A member of the Armenian parliament, Gurgen Yeghiazarian, rebukes President Kocharian for taking no steps to stop what he sees as a strengthening of the former ruling HHSh and its allies. Yeghiazarian, who is one of the most outspoken critics of the country's former leadership, claims that the HHSh and ex-president Levon Ter-Petrosian are intent on seizing power, using money "plundered" from the people during their eight-year rule.
"Aravot" ridicules the growing political ambitions of Ara Abrahamian, the wealthy leader of Russia's Armenian community, comparing him to Arkady Vartanian, another Moscow-based millionaire who campaigned against the authorities in Yerevan last year. The paper says that once people like Abrahamian and Vartanian become rich they begin thinking that "they are outstanding statesmen obliged to salvage their remote but very beloved homeland." Abrahamian, who claims to have met with Heydar Aliev in New York last month, is now "frantically" seeking a role in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. His moral and perhaps material support for Kocharian may not last very long as Abrahamian might eventually decide that he too deserves to rule Armenia.
"Azg" reports on the "hysterical" reaction of the Turkish and Azerbaijani media to the European Parliament's reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide. The paper says they lose sight of "pro-Turkish and pro-Azerbaijani provisions" in the text of the Europarliament resolution adopted on February 28. One of those provisions urges the Armenian side to "refrain from all measures in the occupied Azeri territories that might be interpreted as aiming at making Armenian control permanent."
Transport and Communications Minister Andranik Manukian tells "Hayots Ashkhar" that the government will go to court later this month to try to prove its fraud accusations against ArmenTel. He claims that the total damage inflicted on the country stands at more than $22 million. Manukian says ArmenTel's continuing silence adds to the credibility of the government's accusations.
"Hayots Ashkhar" reports that fraud charges have also been leveled against several senior executives of the Adana bank and Ardshinbank which announced their merger last week. The former head of the Ardshinbank branch in central Yerevan, Gagik Stepanian, is still on the run.
"Haykakan Zhamanak" claims that Stepanian has spoken with some of his colleagues by phone, telling them that he fled Armenia because of a fear for his life and will return only after getting personal security guarantees.