Armenia on the eve of its presidential elections - February, 2013

Before I get into my commentary for the month of February, I would like to briefly address the incident that took place in Yerevan on the evening of January 31, 2013.  I do not believe what happened to Paruyr Hayrikian was a random shooting, nor do I believe it was a mafia/business related incident. This was clearly an attempted assassination perpetrated against a well known presidential candidate and an opposition figure.
Someone, somewhere is trying to cause political unrest in Armenia on the eve of its presidential elections. But who? Who's interest is it to undermine Armenia's political stability?
Paruyr Hayrikian is a well known Soviet era dissident. Unfortunately, Hayrikian is also well known for his anti-Russian extremism and his close contacts in Washington. Although Hayrikian is tolerated and somewhat respected in Armenian society, when it comes to serious political matters, a majority of Armenians dislike him and/or don't trust him. Even under the best of circumstances, Hayrikian would not have gotten anything past the single digits in a presidential election in Armenia, as recent polling data have suggested. Therefore, Hayrikian did not pose any threat to the incumbent president or to the Armenian state or to Russian interests in Armenia.
Having said that, if there is something we don't know and the shooting was indeed carried-out by Armenian or Russian state interests, then it was most probably meant to be a drastic message of some sort; perhaps a warning to the West to keep their men out of the political process in Armenia. As we know, the geopolitical situation in the region is extremely tense and officials in Armenia and Russia may not be taking any chances.
But ask yourselves, why would Russian officials decide to do something like this now when the presidential election is near, Armenia is stable and their man in Yerevan is assured to win? What's more, if Moscow really wanted to eliminate one of Washington's men in Armenia, they would have gotten rid of Raffi Hovanissian or Vartan Oskanian first because they are more active than Hayrikian and they have more popularity. Let's also be clear minded enough to realize that if security services of Russia really wanted Hayrikian dead, he would be dead. Moreover, why would Armenian officials, who are firmly in power, seek to cause unrest in the country when the political discourse seemed to be going quite well?
Of course there is always the possibility that this shooting was carried out by Azeri interests. But do the Azeris have the courage or the capability to attempt something like this? Armenian and Russian intelligence services are very good at tracking their counterparts in Azerbaijan. Therefore, Baku would not attempt something like this because of the fear of reprisals. I personally think Aliyev is too concerned about his power and wealth to risk something as serious as this.
For argument sake, I must also state that there are some who are now suggesting that the shooting may have been a well timed public relations stunt by Hayrikian and his supporters. They are pointing to the nonprofessional nature of the shooting; the type of gun used; Hayrikian's rhetorical demeanor during his interviews from his hospital bed; and his wound (said to be a small bullet wound in his "soft tissue" away from vital organs) as indicators that his wound may have been self-inflicted.
However, a more plausible theory in my opinion is that elements within Armenia's political opposition and/or Western interests may have been behind the shooting. This could very well have been one of Washington's Black Operations or something that someone within the Levon Petrosian camp would attempt with the intention of causing unrest.

In other words, they (Western interests or the political opposition in Armenia ) shot one of their own (an opposition figure who didn't have a promising political career in Armenia anyway) to put international pressure on the incumbent president ahead of the presidential elections and to incite political unrest. This may have also been done to smear Armenia's name and to forever taint the up-coming elections, similar to what they did back in 2008.
Therefore, we are faced with the following plausible scenarios: The shooting was mafia/business related; it was carried-out by Azeris/Turks; it was carried out by Russians; it was carried out Westerners; it was carried out by elements within the Armenian government; it was carried out by elements within Armenia's political opposition; it was self-inflicted.
Regardless of who or what was behind this act, let's now see how our self-destructive peasantry in Armenia's so-called political opposition will act. Will they go hysterical over this incident? How much bad coverage will the presidential elections now attract from Western news sources and from so-called "watch groups"? The following may be early examples of what I am talking about -
"Exiled Armenian Writers": https://www.facebook.com/pages/Exiled-Armenian-Writers/141373582542556
In the following video clip, Paruyr Hayrikian is heard blaming "imperialist Russia" for his ordeal in an interview with the CIA front office in Armenia known as «Ազատություն» ռադիոկայան -
Hayrikian Sees Armenian Election Delay After Shooting:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5HfXV9yDwo
I reiterate: Although Hayrikian had been under Russian surveillance for decades due to his irrational Russophobia and his close ties with Washington, and Moscow had/has ample reasons to dislike him, I do not think Russians - "imperialists" or otherwise - were behind the shooting. Moscow has nothing to gain from eliminating a political nobody or from causing unrest inside Armenia at this stage in time. Like I said, if Moscow wanted him dead, Hayrikian would have been dead a very long time ago and not lying in his hospital bed incoherently ranting about "imperialist Russians" being behind the shooting. Moreover, why would the incumbent president in Armenia want to do this now and risk serious unrest just ahead of the presidential elections - especially when Paruyr Hayrikian posed absolutely no competition to him?
Just when President Sargsyan thought he had tamed the political field in Armenia to his advantage, just when the Western-led political opposition in Armenia seemed impotent, we now suddenly have something that is potentially very explosive in Yerevan. Until this incident, the election campaign was going unusually too well for President Sargsyan and nothing seemed to be standing in the way of his reelection two weeks from now.
This clearly was an attempt to cause political unrest inside Armenia ahead of the up-coming presidential elections. This hit may have been ordered by Western interests, or perhaps by elements within Armenia's political opposition. They basically shot one of their own in an attempt to foment unrest in the country. In other words, the electoral process in Armenia was proceeding too quietly, too peacefully and the incumbent president was assured to win. Something had to give.
Ask yourselves: who gains from unrest in Armenia?
The answer is: the political opposition in Armenia and the Anglo-American-Zionist alliance and their regional Turkic and Islamic friends. Therefore, Yerevan needs to recognize that someone, somewhere is again seeking to cause unrest in Armenia and therefore handle the aftermath of this serious incident very carefully.
Nevertheless, I am glad Hayrikian is alive. Regardless of his obvious Western connections and his extremism and irrationality vis-à-vis Russia and the political discourse in Yerevan, he had played a very important, historic role in Armenia during the initial stages of the republic's independence from the Soviet Union. Paruyr Hayrikian deserves a quiet and peaceful retirement. I hope he finally comes to his good senses as a result of this ordeal and quietly disappears from the political scene in Armenia, although from the looks of his Radio-CIA interview this may be wishful thinking on my part.

In the meanwhile, however, we Armenians cannot allow this incident to derail Armenia's political course. More importantly, we cannot allow this incident to undermine Armenia's precious political stability.
Moving on. The following are my thoughts regarding President Serj Sargsyan and the prevailing political climate in Armenia on the eve of Armenia's presidential elections.

Do we really need Democracy? 

With my previous blog entry I attempted to point out to the reader that in the developed world (i.e. the western world) elections or limited forms of democracy are merely tools that the firmly entrenched elite exploits to goad the sheeple (i.e. citizenry) into picking between one of two or several hand selected political parties. I attempted to point out that the average citizen is ill prepared to participate in serious decision making in politics. I attempted to point out that the political West uses terms such as "democracy", "free and fair elections" and "human rights" as tools of manipulation and catchphrases to sow unrest in targeted societies. I attempted to point out that top heavy, authoritarian governments are the best form of government for a vast majority of nations on earth. Finally, I also attempted to point out that for newly established or underdeveloped nations (i.e. a vast majority of nations on earth today) democracy can be a very destructive form of governance.

We Armenians need to be mature enough to realize that for now we Armenians are not yet ready for democracy.

We know how easy it is to sway the sheeple's opinion for those who control sociopolitical levers. We also know that the political West is in fact the undisputed grandmaster of social engineering (i.e. mental conditioning, brainwashing and manipulating the masses). Knowing all this, I'd like to ask our Captain America's the following question: How healthy has the imposition of democracy been for nation like Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt or Syria?

According to Armenia's democracy advocates, does Syria's Turkish-Islamist backed Sunni population deserve to be given political power in Damascus simply because they are the majority in the country? Do we Armenians really want to see democracy in Syria?  Does Iran's large Azeri population need to be given political power in Tehran? Do Armenians really want to see democracy in Iran? Does Russia's large Muslim and Turanian populations need to be given political powers in the Kremlin? Do we Armenians really want to see democracy in Russia? 

The last thing Armenia's neighborhood in fact needs is democracy!

Let's take this democracy nonsense one step closer to home: There are significant numbers of Armenians today (especially in the Levon Petrosian camp) that see Armenians from Artsakh as their enemies and they see Artskah as an unwanted burden on Armenia rather than an geostrategic asset. Consider this: What if through a vigorous public relations campaign (i.e. social engineering), Armenia's "friends and partners" in the West enemies succeeded in turning public sentiments in Armenia against Artsakh? Would our democracy now(!) idiots still then be demanding a democratic process in Armenia?

The point here is that there are serious, suicidal flaws in a democratic process especially for young and underdeveloped nations without firm national institutions. This flaw is the reason why Western powers are imposing this form of government on targeted nations. The intent is exploitation, subjugation and sometimes destruction.

Therefore, in my humble opinion, democracy seeking Armenians need to shut-the-@$#%-up about a topic they know nothing about. For the foreseeable future Armenia will need a top heavy, authoritarian government fully within the Russian orbit. 

Having thus completely refuted the destructive notion that the ignorant masses need to be given political power to make political decisions through a voting process, I would now like to say a few words about the Armenia republic and President Serj Sargsyan on the eve of the presidential elections.

Throwing dirt

There used to be a time when diasporan Armenians would proudly bring back dirt from Armenia as a relic of their sacred pilgrimage to their ancient homeland. I'm afraid this sacred practice has evolved to take on a whole new, not so sacred meaning in recent years. Today, the same Diaspora excels at throwing dirt at Armenia!

The Armenian Diaspora's main problem seems to be that Armenia is not as civil, not as tidy, not as democratic or not as orderly as where they come from. How dare Armenia be not as wealthy as Switzerland, not as beautiful as France, not as powerful as Israel or not as democratic as the US!  

It seems as if unfairly, irrationally and viciously attacking Armenia has become somewhat of a competition between various Diasporan organizations and "rights" activists these days. It has gotten so bad in recent years that the Armenian Diaspora (especially that of the western world) has become more of a liability for the fledgling Armenian state than an asset. This psychological illness has also infected native Armenians in recent years. It's gotten to a point where the more terrible the news about Armenia, the faster it travels amongst Armenians; and as it travels it grows and takes on apocalyptic tones.

The nation is collapsing! The nation is depopulating! The nation is being sold to Russia! The nation is being sold to Turkey! The nation is doomed! 

And within the Middle Eastern Armenian community, there are always the complaints that: The men in Armenia are crooks; the women in Armenia are whores; and the toilets in Armenia are stinky...

The following are three excellent blog entries that further addresses the destructive nature of Armenian attitudes with regards to Armenia. Please revisit them -
Panel Discussions Groups Calling for Chaos: http://theriseofrussia.blogspot.com/2012/01/washington-sponsored-panel-discussions.html
The revolution has begun? Armenians again reveling in self-destructive behavior: http://theriseofrussia.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-revolution-has-begun-armenians.html
As I have pointed out on numerous previous occasions, at the end of the day, the kind of fearmongering and mudslinging that takes place against Armenia is seriously counterproductive and it lies at the very root of the demoralization we are witnessing taking place within Armenian society. 

Although there is a lot of progress in the country, although the country is doing very well considering its many-many predicaments, negative/poisonous news about Armenia is ubiquitous these days. This, in my opinion, is the main reason why the Armenian spirit has been broken. Their intent is of course to break the Armenian will to resist. And they are succeeding in this by using the fledgling nation’s natural growing pains against it. Why? Simply because geopolitically speaking Armenia refuses to whore itself to the political West; Armenia is in a solid strategic alliance with Russia; Armenia has very good relations with Iran; and Armenia is on very bad terms with the West's regional friends. As a result, Armenia is being targeted by the West and by Western backed political activists in Armenia.

Here is a most recent example of how Arman Babajanyan, a homosexual draft-dodger from Armenia who is under the payroll of a Soros foundation shamelessly exploits tragedies in Armenia by using them to play on Armenian emotions/sentiments -
Խոշտանգված զինվոր Ժորա Մկրտչյանը մահացել է: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=OFZOVPbYaek
An intelligent young Armenian patriot I know had the following to say about this Soros funded psy-ops -
Here is a disturbing piece of propaganda which has been scripted and edited by the foreign-funded subversives just in time for the February 2013 Presidential Elections in Armenia. It should be clear to all that even under the conditions where the domestic and wider geopolitical scene in Armenia appears calm, Western interests are busy preparing their next generation of tools to wreak havoc in Armenia in yet another attempt to bring Armenia to its knees.
In this specific case, the West has WEAPONIZED the tragic death of an Armenian soldier. Of course, they are upset that the Sargsyan administration being military-focused took steps that lead to a significant decrease in the occurrence of such events, but there is still there room for improvement and even a single unnecessary Armenian death is a great tragedy.

As patriotic Armenians we should all be extremely disturbed by the intent of this video. The grieving father is essentially wailing about the fact that his son was "taken to Karabakh" and then killed. Why emphasize over and over again so many times that it occurred in "Karabakh", with a tone of hatred in his voice every time he says the word. One can only infer that he considers Artsakh to be a non-Armenian foreign entity. Mirroring Azeri/Turkish propaganda, he makes it sound as if Artsakh is Armenia's "burden".
What should be done? Should Armenia's army breakdown into a system where each province is defended only by "locals"? Yerevantsis for Yerevan, Gyumretsis for Shirak, Vanadzor natives for Lori, Yeghegnadzor natives for Vayotz Dzor? Would it be better if we just ceded Artsakh to the Azerbaijanis? What an underhanded affront at our unity! The same unity many Armenians complain we as a people don't have. Disgusting.
For further insight about the topic of military deaths and corruption, I ask you to please revisit the following blog entry -
Rape, murder, corruption, suicide epidemic and dumping human remains in landfills: http://theriseofrussia.blogspot.com/2012/01/sexual-assault-murder-severe-corruption.html
Again, I emphasize the need to figure out a way to free ourselves from Western meddling and begin seeking ways to work with the entrenched authorities to bring about positive change in Armenia. More importantly, Armenians must grow up and realize that the road to Armenia's development will be a very slow evolutionary process because Armenia and Armenians need to be reworked from the ground up. In other words, we Armenians need to grow up and stop expecting things from a poor, desolate, remote and embattled young nation located in a terrible neighborhood that even the most developed nations of western world could only achieve after generations of peace and prosperity. 

In other words, Rome wasn’t built in a single day; so wasn’t the US, so wasn't Switzerland, so wasn't France, so wasn't Britain, so wasn't Holland... 

Therefore, Armenians need to be patient, positive, objective, constructive, rational and more importantly - politically aware.

Washington wants an end to corruption! 

