“Hayots Ashkhar” says Armenia has learned few lessons from the December 7, 1988 earthquake that killed more than 25,000 of its citizens. The paper quotes the deputy head of the National Seismic Protection Service, Artur Manukian, as saying that Armenian law is too lenient towards construction firms and private individuals violating the minimum standards for seismic safety. He says many of the new buildings are constructed in breach of those rules.
“That horrible disaster did not become a lesson for us,” concedes “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “Those who designed buildings [in Soviet times] continue to design buildings.” The paper alleges widespread corruption in the government oversight of the construction sector. “Earthquakes do not care about documents and legal acts,” it says.
“Iravunk” says that all three regimes that have ruled Armenia since 1988 have engaged in a large-scale embezzlement of public resources that were meant for the reconstruction of the country’s northern regions devastated by the disaster.
Turning to current affairs, “Iravunk” says a victory by Ukraine’s pro-Western opposition forces would definitely have repercussions for the political situation in Armenia. “Forces sympathetic to the United States would become much more active,” writes the paper, adding that those forces could trigger high-level defections from the government camp.
“Aravot” says the intra-government dispute over how to elect Armenia’s next parliament is “pointless.” “The electoral system can not ensure the democratic nature of elections, the development of the political system or an increase or decrease of parliament’s role,” it argues. The proportional or majoritarian [system] does not matter here. What matters is the government’s mentality.” The paper believes that Armenia will have no free elections as long as its rulers find it unthinkable to lose power just because the majority of voters wish so. “The people’s mentality also matters,” it adds. Armenians must stop regarding their government leaders as kings or other feudal rulers.
Hamlet Tamazian, a parliament deputy from the non-partisan People’s Deputy group, lashes out at Armenia’s coalition government in an interview with “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “That so-called coalition is an artificial structure and every step taken by it proved that such a structure can not last for long,” he says. “The only effectively political tool in this country is blackmail. By blackmailing and pointing fingers at each other, the coalition parties are polluting the entire political arena.” Tamazian urges President Robert Kocharian to “intervene in this situation” by dissolving the National Assembly, calling fresh elections and forming a new government. “In my opinion, the president will dissolve the parliament next spring at the latest,” he concludes.