Wednesday, February 09, 2005

RFE / RL Press Review
8 February 2005

The only revolution which is taking place in Armenia is a criminal one, “Iravunk” writes in a separate editorial, referring to increased instances of high-profile gunfights in Yerevan. “What happens now is nothing but a process which took place in the entire CIS territory in the early 1990s. Namely, a savage and criminalized re-distribution of property.” The paper claims that the Armenian authorities are no longer able to hold loyal criminal “clans” in check. In fact, it adds, they have become hostages of that “criminal conglomerate.”

“Hayots Ashkhar” reports on rumors that individuals close to some high-level officials were involved in Friday’s gang shootout in Yerevan. Whispers mention the names of tycoon Gagik Tsarukian, the prefect of Yerevan’s Kentron district, Gagik Beglarian, General Seyran Saroyan and “some old and new deputies.” “In reality, the number of participants and wounded persons is higher and it remains to be seen whether this case will be solved or our law-enforcement officials will simply cover it up.”

“Haykakan Zhamanak” comments that Rafael Shahmuradian, the owner of the Armenia-Lada car dealership who was assassinated in Russia, was among few wealthy businessmen in Armenia who operated without a government “tutelage” and “did not even hide his discontent with the current authorities.” “Nonetheless, he did not meddle in politics at all and was trying to stay solely in the business field.”

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