“Hayots Ashkhar” strongly criticizes Samvel Karapetian, a Russian-Armenian millionaire businessman with close ties to Armenia’s leadership, for presenting apartments and expensive cars to a host of Armenian pop singers during an annual concert organized by him in Moscow at the weekend. “The phenomenon is ugly,” comments the pro-establishment paper. “In our country, where the socioeconomic situation is not good, to put it mildly, there are many families that live in dire conditions.” They are in much greater need of decent housing that the well-to-do pop stars, it says. “With the money spent on those gifts, one could have solved social problems of several villages,” argues the paper.
“Zhamanak” also attacks Karapetian, whose brother Karen is President Serzh Sarkisian’s chief of staff, saying that the Armenian society has been shocked by his largesse, which the paper says “does not fit into the framework of human reasonableness.” “And within that framework a very important question related to Armenian tycoons arises,” it says. “What does being a contemporary Armenian millionaire or billionaire mean? What value system guides those people? What is wealth for them? An opportunity to drink a toast for the Armenian nation with the most expensive beverage or a means for satisfying their vanity and personal ambitions?”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” comments on former President Robert Kocharian’s decision to sue yet another newspaper, “Hraparak.” The paper says Kocharian’s libel suits leave no doubts about the purpose of last year’s legal amendments that significantly toughened punishment for defamation of character. “Ant it’s only natural that the author of those changes, Karen Andreasian, was appointed as human rights ombudsman [last month,]” it says.
“Yerkir” reports that a group of intellectuals sympathetic to the opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage) party began on April 2 a permanent silent protest in Yerevan’s Liberty Square. “Every day, three of them take turns in holding a silent sit-in and hunger strike against, as they put it, the decline of public values and morality,” says the paper. It links this action with Zharangutyun’s ongoing political activities.
“The thing is that like [Zharangutyun leader Raffi] Hovannisian, the intellectuals are not presenting any concrete demands,” continues “Yerkir.” “They are not clarifying which vices, practices and ills they are fighting against. Their demand is so general that it could practically mean anything and nothing. By failing to bring clarity into those issues, they also rid themselves of the duty to propose ways out of the existing situation or at least initiate public debates on them.”