Internetisation of The 2008 Presidential Elections Is Unprecedented

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Opposition Rally, Liberty Square, Yerevan, Republic of Armenia © Onnik Krikorian/Oneworld Multimedia 2007
Vigorous politicisation of the Armenian section of Internet is observed as the February 19 Presidential elections draw near. A number of official websites endorsing different candidates have been launched. Already there are websites for Levon Ter-Petrossian, Vazgen Manukyan, Vahan Hovhannisyan, Artur Baghdasaryan and Serge Sargsyan (sorted in the order I found out about them, many thanks to Onnik Krikoryan for pointing me to these sites). Sections related to the elections have appeared in the websites of Republican Party of Armenia, Prosperous Armenia/ Bargavach Hayastan and United Liberal National Party/MIAK parties.

Passport and invitations department at RA police has presented the list of Armenian voters based on polling stations to the Central Electoral Commission, which has been placed in the Central Electoral Commission’s website, and as was the case with the previous elections, every Internet connected voter may check their names in the list and find out which polling station they will be voting, and where that particular station is located. By the way, 2 311 917 voters were registered this time, which is 5 983 less then the previous – May 12, 2007 Parliamentary elections.
A range of information websites dedicated to the upcoming elections have been launched, including the of A1plus, – by Internews Armenia and – by MediaMax News Agency, – Armenia Election Monitor 2008 – by journalist, photographer Onnik Krikoryan. Nearly all news, information and interactive web portals offer Internet polls of various integrity and very contradictory results. It seems that the biggest number of voters have taken part in the Online Poll at the, with Levon Ter-Petrossian leading by 52%, followed by Vahan Hovhannisyan at 16% and Serge Sargsyan with 15%. This poll however most likely grossly falsified, because I was able to vote for my favourite candidate – Vahan Hovhannisyan at least 4 times, with no obvious difficulty. A more secure online poll carried out at Uzogh’s blog has revealed, that of 136 bloggers taking part at the vote, majority are supporting Vazgen Manukyan – holding 32% of the voter sympathy.
Armenian blogs and the Armenian section of the video-sharing service YouTube present a special case. One can discuss, curse and blackmail any presidential candidate or all of them at once. As veteran-bloger Samvel Martirosyan has rightly noted, one can even conduct virtual rallies and demonstrations on the blogosphere. A range of agitational blogs have been registered in the LiveJournal section of the Armenian blogosphere, who are carrying out a rather rough and inefficient electoral campaigns among the bloggers in favor of their preferred candidates – Levon Ter-Petrossian and Serge Sargsyan, but doing it in such a dumb manner, that their efforts are triggering general discontent and anger of the already established bloggers, rather then achieving anything.
One thing however remains a puzzle for me looking at all this internetised electoral campaign – with Internet usage among the general population in Armenia remaining much too low to have any substantial impact, what, why and for whom are all these internet resources created? What are all these efforts for? It is really hard for me to imagine, that an average statistical voter would bother to check, if Artur Baghdasaryan or Vahan Hovhannisyan have already uploaded their campaign manifesto on their nice new pre-election websites or no…

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant


  1. I think it is worth to mention that the majority if not all of the candidate
    websites are copycats of the first official presidential candidate website that
    It was established in 21.09.2007, the same evening when Levon Ter-Petrossian
    had his first public speech. Compare them yourself and you can find many similarities
    which all come from
    Also from all the presidential websites
    is the only one with web2 capabilities such as
    and its own YouTube
    There are plans to make the site more interactive and always stay a step ahead from other website as it currently is.

  2. […] notable in that many political parties started to use the Internet to appeal to voters and, as The Armenian Observer notes, that tendency looks set to continue for next month’s presidential election in Armenia. […]

  3. A range of information websites dedicated to the upcoming elections have been launched, including the of A1plus, – by Internews Armenia and – by MediaMax News Agency.

    Armenia Election Monitor 2008

  4. When I visited the Bargavach website my antivirus captured a Downloader. Please be careful.
    The description of the captured thing can be found here:

  5. Guys – thank you all for the valuable comment, also – sorry about leaving half of the text untranslated for so long – I had too much to do over the weekend.
    Onnik – I’ve used that link to Serge’s website and updated the original text.
    As to the Armenia Election Monitor 2008 – I accept, that it is an excellent information website, rather then a blog. On the other hand – I find it somewhat wrong to put it alongside with A1plus, Echannel or MediaMax electoral websites, with big budgets, staff, etc., so although your content competes quite well with their’s, for the purposes of this post/article I don’t think I can mention it on the same line as those.
    On the other hand – I’m still working on the text, and anything can happen 😉 I mean – if you insist and can argue, that your Armenian Election Monitor 2008 is serving exactly the same objectives as the A1plus, Echannel and MediaMax websites, I will happily add it in the same line. I just thought, that if I do it without proper argumentation, people might accuse me of favoring my friends and promoting your blog as if it were a news resource.

  6. It is a news resource.
    And when the election campaign gets under way there will be lots of unique coverage, especially photo stories, that none of the other sites will have.
    The only thing that therefore separates it from the others as a special election site is simply that a) it has no staff, b) it has no budget and c) it wasn’t paid for by international donor money.
    Otherwise, it’s a presidential election site that’s been set up to offer news that’s analyzed and put in what I consider to be a proper context away and unique reports and photo stories when the election campaign is underway.
    I don’t consider how it can’t be included and I don’t consider that there’s an issue of bias especially when you consider that you could argue the same about you and Echannel, for example.
    In fact, I can’t see any reason why you wouldn’t consider the site to be what it’s intended to be save for the fact that it’s run by an individual and not an organization. If that’s the basis, then it’s somewhat discriminatory and if a site has been established to monitor the election, that’s what it’s been set up to do. Plain and simple.
    On the other hand, does it really matter? I mean, nobody seems too interested in what’s being covered by these sites to date according to although A1 Plus by far leads the pack. Even so, considering the number of Internet users inside Armenia let alone the Diaspora and it looks like it’s not being used as much of a source of information at all.
    These are the stats for the past month at time of writing this comment:
    A1 Plus Election Site: 14,751
    E-Channel: 2,089
    Armenia Election Monitor 2008: 1,448
    Mediamax Election 2008 Site: 560

  7. Updated – and included the Armenia Election Monitor 2008, which was also my pleasure to do, sir! :)))

  8. […] I discovered Serge Sargsyan’s official campaign site and posted a link to it on this and another blog. The next day, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) posted a story based on the content of […]

  9. Sorry, probably out of context but have you heard that :
    ՄԱԿ-ը Հայաստանը ճանաչել է աշխարհի միակ քրիստոնյա երկիր:
    read the full news at blog:

  10. […] այս շաբաթ սահմանափակվեցին այսքանով` Դիտորդ բլոգում նախագահության թեկնածուների կայքերի ցուցակը հրապարակվ… հետեւեց այդ կայքերի նկատմամբ հայկական ինտերնետ […]

  11. […] discussions finished on this. Following the publication of the list of presidential candidate websites on The Armenian Observer blog, an outburst of interest towards those sites by the Armenian Internet […]

  12. […] discussions finished on this. Following the publication of the list of presidential candidate websites on The Armenian Observer blog, an outburst of interest towards those sites by the Armenian Internet […]

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