(Saturday, January 27)
“168 Zham” looks at the 15th anniversary of the formation of Armenia’s Armed Forces, a public holiday marked on Sunday. “Undoubtedly, the establishment of the army is our greatest achievement of the past 15 years,” writes the paper. “We now feel protected thanks to the army. True, our army is still rife with abuse, corruption. But the army is one of the few structures which citizens of Armenia are proud of.”
“Golos Armenii” asks Colonel-General Gurgen Dalibaltayan, President Robert Kocharian’s military adviser, whether the Armenian military has locally manufactured weapons in its arsenal. “There are relevant plants in Armenia,” says Dalibaltayan. “True, we buy the bulk of our weapons from Russia because that costs us less. Manufacturing [weapons] here is more expensive than importing them. But we can always produce light weapons, mortars and anything else apart from military hardware.”
“Aravot” pays to tribute to another prominent army general, Manvel Grigorian, saying that he made a great contribution to some of the Armenian victories during the Karabakh war. But, says the paper, that does not mean he deserves his general’s rank, post of deputy defense minister and “huge economic levers.” “Especially considering the fact that thousands of heroes like him have to beg for money,” it says, adding that Grigorian has become a “scourge” in his town of Echmiadzin and surrounding villages.
“Hayk” says that U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza met several Armenian opposition leaders on the sidelines of his latest visit to Yerevan with the two other co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. The paper says among those oppositionists were Vazgen Manukian and senior members of the opposition Orinats Yerkir, Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh) and Hanrapetutyun parties.
“Zhamanak Yerevan” says Deputy Defense Minister Artur Aghabekian’s impending resignation and return to the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) is a further indication that the Dashnaks have been offered the post of defense minister. The paper says in return for that they have promised to “play opposition” and secretly assist in Serzh Sarkisian’s presidential campaign.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” reports on the extensive business interests of Hrachya Harutiunian, deputy director of Armenia’s National Security Service. The paper says Harutiunian, better known as “Krakem Hrach,” has a big share in one of the construction companies building luxury housing in central Yerevan. “They say that he is constructing his buildings with the most expensive construction materials that are supplied in large quantities. Company workers do not complain: he pays them well. It remains to be clarified where gets that money from.”