Vahan Hovhannisyan Has Resigned

Vahan Tavoush 570
Vahan Hovhannisyan, ARF-Dashnaktsutyun Candidate © Onnik Krikorian / Oneworld Multimedia 2008
ARF-Dashnaktsutyun candidate for the post of Armenian president, having gathered 6% of the votes in the Presidential elections marred by violence, electoral fraud and irregularities in the ballot counting process which might well have resulted in a serious decrease of the actual number of the candidate’s votes, has announced about his resignation from the position of the National Assembly deputy speaker. Although the ARFP supreme body has not made assessment yet, Vahan Hovhannisyan says he has made a personal decision about resigning:

“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.

41 thoughts on “Vahan Hovhannisyan Has Resigned

  1. Reply
    Hayk - 23.02.2008

    Ok, Guys
    I red all the postings here, and noticed that everybody wants to be smart first, and neutral, second. Why? That is not going to work. You have to take side, even if you do not want. You have to take side even you do not have favorite candidate. Probably you will never have favorite candidate if you have all necessary information about the candidate. This is simple, you cannot like one person forever.
    I do not like Levon, but I am supporting him.
    I am not Levon supporter by default, but I support him now. I even was against him 1996 when I was young student, and I was one of those who attacked the Parliament.
    Why I know support him?
    Before answering I have to say that every smart person understands that during LTP’s campaign and rallies there were a lot of misinformation and exaggerations. So what? What is the problem? In any Western country elections are about misinformation and exaggeration. The only difference is Western countries have open and accessible media (note I am not saying free media, there is no free media anywhere), and they can balance that misinformation.
    People do not try to be smarter more than you are. Everybody is talking about the LTP. This elections are not about LTP. The elections are about Armenia, and Armenian People. If people are naive and follow LTP, or Arthur Baghdasaryan then what is wrong? World Peoples are always naive? REMEMBER, this is about people. and not about the candidates.
    I am glad that people can believe in somebody, or IN THEIR MOVEMENT. I like when people feel that they are force, and can make change. Of course this is a little naive that people can make change, but I like when people themself believe in that.
    Walk on the street of Armenia (I do not mean only now, or during election) and you will see no smile, no cheer, people are dissapointed in everything, people are undefended.
    So, what is wrong when they have hope now. I am saying HOPE. I am not claiming that LTP will do everything fine.
    Take the American Primaries example. This guy, Barack Obama. Who is he? Where this guy came from? What he wants? Nobody understands, but people see hope in OBAMA. I understand that it is very naive to belive that a Kenian-American Barrack Obama can change the bureaucratic isntitutionalized and even corrupt system of American government. But, people have hope.
    Second reason I support LTP, is that I do not believe in evolution (in political and economic terms). I believe in accelerated evolution. Accelerated evolution happens when there is a change in government. When new government comes, at least they try to bring new ideas. I know that new ideas will not realize instantaneously, and the new government members are not going to be angels, but when new people come to power it is already accelerated evolution. One government should not rule more than 10 years. It is absurd, it is even stupid and detrimental. If we have the change of ruling parties in every 10 years, we will have better results, than if the same party or people rule for 20-30 or 40 years. I am talking about the same corrupt governments. It is better to have corrupt governments to change every 10 years, than to have one for more than 10 years. This is my theory of accelerated evolution. This happened in America from the 1800s up to 1940-50s. All governments were corrupt and undemocratic, but they changed. Nowadays the US and European governments are more civilized but again corrupt governments.
    If Serge is president , then Armenia will go back and down. No serious changes can happen. Why? Becuase if Serje stays, we will be in the same situation that we were in 1980s, when Brejnev came to power.
    So, this is about change and hope of people. Although many will argue that LTP is not change, becuase he was in power, but I do not agree with it.
    Third reason I support Levon.
    Now he has new people. I do not talk about Demirtchyan, or Aram Sargsyan. I am talking about those young educated supporters that he has. He has many of them, although people see only couple of them (Nikol, Miqael). He has at least 200 new young activists that he relies on them, when he comes to power. This young guys are not blind followers of LTP and they are also not angels, but
    THIS IS CHANGE.
    I think still there will be some people who will argue with my reasons for supporting LTP. It is your right, but try to be objective. Do not exaggerate your expectations from new president and try not to be perfectionists.
    More importantly, those who do not agree with me, and they still do not take side and try to be neutral, then guys you have problem.
    Take side, and after presidential elections again become neutral and even oppose the new president. But do not try to be neutral NOW, when you have to take side. Support either one, I do not care LTP or Serje, but bring arguments why you are supporting one or another.
    This is all, will be glad to reply to your postings.

  2. Reply
    Onnik Krikorian - 23.02.2008

    Before answering I have to say that every smart person understands that during LTP’s campaign and rallies there were a lot of misinformation and exaggerations. So what? What is the problem?

    The problem is credibility. Simple example. When I read a report saying 300,000 and I know it’s not, when I see later reports I have to wonder if its credible or not. The initial rallies of 10-15,000 were normal for Armenia and they should have been reported as such without shame. Moreover, they were consistent which is a first.
    Later, when they swelled to 25-30,000 they should have been reported as such and they could be seen to be an increase in support again without shame. Moreover, if they ever do swell to 100,000 then I would be able to believe those figures had they been reported properly earlier.

    People do not try to be smarter more than you are. Everybody is talking about the LTP. This elections are not about LTP. The elections are about Armenia, and Armenian People. If people are naive and follow LTP, or Arthur Baghdasaryan then what is wrong? World Peoples are always naive? REMEMBER, this is about people. and not about the candidates.

    I totally agree with this point.

    Walk on the street of Armenia (I do not mean only now, or during election) and you will see no smile, no cheer, people are dissapointed in everything, people are undefended.

