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Press Review


Commenting on the tenth anniversary of the Armenian parliament shootings, “Hraparak” notes that the key question of whether the six gunmen who burst into the National Assembly on October 27, 1999 acted alone remains unanswered to this day. “The answer to the question should have been found because only a criminal society can live under a government of murderers,” editorializes the paper. “And our society is not like that. It longs for justice and has a desire to administer justice.” It says the authorities themselves should have been interested in solving the case in order to end lingering suspicions about their involvement in the shootings.

“Kapital” says that of all Armenian statesmen only former President Levon Ter-Petrosian boasted greater popularity (at the start of his 1991-1998 presidency) than the late Prime Minister Vazgen Sarkisian and parliament speaker Karen Demirchian did before the their October 1999 assassination. The paper says the landslide victory of their Miasnutyun (Unity) alliance in the May 1999 parliamentary elections was a milestone in Armenia’s post-Soviet history, marking a successful fusion of the country’s Communist past and independent present. The election outcome was also a “victory for the people’s rule.” “A government of national solidarity was formed for the first time,” adds the paper.

“Hayots Ashkhar” sees three factors that made the bloody parliament attack possible. “The first one was the existence of a certain foreign policy background,” says the paper. “That is, the bitter clash of [external] super-forces over the newly independent and fledgling country. The second one was the internal political situation. Namely, the deliberate use of external signals for destabilizing the country’s internal political life. The third and perhaps most important one was the state’s lack of strength and preparation to confront all that.”

“Not only have my suspicions not been dispelled, but I am now more than convinced that everything was done to prevent justice,” Anahit Bakhshian, a parliament deputy and the widow of the assassinated vice-speaker Yuri Bakhshian, tells “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.” She accuses the authorities of deliberately failing to solve the killings. “And who is interested in that? The one who is guilty,” says Bakhshian. But another, pro-government lawmaker, Areg Ghukasian, believes that the jailed leader of the parliament gunmen, Nairi Hunanian, did not even know who masterminded the terrorist act.

“Zhamanak” contends that President Serzh Sarkisian’s “absolute power” satisfies both the West and Russia, pointing to their positive reaction to the conduct of Armenia’s 2008 presidential election and the parliamentary elections held in 2007. “That is understandable,” says the pro-opposition daily. “Absolute power deprives its carrier of any room for maneuver.”

(Aghasi Yenokian)
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