“Golos Armenii” challenges the opposition Nor Zhamanakner (New Times) party to explain why it held a congress behind the closed doors on Tuesday. “What is it hiding?” asks the paper. “Whom truly influential Russian and other circles support in Armenia is well known.” It reports that Nor Zhamanakner decided to participate in the work of the Armenian parliamentary commission investigating the March 1 clashes in Yerevan.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” publishes a letter from Gyumri’s controversial mayor, Vartan Ghukasian, in which he complains about the paper’s highly critical coverage of his activities. Ghukasian claims that the paper has been paid to attack him. “I am a good man,” he says, urging the paper’s fugitive editor, Nikol Pashinian, to meet him and “see that patriotism and cleanness comes from me.”
Lragir.am discusses the passage of a controversial bill allowing the Armenian government to hold non-binding referendums on various issues, including the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The online journal says many believe that the Armenian authorities are thereby “trying to place responsibility for the resolution of the Karabakh conflict on the public.” “This is a weird argument, to say the least,” it writes. “The thing is that it is the public, rather than a particular authority, that must really be responsible for the Karabakh settlement. The public has to support the authority on one or another settlement, regardless of who is in power … After all, if the opposition thinks that it has a lot of public support and its approaches to the Karabakh issue enjoy the public’s trust, it should presumably be interested in a referendum.”
“We must not underestimate the diplomatic capacities of the Armenian side and the pro-active policy of our president and political coalition,” Eduard Sharmazanov, a spokesman for the ruling Republican Party (HHK) tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” “We don’t take accidental steps. Every time we take a step we think about its consequences. We have a clear ideology, a clear strategy and move forward accordingly.” Sharmazanov insists that Armenia is not desperate to have an open border with Turkey. “This is a mutually beneficial matter,” he says.
“Hayk” reports that President Serzh Sarkisian inaugurated on Wednesday a monument in Yerevan dedicated to the Armenian victims of the Communist-era repressions. The opposition paper draws parallels between those repressions and the continuing imprisonment of more than 70 opposition supporters. “It is pathetic that the memorial was unveiled by someone who is personally responsible for the existence of political prisoners in Armenia and is now taking no steps to free them,” it says.