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Armenia

Government vs Opposition: Psychological Warfare


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.

For Kocharyan’s interview check out Uzogh’s blog.

By Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant

21 replies on “Government vs Opposition: Psychological Warfare”

Last night at about 8pm we heard shooting and some sort of explosion-like sounds. We were attending a classical concert in Komitas Hall (which made the experience somewhat surreal), so we couldn’t hear where the sounds were coming from, but it was definitely shooting. I haven’t found anything on the internet today. Do you have any ideas?

Are you kidding me?!?!?! I feel kind of stupid! :-)))))) It sounded pretty bad from inside the concerthall. Lots of people during the intermission thought it was shooting or something. Anyway, thanks for clearing it up. ***Blush***

Both Serz Sarkissian and Robert Kocharian participated in the war and Liberation of Armenian territories. Where wear Levon and his psychotic goons how today say they love Armenian during the war. Arthur Bagdasaryan says he loves Armenia and is prepared to die for Armenia ? But he doesn’t hesitate to encourage the British to criticize Armenian and blacken its already bad reputation ? Where wear Arthur Bagdasaryan during the war ? If Levon loved Armenian why did he support other opposition candidate ? We need a stable Armenia , how can we have fair and free election when we have one off the worst possible neighbors in the world . USA considering nuclear strike at Iran , Turkey and Azerbaijan anti- Armenian , genocidal policy and Georgia which has two defector independent republics a multi ethnic nation getting slapped around by Russia.
The only candidate is see as the next president of Armenian is Barak Obama …………..

Levon’s son did not serve in the Armenia army and spends most of his time in Israel.

Onnik – It is this kind of twisted pseudo-logic that makes it hard to believe anything that Levon says. He has the Opera crowds under some weird hate-spell.

Is it true that Serzh’s ‘rally’ lasted not more than 40 minutes? People started leaving even before he finished his speech. Some were forced back to buses, some went to see their Yerevantsi relatives or tour in Yerevan and the rest walked to Libery squere.
It seems that it was Serzh’s biggges fiasco so far. I am sure more will come soon.

To Patrick from Sweden
Hey body, I think you are completely blind.
It is true that Serje and Robert were Karabakh war participants. But it is also true that Levon had much bigger role in the Karabakh war than these two.
Beisdes that you do not see that now main protesters are young people, who never participated in the Karabakh war. So what? They do not need freedom?
I was in the Army (1997*1998), and 1.5 year I was in 100-meters from Azerbaijan-i soldiers, in Shamshadin Region. So, I am not defender of my country? No difference. I did when and what I could.
So, the Karabakh war participants do not have more moral and legal rights than those who were not in the war. Moreover, it does not mean that the war-participants have to usurp the whole political and economic power in their hands. This war was national, and all people paid the price.
I respect those who fought in Karabakh, but I think they have no any special right to declare it as a superiority.
I think now you will understand these points, and will not discover your pro-Serje nature to be the truth.

Levon was a major problem to Armenia’s resolve and ability to win the Karabagh war. If it wasn’t for Vazgen Sarkissian, Vazgen Manukian, Robert Kocharian, Serge Sarkissian, Monte Melkonian, Samvel Babayan, ARF and other generals who took decision making out of Levon’s hands, in order to liberate areas outside of NK such as Kelbajar, border with Iran, Aghdam, there would not have been a cease fire in 1994. The offensive outside Karabagh is what brought Azerbaijan to its knees and forced them to agree to a cease fire. This entire time Levon was attempting to block all the moves and necessary strategy proposed by fighters on the ground.

I see here empty Armenian Discussion.
Those who support Serge, do not have credible reasoning. The only thing they remember are 1990s when LTP ruled. This guys do not understand that after the February 19-th, it is not about LTP anymore. Too many parties are involved, and 100s of thousand people stood up.
Those who are indifferent, or independent think that this is minority fights against another minority. It is not true.
The opposition is the majority. Why? Becuase 80% of Armenians are dissatisfied with nowadays corrupt and criminal government. It does not mean that 80% want LTP back. If there were fair elections, I think Vazgen Manukian would won (by the way, I hate his behavior now, he lost all credibility).
Again if there were fair elections, either Vazgen or Artur would won, not LTP. But people saw that LTP is able to mobilize the other parties, people saw that he could organize good campaign, and he could gather many supporters decided to give him a chance, just to get rid of Serge and Robert.
So, there is no 2 minorities. There is 1 minority (20%) that supports Serge, and they are Self-motivated people who are some way or another connected with this regime.
And there is 1 majority, 80% of the population who oppose this criminal, corrupt and undemocratic government. But part of those who oppose this regime, at the same time do not believe in LTP. You guys are also wrong, because you do not want to hope and you do not want to give a chance to LTP and those 23 parties who support him, just because you were hungry in 1990s, or you think you are too much smart and can save your face by being indifferent. I JUST HATE JAILAMs. Do not be Jailam. I respect those more who clearly state that they support Serge, just because they have opinion (although I am 100% sure that these guys who support Serge and “shaky-corrupt” stability clearly have their stake from this corrupt regime).
So, stop this stupid debate about LTP and Serge. It is clear that people do not want to live in the country, where they are unprotected, where the rich people and government officials have more rights than the ordinary people, where there is no freedom, human rights, free media, respected and trustworthy justice system and so on.

