The parliamentary leader of the governing Republican Party, Galust Sahakian, tells “Aravot” that hundreds of thousands of Armenians who lost their bank savings in the hyperinflation of the early 1990s should not hope for an adequate compensation despite parliament’s recent decision to set up an ad hoc commission that will look into the problem. Sahakian indirectly accuses political groups raising the issue (among them is the Orinats Yerkir Party of parliament Artur Baghdasarian) of populism.
“Aravot” says Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian was right in saying in an interview that there is no “ordinary bandit racketeering” in Armenia. “But the thing is that we don’t have bandit racketeering because in our country racketeering has been elevated to the state level and bureaucrats are quite successfully involved in it,” the paper writes. “Even bandits can not rival them…And if Serzh Sarkisian is trying to protect his friendly businesspeople against someone, those are the state racketeers. One should definitely not worry about the businesspeople that enjoy government sponsorship. No one will touch them. But what about others?”
Interviewed by “Hayots Ashkhar,” a member of the parliament’s People’s Deputy group, Vahram Baghdasarian, advises the government to reckon with not only those lawmakers who always vote for its initiatives but also those who highlight its shortcomings. Baghdasarian, whose faction supports President Robert Kocharian, believes that failure to create a “competitive atmosphere” in the National Assembly would destabilize the political situation in Armenia by creating a fertile ground for renewed opposition demonstrations. But he admits that creating a “serious opposition pole” in the parliament will be difficult because of divisions inside the opposition camp.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says many members of the current legislature have switched sides for so many times that they can be called “political tramps.” Their case proves that political ideology is virtually non-existent in Armenia. It is rather an “element of business.” The paper cites the example of Baghdasarian and other leading members of Orinats Yerkir that began their careers in the former ruling Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh).
“Hayots Ashkhar” accuses the regime of President Eduard Shevardnadze of formenting anti-Armenian sentiment in Georgia. The paper says his party has embraced “racism” as the central theme of its election campaign. It also rebukes Georgia’s Armenian groups for their failure to articulate their political demands in a coordinated fashion. Each of them has until now served the agenda of a particular Georgian party or faction. Only their concerted efforts can bring the instigators of the “anti-Armenian propaganda” in line, according to “Hayots Ashkhar.”