“Hayots Ashkhar” praises the Armenian delegation at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for launching an “active counteroffensive” in Strasbourg this week against perceived Azerbaijani attempts to spread “lies” about the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. The paper says the Armenian riposte was long overdue but adds that more needs to be done to counter Azeri propaganda. With international public opinion now set firmly against Islamic radicalism, Yerevan should seize the opportunity and remind the world of the fact that some 2,000 Afghan mercenaries, “invited” by Heydar Aliev, fought in Karabakh during the ill-fated Azerbaijani offensive of 1994.
“Haykakan Zhamanak,” however, offers a diametrically opposite assessment of the work carried out by the Armenian delegation at the PACE. The lawmakers led by Hovannes Hovannisian are accused of “consistently spoiling Armenia’s relations with one or another state.” The paper deplores their refusal to back Georgia which is facing criticism for failing to meet some of its Council of Europe obligations. Yerevan’s stance will reflect negatively on the Georgian-Armenian relationship, it concludes.
“Aravot” writes that Armenians seem to have grown more tolerant of wrongdoings done by their rulers. Very few of them now resent the wealth and extravagant lifestyle of senior government officials. As recently as last week the Armenian minister of transport and telecommunications, Andranik Manukian, showcased his newly built luxury hotel in central Yerevan. President Kocharian personally attended its high-profile opening. This fact would have caused a public uproar several years ago.
“Hayots Ashkhar” predicts that the Armenian opposition will not repeat its mistake and will take unconstitutional steps this time in its campaign against the authorities. The latter should be on their guard and “not succumb to provocations.” The pro-presidential paper is particularly concerned about the behavior of law-enforcement agencies which it says have paid a lip service to the authorities with their heavy-handed tactics of dealing with opposition protesters.
“Iravunk” appears confident that Kocharian’s bodyguards did beat to death a man who reportedly shouted abuse at the president at his favorite Yerevan café on Monday. These specially trained security officers would have hardly used violence on their own. They were almost certainly given a carte blanche to treat harshly anybody who dares to offend their boss. If the deadly incident had not occurred at such a popular place and if the victim, Poghos Poghosian had not been a member of the influential Dashnaktsutyun party it would have been easily portrayed as just an accident. And since 99 percent of Armenians would agree with what Poghosian said of Kocharian, the presidential guard may have to open a division in every local community.
“Yerkir” reports that a medical examination has concluded that Poghosian, a well-to-do resident of Georgia’s Javakhetia region, died of severe head injuries. The Dashnaktsutyun daily says he engaged in charitable work, helping in particular families of Armenians killed during the Karabakh war.
For “Haykakan Zhamanak” says that after Poghosian’s death Kocharian has no moral right to accuse his opponents of being “malicious.”