(Saturday, August 8)
“Haykakan Zhamanak” alleges that media outlets controlled by members of President Serzh Sarkisian’s inner circle launched a Friday public relations campaign against Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian. The opposition-linked paper says the campaign was ordered by the president after the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) accused the premier as well as Barsegh Beglarian, a wealthy government-linked businessman, of trying to discredit the BHK leader, Gagik Tsarukian.
“168 Zham” quotes Beglarian as strongly denying the BHK claims. “I have a very warm and friendly relationship with Gagik Tsarukian and will never do such a thing,” he says.
“Aravot” says opposition characterizations of Armenia’s leadership such as “kleptocracy” and “criminal regime” are sounding less and less strong. “However accurate they are, people get tired of them,” writes the paper. It says this might explain why opposition politicians have stopped talking about the March 2008 violence in Yerevan lately. “There are no eternally topical issues, just as there are no eternally fresh words and slogans,” continues “Aravot.” Therefore, it says, if the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) fields a candidate for next year’s presidential election it should demonstrate “some creativity” and refrain from repeating “old slogans, arguments and calls.” “They do not strike a chord anymore,” concludes the independent daily.
“Hraparak” says the September 7 local elections across Armenia are proving to be “ruinous” in small and rural communities. “Villages are split into two hostile armies, and all permissible and impermissible methods are used [in the electoral struggle,]” writes the paper. “People become so antagonized that after one community leader gets elected the life of the other [rival] one becomes seriously complicated in a particular community, and it takes several years for that animosity to fade away a little. But sometimes even time does not help, and that animosity continues into the next elections, which give the defeated team a chance for revenge.”
In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar,” pollster Gevorg Poghosian stresses the importance of the fact that Turkey has publicly denied any involvement in the extradition of the Azerbaijani axe-murderer Ramil Safarov from Hungary to Azerbaijan. “It doesn’t even matter whether or not Turkey is lying,” he says. “It clearly doesn’t want to be considered a participant of that dirty deal. Turkey is averse to being identified with Azerbaijan and sharing the blame with its younger brother.”