“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that President Serzh Sarkisian on Thursday appointed Haykaz Baghmanian, a controversial Armenian army general fired late last year, as deputy head of the joint chiefs of staff of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). The paper says this development only confirmed that Baghmanian will not be held accountable for “many abuses and crimes” attributed to him. “It is now clear why Haykaz Baghmanian tendered his resignation,” it says. “That was done with Serzh Sarkisian’s consent. The idea was to send, with such a sacking and a public statement by [Defense Minister] Vigen Sargsian, an important message to the entire Defense Ministry staff to the effect that Vigen Sargsian should be taken seriously. This was Serzh Sarkisian’s big favor to his protégé who is still establishing himself as minister. As for Baghmanian, Sarkisian promised to find him another job, and he has fulfilled that promise.”
“Zhamanak” says that after taking over as prime minister Serzh Sarkisian will focus on grooming “young political leaders” and modernizing the armed forces and will delegate day-to-day decision-making on other issues to the parliamentary majority, the deputy prime ministers and ministers. “In other words, Serzh Sarkisian sees as himself in the post of prime minister as more of a political patriarch than a figure accountable to the parliamentary majority,” writes the paper. It suggests that Sarkisian is planning to become prime minister to prevent a “collapse of the balance of forces” in the ruling establishment.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” derides Seyran Saroyan, a retired army general and a parliament deputy from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), for saying that Serzh Sarkisian’s apparent decision to become prime minister means that “God has heeded our prayers.” “We would advise General Seyran to occasionally pray for Armenia’s future as well,” the paper says scathingly.
“Aravot” is skeptical about Armenian opposition forces’ plans to hold demonstrations in Yerevan against Sarkisian’s continued rule. The paper believes that they lack the “organizational structures” to pull big crowds. It says the opposition is only certain to attract a few hundred mostly elderly and unemployed people who do not really care about “who fights for what.” “These people want to hear harsh words addressed to the authorities and shout a few insults,” it says. “This situation has been persisting for more than 25 years.”