(Saturday, January 13)
“The Armenian authorities are today faced with a very serious dilemma,” writes “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.” “On the one hand, they have to ensure their reproduction so that Serzh Sarkisian can become president in 2008 and thereby guarantee the Kocharian family a prosperous future. On the other, the public is absolutely disgusted with the authorities and will in no case agree to replace one leader of the criminal clan with another.” In these circumstances, says the paper, all Sarkisian can do is to “try to convince the public that during Kocharian’s rule Armenia has indeed gotten mired in corruption” but that he has managed to keep the Armenian military immune to graft.
“Zhamanak Yerevan” condemns the three-and-a-half year jail sentence handed to its editor Arman Babajanian by Armenia’s Court of Appeals on Friday. The paper notes that the former mayor of the town of Nor Hajn received recently exactly the same punishment for shooting to death a man in broad daylight. It also reminds readers that one of Kocharian’s bodyguards who was convicted of murdering a man in a Yerevan café never went to prison.
“Hayk” says that the governor of the central Aragatsotn region, Gabriel Gyozalian, has instructed local village chiefs to campaign for his Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Citing “well-informed sources,” the paper claims that Gyozalian wants them to make sure that Dashnaktsutyun gets at least 30 percent of the vote in their respective constituencies. “Also conducting similar ‘explanatory work’ with village chiefs is the Republican deputy governor of Aragatsotn, Sarkis Sahakian. The latter is offering to solve village problems relating to medical facilities, water supplies or gasification with the help of Prime Minister Andranik Markarian. In return, the deputy governor is demanding from them to ensure that the Republican Party wins at least 50 percent of the vote in their communities.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” alleges that Armen Khachatrian, a former parliament speaker who now serves as Armenia’s ambassador to Ukraine, is illegally selling special license plates designed for Armenian embassy cars in Kiev. “In all likelihood, the ambassador has decided to do favors to his Ukrainian brotherhood,” says the paper.