(Saturday, August 18)
“Aravot” carries an editorial on the controversial prison sentences handed to members of the Russian rock band Pussy Riot. While denouncing their politically motivated performance at a key Russian Orthodox cathedral in Moscow, the paper considers the punishment disproportionately harsh. “The Pussy Riot girls seem to have repented their act and apologized for it,” it says. “The political and legal parts [of the affair] come after that and here the Russian authorities and the judiciary in the first instance are quite vulnerable.” The paper suggests that the three young women would hardly have ended up in jail if their song had not been about Russian President Vladimir Putin. It claims that the main purpose of their imprisonment is to “intimidate the public and silence any disaffected and critical voice.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” comments on the live performance by French-Armenian singer Charles Aznavour at a government-organized concert in the Georgian town of Akhaltsikhe, which was criticized by some Armenian groups in Georgia’s Javakheti region. “Logic suggests that this big event in the neighboring country should have been the main theme of our [government] propaganda outlets,” writes the pro-opposition daily. “After all, at the center of that big event in Georgia was not President Mikheil Saakashvili but our compatriot Aznavour. There will probably be no better occasion for our self-advertisement and self-glorification and for presenting Javakheti as an entity with the Armenian past and present … But our propaganda outlets were almost indifferent or presented that event with a negative subtext.”
“Whatever we say or do, we must admit and regretfully conclude that we, as a state, are unable to ensure the human, physical and material security of those people [Syrian Armenians,]” writes “Zhamanak.” “The reasons for this are not only subjective but also objective. And this deadlock is both annoying and disappointing.” The paper claims that not many people in Armenia have followed the media coverage of the plight of Syria’s Armenian community.