“Zhamanak” dismisses as disingenuous former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian’s strong condemnation of Saturday’s brutal attack on a member of the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK). “Nobody in Armenia should be beaten up for their political activities,” Oskanian, who is a senior BHK member, said on Monday. The paper counters that for a whole decade, during Robert Kocharian’s presidency, Oskanian was part of a government that frequently resorted to violence against its political opponents. It lists, among other things, the violent dispersal in 2004 of an opposition demonstration in Yerevan and the deadly March 2008 crackdown on thousands of people protesting against a rigged presidential election.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” claims that Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian was forced by President Serzh Sarkisian to rebut, in unusually strong terms, a BHK statement that accused the Armenian authorities of orchestrating the kidnapping and beating of the BHK activist, Artak Khachatrian. The paper says the statement means that Abrahamian is distancing himself from BHK leader Gagik Tsarukian, with whom he has had warm personal ties. “This is what Serzh Sarkisian needs,” it says. “It is evident that Artak Khachatrian’s kidnapping was a government slap in Abrahamian’s face and a gauntlet thrown at Gagik Tsarukian. Hovik Abrahamian has meekly accepted the slap. As for what Tsarukian will do, it will be clear in the coming days.”
Condemning the attack on Khachatrian, “Aravot” notes that politically motivated violence has long been endemic in Armenia. “Yerkrapah [veterans of the Karabakh war] engaged in it in the 1990s, while the bodyguards of Kocharian-linked oligarchs did so in the 2000s,” writes the paper. “What makes those cases similar to the brutal attack on Artak Khachatrian is that their organizers and perpetrators have not been punished and most probably will not be punished … The differences is that the opposition was weak and suppressed and media censorship was stronger at that time (during Kocharian’s rule). Nor did we have Facebook as a means of consolidating people. It is now much harder for government and oligarchic circles to use such violent methods with impunity.”
“The world is headed to a very serious confrontation with our strategic partner, Russia,” “Zhoghovurd” writes, referring to the continuing conflict in Ukraine. “This fact will have a decisive impact on all other related processes. That includes the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”