Podcast: World Economic Crisis and the Telethon

Armenian bloggers become more and more concerned about the world economic crisis.

David_sand, for example, thinks that the consequences of the crisis in Armenia may even lead to mass disturbances.

If the financial crisis results in worsening the quality of life, which is already noticeable (although our politicians keep denying it,) or if the volumes of manufacturing and consuming get decreased because of crisis, even those political figures will have to persuade the people that the situation is even worse in the neighboring countries, or will go on denying the fact that the situation is getting even worse.

According to the blogger, denying that fact might lead to dangerous consequences, “People could get disappointed, and the expressions of that disappointment could be even worse than the events in March, 2008.”

However, some people even like the crisis. “The crisis is the best thing that has happened to me since I started working in the sphere of business,” writes Naysaykus, adding:

“The crisis has taught people to work by the sweat of their brow. For the first time in the whole post-Soviet history people started to understand the real value of money. Now there are just 2 employees in the company instead of 10 parasites, and their salaries have been significantly increased. That is, competent and hard-working people are paid better. Isn’t it good?”

The crisis has negatively affected Armenia, writes Korneliy Glas in his blog.

“Mining industry is in crisis. Lycos Company is getting closed. Despite that, the All Armenian Fund has managed to gather 35 million dram – twice as much as the last time. That’s the result of the crisis. Let’s admit that we are a strange nation.”

Ahousekeeper has also covered the telethon organized by Hayastan All Armenian Fund,

“35 million dollars have been gathered. To be honest, I didn’t expect to be gathered even as much as the last year. Whatever… yesterday I have heard a few times that “they eat all the money and people get nothing of it.”

“It turns out that dozens of schools, hospitals, clinics, apartment buildings in the disaster zone, roads and water pipelines have been constructed only for Serzh and the company”, the blogger complains.

Download the mp3 version of this post, including an interview with the media lawyer, blogger David Sandukhchyan, or listen to it online by clicking the player icon below.

Blog Roundup: The sad tale of robberies, bribe and blasphemy

Armenian bloggers reported terrible stories of robberies, bribe and blasphemy last week. Among some of the noteworthy posts were Nazarian’s post about shutting down the “Parisian cafe” on Abovyan street, Alefalef‘s discovery, that Beeline is double charging for March and April – thus, technically, robbing its customers, and Athanatoi‘s report, about continuous Georgian attempts to convert Armenian churches in Georgia into “old Georgian’ churches, and the recent case with Surb Norashen Church in Tbilisi – wherby Georgians were planting old Georgian tombstones in the yard of the Church and erasing Armenian inscriptions, changing them for Georgian ones – all of this with photographic evidence.
The full text in Armenian is here, and the 5 minute podcast, also featuring an interview with LiveJournal blogger Akunamatata_ser is here.

Divided blogosphere on united opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrossian's conciliatory speech

Quite predictably, the internet discussions over the past several days focused primarily on the congress held by opposition forces and the first public speech made by the opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrossian since the post-election violence on March 1st.

Opposition Congress, May 2, 2008 | Source: Unzipped

While speculating, that anyone “who made claims that they received 65% of the votes, accuses the present government of being murderers [] but is not presenting evidence to back his claims, can not be taken seriously“, Martuni or Bust!!! looks at the overall context of the opposition congress, concluding:

It looks as if things have not really settled down since the fraudulent elections and the killing of March 1st. The noticeable unrest is going longer than I was expecting and who knows, maybe this time around the truth really will come out and those who need to be put in their place will finally get what they have coming.

Bringing a more comprehensive analysis, the Caucasus Knot speculates, that “the radical opposition appears ready to negotiate with the authorities in order to prevent a repeat of the post-election violence which left at least 10 dead“, and concludes, that this first public speech by Ter-Petrossian since the March 1 disturbances “certainly represents a more conciliatory line“:

Interestingly, Ter-Petrossian was reportedly more conciliatory towards the new president, Serge Sargsyan. [] Ter-Petrossian instead directed his main attack on the former president, Robert Kocharian. Whether his words mark a realization from Ter-Petrossian that the radical opposition is unable to contest the outcome of the vote on the streets is a moot point.
[]
Whatever the view, however, and whatever the numbers, there is the basis for discussion and negotiations in the form of Council of Europe Resolution 1609. In particular, it calls on the radical opposition to recognize the constitutional court ruling confirming the results of the presidential election as well as on the government to release those detained on purely political grounds. Another demand is for an independent inquiry into the 1 March riot to be held.

Marking the fact, that Levon Ter-Petrossian has “effectively expressed readiness for a dialogue based on PACE recommendations”, pro-opposition blogger Unzipped disagrees with the statement, “directly accepting PACE call to opposition to recognise the Constitutional Court’s decision which approved the election results” in the opposition leader’s speech, speculating, that:

“Fraud in elections was the main reason which sparked the protests, and ‘acceptance’ of its results for practical reasons to move forward cannot be considered as a precondition (and never presented as such by PACE) but rather a part of a final outcome of negotiations (with a package of measures aimed at democratisation of Armenian society).”

Known for his outspoken dislike of the first president, Pigh has singled out some soundbites in Ter-Petrossian’s speech, hinting, that such approaches are inconsistent with the “role” of the opposition leader, and are making him a “tool”, which works more in favor of the ruling Republican and ARF-Dashnaktsutyun parties:

Republican-Tool
One [of the soundbites] was directed at the US Government and the “Millenium Challanges” corporation, calling upon them to abstain from cutting aid to Armenia, as it will hurt the people, not the authorities..
Dashnak-Tool
Secondly – the first president spoke about the neighboring Azerbaijan in particular, noting, that Baku has to finally realize, that regardless the internal political situation in Armenia, “it would meet with a united resistance of the Armenian people in the event of unleashing a military aggression against Karabakh”

Interestingly, the issue of US assitance to Armenia has also drawn criticism from the highly pro-Ter-Petrossian blogger, Nazarian:

In the speech below, Levon Ter-Petrosian is against some of the things I have been advocating such as the stopping of the US economic aid to Armenia. I disagree with him and will continue to push for the (hopefully short term) halt of American taxpayer money propping up the banditocracy in Armenia. One of the best ways to modify someone’s behavior is through financial (dis)incentives.

And while Uzogh wonders, what has really triggered such a drastic change in LTP’s perceptions of current political realities, Unzipped on his turn, highlights the importance of the authorities’ response to opposition leaders apparent call for dialogue based on Counil of Europe Parliamentary Assembley recommendations:

How serious is Armenian government in terms of making necessary reforms and changes in accordance with the PACE recommendations, and engaging in a dialogue with the opposition, will be known on 10 May when a committee created by a decree of Serj Sargsyan will present its action plan.

Here’s the Podcast of the Armenian version of this post.

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