    Actually, I don’t see people looking unhappy on the streets although that could be because of the sun which has now been out these past few days. It’s also worth pointing out that some people are happy with the results because it means Levon didn’t return to power.
    Back to Vahan, though. I think it was expected that ARF-D would go into opposition after the election. Given the amount of criticism of the government during his campaign, it was unlikely that they could remain part of the system for any longer. Whether he and his supporters would join any pro-democracy movement is uncertain, however., and one can hardly criticize him for not joining such a movement led by the man who not only banned his party, but also stuck him and others in jail.

  3. Reply
    Hayk - 23.02.2008

    Onnik, I understand your concern about credibility. I personally believe that at least 50,000 people were out there on the streets.
    But what is wrong with this? We are nation of exaggeration. Serje does not exagerate? Vahan does not exaggerate? Geghamayan, Baghdasaryab do not exaggerate? Everybody exaggerates, this is just PR, and everybody should treat this kind of news normally.
    About the Armenian Faces. Just go out from the center of Yerevan, in suburbs, in the regions you will find many unhappy people.
    Vahan, did politically very correct step. But I think it is too late. He just tries to save ARFs face for the next Parliamentary elections. This is all about their 8-10% in next Parliamentary elections.

  4. Reply

    […] The Armenian Observer comments on reports that ARF-D presidential candidate Vahan Hovannisian has resigned as Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly. Hovannisian’s resignation probably comes as no surprise to many people who have long seen a contradiction between the ARF-D’s oppositional stance in the election and its role in government. […]

  5. Reply
    Onnik Krikorian - 23.02.2008

    But what is wrong with this? We are nation of exaggeration. Serje does not exagerate? Vahan does not exaggerate? Geghamayan, Baghdasaryab do not exaggerate? Everybody exaggerates, this is just PR, and everybody should treat this kind of news normally.

    Right, and Serge’s vote was “exaggerated,” shall we say? Everybody does this, right? Levon did it in 1996. Kocharian did it in 2003. Serge did it in 2007 and also this week. Ok, a little bit extreme, perhaps, but if we are talking about democracy and the need for an objective and balanced media, then there is no excuse.
    Besides, in the context of Armenia, there is nothing wrong with the size of these rallies and misreporting their numbers as 200 or 300,000 doesn’t a) fill me with much hope that the radical opposition is any different from the authorities (perhaps the most important issue for the population) and b) means I can’t treat pro-opposition reports as fact until I check it out myself.
    The role of the media is to report and not take sides. Moreover, if there is substance to the opposition’s case then that would naturally be reflected in objective reporting. As for faces, I don’t see that. Indeed, one thing that one foreign journalist pointed out was that even Ter-Petrossian’s people seem happy. After the second round of the 2003 presidential election the same was true for Demirchian’s people too.
    Indeed, I don’t think anyone was really too interested in election day or the outcome of the vote. I think Armenians just like to think of protesting. Anyway, I can only give my opinion on the situation as I see it, and I don’t see much sign of discontent outside of Liberty Square. Indeed, life seems to be going on as normal in most parts of the city.
    As has been said in the past, the problem with this election is that as the choice being thrust upon the population is Serge or Levon, whichever one comes to power probably didn’t matter much to most people.

  6. Reply
    ara - 23.02.2008

    It’s hard to take people like Haik seriously.. he was amongst those who were chanting “Levon heratsi” in 96 and now chanting “Levon nakhaga” and what’s next in 10 years.. probably “Serjik Nakhaga”
    Fighting a revolution for democracy with a criminal leader is not gone lead you to where you’re thinking! Find a leader that has a clean reputation, is not willing to give away part of Armenian land in order to maintain his political career, then the rest of us will be with that leader.
    For now, let all the criminals that have no room in Serjik’s circle such as Manvel, serian, Jahangirian, Grzo, Vano… join the same son of a bitch that started this entire criminal regime and the some of you make fools of yourselves by chanting “Levon” “Levon”!

  7. Reply
    Hayk - 23.02.2008

    Hey guys cal down, and try think first ok?
    What kind of media are you talking about. There is no media in Armenia. I am not talking about exaggeration of actual voting number. I am talking about exaggeration of number of protesting people. THIS IS OK. THIS PR.
    As for vote, I am absolutely sure than nobody should inflate the numbers of their actual votes. I am also absolutely sure that Levon did get less than 50%, probably 35%. I am also absolutely sure that Serje did not win the elections.
    REMEMBER THERE IS NO FREE MEDIA in the WORLD. If you need proof, this is another topic. In Western countries there is accessible media, but never free. I live in US and I know the media here 100%. The FOX news, Rush Limbo Radio channel, Wahington POst News paper are conservative media, and they tend to talk for Republicans, the ABC, NBC channels, NEW-YORK TIMES, LA Times this are liberal media, and tend to talk for Democrats.
    Do do not bull-shit me with your democracy and free media.
    My key point were
    1. Theory of accelerated evolution, that is change of government, no matter who are the new rulers. Change is change and it brings some evolution. Even if 10 years later Serje comes back (if Levon wins of course), this will be far better than 20-years of Serje or Levon.
    This is not about Serje or Levon, they both are not acceptable figures.
    2. Second point was about taking side. You have to have analytical skills and weigh the outcomes and losses. If you keep yourself indifferent and continue to criticize both parties, then NO USE.
    My point is criticize but analyze and make decision for yourself.
    I would be perfectly happy, if Vazgen Manukyan or Raffi Hovhannisyan could be president of Armenia. But they cannot right now, do you understand? They JUST CAN”T. So, I have to make choise based on outcomes and losses. My choice is clear. I do not claim that my choice is the best. The only think I am saying do not be indifferent, and in Armenian word “JAILAMI QAXAQAKANUTYUN MI VAREQ”.
    The free media, democracy, all these are illusions. At the same time we have at least another 25-30 years to reach the level of transparency of Europe or America (note I am not using the word democracy, there is no such a thing, here in US democracy is the WISE USE OF MONEY). Here in US there is liberty, human rights on some level are protected, but there is no democracy. I am sure the same is true for Europe.

