In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar,” Deputy Prosecutor-General Gevorg Danielian admits that at least some Armenian prosecutors are involved in business and that this fact is now having “much more unfortunate manifestations.” “The problem is that those people are not taking care of their subsistence but are engaging in serious entrepreneurial activity. Working at the prosecutor’s office was due to give them a cover. This is something we can’t allow,” Danielian says.
Citing “sources close to the coalition,” “Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the authorities have decided not to strip the opposition deputies of their mandates for absenteeism. The paper says they have drawn up the following scenario to deal with the matter. In early September the National Assembly will vote to declare their failure to attend parliament sessions “unjustified” and the issue will be included on its agenda. However, the parliament majority will vote against revoking the opposition’s mandates.
Deputy parliament speaker Tigran Torosian reiterates in a “Golos Armenii” interview that the authorities have no plans to prolong President Robert Kocharian’s tenure. He says the idea was not even considered during discussions on draft amendments to Armenia’s constitution.
But as “Haykakan Zhamanak” notes, the opposition does not trust Kocharian’s earlier assurances that he will not seek a third term in office in 2008. “Remember all dictators,” opposition leader Shavarsh Kocharian tells the paper. “At first they all ruled out [such a possibility], but then ran [for reelection], saying that the people are asking for that.” He also brands the president’s new constitutional amendments as “an overt attempt to establish a dictatorship.”
“Golos Armenii” denounces the trial and the court verdict in connection with last March’s shoot-out in a downtown Yerevan café, describing it as a “mockery of public opinion and the law.” “This fresh display of double standards renders all calls for the public to respect the law pointless,” the paper says in reference to the court’s decision not to send the son of former Urban Development Minister Ara Aramian to prison. “As long as the boys of authoritative fathers have a feeling of impunity there can be no legal development in such a destructive reality.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” says Armenia’s tortuous transition to a free market did spawn a middle class mostly employed by the government agencies and the security apparatus. Officially, they get very modest salaries that do not allow them to their families a decent life. “Many of them are quite well-off people, the national middle class,” the paper says. “Fed by bribes and illegal and shadow deals, but still a typical middle class.” “From the depth of the corrupt majority is emerging Armenia’s normal middle class,” the paper adds. “This is an extremely interesting historical discovery. We Armenians have contributed something new to the world economy.”