“Azg” says the Russian authorities’ conclusions regarding the causes of the Armavia plane crash raise more questions than answers. The paper says their claims that the plane went down because of a pilot error bore out the “most pessimistic forecasts” made in Armenia. “Even the worst pessimists hoped that that ‘human factor’ [cited by Russian investigators] also includes a mistake committed by a traffic controller from Sochi airport. But what we got is something which should not have happened because the [CIS] Interstate Aviation Committee had all necessary information not to arrive at such a conclusion, regardless of the interests of particular countries.”
“As we predicted, it is the dead pilots that were declared guilty,” “Aravot” notes grimly. “In any other case, it is living individuals who would bear responsibility.”
“Armenian pilots could not have suffered a crash in such a simple situation,” Dmitry Atbashian, a prominent retired pilot, tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” Atbashian argues that Sochi airport lacks the necessary equipment to forecast bad and dangerous weather. Russian aviation rules prohibit flights of civilian aircraft in such conditions. Atbashian believes that the doomed Airbus A-320 crashed because of heavy rain and high winds.
But “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” tries to rationalize the findings of the Russian authorities, saying that they “could not satisfy all parties and especially relatives of the dead.” “Realism requires that one put emotions aside, which is impossible in this case,” says the government paper. It argues that the Russian conclusions are based on the analysis of data from the plane’s black boxes and other “facts.”
“We have to come to terms with reality,” a spokesman for the Armenian government’s civil aviation department tells “Zhamanak Yerevan.”
“Zhamanak Yerevan” reports that Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia party is trying to counter the influx of government officials and businessmen into the ruling Republican Party (HHK) by recruiting more prominent individuals. The paper says Tsarukian has offered Constitutional Court Chairman Gagik Harutiunian, Justice Minister David Harutiunian and Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian to top the list of his party’s candidates for next year’s elections.
“There is no serious disagreement between the HHK and Prosperous Armenia, at least for now,” an HHK parliamentarian, Armen Ashotian, tells “168 Zham.” Ashotian also rules out “clashes” between the two political forces ahead of the elections. The Republicans see no threat emanating from Prosperous Armenia, he claims.
“Serzh Sarkisian has decided to become president and is already openly trying to convince everyone that he is the republic’s sole [real] man,” writes “Zhamanak Yerevan.” “Robert Kocharian clearly does not want to give up that status.” The paper claims that Kocharian will accept Sarkisian as his successor only if the defense minister guarantees him a major political role after 2008.
Interviewed by “Aravot,” opposition lawmaker Shavarsh Kocharian dismisses Sarkisian’s assurances that the 2007 election will be the “best” one in Armenia’s history. “We have seen his participation in elections before, haven’t we?” he reasons. He says if Sarkisian wants to promote democracy in Armenia he should simply steer clear of any election.