“The present leaders of Armenia came to power in 1988 on the back of setting off their ‘victorious’ program of resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict against first President Ter-Petrosian’s ‘defeatist’ policy,” writes “Aravot.” Ter-Petrosian and his allies, however, believe that Kocharian’s “maximalist” approach has only weakened Armenia’s bargaining position in the peace talks. The paper says Kocharian and his allies summed up their strategy of Karabakh settlement in a document which was discussed at a fateful meeting of Armenia’s Security Council in January 1998. But, it says, they never submitted that document to international mediators after Ter-Petrosian’s resignation. “The apparent reason they did so is that the document was drawn up only with the aim of coming to power.”
In a separate comment, “Aravot” says continuing allegations of government corruption made by the Armenian parliament’s Oversight Chamber rarely cost government officials their jobs. The paper says the law-enforcement authorities only to claim to have returned some of the stolen money to the state budget after the Chamber’s incriminating reports. But few individuals have been prosecuted as a result.
According to “168 Zham,” the Oversight Chamber’s latest report released on Wednesday highlighted parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian’s and his Orinats Yerkir party’s efforts to “distance themselves from the authorities.” But the paper says Orinats Yerkir is part of the ruling regime and must share responsibility for its policies.
“Orinats Yerkir and its leader are trying to persuade the public that thanks to their efforts the state is getting back large sums,” writes “Azg.” “But before taking on a heroic image, our parliament speaker would do well not to forget the losses inflicted on our state budget and the population by the satisfaction of his political ambitions. If people are brought to account for wasting 79 million drams, the author of a much bigger loss worth 34 billion drams ($77 million) must feel political responsibility.” The paper says that loss has been incurred in the last two years as a result of Orinats Yerkir’s successful efforts to “keep 34 percent of the country’s retail trade beyond taxation.”
A senior member of the governing Republican Party (HHK) assures “168 Zham” that “it is almost impossible to find an honest guy like Taron Markarian,” the 27-year-old son of Prime Minister Andranik Markarian who is set to become the prefect of Yerevan’s Avan district. “You can’t just describe as the prime minister’s son and say that everything is already predetermined for him in that election,” says Gagik Melikian, the younger Markarian’s campaign.
“Hayots Ashkhar,” meanwhile, is angry at the HHK’s and its coalition partner’s defense of their decision to sign an opposition statement condemning the disruption of Aram Karapetian’s rally in Sevan. “Do you think that Karapetian’s provocation was the most opportune occasion for that kind of a statement?” the pro-Kocharian paper’s editor asks them.