The third anniversary of the 1999 parliament shootings is the main topic of Saturday’s Armenian press commentary.
“Orran” accuses unspecified close associates of the late Vazgen Sarkisian and Karen Demirchian of having betrayed the two co-founders of the Miasnutyun bloc in exchange for senior government posts and promotions.
“Golos Armenii” says that Armenians still do not have the answer to the key question related to the parliament massacre: did the attackers act alone or carried out others’ orders? “Three years ago, we hoped that answers to this and many other questions will be given by the investigation and the court. We still hope to get those answers, although that hope is not as real as it was three years ago.”
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” calls the parliament attack a “serious blow to the strengthening foundations of our statehood.” The government-run paper defends the Armenian court which has been trying Nairi Hunanian and four other parliament gunmen since February 2001, saying accusations that it is deliberately dragging out proceedings are baseless. “The truth is that the volume of this unique and exceptional case is very large,” it argues.
“Azg” says the case of the parliament shootings will be increasingly exploited by the opposition in the run-up to next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections. The paper believes that the opposition will achieve little by simply accusing the authorities of obstructing the criminal proceedings.
“Hayots Ashkhar” thinks that it is wrong to ask who has benefited from the October 27 bloodbath without exploring its effects on the entire society. As if to drive home its point, the pro-presidential daily quotes the leader of the obscure National Security Party, Garnik Isagulian, as saying that “as a rule, cases of political terror are not fully solved.”
Arkady Vartanian, a Moscow-based businessman who tried to set off a nationwide campaign of street protests against Robert Kocharian two years ago, writes in “Haykakan Zhamanak” that “the best way to overcome the existing crisis is to consolidate around Levon Ter-Petrosian.” “The candidacy of Armenia’s first president must be put forward in the 2003 presidential elections. Otherwise, Armenian statehood will be in jeopardy,” he says.
But as one of the opposition leaders, Shavarsh Kocharian, tells “Hayots Ashkhar,” Ter-Petrosian and his HHSh party are well aware that he can not make a strong showing in the elections. “The attitude of the people and political forces toward the former president and the HHSh is clear. They hope to capitalize on popular discontent with the current authorities and clinch a certain number of votes. But I don’t think that they will manage to achieve anything,” Kocharian says.
“Or” treats with skepticism the latest official figures showing strong economic performance. The paper suspects the authorities of manipulating the macroeconomic data.