For “Hraparak,” one positive consequence of the June 17 deadly incident at Yerevan’s Harsnakar restaurant and the resulting public outcry is that “our society has woken up.” “It may still not care much about the state of democratic institutions, it may still not find elections very important, it may yet to realize that government officials are accountable to it and that it is the real master of the country,” writes the paper. “But it has finally realized that an impudent oligarch and his criminal bodyguards infringe on a person’s most important right, the right to live, with impunity.”
“Aravot” says “oligarchs” like Harsnakar owner Ruben Hayrapetian should not have been allowed to run for parliament. The paper suggests that the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) badly needed them because of facing a serious challenge from Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), which also has oligarchs within its ranks. It urges all wealthy parliament deputies to follow Hayrapetian’s example and leave the National Assembly.
Mikael Hayrapetian, an opposition figure, tells “Zhamanak” that the oligarchic system cannot be dismantled until Armenia becomes a truly democratic and pro-Western country. Therefore, he says, the country is in need of radical political changes in the first instance.
Speaking to “168 Zham,” Armen Rustamian, the parliamentary leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), says it is natural that some members of the opposition party have criticized its leadership after the May 6 parliamentary elections. “Our society is not accustomed to seeing an organization guided by internal democracy,” says Rustamian. “For all the talk about our party being closed, Dashnaktsutyun is the only democratic party in this country. Dashnaktsutyun’s Supreme Assembly [in Armenia] is preceded by lower-level meetings that involve very heated discussions. At those meetings the leadership is the main target of criticism because it presents reports [to party members.]”
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” comments on what it sees as a relentless exploitation of Armenia’s natural resources by senior government officials, their cronies and mining firms. The paper says they do not hesitate to deport whole villages, destroy forests and pollute water reservoirs to earn massive profits. “Officially, this is called the promotion of exports and creation of jobs,” it says. “The saddest thing is that in a sense the authorities are right. If Armenia’s land has riches belonging not only to us but [future] generations, the state must save them for worse times. But on the other hand, in the economic sense Armenia will hardly have worse times.”