“Armenia has been saved from the danger of Serzh Sarkisian becoming a legitimate president,” writes “Zhamanak Yerevan.” “Had Levon Ter-Petrosian’s candidacy not been nominated, there would have been a second round of the [presidential] elections involving Serzh Sarkisian and Artur Baghdasarian. The latter would have won about 40 percent of the vote in the first round and congratulated Serzh Sarkisian with dignity after the second round. Thus, Serzh Sarkisian would have not only received an unprecedented degree of legitimacy and a blank check to implement any criminal program but would have utterly destroyed the opposition, leaving only constructive ‘clients’ in the field.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” carries what it calls a report on the Armenian presidential race released by a Moscow think-tank. “According to that report, Ter-Petrosian and his team received huge funding for the electoral race from abroad,” says the paper. “The funding was carried out by Azerbaijan and Turkey by means of Western funds. Specialists of the Center for Strategic Studies are certain that Ter-Petrosian’s return to the political arena was not unprepared. There are grounds to presume that various foreign structures played a special role in the preparatory stage of that return.” In particular, claims the pro-government paper, pro-Ter-Petrosian youth leaders received scholarships to learn “political techniques” in Western universities.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” dismisses government loyalists’ claims that Ter-Petrosian has split Armenian society into two mutually antagonistic sections. The opposition paper says Serzh Sarkisian and his allies enjoy no public support at all. “There is no public there,” it says. “There is only a regime, ministers, deputy ministers, governors, the police and army elite, oligarchs and those who provide various services to these structures: intellectuals, journalists, clergymen, singers, bodyguards and so on. There are at most 10,000-15,000 such people … Can one describe as a societal split a situation where 99.5 percent of the public is on one side and 0.5 percent on the other?”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the main objective of the criminal investigation into the March 1 clashes in Yerevan must be to find those who shot at opposition protesters. “The public must know who did that,” says the paper. “A police officer or an oligarch’s bodyguard? What kind of an automatic rifle did he use? Where? In whose name is that weapon registered?” It says foreign forensic experts are especially needed for determining the exact causes of injuries sustained by both security forces and protesters. “Now chances for such an expertise have either diminished or been eliminated altogether.”