In another interview with “Hayots Ashkhar,” the father of Tigran Naghdalian, the former head of the Armenian Public Television and Radio, blames Armenian opposition leaders for his son’s December 2002 murder. Hovannes Naghdalian says Aram Sarkisian, Stepan Demirchian and Albert Bazeyan were “Tigran’s most bitter enemies.” “They often did not hide their threats to Tigran in their speeches,” he says, adding that their Artarutyun bloc is “an alliance of murderers.”
Aram Sarkisian, meanwhile, assures “Haykakan Zhamanak” that his brother Armen had nothing to do with Naghdalian’s murder. He again claims that Armenia will see pre-term presidential elections in the near future. “I have said that we will solve the issue of regime change in between two and five months,” he says. The countdown for Robert Kocharian’s final days in power began last month, according to the outspoken oppositionist.
“Iravunk” says talk of a regime change is taking place even inside the governing coalition. The paper claims that there are already rumors that Kocharian will soon be replaced by parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian.
“Yerkir” warns the authorities that Europe’s patience with their poor democracy and human rights record seems to be running out. The Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe are equally critical of this year’s elections in Azerbaijan and Georgia. The paper believes that the Armenian authorities’ hopes that post-election violence in Baku and the troubled vote count in Tbilisi will spare them more trouble in the international arena have been dashed. “The soup has been cooked and must be eaten,” it concludes figuratively.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says corruption in Armenia’s military and law-enforcement bodies seems to have been omitted from the government’s anti-graft program approved on Thursday. “For some unclear reasons, fights against corruption as a rule target doctors and university professors,” the paper says. “The real state of affairs appears to be just the opposite.” The paper also argues that government assurances that independent media is to play a major role in its anti-corruption drive ring hollow after the scandalous closure of the A1+ and Noyan Tapan television stations. It suggests that the authorities start ensuring the rule of law by imprisoning Grigor Amalian, the head of the controversial state body that pulled the plug on the two channels.
Newspapers continue to berate the authorities for their handling of a major health crisis sparked by a water contamination in Yerevan. “Yerkir” says the disease outbreak exposed Armenia’s vulnerability to bacteriological terrorist acts by its enemies. “Judging from the existing state of affairs, [such a terrorist act] will not be difficult to do,” the paper comments.
“State authority is absent in Armenia,” “Iravunk” declares grimly, pointing not only to the water problem but also the ongoing high-profile trials. “The authorities serve not the majority of citizens, but the interests of a certain ‘brotherhood’ that has effectively privatized them.”