(Saturday, January 10)
“Human rights activists that were supposed to be neutral ended up in different political poles,” writes “Aravot.” “The presidential elections of 2008 became a litmus test of sorts not only for politicians but human rights activists.” One such campaigner, Avetik Ishkhanian, is quoted as saying that similar divisions also emerged among non-governmental organizations and media. “There are very few organizations that took neither side,” he says.
“They don’t need justice,” Samvel Nikoyan, chairman of the parliamentary commission investigating the March 1 clashes in Yerevan, says of the Armenian opposition in an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar.” “They want to keep up tension.” Nikoyan accuses the opposition of politicizing the trial of seven prominent oppositionists arrested following the unrest.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” downplays the significance of sanctions which the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) is likely to impose on Armenia at its upcoming session in Strasbourg. “The reality is that Armenia’s current problems have nothing to do with the outside world and the possible sanctions are secondary matters. The problem itself is inside Armenia. Will the society put up with the fact that the president of its country is someone who got that post through fraud, deceit and violence? Will it put up with the fact that dozens of citizens are in prison today just because they tried to fight against a crime?”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” accuses the authorities of remaining complacent about the global financial crisis’s impact on Armenia. “There is no economic recession here because the crisis has bypassed us, because we have managed to deal with its first wave, because Armenia has comparative advantages, because it has leaders like Serzh and Tigran Sarkisian,” the opposition paper notes with sarcasm. It claims that the two Sarkisians are “deliberately deepening the anticipated consequences of the crisis for the purpose of self-defense.”
“Pakagits” comments on Prime Minister Sarkisian’s pledge to target big business in the ongoing fight against tax evasion. “This means that the authorities have left no more sources of making money in this country,” it says. “That is, small and medium-sized business has already been stifled.” The paper is worried that a crackdown on “oligarchs” could trigger “serious social upheavals.”