There are Armenians today that continue to maintain the belief that what occurred in Yerevan several years ago was not a foreign funded/organized coup attempt but a spontaneous reaction of the people to the disputed presidential election at the time. There are Armenians today that continue to maintain the belief that the violent protesters were are not to be blamed for the destruction of public and private property and the spilling of blood; explaining that the citizenry was basically venting its justified frustrations against government corruption and injustice. There are Armenians today that maintain the belief that the authorities were wrong in their decision to use deadly force against the rioting protesters. Moreover, many Armenians today in and out of the homeland continue to call for Serj Sargsyan's ouster and/or arrest and, some, even call for his death.
With that said, let's begin.
Why did Levon Petrosian's coup d'etat needed to be stopped immediately and at any cost? In my opinion, and in the opinion of many well educated adults with a keen understanding of regional politics, the reasons for it are many. The following is a general/partial list -
- Levon Petrosian and company were essentially responsible for the raping and pillaging the newly created republic during the 1990s. It was during their time in power when Armenia's Soviet era industrial and technological assets were more-or-less torn down and sold at scrap metal prices...
- Levon Petrosian and company were ultimately responsible for the flight of about 1/3 of Armenia's population...
- Levon Petrosian and company were the ones that attempted to put Artsakh up for sale on the international market. Fact is, Artsakh was liberate in spite of Levon. Levon's Turkic intentions towards Artsakh was ultimately the reason why Vazgen Sargsyan, Armenia's powerful prime minister at the time, forced him out of office in 1998...
- Levon Petrosian and company were the ones that began a gradual political process in Armenia to abandon Russia's protective umbrella and begin moving closer to the region's Western interests. This ultimately caused Russia's intelligence services and their assets in Yerevan to resort to more drastic measures when dealing with Armenia...
- Levon Petrosian and company were dictatorial tyrants that ruled Armenia with an iron fist. They banned a major opposition party and even exiled its leader. They persecuted political opponents on a regular basis. They did not allow any press freedoms. They egregiously stole the 1996 presidential elections from Vazgen Manukyan. And when the people protested, they sent tanks to confront peaceful demonstrators...
- Levon Petrosian and company attempted to do away with Armenian genocide recognition efforts in an effort to move closer to Ankara...
- Levon Petrosian's Armenia saw the unbridled growth of oligarchic and criminal entities across the young nation. Virtually all of Armenia's criminal entities and oligarchs today have their origin in Levon's Armenia...
- Levon Petrosian's Armenia was a miserable nation where political assassinations were the norm...
- Levon Petrosian's Armenia was a miserable nation where gangland killings were the norm...
In my opinion, what occurred in Armenia during early 2008 was a premeditated attempt at regime change, an attempted color revolution by Armenian criminals and traitors supported by a conglomeration of foreign interests and Western intelligence. Some Armenians ask: if Levon Petrosian's attempt to carry out a regime change in Armenia was indeed carefully planned by interests both foreign and domestic and it was not a spontaneous reaction at the time (which is what the so-called "opposition" in Armenia claims), why did it not succeed as it had in other countries? I do not know the particulars of how color revolutions succeeded in ousting targeted governments in other Eurasian nations. I do know, however, that the attempted regime change in Armenia was improperly conceived, badly planned and sloppily executed. Having realized what they were faced with, authorities in Yerevan put a stop to it virtually overnight.
What's more, the kind of revolution we saw take place in Yerevan at the time (an organized popular uprising without the involvement of the military or the police) is very less likely to succeed in a non-European or a non-developed nation. Therefore, as long as the nation's military and police force stood firmly behind their commander-in-chief, as it happened in Armenia back in 2008, there is little chance for any coup to succeed in Armenia. What occurred in Egypt recently is actually a good example of what I'm saying. As large and as intense the popular uprisings were in Egypt, although you would never realize this by listening to propaganda outlets such as CNN and BBC, the Egyptian "people" did not succeed in achieving a regime change in Cairo.Yes, Hosni Mubarak's bosses in Washington encouraged him to voluntarily step down, but the same political infrastructure, the political system Mubarak had created and presided over for thirty years in Egypt remains firmly in pace.
When it comes to serious geopolitical matters, the people's opinion or demands are the last thing on politician's minds.
Moreover, when a particular coup has a clear Western geopolitical dimension (as the one in Armenia clearly did), they are less likely to succeed when the targeted nation's public sentiments, its military and its intelligence apparatus are closely aligned with the Russian Federation. Nevertheless, there are many clear indicators that what occurred in late 2007 and early 2008 was a preconceived/premeditated plan by Levon Petrosian's political camp to topple the government in Yerevan by force. What occurred at the time was not merely a spontaneous reaction by the "people". The pathetic sheeple in question were essentially lead by hungry wolves in sheep's clothing. Interestingly, LA was one of the organizational centers. Many of you may recall how well coordinated and organized the anti-Serj Sargsyan demonstrations were in LA at the time. As a matter of fact, various activists from LA were traveling to Armenia to organize the uprising up to a year before the presidential election.
Taking into consideration the large amount of human-filth that resides in LA, this should not surprise any of us. The surreal aspect to watching LA Armenians support a treasonous criminal like Levon Petrosian was the curious fact that a signoficant number of the virulent anti-Serj protesters in LA (if not most of them) had fled their homeland during the Levon Petrosian years...
Oligarch Khachatur "Grzo" Sukiasyan with ties to LA was one of the well known financial sponsors of Levon Petrosian's bid to return to power. According to some reports at the time, George Soros, the infamous mastermind of various revolutions across Eurasia, may have also had a hand in what occurred. Moreover, Washington funded propaganda outlets such as Radio Liberty, ArmeniaNow, A1 Plus and Hetq to name only a few, were inciting violence against the Armenian state and against Armenians from Artsakh by disseminating inflammatory news reports and provocative political commentaries during the months leading up to the presidential elections. Their well coordinated media assault on the authorities got particularly alarming following the announcement that Serj Sargsyan had won the presidential elections. Reading commentaries within the Washington funded "independent" press in Armenia, I was appalled by the bloodthirsty rhetoric I was seeing against the authorities and against Armenians from Artsakh.
In the particular case of opposition media outlet A1 Plus, a full night before the counting of the votes were completed, I recall reading a statement on their official website claiming that Levon Petrosian had won the election in a landslide. The "news" of Levon Petrosian's victory came before the vote counting process was officially over - a whole night before the winner was actually announced. What was happening? As a media outlet simply reporting on the presidential election at the time, how/where did A1 Plus obtain its information about the voting results - before anybody else? Looking at it in hindsight, A1 Plus, along with all the other participants of the organized coup, was clearly involved in preparing Levon Petrosian's battlefield by disseminating false information. Thus, according to coup organizers, the following was the scenario at hand: the reformist candidate, Levon Petrosian, had won the presidential elections in a landslide. Serj Sargayan, the utterly corrupt official, had stolen the election by resorting to vote rigging and intimidation. As a result, according to coup organizers, the oppressed people of Armenia needed to rise in the name of truth, justice - and the American way!
In a move that also gave the attempted regime change somewhat of a military flavor, general/choban Manvel Grigoryan and some other "Yekrapah" veterans/chobans were said to have been contacted by the Levon Petrosian camp before and during the organized demonstrations. Perhaps feeling emboldened by their contact with general/choban Grigoryan and members within the Yekrapah union, Levon Petrosian's camp had mentioned at some point during the demonstrations that the nation's military was on their side. However, general/choban Grigoryan seems to have hesitated when he was taken in for "questioning" by the authorities. When the coup in question did not garner enough public support and the Moscow-backed authorities seemed able to maintain their discipline and cohesion, military men like general/choban Girgoryan proved smart enough to keep their hands clean of the mess. Finally, the violent way in which the protesters and their organizers such as Nikol Pashinyan were behaving leading up to the final clash on March 1, 2008 was also a clear indicator that Levon Petrosian's camp had much more than just "protesting" on their minds.
Apparently the sheeple in our nation had not learned anything from observing how real politics is played out in the West. In the West, the entrenched authorities (Western oligarchs, if I may) will cordially allow the sheeple to protest AS LONG AS they are not able to change anything or pose a real threat to the government. Anyone recall the massive protests of 2003 against Washington's illegal invasion of Iraq that drew out millions of protesters all across the United States and Europe? What changed? Nothing. Anyone recall the violent demonstrations against various American financial institutions and businesses? What changed? Nothing. Most American citizens have been wanting their troops in Iraq and Afghanistan be brought home, they have been wanting the Mexican border shutdown and they have been demanding the return of America's production industry from places like Indonesia and China. What has America's elected officials done to meet the demands of the people? Nothing.
I don't want to discuss the police raid on the illegally erected camp during early morning of March 1 where some protesters were reported to have gotten roughed up and where some weapons and narcotics were supposedly confiscated by law enforcement officials. Reports about narcotics and weapons may or may not have been true. Regardless of what happened during the morning police raid on the makeshift camp, by early afternoon on the same day, demonstration leaders such as Nikol Pashinyan were preparing thousands of their sheeple for violence against the state. And this was also about the time when Azerbaijan began to carryout a major military attack on Armenian defense lines in Artsakh to test the government's cohesion during the political crisis in Yerevan. The Azeri attack was successfully repulsed, but the Armenian side reportedly suffered deaths. I vividly remember animals in the Levon Petrosian's camp at the time shamelessly saying that the authorities in Artsakh had "provoked" the attack by Azerbaijan to discredit Levon. I also vividly remember animals calling themselves "Levonakan" calling for the murder of Armenians from Artsakh. And it was common to hear sentiments such as - "yes, we know Levon was corrupt but at least he is a Yerevantsi. He is one of us, not a Mongol like them"...
Was is it all a provocation organized by foreign intelligence - or is a significant portion of our people this destructive, this ignorant or this animalistic? I believe it is the combination of the two. Nevertheless. what I observed back in late 2007 and early 2008 may have forever changed by impressions of Armenians. Needless to say, I had a very rude awakening to Armenian style politics at the time. In my opinion, any self-respecting government, especially a government that has Western, Turkish and Israeli intelligence working against it; especially a government with crucially important strategic ties with Moscow; especially a government that feels besieged by its dangerous neighbors in a very volatile region on earth; especially a government that was witnessing organized rioters attacking the police, destroying property and engaging in theft, would have and should have reacted with deadly force - especially considering who it was that was trying to come back to power. Thankfully, having realized what was taking place in Yerevan, Moscow had given the Armenian authorities the green light to do whatever it took to put down the revolution at hand.
With the volatile situation beginning spiraling fast out of control throughout that historic day on March 1, authorities decided to finally crackdown on the uprising. Sadly, during the night, some ten individuals lost their lives (a policemen, a soldier and eight civilians). The only thing I regret about what the government did on the evening of March 1, 2008 - was that they didn't crackdown on the revolt fast enough or hard enough and because the coup organizers were not included in the final death tally! Since Armenians have a nasty/stupid habit of comparing tiny/poor/embattled Armenia with a great global empire like the United States, allow me to say the following.
Had the American people dared to attempt in the United States what Levon Petrosian's animals tried to do in Armenia back in 2008, they would have been ruthlessly crushed by law enforcement authorities even before they got out of their homes. Despite the massive and widespread corruption currently going on in government in Washington, can anyone in their right minds imagine an utterly corrupt and foreign funded politician in America being allowed to organize a massive coup in Washington? There are tens of millions of disgruntled Americans today that are probably more pissed-off at their government than Armenians are at theirs. But can anyone imagine a corrupt former official encouraging America's poor and disgruntled (tens of millions and growing in number) to run amok and ransack Washington? Can anyone imagine what Washington's reaction would have been if a massive number of violent protesters in the United States posed a real/urgent political threat to the nation's entrenched political/financial system? Don't waste your time trying to figure out what Washington would do... it would be a bloodbath.
While many of the demonstrators in Yerevan were naively expressing their political frustrations, many amongst them were taking the opportunity to satisfy their animalistic urges... and the chaotic situation at hand was simply being manipulated/exploited and, at times, instigated by coup organizers. There is a big difference between protesting against one's government due to legitimate political grievances and acting like savages at the behest of corrupt former officials and foreign intelligence services. To this day, the thing that truly perplexes me is this: how did the people choose to stand behind a treasonous criminal like Levon Petrosian, an ubber-corrupt official that had already once raped them and pillaged the country? And why do many Armenians hate Serj Sargsyan so much? Virtually everything we hate about Armenia today has their origins in Levon Petrosian's rule. Why do Armenians take it out on Serj Sargsyan? How can anybody understand or make excuses for the sheeple's support for Levon Petrosian?
An observation of mine that I'd like to share with the reader: Levon Petrosian's (as well as Raffi Hovannisian's) presence in Armenia is actually a good indicator that Armenia is in fact a free and democratic nation. Looking at various Washington funded and "opposition" funded media outlets that freely disseminate poisonous propaganda inside Armenia, I am actually (and unfortunately) reminded of how free Armenia's news press is. I would fully support banning Levon Petrosian (and Raffi Hovannisian) from Armenia. I would also fully support shutting down any news agency in Armenia that is funded from abroad (including any NGO that involves itself in social/political matters in Armenia). Since our "opposition" freaks love comparing America to Armenia, I would like to add this: compared to the United States, where Democrat and Republican parties are merely two branches of the same political/financial system and all of the nation's main news agencies are in the hands of several individuals with close connections to the government - Armenia is in fact a free and democratic nation!
I'm not saying any of this with pride because I honestly think that Armenia has too much political and press freedoms. I'd like to remind the reader that Washington's favorite export, "freedom and democracy" (which often times is delivered by its armed forces), are dangerous things for young and/or troubled nations that either do not know what it means or are not able to utilize it properly. If freedom and democracy were such a good thing for nations, a one size fits all concept that brings peace and prosperity to all nations infected by it - Washington would not have been targeting their enemies with it for all these years. Nonetheless, Armenians have proven beyond any doubt that they do not understand what political freedom means; thus proving that when it comes to democratically running the nation, they can not be trusted to make the right choices. The political stupidity and destructiveness of a significant portion of Armenians today is astonishing and it never ceases to amaze me.
Although serious economic problems remain to be solved, even with all his faults (including his early ties to Levon Petrosian), president Serj Sargsyan has proven to be by-far the most capable president Armenia has yet had. Despite the on-going global economic crisis, Armenia's national infrastructure has finally begun to develop. Despite the continuing volatility of the Caucasus, law and order has finally descended upon the republic. Despite all its regional enemies, Armenia's and Artsakh's borders have never been more secure. Despite Western interferences, Armenia's strategic partnership with Moscow has never been more fruitful and its relationship with Iran never been more friendly. Despite what our self-destructive peasantry thinks, Armenia's top leadership has never looked more professional.
Although a lot of the filth that rose to prominence during Levon Petrosian's years in power continue to have significant representation in the Armenian government, a gradual cleansing in Yerevan (which I liken to a high-colonic) has already begun by Serj Sargsyan's Moscow-backed administration. The highly significant and long overdue change made in the mayoral office in Yerevan is not the only one. More positive changes are coming. The 1990s era chobans in Armani suits and Mercedes-Benzes will gradually be replaced by well educated technocrats. Yerevan's strategic alliance with Moscow will create many new opportunities for our embattled republic in the Caucasus. Efforts to get the Turkish-Armenian border opened for trade will continue. Armenian Genocide recognition efforts will continue.
I can confidently say that an independent Armenia has not enjoyed a geopolitical significance this great in perhaps a thousand years. Although Kocharyan's administration was a significant improvement over Levon Petrosian's gang of corrupt thieves and traitors, it was nonetheless a transitional government. In a certain sense, president Serj Sargsyan is Armenia's first proper president. We need to work with him to tackle Armenia's most pressing sociopolitical problems. And I hope that the next president will be someone like Yerevan mayor Karen Karapetyan.
I understand that the people were unhappy with Robert Kocharyan's administration at the time in 2008, even though the people's living standard in Armenia had improved greatly since Levon's days (but that's another story). What I don't understand is why the people attempted to replace Sargsyan's government with a gang of treasonous criminals that already once raped and pillaged the country during the 1990s? Why did a significant portion of our nation's citizenry act this screwed-up, this irresponsible and this destructive? If this is an accurate depiction of our people's political maturity today, then I can emphatically state that we as a people do not deserve an independent nation. If this is how our people will react against its leadership, against its military, against its police, against its community - like I have said before, I rather we give the house keys to Moscow and have them run the show for us again. What occurred two years ago convinced me that the Armenian people as a collective body are not ready, and will probably not be ready for a long time, to govern themselves without the serious risk of national suicide or self-destruction.
Let the powerful and wealthy nations of this world flirt with the nonsensical notion of democracy, we Armenians simply can't afford such risks. Having said that, it must also be said that it is crucially important to have Armenia's politicians change the way they have conducted business. Armenia's current political system (if it can be called as such) is feudal in nature and character and it urgently needs to be reformed. I would be very comfortable with having a strongman in Armenia (like Russia's Vladimir Putin) crushing prominent yet corrupt political figures in the country and transferring their illegally acquired wealth into government coffers. Armenia needs a leader progressive enough to allow the people room for cultural and economic growth - yet powerful enough to ruthlessly crush the powerful clans and their followers in the country. As the Levon clan and recent events regarding the political process going on between Ankara and Yerevan have clearly demonstrated, we Armenians may be genius in business, science, academia and the arts - we continue to act like self-destructive peasants when it come to political affairs. And as long as we Armenians continue our nasty habit of not properly assessing, not analyzing, not understanding and not observing politics from a healthy and constructive pan-national and geopolitical perspective - we will forever remain a small and vulnerable nation at the mercy of bigger powers.
Besides... after all is said and done, in final analysis, there is the big GEOPOLITICAL EQUATION we must learn to understand. Let's face it, the Armenian state exists today in the Caucasus not because of prowess of Armenians in Armenia, not because of Western benevolence, not because of the big talking diaspora - but because of Russia. It's that simple. Thus, when on numerous occasions back in 2008 Moscow publicly and unequivocally stated that they were standing fully behind Serj Sargsyan - the entire Armenian nation, including Armenia's wilding opposition freaks, should have paid close attention. Whether our nation's Cold War rejects and Russophobes like it or not, Armenia is and will continue to remain firmly entrenched within the Russian camp for the foreseeable future. For centuries, the Russian state has had a great strategic interest in maintaining a strong presence in the Caucasus. Unlike Western powers that only see pipelines and dollar signs when they look at the Caucasus, the Russian state sees Armenia as a crucially important ally in the South Caucasus - and it will do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING in its power to keep Armenia within its camp.
Armenian history is said to be 12,000 years old, and Mt. Ararat is the historic scene where Noah‘s Ark is said to have rested, a revered and treasured Armenian landmark. An archeologist’s dream come true, Armenia is a land of quaint churches and elaborately and meticulously carved khatchkars (Orthodox crosses). Constant and reliable, the centuries old friendship and alliance with Russia is unshakable. Most Armenians are aware of the fact that there probably would be no Armenia if not for Russia. No plots or schemes by the empire are going to change that reality.
The empire also wins no friends among Armenians for its consistent policy of Genocide denial. These policies go beyond the geo-political considerations given as an excuse, such as the US base in occupied Western Armenia, under control of Turkey and their alliances with Armenian enemies Turkey, Israel and Azerbaijan. And then there are the oil pipelines…constructed to bypass Armenia, a country in a strategic position between east and west, a crossroads as it were. As a result of the Armenian Genocide of 1894-1923, Armenians lost most of their homeland and over 1.5 million Armenians were murdered in the most horrendous and brutal fashion imaginable and unimaginable. To this day, no Nuremberg trials, no compensation or apology have occurred. Therefore, the memory of this tragedy in an ongoing issue of importance to Armenians.
In Armenia, Levon Ter-Petrosian is generally despised for his corrupt ruinous policies while President of Armenia. He is also despised for proffering the notion that the recently liberated Armenian land of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) should be returned to Azerbaijan. Artsakh is now an independent country. The US regime is financially backing Ter-Petrosian and causing trouble in the background. Ter-Petrosian had the strange idea that he had a snowball’s chance in hell of winning an election to be President. Fat chance. Now he sends agitators to do his bidding, a la Soros funding, all the best agitators money and the empire can buy.
On Public Armenian Television, Armenian Parliament Speaker Tigran Torosian told the following of his knowledge of events: “These people decided who the winner is five minutes after the election. This is their characteristic feature. I learned about my alleged resignation from journalists. Levon Ter-Petrosian and his team-mates have exhausted the sources of lies which exceed all possible borders,” the speaker said. “They spread lies about all and offense all those who are not with them. They are filled with hatred and revenge,” he said. "OK, let's say all the grenades, pistols and automatics were planted by the regime, what do you have to say about all those hooligans with rods and sticks, beating the police, throwing bricks and stones, burning cars including busses and an ambulance, looting shops and supermarkets?"
According to various local reports, 8 persons were killed in orange demonstrations as the Army was called in to restore the peace. They also report that Opera and Republican Square are swarming with army troops and military police armed to the teeth with AK-47s, belt-fed battle rifles and there are dozens of light tanks in both locations. In addition to that, there are troops scattered in posts all over the city and on all the roads into the city. One hundred and thirty-one persons were reported injured in the March 1 disturbances. An on the scene observer sent this report: "Hi, this morning I walked from the Opera House until Mashtoz Underpass. Everything was just fine. Police closed the underpass toward city hall and near the French embassy where they made a mess. My friend 8:30 at night went everywhere with the exception of closed areas and found calm...all shops are open and traffic is normal, 8 people got killed and about 30 people got arrested for looting, all young guys."
Interior troops and police officers suffered bullet wounds and injuries in the March 1 clashes with rioters in Yerevan. On his visit to the hospital, President Kocharian was accompanied by police chief Hayk Harutyunian and other officials. Kocharian went from one hospital ward to another and spoke to officers and servicemen. Hospital chief, Arthur Petrosian, said they admitted 33 wounded officers and servicemen on March 1 until 8.30 pm and 27 others after 9 pm. He said 11 received bullet wounds, eight were hospitalized with heavy symptoms of gas poisoning, 2 received knife wounds. Seven servicemen went to their quarters after receiving first aid and 11 others were operated on. The chief of the hospital said their condition is satisfactory now.
At the end of February, prior to the breakout of violence, a vehicle was apprehended trying to enter the country loaded with weapons and ammunition. On March 1, 2008, Armenia’s President Robert Kocharian declared a 2-day state of emergency in compliance of article 55.6 of the RA (Republic of Armenia) Constitution (threat to state and population security). Fortunately, anti-terrorist, anti-orange scenario joint exercises were held by Armenia and Russia in anticipation of such occurrences. Meanwhile the empire is mouthing duplicitous, hypocritical words about “excessive use of force.”
Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Terry Davis said, “The state of emergency suspends the application of several rights and freedoms protected by the European Convention on Human Rights. Under Article 15 of the Convention the Armenian Government must inform me of the measures which it has taken and the reasons therefore. I expect that they will do so without any delay,” the Council of Europe press division reports. The recent presidential elections in Armenia saw Serzh Sarksyan, Kocharian’s number two man, elected as President of Armenia. The voting result was unmistakable: Serzh Sarkisyan - 862,369 (52,82%) votes, Levon Ter-Petrosian – 351,222 (21,5%).votes.
The February 19th presidential elections were not only characterized as `free and fair' by the CIS observers, but also received the positive assessments of the Western observation missions. The observation mission of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, which stands out in terms of its strict and meticulous attitude towards the electoral processes held in former USSR territories, clearly recorded that, `The presidential elections held in Armenia on February 19 were mostly in line with the commitments to the OSCE and the Council of Europe.” But this didn’t satisfy the orange agitators. Kocharian, throughout his term as President, has had a warm, brotherly relationship with his counterpart in Russia, Vladimir Putin. Like the outgoing president, Robert Kocharian, Mr. Sarkisyan is from Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh). Both men were commanders in the war.
The newly elected Armenian President released this message to the people:
“Dear Compatriots, In consequence of the recent events, our people suffered great losses. There are casualties among policemen, who performed their duty, and among protesters, who fell under the influence of a group of people. Hundreds of civilians suffered from illegal acts of the radical opposition. Leaders of the co-called ‘movement’ made targets of their own supporters and policemen to suit their own ends. The initiators of disorders must answer for their deeds before the law, history and generations. With pain, I conceive that our compatriots fell victim to blind hatred of some individuals. I share your grief and wish you courage and strength to overcome this tragedy…”
As the cleanup crew mitigates the after effects of the recent lawlessness, one can only hope that the street sweepers will also sweep away the trash known as orange agent provocateurs and leave this proud, struggling nation in peace.
On February 19, a head of state will be elected in what is for us a friendly and very important country. The elections in Armenia are very similar to those Russia will hold in March. The successor of the current president will run for the top position; he is being opposed by representatives of the former government, and his long standing opponents. As in Russia, the current government's nominee - Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian - has every chance of success. As in Russia, the popularity of the current government in Armenia rests on economic success. When Robert Kocharian's team came to power ten years ago Armenia was in a desperate position. It had suffered several years of economic dislocation, absence of electricity and heating. Today, Armenia, a country with no energy resources or any other tangible natural resources, has one of the world's most dynamic economies. Its economy grew by 13.6% last year, one of the fastest rates in the world.
But statistics as such are of little interest to the voters. What matters for them is how those statistics reflect their well-being. During the past year, average incomes increased by 24.7%, while inflation did not exceed the Russian old dream rate of 6%. Last year's parliamentary elections testified to serious public support for the current government. The ruling Republican Party, led by Sarkisian, together with its ally and rival Prosperous Armenia, headed by Gagik Tsarukian, received more than half of all votes and two thirds of seats in parliament. Now this alliance has shored up its power even further - at the presidential elections Tsarukian will support Sarkisian. This partnership is as hard hitting as that between Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev in Russia. The latest polls give Sarkisian 47.5% of all votes, which are likely to guarantee his victory in the first round.
Today, Yerevan looks like an enormous construction site. The prime minister and his political consultants do not have to ponder over election scenarios - Sarkisian is travelling all around the country, and telling his compatriots about ambitious plans for spreading the gas network, road and house construction, and the eradication of poverty. He does not need a detailed program, and has drafted a short document on the consolidation of statehood and promotion of the principles of justice. Sarkisian cannot be accused of weakness or lack of experience - before heading the government, he served in various positions in security-related ministries, and his name is associated with military victories in Karabakh. Relations with Russia and the West are a big part of the election campaign. It is hard to notice anti-Russian attitudes in Armenia - Russia is associated with hope and support. But the same is true of anti-Western sentiment, which is only natural considering the existence of the influential Armenian Diaspora countries such as the United States and France. Sarkisian has a well-deserved reputation of a pro-Russian politician. He has known Putin for a long time, since he worked in CIS security-related agencies. But he is quite open to cooperation with the West, which practically eliminates the possibility of a foreign country conducting a large-scale campaign against him, as has sometimes happened in post-Soviet republics.
In this position it will be difficult not to win. No opposition candidate stands a chance, unless the government makes the mistake of paying too much attention to them. For the time being, the most prominent rival is the recent Speaker of Parliament and close associate of the current leader Artur Bagdasarian, who the polls put in second place with 13.4% of votes. He has suddenly turned into a vociferously pro-western critic of the regime. An active participant in every recent campaign, the leader of the National Unity Party, Artashes Gegamian, is in fourth place with a rating of 4.7%. Ex-Prime Minister Vazgen Manukian, and the leader of the historical Dashnak Party Vice-Speaker of Parliament Vaan Ovannesian are well known in the country. But the biggest sensation was the decision of the first Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrosian to run for the presidency. It has given not quite understandable hope to many opponents of the current government to defeat it. It is comparable to Mikhail Gorbachev running in the election race in Russia (he ran for the presidency in 1996 but with no success).
Ter-Petrosian is trying to prove the unprovable - that he was a more successful leader than Kocharian and Sarkisian. But his compatriots have not forgotten the first half of the 1990s. Moreover, Ter-Petrosian had to resign when under Western pressure he displayed readiness to make tangible concessions on Karabakh and relations with Turkey. Such conduct is not forgiven in Armenia. It will be difficult for him to prove his good attitude to Russia. It was he who shut down all the Russian schools in the country. Half of the voters will not support him under any circumstances, and he can hardly hope for more than third place and 7% of votes.
Could the consolidation of the opposition change the situation before the elections? It seems unlikely, primarily because none of the opposition leaders is accepted by the others. Ter-Petrosian, who is the loudest in claiming the leadership of the opposition, is also the most resented by the others. Sarkisian's opponents will not form a political alliance. The West is not likely to support an oppositionist, either. Moreover, now that international observers have, with a few reservations, declared the elections in neighboring Georgia quite legitimate, they will find it rather difficult to give the Armenian elections a lower rating for fear of looking ridiculous. Unlike in Georgia, the elections in Armenia are being held according to schedule; TV channels have not been shut down; opposition supporters are not behind bars or in exile, nor under criminal investigation. International monitoring will be very serious - almost 300 observers in 1,923 constituencies.
Russia would like to see Armenia a stable and dynamically developing country with a responsible government oriented towards constructive relations with it. Strategically, Sarkisian's nomination suits Moscow, which has given him support at the top level. It would be appropriate to take steps that would demonstrate our readiness to render Armenia substantial economic assistance. Regrettably, the pro-Russian forces in Armenia have been recently weakened by Moscow's decision to increase prices on gas exports. Considering our financial capabilities Russia should list Armenia as a priority recipient of its direct foreign aid. The main thing is not to overdo with the public demonstration of our support. The United States has been giving tangible assistance to Armenia for a long time. Our policymakers should consider the role Armenia could play in building relations with Georgia. For Armenia, which is under transport blockade, transit via Georgia is a lifeline. The more tense Russian-Georgian relations are, the more this lifeline is threatened.
On the eve of the meeting radical opposition from the pro-Western movement “Alternative” provoked clashes with police, which were immediately taken advantage of for the stirring up the situation, given that usually the authorities do not prevent their opposition from holding meetings, asking them to observe the law and order. Some Armenian media characterise the tactics used by the ex-president and his supporters as the willingness “to aggravate the internal situation, forcing the authorities to make another mistake at any cost.” Unsanctioned meetings, office capture raids and blocking the bodies of state, stirring up of domestic disorder and interference in the work of election commissions can be disguised as “spontaneous” people’s protest. A dramatic rise of foodstuffs prices can stimulate the spreading of rumours about “inevitable” political and socio-economic upheavals. This tactic has been tested many times in the countries where the “colour” coups were organised; in Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine and Kirghizia.
An attempt of a coup undertaken by the radical opposition in Yerevan in 2004 (organised, along with others by Aram Sarkisian and Stepan Demirchian, who were seen together with Ter-Petrosian October 26) met with hard but legally correct suppression. Another Western project in the republic was Artur Bagdasarian, who finally discredited himself during the May 2008 parliamentary elections. What are we to expect this time?
The tonality of many statements of “the soft intellectual” Ter-Petrosian proves that the new election campaign will be quite acute. Again, as in the late 1980s, when Ter-Petrosian was desperate about gaining power, the wedge of a slogan “Struggle, struggle till the end!” has been forced in. But the fact that the “mafia-type clan regime” is criticised by none other than the genuine architect of this regime, is amusing. Ter-Petrosian’s call for bringing order to the nation looks especially mocking, given that the destruction of Armenia’s economy and key elements of its infrastructure (except for, maybe, the young national army) during his stint was systemic and targeted. The rampage of arbitrariness was written off as inevitable aftermath of hostilities and Azerbaijanian blockade, which in particular were to deepen the “anti-Karabakhs” sentiment in the Armenian society.
Using the Karabakh issue as a springing board for his leap to power, all his years as president Ter-Petrosian was obstinately pushing through his idea of making Karabakh prisoner of Azerbaijan (under the guise of “autonomy”), calling that “realism”. However the fact that head of the Armenian state promised the earth to Ankara, reassuring the nation that a day will come when Turkey would unlock the frontier while Karabakh Armenians were on the brink of a physical destruction, spoke about helplessness and incompetence rather than the pursuance of foreign policies that could meet the nation’s interests…
The 1996 presidential elections were openly falsified to give the victory to Ter-Petrosian; opposition was suppressed never stopping of using tanks. In 1997, when the set off between Ter-Petrosian on the one hand and other members of the political and military establishment on the other became evident, it was exactly the presidential side that resorted to a political combination aimed at the removal of the president’s opponents from the bodies of power. Attempts to provoke a political crisis by way of a series of acts of terror leading the way to a dismissal of prime-minister (Robert Kocharian) or the Minister of Interior and Security (Serge Sarkisian) met with the hard public opposition of Defence Minister Vazgen Sarkisian.
And in 1999, shortly before his tragic death, speaking at parliament prime-minister Vazgen Sarkisian said to the nation that the energy crisis was not a result of the Karabakh war. To quote the documents of the interim parliamentary committee that investigated abuse of power at the time: “2058 railway cars with 115,000 tonnes of fuel oil shipped to the Razdan and Yerevan power stations in 1992 were not registered, as well as 1184 tank-cars at the Razdan power station (66,000 tonnes) and 874 tank-cars at the Yerevan power station (49,000 tonnes)…
There were many other facts of this kind. The real cause of the crisis were rampant theft, total irresponsibility and the lack of experience of running the state of the ANM activists. The situation in the republic was precisely characterised by the statement of the former interior Minister Vano Siradegian in one of his interviews when he called the then prime-minister Grant Bagratian, the follower of Yegor Gaidar, “a madman”, who was running the national economy. In turn, Siradegian was accused of organising a series of contract killings, and is now hiding somewhere outside of Armenia.
At present, a decade and a half after that many were naïve enough to expect former president Ter-Petroisan to admit his mistakes, recalling the hardships Armenians suffered in the first half of the 1990s. And naturally, their expectations were futile. According to the BBC, he was not going to explain anything, as he did not think it necessary to give explanations in the early 1990s when the country was chilled to the bone without electricity and hot water for three years and when trees were cut in Yerevan for fuel. The former president did not change and did not learn his lessons. He confirmed that at the October 26 meeting saying: ”I am what I am, and that is the way I will stay.”
Robert Kocharian must be right thinking the Armenians do not wish to see a comeback of things of the past. During his stay in Megri, Kocharian made first evaluation of his predecessor’s intentions to return to power. He observed that Levon Ter-Petrosian was not a principal candidate for presidency, so he would hardly be in the focus of public attention. Recalling the sad results of the ANM parliamentary campaign he added:”Seeing that the national economy has been restored, ANM again decided the time came to rob. With their mouths watered, they decided to lean on the resource of the former president8. Certain groups in Armenia (a rather small country where informal relations and kinship play an important role) and influential players abroad (also a significant factor) are undoubtedly interested in the “advancement” of Ter-Petrosian.
Confidence in self-righteousness of some of the ANM activists is organically combined with the anti-Russian rhetoric of a tonality close to that of their “senior brothers” in Georgia and Ukraine. It is curious to mention that Azeris also back Ter-Petrosian, doing that in a very unusual way. The most frenzied are yearning for blood, while others wage the information war more skilfully, stating in particular that the hypothetical arrival of Ter-Petrosian to power will not be to the advantage of Azerbaijan as the man will – allegedly – rapidly put an end to the Russian presence, maintaining good relations with Washington, thus weakening Baku’s positions in negotiations on Nagorno Karabakh. Such propaganda ambiguities are made largely with an eye to Armenian Internet users who scoop their information from Azeri web sites…
There is no one questioning the importance of combating corruption, protection of human rights and the rights of a citizen, unless that becomes a pretext for interference in internal affairs of another state, a total or partial liquidation of its sovereignty and the formation of a state power system managed from outside. The current Armenian leadership can be assessed differently. It has not yet solved many acute socio-economic problems. For example, the system of central heating in Yerevan that had “passed away” in the “glorious” days of Ter-Petrosian’s rash liberalism has not yet been restored. Karabakh, once a well-developed industrialized suburb of the Armenian capital now looks like a battlefield with its half-broken buildings with yawning broken windows that previously housed production workshops, robbed during the wild privatization campaign.
However, one cannot fail but acknowledge positive changes Robert Kocharian spoke about: in 1997 Armenia’s budget amounted to a mere 300 million dollars, whereas in 2008 its revenues are expected to amount to $2.28 billion with expenditure amounting to $2.5 billion. The sizes of state budgets and GDP of Armenia and Georgia are about the same, even though Georgia is in a much more favourable situation, given bigger territory and population, an access to the sea, and its sizeable revenues thanks to implementing together with Azerbaijan and Turkey joint communications projects. Lavish contributions to the current Tbilisi leadership for its anti-Russian line should not be disregarded either (by the way, one of the accusations Ter-Petrosian’s backers lay on the authorities is Armenia’s isolation from these much touted projects). However, expansion of the Turkish capital into Georgia in mid-term perspective can have quite unexpected consequences affecting its ethnic and confessional situation and stability.
Meanwhile to meet its national interests Armenia started implementing its own projects. They include the construction of a natural gas pipeline from Iran to Armenia, potentially with a branch to Europe, and the project of establishing single energy space with Russia, Iran and Georgia, commissioning of a new automobile road crossing the Megri pass in the mountains, plans of installing the second unit of the Metsamor nuclear power station, a petroleum refinery and a railway line from Armenia to Iran. In the times of Ter-Petrosian who cherished the idea of turning Armenia into a “Middle East crossroads “ the like of Lebanon, and who recently stated that the border between Armenia and Iran is effectively non-existent due to the complicated surface geometry of the region, such plans could not be even dreamed of. Peace and stability are required for the implementation of such projects, but given the unyielding stance of Azerbaijan in the issue of Nagorno Karabakh and its rapid militarization, the republic of Nagorno Karabakh in its present-day borders is a significant element of maintaining the balance of forces in the region.
Ter-Petrosian’s chances of winning the election are as good as nil. According to serious observers, in reality he can only count on the support of not more than a fraction of several percents of the electorate. His only hope is provoking meetings in the streets, pumping up destructive emotions, provoking dissent in the armed forces and law enforcement agencies and what is more dangerous, fanning parochial sentiment (for example, using the scenario of Aiastan – Karabakh setoff), the distinguishing feature of Ter-Petrosian’s “leadership” (especially in the last period of his presidency). Such event would inevitably throw the country back to late 1980s, the period of general upheaval, revolution-like street meetings that pushed him up to the top of presidential power in 1991. Such upheavals spell no good whatever.
Significant effort will be made to dupe the republic‘s citizens. This is an organic component of a possible scenario of the internal political destabilisation. The potential role of the indefatigable minority charged ideologically and amply fed from outside in both organisational and financial terms. In the event anyone else but Ter-Petrosian win the elections Western observers could come up with a bulletproof statement acknowledging their results as illegitimate. For greater persuasiveness some exit-pool results can be presented that would allegedly unequivocally support the “right” candidate. The outer legitimisation of the capture of political authority usually goes hand in hand with a strong information and propaganda pressure, including diplomatic channels (statements of official representatives of the U.S. State Department, PACE and OSCE foreign observers). What will be important at that stage will be the final result, hectic work to fit Armenia into the pro-Western “sanitary cordon” along the borders of Russia and Iran, whereas the actual transparency of the elections and presence or absence of falsifications will have no meaning whatsoever?
The Russian presence in the Transcaucasia in the wake of the hasty and ill thought-out withdrawal of troops from Georgia as well as the forced Azerbaijan’s western drift (the summit of “the Caspian group of Five” would hardly reverse this process) is safeguarded, first and foremost, by union relations with Armenia and mutually advantageous cooperation with Iran (which still is to take its final shape). Implementation of major economic projects with the Russian participation in this region is hardly feasible due to the absence of Russia’s firm military and political positions. So Moscow is interested in the maintenance of stability in Armenia, continuity of its policies after the presidential elections and the continued presence in power of forces oriented toward consolidation of union relations with Russia. It is in Russia’s interests to back Armenia in this complicated period, promoting the smooth-going inner political processes in that country.
Moscow’s clear and unambiguous position in the eventuality of boosted attempts to shake Armenian situation during the pre-election period would by and large be decisive for ensuring stability both in that republic and in the Caucasus.
As anticipated, Azerbaijan has raised the ante by attacking the Armenian positions in the Martakert region of Karabagh, certainly encouraged and emboldened by the internal turmoil in Armenia. This is a loss of wills across the lines of the ceasefire, and a more dangerous escalation of hostilities may be in the offing, if the war planners in Baku determine that the Armenian government is too weak to retaliate to a major onslaught. While countries, like Azerbaijan, can get away with murder, because of the oil factor or strategic advantage, Western powers are quick to admonish Armenia with impunity, at the first sign of any infraction. And that may have long-term political and economic impact on the country.
The chorus of external condemnations has already begun, with a spark from none other than the former president and recently-defeated presidential candidate, Levon Ter Petrossian. Indeed, on March 5, an op-ed article signed by the first president appeared in the Washington Post and subsequently circulated in the news media. Of course, no one would like to see a state of emergency imposed in Armenia, crippling the normal course of life, but Ter Petrossian himself must be the last one to complain about it, since in 1990 he was the one who ordered armored cars to crush the demonstrations, following rigged elections. If his actions were justified at that time, what other alternative was left to the present government to calm the situation?
But what is more dangerous is to invite foreign governments to interfere in the internal situation of the country and use their leverage to warn the government against its antidemocratic actions. Besides the political pressures, the most effective ways for the regional or world powers is to use their economic leverage, on which hinges Armenia’s lifeline and the future. The European Union has many grants, but the most significant aid comes from the US through its annual aid package, which is already dwindling from year to year. But what is most dangerous is the Millennium Challenge project, which is contingent upon Armenia’s democratic process and economic reform. That is the most effective weapon in the arsenal of the Bush administration, which is significantly delaying to recognize the election results and congratulate the new president.
Ter-Petrossian blames the West for "the deafening silence," all the while criticizing the OSCE observers for approving the election results. He further appeals to the US government by asking a particular action. "What do the people of Armenia expect from the West, and the United States in particular? At the very least, we expect a strong and unequivocal condemnation of the violence that occurred on March 1… This condemnation should accompany a sternwarning…" Ter-Petrossian’s popularity is not in question here, nor would any one try to applaud the emergency role.
But what is very serious is to appeal to outside forces, which are looking for any pretext to tighten the noose around Armenia and strangulate it economically. The US and Russia have a confrontational posture in the Southern Caucasus and the Cold War era is returning to that region. Armenia’s cordial ties with Russia and economic relations with Iran are not looked upon favorably in Washington, despite the assurances that the US administration "understands" the underlying causes of those relations. When push comes to shove, Armenia’s lobbying power in the US may easily be overrun. Two days later, Ter-Petrossian’s request from the US is echoed in a nasty editorial on March 7, in the New York Times, under the heading "Dark Days in Armenia." It is significant to note that Turkey’s brutal war against the Kurdish minority, which has caused 40,000 deaths has not yet deserved that kind of characterization in the editorial columns of the Times.
The Times editorial specifically addresses the most vulnerable aspect of the US-Armenian relations: "Armenia, embroiled in a lengthy standoff with neighboring Azerbaijan, is relatively isolated in its own region and especially values its great relations with the United States," according to the editorial. It then talks about inviting the Bush administration to hit where it hurts most: "the main responsibility lies with Armenia’s government leaders, and it is to them that the White House must address its protests." And of course we know the nature of these "protests;" to deny beleaguered Armenia economic help. The continuation of the crisis is to no one’s advantage and it will damage Armenia irreparably, which had just begun to give signals of economic recovery.
The crisis can only be resolved internally by engaging opposing domestic groups. Any outside interference may only further exacerbate the already tense situation and lead nowhere. In addition to media orchestration, rallies are being organized on the West Coast to amplify the media furor and to damage Armenia’s standing in the political arena. The protests are mainly organized by expatriates, driven mostly by the guilt feeling of having abandoned the homeland. The same masses of expatriates were vehemently against Ter- Petrossian, when he was in power. It is time to sober up to stop undermining the foundations of Armenia’s statehood and denying its population direly needed economic recovery. Armenians seem to be their worst enemies.
Now he has come to Armenia to instruct L. Ter-Petrosyan how to wash the brains of young people and set up 3-4 youth groups or, as the say, youth movements which should grow like mushrooms after rain. They practically consist of the same people but bear different names, such as Begins, Now, Get up, We, etc. It should be noted that before leaving for the United States (May 10-12, 2008), David Shahnazaryan - L. Ter-Petrosyan's representative, visited Georgia with the purpose of receiving a political orientation, and there, he had a meeting with such key figures of the Georgian revolution as Ilvlian Khaindrava, Nougzar Gogorishvili, Georg- Khoutsishvili, Vakhtang Kolbaya, Arnold Stepanyan and last but not the least, Ukrainian representatives Dmitry Potekhin and his assistant Alexandra Delemenchouk. The meeting took place in one of the local revolutionary headquarters operating under the financial support of Soros foundation. According to available information, the participants of the meeting held in Tbilisi on May 10 made a decision that D. Potekhin and his group should submit to the center of colored revolutions a relevant report on Armenia and receive instructions from there for initiating certain activities in our country. After the meeting, D. Shahnazaryan returned to Armenia and informed L. Ter-Petrosyan of the results.
By the instruction of the latter, D. Shahnazaryan put through L. Zourabyan and D. Potekhin with each other. D. Potekhin left Tbilisi for Ukraine and, after submitting relevant reports, instructed him from one of the colored revolution centers of Warsaw to go to Armenia and initiate the process. On May 25, D. Potekhin and his assistant Alexandra Demenchouk left Kiev for Tbilisi and, with the help of Arnold Stepanyan, Head of Multi-National Georgian organization (which receives funding from Soros), got in touch with L. Zourabyan, LTP's representative. A day later, on May 26, the vanguards arrived in Armenia. According to our information, they first met with L. Zourabyan and Arman Mousinyan and last but not the least, had a meeting in L. Ter-Petrosyan's private residence. On the same day after the confidential meeting, they crossed the Armenian-Georgian border in a car with darkened windows and returned to Tbilisi.
The visit bore a strictly practical and pragmatic character. As to what agreements were achieved in the meeting between L. Ter-Petrosyan and D. Potekhin, is unknown even to the people who have the closest ties with the ex-President. However, based on available information, it is possible to have an idea as to what priority Dima Potekhin has established for the Armenian opposition. That's to say, to organize campaigns with the participation of small groups of individuals around issues arousing concern in society, with the purpose of undermining the law enforcement system and the authorities. For instance, the groups consisting of 25-30 people should dress up and hold 3 campaigns: send SMS messages to appoint a meeting near one of the crowded metro stations, dress up like prisoners and chant the following words for an hour, We protest against the President; we feel as though we were prisoners, and our country had turned into a prison, etc.
Dressed up in white T-shirts, the same group shall, within the same day, organize an environmental campaign and then, choose another dressing and hold another campaign for increasing the pensions and so on and so forth. This advisory package was partially transferred to L. Ter-Petrosyan's team by the Ukrainian and Georgian teachers back in mid-February and it was immediately put into practice as a basis. After following L. Ter-Petrosyan's activities for two days consecutively, any citizen, especially a journalist, will understand that they are complying with the instructions of their foreign teacher. And such instructions will become more diverse and aggressive in the near future, and their funding will increase thus becoming permanent. This is why one of the godfathers of the Ukrainian orange revolution arrived in Armenia. L. Ter-Petrosyan's team was instructed to set up 70-100 similar groups consisting of 25-30 people. This is only a small part of the instructions of the political technologists. The main series of events is to be organized in the period between June and August, and the result is anticipated in September in the form of a revolutionary situation.
Let's also add that right after the meeting L. Zourabyan was sent to Moscow on a two-day unscheduled visit, by the instruction of L. Ter-Petrosyan. According to our information, he had a meeting with the individuals recommended by D. Potekhin; these people are to organize the flow of the required financial resources to Armenia. Analyzing the activities of L. Ter-Petrosyan and his supporters, we can definitely state the following: with the help of L. Ter-Petrosyan, a henchman appointed by the West and the Jewish-Masonic lobby, an attempt is being made to proceed with the colored revolution (which began back in September 2007) in Armenia and achieve a final result with the help of a third country (in this particular case, Ukraine); however, the attempts failed in the first stage of the struggle. We can definitely say it will fail at the second stage as well, but everybody will suffer losses during the whole process, and the country will, for some period of time, incur the damages caused by the colored revolutions.
INFO-TÜRK, No 218, January-February 1995
Levon Ter-Petrosyan stage performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYIBZvOcJCA
First, in the estimation of well-informed people, the atmosphere of masonry (its first precondition being the denial of national values) and cosmopolitism has become essentially overwhelming in the ex-President’s family and his surroundings, especially during the recent years. And this has been achieved due to the efforts of L. Ter-Petrosyan’s wife.
That Mr. Ter-Petrosyan’s wife is a Jew has been published in the press many a time. However, we recently managed to find out the real names of Mrs. Ter-Petrosyan and her family members. Her father’s name is Pliskovsky Frayim Abramovich, and here mother’s name is Kourtach Brakha Ibramovna and before marriage, Ms. Lyudmila’s full name was Pliskovsaya Lyudmila Frayimovna. Having grown up in the influential and rich community of the Jews. Lyudmila Ter-Petrosyan has been consistent enough in her efforts of spreading her influence on L. Ter-Petrosyan, his son and his family members.
And here is an interesting fact: after resigning from office, L. Ter-Petorsyan never visited any marz of the country apart from Vayots Dzor. After he and his wife paid several visits to the cemetery of the Jews (situated near the village of Yeghegis), they decided to have it renovated and reconstructed. What’s more, L. Ter-Petrosyan promised the Jewish community that right after being elected a President in 2008 he would deal with the reconstruction of the cemetery in person.
By involving Lyudmila Ter-Petrosyan in the leadership of their infra-structures, the Masonic organizations of the United States, the Russian Federation, Europe and the Near East managed to maintain permanent and reliable ties with Levon Ter-Petrosyan and offer him assistance. When the Jewish flag was waved on the Theatrical Square during his pre-election meetings, nobody paid a special attention to that.
However, the developments following the March 1 incidents make us conduct a more thorough analysis as to why the “liberation movement” was best elucidated especially by those American and Russian media which are under the influence of the Jewish lobby. There were a number of noteworthy facts revealed in the course of the journalistic investigation.
Once we already informed you that the principal goal of L. Ter-Petrosyan’s one-day visit to Moscow (mid-January, 2008) was the meeting with the Vice Chair of the RF right-wing forces Leonid Gozman, a Jew by nationality. Mr. Gozman is also the leader of the St. Petersburg branch as well as one of the entrusted individuals of Alexander Tchoubays, Head of the Russian Energy Systems. Why do you think L. Ter-Petorsyan had a strictly confidential meeting and a tête-à-tête with Leonid Gozman for 6-7 hours?
Let’s also note that L. Gozman and the “Holding” he leads have unlimited political and economic resources; their financial-economic balance and annual circulation make up tens of billions of dollars. Spending a sum of USD 100-200 million for assisting L. Ter-Petorsyan in the Armenian elections was not a great difficulty for this particular structure (which also coordinates the programs of their American and European partners in the CIS countries).
This is the agreement Leonid Gozman and Levon Ter-Petorsyan concluded in January 2008, in a confidential meeting held in Mr. Gozman’s private residence in the vicinities of Moscow. L. Ter-Petorsyan’s electoral campaign was to start in a couple of days’ time, and the sums arrived in time. They entered Armenia through different organizations and were invested in the political process.
The Jewish-Masonic lobby spent USD 65-70 million on L. Ter-Petrosyan’s campaign, and it’s going to spend twice more for achieving its principal-goal, i.e. bringing L. Ter-Petorsyan to power. Those sums enter Armenia through different public organizations, natural persons and artificially created enterprises and are mainly transferred to the closed accounts of “Armeconombank”.
The sums are also periodically given to the emissaries who are sent abroad on mission by Levon Ter-Petrosyan. Then, through different banks, these people transfer the money to Armenia. Why did the representatives of “Great East”, a powerful organization with unlimited financial and political resources, arrive in Armenia in mid-January? What were they planning and agreeing upon with Hovhannes Igityan, an activist standing close to L. Ter-Petorsyan?
Why did the influential Masonic organization operating in the countries of the Near East conduct a series of two-week closed meetings with Hovhannes Igityan, who thereafter started meeting with L. Ter-Petrosyan almost every day? How come that just within a couple of hours on the night of March 2 H. Igityan rapidly left Armenia with the help of large sums and different individuals and found himself in France and then left for Strasburg and Brussels?
How come that Hovhannes Igityan, who was only the Head L. Ter-Petorsyan’s campaign headquarters in Avan district, has had meetings with senior officials in Europe and beginning March 10, has been conducting lobbying among the Parliamentarians of the Council of Europe, representing Armenia exclusively in dark colors? He gave misinformation to CoE Secretary General Terry Davis, Head of PACE Rene van der Linden and different European media representatives and experts who were preparing for the PACE April 17 hearings devoted to Armenia.
Furthermore, the Jewish-Masonic lobby is currently using the same aggressiveness to have the Council of Europe deprive the Armenian delegation of the right to vote. Under whose auspices did H. Igityan implement those “activities”? Of course, through his connections with the Masonic “Great East” organization. As to the details of the process, L. Ter-Petrosyan is fully aware of them. H. Igityan kept in touch with him from Europe on daily basis.
It will be extremely interesting to ask L. Ter-Petrosyan why the members of the Jewish-American Committee (the second largest Jewish lobbying organization in the United States and Europe) are arriving in Armenia on May 27-28? It should be noted that those arriving in Armenia are not ordinary members of the organization but rather, its leaders, i.e. Peter Rosenblat, Barry Jabes and John Waters, as well as American-Armenian translator Ross Vardanyan who will accompany them.
According to available information, the leaders of the Jewish organization want L. Ter-Petrosyan to report them on his accomplishments; thereafter, they will specify the ex-President’s further steps in the following three directions:
1. Armenia’s domestic problems
2. US-Armenian relations
3. Turkish-Armenian relations
If L. Ter-Petrosyan expresses exhaustive and satisfactory attitude towards those issues, the political and financial assistance will be undoubtedly continued, and the US-RF segment of the Jewish chain will open a “second respiratory tract” for L. Ter-Petorsyan’s political activity.VREZH AHARONYAN
Armenia’s prime minister also positively assessed the level of economic cooperation between the two countries. “The current state of Armenian-Russian relations satisfies both sides. But these relations need constant attention, we intend to deepen them in the future,” Sargsyan said. On January 28, Russian State Duma Speaker Boriz Gryzlov paid a visit to Armenia. As the leader of Russia’s ruling United Russia party, Gryzlov then signed cooperation deals with Armenia’s governing coalition members – the Sargsyan-led Republican Party and the Prosperous Armenia party. Both Gryzlov and Zubkov, however, stopped short of overtly declaring the Kremlin’s endorsement for Armenia’s incumbent. While Armenian media were more restrained in giving evaluations to the visit of the second senior Russian statesmen to Armenia in the pre-election period, the Russian press overtly described it as “promotional”.
In a preview of Zubkov’s visit to Armenia, Russia’s Kommersant newspaper, in particular, wrote: “Zubkov’s visit at the height of the pre-election campaign is an unequivocal display of Moscow’s support. In reality, it is more needed by Sargsyan, since presidential elections are only two weeks away, and the incumbent prime minister is considered a frontrunner in the race.” However, Eduard Sharmazanov, spokesman for Sargsyan’s party, downplayed the "promotional" impact of the Russian premier’s visit to Armenia. “I don’t think it is a PR action, it is a working meeting,” Sharmazanov told RFE/RL yesterday. “I think the visit is another manifestation of cooperation and once again testifies that Armenian-Russian cooperation is on very serious bases both in Armenia and in the Russian Federation.”
“The official position of Russia coincides with the unofficial position of Russia,” Lavrov replied. “We are sincerely interested in seeing Armenia stable and prosperous and seeing it continue to move down the path of reforms. As far as we can see, the results [of those reforms] are already felt in the socioeconomic sphere.” “So we wish Armenia success in this endeavor,” he added. “We want the next phase of the constitutional process to lead to the creation of conditions for a continued movement in that direction.”
Kocharian is thought to have enjoyed Russian backing throughout his nearly decade-long presidency. Both he and Sarkisian stand for Armenia’s continued military alliance with Russia, while seeking closer security ties with the West. The Kocharian administration has also helped to significantly boosted Russia’s economic presence in the country in recent years. The Russian minister’s visit to Armenia was officially dedicated to the 15th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two former Soviet republics. The unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was high on the agenda of his talks with Oskanian. Russia co-heads the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe together with the United States and France.
During his meetings with officials in Armenia, including with President Robert Kocharyan and Parliament Speaker Tigran Torosyan, Gryzlov, whose party is the main support base of Russia’s outgoing President Vladimir Putin and his likely successor Dmitry Medvedev, did not speak overtly about preferences for the February 19 presidential election in Armenia. But MP and Prosperous Armenia Party member Naira Zohrabyan told ArmeniaNow that Gryzlov’s visit in the middle of the campaign and United Russia’s agreement with the Armenian coalition parties in itself implies that “Russia is eager to see the continuity of government in Armenia.” However, another member of the party, Aram Safaryan, told ArmeniaNow that the agreement is not connected with the presidential race in Armenia and that preparations for the document had been made for the past 10 months.
Armen Ashotyan, a member of parliament representing the Republican Party of Armenia, says that Gryzlov’s visit is “of an official nature.” “However, on the other hand, the timing of such visits is not accidental,” Ashotyan said in an ArmeniaNow interview. “It is possible to look for and find political subtexts implying Russia’s assistance to its [favored] candidate, in particular in the context of the signing of the agreement between United Russia and [Armenia’s] coalition parties.”
Speaking about the development of Armenian-Russian relations, Kocharyan expressed his satisfaction with the bilateral economic ties which, he said, have become “the motive force of Armenian-Russian cooperation, as a result of which Russian capital has been involved in numerous sectors of Armenia’s economy.” Kocharyan, in particular, emphasized the “dynamically developing” activities in such spheres as energy and transport. Gryzlov’s visit to Armenia is his first official visit to a foreign country in the capacity of Speaker of the newly elected State Duma. During one of his previous visits to Armenia in late 2004, Gryzlov stated, to controversial reaction, that “Armenia is Russia’s outpost in the South Caucasus”.
Yerevan, Armenia. I have been criticizing this government and predicting such an outcome during recent years. And, by the way, where was Levon Ter Petrossian all this time and why didn't he raise his voice against any injustice during these long 10 years?! I've been warning about the imminent breakup of the seeming stability again and again in my books, articles and interviews published in Armenian, Russian and English for the last decade. Moreover, they've been read by some of the highest representatives of the current establishment. I had a couple of chances to even personally discuss with some of them the criticality of the situation.
They did not agree that the situation is as bad as I depicted it and were disturbed and irritated. All of my efforts to bring them back to reality have just resulted not only in my further isolation from the centers of decision-making, but also in attempts to silence and marginalize me. Though they've not succeeded, I'm extremely frustrated that all my work has been almost in vain. On February 19, Armenia entered into a completely new and unfavorable phase; the day "X" I was talking about in my "Strategic Gaps" has already arrived.
However, Ter Petrossian and his team did not come "to right the wrongs," but just to exacerbate the situation to the edge. I'm a first-hand eyewitness of these recent events. The major clashes happened just 300 feet from my home and I've been hearing and watching everything from the beginning to the end. That day, Ter Petrossian and his team brought Armenia to the very brink of DISASTER. No one can prove to me that it was the police who instigated the clashes. It was not just a coup attempt, it was a cold-blooded attempt by Ter Petrossian & Co. to instigate a civil war! Ter Petrossian and his team are an immediate and overwhelming national security threat!
Please look at the bigger picture, look at the world powers waging Cold War IN ARMENIA, look at the map again and follow the news about the Azerbaijan's movements and all the preparations to start a war. What if Aliyev starts it now? What would we have? A divided Armenia and a divided Diaspora! Who has pushed the situation so far? Of course, the government has to be blamed for all the corruption and its woeful methods and low level of governance. But Ter Petrossian has clearly and cold-bloodedly targeted the national unity of Armenians! He clearly and cold-bloodedly played on the hayastantzi-gharabaghtzi artificial divide! He and his team clearly and cold-bloodedly instigated the mob to fire and throw grenades on Armenian soldiers.
My street was under the occupation of "revolutionaries" for about 7 hours. They were shouting at us: "come down, join us -- this is an uprising!" They were calling the Armenian soldiers to join them and fire on other Armenian soldiers. Now who can tell me about the facts better? Do you understand what was in stake? And what if just one battalion, or even a platoon joined this uprising? We would have ended up in a real bloody civil war with hundreds killed and mutilated and perhaps Artsakh and Syunik overrun by the enemy! What was Ter Petrossian's sick mind thinking at that time? I need neither to watch Armenian TV for the official version of events nor to read and listen about the ridiculous false versions now being circulated in the web by Ter Petrossian's supporters.
Please remember that Armenia is your only Homeland, irrespective of the government. Please do not alienate either yourselves or the diasporans from the homeland. Do not alienate yourselves from other Armenians. After reading my article, my dear friend from Canada has labeled me "a traitor of the nation"! Doesn't this remind you of good old 1937? Just one result of the Ter Petrossian's comeback into the big politics with his neo-bolshevik ideas: "Who is not with us, is against us"! But we are a small endangered nation with an endangered HOMELAND! The situation is extremely difficult and there is no easy way out of it. The solution that is most often being offered -- the resignation of Serj Sargsyan and new elections is not a solution. We simply cannot afford months and years of additional turmoil.
Երևան. մանրամասն մարտի մեկի իրադարձությունների մասին (2): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bU__v...eature=related
Երևան. մանրամասն մարտի մեկի իրադարձությունների մասին (3): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccYoo...eature=related
Երևան. մանրամասն մարտի մեկի իրադարձությունների մասին (4): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tI2E...eature=related
Recently in the news:
The Armenian authorities need to hold free elections and embark on other “deep” reforms if they are to fulfill President Serzh Sarkisian’s recent pledge to turn Armenia into a full-fledged democracy, U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch said on Monday. Yovanovitch also urged to them to strengthen the Armenian civil society, saying that is “vital” for the country’s democratization, prosperity and even national security. In a December speech before members of his Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), Sarkisian said the existing political order could lead to “stagnation” without a “deepening of democracy.” He called for a “consistent introduction of European standards into all areas of our state, public and economic lives.”
That, explained the diplomat, means “applying laws consistently to everyone” and holding elections that “meet not only international standards but also the expectations and demands of the Armenian people.” She also stressed the importance of “ensuring that peaceful, lawful assemblies will not be harassed or broken up,” expanding media freedom and pluralism and punishing “criminals who assault journalists.”
“What happens to the young if their entrepreneurial dreams are crushed by unfair competition against politically connected businesses, or if expressing controversial ideas puts them and their families at risk of retribution?” Yovanovitch asked rhetorically. “What happens if individuals can’t organize and lobby their government, or if the elections to choose their leaders don’t appear to be free and fair? What happens if they are unable to hear, and share, a variety of opinions in the media?”
The United States has criticized the conduct of virtually all major Armenian elections, including the February 2008 vote that formalized the handover of power from former President Robert Kocharian to Sarkisian. In its annual global reports, the U.S. State Department has also been very critical of the current and previous Armenian governments’ human rights records. Still, the main opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) has repeatedly accused Washington and the West in general of being too lenient towards the Sarkisian administration for geopolitical reasons. The HAK has also dismissed Sarkisian’s democratization pledges as a gimmick.
Armenia Stuck Between Stagnation And 'Mubarakization'
Leaders of the three coalition parties aligned signed a new memorandum on cooperation on February 17 pledging not to compete against each other in the May 2012 parliamentary elections and to back incumbent President Sarkisian for a second term in the presidential elections the following year. Opposition parties and individual politicians across the political spectrum have slammed that agreement as implying that the three parties -- Sarkisian's Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), oligarch Gagik Tsarukian's Bargavach Hayastan (Prosperous Armenia, BHK), and National Security Council Secretary Artur Baghdasarian's Orinats Yerkir (Country of Law party) -- intend to orchestrate the outcome of both polls to their own advantage. Whether the opposition's indignation can be parlayed into a broad coalition alliance for the 2012 parliamentary elections remains an open question, however.
The February 17 memorandum notes the coalition's success over the past three years in ensuring stability despite the August 2008 war over South Ossetia and the global economic crisis. It affirms the parties' shared commitment to unity in the face of unspecified external threats, and to giving new impetus to ongoing reforms aimed at "progressive development" and raising living standards. It stresses that none of the three parties aspires in the 2012 parliamentary election to increase its parliamentary representation at the expense of the other two. At the same time, it predicts that the systematic implementation of reforms will increase public trust in the government, a trust that will allegedly be reflected in an even larger share of parliament mandates for the coalition parties in the next election.
At present, HHK has 63 seats in the 131-member National Assembly, the BHK -- 26, and Orinats Yerkir -- eight, giving the pro-government coalition a comfortably overwhelming majority of 97 seats in the 131-seat parliament. The Armenian Revolutionary Federation--Dashnaktsutiun (HHD), which joined the coalition in 2008 but quit a year later to protest the terms on which Sarkisian sought to establish formal relations with Turkey, holds 16 mandates, and the sole opposition Zharangutiun (Heritage) party represented in the parliament, led by U.S.-born former Foreign Minister Raffi Hovannisian, has seven seats.
It was the overly confident assertion that the ruling coalition should have no problem in increasing its parliamentary representation that outraged the Armenian opposition, insofar as it implies that that the outcome of that vote has already been determined, and that in order to achieve it, the authorities will again resort to the kind of procedural violations that marred the previous parliamentary ballot in May 2007. On that occasion, the OSCE/ODIHR monitoring mission concluded that while "the elections for the National Assembly were conducted largely in accordance with OSCE commitments and other international standards for democratic election, however, the stated intention by the Armenian authorities to conduct an election in line with OSCE commitments and international standards was not fully realized."
The OSCE/ODIHR report went on to detail shortcomings related to campaign regulation and deliberate blatant violations by precinct election commission personnel witnessed by observers during the vote count and tabulation, including moving ballots between piles, adding in invalid ballot papers, and amending or entirely rewriting protocols listing the number of votes cast for individual political parties. Both former President Robert Kocharian and BHK leader Tsarukian have recently affirmed in public statements the need to ensure that the May 2012 ballot is free, fair, and democratic. "Elections must not disrupt the political calm, must not split Armenian society. Political forces in our country must fight exclusively in accordance with the democratic rules of the game," Tsarukian told a BHK party congress on February 12.
But in a statement posted on February 18 on the website of the Civilitas Foundation that he now heads, former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian argued that the coalition memorandum "highlights the authorities' disregard of democracy, elections and the public will…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."
Vahan Hovannisian, who heads the HHD parliament faction, pointed out on February 18 that the wording of the coalition memorandum implies that the coalition will field a single list of candidates for the 90 parliament seats allocated under the proportional system. But on February 21, both Tsarukian's spokesman Khachik Galstian and HHK deputy chairman Razmik Zohrabian told journalists that the decision whether or not to field a single list of candidates will depend on how the political situation evolves. Galstian predicted that if the three parties compete separately, "their votes will be added up, and as a result, the coalition will have a greater representation in the National Assembly."
Two other prominent HHD members, Armen Rustamian and Hrant Markarian, said the party will launch a broad-based campaign to raise public awareness of the pernicious consequences of electoral fraud and vote-buying. Rustamian stressed that the HHD is ready to cooperate in promoting free and fair elections with any and all opposition forces, including the HAK. HAK spokesman Levon Zurabian dismissed Rustamian's offer out of hand on February 24, accusing the HHD of "actively participating" in election fraud in the past.
The February 17 memorandum has been widely construed as a strategic concession by Tsarukian, whom many observers hitherto suspected might leave the coalition and align with former President Kocharian to facilitate the latter's return to big time politics. Yet the antagonism between the ruling HHK and BHK remains profound, reflecting the natural rivalry between Sarkisian and Kocharian. To date, however, their differences and divisions have largely been expressed through a fight by proxy, with neither man openly or directly attacking the other, at least not publicly.
That deeper conflict surfaced last month in the form of a war of words between the two rival camps, with Tsarukian stating in an interview that Kocharian could, if he wished, have easily "taken over" the HHK. After that comment triggered indignation and uproar from leading HHK members, Kocharian himself went even further by claiming that he personally approved of each and every decision and appointment within the HHK during his tenure. Despite a subsequent retreat by Tsarukian that was capped by his signature on the new coalition pledge only 10 days later, the wounds remain fresh.
This deeper division is disquieting, for two reasons. First, this is the first time in Armenian political history that the real conflict is within the ruling coalition itself, and not the traditional Armenian confrontation between the authorities and the opposition. This reflects not simply a divergence of interests, but also an increasingly heated competition for power.
Secondly, it is significant in terms of timing. With a new election cycle approaching, the conflict has been driven underground, with the superficial coalition agreement merely serving to paper over public differences. In addition, pressure from rising food prices, widening disparities of wealth and income, and a bleak economic outlook are combining to place an added burden on the government, which is already weakened by a lack of legitimacy. In fact, this economic pressure is more serious than any challenges from the virtual political stalemate that has polarized Armenian society since the 2008 postelection crisis.
Against this backdrop, Ter-Petrossian warned on February 18 of the possible "Mubarakization" of Armenia, drawing parallels with the recent revolutionary unrest in Egypt, where socioeconomic demands spurred the downfall of what many assumed was an authoritarian but stable regime. For Sarkisian, the imperative now is steering a course of between stagnation and "Mubarakization." This would entail not just embarking on reforms radical enough to meet at least partially mounting popular demands for real change and deeper reform, including at least some of the demands Ter-Petrossian tabled on March 1, but also a new dose of bold political will. Above all, Sarkisian should finally move to circumscribe, if not neutralize, the power and wealth of the country's now entrenched oligarchs and corrupted vested interests, although this may be too much to expect.
At the same time, the Armenian government is also facing renewed pressure over Nagorno-Karabakh, especially as Sarkisian's gamble on forging a foreign policy success with Turkey fell flat after Turkey failed to live up to expectations. The leadership of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic issued a statement two weeks ago panning a recent International Crisis Group report that called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to sign a document on the basic principles for resolving the conflict peacefully and undertake confidence-building steps to reduce tensions and avert a resumption of fighting.
Sarkisian then launched a cabinet reshuffle involving three key ministries, dismissing Economy Minister Nerses Yeritsian, appointing current Finance Minister Tigran Davtian as his successor, and naming Armenian Central Bank official Vache Gabrielian as the new finance minister. Party leaders also endorsed the president's choice of Hrair Tovmasian as the new justice minister, filling a position that remained vacant since Gevorg Danielian was fired on December 9 for what the government described as his "failure to punish" a senior subordinate allegedly involved in "violent and abusive conduct" (although that lesser official has not yet been dismissed or reprimanded).
The appointment of the new justice minister was widely welcomed, as Tovmasian is recognized as a prominent expert on constitutional law and has been outspoken in his calls for deeper reform and the need to strengthen the rule of law in Armenia. Both Beglarian's dismissal and the cabinet reshuffle were undertaken with the unanimous approval of the HHK. It also seems quite likely that more cabinet-level officials (namely the ministers of agriculture and health, as well as the national police chief) may be replaced in coming months. Two senior police officials notorious for their brutality against opposition protesters have been dismissed and now face prosecution.
Signs Of A Political Opening
In a speech on December 18 during the celebration marking the 20th anniversary of the founding of the HHK, Sarkisian warned that the current political situation could lead to "stagnation" without the desired "deepening of democracy" and "consistent introduction of European standards into all spheres of our state, public and economic life." Sarkisian called for the introduction of "European-style democracy and the rule of law" as a basic "requirement of society," adding that "European rules of the game" must prevail.
Sarkisian also formally pledged to "democratize Armenia's political system" and called for a "civilized dialogue" among all political parties and groups. He affirmed his "respect" for those opposition forces (clearly meaning the HHD and Zharangutiun) that engage in "honest" criticism of the government. He said "their word carries a lot of weight in the elaboration of our programs." By contrast, Sarkisian harshly criticized Ter-Petrossian's HAK for its partisan and "unconstructive" approach.
Overall, the speech created the impression of a new political opening on the part of the authorities, an impression subsequently confirmed by the introduction of a gradual amnesty for 10 of the 12 opposition activists and supporters (whom some consider "political prisoners" in light of the politically related charges on which they were sentenced) detained during the March 2008 postelection crisis.
Taken together, Sarkisian's moves over the past three months suggest a new sense of political will to move beyond the political parameters of the March 2008 postelection crisis that have hindered him since his inauguration. It is also conceivable that Sarkisian -- who has the reputation of a successful gambler -- may call both Ter-Petrossian's and Tsarukian's bluff by announcing pre-term parliamentary elections in the coming year, in order to more fully consolidate his power and position prior to the 2013 presidential election and to further distance himself from his lingering lack of legitimacy stemming from the 2008 postelection crisis.
-- Liz Fuller and Richard Giragosian
Ter-Petrosian’s Ship Has Sailed
On Thursday, a spokesman for Levon Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress said the Armenian Revolutionary Federation had no moral right to kick off a campaign for voter rights, claiming that the party has “always stood by those responsible for falsifications.” This, coming from the entity that invented vote rigging in Armenia, the legacy of which has haunted all elections. The visual is as clear as day: Levon Ter-Petrosian, his then interior minister Vano Siradeghian, who is still wanted by Interpol and other top-level officials, were toasting with champaign their rigged victory in the 1996 presidential elections at the presidential palace. Outside, tanks had rolled onto Yerevan streets, a state of emergency was declared and the real winner of that election, Vazgen Manoukian was barricaded and not allowed entry into the parliament.
The aforementioned incident of course came two years after Levon Ter-Petrosian went on national television on December 28, 1994, and through a decree shut down the ARF and all its affiliates—including publications, publication houses—ransacking and arresting people who had but a marginal affiliation with the party. This “moral” act came on the heels of his other televised address, in June 1994, when he rolled up his sleeves and, through another presidential decree, ousted then ARF Bureau chairman Hrair Maroukhian from Armenia on the eve of the party’s World Congress, which was to be the first to be held in the homeland since Armenia’s independence.
Let’s not forget that it was Ter-Petrosian and his cronies, who pressured by outside entities and foreign interests, were on the verge of selling out Karabakh and were adherents to Paul Goble’s plan of exchanging Lachin for Meghri and put a hasty end to the conflict, which had become a thorn on his side. It was also the same group of “right-minded” leaders who sparked the Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Committee, the basis of which have become Turkey’s argument for continuing its denial of the Armenian Genocide.
And now, this group of self-serving anti-nationalist forces has the audacity to preach morality to a population that was so demoralized that it left Armenia by droves. This is the same group, under whose leadership opposition forces were jailed, tortured and, often assassinated, in an effort to clear the arena of obstacles so, without resistance, they could continue looting the national wealth. When the ARF announced its voter right campaign last week, it was clear in articulating that the movement would be a popular one and would involve every single citizen of the country. This movement aims to empower voters to make educated choices at the ballot box in upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections, as well as in all other elections, be they for local governance or regional and territorial leadership.
That is why, the ARF was also vocally opposed last week’s announcement by Armenia’s ruling coalition that they would contest the upcoming votes as one entity and endorse President Serzh Sarkisian’s reelection bid for 2013. The coalition’s announcement, as well as the Armenian National Congress’ efforts to single itself out as the only opposition force in the country are by nature—and practice—undemocratic and do not, in any way, support or advocate the national aspirations of the Armenian people. It is important to note, that the ARF campaign is not urging voters to cast their ballots for an ARF candidate or slate, but rather for the voter to be informed enough about his/her choices to make the vote count and not be swayed by bribes or threats that might disengage the population from the process.
Essentially, the ARF campaign aims to crush the very election processes that were instituted by Ter-Petrosian and his criminal gang, and that have unfortunately taken root in Armenian society and its system of governance. To counter that, a popular movement is needed and the ARF aims to unite all forces behind this idea. No one is buying this “emperor’s new clothes” routine. The Armenian National Congress is the continuation of the same destructive policies and culture of intimidation that was borne out of the Levon Ter-Petrosian regime. Neither he nor any of his followers who parrot his claims have the right to comment on morality or preach democracy. That ship sailed a long time ago.
The domestic political developments in Armenia are connected with social problems, President of the Constitutional Right Union Hayk Babukhanyan said, underlining that the government should take steps to improve the social conditions in the country. “Our country does not need a chaos,” Hayk Babukhanyan said, recalling that three years ago, when Levon Ter-Petrosyan was receiving financing from Turkey and Soros-like funds, he wanted to organize a revolution in the country, leading Armenia towards NATO and away from Russia at the cost of Karabakh. Speaking about the coalition agreement, Babukhanyan said “the coalition thus reunited, taking into consideration the internal and external challenges.”
According to the information at the Hayots Ashkarh daily’s disposal, the wife and son of the Armenian first President Levon Ter-Petrosyan left for U.S. via Yerevan-London-Los Angeles on February 16. Ter-Petrosyan has an intention to aggravate the situation in the country and has a good idea of its consequences and risks. This was the reason he decided to send his family members abroad in this important stage of the revolutionary movement. It is not ruled out that he will send the rest of his family members to U.S. Armenian National Congress plans activities, which is fraught with unpredictable consequences. This is the reason Ter-Petrosyan ensured the security of his son and wife. “It is noteworthy, they left the country before March 1 bloody events,” the daily writes.