Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Great Discussions, I'm sure...

Hovik Abrahaman, Speaker of the NA, is going to meet with Ahmadinejad, and has already met with his Iranian counterpart. Among issues being discussed are regional security. I can just imagine how the conversation is going to go...

Iran:"Wow, you're really pulling it off. I'm impressed..."
Muk:"Yeah, it was unfortunate that any of the March 1 events were captured on video, especially some of the more graphic footage - the shootings, the jaw, the beatings... you know how it goes... kind of like that girl they caught on video in Tehran.... what was her name?"
Iran:"N-something, I think. After seeing what happened with your elections, we knew videos and technology would cause a problem - we tried to block internet and all of that early on, but some of them got around it. B**tards. You work so hard to try to cut off all communication, but they find a way."
Muk:"Agreed. Quite annoying. Sometimes I look out of my car and just dream that all those little people out there would just shut up, or disappear - it would make my life so much easier..."
{chuckling together}
Iran:"We saw how little it mattered that there were international observers, and our relationship with the west is a little different to begin with... but we just kept them out anyway. From what I hear, observers were good for the restaurant business in Yerevan, right? They didn't set you back much at all- those organizations can't do anything anyway."...
Muk:"Imagine what we could do if we put our heads together!"
{more chuckling}

On another note - the Public council, which seems to be headed by Vazgen Manukyan, has approved the protocols. I'm not exactly sure where in the process this council fits, but why am I not surprised. What I'm really not sure of is WHICH public they are the council of...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

SS has to go...along with his own Schutzstaffel

I am very concerned about this guy, for a number of reasons. From his uniform, I think he's a Yerevan police officer. But he acts more like an SS office from Nazi Germany - not surprising given he works for SS. So that's concern number one - that this kind of behavior (see below) is tolerated and it seems rewarded in the present Banditocracy. Which dovetails onto my second concern- this guy seems to be a real sadist, maybe just a sociopath. Why do I say that? Watch his expression in the video, or the stills below, while he punches, then knees one of the youth - it doesnt change, he doesn't blink - and he does it so quickly you might miss it in the video. He shows no guilt, no remorse, no empathy, and no hesitation- no conscience. And maybe he even seems to enjoy it a bit.

So the yert was on 25 September - the videos have been posted elsewhere so I won't reproduce them. But, as mentioned above, this sadist, along with the rest of his colleagues, pushes and punches and kicks the youth involved. Here are the stills of the Red Berets harassing Vahagn Gevorgyan (recently released on Amnesty, politically active son of Haykakan Zhamanak editor Haik Gevorgyan), then Vahagn "encounter" with the sociopath-

Just in case the knee-ing isn't too visible, i've outlined the angles.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Photographic Documentaries

As I posted a while back, the new ANC social network is a welcome medium for conversation and discussion, and a number of people have posted photos and videos I had never seen before. It was through the ANC network that I found out that both a book and a calendar of incredible photographs from the past almost two years have been published by German Avakyan. They are published online, which means that you can browse some or all of the material online, and if you chose to buy, you order it and it is then printed and sent to you.

The 2010 calendar is entitled For Our Freedom and Yours - here is the front cover:

The compilation of photos is called, very appropriately, Armenia:Stolen Voices.
Links to more about german Avakyan and other products of his can be found at his site:

Friday, September 18, 2009

Announcement Regarding Tigran Arakelyan


Youth movement activist Tigran Arakelyan has been in detention for about two and a half months on charges of resisting police officers.

On July 1, 2009 Tigran Arakelyan was distributing leaflets on Abovyan Street advertising upcoming rally for the Armenian National Congress with fellow activists when police officers in civilian clothing attacked and severely beat the young men publicizing the event. During the attack, Tigran Arakelyan sustained a serious head injury when an officer struck him with the handle of his revolver. As a result of the assault, Tigran Arakelyan was taken to the hospital by ambulance.

On July 5, 2009 Tigran Arakelyan was summoned to Yerevan’s Kentron administrative district police department, ostensibly as the victim of the attack, but after several hours of interrogation and confrontation with the officers involved in the fight, he instead stood accused, charged with “offering resistance to a representative of authorities” under Article 258, section 3, subsection 2 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Armenia. Tigran Arakelyan was subsequently taken to “Nubarashen” penitentiary, but on July 16, the 12th day of his detention, having suffered nervous shock, he was moved to the “Hospital for Convicts” penal institution.

