“Zhamanak” says U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg’s visit to Armenia was “surprisingly low-key.” The paper saying nothing is known about the visit except short press releases issued by official Armenian sources. It blames the Armenian government for this. Instead of informing the domestic public about details of their talks with Western officials, Armenia’s leaders “immediately run to high-ranking Russian officials.” The pro-opposition paper points to a meeting of the Armenian and Russian presidents to be held in Saint Petersburg on Friday.
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” says that no documents on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict are likely to be signed at the March 5 meeting of the Armenian, Azerbaijani and Russian presidents. “[Russian President Dmitry] Medvedev will strongly condemn the parties’ bellicose statements, while the parties will reaffirm their readiness to continue negotiations,” predicts the paper. It says that will happen against the backdrop of a growing risk of renewed fighting around Nagorno-Karabakh. The paper also points out that Russia plans to sell 24 helicopter gunships to Azerbaijan and launch joint manufacturing of armored vehicles in Azerbaijan.
“Yerkir” says Armenia’s new human rights ombudsman nominated by the pro-government parliamentary majority, Karen Andreasian, is unlikely to be an independent figure ready to challenge the authorities. “The form and especially the place of the candidate’s choice give one no reason for optimism,” the paper says.
“Hraparak” sees political motives behind the arrest and prosecution on corruption charges of opposition deputy Zaruhi Postanjian’s brother. “First of all, [the authorities] are showing the public that Zaruhi, who fights for their rights and actively participates in all civic movements, … is not an angel, to put it mildly,” writes the paper. “Another objective achieved with this criminal case is that from now on Zaruhi Postanjian and the Zharangutyun party will have to spend a huge part of their time on defending Tigran Postanjian’s rights and saving him from prison.”