“Until yesterday Armenia effectively maintained a neutral stance on the Russian-Georgian conflict, which was the most justified approach in that situation,” writes “168 Zham.” “But that neutrality came to an end last night.” The paper points to President Serzh Sarkisian’s phone conversation with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during which he expressed his sympathy for South Ossetian civilians and Russian peace-keepers killed in the fighting. It says he has offered no such condolences to his Georgian counterpart, Mikheil Saakashvili.
“This means that Armenia does not have a neutral position on the Georgian-Russian conflict and is clearly supporting the Russian side,” agrees “Haykakan Zhamanak.”
“Hraparak” praises Georgian actor and singer Vakhtang Kikabidze for returning a Russian state award and canceling his concerts in Russia in protest against the Moscow’s military offensive in his country. “A real intellectual must be capable of depriving himself of perks and a nice life and taking drastic and, at times, controversial steps to shock the authority and the public,” says the paper. “How many of us realize that the path to freedom and justice runs through such sacrifices?”
“Aravot” predicts more attacks on Armenian journalists critical of the government. “Criminalized government elements will continue the same work style,” editorializes the paper, saying that nobody has ever been punished for beating journalists in Armenia. It claims that those who commit such crimes and who are supposed to solve them are “managed from the same team” and are “linked to each other by numerous threads.”
“Hraparak” reports that former Transport Minister Eduard Madatian returned to Armenia from Russia on Wednesday four years after fleeing the country to avoid prosecution on charges of plotting to assassinate Robert Kocharian, Serzh Sarkisian and other top officials. “I have come to reveal the truth,” he is quoted as saying. “I asked to be allowed to return. I was treated unlawfully and had my human rights violated. I have been removed from the wanted list.” Madatian claims that he was pursued by the authorities for political reasons.
According to “Haykakan Zhamanak,” Madatian came back to attend his son’s wedding. The latter will be marrying to a daughter of Mher Sedrakian, the controversial mayor of Yerevan’s Erebuni district. The paper says Sedrakian had assured the fugitive Madatian that “nobody will touch you here.”