(Saturday, September 30)
“Hayots Ashkhar” says the Armenian opposition has launched an “anti-criminal movement” in order to boost its “slim chances” of success in next year’s parliamentary elections. “It is becoming clear that the prospect of failure will force the opposition to do everything in the coming months to artificially destabilize internal political life and thereby try to win the laurels of … a dignified defeat,” writes the paper.
“Zhamanak Yerevan” claims that the movement was “ordered” by opposition politician Ashot Manucharian after “consultations” with Prime Minister Andranik Markarian. “The moment Serzh Sarkisian entered the HHK council together with a group of businessmen, the old Republican guard felt a danger that the party may slip out of their hands,” says the paper. “That is why they masterminded and organized a PR campaign aimed presenting the old Republican guard led by Andranik Markarian as the party’s ideological wing and the new party recruits led by Serzh Sarkisian as its criminal wing.”
Interviewed by “168 Zham,” parliament deputy Hmayak Hovannisian advises Sarkisian and President Robert Kocharian to lead the anti-criminal movement. “If they do such a thing, the public will only hail them,” he says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports on the launch of another movement which it says will support Sarkisian. Leaders of the movement called Miasin (Together) said in a statement on Friday that it was formed in response to “slander spread by certain cosmopolitans about the pillars of our statehood and Serzh Sarkisian in particular.” “Movement activists found it immoral to criticize the defense minister,” writes the paper. They also accused opposition parties making up the “anti-criminal movement” of “putting their hands into people’s pockets.”
“Azg” dismisses police assurances that Vyacheslav “Yaponchik” Ivankov, a prominent Russian crime figure, has not visited Armenia despite numerous reports to the contrary. The paper is convinced that Ivankov travels across the former Soviet Union with “a dozen” false passports hiding his real name. “So the blunt statement [by the Armenian police] alone is no 100 percent proof that ‘Yaponchik’ does not move around the CIS with others’ passports,” says the paper.
“Aravot” reports that supplies of Russian natural gas to Armenia were interrupted on Friday due to what officials described as pipeline repairs going on in Georgia. The paper suspects that the gas deliveries to Georgia and Armenia were deliberately cut off by Russia in retaliation for the arrest of four Russian officers in Tbilisi.