“Zhamanak” says that the scandalous audio of an election-related meeting of businessman and parliament deputy Artak Sargsian’s employees exposed a “tragic” state of affairs in Armenia. “The recording shows just how workers of [Sargsian’s] company are blackmailed and threatened to collect votes for [the businessman commonly known as] ‘Sasi Artak,’” writes the paper. “In any normal country, this would lead to a criminal case and ‘Sasi Artak’ would give up his mandate or the [ruling] HHK and Serzh Sarkisian would advise him to do so. But since we live in Armenia, which is far from being a democratic and normal country, such illegal practices are actually encouraged.”
“The problem runs deeper,” says “Aravot.” “The pre-election period saw such meetings at hundreds of entities like private companies, schools, hospitals and local government bodies. We all know very well what it means to ‘bring votes.’ The key factor here is not the threats of the boss but the silence of the meek masses … Why do we have so many slaves? It’s hard to tell.”
“Hraparak” says the secretly recorded audio vividly shows a “mechanism for electoral crimes” committed in Armenia and is therefore sufficient grounds for opening a criminal case and prosecuting relevant individuals. “But in order for that to happen, the police need to have enough courage and the authorities the will to punish Artak Sargsian and his team. But in our country it is individuals committing crimes, not honest citizens and law-enforcements, who are courageous and self-confident.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” claims that the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) is aspiring to greater presence in the government after the April 2 parliamentary elections. The paper quotes Armen Ashotian, a deputy chairman of the HHK, as not denying this.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says official statistics show that imports of Turkish goods to Armenia doubled in the first two months of this year. They totaled over $24 million, according to the National Statistical Service. The paper suggests that this increase results in part from improved customs administration.