“The Council of Europe is not a Politburo for us and resolutions adopted by it are therefore not a life guideline,” writes “Aravot.” “It’s interesting to know whether the latest U.S. State Department report on the state of human rights in Armenia will get similar treatment [by the Armenian authorities].” The paper accentuates on the report’s conclusion that the Armenian government’s human rights record remains “poor.” But it says the government may not necessarily be worried about the U.S. criticism. For Yerevan, the White House is not a Politburo either.
The State Department report is construed by “Haykakan Zhamanak” as “once again” casting doubt on the legitimacy of Robert Kocharian’s reelection last year. “But such news have not been considered sensational in Armenia for a long time,” the paper writes.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” ridicules criminal charges brought against Vagharshak Harutiunian, Armenia’s former defense minister and a prominent member of the opposition arrested last month on coup charges. The paper reports that a top prosecutor told an Armenian appeals court on Tuesday that having publicly called for a violent regime change and “publicly insulted” senior government officials, Harutiunian “usurped state power” on the night from April 12 to 13 when riot police dispersed an opposition demonstration in Yerevan. The paper notes that Harutiunian did not speak at any of the opposition gatherings this year.
“Hayots Ashkhar” believes that the opposition campaign for regime change has fizzled out. “[For them], returning to parliament means admitting their defeat and not taking more decisive actions means becoming an object of ridicule in the eyes of not only the public but their own supporters.” Therefore, the paper says, the opposition leaders want to resort to actions that would turn them into “heroes.” That probably means repeating the April 12-13 confrontation with the authorities. The pro-establishment daily calls for a public debate on the “opposition crisis” and ways of “making the opposition field more healthy.”
“Azg” laments a perceived lack of integrity and honesty in the selection of government officials in Armenia. “One does not need to have particular skills in order to get a post anymore. There is no need to have comprehensive professional skills. Becoming a party member is more than enough.” The paper gives the example of Hovik Hoveyan, the recently appointed culture minister representing the governing Orinats Yerkir Party. He has already appointed Orinats Yerkir cadres to run several cultural institutions.