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Press Review


“Haykakan Zhamanak” laments what it calls a deepening “crisis of political leadership” in Armenia. “Leaders [of political parties] active in our political arena today have nothing to say to the public,” say the paper.

In an interview with “Aravot,” Azat Arshakian, a former parliament deputy and Soviet-era dissident, questions the wisdom of the Armenian opposition’s decision to fully or partially end its boycott of parliament. Arshakian argues that none of the opposition demands that led to the boycott has been met by the authorities. He says this fact suggests that “they have failed as politicians.” “Generally speaking, he who fails must go. Armenia does not need a failed government. It does not need a failed opposition either,” concludes Arshakian.

“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the Armenian parliament is likely to hold an extraordinary session later this month to amend the country’s law on referendum. “Of course, those will not be the kind of changes dreamed by the opposition and proposed by the Constitutional Court on April 13, 2003,” says the paper. “Changes in the law on referendum are needed for holding the November constitutional referendum.”

“Haykakan Zhamanak” also quotes Dashnaktsutyun leader Armen Rustamian as warning the opposition against “escalating the situation” to a point where the authorities will be forced to delay the referendum. “As a consequence of that, the existing [political] system would reproduce itself for many years to come,” he says.

“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” informs readers that businessman Gagik Tsarukian, one of Armenia’s richest men close to the government, is a “longtime friend of Yerevan State Medical University.” “Not because his older daughter Roza studies there, but because the Tsarukian family considers medicine to be the most humanistic profession that requires a lot of knowledge,” explains the government-controlled daily. “Visiting the Medical University yesterday, Gagik Tsarukian presented its rector, National Academy member Vilen Hakobian, with a car and pledged to donate 10 million drams ($22,000) to its student council every year.” Tsarukian was awarded the university’s “honorary diploma” in return for his “patriotic work.”

The “Taregir” online publication reports that campaigning for Armenian local elections has affected even students of secondary schools. “Children, do you know who has repaired our school? The community prefect,” it quotes a school principal in Yerevan as telling students. “And do you know who paved the street leading to the school? The community prefect. Do you know who lit this street? Do you know who cleans up the area surrounding the school? The community prefect.”

(Hrach Melkumian)
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