In an interview with “168 Zham,” Hovik Abrahamian, the chief of President Serzh Sarkisian’s staff, laughs off allegations that he may have been behind the beating of “Haykakan Zhamanak” journalist Lusine Barseghian. “I don’t want to comment on that issue because even an absurdity must be based on some elementary logic,” he says. “Having said that, I find unacceptable and condemnable any violence against or pressure on journalists and media in general.”
Abrahamian is asked whether he takes offense from opposition newspapers’ and politicians’ constant use of his “Muk” (Mouse) nickname. “You know, I have no complexes,” he replies. “If some media outlets enjoy writing the word ‘Muk’ then let them continue to enjoy that pleasure. I don’t care at all. If their calculation is to offend or infuriate me, then it is definitely a wrong calculation. Incidentally, I see nothing wrong with having a nickname.” Abrahamian goes on to reveal the origin of his own nickname: “The history of that nickname dates back to my childhood. One day my mother hoarded sweats for New Year’s holiday so she could put them on the table. And when they brought out the sweets it emerged that half of them are gone. My grandmother realized that I ate them and said jokingly that there is probably a mouse in the house.”
Abrahamian also tells “168 Zham” that he is a big fan of arts and visits museums during trips to Europe. “I love the Italian Renaissance [art] very much, and every time I go to Rome I really enjoy being exposed to that culture,” he says.
“Golos Armenii,” meanwhile, speculates that Abrahamian is indeed keen to become speaker of parliament and may well get the job. The pro-government paper cautions, however, that the current speaker, Tigran Torosian, could also resist government pressure to step down. “Hovik Abrahamian and his supporters in the National Assembly are big masters of behind-the-scene intrigues,” it says. “But whether or not they will opt for an open confrontation with Torosian depends on the country’s number one figure.”
“Some are surprised that Tigran Torosian has the guts to refuse to resign as chairman of the National Assembly and to declare that there is no plan to make Hovik Abrahamian a parliament speaker and thereby force him out,” writes “Hraparak.” The paper claims that Torosian has struck a defiant note because he continues to enjoy President Sarkisian’s backing.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says that a dialogue between Armenia’s government and opposition can only center on the terms of the latter’s “capitulation.” “Levon Ter-Petrosian is not capable of dialogue,” says the paper. “He doesn’t want it. Is it hard to understand that?”