(Saturday, August 13)
Armenian government officials’ suspicious claims they are fluent in foreign languages draw a critical comment from “Aravot.” The paper singles out Minister for Local Government Hovik Abrahamian (who claims to speak English and German in a booklet published by the Mediamax news agency) for attack. It says that Abrahamian’s official biography says nothing about the long period between his demobilization from the Soviet army and 1991. “The super-minister probably didn’t wish to recall who he was before the [anti-Communist] revolution.”
“Aravot” reports that the prefect of Yerevan’s Arabkir district, Levon Harutiunian, has surprised many by tendering his resignation earlier in the week. Harutiunian is quoted by the paper as saying that he will not run in the local election scheduled for September 25. Unlike Harutiunian, the prefect of another Yerevan district, Nubarashen, will seek reelection in the upcoming local poll. The official, Robert Asatrian is allegedly trying to woo local voters by financing, among other things, the funerals of their relatives. His main rival is a local businessman linked to oligarch Gagik Tsarukian. He is also said to be resorting to vote bribes.
“Golos Armenii” expresses concern at the Armenian government’s reported plans to privatize the country’s largest concert hall and sports arena. Murad Muradian, an Armenian-born businessman who owns a large construction company in Moscow, has offered President Robert Kocharian to buy the huge facility for $6 million. The paper is skeptical about his claims that he will not remodel the Tsitserkanabert Complex into something different in the event of privatizing it.