Armenian Knowledge Base  

Go Back   Armenian Knowledge Base > General Discussions > News
Register

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 12.12.2007, 06:09   #1
the happiest girl
 
Join Date: 02 2002
Location: Yerevan
Posts: 2,523
Downloads: 1
Uploads: 0
Reputation: 63 | 4
Default West Silent as Yerevan Steps up Pre-Election Crackdown on Opposition

By Emil Danielyan

Monday, December 10, 2007

With just over two months to go before a fateful presidential election, Armenia’s leadership is stepping up what increasingly looks like repression against supporters of its most formidable opponent, former president Levon Ter-Petrosian. The authorities in Yerevan have been busy in recent weeks harassing his loyalists (including a prominent businessman), orchestrating a televised smear campaign against him, and trying to muzzle the rare television station that dared to provide airtime to Ter-Petrosian.

The crackdown exposes the extent of their worries about the ex-president’s bid to return to power and may only be a taste of things to come during and after the election scheduled for February 19. The outgoing President Robert Kocharian and his preferred successor, Prime Minister Serge Sarkisian, seem to be emboldened by the West’s positive assessment of their handling of last May’s Armenian parliamentary elections. U.S. and European officials have so far avoided criticizing, at least in public, their latest actions, which could have alarming repercussions for the freedom and fairness of the upcoming vote.

The ruling regime claims to be untroubled by Ter-Petrosian’s political comeback, saying that he is widely loathed by Armenians and is not even the main opposition presidential candidate. Its jittery behavior suggests the opposite, however. In particular, the authorities have been anxious to minimize attendance at Ter-Petrosian rallies in Yerevan that attracted an unexpectedly large number of people. Unable to run TV advertisements on the government-controlled electronic media, Ter-Petrosian and his allies spread the word about those rallies mainly by leaflets and small publicity marches through the Armenian capital. Police broke up the first such march, staged in late October. Five of its active participants, among them two newspaper editors, were arrested on the spot and charged with assaulting “state officials performing their duties.”

There have also been reports of police hunting down young pro-Ter-Petrosian activists posting anti-Sarkisian leaflets in the city center. One of them claimed to have been ill-treated by the chief of the Yerevan police and warned against engaging in anti-government activities before being set free. The 20-year-old activist was severely beaten by unknown men and hospitalized for several days after publicizing his detention (Haykakan Zhamanak, November 16). That the opposition demonstrations are perceived to be dangerous by the authorities was confirmed on December 5, when tax inspectors confiscated 4,000 newly printed leaflets announcing the next Ter-Petrosian rally. The printing company that manufactured them was promptly accused of tax evasion (Aravot, December 7).

Tax-evasion cases have also been brought against several companies owned by Khachatur Sukiasian, the sole Armenian tycoon who has publicly voiced support for Ter-Petrosian. Two of their chief executives are now under arrest pending trial. Local observers believe the crackdown is politically motivated and aimed at discouraging other “oligarchs” from following Sukiasian’s example. Virtually all of them are dependent on and loyal to the regime, having helped it rig past elections.

Fear of a “dangerous” precedent was also behind the authorities’ harsh reaction to a decision by a small TV station in Armenia’s second city, Gyumri, to broadcast, as a paid advertisement, Ter-Petrosian’s September 21 speech in which he denounced the Kocharian-Sarkisian duo as “corrupt and criminal.” The GALA channel has since been fined $82,000 for tax evasion and could be forced this month to remove its transmitter from Gyumri’s sole television tower.

Kocharian and Sarkisian have gone to great lengths to keep their political opponents at bay throughout their decade-long rule. Their most recent large-scale crackdown on the Armenian opposition in spring 2004, launched in response to the latter’s attempt to replicate the 2003 “Rose Revolution” in neighboring Georgia, was accompanied by unprecedented human rights abuses. With the Ter-Petrosian camp clearly ready to challenge questionable vote results on the streets, similar unrest may well follow the upcoming presidential election.

The European Union, which never reacted to the 2004 repression, appears to have no such concerns, however. The EU’s special representative to the South Caucasus, Peter Semneby, sounded quite optimistic about the Armenian presidential race after holding talks with Kocharian, Sarkisian, Ter-Petrosian, and other opposition leaders in Yerevan last month. The February vote, he said, will underscore the “maturity of Armenia’s political system” and a “high degree of pluralism” in the country (RFE/RL Armenia Report, November 20).

The EU praised the Kocharian administration’s conduct of the May parliamentary elections, which are regarded as fraudulent by the Armenian opposition and civic groups. The positive assessment paved the way for the release of €21 million ($29 million) in financial assistance to Armenia, stemming from its participation in the bloc’s European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) program. Just how that assistance will facilitate political reform in the country, a key aim for its inclusion in the ENP, remains unclear.

The Kocharian administration does not seem to be facing much pressure from the Council of Europe either. Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian discussed preparations for the presidential election with Secretary General Terry Davis and other senior Council of Europe officials during a December 7 visit to Strasbourg (Statement by the Armenian Foreign Ministry, December 7). None of those officials has publicly expressed concern at the election-related developments in the country. In trying to promote Armenia’s democratization, the Strasbourg-based organization puts the emphasis on legislative reform, a strategy that has clearly failed to work, as evidenced by the recent erosion of civil liberties enjoyed by Armenians.

As always, the United States is more assertive than the Europeans in pushing for a clean vote. The U.S. charge d’affaires in Yerevan, Joseph Pennington, reportedly secured on December 4 Sarkisian’s consent to the holding of a first-ever exit poll in Armenia to be financed by the U.S. government. Still, Washington continues to tread carefully, apparently because it still hopes to broker an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace deal on Karabakh before the Armenian election. The chief U.S. Karabakh negotiator, Matthew Bryza, is due to visit Yerevan and Baku in mid-January in a last-ditch attempt to get the two sides to overcome their remaining differences.

