"The Russians are asking [others] to accept at face value the theory that the Moscow theater was seized by some fanatics, international terrorists, vicious swine who enjoy blowing themselves up and holding civilians hostage with no particular purpose," "Aravot" writes in an editorial. "[The Kremlin] is trying to persuade [ordinary] Russians that terrorism has nothing to do with Russian policy on Chechnya. But this is a ludicrous explanation which nobody believes." The Armenian authorities have similarly presented the gunmen who stormed the parliament three years ago as "lone fanatics."
"Haykakan Zhamanak" also denounces Russian President Vladimir Putin's handling of the hostage crisis, accusing him of "condemning to brutal death citizens of own country, including women and children."
"Aravot" says that the Armenian authorities, unlike their Russian counterparts, did not tighten security in the city during the October 1999 hostage-taking. They were apparently confident that the terrorist attack will be confined to the parliament building in Yerevan. "One should assume that that confidence was the result of certain information," the paper speculates, highlighting its lingering suspicion about Robert Kocharian's involvement in the shootings. It quotes an unnamed government official as saying that Russian special forces, who arrived in Yerevan on October 27, 1999, proposed knocking out the gunmen with the same mystery gas which they were to use in Moscow three years later.
"Azg" and "Hayastani Hanrapetutyun" quote Prime Minister Andranik Markarian as saying during Sunday's official ceremonies marking the parliament attack anniversary that Armenia has succeeded in overcoming consequences of the massacre. Markarian said investigators may still uncover presumed "organizers" of October 27. "Life is moving on and nothing ever remains secret," he said.
"Haykakan Zhamanak" comments that the governing elite has "psychologically prepared itself" for political changes that will result from the recent local elections. The paper says some ruling circles now feel that the Dashnaktsutyun party's control of 15 percent of government ministries "does not reflect the 7 percent Dashnak representation in the parliament." "In this regard, some governments circles think that the dismissal of Dashnak ministers would be a justified move. Especially against the backdrop of the local election results," the paper writes. Also jeopardized are the positions of the ministers of transport, health and state property, it claims.
But as "Or" writes, the outcome of the local elections does not reflect the popularity of Markarian's Republicans and other Armenian parties. "In fact, nothing has changed. It is the existing administrative nomenklatura that won the elections," it argues.