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Political Persecution Against Former Foreign Minister Oskanian

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On Thursday afternoon, Sept. 27, the General Prosecutor of the Republic of Armenia, Aghvan Hovsepian, presented to parliament a petition to strip Vartan Oskanian, a lawmaker and the Former Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs, of his parliamentary immunity. The petition is slated to be discussed and voted on by parliament on Monday morning, Oct. 1.

“This tells you how the government is using its resources in the pre-electoral period,” said Ghazarian. “Civilitas will go through all regular legal procedures until it reaches the European Human Rights Court to prove that this case was a political order since the beginning.”

Following the announcement, on Sept. 27, Oskanian’s lawyer, Dikran Atanesian, stated that according to the regulations of the National Assembly (NA) of Armenia, the president of the NA must inform the parliamentary member about said petition, which didn’t take place. “This is an obvious violation of law, and it confirms indirectly that this is political persecution,” Atanesian said.

The petition is related to the criminal case of money laundering filed by the National Security Service on May 25 against Oskanian and the Civilitas Foundation of Armenia. The former foreign minister is accused of “money laundering” because he accepted contributions from American philanthropist Jon Huntsman, Sr. to support civil-society projects. In the absence of other evidence, the prosecutor shifted his attention from money laundering to expropriation, and now claims that they are protecting Civilitas, the foundation Oskanian established, from Oskanian himself.

On Sept. 28, the Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP) called the petition “a political persecution not only against Vartan Oskanian, but also against the Prosperous Armenia Party.” The party has lent its unconditional support to Oskanian, a fellow party member, and has pledged to achieve justice by all legitimate means available.

After serving almost 10 years as the Armenian Foreign Minister, Oskanian in 2008 left office and established the Civilitas Foundation, which dealt with democracy and development through education, media, rural development, and environmental awareness, as well as several projects on foreign relations advocating for peace and stability in the Caucasus through dialogue and open intercourse. The foundation’s latest project is the research- and news-based internet channel CivilNet.am, which has been, throughout its one year of existence, vocally critical of several political, economic, human rights, and environmental issues. Last week, it won the Golden Key award of the Freedom of Information Center in Armenia. Earlier this year, Oskanian had joined the PAP, which is considered the most prominent opposition to the ruling Republican Party; he was elected to the National Assembly on the party list last May. Oskanian has made it clear that he would not support a coalition with President Serge Sarkisian and his ruling party.

Al Jazeera today reported that the alleged charges are politically motivated and aimed at stopping Oskanian from running in February’s presidential elections. According to Salpi Ghazarian, the director of Civilitas Foundation and a longtime confidante of Oskanian, the case is no longer about Oskanian or Civilitas only.

“This tells you how the government is using its resources in the pre-electoral period,” said Ghazarian. “Civilitas will go through all regular legal procedures until it reaches the European Human Rights Court to prove that this case was a political order since the beginning.”

In a show of international support, last Friday Oskanian hosted ambassadors from various EU states, the U.S., and Brazil, as well as the EU ambassador in Armenia, and representatives of the OSCE and Council of Europe. Oskanian explained the accusations he faces, and presented the necessary documents to rebuff those claims and charges.

Domestically, most parties represented in the parliament declared their support for Oskanian, including members of the radical opposition Armenian National Council (ANC).

In a similar case in 2008, following the tragic post-election events of March 1, four members sympathetic to ANC president Levon Ter Petrossian were deprived of their parliamentary immunity and were politically persecuted.

Zarouhi Postanjian, a National Assembly member from the opposition Heritage Party, in an interview with CivilNet.am, stated that the process aims to target all those who think differently.

“Maybe this time they are feeling that danger from Oskanian,” she said. “There are many ‘bright’ figures in the National Assembly, who really need to be deprived of their immunity,” Postanjian added, referring to the notorious tycoons in the country who were elected to the parliament on the majoritarian lists of the ruling party.

71 Comments on Political Persecution Against Former Foreign Minister Oskanian

  1. Interesting that the author claims it is the authorities who are persecuting Oskanyan, mentions that he recently joined PAP, yet does not mention that the PAP is the controlled opposition and that they are cut from the same cloth as the ruling Republicans. So we must ask, why did Oskanyan join PAP in the first place? If he indeed set up Civilitas to support civil society development in Armenia, how is joining the personal party of Gago Tsarukyan, which until recently was part of the ruling coalition, helping the development of civil society in Armenia?

  2. AR, you bring up an interesting point. But I think Oskanian and PAP are the lesser of two evils. Armenia’s RPA party has run wild over the last 4 years and a power change, even if it is a minimal political shift, would help Armenia. If you take a look at any of the potential candidates, aside from Raffi Hovanessian, you have some pretty awful choices, and that includes Vahan Hovanessian from the ARF. If Armenia is going to be put on the straight and narrow, Oskanian is the most practical choice for president, even though Raffi Hovanessian is the best candidate. Remeber, Raffi is still considered an ‘aphar’ by most of Armenia. And please do not bring up LTP.

