Statement with regard to probable suspension of MCA Armenia Project

It is acknowledged that within five years the MCA-Armenia project will contribute to the development of ¾ of rural areas of Armenia through a 235,65 million dollar value Compact of five years, signed with the US Corporation: 943 km of rural roads, 200 km of main canals, 30 000 hectares of irrigation systems, 18 gravity-fed irrigation systems and seven water preserves will be rehabilitated, special training sessions for approximately 60.000 rural population will be conducted, loans in the value of 8,5 million dollars will be provided to rural households, etc. With its scope and effectiveness, this project is unprecedented in the list of agricultural development programs ever implemented in Armenia.

Since the end of the last year, the 17 indicators that guide MCC in their decision to provide funding to our and other countries were worrisome for the Republic of Armenia: nine out of the 17 indicators are at certain risk levels for our country.

The violations of law during the latest RA presidential elections, the developments that followed them, mass violations of human rights and restrictions of media and freedom of expression can considerably lower some of the RA indicators, which, on their turn, will considerably increase the risk of suspension or termination of the program.

On 11 March 2008, MCC Executive Director, Ambassador John Danilovich sent a letter to RA President Robert Kocharyan, warning about probable suspension of the Compact.

With this statement, we express our deep concern about the real threat of suspension or termination of a project that promises substantial development to rural population and agriculture.

We consider that the RA authorities are required to carefully investigate the mass violations of elections, use of force against peaceful demonstrators (as a result of which 10 Armenians were killed, over a hundred people were wounded, and over a thousand citizens detained), persistent restriction of rights, media censorship, political persecutions, torture in prisons and make a report to the public. This investigation should be done with participation of international entities and as scrupulously and promptly as possible.

We call upon the RA authorities to take action. Otherwise, we seriously and irreversibly endanger the opportunity of establishing democracy and receiving diverse assistance from all over the world.

Simultaneously, we express our astonishment, with regard to Robert Kocharyan’s March 20 announcement in response to John Danilovich’s letter. It states that if MCA-Armenia project is suspended, then Armenia will explore other sources to implement all of the activities as envisaged by the program. Robert Kocharyan has also mentioned names of a number of benevolent organizations that will serve as possible funding sources. It still remains unclear: why, having all these other foundations for RA development supplementary projects, should the authorities wait for MCA-Armenia program’s suspension? In other words, what prohibits the RA authorities to engage all the mentioned funding opportunities into other rural development projects in parallel to the MCA-Armenia project?

We, the undersigned MCA-Armenia Stakeholder Committee members, express our full readiness to participate and contribute our input in resolving the issue: we will respond to any possible needs, as promptly as possible.

MCA-Armenia Program Stakeholder Committee members:

Levon Barseghyan, Seyran Martirosyan, Arthur Sakunts

The statement is open also to other interested persons for joining.

29 April 2008

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24 thoughts on “Statement with regard to probable suspension of MCA Armenia Project

  1. Sounds like civil society are trying to use MCA funding to achieve political goals. No wonder Levon Ter-Petrossian backed off from the issue of MCA funding in his recent speech, His supporters in civil society are doing it for him. That is, effectively requesting it be reconsidered if certain demands are not met.

    I suppose that’s their right, but I don’t think it should be particularly welcomed.

  2. Well – you see I have a little garden – 600 sq/m, where I have some grapes and a couple of apricot trees. Last year I spent half of my salary on that garden – mostly on water payment: they collected 20,000 for restoration of pipes, 10,000 for welding works, then 5,000 per month for the water subscriber fee. Then we had to pay some strange extra charges, because there was a problem with pipes and they had to bribe somebody to give us priority… in the end, having spent 60,000 or more on water itself, I didn’t get enough and half of my trees dried :(

    The agricultural infrastructure is heavily corrupted. If it won’t improve – we don’t need any infrastructure, because the end-result is the same. With or without infrastructure, with corrupt officials operating them, the agriculture is doomed anyway.
    Why? Because

  3. I’ve pondered for some time whether a rain collection system could be a viable solution for each farmer rather than a mass irrigation system for everybody? There is something unsettling about all these programs implemented in the third world countries by the Western large bureaucratic organizations. They seem to be extremely inefficient and do not produce any results and be designed to sustain and further corruption.

