“Haykakan Zhamanak” pounces on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s remark that Serzh Sarkisian won a “convincing” reelection with more than 60 percent of the vote (Sarkisian got 58.6 percent, according to the Central Election Commission). “This looks likes mockery, rather than a greeting because Serzh Sarkisian did not get 60 percent of the vote,” claims the pro-opposition paper. “Putin is certainly aware of this as well as post-election events taking place in Armenia. Yet he not only he does not speak about them but also plays up Sarkisian’s vote.” The paper also points out that official statements on Putin’s meeting with Sarkisian on Tuesday did not mention the possibility of Armenia’s accession to the customs and Eurasian unions promoted by Moscow. “Presumably the Russian side simply gave Serzh Sarkisian time in this direction,” it says.
“Zhoghovurd” is “bewildered” by the inflated percentage figure that was cited by Putin amid continuing post-election protests in Armenia. “Furthermore, opposition presidential candidate Raffi Hovannisian, who got half a million votes, is holding a hunger strike in central Yerevan for a third day,” writes the paper. “Let us admit that such emphases [by Putin] do not sound quite nice, especially given that the Russian Federation is considered Armenia’s strategic partner. After all, Russia is a strategic ally of Armenia, rather than Serzh Sarkisian.”
Interviewed by “Hayots Ashkhar,” Eduard Sharmazanov, a deputy parliament speaker and spokesman for the ruling Republican Party of Armenia, criticizes Hovannisian for rejecting Sarkisian’s invitation to another meeting at the presidential palace and telling the president to visit him instead in Liberty Square. “Raffi Hovannisian is a [former] diplomat and must know well that you can’t discuss any issue in the street … A dialogue does not presuppose a public discussion.” Sharmazanov also argues that “the substance and content” of a possible Sarkisian-Hovannisian meeting is far more important than its venue. “If we deduct emotions from Raffi Hovannisian’s post-election speeches we will see that there is no agenda there. There is neither a program nor content,” he says.
“We need decisive and qualitative changes,” writes “Hraparak.” “If the authorities do not have that realization and consciousness they must go.” The paper says that maintaining the status quo could have “catastrophic” consequences for Armenia.