PM Tigran Sargsyan to interact with public 'directly' via newly launched blog

00001ed9 Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan has officially launched his blog, which, he hopes, will help him directly interact with public.
“It is important for me to make sure, that you understand how I think”, Tigran Sargsyan, 50, father of 3,Ph. D in economics, has written in his first entry in a LiveJournal blog opened in November, but officially made public today.
The blogger has specified “Prime Minister of Armenia” as main occupation in the blog’s user information page. I verified from a reliable source – this is indeed Prime Minister of Armenia Tigran Sargsyan.
Continue reading “PM Tigran Sargsyan to interact with public 'directly' via newly launched blog”

Dashnaktsutyun stage a rally in protest of Armenian-Turkish protocols


The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) rallied more than a thousand supporters in Yerevan on Monday to demand that Armenia’s Constitutional Court invalidate the fence-mending agreements with Turkey, RFE/RL reports. The whole rally seems like a big and colorful show, because very few people would consider the Constitutional Court an independent branch of the state capable of making decisions without the direct instructions from the President’s administration, or Dashnakstutyun, a true and independent opposition force, capable of impacting the government’s agenda. Continue reading “Dashnaktsutyun stage a rally in protest of Armenian-Turkish protocols”

Will all the parliamentarians who're stepping down – please stand up!?

 Amenia -- Opposition MP and businessman Khachatur Sukiasian, undated 02.09.2009
Amenia -- Opposition MP and businessman Khachatur Sukiasian, undated 02.09.2009

Founder of  “Heritage” party Raffi Hovhannisian will quit the Parliament.  So will major businessman, opposition MP Khachatur Suqiasian. Both news came today in the matter of one hour. Who’s next? From the top of my head I could name at least 3 more: Continue reading “Will all the parliamentarians who're stepping down – please stand up!?”

Heritage spokesperson: “Large segment of electorate finds it hard to vote for Ter-Petrosian”

“There is a large segment of the electorate that finds it hard to vote for Levon Ter-Petrosian,” Hovsep Khurshudian, the  “Heritage”  spokesman told journalists today, defending his party’s refusal to back former President Levon Ter-Petrosian’s candidacy for the post of Yerevan mayor.
“Heritage” (Zharangutyun), which is led by former Foreign Minister Raffi Hovannisian, decided late Monday not to form an alliance with Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) for the May 31 municipal elections. Continue reading “Heritage spokesperson: “Large segment of electorate finds it hard to vote for Ter-Petrosian””

Serzh Sargsyan's inauguration, 40 day observence and the baloon festival

‘”Many things happened yesterday. Among those probably the most important was Serzh Sargsyan’s inauguration. For a lot of people though the important was that 40 days have passed since the deaths of 1 March riots.” – Armenian Patchwork

While it depended on the political orintation of the bloggers, to decide which of the events taking place yesterday was the most important for them, with the area around Yerevan’s Opera in almost total lock down, prime minister Serge Sargsyan was inaugurated as president in a ceremony and military parade that few citizens could even remotely get close to – so many of them were only able to cover the protest actions, rather then the grand inauguration ceremony. Raffi N at “Life in Armenia” has more:

Today was the official swearing in of Mr. Serge Sarksian as the new President of the Republic of Armenia. It really felt like an important event because ALL the streets were blocked… lots of police escorts…

Photos: © Artur Papyan / The Armenian Observer blog 2008
Onnik Krikoryan, a British photojournalist, reports how he was prevented from photographing the inauguration ceremony, despite showing press passes and the fact, that the event was held in a public area.

Prevented from covering that event, as was the case for almost every other photographer in Yerevan, there was always the opposition memorial to the eight killed during post-election clashes on 1 March occurring adjacent to the French Embassy. Somewhat unfortunately for Sargsyan, not only did 9 April mark the day of the start of his presidency, but it was also the traditionally observed 40th day after the deaths.


Photo © Onnik Krikorian / Oneworld Multimedia 2008
And while Ogostos (ru) is looking at the moral aspect of holding lavish inauguration ceremony while so many people are mourning the death of their relatives and the memory of March 1 riots is still so vivid, Ahousekeeper (am) is amazed at just how shortsighted the Armenian authorities are to hold the inauguration 1) on the 40th day of memory of March 1 deaths, which is traditionally observed as a day of mourning in Armenia, 2) to block the Republic Square, the opera and several other streets, as a result making eveyone, regardless of their political orientation to curse the authorities 3) to stage “stupid” events in the republic square, which the “Levon supporters will try to interfere with”

It is natural, that celebrations are held on the day of president’s inauguration.
It is also quite frequent, that the opposition uses that day to stage protest actions and bring to the attention of the international community the problems of the country.
All of this happened today in Armenia. News agencies are reporting, that protest actions took place also outside of Armenia.