  4. Observer, which is why the MCC should oversee its own projects and civil society involved with that shouldn’t bring politics into it. I was kind of impressed at first that Levon seemed to understand the importance of the MCA to Armenians, but perhaps not…

    Ter-Petrosian at the same time urged the U.S. to drop its threats to freeze $236 million in promised economic assistance to Armenia unless the government reverses the crackdown. “While supporting political sanctions against the ruling regime, we are deeply concerned about statements regarding planned economic sanctions against Armenia because they would hurt not the authorities but our people,” he said.

    RFE/RL, 2 May 2008

    Meanwhile, despite albeit lower levels of corruption in Georgia, the use of MCA money in Samtskhe-Javakheti has made an enormous difference from what Georgian-Armenians tell me, and if we’re getting into the realms of corruption, nepotism, waste etc, perhaps we should stop OSI, Eurasia Foundation, USAID funding etc while we’re at it.

    Civil society has hardly spent its money well, generally funds its relatives, friends, politically partisan groups, etc, and I can’t say I can consider many NGOs to have done anything of note at all when you consider how much money they’ve absorbed. Long and the short of it is how well the money is administered and I would rather see people stress that need.

    Otherwise, no money is going to hit farmers and regions big time. Even with limited corruption it will improve the situation, but perhaps rather than let a bunch of politically partisan activists sitting in Yerevan and other cities in receipt of their own funding, perhaps people should ask farmers and impoverished villagers what they think instead.

  5. Besides, we haven’t even heard what the government plans to do to meet the CE resolution (apparently we’ll know some of it at the weekend) and this statement is released. Couldn’t they have waited a little? Or is it ONLY about politics and regime change?

    Meanwhile, as a noble gesture I would suggest them to also renounce all funding from USAID and while we’re at it, OSI etc. After all, nothing changes, right?

    But no, much better to use the money you’re not in receipt of during political games that the hundreds of thousands of dollars some NGOs receive each year. Let the farmlands dry out for “victory,” but not at the expense of their own pockets, no doubt.

    Actually, I have to be honest, the country should be self-sustainable and civil society and the government learn to be accountable and corruption free. Sure, bring it on.

    Is that the logic? Well, if so, stop MCA funding, but please also stop OSI, Eurasia Foundation, USAID and all the others which mean this country will be dependent on international donors and never have to stand on its own two feet.

    Like I said, most of the NGOs never do anything of any note with the money they guzzle. False accounting, (pre-meditated) false accounting, allocation of funds for purposes they were not intended, lack of transparency, corruption, nepotism, it’s all there.

    Unfortunately.

    Meanwhile, while I consider an independent inquiry to be essential, as the CE demands it and as the government has yet to announce its decision, I have to wonder why this statement is being released now. Would waiting a few days have been too much?

  6. Yeah Onnik – except that the cries to stop aid like MCA are just flailing attempts to “hit at” the authorities. The principled argument that such aid undermines Armenia’s self-reliance or that a freeze would help root out of corruption is a by-product, at best. But, don’t stop the funding from OSI or USAID please!! How will I fund my revolution??!!??

  7. THIS MONEY WAS ATTENDED TO BE USED FOR THE NEEDED ? …like the rest, MCA money was going to be used to buy Hummers and mercedes …so basicly if armenia getts the MCA money …its a matter of buying new H4 hummers or be satisfied whit the H3 hummers for now…..

  8. Well, all I can hope for is that Ter-Petrossian was genuine in his words when he said that he considers suspension of the MCA funding will hurt the population and not the authorities, and that the government meets the demands of the CE resolution. Personally speaking, I can’t consider why anyone would not want that.

    Even so, this statement could have waited until next week and I’m disappointed that assistance to the regions is possibly being used by civil society for their own political purposes and self-interest. Had people waited until the committee meets to determine how to address the CE resolution and not been able to do so, then there could have been some justification.

