“Aravot” predicts that Armenia’s next human rights ombudsperson will be completely obedient to President Robert Kocharian. The official “will do everything he is ordered to do,” the paper claims in an editorial.
“Such a thing has not happened in the world before: the office of human rights defender created and protected by the constitution being sealed off and closed down indefinitely,” writes “Golos Armenii.” “Citizens have been denied their constitutionally guaranteed right to appeal to the human rights defender and seek their assistance. It was simply difficult to invent a more extraordinary way of beginning to implement the country’s reformed constitution.”
According to “Azg,” few in the Armenian government care about the fact that the first ombudsperson, Larisa Alaverdian, “has learned how to work in the last one and a half years,” while her successor will have to start everything from scratch. The paper says Alaverdian’s lack of ties with political parties also does not seem to be appreciated by the country’s rulers.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” describes as “sensational” the failure of the new governing board of Yerevan State University to elect the outgoing YSU rector, Radik Martirosian, as its rector. “What happened is a result of intra-government squabbles and disagreements,” says the paper. “In any case, it is evident that some powerful hand botched Radik Martirosian’s election in order to show that orders coming from above may not be carried out at a certain point. Perhaps Serzh Sarkisian sent a message perhaps to Robert Kocharian.”
“Azg” quotes an unnamed university source as saying that Martirosian was “wiped out” by YSU deans handpicked by himself. “This shows that in the event of secret ballot it is possible to achieve results that are amazing at first glance,” says the source.
“Aravot” reports that the chairman of the YSU student council, Mihran Hakobian, fears that and he fellow student activists could be blamed by the authorities for Martirosian’s embarrassing defeat. “Mihran Hakobian named no names, but said explicit threats were issued to students,” says the paper.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” carries an interview with the former head of the youth wing of the radical Hanrapetutyun party. Vahan Babayan says he quit Hanrapetutyun last week because he grew convinced that “the opposition and opposition leaders have depleted themselves.” Babayan denies that the authorities were behind his resignation.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” says by raising Russian gas prices President Vladimir Putin “did the Armenian people a big favor.” “He showed everyone that Russia is neither Armenia’s older brother nor strategic partner. Therefore it is about time the Armenian people abandoned their illusions [regarding Russia] and took a more realistic look at the world,” says the paper.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Prime Minister Andranik Markarian gathered about a hundred senior members of his Republican Party (HHK) in a Yerevan restaurant on Saturday to discuss the latest political developments in Armenia. The paper says the gathering began in the morning and ended late in the evening. At one point, it says, a scuffle broke out between the governor of the Syunik region, Surik Khachatrian, and the owner of one of Armenia’s biggest liquor firms, Manvel Ghazarian.
“168 Zham” confirms the information, adding that residents of Ghazarian’s native Ararat district blocked a highway leading to Syunik and tried to “settle scores” with Khachatrian on the same day. Law-enforcement officials intervened to prevent any violence. The paper says the two men were “reconciled” the next day at a restaurant belonging to an unspecified “member of the government camp.”