April 22, 2008

Two Catholicoses Visit President Sargsyan

On April 21 Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, visited President Serzh Sarkissian.

Oh, if only I was a fly on the wall....

I can only imagine what, if anything, was discussed of a substantive nature. Or was it all a big PR event for some much needed support for the new president.

Did the two church leaders actually express their support for Sargsyan without any reservation?

Should we really care????

April 18, 2008

Council of Europe to Armenia - Clean Up Your Act!!!

Yesterday, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe passed a fairly scathing report regarding the political state of affairs in Armenia, touching on the recent presidential elections and the restrictions in place regarding legal political dissent. A number of demands were put on the regime in Yerevan that must be immediately implemented, otherwise Armenia would be denied the right to vote at the next PACE session in June.

Kommersant, a leading Russian online news source, has an interesting article regarding the resolution and some of the backroom negotiations involved.


April 15, 2008

Nune Yesayan - Please Shut Up !!!

Artists are citizens too and thus have the right, like the rest of us, to express their personal opinions on a wide range of issues, politics included.

However, the rantings of Nune Yesayan regarding the events of March 1st border on the idiotic and are repulsive, to say the least.

Yesterday, she comfortably stated that those who died that night "were in the wrong place and only have themselves to blame for their deaths." (Basically - they got what they deserved) I wonder, how do people like her sleep at night???

She then went on to praise Serzh Sargsyan for helping her out with a personal matter (money) when he was Defense Minister. The rest of her comments are too far-out to include here.
So Nune - please stick to dancing and singing on stage.
You do more harm than good when you do otherwise.

April 14, 2008

Bill To "Amend" Controversial Article 301 Sent to Turkish Parliament

In a much needed respite from the sorry state of politcal affairs in Armenia we would like to inform our readers that the Turkish Parliament will be debating a bill to amend Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code.

Briefly, in addition to a few symbolic changes in the lexicon of the article, the Turkish Parliament will be debating whether or not to take away the mandate to file a lawsuit under the article from the president and give it to the Ministry of Justice.

The European Union has been calling on Turkey to amend Article 301, which has been the basis for charges against Turkish writers and journalists such as Hrant Dink, Elif Safak, and Orhan Pamuk. That provision makes denigrating Turkish identity or insulting the country’s institutions a crime punishable by up to three years in prison.

Doesn't seem like the bill intends to strip Article 301 of its teeth to go after dissidents in Turkey not towing the regime's line. In Turkey you get charged with "insulting the Turkish nation" while here in Armenia you get charged with "fomenting mass public havoc" and "seeking to usurp state power". Here, they lock you up and throw away the key. In Turkey, you can get shot for expressing your ideas. That doesn't happen in Armenia.... Oops, I spoke a bit prematurely.

April 09, 2008

Human Rights Watch States - Sargsyan Should Restore Rights !

On April 8th the influential organization Human Rights Watch published a report covering the present political situation in Armenia on the eve of the inaguration of Serzh Sargsyan as the country's new president.

In the report Holly Hunter, Executive Director of the organization's Europe and Central Asia Division, declared that,

" Armenia’s new president has a chance to start with a clean slate. This is an opportunity to restore Armenia’s tarnished image, and Sargsian should not miss it."

The Executive Director goes on to state that,

“The new Armenian leader is facing serious challenges,” said Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “He should take decisive steps to investigate the excessive use of police force and lift restrictions on freedom of assembly.”

To read the complete report CLICK HERE:

April 08, 2008

International Crisis Group Forecasts Gloomy Future for Armenia

The International Crisis Group, is generally recognised as the world’s leading independent, non-partisan, source of analysis and advice to governments, and intergovernmental bodies like the United Nations, European Union and World Bank, on the prevention and resolution of deadly conflict.

Today it has published a briefing entitled: Armenia - Picking Up The Pieces

We urge our readers to read the full report and leave their comments here.

Armenia’s flawed presidential election, the subsequent lethal crackdown against a peaceful protest rally, the introduction of a state of emergency and extensive arrests of opposition supporters have brought the country to its deepest crisis since the war against Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh ended in 1994. The situation deprives Serzh Sarkisian, scheduled to be inaugurated as president on 9 April 2008, of badly needed legitimacy and handicaps prospects for much needed democratic reform and resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict alike. Unless the U.S., EU and others with significant diplomatic leverage over the regime in Yerevan exert pressure, Armenia is unlikely to make progress on either. The Sarkisian administration must urgently seek credible dialogue with the opposition, release prisoners detained on political grounds, stop arrests and harassment of the opposition and lift all measures limiting freedom of assembly and expression. Unless steps are taken to address the political crisis, the U.S. and EU should suspend foreign aid and put on hold negotiations on further and closer cooperation.

To continue reading the full report CLICK HERE