“Divide et impera” (Latin: divide and conquer) is an ancient strategy. So is bribe and conquer…
Echannel reports, that Arthur Baghdasaryan, the chairman of Country of Law (Orinats Yerkir), and Serzh Sargsyan, the prime minister, have signed an agreement for collaboration. The rumour is, that Arthur Baghdasaryan will be appointed in the position of Security Council secretary of Armenia, as soon as Serzh Sargsyan takes up the obligations of the president of Armenia.
Meanwhile, the opposition protests in front of the Opera house, in the Liberty square, continue. I went there this morning – at around 10:30, and there were mostly the people who spent the night in the tents. The rest of the crowd were just starting to gather. One thing I noticed, is the number of people reading newspapers and the information stand, put up in the corner of the road leading to the Northern Avenue. There you could find copies of “Haykakan Zhamanak” pro-opposition newspaper, printouts of stories from various information websites. At the first glance it appeared, that by posting information from these, often biased sources, the opposition are trying to cheer up their supporters, as well try to counterbalance the highly negative coverage, that government censored television (which means – nearly all TV channels) in Armenia are broadcasting.
Despite warnings from the police, the president, arrests of demonstrators and some opposition party leaders, protest rallies in the Liberty square continue…
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Our movement is a bourgeois-democratic revolution aimed to free the society from the claws of feudalism, Armenia’s first President Levon Ter-Petrosyan told a rally on February 27.
The purpose of the movement is to establish the rule of law and free economy, according to him.
“The oligarchs, who are forced to give bribes and pay to associated “family”, will fell first victims to the current regime,” he added.
“All population strata understand the necessity of shift of power. Overwhelming majority of law enforcers and military took the opposition’s side,” he said, IA Regnum reports.
Coming to work today I saw police forcing the cars parked around the Opera house to leave the area. I was told, that there are police busses standing in front of all universities. A police action to discharge the rallie was expected today, but so far the rally continues. At 16:00 when I went over, there were around 30,000 people. During my section visit – already after 20:00, there were still around 4000 people. (Check out my YouTube Channel for the latest video)
Shap words of warning came from President Robert Kocharyan in yesterdays interview to the Public TV of Armenia – that the authorities cannot tolerate much longer the endless opposition protests in front of the Opera house. Kocharyan deliberately called the Freedom square with its old name – Theatre square, as if trying to neglect the “freedom” aspect of it. However, today, despite all warnings, the Freedom square was full of people – at least 35,000 demonstrators looked elevated, and chanted “Levon, Levon!”.
Having regained his voice, Nikol Pashinyan, one of the most energetic opposition activists, told everybody, that there is a “Psychological warfare” going on in Armenia, and urged their supporters to keep coming to the Freedom square until they win.
Ter-Petrossian also spoke, saying that he has been spending already two nights at the Freedom square with the protesters, and ensured, that he keeps working to ensure victory.
As if to counter Kocharyan’s warning, the crowd set out to march again – the march was unsanctioned, as all of the marches organized over the past 6-7 days. A sizable crowd of people was urged to remain in the Freedom square, so as to prevent the police forces from occupying it. Police crackdown is expected any moment now.
We, the undersigned civil society organizations, express our deep concern with the pre-election period, the election campaign and the post-election processes in the country. The assessment of international observers, even though portrayed in a positive light by the government and the government controlled media, was critical. However, the apparent discrepancy between the actual findings of the assessment with the formative first two sentences of the report resulted in the government only referring to this paragraph in the international observers’ assessment in order to legitimize the results of the election. Meanwhile, in the report, international observers pointed out to media censorship, intimidation of voters, vote buying, etc. and called vote count ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’ in 16 percent of polling stations visited. Qualifying such practices as a “step forward” and in line with the commitments to hold free and fair elections discredits the notion of democracy and further lowers the standards of democratic reforms. Continue reading “Statement of Armenian Civil Society on Elections”
All through the day yesterday the State propaganda machine was showing the rare crowd of opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrossian’s supporters in front of the Opera house, describing them as alcoholics, drug addicts, homeless beggars, armed criminals. A scare campaign was also in progress – showing arrests of more Ter-Petrossian’s supporters: Petros Makeyan, Suren Surenyants, Khachatur Suqiasyan’s (Grzo) bodyguards. Meanwhile, demonstrations in various regions, staged in support of government candidate, prime minister Serzh Sargsyan were displayed. H1 Public TV of Armenia was openly inviting everyone to the Republic Square in Yerevan today, to attend the big rally in support of the “newly elected president” Serzh Sargsyan. One thing they miscalculated, however, is the fact, that the authorities have been running out of their administrative levers by now, and that people don’t trust the Public TV reports anymore. Every word public TV said yesterday – contributed to Ter-Petrossian’s authority. People don’t like being treated like sheep.
