(Saturday, February 26)
“Azg” says that February 18 marked the second anniversary of former U.S. Ambassador John Evans’s first public description of the mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide. The paper carries excerpts from Evans’s speech at an Armenian church in Fresno, California. It also reports that Evans will again be honored by the local Armenian community at a special event to be staged in Beverly Hills on March 4.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” analyzes the electoral chances of several top opposition leaders. “Stepan Demirchian realizes very well that his heyday ended in 2003 and that he will barely pass the 5 percent [vote] threshold even in the event of the most ideal elections,” writes the paper. “Vazgen Manukian can not harbor [far-reaching] ambitions, and he understands that the best. The same can be said about Artashes Geghamian and Artur Baghdasarian. And does anybody really believe that Aram Karapetian is so stupid as to have ambitions? The reality is that in all likelihood the authorities have instructed these forces not to unite.”
“Aravot” reports that Samvel Babayan, Nagorno-Karabakh’s former military leader, has been elected honorary chairman of an organization which claims to represent Yezidi Kurds living in Armenia and outside it. “During an event organized yesterday in connection with Yezidi Easter, the leader of the Yezidi association, Aziz Tamoyan, announced that he and his community will support [Babayan’s] Dashink party in the elections to the National Assembly,” the paper says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the chief of the customs service at Zvartnots international airport, Karen Janoyan, and several of his employees were sacked earlier this month on suspicion of involvement in the widespread smuggling of mobile phone handsets. The paper claims that imports of such phones to Armenia are “controlled” by President Robert Kocharian’s son Sedrak.
“Zhamanak Yerevan” reports that members of the newly formed board of Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) threw a party in an expensive restaurant outside Yerevan following the BHK’s February 16 congress. The paper says many of them offered toasts to Tsarukian. One participant, who is related to a deputy chief of the Armenian police, called the tycoon a “lion.”