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Press Review


"Aravot" sees political motives behind Tuesday's grenade blast that seriously wounded journalist Mark Grigorian. "The most likely theory is that the attack was directed at Mark Grigorian and was planned beforehand." The paper views it as an attempt to intimidate journalists critical of the current regime. At the same time, the paper casts doubt on the suggestion that Grigorian was targeted because of his plans to write an article on the 1999 parliament killings. There are many local reporters who covered the matter in greater detail and none of them has been attacked or faced death threats.

"There is no doubt; the assassination attempt was directed against Mark Grigorian and therefore against free speech and free journalism," agrees "Haykakan Zhamanak." The paper says the organizers of the attack tried to hold in check the local independent media. "This is a method of ensuring overall journalistic obedience," it claims. But unlike "Aravot," "Haykakan Zhamanak" sees a direct link between the grenade attack and the parliament attack case.

"Don't kill journalists," screams "Orran." "They are simply presenting to the public things which we are doing or are going to do."

Commenting on Sunday's local elections, "Aravot" claims that "there will be no free and fair elections in Armenia in the next 50 years." The outcome of the elections suggests that Levon Ter-Petrosian will not seek to return to power in next year's presidential elections and that Robert Kocharian "will stay in power as long as he wants." "In short, the authorities have now the capacity to stamp out any source of dissent. But by destroying this opposition the authorities will pave the way for extreme and insane forces ruled from abroad."

"Or" writes that the parliament killings brought to power individuals "who could not even dream about having those posts." "Who could think that Andranik Markarian will become Armenia's prime minister after October 27," it says. The paper says Markarian and the Republicans, buoyed by their electoral success, will now set "more serious" conditions for their support of President Kocharian in the presidential elections. "And one should not be surprised if the president meets those demands."

"We tell the president everything we want," Republican leader Tigran Torosian is quoted by "Azg" as saying. The paper describes this comment as a "threat" and claims that the political influence wielded by Markarian's party does not reflect its popularity. "Any opinion poll shows that the Republican Party has a very low approval rating."

(Vache Sarkisian)
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