“Aravot” quotes the lawyers of former Deputy Prosecutor-General Gagik Jahangirian and his brother Vartan as saying that on February 23 evening, after bringing their clients to the basement floor of the administrative building of the head department of Armenian police dealing with organized crime, three workers of the task-force unit assaulted the Jahangirian brothers, beat them and the most active among the assailants was Arman Harutiunian, the husband of pop singer Shushan Petrosian.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” predicts: “The Serzh Sarkisian-Robert Kocharian duo will have a pervasive power in the country, controlling the posts of the president, parliament speaker and prime minister and voicing loudly that there is no man like them in Armenia. Kocharian will continue to ‘hold sway’ in the National Assembly as he controls the factions of the Prosperous Armenia Party and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation in full and the Republican Party’s faction in part. He will also install his favorites as prime minister and deputy prime minister. And Sarkisian is likely to have a plan of how to retain his power for the next 20 years. Already now through his “puppet” opposition figureheads he voices the need for passing over to a parliamentary system of government. So, during his second five-year presidential term he will change the Constitution, will abolish the president’s post and will become prime minister already in conditions of a parliamentary rule.”
“Zhamanak Yerevan” quotes former Foreign Minister Vahan Papazian as saying that “a hope rekindled in public consciousness that it was possible to change something.”
“Will this hope be preserved? Or will it be killed?” Papazian queries. “I don’t have an answer to this question at this moment. It is largely contingent on the steps of the new authorities. First of all, all arrested [oppositionists] must be released. There are no ‘criminal’ criminals. All are political prisoners. Let alone political persecutions… The ongoing political reprisals must be put an end to. An opportunity for political dialogue must be created in Armenia and it is possible only in one case – if television is opened to the opposition and as a result of this political debate the public will have an opportunity to decide who is right and who is wrong. That’s the only way.”
In a “Hayots Ashkhar” interview, MP Alvard Petrosian from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) describes [former president and opposition leader] Levon Ter-Petrosian as follows: “It is a shame that now when I say the first president I no longer have respect for him inside me. But this is not my fault. When I saw Levon Ter-Petrosian at the foyer of the Opera House during the 1998 inauguration of Robert Kocharian as president, I was very glad, though I had very fresh dissatisfactions and personal pains as a member of the Dashnak party and as an Armenian. I was happy then, thinking: thank God, still he is an intellectual, he has a statesmanlike thinking, but he did not continue to keep that decency. Had he don that, people would have forgiven him for many things.”
“Iravunk” carries a list of what it views as the positive and negative sides of the newly appointed Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian. Among the positive things the newspaper mentions Sarkisian’s vast international ties, professionalism, his public perception of a politically neutral figure, not being noticed as having links with organized crime, etc. On the downside, however, the newspaper mentions Sarkisian’s being perceived by the public as a cosmopolite, his perceived role in the sellout of gold reserves and the dramatic fluctuations of the dollar exchange rate, the origins of his political career – first in the former ruling Armenian all-National Movement party and then in the opposition National-Democratic Union, publicly perceived strong pro-western attitudes. And finally, the newspaper writes, “his closest surroundings are not known to the public at large.”