  3. Dear Harout:

    Many stories circulate as to how Oskanian was brought to Armenia, how he ascended in Armenia’s foreign service, how and why he—and not someone else–was picked up to be Armenia’s foreign minister. He’s been under different regimes dancing under different rulers’ tunes. Now he chose to dance under Gago’s tune as an “oppositionist”. Frankly, a weathercock like Oskanian isn’t worth your time to write an article about. I’d be more interested in articles about the situation of Armenians in Syria.

  4. Mark,

    Raffi is in fact the worst choice. I agree about the ARF, they are not a good choice either. I further agree with those who have (correctly) pointed out that the ARF in Armenia is quite different from their cohorts in the US. Just as a side note, I prefer the Dashnaks of Armenia, relative to the American Dashnaks they are more in tune with the political climate of Armenia/Artsakh. Oskanyan is a bad choice for president too, he, like raffi, are serving Washinton’s interests, and as we have seen, Washington prefers Ankara and baku to Yerevan.

  5. Is he going to protect human rights for civil society? This is a joke. He is working with an oligarch in his party, and he has many faces. I have only one thing to say to him; ” What’s goes around, comes around.” Good luck to him.

  6. AR thanks for proving the narrow mentality of Haiastancis. And Armenians wonder why the country and our Diaspora is going down the drain. It is because there are too many jesters who think they are kings. What evidence has there ever been that Raffi or Vartan are Western agents? Because they went to top schools in the USA? Sorry they didn’t go to some bs school in Moscow where they would pay for their grades. I don’t know what us ‘Aphars’ have to do to get through. Look at what has happened to the entire nation over the last 23 years? The funniest thing is, you jesters think it is because of the block-aide, when it has been written in countless economic publications that the block aide would have a small impact on the Armenian economy. The flip side to this is that more people will read and comment about some inane genocide article on the site rather than this. Armenians need to focus on marginalizing jesters like AR and everyone else who knows 20% and acts like they know 100% and getting people like Vartan and Raffi as RoA’s president. The Armenian story is about to come to an end unless the Armenian intelligentsia (aka not jesters) steps in.

    • A man who knows 20% and acts like he knows 100% is calling out another who he thinks knows 20% and acts like they know 100%. Cute.

    • The very categorization of Armenians as “Hayastantsis” and “non-Hayastantsis” is deplorable and unacceptable. Jesters are all around the globe; unfortunately, they constitute the majority of humans. Some even serve as presidents of their countries. By such a categorization one makes oneself a marginalizing jester.

      I checked AR’s post. He said Vartan and Raffi “were serving Washington’s interests”. He didn’t say they were “Western agents”. To serve someone else’s interests implies being an agent of influence or an agent of presence, but not necessarily salaried, in-service agents. Evidence to this effect doesn’t have to be documental; it may also be circumstantial, for instance, that both Vartan and Raffi’s non-profits are funded by Western sources. If one registers a political think tank in the US that would be financed by Russian and Chinese organizations, how will this person figure in the eyes of the US government?

      Of course, going to top schools in the US doesn’t automatically make one a Western agent; just like attending a school in Moscow doesn’t automatically make one a Russian agent. And, btw, those “BS” schools in Moscow were until recently ones of the leading educational facilities along with the best Western schools. Soviet higher education, which many “Hayastantsis” obtained, was recognized as being one of the best in the world.

      I deplore any Armenian who serves other nations’ interests. Some in Armenia serve Russia’s interests, and it is equally deplorable; demonstrates their provincial mentality, lack of sense of independent statehood, however it may be explainable from the historical perspective. But AR’s post was correct in that Washington’s interests prefer Ankara and Baku to Yerevan, particularly their geostrategic location, hydrocarbon resources, and involvement in the East-West axis as opposed to North-South one. If Washington wants Armenia to be on their side, it should make an offer that’d correspond to the vital interests and rightful demands of the Armenians. So far we’ve seen none; be it recognition of and retributions for the genocide; recognition of Artsakh’s self-determination; military guarantees of Armenia’s security in the hostile neighborhood, etc. Russia, on the other hand, whether we like it or not, has provided for some of those interests.

      P.S. Unfortunately, Mark, intelligentsia, which you want to step in, represents only a tiny segment in the modern-day Armenian society. Many have left. Thugs and provincials rule.

  7. {“And Armenians wonder why the country and our Diaspora is going down the drain.”}

    Mark, are you implying that ‘Hayastantsi’ immigrants have supposedly caused or contributed to the alleged ‘going down the drain’ of Armenian Diaspora ?

    Also, when you write “our Diaspora”, who do you exactly mean by “our” ?
    Are ‘Hayastantsi’ alien beings ?

