YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–At a Monday press conference–Moscow-based politician Antranig Mihranian explained that the 1996 presidential election truly harmed the democratic system of Armenia–however the recent resignation of Levon Ter-Petrosyan and related developmen’s positively affected the voting populace–especially enhancing its international reputation. "The velvet revolution was conducted within the realm of the Armenian Constitution," which–according to Mihranian–proved that–should the need arise–Armenia’s politicians are able to prioritize national security above their personal interests. "Such a peaceful transition of administration has never occurred in the former Soviet Union and happens very rarely throughout the world," Mihranian pointed out.
Mihranian acknowledged that Ter-Petrosyan’s resignation was followed by an unparalleled atmosphere of tolerance. He remained hopeful that that atmosphere would be maintained after the presidential election–and that the opposition would not be forced out of the system and Diasporan foes of the president would not be concerned with his dethronement.
Mihranian held in high regard presidential candidates Robert Kocharian and Vazgen Manoukian. He recognized Kocharian as the candidate with most comprehension of "the technology of the administration" and one with the necessary experience both with the Soviet and post-Soviet systems.
According to Mihranian–if Karen Demirchian is elected president–there will be minority rule as is the case in Georgia and Azerbaijan.
Mihranian pointed out that Ter-Petrosyan’s resignation is also a defeat for Yevgeni Brimakov who exerted pressure on Ter-Petrosyan for Armenia to accept the OSCE Minsk Group proposal which–according to Mihranian–was "anti-Russian."
Mihranian categorized as "idealists" all those who advocate Armenia joining the Russia-Belarus Union. Mihranian found it inappropriate for Armenia to take that step at this juncture–especially since the Russian media often deems Belarus as an "opportunist" who wants to live on Russia’s account–and the same could be said of Armenia.
He found that Armenia’should only consider joining the Union if it is proposed by the Russian government. He concluded that both Levon Ter-Petrosyan and Robert Kocharian hold realistic approaches toward this issue.