Amid widespread public scepticism government undertakes some positive steps

Public attitude remained generally skeptical towards the efforts of President Sargsyan and PM Sargsyan to restore public trust by undertaking some positive steps over the past couple of weeks.

One of the first such steps was the dismissal of Armen Avetisyan, the chairman of the the Armenian Customs Service (ACS) for the last 8 years and the followed by a meeting of President Serzh Sargsyan with the ACS officials. On this highly publicized event President spoke about his determination to uproot corruption in the country especially in services like the Customs and Tax Inspection. While sincerity of his words is dubious, this genuine attempt by President Sargsyan to raise the government’s profile largely failed, because of rumors last week, that the import tariffs for manufactured goods have sharply risen, which was followed by a demonstration in front of the government building on Republic square. Coupled with sharp rise of natural gas prices announced two weeks ago, and then the recent reports that the gas prices will climb even higher by 2011 left no further room for optimism for middle class to poor families across the country.

Another blow to the authority of the government, internationally as well as at home, came as the resolution passed by the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) on April 17 called for the Armenian authorities to file an “independent, transparent and credible inquiry” into the March 1 deadly clashes in Yerevan between security forces and opposition supporters and “the urgent release of the persons detained on seemingly artificial and politically motivated charges.” It also said that the recently enacted legal amendments which effectively banned opposition rallies should be repealed “with immediate effect.” The Strasbourg-based assembly threatened to suspend the voting rights of its Armenian members if these measures are not taken before its next session due in June. In an attempt to turn the unfavorable international resolution into a tool to reach compromise at home, President Serzh Sarkisian established an ad hoc group, headed by President’s new chief of staff Hovik Abrahamyan, which is to look for solutions and present suggestions to overcome the political crises in the country. The effectiveness of this step is yet to be seen, however, it is clear, that a Presidential decree quickly releasing all, but the most serious offenders and mauradeours of March 1, would have been the most effective means to regaining public trust and appreciation of international community, rather then superficial half-measures like creation of committees head by highly discredited politicians like Hovik Abrahamyan.

On a related note, Armen Harutyunyan, the Ombudsman of Armenia – also released his report, echoing the international calls for an independent investigation and challenging the official accounts of March 1 riots, stating, in particular, that the Armenian police have so far failed to produce any evidence of firearms being used by the protesters against the police.

With no signs of the ongoing political crises in the country ceding anytime soon, all the other positive steps undertaken by the government are lost on public. Among such positive steps were undoubtedly PM Sargsyan’s announcements on Friday, that Government will start holding outgoing regular sessions in various regions of Armenia from now on, and that to enable more transparency of government actions the journalists will be allowed to follow government sessions live from the government’s Press Center and that more interest will be paid to media publications from now on, starting with the case of Syunik Governor (Marzpet) Suren Khachatryan published by Aravot Daily. Hopefully this, and more positive steps undertaken by the new government, mediocre and lacking political capital as it is, will soon render some kind of positive results and raise public confidence, otherwise we will be on a sure way to a final and total devastation, which is not something that any Armenian wants.

Photos by Tsitsernak and Azatutyun.am

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32 thoughts on “Amid widespread public scepticism government undertakes some positive steps

  1. Maybe it’s just me but I don’t think the government can be blamed for the rise in foreign gas prices. Indeed, it’s not a sharp rise at all when you consider that it’s MUCH lower even at the new prices than the rest of Europe and the CIS. Of course, the reason for the following prices is geopolitical, but that’s another matter.

    Basically, Armenia will pay $165 per 1,000 cubic meters for the next 3 years.

    Georgia is already paying $270 per 1,000 cubic meters.

    Europe is currently paying over $370 per 1,000 cubic meters and other CIS republics will likely pay the same as of next year.

    So, actually, what the interesting point here is that Armenia is paying DISPROPORTIONALLY LOWER prices than any other country in the CIS. Perhaps only providing it for free will satisfy the opposition looking for anything to attack the government with?

    On the other hand, not being able to convince people that the price is so low compared to elsewhere is the fault of a government unable to effectively and efficiently get its message across as well as the inability of the population to believe in the authorities.

    Incidentally, the reason given for the worldwide rise in gas prices is the weakening of the dollar. No doubt that’s the fault of Tigran Sargsyan and the Central Bank? A worldwide conspiracy masterminded from Yerevan, perhaps?

    MOSCOW, March 14 (RIA Novosti) – Gazprom’s CEO said on Friday that the average price for natural gas for Europe in 2008 could reach $400 per 1,000 cubic meters, 13% more than previously expected.

