- The Cost of Corruption
- Armenia to surpass Azerbaijan and Georgia by GDP per capita. IMF
- A Facebook user detained on pretext of "endangering national security" in Armenia
- Record number of passengers in Yerevan airport; new, affordable flight routs to Armenia
- Armenia Issues A Statement on Developments in Baghdad
All Armenians are politicians inside. At any rate, the Armenian Bloggers are, for blog posts on internal and foreign politics dominated the Blogosphere this week.
ICHD Blog has posted about the European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan, as an important stimulus for developing an efficient migration strategy in Armenia. On July 19, 2007 RA Government has adopted the list of priorities and activities to comply with the EU Action Plan suggestions, and the ICHD Blog finds it important, to stress, that the sections in the document related to migration issues are definitely progressive. Some of the steps the blog is underlining in the document as worth attention are:
- Readmission agreements have been signed with four European countries to regulate illegal migration, negotiations are underway with 10 other countries to sign such agreements,
- An RA Draft law has been put to circulation addressing the regulation of issues of refugees and asylum seekers,
- The first steps towards developing an electronic database for overseeing the migration flows.
The blog further urges, to unite international, donor, as well as local NGO and government resources and following three phases, find viable solutions to the issues of migration. Hence, the First phase would consist of research and analyses, the Second phase would develop a document which would base upon the findings in the earlier step, the Third phase would be development of a political document: “National program of objectives and actions”, and would also indicate the necessary resources and agents for solutions.
Interestingly, Blogian has also been addressing migration related Trafficking issue recently, in a more provocative fashion (thank you Uzogh, for bringing this to my attention):
Imaginary Legislative Act on Trafficking Made Much News
The satire news that I made up about Armenian parliament passing an act on human trafficking – with the hope to have the parliamentarians introduce similar act – was noticed by everyone but the Armenian parliament itself.
OSCE was not the only organization that posted the news. Apparently, the news item – picked up from Huliq.com – was included in Stop Violence Against Women, in the October 2007 e-Bulletin of Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women, Gender Information Network of South Caucasus, and others.
I apologize to the above organizations for the false hope that Armenia is doing something to combat human trafficking. And apparently Armenian lawmakers don’t browse much Internet.
Russian politics was perhaps the dominating theme in foreign politics related posts. Bekaisa notes with regret, that everything is so clear in Russian elections, that following the ballot count has become a useless, or rather, an “uninteresting” activity. David_Sand has posted a table, of his “estimates” and election results in Russia. Very close guesses indeed, although the blogger’s estimate for Putin’s party, United Russia has been within the range of 40-50%, while in reality it got 61%, which is what David_Sand seems to be most discontent with.
“Putin bought Russia”, Kornelij Glas remarks, noting, that on a strange coincidence, Six Apart, the company developing blogging platforms like Vox, TypePad and MoveableType, has sold its LiveJournal blog hosting platform to Moscow-headquartered SUP, on the day of Russian elections. What does it mean for the blogging communities in Russia, or Armenia, who seem to prefer LiveJournal over alternatives, remains to be seen.
Mark Grigoryan looks at the overall picture in Post-Soviet countries and concludes, that the only way of changing power in countries like Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine, Russia, Uzbekistan, etc. is “coloured revolution”, but then “who wants a revolution – be it coloured, velvet or else?” the blogger asks?
Government has never changed as a result of elections in postsoviet countries. The only exception is perhaps Ukraine of 1994, when Kuchma came to power. In other cases the change of power was happening as a result of acts of violence (Georgia 1993), coups (Armenia, 1998), “coloured revolutions” (Georgia 2003, Ukraine 2004) or uprisings (Kyrgyzstan 2005).
It is therefore hardly to be expected, that a change of government during the “election season” of 2007-2008 will take place as a result of elections in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Armenia or the same old Russia.
And “therefore” again: democratic mechanisms of changing and transferring power on the territory of the former USSR do not seem to work.
Go figure, says Ahousekeeper, speaking of domestic politics, and jokingly indicating the choices on everyone’s minds:
☐ Levon Sargsyan
☐ Serge Ter-Petrossian
Indeed, it looks as though the whole politics in Armenia today is a big joke. Aramazd is posting about “political plays”, indicating:
- NU – National Unity – with Artashes Mamikonovich on top [i.e. Artashe Geghamyan]
- CoL – Country of Law – wotj Artur Baghdasaryan
- VM – Sad as it is, i have to also write about Vazgen Manukyan and his “party” NDU – National Democratic Union
- ARF – “Dashnaktsutyun” party
Needless to say, that as an active Levon Ter-Petrossian supporter, Aramazd has no “theatrical” qualifications to ascribe to the latter, and has a more waiting attitude speaking of “Heritage” and Raffi Hovhannisyan. Evidently, if “Heritage” supports LTP, they’ll fall short of Aramazd’s list of “fake” and “theatrical” candidates 😉
Narjan on the other hand, notes, that despite his attitude to Vazgen Manukyan, the leader of NDU, on Narjan’s IMHO (humble opinion), is one of the last politicians [evidently of the extinct type ;)] who is able to state anything, posting a link to an Aravot article, in which Vazgen Manukayan speaks of the “formers” and the “incumbents”, saying: the formers were forging [elections], justifying their steps with the idea of “free state”, whereas these ones are forging, based on the “idea of nation”.
