“Natural Born Killer” Kocharian Is Back

Armenia -- Screenshot of the funny twit by Twitter user Robert Kocharian, Yerevan, 14Jan2014

Armenia — Screenshot of the funny tweet by Twitter user Robert Kocharian, Yerevan, 14Jan2014

The tweet from Twitter account Robert Kocharian with the about line indicating “Natural Born Killer” made my day today. It was funny, I admit. But that was the only funny thing today. Continue reading

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Here’s to The New Year: The Worst Is Yet To Come

Armenia -- Festive Fireworks on New Year's Eve in Yerevan's Republic Square, 01Jan2014

Armenia — Festive Fireworks on New Year’s Eve in Yerevan’s Republic Square, 01Jan2014

I’m the most optimistic person I’ve met in this world. And yet, when the lavish fireworks broke into Yerevan’s arrogant night sky on New Year’s Eve, my heart squeezed with sorrow. Continue reading

Sarkissian Finally Explains His EU Association U-Turn by Playing Naive

France -- Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan addresses the plenary session of PACE, Strasbourg, 02Oct2013

France — Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan addresses the plenary session of PACE, Strasbourg, 02Oct2013

Armenian President Serzh Sarkissian used the opportunity to make a speech during the plenary session of PACE to finally give some sort of an explanation about his decision to join the Russia-led Customs Union effectively blocking the way to the  Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement and the EU Association agreement that came with it. Continue reading

Twin Inaugurations

April 9 turned into a strange day with both officially reelected President Serzh Sarkissian and his opposition challanger Raffi Hovannisian swearing in as presidents of Armenia.

The settings were rather different, as you can see from these two videos below:

The day turned a little scary when a couple of dozen opposition supporters taken to the police and the nose of a key oppositionist, Armen Martirosyan’s, was smashed into a bleeding condition in an incident with the police. The rumors about the murder of a young man, which later turned out to be unrelated and news about Raffi Hovannisian losing consciousness amid clashes with the police exacerbated the situation.

In the end, however, the day ended rather peacefully.

Google+ Hangout With Armenian Presidential Challenger Raffi Hovannisian

Armenia - Opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian is greeted by supporters in Yerevan's Liberty Square, 22Feb2013 | Photolur via Azatutyun.am

Armenia – Opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian is greeted by supporters in Yerevan’s Liberty Square, 22Feb2013 | Photolur via Azatutyun.am

On April 9, incumbent Serzh Sarkisian will be sworn in for another term as president of Armenia.

As that happens, Sarkisian’s bested rival, Raffi Hovannisian, will be taking part in his own inauguration — the “inauguration of a new Armenia,” as he says. It’s unclear exactly what the event will be, but the timing is almost certainly no accident.

Hovannisian disputes the results of the February 18 election. He lost to Sarkisian by roughly 20 points, according to official results. He recently ended a two-week hunger strike that he had been holding to protest the election results and demand electoral reforms.

RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Radio Azatutyun) discussed all of these issues and more with Hovannisian in an exclusive Google+ Hangout on the evening of April 7.

Watch a recording of the talk below.