    “The price in Europe now exceeds $370. We believe the average price in 2008 could be $378 and could even reach $400 per 1,000 cubic meters,” Alexei Miller said at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    […]

    Gazprom also announced plans on Friday to hold talks soon with importers of Central Asian natural gas following an announcement by regional producers that they would charge European-level prices from 2009.

    Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan said on Tuesday that they would begin exporting their natural gas at European-level prices from 2009.

    “The switchover to market pricing principles requires serious dialogue, so we are planning to start talks without delay,” Miller said.

    […]

    Kazmunaigaz, the Kazakh gas monopoly, warned on Thursday about the possibility that it could raise tariffs to a European price level for the transit of Central Asian gas via Kazakhstan.

    The Gazprom CEO said the company was currently switching to market gas contracts with the former Soviet republics, and was already using market pricing for gas supplies to the Baltic nations.

    Gazprom and Ukraine’s state gas company Naftogaz reached an agreement on Thursday ending their long-running gas dispute. Under the deal, Ukraine will pay a much higher rate of $315 per 1,000 cu m for Russian gas supplied in the first two months of this year.

    Gazprom also committed itself to supplying Ukraine with at least 49.8 billion cu m of Central Asian gas at $179.5 per 1,000 cu m from March until December 2008.

    […]

    Gazprom plans to introduce market gas prices for Russian industrial consumers in 2011.

    http://en.rian.ru/russia/20080314/101336197.html

    There are many things to blame the government for, but rising gas prices when Armenia appears to have been spared the prices others are paying or will soon be paying doesn’t appear to be one of them. Of course, perhaps it’s because journalists here just look for things to attack and never research what is happening regionally let alone globally.

    Of course, the reasons why Gazprom seems to be sparing Armenia from market prices is another matter. For sure, it’s political and likely part of the “liberal empire” suggested by Chubais in 2003, but for now, I would imagine that most Armenians should be glad to be paying $110-165 and not $275-400 as the rest of Europe and the CIS is.

  2. Until a much longer comment which isn’t showing up probably because it has a link posted with it just to say that it seems ridiculous for people to consider the rise in gas prices something to attack the government with. A weakening dollar has contributed to a SHARP rise in gas prices everywhere in Europe and the CIS EXCEPT Armenia. The rise here is nothing compared to the $270-370 per 1,000 cubic meters being paid elsewhere.

    Perhaps it would make the opposition and government critics happier if Armenia paid going market rates or is demanding foreign gas suppliers give it for free to a country which should be exempt from regional and global trends the answer? To be part of the world outside Armenia’s borders or not? That is the question…

    And even with the rise from $110-165 per 1,000 cubic meters Armenia is paying less than half the new rate and still people want to use it to attack the government. Go figure.

    Of course, there’s plenty to attack the authorities for, but gas prices doesn’t appear to be it. Indeed, you could argue that it is here with the Armenian-Russia connection that the country has benefitted, ironically enough.

  3. Ohh, Onnik, I am so glad you made this point. I was a bit afraid to make such points here as you know you might get attacked, but that is indeed strange that Armenians complain about gas.

    If they complain, what should we do over here in the US. It is killing us over here. Our salaries didn’t go up at all but the gas price skyrocketed, the change is more than 50%. And this is America, people do some heavy driving over here, perhaps 10 times more than an average Armenian.

    I would also add to your point that even the fact that dolor declined in Armenia makes complete sense. What doesn’t really make sense is why the prices of commodities stayed the same or went up after dolor declined? If dram gained, then many western goods should be cheaper for them to obtain, and therefore cheaper for Armenians. But maybe Euro gained as well and they pay in Euros, so I am not sure whats happening there, but the dolor decline in Armenia is quite natural. Its happening everywhere. Compare with European market you’ll see the change is similar.

  4. I am however quite fascinated by this transparency thingy. I really like to see how this develops.

    Actually, it kind of reminds me 1998, and I think Kocharian said exactly the same thing back then. That didn’t work out well at the end, but perhaps they would show more maturity this time around.

    Also, I like Armen Harutunyan’s report, but it was kind of abstract. He needs to be more practical, and besides identifying the problems he should also try to make suggestions how to solve the very problems he identified. When we(=people who comment here) say that we need to work on civil liberties and human rights, its ok because it isn’t really our job to come up with a practical way of solving these problems, we don’t even have the resources to solve such problems. But when he points out such abstract problems and suggests no practical solution, that is somewhat strange.

