“Zhamanak Yerevan” reports that a criminal investigation into a Russian-Armenian kidnapping ring allegedly led by Samvel Hovannisian, the arrested former chief of Armenia’s prisons, is still going on. The paper says Hovannisian’s former subordinates are highly critical of his track, claiming privately that he engaged in criminal activities even before losing his job. “As for this criminal case, it was opened because of Russian special services. The latter had long been wiretapping Samvel Hovannisian’s phone conversations relating to kidnappings. The recordings are now used by [Armenian] investigators.”
“Former colleagues [of Hovannisian] note that the only thing that prevents the case from being completed and sent to court is the factor of Yerevan Mayor Yervand Zakharian who is trying hard to help his in-law,” adds “Zhamanak Yerevan.” “Zakharian’s daughter is married to Hovannisian’s son. But judging from rumors, it won’t be quite easy [for Zakharian.]”
In a separate report, “Zhamanak Yerevan” says that Ishkhan Zakarian, a deputy parliament speaker affiliated with the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), is tipped to become the new head of the National Assembly’s Audit Chamber. The paper says the Republican Party would not be thrilled to see a BHK member take over a body that was given new powers by the 2005 constitutional reform. But, it says, the Republicans can not fail to reckon with the fact that Zakarian is close to President Robert Kocharian.
“Hayots Ashkhar” compares plans by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) to choose its presidential candidate from among two leaders, Armen Rustamian and Vahan Hovannisian, to U.S. primaries.
“Dashnaktsutyun’s stance has clearly begun to unnerve the Republicans,” writes “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.” “They don’t like the fact that the Dashnaks are enjoying all government perks but are not only refusing responsibility [for government policies] but stinging the Republicans from time to time for enjoying the same perks. Note that the Republicans are not alone in their honest anger.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” looks at the long-standing feud between Levon Ter-Petrosian and Vazgen Manukian, Armenia’s first post-Communist leaders, which it says is down to their ideological differences and mutual dislike. “Manukian has the right to believe that he is no worse that the first president of the Republic of Armenia in terms of personal qualities and would have done a better job of developing the country,” writes the paper. It says this is not true for current and former members of Manukian’s entourage. Their personal grudge against Ter-Petrosian is totally unfounded, according to “Haykakan Zhamanak.”