Italy’s Ambassador to Armenia Andrea Trabalza told reporters last week that he is surprised that none of the government officials has reacted to the publication of the pictures of their luxury houses on the front page of “Aravot.” They have not caused a public outcry, the ambassador said. “Aravot” writes on Wednesday that Trabalza would be even more surprised if he read a recent commentary in one pro-government newspaper justifying the practice with the argument that the country’s former leaders too built mansions. This is a very weak argument, according to “Aravot.” “In any more or less democratic state no corrupt official can cite the amount of bribes paid to his predecessor as a justification…One should not expect any reaction from the state when the public does not demand an answer from the official. This only confirms the rule that every nation deserves the leadership it has.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” divides parliament deputies into two categories in terms of their wealth. In the first group are those who do not hide their being rich and running lucrative businesses. Furthermore, they are also proud of their status, seeing their wealth as a proof of their intelligence and success. Deputies falling under the other category do not demonstrate their fortune and are posing as individuals of modest income. They believe that this earns them a reputation of honest and clean politicians. However, the upcoming income declarations mandated by the recently adopted law on financial disclosure may force them to come clean. But the paper assures them that there is nothing to be worried about. People are less sensitive to the size and sources of income earned by their representatives these days.
Yuri Manukian, leader of a pro-government faction that split from the opposition Communist party last year, defends the existing system of government in an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar”. He says the people “need a strong hand” and must feel that “they have a master.”
Henrik Hovannisian, a prominent Armenian intellectual, presents similar arguments in the same paper. “In our conditions it is not only wrong but also dangerous to enforce the absolute principle of democracy because our society is not prepared for democracy and a parliamentary republic.” The path to democracy lies through authoritarian rule, Hovannisian says.
“Azg” says Turkey is alarmed at the ongoing rapprochement between Russia and Azerbaijan as evidenced by the results of President Heydar Aliev’s visit to Moscow. Improved relations between the two countries paves the way for a growth in Russian influence in the South Caucasus, something which goes against the goals of Turkish policy in the region. For one thing, the paper says, it would weaken Ankara’s positions in Azerbaijan and diminish chances of spreading Turkish influence to Central Asia. The Turkish government may react to this development by making some overtures to Armenia.