“Within the regime there are impunity-driven figures who are allowed to do anything, safe in the knowledge that their services will be needed by all authorities,” “Aravot” writes in an editorial on the Armenian authorities’ decision not to prosecute Syunik Governor Surik Khachatrian for assaulting a woman. “As compensation, they get a free rein on everything, ranging from illegal privileges in business to minor social manifestations. For example, they have the right to drive along highways with their bodyguards in a way that makes it impossible for others to overtake them. And if someone dares to do that, they will be brutally punished by the same bodyguards.”
“Yerkir” ridicules the authorities’ explanation that the assault cannot be deemed a beating because Khachatrian hit businesswoman Silva Hambardzumian only once. “How many punches should Surik Khachatrian have landed in order to be considered a crime offender?” it asks before accusing the authorities of failing to enforce the Criminal Code.
“Zhamanak” says that it is the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), rather than the Armenian National Congress (HAK) or any other opposition group, that will be President Serzh Sarkisian’s main “headache” in the forthcoming parliamentary elections. “The BHK is increasingly finding itself in between the authorities and the opposition,” says the paper. “In that sense, [BHK leader] Gagik Tsarukian’s role is becoming quite pivotal because the outcome of the government-opposition confrontation … could be conditioned in large measure by the position to be adopted by Prosperous Armenia.”
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” denounces the construction of a luxury hotel in Gyumri owned by the city’s mayor, Vartan Ghukasian. “Of course, Gyumri should definitely have an expensive hotel,” says the paper. “Vartan Ghukasian is right on this issue. But the owner of that hotel should not necessarily be the mayor. This is a bit fishy. The Gyumri mayor is a state official. He [supposedly] lives only on his salary but somehow manages to build a hotel worth several million dollars. Besides, he has another hobby. He likes talking about how the former authorities [led by Levon Ter-Petrosian] plundered Gyumri.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports on recent years’ sharp rise in the price of lamb in Armenia. The paper says the main reason for it is “huge exports” of sheep to neighboring Iran. “According to official statistics, 76,000 sheep were exported from Armenia to Iran in the first nine months of this year, up from 65,000 in the same period last year,” it says.