The words “shock” and “horror” abound in Wednesday’s Armenian press commentary on the unprecedented terrorist attacks in the United States. One of the newspapers, “Azg,” already looks at their likely implications for the entire world. It writes: “This chain of terrorist acts will have a big impact on the political, economic, psychological and interpersonal relationships in the world. Today will surely mark the start of a global struggle against terrorism, and many pressing problems, both international and local, will require new approaches and solutions.”
The number one domestic news is the murder of Gagik Poghosian, former minister for state revenues and the current head of the government’s oversight service. The killing has once again deepened Armenians’ “sense of insecurity and distrust,” editorializes “Aravot.” The paper suggests that at the heart of Poghosian’s problems with certain government officials and business people was “a very large sum” of money. The boundary between Armenian government officials, entrepreneurs and criminals has grown so “transparent” that anybody standing in their way risks losing his life. Just like the previous contract killings, Poghosian’s murder will never be solved, the paper concludes.
Armenia has lost a “uniquely honest and principled official,” writes an outraged “Hayots Ashkhar.” The paper says the Poghosian-led government service was conducting financial inspections at various government agencies, suspecting them of fraud and embezzlement. “They have made the budget so bankrupt that it is not possible to redress things,” Poghosian told a “Hayots Ashkhar” correspondent recently. In particular, he alleged large-scale financial abuses in the energy sector.
Commenting on the latest twist in Armenia’s political life, “Haykakan Zhamanak” writes: “The Geghamian-Demirchian-Bazeyan trio in effect does not guarantee Kocharian’s immunity.” The stakes are now very high. The opposition mainly counts on impoverished masses that are desperate to see severe punishment for their rulers. The opposition therefore has no option other than playing the anti-Kocharian card. “So they need Robert Kocharian as an epitome of the public enemy in order to blame [their] failures on him in the future. Hence, the strong reaction [from Kocharian].” The president went on a counteroffensive with the announcement that he will run for president in 2003, forcing the opposition to think about its unity candidate -- something which may well split the anti-government camp.