WEST SILENT AS YEREVAN STEPS UP PRE-ELECTION CRACKDOWN ON OPPOSITION - Eurasia Daily Monitor
__________________
So much good, so much evil. Just add water. (c)
Reply With Quote
Old 12.12.2007, 10:41   #2
Moderator
 
Mono's Avatar
 
Join Date: 10 2001
Location: Yerevan
Posts: 5,466
Downloads: 1
Uploads: 0
Blog Entries: 1
Reputation: 110 | 5
Default

Честные выборы меньше всего нужны ЛТП, поскольку при таких выборах скорее выграет Тигран Карапетян нежели он.

А про тему, пока не идет массовая конфискация аодовского капитала и раскулачивание их бизнеса я не поверю в искренность борьбы между "нынешными" и "прежными"
Reply With Quote
Old 12.12.2007, 11:50   #3
★★★★★★★★★★★★★
 
Hrach_Techie's Avatar
 
Join Date: 08 2004
Location: London, UK
Age: 38
Posts: 16,531
Downloads: 8
Uploads: 0
Reputation: 482 | 6
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mono View Post
Честные выборы меньше всего нужны ЛТП, поскольку при таких выборах скорее выграет Тигран Карапетян нежели он.

А про тему, пока не идет массовая конфискация аодовского капитала и раскулачивание их бизнеса я не поверю в искренность борьбы между "нынешными" и "прежными"
все игра Моно джан!
Reply With Quote
Old 12.12.2007, 18:44   #4
Студент
 
Sevana's Avatar
 
Join Date: 09 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 387
Downloads: 10
Uploads: 0
Reputation: 30 | 3
Default

Just when I wanted to make a statement here and give my openion , both Mono and Hrach turned me off , I have no idea what those two said in Russian .
Reply With Quote
Old 12.12.2007, 19:07   #5
мрачный бородач
 
Arth-Gwyr's Avatar
 
Join Date: 09 2005
Location: Антитентура
Age: 38
Posts: 11,134
Downloads: 1
Uploads: 0
Reputation: 387 | 5
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevana
Just when I wanted to make a statement here and give my openion , both Mono and Hrach turned me off , I have no idea what those two said in Russian .
so why does it stop you from expressing yourself?
Reply With Quote
Old 12.12.2007, 19:25   #6
Академик
 
Join Date: 01 2002
Location: Shambala
Age: 38
Posts: 7,015
Downloads: 11
Uploads: 0
Reputation: 267 | 5
Default

Sevana they say that it is all the game. That neither Serj, RObert or LTP are honest in their "fights" between each other and all they do is trying to fool us.

Imijayloc yes eli em krknum lriv hamadzayn em es tesaketi het
Reply With Quote
Old 12.12.2007, 22:23   #7
Студент
 
Sevana's Avatar
 
Join Date: 09 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 387
Downloads: 10
Uploads: 0
Reputation: 30 | 3
Default

Thank you Yerekha for the translation ,
Arth-Gwyr . the reason I did not comment is becouse since I do not live in Armenia and I am not a Hayasdantsi Hay , may be I should keep my opinions to my self , I wanted to know what are the thoughts of the people who live in Armenia before I gave mine , although I follow up the politics of present Armenia and I am well aware of the diffeculties of your country , and I do not put the blame totaly on the polititions .
By the way I plan on making Armenia my permanet home one day .
__________________
If life rejects you , there is me to protect you , I am your friend
Reply With Quote
Old 12.12.2007, 22:55   #8
мрачный бородач
 
Arth-Gwyr's Avatar
 
Join Date: 09 2005
Location: Антитентура
Age: 38
Posts: 11,134
Downloads: 1
Uploads: 0
Reputation: 387 | 5
Default

Sevana, now that we have adopted possibility for double-citizenship for Armenians, why shouldn't non-Hayastanci share his thoughts on Armenian politics?
So go ahead, nail down your opinion )

Inch verabervum a hodvacin - nenc tpavorutyun a vor levonakannery neghacel en vor bani tegh dnogh chka iranc kurqin
Bayc shat xndaluya vor levonakannery iran pordzum en nerkayacnel vorpes hzoraguyn ynddimakan teqnacu. Im karciqov shat xghjuk a inqy, u inchqan shat iran inch vor mi Titan en pordzum nerkayacnel enqan bacahayt a erevum ira vochnchutyuny
Reply With Quote
Old 15.12.2007, 00:33   #9
Студент
 
Sevana's Avatar
 
Join Date: 09 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 387
Downloads: 10
Uploads: 0
Reputation: 30 | 3
Default

It really does not make much differance which party or who wins in Armenian politics ,they are all self serving , but it is the public that need to be educated into refusing bribes and not be intimedated by bullies who go to peoples homes and put fear into their hearts by offering them money , this past summer my mother was an election observer in Yerevan , she can write books about her experiences
Don't expect much from the west ,let us clean up our own act , by the way may be the Dashnag party should be given a chance. Ter Petrosyan and Kocheryan had the chance
Reply With Quote
Old 15.12.2007, 07:26   #10
the happiest girl
 
Join Date: 02 2002
Location: Yerevan
Posts: 2,523
Downloads: 1
Uploads: 0
Reputation: 63 | 4
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevana View Post
It really does not make much differance which party or who wins in Armenian politics
.. as long as they win in free and fair elections [at least to some extent]. And it's up to people.

Last edited by PsilocybeLarvae; 15.12.2007 at 08:18.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Reply

Thread Tools


На правах рекламы:
реклама

All times are GMT. The time now is 06:15.


Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.