“Iravunk” resumes its publication under a new editorial team representing one of the rival factions in the opposition Union for Constitutional Rights (SIM). The faction led by the SIM’s recently deposed chairman Hrant Khachatrian regained control of the party’s headquarters and the paper’s offices with the help of law-enforcement officials this week. In a message to “Iravunk” readers, Khachatrian pledges to carry on with the paper’s traditional news coverage that has always been critical of the Armenian authorities.
“Hayk” reports that President Robert Kocharian has held a “secret” meeting with Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian and businessman Gagik Tsarukian to discuss the “difficult” political situation in Armenia. “Kocharian urged Tsarukian to stop swelling his [Prosperous Armenia] party’s ranks at the expense of [Sarkisian’s] Republicans,” says the paper. “Furthermore, he offered Sarkisian and Tsarukian to ensure that all those who want to become deputies must transfer the same amount of money to the bank accounts of both parties … Kocharian’s order, to put it mildly, saddened Tsarukian, but he has no other choice but to obey the order.” The paper says Tsarukian is also forced to include a number of other famous entrepreneurs on his electoral list.
“The introduction of dual citizenship is threatening to split Armenia,” writes “Zhamanak Yerevan.” “As a result, the Armenia-based section of Armenia’s population will live, work, create and think in one value system, while the other citizens of Armenia will live, work, create and think in a totally different value system. So it may well be that dual citizenship will not unite but alienate the two sections of our nation from one another. Pretty much along the lines of what happened after Robert Kocharian moved to Armenia, when negative attitudes towards the man holding the post of president extended to all people of Karabakh.”
“Aravot” resents the prospect of General Seyran Saroyan becoming a member of Armenia’s parliament. Just because Saroyan is a war hero does not mean that he can write and adopt laws, the paper says. “A parliament mandate is not a medal for bravery. Being a deputy is a serious intellectual job, from which General Seyran is as far away as his native village is from Capitol Hill.” It says that for generals and oligarchs like Saroyan membership of the National Assembly is not only an additional safeguard for their businesses but a badge of prestige.