“Zhoghovurd” condemns as a “disgrace” and an “example of classical corruption” the Armenian government’s decision to again privatize Yerevan’s Hamalir sports and concert arena. The paper claims that $30 million paid for the sprawling facility by an obscure private firm registered in Yerevan last month is only a fraction of its real market value. It says the deal will therefore fuel speculation that President Serzh Sarkisian has personally benefited from Hamalir’s privatization.
“Hraparak” dismisses government claims that a parliamentary system of government would speed up Armenia’s democratization. The paper believes that a type of the government system does really not matter in the absence of government transparency and accountability. It says that President Sarkisian’s holidays spent abroad are a case in point. “Nobody knows where the president of the republic is and what he is doing right now,” it says. The paper also criticizes the Hamalir deal, saying that the government decided to sell it without any prior consultations with the public.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” is skeptical about renewed government claims that the ambitious project to build a railway connecting Armenia to Iran may finally get off the drawing board. The paper argues that as recently as two months ago the powerful chief of Russia’s state-run rail network, Vladimir Yakunin, indicated that the $3 billion project is very unrealistic. It says that the project’s implementation could be further hampered Iran’s reported interest in having a rail link with Azerbaijan.
“Aravot” is bewildered by the “hasty” first trial of Valery Permyakov, the Russian soldier accused of murdering the Avetisian family in Gyumri in January. “A trial on any other criminal case of this scale would have lasted for several months,” writes the paper. It says that a more “meticulous” trial could have shed more light on the killings. It also describes as “extremely weird” Permyakov’s visible serenity during the trial.