  8. Reply
    Vahagn - 23.02.2008

    Here in US? Does it mean you are in the US, Hayk?

  9. Reply
    Hayk - 23.02.2008

    Yes, I am in US, and will be back in Armenia in March. It is my work, I work half of the year in US, another half in Armenia.

  10. Reply
    Vahagn - 23.02.2008

    Then how can you claim people walk around the street with unhappy faces?

  11. Reply
    AH - 23.02.2008

    One correction, Hayk. Levon is not about Hope. He is about Hate. He has been preaching hatred since the day he woke up from a 10 year vacation. Of course you are free to support hate, but let’s not confuse the two. As far as what the future holds, I think the “hope” that some may feel if Levon were to return to power may result in extreme disillusionment with Armenia. This was the result of dysfunctional administrations in Armenia’s recent past, and this is the big danger of building up (false) hope again today. Ad they say, “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”

  12. Reply
    AH - 23.02.2008

    I forgot to add: Frankly I see no parallel whatsoever between Obama and Levon.

  13. Reply
    Hayk - 23.02.2008

    To AH
    I do not think LTP is hate. I do not think LTP is hope either. What I say, those people who voted for him (350.000 official number) they see hope.
    Please correctly understand my point, and read all my postings. I am saying we need change of government. That is it. Read my previous postings.
    If you think Levon is hate, that is your personal opinion. For example, I do not think Serje is hate. I think he is not right person. But I respect those who defend Serje, at least they are saying their opinion. But I hate those who are criticizing both Levon and Serje, and do not have enough judgment to weigh the PRO-s and CONs of each candidate. We have two candidates, so we have to choose between these two. This is fact.
    I would be happy that Levon joined Vazgen Manoukian and supported him. I would be also happy that Vazgen or Raffi could win this election. But it did not happen. So we have two choices, and I think Levon is better than Serje. That is all. This is my opinion. I also respect those who support Serje, but I cannot respect those who are doing in Armenian words “Jailami qaxqakanutyun” and do not take side for either Serje or Levon. This critical times, and we need what candidate has the most support.
    To VAHAGN.
    I said that I am working half in US, half in Armenia. I was in Armenia in January 2008, before that I was in Armenia in September-2007, every 3-4 month.
    I am working for international organization, and I travel not only to US, but also all REGIONS of ARMENIA. Go out 15-20km out of Yerevan, and you will see real faces of majority of Armenians.
    In my work time I meet thousand of peoples in local governments (towns, viligaes and etc) in Armenia. This where my claim comes that Armenians have unhappy faces. They are in desperate struggle for living.
    So, do not sit in front of your computers, or walk in the center of Yerevan and judge about happiness of Armenian. I know Armenian life in all aspects, political, economic and social.
    This is first time I am blogging here, I saw couple of comments that were very personalized and I did not find any analytics and objective judgement.

  14. Reply
    AH - 23.02.2008

    Hayk – I understand your point. But “change for change’s sake” has danger associated with it. As you were there in 96, maybe you can remind everyone what “change” should be expected us all now that the “intellectual leaders” Jahangiryan, General Manvel, etc. have just joined Levon.
    If Levon were honest about what he is saying, he would have dropped out of the race long ago, and supported Vakgen Manukyan, with an admission that he stole the 96 election from the Armenian population. This would restore at least some credibility to his disastrous legacy as a failed president.

  15. Reply
    Armen - 23.02.2008

    Change is not always good.
    Americans voted 3 times for Roosvelt and he was the best choice because he brought stability. So much stability that in 30s and 40s the U.S. bacame almost a socialist economy. Also, they did that because they were at war. This stability enriched America not the constant change.
    We are at a “cold war” with Azerbaijan now and I don’t want redical changes in Armenia. especially when I see what’s happening in the Balkans. The system of international relations that was there after the WWII is gone with Kosovo independence, and we’re in “times of change”. This is both good and bad for Armenia. It is good as far as the NK conflict resolution is concerned and bad because of our valunerable geographic security position. The worst thing is to have internal destabilisation at this moment.
    Levon has calculated a very good time for “strike”. I just hope that he doesn’t turn it against Armenia. He has been silent for 10 years and was waiting for his time. This makes me think that he only cares for himself. People are just a tool for him. Or else, he wouldn’t be silent and would carry a consitent political struggle. This is just cynical.

  16. Reply
    Vahagn - 23.02.2008

    Hayk, you want a clear position, here it is – in the choice between LTP and Serje, Serje is a better choice, for many reasons, including but not limited to the ones outlined in Armen’s comment above.
    Also, the majority of Armenian people live abroad, then the second largest concentration is in Yerevan 🙂 (this part is half-jokingly, but mostly true). And I have relatives all over the country, so I do get out.

  17. Reply
    Observer - 23.02.2008

    Guys – I’m in Gyumri, left without internet and can’t respond to comments adequately. Still, having lightly skimmed over this discussion, I want to thank Hayk for leading this discussion and doing it bringing quite interesting arguments and remarks.
    Now let’s speak about honesty and choices. Hayk – you keep insisting, that there are only two choices: Levon or Serzh. I don’t think life is so black and white, however, I will try to address your question in the format you are suggesting.
    Hayk jan – I am always/and will be always pro-opposition. I’ve participated in nearly all opposition rallies – because I don’t like our government and Serzh, however, I never chanted – “Levon, Levon”, because he’s not my choice of the opposition. I take part in these rallies, only because I want our authorities to understand – that THERE IS OPPOSITION to them. Moreover, even if I was 100% satisfied with the government policies, president, etc., I would still go to rallies, keep signing petition letters on behalf of the civil society, etc. You see – what I think is, it doesn’t matter who is on power – Levon, Serzh, Vahan (Dashnaktsutyun candidate, and my choice at these elections, although I didn’t vote) or EVEN GOD’S ANGEL – I will be opposition, because power corrupts. As to choices – I think Levon is the worst choice at this point!
    As to changing the situation in the country – this should be done in the Parliament – with forming a new government, assigning new prime minister, who would have the capacity to solve most of the problems Levon and opposition (and myself) are criticizing every day. The point is – if Levon wanted to change stuff, not just to come to power, why didn’t he rise up during the parliamentary elections? Didn’t he know, that with the new constitution all real economic, social, health and security problems are solved in the parliament? Only Heritage made it to the parliament then – and they’re not really that pro-Levon either. Their electorate was voting for something different, and I think by joining Levon – Raffi deceived many voters, but that’s another discussion.
    I think Levon just wants power – and prosperity for his supporters. And he’s not a carrier of positive change.

