“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Gyumri Mayor Vartan Ghukasian will soon be charged with abuse of power and fraud. The Gyumri municipality was accused by President Robert Kocharian recently of committing abuses in the distribution of new apartments built in the city.
In another report, “Haykakan Zhamanak” discusses allegations about a murder committed in the southeastern town of Goris by two nephews of Suren Khachatrian, a flamboyant parliament deputy better known with his “Liska” nickname. Khachatrian assures the paper that he himself never broke the law. “I myself try to make sure that any person who commits a crime does not remain unpunished,” he says, claiming that the people of Goris love him because “they know their final salvation lies in my office.” “I also know another thing: things are sad in Goris when I am absent from Goris for more than a week.”
“Iravunk” says Yerevan’s chief prosecutor, Hrachya Badalian, has imposed an information blackout on the criminal investigation into Friday’s café gunfight in central Yerevan that was heard by the Armenian and Georgian presidents. “This fact suggests that individuals linked to high-ranking officials were indeed involved in the incident,” the paper says. Among the “active participants” was the son of Minister for Local Government Hovik Abrahamian.
“Hayots Ashkhar” similarly complains that the only information on the case it managed to obtain on Monday was that Badalian “is not in the office.” The paper finds the very fact of groups of young men settling scores in a public place outrageous. Citing information from unofficial sources, it says the gunfire was provoked by a disputed over the ownership of the café called Triumph.
“Azg” notes in this regard that Triumph belongs to Armen Gevorgian, a key aide to President Robert Kocharian.
“Iravunk” comments that Kocharian is turning his attention to people’s socioeconomic problems in a bid to shore up his positions vis-à-vis the opposition. “At the same time, the pro-Kocharian propaganda machine continues to work on the creation of an image of an external enemy.” Official events marking the 83rd anniversary of a Russian-Turkish treaty that formalized the partition of the first independent Armenian republic is part of the effort, according to the paper.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says the leadership of the opposition Hanrapetutyun party has decided to stage its own anti-Kocharian revolt on March 28 and is already distributing senior government posts. “The most interesting thing is that no serious position is reserved in that line-up for the HZhK leader Stepan Demirchian,” the paper says.