“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun reports that Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian categorically ruled out the possibility of an anti-government revolt in Armenia during a weekend meeting with young people. “As for the question of whether I will order the army to intervene in planned [opposition] actions, that order must be given by the country’s supreme [army] commander and in that case the defense minister must obey the supreme commander,” he said. “And I am prepared to carry out the supreme commander’s order.”
According to “Aravot,” Sarkisian also said the Armenian authorities are “strong enough to confront coups.” “Who is their Hercules who will come and crack my head and sit in my chair? I mean how do they imagine cracking Kocharian’s head and occupying his post? How can that be imagined? If Kocharian does not resign willingly, who do they think they are to use force against us?”
“Iravunk” recalls in this regard Sarkisian’s 2004 threat to “swat” the regime’s opponents. “Serzh Sarkisian openly hinted that in the event of a revolution Robert Kocharian’s personal security and the immunity of the oligarchs’ villas are not guaranteed,” comments the paper. “It is clear that the defense minister’s edgy remarks did not come out of thin air and had in-depth causes. It can be presumed that he is worried about external pressures plus [the realization of] the all-against-all scenario at the upcoming local elections.”
Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that U.S. officials have never said that the grenade thrown at President Bush during the Tbilisi rally last May was made or modified in Armenia. Hovsepian, who visited Tbilisi last week, says U.S. officials used the term “army grenade” in Russian and that was misunderstood as “Armenian grenade” by Georgian journalists. “In reality, it was a Russian-made or Soviet-made attack grenade,” he says. “The wrong translation is being deliberately distorted by Azerbaijani officials. But it is obvious that neither the arrested individual nor any other circumstances of this case have to do with Armenia in any way.”
Interviewed by “Aravot,” the parliamentary leader of the governing Republican Party (HHK), Galust Sahakian, calls the Armenian authorities’ decision to embark on constitutional reform an act of exceptional “bravery.” “No government cedes its levers for nothing, but this is what our government is doing now with such constitutional changes,” he says.
“If Armenia is to have regime change by means of succession, then it will be better to have Robert Kocharian stay on,” Manuk Gasparian, a maverick opposition lawmaker, tells “Iravunk.” Gasparian says he dreads the prospect of Aghvan Hovsepian or Serzh Sarkisian becoming Armenia’s president.