  18. Reply
    Patrik Sweden - 23.02.2008

    I just want to say that the opposition rallies is not for democracy only but also 40 % pure Armenian racism. Hayastanchi don’t like Karabagchi … they hate them so must that they even support LEVON. That’s what the people are silently saying ….we hate karabagchi so must that they even can support LEVON.

  19. Reply
    nazarian - 23.02.2008

    No, the opposition rallies demand a new election. The last one was too falsified to be considered as valid.

  20. Reply
    Hayk - 24.02.2008

    Guys
    This is about people. Serje just fucked the people on February 19-th. All criminals were against the people.
    Again please read my previous postings. Levon is not my favorite. People, at least (350.000 official results), unofficial results about 500.000 are for Levon. Srege had around 400.000 unofficial votes. But this votes are based on mutual interest. The Serge’s 400.000 and Levon’s 400.000 votes are completely different votes. One is self-interested or indifferent mass (for Serge), who do not care about their country much., the others are believers that then can make difference.
    Qualitatively, this are different kind of peoples.
    Armenian People need to believe in theimself. They need to see that they can do something, they need to believe that they are important in their country. I promise you if Serge is president, we will see immigration growth from Armenia, mostly intellectuals and young educated professionals. I see the tendency, I know many these kind of examples.
    The same will happen if Levon continues ruling like he used to do in 1990s. But in Levon, there is big IF. IF he does. In one case I see Serge 100% not acceptable for me, on the other hand I have 20% chance that Levon will be better than he used to be.
    THIS IS SIMPLE MATHEMATICS FOR ME.
    Besides that Levon has huge team full of young WESTERN EDUCATED PROFESSIONALS, Young Lecturers of Universities. THese are core team members, and they resist to Manvel.
    I have information that ERkrapah decided to take power immediately on February 21-22, but Levon stopped them. Now he waits untill Monday for official results.
    I do not believe in argument tha Levon wants only power. If he wanted he could have it within last 2-3 days.
    But again, I am not for LTP, I am for people, that is why I am with people and support Levon.
    I am 33 year old young Western educated proffesional, and I want to become opposition. If Serge rules, it is not possible. In case of Levon I still keep hope that I will have chance to be opposition. I oppose Levon for his Karabakh and Economic policy, I have stated my points in other postings.
    THIS TIME I AM FOR PEOPLE. I do not need Karabakh if in next 10 years with Serge we are going to have 500,000 less population in Armenia and Karabakh. I need Karabakh with strong Armenia and with strong Karabakh.

  21. Reply
    ara - 24.02.2008

    Haik, did you know that net one way influx of people into Armenia surpassed the net outflux by 25000 people last year? This is not to say that all emigration issues are solved, but there has been tremendous improvement. Your comment of “I do not need karabagh if with Serge we are going to have 500,000 less population…) just shows that at the minimum you are an uniformed person and at the maximum, a coward.

  22. Reply

    […] Armenian Observer comments on reports that ARF-D presidential candidate Vahan Hovannisian has resigned as Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly. The move follows last week's presidential election […]

  23. Reply
    Hayk - 24.02.2008

    You think I am not informed? You can think so.
    But I can show whole statistics of Armenia that shows almost all the economic and demographic indicators are bad. You are foolished of 13% economic growth.
    Ara, you need to have not only information, but also understand the underlying reality of those numbers, and you have to see the whole picture.
    In August of 2008, I represented 3 economic models in front of Central Bank main staff, including the chairman of Tigran Sargsyan, and proved that all this dollar appreciation is not explained by economic indicators.
    I asked the main policy makers very important questions that they need to know about economy, but NO answer. It does not mean they do not know, they just accepted that they know, but they cannot talk about that. It was about the dollar appreciation, was about real inflation (I proved them that inflation is higher than the Central Bank Reports, I proved by economic and mathematical models, not by taking couple of prices from the market), it was about economic recession in industry sector, it was about export decrease (in Armenian Drams or in real commodity Armenian export did not rise within last 7-8 years, it doubled in US DOLLARS ONLY, but US DOLLAR APPRECIATED in 50%), I also represented the model about the transfers we receive from abroad, the real number, the impact of transfers on the economy and et. and etc..
    Then a week later Tigran Sargsyan victoriously invited all the discussion members to represent the new economic model that the Central Bank created. Within 1 hour, 3 of independent economist (including me) proved them that the whole concept of their economic model is based on unreal assumptions and expectations. We asked couple of theoretical questions, and techniques they used, then one I raised question about the RIGHT USE of their theory. Then a FOREIGN economist from big international organization stood up and backed us (3 of us) and supported that whole theory and statistical improvements they have used in their model are not supported by the theory.
    So, what does this tell you. They just sit their in their cabinets and try to make numbers, they are just manipulating with numbers. I am insider and I know all this, I know all statistical yearbooks 100%, almost each number, each indicator. I just do not believe in the statistical Data the Armenia Represents. We have found many unmatched data in statistics (the most important one, 10 years in row the Armenia experiences economic growth and 10 year in the row, the consumption of electricity in Industry and production (including services) goes down).
    What does this tell you? Judge yourself.
    And to all those semi-educated, semi-informed guys who try to make point here, that Armenians are happy, the migration was in postive balance (25,000 last year), I will say go and get whole picture, and all the statistics and try to analyze. If you cannot, I will help you.
    Do not bull-shit anymore. Anyone here who has one piece f information tries to represent as a Fact, but it is not. Because first of all you do not have CORRECT information.
    Armenian Economy is on the needle (ASEXI VRAYA), if you do not have the transfers from Russia, US, if you do not have the foreign investments from Diaspora especially in the housing market, if you do not have foreign financing of budget deficit, the you do not have sustainable economy.
    Within last 10 years our Economy went down QUALITATIVELY, but due to above mentioned inflows of foreign currency we had some kind of growth (not 13-14%, but 6-8%), and experienced some stability.
    So go and think about your Serje, and emigration. Armenian Population did not rise within last year, otherwise we would have more production of bread and sugar (I am not talking about other products, that I could include in my analysis).
    SO, THINK FIRST and then say that we live better, we are happy, that people are coming back to Armenia (25,000 posyitive balance? It’s just a BIG LIE).