  8. Mark, instead of calling you a fool for saying raffi is the best canidate I answered you in a claim manner. From you I got absurdities and insults. THANK YOU for proving that you and a number of other so called concerned readers of this paper are far removed from grasping the subtle geopolitical ebbs and flows of the Caucasus.

    Raffi’s dad has falsified Armenian history, his son wrote a terrible article attacking the Armenian state last year during the 1st Republic commemoration date. And Raffi has constantly gone out of his way to attack Russo-Armeno relations, even when a child understands that without Russian military and political support Armenia would soon fall into a Turko-Islamic cesspool. So instead of coming at with absurdities, please tone down your crazy and try to attack my points and not me. Thanks!

  9. Avery – Please refrain from twisting my words . I did not say in any way Hayastancis are ruining the Diaspora. If you have problems with reading English, I can recommend a course for you. However, like my OWN father, Armenians have a terrible tendency of talking about things that they know tangentially as fact. Everyone is varbed when they know just enough to make themselves sound stupid in front of someone who truly has done their homework. And, yes, I’ve done as much homework as a possible sitting from a far. I’ve read every private and NGO paper on Armenia’s economy since 2006.

    My wife is Hayastaci (Lenagan) and I can’t stand when her and her family talk about subjects that they only know surface information about, i.e Armenia’s CURRENT plight. The difference is that there is an ingrained Soviet Russian twist to it. And that twist is that even if you bring facts and valid counters, if you are not Hayasticis or better, Russian, then you are wrong. It is the Soviet conspiracy!!!..yeah right!

    Do you guys honestly think that because these guys are Agphars that they are either intellectually inferior or have had an inferior upbringing?

    And yes, our Diaspora is going down the drain, but that is a post for another day. Hayastacis have brought a lot to the diaspora AND the have also taken away a lot from the Diaspora. But this article is not about Hayastacis in the Diaspora, but more about Diasporans trying to return to Armenia, run for office and try to fix the course of our ENTIRE nation.

    Hey the best man for the job was Hayastanci, Vazken Sargygan, but your buddy Kocharian had him killed, remember?

    Honestly, please let me know who you guys think would be better than Vartan or Raffi. And please give me legitimate reasons! No Soviet conspiracies! Give me facts. Give me accomplishments, because it is these Soviet heroes who have raped and pillaged both Armenia and our entire nation.

    • Mark,

      The onus is on you to show why choosing Raffi or Vartan to run Armenia will improve Armenia’s domestic and geopolitical realities. Will either be able to solve the Artsakh dispute without giving too much away to the enemy? Will either be able to solve the lack of natural resources? Will either be able to convince ankara to open the borders? Will either be able to end the 70% dependence on trade via Georgia? Will either be able to end the West’s closeted yet unilateral support of baku and ankara? I do not think they would be able to, and moreover, knowing that at the very least they do dance to Washington’s tune I’d rather keep them away from the highest office in Armenia. The devil I know is better….

      No, Vazgen was not the best man for the job, he was a choban too, and he was killed off because he gave Moscow the impression that he was going to become a toadie of the West, much like Saakashvili did a few years later. Russia needs Armenia in order to keep its share of the Caucasus in line and part of the Federation. So instead of taking advantage of this unique situation where a superpower’s interests actually align closely with that of Armenia, we are flirting with the anti-Armenian capitals of the West. When you grasp this reality I think we’ll be able to have a more advanced and rational chat.

    • Mark B:

      Here is what you wrote:

      {“AR thanks for proving the narrow mentality of Haiastancis. And Armenians wonder why the country and our Diaspora is going down the drain.”}

      ‘narrow mentality of Haiastancis’….’Diaspora is going down the drain’.

      I realize my English proficiency is not at the Master level of yours, but I know enough: there is no other inference to be made when one sentence immediately follows the other in that manner.

      So yeah, in that pair of sentences you do imply that which I asked you to clarify in the form of an Interrogative sentence, and to which – instead of simply clarifying – you kindly chose to offer me courses to improve my English comprehension. (thanks for the offer, but “No, Thanks”).
      A rose is still a rose by any other name.

      And as [Gourgen] wrote above: {“The very categorization of Armenians as “Hayastantsis” and “non-Hayastantsis” is deplorable and unacceptable”.}
      You did categorize Armenians in that manner, did you not ? Or my English comprehension fails me again.

      People who think like that are a menace to the Armenian nation: more dangerous than Denialist Turks or Axeris, because they are an enemy within.

