Presidential Candidate’s Failed Assassination Attempt: Questions Remain

Hayrikian's Facebook page posted photos of the presidential candidate in the hospital after being shot at. | Photo from Hayrikian's Facebook page

Hayrikian’s Facebook page posted photos of the presidential candidate in the hospital after being shot at. | Photo from Hayrikian’s Facebook page

Ex-Soviet Dissident Paruyr Hayrikian is a great leader, one of the main founders  of the democratic movement in the Soviet Union, an important voice of Armenia’s self-determination and independence in the last days of the Soviet Union and the institution of the newly independent Armenia. However, his political value in today’s Armenia is all but historical. So when I heard the news about assassination attempt against Hayrikian, my first reaction was like: “Why on earth!” Continue reading

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People Centric Campaigning: Raffi Hovhannisian Hits The Street

As the first week of campaigning for the February 18 Presidential Elections draws to the end, Azatutyun.am is featuring a great slideshow of the US-born candidate Raffi Hovhannisian pioneering western style campaigning in Armenia.

Randomly greeting people and talking to them in the street, shops and other public settings during election campaigns may be the norm for politicians in the West but is highly unusual in Armenia. The U.S.-born opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian is doing just that in his ongoing presidential election campaign. The Photolur news agency followed his first campaign outings in Yerevan.

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Meet Armenia’s new Human Rights Defender

Lawyer Karen Andreasian

Armenia -- Karen Andreasian, a lawyer nominated for the vacant post of state human rights defender post by ruling party, Yerevan, 24Feb2011.

Layer Karen Andreasyan, 33, has been picked by the Republican party of Armenia to be Armenia’s next Ombudsman. Following a largely formal vote in the Republican-dominated National Assembly, he will be appointed on this position at the next parliamentary session. Continue reading

‘Fundamental disagreements’ over Yerevan’s municipal elections

Aereal photo of Yerevan’s City Hall | Photo from Municipality’s official website

Aereal photo of Yerevan’s City Hall | Photo from Municipality’s official website

“Normal work process”, involving beating the hell out of each other with over ‘fundamental disagreements’ continues, as Armenia’s two largest pro-government parties engage in fresh brawls in Yerevan ahead of the upcoming municipal elections.

Last week a group of activists of the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) attacked the election campaign office of President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) in the Yerevan’s Kanaker-Zeytun district. According to newspaper reports, the attack was made in retaliation for the beating earlier in the day of their comrades by Republican campaigners armed with clubs.

In an interview with RFE/RL, Gagik Mkrtchian, deputy head of the HHK branch in Kanaker-Zeytun downplayed the significance of the incident, calling it a “normal work process.”

Another incident came on Monday, in Yerevan’s Silikian district of Ajapniak community. Eyewitnesses told RFE/RL that doezen’s of supporters of both ruling parties, most of them young men, clashed with each other at BHK election campaign office, after Ajapnyak’s Mayor Ruben Hovsepian arrived there with his deputy Armen Baghdasarian. Notably, the Ajapnyak mayor is also the brother of Armenia’s influential Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian.

The police claimed, meanwhile, that the BHK and HHK activists were only engaged in a bitter political debate over ‘fundamental disagreements‘.

P.S. I know I shouldn’t say this, but you know what? I don’t care about the two ruling clans settling scores with each other. Let them brawl till they all grow blue or something. Sick and tired of gangsters trying to appear like politicians. Sick and tired of rich boys who collect a bunch of thickheads only capable of shaking their fists, and pretend that they have a political following. Of course those little armies are going to want to ‘prove their committement to high political ideas’. Of course they’ll clash. Of course we’ll see more brawls before the elections are over… …the elections to turn Yerevan into a gangster’s paradise.