According to “Zhamanak,” Armenian authorities have told the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) that Ani Gevorgian, the arrested “Haykakan Zhamanak” correspondent, attended a Monday opposition protest in Yerevan as an opposition demonstrator, rather than a journalist. “Moreover, Armenia’s authorities have also claimed that they have already freed Ani,” the paper says, citing a CPJ official in New York.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the authorities continue to ignore the latest report released by the two pro-opposition members of the former Fact Finding Group of Experts that investigated the March 2008 violence in Yerevan. Gagik Jahangirian, a senior member of the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), tells the paper that the report put them in “a very difficult situation” as it disproved their claims that the Armenian opposition plotted to usurp power after the February 2008 presidential election. “I don’t think that the Office of the Prosecutor-General and the Special Investigative Service can make the mentioned report the subject of an uninhibited or even formal discussion,” says the former deputy prosecutor-general. “They can’t refute facts with a formal inquiry.”
“Kapital” quotes Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian as saying on Tuesday that Armenia’s macroeconomic indicators of recent months are bearing out a foreign economist’s forecast that those countries which were hit particularly hard by the global financial crisis will see “drastic recovery” this year. “While we registered a 14.2 percent decline [in GDP] last year, which was mainly conditioned by external factors, we have seen a drastic economic recovery in the first five months of the year,” he said.
“Hraparak” reports that the government has decided to tax 40,000 gift kits for needy children in Armenia which have been supplied by the Armenian Evangelical Church from abroad. The paper says the Armenian customs services is demanding at least $20,000 in value-added and import taxes from the humanitarian assistance. “Either the gifts will be sent back to England, Ireland, Germany and Austria, or we must pay taxes to keep them here,” Rev. Levon Bardakchian, a church pastor, is quoted as saying.
Levon Mkrtchian, a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), assures “Hayots Ashkhar” that Russia’s rapprochement with Turkey does not pose a threat to the Russian-Armenian alliance. “The Russians must understand that our people will either prevail in Artsakh (Karabakh) and achieve an absolute success or will not have the kind of role which is required by Russia’s long-term interest in the region,” he says. “This is the key to Russian-Armenian relations, and Russia’s political elite is perfectly aware of this.”