Nazarian discusses this and this article by Azg newspaper. The first article is dealing with “plans to build small dams and hydro-electric plants on the Vanadzor river”, which has resulted in protests among the intellectual elite and concerned citizens in Vanadzor on grounds, that the project is potentially dangerous for the environment and is seen as merely “a ploy for the Hasmik Ltd to prepare ground for privatizing the gorge”. The second article Nazarian has drawn readers attention to is “about the continuing practice of marshrutka drivers smoking”, which, although is a direct violation of law according to Nazarian, is largely ignored, in part, because like the blogger says “the passengers are reluctant to do anything as they are not willing to get into an argument with the occasional grumpy driver”.
Yerevan, Republic of Armenia © Onnik Krikorian / Oneworld Multimedia 2007
Via Oneworld Multimedia, March 28, 2007: “Armenia today said farewell to the longest serving prime minister in its short history as an independent, post-Soviet state. Andranik Markarian died on March 25 from a heart attack less than two months before parliamentary elections considered to be the most important test for democracy yet faced by Armenia.”
More photos and links to further coverage on yesterday’s funeral over on the original post: http://oneworld.blogsome.com/2007/03/28/armenia-buries-prime-minister/
Grants are the hit of the day – following Uzogh’s post about blogging grants, Kornelij Glas suggests to evaluate the role of NGOs in Armenia in terms of building the society. While the discussion following Kornelij‘s post concentrates on the efficiency of NGOs (Uzogh, Narjan), Bekaisa posts on proportions of grants provided in Armenia and states that the Government of Armenia is by far the largest grant recipient in the country.
Uzogh has asked an interesting question (followed by lively discussion) about how much does it cost to build a blog, pointing out, that organizations like Center for Regional Developmen /Transparency International Armenia and Internews Armenia have received grants which include a blogging component. The question is especially important, because most of the bloggers (including myself before working with Internews), do so with no expectations to be compensated, and an ethical question arises as to how acceptable it is to spend money on building a blog. The grant information about the mentioned blogs, taken from Uzogh’s post can be found here:
Anoush Armenia talks about the Sunday’s Sksela/Transparency organized demonstration, noting that “a few blocks short of reaching the Mayor’s office (the final destination of the petition which was signed by hundreds), the march was cut short as the following, highly unexpected, news…” of Prime Minister Andranik Margaryan’s death became known. Here are some extracts from the blog-post:
The idea is to create a concerned citizenry- one which is aware of what is going on its country, and voices its concerns because it recognizes its right and responsibility to play an active role. The idea is growing momentum as evidenced by the fact that attendance at Sunday’s Sksela/Transparency organized demonstration was higher than ever.
The ’cause celebre’ of this particular demonstration? The illegal construction happening in downtown Yerevan and the unconstitutional eviction of people from their homes in order to make way for said construction.
Kornelij Glas has updates on the recent MIAK (political party formed in February) meeting on Karabakh issue, noting that the party calls for liberal policies when it comes to internal affairs, and be nationalist in foreign politics. Another interesting opinion expressed by MIAK and noted by Kornelij is that “there are no real parties, there is just one – Government and there is a semi-opposition.” Apparently MIAK want to become That Very Party – the only one, speculates Kornelij. As to Karabakh – the party basically suggest, that the current status quo be sustained.
“Victories are dangerous for us – Armenians. The feeling of false security that follows a victory is the special threat for our security. We think, that giving the enemy two slaps on the face is enough and that the problems is solved forever. While the struggle for existence is still on, we call it victorious fight for freedom, and use the freedom to just go home.“, Ahousekeeper says analyzing the recent history of Kharabakh war in 1992 and contrasting it with the surrender of Kars way back at the start of the past century (1920).
“Andranik Margaryan, the Prime Minister of Armenia, the chairman of Republican Party of Armenia died of heart stroke in his apartment on March 25, at 13:20.” (E-channel) Andranik Margaryan, the longest serving Prime-Minister of Armenia (in power since May 12, 2000), head of the ruling Republican party and one of the clear favorites in the upcoming Parliamentary elections (scheduled on May 12, 2007), dies at a time, when stability is crucial for the country, and when many see him as a balancing factor in Armenia, a guarantor of state stability.
The reaction in the Armenian blogosphere is reserved. “It’s not the most quiet time in the country for the Premier to die” Kornelij Glas (ru) notes. Life in Armenia, Blogrel and others limit themselves to speculation, as to how much PM’s death will strengthen the role of Armenia’s Defense Minister, next Presidential hopeful Serge Sargsyan, while according to the Armenia Breaking News blog “[Republican] party’s board convened a sitting yesterday evening with the participation of Serge Sargsyan, head of the board“. All the major developments are reported by the Oneworld Multimedia, Onnik Krikoryan there doing a most professional journalistic work of covering events as they happen:
Regardless, the coming week or two will be full of reminiscing about Armenia’s longest serving Prime Minister. Although unintended, his role in the ruling Republican Party will probably be the main topic for discussion through the media ahead of the May parliamentary election.
It is uncertain how this will affect the [Republican] party in the run up to the vote, although all eyes will probably be on who is now named the next Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia.
Kornelij Glas kept foreign affairs in focus this week with a large number of unique posts, but other bloggers were active in foreign policy as well, apparently due to lack of any major activity in the political front on domestic affairs.
“While some are thinking of hammering Iran, Yerevan and Tehran are mutually embracing each other”, comments Kornelij Glas here, noting that the two countries have already.
1. Launched the gas pipeline. Discussions are underway on building the second branch.
2. Finally an agreement is signed on building two hydro-electric stations.
3. Started talking of the construction of an oil pipeline.
Kornelij Glas has also published the full text of the Press Conference held by the RA Minister of Foreign Affairs Vardan Oskanyan, covering foreign and domestic politics, including relations with Russia, Kharabakh resolution, International Recognition of the Armenian Genocide, significance of Iran-Armenia gas pipeline in terms of energy diversification for Armenia and more.
The ICHD blog has republished an article by Arshil Saroyan (first published on www.asbarez.com), describing the current foreign policies of Armenia as isolationist and seeing them as failures in every respect.
In contrast to the gloomy picture of isolation drawn by Arshil Saroyan, Armenia blog has two very short posts on Armenia-Iran gas pipeline and the meeting of Gela Bezhuashvili, Minister of foreign Affairs of Georgia, and Vardan Oskanian, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia.
To conclude this roundup, here’s a link to a mock-serious post, where David_Sand is advocating strict visa regimes in Armenia for the citizens of the EU, USA and Switzerland, having just suffered the pain of going through the Shengen visa procedures at the French embassy in Yerevan.