“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the Armenian government is poised for a major structural shake-up just over one month after its formation. The paper says the most important change will concern the national police department and the Ministry for Local Government which will be merged into a single agency. “There will be created a super-ministry whose head will apparently have more clout than the prime minister. Furthermore, sources close to the government did not rule out that the current minister for local government, Hovik Abrahamian, will become the super-minister.”
“Iravunk” also sees Abrahamian as the most likely holder of the new post. The paper says Abrahamian, who managed to hold senior government jobs under both Levon Ter-Petrosian and Robert Kocharian, has embarked on “yet another separate game” aimed at further cementing his positions. The success of that game would, among other things, once again dash Dashnaktsutyun’s hopes for running the Armenian police.
An opposition lawmaker and former police officer, Gagik Kostandian, tells “Iravunk” that the latest series of high-profile murders in Armenia reflects the growing role of local government-connected criminal networks. “The criminal elements which provided serious services [to the authorities] during the elections are now demanding a payback. What happens is a redistribution of [ownership of] the economy,” Kostandian says. A similar conclusion is drawn by former parliament deputy Ruben Gevorgian whose nephew was gunned down last month in a brazen ambush attack just outside Yerevan. Gevorgian says he now feels “unprotected.”
Former Prime Minister Armen Darpinian, meanwhile, urges wealthy businesspeople to avoid meddling in politics, in an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar.” “Do not interfere [in politics] because politics does not gain from that, while the country suffers seriously,” Darpinian says. “I would also call on the leadership of the republic to be more attentive and sensitive to Armenia’s political forces. I don’t see that attention. On the contrary, it looks as though the authorities are more sensitive toward the business community.” Darpinian argues that entrepreneurs holding senior posts in the government or parliament are primarily seeking to further their own business interests. Decisions that benefit the majority of Armenians are of secondary importance for them, he says.
“Aravot” reports that some of the opposition supporters who were briefly jailed during the government’s post-election crackdown on the opposition are now trying to appeal against their questionable sentences. But that is proving highly problematic as the Review Court is refusing to consider their cases on dubious grounds.