Saturday, April 11, 2009

Why Now?

UPDATE: you can hear Ghalamkaryan's interview with RFE/RL from April 11, at 7pm (19:00) here. The interview is from about4:20 to 6:10.

As both Unzipped and HNazarian have pointed out, and RFE and Hetq have reported, Karo Simidyan and Aramazd Ghalamkaryan had their apartments searched by police, and were taken in for questioning earlier today. Both, it seems, have been released, though Ghalamkaryan's computer is still being questioned, and he has to return for further questioning on the 17th of this month. As per the Hetq article, Mr. Simidyan's son is said to be friends with Pashinyan, as is Ghalamkaryan, who runs his own pro-opposition blog (

I wonder why this is happening now. Pashinyan has been on the run for over a year, and his writings have been published for just as long. Interestingly, there was another first the other day when among those taken in for questioning to the police station was Levon Zurabyan - who is usually the one negotiating with the police. Tensions seem to be rising, but why now? Is it the upcoming demonstration on May 1, the Mayoral elections on May 31? Is the persistence of protesters on Northern Ave striking just the wrong cord with the authorities?
Maybe it means something that the first four stories on RFE/RL (in Armenian) on 11 April were the following:

1.The Apartments of Nikol Pashinyan's Friends are Searched
2.R. Erdogan "The Kharabagh problem has to be solved first"
3.S. Sargsyan "The ball is in Turkey's Court"
4.L. Zurabyan "The key to success is activism"

Things just don't seem to be going the way they were supposed to for Sargsyan and Co. Or maybe Sargsyan was just playing a game with Turkey, and border talks, and Genocide talks, and he never took any of it seriously other than for show, just like he has been playing a game with Armenia, and (supposedly) caring about the people of Armenia has been a charade.

Regardless of what is causing these new patterns, something seems different, and its still not clear why SS decided this was the time to make a more publicly visible search for Pashinyan, if that's what it is.
What it definitely is, is intimidation. As is taking in Zurabyan, who is generally seen as the negotiator and peacemaker at the demonstrations, as is what the authorities did tonight: taking 4 minors in for questioning from Northern Ave while not allowing them attorneys - who were forced to wait outside. The a1plus report states they were taken around 8pm, 2 were released around 10pm and the other 2 around 1am.

How do you remind people that you're in control? You strike at the young, the old, and the peaceful; at those who keep the fire burning and those who spread the news.

1 comment:

Armen Filadelfiatsi said...

I think they are worried about the internet's potential--well, actually, not potential, but proven ability--to disseminate information they want repressed. There is nothing that they can do to control it.

They definitely don't want Pashinyan's intensely persuasive and stirring writing put together with the excellent web-site that Aramazd created. That's for sure.

Whether this totally illegal arrest reminiscent of back-water dictatorships is a reflection of them feeling weaker, or the website being strong, or both, I don't know.

Also, it is interesting that the last post on the Aramazd site was a picture of Pashinyan's daughter with a comment that expressed intense sadness for the little girl that no doubt misses her father. Did the expression of empathy for a girl missing her father because they, the banditocracy, want to kill him trigger the arrest?

About whether there is something going on on an international level that is making them nervous, I don't know, either. But I would guess that Obama's election might have something to do with it. In the sense that now that the US has a president that is not a complete dipshit, it likely that ignorant, cheap, and brute wanna-be dictators all over the world are feeling nervous.