“Wake up” and become involved in social processes in Armenia!

ALS Movement, Anoush Armenia and Bekaisa keep the carnival organized in Yerevna on the traditional Armenian festival day of “Barekendan” in the focus, bringing additional news and stressing the importance of this social event from a civil perspective. ALS Movement looks at the civic value of the event in more depth:

[…]A Panegyric/carnival is being organized in Yerevan on the day of Barekentan, and it’s important that as many people as possible go.
Communal Panegyrics and celebrations in all cultures since ancient times have been a way of protest against and rejoicing despite the tyranies of the day – it has been a way to manifest their collective rebelous spirit in a festive way. It has often been a piss-take of authorities — A way of Reclaiming what is permanently theirs (Streets, Public wealth, or maybe just Rice with raisins).[…]

The organizers have put up the following announcement on the festival website – http://barekendan.tripod.com/ :

[…]Seeing as how the Parliamentary elections of 2007 are critical for the democratization processes in Armenia, Barekendan serves as an ideal occasion for the civil society activists to call upon their fellow dormant citizens to “wake up” and become involved. […]

Here’s an additional reminder of date and place which had already been posted on this blog ealier.

Sunday, February 18 at 13:00
Near the Komitas statue in front of the Music Conservatory
“Come and reclaim your oil and rice”

Where do you stand in Politics?

As the elections come closer and everyone is faced with the necessity to understand where they stand in terms of political stance, this test which was linked to from Uzogh’s journal – could be very useful!!!
PS: The red dot is where I stand in terms of political views according to the test… interesting!
PS2: Through a comment from Kronstadt I learned, that in fact the Armenian Libertarian-Socialist Blog has had this scheme posted in their website much earlier. In fact Kronstadt states, that the graph the original test will give you is not very accurate, as it does not provide the testee with the opportunity to position her/him in regards to economic quality, hence the blogger has designed a more detailed political map here.

Military Getting Active in the Armenian Parliament Elections 2007

CRD / TI Election Monitor 2007  looks at “…the role of the military in political life in Armenia. While still effectively in a state of hostilities with neighboring Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabakh, the military does not play as much of a role in the internal life of the country as it does in some other countries…“.
However the Monitor looks at some of the recent developments, including Lebanon-born former Karabakh commander Zhirayr Sefilyan’s arrest,  another Karabakh commander Samvel Babayan’s entry into the political scene with the “Dashink” party, Lieutenant-General Artur Aghabekian’s resignation from his post in order to stand for parliament on the Armenian Revolutionary Federation — Dashnaksutyun ticket, RFE/RL report concenrning the intentions of Major-General Seyran Saroyan, the influential commander of the Fourth Army Corps, to run for parliament as a candidate of the governing Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) in a constituency south of Yerevan, as well as The claims by National Democratic Institute in their primary statement issued on the May 2003 parliamentary election about cases of limiting the voiting freedom of soldiers during the May 2003 elections.
CRD / TI Election Monitor 2007 summerizes by saying:

So, if the last parliamentary election was defined by an influx of oligarchs and powerful business interests into the Armenian National Assembly, perhaps we’re now beginning to see the appearance of the military in the political life of the country. Time will tell if this is all merely coincidence or part of something far more significant and far-reaching.

Armenia, Genocide and the World

Vahe Balabanyan has posted a selection of news extracts from A1+, The California Courier, Armenialiberty, The Messenger , The Brock Press and the AP at Hyelog covering the construction of the railway Kars-Akhalqalaq, US attitudes towards the Armenian Genocide recognition, Turkey’s little problem of genocide, Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul’s support for the amendment of Turkey’s controversial article 301, plans for opening the long-awaited second rail ferry link with the outside world that will substantially reduce the cost of its transport communication with Russia and possibly other countries,
Hyelog has the following to add to the article The Caucasus: where the east meets west and much, much more which discusses the complex geopolitics of the Caucasus and the role of Georgia in it:

[…]Irrespective how much Georgia wants to sugar coat it and how much Armenia wants to downplay because it relies on Georgia to access to the world, the reality speaks otherwise. I see this as Georgia caving in to Turkey and Azerbaijan to bring Armenia to its knees in order for it to make concessions on the Genocide recognition and Nagorno Karabakh.[…]

Wonders of the Yrevan Press Club (YPC)

Speaking of the recent round table discussion “Objectivity, balance and professionalizm in the course of election coverage”, Uzogh is apalled by the YPC 2003 Parliamentary Election monitoring analyses presented during the show, and says, that YPC is purposefully trying to denounce the TV coverage during the 2003 parliamentary coverage.

Artists in Armenia Critical of Government's Moves To Limit Artistic Expression

SASSNA DZRER has posted the letter by a group of Armenian artists and intellectuals, expressing their principal disagreement with the situation in Armenia concerning art, culture and freedom.

“…The art, the artist and the thought in Armenia are forbidden from now on. The announcement of Minister of Culture from 01.02.2007 recovers long-term Soviet totalitarian repressive machinery aimed to exclude alternative thinking and pluralism. Actually by this decision the artistic freedom without the approval of the Ministry of Culture in Armenia is forbidden.
This is the way how the fascism enters and becomes reality accompanied by the society’s excitement. …”

Parliamentary Election Monitor – Further Developments

Via CRD / TI Election Monitor 2007 blog – Onnik Krikoryan has follow ups and further details to issues raised in this earlier issue of the 2007 Parliamentary Election Monitor series.

“…indeed, following on from reports that the opposition allege an official policy of restricting access to the broadcast media by charging higher than normal per minute fees, RFE/RL has an update saying that private TV companies deny the allegations.
…Armenia’s leading private broadcasters denied on Tuesday opposition claims that they were forced by the authorities to set artificially high prices for political advertisements to be aired during the unfolding election campaign…
…Interestingly, RFE/RL interviewed a number of TV station managers, including the head of news at Yerkir Media TV. Unofficially linked to the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaksutyun because the law prohibits political parties from owning TV stations, Gegham Manoukian says it’s all just a money-making exercise and has nothing to do with politics…
…Meanwhile, while the opposition complains about the conditions being set for the May vote, RFE/RL reports that the main government party, the Republican Party of Prime Minister, Andranik Markarian, is instead concentrating on recruitment probably because of the huge influx of members to Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia party. The race is on — in the pro-Government camp at least, but sometimes reportedly not in the most democratic of ways…”

Visit CRD / TI Election Monitor 2007 blog for the full article.

Failures of the Armenian Judicial System

Marutni or Bust is frustrated with with the Armenian Judicial system and the Minister of Justice David Harutyunyan, who hopes to be running for Parliament on the upcoming parliamentary elections. The case has concluded in the court, with one trafficker receiving 5 years (should be eligible for parole next year), another 2 years and the others one year probation.

All I can say right now is that we should all once again be disappointed with the legal system in Armenia, which once again demonstrated that it does not work in the best interest of the people, but works to reward criminals so they will again go back to their dishonest deeds which provides an income for those people like RA Minister of Justice David Haroutiunian who has undoubtedly become one of the top 10 richest people in Armenia today as a results of manipulating the system to his advantage.

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