Barcamp Central Asia

A team of Armenian bloggers took part in Barcamp Central Asia held in Bishkek, Kyrgizstan, on August 1-3, 2003.
As I’ve written earlier, Bishkek felt very Soviet, the Barcamp, however, didn’t. Over 150 bloggers and internet/media people from Kyrgizstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakstan, Latvia, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and even – Spain, Australia, USA took part in this bizzare un-conference.
The Armenian team made a couple of presentations on Barcamp Yerevan and on VideoBlogging in Armenia, as well as hosted a BridgeCamp session (something like Q’n’A) on Internet security and overcoming state censorship. My presentation on Barcamp Yerevan is available for download or viewing online. There are also some photos of Barcamp Central Asia available on my Picasa Web Album.
Overall, the event was just great and now all thoughts are with the upcoming Barcamp Yerevan.

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant


  1. Unfortunately, it wasn’t really an “Armenian team,” but rather a team of “OSI-Armenian blogging grantees.” The rest of us were unable to attend because OSI refused to support other bloggers, regardless of whether we should have been included or not.
    The head of OSI personally told me they would never support my inclusion in any application for support (even though I have been pushing Armenian bloggers for longer than anyone and also represent Global Voices Online, a project which has the support in some areas from OSI-Hungary) and other bloggers report the same.
    Anyway, a team of “OSI-funded bloggers” attended, perhaps, but certainly not bloggers who can be said to represent the Armenian blogosphere as it is. I have a complaint currently being considered by the OSI-Ombudsperson outside of Armenia although I doubt anything will come of it.
    Although some bloggers allege political bias from OSI-Armenia, and as Larisa Minasyan’s responses to questions about support at the beginning of July indicated the reasons are more than those eventually supplied after I informed the office of lodging an official complaint, the local office’s response was as follows:

    […] the Foundation supports participation of three people to the Bishkek conference based on their engagement with the Foundation’s long-term instutional initiatives. Thus, Mr. Gegham Vardanyan is supported as he is ebgaged in the Foundation supported E-Channel project, Mr. Artur Papyan is involved in several Foundation supported initiatives (E-Channel, Media Diversity Institute and Yerevan Press Club) and Mr. Davit Davtyan is involved in the Foundation’s Law and Health Initiative’s e-content component.

    One senior and reliable source described the decision as such:

    […] they also said that OSI seems to be very exclusive in that they
    establish a network they keep the grants in that network, which of course
    doesn’t make any sense if you’re building civil society.

    So, if this is how international and local donors operate in the future when it comes to blogging (it is rumored that money is already being made available) we’re in trouble — not just the Armenian blogging scene, but also civil society and the mass media itself. This control kind of defeats the point of blogging in the first place so if we truly want an active and genuine blogging scene to emerge, this situation needs to change NOW!

  2. Incidentally, if anyone else wants to lodge a complaint, OSI-Hungary sent me the following contact details:

    The OSI ombudsman is currently by Irena Veisaite; in the past, she has
    served both as the chairman of the Open Society Fund-Lithuania board and
    as a member of OSI-Budapest’s board. Contact information for Veisaite is
    as follows:
    Open Society Fund-Lithuania
    Didzioji str. 5
    2001 Vilnius
    Tel: 37-02-685511
    Fax: 37-02-685512
    Email: [email protected]

  3. Onnik jan,unfortunately,in Armenia,there are 2 types of bloggers-“palace bloggers” and Soros-bloggers.
    I remember the noise raised by some principal bloggers ,when me and Chamanyan Sergey were invited to press-conference of Serj Sarkissian. Everyone asked-“Why they were invited,not others?” Why they should represent armenian blogging community? Why? Why? Why?
    For BarCamp Georgia,BarCamp Azia we have another case,”armenian team”s all funded by Soros-foundations. So,why they should represent Armenia? Only because of their right political attitude? Why in this case this organization call itself as an OPEN SOCIETY INSTITUTE????
    This OSI is only duble-standard,biased organization,specially functionning for “creation of color revolutions”.They are the same in Georgia,Ukraine and etc.
    Hope that brainwashing in Armenia done by such kind of organizatins one day will finish finally….
    Or,there is another approach,just use OSI as a travel agency,like a lot of people do:)))

  4. Напишу по русски.
    Весьма веселое и интересное мероприятие.
    И не хотелось бы скатываться до взаимных упреков и обвинений.
    Но все же в следующий раз стоит хорошенько подумать прежде чем задавать глупые вопросы о том кого куда пригласили и кто куда поехал.
    Однако наличие искуственного разделения нашей дружной тусовки блогеров на руку только соросоподобным организациям.
    если кого обидел, сори не хотел

  5. […] Flicker you can find short scenes for example of the opening of Barcamp Bishkek, photo’s and reports of bloggers. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Kyrgyzstan daily round-up: […]

  6. […] you can find several short scenes for example of the opening of Barcamp Bishkek, photo’s and reports of […]

  7. Dear All, it’s the first time I’m posting here yet it’s too pity for me to discuss on a topic “why they? why not me? who’s identified Bishkek participants? Based on what? etc”.
    First of all, let’s introduce myself. I am Artur and I am the administrator of, an Armenian blog. David (one of Barcamp Central Asia participants from our side) is the key-person of our F5 Blog in terms of blogging and generating ideas/concerns to be discussed rather than boring site-visitors on what he had yesterday on his breakfast, why he think Canada should not be take place in exploration of the Arctic’s gas-fields and other meaningless topics…
    Second, it’s offensive for me, and, hope, for all of us to hear such a “accusation” like “Your are OSI-bloggers!”. What about you, Mr. Krikorian? Are you a “US-blogger” or a “Google-PageRank-blogger”. Is it too difficult or unacceptable for you to say: “Wow! My congratulations to all Armenians participating in Barcamp Central Asia!”.
    I am very confused… if this is a clear demonstration of based-on-nothing jealousy or concern of people “seeking the truth”? Or some issue of leadership? You’re number one, you are the most succeeded blogger… it’s enough or we should go on?
    Dear All. You’re Armenians, so let’s finish my words in Armenian, our natural language:
    Տղերք, իրո՞ք չեք ջոկում, թե ինչ ղզիկ խոսակցություն եք տանում:

  8. а мы планируем второй в конце апреля в Алматы
    не забывайте про нас!
    пишите [email protected] и читайте новости на

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