When the “Golos Armenii” newspaper published the article entitled “Around the table in Marco Polo” about allegations, that Artur Baghdasaryan has been negotiating with a representative of the British Embassy in Yerevan with the intention of blackmailing the results of the upcoming Parliamentary elections and the Public TV picked up the topic and widely advertised it as the “first campaign scandal” I wasn’t really surprised – I mean, what kind of elections can go without scandals anyway? I was especially interested to read the opinion of Armen Badalyan, an expert in political technologies published in this article at E-channel, where the expert says it might even have been organized by Artur Baghdasaryan himself:
This is called a “guerilla battle,” when compromising data are presented through someone else, in this case – with the help of a newspaper. However, it was not the right move at that moment. 10 percent of voters vote by their mind, by learning about the platforms, 30-60% vote by looking at the image of a political figure and party, the others vote based on their moods, and the events of the last 3 or 4 days really affect them. By publishing compromising materials 20 days in advance, Baghdasaryan is given a chance to deny whatever has been said but there is something else here. It is not excluded that the move has been made by Arthur Baghdasaryan. In this case, it can be considered effective because he makes a “vaccination” for the future, by spreading rumors and then denying them.
The fact, that someone had secretly eavesdropped a political figure didn’t seem to bother my colleague journalist reporting about the fact, neither did it worry the bulk of population following the developments. In fact, it seems quite ok to spy against someone in Armenia… something quite natural – not to worry about…
Whereas in US the story about eavesdropping brought about the Watergate scandal and Nixon’s resignation…
Same point was elaborated by Nazarian:
What bother[s] me are the murky circumstances that the tape was made and then given to the government mouthpiece Golos Armenii newspaper. As far as I know, it is illegal in Armenia to tape someone’s conversation without a court order or an explicit agreement by the conversing parties. It is illegal to publish such conversations as well if they are taped illegally. So I would think that the UK government and Arthur Baghdasarian have solid grounds to sue Golos Armenii. They will also have a legal ground to pursue the entity that taped this conversation.
One thing that’s quite clear to me is – you just don’t compare Armenia with the US or UK… hm, do they have a bug in my computer? 🙁