(Saturday, April 17)
“Zhamanak” comments on President Serzh Sarkisian’s decision to visit Moscow shortly after his trip to Washington. “What we have is Serzh Sarkisian going on vacation from Washington and returning to Moscow from vacation,” writes the paper. “This first of all shows that in fact Sarkisian’s vacation is rather businesslike.” It says Sarkisian and Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev could have easily met on the sidelines of the nuclear security summit in Washington. “The fact that they did not do that and are now going to meet in Moscow on April 20 gives on reason to presume that the need for the meeting arose after Serzh Sarkisian’s visit to the USA,” it says, speculating that Moscow may not have liked the Armenian president’s praise of the United States and now wants to “verify his loyalty.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” claims disapprovingly that Armenian oppositionists make no secret of their admiration for the organizers of the bloody anti-government uprising in Kyrgyzstan. The pro-government paper says they are now wondering why, unlike their Kyrgyz counterparts, they failed to “turn the country upside down in one day.” It rejects parallels drawn between Armenia’s leadership and Kyrgyzstan’s deposed regime.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the Armenian Ministry of Education has banned the screening of a documentary on the 2008 post-election events in Armenia which was due to take place at a state-funded cultural-educational institution in Yerevan on Friday. The paper says a ministry official told the film director, Tigran Paskevichian, that under Armenian law, such institutions can not be used for political activities or statements. Paskevichian called the ban illegal, saying that it contradicts a constitutional provision that guarantees Armenians’ freedom to receive and spread information.
“Hraparak” carries a scathing commentary on official ceremonies marking Armenia’s Police Day. The paper says the chief of the Armenian police, Alik Sargsian, used them to try to improve his agency’s reputation. It says public trust in the police will grow only if law-enforcement officials respect citizens’ rights and stop mistreating them in custody. “How can you respect a system where a witness of a crime can be summoned and beaten up so much that he throws himself out of the window?” asks the paper. “And why should people respect a policeman who does not protect them and their property or prevent attacks on them and instead protects the position and wealthy of the powers that be?”