Martuni or Bust has an interesting perspective on Bush administration’s budget request for the fiscal year 2008, unveiled on Monday, which calls for $35 million in economic aid to Armenia, sharply down from the 2006 level of $69 million, and which would also cut U.S. aid to the Armenian military by more than 30 percent to $3.3 million. In fact, Ara from Martuni or Bust applauds Bush, and says this move is for once trying to do something to avoid “feeding into corruption” in Armenia, and suggests, that Armenian lobbyist groups – AAA and the ANCA should:
“instead of attacking George, praise him for starting to put an end to the problems that you have been involved in perpetuating since the early 90’s with the welfare you have worked so hard to secure for Armenia, which has made many people lazy, corrupt and added to the country not developing into what I could and should be“.
Ara Manoogian makes his point by concluding:
Now we just have to work on getting all aid cut and make sure the the $236 million MCA funds never makes their way into Armenia.
However, this approach was unique and agnry tones prevail. Blogian for example criticizes Bush plans for Armenian aid cuts aggressively:
America’s so-called president George
aBush has introduced his glorious budget, that like last year’s, gives reduced economic and military aid to Armenia and much more aid to Armenia’s friendly neighbor and the most tolerant country in the world – Oilzerbaijan. Moreover, the Bushdickcandy administration is apparently cutting humanitarian aid to Nagorno-Karabakh.
Armenia blog is looking at Eduardo Eurnekian’s recent acquisition of Conversebank and its consequences. With the words: “…we may be witnessing the emergence of a new oligarch in Yerevan. Let’s see if that prediction comes true…” Rhyne concludes his post.
Onnik Krikoryan has another one of his excellent 2007 Parliamentary Election Monitor posts. Covering various sources, such as the posts by Observer and Anoush Armenia, Radio Liberty and his own earlier articles on Zhirayr Sefilyan and It’s Your Choice NGO Onnik concludes by saying:
I’d like to see just one democratic election in Armenia. Not too democratic, of course — that’s too unrealistic for now, but just some albeit small sign of gradual and genuine change to give us hope for the future.
Make sure to read the full post here – very informative!
Anoush Armenia points to the clear link there is between the upcoming elecitons and curbing corruption in the country, in her discussion of the recent report by the Transparency International on the state of corruption perception in Armenia.
SO, if everyone realizes that the existing corrupt system is bad, and that free and fair elections is a way to improve the situation, then why does it seem like such an uphill battle to convince people to get out and vote this Spring. To sign up to become election observers. To protest when their rights to dissent are put into jeopardy. RIGHT NOW is the perfect opportunity for citizens of Armenia to do something.
I found out via Oneworld Multimedia about DR. SPURKIAN and his ironical analyses of the Armenian political landscape and the prevailing tendencies. Some major points made by this “self-styled intellectual (the emphasis is on the ‘self’) living in the Disapora(s) and criticizing everything and anything relevant to things Armenian” are below:
Some ‘parties’ have already been ‘partying’ their projected win, while the sides which should be the most concerned with the elections – namely the citizens of Armenia – don’t seem to care much about who will be power.
…The 2007 parliamentary elections seem to be important for political circles in Armenia since it is viewed as a litmus test of the presidential elections to take place in 2008.
…Elections in Armenia give the illusion of a choice when in reality what citizens are doing is expressing the choice that people in control want them to show. And what makes this whole ‘game’ enjoyable is the fact that most often than not, the political party which seems to be the front runner usually appears less than a year before the elections and miraculously manages to become ‘popular’ almost overnight.
For the more humorous and ironical aspects of the original post visit the self-styled Doctor here.
Onnik Krikoryan in this post at Oneworld Multimedia say’s “its about time someone injected a little humor alongside the predictable cynicsm which surrounds what usually are mere formalities“, speaking of the upcoming elections. Before pointing the readers to Dr. Spurkian’s post full of exactly that “injected little humour”, Onnik summerizes his understanding of what seems to be the task set by the authorities for the upcoming (s)elecitons:
That is, making things look like an election with ballot boxes and polling stations, but which are in reality simply a fascade to the real task at hand. This year that task is very simple — to create the environment in Parliament that will allow Kocharan to pass on power to a hand-picked successor and to ensure that the political and economic interests of the ruling regime are not threatened…
So, make sure to read the original post here…
Onnik Krikoryan reprots on the protest rally staged on February 2nd, outside the Chamber Music Hall, Yerevan in support of former Karabakh commander, Lebanese-born Zhirayr Sefilyan, who was arrested in December charged with planning to overthrow the Government, which Onnik had previously covered at the Eurasianet. The atmosphere around the event makes Onnik wondering about possible political scenario in the arrest:
Firstly, I don’t agree with Sefilyan’s position on the Karabakh negotiations which are still underway and apparently gaining momentum, and I certainly don’t agree with the opinion of some of his supporters who were in attendance today. Anyway, that’s not the point. What is of concern is that a lot of unanswered questions linger about the charges brought against Sefilyan, and especially as no evidence has yet to be presented to the public.
Instead, there appears to be legitimate grounds for concern that the real reason for Sefilyan’s arrest, along with that of colleague Vardan Malkhasyan, was political and linked to the coming 2007 parliamentary elections.
On another post here Onnik reflects on the media coverage of the demonstration and demonstrates dangerous patterns there, with implied self-censorship and limitations of freedom of speech on such an obvously major issue as “plotting to overthrow the Government”.
Not newsworthy enough? Right, I mean, the guy is only accused of plotting to overthrow the Government. It’s not as if he simply ran a red light. Regardless, there were few TV cameras there, and mainly newspaper hacks.
So anyway, to read the full posts visit Oneworld Multimedia.
The Armenian blogosphere was dominated by the Genocide issue at the end of the week: Hyelog had 8! posts on Genocide and Turkish denial on February 3rd alone, Kornelij, Ahousekeeper, Martuni or Bust all had something to say, while Rhyne at Armenia blog had a pair of rhethoric quesions:
I am optimistic about this resolution. However, there is a chance that it may not make it. What will we do? Keep fighting until it is adopted, whether today, tomorrow, or in five years. There is a reason why Armenians have survived through the ages, regardless of conquest after conquest upon our people and culture: we never give up.
Blogrel discusses an article by the Armenianow: “Present and Future Power Debate: Who will be the choices in 2008?”, and singles out the point made by Washington D.C./Yerevan political analyst Richard Giragosian:
“The process of importing American democracy has exhausted itself. Today both the US and Russia want to maintain stability in Armenia and the CIS.
Read more here.
Onnik Krikoryan notes that Armenia has too many political parties, and provides a link to the web site: Parties.am to enforce this viewpoint.