“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports on the release from pre-trial detention of Ashot Avetisian, an obscure man who is close to businessman Gagik Tsarukian and was linked with violent attacks on opposition activists in the past. The pro-opposition paper speculates that Avetisian may have promised to “work” for President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK) in the upcoming elections or that Tsarukian gave Sarkisian “guarantees of loyalty.” It says it is also possible that Sarkisian thus expressed his displeasure with police chief Vladimir Gasparian who was reportedly behind Avetisian’s recent arrest.
“Zhamanak” similarly speculates that Avetisian’s release may herald a “truce” between Sarkisian and Tsarukian. The only question, according to the paper, is whether Tsarukian made concessions to the president or vice versa. It notes that Avetisian walked free the day after deputies from Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) boycotted a parliament session. “Despite all these developments, it would still be wrong to consider the Tsarukian-Sarkisian confrontation over,” it says.
“Yerkir” joins opposition deputies in condemning HHK lawmakers for voting in place of their absent colleagues on the parliament floor. The paper says such actions make mockery of government assurances that no votes will be stolen during the May elections.
“For this kind of parliamentarians, is stretching their hand a little and pressing their colleague’s button such a big deal?” “Hraparak” asks with sarcasm. “There is one good thing about all this. The journalists’ eyes can now see and report everything and the Internet makes up for the unfree TV stations.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” complains that as the parliamentary elections approach everything in Armenia is being viewed through their prism. “It is being forgotten that serious processes are unfolding today also in the region surrounding Armenia,” writes the paper. “Therefore, neither our country nor its partners can sit idly by and wait until the end of the elections.” It points to this week’s visits to Armenia by several high-ranking Russian officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov and Nikolay Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s presidential Security Council. The visits suggest that Russia is “worried about threats to Armenia emanating from a possible regional war,” according to “Hayots Ashkhar.”