“Aravot” carries a disparaging editorial about Armenia’s parliament, saying that it is hardly different from the rubber-stamp legislatures that existed in the former Soviet Union. The only major difference, it says, is that people want to become members of the National Assembly in order to “protect their business interests.” “For example, vodka producers are abundantly represented in today’s parliament,” says the paper. “Naturally, they are concerned with selling their vodka ahead of the New Year. And so a law is adopted to give [domestic] vodka producers a massive edge over importers.”
Paruyr Hayrikian, a Soviet-era dissident and veteran politician, tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that former President Levon Ter-Petrosian was the “main organizer” of the March 1 riots in Yerevan and should have been prosecuted in the first instance. “I’m not saying he should have been arrested,” says Hayrikian. “But he should have at least been interrogated. If that is done, then other [arrested oppositionists] should be treated in a similar fashion: fined or briefly punished, instead of being kept in prison without any compelling evidence that people were killed at their orders or urging.”
Speaking to “168 Zham,” Hmayak Hovannisian, another well-known politician who supported Ter-Petrosian in the 2008 election, dismisses as “dirty gossips” rumors that he is about to join the governing Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) of Gagik Tsarukian.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” publishes excerpts from the criminal case against seven of the most prominent opposition detainees. They include testimony given by one of the interior troop soldiers who clashed with opposition protesters on March 1. The soldier, Sarkis Davtian, said that as he and other conscripts charged towards opposition barricades near the Yerevan mayor’s office regular police forces standing behind them began firing tracer bullets and stun grenades. Davtian was briefly knocked down by their deafening sound. When he regained consciousness he noticed that the police retreated from the scene and left the interior troops to face furious protesters armed with sticks and Molotov cocktails.
Lragir.am stresses the need to make sure that hundreds of thousands of Armenians living in Georgia become an “organized community” and serve as a “factor in Georgia’s life.” “We are not talking about the Armenians becoming a destabilizing, separatist force,” says the online journal, citing the example of Armenian communities wielding political influence in other countries. “The interests of the Georgian Armenians must be protected in Georgia, not in Armenia,” it says, berating Armenia-based groups uniting individuals born in Georgia.