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Press Review


"Aravot" is skeptical about the desired impact of the recently adopted law on financial disclosure, saying that there is no way to check the veracity of the income and property declarations filed by the senior government officials. This editorial is followed up by a report that Deputy Minister of National Security Grigor Harutiunian has been no less prolific in building private estates than his boss, Karlos Petrosian. He too owns several houses and none of them is registered to his name. Harutiunian had served as deputy minister of defense in the past. Vazgen Sarkisian had sacked him for large-scale embezzlement of public funds. He now controls export of metals from Armenia.

Responding to criticism that it should also cover shady activities of the country's previous rulers, "Aravot" says that topic has already been extensively covered by the media. It also claims that the current authorities have outperformed their predecessors in their quest for personal wealth at the expense of the downtrodden nation. It is also true that many of the serving top officials held high-ranking posts under the former regime.

In another commentary "Aravot" discusses the approaching fourth anniversary of Levon Ter-Petrosian's removal from power which the paper continues to regard as a "coup d'etat." The late Vazgen Sarkisian began to distrust Robert Kocharian right after Ter-Petrosian's ouster, according to the paper. That distrust was to develop into a rivalry, culminating in the October 1999 attack on the parliament, "Aravot" concludes.

"Hayots Ashkhar," predictably, has a totally different take on the 1998 change of leadership, which it says has enabled Armenians to preserve their main achievement of the past decade: "Artsakh and the liberated territories."

HZhK leader Stepan Demirchian tells "Haykakan Zhamanak" that Kocharian has failed to accomplish his main mission: the resolution of the Karabakh conflict. Kocharian, according to Demirchian, has not lived up to the expectations of a public that was willing to forgive many of his misdeeds for the sake of Karabakh.

"Azg" reports on the arrest of scholar Murad Bojolian on charges of spying for Turkey. The pro-Kocharian paper, which used to publish Bojolian's articles about Turkey, accentuates on his "pivotal positions" in the foreign ministry and the Ter-Petrosian administration in the early and mid-1990s. It also mentions a difficult financial situation in which Bojolian was in recent years.

"Haykakan Zhamanak" asks that if Bojolian was indeed a spy then why didn't the national security ministry try to use him as a double agent. The paper suspects that the authorities have brought the case against the Armenian citizen in order to thwart a normalization of relations with Ankara.

(Vache Sarkisian)
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