In Tuesday's Armenian press, "The friend of the Armenian people" is the most common description of General Aleksandr Lebed, the governor of Russia's Kranoyarsk Region who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday.
Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian, in particular, tells "Hayots Ashkhar" that the retired Soviet army general "radiated peace." "I am deeply convinced that the Armenian people will never forget that bright, wonderful person who played a decisive role for us in the most dramatic times," Sarkisian says.
"Iravunk" reports that the ambassadors of several European Union member states held a reception in Yerevan last week in honor of former president Levon Ter-Petrosian. The purpose of the event was to try to find out whether he will be standing in the 2003 presidential elections, according to the paper.
Babken Ararktsian, a close Ter-Petrosian associate and former parliament speaker, tells "Haykakan Zhamanak" that membership of the European Union and NATO should be Armenia's "strategic aims." Only in that case will it become possible to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Ararktsian says, adding that Armenia has been "left out of global processes." He describes as "unacceptable" Armenia's participation in the CIS Collective Security Treaty, arguing that the country has no common border with any of its signatories, including Russia. "Membership of this system jeopardizes Armenia's security. The ex-speaker further claims that the West does not regard Robert Kocharian as a legitimate president.
"Only the devil knows who is in government and who is in opposition," writes "Iravunk" in an analysis of the voting behavior of Armenian deputies.
"Azg" says the parliament is "freezing electoral reforms" and blames Prime Minister Andranik Markarian's Republican Party (HHK) for that. The Republicans, it says, are not sure that they will garner even 5 percent of the vote in free and fair elections.
"Aravot" and "Haykakan Zhamanak" report that the Yerevan city authorities have refused to allow representatives of several media outlets to march through the streets of the capital on May 3, the international day of press freedom. Both papers say the demonstration will take place anyway.