“Azg” regards “destructiveness” as the most important feature of Armenia’s political life. The paper wonders in this regard why the authorities are continuing to keep dozens of opposition members behind bars, giving their opponents a strong argument in their struggle for regime change. It also accuses the opposition of “disrespecting” courts to precipitate Council of Europe sanctions against Armenia.
In an interview with “Aravot,” the parliamentary leader of the governing Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), Galust Sahakian, warns that the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) will be guided by double standards if it imposes such sanctions. Sahakian says that release of all arrested oppositionists alone would not solve Armenia’s political problems. “I believe that if the situation is such that people are guilty, they must be punished,” he adds. “If they are not guilty, they must be set free. And that should be decided by judicial bodies.”
Lragir.am says parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamian’s letter to his counterparts from other Council of Europe member states is a measure of the Armenian authorities’ fear of losing the PACE voting rights. The online journal considers the letter a humiliating gesture on the part of Abrahamian. It says the fact that he agreed to endure such a humiliation shows just how worried the authorities are.
“Hayots Ashkhar” reports on Azerbaijani media allegations that Russia gave Armenia $800 million worth of new weaponry in 2008. While casting doubt on the credibility of the reports, the paper says they may have a sobering impact on an Azerbaijani public accustomed to government promises of winning back Nagorno-Karabakh.
“168 Zham” carries an interview with Kurt Volker, the U.S. ambassador to NATO. Volker says the United States was “disappointed” with a statement by Armenia and other former Soviet republics aligned to the Collective Security Treaty Organization that blamed Georgia for its August war with Russia. But he notes that Armenia expressed its intention to deepen cooperation with NATO after the war.