,” Lernik Aleksanian, a parliament deputy from Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” He claims that it is “naïve” to think that only the opposition cares about the release of the arrested opposition members and a proper investigation of the March 2008 unrest. “We have always discussed these issues and tried to solve them as early as possible,” he says.