Yes, the most corrupt and bloodthirsty political entity on earth wants an end to corruption! In other words, they don't want competition! And they are succeeding because they have gotten us to a point where we cannot have a normal conversation about Armenia today without first bringing up the topic of democracy and corruption as the alpha and the omegas of Armenia's problems. I believe this obsession regarding democracy and corruption in Armenia are red herrings (i.e. disinformation who's purpose is to make Armenians chase their tails and sow political unrest in Armenia). 

The reality is that Armenia's most serious problems are purely geopolitical in nature and they are due to Western machinations in the region. But like I said, Washington would much rather have our sheeple think about democracy and corruption in Armenia instead.

Nevertheless, calling for an end to corruption is almost like calling for the sun to stop rising in the east. As long as humans inhabit the world, there will be corruption on earth. 

What is corruption? Bribery, bid fraud, electoral fraud, organized crime, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, collusion, embezzlement, price manipulation and general lawbreaking. And if a nation has laws curbing monopolistic activities, we can also throw in the practice of unbridled capitalism onto the list of corruption. 

Now that we know what corruption is we now simply need to better understand what an Armenian is. 

A significant portion of Armenia's population today is prone to unethical behavior. This is common knowledge to anyone who is familiar with modern Armenian society. This condition is due to various sociopolitical circumstances, genetic makeup and folk culture. We already know that governments are an accurate reflection of their subjects. We already know that society is an accurate reflection of its people. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that there is corruption, inefficiency and lawlessness within governmental structures in Armenia simply because there is corruption, inefficiency and lawlessness in all layers of Armenian society. Let's remember that Armenians are not Germans or Japanese.

Shortcuts in legal affairs, clannish behavior,  misogynism, jealousy, dishonesty in business are firmly rooted in the modern Armenian psyche. This is a deep-rooted genetic/cultural problem who's eradication can only come about by the thorough overhauling of the Armenian animal and not through the importation of Western political agendas into Armenia. A single person, such as the nation's president cannot effectively curtail corruption without the willing and conscious participation of the general citizenry. 

Although most Armenians in Armenia today complain about corruption (simply because Western propaganda outlets have made it very fashionable to do so), the typical Armenian today continues to voluntarily and enthusiastically offer bribes to get around the law or to get ahead in business. There are large numbers of potential oligarchs walking the streets of Armenia today.

I would like to briefly mention here that Armenian children are taught shrewd or cunning behavior (which in my opinion morphs into corrupt and unethical behavior in adulthood) at an early age through exposure to beloved Armenian children's fables. Don't believe me? Well, read some of Tumanyan's children's tales and you will see for yourself. Many of the tales in question have nothing to do with higher ideals, moral values or legend/fantasy, they are simply about survival and outsmarting others.  

It should also be added that Armenians learn unethical behavior at an early age through exposure to their family members such as "business" savvy fathers, uncles, cousins and in-laws. In fact, much of the national traits we Armenians take pride in today actually serves to cultivate the culture of corruption in Armenia. 

Much of the natural traits that have helped us Armenians survive the ravages of the past one thousand years and excel around the world are the same traits that can potentially keep Armenia from developing properly. As you can see, the problem of corruption in Armenia is genetic and cultural. Therefore, it's useless to blame politicians for the corruption that takes place in society where they are derived from. 

As long as Armenians remain overly ambitious, tribal, shrewd, arrogant and self-centered, corruption in Armenia will never be properly remedied.

Yes folks, no matter how you look at it, corruption is as cultural as it is natural. Observing Greeks and Armenians on one hand and Germans and Japanese on the other hand should tell us a lot about national traits and the vital role culture and genetic makeup plays in a given society. The point is: Corruption will exist in nations populated by fiercely independent and overly ambitious people. What Armenians can instead hope for is the management of corruption by top heavy authoritarian government. 

Anyway, I don't think Armenians are yet ready to comprehend, let alone accept any of what I am stating here.

But I wouldn't want to unduly come down on only Armenians. Corruption in certain parts of the Western world is much more severe than in Armenia. The fundamental difference here, however, is that in the Western world much of the corruption has evolved to manifest itself in the form of governmental legislation. Moreover, a lot of the lawlessness that occurs in the Western world occurs away from the public's view. The Western world is rife with institutionalized corruption. Corruption in the Western world is reserved for its elite (its 1%). In other words, corruption in the West is not for the little guy.

The acquired wealth in the United States for instance had been so immense that until recently, much of the severe financial and governmental corruption that went on in the country went unnoticed or unfelt by much of the general public. The acquired wealth in the Western world has been so immense that the crumbs that fell off the banquet tables of the Western elite was enough for the masses in the Western world to live comfortable, middle-class lives. All this is now changing, but that's is another topic for another time.

In stark contrast to the West, corruption in Armenia is petty and primitive - everybody, including their grandmothers do it - and a lot of it is done in public view. Nevertheless, Armenia's elite, it's dreaded oligarchs, are petty busboys compared to the Western elite. Whereas the Western world has been awash in obscene wealth for many centuries, Armenia's "elite" have been fighting over crumbs for the past twenty years. If Armenia's elite are fighting over crumbs, where does that leave the typical Armenian?

When an embattled nation stuck in a terrible geopolitical region is small geographically and demographically and poor in natural resources, any kind of corruption, regardless of its degree, will immediately have an adverse impact on the general public.

Don't panic, it's really not that bad 

Despite its many problems, Armenia is a nation that is doing remarkably well. However, you would never realize this by reading the garbage put out by Diasporan news organization and by the political opposition in Armenia. Reading their news reports and listening to their pundits, I find myself bombarded with half-truths, pessimism, Western spin, poison, hate, political illiteracy, alarmist rhetoric, sky-is-falling fairytales and Turco-American propaganda.

And when the news about Armenia gets really nasty and apocalyptic... you known it must be election season in Armenia!

For example: Two Diasporans have recently produced yet another English language doomsday report about Armenia (see links to the articles below), and needless to say smut-peddlers and doomsayers in the ARF have proudly exhibited her propaganda piece in the Armenian Weekly -
We don't need these politically illiterate, Western led and self-destructive peasants to realize that people are seeking to leave Armenia due to economic hardship. We don't need these people to know that Armenia has many problems. In fact, we know what these people are going to say even before they say it. But what we are not being told by these politically inspired doomsayers is that in this day in age people are seeking to leave all kinds of countries, including western ones. I'm not talking about Greece, Italy or Spain, I'm actually talking about countries like Britain -
Young talent quits UK for warmer economic climes: http://rt.com/news/brain-drain-britain-immigration-546/
In other words, nations that are immensely wealthy, located in peaceful regions of the world and have hundreds of years of independence under their belts are also having tough times today? And our idiots are complaining that our tiny, poor, young, desolate, landlocked, remote and blockaded nation surrounded by enemies in the volatile south Caucasus is doing bad?!

What these Western led whores are also not telling us is that relatively speaking Armenia is doing quite well despite is many-many problems.
What these Western led whores are also not telling us is that Armenia should be doing much-much worst considering its dire circumstances in the south Caucasus. What these Western led whores are also not telling us is that most countries on earth are in fact worst off than Armenia. What these Western led whores are also not doing is giving us hope. What these Western led whores are also not doing is giving us realistic solutions to Armenia's problems. What these Western led whores are also not telling us is that most of Armenia's woes today are a direct result of the blockade the country is placed under by NATO forces and because of the anti-Russian government in Tbilisi. What these Western led whores are also not telling us is that Armenians are panicked, demoralized and hopeless today primarily because of their 24/7 attacks against the country's leadership...

No, regime change or an Arab Spring type uprising in Armenia is very dangerous not only because there are regional predators ready to pounce on a weakened Armenia - but also because those waiting on the political sidelines in Yerevan to take advantage of any political turmoil in the country (you know who they are) are those who directly and indirectly serve Anglo-American-Zionist interests.

What we Armenians ultimately need to recognize is that as long as Western and Turkish meddling remains strong in the south Caucasus, Armenia will continue suffering from severe socioeconomic and sociopolitical problems. As long as the south Caucasus remains volatile, Armenia will remain economically destitute - even if all of its dreaded "oligarchs" turned into angels overnight.

Despite what corrupt oligarchs in Washington want our hopelessly naive peasantry to believe, "oligarchs" or "corruption" or the lack of "democracy" in Armenia is not the main problem. The real problem Armenia faces is a lack of natural resources, the lack of unhindered access to the global market, the lack of serious international investments and more importantly, the lack of peace and harmony in the south Caucasus.

Thus, Armenia's problems are purely geopolitical. Fix the Caucasus, you will automatically fix Armenia. But Washington would much rather Armenians continue chasing their tails in pursuits of Western fairytales.

We Armenians must be mature enough to realize that Armenia needs is sociopolitical evolution, not a Western led/inspired revolution. This evolution will only come by with regional peace and some time. What the south Caucasus needs is Pax Russicana. And this will only come about by defeating Western and Turkish agendas in the region. With recent positive political changes taking place in Tbilisi, Pax Russicana in the south Caucasus may in fact be nearing.
 


Instead of looking at Armenia from a realistic/rational perspective, we Armenians have a silly, if not self-destructive, habit of comparing our newly formed republic in the Caucasus with the best in the West. In fact, considering its many problems, including the global economic crisis, the situation in Armenia should have been much worst. But it is not. In the big picture, we should all be very proud of the Armenia we have today for it has come a very long way. And we must also realize that the glass is only half-full, therefore it will be some time before Armenia becomes fully developed.

President Sargsyan remains our only choice

I have been closely observing President Serj Sargsyan's presidency for the past five years. Today, I have nothing but praise and admiration for him. His presidency has in fact exceeded my expectations. He has been very impressive, especially considering that his presidency started off on a very bad footing in 2008. My admiration of our president is rooted in the simple fact that he has proven himself in the very worst of all political, social and economic circumstances. 

President Sargsyan has proven himself to be an absolute grossmeister of politics, both foreign and domestic. He has not only outsmarted the nation's problematic political opposition to the point where no one is left threatening his presidency today, he has also outsmarted Armenia's antagonist on the global stage by brilliant diplomatic maneuverings. The president's political competence and his diplomatic skills have been exemplary. 

In my humble opinion, President Serj Sargsyan has been Armenia's first real president. Levon Petrosian proved to be a nasty nightmare for Armenia. Robert Kocharyan's presidency was more-or-less a transitional phase bringing Armenia out of its 1990s Levonian nightmare. This is why I say Serj Sargsayan has been Armenia's first and finest president thus far. 

Despite what his detractors think of him, President Sargsyan has firmly placed Armenia on the map with his strategic foresight and political courage. Never before has Armenia’s and Artsakh’s borders been as secure as they are today. Never before has Armenia's military been as powerful as it is today. Never before has Armenia’s crucially strategic military alliance with Russia been as fruitful as it is today. Never before has Armenia’s friendship with Iran been as good as it is today.  Never before had Armenia’s top leadership been this professional and an independent Armenia been this orderly. And never in the last one thousand years has an independent Armenia enjoyed this much geopolitical clout in its region.

These achievements have been in large part due to President Sargsyan’s political courage, fortitude and strategic vision. President Sargsyan has in effect given us the firm foundation upon which we Armenians can now start building a viable nation-state. Of course there remains a lot of work to be done. 

Armenia is a glass that is only half full. Armenia is a nation that needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. This is not an easy task under any circumstance, let alone under the circumstances that Armenia finds itself in. Nevertheless, the most important item on the president's to do list has to be the addressing of Armenia's parasitical monopolists, known in the Western world as "oligarchs". Armenia's powerful chobans-turned-businessmen, its ruthless thugs that became fabulously wealthy during the post-Soviet years of unbridled crony capitalism in the 1990s need to be somehow reined in. I believe this will happen in time.

I also believe that President Sargsyan successor (which will more-or-less be from the same political lineage, hopefully former Yerevan Mayor Karen Karapetyan) will be in a better position to do a better job reigning in Armenia's monopolists. If Armenia is to accelerate its forward progression and thwart off Western machinations, Yerevan must somehow learn how to curb the country's gluttonous businessmen. But all this must be done free of Western meddling. 

Armenia's golden core is its only hope

A close observation of Armenian history reveals that capable Armenian leaders were never really much appreciated by Armenia's peasantry. Seeing first-hand the utter irrationality, hysteria, selfishness and political illiteracy of many Armenians these days, I have no reason to believe that this situation is any different today or will it be any different in the near future. As a result, I really don’t expect enough Armenians to wake-up from their blinding political ignorance and free themselves from their overpowering egos anytime soon to participate in true nation-building. Sadly, as it has been in the past, the task of nation-building in Armenia will be left to a very small number of clear-thinking, farsighted, pragmatic, politically literate, patient and selfless individuals - Armenia's golden-core as I call them. 

A good example of this golden core is the highly respected Russian-Armenian business tycoon Ruben Vardanian. During an interview he gave Washington's RFE/RL, Mr. Vardanian echoed a lot of the sentiments found in this blog when he said the following -
"While the Armenian business environment is not ideal, challenges facing foreign investors are surmountable and should not deter Diaspora investments. In reality, we are doing very little for our historical homeland. Seriously speaking, we can definitely be proud of what has happened in the last 20 years because we won a war, we went through a horrific earthquake and economic collapse but preserved the country. We managed to restore a statehood that hadn’t existed for 800 years"
Another good example of Armeia's golden core is Argentine-Armenian Eduardo Eurnekian. Speaking to a gathering of dignitaries and special guests at the official opening of the new airport terminal at Zvartnots last year, the wealthy entrepreneur had the following to say -
“The burden of building the great Hayastan we talked and sang about for decades rests on our shoulders, as much as it does on the people of Armenia. Looking back at the past ten years, I have only feelings of accomplishment, satisfaction, fulfillment and joy... I call the Diaspora for making investments in Armenia, accept new challenges and use historical mission. I believe that investments in the zone of confrontation will promote peace. It is very important to remember the past, but it is also important to create future”
These two clear-thinking and selfless men are genuine patriots. These men, in my opinion, represent the best of the golden core that has been preserving the republic through all adversity. Mr. Vardanyan and Mr. Eurnekian couldn't have been more patriotic in their statements or more accurate in their lucid assessments. I also agree with them that the Armenian Diaspora can do much-much more than it has done for our homeland. 

During his visit to Glendale last year, President Sargsyan called on members of the Armenian diaspora to visit their homeland - “regardless of whether they like [Armenia's] government or not.” 

He went on to say - “One thing is eternal, and it’s your fatherland.”

What President Sargsyan meant to say was: Don't abandon Armenia because its governments come and go but nation stays.


As Mr. Vardanyan reminded us, we should all be proud of the Armenia we have today. As Mr. Eurnekian has reminded us, the responsibility of building our homeland rests upon all of us. And as president Sargsyan has reminded us, the diaspora needs to put aside its petty complaints and establish a physical connection to the homeland. Armenians have waited one thousand years for this historic opportunity, we have no excuses to disengage from the homeland now.