    As it is, this statement is premature. Of course, I would like to see civil society be involved in the process of meeting the CE resolution (as is actually required, one suspects), but it’s quite clear that there is a time for political games and a time for thinking of what’s best for the country.

    It is preferable that the MCA funding continue with maximum oversight. Otherwise, while it potentially could hurt the government but also possibly turn them to seek more assistance from Russia, the only people who will really lose is the population in the regions. Here, I agree with Ter-Petrossian and I can only hope he was genuine in what he said.

    Probably it’s worth repeating that once again:

    Ter-Petrosian at the same time urged the U.S. to drop its threats to freeze $236 million in promised economic assistance to Armenia unless the government reverses the crackdown. “While supporting political sanctions against the ruling regime, we are deeply concerned about statements regarding planned economic sanctions against Armenia because they would hurt not the authorities but our people,” he said.

    RFE/RL, 2 May 2008

    When I hear more conciliatory words like that which obviously show some understanding that development is a necessary ingredient of democratization, I have some hope. When I hear people who are in receipt of international funding call for the suspension of money that will benefit people significantly poorer than they are, I don’t.

    Like I’ve said, it’s time for the government, opposition, civil society and the media to attempt to come together to find grounds on which they agree on for the sake of the country while putting aside some grievances. In the end, some progress there can only benefit not only the population, but also the process of democratization.

    Indeed, it IS the process of democratization.

    Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t, but until people put aside some of their partisan political and economic self-interests I don’t see that anything will change. The fact they haven’t since independence is probably why we’re in the mess we’re in. It’s because neither the government, opposition or civil society have been able to show any political maturity since day one.

    Now I hope that can all change, or at least people will be prepared to try. And yes, it requires mutual concessions from all the main players in that very long and very difficult process which will encounter many ups and downs, advances and setbacks on the way. First of all, however, it requires genuine intent to develop and see Armenia progress even if it means that a) the government will lose power or b) the opposition will fail to come to power.

    What matters is some kind of progress and all are responsible for the failure to achieve that so far. It’s been happening since at least 1995, for god’s sake, and now it’s time to try to reverse the situation which all the major political and civil society players, in my opinion, are responsible for.

  9. THIS MONEY WAS ATTENDED TO BE USED FOR THE NEEDED ? …like the rest, MCA money was going to be used to buy Hummers and mercedes …so basicly if armenia getts the MCA money …its a matter of buying new H4 hummers or be satisfied whit the H3 hummers for now…..

    And of course, you have some evidence to back such claims up? Or did you mean that the MCA-Armenia Program Stakeholder Committee members are also buying Hummers? Or maybe you meant Ter-Petrossian who also at least seems to be saying he doesn’t want the money to stop?

    Meanwhile, Asbarez had something on the MCA funding to date after a recent post-election interview with

    The Millennium Challenge Corp. has been engaged with the people of Armenia now for several years with a very substantial $235 million compact, which is targeted at the reduction of poverty and sustainable economic growth in Armenia. We are very pleased with the progress that has been made, with the compact implementation, with the training; Now of more than 6000 farmers have been trained in better water usage and huge irrigation for the benefit of having better crops, better production, greater productivity, better prices and we are pleased with the way things are moving along.

    Dunno, this is getting tiring. There are many problems with international assistance to Armenia and much corruption and wasted money. The same is true when that money is directed towards civil society so what are you suggesting? Stop it when it can possibly be used to assist your own partisan political aims and objectives, or a blanket ban on all financial assistance including those less than transparent organizations such as OSI and NDI?

  10. Millennium Challenge Chief Outlines Future of Program

    LOS ANGELES–Millennium Challenge Corp. Chief Executive Office John Danilovich Thursday had a frank discussion with Armenian-American organizational representatives and community leaders about the current state of MCC’s activities in Armenia, in light of the post-election unrest. The meeting was organized by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).
    Following the meeting, Asbarez English Editor Ara Khachatourian had an exclusive interview with Danilovich,

    The transcript can be read at asbarez.com
    http://www.asbarez.com/index.html?showarticle=30349_5/5/2008_1

  11. BTW: Observer, you just explained in a nutshell why irrigation infrastructure improvement and reform is so important:

    Last year I spent half of my salary on that garden – mostly on water payment: they collected 20,000 for restoration of pipes, 10,000 for welding works, then 5,000 per month for the water subscriber fee.

