“Taking part in that judicial farce is now meaningless,” opposition leader Stepan Demirchian tells “Haykakan Zhamanak,” explaining his family’s decision to stop cooperating with the official investigation into the 1999 assassination of his father and seven other senior officials.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that President Robert Kocharian has set a deadline for solving the recent ambush killing of three people in Yerevan’s Nubarashen suburb. Citing unnamed “well-informed sources,” the paper claims that Kocharian has told law-enforcement officials to arrest by September 1 all perpetrators of the attack which targeted relatives of a former parliament deputy, Ruben Gevorgian.
“Iravunk” says European observers have told the Armenian authorities to ascertain all legal requirements for the registration of election candidates and make them public long before the start of election campaigns. They are also calling for the lifting of all restrictions on the movement of candidates’ proxies inside polling stations. “Naturally, such changes can in no way be beneficial for oligarchic clans because in that case the latter would have to spend huge sums on lobbying the parliament instead of themselves becoming deputies on the cheap, with fraud and vote bribes.”
Armenia is also facing international pressure on the economic front, “Iravunk” continues. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are pushing for further improvements in the collection of taxes and a tougher government crackdown on corruption. The ruling regime is thus finding itself torn between the West and domestic “oligarchs.” “The Europeans’ and oligarchs’ demands have diametrically opposite logics and it is almost impossible to maintain a situation with which both of them will be happy.”
“Golos Armenii” reports that law-enforcement bodies have launched a large-scale audit of businesses belonging to Samvel Aleksanian, one of Armenia’s richest men. His Astghatsolk trading company has a de facto monopoly on imports of grain, sugar and spirits to Armenia. The paper approves of the crackdown, urging the authorities to put an end to the “young oligarch’s monopolies.”
In an interview with “Haykakan Zhamanak,” a senior member of Artashes Geghamian’s National Unity party speaks out in favor its rapprochement with another opposition group, the Artarutyun alliance. Hmayak Hovannisian says Geghamian and Artarutyun leaders must overcome their mutual antagonism for the sake of their common goal: the ouster of Kocharian. But the paper says Artarutyun leaders do not share Hovannisian’s enthusiasm, still suspecting that Geghamian is the regime’s Trojan horse in the opposition camp.
“Such cooperation is possible,” Geghamian says in “Iravunk.” “After I return from holiday we will sit around the table and decide with whom we should cooperate.”