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Press Review


Commenting on the scandalous resignation of Yerevan Mayor Gagik Beglarian, “Aravot” says it wishes the matter had been solved in “a legal, rather than administrative, way.” The paper says Aram Kandayan, the presidential administration official allegedly beaten by Beglarian, should have reported the incident to the police. “The fact that the presumptive victim did not make such a report automatically shifted the matter on to the field of palace intrigues where it found a solution,” it says in an editorial. “That is the most effective way [of doing things] in Armenia.”

“Aravot” also says the authorities should be consistent and punish other state officials resorting to violence. For instance, it says, the mayor of Echmiadzin too beat up a man recently but, unlike Beglarian, was never punished for that. In this and other cases, the culprits were not held accountable because their “victims were not from the presidential protocol unit,” concludes the paper.

“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” says that by ousting Beglarian President Serzh Sarkisian is eliminating “his chances of scoring a crushing victory in any election in central Yerevan.” “Why? Because everyone knows that it is Beglarian who organized mass ballot stuffing in Serzh Sarkisian’s favor, bringing the latter to power at the expense of a heavy blow to his reputation,” writes the pro-opposition daily. “Gagik Beglarian has been Serzh Sarkisian’s power base, his friend and comrade-in-arms, a mayor guided by him.”

“The fact that in our country a scandal is caused not by the work-related failure of an official, their corruption or professional incompetence but score settling is a big disgrace,” writes “Hraparak.” “This means that every single person in our country has a mindset of street thugs.”

“Hayots Ashkhar” points out that Beglarian is the first high-ranking Armenian official to lose his job because of “unacceptable conduct.” Such incidents have been covered up or disregarded by the authorities so far, says the pro-government paper. “It is because of this publicized or unpublicized circumstances that many consider the Yerevan mayor’s resignation a somewhat unexpected outcome,” it says.

“Regardless of everything, what happened will have a restraining influence on other rulers and officials who consider themselves omnipotent,” editorializes “168 Zham.” “One can only hope that one day the authorities in Armenia will defend not only state institutions and their employees but also ordinary citizens, many of whom endure even more impudent violence.”

“Azg” believes that the scandal resulting in Beglarian’s removal was not accidental. “The lack of education, intellect and proper upbringing among many of our officials often gets them in unexpected or unpredictable situations in the wrong way,” says the paper. It says they often forget that they are representatives of the state, rather than leaders of street gangs.

“Such behavior is one of the vulnerable characteristics of our state governance system,” writes “Yerkir.” “It is characteristic of virtually all levels and areas of governance. And that is an indicator of government accountability and responsibility.”

(Tigran Avetisian)
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