Armen
I think you are under the state propaganda influence. Do not believe what the Robert Kocharyan told the other day on TV. If you truly believe it means you have your own interest in protecting this undemocratic-corrupt system.
If what you say is true, Jirayr Sefilyan and many erkrapah members would not support LTP.

and 100s of thousand people stood up

Well, an average of 25-30,000 people to be precise. Maybe 45-50,000 at most. Still, the Rose Revolution only had 20,000 at the beginning.

I think Vazgen Manukian would won

As much as I listen with interest in what he says, I think his day has long since past. Unfortunate, but probably true.

Again if there were fair elections, either Vazgen or Artur would won, not LTP. But people saw that LTP is able to mobilize the other parties, people saw that he could organize good campaign, and he could gather many supporters decided to give him a chance, just to get rid of Serge and Robert.

There is nothing to indicate that the largest share of the vote went to Levon — only the words of the man himself and his supporters. The issue is that there probably should have been a second round.

So, there is no 2 minorities. There is 1 minority (20%) that supports Serge, and they are Self-motivated people who are some way or another connected with this regime. And there is 1 majority, 80% of the population who oppose this criminal, corrupt and undemocratic government.

No, the majority see both the government and opposition as two sides of the same coin. Both are considered corrupt and interested in power for power’s sake. The 23 parties that support him are somewhat meaningless because the represent an even smaller minority of the population than the Republicans.
You can argue that more people probably voted against Serge in total, but that does not mean they voted against him because they wanted him out. In any democratic society there are many choices on offer. The fact that people take vote bribes shows how little they care who actually is in power.
Anyway, the problem is Serge and not even Kocharian, even. Heritage, Orinats Yerkir, ARF-D and even Prosperous Armenia as well as the Republicans themselves are something different. Indeed, Ter-Petrossian is not trying to overthrow the system or the government.
He and his supporters are simply trying to prevent a handover of power from Kocharian to Serge and are trying to convince the main parties that they should be part of that too. Moreover, what Ter-Petrossian is trying to do is what you say.
That is, mobilize people who are fed up with the whole country and telling them they can fight back by preventing Serge from becoming president. Indeed, the guy seems to be more disliked than Kocharian. Or rather, as cruel as Kocharian can be, he was feared and respected.
Serge doesn’t seem to be able to demand the same kind of feelings. Although he’s a chessmaster and considered a good strategist, he doesn’t come across that way and seems rather “lowly” compared to Kocharian and others, especially Ter-Petrossian.

So, stop this stupid debate about LTP and Serge. It is clear that people do not want to live in the country, where they are unprotected, where the rich people and government officials have more rights than the ordinary people, where there is no freedom, human rights, free media, respected and trustworthy justice system and so on.