  24. Reply
    AH - 24.02.2008

    Hayk, you seem to oversimplify many very complex phenomena, resulting in a wholesale apologist carte blanche for Levon, and Serge-is-the-devil relegation of the current administration. To be honest, you are not very convincing. I will not go through a point by point refutation of your economic claims but I’ll make one point.
    I am not sure that Levon picked up more anti-Serge votes by “Western educated youth” than Serge picked up those who are anti-Levon. Many of the youth who are old enough to remember their fellow protesters getting their skulls cracked in 96, their newspaper offices ransacked and closed, the prospects of Artsakh being given away while the corpses of many of their siblings and friends who had fought (and died) were still warm…
    …These folks are not simply gravitating to Levon just to “change things”. For many of them, Levon is the one candidate who should not return at all costs. Not everyone is as optimistic (foolish?) as your argument sounds, “Let’s give Levon another chance, simply because he is in opposition.”
    I think there are many silent folks out there disappointed with the current reality, but scared of the catastrophe that this change may bring.

  25. Reply
    Vahagn - 24.02.2008

    Hayk,
    I find your last two posts offensive and arrogant. That’s why this is the last time I am replying to anything in here. I am not going to get into great details, but here are a few points:
    1. You claim that the people who voted for Serje do not care about their country. Why is it so difficult for you to comprehend that many people would prefer Serje to Levon precisely because they DO care about their country very much and they don’t want to see Levon return? You are free to disagree with that point of view, but you have no right to say that those who voted for Serge do not care about their country.
    2. Serge got at least as many votes as Levon did (I personally believe he got more than Levon, but that’s not the point here). So, what makes Levon think he represents the people and Serge doesn’t? In fact, the majority of people (those who voted for the other 8 candidates) do not want Levon back. Do the math…
    3. What makes you think you are the only educated one here? FYI, I have two degrees from Western universities, and there are many Western-educated people in every candidate’s camp. Plus, there is multitude of people who do not have western degrees, but that doesn’t make them any less educated.

  26. Reply
    Onnik Krikorian - 24.02.2008

    Vahagn,
    Point one: agreed.
    Point two: the issue for most impartial and objective observers is not that Ter-Petrossian won. In fact, nothing indicates that he did. Instead, it is likely that vote buying and irregularities/falsifications were designed to avert a second round.
    However, I’m not sure you can say that all those people who voted for other candidates didn’t want Levon back. Or, maybe, but that might change in a second round when it really would boil down to a choice between the “lesser of two evils.”
    Anyway, while I know good people who said they voted for Levon, I also know more equally good people who voted for Serge. I also consider that the accusations of treason from Ter-Petrossian’s side against anyone who won’t vote for their candidate unfortunate.
    Actually, it’s pretty undemocratic. Whether they truly and genuinely believe LTP is the answer to the country is one thing, but denying the right of a citizen to make their own decision through insults and accusations is quite another.
    Personally, I wouldn’t vote for either, but I’m not a citizen so it doesn’t matter, I guess. As for the protest demonstrations going on, btw, I’m thinking if I were a citizen would I join? To be honest, if such a movement can be used for simply fighting against irregularities and having the vote count overturned in some precincts, I would.
    However, they are using it to declare Ter-Petrossian is actually president. Firstly, there is no indication of that, but secondly, even if there was, there is no way he would secure victory in a first round either. So, would I join now? No, not when they constantly use the demos more for claiming Levon is already president.
    BTW: Interesting thing happened yesterday in Liberty Square where I was shooting. One supporter presumably camped out all night by the looks of him and there all day for the demo wasn’t sitting up straight when Levon arrived. One of the bodyguards grabbed his shoulders. “Sit up straight, the president is here,” he said.
    It’s those aspects of Ter-Petrossian’s rallies that concern me although as I said, if they could be used as the basis for a genuine pro-democracy movement which would successfully challenge the first round results, then I can’t criticize it. And I say that as someone who could never vote for Ter-Petrossian even if I could, and while i realize that being seen as the figurehead for such a movement would probably translate as overwhelming support for the former president in new elections.
    One other thing about yesterday’s rallies in case there is still doubt. There has been NO disruption of public transport with a normal number of buses operating all day yesterday. I took one down there and also caught the metro back. Regardless, the most important thing now is calm. If Ter-Petrossian is to rally people by his side let him do so with words and ideas and not threats, accusations and insults. Then I can have more belief in what this all is meant to represent.

  27. Reply
    Vahagn - 24.02.2008

    Onnik,
    Point about second round well taken.
    I fully agree with you that the protests are not about democratic elections or fighting irregularities, but about getting Levon in power at any cost. That’s why I don’t support them.

