Notes From Hairenik
August 16, 2007

The more I read the news and hear people talk about politics in this country, the more disappointed, even bored, I become. It seems that everything that is predicted in this country is deemed by the masses to become reality.

For instance, Prime Minister Serge Sarkisyan has already been determined to win the presidential elections, six months before they are to be held, even though I don’t remember him officially declaring that he would run.

During the last couple of weeks, however, the press has been predicting a comeback of former president Levon Ter-Petrossian, who already has much opposition backing from organizations like Impeachment and even Aram Sargsyan’s Republic Party. Impeachment’s sole goal is to topple the current leadership while subtly seeking Ter-Petrossian’s return to office. Aram Sargsyan’s brother, Prime Minister Vasken Sargsyan, repeatedly clashed with Ter-Petrossian while he was in power, so why Aram would unite with the former president is beyond me. He himself clashed with President Robert Kocharian and was dismissed after a year from his post as Prime Minister, having replaced his brother after his assassination in parliament in 1999. But really, why throw your weight towards Ter-Petrossian, who is infamously known for secretly selling electricity to Georgia while millions of Armenians suffered as a result during the brutal energy crisis in the early 1990s? (That is based on a news article I read several years ago which I cannot seem to find for some reason.) You would think people are still pissed at him and rightfully so, but some are eagerly anticipating his comeback. He is already going out to the regions to meet with various communities, mostly Pan-Armenian Movement supporters.

We can’t depend on the opposition because they cannot or rather will not unite around a single candidate, a huge, disappointing mistake. Charismatic figures like Orinats Yerkir’s Arthur Baghdasarian and Heritage party founder Raffi Hovannisian have bunted egos apparently and they cannot merge their aspirations to find some sort of power-sharing compromise (i.e., you be president and I’ll agree to be prime minister). Both parties have much to offer in my opinion but their efforts are mired by selfishness and over ambition. I was told the other night that two significant members of Orinats Yerkir who I met and who were accumulating reports of suspicious activities throughout the day of the parliamentary elections left the party—one was upset he was not given a seat in the National Assembly and the other went off to Japan to earn some sort of scholarly degree. MIAK leader Levon Martirosian has decided to become Prime Minister Sarkisian’s lapdog, serving in a secretarial capacity. I was fairly impressed with MIAK, which is comprised mainly of young professionals with Western training, and their goals, but now that their leader has essentially sold out I’ll have to say that I can no longer see them as being able to make any kind of difference in the future, so long as they forge allegiances with the powers that be, the same ones they are supposedly opposed to.

ARF-Dashnaktsutiun has surrounded itself with controversy lately that it doesn’t know or simply care about since the party doesn’t talk about it. There are suspicions printed in online media outlets, including this blog, that party member Vahan Hovannisian was persuaded somehow to not be completely honest with the Armenian people when failing to reveal important information tied to alleged corruption-related activities regarding the Yerevan waterworks overhaul project. And I don’t believe that the party will be able to live up to most or all of their campaign promises since Prime Minister Sarkisyan effectively rejected one of them in the weeks leading up to the parliamentary elections, and now that the party has aligned itself with him to essentially keep their seats of power they might do almost anything to please him, including renege on the values they promote if necessary. Besides that, the party promises to field its own presidential candidate, which would probably be a mistake since virtually all of its leaders lack charisma. The only person who speaks publicly and simultaneously has something important to say is ARF-D Supreme Body member Armen Rustamyan, but I don’t think he is necessarily qualified for the job, although I have much respect for him and I would like to see him play a more active role in Armenian politics somehow.

I could care less about the other parties I didn’t mention, for instance Prosperous Armenia since they really have nothing to say or do except hand out sacks of flour or potatoes.

So it’s basically time to sit back and relax until people go to the polls next winter and expectedly vote for Serge Sarkisyan, even if they do not necessarily want to. Probably the main excuse to cast a ballot in his favor will be that there is no other candidate worthy enough to vote for. There is an underlying fear of the man for some reason, and many will probably be intimidated (or bribed) to vote for him I imagine. I can’t stress enough that democracy should take its course and not be dependant on speculation in this country, but it is clear that rumor and forecast are the way things are determined here. People are already becoming convinced that he will win so they may vote for him anyway, already having been brainwashed. Nevertheless, I do hope that the presidential race will end up being rather exciting.

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Blogger nazarian said...
At least there are more than two parties on the ballot.

Anonymous Onnik Krikorian said...
Serzh has made it quite clear he will run, and the Republican Party also. As for the Orinats Yerkir guys, it was only one guy you met, but anyway.

Anyway, the point is that nobody can name a candidate able to take on Serzh in next year's vote and the only people who have tried mention LTP's name.

And given that while an improvement over past elections in Armenia, administrative resources are going to play a huge role in determining the outcome of the vote which is a plus for Serzh.

Besides, it's not just you who are fed up with politics in Armenia. It's most of the population. In such a situation, unless their faith can be restored in political parties, leaders and the process itself, it's a dead cert Serzh will win.

What remains to be seen is whether the apathy prevalent in society can be overturned, and it would seem as though for now it can not.

Blogger Ara said...
What is disappointing to me is that so far it seems that the only electable candidates are Serg and Levon, both of who I would not trust to look after my worst enemy. If one of them is elected, there is going to be so much distrust in the common people and I’m sure many will look to moving out of Armenia for good.

I too am tired of politics and only see the solution to our internal problems that EVERYONE actively works to eradicate corruption so that we can live a fair life and have free election and candidates who are not so motivated by the money, power and wealth that such a position.

When I see corruption thrive and see the common people not take an active stance (though they do every now and then when someone brutally killed because of it), I remember a corrupt tax official I had lunch with about 5 years ago who told me that the conditions we live under today are fitting for our people. My knee-jerk reaction was to disagreed with him, but now considering all the people who take the easy road and feed into corruption, he was right. And this does not just apply for the natives, but especially the Diaspora who for the most part live in a fantasy world and think everything in Armenia is great.

If one is not willing to stand up for what is right, then what you get in the end one is deserving of. If you don’t like corruption and you don’t do something about it, then your talking about how bad it is is empty talk and may make you feel better, but only makes me laugh and cry at the same time. This does not apply to those of us who actually do something to try to eradicate it, but to those who feed into it or just ignore it. BTW, this does not apply just to Armenians, it applies to every living creature in the universe.

Blogger Eso said...
Politics is boring world-wide. I say put all the pollies on a rocket and shoot it at the Sun.