Washington's Media Blitz Against Armenia - February, 2011

In 1969, British historian and aesthetician Sir Kenneth Clark stated:"It is lack of confidence, more than anything else, that kills a civilization. We can destroy ourselves by cynicism and disillusion, just as effectively as by bombs."

A Dutch paper in 2004 called "The Effects of Strategic News on Political Cynicism, Issue Evaluations, and Policy Support" stated the following: A Two-Wave Experiment found that the way the news media presents the news can cause political cynicism.
Breaking news!!!
Kirk Kerkorian has decided he is done with Armenia... The Millennium Challenge fund is to end its lifesaving projects in Armenia... The White House is cutting aid to Armenia... The protocol is part of a secret plan to turn Armenia into Turkey's eastern most province... Armenia's servicemen are massacring one-another... Armenia's women are being brutally murdered throughout the country... Armenia's uber-corrupt government is driving all businesses out of the country at gunpoint… Armenia's news press is being edited by Serj Sargsyan himself… Armenia's leaders are unelected criminals seeking to sell Armenia to the highest bidder… Armenia's president is going sell Artsakh to the Azeris... Armenia is being re-colonized by Russia... Armenia is to be invaded any day now... Armenia's poor are starving to death in the streets... Armenia's women are turning to prostitution en-masse... Armenia is turning into a crime ridden third-world cesspool... Armenia's air, water and soil are toxic... Armenians gangs are running amok around the world… Armenia is a petty dictatorship, a banana republic without the bananas... Armenia is on the very verge of total and utter destruction... Armenia's population is merely one Armavia flight away from total and final extinction!!!
Don't believe the hype. There is a full-scale media blitz against Armenia. 

Listening to the Western press and its pathetic lackeys within our communities discuss Armenia these days, one would think that this is the very end of the road for our fledgling republic in the Caucasus; Armenia has finally reached its cul-de-sac. Some people in very high places would like our people to believe that if a Western inspired color revolution in Armenia does not succeed in putting into power a kabal of mercenaries that are willing to serve their Anglo-American-Zionist masters, the Armenian state will soon cease to exist. That is fundamentally what they want you and I to believe. And it is towards this aim that they are carefully preparing their field of play. Something must be going down behind the scenes in Washington. I hope that something is not a major regional war. But looking at the volatility of the political situation in the region today that may certainly be it. The very terms "Armenia" and "Armenian" are being turned into something negative; similar to what they did with Serbia ten years ago. They are trying to cause instability in the republic. I pray to God that the next stage, which usually is the start of hostilities, is averted somehow.
Alarmingly, the anti-Armenia media blitz carried out by various American funded media outlets and their affiliates in Armenia's so-called "opposition" is succeeding in convincing a significant portion of our compatriots that it's all a lost cause. The toxicity of their propaganda campaign has begun permeating all layers of Armenian society. Helplessness and hopelessness, despair and desperation is what one immediately feels when discussing Armenia these days. The divide between the homeland and the diaspora is growing and divisions within Armenia itself are deepening. Please read the various articles posted below this commentary to better acquaint yourselves to the kind of atmosphere/mood they are attempting to create, as well as their their long-term political intentions (comments posted below some of the featured articles are also quite interesting to read).  

The primary catalysts of apocalyptic news about Armenia, the vehicles upon which corrosive propaganda travels within the Armenian community are - ArmeniaNow, Asbarez, Armenian Weekly, Hetq, Lragir, A1 Plus, Radio Liberty and their various affiliates in and out of Armenia.

Various Western measures to bring the fledgling Armenian state in the Caucasus to its knees have not bore fruit. Armenia won the war against a Western-backed Azerbaijan. Armenia has been bravely enduring an almost twenty year economic blockade by NATO - via Turkey, of course. And much to their dismay, Armenia has institutionalized its military alliance with the Russian Federation and it has established very warm relations with Iran. Equally to their dismay, Armenia's national infrastructure is slowly but surely developing - independent of the Western alliance. As a result of its close working alliance with the Russian Federation and its very healthy relationship with Iran, Armenia today has put itself in a strategic position to potentially become a major regional energy/trade hub - independent of the Western alliance. Yerevan's audacity in not playing ball with the Anglo-American-Zionist alliance is essentially what's driving the multi-pronged propaganda assault against the Armenian state today.
Because they cannot directly attack Armenia (similar to what they did with Serbia and Iraq) because of Armenia's significant Russian military presence, they are resorting to other measures. When economic and/or military measures fail to break a nation’s will, they will resort to psychological warfare - the war against the nation's spirit and its will to live.
What most Armenians do not know is that psychological warfare operations (psyop) is an actual manner of combat and one that is employed by virtually all major powers on earth. It’s just that the Anglo-American-Zionist alliance's strategic psychological warfare operations are considered to be the world’s most sophisticated and most lethal. Most Armenians also fail to realize that Armenia has been a major target of these types of operations by the West for a very long time; it actually goes back to the Cold War period when elements within Armenia and the Armenian diaspora were employed by Western officials to undermine Soviet Armenia. The intensity of this Washington based psychological operations have been intensified lately. In my opinion, this is most probably as a result of the long-term military deal Yerevan struck with Moscow during last summer and due to Armenia's growing relations with Tehran. Nevertheless, make no mistake about it, even as I write this, there is a full-scale psychological warfare blitz taking place against the Armenian state.

What are their intentions? What is their end game? Why are they targeting the little, landlocked, blockaded and impoverished nation surrounded by so many enemies in the Caucasus?
Simply put: as mentioned above, Yerevan refuses to play the game with the Anglo-American-Zionist global order. The Armenian state has chosen Russia to be its military ally and its economic lifeline. I don’t need to explain why this is because reasons for it are self-explanatory. But Russia is not the only problem. Armenia also refuses to participate in the aggressive campaign against Iran. You see, had Armenia’s leadership been Washington’s puppets in the Caucasus, we would not have heard a single bad word about them in the Western press. Had Armenian officials been in bed with Washingtonian officials, despite any of its problems, Armenia would be portrayed as heaven on earth and Armenia’s leaders would have been described as - protectors of freedom and democracy. But the reality is, had Armenia's politicians been dancing to the tunes of the Western alliance, Armenia would eventually cease to exist, yet again.
For the West, Armenia is just an obstacle getting in the way of their regional oil/gas exploitation efforts. Armenia is also an obstacle getting in the way of Western efforts to push Russia out of the Caucasus. Armenia is also an obstacle getting in the way of Western efforts to establish a regional platform from which to attack Iran. For Russia, on the other hand, Armenia is a crucially important strategic ally that is actually keeping the region's Western, Islamic and Turkic agendas at bay with its presence. Therefore, what Yerevan and Moscow have is a tight convergence of long-term strategic interests. As a result, because Yerevan has gotten into a crucially important military alliance with the dreaded Russian Federation (a much envied political entity various Western and Islamic/Turkic powers have tried to undermine or destroy for centuries), Armenia will continue being targeted by Washington and its allies.
When was the last time any of you read or heard anything negative said about any one of Washington's numerous dictators and tyrants in South America, Central America, Africa, Arabia, South East Asia or in Central Asia? When we sometimes do hear some criticism of a corrupt leader that has close ties to Washington, like when they criticize Afghanistan's Hamid Kharzai from time-to-time, it simply means that Washington officials either had a falling out over some political/economic matter or that it's simply a ploy/political theatrics. Concerning Hosni Mubarak: he was their nasty bitch for thirty years. However, since he was an octogenarian (in other words, almost dead), since he was severely hated by his people, since he had gotten far too complacent/lazy in office, his handlers in Washington reluctantly allowed him to go quietly. And who took over the controls of government? The military that Mubarak ran! Eventually they will put into office yet another Western/Zionist lackey and they will call it a democracy!
Anyway, listen to an important Washington insider, who also happens to be a well known billionaire, a media executive and a political commentator discuss democracy in the Middle East -
Mortimer Zuckerman: Muslim Brotherhood would be a disaster for Egypt: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/hardtalk/9383436.stm
And watch at this video clip: over twenty Egyptian protesters get run over by a van belonging to the American embassy Egypt protests -
Diplomat's car runs over more than 20 people in Cairo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZec3vCttkw&feature=related
Of course Washington denied any involvement in the bloody attack, saying that the van in question was "stolen" just prior to the incident. But how many of you actually saw this incident in Cairo on your television screens? Just imagine what media executives and government officials in the United States would have done with this kind of video footage had the van belonged to Iranian officials and had the protesters been Iranians in downtown Tehran... It would have been made into a movie or a book by now! It simply amazes me that there still are people on earth who believe Washingtonian propaganda. The kind of self-serving propaganda and double talk Washington puts out these days is more outlandish than any Hollywood film, yet a significant portion of humanity still accepts it as gospel. Being stupid during the Cold War was one thing, being stupid in the post-Soviet world is NOT excusable.
As a result of the recent political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, Washington and its many assets in the Armenian community are smelling blood once again. Taking advantage of Armenia's lingering economic woes (which is in part due to the global economic downturn), they would like to use this opportunity to foment a popular uprising against the Armenian state. And they are using their diverse assets in Armenia and in the diaspora to push their geopolitical agenda and to break the Armenian people’s will/spirit.

