(Saturday, December 1)
Armenia’s ex-foreign minister Alexander Arzumanian, who heads the central headquarters of the civil initiatives to nominate ex-president Levon Ter-Petrosian as a presidential candidate, tells “168 Zham” he has had no contact with investigators probing the money laundering charges against since he was released from pre-trial detention on bail. “As far as I am informed, no action was conducted in the Russian Federation either. Seeing that they cannot fabricate a case, they simply want to consign it to oblivion,” Arzumanian says, adding, though, that his confinement to the city boundaries while the investigation is in progress is a constraining factor for him. “Perhaps it is a form of putting pressure. But sooner or later not only the case will have to be closed, but those who ordered it will have to be punished.”
The same paper writes on businessman Hrant Vartanian’s statement in support of Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian’s candidacy in next year’s presidential election: “It is strange because Vartanian has always had a reputation of a pro-Dashnak businessman and one of his sons is currently a member of the Dashnaktsutyun party’s parliamentary faction.” “168 Zham”, then, carries the conflicting statements made by Vartanian while attending Dashnaktsutyun’s assembly on Friday where he once again declared his support for Serzh Sarkisian. “I will give my vote to Serzh Sarkisian. But I have always been and will always be a supporter of Dashnaktsutyun.” “If Dashnaktsutyun had Serzh Sarkisian, I would again support Serzh Sarkisian.” To the paper’s question whether he agreed with Levon Ter-Petrosian’s assessment that businessmen in Armenia are victims of the authorities today, Vartanian said: “I think that if a businessman shows an honest approach to the country’s budget, he cannot be anyone’s victim – neither of the current, former, nor future authorities.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” also talked to Hrant Vartanian. To the paper’s request to enumerate the merits that Serzh Sarkisian has and for which the businessman support him, Vartanian said: “[I support him] for the mere reason that I do not see a leader with a greater potential today.” As to what he dislikes about Dashnaktsutyun’s candidate, Vartanian said: “Simply Vahan Hovannisian is very good. He is very positive, very organized. He wouldn’t be a bad governor of this country, but he doesn’t have as much experience as Serzh Sarkisian.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” writes that in recent days Armenia’s police have had to show active assistance to National Accord Party (AMK) leader Artashes Geghamian in controlling his own party. In particular, AMK members suspected of dissent have been invited to police departments throughout the republic and policemen warned them not to dare leave Geghamian’s party. One of the AMK members brought to a police precinct was so surprised at the situation that he said to the policeman that was giving him a talk: “I can’t make it out – do you now want Serzh Sarkisian or Artashes Geghamian to become president?” The police officer, according to the paper, was so baffled by the question that he could not give an answer to it.