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“Zhamanak” says that this week’s parliamentary and other public discussions of a controversial government plan to compensate soldiers killed or gravely wounded in action placed Armenia’s existing “criminal-oligarchic system” under spotlight. “Responding to the government initiative, the public began pinpointing the massive fortunes made by a number of current and former high-ranking officials of civilian and military structures,” writes the paper. “The government’s response can be summed up as follows: ‘Of course, there have been such practices and the public is right to point to them, but there is now way of … returning what was embezzled from the state and the public to the state and the public in the foreseeable future. Thus, we can conclude that just a few months before the parliamentary elections the authorities are giving the criminal-oligarchic system a guarantee of immunity at a fairly high level.”

“Haykakan Zhamanak” notes in this regard that heads of four Armenian Defense Ministry divisions were sacked following last April’s hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh that led to a greater public scrutiny of corruption in the armed forces. The Armenian military has also demonstrated new weapons and built new fortifications around Nagorno-Karabakh since then. “At the same time, everyone forgot about corrupt government officials and army generals plundering the state budget as well as their mansions and luxury cars and returned to business as usual,” says the paper. It says opposition members and media remembered them after the government came up with the compensation scheme last week. “But everything will again be forgotten next week,” it adds grimly.

“Hraparak” continues to criticize the compensation scheme. The paper insists that the government should work out a different mechanism for military payouts.

“168 Zham” is disappointed with the intellectual “level” of the three-day parliamentary debate on the controversial government bill. “It is well below all bars,” complains the paper.

(Tigran Avetisian)

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