ArmeniaNow, for instance, has more-or-less been lamenting that Armenia is not descending into a bloody mess. This Western propaganda outlet in Yerevan is run by John Hughes, a well known CIA asset from California that many of our self-destructive peasantry adores. With their very incendiary reporting, ArmeniaNow played a major role in trying to provoke violence against the state during Levon Ter Petrosian's attempted coup d'etat in early 2008. Since Georgia's defeat in the summer of 2008, however, the staff at ArmeniaNow had considerably toned-down their anti-state rhetoric. For the past three years, they had been very careful with their reporting. Now, with them smelling blood once again, they are gradually/subtly/carefully attempting to reenter the fray. Simply put: ArmeniaNow's intentions in Armenia are solely the intentions of Washington and Washington’s intentions in Armenia are solely to carryout a regime change in Yerevan. Again, it’s all about Armenia’s alliance with Russia and its good relations with Iran.
We even now have "social activists" like Onnik Krikorian, a British born Armenian agent that has close connections to ArmeniaNow and various other Western funded entities in Armenia, attempting to prepare the field of confrontation. The following are two web pages caught my attention -
I’m afraid their relentless psyop campaign may be working. We now have a significant portion of our compatriots both in and out of the homeland demoralized and hopeless beyond help. For these Armenians, the Armenian sky is literally falling on their heads. The hopelessness, the anger, the hate, the helplessness, the despair, the pessimism, the morbidity, the cynicism, the willingness to abandon the nation, the willingness to dodge the military draft... The ubiquitous bad news being displayed is fast becoming a very convenient excuse for all those who want to spit on their homeland and abandon it to its fate. As usual, droves of Armenians are leaving or seeking to leave their homeland. And droves of Armenians in the diaspora are seeking a bloody revolution in Armenia.
The reality is that yes, Armenia is hurting today. But Armenia is hurting no more than most other countries in the world, countries that are even in much better circumstances than it. Perhaps this is news to Armenians today, but last I checked, virtually the entire world was reeling from an economic crisis. Perhaps this is news to Armenians today, but food prices, commodity prices and energy prices are going up all around the world. Perhaps this is news to Armenians today, but social/political turmoil has gripped the entire world. Perhaps this is news to Armenians today, but oligarchs, monopolist and corrupt officials saturate virtually all governments of the world (perhaps with the exception of Scandinavian nations and Germanic ones in Europe). Perhaps this is news to Armenians today, but the opulence of the past twenty somewhat years in the western world has all but ended. All of humanity is hurting today!
Underemployment, unemployment, higher energy costs, higher rates of poverty, riots, higher rates of crime, mass protests, shrinking middle class, higher food costs, numerous wars, ecological damage, disease, widespread political tensions... It's more-or-less the same story everywhere we look these days. We are seeing the rise of unrest in many places on earth. The situation around the globe has gotten so bad that I'm actually very worried about a world war breaking out in the near future. The reality is that Armenia is not uniquely or exceptionally in a bad situation. Another reality is that despite all the odds being stacked against our landlocked and blockaded nation in the Caucasus, Armenia has actually been able to keep its head above water and has recently begun to slowly move forward.
So, what’s with all the damn doom and gloom amongst Armenians?
I don't see this kind of irrationality, hysteria and/or destructive behavior elsewhere. I don't see civilized people willing to abandon their homelands en-masse. We Armenians have become demoralized to such an extent that we are more than willing to spit on our homeland. Why is it that many Armenians are more than ready to abandon their nation of birth as a result of economic hardship? Why do we Armenians turn and run when faced with a war? Why do we constantly talk negatively about our country of origin?

We no longer are able to see hope. We are unable to appreciate positive developments. We can no longer process good news. We are unable to see the big picture. And the strange part is that in reality good news from Armenia is not all that rare. The fundamental problem is that good news from Armenia has no recipients. It's as if we are actually SEEKING bad news to spread. It's as if we are actually SEEKING poison to spew. 

So, seeing all this, seeing how Armenians operate, they realize that all they need to do is simply give our dysfunctional people some ammunition and just stand back and watch as our self-destructive compatriots in and out of the homeland enthusiastically uses it against the Armenian state.
As I mentioned above, Armenia is NOT the ONLY nation on earth with serious hardships. Start seeing the big picture and STOP participating in the spread of poisonous propaganda!
Too many of us claim that the hopelessness and despair currently being felt in Armenia and in the diaspora is primarily and directly a result of the nation's gluttonous businessmen and its corrupt officials/oligarchs. In my opinion, this particularly popular take on the matter is only partially correct at best; it's a half truth that is actually keeping us blinded to what is occurring. 

I ask again: is Armenia the only nation on earth with corrupt oligarchs?

The fact is even the nastiest of Armenia's oligarchs today pale in comparison to ones found in most other nations; including nations of the Western world. Is Armenia the only nation with a bad economy? The fact is most nations on earth today have serious economic problems. Is Armenia the only nation with enemies? The fact is most nations on earth have enemies.
So, what is our real problem concerning Armenia?
Could our real problem simply be a matter of perception and/or mental conditioning? Could our people’s lack of spirit, the absence of objectivity or nationalism in our people simply be a consequence of the ruthlessly relentless psychological conditioning that has been directed against the Armenian nation for all these years - in addition to the unresolved crisis over Nagorno Karabakh, in addition to its nasty geographic location, in addition to the imposed economic blockade?

Could our problems be, at least in part, as a result of the assault against Armenian ethnocentrism and nationalism in Western academia? Could the problem be a result of the decades long propaganda assault the Armenian state has had to endure?
We need to learn to accept the harsh realities of life on earth. Let's also realize that Armenia is not a fairytale land of priests, scholars and warriors (it may have been once, but it definitely has not been one for the past one thousand years). After one thousand years of Islamic, Turkic, Persian and Bolshevik rule, Armenia today is a nation populated by a deeply scarred people. The damage caused by one thousand years of corrosive and destructive foreign rule will not be fixed in a few short years and it will DEFINITELY not be fixed by Washingtonian officials. 

