Armenian Parliament: Macaroni Making Armenian Style

Armenia - Opening ceremony of the session hall of the National Assembly of Armenia after reconstruction, Yerevan, 22Oct2010

There ‘s a great Armenian joke. “You know how they make macaroni? Well, you take a hole and wrap dough around it.” That’s exactly what they did in the Armenian Parliament following a massive renovation process which cost taxpayers more than $1.3 million US.The hall was closed for work in May and has since undergone major transformation. The former rectangular hall acquired an oval shape after reconstruction. Computers, monitors and microphones have been installed at every lawmaker’s desk.

In his welcoming remarks during the opening ceremony, Parliament Speaker Hovik Abrahamian compared the new chamber to the legendary Round Table in Camelot, arguing that it provides “a more democratic atmosphere for debate.”

“A round table has long been regarded as a symbol of cooperation and focused discussions,” the parliament speaker said.

One of my twitter friends sarcastically noted: “So apparently all this time, the only thing that’s kept Armenia from being a democracy is the lack of a round table!”

Indeed, talks about the role and importance of renovation in the Armenian parliament are only worth sarcastic notes. Everybody knows, that its far from representing the ‘will and aspirations’ of the Armenian people, and it’s simply funny to speak about ’round table’ concepts in Armenia’s oligarch-dominated Parliament, which only represents the interests of a handful of people.

Journalists have witnessed hundreds of examples, when MPs would vote instead of their neighbours, happily enforcing this or that law brought in parliament under oligarchic and government pressure, to be pushed through without much consideration, just push-buttoning.

Really, if you ask me, Armenia’s Parliament, is an empty shell, a hole, around which the macaroni dough is wrapped. No amount of computers, monitors and round tables can make this particular Parliament become a functional institution to balance power, debate useful laws or contribute to democratic development.

Conspiracy theories

Armenian Parliament Building in Yerevan, undated

Next parliamentary elections are due in Armenia in 2012. Armenian political parties have already started campaigning.

Meanwhile, there are rumors, that President Serzh Sargsian is planning for a different type of parliament, where smart, well educated, young lawyers will be elected and today’s major oligarchs and businessmen, who are often semi-literate, won’t have a place in the renovated parliament chamber.

Given the way things happen in this country, the speculations sound close to reality and it might just work. But that will be yet another empty shell to complement the newly renovated, nice parliament with its computers and monitors and everything. Because everyone understands, that those young smart-ass MPs will only be elected with the support of today’s oligarchs and power circles, and will serve them with fidelity.

Someone needs to tell the authorities, that it’s the CONTENT that matters, not the design and packaging. But will anyone dare? And will the message get through?

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15 thoughts on “Armenian Parliament: Macaroni Making Armenian Style

  1. oh wow, I didn’t know that “they” built themselves a new room from which to rule us. it’s nice, very parliamentary, but as the saying goes….”buisness as usual”

    …”Because everyone understands, that those young smart-ass MPs will only be elected with the support of today’s oligarchs and power circles, and will serve them with fidelity”….

    SLAVES TO THEIR MASTERS !!!!!
    not much has changed in 300 years when blacks were bowing down to their white masters in america, still to this day blacks in america must bow down to whites to get even the simple necessaties. that same concept applies to our country as well. if you want to make it in Hayastan, if you want to have it good, you must bow down your peasant ass’s to your greedy masters

  2. …”Because everyone understands, that those young smart-ass MPs will only be elected with the support of today’s oligarchs and power circles, and will serve them with fidelity”….

    This is how democracy works all over the world!

      • The legislative bodies of most western democracies are even more concentrated than Armenia’s parliament. In US, for example, the top 2 parties control probably 98% of the seats. In UK top 3 parties control probably the same percentage of seats. I am sure this number for Armenian parliament is much much smaller — would not be surprised if it was under 75%.
        Again, thats how democracies work — special interests work to elect representatives that will support their interests.

        • @mike
          yep special interests like our mafia stealing to GET RICH and piss on all the poor peasants who are the working class trying to keep Armenia alive. is that the “special interests” you’re referring to?
          like the mafia group in america who had “special interests” to fraud usa medicare and funnel 80% of the money to the “special interests” in Hayastan

          • America is not really a democracy. If in Armenia money is handed out to people for votes in America money is spend in brainwashing the voters. Over 2bn USD was spent only in this Mid-term campaigns.
            And guess from where this money comes from…?

  3. “…Meanwhile, there are rumors, that President Serzh Sargsian is planning for a different type of parliament, where smart, well educated, young lawyers will be elected…” read this again please and think it over. He is planning who will be elected, that’s the message, don’t see any democracy or special interest groups. It seems as if he is interested in reforms and will give green light to promising young people who will take the country out of this crap. However, we have already seen boneless “prospective” youth made of chameleon skin who will be in the front line to get the favor of “his majesty”… bullshit!!!

    There are always people who dare to talk against and, as it happens in most of the former soviet states, they are received with armed gunmen… no dialog, no discussion, no opinion… brutal force only…

  4. First of all, it is not round. In contrast to the Round Table , this hall has a head chair . It is not even oval, it is 1/2 oval.

    Secondy it represents the tast and mentality of the people who sit in there. It is not modern, it is like out of the Sopranos or God Father. I havent been in those people houses but I am quite sure it is a home away home.

    and finally Thirdly, Serj is not pushing the brown nosed so called educated people into it because of their education but because in that way he hopes to please the West and run for a 2nd term. West has spend lots of money in creating that new class of asswipes (with I guess 80% success) for the purpose that one day they will implement their policies while Serj runs Russia policy.

    Summery: there is lots of wood in that building. It will burn very well.

    • Payqar, calls for violence (i.e. burning, etc) are not encouraged on this blog, but the way you put it – sounds really really funny, so I’ll leave it there :)))

  5. Payqar,

    How you dare compare this hall with Godfather or Soprano interiors?

    Them people had taste, old-fashioned, but still, taste.

    This is more like ‘Vorogayt’ or ‘Veradartz’ interior, wholly imported from an Istanbul furniture showroom.

  6. Actually it looks good way better than the old one, it was miserable. And what’s wrong with having a better parliament hall? We’re almost 20 years into independence and renovation was needed if not belated. There will be times that foreign TV stations will broadcast footage at least this is more presentable [than the old one].

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