“168 Zham” reports that Armenia’s largest film studio is set to be privatized by a company belonging to Gerard Cafesjian, a U.S. philanthropist of Armenian descent, and his local business partner, Bagrat Sargsian. “Everything was staged and the main director did nothing to put up a good performance,” the paper says bitingly. “Why bother when the spectators do not protest against poor acting.” The paper says the tender for the state-run Hayfilm studio is a mere formality, adding that the decision to sell it payment for the government’s $600,000 debt to Cafesjian was made last year.
“Golos Armenii” reports on the possible privatization of another public institution, the Armenian State Circus. The paper says its director, Sos Petrosian, is trying to acquire the circus under the guise of its proposed collective ownership by his employees. He has promised to invest $2 million. Another bid has been submitted by a brother of the oligarch Khachatur Sukiasian. Both bidders would like to build a hotel in the circus compound in central Yerevan.
“By imprisoning [Turkish scholar] Yektan Turkyilmaz the Armenian authorities would alienate numerous friends of our people and deliver a big present to those who deny the Armenian Genocide,” “168 Zham” says in a separate article. “Turkyilmaz did not kill anyone in the toilet of a famous Yerevan café, did not run over the mother of an infant girl. Nor did he beat up journalists under the noses of police officers. He simply took interest in the history of the Armenian people and in particular its old books. That, according to Armenian law-enforcement bodies, is a more serious sin than the above-mentioned crimes.” The paper goes on to argue that Turkyilmaz’s imprisonment would play into the hands of Ankara which would exploit it for its long-running denial of the genocide. “Instead of using Turkyilmaz’s presence in Armenia for propaganda purposes, our authorities arrested him,” it adds.
“Aravot” discusses apparent contradictions between the names and political agendas of some of Armenia’s leading political parties. “The Armenian Revolutionary Federation was revolutionary until 1998, when it was not in government. Today leaders of that party miss no opportunity to explain to the people a revolution’s damaging effects on the country and how important it is for the nation to maintain internal stability.” The paper says the former ruling Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh) also has an “obsolete” name. “That party is not pan-national at all at the moment.” Oligarch Gurgen Arsenian likewise chose a wrong name for his organization, the United Labor Party. The paper believes that it has nothing to do with labor or any “elements of socialism.”
“168 Zham” writes that if one is to believe a brochure published by the Mediamax news agency virtually all senior government officials in Armenia speak more than one foreign language. “For example, Minister for Local Government Hovik Abrahamian claims to speak the Russian, German and English languages. Environment Minister Vartan Ayvazian, customs chief Armen Avetisian, Transport Minister Andranik Manukian also claim to be fluent in English. The paper has serious doubts about the veracity of the claims.