Let's all be mature enough to accept the fact that Armenia will have its share of criminals, monopolists, drunks, murderers, prostitutes, drug addicts, traitors, homeless, transsexuals... as well as its meat eaters and animal haters. For a tiny and poor country stuck in the Caucasus and fully stocked with naturally talented and overly ambitious people, Armenia will also have more than its fair share of opportunistic or less-than trustworthy people.
As I have said in the past, Armenia is like a small pond containing many hungry sharks. The reality is these sharks are us. Our sharks are an accurate reflect of our societal character today. Let's recognize and accept our people's characteristics, both good and bad, and let's try working with it for the betterment of our homeland. What we are doing instead is we are allowing our enemies to exploit our people's cultural traits against Armenia.
As mentioned earlier, it is well known that Washington spends enormous sums of money on intelligence programs, politically driven propaganda campaigns and psychological warfare operations. It is also well known that Armenia has been one of Washington’s main targets for a long time. I personally believe that many of Armenia’s sociopolitical problems today have their roots precisely in this conditioning of the mindsets of our people. Unbeknownst to us, we are gradually being turned against our homeland. Even the terms "Armenia" and "Armenians" are now beginning to have a negative connotation in the Western press - similar to what they did with Serbians during the 1990s. Make no mistake about it, the poisonous propaganda in question is indeed having a major impact on our nation's collective psyche and our national cohesiveness. And the alarming thing here is that we Armenians are willingly or unwittingly participating in the spread of this lethal poison against Armenia.
Everywhere I look all I see is pessimism, negativity, destructive behaviors and ugliness. It's all doom and gloom. Just look at the type of news many of us Armenians these days choose to revel in - Hazings in the Armenian military… Violence women suffer in Armenia… Mafia… Genocide... Oligarchs… The evil Russians... The eviction of slum dwellers... Genocide... The protocols... Police brutality... Genocide... The dreaded Russians... The garbage... Government corruption… Prostitution… The beggars... Genocide... Smelly toilets in Yerevan… The flies… The nasty Russians...  

If the news is nasty (or perceived as such), Armenians today make sure it gets around via mouth, telephones, Facebook or emails - and sometimes all four! Although there are a lot of positive developments coming out of the nation, our self-destructive peasantry ONLY concerns itself with the bad news. Not a single positive thing. It's all scaremongering and fearmongering. And it's all very infectious.
Please don't get me wrong. I'm NOT making excuses for the bad things that occur in Armenia nor am I attempting to whitewash the accesses of our oligarchs and corrupt officials. But can we act like @$%#ing adults and place all this in a proper perspective? Can we get real for once? Can we act like responsible/intelligent adults and look at Armenia's problems objectively and rationally? Our ignorant sheeple both in and out of the homeland seriously needs to better understand politics and history. 

As I have said in the past: we Armenians may be brilliant in business, sports, literature, sciences and the arts - but when it come to politics, we continue acting like a bunch of self-destructive peasants armed with clubs and pitchforks ready to burn down our village to save it from imaginary monsters.

You think this obvious national trait of ours has not been noticed by our antagonists? You think this glaringly obvious characteristic of our people is not being used against our homeland by Western intelligence agencies?
Regarding the violence or abuse women in Armenia suffer: being a father of daughters, I would love to see a LOT changed in Armenia with regards to the way women are treated or looked at. However, according to what I have personally observed in the country and according to various statistical data I have personally read, violence against women in Armenia is not a widespread problem.

Yes, there is a lot of Islamic/Asiatic mentalities in Armenia when it comes to women - but no widespread abuse and/or violence. 

Abuse rates in Armenia are actually on the level of many developed nations today. However, with such matters, there should always be more room for improvement. So, yes, let's talk about this serious problem, let's raise our voices in protest, let's try to improve the situation - but let's also not get hysterically and let's not start demanding a bloody revolution in the country over this issue.  

If its makes the reader feel any better about Armenia, allow me to just say that abuse of women is actually much worst in most other nations on earth today. Millions of women are abused and forced into prostitution, homelessness, alcoholism and drug abuse - in the United States alone. 

Again, let try to put things in a proper perspective and look at Armenia's problems - rationally!
Regarding violence in the Armenian military: any time you put together thousands of hotblooded young men from poor families with mediocre education and overflowing "Armenian" hormones - you will have violence!!! And one doesn't need to be a genius to realize this. 

All armies on earth have these types of problems; some just happen to have more than others. Periodic violence in the Armenian military, although normal by international standards, will gradually improve with better education and order enforcement, which is beginning to happen. And as far as general societal crime is concerned - Armenia is actually a safe-haven compared to many developed nations today.

It is well established that there is a direct correlation between poverty and crime. Although a large percentage of its population lives in utter poverty, Armenia is amongst a handful of nations on earth today where people do not fear walking the streets late at night and children continue to play unsupervised in their neighborhoods. 

With time and with healthy activism, I believe Armenia's various sociological problems will be taken care of. We simply need a healthy outlook and an objective/rational mindset.
I'm fully convinced that Armenia’s problems today are not simply a result of its bad economic situation and government corruption. The real problem in Armenia today is its bad geographical location and the relentless psychological warfare being directed against it. 

This is all taking a major toll on the Armenian spirit. We are placing more than enough emphasis on criticizing and attacking our oligarchs and corrupt officials. I think now is the time we also need to start criticizing and attacking those who are using our internal problems against our state. It's time we call out those who are worsening our domestic problems through propaganda, manipulation, agitation, instigation and provocation. 

This is what all self-respecting and responsible Armenians need to do. If we are able to somehow stop the psychological warfare being directed against Armenia, we can then and only then be able to better cope with our domestic problems.
No, the sky is NOT falling in Armenia! Armenia is NOT a dictatorship. Armenia is NOT on the verge of collapse, nor is it hell on earth.
Armenia is going through GROWING PAINS like all normal nations. And along the way, Armenia is being targeted by Western intelligences agencies similar to how Iran and Russia are being targeted by them. Yes, we have serious problems with our monopolists in Armenia - but our monopolists are our problem and we don't need monopolists of global proportions like Washington to help us in this regard. Yes, we have problems with criminals in Armenia - but our criminals are our problem and we don't need criminals of global proportions like Washingtonian officials helping us in this regard. Yes, we have serious problems with rampant corruption in Armenia, but these are our problems and we don't need by-far the world's most corrupt political entity helping us in this regard either.
When we Armenians pull our massive heads out of our behinds, we will realize that Armenia's numerous problems are very natural for a fledgling nation that has just woken up from nearly one thousand years of forced hibernation. Armenia's problems are very natural for a fledgling nation that is tiny, landlocked, blockaded, impoverished, resourceless and surrounded by enemies in one of the most remote and volatile locations on earth. Consequently, Armenia's growing pains WILL be more severe than those of others.
At this point, some of our compatriots will begin comparing Armenia to Georgia and/or Israel...

Without getting into a detailed response, allow me to just say that even with all its tens of billions of dollars of politically driven investments from places like Saudi Arabia, Europe, Britain, United States, Israel and Turkey, Georgia is more-or-less in the same socioeconomic boat as Armenia. 


Despite its tens of billions of dollars of investments, despite its Western/Israeli/Turkish backing, despite its internationally coveted Back Sea beaches and ports, despite its bountiful country - the average Georgian in Georgia today has a similar living standard as his or her counterpart in the small, landlocked, blockaded and desolate Armenia. 

The modern or "progressive" face of Tbilisi is just that - a superficial facade made possible by billions of dollars of foreign investments. In short: despite its numerous financial and political advantages today, a majority of Georgians continue living in poverty and Georgia is mutilated. Saakashvili's dictatorial government, in true Western fashion, has simply become the nation's biggest oligarchic entity, but his time in office is numbered.

