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July 31
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YEREVAN. – Hraparak daily of Armenia writes: The "dissemination" of the [audio] recording of the controversial conversation between Suren Papikyan [the acting Minister of Territorial Administration and Development] and the mayor of Etchmiadzin, Diana Gasparyan, was deliberately made so that the mayor would make a great effort and hit the highest possible percentage [of votes] for [acting PM Nikol] Pashinyan [in the snap parliamentary elections this Sunday], proving her loyalty.

The thing is that Pashinyan's positions are very weak, especially in the region of Etchmiadzin (…).

We were informed that after the release of the recording, it was hotly debated among the active members of the [ruling] Civil Contract [Party], and they have decided to spread rumors that it was an old recording, it was in November when Pashinyan had made the famous post on his [Facebook] page, calling on the boys at the border to return and "solve the matters of the whiners.” But later it became clear that the recording is not so old, it was presumably made in early June.

However, in any case, Papikyan managed to calm Diana Gasparyan down and keep her from making an announcement.

We were told that Papikyan visited Etchmiadzin on the day the recording was released, and people heard a loud argument from the CC [(Civil Contract)] [election campaign] office. The head of the CC's national [election campaign] headquarters blamed the mayor for failing the work, and assessed their situation in Etchmiadzin as catastrophic.

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