Notes from the Armenian Blogosphere

A group of Armenian and Azerbaijani parliamentarians and intellectuals initiated a one-day “public diplomacy” trip visiting the Presidents and key officials in the disputed Karabakh region, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The action was designed to appeal to the publics in the conflict stricken region. Meanwhile, the Armenian bloggers were not impressed.

In an interview to Azerbaijani media, Siyavush Kerimi, one of the intellectuals visiting Karabakh as part of the Azerbaijani delegation, said after seeing the President of the Self-Declared Karabakh Republic: “I was reassured in my meeting with the leader of the separatists Bako Sahakian, that he is a short-sighted man and that Armenian’s don’t want to see the reality.”

Citing these words, Kornelij Glas comments with irony: “Here’s, for example, one of the people brought to Karabakh by the genius of Armenian diplomacy.”

Gago-Berlin is angry with the words of the head of Azerbaijani delegation, Ambassador of Azerbaijan in Russia Polad Byul-byul oghu, who ignored the question of the Armenian journalist on what he thinks about the meeting with the President of Self-Declared Karabakh Republic, saying it wasn’t important, they “came here to meet the public.”

“After these words, Bako [Sahakian] should through them out, or he’s not a President at all. Are the stupid? If you want to meet the public, go to the theatre… or the square… or a hotel…  why were they invited to meet the President in the first place,” Gago-Berlin writes.

One of the most dramatic developments in the political life during the passing week was the decision by a prominent opposition activist, editor-in-chief of “Haykakan Zhamank” newspaper Nikol Pashinian to come out of hiding and turn himself in to the law-enforcement bodies. Pashinian had been in the underground since March 2008, after being charged in connection with the post-election violence between opposition supporters and security forces in the streets of Yerevan on March 1-2, 2008.

“They didn’t expect him, but he came today,” A1plus blog comments “It was widely expected, that he’d come tomorrow, make a speech at the rally of the Armenian National Congress [opposition]… and be arrested right there. Just imagine that… The show didn’t quite work out.”

“Brave Nikola Pashinian, one of the main perpetrators of the state coup attempt on March 1-2, finally over-braved himself and decided to surrender,” blogger Pigh, known for his critical attitude of the opposition writes sarcastically.  “Darn with him. He’ll be released on amnesty anyway.”

On a P.S. note, the blog adds, hinting to mauradeuring of supermarkets during the violence of March 1-2, 2008: “Next time I’ll go take part in the robbery. Will burn a couple of cars, break a couple of windows and become a respected human rights defender in Europe.”

“I just read a news report about plain-clothed policemen beating several teenagers for handing out leaflets and making pro-opposition statements through a sound system of some kind. Unsurprisingly, the Yerevan police claimed that the officers themselves were attacked first, which seems dubious,” Notes from Hairenik writes about an incident between young opposition activists and the police, adding: “But why beat teenagers? I can understand how perceived insolence from adult protesters would lead to beatings and jailings and so forth by the police or attacks by mysterious thick-necked characters, as has been reported for years. But these victims are just kids. Who can say at this rate of oppression against people using their democratic rights to speak their minds?”

Writing on Tert.am’s blog, economist, journalist Samvel Avagian describes the experiences of an Armenian friend, who has been trying to export $ 370 worth of souvenirs from Armenia, and after spending an 1,5 hours in the Customs office, ends up paying $400 just in dues and export taxes, not to mention the hassle of filling in tons of paperwork and banging on the doors of various small tax-office beurocrats.

“There is a crystal dream in Armenia – to develop exports. But the state Customs office is working strictly against the development of exports. To be assured, just try to visit the Customs for once and try to export something,” Avagian concludes.

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