  5. Onnik – Sadly, we have entered the phase of journalism where it is the boy who cried wolf. Many opposition rags are so discredited that even if they report on a real piece of investigation, most intelligent people don’t bother taking them seriously. It is like Armenia’s opposition are fighting over becoming the state tabloid in the mold of the National Enquirer.

    And it is this self-loathing that the radical opposition is exacerbating that does not permit so many to comment on a development that is actually a good thing (transparency in govt meetings, elimination of SOME of the most degenerates from the ministries, pledges that can be accounted for) and other actions that could/should/would be welcomed by any objective analyst, Instead, we continue to tolerate yellow-journalism carnivals and chief clown like Abrahamian at Aravot and Pashinyan the raving lunatic from Haykakan Zhamanak. I look forward to court cases for libel in the future and a call from the public for responsible journalism. I also look forward to more honesty in government sources (the transparency in government deliberations is a huge step forward in preventing such misrepresentations).

  6. Onnik – just to clarify something, armenians will be paying $270 per 1000 cubic meters of gas starting from May 1 this year, which is a sharp increase from the previous price $190

  7. You said: “otherwise we will be on a sure way to a final and total devastation, which is not what any Armenian wants.” I have to disagree with that statement, unfortunately, because there are obviously many Armenians who want exactly that and nothing short of that, and they would not stop at anything to achieve that goal, not even using the Genocide Commemoration for other purposes. I think you know what and who I mean.

  8. This is where I disagree. You know very well, that I don’t like LTP, but I have many friends among Levon supporters, and I myself readily take part in many of their protest actions. I can state with full confidence, that many and most of LTP supporters want genuine change and improvement in Armenia, and their love of our country is not less, and is perhaps often more, that that of anybody else. The problem is – that while I don’t see LTP as bringing any positive change, they instead insist, that LTP is the only way out, and that anything LTP does is good, and anything Serzh does is bad.

    Hence, I stand by at my argument, that “otherwise we will be on a sure way to a final and total devastation, which is not what any Armenian wants.”

  9. I am not sure if this government will be able to handle effectively the political crisis. Defusing such a crisis will depend on implementation of a series of structural reforms (the PM has even called it “revolutionary reforms”!) as much as on proactive, intensive and comprehensive communications. The target of such communications effort should obviously be the public and not the opposition media. (The direct diffusion of cabinet meetings is a positive step but does not target the public).

    A major aspect of the current crisis is subjective, so references to facts and figures will not be sufficient. And this is what I am afraid someone who has led the Central Bank may not realise.

    I totally agree with Onnik’s arguments here concerning gas prices in Armenia. But I wonder if the PM was wise to announce the price hike as his first official announce. Then the combination of the new cabinet that signifies continuity more than change (11 to 6) whereas I think the public expected the inverse mix.

  10. The only reason I wrote what I did is that I have heard quite a few people who literally say “the worse the situation gets, the better”, as shocking as it may sound. Of course, this does not mean at all that every LTP supporter thinks that way, but there is a fair number of people who do.

  11. Observer, you say: “import tariffs for manufactured goods have sharply risen, which was followed by a demonstration in front of the government building on Republic square.”

    Please correct me if my understanding is wrong, but from what I’ve read about this, it is my understanding that the actual tariffs did not increase. Rather, the increase being felt by the small businesspeople is the difference between the smaller bribes they were paying versus the actual tariff that they were not paying. The actual official tariffs did not change, but as they ‘cost’ more than the bribes, now that they have to pay the official fees and it is costing them more they are upset.

    On another note, the aspect of “image” and “perception” is one that this government needs to tackle very quickly, in all fields — both within Armenia vis a vis the citizenry and without vis a vis the international community — if it hopes to be able to actually implement the needed changes. For instance, battling corruption will be extremely difficult and painful because we are used to paying the small bribe (which most people don’t even consider as a bribe, just as the cost of getting things done) to get stuff done, rather than paying the more substantial official fee.

    In my opinion, what is needed is a major education/information campaign. These actions should have been accompanied by detailed information about what is being done and what the real effects will be, how this will be felt by the public. Only through such education and information (‘transparency’) can we start to change people’s mindsets and expectations. Clear and detailed information also does not leave room for speculation or misinterpretation.

  12. ‘Government will start holding outgoing regular sessions in various regions of Armenia from now on, and that to enable more transparency of government actions the journalists will be allowed to follow government sessions live from the government’s Press Center….”

