“Aravot” writes that the widow of Poghos Poghosian, the man who was murdered in the Aragast café last September, believes he was subjected to a “savage beating.” She says she pins her hopes for justice only on the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), of which Poghosian was an active member. The paper also reports that residents of Poghosian’s village in Georgia’s Ninotsminda district have sent a letter to Dashnaktsutyun leader Vahan Hovannisian, asking him to ensure that the murderers be brought to justice. According to “Aravot,” the Dashnak leadership, which has so far been reluctant to criticize the authorities’ handling of the case, is facing growing pressure and discontent from the nationalist party’s rank and file.
Meanwhile, “Hayots Ashkhar” again rejects the widely held belief that the lack of truthful witness testimonies in the café murder case reflects an atmosphere of fear in the country. The pro-Kocharian daily says things were much worse under the previous authorities.
The leader of the non-partisan Agro-Industrial group of the Armenian parliament calls on the OSCE Minsk Group to push for confidence-building measures by the parties to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “Hayots Ashkhar” also quotes him as saying that the mediators should get Azerbaijan to soften its stance on the conflict’s settlement.
Another leading parliamentarian, Artashes Geghamian of the opposition National Unity party, makes a case for “comprehensive inter-ethnic reconciliation” in the South Caucasus, in an interview with “Haykakan Zhamanak.” Geghamian believes that the resolution of all regional conflicts is the necessary condition for the region’s stability and economic development. Turning to domestic politics, Geghamian claims that the West “will not allow” the Armenian authorities to falsify the next elections because it wants to deal with a democratically elected and legitimate government. He goes on to urge President Kocharian to stand down and call fresh presidential elections. He says he is ready to serve as an interim president whose main task would be to ensure freedom and fairness of those elections.
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” publishes the recently passed law on financial disclosure as well as income declaration forms which the country’s top government officials will have to fill out and publicize by February. “This year we will know the revenues of our president, prime minister, deputies of the National Assembly and other officials,” the government-controlled paper writes. Between 10,000 and 12,000 people are expected to be affected by the law. But as the deadline nears, many of them do not rush to disclose their and their family members’ incomes.