Currently, Tigran Arakelyan remains in the “Hospital for Convicts” because his health has deteriorated, suffering from worsening eyesight, dizziness and weakness. However, since his illness has not been diagnosed, Arakelyan has not yet received the necessary treatment to recover from his affliction. In order to receive a proper medical examination he must be taken to a civic hospital.

Tigran Arakelyan’s case requires swift intervention to ensure fair pre-trial and change of the measure of restraint to prevent the further deterioration of his health.

September 18, 2009

“Transparency International Anti-corruption Center” NGO
“Helsinki Committee of Armenia” NGO
“Civil Society Institute” NGO
“Huys” NGO
“People are the Masters of Our Country” Organization
“Lawyers for Human Rights” NGO
“Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor Office” NGO
““Asparez” Journalists’ Club” NGO
“We Plus” NGO
“Arena of Education” NGO

Monday, September 14, 2009

On Choo-Choo Trains, Psychic abilities and Long-Shots..

On September 15, Today's Zaman posted an article about Armenia's Ambassador signing an agreement to buy railway trains from Poland, reportedly for use on the railway between Turkey and Armenia.
The Railway between Turkey and Armenia? What railway? And why can an Ambassador from Armenia sign for a Russian Company? Who invests in the potential of a railway that may or may not come to be? Someone who knows or can assure that it will come to be, that's who.
Who controls the railway? Well, let's see:
South Caucasus Railways (SCR) has officially started business operations under a concession agreement to manage Armenian Railways.

In this connection, by 1 June 2008, SCR, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Russian Railways, received property owned by Armenian Railways consisting of 2,000 freight cars, 58 passenger coaches, 85 locomotives and 30 electric trains... The Company plans to promote cooperation with Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Ukraine and other countries.

That's from a Russian Railways website, and it cites another article which announces that the agreement between Russia and Armenia was signed on February 13th, 2008 [that's right, 6 days before the presidential election], and specifies further
The preliminary investment plan provides for Russian Railways to commit about USD400 million over the 30 years to the development of Armenia’s rail infrastructure. It is also planned to invest some USD170 million to upgrade rolling stock. Russian Railways is guaranteeing the investment.

The concessionaire is expected to begin operations in the second half of 2008.

That's A LOT of money, especially pre-election... in February 2008... that's quite a guarantee, too.. It must have been SUUUCH a gamble...

In fact, by June 4th, 2009:
The Armenian railway is quite ready for the opening of the Armenian-Turkish border, said Shevket Shaydulin, Director General of the South Caucasus Railways CJSC, which has assumed the concession management of the Armenian railway. He told a press conference today that the works to modernize the infrastructures in that direction were under way.

“We are ready to resume the rail communication between Armenia and Turkey. Today there is a distinct program of activities, a business project is being worked out. We are taking corresponding steps to modernize the Akhuryan station at the border,” he said.

Shevket Shaydulin assured that there would be no problems with railway transportation in case the border was opened. The Company intends to make an investment of $900 million in that direction.
I envy that confidence. Or is it prescience?

But maybe its just that in this time of international economic crisis, Russia is overflowing with money. They just loaned $500 million to Armenia, right (see Eurasianet article)?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

To Inspire the Youth...

"Let us all unite with the people, who have raised the flag of freedom. He who does not follow and turns away from the people is an enemy of the people. And in particular you, the youth, defenders of ideology always and everywhere, may you unite with your people."

What a great quote, a great ideology. It is a direct quote from the Manifesto of the ARF. Here's another good one:

"Strengthening Armenia's statehood, institutionalization of democracy and the rule of law, securing the people's economic well being, and establishment of social justice."

This is one of the clearly stated goals of the ARF, as stated in their Official Program.

When I think of the principles of statehood, democracy, and social justice... when I think of the people, youth and unity, that is when I start to wonder if the ARF and I even speak the same language. The people are those who were and still are in the streets, democracy and social justice mean human rights with freedom of speech and press. But this is apparently not who or what the ARF has in mind.

