“Hayots Ashkhar” writes that what discredits the Armenian government most is the continuing extravagant lifestyle of its senior officials and their relatives. “People are outraged by the increasingly impudent lifestyle of the villa owners and their minions,” the paper says, adding that they have not accumulated their wealth in a legal and honest way. “How can a structure built at the expense of a forest or park be called legal? … The government must understand that it can not carry on like this.”
“Aravot” reports that Ishkhan Zakarian, the government’s chief sports official widely blamed for Armenia’s extremely poor performance at the Olympic Games in Athens, is rumored to have shot and wounded a man while hunting in a forest near the resort town of Tsaghkadzor. Zakarian allegedly mistook the man for an animal and left him unaided a month ago.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Zakarian refused to say whether he will resign over the Olympic fiasco when contacted by phone on his return from Athens on Tuesday. The paper says the Armenian athletes who failed to win any medals refused to make any comments.
Zakarian is also attacked by “Hayots Ashkhar” which derides his pre-Olympic bravado. “In fact, we were scrubbing the remnants of the glorious Soviet sporting past. Unfortunately, those remnants turned out to be extremely scarce. In other words, not everything is decided by money, and grandiose statements are worth nothing.”
“All three coalition parties were awaiting Robert Kocharian’s return from Athens with great impatience,” says “Haykakan Zhamanak.” The Orinats Yerkir Party was desperate to get Kocharian’s support for its bid to win a parliamentary by-election, while the Republicans wanted to know how they should behave in the clash between parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian and Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian. As for the Dashnaktsutyun party, it had “several issues” to raise with Kocharian. The paper says the coalition partners admit that they are no longer able to agree on even minor issues without Kocharian’s arbitration.
“Dashnaktsutyun representatives admit that lawlessness and illegalities are already strangling the country and that they do not want to bear responsibility for this widespread anarchy anymore,” it continues. If Kocharian fails to take appropriate action by mid-September Dashnaktsutyun will go public with a list of concrete demands to the president. “If our proposals again remain unheeded then Dashnaktsutyun will have to review the effectiveness of its place and role in the coalition and act accordingly,” one of the party’s leaders, Armen Rustamian, is quoted as saying.