(Saturday, August 28)
“Aravot” says the issue of more than a dozen “political prisoners” remaining in Armenian has been relegated to the background in the domestic political discourse of late. The paper says it may be revived after the European Liberal Democratic Party has urged the Armenian authorities to immediately free all of them. It sees “an element of hypocrisy” in such appeals. “It is evident that the events of March 1  and the existence of political prisoners are the consequence of the 2008 presidential election,” editorializes the independent daily. “How did the Council of Europe react to that election? In effect, they glorified the election, giving the authorities the carte blanche for all further violence and repressions.”
“Hraparak” reports that Gyumri’s flamboyant Mayor Vartan Ghukasian is about to publish his second theological book. “Vartan Ghukasian has launched a program of healing the nation and the Apostolic Church and decided to fight against religious sects with his spiritual writings,” the paper explains with sarcasm. “Who Mr. Ghukasian thinks are sects is a different question.” The mayor is quoted as saying that his upcoming book will be based on quotes from medieval Armenian clerical scholars. “I am sorry for your ignorance, for your not knowing much about that,” he tells the paper.
“Zhamanak” says the debate over the new Russian-Armenian defense agreement should not have centered on whether or not it is good for Armenia but rather on “why after 20 years of independence, instead of becoming more self-sufficient in ensuring our security, Armenia has become extremely vulnerable” and dependent on Russian protection. “This Armenia can not be independent, self-confident,” the pro-opposition daily claims in an editorial. “The future of this Armenia is to get more and more buried under Russian sovereignty. Only a different, new Armenia can emerge from that depth: a reformed Armenia.”
Heghine Bisharian, a leader of the pro-government Orinats Yerkir Party, assures “Hayots Ashkhar” that even if Azerbaijan gets hold of Russian S-300 air-defense systems, it will not gain the upper hand over Armenia “for the simple reason that those are defensive weapons.”