And as far as comparing Armenia/Armenians to Israel/Jews: Armenians would have to be seriously out of their minds to compare a small, poor and dispersed, near-eastern nation that has essentially just stepped out of the middle ages, to a relatively major ethno-religious group of western educated ethnocentric people that are firmly entrenched in the western world and armed with an immense collective wealth that has been acquired for centuries. Prior to the forced establishment of Israel in Palestine, Jews spent centuries accumulating wealth and infiltrating various western infrastructures, both financial and political. They are currently reaping significant benefits as a result. However, the Zionist State of Israel is also a fabrication, a Western experiment in the Middle East, and its time will also eventually come to an end. So, please, stop acting ignorant, do yourselves and our nation a big favor and stop comparing Armenians to this nation or to that nation and simply start seeing Armenians for who they are and, more importantly, what they can potentially be.

Armenia needs its citizens and its children around the world to be patient and understanding. Self-respecting Armenians need to be politically aware and constructive when it comes to sociological and political matters pertaining to Armenia. It is the duty of all self-respecting Armenians to partake in constructive criticism and healthy political activism.  


Armenians need to realize that Armenia needs a sociological and political EVOLUTION and not a Western funded revolution. 

I want Armenians to STOP participating in the spreading of poison and I want Armenians to finally wake up to political realities around them. Sadly, a significant portion of our people in and out of the homeland today are made up of ignorant chobans and self-serving egomaniacs. Where other nations stay and fight, our people have a tendency to cut and run. Where other nations stay put and participate in nation building, our people will sell anything for a visa. Where other nations rally around their flag to fight off foreign meddling, our people enthusiastically does the bidding of its enemies. This is due to our ignorant chobans and self-serving egomaniacs being manipulated against their homeland by foreign powers. 
I can't really blame our enemies for doing what they do. Armenia's enemies will do whatever happens to be in their best interests. What I don't understand is Armenians helping our enemies carryout their agenda against Armenia. Therefore, I particularly blame us Armenians for the plight Armenia is currently in. Again, being stupid during the Cold War was one thing, being stupid in the post-Soviet world is NOT excusable.
Although I acknowledge that we Armenians are victims of psychological conditioning, although I acknowledge that our corrupt and incompetent officials in Armenia are a problem for our republic, I also would like to point out that our sad plight is also the fault of every one of us that have participated in spreading negative news concerning Armenia

If you participated, willingly or unwittingly, directly or indirectly, in the spreading of poisonous propaganda about Armenia - you are a fundamental part of the problem Armenia has today! 

In my opinion, Armenians today shamelessly participate in the organized slander of our embattled nation simply due to their deep seated egotism, uncontrollable emotions and/or political ignorance/stupidity. Here again, we see the emergence of our ignorant chobans and self-serving egomaniacs in the overall equation. Sadly, our fledgling state is stuck between its political enemies, its corrupt officials and its destructive/problematic sons and daughters.

Looking at the seriousness of the global situation we are in currently, as much as I would not want to see it happen, perhaps the best thing for Armenia to do right now is to shed several hundred thousand more of its citizens to release some of its pressure. I say this with a heavy heart because I really don't see a quick end to the global mess we are in. I don’t see our numerous enemies stopping their assaults against our state. I don't see our peasantry engaging in healthy and/or constructive activism and I don't see our nation’s hungry sharks eating their fill and beginning to give a little back. Having dealt with all kinds of Armenians for most of my adult life, I have come to the following realization: Armenians are maximalists in all that they do, especially when it comes to screwing someone or something. Therefore, I don't expect our peasantry to snap out of their stupor until they have totally burned down their dilapidated village. I don't expect our hungry sharks to stop eating until they burst. And I don't expect our nation's mercenaries working for foreign governments to stop their work against Armenia until the nation is destroyed.
If this situation continues indefinitely, if we Armenians can't finally get our house into order and our act straight - it's better and perhaps much safer to simply handover the house keys to Moscow, once again.




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There was another bust of Armenian “gangs” recently. All the major newspapers were howling - Armenian Gangs!!! The criminals that were caught in LA do not concern me here. This matter actually goes way beyond the individuals that were caught. Has anyone ever seen these “law-enforcers” in America busting “Jewish” gangs in Brooklyn, in LA, in Wall Street or in Washington? Fact is all nations have gangs, criminals, mafias, oligarchs… Armenia is no different. Our mafia actually pales in comparison to other mafias in America and elsewhere. Our oligarchs in Armenia actually pale in comparison to oligarchs found in other nations - including western nations. And all the mafias, gangs and criminals in America combined pale in comparison to criminals in Washington and Wall Street. All the world’s monopolists, oligarchs and dictators combined pale in comparison to those found in Washington. The high intensity psychological warfare campaign against Armenia is continuing full force. They want us to think that Armenia is run by criminals… Armenia is a dictatorship... Armenia will soon collapse… Armenian “mafia” in America is somehow more powerful or more dangerous than America's Mexicans, Blacks, Colombians, Italians, White Nationalists, Chinese, Irish, Vietnamese, Jewish, Jamaicans, Albanians… They are slowly turning the very word “Armenian” into something negative. It’s all political. Wake up Armenians! It’s all a part of their relentless psyop against us. The intent is to break our spirit and our will. What the nearly 1000 officers involved in the arrests in LA needed to have done instead was go to Brooklyn and shutdown one of this country’s worst criminal organizations, the Jewish mafia (although the Jewish controlled news media in America calls it the Russian mafia).

Arevordi
February, 2011

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Egypt fallout: Arab uprising prompts search for differences and similarities in Armenia

Egypt fallout: Arab uprising prompts search for differences and similarities in Armenia

The shockwaves of the Egyptian revolution completed late last week through a lasting popular uprising have lightly reached Armenia in the form of talk and speculation and wishful thinking on the part of Armenia’s frail opposition. But pro-establishment forces in Armenia as well as some international experts see little reasons to expect developments in the country according to the Egypt or Tunisia scenarios. Anti-government protests in Egypt began on January 25 and snowballed into a popular push to remove the government through demonstrations in the streets of capital Cairo and elsewhere in this major Arab country, forcing the veteran ruler Hosni Mubarak to step down after nearly 30 years in power.

While the situation in post-Mubarak Egypt is far from being calm, with continued looting and violence reported even after the dismantling of the Mubarak reign, the significance of the developments in the country for a possible chain reaction elsewhere in the region and beyond can hardly be overestimated. The Armenian opposition, which unsuccessfully attempted to achieve a government change through similar nonstop street protests this month three years ago, is convinced that sooner or later the wave of revolutions will reach this region as well. But its representatives say that unlike in Egypt where hundreds of people were reportedly killed and thousands were injured in street violence, they can lead a revolution without victims and festruction.

Local pro-government parliamentarians however believe at this time Armenia is immune to any sort of revolution or social riot. After Mubarak’s resignation on Friday, Armenia’s main opposition Armenian National Congress (ANC) issued a statement hailing the “victory of the people of Egypt”, which, according to the Armenian opposition, proved that “any tyrant in the world is powerless in the face of a peaceful popular mobilization.”

According to former foreign minister Alexander Arzumanyan, who was imprisoned in the wake of the 2008 post-election clashes in Yerevan on charges of organizing the riots, says that “if a tyrant like Mubarak who has ruled for 30 years gets toppled, it won’t be difficult to topple the petty tyrants here.” While, according to Arzumanyan, the slogans of the Egyptian revolution, such as “bread, freedom, dignity”, are fully applicable in Armenia as well, the ANC, which will launch a series of public rallies on February 18, excludes a revolution according to the Egypt scenario in Armenia.

ANC coordinator Levon Zurabyan welcomes “the victory of the people of Egypt”, but at the same time he stresses that it is not acceptable for their movement. “We must exclude bloodshed and similar disturbances, we need a smooth political process, we need to reach a velvet revolution,” Zurabyan tells ArmeniaNow, adding, though, that all prerequisites for a revolution according to the Egypt or Tunisia scenarios do exist in Armenia. “Of course, there are major prerequisites [for such a revolution], such as the social and political crisis, and mounting social protest,” says Zurabyan. Many analysts in Armenia believe that the stirred wave of revolutions will rather have an indirect effect on Armenia, but it is possible that it will become “a catalyst in conditions of the started social riot.”

Meanwhile, a leading American research center, Stratfor, published a report last week, concluding that an Egypt scenario was unlikely to occur in Armenia. “Armenia is not typically prone to large-scale unrest and protests, though recently the country’s opposition has called for a large rally February 18 in Yerevan’s Liberty Square, citing Egypt as an inspiration,” the Stratfor report said. Zurabyan dismissed the report as a superficial attempt at analysis.

While banned street trade in Yerevan, a row over customs clearance for car owners and individual entrepreneurs importing goods from Turkey continues to fuel protest moods in Yerevan and elsewhere in the country government representatives in Armenia insist that “social riots in the country are impossible.” “There are no such prerequisites, because our government is doing everything and is taking serious steps to carry out reform,” Deputy Parliament Speaker Samvel Nikoyan, representing the ruling Republican Party, tells ArmeniaNow. Meanwhile, chairman of the Armenian Sociological Association Gevorg Poghosyan warns that “events in the Arab world also threaten Armenia”, which “may lead to self-destruction.”

According to the sociologist, regression has been observed in all the areas examined by his center, namely in education, military, and health. “This regression poses more danger than the tragic events of March 1 (2008), moreover, emigration looms large again, one of the reasons for this [increasing] emigration is the growing threat of war on the Karabakh front. These are serious prerequisites,” says Poghosyan, warning that unless curbed, this self-destructive trend may even result in the loss of statehood.

Source: http://www.armenianow.com/news/politics/27679/egypt_revolution_armenia

Don’t Tread on Me: Little Armenia’s Bottom Line at 20

Nice Guys, Bad Politics: The need for reform as Armenia turns 20

Armenia’s president Serzh Sargsyan might be a nice guy, but he came to power by force of failed elections. He should step down and finally oversee the conduct of post-Soviet Armenia’s first free polls since 1991, the year it declared independence. The nation he aspires to represent deserves no less. Democracy must become an Armenian benchmark, not a motto thrown about to Western “partners” and other interlocutors who toast that best of systems, but then kill it with their duplicitous policies.

Sargsyan’s Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul is also a nice man, but he continues to represent a denialist regime that sponsors the killing of journalists such as Hrant Dink, strangles its minorities, and is the legal heir of the Ottoman Empire, which committed genocide against the Armenian people and dispossessed it of its ancestral homeland. Gul’s and his just-too-sly foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s recent addresses at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg—and the outlandish bluster of EU Affairs Minister Egemen Bagis at Auschwitz—beg the point. Modern-day Turkey must face history and itself, recognize the great genocide, and cease its unlawful and inhuman occupation of Western Armenia.

Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliev is not so nice, but he is more honest in his authoritarian and occupationist demeanor. Mountainous Karabagh, or Artsakh, is Armenian land, his predecessors lost what they never had in a war of aggression they unleashed two decades ago, and they will never see it again except as good neighbors. He would do himself and humanity a necessary favor by respecting the rights of his own citizens, by returning the Armenian heartlands, including Shahumyan and Nakhichevan, still under Azerbaijani occupation to their rightful owners, and by making full redress to the hundreds of thousands of Armenians, Lezgins, Talishes, Tats, and other minorities which he and his have attempted to destroy.

If international law, self-determination, decolonization, and basic liberty are to carry true, not rhetorical import in the life and development of the contemporary world, then it must be ruled by rights equally guaranteed. Mountainous Karabagh, like Kosovo and Abkhazia, is the cutting-edge litmus test and must be recognized de jure and without discrimination by the community of nations. Who will be the first to recognize all three at once and to demonstrate that law and rights are worth more than a dollar in global affairs today? Georgia’s man Mikheil Saakashvili is revered occidentally but ridiculed in the east. He has brought some truly meaningful changes to his homeland and enjoys due credit. At the same time, he continues to trample the ethnic, religious, and linguistic rights of the Armenian region known to all as Javakhk. He ought to rediscover his democratic edge and renounce the xenophobic side of policies and prejudices.

Russia’s leaders, too, must get with the game and finally recognize the fundamental rights of their “strategic ally.” It’s time to end the imperialistic, even if soft, design to control Armenia as its traditional, God-given “forepost.” Either accept Armenia’s sovereignty and stand in true partnership with it—internationally, nationally, democratically—or let it go and face a new day. We all need that new day, and there is no need to blame the other: All persons and peoples have been mentioned herein without offense and with deference to their predicaments and interests. But this is Armenia’s last stand—and ultimate responsibility.


Leaked US Cables Criticize Mafia Lifestyle of Armenia’s Ruling Class

The U.S. State Department has refused to comment on the veracity of newly published documents that show top American diplomats in Yerevan criticizing the state of affairs in Armenia. A Russian whistle-blowing website, which claims to be a partner of WikiLeaks, published this week what it called cables sent to Washington by U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and her former deputy, Joseph Pennington. Yovanovitch purportedly analyzed a spate of high-profile killings and other violent incidents that happened in Armenia in October 2009. In one of those incidents, a nephew of President Serzh Sarkisian reportedly beat up and badly injured a man at a Yerevan nightclub.

The cable attributed to Yovanovitch says violence perpetrated by senior Armenian officials, government-linked businessmen and their relatives appears to have become the norm in the country. There is a widespread sense of impunity among such individuals, she allegedly wrote. Another purported cable was sent to Washington by Pennington in April 2008 and focused on emigration from Armenia. The diplomat, who was the U.S. charge d’affaires in Yerevan at the time, allegedly suggested that the process accelerated after the February 2008 presidential election and the ensuing government crackdown on the Armenian opposition. More and more middle-class Armenians are losing faith in their country’s future, he said, according to the Russian website.

The U.S. Embassy in Yerevan on Wednesday declined to say whether the documents are authentic. In a statement sent to RFE/RL’s Armenian service, it said only that U.S. diplomatic cables often carry “tentative and incomplete” assessments of the situation in a particular country and do not necessarily reflect U.S. foreign policy. The statement also reiterated the State Department’s strong condemnation of the disclosure by WikiLeaks and other news sources of its secret diplomatic correspondence.

Source: http://asbarez.com/93250/leaked-us-cables-criticize-mafia-lifestyle-of-armenias-ruling-class/

Freedom House: Human rights watchdog defines Karabakh as not free, registering regress

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The annual report of Freedom House, released on Thursday, again put Armenia on the list of ‘partly free’ countries, whereas Nagorno-Karabakh has registered regress, being defined as a ‘not free’ territory instead of the previous ‘partly free’. Freedom in the World 2011: The Authoritarian Challenge to Democracy Report’s estimation given to Karabakh causes concerns, as Karabakh previously got a higher estimation than Azerbaijan, whereas now both are considered to be authoritarian.

Since 2002, Washington-based ‘Freedom House’ global human rights watchdog has considered Armenia to be a ‘partly free’ country along with its neighboring Georgia, whereas Azerbaijan was a ‘not free’ country during the recent years. According to the methodology of the report, a ‘partly free’ country is one in which there is limited respect for political rights and civil liberties. Partly Free states frequently suffer from an environment of corruption, weak rule of law, ethnic and religious strife, and a political landscape in which a single party enjoys dominance despite a certain degree of pluralism.

A ‘not free’ country is one where basic political rights are absent, and basic civil liberties are widely and systematically denied. (One point is the best index in this table, and seven points is the worst.) This year’s report, as the previous one, gave six points to the expression of a political right and its defense, and four points went to the defense of civil freedom. As compared to the previous five points Armenia has registered regress since 2009, after the controversial elections in 2008 and the post-election clashes.

According to the methodology of the report, six points goes to those countries where “systems are ruled by military juntas, one-party dictatorships, religious hierarchies, or autocrats. These regimes may allow only a minimal manifestation of political rights, such as some degree of representation or autonomy for minorities.”
The decline of Nagorno-Karabakh’s index in the report is explained by the absence of an opposition at the Parliamentary elections 2010.

Meanwhile, Karabakh and Armenia do not agree with such a definition. According to Spokesperson of President of Nagorno-Karabakh Davit Babayan, “the report is imperfect, and not deeply studied.” “It is necessary to hold a deep examination for making such a conclusion, something which has not been done in Karabakh; and I believe this estimation is given for some geopolitical purposes,” Babayan told ArmeniaNow.

Source: http://armenianow.com/social/human_rights/27008/freedom_house_democracy_report_armenia

CPJ: New York-based watchdog criticizes Armenian authorities for pressure on media
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An international media watchdog criticized Armenian authorities for maintaining pressure on the country’s media and for harassing local journalists. The annual “Attack on the Press” report” released by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on Thursday singled out the new broadcast law that gives regulators broad powers to revoke TV licenses and also mentions Gyumri-based Gala TV, a rare critical broadcaster, which faces an array of government pressures. “As his government strengthened ties with Russia, President Serzh Sargsyan had to quell lingering domestic discontent over electoral fraud and economic woes, particularly in the construction and mining industries. New legislation granted regulators broad new powers to award and revoke licenses, while putting severe limits on the number of provincial broadcast licenses. Self-censorship remained widespread in the media, as lawlessness curbed the activities of journalists, human rights defenders, and opposition leaders,” the report says.

The report says the most drastic step occurred in June when the president signed into law amendments to the Law on Television and Radio that tightened control of the country's influential broadcast media. The government tried to deflect attention from the restrictive amendments by embedding them into a package of measures meant to move radio and television stations from analog to digital signals. Sargsyan ignored domestic and international protests over the restrictions, which are seen as benefiting his Republican Party as it approaches parliamentary elections set for 2012.

The amendments enable government regulators to grant or revoke licenses without explanation, as well as impose programming restrictions that would confine some stations to narrow themes such as culture, education, and sports, according to news reports. Analysts said the changes would provide the government legal cover to keep the popular news outlet A1+ off the air. The amendments positioned Sargsyan to maintain control over the country's docile television and radio stations, most of which were owned by pro-government politicians and businessmen. Propagandistic state media retained important financial subsidies from various government budgets and privileged access to official information. While print and online media were more pluralistic, their reach was limited to a primarily urban and educated audience.

Throughout the year, police officers routinely harassed, assaulted, and arrested journalists, according to local press reports and media analysts. Prosecutors regularly colluded in this practice by failing to investigate police officers, even filing charges on occasion against journalists who protested abuses, CPJ research showed.

Source: http://armenianow.com/social/human_rights/27697/committee_protect_journalist_armenia_report

Proud to Be Armenian: 99 gang members indicted in bust of US Armo crime syndicate

Proud to Be Armenian: 99 gang members indicted in bust of US Armo crime syndicate

For the second time in four months, Armenian mafia are in the news in the US, this time involving 99 members of a gang that calls itself “Armenian Power”, who are charged with identity theft, fraud and other felonies of at least $20 million. As reported by the Los Angeles Times and other major media, federal indictments have been issued that could result in jail time ranging from a few months, to life. A 212-page indictment was unsealed Wednesday in LA County District Court and includes charges of racketeering, extortion, kidnapping, drug trafficking and identity theft.

The gang is alleged to have conspired with African American gangs in a scheme that often preyed on the elderly who shopped at a chain of popular discount stores from which their credit card information was stolen leading to bank account information. It is also charged that the gang used violence in perpetrating their theft. "The common denominator among these defendants and their criminal enterprises is their willingness to commit any crime for profit and to use any means of violence and intimidation to further their goals," Andre Birotte Jr., U.S. attorney for the Central District of California, said, as reported by the Times.

Birotte said the violence included the kidnapping of a Glendale businessman who was held for $500,000 ransom and threatened with death. The indictment is the result of a two-year investigation called Operation Power Outage, and involved nearly 1,000 law enforcement officers. It also alleges that Armenian Power has connections with crime rings in Armenia, Georgia, and Russia. In October last year, 73 Diaspora, mostly also relocated to Southern California, were arrested in what was called the biggest Medicare insurance scheme in US history.

Source: http://armenianow.com/news/27741/armenia_power_mafia_fraud



Raising professionalism through Russification?: Yerevan City Hall launched Russian language courses

Yerevan mayor Karen Karapetyan

The activities of the new mayor of Yerevan Karen Karapetyan started with very unpopular steps that have stirred a lot of talk among the public. Karapetyan, who had for years headed ArmRosGazprom, an 80-percent Russian Gazprom-owned company, began his tenure with a requirement for his employees to take Russian language courses. Reports in the media on this decision have made lots of Yerevan residents wonder why a municipality in Armenia needs the Russian language so urgently. Many also wondered why Russian Embassy advisor Viktor Krivopuskov, who is also head of the Armenia affiliate of Rossotrudnichestvo, a Russian agency for international humanitarian cooperation, was present at the opening of the courses.

Lessons for 26 employees in 11 divisions of the City Hall will be held for three months by Tereza Mirjiferjyan and Armen Aghulyan, the two leading Russian language educators of the Russian Educational-Methodical Center of the Russian Language (REMCRL) of the Rossotrudnichestvo representation in Armenia. Opening the courses, Krivopuskov noted that knowledge of the Russian language will increase the quality of managerial decision making, interaction with the Russian-speaking population of the city, as well as facilitate work in “developing and strengthening friendly relations with cities and regions of Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States as a whole, where Russian still remains a working language.”

A summary of critical Armenian media writing in this regard is as follows: Krivopuskov’s objective is to spread the Russian language and influence in Armenia. Does the mayor of Yerevan also consider this to be his objective? Apparently, he is still closely associated with ArmRosGazprom and feels like a representative of the interests of the Russian company, more than of Yerevan citizens. On the day of the launch of the courses, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan signed the law on introducing amendments and additions into the laws “On the Language” and “On General Education”, which effectively removes the ban on the functioning of school in Armenia with curricula taught in a language other than Armenian.

In accordance with these amendments, 11 schools with foreign-language curricula will operate in Armenia - two of them will be private schools (in Jermuk and Dilijan) and nine will work on the basis of international treaties. A considerable part of the country’s intelligentsia has been opposing the legislation. A civil initiative “We Are Against the Reopening of Foreign-Language Schools” held a series of public protests. Under the pressure of those demonstrations of protest the number of foreign-language schools allowed to be opened by law was reduced, and some other changes were introduced in the original bill. It also became clear that the Armenian society is unwilling to return to the days when the Russian language was considered to be the state language.

Representatives of the public pressure group have already called the decision by the Yerevan mayor “unconstitutional”.

Source: http://armenianow.com/commentary/analysis/27179/yerevan_municipality_russian_language_courses

No Nike Brand Social Movement: “Just do it” is not the Armenian way

No Nike Brand Social Movement: “Just do it” is not the Armenian way

Could the “Tunisia Syndrome” happen in Armenia?

It is a question in the thoughts of observers and participants of socio-political life here (which in fact is all of us), as unrest has spread into Algeria, Yemen and others places, and has turned Egypt inside out. Yesterday, even Jordan – a monarchy – saw its government fired, a pre-emptive move by King Abdullah II in the face of citizen discontent at leadership which the king himself said “had sometimes put their own interests ahead of those of the public.” It started when a Tunisian street vendor set himself on fire December 28 (and later died) in protest of a law banning sales of goods in the street. The next week, the Mayor of Yerevan began a crackdown on the Armenian capital’s street vendors.

The cancer that finally ate its way into the brain of public conscience in Tunisia started as a tumor of unemployment, lack of opportunities for youth, inflation, and a growing gap between the ultra-rich and the hopeless poor – all conditions that define Armenia in 2011. In Egypt, where yesterday a crowd measured by the New York Times as “hundreds of thousands” filled Cairo’s main square, protestors railed against “an illegitimate president” in hateful solidarity against a regime under which, CNN reported, “Egypt’s economy was stagnant for decades, but in the past 10 years started to grow, creating bigger differences between rich and poor”.

Again, the similarities are compelling. An Al Jazeera reporter called the movement (estimated by the Arabic network at more than a million) “people power”. And there is the answer to why such a revolt will not (even if some think it should) occur in Armenia. Here, there is no “people power”. There are 10s of thousands – as proved in 2008 – who are willing to follow a leader, but none who are willing to lead themselves. There are no grass-roots movements here, where the soil of democratic will remains infertile even two decades after the toxic waste of communism should have been cleaned.

When a man, sadly and quite literally, sparked a social movement in Tunisia, his countrymen recognized themselves in his tortured desperation. In Armenia, those who have valid grievance are waiting for an authority figure to voice it for them. That a populist, Tigran Karapetyan, with a message no deeper than bumper sticker slogans, could rally 6,000 or more followers – as many, in fact, as the major opposition bloc – indicates how low the bar has dropped on social movement in Armenia.

Eduard Sharmazanov, a leader of the Republican Party of Armenia, says that there will be no copy-cat rebellion in Armenia. “Of course, there is discontent, but any country that saw dramatic economic crisis, has it. Nonetheless, Armenian authorities are determined to carry on the reforms designed to improve our fellow countrymen’s living standards,” he said. He is right. His reasoning as to why the public is submissive, however, is debatable. The reforms that the current regime has implemented are indeed laudable. Progress, depending on definition, can surely be seen in some realms, particularly in quality of life for Armenia’s nascent middle class (in Yerevan).

It is, though, more likely that Armenia’s apparent general passivity is brought on by lack of choice, rather than by public confidence that the government is working for the people. It may also be argued that those with the intellectual capacity and professional resource to seek an improved life in Armenia, are instead spending that energy on finding ways to leave the country. (A 2009 Gallup report found that 39 percent of Armenians said they aspired to move from the country.)

And, into any discussion of whether things in Armenia are getting better or worse under this leadership – and there’s some of each – arises the phrase that is on protest placards in Cairo: “illegitimate government”. Sadly for Armenia’s hopes of becoming democratic, this “illegitimate government” may very well be better than the alternative that would have emerged had elections three years ago been held fairly. Lacking a movement that grew organically, Armenians at both political polarities were willing to follow dubious leaders in that ill-fated election. "There is no political group leading the people,” a human rights activist in Cairo told media. “There is no one leading the people. People are just doing it.”

I am in a friend’s car and he is behind the wheel. We are at a Yerevan intersection, and the street we need to reach is just ahead of us, across this street and about 30 meters to the left. Instead of going directly across the street and turning to enter our intended passageway, my friend turns right, goes nearly one kilometer and, under a blue sign indicating “U” he turns back, drives to the destined street and carries on. “Why didn’t you just go across the street and turn left?” I ask him. “Because there was no sign saying I could do that,” he replied. And there, anecdotally, is why Armenia is not Tunisia. Or Egypt. Or whatever fill-in-the-blank country is next to launch a popular movement to exert the will of its people. These Armenians won't turn unless somebody says they can.

Source: http://www.armenianow.com/commentary/27403/armenia_tunisia_egypt_revolutions

Perspective on media: Civilitas organizes discussion about state of television, newspapers and internet

Perspective on media: Civilitas organizes discussion about state of television, newspapers and internet

Under an amended law and by the regulatory body’s decision only 18 television companies late last year got licenses for digital broadcasts in supposedly competitive tenders, and this narrowing of the field, according to experts, first of all hits freedom of speech in Armenia. Some specialists urge the television companies that lost or could not renew their licenses as a result of the competitions to unite and battle together over this matter. “The television companies that were deprived of the air have not united yet, but I still believe that time will come and they will join their hands together. Employees, founders, directors of TV companies must understand that we can fight and not give in,” said Gyumri GALA TV Executive Director Karine Harutyunyan at a Wednesday discussion organized by the Civilitas Foundation.

(GALA, based in Armenia’s second largest city of Gyumri, is a rare television company giving voice to the opposition. It will go out of the air in 2015 after losing its license in the December contest administered by the National Commission on Television and Radio. A1+, off the air since 2002, also failed to regain its license, while ALM lost one and is off the air since January 21. Another three companies had not even made a bid to renew their licenses from the very beginning.)

Experts also say that unlike television companies, which are largely controlled by the authorities, there is a certain variety among the print media, but this area also has drawbacks. “The problem is that in Armenia newspapers still do not depend on their readerships, if they have money, they go into print, if they don’t, they don’t come out. It is not the readership that decides the orientation and style of a given newspaper, and as long as there is no link between media and the public, media cannot be independent,” says editor-in-chief of the Karabakh-based Analitikon magazine Gegham Baghdasaryan.

The number of internet users in Armenia grows from year to year. While websites have seen more visitors recently and some believe it is possible that in the near future the internet will completely replace television, most specialists at the Civiltas-moderated discussion did not agree that it will happen soon. “The internet provides ample opportunities, but it is still too early to say that it will soon replace television, but, of course, there is such a prospect. The thing is that journalists do not yet manage this field,” says co-founder of the Epress internet magazine Armen Melikbekyan. Civilitas founder Vartan Oskanian, too, does not see any essential impact of the internet on the political field in the next few years.

“I agree that the internet is rapidly developing in Armenia, but it will still take 5-10 years for the internet to be able to make an essential change in our political field,” said Oskanian, who served as Armenia’s foreign minister in 1998-2008. “So, one shouldn’t pin too much hope on it at this moment.”

Specialists are also concerned that there is no independent media institution in Armenia. According to the Committee for the Protection of Freedom of Speech, nine cases of physical violence against journalists were reported in Armenia in 2010, as compared to 11 in 2009. Instead, the number of reported cases of exerting pressure on journalists increased. The Committee’s report also notes that very often no criminal cases are instituted in connection with violence against journalists.

Source: http://armenianow.com/social/human_rights/27595/freedom_of_speech_armenia_television_civilitas

Lost Opportunity?: Lincy closure seen by some as indictment

Lost Opportunity?: Lincy closure seen by some as indictment

In 2011 Armenia is losing the current or potential support of two major foundations. It became known on Tuesday that the Lincy Foundation shuts down after 22 years of work during which it has made major gifts of over $1.1 billion to schools, hospitals, scientific research projects and other charitable endeavors. More than $200 million in Lincy money has been spent on Armenia. This coming September will see the completion of the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Account program, which since 2006 had planned to assist with a total of $236 million to projects in irrigation and agricultural areas. But in the wake of the 2008 post-election violence in Armenia, the programs were curtailed to $180 million.

The charitable organization founded by Armenian-American businessman Kirk Kerkorian will transfer all of its assets, currently valued at $200 million, to the UCLA Foundation. Before its shutdown, in early February, Lincy donated $10.5 million to the United Armenian Fund and a major portion of this grant will be used by the UAF to renovate and reconstruct six schools in northern Armenia. The start of major Lincy projects in Armenia was in 2001 with the three-year $150-million project targeting road construction, housing construction in the earthquake zone, construction of cultural centers and schools.

In 2006-2008, the foundation implemented its second major program in Armenia with $60 million. The means were equally divided into three programs -- Yerevan streets repairs, school building and road construction. Reasons for Lincy’s closure of the Fund are still unclear and those potentially privy to its affairs have mostly stopped short of providing any commentary or interpretation. Prominent Diaspora commentator, editor of the California Courier and former Lincy vice president Harut Sassounian declined ArmeniaNow’s request for comment, but cautioned against “unwarranted and erroneous sweeping generalizations” as to the Lincy decision.

While saying that the reasons are unknown, several representatives of the Armenian opposition, however, say Armenian authorities who, to put it mildly, were guilty of “mismanaging the funds,” have caused the 93-year old billionaire to close his hand on handouts to Armenia. “It is not a coincidence that the funds for repairing schools were given not to an Armenia-based fund, but to the United Armenian Fund,” opposition Heritage Party MP Anahit Bakhshyan told ArmeniaNow. (The United Armenian Fund is the collective effort of the Armenian Catholic Eparchy, Armenian General Benevolent Union, Armenian Missionary Association of America, Armenian Relief Society, Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, the Lincy Foundation, and Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America.)

In the past several years (at least three) Kirk Kerkorian and his Lincy Foundation has not made any major donation to the All-Armenian Fund Hayastan either. Still during the first phase of the Lincy Foundation’s programs in Armenia, in 2001-2003, when restoration work worth $150 million was carried out, 17 cultural centers were renovated, about 3,600 homes were built, the activities were dogged by allegations that it was “a big wash” and that the money was not being used purposefully. After the end of this phase of the project it was intended to solve the housing problem in the earthquake zone.

As then president Robert Kocharyan said during the ceremony opening one of the buildings constructed with the foundation’s allocations “due to this serious investment in 2003 we solve the housing problem.” But still today up to 4,000 families remain in makeshift housing in the earthquake area despite further serious allocations from the foundation for housing construction in northern Armenia. In 2006, the President’s audit service began to conduct checks at the Foundation’s Armenia office whose coordinator was President Kocharyan’s staff manager Artashes Tumanyan. While reports surfaced (though unconfirmed) that Tumanyan was being questioned by the National Security Service (KGB) department combating organized crime, he was relieved from the foundation post, replaced by Deputy Prime Minister Armen Gevorgyan.

The last controversy surrounding the Foundation was in June 2010, during the discussion of the report on the fulfillment of the 2009 state budget when in the report of the Lincy Foundation presented to the lawmakers it was stated that the $17.8-million project had been fulfilled completely, by 100 percent. “It was mentioned in that performance report that 17 schools had been renovated and about $19 million had been spent on the work. However, as a person who is from this sphere (a long time educator) and is very well aware in which schools actual work was done, I saw in the list the names of schools that had not been repaired,” says Bakhshyan, who had worked as school principal before becoming a lawmaker. In response to the question raised by Bakhshyan, Deputy Prime Minister Gevorgyan explained that no work had been done in seven schools because of the budget reducing due to the dollar-dram fluctuations.

“First, this answer did not satisfy me, because in the agreement there is a point that the government is committed to bridge the gap that originates because of such exchange rate fluctuations to make sure the program is fulfilled by 100 percent. Why didn’t the government close that difference and was that difference really equivalent to the price of repairs at seven schools?” the lawmaker said. No clear answers have yet been provided, but like many other Armenians, the lawmaker feels sorry that Armenia is deprived of very serious funds that would give a unique opportunity to develop the country. “I regret it very much. Our authorities once again should think carefully about what they are doing and how much love and confidence of their homeland they lose because of their interests,” Bakhshyan told ArmeniaNow.

Source: http://armenianow.com/social/27738/lincy_foundation_shutdown_armenia

The Coalition of Doom


By signing an agreement to endorse President Serzh Sarkisian in the 2013 elections, Armenia’s ruling coalition parties attempted to reinforce their positions for the upcoming 2012 parliamentary elections and the subsequent presidential race. For the Republican Party of Armenia, Prosperous Armenia and the Country of Law parties, the announcement was a way to assert their rule and block opposition forces from gaining ground or, for that matter, having a voice in government. The declaration will set Armenia back with grave consequences for its future and any hope for advancement of democratic norms in the country.

In their declaration, the parties claimed to have protected Armenia and its citizens from dangers to national security, economic collapse as a result of the global crisis and ridding the government of corruption and bribery. Yet a quick glance at their rule, since the 2007 parliamentary elections, only shows that there have been no tangible advances in Armenia, and in some cases, there have been gross violations of human rights and an effort to endanger Armenia’s national security.

“Today the coalition forces have more than 100 deputies,” Armenian Revolutionary Federation Supreme Council of Armenia chairman Rustamian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service on Friday. “Can their presence get any bigger? At whose expense? Must there be no opposition at all in this country?” The coalition has vowed that its campaign for the parliamentary elections will yield even more seats in parliament.

ARF Bureau chairman, Hrant Markarian said: “In effect, a dictatorship, a totalitarian system is thus being formed in the government camp.” If anything, the signing of the declaration should send a clear signal to Armenia’s electorate that the fate of the country and its government is in the hands of the people. For 20 years, successive regimes have used coercion, intimidation and vote rigging to assume power and amass incomprehensible wealth at the expense of the country’s well-being.

The ruling elite must not be allowed to bulldoze through yet another set of elections, through which it aims to cement its hold on both the legislative and executive—and as a result judicial—branches of the government and without the checks and balances continue to govern with impunity and reckless disregard toward the aspirations of its citizens and the Armenian nation.

The people must rise up and learn their rights, empower themselves and take part in elections as informed voters and concerned citizens. The ARF’s campaign, announced earlier this week and officially launched on Friday, aims to bring together all facets of society under one tent and engage all voters to take party in a massive electoral reform campaign. The people of Armenia must come together and defeat the ruling coalition’s effort to further solidify its hold on Armenia.

Source: http://asbarez.com/93553/the-coalition-of-doom/comment-page-1/#comment-468174

Oskanian Fears ‘Absolute Rule’ In Armenia

Armenia -- Former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian speaks at an event organized by his Civiltas Foundation, undated.

Former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian accused President Serzh Sarkisian on Friday of seeking to tighten his grip on power in utter disregard of democratic principles and the popular will. In a written statement, Oskanian expressed serious concern about key points of a joint declaration issued by Armenia’s three governing parties on Thursday. “The ruling coalition’s announcement highlights the authorities’ disregard of democracy, elections and the public will,” he said.

“The ruling coalition has openly declared that in the upcoming parliamentary elections they are not prepared to do what political forces are fundamentally meant to do: that is, to enter into open competition.” The declaration says, among other things, that Sarkisian’s ruling coalition will gain an “amplified” presence in the Armenian parliament as a result of elections expected in May 2012. It already controls the overwhelming majority of seats in the current National Assembly.

“The coalition, which already enjoys absolute majority, intends to push out of the parliament those in opposition who, as it is, constitute an extremely small minority,” said Oskanian. “This does not help alleviate the already complex social, economic and political situation in the country; instead, it further exacerbates the situation. Rather than securing the continuity of those forces which are themselves the main obstacle to improving conditions, the coalition should have worked to secure a balance within the government, as an alternative to absolute rule,” he added.

Oskanian, who served as foreign minister in former President Robert Kocharian’s administration from 1998-2008, has been increasingly critical of the current Armenian government since leaving office. His criticism has until now focused on Sarkisian’s foreign policy and, in particular, Armenia’s rapprochement with Turkey.

Source: http://www.azatutyun.am/content/article/2313987.html

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