There are no good excuses for the diaspora's lack of enthusiasm. Officials taking bribes or smelly toilets in Armenia are not good excuses! If there is a will there will be a way. There are no problems that cannot be surmounted with the proper attitude or approach. It is indeed a miracle that after a thousand years we have been able to reestablished our statehood. It is the sacred responsibility of all self-respecting Armenians today to stop making petty excuses; to stop spreading destructive poison; to stop throwing dirt; and to start partaking in the nation-building process!

Had our genocide obsessed Diaspora collectively or at least in significant numbers thought along the same lines of great patriots like Mr. Vardanyan and Mr. Eurnekian or headed to the Armenian president's suggestion to look beyond petty political matters, we Armenians would of had today a - ծովիծ-ծով Հայաստան.

But no, when it comes to their homeland a majority of Armenians today would much rather sit back and complain and complain and complain... And the more destructive the criticism of Armenia, the better they feel about themselves. It's as if Armenians today have turned discussions about Armenia into a sick form of a sadomasochistic sport. This must stop at some point because it is becoming unbearable. Regardless of intentions, Armenians that criticize Armenia without providing rational or realistic solutions to Armenia many serious problems need to be silenced for they are in fact a fundamental part of the problems Armenia has!

Similarly, the political opposition in Armenia has only excelled in destructive behavior. They provide no realistic solutions to Armenia's problems, they only engage in vicious attacks against the president, against the system. It is no longer a secret that the political opposition in Armenia today is made-up of mercenaries and self-destructive peasants. Thus, knowing what we know about those waiting on the political sidelines to seize power in Armenia, under no circumstances should any self-respecting Armenian today promote any kind of a regime change in the republic. The fact of the matter is that the political opposition in Armenia is primarily made up of Western agents and 1990s era criminals that already once raped and pillaged the country.
Armenia is still suffering the aftermath of their actions. These elements will not be given another chance at the helm under any circumstances.


Even with all their faults, and they have a lot of faults, President Sargsyan and the Hanrapetakan party continue being Armenia's safest choices today.

Armenians must wake up and realize that the pursuit of "political freedom” is not an excuse for destructive behavior in the embattled little nation surrounded by enemies in the volatile Caucasus. Let’s face it, we Armenians do not know what political freedom means and will not for some time. When it comes to political matters pertaining to Armenia, Armenians continue acting like a bunch of troubled little impatient children. It will be a long time before Armenians actually wake up and truly understand the political world they live in. 

And when Armenians decide to open their eyes they will see that the social and political evolution I speak of has already begun in the homeland, albeit slowly. When it comes to matters concerning Armenia, we Armenians need to be socially and politically proactive; we need to be objective and realistic; we need to learn selflessness; we need to be farsighted; we need to engage in constructive criticism; we need to seek ways to work with the current government and not against it; we need to be positive; and, more importantly, we need to be patient.

Although its emotional burden proves unbearable at times, I'm glad to be one of the very few voices in Cyberia proclaiming that Armenia is not a doomed nation; Armenia is not in the danger of disappearing; and Armenia is growing in strength each and every year. I'm looking forward to the next five years under President Sargsyan's rule; and from the looks of it so are a majority of Armenians.

Arevordi
February, 2013


***

Armenia's Looming Elections

Vote 2013: Political perspectives, platforms, promises

2013 will be a presidential election year for all of the countries of the South Caucasus, with Armenia becoming the first state to begin its contest. The campaign kicked off in Armenia with the beginning of the nomination process for candidates on December 25. The vote itself is scheduled for February 18. What surprises, if any, can we expect from this election? And how will this campaign impact the general situation in the South Caucasus?

The upcoming elections look as if they will be primarily symbolic. First, no matter the manner in which the current election race is held, it will inevitably be compared to the previous campaign of 2008. During that race, then-incumbent Robert Kocharyan had served two terms in office and was prohibited by the Armenian Constitution from running for a third consecutive term. The transfer of power to current Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan was accompanied by clashes between the government and the opposition, resulting in the deaths of ten people, including eight civilians. This tragedy has haunted the republic’s political community, ruling elites and the opposition alike. Thus, the political class of Armenia must, regardless of the views of the different representatives, demonstrate to the voters they have learned from the tragedy and that such a civil confrontation will not happen again. During the parliamentary elections of 2012, the political system and the political class demonstrated the ability to avoid clashes and open hostility. The presidential campaign should serve to consolidate this trend.

For current president Serzh Sargsyan, the elections of 2013 will bring him a different status within Armenian politics. He will not be taking part as the successor of the acting head of the state. In his first term, he has proven to be a self-sufficient politician who does not fall under the shadow of his predecessor.

In foreign policy, Sargsyan has managed to avoid any serious mistakes. In the beginning of his term as president, he was strongly criticized for the forced normalization of relations with Ankara (the so-called “football diplomacy”). But he has not passed the red line separating diplomatic compromises from unilateral concessions to the Turkish government. At the same time he has managed to keep Armenia’s foreign relations with both Russia and the West in equilibrium.

In relations with the United States and Europe, Sargsyan was even able to make gains. Washington and Brussels regarded his predecessor with suspicion and clear displeasure, especially after the 2003 presidential and parliamentary elections and his hot, nationalist propaganda. Unlike Kocharyan, Sargzyan was committed to the peacekeeping rhetoric supported by both Russia and the West on the issues of the Nagorno-Karabakh negotiations or the Armenian-Turkish rapprochement. At the same time, he did so without departing from the previously stated goals of Armenia’s foreign policy.

This same approach was applied to the relationship with Russia. On the one hand, during the Sargzyan presidency Russia and Armenia agreed (in August 2010) to extend the presence of the a Russian military base in Gyumri until 2044. On the other, Yerevan has taken an official line of cautious skepticism towards membership in the Custom Union or Eurasian Union, both of which are integration projects led by Russia.

The Armenian leadership has based its foreign policy on the principles of realism and rationalism above all else. As a result, Sargsyan is perceived to be the best presidential option by both Moscow and the political leadership of the Western countries.

Sargsyan has also demonstrated his effectiveness in dealing with the domestic situation in Armenia. Like his predecessor, he has shown willingness to utilize his soft power domestically in addition to using more traditional hard pressure on his opponents. In this context it is impossible to underestimate the role of last year’s parliamentary campaign in defining the present-day domestic political configuration. The most important result during that election was that the Armenian National Congress, led by Levon Ter-Petrosyan (the first post-Soviet president of Armenia and a thorn in the side of the Armenian leadership over the past five years), obtained seats in the legislature. This party had not previously been represented in the parliament and had instead concentrated its energies on mass public protests, engaging in clashes that marred the election of 2008.

The inclusion of the Armenian National Congress in the legislature has promoted opposition activity. This, however, has not been purely attributable to the personal success of Sargsyan. The opposition has not been able to put forward any new ideas or viable new political leaders. And of course the different pillars of the variegated opposition have not been able to come together on a common language or common cause with one another, making the work of the ruling authorities that much easier. As a result, Levon Ter-Petrosyan refused to participate in this year’s presidential campaign.

The second, equally important issue on the domestic political front is the search for balance within the ruling elite. The political landscape in Armenia today is much more complex than that of the neighboring states in the Caucasus. Unlike Russia, Georgia or Azerbaijan, Armenia has a number of ruling parties rather than just one. As such, the real domestic political intrigue in Armenia is found not between the authorities and opposition, as is common in the other Caucasus countries, but between the various elite groups within the administration.

During the 2012 parliamentary campaign, the second most powerful ruling party, “Prosperous Armenia,” mounted a challenge to the dominant political force, the Republican Party, which supports Sargsyan. For this reason the possible nomination of a candidate from “Prosperous Armenia” became the primary intrigue in Armenian politics during the run-up to the presidential nominations. On December, 2012 this issue was removed from the agenda. The leader of “Prosperous Armenia,” Gagik Tsarukyan, refused to participate in the campaign and the party itself stated that it would not place its support behind any of the candidates. For the Republicans and Sargsyan, their nominee, this decision demonstrated passive support from “Prosperous Armenia” for their candidate, outlining the current president’s ability to negotiate with the representatives of various influential groups within the elite.

The upcoming elections will thus be much less competitive than the previous campaign. There are serious doubts that the opponents of the incumbent will be able to offer an entirely new agenda on either domestic or foreign policy. This does not mean that there is no intrigue in the elections, just that in this case the intrigue is not found in considerations of public policy but rather in the internal dynamics of the administration and the bureaucracy. Moreover, the current pacified situation in Armenia has been a result of parliamentary competitiveness, the street activities of opposition and complicated intra-elite negotiations. The consequences of the current campaign would be more visible due to new appointments that are likely to take place this spring. Hence it is critical that those in power do not make the fatal mistake of succumbing to “dizziness from success.” The temptation is very great, however, since the main political troublemakers have decided to step aside during this election.

We should not forget that Armenia is not a strong regional power and that it does not boast a nuclear deterrent. In many situations, the domestic dynamics of Armenia are more closely aligned with a variety of “background factors,” whether in the Middle East or the South Caucasus. And, of course, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will continue to have a profound impact on the domestic and foreign policy of the country. However, it is obvious that without a somewhat harmonious domestic situation, Armenia will find it much more difficult to carry out its foreign policy.

Sergey Markedonov is a visiting fellow in the Russia and Eurasia Program of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Source: http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/armenias-looming-elections-8018


Which Way Will Armenia Tilt?

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On February 18, Armenians will cast their ballots for president. Although eight candidates have registered, victory and a new five-year term for incumbent Serzh Sargsyan are a foregone conclusion. Still, this election is not meaningless. The conduct of this poll is important, as will be Sargsyan’s choices after the poll. If the international community gives the election a clean bill of health, it will increase Sargsyan’s legitimacy. He will have the opportunity to enact much needed reforms in order to move closer to the West or, perhaps as likely, avoid tough reforms and move Armenia – already broadly sympathetic to Russia – further into Moscow.

Upon first winning the presidency in February 2008, Sargsyan faced a legitimacy crisis. Some have claimed that he has used his position and connections – he was sitting prime minister and had served previously as secretary of the national security council and defense minister – to rig the election against Levon Ter-Petrossian, a former president. At least ten died in the ensuing protests.

This year, Sargsyan faces little resistance, with Sargsyan’s slide towards authoritarianism and Armenia’s lack of democratic institutions leaving the opposition fractured and divided. His most formidable opponents – Ter-Petrossian and wealthy businessman Gagik Tsarukyan, chief of the Prosperous Armenia party – both declined to run.

That Sargsyan effectively gets a free pass does a disservice to Armenia, which faces formidable obstacles to its development. When Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili inherited a corrupt and inefficient state in 2004, he stamped out government corruption and reformed Georgia into a Western-leaning economy. On January 31, 2013, the World Bank issued a report, Fighting Corruption in Public Services: Chronicling Georgia's Reforms,” praising Georgia for tackling corruption and noting that Georgia can serve as an example for other countries facing similar challenges.

Armenia will find no such praise. Its government remains corrupt and inefficient. The country was among the worst hit during the 2008-2009 economic crisis, with GDP shrinking by 14 percent in 2009, according to the IMF. Since then, Armenian GDP has grown slowly – at an average annual rate of approximately 3.5 percent between 2010-2012. In contrast, Georgia grew by an average annual 6.6 percent in the same three years. In 2010, according to official statistics, 35.8 percent of Armenia’s population was living below the poverty line – an increase from 27.6 percent in 2008. And, while neighboring Georgia and Azerbaijan welcome foreign investors, organized crime keeps most foreign investors out of Armenia. The Armenian Diaspora – who care deeply about Armenia’s success – have long ago concluded that investing in their homeland is a thankless task that will pay dividends neither individually nor for Armenia.

Hundreds of thousands of Armenians now flee the country for better prospects. Younger, more educated Armenians head to the West, while their older, blue-collar compatriots head north to Russia. The Russian government has welcomed these migrants, and has helped place them in areas of Russia facing population decline. While Russia might use these Armenians to mitigate its own demographic problem, the same migration merely exacerbates Armenia’s.

Last April, the European Commission estimated that one-third of Armenia’s population had emigrated since Armenia’s independence in 1991. Visiting Armenia in December 2012, one young Armenian told me that if she or her peers had even small hope that the economy would improve, they would stay. But few see such hope. Meanwhile, a full sprint into Russia’s embrace may compound Armenia’s problems. In recent years, Armenia has become Russia’s primary foothold in the South Caucasus. Russia’s influence in Armenia is vast not only political and economic, but also military and cultural. Armenia depends on Russia for gas; Russia owns Armenia’s communication and railway networks, and has extended a lease for a Military Base in Gyumri until 2044.

The Kremlin also hopes to bring Armenia into a Russia-led Customs Union – a precursor to the so-called Eurasian Union, which Russian president Vladimir Putin hopes will be a counterweight to the European Union.

With aid, however, the West has leverage.

Since 1992, the United States has provided Armenia with approximately $2 billion in development and humanitarian assistance, the highest aid per capita among the former Soviet states. Although the U.S. reduced funding in 2011, when the Millennium Challenge Corporation penalized Armenia for failing to enact political reforms, the European Union compensated with an augmented aid package and is currently negotiating a free trade accord. It is now up to Armenia to choose which direction it wishes to go: Will it join the West and a community of democracies and liberal economies, or will Sargsyan tilt Armenia more toward a Kremlin-led community of increasingly autocratic former Soviet states.


Vote 2013: A poll shows Sargsyan in wide margin over Hovannisian

Vote 2013: A poll shows Sargsyan in wide margin over Hovannisian

Another poll in Armenia shows that incumbent president Serzh Sargsyan is the unchallenged favorite of the ongoing campaign for the office.

Brussels-based European Friends of Armenia (EuFoA) organization commissioned the poll, which was co-planned and implemented by TNC Opinion international organization and its local partner IPSC - Institute for Political and Sociological Consulting. As EuFoA Secretary General, Dr. Michael Kambeck told the press Friday, the survey "Poll: A Snapshot ahead of Armenia's Presidential Elections" involved 1,607 people, through face-to-face interviews, between January 15 and 20, in 12 communities of Yerevan and all ten provinces of Armenia. It is noteworthy that critics have repeatedly claimed close relations between EuFoA and president Sargsyan’s confidants.

The organization, however, has denied any bias to any politician or political side, insisting on the accuracy and neutrality of the polls and the transparency of the methodology used in them. “Unlike many others, we totally publish the methodology of this and all other polls. We had this poll implemented by Europe’s largest polling company, TNS, the company which also works for the EU, the UN, the World Bank etc. You cannot do more to achieve accuracy and neutrality,” EuFoA states.

According to the poll results, based on “valid” responses (without don’t know, refuse to answer, no one, not vote in elections) to the question whom they would vote for if the election was next Sunday, the incumbent president gains three times more votes (68.6 percent) than Heritage leader Raffi Hovannisian (20.8 percent) and seems most likely to win the election in the first round.

Hovannisian “has clearly established himself as the leading opposition candidate, as today he has more valid votes than all other opposition candidates taken together”.

National Self-Determination party leader Paruyr Hayrikyan and Azatutyun (Liberty) party leader Hrant Bagratyan have 5 percent of valid votes and are perceived as “most dislikable” candidates. The other four are defined as “very unknown”. Accordingly, National Unity party leader Aram Harutyunyan who is planning withdrawal from the race on February 8 has 0.6 percent, epos expert Vardan Sedrakyan 0.3 percent, Andreas Ghukasyan the fifth day on hunger-strike has 0.3 percent, NKR former foreign minister Arman Melikyan has 0.0 percent.

“Sargsyan is perceived as the one who will best address Armenia’s political issues. Hovannisian is perceived as the best candidate who could especially address human rights and lack of democracy issues. The other candidates are not accepted by public as capable of addressing Armenia’s political issues,” says the survey.

The polling results also show that half of the votes given to Prosperous Armenia Party during the recent parliamentary elections have now moved to Sargsyan, and one third intend to vote for Raffi Hovannisian. Voters of Hovhannisian are on average higher educated and more likely to live in urban areas. Sargsyan has more support in rural areas. The decision of PAP not to nominate a candidate for the presidential elections is viewed as “wrong” by more than half of all respondents.


Vote 2013: Another poll shows Prez Sargsyan well a head

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According to the results of the second pre-election poll by Baltic Surveys/The Gallop Organization, incumbent president Serzh Sargsyan holds the absolute leading position among the eight candidates in the current presidential race.

Dr. Rasa Alisauskiene representing the organization told the media on Tuesday that the survey was held between January 15-23 and that a fairly vast majority of Armenian voters show interest in the upcoming elections and, if compared to the other post-Soviet countries, the survey results give grounds for optimism.

“In general different social classes and age groups give similar answers: half of the interviewees said Armenia has taken the right course, however people aged over 50 and Yerevan residents on the whole are quite pessimistic,” said Alisauskiene, adding that people were more interested in the parliamentary elections last year, than in the upcoming presidential ballot.

The survey shows that the majority of voters (66 percent) are planning to vote for Serzh Sargsyan, 10 percent will vote for Raffi Hovannisian; next come Paruyr Hayrikyan (4 percent), Aram Harutyunyan (1 percent); Andreas Ghukasyan, Arman Melikyan and Vardan Sedrakyan have less than one percent of voters ready to cast their ballot for them.

The survey involved 1,020 eligible voters. The expected turnout as of this moment (mid-campaign) makes 61 percent; 16 percent of the respondents were “undecided”.

The three-stage public opinion poll aimed at gauging the social-political sentiments of Armenian citizens, as well as at following the dynamics of voter preferences prior to the 2013 election, has been initiated by ArmNews TV and jointly carried out by Baltic Surveys/The Gallup Organization and the Armenian Sociological Association. The first stage of the public polls was completed on December 20, the last, third one will be summed up by February 9.


Poll shows Sargsyan as frontrunner ahead of 2013 presidential election

Sargsyan suspends election campaign amid shooting attack on Hayrikyan

A majority of respondents in a recent poll in Armenia said they would back the incumbent leader if the presidential election were conducted next Sunday. Among other favored politicians are a millionaire businessman and ex-president.

At a press conference on Friday Gallup International Association Armenia director Aram Navasardyan said the survey that was conducted by this organization among 1,067 citizens across Armenia on October 9-20 revealed 28 percent of eligible voters in Armenia were ready to vote for President Serzh Sargsyan, with support for Prosperous Armenia Party leader Gagik Tsarukyan and second president of Armenia Robert Kocharyan at 19 percent and 11 percent, respectively. Another 11 percent of the respondents in the polls said they wouldn’t vote for anyone.

According to the publicized results of the polls, Heritage party leader Raffi Hovhannisian enjoys the support of four percent and first president Levon Ter-Petrosyan and ex-foreign minister Vartan Oskanian each of three percent of the poll respondents. One percent of the voters said they would back Armenian Revolutionary Federation MP Vahan Hovhannisyan and Orinats Yerkir party leader Artur Baghdasaryan, while 16 percent of the respondents found it difficult to say whom they will back in the election.

Source: http://www.armenianow.com/news/politics/40773/armenia_presidential_election_gallup_poll

Serzh Sargsyan candidature meets the interest of West and Russia

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Neither Russia nor West have an impact on the electoral processes taking place in Armenia. Sergey Markedonov, Russian expert on the Caucasus Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington told in the briefing with Armenpress reporter. ''Both  Russia  and West are favoring Sargsyan's candidature. In one hand there is an established cooperation with Russia, and agreement to continue deployment of Russian military base in Armenia. What refers to West, they are also considering Sargsyan best candidate of Armenia's February 18 Presidential elections, considering him  flexible candidate. Political scientist deems considerable Serzh Sargsyan  is sober-minded and never crosses the hot lines. ''When Sargsyan does not like something, he never rejects it , instead offers '' Let us try''. Sargsyan is flexible, therefore meets the interest of the West and Russia. The candidate seems to be acceptable almost by all.

Source: http://armenpress.am/eng/news/708408/serzh-sargsyan-candidature-meets-the-interest-of-west-and-russia-sergey-markedonov.html

Armenia's Eleven National Minority Communities Appear to Support President Sargsyan

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There are eleven registered minority communities in Armenia and all seem to be backing the re-election of President Sargsyan. Yuri Yakovenko, President of the Rosya NGO, and a representative of the Russian community, told Hetq that the community would be backing Sargsyan and said that his organization would be initiating a “get out the vote” drive. “If we want to build a democratic country and civil society, we must learn to respect ourselves, the law, and the constitution. We are citizens of Armenia. People must fulfil their duty to vote,” said Yakovenko.

He added that President Sargsyan’s platform addresses all outstanding issues faced by the community. In his campaign platform, President Sargsyan touches on the minorities issue twice, once in the “Cultural” section” and again in the “Education and Sciences” section. In the former, Sargsyan states “We will create additional possibilities for national minorities to preserve their ethnic identity and to fully manifest their culture”. The latter states, “We will expand the possibility for all vulnerable groups with special education needs, the youth and national minorities, to receive a quality primary education.”

Presidential candidate Raffi Hovannisian touches on national minorities once in his campaign platform in a section entitled “The new Armenia we will forge together” “Everyone living in Armenia, whether an ethnic Armenian or a minority member, as well as all our compatriots spread throughout the world, will be granted an equal opportunity to receive citizenship and will enjoy all the privileges and obligations it provides, including  voting rights, a life and death of dignity, and equality before the law.” Nothing regarding minorities is to be found in the platforms of Hrant Bagratyan and Paruyr Hayrikian.

Romanya Yavir, President of the Ukrania Federation in Armenia, told Hetq that he is only familiar with President Sargsyan’s campaign platform. Yavir said it’s necessary for Sargsyan to continue to implement   those programs previously started. Svetlana Namchevatze, President of the Iverya Georgian charitable community, said there were no issues that hadn’t been addressed. She said that the Georgian community’s issues of concerns were always raised at the National Minorities National-Cultural Organizations Coordinating Council attached to the President’s Office. “I can’t speak for everyone, but I believe that all the national minorities understand that our president’s policies and positions fully satisfy us,” said Namchevatze.

Arsen Mikhaylov, President of the Atour Assyrian Association, told Hetq that he is partially familiar with the platforms of the candidates and supports them all. “Naturally, we would have liked to see more attention paid to the minorities’ issue, not only in the president’s platform but with the other candidates as well. He added that of late the authorities have always shown assistance regarding educational and cultural matters. Mikhaylov said that even though meetings have yet to be held with representatives of the Assyrian community in order to declare a general position, they will be held shortly. He said the community hopes that Sargsyan gets re-elected. Irina Poghosyan, President of the Belarus NGO, said the community would be supporting President Sargsyan. She said that she has called community representatives and was told that the community is ready to go to the polls.

(The eleven registered minority communities in Armenia are: Assyrian, Belarusian, Yezidi, Georgian, German, Greek, Jewish, Kurdish, Polish, Russian and Ukrainian) 


Armenia's Strange Presidential Campaign Rolls To A Close

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian (left) addresses an election campaign rally in Ararat on February 4. The election is widely seen as Sarkisian's to lose.

A presidential candidate on a four-week hunger strike. Another candidate who declares he will not accept the election results -- even if he wins. A murky apparent assassination attempt. Up to one-third of eligible voters legally barred from casting ballots because they are out of the country. You might think this would be more than enough to make a presidential election exciting. But if you are talking about the February 18 vote in Armenia, you'd be mistaken.

Despite facing a slate of six challengers, incumbent President Serzh Sarkisian, according to all polls, seems set to cruise to a second term. Surveys show him winning about 70 percent of the vote, more than 25 percentage points ahead of his nearest rival. But what the campaign has lacked in suspense it has more than made up for in strangeness.

For instance, candidate Andrias Ghukasian, the 42-year-old owner of a Yerevan radio station, has been on a hunger strike since the campaign began. He is calling for Sarkisian's candidacy to be annulled and for international observers to boycott the vote. In a sense, he is running against the election itself. Likewise, 49-year-old Arman Melikian, a former official in the government of the de facto independent Azerbaijani region of Nagorno-Karabakh, has denounced the election in advance as "illegitimate."

"I will not accept the official results," he told RFE/RL's Armenian Service. "Yes, even if I win," he added.

​​And then there is the story of Paruyr Hairikian, the 63-year-old head of the Self-Determination Party. He was shot and wounded outside his home on January 31. After considerable flip-flopping, he decided on February 10 to ask the Constitutional Court to delay the election for two weeks. But the next day he withdrew his request, saying that he couldn't bear the thought of prolonging Ghukasian's hunger strike.

Meanwhile, Armenia security forces have arrested two men who reportedly confessed to shooting Hairikian. And presidential candidate Vartan Sedrakian, a political neophyte who describes himself as an expert in Armenian epic poetry, says he fears he will be arrested because he knew the two suspects and that they had even been hired to distribute his campaign literature.

Empty Rhetoric

There are serious issues facing this South Caucasus country: navigating between Russia and the West, tensions with neighboring Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, a faltering economy that is dominated by oligarchs and increasingly dependent on remittances sent from abroad, among others. But such matters have rarely made it into the campaign, which began on January 21 and has not featured any direct debates among the contenders. Instead, it has been a campaign of rhetoric and gestures.

One exchange between the U.S.-born former foreign minister, Raffi Hovannisian, who is Sarkisian's closest rival, and the incumbent was typical. Speaking at a rally in Armenia's second-largest city, Gyumri, on February 10, Hovannisian presented the choice facing voters in Manichean, albeit vague, terms: "This is not a struggle between Raffi and Serzh. This is not a battle between our political parties. It is a struggle for good, and good will win in the end."

This prompted Sarkisian to respond at a rally in Yerevan the next day: "Yesterday, one of the candidates stated the upcoming election was going to be a choice between good and evil. All the candidates had, until that moment, been more or less tactful. So have they again begun dividing the nation into us and them, into good and evil? When will they realize the country is sick and tired of such divisions?"

A Referendum On Sarkisian

The field of candidates was weakened from the start after some heavyweights decided not to run. Sixty-eight-year-old former President Levon Ter-Petrossian, who finished second to Sarkisian in 2008, stepped aside in December, citing his age as the main reason. His Armenian National Congress is boycotting the election.

Earlier, millionaire Gagik Tsarukian of the Prosperous Armenia Party, the country's second-largest, also said he would not run. Prosperous Armenia cooperated with Sarkisian's government in his first term and performed poorly in the May 2012 legislative elections. The Armenian Revolutionary Federation also decided to sit out this election, despite fielding candidates in all of Armenia's previous presidential ballots.

​​Despite praise from monitors who generally say the campaign environment this time has been better than in previous elections, opposition figures accuse Sarkisian's Republican Party of using "administrative resources" to support the president. In an interview with RFE/RL's Armenian Service in January, Sarkisian said it was not the government's fault that the opposition is weak and rejected charges of an uneven playing field.

"Of course, it is very difficult for them because members of the Republican Party today are leaders in more than 70 percent of local government bodies across Armenia. And no matter how much they say that this is due to the use of government resources, I can never agree with that," Sarkisian said. "People there waged a political struggle and got into leadership positions. And why shouldn’t they use their leadership -- I mean, their prestige -- for their political party or for ensuring the victory of their party's leader?"

Will Anyone Vote?

In addition, opposition activists have criticized a change to the Electoral Code that severely restricted voting from abroad, meaning that up to 1 million Armenian citizens currently living or traveling outside the country will be unable to vote. The government says that change was made because of the high cost of arranging out-of-country voting, while the opposition charges it was done because voters abroad historically cast ballots overwhelmingly for opposition candidates.

Although the election is not competitive, Sarkisian is under pressure to preside over a relatively clean vote. He came to the presidency following a 2008 campaign that the opposition alleged was flawed. In the weeks between the election and his inauguration, opposition protests were violently put down by the authorities and a state of emergency was declared.

In many ways Sarkisian's first term has been devoted to establishing his legitimacy, a process that he hopes will be completed with the February 18 ballot. But Armenians in general are following the election-season antics with a mixture of indifference and cynicism. One pensioner in Gyumri told RFE/RL's Armenian Service that he wasn't sure whether he'll vote or not. "There have been a lot of promises. But unfortunately they have never been kept," he said.


Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/armenia-strange-election-campaign/24903276.html

President Sargsyan says Hayrikyan shooting aimed at derailing election

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The shooting attack against presidential candidate Paruyr Hayrikyan was directed not only against the politician himself, but also against Armenia’s statehood, said President Serzh Sargsyan talking to the media in the hospital where Hayrikyan had been operated on after suffering a gunshot wound in the chess late on Thursday.

Sargsyan, who is seeking another five-year term as president in the current election, visited Hayrikyan, one of his opponents in the current campaign, to comfort him and wish him a speedy recovery.

“Those standing behind the crime obviously had a goal to affect the natural course of the electoral process. We are confident that the law-enforcement bodies will do their utmost to solve the case,” Sargsyan said after the meeting.

The head of state expressed confidence that Hayrikyan would recover soon. Earlier on Friday the Sargsyan campaign headquarters announced that they postponed their candidate’s campaign meetings in several districts of Yerevan in the wake of last night’s shooting attack against Hayrikyan.

Under Armenian law, an election could be postponed by two weeks if a candidate encounters ‘insurmountable obstacles’ to his campaign and if the obstacle persists a new election is scheduled within the next 40 days.

The Central Election Commission held a meeting Friday afternoon, indicating that the issue of postponing the election is up to the Constitutional Court to decide on the basis of the application of a candidate who believes ‘insurmountable obstacles’ have arisen to his or her campaign.

In an interview to the Public Television on Friday Hayrikyan did not exclude that the election could be postponed by two weeks, as required by law due to an 'insurmountable obstacle' to his campaign, but said he should recover during this time and there would be no need for appointing new elections in 40 days.


Vardan Devrikyan: "Foreign Powers" Behind Attack on Hayrikyan

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Vardan Devrikyan, Deputy Director of the Literature Institute in Armenia, adds his name to the list of public figures who believes that “foreign powers” are behind yesterday’s assassination attempt of presidential candidate Paryur Hayrikian. Devrikyan told reporters today in Yerevan that the western media has covered the incident as some type of crisis event. Devrikyan suggested that the other candidates be provided with bodyguards. He said that the fee for registering as a presidential candidate should be increased to a minimum of 20 million AMD ($49,000), arguing that as it stands now any Tom, Dick or Harry can get in the race. Devrikyan mocked presidential candidate Andrias Ghukasyan, now on hunger strike at the National Academy of Sciences, and said that the press were wrong to cover him so extensively and make him out as a leading contender. “I am getting 10-20 telephone calls a day asking who that candidate is. God forbid something happens to him as well. They’ll say that another leading presidential candidate has been attacked as well.”

Source: http://hetq.am/eng/news/22914/vardan-devrikyan-foreign-powers-behind-attack-on-hayrikyan.htm

Hayrikyan points at ‘Russian imperialism’ in wake of shooting attack

Vote 2013: Hayrikyan points at ‘Russian imperialism’ in wake of shooting attack 

Presidential candidate Paruyr Hayrikyan, who was wounded in an apparent assassination attempt late last week, is soon expected to announce his decision on whether he wants the campaign to be suspended and elections postponed by two weeks – an opportunity given by the Constitution – or he rather sees no ‘insurmountable obstacles’ to his electioneering.

Whatever the candidate decides in this respect, however, one thing is clear – the shooting at the candidate by a yet unidentified gunman has changed not only the pre-election situation, but also the entire logic of political events in Armenia. In particular, the matter concerns an attempt to make the foreign policy factor more prominent in the current presidential race.

And this was done by Hayrikyan himself. The Soviet-era dissident, who spent 17 years in prison camps and was eventually exiled by Soviet authorities to Ethiopia, blamed the ‘Russian imperialism’ for the attack. He tied the assassination attempt with his statements about the European way of development having no alternative for Armenia. Hayrikyan claimed he was being chased by the same secret services that persecuted him in Soviet times when he advocated Armenia’s state independence.

The claim did not elicit any broad response from Russia which did not even officially condemn the attack on the presidential candidate in Armenia. A Sunday report on Russian state television about the events in Armenia did not include a single reference to Hayrikyan’s accusations.

In contrast, through its spokesperson, the United States State Department condemned the Thursday attack on one of the opposition presidential candidates in Armenia, urging the South Caucasus nation to settle the problem that has emerged amid the ongoing campaign “constitutionally”. In other words, Washington would not mind if the presidential election in Armenia would actually be delayed by two weeks. Meanwhile, there are no signs yet that the perpetrator of the crime or its possible masterminds will be found.

Almost all other presidential candidates, except the incumbent president, do not mind postponing the Election Day. Candidate Andrias Ghukasyan, who is on an open-ended hunger strike now, even addressed an open letter to Hayrikyan, suggesting that he demand new elections, because the fact that the gunman is not found and all candidates are under threat constitutes an “insurmountable obstacle” for the elections. He said that in that case he would quit his hunger strike, and all of them would be fighting for free elections in which there is no place for the ruling Republican Party and its candidate, whom Ghukasyan holds responsible for rigging the previous elections.

Political analyst, chairman of the Partnership for Democracy Stepan Danielyan says that if Hayrikyan appeals to the Constitutional Court and demands new elections, it would mean that until the new election Serzh Sargsyan, under the Constitution, would have to resign his powers as head of state. “It is one thing when Sargsyan is the current president and a candidate, and another when he is only a candidate. I think competitive elections would be possible to hold in that case,” argued Danielyan.

The political analyst believes that conditioning the internal political processes in Armenia by foreign policy matters is dangerous. At the same time, he thinks it is necessary to appoint new elections in Armenia to start building a Free Armenia from scratch.

Among “internal” versions of the shooting at Hayrikyan is the one claiming that the forces who “regretted” not having fielded a candidate in the February 18 election may have tried to scuttle the current process. Meanwhile, law-enforcement agencies promise to find the culprit, but the practice of disclosure of political crimes in Armenia shows that they largely remain unresolved.

No one has yet been found and punished for shooting at demonstrators in the post-election riots on March 1, 2008. Ten people, including eight civilians, were killed then. And many believe this latest political shooting will also remain unsolved, not least because in that case it would be easier for everyone to advance their own theories suiting them best.

It is remarkable that on the day after the attack, Collective Security Treaty Organization Secretary General Nikolay Bordyuzha, who was in Armenia together with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu as recently as January 28-29, said that it still remained a matter of investigation to determine whether it was an assassination attempt or not. In fact, he put forward the theory that the attack was meant just to scare Hayrikyan and others. If so, the question is “what for?”. Some believe the further course of the electoral process in Armenia might provide an answer to it.

Source: http://armenianow.com/vote_2013/43074/armenia_hayrikyan_shooting_attack_elections_theories 

Gun used in attack on Armenian presidential candidate cannot kill

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The gun used in the attack on the presidential candidate Paruir Hairikyan could not kill one, Armenia’s ex-ambassador to Canada Ara Papyan told journalists on Monday. The assassination attempt against Mr Hairikyan cannot have been ordered by a serious organization – a Nagant revolver was used. “Nagant revolvers were produced from 1895 to 1952. What serious organization would order an assassination with a 60-year-old gun? You cannot be sure if it will fire at all,” Mr Papyan said. The mastermind behind the attack should be looked for inside Armenia. “The attack on Paruir Hairikyan has somewhat heighted domestic political tension. Of course, it is not what some expected in making that step,” Mr Papyan said.

Source: http://tert.am/en/news/2013/02/04/nagan-ara-papyan/

Russian expert doesn’t see “geopolitical players” behind assassination attempt against Hayrikyan

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Influence of the most different forces is noticeable in the assassination attempt against presidential candidate Paruyr Hayrikyan. This was noted by Russia political scientist, expert of Washington Center for Strategic and International Studies Sergey Markedonov in the interview with Armenpress.     

“We cannot say that assassination attempt against Hayrikyan has somehow affected other candidates or the favorite candidate, representative of current office. All these bring to a discussion, who was interested in this?” he said. “He is indeed not so famous candidate, though has a great merit. Hayrikyan is an uncommon man, who has an interesting fate,” expert noted.

As Markedonov has noted, he is not able to form any version about the committer, as he is not an investigator, though, as a political expert, he assures it is not beneficial for incumbent government. Markedonov doesn’t share the version of “geopolitical players” standing behind the crime committed against Hayrikyan. He considered to be possible the existence of some non-governmental groups, without any parties, consisting of individuals who try to prevent the second bid of incumbent president.

When commenting on the accusation of Hayrikyan, as if “Russian imperialism” is standing behind the crime, Markedonov has noted “You know, man which has such an experience of dissident activities is used to look for demiurges of reality”.

He added that on post-soviet territories, competitively less in Armenia, mainly in Georgia, Azerbaijan and Baltic States, Russia is considered to be a player which drafts the scenario. “The biggest issue of nowadays world is that there is no “scenario” approach. I am deeply assured in it. Working in Russia and West, I can say that in reality, policies of Washington and Moscow are usually built on some signals, being some kind of response to that signals. 

You think Vladimir Putin was sitting and thinking how to get rid of Hayrikyan?! How is Hayrikyan distracting Putin?” He noted with astonishment.

Source: http://armenpress.am/eng/news/708476/russian-expert-doesn%E2%80%99t-see-%E2%80%9Cgeopolitical-players%E2%80%9D-behind-assassination-attempt-against-hayrikyan.html 

45 comments:

  1. Arevordi, I was just wondering if President Sargsyan's own party has a bigger power base since I'm not sure what are the term limits for a serving Armenian president. I do hope that Sargsyan would actually win the election, as the other candidates are not well known. But if there might be another Arab Spring-esque 'color putsch' in Armenia, is Sargsyan willing to order a crackdown on the putschists? As you may or may not be aware by now, this February my country is commemorating the anniversary of the Yellow Putsch which toppled a long serving dictator and placed an incompetent house wife on the presidency. I am praying for Armenia to avoid the same tragic fate that befell my country. As a non-Armenian, I'd like Sargsyan to remain president.

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  2. Why is no one mentioning that this could have been done by the azeris? Perhaps in tandem with other forces.

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  3. Excellent entry as usual Arevordi!

    Doom and gloom you say? Provocateurs and mindless trolls bashing Armenia at every opportunity? Below is just one example out of literally thousands, read the first comment on this article by "Anna", and then my response from back in August 2010.

    http://www.yerevanreport.com/16821/unofficial-travel-advisory/

    And this is just one random report in a minor publication. It's barely on the professional level of smut we see in the ARF/levonakan press (what an unholy combination).

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  4. "It is the sacred responsibility of all self-respecting Armenians today to stop making petty excuses; to stop spreading destructive poison; and to start partaking in the nation-building process!"

    "Although its emotional burden proves unbearable at times, I'm glad to be one of the very few voices in Cyberia proclaiming that Armenia is not a doomed nation; Armenia is not in the danger of disappearing; and Armenia is growing in strength each and every year. I'm looking forward to the next five years under President Sargsyan's rule; and from the looks of it so are a majority of Armenians."


    Beautiful quote above. Keep up the struggle Arevordi, the truth speaks for itself. I am confidant your work effects more people than it would at first appear. One casual reader getting the right ideas can have a ripple effect among the community, and counter the effects of dozens of hours of a psych-ops attack. Your persistent works on this blog, on other Armenian forums, and commenting on opposition and ARF media get the job done: look at all the rational comments were beginning to see on the doom and gloom articles!

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  5. Anonymous (February, 2)

    Anything is possible. The reason why I didn't give the Azeri alternative much thought is because Baku lacks the guts and the capability to do something as serious as this inside Armenia. Armenian (as well as Russian) intelligence services have their counterparts in Azerbaijan pretty well covered. Baku knows that if they do something like this and get caught they will pay a high price. Nations have an unwritten code of conduct: You don't touch our politicians, we don't touch yours. Very seldom is this unspoken rule broken and when it is, it is so very serious reasons. As nasty as Aliyev sounds when talking about Armenia/Artsakh to his people, when it comes to taking action he is terribly afraid of Moscow. Moreover, Aliyev is not a risk taker because his primary allegiance is to his power and wealth. Also, the choice the target suggests otherwise. Paruyr Hayrikian has been one of the longest serving and most well known Washingtonian operatives inside Armenia - and he is insanely Russophobic, to a point where you begin actually wondering about his mental heath.

    In my opinion, those who attempted to kill (or wound) Paruyr will either be the Russians or someone that will be looking to blame the Russians.

    But again, anything is possible. I will edit the blog to reflect it.

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  6. Good job Arevordi!

    Regardless of Paruyr Hayrikyan's politics he has to be respected because he is a sincere nationalist and a national hero. We can disagree with his politics but cannot disrespect him.

    Your words about democracy are gripping but people with either hate you or laugh at you for them. We are living in transitional times. I only hope that the trip to the next phase is not a bad one and that what's coming is at least a little better than what we have had.

    You need to be more active in this blog. One a month is not good enough.

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  7. The root of corruption as you describe it Arvordi touched on a very superficial level in my opinion while I agree on the context and the reasoning. Even corruption can be self correcting when wealth is created and circulated within the country. By that a trickle down of the riches of the country could develop part of its economy. However, the Armenian psyche permeated with concepts of that was inborn from its mountainous homogenous demography and lack of contact within its colonies , villages let alone to foreign civilizations or most important access to the sea. This is partly due to lack of exploring outside of our landlocked and rugged terrain. It is not to be dismissed the effect of persecution had over centuries and generation of Armenians still traumatized by the genocide and its history. This has a developed a psyche where the individual survival is considered above anything else; without having to be dependent on social interaction , collective administration , social organization without first proving its strength. Whereas in my opinion Soviet rule contributed to communism and promoted social welfare this contributed to some level of cohesion and thought better social interaction among Soviet Armenians, whereas the western Armenians having not being immersed in social experiment are still withdrawn to individual strength. The ability to organize, administer, manage, orchestrate collectively is something that are felt as a challenge. Our collective and social interaction is limited to its best organized and institution which is the church. Yet the maturity of the church its administrators, preachers, their education and forethought are limited to being any beneficial social change to remedy centuries old character and culture. The nature of corruption that is described is not that of typical oligarchs but rather a strange one. What should be a lesson to Armenian oligarchs is what benefit do you get by storing your wealth outside the country and being obsessed with such vanity luxuries; rather than risk on building stronger banking system within the country enhance trading within your country. What is not understood is the distress of western economies will serve a trap to by risking your capitals being tied and frozen by foreign countries on their whim. In the end our strength is most displayed socially when our wealth is donated to our churches who continue to sow weakness within our culture. This behavior will curtail our ability to overcome the limited scope of our oligarchs using their wealth for more beneficial wealth creation within the country but rather is pursued endlessly for stature. To overcome this tribal problem, is the utter need to diversify our population, create a sense of purpose, trust and promote idealism. What a waste has been the last 20 years not to be able to correct eastern and western cultural differences. There can be excuse for the lack of progress let alone any attempt to start any constructive attempt to build our nation. You cannot even blame this on its economic blockade for the lack of progress. So what that it take to organize the Armenia psyche before they can start building. The level of trust that will begin when we come to trust the idealist, promote our best achiever, build on positivism, to refine our worst behavior and keep our most beautiful. Fortunately there is a lesson here, to recognize our strengths even in despair. The last 20 years have shown us how Artsakh took an unwinnable fight , and how they won and took it almost to independence. I never forget the verbal fights I had why Karabakh would not be lost. Well it seems the peasants of Artsakh have something valuable to teach the rest of Armenians about will power, idealism, hayernasirutyun and should learn to accept the winner dictates its terms. That should be accepted without antagonism. Therefore, Sargissian is our best candidate to lead the election. What it takes is a whole hearty support to build the country for better times and opportunities ahead.

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  8. @berjr

    Thank you for your thoughtful analysis. I understand the geographical, historical and psychological context of the sociopolitical and socioeconomic problem we are discussing. We Armenians today are the by-product of our history, and our history for the last one thousand years has not been pretty. Consequently, we are a broken/problematic people. While the Soviet system cured some of our acquired illnesses, it created others. For us to better understand our "oligarchs", we need to look at the social strata they are derived from. For the most part, they are undereducated street thugs that got very rich, very fast. In fact, they are not even oligarchs. These are petty merchants/peddlers/opportunists that got wealthy as a result of the chaos of Armenia's political/economic transition of the 1990s. Finally, to me, the purest specimens of Armenians, in other words those that reflect how we Armenians used to be before Armenia began its decline on thousand years ago, are Armenians from Syunik and Artsakh. Therefore, yes, we can learn a lot from Armenians of Artsakh.

    Thank you for reading.

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  9. The assasination attempt on Paruyr Hayrikyan cannot be separated from the ongoing world power struggle.

    The main ingredient to this power struggle is the control over the maritime navigation route stretching from the Mediterranean-Red Sea-Indian/Pacific ocean reaching China and Japan.

    In the last century this route was controlled by US and EU under the auspices of the Nato alliance. In the last few decades, emerging powers like China and India have shaked the geopolitical balance towards major rearrangements and what we witness today in terms of conflicts occurs as a consequence of this rearrangement.

    The control of this maritime route necessitates the deployment of military bases in key strategic locations. Recently the Chinese have been expanding their naval presence as well as building commercial ports throughout this vital route.

    What is happening now in Syria and Egypt can be simplified in my opinion as Russia's unwillingness to abandon its most vital naval base in Tartus because it allows them to have some level of control in the mediterranean. Russia will keep its stronghold in Tartus even if it means half of Syria's Sunni population must go elsewehere. Russia realizes that it cannot maintain its foothold in a post Assad Syria and even if Assad remains in power, having only a marine link to Syria is inefficient and therefore it needs to establish a landlink to secure a constant presences in Tartus.
    For the next few months and years monitor the line of fire from Latakia-Deir Zor to key parts of Kurdish inhabitant territory in Turkey that needs to be snatched out from Turkish/Nato control, otherwise such a landlink is not viable and Russia always is dependant on Nato permit to navigate through the strait of Marmara, hence will keep flexing Black/Mediterranean naval muscles to ensure safe passage of its vessels. The recent Nato deployment of patriots missiles comes along defending this line of fire from Russian influence.
    The riots in the strategic city of Port Said also comes as a consequence of such power shifts, and probably is the single most important outpost that has potential to plunge the world into a world war in case of disagreement who controls it.

    It is worth watching this video illustrating Eurasian geopolitics
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vz6hQQsKyE

    Considering all the ongoing developments on the world stage, I am not able to understand Hayrikian complaining of imperialist governments wanting to exert influence on national affairs. This has always been so in history, and will continue likewise.

    The suspect and intention of the assassin remains unclear, it can be Western fingers, as well as equally some Russian hands. Both would do resort to such an act but for totally different reasons. Both would also use some internal elements to implement such a crime.

    The possibility as you pointed out for a staged / self-inflicted act also is viable, local anesthetics could easily handle the pain of such tissue damage and Hayrikian is reknown for his courage.

    I think the current president above all knows who and what was behind all this.

    Loosing Syria would be the ultimate disaster for Russia, but loosing Armenia is even a greater catastrophy that we sometimes tend to underestimate Armenia's value for Russia.

    All that being said, I hope Serj Sargysyan already made a favorable decision with respect to Armenia's membership in the Eurasian Union.
    Global power is flipping, and certainly not in favor of the Anglo-American-Turko-Zionist axis you keep referring to.

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  10. @ Aroutin

    Thank you for the very lucid commentary. Thank you for the video link. I want others to read what you have written. Of course there are many layers to global affairs - sociopolitical, economic, financial, military, even cultural... What you are addressing is the geopolitical or the geostrategic aspects to global affairs. International politics at the level of geostrategy is a professional chess game and in someways an exact science. Moreover, geopolitics/geostrategy is something that the average individual (regardless of its wealth or education) is not capable of understanding. This is why governments use levers such as popular media, religion, nationalism and democracy to incite and/or to rally the masses towards geostrategic goals. One of the main intentions of this blog is to address this topic in palatable and relevant terms. Like I have said: geopolitics is the single most important yet least understood topic on earth.

    It's pointless to try to understand Hayrikian. I personally like Hayrikian but I believe he is mentally ill; he is living a fantasy. Needless to say, mentally ill people like Hayrikian ironically make good cannon fodder for imperialists, in this case the American empire. Anyway, I do not think what happened to Hayrikian was self-inflicted. In my opinion, the Levon camp and/or Western interests are behind this.

    There are indeed serious shifts taking in the world. We are indeed heading into a multi-polar world. The trip is going to be a hazardous one. But if they play their cards correctly and not allow the Anglo-American-Zionist alliance and their friends to derail them, Russia and China today stand poised to rule the 21 century.

    I have absolutely no doubt Yerevan is ready to join the Eurasian Union. Armenia's natural place is in the Eurasian Union. In fact, Armenia desperately needs to be in such an economic union. Yerevan has been hesitating simply because of the unpredictable situation in Georgia. Once Moscow and Tbilisi settle their problems, Yerevan will be 'running' to join the Moscow-led economic union.

    Thank you for reading. Thank you for commenting. Please search my blog for other topics of interest.

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  11. Arevordi, likewise I thank you for providing this lucid space to exchange thoughtful analysis.

    As much as I am enthusiastic about the Eurasian Union, nevertheless I must say that the implications of such a membership should be studied very well prior to any final commitment, that's why it is important for the general public to understand high level geo-political dynamics as well as the impact of emerging economies like China and India on future alignments, upon which Armenians should determine Armenia's national economic and security orientation along these emerging lines.

    Needless to say, that all nations have unique geopolitical assessments for every other country within its sphere of influence.

    In this respect, it would be worth considering as a topic for future posts to highlight what is Armenia's geopolitical functional value for countries such as Russia, China, India, Iran, EU to name a few.

    I think when such an assessment is performed in a structured way (i.e. what they want from us, what we want from them) the average Armenian reader would be surprised at the significant weight Armenia bears in global geopolitics despite appearing so marginalized, so tiny, landlocked and poor in resources.

    A multi-polar world implies that there are many competing powers on the world stage, as well as many opportunities for co-operation, hence, every spot on Earth has a unique value for various regional and global players, and such values must be precisely identified.

    For example, one curious inquiry would be to understand the rationale behind the Asian Development Bank's decision to extend 500 million US$ for the North-South corridor highway in Armenia. Overlay this information with Putin's recent visit to India and their plans to double their trade volume. Could Armenia serve as land bridge between the two countries? Can Armenia perhaps act as a strategic outpost for India to break the Chinese barrier developing on its North-North-West (China is the largest investor in Pakistan's railway infrastructure)
    Perhaps the 600 thousand dollars telethon contribution from India were not from the diaspora after all...

    Another curious inquiry is to understand Georgia's sudden change of heart towards Armenia and Ivanishvili's interest to activate the railway leading to Abkhazia.
    I understand many Armenians were naively very happy about this, but there might be some insidious intentions behind such statements, one of which would be to invalidate Armenia's argument against the Eurasian Union membership that "we have no land border with the Union."

    At the end, I think we should reject any time pressure to join any economic union, Armenia should keep negotiating favorable terms with respect to any trade agreement, we should wait for Ukraine's position on the Eurasian Union, I find that very important. And preferably wait to see how some of the hanging global security matters will be resolved.

    I would like to hear your opinion on Turkey's recent psychotic comments about dropping the EU in favor of Shanghai Cooperation if you have time for this.

    Also I am curious if you see any possibility of Armenia joining both EU's simultaneously?
    I do not find this a very far fetched idea, and I think Russians are open to such proposals.

    As to Hayrikyan, I somehow agree with you w.r.t his mental condition, even Ara Papyan
    ruled out Russian hands and found his comments not serious.

    Hoping for smooth elections and a new term under Serj Sargysyan, the man knows how to maneuver in such a unmerciful world, so I'll vote for that!

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  12. @ Aroutin

    It goes without saying that the terms/conditions of joining any union, be it the Eurasian Union or the European Union needs to be assessed properly by official Yerevan. In my opinion: The European Union has many serious long term problems (e.g. demographic, cultural, financial, economic and political). The Eurasian Union holds many promises not the least of which is the simple fact that Russia controls the world's largest landmass and virtually an endless wealth of every single natural resource that one can think of. Moreover, Russia is an underdeveloped society. As Russia develops, it will create massive economic opportunities for at least several generations. I see Russia today being more-or-less where America was in the second half of the 19th century (when the US was quickly expanding and growing as a result of new technologies and its vast resource-rich hinterland). The main difference being is that Russia is already a superpower and is already much wealthier and much more orderly than the US was at the time.

    Having said that, I really do not think joining both unions would be doable for Yerevan simply because of the obvious geopolitical aspects of the matter. Then again, you never know...

    Being that I maintain this blog as a portal to Russian-Armenian relations, I have routinely addressed Armenia's geopolitical and geostratgic value for Russia for several years. But I would like to gradually expand on the topic and include emerging factors such as China, India and Iran. In the meanwhile, if you would like to produce a paper on the topic I would be more than happy to post it here. Please let me know.

    PS: Do we know each other? Please tell me a few things about yourself. I won't post it if you don't want me to.

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  13. Dear Arevordi,
    We do not know each other but maybe one day we get the chance to meet in real world and perhaps in our fatherland.

    It would be time consuming ofcourse to analyze the complete geo-political relation of Armenia to different entities in the world, but one can summarize the matter from a macro economic level.

    At the moment, there are three relevant political/economic zones clustering while they mature into full realization, the European Economic Community, the Eurasian Economic Community and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation that includes Iran who applied for full membership, but because of ongoing sanctions by the United Nations it is blocked from admission as a new member.

    Let me first state that no matter what economic community Armenia joins, it will always remain an irrelevant peripheral country.
    The decision makers of the community will not prioritize the interests of Armenia as much as they prioritize the interests of larger resource rich countries.

    On the other hand, it happens that Armenia is potentially located at the intersection of the three mega economic zones while they are under expansion or formation.

    For the three economic zones to converge in Armenia , the following is required

    1- Turkey joins EU
    2- Iran joins SCO
    3- Georgia joins Eurasian Union or alternatively unifies with Armenia
    into a single common economic zone

    If Armenia joins the Eurasian Union
    Then guess who will be in this priviliged position....Turkey. Turks didn't see this coming and now have cooled down
    their EU ascension wishes and flirting with SCO. it's never too late I suppose, but Erdogan appears like the clown of the century, specially with his zero problem policy

    If Armenia joins the European Union and so does Turkey, then the winner will be Turkey's little brother in Baku.

    Yerevan officials are fully aware of this game (I hope), and for that reason have enaged in deep and comprehensive trade agreement with EU, as well as maintained mutual interests and ties with the Eurasian Union without committing to full membership (yet) due to some excuses such as lack of land border with the Customs Union.

    Next question comes naturally, so what happens if Armenia becomes the converging point of these three giant economic zones.
    It will simply become an economic center where the variations in socio-economic indices in the Eurasian continent (Lisbon to Busan) even out (balance), resulting in massive profits spilled into private and public accounts. Something like a neo-Switzerland.
    Interestingly just recently Iran called for increase of trade with Armenia to USD1bn while they are in negotiattions with the US over the nuclear program.
    And honestly, I always found the US embassy plot in Yerevan a bit too large to my taste. "The site occupies an area of 90,469 sq/m (22 American acres), one of the largest lots on which the U.S. embassy has been built". from their official website

    Funny that the explosion at the US embassy in Ankara was done by some "leftist marxist" oragansation?
    Interesting times ahead, I'm getting some popcorn

    ReplyDelete
  14. The comments of Prime Minister Tigran Sargysyan reveals the plan

    http://www.azatutyun.am/content/article/24892837.html

    dangerous game?

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  15. @Aroutin

    You brought up several interesting angles I had not given much thought to previously. Economics and finance are my weak points. Your words are food for thought. It goes without saying that whichever economic union/pact Armenia joins, it will be a junior partner. However, this does not negate the importance of such unions from an Armenian perspective. Armenia needs to tap into a large, friendly market to continue the development it had started under the Soviet Union.

    Tigrasn Sargsyan is indeed playing a game, perhaps a dangerous game. Not having "common borders" was a good excuse for being reluctant about the Eurasian Union. Now that we can see some light at the end of the Georgian tunnel, suddenly there is a new excuse? And this time is about the "lack of resources" in Armenia? This "hurdle" as he put it makes no sense to me. Which makes me wonder: Are his words meant to be lip service to the West because Yerevan is afraid it might cause unrest in the country if it openly expresses the wish to join the Eurasian Union? Or is there something more sinister behind his intentions? To tell you the truth, I don't trust Tigran Sargsyan because I think he (like Yeritsyan) represents IMF/Western financial interests in Armenia.

    The Great Game in Eurasia has been dragging on for too long. Sooner or later the powder keg will explode and the day of reckoning will be upon us and Yerevan will be forced to make a decision. The only route I see for Yerevan is North and East. The Caucasus needs peace under Russian stewardship.

    Anyway, I am too nervous about all this, and when I'm nervous I can't eat. Therefore, I will have to pass on the popcorn.

    PS: I feel the same way about world's second or third largest CIA-front office in Yerevan.

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  16. I just can't stop myself from laughing at the thought of Hayrikyan shooting himself as a PR stunt. Not saying thats what happened but knowing his character its not too farfetched.

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  17. I was recently back to Romania. What did I learn about (my country)? A taxi driver enlightened me: "Romania is a country of thieves, whores and crooks". Its biggest problem is (you guessed)CORRUPTION. We may add xenophobia, homophobia, bigotry, corruption, corruption. What else? Oh yes, stinking toilets! Have I mentioned corruption? Oh and of course, the imminent danger of Russian imperialism against which only the American missiles installed in the country can protect us.
    Sounds familiar? It is not by chance. Soros has a great surface.
    Romanian Anonymus

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  18. On the issue of economic zones, I am surprised that clear cut scenarios are no obvious to decide between the Eurasian Union and EU. While Turkey can decide to forever blockade Armenia hence cut any possibility of forming economic unions as it stands, one has to remember EU would have to overcome Turkey’s unlikely acceptance and second influencing normalization of relations with Armenia before anything meaningful can be reached, this would qualify as being farfetched. Armenia cannot expect a dominant position by stressing justice on a world forum but exercise its strength which it has to varying levers and degrees , this should not be used for accession for EU but rather be kept for something else. The prospects of EU accession are all losing propositions given the developing nations have a better change to develop their economic with neighboring demographics and standards then any benefit the EU can provide. The Eurasian union is key for Armenian’s development and should be used as a further leverage to open borders with Georgia regardless of the latter’s its intention of joining Eurasian union or not. It should not be forgotten that Georgia’s blockade would be a casus belli once it threatens Armenia’s survival ( it has), such conditions did exist in 1994 and onwards. Azerbaijan would sooner join Nato and preclude the possibility of joining the Eurasian union in any meaningful way which can give much greater leverage to Armenia’s favor. Azerbaijan prospects with its neighbors Russia, Armenia, Iran and Turkmenistan could not be more weakened which itself is fraught with impending dangers on its own account. Need we reiterate the raison d’etre of this website “Heralding the ...”

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  19. I'd like to point out something that isn't talked about much. China has been having tremendous trouble with the Turkish nationalist movement in it's western most province of Xin Jiang (pronounced Shin Jiang) bordering Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakstan. So far the government of China has suppressed these movements with force but they are extremely worried about the ten million or so ethic Turks (Uyghurs) that want to carve out a country for themselves in the only province of China that has oil. It's no secret that these nationalist movements have been organized and funded from outside, mainly the USA and Turkey. China know very well that the only thing standing between Turkey and an otherwise continuous line of Turks from Istanbul all the way to Xin Jiang is Armenia. I think this is another very important strategic asset which can be milked by the Armenian government. Armenia's future definitely lies north/south and east, not otherwise.

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  20. The gun used by to shoot Hayrikyan cannot kill. It was a gun that is between 50 and 100 years old. He himself now knows that his theory that special secret services from foreign countries wanting to kill him, is an utterly stupid theory, as they would never use such an unprofessional gun.

    It seems more and more likely that he orchestrated this, or just someone from Armenia itself wanted to hurt him.

    Anyway, the conclusion is that this man is disillusioned, is a lier and lives in a fantasy world. But who can blame hime? The poor man was in (Soviet) jail for 17 years...





    http://tert.am/en/news/2013/02/04/nagan-ara-papyan/

    The gun used in the attack on the presidential candidate Paruir Hairikyan could not kill one, Armenia’s ex-ambassador to Canada Ara Papyan told journalists on Monday.

    The assassination attempt against Mr Hairikyan cannot have been ordered by a serious organization – a Nagant revolver was used.

    “Nagant revolvers were produced from 1895 to 1952. What serious organization would order an assassination with a 60-year-old gun? You cannot be sure if it will fire at all,” Mr Papyan said.

    The mastermind behind the attack should be looked for inside Armenia.

    “The attack on Paruir Hairikyan has somewhat heighted domestic political tension. Of course, it is not what some expected in making that step,” Mr Papyan said.

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  21. of relevance:

    Putin signs law on amendments in Armenian-Russian agreement on preventing double taxation
    15:28, 4 February, 2013

    http://armenpress.am/eng/news/707130/putin-signs-law-on-amendments-in-armenian-russian-agreement-on-preventing-double-taxation.html


    The President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin signed the law ratifying amendments in the agreement on [[[preventing double taxation of income and property]]] between the Republic of Armenia and the Russian Federation.

    What I fail to understand here, why would Putin sign such an arrangement if he considers that Armenia must join the Customs Union? If it is true that Russia is exerting pressure on Armenia to join the Eurasian Union, the signed arrangement contradicts such an assumption.

    When Russia exerts soft pressure, it sounds something like this

    http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_02_04/No-confirmation-of-Russia-Ukraine-gas-price-deal-Peskov/

    http://rt.com/business/news/ukraine-gas-debt-russia-092/

    http://www.rferl.org/content/russia-ukraine-natural-gas/24886171.html

    I previously mentioned that we have to keep an eye on Ukraine's moves.

    When Ukrainian businessman Oleksandr Yaroslavsky was asked if Ukraine should go East or West, Yaroslavsky showed teeth in a predator’s grin: “Where the money is!”

    “And where is that?” a journalist asked.

    “I won’t tell you.”

    http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/op-ed/davos-ukraine-go-in-opposite-ways-319632.html


    Here I highlight some statements from Tatiana Valovaya, representing the Eurasian Economic Commission
    http://www.euractiv.com/europes-east/putin-comes-eu-eurasian-union-le-news-516419

    Valovaya made it plain that a “Common Economic Space” cannot be created between the EU and Russia, but only between the EU and the Eurasian Union.


    She also said that she was ready to start “all necessary consultations” with the EU Commission in this respect.

    Valovaya said it did not matter if Kyiv had a “special relation” with the Russian-led customs union or the EU, “as long as we have this Common Economic Space between the Eurasian economic union and the European Union”.

    “For me it’s no difference if Ukraine is part of a future Eurasian economic union, or a part of a free trade agreement with the EU,” she said.

    The statements above should be read between the lines, and very often, the opposite meaning of the literal message is intended to be conveyed.

    The question is, given the choice between Yerevan or Kiev for such a Common Economic Space between Eurasian Union and European Union, what does Russia prefer? on whom do they have more leverage Armenia or Ukraine? It could be possible that Armenia and Russia are playing the same game and what we see is simply role playing?

    In this chess game, everything is for sale, I do not believe in any cultural, ethnic or religious affinities as many Armenians assume. It's all about interests and business, so better we play the game right.
    Arevordi, one question, let's assume that Armenia fully joins the Eurasian Union, what would happen to Artsakh? Would Russia recognize it to be an non separable part of Armenia? What if later on Russia wants to exert some pressure on Baku to join the union, could they perhaps offer some concession in Artsakh to seduce them in? Aliyev would certainly score a victory if he regains Karabakh and will maintain his grip over Azerbaijan for another couple of decades.

    PS: Apologies for my long posts! I think these topics are important for Armenians to understand and debate openly.

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  22. Just for clarification, what I refer to as a possible "Common Economic Space" in Armenia is a scenario slightly similar to the "Hong Kong" model, a quasi free trade zone characterized by low taxation and service based economy.

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  23. @ Romanian Anonymous

    As an Armenian, your observations of your homeland for me was funny, revealing, troubling and all too familiar at the same time. They (Western institutions and not necessarily Soros) control global levers with which they have managed to harness the sentiments of the global masses. This is a serious threat to global stability and the reason why Western Globalism need to be fought against. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this page - like I said, they are painfully too familiar for us Armenians.

    @ Anonymous (February 5)

    Yes, the situation Beijing has with its Turkic/Islamic peoples in western China is potentially something Armenian officials would be able to exploit. Whether or not our officials have the foresight or the levers/resources to do so is altogether another topic. Moreover, as long as Ankara is not involved in anyway in causing problems in that troubled region of China, there wouldn't be much of a political value for the Chinese in supporting Armenians against Turkey. Having said that, in the harsh reality Armenia finds itself in the south Caucasus, Armenia's already limited resources/abilities needs to be concentrated on winning the hearts&minds of Russian officials within the walls of the Kremlin. This in no way means Yerevan should not be seeking to foster better relations with Beijing.

    @ Aroutin

    Once again, thank you for the links and the analysis. As I said, finance/economics is my weak point. Therefore, I really appreciate your input. Please don't hesitate to comment periodically regarding economic/financial matters in the context of regional geopolitics. I prepare commentaries for this blog once or twice a month. I am currently working on a commentary about the south Caucasus railway project envisioned by Moscow. I will look forward to your input.

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  24. Arevordi, I'm glad you find my comments interesting. Economy and finance are not my domain either, but rather geographical analysis. I am a satellite data analyst by profession and currently work for a corporation involved in certification of goods, inspections etc.

    When commenting in public it is well if sometimes we do not reveal true intents, but some distortions could serve well considering that there may be enemies scanning your pages as well.

    My geopolitical assessment for the present situation that touches partly also your thoughts on the Abkhazia railway, is as follows.

    I agree with you that Armenia stands today at an extraordinary opportunity that is about to transform this tiny irrelevant state into one of the most powerful centers in the world.

    The vision of Putin is perfect for Armenia, and I think many high level people are aware of this, but hesitating to reveal the plan.

    If Armenia joins the Eurasian Union, Yerevan will be at the frontier of the Russian empire connecting it to a very exceptional region.

    Think of Russia having its own version of Brussels two hours flight from Moscow, Yerevan is at the center of capitals like Baghdad, Kuweit, Cairo, Tel Aviv, Beirut, Tehran, Doha, Dubai, Baku, Batumi, Constantinople, Novorossiyk, Kiyev, Astrakhan, Astana to name a few.
    All the capitals I listed are within 2 hours flight from Yerevan and are connected through landroads or railway (and pipelines) in varying degrees of development stage.

    If we believe that Russia will manage to stabilize the Middle East with its own terms, specifically wrt to Syria , then we are looking at an era where some borders might have to adjust, some hanging issues must be resolved, for a globalized world with open borders to realize.

    So having Yerevan on board of the Eurasian Union brings Moscow to the center of such giant resources as well as huge market potential.

    Additionally it is a hub for land links to the Mediterranean, Red Sea, Persian,Caspian and Black seas. Abkhazian lies on one of those links, as well as Tbilisi, no surprise our beloved Georgian "brothers" got all yippiey enthusiastic when they heard about the Eurasian Union. Question: how are they going to explain the change of heart to Nato and EU oh..and US, one more, there Turkic and Zionist masters? Will be tough job explaining for Ivanishivili.

    Putting all these facts into the background, I think such scenario planning could result in more than a one bullet through the elbow, but it can even lead to setting whole countries on fire.

    here's a simple illustration to this scenario
    http://postimage.org/image/mkby5381r/

    I hope this input would help you as mush as it is worthy or not. A patriot and intelligent person like yourself knows what to write in public domain.
    Let's never be naive and write only for honesty sake, but also consider how to trick enemies and how to gain hearts of friends.

    I really enjoy your blog and reading it regularly, excellent work and I appreciate the time you take for writing.

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  25. Dear friend Arevordi,

    I hope you wouldn't mind calling you a friend, but your instant understanding of my willingly funny (tongue in cheek) remarks showed me that we are on the same wavelength.
    And that is not also mere coincidence. Armenia and Romania have many things in common, they both are byproducts of a very similar history, they both are situated at vitally important strategic points - gates to the vast expanses of Russia - , Armenians and Romanians have always been on friendly terms (Armenians found shelter in the Romanian Principalities fleeing the Ottoman onslaught, a Moldovan Prince of Armenian descent - Ion Voda Armeanul - was a hero of the fight against the Turks, many Armenians became outstanding personalities in Romania, many mixed marriages - I personally have many friends of Armenian descent and I can find even some Armenians sitting on the branches of my genealogical tree). Charles Aznavour had relatives in Romania, the famous Gulbenkian had relatives in Constanta in whose house I was spending my holidays on the Black Sea shores, etc.
    Now, obviously I took Soros as a metaphor of something more sinister. But he is instrumental in the promotion of the image of Romania as a country below the level of an African country, where everything is gloomy, dirty, dusty, muddy, grey, where everybody is desperately poor, dishonest, corrupt (of course),unreliable, idiotic, bordering insanity. He pays lavish scholarships to train future "intelligentsia" in his Budapest University, he sponsors the "intelligentsia" to make them write disparaging articles, make horrible films about Romania (hailed at Cannes!), to describe the situation in Romania as if it is on the brink of collapse, that "the Russian hand" is everywhere and so on and so forth. For Romania he plays a special role. He is "Hungarian". Romania and Hungary have a disputed territory among themselves, Transylvania which was that part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire which went to Romania after the collapse of the Empire in 1918. Part of the Romanian "intelligentsia", payed by Soros, play that tune : Romania (the East, Russia, Soviet Union, Putin)is a failed state (too much corruption!), only Hungary (the West) can save it. Therefore Romania must renounce Transylvania! (Karabagh?)
    On the other hand, my experience after many visits to Romania since 1990 was that things have steadily improved, albeit at a slower pace than we would have liked. The present situation in Romania is a far cry from what you can glean from newspapers, films, documentaries. For the better! Restaurants are full 24/7, Churches are full every Sunday, one can barely move in Bucharest because of the number of cars that double every second year (many locally produced and exported on "four continents"), public transport functions in time - the only delays are caused by the glut of private cars), markets are full of produces (everywhere in the country - I traveled all around for many years already). I don't know people who did not spend a holiday abroad at least twice! But Apocalypse is around the corner!!! (unless we do the bidding of the West - in that particular case the installation of the anti-missile shield, annoyingly enough on lands expropriated from my family in the time of Communism!!!).
    And when I point these things to my friends living in Romania and who made it big, they ask me with a puzzled face: "Have you forgotten where you left from?". And when I point that they live better than me who live in the West they get angry, really angry and accuse me that I am a Russian agent!

    Keep the good works,
    Romanian Anonymus aka Vlad

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  26. @ Romanian Anonymus

    It's amazing for me how much of what you said applies to Armenia and Armenians today; all you have to do is take your comments, replace the name Romania with Armenia and Hungary with Turkey. I reiterate: Western institutions have created an alternative reality for the sheeple of this world. The Western world is using its levers in language, film industry, music, education, academia, international organizations, information media, finance, trade, etc., to systematically impose their self-serving sociopolitical and socioeconomic model upon the world. Alarmingly, very few of us are able to see through this social engineering and mental conditioning.

    Thank you for your kind words about us. We Armenians reciprocate the warm feelings and respect. Romania has indeed been one of the safe-havens for Armenians for centuries. I also have Romanian-Armenian friends and relatives.

    Be well and thank you again.

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  27. @ Aroutin

    Needless to say you have a very interesting profession. It was obvious you were an analyst of some sort.

    Although we don't have anything remotely close to the global levers of control the Western world has evolved during the past century, I nonetheless believe that we Armenians can still create our realities. We need to assess the world around us properly and navigate its waters accordingly. The independence we have today is a chance we have been waiting for for one thousand years. It's time to be proactive, constructive, positive, objective and patient. Armenia's future is in our hands. How we set its foundational stones today will determine how the republic will develop.

    For many years I have been saying that Armenia's stands poised today to become a major financial and trade hub as a result of its good relationship with Moscow and Tehran. Moreover, I have been saying that Russia will be in the driver's seat in the 21 century - and that I want to see Armenia at the very least in its passenger seat.

    But too many Armenians have been too busy chasing "oligarchs" and Western fairytales instead. The nonsense about "Democracy" and "Rights" are red herrings meant to have us Armenians perennially chasing our tails and getting nowhere.

    Addressing this frustrating nuance is one of the fundamental intents of this blog.

    Anyway, I'll leave you with this:

    A high level American officer once asked his soldiers: What is the most powerful weapon the US possesses?

    One soldier replied: Nuclear missiles!

    The officer said no.

    Another soldier replied: Aircraft carriers!

    The officer said no.

    Another soldier replied: Submarines!

    The officer said no.

    Another soldier replied: The American soldier!

    The officer said no.

    Seeing that the soldiers were giving up, the officer answered his question by saying: The most powerful weapon in US inventory is: CNN, MTV, Hollywood, Coca-Cola, Jeans, McDonalds and US Dollars.

    He said: With these weapons we can invade every single nation on earth and they won't even know that they got invaded.

    The officer went on to add: If they (i.e. global sheeple) want to dance to our music, want to live in our country, speak our language, watch our movies, attend our universities, eat our foods, wear our cloths, trade in our money and get their information from our sources, how will they ever think of us as their enemy?

    Social engineering, mental conditioning, psychological-operations and propaganda are the most powerful yet least understood weapons in the world.

    Thank you for your words of support.

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  28. Would you see a link between the "assassination" attempt on Paruyr Hayrikian and the "admission" by the Bulgarian Govt. that the bus blast in Burgas was the work of "Hezbollah"?
    Romanian Anonymus

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  29. @ Romanian Anonymus

    Well, we know they are looking to put pressure on Hezbollah and on Yerevan (for two different yet somewhat converging geostrategic reasons). Other than that, there are no links between the two incidents. What makes you think there may be a link?

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  30. Rather musings of my own after the "revelation" that one of the "terrorists" was holding an Australian passport, "fueling fears of home-grown terrorism" in the Australian media. Allegedly he was living in Lebanon. The photo that appeared in the media make him look rather "white". But probably you have still in mind the case of the use by Mossad of stolen Australian passports (and not only)in the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in 2010. Current practice in false-flag operation.
    Yes the similitudes are rather that they both are false-flag operations.

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  31. Arevordi:

    The example about which deadliest arsenal the United States has is all too true. I believe that this is an example of 'benevolent assimilation' in which the entire population of a targeted country is assimilated into a bigger society without realizing that they've been conquered. In addition, the US has also made its reputation for sending English language teachers around the world to teach foreigners the English language, and spreading the Globalist agenda.

    Going back on the topic of Armenian elections, assuming that Sargsyan wins this one, is he allowed to run again in 2017 (assuming that Armenia goes by the four year term in the Presidential office) or does he have to appoint a potential successor within his own party to run for the Presidency?

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  32. @ Romanian Anonymous

    I now see what you mean. I was not following the investigation in Bulgaria. You are right, it is very suspect now that I look at it. False flag operations are much more common than we think, and the Anglo-American-Zionist alliance has perfected such operations in recent decades. As I said in the beginning of this blog commentary, the assassination attempt against Paruyr Hayrikian could very well have been a Western hit and it can be considered a false flag operation because the man in question has been one of Washington's longest serving representatives in Armenia.

    @ Jerriko

    Serj Sargsyan is assured to win the elections. Even foreign polling have revealed that over 60% of the Armenian electorate will be voting for him. The same polling suggests that President Sargsyan's closest rival is Raffi Hovanissian (representing Washington) at around 10%. In my opinion, Serj Sargsyan will not run for a third term. I highly doubt that they will change the laws to allow him to run again. I would want him to run either. He has set a good foundation for the nation, but now we need others from the same political/ideological clique to commence the building process. There are some indicators that they are preparing Yerevan's former Mayor Karen Karapetyan for Armenia's presidency. Karapetyan is a very professional, very intelligent, very educated and a very wealthy technocrat with very close ties in Moscow. I would be very-very happy if Karapetyan takes over the presidency after Sargsyan.

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  33. Some inter-related points I thought of as I was reading the comments; mostly those left by Arevordi and Aroutin.

    1) Russia intends to integrate its near abroad in several ways. Different tactics are used depending on the country: energy with Ukraine, trade with Georgia, international cover with Belarus, etc. With that said, they also are working to shore up their restive regions in the North Caucasus, if they can't keep that area in check, it will be more difficult to consolidate their gains in the near abroad (Caucasus, Ukraine/Belarus and Central Asia).

    2) PM Sargsyan brought up a great point, indeed the economies of the current members of the Customs Union are quite different from Armenia's economy. The closest economy is that of Belarus, which is heavily dependent on agriculture and heavy machinery production. As you can see Armenia is not big on either of those. This is a hurdle to joining the Union but certainly not an insurmountable one. Armenia acting as the financial, IT, and health sector oriented economy of the Union could very well serve the economic diversification process that's currently underway in Russia. During Soviet times Armenia's economy was more on the hi-tech side relative to those of the other member states. So the precedent of Armenia's soviet economy as well as the talent of the old and new generations are key.

    3)I disagree with Aroutin's notion that there are three economic zones. First, SCO is not a economic organization. They are concerned about security and keeping the West/US at bay in the important Central Asia region, the so called 'Heartland'. China has also used the SCO to gradually expand into Central Asia without making the Russians feel threatened. Russia sees it as another vehicle to tie the stans to its orbit while at the same time prevent too much Western penetration. Although Russia would like to see the SCO move closer to the CSTO and the Eurasian Union (EAU), officials in Beijing are hesitant because currently they have a good thing going, bi-laterally speaking, with all the Central Asian republics. And traditionally China has shied away from making military pacts. Also, if one looks at their foreign policy it emphasizes the bi-lateral over the multi-lateral more so than other countries. Moreover, China's economy is heavily dependent on the West, they are in a bind. Second, the EU is in serious trouble. They may or may not collapse, but the notion (chimera) of an ever expanding and prosperous union of European states is finished. What some have speculated may occur is the eventual slimming down of the EU, to its core i.e. wealthy members. Third, the EAU is still on the drawing board, which means there are a lot of kinks to be ironed out. It's no secret that there are many potential benefits to Armenia should the EAU come to fruition and should Armenia join. This is made all the more true with Georgia's new and sane government running the show in Tiflis. The real loser is azerbaijan because they are in danger of becoming isolated, with Georgia in Russia's fold, baku loses its connection to turkey. This in turn weakens their ability to manipulate their cousins in ankara, like they did in regards to the protocols, and opening borders with Armenia.

    [....]

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  34. [....]

    4) Russia doesn't have nearly as many levers in the Middle east as the West. Just counting the number of states in the region which are in the Western camp and comparing that to the pro-Russian camp is enough to show one the serious uphill battle Russia would face should it try to 'shape' the Middle east. I bring this up because I think we must not overstate Russia's abilities in the Middle east. This region is prone to conflict for reasons entirely unrelated to Russia, reasons stemming from religion and the European colonialists who drew up the borders 80+ years ago. Moscow will do what it can and must, Iran will do the same, but the geopolitical course of the region also depends on the people who have shown a new propensity to rebel, especially when they are not paid off like the Arab citizens of the Gulf Monarchies. Russia can only do so much, and more importantly, it needs to fully consolidate its positions in the near abroad, which takes priority over the Middle east.

    L.G.

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  35. A factoid to present to Armenians that constantly speak of emigration.

    From 1990-1997 around 134,000 people left Georgia each year. That's over a million. Emigration is still an issue for Georgia, just as much as it is for azerbaijan.

    Also, the Georgian economy and monetary union was so jacked up that in 1994 the then president, Shevardnadze asked to join the ruble zone. Russia declined!

    L.G.

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  36. It looks like the things in the region tend to became "hot". Do the very recent anti-
    Saakashvili in Tbilisi, reported with perceived chagrin by the Western media, "herald" the impending consignment of the "pro Western, NATO, American, EU and God knows who else" to the rubbish heap of History?
    What about the "stepping-down" of the "gregarious, charismatic, art-collecting, jazz-lover former activist for Jewish causes" Ambassador to USA, Temur Yakobashvili? Because he cannot get along with the new Prime-Minister, the "eccentric billionaire who made his fortune in Russia"?
    Russians would gladly toast a bottle or two of Georgian wine.
    Romanian Anonymus

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  37. I wrote quite a long comment, and when trying to previewing puff it went all away.

    So briefly, thanks L.G. for your correction and contribution. Somehow I still think SCO also has a large economic dimension. Intent for a free trade zone, proposals for a new financial system as well as China assisting the member countries who got affected in 2009 crisis.

    Bottomline, just as food for thought, I am entertaining the idea of Armenia being at the crossroad of two vital corridors, East-West and North-South.
    Both projects have gained significant momentum lately the North South was boosted by the Highway development in Armenia, Southern Railway and Abkhazia link.

    On the other hand, East West project also is at advanced stages such as Nabucco or whatever thinned version of it, Kars-Baku railway.

    It is conceivable that Georgia + Armenia as a common economic space would be a good opportunity to maintain independence and a friendly transit corridor for various powers.

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  38. https://rt.com/politics/military-conflict-gerasimov-threat-196/

    Russia may be drawn into resource wars in future – army chief

    Russia may become drawn into military conflicts as world powers begin to vie for energy resources in the next two decades, said Valery Gerasimov, the head of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces.

    By 2030, the level of “existing and potential threats will significantly increase,” Gerasimov said during a security conference in Moscow, according to Interfax.

    Leading world powers will soon begin to struggle for fuel, energy and labor resources, as well as new markets in which to sell their goods; some powers will “actively use their military potential,” he explained.

    He also observed that the sphere of combat is moving away from traditional battlegrounds – such as land and sea – to aerospace and information. Conflict zones in North Africa and the Middle East point to such changes in the use of military force, the general said.

    The role of non-military instruments is also increasing, including information wars, secret operations and the use of the “protest potential of a population,” Gerasimov said, adding that such non-military means are often more effective than the use of military power.

    Given these challenges, Russia’s possession of state-of-the-art weaponry is a “vital condition for the country's existence,” Gerasimov said.

    By 2015, the number of modern weapons and military hardware across Russia’s Armed Forces will reach at least 30 percent. And by the end of the decade, all guided missile brigades will be supplied with Iskander tactical missile systems.

    However, priority is still being given to strategic nuclear forces to ensure deterrence, Gerasimov said. Russia plans to re-arm its nuclear arsenal with modern Topol-M and RS-24 Yars strategic missiles, new submarines, and modernized Tupolev Tu-160 and Tu-95MS bombers.


    This blog has been touching on the topics spoken of by the Russian General in the above topic for years!

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  39. Based on my observations of the pre-election campaign, our president doesn't seem to be having much experience in good campaigning. Although he has good capabilities of leadership, Charisma however seems to be his weak point.

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  40. To Aroutin:

    SCO has the possibility to expand and become an economic union along with a security pact. I believe this is the direction Moscow would like to take the organization toward, but as I mentioned in my previous post, Beijing is more hesitant.

    As for a common economic space being created in Armenia and Georgia, well that would be a win-win for both states since one side would compliment the other and vice versa. However, for that to occur, we need Russia to fully kick out the Western and Turkish political forces. They have done a good job over the past 5 years, but more work remains to be done. A Armenian economic union with Georgia would significantly undercut Azerbaijan, and seal the deal on that regimes isolation. We can only hope!

    L.G.

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  41. Arevordi, Svetia and Sarkis86. There was something that perked my interests and I'm sure it should be of great concern. What do you guys know about an incident in the town of Khojaly, Artsakh/Nagorno-Karbakh? From what I can gather, would the commemoration of this kind of massacre have any potential consequences for the Caucasus? I'm sorry if I brought this up but on facebook there is a post with regards to this tragedy.

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  42. Jerriko,

    Please go to the following website to read more about the falsifications about Khojaly

    http://xocali.net/EN/ayaz-mutalibov.html

    The "hype" with regards to what happened there, is made to "counter" the Armenian Genocide (in the idiotic eyes of the Turks/Azeris). Armenians were massacred in large numbers in Sumgait, Kirovoabad and in Baku, does this have any potential consequences for the Caucasus or the world? No. More than 1.5 MILLION, not ten, not hundred, not thousand Armenians were massacred the last century. Did anybody care? No.

    This just shows how barbaric and facistists the Turks are, as they quickly call what happened in Khojaly to a few hundred civilians a genocide (actually, they fired on their own civilians, the first president of Azerbaijan said this and it has been investigated by many journalists), however still deny what happened not to a hundred, to a thousand, or two-thousand not to ten-thousand or fifteen-thousand Armenians, not to fifty-thousand or one-hundred thousand Armenians, not to three-hundred thousand or four-hundred thousand Armenians, not to half a million Armenians, not to one-million Armenians but what happened to ONE-POINT-FIVE-MILLION-ARMENIANS!

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  43. @Jerriko

    What I would like to add to what Anonymous said is that the so called "khojaly massacre" propaganda got more momentum after the first half of the 2000s. Until that, the azeris did not have much "proof". What they started doing is that they started taking pictures/photos of people massacred in Kosovo, Afghanistan or Iraq and represented them as "innocent azerbaijanis massacred in Khojaly"...

    azerbaijan's entire "history" is based on "anti-Armenianism". They have no history in reality, all they have is that there once was a "greater azerbaijan" which got divided by the evil Persians, Armenians and Russians. Then later they were somehow always "massacred" by Armenians(although they were angels, they "NEVER" attacked Armenians in 1905, 1909, 1918-1921, 1988-1994)... There you have it, history of azerbaijan in just a few lines...

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  44. Come to think of it, I've visited that site that you provided to me and the Azeris think Aliyev was the founder of independent Azerbaijan, not Ayaz Mutabilov.

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  45. Interesting stuff, thks for your take on the situation. -Ararat

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Dear reader,

Arevordi will be taking a sabbatical to tend to personal matters. New blog commentaries will henceforth be posted on an irregular basis. The comments board however will continue to be moderated on a regular basis.

The last 20 years or so has also helped me see Russia as the last front against scourges of Westernization, Globalism, American expansionism, Zionism, Islamic extremism and pan-Turkism. I have also come to see Russia as the last hope humanity has for the preservation of classical western civilization, Apostolic Christianity and the traditional nation-state. This compelled me to create this blog in 2010. Immediately, this blog became one of the very few voices in the vastness of cyberia that dared to preach about the dangers of Globalism and the Anglo-American-Jewish alliance, and the only voice preaching the strategic importance of Armenia remaining within Russia's orbit. From about 2010 to 2015 I did monthly, at times weekly, commentaries about Russian-Armenian relations and Eurasian geopolitics in general. It was very difficult for me because I had no assistance from anywhere. The time I put into this blog therefore came at the expense of work and family. But a powerful feeling inside urged me to keep going; and I did. When Armenia joined the EEU and integrated into Russia's military structures a couple of years ago I finally felt a deep sense of relaxation, as if a very heavy burden was lifted off my back. And when Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan reemerged in Armenian politics, I finally felt that my personal mission was accomplished. I therefore felt I could take a step back as I really needed the rest.

Simply put: I have lived to see the institutionalization of Russian-Armenian alliance. Also, I feel more confident now that Armenians are collectively recognizing the strategic importance of Armenia's ties with Russia. Moreover, I feel satisfied knowing that, at least on a subatomic level, I had a hand in the outcome. As a result, I feel a strong sense of mission accomplished. I therefore no longer have the internal urge to continue as in the past. In other words, the motivational force that had propelled me in previous years has been gradually dissipating because I feel that this blog has lived to see the realization of its stated goal.

Going forward, I do not want to write merely for the sake of writing. Also, I do not want to say anything if I have nothing important to say. I feel like I have said everything I needed to say. Henceforth, I will post seasonal commentaries about topics I find important. I will however moderate the blog's comments section on a regular basis; ultimately because I'm interested in what readers of this blog have to say and also because it's through readers here that I am at times made aware of interesting developments. To limit clutter in the comments section, I kindly ask all participants of this blog to please keep comments coherent and strictly relevant to the featured topic of discussion. Moreover, please realize that when there are several anonymous visitors posting comments simultaneously, it becomes very confusing (not to mention extremely annoying) trying to figure out who is who and who said what. If you are here to engage in conversation, make an observation, express an idea or just attack me, I ask you to at least use a moniker to identify yourself.

Please appreciate the fact that I have put an enormous amount of information into this blog. In my opinion, most of my blog commentaries and articles, going back ten-plus years, are in varying degrees relevant to this day and will remain so for a long time to come. Posts in this blog can therefore be revisited by longtime readers and new comers alike. I therefore ask the reader to treat this blog as a depository of important information relating to Eurasian geopolitics. Russian-Armenian relations and humanity's historic fight against Globalism and Westernization.

Thank you for reading.