“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” says it too was “offered” a copy of the secret recording of Artur Baghdasarian’s private meeting with a Yerevan-based British diplomat. “Not free of charge, of course. Only for $800,” clarifies the paper. “Some time later some parts of the wire-tapped conversation ended up on the pages of ‘Golos Armenii.’” The paper says those who demanded cash for the audio simply wanted to show that security agencies had no hand in the affair. “Also understandable is their desire to see the compromising material published by an opposition newspaper. That would have left the impression that Armenia’s special services have nothing to do with the whole thing.”
“But that part of the scenario failed,” continues “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.” “And so they had to turn to their papers.”
“Hayk” claims that “serious disagreements” have emerged among top leaders of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun). “One Dashnaktsutyun wing is unhappy with an agreement reached by Vahan Hovannisian and Robert Kocharian,” says the paper. “The thing is that Hovannisian has told fellow party members to content themselves with 10 percent [of the vote] offered to them, which has angered a considerable part of Dashnaktsutyun. Now Hovannisian has been instructed to hold negotiations with Kocharian and raise the promised 10 percent to 15 percent.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” takes a close look at one of Dashnaktsutyun’s election candidates, the recently retired General Artur Aghabekian, saying that he has turned out to be a “big farmer.” According to his income declaration filed with the Central Election Commission, he owns four plots of agricultural land in the central Kotayk region. “In 2006, he earned 54 million drams ($150,000) from sales of agricultural produce. It probably wouldn’t hurt if the former deputy minister [of defense] explained to villagers how he managed to grow and sell that much produce while performing his [vice-ministerial] duties.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” jokes that the U.S. State Department was wrong to accuse Armenia of occupying Nagorno-Karabakh in its last human rights report because the reality is just the opposite. The paper predicts jokingly that the report may be again corrected to state that it is Karabakh that has occupied Armenia.