    Hopefully, through the MCA funding that situation can change, including the administration and repair of irrigation works. Incidentally, from the way you describe it, the extra money you paid was not to have the work done, but rather to get preferential treatment.

    Corruption in such cases exists because of an inefficient system and willingness of Armenian citizens to pay bribes and officials to take them in order to get preferential treatment. When it comes to corruption it’s a two-way street. It takes two to tango, basically, and few here ever question it.

    It’s the system that exists everywhere — among officials, teachers, doctors, nurses, journalists and so on. Money is King and instead of reforming and streamlining the system, citizens except and exploit the informal methods on offer to them, often without question.

    Of course, you need to explain more about the need to “to bribe somebody to give us priority” because maybe I misunderstood so please clarify. Meanwhile, I will never pay any amount of money for services that should be available according to the law unless a receipt can be given (which indicates it is a formal and legal payment).

    Of course, people just think I’m a crazy foreigner and we do such things, but when it comes to all this talk of a “civil disobedience” movement, demanding the law to function when it comes to paying for the provision of services would be a good start.

    Hell, it might even change the mentality here that actually accepts corruption without question if we’re lucky. Meanwhile, I would at least hope that MCA funding would make irrigation repairs and extensions free, and the administration of that infrastructure cheaper, more efficient and corruption-free.

  12. Onnik – the thing is – I tried to refuse to pay that fee, which i understood, was a “bribe for preferential treatment”. What happened next? My neighbors stopped greeting me or talking to me for a whole week, because, as they explained, because of people like me their gardens were also going to dry out.

    While I have the garden just for my pleasure – most of those people barely survive with what they grow there. My further refusal to join them and pay, would mean, that I am hurting 8 other families people on my row – and I mean, really hurting. Moreover, it wasn’t really preferential treatment – it was like – our que to get irrigation water (we get it every friday-saturday), but because of something that the authorities had said had happened, they had to bring an extra brigade and direct water to us, instead of someone else. All very vague. Bottom line – I paid. Bottom line – I tried to protest and complain, but i couldn’t. Bottom line – even if all of the people on the row protested and didn’t pay and took the authorities in charge to court, we wouldn’t have achieved anything, because none of us has enough money to bribe the judges at the court and we can’t count on an independent investigation into the matter, etc., etc.

    What I really think had happened is – some official in charge of irrigation wanted to collect some extra money and fly to Antalya for his 20 day leisure-rest at the resorts there. Now – I’m all open for your criticism. Let’s think together what I can do to prevent this situation from occurring again this year, ok? Because I’m sure it will happen again – and this year looks really dangerously dry.

  13. For sure there’s going to be another drought, but I don’t think stopping MCA projects is going to make matters worse or keep them the same. Instead, there is every possibility that MCA funding will make the situation better and introduce oversight and transparency into proceedings (precisely what the MCA-Armenia Program Stakeholder Committee members as representatives of civil society are meant to do, and notice they do not mention any issues regarding the implementation of the MCA projects).

    Indeed, if and when the irrigation project hits your area you can actually use that same committee to raise issues if they occur. Moreover, there will be strict oversight from the MCC itself as well as its local oversight committee. Indeed, I would imagine that the MCC funding can only improve matters. Like I said, the roads in Samtske-Javakheti are apparently fantastic compared to the pot-holed effectively dirt tracks they used to be. One Georgian-Armenia says they’re better than anything in Armenia although until I actually travel on them again, I’m not going to go so far.

    Still, as the road to Tbilisi is nothing like it was, I also have no reason to doubt him. If improvements on such a scale can be achieved with roads in Javakheti, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to prevent the same from happening with irrigation in Armenia. Indeed, I say again, you raise issues with the present system that that the MCA/MCC should resolve. Or are we now chanting “drought, drought until victory?”

