To and About The Armenian Blogging Community in 2007

At the moment of my writing, there are, according to various estimates, more then 200 active Armenian blogs in various languages and on various platforms, with the actual number of registered Armenian blogs passing well over the 1000 mark. There are around 40 Armenian blogs who post on a daily bases, and the number of posts generated by the Armenian blogosphere as a whole is within the range of 80-90, with number tripling on days of significant events.
I have to admit, that of the average 80-90 blog posts flowing into my RSS reader, I read only 3-4 each day – by reading, I also understand reading the comments, and sometimes commenting. As to the rest, I just read the title, and knowing who the author is, I classify them according to one of my personal, very subjective sterotypes, and either discard it altogether, or label under one of the categories: political, economic, cultural, sports, etc and leave them in the archive of my RSS reader for future reference.
And I delete the rest of the blog posts… I delete around 70 posts each day. I delete 70 thoughts and feelings and attempts at self-expression every day… Sorry guys. Sorry, but I’m only human…
All in all, I can state, that we have a very active Armenian blogging community. It is highly diverse, very divided, polarized and ghettoized. There are sharp divisions between Russian/Armenian language blogs and the English language ones, there is a clear distinction between the LiveJournal blogging community and the rest of the bloggers based on alternative blogging platforms. There is a highly subjective and often offensive division between “Liberals” (“Leberasts” as they’re called at LiveJournal) and “Patriots” (“Pedriods” on LiveJournal). And while many people consider such division and distinction a negative development, I have to admit, I like it. It brings diversity and social, political stances to the blogosphere. It makes people break free of flatness, and either define themselves as belonging to one of the camps, or try to find a path of their own.
When thinking about what would be my last post for the year, I had many plans: making a Top Ten of my favorite blogs or posts, or summarizing all the important developments of 2007 and looking at their reflections in the blogosphere, establishing a blogging prize, etc, etc… call me lazy, but I don’t feel like doing any of those. Call me lazy – but I just want to tell you guys, bloggers and readers of this blog, that I wish you a Happy New Year. And its not JUST a wish. I really hope, that the New Year will be indeed a HAPPY one for each and every one of you. I hope, you will all maintain your interest in blogging next year, and I hope, that by blogging and reading bloggers, you’ll all find more of what you’re seeking: friends to share ideas with, interesting opponents to converse with, a way to self-expression or possibilities to establish yourselves as the “best”, the “most read” or the “most commented”. Why not? It’s all a very human community after all, and it is only natural, that some people will look for ways to establish themselves in the virtual world J
From my side, I want to promise you, that the 2008 year will be even more interesting for blogging about Armenia, and with presidential elections looming closer and internet becoming more accessable, I’m sure we will have more new bloggers, and more interesting posts from the old ones. Take these as the words of a most devoted reader of Armenian blogosphere, and a highly dedicated blogger too…
Yours truly,
Observer (c) Last post of 2007


New Year is Coming, but The Old Working Year Resists to The End…

It seems, that there is nothing left to do at work, only this and that and that little task and that’s it… and then, you find out, that there’s a lot more to be done before the first task is concluded, and there are problems with the second one… the year resists and doesn’t want to give up, and doesn’t want to end and let me go home, sit in front of the TV and peacefully prepare psychologically for the New Year – the most significant holiday in Armenia…

At some point in this rat race I ask to myself – why and what is the point of all my efforts? What am I hoping to achieve, why am I working like crazy today – the last Friday of the year, and why am I planning to work on the last weekend of the year, while most of the ‘normal’ folk have already dropped everything and are enjoying their holidays?

Armenia Economy Politics

President Kocharian Promises to Punish Currency Speculators

According to ARCA, during the traditional meeting of Robert Kocharian with the 60 big entrepreneurs, the President has remarked, that the unreasonable abrupt fluctuations of the national currency, which lasted several days are among the most important events of 2007. Kocharian has informed the businessmen, that research has been conducted and the authors of speculations will soon be revealed and will be held accountable.



During the meeting with Peter Semneby, the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus, the Prime Minister of Armenia Serge Sargsian qualified the information about the situation in Armenian media ahead of presidential elections 20008 that “some European officials” take into account as not objective, as well as proposed that a “specialized organization” should undertake a “complete monitoring” that includes both broadcast and print media.

Armenia Politics

One More Unique PR Action from ARF-Dashnaktsutyun

Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF-Dashnaktsutyun), are really trying their PR skills at the upcoming presidential elections. Following the first ever ‘primaries’ in Armenia held by the party on November 24-29, where anybody could come and vote, making a choice between two candidates of Dashnaktsutyun – Vahan Hovhannisyan and Armen Rustamyan, the party now has printed out 400,000 ‘contracts’ with Vahan Hovhannisyan – the ARF candidate.
According to this contract, the presidential candidate promises to make social changes, maintain political stability, contribute to the unification of Armenians in the homeland, establish social solidarity, ensure free elections.
Everybody that reads and signs the agreement will receive a small card with the picture of Vahan Hovhannisyan and will join the movement “I am with Vahan”. Cute, isn’t it? 🙂 I remember, how Kornelij Glas and Blogrel noted at the past parliamentary elections, about the electoral campaigns of various parties, and noted, that Dashanks are working hard at their campaign.
I have also heard rumours, that ARF are planning yet another major PR event, specifically targeting young people – Serj Tankian, the lead vocalist, keyboardist and rhythm guitarist of the alternative metal band System of a Down, will hold a concert in Yerevan in support of ARF-Dashnaktsutyun candidate.

Photos by Echannel


Merry Christmas is on January 6th!!!

