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Press Review


“Aravot” calls for a mass confiscation of weapons in the Syunik province following the weekend high-profile killing there widely linked with the controversial regional governor, Suren Khachatrian. The paper says that Khachatrian has been allowed to run Syunik with impunity in return for ensuring “Soviet-style” election results for President Serzh Sarkisian and his Republican Party of Armenia. “The governor is a government-appointed official,” it says in an editorial. “He is not an elected deputy who has the right to give up his mandate at any time. He cannot declare at will that he will not temporarily perform his duties. He must either tender his resignation or be sacked by his superiors.”

“When Syunik Governor Surik Khachatrian, [former] Gyumri Mayor Vartan Ghukasian, Football Federation Chairman Ruben Hayrapetian and their cliques operated in a lawless mode did they realize that they are creating a ‘stale atmosphere’ in the country?” “Hraparak” asks with irony, using a phrase that was recently uttered by President Sarkisian. “But maybe that atmosphere has been created by journalists daring to write about heroic actions of these men … When the country’s president criticizes journalists, accuses them of creating a gloomy atmosphere and presenting things in darks colors and contributing to emigration and decline, instead of scolding criminals hiding behind [ruling] Republican Party badges, what should we journalists to do stop ‘Liska’ [Khachatrian] from shooting, ‘Nemets’ [Hayrapetian] from swearing and ‘Vartanik’ [Ghukasian] from enslaving people?”

“An armed gang has been operating in Syunik province for more than ten years,” writes “Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun.” “It comprises the governor’s relatives and bodyguards and is most probably led by Suren Khachatrian. In the last ten years there have been 800 Armenian media reports on crimes committed by that gang … Serzh Sarkisian was definitely well aware that his beloved province was in the claws of the armed gang but still appointed the ringleader as governor and gave him various medals from time to time.”

“The latest scandal involving ‘Liska’ (Suren Khachatrian) is a problem for Serzh Sarkisian and he has solved it,” writes “Zhamanak.” “But that is only a microsolution that will hardly be useful to anyone except Serzh Sarkisian. Perhaps the people of Syunik will draw some comfort from the fact that the monstrous governor is gone.” The paper believes that Sarkisian must now take “preemptive measures” to avert similar killings in other parts of Armenia. As things stand down, it says, most Armenians think that the president has until done only publicity stunts that had little bearing on justice and the rule of law.

“Hayots Ashkhar” believes that the fatal shooting outside Khachatrian’s villa in Goris was inevitable. The pro-presidential paper warns that the appointment of individuals like Khachatrian to senior government would only result in more such “shocks.”

(Tigran Avetisian)
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