(Saturday, November 14)
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reveals more details of Wednesday’s high-level meeting of the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) which began with a keynote speech by its leader Levon Ter-Petrosian. The paper says the speech was followed by a “frank conversation” during which Ter-Petrosian assured his top loyalists that Armenia’s current rulers “will definitely go” sooner or later. The challenge, he is quoted as saying, is to make sure that they are not replaced by other “petty dictators.” He also said that the international community has given President Serzh Sarkisian a blank check to do “anything he wants inside the country” in return for his concessions to Azerbaijan and Turkey.
In this situation, the HAK “has not right to put at risk or squander its core of 20,000 to 30,000 citizens,” added Ter-Petrosian. “We will not allow that. We will not let them carry out a new March 1[-style crackdown on the opposition,]” he said, according to “Haykakan Zhamanak.”
“Aravot” downplays the dangers emanating from the swine flu pandemic, saying that there is still no factual data showing that the H1N1 is more deadly than other forms of flu. “To our knowledge, there is no such statistics,” editorializes the paper. “Swine flu is not plague or cholera, epidemics of which break out and then subside. Flu is always close to us. Especially in the late autumn when people have the habit of not being dressed according to the season.” It says the worldwide “hysteria” about the disease is therefore misplaced.
“168 Zham” reports that the main pro-government candidate in an upcoming parliamentary by-election in Yerevan, actor Vladimir Kostanian, has urged all candidates to withdraw from the race in protest against the authorities’ reluctance to led jailed newspaper editor Nikol Pashinian contest the vote. He said that would demonstrate to everyone that “we are not participating in the harsh treatment of Nikol.” The paper is not impressed by Kostanian’s statement, seeing some kind of a government conspiracy behind it.
“Hraparak” editorializes that the controversial criminal case brought against youth activist Mariam Sukhudian, who helped to trigger a scandal about the alleged abuse of children at a Yerevan boarding school, shows that “fighting is right.” The paper argues that the resulting outcry has forced Armenian police to conduct an “additional investigation” into the matter, meaning that Sukhudian may not go on trial after all. “We believe that the case will inevitably be closed and the law-enforcers will admit that it was opened wrongly,” it concludes.