Ayl@ntranq spurs a wave of discussion in the Armenian Blogging Community

Reports and reactions to the Ayl@ntrank rally continued in the Armenian Blogosphere today. Onnik Krikorian at the CRD / TI blog was the only one to present a more neutral account of the events at the rally. The blogger reports that the “crowd was small”, and looks at the reaction from the crowd when the names of the Karabakh Committee were read out especially noting, that “the loudest cheers of all were reserved for his Minister of Interior, Vano Siradeghian, who had his parliamentary immunity lifted and was charged with masterminding several assassinations before apparently fleeing the country. He is still wanted by Interpol.”
CRD / TI blog pays special attention to Nikol Pashinian, one of the leaders of the movement.
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Nikol Pashinian, Aylentrank Rally, Yerevan, Republic of Armenia © Onnik Krikorian, CRD / TI Armenia 2007

[…]The main leader of the movement, however, appeared to be Nikol Pashinian, the young editor of the opposition Haykakan Zhamanak newspaper. Bearing an uncanny resemblance to Georgia’s Mikhail Saakashvili in both looks and temperament, Pashinian is an outspoken critic of the current Government.[…]

Speaking of Ayl@ntrank the ALS Movement welcomes the fact, that it is a non-partisan movement, however takes note of parties attending it: “both the controvercial HHSh (liberal-nationalist) and the Hndchaks (Marxist Social Democrats), which is in itself an interesting development.” The blogger at ALS Movement, kronstadt further explores the atmosphere of the rally, drawing parallels with his personal experiences of Artsakh Movement 19 years ago, and questioning the attempts of Ayl@ntrank to recapture “that sense and that momentum”. Kronstadt has many important questions about Ayl@ntrank:

[…]if they are a movement, then what is their philosophy? what is their ideology? which theoretical tradition do they adopt for analysing the past and cultivating the future? From browsing through their website I realise that they are generally meritocrats (each to his own abilities), which could work if the movement was actually initiating certain Empowerment programs for the peasants, cooperatives and unions on the ground. […]There is also this strange technocratic overtone to what they’re saying: there is still that central-source-of-all-authority in their rhetoric. […]

Aylentrank is not the Alternative ALS movement concludes.
The Armenian bloggers on the LJ, mostly blogging in Russian have put up a wide array of their memories of the days when HHSh was in power, uniformely identifying Ayl@ntrank as an attempt of HHSh to come back. Uzogh has put up a list of those posts under a joint title “So that everyone remembers”.
Kornelij Glas also has a more controversial post, saying he doesn’t see any hope in the nearest future, blaming Robert Kocharian, Serge Sarkisyan, many others and the Armenian people in general. But, Kornelij says – the start of all this disgusting situation in the country was the result of HHSh policies and ideology, in which the symbiotic relationship of criminals and cynicists like Husik, Vano and “impotent intelligency” headed by Levon Ter-Petrosyan became the norm.
Christina on her turn criticizes the movement, saying she doesn’t see any guarantees in this movement, that when they come to power the same attitudes of ripping the country off won’t continue. More interestingly the blogger notes that this movement is also one of those “male only” movements, where the creative female component is absent.
Maybe that is the real reason why Ayl@ntrank was received with such hostility in the Blogosphere?

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant


  1. Just a note: The analysis of Ayl@ntranq in my article is slightly more complex. As one of its conclusions, I say that Ayl@ntranq does not offer a Real long-term Alternative in the strictest terms. Nevertheless, I also argue that, For now at least, If Ailentranq could mobilise the masses, while learning from and dissociating itself from the amateurish mistakes of HHSh, Ayl@ntranq could actually be the only visible positive and maybe authentic development in the realm of the oppositions.
    I thought that CRD/TI review of Ayl@ntranq was not neutral enough. And so, I tried to analyse and evaluate the emergence of Ayl@ntranq as a development within the structural setting of RA.
    The emergence of Ayl@ntranq could tell us a great deal about where Armenian politics is today.