The protests, however, are not likely to affect the situation anymore, Mark Grigoryan writes in this analytical piece(ru), Serzh Sargsyan has become the President of Armenia, and that is now a fact. Nevertheless, there were 8 simulteneous protest actions in Yerevan, Bekaisa(ru) reports, including actions in front of the 1) RA Constitutional Court 2) Central Electoral Commission 3) OSCE office in Yerevan 4) European Union 5) US Embassy 6) Russian Embassy 7) French Embassy 8) Prosecutor’s office. Protests took place also in Kapan, Syunic region, as well as Kiyev, Ukraine and Moscow, Russia – in front of the RA Embassies.
Ahousekeeper also reports, that opposition candidate Levon Ter-Petrossian supporters attempted to disrupt the baloon festival staged in the Republic square this evening, but were prevented from doing so by police forces, who quickly rounded them up. The blue sky festival did take place, and the Armenian Patchwork has photos to prove it.

Photo © Anush Babajanyan, Armenian Patchwork 2008
And while Akunamatata_ser(ru) is rejoicing and greeting everyone with the first day of Armenia’s new president’s coming to power and the start of the regime, built on fear, offences and blood, with an uncertain present and future, Nazarian(am) is paying tribute to those who died 40 days ago (Grigor Gevorgyan, Arman Farmanyan, Hamlet Tadevosyan, Gor Kloyan, Zaqar Hovhannisyan, Davit Petrossian, Tigran Khachatryan, Hovhannes Hovhannisyan). Notes From Hairenik on its turn is contemplating on Serzh Sargsyan’s chances to bring change to Armenia:

President Sargsyan has a lot to do in a short amount of time. He has to win over the confidence of the vast number of citizens who have no faith in him whatsoever and who regard him as being a petty oligarchic-tyrant.
[]
he has to prove that he can surpass in leaps and bounds everyone’s expectations and, most noteworthy, ensure that the downtrodden—namely those living in far-off rural parts of Armenia—start living better, fruitful lives. []Cracking down on corruption is something that is high on most everyone’s list of things for him to do. But seeing as the mayor of Yerevan—the one who has thrown the city into transportation mayhem with ludicrous, ill-planned road projects that are rumored to be money-laundering schemes—will apparently remain in office there is already cause for suspicion.

F5 blog(am) is even more sceptical – the new president won’t be able to change anything it speculates, while Unzipped is finding it even hard to beleive, that Serzh Sargsyan will be able to stay in power for long:

You just can’t stick to the power relying on a physical force. Well, you may for a while, but only for a while. No lasting solution could be based on force and violence. There is no alternative to democracy in Armenia.

Some bloggers are more pragmatic though – Martuni or Bust!!! is quite sure of the opposite:

Though there are still many unanswered questions regarding the legitimacy of the election which landed him the post of President and the events that followed that he was directly behind, I really believe that as usual and in a very short period of time, most will forget what happened and it will be business as usual.

The Podcast of this post, made by the Echannel.am team is available here.

Bloggers Love Media – Media Love Blogs, so Who Loves More?

Armenian blogs have always been attentive towards Mass Media, although you can’t really call it love, in part because there’s not much to love in the Armenian Mass Media these days. As to the newly demonstrated love of the Armenia media towards Bloggers, Ahousekeeper has very rightly noted:

“Aravot” newspaper has discovered the Armenian Blogosphere. Talking to Uzogh, and later, searching through our journals, they have come to the conclusion, that Armenian Bloggers “don’t like political games and disdain homosexuals”. So now you know what questions journalists are most interested in, don’t you?

