(Saturday, July 19)
In an interview with “168 Zham” Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian explains the more frequent ceasefire violations and attempted raids by Azerbaijani subversive groups by Baku’s desire to get favorable positions in the Karabakh settlement process in conditions of the tense international situation: “Azerbaijan wants to keep up the tense situation at the line of contact for both internal and external reasons. Internal motives are simple – to raise the morale of the army and society and to get rid of the mentality of the loser… Externally, the aim is to put political, military and psychological pressure on the OSCE Minsk Group, the international community, as well as on Armenia and the Armenian society. Our neighbors won’t accept the idea that this problem should be resolved peacefully and that the people of Nagorno-Karabakh have earned the right to live independently.”
The editor of “Aravot” does not rule out that Russia may be behind the increased war threats from Azerbaijan: “It may quite be Russia that, through [Azerbaijani President Ilham] Aliyev, tells us to behave ourselves or else it would incite Azerbaijan against us. And our cautious authorities and political forces do “behave well”. However, I am not sure that we can avoid war this way. Maybe, we should not obey Russia, but try to be more independent, more responsible for our own country and its security. Of course, this may entail ‘sanctions’, including the war started ‘by the hands of Azerbaijan’… But living under oppression is pretty uncomfortable.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” comments on the outcome of the controversial trial of retired colonel and Karabakh war veteran Volodya Avetisian, who was sentenced to six years in prison on charges of fraud and bribery. Avetisian was arrested a few months after starting a lone protest demanding better social conditions for thousands of war veterans. The paper writes ironically: “The azatamartiks (veterans of the Karabakh war) should not take it as a challenge against them. They are wrong ‘azatamartiks’. Instead of selling gasoline in Yerevan, they went to Karabakh to fight, while the right ‘azatamartiks’ used to supply weapons and food, and now they own huge businesses and are members of the Board of the Yerkrapah Union of Volunteers. And people like Avetisian, who raise problems of veterans, undermine the foundations of our statehood.”
In an interview with Hayots Ashkhar leader of the Democratic Party of Armenia Aram Sarkisian comments on the arrest of wealthy Armenian businessman and philanthropist Levon Hayrapetian in Moscow. “As a native of Nagorno-Karabakh, Hayrapetian has done some good work for his homeland, and it is very possible that some forces are interested in obstructing his activities. But let’s not forget that it is not only Hayrapetian, but the whole Armenian nation that is helping Nagorno-Karabakh. If there are any other implications behind this case, including political ones, they will come up during the investigation… And then we will present our protest and will certainly intervene,” he says.