“Aravot” says that the Russian authorities are “doing everything” to defend Russian traffic controllers against suggestions that the Wednesday crash of an Armenian airliner occurred because of their confusing and wrong instructions. The paper says the Russians are far more likely to lay the blame on the plane’s crew. Hence, Russian reports questioning the professionalism of the deceased Armenian pilots and even suggesting that the plane might have run out of fuel. “The latter hypothesis has been denied thanks to Georgian traffic controllers.”
“Azg” says Russian authorities claimed on Thursday that the Airbus A-320 in question was damaged at Rostov airport in southern Russian just three months before the crash. The paper notes that the claims came after reports that it was Rostov traffic controllers who told the Armenian crew to land at Sochi airport.
“Aravot” recalls that another Armavia plane nearly crashed at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport last December. “At that time, Armavia released a statement saying that an investigation has been launched to establish the causes of the accident. But results of that investigation were never made public.” The paper claims that it was the same plane that plunged into the Black Sea.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the doomed plane carried the baggage of two passengers that were not allowed to board it because of problems with their passports. The paper says officials Yerevan’s Zvartnots airport failed to remove the baggage before takeoff in violation of internationally accepted security practices.
“The number one question is why the authorities [in Armenia and Russia] are insisting on the theory about bad weather,” writes “Ayb-Fe,” suggesting that they are keen to “dodge responsibility” for the disaster.
“It is unclear why the investigation into the disaster should be conducted by the Russian side and why Armenian specialists are only supposed to help them,” says “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.” “After all, the plane was Armenian and most of the passengers were citizens of Armenia. So the investigation could have at least been conducted jointly.”
Turning to Armenian politics, “Aravot” says parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian’s dissenting views on Armenian foreign policy are provoking a retaliatory moves by the authorities. The paper says the authorities are now trying to force businessmen affiliated with Baghdasarian’s Orinats Yerkir party to defect to other government factions. It adds that some of them have already decided to quit Orinats Yerkir and that the “operation” is being led by the chief of President Kocharian’s staff, Armen Gevorgian.