“A new wave of persecutions has begun in Armenia,” declares “Haykakan Zhamanak,” commenting on reported arrests and questioning of opposition activists across the country. The paper says the crackdown coincided with the first anniversary of mass arrests of opposition supporters during and in the aftermath of the presidential elections. “Yesterday too opposition activists throughout the republic were invited to police stations for ‘explanatory’ conversations with police officers.” Police officials provide no clear explanation for the summonses.
“The timetable for the revolution is reconsidered,” “Hayots Ashkhar” says sarcastically of statements of condemnation issued by the leaders of the Hanrapetutyun party on Tuesday. The paper defends police actions.
The state-run “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” also seeks to justify them, saying that Hanrapetutyun has for months been promising “certain drastic actions” that will not necessarily be constitutional. “One can only conclude that the radicals a preparing for a violent regime change,” the paper claims, adding that Hanrapetutyun is trying to recruit members of the Yerkrapah Union for the effort.
In an editorial “Aravot” attacks Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian for his failure to meet with university students boycotting lectures in protest against a new government bill on military service. The paper says Sarkisian has so far agreed to meet only with representatives of pro-government youth organizations. “That is a classical example of neglecting an opposite view,” it says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the pro-government majority in parliament has still not formulated a common approach to the controversial bill. “Many deputies wonder why Education and Science Minister Sergo Yeritsian, who was obliged to meet the boycotting students, stubbornly avoids expressing his view on the issue.” The paper says Yeritsian did not voice objections to the draft law when it was approved by the ruling cabinet earlier this month. It quotes an unnamed parliament deputy from Yeritsian’s Orinats Yerkir Party as complaining that the party has already been scapegoated for the unpopular school staff cuts. “We have no desire to antagonize students as well,” the lawmaker says. “Let the one who submitted the draft bear responsibility for all of its consequences.”
Another pro-government deputy, Ruben Hovsepian of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the government should go farther by abolishing military service deferments for undergraduate students as well. “It is much more preferable to retard or delay the course of an individual’s mental development than interrupt it,” he argues. “It would be best to draft everyone at the age of 18.” Hovsepian believes that the army “will not gain anything” from the partial solution favored by the Defense Ministry.