In the past 6 months, the use of violence and intimidation by the Banditocracy against the youth have become more obvious than ever. The names of certain youth activists, persecuted and imprisoned for their political beliefs and actions, are now well known. Tigran Arakelyan is on an indefinite hunger strike, having recently had his pre-trial detention extended for another 2 months, for no apparent reason. Vahagn Gevorgyan, 18 yo, was just found guilty, sentenced to a one year imprisonment and fined, and then pardoned (of note, he is the son of Hayk Gevorgyan, journalist at Haykakan Zhamanak, which is still being persecuted).

In one of his recent pieces, Pashinyan highlighted the enormously important role of the youth in today's political sphere, and the incredible evolution the political and social identity of the young generation has already undergone. In fact, the piece was only outdone by the flurry of comments it received, with commenter after commenter showing support, adding "+1". One even points out:

Which, loosely translated tells Nikol that it is through his example that the youth has come to where they are today. You have taught us to be citizens and to stand up for ourselves. In 2007, I was not among those demanding impeachment, but now I say +1, +1, +1...

So, to be honest, I don't want to hear about how the ARF is not at the point where they would call for Sargsyan's resignation, that they still are just demanding Nalbandyan's resignation. Let them have their hunger strike, which they're starting on the 15th, because they are upset with Sargsyan's steps toward Armenian Turkish relations. I have yet to see them stand true to the principles of the original ARF, I have yet to see them inspire... When they do that, only then will they step out from the shadows of their coalition connections, step into the light of their founding fathers, and start to become true opposition.

Friday, September 11, 2009

And these people are...???

I like this approach. Take the evidence, make it public, then "ask" Nikoyan about it, and "ask" him to have it explained in the next report.

This photo was made public, along with this letter (tranlation from Lragir):
The members of the fact-finding group addressed a letter to the head of the NA temporary commission to study March Samvel Nikoyan which runs:

“We are sending you a video and one photo which show armed people in military uniforms on March 1, 2008 at about 16:00-17:00 on the Melik Adamyan street. Before the release of the final report of the commission we expect the commission to find out:

-whether the people in the camion are soldiers. If yes, from what structure and what department.

- whether the masked people in the second ground of the photo are soldiers or police officials, if yes, from what department.
We inform you that the documents the fact-finding group sent you in this connection contain valuable information

The letter is signed by A. Kocharyan and S. Safaryan, Members of the Former Fact-Finding Group

Here are the close-ups:

Monday, September 7, 2009

Died from a Heart Attack?

Grigori ("Grisha") Sargsyan died this morning of an apparent heart attack.
Why, you may ask yourself, is the name familiar?

At the very moment when Levon Ter Pertrossyan was addressing people and the troops in the square with appeal of soberness, he was blocked by police troops headed by Grisha Sargsyan, the head of guards of the acting president Kocharyan
(a1plus, march 1, 2008)

Grisha Sargsyan the head of Kocharyan’s guards himself violently pushed Levon Ter-Petrosyan into the car and took him to his house
(HCA France, March 3, 2008)

There is much to be said, it seems.

But, let us distance ourselves from those who hate, disrespect, and destroy.
May he rest in peace.

UPDATE: RFE/RL Article in English

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Some brief thoughts on news items...

The biggest news is about the development of agreements between Turkey and Armenia for progress forward. Nazaryan says it best in his post:
That's what you get when you try to come to an agreement from a position of weakness at the negotiating table.

He has a number of documents posted, here are a few more of interest:
The protocol for Turkey and Armenia,
Here is the official version (I found the link thanks to a new blog called pomegranate express)
Sargsyan's public clarification, and
HAK's statement on the issue in English

The Hunchak party as well as the ARF have issued statements about the issue. I couldn't find a Ramkavar official statement - this was the closest I could find.
This is interesting to me not because of an illusion of informed broad scale diasporan involvement in Armenia, but because only the Hunchak statement says anything about the acceptance/recognition of the principle of territorial integrity, which was included in the Turkey-Armenia protocol, and the implications of which have been of concern to a good number of people.

Actually dealing with fundamental, real-time issues (that might result in the loss of power) would be too much of a big step for the ARF, anyway - they're still reeling and dizzy from announcing out loud that they might start to consider to think that maybe Sargsyan should potentially resign if he signs the existing principles for the NK issue.

And why didn't police need shields at the ARF meeting:
a high-ranking policeman said: "What is the point in carrying shields if we know what Dashnaks are going to talk about?"

Right. How about because, as Arzumanyan has pointed out, they're not really opposition.

On another note, Sukiasyan presented himself to the authorities and is now imprisoned.