No kidding, but by dealing with some of the guys who are responsible for this system — and involving others who set the wheels in motion for this situation to become entrenched under his own presidency — it’s not certain that the end result of any “revolution” is going to be improvement. Indeed, we might be having this same discussion on the same topic in a matter of years.
Of course, that’s how it goes and par for the course for post-Soviet countries save perhaps for the Baltic republics who spent less time under Communism, resisted it anyway, and were closer to Europe both culturally, mentally and geographically. Anyway, I do agree with you that this shouldn’t be about Levon although I think making it all about Serge doesn’t help.
It should be about challenging the results of the first round of the election, demanding new ones or at least a second round, On that basis, there is little to criticize. If it becomes solely about Levon or Serge, I think the whole point is lost and people are going to be very disappointed a little later when the novelty of overthrowing a leader has worn off.
Let’s put it like this. Saakashvili had far greater qualities as a democrat than Ter-Petrossian and certainly no record of falsified elections, the banning of political parties, tolerance of spiraling corruption and nepotism, human rights abuses etc, but the reality is that this is the South Caucasus. Ultimately, the style of rule will be that which we’re already used to.
Change will happen slowly and there will be ups and downs, successes and failures. What’s important in, say, the situation where this revolution works is that Ter-Petrossian doesn’t ride high on it, take the majority of votes and dominate parliament. Otherwise, we’re pretty much back to square one, no? Basically, the problems of Armenia, the South Caucasus and the post-Soviet space are not those of Serge’s making.
Indeed, they’re probably not even those of Levon’s making regardless of the fact that falsified elections and media/human rights repression started under him. It has a lot to do with transitional former Soviet republics, an electorate that considers individual-led politics and populism more important than long-term strategies, and corruption and disrespect for the rule of law that has become a way of life for society.
Still, like I’ve said before. What will be will be. It’s just a pity that once again we have this “if you’re not with us you’re against us” mindset showing itself again. If anything, a democratic movement has to show itself to be tolerant of dissenting views otherwise it is not democratic, no? Indeed, my one fear after any revolution would be repression and intolerance directed against anyone who challenges what happens next.
Like I said, back to square one although I suppose I can at least hope there will be some movement forwards. I suppose for all its faults, Georgia at least moved forwards even if there too, after a democratic revolution, a second round was not called in their election typified by State propaganda and use of administrative resources too. Still, for the same to happen in Armenia will be unfortunate, to say the least.
I just find it ironic that some of the same people that justified the fraud in the 2003 presidential election and attacked people like me for questioning the conduct of the election are now some of the same people who supposedly lament these elections. Again, I have to wonder if it’s not actually the elections themselves, but more the issue of Serge not being acceptable to them for a handover of power.
Anyway, long and the short of it is not that there is a battle between the minority and the majority. It is a battle between two minorities, the largest and strongest of which will win. The majority is more likely to accept and support whichever one that turns out to be. They might even hope for change, but be reluctant to support someone like Levon. On the other hand, they won’t be upset if Serge were to lose.

Haik – I think it is not a simple black and white situation as you frame it. There are many people opposed to the current regime who are now more upset with Levon’s diversion tactics than they are with the shortcomings of the current authorities. Levon has successfully annihilated any democractic discussion about the real ISSUES facing Armenia now with his US OR THEM campaign of disinformation and hate. Look at the frustration of principled politicians like Vazgen or others who are now marginalized as an example.
Why are we surprised? Levon created this culture of oligarchs, media control, and contempt for the people. And he is skilled at using the same rhetoric to his own advantage. I am glad to see the grand majority of Armenians are not falling for his disingenuous lies again. Every morning most people in Armenia get up go to work and ignore the circus in the Opera.
By the way, in case it is not clear to you, my posting is not an endorsement of all of the policies of current authorities. But let’s move beyond “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” simpleton emotional reactionism. Armenia deserves better than that.

People please understand there is NO democracy in the world. If you do not get this, you do not knwo the world. In the west there are just institutions who are independent, and there is balance and check between them.
Those who accuse people are not right. If you think other way, you will see that people are pragmatic, not only South Caucasian but also all the people in the world.
There is nothing wrong in our people (even they took bribe). I do not commend that they take election-bribe, but from psychological standpoint they did the pragmatic step, because they do not think that their vote will make difference. People do not have belief, that the elections will be fair. So, what should they do? They have to maximalize their benefit. Why people do not belief that they can make change? It is the result of the last 15 years of abuse of power. The LTP started it, I agree no doubt about that. But these guys (serge and robert) strengthened it and more importantly they institutionalized it involving many-many people (at least 25% of population) in it.
Everybody who criticizes the people, I bring the following example. When the Catrina storm hit the USA, (2-3 states), for 2-3 weeks, the whole area that was hit was paralyzed. The people started luting and stealing, the rule of law did not exist. The majority of population was either luting or stealing, or cursing each other. It was chaos. I understand it was disaster, but the underlying implication is that there was not rule of law, and people took their chance to either survive or to benefit. And this happened in the best democracy in the world.
This is human nature. Humans need punishment to be fair, they need rule of law. We do not have rule of law, and people want to benefit from anything they can.
For those who are illusioned by the western democracy, I will say that guys you are leaving in the dream.
This is the reason that I believe this is about black and white. I do not believe in democracy, it is myth, but I want balanced institutions of society that will work. And this change of power will bring some kind of balance in society, just because people will see that something is changing and people will think that they have their role (I am not that naive to believe in it, but people as a collective opinion may believe in that).
I keep saying that this is about people, that is why I support this change by any means. I also belive that this is acceleration of evolution. Evolution that the country cannot have if there is no change of power in the country. Every 5-10 years opposition needs to come to power (unless the opposition is extrimist like fascist, natinalist or demagogs).
To Onnik
I read your posting. There are some points in your arguments that I agree, but as whole, I see you that your arguments are a little pre-mature, and you are perfectionist. Do no be perfectionist, it bad for you, because you will not see everything perfect in your life.
About Sahakashvili.
If the rose revolution did not happen, the nowadays opposition with its limited ideology could not stand up. This is the good side of Sahakashvil’s success. There are also materialistic side like 4 times increase of the budget in 1-2 years, and etc. But these are quantitative results, for me the qualitative result is much more important. The qualitative result is that the Georgian people have better civil society and institutionally are much more developed than we are, and this happened after revolution. Now they have dialog between opposition and the authorities, and the governemnt wants to share some kind of civil oversight of the country.
So, go and think, do not only dream about your perfect democracy, and do not argue LTP is good or Serge. To my opinion Levon is a lot better, but some people can think differently, and some will continue their JAILAM attitude to introduce as the viewpoint of majority

