“Azg” publishes its latest list of Armenia’s most influential politicians based on the results of a survey conducted among experts. It shows Minister for Local Government Hovik Abrahamian rapidly enhancing his perceived clout this summer, jumping from 22nd to 8th place in the rankings. The paper suggests the following explanation for this: “He was very active in the perpetration of election irregularities.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” carries the photograph of an expensive limousine belonging to the chief of the government’s Customs Committee, Armen Avetisian. The glitzy BMW may be worth as much as $100,000. The paper says it was purchase was underwritten from the agency’s special “extra-budgetary fund.” “Avetisian’s having fun at the state’s expense will hardly bother anyone,” it says. “The chairman of the Customs Committee is among the darlings of the republic’s leaders, one of the privileged officials. He is allowed to do many things and is simply making use of the privileges given to him from above.”
“It’s hard to imagine any other country where one speaks of the law and morality as much as in Armenia,” writes “Ayb-Fe.” “The more they talk, the more the law is neglected and the more obvious the moral decline becomes.” The paper, which is published by the closed A1+ television, points the finger at the three coalition parties, accusing them of deceit and hypocrisy.
“To say that the public did not expect news of the attempt on the life of Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian would be wrong,” “Haykakan Zhamanak” says, arguing that key political posts in Armenia are “highly risky.” The paper says the arrest of a man accused of plotting to kill Sarkisian shows that Armenian law-enforcement agencies can foil assassination attempts if they wish so. It says the conspiracy was hatched by four persons. “At one point a member of the group lost his nerve and informed the law-enforcement officials of the planned assassination bid.”
Opposition leader Aram Sarkisian tells “Aravot” that he will not allow the authorities to promptly finish the trial of Nairi Hunanian and the four other parliament gunmen. Sarkisian says his family’s defense team has been beefed up by two political activists so that they drag out the long-running proceedings.
“Hayots Ashkhar” reports that Hmayak Hovannisian, a parliament deputy from the opposition National Unity Party, has been interrogated by prosecutors over his allegations that Orinats Yerkir Party leader Artur Baghdasarian had been informed about the 1999 parliament massacre beforehand. (Hovannisian argued that Orinats Yerkir’s parliamentary faction held a meeting on October 27, 1999, during the government’s question-and-answer session that was interrupted by the gunshots.) A senior prosecutor, John Farkhoyan, tells the paper that the investigators do not take the theory seriously. Farkhoyan also denies Hovannisian’s claims that Baghdasarian and other Orinats Yerkir leaders will be questioned soon.