“Hayots Ashkhar” reports on the arrest of a man suspected of plotting to assassinate Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian. The paper says the former national security officer, Levon Abrahamian, was jailed for alleged kidnapping of an Iranian Armenian in 1998 at a time when the former KGB was headed by Sarkisian. It gives the latter credit for the punishment of the crime. Abrahamian may have thus sought to avenge his imprisonment. But, according to “Hayots Ashkhar,” more likely is another theory of the foiled assassination bid. The paper refuses to specify it, however.
Turning to domestic politics, “Hayots Ashkhar” says the three pro-presidential parties making up Armenia’s coalition government are now resorting to “populist propaganda” to discredit each other. The existing situation resembles the pre-election period when they used every opportunity to publicly attack each other. All of this is happening amid continuing opposition attempts to drum up public support for a referendum of confidence in Robert Kocharian. The opposition aim is thus clear. The pro-Kocharian paper wonders what the Republican, Dashnaktsutyun and Orinats Yerkir hope to achieve with their bickering. “Maybe they too want to see elections in Armenia soon,” it concludes alarmingly.
“Haykakan Zhamanak,” meanwhile, looks at the fate of three other, smaller pro-Kocharian parties which it says planned to form a single bloc in the run-up to the May parliamentary elections but failed to do so after the authorities assured one of them, the Hzor Hayrenik party, that it will get into the parliament on its own. But none of them eventually won a single parliament seat. Two of them, the Dignified Future and Popular Democratic parties, tried to team up after the elections. But the unification was called off at the last minute. “The reasons were not technical, but purely personal,” the paper says. “According to our reliable information, the Dignified Future godfather Armen Darpinian wanted to himself lead the new party.” The Popular Democratic Party leader, Gagik Aslanian, was against that, it adds.
“Aravot” laments the lack of clarity in the ideological positions of Armenian political groups. “It is unclear who belongs to which camp or carries which ideology,” the paper writes. “But the greatest puzzle is the ideological coalition of the forces that formed the ruling coalition. The Republicans, for example, hosted all of a sudden representatives of the Chinese Communist Party’s Politburo in Armenia a couple of days ago. They even announced that from now on the Republicans and the Chinese Communists will be partners.” Common sense suggests that the two parties should have some ideological similarities and the Republicans should try to replicate the “Chinese economic miracle” in Armenia and worship Deng Xiaopin.