Today there were two rallies in Yerevan – the endless rally started by the opposition since February 20th in the highly symbolic Freedom Square, in front of the Opera house, and the rally in support of government candidate Serzh Sargsyan, who claims victory at the elections. While people have been warned against attending the rally at the Freedom Square, which the authorities say is unsanctioned, the rally at the Republic square was organized using the whole administrative capacity of the authorities: people were herded and brought in from the regions, state institutions, schools, universities, ministeries. Quite expectedly, people assembled at the Serzh Sargsyan rally at the Republic square, after days of information blockade by the state propaganda machine and in many cases forced to attend the Serzh Sargsyan rally, at some point during the rally, when music pop-star Sirusho was singing, started walking towards the Freedom square rally, where Ter-Petrossian supporters were protesting. As a result – the number of Ter-Petrossian rally participants swelled extraordinarily. In fact, I’ve never seen such a large crowd in my life.
People have awakened, and Serzh Sargsyan, even if he manages to tackle this somehow, will never be a president with real power, authority and legitimacy. Even if Ter-Petrossian doesn’t become president (and I still see his chances as rather vague), he has already won.
This evening president Kocharyan is scheduled to speak on Armenian TV. I expect him to declare a state of emergency, call in the army, perhaps institute curfew and start mass arrests.
There is a lot of confusion in Armenia today. Information and misinformation flows follow each other – it is becoming harder to distinguish truth from lies. Protests continue in Yerevan’s Freedom Square, where opposition candidate, First President of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrossian’s supporters demand recognition of their candidate’s victory, although there was no objective indication throughout the electoral process, that Ter-Petrossian’s claims are true.
On the other hand, demonstrations are staged in the regions of Armenia – students, schoolchildren, employees of state subsidized organizations, big and small government officials are forced to attend them to express their “support” of the government candidate, Prime-minister Serzh Sargsyan, who was declared to be the winner of the presidential race by the Central Electoral Commission in the absence of opposition representatives. Interestingly, the authorities don’t seem to feel confident enough to stage a large rally in Yerevan, where the anti-Sargsyan sentiment is especially strong. Generally, it feels like only morons could support Serzh Sargsyan – in many circles it is considered disgraceful to openly voice support of the pro-government candidate. Although a range of polls and surveys before the elections, including a Populus exit-poll, indicated Serzh Sargsyan’s victory, everybody I’ve spoken to so far, including Sargsyan’s supporters, have agreed, that without widespread vote bribes, ballot stuffing and election fraud, there would be no way for Serzh Sargsyan to ensure 53% of the vote that he received. Continue reading “Post-Election Armenia: Time To Pick Sides?”
Interestingly, the “Orinats Yerkir”(“Rule of Law”) and “Zharangutyun” (“Heritage”) party representatives were not participating in the CEC session, while the ARF-Dashnaktsutyun representative at the CEC – Hamlet Abrahamyan has expressed his special opinion on the elections, saying, that the violence, vote buying and bullying seen in the Armenian elections give him grounds to state, that the electoral system in Armenia needs a deep and major revision.
“I tried to persuade our citizens that the victory is possible. I failed to do it. In the whole course of the pre-election struggle there was an atmosphere of hatred and intolerance, intimidation and threats. It could not but influence the very Election Day,” the statement says.
“I make an appeal for us to be quiet and restrained. Those that today have been trying to go by the way of rebellion, should remember and realize their crimes and the disaster they have brought over our people, roughly faking the presidential elections in 1996, unbridling a self-improving machine of electoral violations that nobody has managed to stop to date. However, it is not going to be like that forever. And I urge all of you to get prepared for our victory in a self-confident way,” that’s how Vahan Hovhannisyan has addressed the people.
It is still hard to judge what are the political implications of this move. Does Vahan Hovhannisyan’s resignation mean he is taking ARF-Dashnaktsutyun out of the dirty pollitical battle between Levon and Serzh, or does it mean he’s thus sending a signal to the opposition, that despite his call to be restrained, Dashnaktsutyun is implicitly supporting the opposition claims of vote irregularities? Uzogh has posted the full text of Vahan Hovhannisyan’s announcement, and is also hosting a discussion on the issue.
I really really want to sleep… don’t feel like working – with so many exciting things going on… I spent the night going back and forth from Opera house to a nearby cafe, then to home and back, then to my office and back…
…and all that time I couldn’t help feeling guilty and responsible for everything that’s happening now. We all are responsible, aren’t we? But some are brave enough to stand up and fight, some, like me – look for excuses in not liking Levon or supporting Vahan – and some openly admit they are being raped by Serzh, and they even like it. Continue reading “Random Feelings After a Sleepless Night With Protesters”