“The word WikiLeaks has taken on a terrifying, mystical meaning in Armenia,” “Aravot” writes in a front-page editorial. “It is perceived as a truth coming from some supreme body that issues quasi-verdicts. And yet [WikiLeaks] is merely a website, a media outlet. In our view, there are more authoritative outlets such as the BBC and ‘The Guardian.’ Just because a foreign diplomat reports something to his bosses doesn’t mean that those reports fully reflect the truth.” The paper also argues that individuals cited by the leaked U.S. Embassy cables were not necessarily candid in their conversations with American diplomats.
“Armenia’s oligarchs are portrayed as a legacy left over from Robert Kocharian which Serzh Sarkisian has tried to ditch but has failed to do that because of internal resistance,” writes “Zhamanak.” The paper dismisses this notion, saying that Sarkisian is in fact keen to create his own “oligarchic system.” Government assurances that the Sarkisian administration is committed to breaking up monopolies and bolstering the rule of law are simply a “propaganda smokescreen,” it says.
“As long as an oligarchic economy dominates our country no economic law can work,” Harutiun Mesropian, an expert on governance, tells “Yerkir.” “That is the number one reason. The other reasons -- tax and customs policy and so on -- are of secondary importance.”
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” sees a “bizarre situation” emerging in Armenia’s political landscape. “The authorities and the oppositions are debating in various formats and every time the opposition accuses them of plunder and widespread corruption they counter that ‘you too plundered in the past,’” says the paper sympathetic to former President Levon Ter-Petrosian and his Armenian National Congress (HAK). It says that while Ter-Petrosian’s government was not made up of “only angels,” government corruption during his 1991-1998 rule was much less widespread. The paper recalls that former Prime Minister Hrant Bagratian was criticized by the opposition in the early 1990s for smoking American cigarettes worth $1 a pack at the time. By contrast, it says, former President Kocharian is now alleged to have made a fortune worth billions of dollars.
Interviewed by “168 Zham,” deputy parliament speaker Samvel Nikoyan criticizes the HAK for “unduly politicizing” the recent arrest and prosecution of one of its activists. “Unfortunately, that has hampered a solution on the legal plane,” says Nikoyan. “In my view, not everyone wants the dialogue to continue and reach its logical conclusion.” He does not give names, saying only that opponents of the dialogue are from both the government and opposition camps.