  28. Reply
    Hayk - 24.02.2008

    I see personal hate against LTP in some people, that does not let them to be open and objective.
    I am glad that I could contribute to discussions on this forum.
    I want to clarify my points one more time.
    1. LTP is NOT my favorite candidate, but I SUPPORT him NOW. This is simple, I just have at least 1% more hope, than in Serje.
    2. In my postings I stated that my personal belief and information lets me conlclude that LTP had 35-39% actual vote. And my personal belief that Serje got not more than 40% vote.
    3. My third point was, take side ven if you do not like the candidate. YOU HAVE TO DO THAT. Those who are implementing “JAILAMI QAXAQAKANUTYUN”, they have problem, becuase they do not have analytical skills enough, to have at least 51-49% balance.
    4. I statewd that I would be more glad that LTP joined Vazgen Manukian, but it did not happen and it is fact.
    5. I stated that I would be more than happy if Vazgen Manukian or Raffi Hovhanissian could be president. BUT it cannot happen, it is FACT.
    6. The other point was, that the Serje supporters are different than thos of Levon. I personally believe that 70% of Serge supporters are self-motivated.
    7. My main point was, that this is not about LTP, this is about people. What LTP wants now? Fair elections. What Serge wants? To falsify elections and declare his victory. There is significant difference in this.
    EVANTUALLY, last NEWS
    I heard that the RUSSIAN SPEC-NAZ is in YEREVAN NOW. The arrived in yesterday with Serge. I herad also that RUSSIAN BORDER GENERALS are in YEREVAN no, discussing the tactics.
    IF ANY RUSSIAN, is going to implement force agains ANY Armenian, who is Levon Supporter or who is misleaded by the LEVON, I do not care, I will personally fight against those RUSSIANS.
    I WILL ALSO PERSONALLY FIGHT AGAINST THOSE WHO ARE BRINGING THOSE RUSSIAN TROOPS. IN THIS CASE IT IS ABOUT MY COUNTERY NOT LTP OR SERJE.
    Now guys, go and support those 2 (SERGE and ROBIK), I do not care.
    I am not going to waste my time to explain some “EDUCATED: people here ( I do not want to mention the names, it is clear for themself), what is a COUNTRY.
    Go and hate LTP in front of your computers, MOTHER FUCKERS, but your are jsut JAILAMS, or STUPID ASSHOLES.
    Russians ar egoing to decide who is our president?
    I fuck LEVON, I FUCK SERGE and ROBIK. I am going to be next to my people and my DIGNITY.
    ALL you Mother fuckers, stop to argue about LTP or Serge, go fight against RUSSIANS, and those who BROUGHT russian SPECNAZ to Armenia.
    Fuck you all stupid democrats, or Serge SUPPORTERS or LTP supporters WHO DO NOTHING, expect BLOGGING.
    YOU ARE ALL STUPID ASSHOLES.

  29. Reply
    allen - 24.02.2008

    ive been following this thread attentively and quietly. Hayk, you are going to stand by your people? You just told everyone on this threat they are stupid mother fucking assholes. way to stand by your people. Your really convincing. There’s just as much hatred in your words as there is in LTP’s. And a movement based on hate and malice is a not the movement armenia needs not just now, but ever. Go do some reading buddy…i would recommend looking into two things a. the history of the first republic and the minority communist movement that tried to overthrow the democratically elected government in may of 1920 and what they did to the people of the country after they gained power in 1921 (jailed the government members, tortured, then killed them.) b. the day LTP announced he had won the presidency (when he hadn’t) then brought tanks into Armenia to CRUSH the opposition.
    What you say is naive and clouded. To assume that LTP is going to do things better is asinine and laughable. This is a common phenomenon in armenian history you are witnessing. LTP cares nothing for the people. His track record speaks for itself as does serzh’s. Neither care. This is a struggle for power between two monsters. One using the promise of stability to gain support, the other, exploiting discontent, hatred and despair to topple the old regime. In the end, the only genuine alternative, offering stability, change, honesty, and progress–vahan hovannesian–has been ignored.
    And arrogance is not appreciated or admired…nor will it convince people

  30. Reply
    Hayk - 24.02.2008

    Hey lsiten
    YOU ARE STUPID $$$$$$$$ (NOT ALL).
    I am saying RUSSIAN SPECNAX is in ARMENIA, and you continue lecturing me Allen?
    I can argue and debate with every one, WHO IS NOT BLIND.
    This is not LTP or Serje. This is not about ARF. This is about ARMENIA.
    Hey stupid mother $$$$$$, Do you understand that RUSSIAN Specnaz in Armenia, since February 20. DO YOU UNDERSTNAND that?
    $$$$ you all debaters. I do not care who you support.
    I can debate you on NORMAL TOPICS, but not about the RUSSIAN SPECNAZ. $$$$ YOU ALL. YOU ARE TRAITORS.
    This kind of words I use when I get mad on STUPID NAIVE and BLINDED people.
    GO and Debate ALLEN, or any other mother $$$$$$$.
    You are just TRAITORS. Do not try to teach me history, JUST ACT,. I know history enough to judge that RIGHT NOW WE DO NOT NEED ANY RUSSIANS IN ARMENIA.
    Whoever seek the support of RUSSIANS, (I think Serge and ROBIK), but even if it were LTP, I would fight against LTP.
    RUSSIANS are disaster for our Coubtry.
    Go $$$$ yourself history teacher ALLEN. You are just bull-$$$$$$.

  31. Reply
    armen - 24.02.2008

    woohooo
    i see George w.bush doctrine here. with us or against us. that says alot.
    and hayk if the rest of LTP’s young professional western educated people are like you and will act like you,then i guess there is no better future,waiting for us.
    I dont support anyone and i dont take sides. i dont agree with you that i have to choose one, this is not a life or death thing. things wont change with LTP coming and serge going or vise versa.

