“The miracle expected by everyone did not happen,” “168 Zham” writes on the death of 6-month-old Seryozha Avetisian, the sole survivor of the family massacre in Gyumri. The paper also reports on the increased police presence in Gyumri following the announcement of the baby’s death. “In all likelihood, the authorities worry that at any moment the public in Gyumri may again rise up,” it says. “But instead of taking steps aimed at addressing the public’s legitimate demands, the authorities are only intimidating the Gyumri residents with police forces. This is a sign of their weakness, not strength. Armenia’s authorities are now so powerless that they are protecting their citizens only with letters of condolences sent after their deaths.”
The Gyumri-based Archbishop Mikael Ajapahian of the Armenian Apostolic Church comments on the possibility of fresh street protests, in an interview with “Zhoghovurd.” Ajapahian says he is not sure that angry local residents would heed his calls for restraint. “In any case, I understand and share their demands,” he says. “But it would be wrong to achieve the fulfillment of those demands through bloodshed. Our blood is too precious to be spilled for the sake of a handover or non-handover of some scumbag.” The respected cleric also says that he is puzzled by the Russian authorities’ reluctance to hand over the Gyumri massacre suspect, Valery Permyakov, to Armenian investigators.
“Hayots Ashkhar” suggests that the January 15 violent clashes near the Russian consulate in Gyumri “woke up” Russian leaders and media outlets and “propaganda circles” close to them. The pro-government paper at the same time deplores attempts to “exploit the tragedy” which it says can be seen on online social networks. “Many would like the situation to get out of hand so that they can cash in on that trouble,” it says without naming anyone. “This means that we, as a society, must be much more vigilant and careful and not succumb to reckless desires driven by emotions.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” comments on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s weekend phone conversation with President Serzh Sarkisian during which he reportedly pledged to help bring those responsible for the Gyumri tragedy to justice. That pledge is construed by the paper as a further indication that Moscow has no intention to transfer Permyakov to Armenian jurisdiction. It also points to Sarkisian’s failure to demand the suspect’s handover to the Armenian side.