    If so, the only question remaining to be asked is whose victory exactly would it be? Not the populations, that’s for sure.

  14. onnik et al, it doesn’t matter what ltp or these mca representatives intentions are for chrissake. what ltp said is what a pure hearted politician would have said (that’s not saying that because he said it he is pure hearted, so save your time). what the armenian mca reps wrote are what they had to write – what they are demanding are basic requirements and obligations of receiving an mca grant and they would be bad executives for not at least saving face this way. they didn’t’ ‘get political’ in this letter, it is a goddamed grant based on political metrics! maybe they are doing ltp’s work, but isn’t more direct (as opposed to your conspiratorial take) to think that they are trying to save the program? if you were in their position wouldn’t you consider the option to do the same?

    we can reasonable argue strategy or politics of pure hearted politicians or mca reps. meaning, there is no need for debate on whether they should have written this letter or pleaded to the us in terms of policy.

    my point here is that despite your constant (and i do mean CONSTANT) criticism of the ‘radical opposition’ (who are the other opposition btw?) for being blind to certain realities, or otherwise un-analytical approach to everything, you are dumbing down the much needed discussion. you simply cannot take everything said by the ‘radical’ opposition and spin it based on what you assume they REALLY meant. where will we go from there – there will be no end.

    you will certainly start to argue that the ‘radical’ opposition do the same thing in regard to current administration, but there is one difference – the current administration is the current administration. and it is an administration that hasn’t produced results. in fact, prior to ltp entering the race, there was little to no disagreement that this regime has done nothing to help armenia in the long term (or short or immediate terms for most).

    ltp may be a favorite subject, but he is not nor has not been president (or anything) for over a long decade. whether he ‘started it’ or not means nothing unless you’re implying that despite pure hearted intentions, rk/ss simply could not overcome the insurmountable obstacles of not raping our country.

    i guess i’m part of the radical oppostion – i oppose this corrupt incompetent illigitment government. that is what they are. if in an alternative universe ltp was elected, chances are he’d be the same – but he is not the president and will not be. if he (for whatever reason that only he and God know) is saying the same thing that i am saying, do not blame me – a person who is against this government and for Armenia thriving.

    you like to present yourselves as having a sight on the bigger picture, so i needn’t explain to you that because we (myself and ltp) are both against the current regime that that doesn’t make us the same.

    and the end of the day what is your point? if you are going to spend so much time finding fault in positions and logic, why not on those actually in power?? i have no doubt that there are those equally (or more) terrible, but those others (inc ltp) don’t have our lives *directly* in their hands…

  15. Ace – permit me to address just a couple of points in your lengthy posting:
    1) “(who are the other opposition btw?)”

    I think that Vazgen Manukyan is a great example of a principled opposition member and leader of a real party, the AZhM.

    2) “the current administration is the current administration. and it is an administration that hasn’t produced results”

    The current administration is less than 1 month old. What exactly did you expect in terms of results? Not that I am defending or attacking them, but it is a strange argument (one of having produced results) to take seriously

    3) “in fact, prior to ltp entering the race, there was little to no disagreement that this regime has done nothing to help armenia in the long term (or short or immediate terms for most)”

    I would argue this point and thus disagree. I think that most Armenians agree that there have been more done “for Armenia” as you put it during Kocharian’s time in office than LTP’s, but this of course, can be argued.

    Ace, if you state you are against this government, fine, no problem. But your argumentation is flawed: you may be for a thriving Armenia; I have seen no data to support that same contention for LTP who has only acted to destroy.

    For the record, when has Onnik defended those in power? You continue this bizarre (il)logic that if someone attacks a position of the radical opposition that means that they support the authorities. Can we once and for all realize that these are two mutually independent positions?

  16. 1. i know vazgen and know him to be equally opportunistic. that is neither here nor there however and unimportant. what is important is: Where is he then?? Do something to motivate people! If ltp outshines in terms of marketing that is Vazgen’s shortcoming, not ltp’s fault. this goes to the conspiratorial tones: the fact is that youth and others are motivating around ltp and no one else. why? too our detriment we will simply continue to say they are brainwashed.