  32. Reply
    Hayk - 24.02.2008

    Again, $$$$ to all those who do not accept that we do not need RUSSIAN INTERVENTION.
    Too all those JAILAMS, who do not take side and can see Russians overrunning Armenia, BIG FAT WESTERN EDUCATED $$$$ TO YOU ALL..
    George BUSH? $$$$ you all who support foreign intervention.
    This not time for debate mother $$$$ers. ANY of you had serve in ARMENIAN ARmy? I highly Doubt.
    $$$$ all Jailams and RUSSIAN intervention supporters

  33. Reply
    Observer - 24.02.2008

    Hayk – my policy is – give people the right to speak, even if they are insulting me personally, which you are on several occasions. Please be more reserved – I value your opinion, because you are speaking of arguments I never heard before in some cases. But you’re insulting people, without knowing who you’re talking to. You think I’m a blogger who’s just sitting in front of the computer and doing nothing? Tell you what – you’re wrong! For your information I have taken part in every major rally, protest action, demonstration against the government that has taken place in Armenia over the past 4-5 years, unless I’ve been physically unable to. I have also attended a very large number of LTP rallies – although being an ARF/Heritage supporter, I never supported LTP’s comeback. I’ve gone to LTP rallies exactly because I feel it is not just LTP – it is my people, who sincerely believe in a cause, and I want to be there to help and support them if something happens. The night I stayed out in the Opera, LTP guys were saying that there will definitely be a clash with the police. I remember at one point, when the lights went out, some of us thought that police will come in any minute, and we prepared to fight back. But police never did. In fact, I feel real freedom in Armenia these days – I’m sure LTP wouldn’t be so tolerant as Serzh is. Anyways…
    I want to also inform you, that there are many girls reading this blog and its comments, and while I won’t edit any insulting words you have written above, if you or anyone else in this discussion writes any more insulting words I will just edit it out placing $$$$ signs instead of it.
    On another note – I’d like to assure everyone, that if any single Russian soldier/specnaz goes against my people – I will be in the first row fighting them. However – LTP and his team have been spreading so much false information over the past several months, that I doubt the truth in your words.
    Last point – please remember, that it was in LTP’s time, that Russian border guards stayed in Armenia. LTP could have sent them away from Armenia – but he was smart enough to understand, that we only benefit at this point by having the Russian border guards in Armenia. I’m no particular fan of Russians – but with the war in Karabakh, tensions with Turkey, negative population growth rates and overstretched military budget, we are truly lucky to have Russian troops guarding our border with Turkey.
    Reflecting on your words, I think you’re simply racist – speaking about the Karabakhci, Russians, etc. etc. For one thing – I am Gyumretsi. How can I be sure, that after you guys are done with Karabakhci, you won’t turn against Gyumretsi, Artashatci, Meghreci, etc? And why does it matter what is a persons ethnic background? Who cares?

  34. Reply
    Onnik Krikorian - 24.02.2008

    It’s not my blog so it’s not my right to say, but I wish we could all relax a little. This has been the main problem with this election, in my opinion. That is, passions are so high that words of hate become the main means of “debate” rather than concrete issues or fact. In part, I blame Levon Ter-Petrossian for that although the government is not innocent either. On the other hand, we do have a unique situation for an election here — a real debate and discussion about democracy and the future of the country. Perhaps Levon can be credited for that even despite what I’ve said about hate.
    Anyway, I’m sorry, there are good and bad people in both camps, and large number of people in between who don’t like either because of the bad in both. Neither candidate was the one that Armenia deserved but that’s what it got, rightly or wrongly. Now what is happening is that the government doesn’t have it all it’s own way. The battle is between those in power and those who used to be. The pawns are the population. However, what will be will be and as I’ve said, there should have been a second round
    I don’t suppose Serge could have gotten more than 40 percent legitimately, and maybe not even more than 35 percent without resorting to vote bribes and even if it was 50 percent, a second round should have been called. It is because of this situation — pushing the votes just beyond 50 percent — that we’re here now and Ter-Petrossian, rightly or wrongly, is able to attempt to mobilize people. Even if he managed to get just 350,000 votes that’s a sizable number for staging a revolution.
    Unfortunately, I hate the situation. It’s unknown whether Ter-Petrossian could have won a second round, but the risk for Sargsyan was there. Now, after all of this, that risk of defeat for Sargsyan is even greater, but that was their fault in the first place. I say that not wanting Serge as president, and not wanting Levon, or actually as someone who considers that it makes no difference for me as both come from the same system. The only difference perhaps would be with foreign policy.
    It’s for that reason that I am now resigned to a number of possibilities and none of them favor one candidate. As someone said to me recently, it should never be forgotten that Segre is not president yet. It’s Kocharian and he’s ruthless, calculating and can handle a crisis to secure his own position. On the other hand, one western analyst said that Ter-Petrossian reminds him of Heydar Aliyev, especially regarding the ability to manipulate and exploit a situation for the sake of power.
    But, whether it’s Russian or American, I don’t support the idea of outside intervention with the exception of calls for calm. This is a matter for Armenians to decide although it’s interesting to note that Ter-Petrossian was claiming Russian support until recently. Let’s see what will be. So far it hasn’t turned violent as some of us feared and that’s to be appreciated and acknowledged. What does concern me, however, is that while there might be 35-50,000 in Liberty Square, public transport has not been disrupted and nor have the police arrested protesters.
    This means that unless it does swell to 100,000 or more, the battle is between two minorities in society and will largely be determined either by high profile defections or the use of force. Neither is the way elections should be handled, but that’s the situation and although this sounds somewhat cold, what will be will be. Of course, I hope that things don’t turn violent, but as the discussion on this page shows, emotions are high and this is the South Caucasus.
    However, I think — hope — that we should all step back and take a deep breath and try to understand that if this is about Armenia and Armenians we should remember that. Ter-Petrossian and Sargsyan are authoritarian leaders with their own track records in political persecution, media censorship human rights abuses and falsifying elections. Those people that support Serge, Levon or anyone else are still citizens and have the right to choose.
    From the woman in my local kiosk who voted for Serge without enticement or pressure to the general help in the same store who voted for Levon. From the two young students who voted for Serge even though they can’t quite explain why to the PhD student who voted for Levon, or the guy who voted for Vazgen Manukian not because he thought he would be elected, but because he disliked both Serge and Levon and didn’t want to waste his vote… they’re all good people.
    And yes, there are bad people on both sides, but nobody has taken a survey to count them. Besides, last month’s pro-governmental oligarch known for terrorizing a district of Yerevan with shootouts becomes a “businessman and MP” when he defects to Levon’s team. Or Armenia’s biggest oligarch is described by Ter-Petrossian as a “moral man” who has never done anything wrong when his support is needed, and then cursed for siding with Serge on election day.
    But then there are the good guys I know who are there in Liberty Square, or who voted for Serge, Vahan or someone else. None are traitors although we can argue about their respective candidates. Maybe they’re misled, maybe they don’t understand politics enough, maybe they’re too liberal, maybe they’re too nationalist… maybe they’re too human which is the point. They have that right.
    Please, can we all start to respect that democratic right on this blog because if we don’t, whoever comes to power will be doing so on the basis of hate and not democracy.

