“That the parliament has long been a cheap snack bar where the main ‘legislative’ activity of deputies is to pick and tell on each other is no surprise to anyone anymore,” writes “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “But what happened in the parliament yesterday surprised even those who have long lost the ability to be surprised with any manifestation of political behavior by our statesmen.” The paper refers to an angry verbal exchange between independent deputy Hakob Hakobian and the deputy chairman of the Orinats Yerkir Party, Mher Shahgeldian.
The weekly “168 Zham” lays the blame on Orinats Yerkir, saying that the party led by parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian vilifies anyone who questions its track record and integrity. The paper says Orinats Yerkir’s smear campaigns are no longer taken seriously by other political forces.
“168 Zham” quotes the police chief of Yerevan’s central administrative district, Hovannes Tamamian, as saying that he deserves to own and does have at least two expensive villas in the resort town of Tsaghkadzor. Tamamian, who reportedly committed gross human rights violations during last spring’s opposition demonstrations, says bluntly that he is no worse than the government-connected tycoons whose extravagant lifestyle periodically comes under public spotlight. “I have not two but four [villas]. You understand?” he says. “How many parties do you have in Armenia? Why don’t you count them in place of my houses?”
Tamamian is also very critical of the Armenian opposition, saying that its leaders are only longing for power. “I know well all of them. I’ve worked with all of them and personally hold all of them under control. I know their abilities and shortcomings, what they have and don’t have.” Tamamian alleges in particular that Artashes Geghamian embezzled public funds when he ran a district in Yerevan in Soviet times.
“Golos Armenii” says that senior government officials in Armenia are appointed solely on the basis of their “partisan or clan affiliation.” This mechanism regularly breaks down, exposing its inherent flaws. “But in spite of that, the country’s leadership is not even attempting to rethink the principles of its cadre ideology.” The paper draws readers’ attention to the controversial staffing of Culture Minister Hovik Hoveyan who got the job just days after joining Orinats Yerkir.
“Aravot” believes that Armenia’s rulers lack the resources and international independence to follow in the steps of their increasingly authoritarian counterparts in Russia and Belarus. Still, they are trying to emulate Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Belarus’ Aleksandr Lukashenko. The paper notes sarcastically that the idea of Armenia’s accession to the Russia-Belarus may again be gaining urgency.