“Zhamanak Yerevan” carries an interview with Russian-Armenian businessman Arkady Vartanian, who was arrested in 2002 and eventually expelled from Armenia after attempting to topple its government with street demonstrations. Vartanian contends that only an “educated, renowned and respected” individual like Levon Ter-Petrosian deserves to be Armenia’s next president. “If Serzh Sarkisian is elected [president] the destruction of our country will continue at a higher pace,” he claims. “The state will finally lose its sovereignty. If, God forbid, Serzh is elected, the people will be saying a year later, ‘It’s a pity Robert Kocharian is no longer in power.’”
Asked whether he would like to return to Armenia, Vartanian replies, “Every second I dream about seeing my homeland. But the criminal case [against Vartanian] is still open. They are waiting for me to come back.”
“Aravot” quotes drivers of a minibus service route in Yerevan as saying that they were unable to work for several days late last month after being visited and threatened by security guards of Samvel Aleksanian, a government-connected businessman who enjoys a de facto on lucrative imports of key commodities to Armenia. They say that Aleksanian, better known as Lfik Samo, wants to wrest control of the service from its current owner, who is a prominent veteran of the war in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Interviewed by “Hayots Ashkhar,” Khachik Stamboltsian, a former member of Armenia’s first post-Communist parliament, claims that Ter-Petrosian had duped a former head of the Soviet Armenian branch of the KGB, Marius Yuzbashian, into revealing in 1992 that the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) had secretly collaborated with the Soviet secret police in the 1970s and 1980s. Stamboltsian says then Yerevan Mayor Hambartsum Galstian told him a few months later that Yuzbashian agreed to make the revelation in a newspaper article after being promised a senior government post by Ter-Petrosian. Galstian is said to have claimed that Ter-Petrosian failed to make good on the pledge and that he had no choice but to appoint Yuzbashian as his adviser. Both Galstian and Yuzbashian were subsequently murdered in mysterious circumstances.