Armenia’s judicial system is in a “terrible” condition, a well-known Armenian lawyer tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” “I can say that that system is a system of injustice,” Ruben Rshtuni says. But all in all, he adds, the country is “moving forward little by little.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the Audit Chamber of Armenia’s National Assembly will launch on Wednesday a major inspection of the government’s reputedly corrupt customs department. The paper says the very fact of this is “strange” given that the agency is headed by Armen Avetisian, a close protégé of powerful Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian. “This fact enables [Avetisian] to stand among those officials in the republic who are allowed everything or almost everything.” But some other powerful officials, notably National Security Service Director Karlos Petrosian, are very unhappy with Avetisian’s standing and have tried in the past to hold him in check.
Those attempts, “Haykakan Zhamanak” continues, were blocked by Sarkisian. But Petrosian, who suspects the Armenian customs chief of “serious abuses,” has now found a crucial ally in Artur Baghdasarian, the parliament speaker and leader of the Orinats Yerkir Party. “The creation of such an alliance was probably facilitated by the fact that Karlos Petrosian’s nephew, parliament deputy Khachik Petrosian, is a member of the Orinats Yerkir faction [in parliament],” the paper explains and goes on to ask: “Are their actions agreed with Robert Kocharian?” Whether or not the Audit Chamber will accuse Avetisian of corruption or abuse of power depends on Kocharian’s judgment, it concludes.
“Ayb-Fe” notes that the prospect of a territorial swap between Azerbaijan and Armenia, which would strip the latter of its strategic land border with Iran, worries the Armenian opposition more than the “inherently anti-Turk” Dashnaktsutyun party. “This once again proves that ideology is completely absent in Armenia’s political field, and as a rule it is personal interest and opportunism that holds sway in that field,” the paper says. “Imagine what a noise Dashnaktsutyun would have made if there had been even hints about giving Azerbaijan a corridor through Meghri under [former President] Ter-Petrosian.” The Dashnaks, who had denounced Ter-Petrosian’s desire to withdraw from “liberated territories” in Azerbaijan as treason and “defeatism,” now stand ready to endorse a similar move by Kocharian.
So does the equally nationalist Republican Party of Prime Minister Andranik Markarian, according to “Ayb-Fe.” The paper quotes one of its leaders, Galust Sahakian, as saying that the Armenian-controlled territories around Karabakh “can be a subject of negotiations.”
“Aravot” reports from Tbilisi that Georgia’s new leadership does not yet fully “control the situation.” “If we compare the capitals of Armenia and Georgia, the difference will no doubt be in Armenia’s favor,” the paper writes. “Tbilisi’s streets are much dirtier than the Armenian capital’s. There are more beggars here; they are everywhere. The thing that strikes you first is that tourists are warned against walking in the city after 7 p.m. because that is considered quite dangerous.”
“The post-election anti-Armenian hysteria in Georgia continues,” writes “Azg.” The paper reports that the chief of Georgia’s intelligence service said in an interview with a local paper that Armenia may be interested in stoking political tensions in his country. “Such statements are slowly leaving their mark in the consciousness of ordinary Georgians and Armenians. And if there are certain anti-Armenian sentiments in Georgia today, they are the result of anti-Armenian remarks made by the Georgian media politicians in the last several years, especially the past year.”