ALS Movement on the other hand, explores at length the possibility of Raffi Hovhannisyan’s supporting the First President of Armenia:
It is now becoming obvious that Raffi Hovhanissian will be supporting one of the eligible candidates. But who will it be? For Levon Ter-Petrosyan winning Raffi Hovhanissian over is crucial: it’s a matter of securing a victory, or running the danger of not even getting into the second round.
So what can Levon do to win Raffi over?  And the simple answer is
(A) to highlight the corrupt nature of Kocharian & Co’s dealings with particular wealthy individuals and corrupt institutions of the Diaspora; to highlight Kocharian’s cold-shoulder for the burning issues in Diaspora’s struggles, and
(B) to include in his 3-year plan a clear policy that would offer a resolute support and assistance for the burning issues that the Diasporan Intelligentsia is confronted with – something that was ignored.
If Levon Ter-Petrosyan could deliver something along these lines in his December 8th outline of his 3-year plan, it could really turn fortunes and contribute positively to Raffi Hovhanissian’s final decision of whom to support in these elections.
As mentioned in a previous post, what Hovannisian does next might well determine which candidate will face Sarkisian in a likely second round. Opinion polls show the prime minister with insufficient support to win outright in a first round. Some pro-opposition forces clearly hope that Hovannisian will support Ter Petrosian although one source says that he is already negotiating with other parties such as the Armenian Revolutionary Federation — Dashnakstutyun (ARF-D).
In conversations with young voters who cast their ballots for Hovannisian’s Heritage party in May, however, it is uncertain where his support might be directed. Some Heritage voters say they would vote for Ter Petrosian to prevent Sarkisian from becoming president while others say the complete opposite. While it is unclear how Hovannisian views Ter Petrosian’s return, it is unlikely and probably unthinkable that he would support Sarkisian.
The admittedly pro-government source, however, says that Hovannisian has offered the ARF-D his support as long as there are assurances the party will not back Sarkisian if their candidate pulls out of the presidential race. On the other hand, a possible boycott of the vote might also be on the cards. Heritage remain tight-lipped on the matter to date.
Most of the rest of domestic politics posts were full of expectation and announcements about opposition rally, where LTP is due to speak again. Speaking of announcements, a new crackdown on printed leaflets announcing the LTP rally is reported by Onnik Krikoryan:
According to RFE/RL, and since confirmed by a quick SMS to Aramazd Ghalamkaryan, leaflets printed to publicize Saturday’s rally by Levon Ter Petrosian have been confiscated by the authorities. True enough, while walking through Komitas earlier this evening I wondered why there were no flyers for the event in sight anywhere. For the previous two meetings they were everywhere.
Further on the same post, entitled “Fear & Oppression in Armenia — Never!” Onnik Krikoryan get’s quite bellicose:
And as I have to wonder if at some point pressure will be applied on journalists and photographers covering Ter Petrosian’s rallies, I will now be writing an email expressing my concern to the British Embassy. I am also going to express my concern and outrage to high-level acquaintances I have at the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan. This move towards an environment of fear and oppression in Armenia must not be allowed to continue. In fact, it must stop now.
In an act of solidarity, Nazarian and Unzipped have joined Onnik’s call to stop fear and oppression in Armenia. On a separate entry Unzipped welcomes the news about the introduction of exit polls for the Presidential elections in Armenia:
For the first time, exit poll will be conducted during presidential elections in Armenia. This offer was made by current US envoy in Armenia during his meeting today with Prime Minister and presidential hopeful Serj Sargsyan. Armenian Prime Minister accepted the offer, adding that even if US did not offer it, they would have sought assistance of specialised agencies to conduct exit poll. This is certainly positive development. If the results of exit poll, which are usually announced immediately after polling stations closed, would be similar to official results published by Central Electorate Commission, this would add to legitimacy of conducted elections.
Concluding the “political” section of blog review, here’s a link to Onnik Krikoryan’s post, announcing the availability of the “Election Blogging Guide in Armenian” and link to the guide itself:
The Armenian translation can be downloaded in Word format (compressed as a .zip file). More blogging resources in English and other languages such as Russian can be downloaded from the NewEurasia site.