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Press Review


Citing an “informed source in Los Angeles,” “168 Zham” claims that the chief of President Robert Kocharian’s staff, Artashes Tumanian, received several years ago a “green card” allowing him to live and work in the United States. “Tumanian has also acquired real property, including a house, [registered] in the name of his wife’s brother who lives in the USA,” says the paper.

“Aravot” reports that Armen Zalinian, the chief of Nagorno-Karabakh President Arkady Ghukasian’s staff, has stated that the authorities in Stepanakert plan to enact a constitution that will incorporate “all of our historical lands that are under Karabakh control” into unrecognized republic.

Interviewed by “Hayots Ashkhar, Garnik Isagulian, Kocharian’s national security aide, shrugs off the latest report on Karabakh released by the International Crisis Group. Isagulian questions the credibility of the influential global think-tank. “One must not give so much importance and value to the role of that organization,” he says. Isagulian goes on to allege that the ICG is biased against the Armenians and may be secretly funded by Azerbaijan.

“168 Zham” carries excerpts from an interview which it had with Armen Keshishian, the mayor of Nor Hajn arrested for murder, several months ago. “If am not a mafioso,” he said at the time. “You might remember that the president of the republic often says, ‘Learn from the Nor Hajn mayor how to work’. I am the only mayor about whom the president twice said on TV, ‘Photocopy that guy.’”

“Aravot” quotes Prime Minister Andranik Markarian as denying speculation that his government’s decision to start compensating some of the Armenians who lost their Soviet-era bank deposits during the early 1990s is a sort of vote bribe. “This has nothing to with vote buying because we decided that this will not take the form of a separate law but will be part of the [government] budget,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) is pushing one of its senior members, Labor Minister Aghvan Vartanian, to manage the “yes” campaign for next month’s constitutional referendum. “If Aghvan Vartanian becomes campaign manager and if the referendum is a success, that can drastically change the situation in the struggle for Kocharian’s succession,” speculates the paper.

“168 Zham” carries on its front page the photographs of two luxury cars belonging to the police chief of Yerevan’s Nubarashen district, Major Mher Avagian. The vehicles have identical license plates, “something which is banned by Armenian law.” The paper suggests that Avagian is allowed to flout the law because he is a protégé of Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian.

(Hrach Melkumian)
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