    2. “the current administration is the current administration. and it is an administration that hasn’t produced results” – my take (my take) is that this is the same administration. until there is a proven difference, you don’t get handpicked in some soviet era ‘election’ and pawn yourself off as new in my book.

    ironically if there is any change and progress it is because of the radical opposition’s protests that forced them. say what you want of ltp etc, but without all of this where would we be today? we wouldn’t be having any of these important discussions on any of these blogs likely. again debatable, but certainly a reasonable probability.

    3) “most Armenians agree that there have been more done “for Armenia” as you put it during Kocharian’s time in office than LTP’s, but this of course, can be argued”.

    even if one concedes that this is better that ltp’s time, it is a weak argument. Stalin’s day was better than 1915-23, but that doesn’t really establish greatness. (obviously this is an exaggerated analogy for illustrative purposes). this is also my original point – what ltp did or might have done is irrelevant in terms of this regime’s current actions. i’m even willing to look past their past actions if they absolutely turn things around. BUT: 1. people who shot my compatriots need to do a lot more that bullship lip syncing and 2. i won’t forget it was those who bravely (or brainwashedly if you want) went to the streets to force their hand.

    regarding your ‘for the record’ point, you’re right – it is not true that if someone attacks a position of the radical opposition that means that they support the authorities. however, i’m concerned with the utter lack of discussion of the current administration (which right or wrong includes rk/ss for me) as opposed to the ad naseum discussion of ltp’s actions. the attacks on the radical opposition presuppose a concern for the country, so it would make sense to me that if ltp (who is not in power) disgusts you, then rk/ss really get you heated.

  17. my point here is that despite your constant (and i do mean CONSTANT) criticism of the ‘radical opposition’ (who are the other opposition btw?)

    The other opposition are the many more people who are in opposition to Serge who are also against Levon and who are labelled as traitors and intimidated by Ter-Petrossian supporters. And, in my opinion, they outnumber the number of people who support Levon.

    if you are going to spend so much time finding fault in positions and logic, why not on those actually in power??

    Ironically, I’ve spent most of my time in Armenia (1998-2007) being in opposition to the authorities when most of those now attacking the government were silent.

    Indeed, it’s interesting. There was an interesting op-ed in a newspaper or somewhere that made this point. Apart from Aram Sargsyan and Stepan Demirchian, Levon’s most vocal activists were nowhere for that period.

    Indeed, they spent as much time if not more attacking the opposition NOT led by Ter-Petrossian and in some cases actually working in support of the government (I know a few cases such as this). It was as if, the paper said, Levon’s people needed the opposition to be destroyed to prepare the grounds for his return.

    (Sorry, but the idea of the anti-christ returning before armageddon just went through my mind).

    Now, as Levon’s movement dies down it is those same people who were always Levon’s people doing most of the protesting and organizing. They did not emerge from nowhere. They were always there, but dormant even if it meant allowing the country to be in the state it was for 10 years.

    There’s this really stupid phrase going around among Levon’s people. What was it again? “It’s not about Levon, it’s about democracy and people standing up for their rights?”

    Bullshit. It’s always been about Levon and now they’re trying to convince people through some very slick if somewhat simplistic new technologies (YouTube, youth movements etc) that he IS the opposition (actually, they seem to be pushing him as more of the messiah that Geghamian tried to make himself out to be with his “Let’s Save Armenia” 2003 campaign).

    But you’re right. Why waste my time on this. Levon lost his chance and now his team desperately need the situation to worsen in order to exploit it to return to power and… well, probably not change anything at all.

    Everyday normal citizens I speak to are tired of hearing his name, many of those who voted for him don’t care what he’s doing, and most are just getting on with their lives. Unfortunately, most don’t have access to the Internet, and of those that do, they probably don’t follow the blogs or even want to read the latest romantic revolutionary samizdat.

