(Saturday, January 28)
According to “Hayots Ashkhar,” a deputy district prosecutor in Yerevan, Arshak Karakhanian, shot himself dead on Friday from a pistol with which another law-enforcement official, Aram Karapetian, had killed Armenia’s former Prosecutor-General Henrik Khachatrian and then himself. “That weapon is said to have been given to Arshak Karakhanian later on,” writes the paper.
“Aravot” reports that Prime Minister Andranik Markarian is rumored to have “clashed” with Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian over the latter’s election as chairman of the Governing Council of Yerevan State University (YSU). Asked how Markarian reacted to the development, a government spokesman is quoted as saying, “Very calmly and with a smile.” “This was not a surprise for Serzh Sarkisian,” says the paper. “As he said, he knew about that in the morning.”
But as “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” reports, Sarkisian was surprised by the very fact of his nomination for the newly created post.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says students sitting on the YSU board were particularly happy with Sarkisian’s election. The paper says they were the ones who prevented the outgoing YSU rector Radik Martirosian from becoming board chairman.
“YSU is Serzh’s,” reads a headline in “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.”
In an interview with “168 Zham,” opposition leader Aram Sarkisian disagrees with those who think that Armenia’s government is increasingly split into two rival factions headed by Sarkisian and President Robert Kocharian. “There isn’t much difference between Robert Kocharian’s and Serzh Sarkisian’s parties,” he says. “I see absolutely no ideological differences between them. Both factions are against free elections.” They will continue to be bound by common interests, adds Sarkisian.
“Aravot” quotes Dashnaktsutyun leader Vahan Hovannisian as saying that Kocharian’s National Security Council, of which Sarkisian is the secretary, is “not a serious body.” The paper says in a speech delivered at a Yerevan café Hovannisian said Armenia remains extremely vulnerable to security challenges such as the recent disruption of Russian gas supplies.
“Azg” reports that the Nagorno-Karabakh government has released tentative results of a local census conducted last October. According to them, Karabakh’s population currently stands at 137,743.
“168 Zham” reports that Armenia and Azerbaijan have been drawn in the same group of the qualification campaign for the 2008 European football championship. The two national teams have never played against each other. “That the teams will face each other in a neutral field is beyond doubt,” says the paper.
“Armenia must declare that it is ready to receive the Azerbaijani team and travel to Baku,” writes “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “There is definitely no atmosphere of anti-Azerbaijani schizophrenia in Armenia and receiving their team could have a positive impact on our country’s international image. Especially given the fact that Azerbaijan would be unable to do the same.”