The recently appointed director of Armenia’s National Security Service, Gorik Hakobian, assures “Hayots Ashkhar” that law-enforcement agencies could not have staved off the October 1999 parliament massacre because they had no prior knowledge of it. “Some ‘specialists’ are trying to evaluate our actions,” he says. “There is criticism from all sides. I state with all the responsibility that our conscience is clean before [future] generations.”
Interviewed by “Haykakan Zhamanak,” Aram Sarkisian confirms that he and several other opposition leaders are negotiating on the creation of a new opposition alliance. He insists that Stepan Demirchian is also involved in the talks. Representatives of Demirchian’s People’s Party have denied this before. Sarkisian believes that Armenians should be aware of the ongoing talks because that will “engender hope” for a better future among them. He also does not rule out the possibility of leading the new bloc, saying that he does not consider his ambitions immodest.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reacts tartly to the Armenian Central Bank’s decision on Tuesday to close 22 currency exchange offices in Yerevan for allegedly engaging in speculative trading. The paper says they were simply scapegoated for recent weeks’ exchange rate manipulations by commercial banks and their government patrons. “It is obvious that what happened is a mere PR stunt and has nothing to do with protection of the population’s rights.”
“Our domestic business [environment] is a place which was simply created for the most diverse and brazen forms of theft and plunder,” thunders “Hayots Ashkhar.” “It is impossible not to steal, loot and cheat in this sphere. You could [otherwise] be suspected of suffering from a serious mental illness. In this country, if you have already entered business and begun gobbling every moving object, you just can’t stop.” The paper says Armenian politicians, government officials and business people differ from ordinary people with their routine recourse to and simultaneous complaints about deceit and theft.
In an interview with “Aravot,” the editor of an independent newspaper in southeastern Armenia, Samvel Aleksanian, accuses police of trying to cover up the recent ransacking of his office. Aleksanian says several key documents have disappeared from the criminal case into the attack reportedly carried out by members of the local youth wing of the governing Republican Party of Armenia (HHK).