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Press Review


“Haykakan Zhamanak” describes as “historic” the list of dignitaries that were due to attend Tuesday’s inauguration of a new church built by businessman Gagik Tsarukian in the town of Abovian. The paper says that the guests, among them President Serzh Sarkisian and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko, will also inaugurate a big casino owned by Tsarukian. The paper sarcastically refers to the tycoon as a “future opposition leader.”

“Did anybody ever imagine that an Armenian opposition leader could have extremely profitable businesses, including casinos?” asks “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “Did anybody ever imagine that the country’s largest casino could belong to an Armenian opposition leader?”

“Zhoghovurd” says the church ceremony is meant to “display the extent of Gagik Tsarukian’s political and business weight.” “Especially now, in the wake of suffering a disgraceful defeat in Yerevan’s municipal elections and enduring the humiliating loss of the post of minister of sports in the government, Tsarukian needs to do something at today’s inauguration that would mark a turning point in the country’s political life,” writes the paper. “Maybe that is the reason why he invited all three presidents of Armenia -- Levon Ter-Petrosian, Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian -- to the church opening.”

“168 Zham” notes that Lukashenko, the leader of “one of the most dictatorial post-Soviet countries,” is visiting Armenia in the wake of major elections which the authorities in Yerevan say marked a further step towards democratization and European integration. “Official press releases and television images are giving the impression that in fact Lukashenko is BHK leader Gagik Tsarukian’s guest who gave his visit an official status in order to participate at the opening of the latter’s church,” says the paper. “This is a very important nuance in the case of a party leader who is said to be almost persecuted by the authorities and can become a radical oppositionist.”

“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” reports on “extraordinary” farmer protests that followed a powerful hailstorm that destroyed crops in dozens of villages in southern Armenia. “That means thousands of villagers were sure that the government would willingly take no steps and would at best compensate a few of them after months of delay,” comments the paper. “And so they decided to immediately take resolute actions without wasting time.”

(Tigran Avetisian)
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