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Press Review


“Aravot” writes in its editorial that “Armenia wasn’t a democratic country even before the March 1 events – but, as they say, things may go from bad to worse.”

“Any information not pleasant to the government was banned for the period of the 20-day emergency rule and today those citizens who do not ‘enjoy’ government trust are not allowed to hire premises in any conference halls for holding seminars or any other events, even those that for example deal with rose growing,” the daily writes, citing other examples of government crackdown and concluding that “Armenia has gone through an essential regression in terms of democratic standards after the March 1 events.”

“Haykakan Zhamanak” reminds what Armenia’s first president Levon Ter-Petrosian said during his February 16 public rally: “If you like, an individual and his freedom are higher than the state.”

The daily’s editor-in-chief comments: “The Kocharian-Sarkisian team’s ideas are completely different. They think it is up to the state to decide everything – who should be rich and who should be poor, what should be broadcast on television and what should not, what circulation a paper should have, who should live in the city center and who should move to a suburb, who should import sugar and petrol and who should not, who should become a lawmaker and who should become a mayor, etc.”

Deputy Chairman of the ruling Republican Party MP Razmik Zohrabian tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that Levon Ter-Petrosian should have been behind the bars a long time ago: “It was him who prodded a cheated crowd into crimes and the circumstance that disturbances of public order, clashes with security forces, lootings and robberies were committed in the context of a political event plays no role. It is the task for courts to separate the political and criminal factors, which has been done successfully so far.”

“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” comments on the report of John Prescott, the head of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe’s mission in Armenia’s February 19 presidential election: “The report, of course, also addresses numerous falsifications and violations of law during the elections. For example, television had a bias in favor of [incumbent prime minister] Serzh Sarkisian, a number of senior state officials who expressed their support for Levon Ter-Petrosian were sacked and arrested, violence was committed against Ter-Petrosian proxies on Election Day, cases of vote buying were registered, etc. But imagine, with all these cases mentioned, the authors of the report make a fantastic conclusion that the election was held mostly in line with the standards of the Council of Europe.”

(Armen Dulian)
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