Armenian newspapers report and comment on the uproar caused in Armenia by Russian law-enforcement authorities’ treatment of an Armenian man who caused a deadly car accident near Moscow.
“Zhamanak” says that the outcry is not aimed at declaring the truck driver Hrachya Harutyunyan innocent. “It’s about the sense of dignity,” writes the paper. “It must be emphasized that there is no anti-Russian sentiment in Armenia in connection with the incident. There are only protests against anti-Armenian manifestations in Russia.”
“Such a humiliating treatment of an Armenian citizen is a slap in the face of Armenia, Armenia’s government and our national dignity,” writes “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “They would not have done the same to the citizen of a more or less influential state. They could do this only to a representative of a [Russian] outpost, a citizen of a country whose government does not value its people.”
“Aravot” says Harutiunian was “injected with some drugs” before being taken to a Russian court and paraded before TV cameras. “Could he have behaved adequately in the court in such a condition?” the paper asks in an editorial. It calls on the Armenian Embassy in Russia and the Russian-Armenian community to “actively intervene” in the case.
“Zhoghovurd” says Harutiunian’s ordeal is exposing “the grim picture that exists today in Russian-Armenian relations.” The paper condemns Russian television for using the case to spread “anti-Armenian chauvinist propaganda” and criticizes the Armenian government for not reacting to that. It says Armenian diplomats in Moscow met Russian law-enforcement officials investigating the car crash only after the media outcry in Yerevan.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” notes that President Serzh Sarkisian avoided even “mild criticism” of Armenia’s State Revenue Committee (SRC) when he met with top SRC officials on Tuesday. The paper says Armenian businesspeople dealing with corruption among tax officials on a daily basis will hardly take comfort from that. “They will conclude that [the controversial SRC chief] Gagik Khachatrian is irreplaceable for Serzh Sarkisian,” it says. “They will conclude that oligarchs will continue to be encouraged in Armenia.”