    This is an excellent and very promising beginning.

  13. Observer- can you comment on why Ombudsman thinks that these are not good times for reforms?

  14. […] This is an excellent and very promising beginning. […]

    It is promising alright and rather exciting as well. But lets see what happens in a year or so. Really reminds me 1998 with kocharian trying to be transparent. Well lets see how it works this time around.

  15. It is needles to say that its success depends on the kind of questions they will be asked. If it will be more in the spirit of Tatar-Mongol avazakapetutyun, then the transparency thing will just fade away leaving us wondering where it went.

  16. «ԿՈՒՌՎԱԶԻԵ» ԽՄԵԼԻՍ

    Կեւորկովյան թատրոնի վաստակավոր արտիստ Սերժիկ Սարգսյանը ետընտրական գաստրոլները սկսեց ՀՀ կառավարությանն առընթեր մաքսային պետական կոմիտեից: Վերջին 8 տարիներին մաքսայինի ղեկավար Արմեն Ավետիսյանի պաշտոնանկության առիթով մաքսավորներին հադիպելով Սերժը լուտանքներ թափեց նրանց գլխին, ասելով, թե ՄՊԿ-ում իշխում են հոռի բարքերը, կաշառակերությունն ու կոռուպցիան: Ներկայացման նպատակը մեկն էր. հանրությանը ցույց տալ, թե ահա սկսվում է կոռուպցիայի դեմ ահարկու պայքարի մի աննախադեպ շրջան: Բայց եթե անտեղյակ հեռուստադիտողի համար Սերժ Սարգսյանի «մաքսային ելույթը» դրամա էր, տեղեկացված մարդկանց համար դա ոչ այլ ինչ էր, եթե ոչ կոմեդիա:

    Առաջին հայացքից այս պատմությունը կարող է բարենպաստ տպավորություն գործել. ահա Սերժը պաշտոնանկ է անում Արմեն Ավետիսյանին, որը Մաքսայինը վերածել է հանցագործ մի կառույցի: Իրականում, սակայն, Արմեն Ավետիսյանը պաշտոնանկ է արվել ոչ թե հանցավոր գործունեության, այլ վատառողջության պատճառով: Վերջին մեկ տարվա մեծ մասը Արմեն Ավետիսյանն անցկացրել է տարբեր երկրներում բուժման տարբեր կուրսեր ընդունելով, ու նրան պաշտոնում պահելը սադիզմ կլիներ: Իսկ ընդհանրապես, այս իրավիճակը հասկանալու համար պետք է տեղյակ լինել, թե ով է Արմեն Ավետիսյանը: Սերժ Սարգսյանը հաճախ է իր շրջապատում ասել, որ ինքը արու զավակ չունենալով Արմեն Ավետիսյանին որդու տեղ է ընդունում: Արմենն էլ բնականաբար չի հրաժարվել այդպիսի «բարձր հայրությունից» ու նրա ողջ կարիերան կապված է հենց Սերժ Սարգսյանի հետ:

    Ավետիսյանի մասին հանրությունն առաջին անգամ տեղեկանում է 1998 թվականի իշխանափոխությունից հետո: Այդ ժամանակ Սերժ Սարգսյանը ՆԳ եւ ԱԱ նախարար է, իսկ Ավետիսյանը Ազգային անվտանգության ծառայության տնտեսական հանցագործությունների դեմ պայքարի վարչության պետ: Իշխանությունը զավթելու ուղղությամբ առաջին լուրջ քայլը արած ղարաբաղյան կլանը լուրջ տնտեսական ամբիցիաներ ունի. կլանի ներկայացուցիչները պետք է սեփականություն ձեռք բերեն, բիզնեսի ոլորտներ ստանան: Իսկ սրա համար ավելի հարմար գործիք, քան ԱԱ նախարարության տնտեսական հանցագործությունների դեմ պայքարի վարչությունն է, դժվար է մտածել: Արմեն Ավետիսյանի թեթեւ ձեռքով գործարար աշխարհի տարբեր ներկայացուցիչներ հայտնվում են ԱԱՆ մեկուսարաններում եւ այնտեղից դուրս են գալիս միայն իրենց սեփականության կամ բիզնեսի մի մասից հրաժարվելու, այն ղարաբաղցի կամ էլ Սերժի հովանավորությունը վայելող այլ անձանց զիջելու գնով: Այսպես ձեւավորվում է ղարաբաղյան կլանի տնտեսական հենքը: Արմեն Ավետիսյանը դառնում է կլանի եւ Սերժ Սարգսյանի սիրելին. նա փողի գետեր է ուղղում դեպի իր ղեկավարությունը: 1999 թվականի հոկտեմբերի 27-ից հետո Սերժ Սարգսյանը ստիպված է հեռանալ Ազգային անվտանգության նախարարի պաշտոնից: Ու չնայած Արմեն Ավետիսյանը շարունակում է մնալ ԱԱՆ-ում, իրականում նա ենթարկվում է ոչ թե նոր նախարար Կառլոս Պետրոսյանին, այլ իր հոգեւոր հայր Սերժ Սարգսյանին: Բնականաբար այս իրավիճակը դուր չի գալիս Կառլոս Պետրոսյանին, ու նա ամեն ինչ անում է Ավետիսյանի կյանքը անտանելի դարձնելու համար: Բայց գալիս է 2000 թվականի մայիսը, վարչապետ Արամ Սարգսյանը պաշտոնանկ է արվում, Սերժ Սարգսյանը նշանակվում է պաշտպանության նախարար, ու չնայած Կառլոս Պետրոսյանը պահպանում է իր պաշտոնը, Արմեն Ավետիսյանը նշանակվում է Մաքսային պետական կոմիտեի պետ:

    Վազգեն Սարգսյանը վարչապետ դառնալով լուրջ տնտեսական հարվածներ էր հասցրել ղարաբաղյան կլանին, մասնավորապես վերացրել էր կլանի մենաշնորհային դիրիքերը բիզնեսի մի շարք գերշահութաբեր ոլորտներում: Եւ ահա մաքսայինի ղեկավարի պաշտոնում Արմեն Ավետիսյանը մեկ խնդիր ուներ. այնպես անել, որ հավքն իր թեւով, օձն իր պորտով չկարողանան Հայաստան ներմուծել այն ապրանքատեսակներից, որոնց մենաշնորհը Սերժը նվիրել է ախպերության ներկայացուցիչներին: Մաքսայինը, բնականաբար, այս խնդիրը փայլուն ձեւով լուծեց: Արդյունքում, ասենք Սադախլոյից մեկ-երկու պարկ մուրաբայի շաքարավազ գնած բագրատաշենցիների դեմ քրեական գործեր էին հարուցվում` մաքսանենգության մեղադրանքով, իսկ ասենք մի քանի հարյուր հազար դոլար արժեցող ավտոմեքենաները մաքսազերծվում էին ծիծաղելի գներով, եթե իհարկե դրանք պատկանում էին ձեզ հայտնի մարդկանց: Թերեւս ընթերցողներից շատերն են բախվել այն իրավիճակի հետ, երբ իրենց ընտանիքի անդամների համար արտերկրից 2-3 բջջային հեռախոս բերելիս մեղադրվել են մաքսանենգության մեջ, եւ ստիպված են եղել մաքսայինին հանձնել «կանտրաբանդան», անտրամաբանական տուրքեր վճարելուց խուսափելու համար: Ահա այսպես Ավետիսյանը պահպանում էր Սեդրակ Ռոբերտովիչ Քոչարյանի բիզնեսի անձեռնմխելիությունը:
    Այս պայմաններում, բնականաբար, Ավետիսյանը ինքը անձեռնմխելիություն ստացավ: Շուտով նա դարձավ Հայաստանի ամենահարուստ մարդկանցից մեկը: Նա հագնում է 10-30 հազար դոլարանոց կոստյումներ, վարում անբարո կյանք, խմում աշխարհի ամենաթանկարժեք խմիչքներից: Մի քանի տարի առաջ նա «վառվել էր» պուտանկաների հետ 7 հազար դոլարանոց 2 շիշ «Կուռվազիե» կոնյակ խմելիս, իսկ վերջին ամանորից առաջ իր ընտանիքի ամանորյա սեղանի համար 20 շիշ 800 եւ 20 շիշ 1000 դոլարանոց կոնյակ էր գնել: Եւ հետաքրքիր է, որ այս առեւտուրն արել էր «Դյութի ֆրիից», այսինքն անմաքս առեւտրի ցանցից:

    Բայց Հայաստանի ժողովուրդը թերեւս չհասցնի Ավետիսյանին կանգնեցնել դատարանի առաջ. ասում են, որ նա հիվանդ է ոչ թե հեպատիտով, ինչպես ըհնդունված է կարծել, այլ մի հիվանդությամբ, որի մասին ընդունված չէ բարձրաձայն խոսել: Իրավ Աստծո պատիժը շատ ավելի դաժան է, քան կարող է լինել մարդկայինը:

    Հ.Գ. ՀՀ առաջին նախագահ Լեւոն Տեր-Պետրոսյանը իր հայտնի ելույթում Արմեն Ավետիսյանին դասել է ավազակապետության հենասյուների շարքին:

  17. The more yellow-journalism from Pashinyan, the more confident I am that the new government is on the right track. Nothing like the discredited bottom-feeder of Armenian journalism to instill confidence in the authorities! :)

  18. Pomegranate – the story with import tariffs is a real mistery. From what I understood (and what journalist collegues found out from their sources) – goods were frozen on the border for a day and people were told there will be a sharp increase in import tariff of manufactured goods. Next day Haylur reported that it’s just rumors and that protesters are Grzo’s people. Go figure…

  19. You know, this maybe off topic, but Armenians have strange view of freedom of speech.

    Freedom of speech doesn’t mean that you can say whatever you want to say. Usually whatever you want to say is censored before you are allowed to say it in popular places. Freedom of speech usually means that if you have something to say then you can say that at certain appropriate places before you will be allowed to put it in front of the whole world. For instance, for those who don’t know, it is illegal in Germany to publicly praise Hitler or to publicly deny holocaust. This, as some think, is not a violation of freedom of speech. If you have an important information concerning Hitler and you want to argue that he was the greatest man ever, then you can ask for a permission to speak in front of a special committee, you will be granted such a permission and you will be allowed to plea your case. This is what freedom of speech is.

    Now, what nazarian has done is a violation of freedom of thinking. We all have right to think the way we want to think, and we all have a right to visit the sites that we want to in order to get our news. When we make a choice that we will visit this or that site it is because we trust the people who are behind this or that organization and that they will not feed us with what we consider as junk food. It is fine with me that Observer allows people to speak their mind freely and I appreciate it a lot. But reading posts like the one above isn’t exactly reading someone’s opinion, and therefore, if the post contains substantial information and something that Observer wants his readers to know, then I think it would be appropriate if he disallowed such comments and censored them before letting us read it. The point is that, if I want to read such posts I can very easily go to the appropriate sites and read as many as I want. But I made a choice to come here and read what Observer wants me to read, so as things stand I have to think that Observer actually wants me to read that post. Should I read that post Observer?

  20. Censorship in order to stimulate freedom of speech… ; or
    Posting opinions in violation of freedom of speech…

    That’s a little strange logic, isn’t it?

    What I posted is the original of what ArmeniakerKamilion had translated and was the second link in Observer’s post.

  21. nazarian- it is up to Observer to decide what he wants his readers to read and it is up to us to decide what to read. If we trust Observer it is because he has been writing a kind of stuff that is appealing to us. If this was my blog no one could write such posts without my permission (there is a different flavor to your post, it is more like a propaganda then anything substantial). Observer has taken the position that he wants his readers to comment freely. This has created an immensely pleasant environment for us to come read his posts and express our opinions.

    I see nothing wrong in providing the link to ArmeniakerKamilion. Actually I am very thankful that he read ArmeniakerKamilion post and summarized it for us, as I could never read anything that pashinyan wrote because I get lost in his way of presenting ideas. Swearing all around and writing one line of substantial information is hard for me to stomach. Observer did excellent job summarizing it in one line. Moreover, he also gave us the link to the appropriate place to read more about it if we want. I went there, as I always follow his links, and I spent only a minute in that site.

    The bottom line is the following. I am a regular visitor of this blog, and you know that. By putting this post here you force me to read it. And it isn’t a matter of choice. I comment here, and therefore I also read comments. So I have no choice but to read that post of yours, and that is a violation of my rights. I don’t want to be exposed to that line of thinking unless people who I trust tell me to read it and explain why reading that is helpful. Thats it.

  22. Just because YOU get lost in Pashinian’s writing style it doesn’t mean that the others don’t want to read it. Why do you want to censor something simply because YOU don’t like it? Of course, you are also entitled to your opinion… (the freedom of speech is tricky to control, isn’t it?)

    BTW, if I don’t like anyone’s post, I do not demand that Observer censor them. I think censorship here is pretty much limited to personal attacks and profane language on this site. It’s the same on my blog, too.

