Notes From Hairenik
April 10, 2009

On the one-year anniversary of President Serge Sarkisian’s taking office several protesters hanging around the top of the Northern Boulevard were attacked or arrested during the last couple of days. Seems that the government has had enough of people loitering, singing patriotic songs or whatever else they happen to be doing all day long. Nearby restaurant owners are complaining, not that it matters much since it’s not exactly a bustling area to begin with. RFE/RL published an article with more information about journalists being beaten up, random people being arrested, and so forth.

This news is no longer shocking; rather describes a routine, expected way of life. What is shocking, however, is this continuous effort to show support for Levon Ter-Petrossian when he no longer cares about the presidency.  I’m not sure he cares about his candidacy in the upcoming Yerevan mayoral elections. He doesn’t even hold political rallies any more, which is strange considering that the elections are about seven weeks away. Quite honestly, I can no longer really take his supporters seriously, with few exceptions like for instance former Prime Minister Alexander Arzoumanyan who seems to have a raging fire in his belly and won’t withstand nonsensical proceedings held against him in the courtroom.  There’s no point in risking being arrested or beaten when the leader you are apparently supporting is oblivious or apathetic to the protests going on in the name of his cause. He seems to have had his fun and has crawled back into his stale shell in his mansion above the Hrazdan gorge.

 I don’t believe that Armenians really want things to be different from the status quo. They are clearly divided on the issue of regime change. If there was such a drive to oust the government it would have happened last year. It didn’t happen because people were too shook up about the events of March 1 or they didn’t have the spirit to continue. But if you want change bad enough, you have to fight for it, you have to “struggle until the end” as the opposition was so vociferously charging back then. I’m no longer convinced that the Armenian people indeed want change. So long as they can buy their cars, mobile phones and bread-- not to mention manage to stay out of trouble-- they’re happy.  Maybe that’s enough. It seems that way to me at least.

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