(Saturday, August 17)
Levon Zurabian, the deputy chairman of the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), tells “Aravot” that it is President Serzh Sarkisian, rather than Armenian courts, that will decide whether Tigran Arakelian, an HAK activist jailed two years ago must be set free. “It is absolutely impossible to tell from judicial proceedings what he has decided,” says Zurabian. All the HAK can do in this situation is to exert constant pressure on the Sarkisian administration, he says. Zurabian adds that he will also raise the matter with the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly when President Serzh Sarkisian addresses the Strasbourg-based body in September.
“Hraparak” quotes unnamed small business owners as complaining that their revenues have declined in the past year. “They also propose their recipes of salvation,” writes the paper. “One of them says that drastic personnel changes need to be made: until the prime minister is changed nothing will improve in the country. “Another one says that a salvation committee should be set up to confiscate huge sums from oligarchs and distribute them to those living below the poverty line … What surprises and angers people the most is the inactivity displayed by the authorities.”
Lragir.am speculates that Switzerland may have come up with a new initiative to ease Turkish-Armenian tensions ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire. The online publication bases this speculation on an official statement saying that President Sarkisian discussed last week “regional issues” with Switzerland’s newly appointed ambassador to Armenia and the fact that Berne played a key role in the 2008-2009 Turkish-Armenian rapprochement. “So it is possible that new proposals are made to Yerevan in connection with that,” it speculates.