(Saturday, August 30)
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports on Friday’s testimony given in parliament by Shota Vartanian, the chief medic at a Yerevan morgue where the bodies of ten persons killed in March 1 clashes were first taken. Vartanian explained in particular that he did not allow opposition parliamentarians to enter the morgue in the following days. He said bodies of 20 other dead persons were also taken there at that time and he feared that the lawmakers could conclude that those people too were killed in the unrest.
“Hayots Ashkhar” points to Vartanian’s claim that three of the eight civilian victims may have died as a result of contact with metal objects. The pro-government papers says those objects were used by demonstrators against the police during the March 1 dispersal of their tent camp in Yerevan’s Liberty Square. It also quotes Vartanian as saying that the protesters that gathered outside the Yerevan municipality later on March 1 did use guns and hand grenades.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” comments on the claims by Samvel Nikoyan, chairman of the parliament commission investigating the March 1 unrest, that the Armenian police have failed to cooperate with the inquiry. “The regime is interacting with the parliament commission with overt impudence and hiding facts by all means,” says the opposition paper. “And facts are usually hidden by those who realize that they will end up behind bars after those facts are made public.”
“Hraparak” looks at the implications of the Armenian opposition’s decision to postpone its September 5 rally in Yerevan because of the Armenia-Turkey football game. “On the one hand, this means the [Armenian National] Congress effectively supports the authorities and Serzh Sarkisian in particular in settling Turkish-Armenian relations,” says the paper. “On the other hand, it distances itself from Dashnaktsutyun and expresses its position on protests to be held by the latter.” The paper says the opposition move can also be viewed as an offer of dialogue with the authorities.
“Golos Armenii” ridicules opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian for declaring that Russia’s military intervention in Georgia saved the people of South Ossetia from “genocide.” “It looks as though Levon is really in trouble,” says the paper. “Just yesterday he was bragging about an impending color revolution devised by the [U.S.] State Department but now he is a pro-Russian politician who had ensured Russian military presence in Armenia in the past.” It says the hopes which Ter-Petrosian pinned on the West have been “shattered” and so he is now banking on Russia.
“Hraparak” speculates that the main purpose of President Serzh Sarkisian’s September 2 meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is to discuss the latest Turkish-Armenian diplomatic initiatives. The paper says the Russians must be worried about the prospect of Armenia becoming friends with a key U.S. ally.