(Saturday, May 7)
“What our fathers and grandfathers recounted often did not correspond to the Communist propaganda,” “Aravot” writes in an editorial on the 60th anniversary of the Soviet victory in the Second World War. “But popular attitudes toward the war veterans were uniform because in day-to-day life it was impossible to come across an impudent veteran of the Patriotic [war] who harassed and terrorized people.” The paper believes this can not be said of some Armenian veterans of the Nagorno-Karabakh war who have become “real Asian feudals.”
“Those oligarch-generals can steal a kiosk from a small entrepreneur, can engage in illegal forest logging for their business, can hire laborers and pay them nothing,” continues “Aravot.” “They have a ‘right’ to beat a person they don’t like, oust him from his land and jail him in their private forts. They have become absolute scourges for the population of their areas. But if we want younger generations to enjoy the achievements of the Artsakh war, we must try today to build a modern European state. Otherwise, there will not be the kind of faith that caused the people to stand up in 1988. And if there is no faith, we will lose land as well.”
In a phone interview with “Haykakan Zhamanak,” Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian’s brother Aleksandr denies reports that he has sold all of his property and emigrated from Armenia. The parliament deputy, who has been in Britain for the past several weeks, says he will return to Armenia “soon.” Aleksandr Sargsian, who is reputed to be a wealthy person, claims that his property is only made up of a village house and an apartment in Yerevan. “I donate everything else attributed to me to Armenian orphanages,” he adds ambiguously. He also believes that Serzh Sarkisian is “the best candidate to succeed Robert Kocharian.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” is furious with the high-profile participation of officials from the U.S. National Democratic Institute (NDI) at opposition leader Artashes Geghamian meeting last week with his young supporters. This fact leads the pro-Kocharian daily to conclude that the NDI as well as the U.S. Agency for International Development and other U.S. organizations active in Armenia as “lairs of CIA agents.” “They overtly meddle in the country’s internal affairs and try to sweep local agents connected with them to power,” it says. The paper also blasts Armenia’s human rights ombudsman, Larisa Alaverdian, for seeking international support for her efforts to prevent the Armenian authorities from curtailing her powers.