(Saturday, January 17)
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that the handover to Armenian law-enforcement authorities of a Russian soldier charged in the Gyumri family massacre is not only a “matter of principle” but also a guarantee that the case will be solved in full. “As long as Valery Permyakov remains in the Russian military base we will not know the real circumstances of his arrest,” writes the paper. “We need to know the motives behind the slaughter of a whole family,” it says. “So Armenia’s best lawyers should come together and draw up legal grounds for demanding Permyakov’s handover to Armenian law-enforcers.”
“Zhamanak” says that for the Kremlin the key thing in this affair is not justice but the impact on its “imperial strategy.” “And if they make the slightest concession in the context of this strategy that could testify to the weakness of the empire. For the Russian Federation, Armenia is merely a territory, an outpost. This was already made clear in the mid-2000s and acquiesced by Armenia’s political establishment and public.”
“Aravot” says that some Russian nationalist media outlets are already circulating a theory that the Gyumri tragedy was orchestrated by U.S. intelligence. “In theory, anything is possible,” editorializes the paper. “But if such claims are true then that is an extremely negative description of practices within the [Russian military] base No. 102. It would mean that foreign spies can infiltrate the base and drive soldiers into terrible crimes.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” comments mockingly on President Serzh Sarkisian’s quick response to an invitation sent by his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The pro-opposition daily says that that a statement to that effect issued by Sarkisian contains two positive facts. “First, Serzh Sarkisian exists after all,” it says. “After the Gyumri killings we thought that Armenia has no president and that Serzh Sarkisian is some mythical character. Secondly, something which Armenia’s population has awaited for about seven years has finally happened. Serzh Sarkisian has at last turned down an invitation. This is an unprecedented event.”
On a more serious note, “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” goes on to contend that Erdogan’s invitation to attend a Turkish remembrance ceremony scheduled for April 24 was offensive to the Armenians and that Sarkisian should have therefore not rushed to reply to it. Especially with such a long letter.