“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that a feud between the police chief of Armenia’s Vayots Dzor region, Mikael Sardarian, and a deputy head of the State Taxation Service, Manvel Yeganian, “threats to degenerate into an inter-agency conflict.” The feud broke out last week after Sardarian’s nephew was reportedly arrested and beaten up by the Vayots Dzor police on Sardarian’s orders. Yeganian and his brother are said to have avenged the young man’s brutal treatment by personally assaulting Sardarian in the latter’s office. The paper says Sardarian was fired from his post on Thursday following an internal police inquiry. Also sacked was a high-ranking official at the Yerevan headquarters of the national Police Service, Suren Avetisian. Avetisian was reportedly present at the police chief’s beating.
It is obvious to “Haykakan Zhamanak” that the authorities will not open a criminal case in connection with the incident. “That is, the police does not see any criminal offence in the brutal and prolonged beating of citizens.” Instead, the paper says, Armenia’s chief policeman, Hayk Harutiunian, is pushing for the ouster of Yeganian. However, the tax collection agency is strongly resisting those efforts.
“Hayots Ashkhar” attacks ArmenTel’s executive director Georgios Vassilakis for his “cynical and offensive behavior” at the public hearings on the company’s conflict with the Armenian government. “The government’s sanctions against an operator which is behaving like that are too soft,” the paper thunders.
“Iravunk,” however, suspects that the government is “bluffing” in the row. “The thing is that the shadowy-corrupt relationship between the regime and ArmenTel is not a secret to anyone,” the paper says. “Wicked critics say that some state officials get a regular bribe salary from ArmenTel.” It is therefore hard to expect a marked improvement in the quality of telecommunication in Armenia.
“Iravunk” also looks at this week’s “scandalous developments” in Armenia’s two high-profile trials and inside the governing coalition.
The government infighting, according to “Aravot,” is about access to money and power. “Orinats Yerkir and Dashnaktsutyun are highlighting the fact that the more than 60 posts of deputy minister and committee head are held by Republicans,” the paper says, adding that the two parties do not want to content themselves with “crumbs” from the government table. Their failure to reach agreement with the Republicans is fraught with a “serious clash, which in turn could accelerate the already obvious collapse of the coalition.”
The Dashnaktsutyun-controlled “Yerkir” slams unidentified pro-government politicians that it says are stoking tensions inside the coalition. “They won’t allow the establishment of a system that will reject them” the weekly paper says, adding that opposition leaders are rubbing their hands in anticipation of the coalition’s break-up. It criticizes the opposition lawmakers for being “indifferent” to the government’s “rosy” report on the implementation of its 2002 budget which was discussed at the National Assembly this week. “This situation seems to fully satisfy the authorities as it doesn’t create any headaches [for them]. What about the opposition?”