In an obituary published in “Haykakan Zhamanak,” friends of a senior Defense Ministry official gunned down in this week ambush attack in Yerevan decry “the atmosphere of guaranteed impunity” which they say is reigning in Armenia. They say it is having “destructive consequences” for the country and its future.
But as a parliament deputy from the governing Republican Party (HHK) tells “Haykakan Zhamanak,” such killings are not commonplace and can not destabilize the situation in Armenia. “If we compare ourselves to other countries, we must frankly admit that the situation with crime is better in Armenia,” Vazgen Khachikian says.
“What happened could be expected,” former Interior Minister Suren Abrahamian tells “Ayb-Fe.” “I attribute this atmosphere to the ongoing political and social processes as well as the [authorities’] failure to control the situation inside the interior ministry. That entire system is now busy fabricating cases against the opposition, while the crime environment is left without any attention.” Abrahamian also claims that criminal elements have become the Armenian authorities’ “main instrument” of winning elections.
“Hayots Ashkhar” also sees a “spontaneous growth in illegality, corruption and a clash of clan interests and underworld leaders.” What Armenia needs now, the paper says, is a “dictatorship of law.” This is vital for maintaining political stability in the country.
The chief of President Robert Kocharian’s staff, Artashes Tumanian, emphasizes the opposition’s “restraining role” in an interview with “Aravot.” Tumanian says the absence of a political opposition in a country inevitably provokes rifts inside its leadership. He further notes that joint documents drafted by the three coalition parties should not be considered a “program” because the new government can not plan anything for the long term. External and internal factors will force it to make important decisions at a short notice, according to Tumanian. “Our region has become more interesting more international forces than it probably was some time ago…We live in a ‘hot’ region. That means external political forces take an interest in our internal political processes.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” says the expected 25 to 30 percent increase in the retail price of natural gas could cause a “chain of reaction” of other price hikes.
“Golos Armenii” blames them on the thriving economic monopolies. “Nobody, no organization has raised its voice in support of the population. Nobody asks the simple question: Where are the people going to pay from? How are they going to survive?” All of this makes nonsense of the new government’s promises to pursue “socially oriented” policies and reduce poverty.
“Ayb-Fe” claims that a private taxi service belonging to parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian is expanding its operations by significantly increasing its fleet of brand new, Russian-made cars. “According to our information, Artur Baghdasarian will report to all deceived bank depositors of Armenia (a major target of his Orinats Yerkir party’s election campaign) that those cars are imported to Armenia at the cost of the 13-day salary of the National Assembly chairman,” the paper comments sarcastically.