  23. First of all I do not demand Observer to censor your post. It is up to him to decide what to do. It is my right as his reader, however, to ask for an explanation why he wants me to read that post? I am sincerely asking him to explain why should that post be there? That is all. I read it, I spent my time on something that he put on his site, he knew that I would come here and read it, and now I am asking why he wanted me to read it. Am I doing something unethical?

    […] Just because YOU get lost in Pashinian’s writing style it doesn’t mean that the others don’t want to read it. […]

    Exactly! Those who want to read it go to his site or your site or I don’t know and read it as much as they want. Those who don’t want to read that stuff go to Observer’s site (up until now I guess), Onnik’s site, or Unzipped’s site and read whatever these guys want to say.

    […] Just because YOU get lost in Pashinian’s writing style it doesn’t mean that the others don’t want to read it. […]

    By the way, did you realize that in other societies people censor Pashinyan type so that people like me could understand what he wants to say. Because I have been begging you guys to explain what you are offering in a plain language, and you never came up with an intelligent presentation of your own ideas. I am still begging you to try to explain what he or the King wants to say without using such language as

    […] Կեւորկովյան թատրոնի վաստակավոր արտիստ Սերժիկ Սարգսյանը ետընտրական գաստրոլները սկսեց ՀՀ կառավարությանն առընթեր մաքսային պետական կոմիտեից:[…]

    Can you do that or is it really too much to ask?

  24. Strangely, here I disagree in principle with grigor on process. I don’t think that Nazarian should have to guess what Observer would or would not post, and as such, should be free to post what he wants as long as he doesn’t violate the ethics/rules of the blog. Having said that,

    I personally find Pashinyan to be the single most destructive element in Armenian politics and journalism today. He preys on the dissatisfied, spinning yellow journalism and ad hominem attacks on anything and everything related to government. One of the goals is to drive readers into a self-loathing “Armenia has no future” or “we are not worthy” situation.

    He makes accusations in virtually all his trash (in the above this includes murder!), dances around racist divisiveness (no one exploits the Armenian vs Karabakhtsi divide more frequently) and is a hate-preacher to the worst degree.

    Hopefully the events of March 1 (and the ones leading up to it) will demonstrate to the Armenian nation what a destructive force he has been, and that the numbers in Armenian society will grow to shun rather than support such a negative entity.

  25. AH- I agree with your point and that is why I wasn’t blaming Nazarian for posting it over here, but was just asking Observer why he wanted us to read that post. I think a nice thing would have been to provide a link and say what it is about and if anyone wants to read they could go and read it. But I cannot not read comments here.

    […] The facts shall not serve the purpose of compromising, insulting, or humiliating a person or an organization. The nationality, race, religion, physical and intellectual conditions of a person shall not be labeled. […]

    This is just an excerpt from Observer’s ethics rules. So is this one.

    […] We serve all the groups of the society regardless of their political, economic and ideological aspirations. Ties of kinship, family ties, friendship and other relations cannot change the principles of equality that we have adopted.[…]

    Either these two are in conflict or nazarian’s post should have been moderated. Now its none of my business if Observer doesn’t want to moderate posts like that, but at least we should be given the reasons why that post was considered important by him. I am not trying to imply that our comments are more important or anything. Most of us speak our mind which is why I have been under the impression that this is working, but that wasn’t nazzarian speaking his mind, it was pashinyan speaking his mind, and pashinyan is nowhere around here. I would love to argue and as a result of that understand what they are saying, but again there are no real people behind these posts, it is always someone just putting other people’s garbage here and we are supposed to read it.

    If it is the equality thing that allows such comments, then this isn’t really working. Again free speech isn’t that you can say whatever you want. You think here in the US we don’t have Pashinyans? We have all sorts of Pashinyans, but they are not allowed to articulate their points in civilized places. There is, for instance, American Nazi party in the US who call for complete extermination of all immigrants. But you can’t see their comments in any respectable blog or in any respectable news agency let alone see others talking for them.

    Again, I see nothing wrong in being given the chance to read that sort of stuff, but allowing to put that whole thing here is unfair, to say the least, to many of us who try to do everything they can to avoid such comments (or perhaps I am the only one who tries to avoid it and that is why I am rather upset). This whole thing would also be so much more productive if say Observer asked nazarian to articulate the substantial points of that post in a civilized way so that those few in here who don’t understand the kind of language used in that post can read and finally make sense of what these guys are saying. Which also leaves one wondering, are they actually saying anything? If no, then again why are we supposed to read that post?

