(Saturday, January 31)
“Aravot” editorializes that the Armenian authorities themselves cause “extremist manifestations” by stifling dissent and rigging elections. The resulting public discontent, it says, gradually degenerates into “extreme hatred.” “Then there comes a moment when that hatred erupts so powerfully that even cohorts of special police or bodyguards of oligarchs … can’t stop it,” writes the paper.
Hamlet Harutiunian, a parliament deputy from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) had no reason to punish Yerevan. By declining to impose sanctions, he says, the PACE enabled Armenia to stay “the course of democratization and reforms.” Harutiunian also believes that “different countries have a different understanding of democracy.” Anarchy is also a form of democracy, he concludes.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” claims that President Serzh Sarkisian offered Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian to become head of Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) during a late December conversation. The current NSS chief, Gorik Hakobian, has for months been rumored to lose his job soon. The opposition paper says Hovsepian turned down the president’s offer because he does not want to lose his “de facto status of the number two figure” in the country’s leadership.
“Azg” reports that Sarkisian’s meeting in Davos, Switzerland with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was overshadowed by the latter’s bitter argument with Israeli President Shimon Peres. The paper says this is the reason why Erdogan’s talks with Sarkisian lasted for only about 30 minutes.
“168 Zham” says that Russia would provide anti-crisis financial assistance to Armenia only for political reasons because it itself has been hit hard by the world crisis and expects a sharp decrease in state revenues this year. The paper says that unlike their Armenian counterparts, the Russian authorities do not express “empty optimism” about the downturn’s impact on the domestic economy. It claims that Armenians are already fed up with Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian’s upbeat statements.
Interviewed by “Kapital,” the head of the Justice Ministry’s Service for the Mandatory Execution of Judicial Acts (SMEJA), Mihran Poghosian, denies any political reasons for the agency’s punitive actions against a company belonging to opposition businessman Khachatur Sukiasian. Poghosian says the case has had a public resonance just because Sukiasian and his supporters have politicized it.