“Haykakan Zhamanak” and “Aravot” report that police clashed with a group of drunken youths, among them sons of senior state officials, in downtown Yerevan on Saturday. According to “Haykakan Zhamanak,” the police “dared” to detain some of the young men only after they were pelted with bottles. “But they were released shortly afterwards,” says the paper. “Let us remind you that these were the same ‘tough’ red berets who attacked and tore up posters of political prisoners placed on Northern Avenue a few days ago,” it says.
“168 Zham” considers unprecedented the fact that President Serzh Sarkisian’s decision to invite Turkey’s Abdullah Gul is praised by the opposition but criticized by the pro-government Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun). “There have been few such cases in history,” says the paper.
“Hayk” hopes that Sarkisian will display the “courage” to demand that Russia also recognize the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic’s independence when he meets Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday.
Commenting on the 17th anniversary of the declaration of the NKR’s independence, “Golos Armenii” says the unrecognized republic will never agree to return under Azerbaijani rule. The paper says Azerbaijan and Karabakh can have only “horizontal relations.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” is worried that Armenia could soon face additional difficulties in its transport communication with the rest of the world as a result of negative international reaction to Russia’s decision to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The paper says that is fraught with “unpredictable developments” in the region.
David Hovannisian tells “168 Zham” that Armenia has been “gradually losing its sovereignty” since the October 1999 killings in its parliament. “It’s been almost ten years [since the shootings] and we have had fairly serious losses in terms of our freedom and sovereignty,” he says.
“Aravot” says Armenia’s education system has grown “fundamentally distorted,” with children going to school “not to gain knowledge but to obtain a graduation diploma with which they can be admitted into university.” “After getting admitted young people take a sigh of relief and say, ‘We can now rest for a few years,’” says the paper. “In the case of young men, that also means avoiding military service.”
“Aravot” also carries a report about the trial of former Deputy Prosecutor-General Gagik Jahangirian that got underway on Monday. The paper says the presiding judge, Zhora Vartanian, implicitly threatened a photo journalist covering the trial with violence.