“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” reports on Russian mediator Yuri Merzlyakov’s statement that Armenia and Azerbaijan disagree only on four of the 15 basic principles of a Nagorno-Karabakh settlement that have been proposed by the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. “It’s a pity that he didn’t specify those four principles,” comments the paper. “But to be honest, we don’t care about those points of disagreement. We care more about the agreed points.”
“Taregir” comes up with a theory about President Serzh Sarkisian’s stated support for the establishment of a Turkish-Armenian commission of historians which he voiced during a visit to Moscow last week. “As is known, Moscow has always been jealous about the normalization of relations between Yerevan and Ankara,” says the paper. “The Kremlin has always managed to torpedo all initiatives aimed reopening the Turkish-Armenian border, fearing a loss of its influence in Armenia. However, there have been suggestions lately that Russian capital, which is increasingly establishing itself in Armenia, is keen to use our country as a launch pad for occupying the vast Turkish market. That is, Moscow is not quite against an open border, but only under its control. So maybe Serzh Sarkisian’s proposal should be viewed in this context.”
According to “Aravot,” the numerous armed bodyguards of rich Armenians are supposed to not only protect their bosses. “Those are illegal militias that are used in both inter-clan warfare … and for purely political purposes: to attack opposition politicians and journalists, to disrupt opposition rallies and the like,” says the paper. “It is obvious that those militias are made up of real thugs that are capable of everything … If the authority really wants to change something [in Armenia] it must put an end to this lawlessness as quickly as possible. The investigation into the March 1 case is a very good opportunity for doing that.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” scoffs at opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian’s statement that he is ready to negotiate with the authorities if all of his supporters are released from jail. “There is no individual in Armenia prosecuted for expressing their political views,” insists the pro-government paper. “Therefore, if Levon Ter-Petrosian sets a precondition which can not be met for the simple reason that there are no political prisoners in our country, one can only conclude that in fact Levon Ter-Petrosian has not desire to engage in a dialogue with he authorities and an intention to resolve the crisis.”
“Hraparak” looks at an upcoming parliamentary by-election in a constituency in southern Armenia which will be contested by Hovik Abrahamian, the chief of President Serzh Sarkisian’s staff and former deputy prime minister. The paper says the electoral district covering the town of Artashat is notorious for violent attacks on opposition presidential candidates, including Ter-Petrosian. It says Abrahamian is widely believed to have orchestrated those attacks.