If the rose revolution did not happen, the nowadays opposition with its limited ideology could not stand up. This is the good side of Sahakashvil’s success. There are also materialistic side like 4 times increase of the budget in 1-2 years, and etc. But these are quantitative results, for me the qualitative result is much more important. The qualitative result is that the Georgian people have better civil society and institutionally are much more developed than we are, and this happened after revolution. Now they have dialog between opposition and the authorities, and the governemnt wants to share some kind of civil oversight of the country.

Well, no dispute over state budget and stuff. However, civil society and independent media has gotten worse as you would expect as it played a pivotal role in bring down Shevardnadze. The election, though, was a huge disappointment and sorry for being a perfectionist, I hope their parliamentary election is conducted better. On the other hand, the opposition also did win in the first round of the presidential election, but anyway. The point is that their leadership was pretty bad.
Anyway, as I said, I’m not having no choice but to observe from outside. Although my 6 year old son is a citizen I am not and cannot take sides even if I wanted to. To be honest, at this juncture, I wouldn’t know which one to take anyway. Well, I know I wouldn’t support Serge, but there’s too much uncertainty and unaccounted for issues for me to support Levon. On the other hand, any sign of mass protests protesting the situation in the country has got to be good although not with so much hate, please.
It’s just not enough of a pro-democracy movement in itself for me at present. It’s all centered around Levon, including the chants and the claim of victory in the first round. Even Heritage is pretty much taking a backseat on this with Raffi turning up twice to make a token speech, and them carrying on raising certain issues with the electoral process as an independent party. If I were a citizen, which again I’m not, I think I’d need to see a totally committed Heritage party standing on the podium before I could see it as anything more than just Ter-Petrossian and people who support him.
It is, however, interesting for me to speculate on what we’re actually observing. Is this a real democratic movement or one actually seen on the streets while behind the scenes an internal coup d’etat is actually occurring? Regardless, as I’ve said before, what will be will be and the most I can hope for is that whatever way it ends it is peaceful and that some progress is registered as a result. Incidentally, I don’t consider any of the above to be the views of an optimist, but rather those of someone from outside looking in.

On the other hand, the opposition also did win in the first round of the presidential election

On the other hand, the opposition also did NOT win in the first round of the presidential election

Incidentally:

This is the reason that I believe this is about black and white. I do not believe in democracy, it is myth, but I want balanced institutions of society that will work.

I think having balanced institutions with independent checks against each other is democracy.

Hayk, read Vazgen Manumkyan’s interview on HETQ regardingt he command structure in Artsakh, talk to fighters who were on the ground or just about anyone in artsakh tha was present during the war… i don’t konw what state propegadan you’re talking about, i get my sources directly from participants. Jiray Sefilyan wants to get out of jail and will support anyone who “promises” him will get out.

Armen
Please do not mention Vazgen manukian. He was my beloved and honest politician. But not anymore. It is clear that he is Selfish self-loved persona. My friend was the one of the main leaders of his 96 campaign. After few years he told me that Vazgen is very selfish. I did not believe.
Then in 2008, I see these the truth about this selfish JAILAM.

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