There is an overwhelming amount of Christmas greetings coming to my email address and office these days, wishing Merry Christmas and best of luck on December 25th – the Christmas day. It is all great and pleasant – to be remembered, and greeted by so many. There is one observation, that I have to make however.
I find it quite reasonable that my international contacts are greeting me on December 25th – and wishing a Merry Christmas, and I’m very happy to be able to return the greetings. However, when Armenian friends and colleagues start greeting on December 25th – I find it somewhat irritating. The thing is – Armenian Christmas is on January 6th. What is wrong with remembering this one single most important date for the Armenian Apostolic church, and instead of bundling up with the rest of the world, wish me Merry Christmas on January 6th?

Armenia Education

“How much is it for a 5 in maths?”

I never went to school in Armenia but there are several important differences between the two systems. The most shocking thing is about the fact that in the little ex soviet republic, the students can buy their notes. This practice is not used or tolerated in Switzerland. The price of the notes depends on the importance of the exam. Armenian teachers act this way because they are often underpaid. Unfortunately, this way of education is very bad for the country because the armenian diplomas are not valuable anymore. Consequently, foreign diplomas are much more demanded in the Armenian labour market. However, some brave students decide not to pay their teachers to get good marks and to work instead of paying.Otherwise, this system makes the differences between the poor and the rich of the country even more unfair, giving rich people the opportunity to get diplomas without money…
Stéphane Maffli

Armenia Politics

Elections in Armenia and Switzerland : a lot of differences

I was quite surprised when I was asked to write about my personal opinion towards the election campaign. As a foreigner (from switzerland) living in Armenia for five months now, I got used to the country and to its rules.

In order to introduce the situation of the two countries, a few facts are here given. The size of Switzerland and Armenia are quite similar. The Caucasian country is 29.800 km² and the other 41.285 km². The population is 7.508.700 in Switzerland and 3.215.800 in Armenia. So we can say, that the two countries are quite close on what refers to the size. Although the population is different, we can still say that it is in the same scale.

The first thing that came into my mind about the differences between the electoral situations of Armenia and Switzerland, is that the parties are not classified by their “left” or “right” ideas.

Armenia Politics

Civil Initiative From Yerevan Supports Gala TV Rally in Gyumri

With the initiative of Sksela youth movement and support of Center for Regional Development / Transparency Armenia, a group of 34 journalists and civil society activists, including representatives of Sksela youth movement, CRD / TI, Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression, Yerevan Press Club, Helsinki Citizens Assembly – Yerevan, PanArmenian Association of Women visited Gyumri today, to take part in the rally staged in support of Gala TV company, which has come under the attack of tax inspection service and Gyumri municipality, after its refusal to comply with the directions of the authorities, not to broadcast the announcement about the first opposition rally on October 26 with the participation of Former President Levon Ter-Petrossian.
Around 1000 people gathered at the rally in support of the small regional TV company, despite the freezing cold. E-channel has more:

Armed with the posters Paws off from Gala, our Favorite Child!; Authorities change, Freedom is eternal; Enemies of Freedom of Speech will be punished by the Law and, Public Ignorance, and that Day will come by the Damnation of God, the gathering organizers and participants left Asparez journalists’ club for the Theater Square in Gyumri.


Levon Barseghyan, the chairman of Asparez club opened the meeting on behalf of the headquarters of freedom of speech and Gala support. He briefly presented the recent events around Gala, repeating that the officials involved in this case will have to answer for it.
“I am glad that here we have everybody that considers himself free, that is not scared to protect his and others’ freedom, that has understood that people closing Gala TC yesterday closed A1+ and Noyan Tapan and tomorrow are going to dictate to them how to live, how to breathe, what to listen to, what to watch, and how to think. We are not going to permit closing of Gala – they will not manage to do it,” Levon Barseghyan said.

At the end of the meeting, Levon Barseghyan congratulated the coming New Year of the gathered people, promising “to bring black New Year over those closing Gala” if that rally and their protests had no influence. The last sentence was also awarded by the encouragement of the gathered people.

Armenia Politics

Armenian Bloggers Protest Against "Week of Azerbaijan" in Armenia

A group of Armenian Bloggers, including: Uzogh, Pigh, Aerial_vortex and Akunamatata_ser carried out an incredible public campaign yesterday, protesting against the implementation of the “Week of Azerbaijan” in Yerevan, organized by Caucasus Center of Peace-Making Initiatives (CCPMI) with the support of the UK Embassy in Armenia. At the opening ceremony of the event, which took place in the Mkhitar Sebastatsi educational complex headed by Former Minister of Education Ashot Bleyan, the group of mentioned Bloggers rushed to the speaker – head of the Caucasus Center of Peace-Making Initiatives (CCPMI) Georgi Vanyan and presented him with pieces of soap. This symbolic gesture, which is highly offensive and contains elements of bitter sarcasm, was carried out as a form of protest, for implementing this action, which according to blogger Pigh – posted in the video below, is quite untimely, doesn’t contribute to the promotion of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan in any way, and is only seen by the Bloggers as a way for Mr. Vanyan, to launder grant money – even at the price of hurting his country’s interests.

It has to be noted, that the announcement last week about the implementation of the “Week of Azerbaijan” in Armenia stirred a lot of emotions, and was seen mostly as a highly negative and useless initiative.
I have already stated my position somewhere on Uzogh‘s blog – and I want to reaffirm again, that I am fully supportive of the views expressed by Mr. Pigh, that this initiative is pointless, does not promote anything, except the interests of ‘earning grant money’, and that the UK Embassy in Armenia should give careful consideration, of what exact type of activities to support, and what is the point, after which the activities become counter productive.
On a related note I have to state, that this has been the most widely publicised initiative so far, which brought massive media attention to the understanding of blogging, and promotion of blogging – as a form of civil activity in Armenia.

Video via Uzogh: