“Hayots Ashkhar” contends that the Council of Europe is a “third party” to the continuing political confrontation in Armenia. The pro-government paper says the organization ended its “balanced” approach to the matter following its human rights commissioner Thomas Hammarberg’s November visit to Yerevan and now openly supports the Armenian opposition. It says the December decision by the PACE’s Monitoring Committee to recommend sanctions against Armenia came as a “serious surprise” for the authorities in Yerevan.
“Judging from everything, the Armenian authorities have already come to terms with the fact that the PACE will impose sanctions on Armenia at its January session,” writes “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.” “Not only have they come to terms but are already trying to demonstrate what a hostile structure that Council of Europe is, the ugly double standards it is guided by, and how those nasty Europeans are trying to impose their will on our freedom-loving spirit and so on.”
According to another opposition daily, “Haykakan Zhamanak,” by keeping dozens of oppositionists in prison the authorities want to prove that they can do anything to cling to power. The paper says this message is primarily addressed to officials from the Council of Europe and other Western structures concerned about the political situation in Armenia.
Samvel Nikoyan, who heads the parliamentary inquiry into the March 2008 violence in Yerevan, defends the work of his ad hoc commission in an interview with “Azg.” He disagrees with suggestions that contradictory statements made by senior police officers raised more questions about what really happened on that day. Nikoyan believes that “everyone” is responsible for the bloodshed and must admit and rectify their mistakes. In particular, he says, the government must address serious problems that drove many Armenians to the streets in the first place. “The authority must be gracious, conciliatory but it has no right to lose,” he says. “This applies to the former, current and future authorities.” The pro-government parliamentarian also says that the opposition actions in the wake of the February 2008 presidential election were unconstitutional.
Lragir.am says that never before have various Armenian government officials and pro-government politicians made so many contradictory statements. “That means that the logic of government has changed in Armenia,” it says. “Or that the authority has lost the old things and can’t find new ones yet and is still searching for them. That is probably why Serzh Sarkisian is effectively saying nothing [about the Council of Europe threats] and is only watching to see what government subordinates say.”