And while some Bloggers appreciate the fact, that the Armenian media have finally entered the 21st century, others are wondering, why, of all issues discussed in the Blogosphere, the Aravot journalist had been so interested only in Bloggers’ attitude towards homosexuals? At any rate, despite the strange conclusions made by the journalist and obviously “provocative” headline, it was a pretty good article, the Armenian News Blog has concluded. Let us remind once again, that A1+ and Radio Hay are the two media who love Bloggers more, and loved them earlier then others. Both of these media outlets already have set up their own blogs. A1+ blog is located at http://a1plus.blogsome.com, and Radio Hay blog is at http://www.radiohay.am.
Coming to the “reciprocal” love of Bloggers for the Armenian media, here’s what we read on Ogostos‘s journal about ALM TV company – a TV company – widely regarded among the more educated young group of the population in Armenia, as a disgraceful TV channel, which could only be laughed at:

The “ALM” channel went on air on metric frequency, which means – it was broadcast all over Armenia.
A most incredible TV channel was thus created in the world. Different from all others. Television, who’s owner has the right to do everything. He can broadcast 24 hours of a party held at the “ALM” for New year if he likes. Or, if he likes, he can show a boy singing 24 hours of traditional Yezidi songs. He can talk politics 24 hours in the most awkward key… if he likes. And if he likes, he can announce to the whole wide world “darned Yezdis, I invite them here to sing, and in return, they don’t vote for me! this means, they won’t sing on my channel any more!”.

One more interesting Mass Media discussion was started on Uzogh’s blog. The blogger had placed a news video from the Haylur news program of Public TV of Armenia, covering the recent pre-election meeting of Levon Ter-Petrossian with voters in the town of Talin, during which a man from the crowd was beaten up by the supporters of the presidential candidate, in response to his yell: “Talin people are not supporting you!”.

The blogger had asked other Armenian Bloggers working in the sphere of media, what they thought about the news item, and whether it was ethical or no. In response, Mark Grigoryan had come up with a detailed analyses, pointing out that:

Generally speaking, the material could have been done much more professionally. I think, that the Public TV of Armenia, undoubtedly, should provide news coverage of much higher quality than that.

The other respondents to Uzogh’s inquiry also noted, that the news item wasn’t balanced enough.
To conclude, we can state, that while the Armenian Mass Media are just doing the first steps towards discovering the Armenian Blogosphere, the Bloggers, on the contrary, have been talking the crap out of the Armenian mass media for quite some time now, and looking at the current trends in pre-electoral media coverage in the country, looks like they’ll have much more to dwell upon in the coming week or two.

The audio version of this article will be broadcast on Radio Hay FM 104.1 on Saturday, 11:00

Watch Out! Propaganda Blogs or Observer's Blacklist of Campaign Blogs

Recent trends and developments in the Armenian blogosphere, whereby a range of extremely intolerant propaganda-blogs have sprang up, and have started attacking all and everyone around in the blogosphere – have taken the fun away from blogging. Instead of being the enjoyable personal hobby it once was, blogging now is increasingly becoming a risky business, a hostile environment, where you risk being attacked and harassed for your views.
Of course there was the trend, where “patriots” were attacking “liberals” in the blogosphere, and people were grouping together according to personal linking-disliking long before all these propaganda blogs had sprang up. But before – that was all a natural process, it was as any society works, and people were blogging, because they liked it. Today, as we see an increasing number of blogs, whose authors are blogging, not because they like to, but because they are assigned the task of posting all kinds of propaganda pieces by pro-Levon or pro-Serzh forces, including State Security services, I wonder, if they can be considered blogs at all? The way I see it – they are more like campaign posters or propaganda leaflets. At any rate, here is a list of blogs, which I have blacklisted so far, as they fall under the classification of non-blogs, or propaganda blogs, or agit-blogs – call them the way you like it:
1. http://azat2008.livejournal.com
2. http://countrev.livejournal.com
3. http://ppmv.livejournal.com
4. http://libero_am.livejournal.com
5. http://www.levonforpresident.com/am/33/
6. http://gazan2008.livejournal.com
7. http://winner2008.livejournal.com
8. http://azgainakan.livejournal.com
There are some 3-4 more, about which I have suspicions, but will not post here, until I have more evidence of them being commissioned to write by Levon’s team or Serzh’s minions. In fact, I have no such evidence about these ones either. But – these are the more suspicious ones so far. And I’m sure you have noticed more of these, so please kindly let me know about them in the comments section of this post. As to the rest of the REAL bloggers out there – my suggestion is let’s ignore all these fake blogs, these empty shells, because once the campaign is over, they will be gone, and we will stay. And we will feel ashamed for being artificially dragged into this whirlpool of black PR using blogs. Dear blogger-friends – beware! The Big Brothers are watching us!

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