  2. Points taken… as to CRD/TI review – it was rather basic info and photos – I didn’t really see a lot of Onnik’s personal opinion reflected in the post, that is why I call it “the only one to present a more neutral account” – however I deliberately didn’t call it “neutral” in its absolute value, but rather put it in perspective with other blogs (you should read some of the Russian language posts to see what I really mean, some are just…!).
    As to the reviews as a whole, I usually try to pick one or two key points, but not summarize and finalize the whole content of a blog-post I am reviewing, because my ultimate objective is to arouse interest and drive the reader to your blogs, not to keep them on mine.
    As this will be a blog where many journalists and journalism students from Armenia will be attending (Internews is a media support NGO) I hope to drive enough journalists to blogs like yours and Onnik’s in order to direct media attention to what we – the bloggers have to say.
    At any rate – keep up the great work at the blog – I greatly appreciate the work you guys are doing there…

  3. Just to explain, as someone who is not a citizen of the Republic of Armenia there is not enough information for me to offer an opinion, and indeed, I shouldn’t do that anyway. All I can do is report on what is happening and that’s it. Opinions as to the worth of any political party or movement are subjective and it is up to Armenian citizens as it will be they that attend such meetings or vote for such parties.
    As for not being neutral enough, what on earth does that mean? Usually that implies that not enough credit was given for a movement that the person saying it wasn’t neutral enough actually believes should be promoted. As I’ve said before, what both Observer and I are trying to do is to encourage discussion among people about the latest developments in Armenia in the run-up to the election.
    Anyway, my personal opinion for what it’s worth is that it doesn’t matter who wins or loses. What matters is that Armenian voters make their choice and that the results on election day represent that. Also, CRD/TI Armenia may not offer its opinion on who deserves to win. That is again up to the voters and also, it is up to readers to discuss via commenting or via their own blogs. As Observer states, this coverage has at least resulted in such discussion which is actually what we both strive to achieve, I think.
    Anyway, there is no such thing as “shades” of being “neutral.” To one person t will be, but to another it won’t. Past experience shows that being neutral actually results in criticism from all sides in the political equation. Or, at least, that’s how I view it. For sure, though, compared to the pro-government and pro-opposition media, I’d say it was pretty neutral.
    The rally was poorly attended by Armenian standards and I speak as someone who has covered every single rally here since 1999. Those opposition parties also had no access to the media, but managed to draw crowds of about 10-15,000 before they trickled out and ended naturally. On the other hand, I can highlight the response of the crowd to various names being called out which struck most of the best journalists in Armenia such as Emil Danielyan from RFE/RL.
    As this whole period is politically charged, there will be critics on all sides. My job is to best use the information I have and to properly explain the context, which I think I did. However, I know that just as I have been accused of not being “neutral enough” that I’ll be accused of being partisan at other times. For example, today I was verbally accused of being too partisan towards Artur Baghdasarian although I’m sure others will accuse me of being too critical.
    Nobody will be considered perfect in their reporting of their coverage of the election which is why we instead need a diversity of views. As I said, the conclusions should be drawn only by the voters on election day. As part of that, I welcome Kronstadt’s posts and his comments left on my site. Ultimately, however, the role of the CRD/TI Armenia Election Monitor is to facilitate such exchanges and so by being as neutral as we can be — even if that means being both positive and negative in the same post — I think we’ve achieved that.
    Unfortunately, however, it is impossible to please every reader all of the time. However, I would ask that people instead argue why they feel we’re not “neutral enough” in the comments section of our posts. As long as there are no personal attacks or abusive language, all comments are allowed and encouraged. Please make use of the opportunity.

  4. Actually, please point out where I wasn’t neutral and where the facts were not relevant or true. Probably, HHSh will point to mention of Vano Siradeghian, but the applause and cheers were there when his name was called and it is generally accepted that he did mastermind the assassination of various figures. Some Armenians applaud him for that. Others don’t. That is the situation and that is the context. Ironically, non-HHSh supporters will accuse me of being too partial by referring to the fire bomb attack on Pashinian’s car or his battle with the courts. Basically, when politics is involved, nobody is going to be happy and I personally feel that this is the only sign of “neutrality” we can accept here in Armenia unless you’re going to argue that there is something factually incorrect in the post. Unfortunately, the A1 Plus article was the most blatant attempt to mislead. Compared to almost every political event held in Liberty Square, the number of people attending was minimal. Is anyone going to say that Kornelij, RFE/RL and myself are incorrect in that?
    Anyway, all of these opinions are mine and not necessarily those of CRD/TI Armenia. 😉

  5. Onnik – good you mentioned that last point. By the way – all the opinions expressed on the Armenian Blog Review are mine, and they do not necessarily those of Internews Armenia 🙂

  6. Disclaimers should always be a standard component of any blog. This has been the experience in the West, and I daresay it will be the experience here as well. Best not to learn that out the hard way. 😉

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