“Hraparak” reports that Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian met on Monday with the editors of leading Armenian media outlets to discuss the latest deadly incidents in Armenia’s Armed Forces. Without going into details, the paper says Ohanian sought to minimize his and the army command’s responsibility for the deaths of two officers and five soldiers. “One must not pose as an innocent angel and say, ‘What can I do? The country, its schools and education systems are like that, the society, the families are to blame for not having brought up the boys properly.’”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” finds “shameful” the fact that the father of Andranik Sargsian, one of the dead soldiers, learned news of his son’s death from a neighbor who accidentally bumped into police and military officials the previous night. “In effect, the state that drafted a soldier from the Sargsian family lacked three officers who would dress up and knock on the family’s door early in the morning and hand it, say, an official note signed by the defense minister containing information known or permitted at that point,” editorializes the paper.
Levon Zurabian, a leading member of the Armenian National Congress (HAK), tells “Zhamanak” that the opposition alliance has not yet decided just how frequently it will be holding rallies in Yerevan this fall. Zurabian rules out the possibility of “permanent” street protests. “We once did that in February [2008,]” he says. “The authorities did manage to suppress those protests by shooting at their own people, after which the people’s spirit was not broken and we reorganized the movement. But we have no right to resort to permanent rallies for a second time and fail to win. That would be unimaginable thing.”
Speaking to “Aravot,” Hovannes Hovannisian, whose Liberal Party is affiliated with the HAK, expresses concern about reported government plans for the extension and upgrading of Russian military presence in Armenia. “With the Caucasus undergoing obvious dynamic changes and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict unresolved, it is not worth linking our security with one country so rigidly,” he says. Hovannisian argues that a possible resolution of the Karabakh dispute could create a “totally different situation” in the region. He claims that Armenia’s current leadership does not care about this and is only eager to cling to power with Moscow’s help.