“Zhamanak” comments on corruption charges brought against former President Serzh Sarkisian. The paper says that the alleged embezzlement of public funds attributed to Sarkisian is “too small” given public perceptions of the scale of government corruption during his rule. It also claims that he was indicted amid an intensifying rivalry among Armenia’s former rulers for the status of the country’s main opposition force.
“Aravot” says that even the news of Sarkisian’s prosecution did not overshadow the scandal provoked by controversial donations made to the Yerevan municipality or the latest row between Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s bloc. The paper believes that Yerevan Mayor Hayk Marutian’s actions were driven by “the most honest considerations” but that he decided to hide the donations because of his inexperience. “It was not prudent for the mayor and his supporters to go on a counteroffensive,” it says in an editorial. “They should have just admitted the mistake and done everything to ensure that the mechanism for such donations is as open and transparent as possible.”
Turning to the BHK allegations that Marutian rejected investment projects proposed by Tsarukian’s Arab business partners, “Aravot” says the mayor’s office needs to improve its negotiating skills. “Both affairs are not that terrible,” it says. “Such things can happen. But the authorities’ infallibility complex and aggressive reactions resulting from it are cause for some concern.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that two dozen activists of the opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) demanding the resignation of Education Minister Arayik Harutiunian have succeeded in generating “propaganda noise” after blocking a street in downtown in Yerevan this week. “Police had to take most of them to police stations and reopen the street,” writes the paper. “Such a struggle is normal in itself. What is not normal is that it is directed and exploited for dirty political aims which have nothing to with the issues raised [by the protesters.]”
The paper argues that Dashnaktsutyun had for years controlled the post of education ministers under Armenia’s former regimes but never seriously addressed problems with public education highlighted by it now. It says that Armenian schools were turned into “hotbeds of electoral fraud” while universities nurtured pro-government thugs. “Does anyone remember Dashnaktsutyun youths organizing protests against that?” it asks. “They may have wanted to but the [party’s] ruling bodies would not allow such a thing. After all, they were part of the government and thoroughly enjoyed government perks. In essence, today’s [Dashnaktsutyun] struggle is all about restoring their former status.”