(Saturday, June 22)
“Zhamanak” says that whenever the Armenian authorities are asked to show concrete results of their declared crackdown on corruption they give the examples of Margar Ohanian and Vazgen Khachikian, the jailed former heads of Armenia’s traffic police and state pension fund. The paper says that people more or less familiar with the situation in Armenia are “not so naïve as to consider Ohanian and Khachikian Armenia’s most corrupt officials.” It says even if one regards them as “big fish,” there have been no other high-profile prosecutions of late. “Therefore one can consider the Khachikian and Ohanian arguments outdated and null and void because even the most naïve people cannot be convinced with them into thinking that there is a genuine fight against corruption,” concludes the paper.
Gurgen Arsenian, a wealthy businessman and parliament deputy affiliated with Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) tells “Hraparak” that the war of words between the government and the parliament’s Audit Chamber over financial abuses alleged by the latter should not taken seriously. Arsenian also believes that Ishkhan Zakarian, the head of the Oversight Chamber, overstepped his legal powers when he called for a “new model” of drawing up the state budget.
“Zhoghovurd” is unconvinced by the Armenian government’s assurances that the reported $1 billion sale of Russian weapons to Azerbaijan will not change the balance of forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “Of course this is a case where we very much want to trust in our authorities’ assurances,” writes the paper. “But the problem is that if, God forbids, it emerges that those assurances do not correspond to reality, it will be too late. Another factor is also important here. For some reason Armenian state officials have again taken on the role of Russia’s advocates.”
“Azg” reports that a new opinion poll conducted in the country has found that 37 percent of Armenians do not read books at all. According to the paper, another 44 percent have read fewer books in the last five years than in the past.