    At any rate, I apologize for going so off the topic. I hope the discussion was somehow helpful. I would also like to apologize to nazarian in case he felt offended by anything that I said.

  26. Grigor – my ethical code applies to the articles and posts that I make personally. I like to give absolute freedom to the rest of the commenters and if, for example, Nazarian thinks, that for the purposes of discussion it is useful to post an extract or a whole article by Pashinyan – why not? …and – the rest of the commenters are also free to criticize them for posting the article by Pashinyan as well – which you did very successfully. That does not mean I want you to read it the Pashinyan piece, but its already there – and knowing Nazarian, you may choose in the future, to ignore his postings, and not waste your time on them.

    The key thing is – I trust and respect the people commenting here, because, for very rare exceptions, the discussion here has been very civilized, and I have learned a lot from your feedback so far, and am eager to learn more. And after all – we’re all grown ups here, and we are responsible for the impression we make on other people.

    Again, while I disapprove spreading false information on the comments section – I will not censor them, unless they contain direct insults and profane language. I also disapprove commenting in a language other then English here, because I have Armenian version of this blog at http://munetik.wordpress.com and I like getting Armenian language comments there, rather then here. Still, freedom of speech and discussion are too important for me to censor comments in other languages too.

    All in all – I want to stress again, that my ethical code applies to me personally and to the people, who are registered as authors and editors on this blog (like Reporter_arm, Tesaket, PisoPiso, etc.) For contributers and commenters like yourselves – it can serve more as a recommendation, but not a strict demand.

  27. Observer – ok I see your side of the story. I happen to disagree with it. If I have to avoid reading the comments that I don’t like or I don’t find pleasant then whatever I am doing here isn’t working. We all should be reading each others comments in order to understand what others are saying. If nazarian says something then I cannot ignore it. He isn’t one of those who came here to insult everyone, but he came here to present a point of view, which happens to be completely incomprehensible as far as I am concerned. I am not asking you not let them speak their mind, I am asking you to encourage people in one way or another, to speak in a civilized manner so others could understand. Doesn’t it bother you that some have no understanding of what Levon camp is saying? It is bothering me immensely, but every time I go to their blogs or read their papers or read something here by them, I get even more confused. Well, anyway, I guess we just have different points of views.

  28. […] why not? […]

    1. Because you are becoming a tool in the hands of a propaganda machine, that tries everything it can in order to spread their views to the part of the society that is reluctant and rather disinterested in reading anything by them unless they write something intelligent.

    2. Because it is your obligation to ensure that your readers will not be getting distorted views of reality.

    3. Because such post discourage any meaningful further discussion of the topic under scrutiny. One basically has no choice but to respond the way AH responded, and with all due respect to AH, I don’t like that kind of responses either (not that AH had any other choice). I would like them to present their case so that I can understand what they are saying which is ultimately why we are here, to understand whats going on and perhaps add something of our own.

    4. Because it is deteriorating both the quality and the image of your blog and it forces people, who look for more civilized sources of information and substantial points of views, to look elsewhere for their daily news and for the analysis of it.

    Unfortunately, I have to get back to working on my thesis, but if you want more reasons, I can definitely push the number close to infinity, if I find that much time that is.

  29. Censorship in order to stimulate freedom of speech… ; or
    Posting opinions in violation of freedom of speech…

    That’s a little strange logic, isn’t it?

    It’s even stranger logic to consider that anyone who decided not to support Ter-Petrossian and hold their own opinions was instantly attacked, intimidated and threatened by Ter-Petrossian supporters.

    Thankfully — hopefully — that situation has changed now and we can not get personal.

    What I posted is the original of what ArmeniakerKamilion had translated and was the second link in Observer’s post.

    As for what I think is about posting articles and stuff in the comments section (don’t have enough time to read everything) I’ll just say what my policy is. Basically, any additional information is to be welcomed. However, I personally prefer people commenting to add something as well.

    Of course, I won’t delete such comments which merely paste an entire article without commentary, but I do make it clear to those that do that it is better for them to quote from the source and then link to it. People generally don’t wade through paragraphs and paragraphs of text. They just want the main points.

    It’s like the introduction/summary and conclusion of a report. Few people actually read what’s in between. However, it seems pretty pointless to paste duplicate content and I’d personally prefer people to actually expand on it and give their opinions which then leads to further discussion. Still. that’s just my opinion.

    Otherwise, it has to be said, people can always just skip the comment although when a huge article is pasted it can disrupt the “conversation” because people also don’t want to have to wade through pages and pages of text.

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