“Hayots Ashkhar” and “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” carry National Security Service chief Gorik Hakobian’s interview with the Armenpress news agency in which he comments on the revelation that the former KGB secured on February 19 a court’s permission to place opposition leader Aleksandr Arzumanian under a 24-hour surveillance. Hakobian defends this and other “operative measures” taken by the NSS during and after the presidential election, saying that they exposed “illegal actions” planned by opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian. The decision to “control” Ter-Petrosian’s movement from February 19 was therefore justified, he says.
“Gorik Hakobian’s explanations are ridiculous,” counters “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.” “If the National Security Service decided to prevent the opposition’s ‘illegal’ actions already on February 19, it means that by the early afternoon of February 19 the service already knew what [election] results will be released by the Central Election Commission.”
“Gorik Hakobian made the most extraordinary of self-confessions when he said that his service decided to control the popular movement on February 19,” agrees “Haykakan Zhamanak.” The opposition paper argues that Armenian laws do not empower the NSS to monitor the activities of political parties.
Ruben Hakobian, a former leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), tells “Aravot” that the Armenian government lacks the popular mandate and legitimacy to take “radical” foreign policy decisions which he believes are needed in the existing geopolitical situation. He says the only way to gain such legitimacy is to hold free presidential and parliamentary elections.
“Hraparak” says Dashnaktsutyun leaders are exploiting Turkish President Abdullah Gul’s visit to Yerevan to reassert their party’s “patriotic” credentials tarnished by its close ties with the government. The paper says they also want to demonstrate their independence to President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK). “Now is the time to do that,” it says.
The Dashnaktsutyun weekly “Yerkir” deplores what it see as a government “euphoria” over Gul’s visit. “Many think that our country will wake up more secure, prosperous and stable the morning after the Turkish president’s visit,” says the paper. “Only one force, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, seems to be interfering with their euphoria.” It faults the Armenian media for criticizing Dashnaktsutyun’s planned anti-Turkish protests.
“It is noteworthy that Gul is arriving in Armenia at the invitation of Serzh Sarkisian and that Dashnaktsutyun, a member of Armenia’s governing coalition, is preparing to stage protests against Gul’s visit,” writes “Hayk.” “So it means Dashnaktsutyun has differences with the other government wing. And the issue on which those differences have emerged is crucial to Dashnaktsutyun. But despite that, they remain in the governing coalition.”