“Aravot” says President Kocharian on Wednesday defended “his corrupt subordinates that have built mansions and called [on the media] to deal only with the mansions built by former officials.” Speaking at Yerevan State University, Kocharian did not give a clear answer to question about rampant corruption in Armenia.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” claims that university professors critical of the authorities were not allowed to put their questions to Kocharian. Turning to domestic politics, the paper singles out National Democratic Union Vazgen Manukian’s meeting on Wednesday with US Ambassador John Ordway. “There is an opinion that the Americans are exploring the domestic political landscape and trying to find someone who could become Kocharian’s successor,” the paper says.
“Aravot” says that there are rumors in Yerevan about pre-term presidential elections to be held in Nagorno-Karabakh in April. The paper speculates that Arkady Ghukasian “would not like to shoulder responsibility for a conciliatory variant of the conflict’s settlement.” The Armenian government views him as an obstacle to a peace deal with Azerbaijan. It is also taking note of Ghukasian’s growing unpopularity among Karabakh Armenians.
A key lawyer in the parliament shootings trial tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that talk of the abolition of the death penalty is having an impact on the conduct of Nairi Hunanian and other defendants. Ashot Sarkisian, who represents interests of the Demirchian family, says he continues to suspect that the parliament gunmen had been promised that they will not be executed. He claims that the abolition of the death penalty would finally shatter hopes for digging out all circumstances of the crime.
“Hayots Ashkhar” comments that Israel has put an end to its “neutral” position on the Armenian genocide. Through its ambassador in Tbilisi and Yerevan, Israel has effectively “repeated the Turkish version of the events.” “With its genocidal chauvinism Israel is explicitly showing its expansionist ambitions and automatically finding itself among opponents of peoples, including Armenians, that were victims of genocide.” The Jewish state is thereby putting itself on a collision course with Armenia and Armenians, the paper concludes.
“Azg” says Yerevan should not ignore Ambassador Rifka Cohen’s controversial remarks on the Armenian genocide. The paper demands that the Israeli envoy be declared a “persona non grata.”