(Saturday, August 8)
The latest victory of Armenia’s national soccer team in the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, which sparked jubilant scenes in Yerevan, makes front-page headlines in the Armenian press.
“Football is such a wonderful game,” editorializes “Hraparak.” “It unites those who wouldn’t come together on any other occasion; it inspires those who are not capable of becoming inspired; it infects those who are not interested in football and other sports. And when television screens showed Serzh Sarkisian ecstatically celebrating and not hiding his euphoria, it became evident that this game [against Macedonia] has given rise to a nationwide jubilation. Even the always grim president was not unaffected by it.”
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” reports on a Friday police statement warning that the opposition sit-in in Yerevan’s Liberty Square is illegal and could be dispersed. The opposition paper dismisses a police claim that the nonstop protests violate Armenians’ right to spend time in the square. It says that the police themselves have violated many other Armenians’ rights by severely restricting their ability to travel to the capital since the start of the protests.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the Armenian Foreign Ministry and the ruling Republican Party (HHK) have refused to comment on French-Armenian singer Charles Aznavour’s reported statements harshly criticizing the state of affairs in Armenia. The opposition paper notes that Aznavour, who is also Armenia’s ambassador to Switzerland, is apparently not risking any punishment, unlike several other senior Armenian diplomats who criticized the government after the 2008 presidential election and were fired as a result. It says this only proves that their ouster, ordered by former President Robert Kocharian, was illegal.
“Hayots Ashkhar” looks at possible motives behind “anti-Turkish” statements made by French President Nicolas Sarkozy during his state visit to Armenia. The paper disagrees with those who think that by calling on Turkey to recognize the Armenian genocide Sarkozy sought to woo French voters of Armenian descent ahead of next year’s presidential election.