“Hayots Ashkhar” says footage of the interrogation of top suspects in the murder of state television Tigran Naghdalian, broadcast by the Armenian Public Television on Thursday, proves the guilt of Armen Sarkisian, the brother of opposition leader Aram Sarkisian. “If he had nothing to do with Tigran Naghdalian’s murder, why did he, in his own words, pay $75,000 to the criminals or, more precisely, their intermediaries?” the paper argues. It says Sarkisian could not have been blackmailed by “some criminals” given the influence and respect enjoyed by his family.
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” writes that the TV pictures of Armen Sarkisian ended “the legend about his innocence.” The paper says he dealt a serious blow to the credibility of his brother and other opposition leaders.
“Yerkir” agrees with this line of reasoning, saying that those who demand Sarkisian’s release from custody simply “sponsor criminals.”
But “Aravot” and “Haykakan Zhamanak” are convinced that the authorities heavily edited and manipulated the footage. “Aravot” calls it a “primitive trick” aimed at showing that Sarkisian admitted commissioning Naghdalian’s killing. The prosecutors’ footage showed only that someone was seeking $100,000 from Armen Sarkisian for “some business” which baffled the latter.
“Ayb-Fe” says the governing Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) will be challenged in the upcoming parliamentary elections not only by the opposition but also a dozen other parties supporting President Robert Kocharian. “In order to get hold of the most important government posts, Prime Minister Andranik Markarian and Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian have set up a de facto alliance,” the paper writes.
“Orran” also discusses Serzh Sarkisian’s inclusion on the Republican electoral list, commenting that the pro-Kocharian Orinats Yerkir party, reportedly sponsored by the defense chief until now, has been “robbed” by the authorities. “It will soon be Dashnaktsutyun’s turn,” the paper claims.
Dashnaktsutyun leader Vahan Hovannisian tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that his party will be campaigning for “serious changes” in Armenia in the upcoming elections. “Of course, that should be done without a radical divergence from the radical reforms of the last five years which we continue to believe are spearheaded by incumbent President Robert Kocharian,” he says.
But Dashnaktsutyun weekly “Yerkir” is worried that the abundance of political parties and individual candidates running for the parliament may confuse voters.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” treats with skepticism Russian-Armenian tycoon Ara Abrahamian’s efforts to create a “global pan-Armenian structure.” The paper believes that Abrahamian does not have the necessary clout and mandate to represent even Russia’s big Armenian community. It claims that Abrahamian is just as illegitimate in the Diaspora as Kocharian is in Armenia. “Ara Abrahamian has now been given an opportunity to become the president of all Armenians, including Robert Kocharian. Only the Yezidi Kurds have a thing like that,” “Haykakan Zhamanak” notes bitingly.
“Orran” also resents “moral lessons” taught the people of Armenia by Diaspora dignitaries “arriving in the country on tourist trips from time to time.”
“If you want to participate in our domestic public life, live in Armenia, become citizens of the Republic of Armenia and only then glorify or lambaste whoever you wish,” “Aravot” says bluntly. “Only we, the citizens of the Republic of Armenia, can sympathize or not sympathize with Robert Kocharian. Only the people who live here [can do that], not those who come here as tourists or live abroad, but wish to win in their homeland.”