    So, you’re right. Why bother. Regardless of what Levon and his people say, Armenia will keep its MCA funding or CE voting rights not based on him, but whether the government are interested in doing enough to make sure they. Meanwhile, part of me wonders if the demonstrations etc are not about democratization, but rather trying to force the government into a knee-jerk reaction so the situation gets worse.

    Actually, Pashinian has argued that this is the approach favored by the radical opposition (hence why it is radical). Probably, the democratization of Armenia, meeting CE resolution is NOT what Levon’s people want because if it happens, they stand NO chance of ever coming to power. It can only be through destabilizing the country and total chaos, poverty and misery.

  18. i don’t know Onnik – you seem to lump the higher ups of the levon camp with all the regular people. the latter is my concern and i just don’t see them wanting the destruction of the country for levon’s return. they might believe in him and i don’t fault or wish ill on them for that. the youtube videos i see are usually very unsophisticated women (not meant to be an insult) demanding that their village husbands be freed. i’m not inclined to buy some higher up abstract motivation. if ltp has stirred up emotion with his evil intentions, he has still only stirred emotions that were already there.

    but you’ve touched upon something sadder: people led to believe ltp is only after the destruction of the country (maybe he is) and thus they hate hearing his name and passively (defeatedly for sure) go on with their lives.

    but if the opposition stops or the other opposition doesn’t present itself, Armenia is dead. the exodus now will kill us for sure and the ultimate sale to russia will be signed shortly.

  19. Ace, you want another example of non-radical opposition? How about Heritage? They’ve been in the political scene as an opposition much less than anyone in the HHSh camp, but have done much more work than the later.
    When Raffi Hovhannisyan wasn’t allowed to run for president in the previous elections, he didn’t choose to organize rallies and try to weaken the government, but rather made sure his party was represented in the parliament, and had more voice and leverage to influence the way things are run in the country. He didn’t take the point of view “I’ll weaken the system so much that I become president, and then I’ll start to improve the situation”.

    So far I don’t see LTP and his camp taking this path. The parliamentary elections aren’t until 3 years from now, but being in the parliament or in the government is not the only way to influence the way the country is run. If he actually has such a strong support from the population, he should be able to do a lot, if he chooses to do so.

    For the sake of the country he should accept defeat in the presidential elections. He should direct his efforts not to weakening the government and the country, but to assist it in strengthening the country, and making it more democratic. That, actually, would give him stronger grounds to win the next elections.

    I do believe that their actions have had some positive effects as well, but it’s time they change the direction of their actions.

    Here is one, perhaps a very naive idea. If it’s believed that the MCA money is not being used appropriately, why not create a working group that would assist in monitoring the way the money is spent.

    If he wants to be president again, I want him to prove that he can come up with constructive, productive ways of bringing change. If he can’t do that perhaps he doesn’t deserve to be president. If he can’t find non-revolutionary ways of directing things in the direction he wants inside our tiny country, how is he going to deal with foreign powers?

  20. Sam63,

    There is a “working group” which assists in monitoring the way money is spent: it is called the MCA-Armenia Program Stakeholder Committee. This statement above – was released by 3 of its members (the Committee has 15 members, all elected by various NGOs). I have personally voted for two of the 3 people who signed the statement: Levon Barseghyan and Seyran Martirosyan. I have so far been very much satisfied with the way the people I have elected to the MCA Stakeholder Committee have been acting – constructively that is, and I will be always happy to publicise any further statements they release.

  21. MCC money invested in Armenia is money down the proverbial drain of graft, corruption and patronage.

    It’s like the line mouthed by the great Akim Tamiroff in the 1440 film “The Great McGinty” where A.T., playing a corrupt party machine boss, trys to convince Brian Donlevy, playing his stooge “reform” candidate for Governor, on the need to build a new dam, even though the exisiting one is in fine shape…

    “Dams are a wonderful thing. They always need concrete. Do you know how many tons of concrete can be poured into a dam. It’s never-ending…”

  22. Oops, that’s 1940, not 1440. But you get the idea. A great film by Preston Sturgess

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  24. respected sir,i want to do mca training in usa .can any company sponser me without any tough quantitativve test or visa interview?

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