  35. Reply
    Patrik Sweden - 24.02.2008

    Armenia is a small country, nepotisms is a way of life. Those that are outside the inner circle are disgruntled about it. But if the same person was in the ruling elite he wouldn’t do anything different. If I had my Hummer and a big house I would be pretty happy in Armenia , I would even run over people just for fun , because I’m Armenian and I want to show that I can do what I want when I want. But if I was the guy that was run over I would cry out for democracy and law and order. Armenians are very emotional, for us everything is life and death. We have survived thousands of years of genocide and persecution. We will never have a president that is elected by the people; we will always make up stories about election fraud, cover-ups and conspiracy. We are Armenian, everybody is screaming for democracy, what’s democracy? it’s the latest crazy westerns idea. What was Europe when we wear negotiating whit Alexander the great about passage thru Armenia, Roman Empire, Persia , Mongolian empire, Assyrian empire and the Soviet Union, wear are this empire now ? Europe and the EU will be gone in 100 years and so will democracy …… it’s the latest craze from west in comes rapt up whit Paris Hiltons underwear…………. I just want Armenia to have one thing ……..a strong army whit nuclear weapons’…. That what I wish for ………

  36. Reply
    old man on the beach - 24.02.2008

    Bravo Hayk, don’t make the same mistake our generation did by standing aside and then leaving the country because we didn’t want to start the bloodshed between our own. We have lost to kgb thugs and other dashnak scams, hope your generation wouldn’t.
    There are 3 types of people in the world, those who make things happen,those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened.
    “On another note – I’d like to assure everyone, that if any single Russian soldier/specnaz goes against my people – I will be in the first row fighting them. ”
    I don’t think so Observer. remember Karabakh ?

  37. Reply
    Onnik Krikorian - 24.02.2008

    Bravo Hayk, don’t make the same mistake our generation did by standing aside and then leaving the country because we didn’t want to start the bloodshed between our own. We have lost to kgb thugs and other dashnak scams, hope your generation wouldn’t.

    You know, this is the interesting thing. People left Armenia under both Levon and Kocharian. Those that left under Levon hate him, and those that left under Kocharian hate him. It’s all relative and what it all boils down to is the fact that Armenia has had two authoritarian rulers and will now probably get a third.
    Still, as someone who I won’t name said to me recently, at least the attempt at revolution has kept the authorities on their toes and perhaps that what democratization is. Under Levon, a political party was banned and the army sent out onto the streets after a falsified election. In 2003, Kocharian didn’t go that far although he did send in the riot squad on 12/13 April.
    This time, for now at least, there are no reports of mass violations of human rights following election day as there were with Levon in 1996 and Kocharian in 2003 and 2004. Yes, I know, there might well be some, but let’s hope not. What is necessary is a weaker president with a more representative parliament and so I can only hope that we can all start working towards making the next elections better now so they are not the same as in 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2008.
    And I do mean now, and not when civil society smells another big pile of money coming from the United States for election-related activities.

  38. Reply
    Onnik Krikorian - 24.02.2008

    although he did send in the riot squad on 12/13 April

    12/13 April 2004

  39. Reply
    Hayk - 24.02.2008

    I am saying Russian Specnaz/ Alfa Group is in Armenia. They came to Armenian just few days ago.
    I am asking, are RUSSIANS going to decide who is our president?
    To this question, the OBSERVER Reminds me that Levon has invited the RUSSIANS.
    This is just naive argument. Levon has nothing to do with RUSSIAN Alfa troops
    Hey, think before answering.
    There is no real argument, in this blog.
    WE NEED FAIR Elections. AND anyone who wind the fair election will be my president, I do not care who is that president.
    But you discuss who is good, who is bad. This is just stupid.
    I am sure that Serje has less than 50%, maximum 25-30%. He is falsifier.
    Do not tell me that LTP falsified in 1996. Yes he did. But I do not care now.
    What I want now is
    1. Fair Elections
    2. Russian Specnaz/Alfa troops should leave the country.
    3. Those who asked Russian Specnaz to come to Armenia are traitors. In this case Serje and Robik are Traitors.
    So, now it is about my country and not LTP.
    LTP leads, so I am with him. ARF will lead I will be with them. Heritage will lead, I will
    be with them.
    I just hate RUSSIANS or any foreigners who are going to use physical or phcycological force in Armenia.

  40. Reply
    Onnik Krikorian - 25.02.2008

    I am saying Russian Specnaz/ Alfa Group is in Armenia. They came to Armenian just few days ago.

    I haven’t heard these rumors although I’m not saying it isn’t so. Regardless, if Yerkrapah are going to choose sides it would have to be a lot and I’m not sure that’s possible. Still, I reserve judgment on this rumor just in case.

    I am sure that Serje has less than 50%, maximum 25-30%. He is falsifier.

    I think few people will disagree with you here. What people might disagree on, however, is whether Ter-Petrossian is using that to lead the march to freedom or to return to power just for the sake of it.

  41. Reply
    Patrik Sweden - 25.02.2008

    Hayk = Crazy

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