Barekendan – Waking up…


Barekendan, Yerevan, Republic of Armenia © Onnik Krikorian, CRD / TI Armenia 2007
Barekendan was the top story around the Armenian blogosphere. As I reported earlier the event was initiated by civil society activists as a “call upon their fellow dormant citizens to “wake up” and become involved”, which was clearly a success. However, there were slightly different views on the event from around the blogosphere, as were many different photos. Make sure to check them all:
http://bekaisa.livejournal.com/211158.html
http://bekaisa.livejournal.com/210698.html
http://bekaisa.livejournal.com/210556.html
http://blog.transparency.am
http://lifearoundme.wordpress.com/2007/02/18/parading-barekendan/#more-110
http://azat.wordpress.com/2007/02/19/barekendan-yesterday-is-reported-as-a-success/

No Manifesto, No Party Registration for Bargavach Hayastan!

Sasuntsi Anarchist from the ALS Movement claims to have discovered why “Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party does not appear among the registered parties list”, and the reason that they “have been refused registration as a political party because they still don’t have a manifesto“!
Moreover, the ALS Movement have added a mock Banana Republic seciton to their blog  the sole purpose of which is “to ridicule Bargavatch Hayastan and this whole political unseriousness in Armenia.”

Vote Bribes, Civil Society, Polls, Surveys & Monitoring

From next week CRD / TI Armenia Election Monitor 2007 “will start to focus on how civil society in Armenia is preparing for the election, the kind of activities NGOs are engaged in, and what people actually think.”
This particular post focused more on “vote buying” excercised during the 2003 elections and the outcomes of a recent US government funded poll (August, 2007, by International Republican Institute, the Gallup Organization and the Armenian Sociological Association) on voter attitudes.  The Monitor has some facts and figures from the study showing voter attitudes, which RFE/RL described as widespread voter cynicism while Armenia Now covered the story from a different angle and reported that 6.2 out of 10 Armenians want change and that most citizens will cast their votes.

Yet Another Armenian Soldier Killed by Azeri Sniper

Armenia Blog reflects on the recent killing of the Armenian soldier, major Ervand Pashikyan (b. in 1958) by an Azeri sniper, and finds it especially disappointing that “virtually nothing is done after such killings: a few words condemning the act here, a few harsh words there, and that’s it. Then again, short of an all-out war, what can be done? Obviously, we have to involve the international community, but all too often these soldiers get forgotten shortly after all is said and done.”

Parliamentary Election Monitor

Armenian Opposition Candidates for the May 12, 2007 Parliamentary Elections in Armenia are the focus of CRD / TI Election Monitor 2007 blog’s attention this time. Stepan Demirchian, Artur Baghdasarian, Aram Sarkisian all get their share of coverage and comments. Check out the Monitor for more.

RFE/RL reports that Stepan Demirchian, leader of the opposition People’s Party (HZhK), will not seek to form any electoral alliances with other political parties to contest the May parliamentary election. This follows news that the former Speaker of Parliament, Artur Baghdasarian, has also ruled out forming alliances with other opposition parties in Armenia and earlier reports that negotiations on an alliance between the People’s Party and National Unity had been held in January.

Armenian Oligarchs, Their Hummers and More…

HummerIn her post “It’s not all gold that shines…” the Armenian Odar says “…at least one of the Hummers making Yerevan’s streets unsafe, uses gas. The owner had the petroltank replaced by gastanks in the hatchback, because gas is cheaper than petrol.”
Armenian Odar only fell off her chair laughing at this, while I remember nearly having a heart attack when I first found out… 🙂
In the meanwhile the President of Armenia – yet another one of our oligarchs according to this rather dubious list of Top Ten Rich People in the country, is having all fun and no work according to this post by the Armenia Blog: “Robert Kocharyan to Vacation in Paris.”

Health Issues in Armenia

Armenia Blog has a series of posts on health, medicine and population growth issues in Armenia: Armenicum AIDS Drug Marches Forward; Child Cancer Cases Increase 15% in Decade; Armenia’s Population Increases…Barely. The blogger is especially concerned about the causes of increase in Child Cancer cases:

What could be the reason for this increase? Perhaps pesticides and other chemicals in the soil and fruits? Perhaps pollution from cars and trucks?

Vahe Balabanyan at Hyeblog also publicizes the concerns of the RA Government over sharp drop in population growth.

Fight Against Anonymity Becomes Reality in Armenia

David_S talks of “quite well founded rumours” that selling anonymous mobile phone SIM cards might soon be forbidden. The mobile operators will require valid identification before selling prepaid mobile SIM cards like the Armentel Easy, Go cards and the Viva Cell Allo Cards at the moment. David wonders whether this urge of fighting anonymity will soon reach Internet services as well?

Phrase of the day #36

More Armenianisms from Kornelij Glas:

Quote: A serious businessman cannot simultaneously be a good politician.
Аuthor: Leader of the “New Times” (“Nor Zhamanakner”) Aram Karapetyan about the head of the “Prosperous Armenia” party – Gagik Tsarukyan.

Gagik Tsarukian and "Prosperous Armenia" Party

Onnik Krikoryan has another post on CRD/TI Armenia’s Election Monitor 2007, talking about Gagik Tsarukian and the Prosperous Armenia, the party that has become a major part of the political landscape in Armenia.
Onnik invites for discussion and comments both at Oneworld and the CRD/TI Armenia’s Election Monitor 2007 about the issues related to the “Prosperous Armenia” – the “overnight” party that recruited 370,000 memebers over the period of one year to become the largest party around (RFE/RL). The methods employed by the party to attract new memebership have been regarded by many critics as “wholesale vote buying” and the policy of the party has been labelled as “potato democracy” by the IWPR. At any rate, like Onnik puts it:

Like him or loathe him, there’s no avoiding him, and Tsarukian’s name is on everybody’s lips these days — regardless of their political preference or persuasion.

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