  10. avatar gaytzag palandjian // October 1, 2012 at 11:19 pm // Reply

    I suggest Mark B read elsewhere on this site ¨Supreme Court´s ¨recent decision to re-instate a Law that in California In Feb.2012 negated Armenian Life Insurance Claims to be processed from Insurance Companies,thus permitting to pursue the claims that had been kept in abeyance.
    Things change by and by in our favour.
    As rgds Foreign Ministre Vartan Oskanyan being persecuted as the author implies,it could well be a politically motivated one.
    I just heard the latest on H1 T.V.,after a heated discussin at the National Assembly in Yerevan Today,verdict was not reached and postponed.
    W/ref to candidates to presidency in RA,lamentably there are no other -shall we say New blood-choices to elect from and Raffi Hovannisian or Vartan Oskanian may both contend for it.I take back my above ¨New Blood¨ candidates,since latter two are well seasoned in foreign issues,which really is more important to the Armenian people on the whole than other matters.
    Edward Nalbandian could continue as FM.But again,we are discussing only those that are on the Armenian/foreign political scene and have been for quite a while.
    The judiciary ought to be more seperated from Govt. as well,now that we are at it. Pres. Serge Sarkissian ought not to be dismissed either,for he has gathered quite a bit of diplomacy (errors incl.who does not committ?).
    I may suggest that he carry on for a couple of turbulent years that RA and the region are in-as an exceptional extension of his presidency- with the possibility of calling for an earlier election.That is not two years ,but earlier period of time.
    For Armenia needs to keep steady and NO ANY BRUSQUE change could badly affect the following:-
    1. Approaching 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide,Claims attached to it.
    2.Armenia-Diaspora Relations not yet placed on a LI IRAV (full fledged)as to latter´s, basis,which we the Armenian people on the whole should strive for.
    3.Most importantly re-porganization of the Diaspora to become a Super-Structure with a Supreme Council(in 5 departments) and aNATIONAL INVESTMENT TRUST FUND.
    To surmise, I believe there are many many other capable persons,from all political trends and currents in rA/Artsakh that ought to be invited to form -THIS IS ALSO MY SUGGESTION,I HAVE PROOF THAT I INITIATED IT-A
    ¨¨¨ s e n a t e ¨whjerein all these good people can calmly further develop accept or negatge passing of a Bill that the National Asswembly presents.

    • Dear Gaytzag:

      I wish we had a president who wouldn’t gather diplomacy while in the office but have it before being elected to the office. Also, some of Serge’s actions, such as the signing of the Turkish-Armenian protocols, were not just errors. These actions were made knowingly and have been the result of long preparation.

  11. avatar Random Armenian // October 2, 2012 at 12:28 pm // Reply

    “I suggest Mark B read elsewhere on this site ¨Supreme Court´s ¨recent decision to re-instate a Law that in California In Feb.2012 negated Armenian Life Insurance Claims to be processed from Insurance Companies,thus permitting to pursue the claims that had been kept in abeyance.”

    The Supreme Court has not reinstated the California law. The Supreme Court has not even decided whether to hear the case either.

    Are you talking about the the Supreme Court of the US? Or California’s?

  12. avatar Random Armenian // October 2, 2012 at 12:30 pm // Reply

    It doesn’t matter if you like Oskanian or not, making up charges against a potential opponent to take them out of running for election hurts the country. This takes the country backwards, not forwards. My gut feeling currently tells me that the charges are trumped up.

    • Random, although forms and methods vary, but in this country on a daily basis we watch presidential candidates who approve their messages that contain made-up charges against each other. Why in the US this takes the country forwards and in Armenia – backwards? Plus, Oskanian is the West’s man and the region Armenia is in is in Russia’s sphere of influence whether we like it or not. Why ousting a Marxist president of Guatemala Jacobo Arbenz Guzman in the 1954 coup d’état engineered by the CIA is OK, but keeping a potential pro-American candidate off Armenia’s elections not OK? I don’t approve of the methods that were utilized against Guzman or against Oskanian (comparison between the two may be odious, sorry), but if we understand why the US kept a Marxist, pro-Soviet man off its backyard, then we are to understand why another superpower, Russia, would wish to do the same with a pro-American man in Armenia. Once we understand this, we will safely arrive at a conclusion that the charges may be trumped up for a more serious and deep seated reason with Oskanian being a marionette.

    • Gourgen / AR

      Having ‘western values’ doesn’t mean being aligned with the West. You are correct, it would be utterly insane to not be aligned with Russia’s militarily. It would be a death sentence. However, being aligned with Russia and establishing rule of law and cutting corruption as much as possible are NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE!

      Yhe blockades and lack of natural resources are bs explanations from the Armenian government. This is what I mean when I say KNOWING 20% and ACTING as if you know 100%. Every economic report I have read, (I can email them to you) has stated, while it is true that the blockades and lack of resources hurt Armenia, it is the oligarchic system, corruption and crony capitalism that hinders Armenia’s economic growth.

      If in 1996, LTP was not reelected and we had an uncorrupt Armenian government that focused on its strengths: location, Diaspora, and educated public, Armenia would be AHEAD of most former Soviet states in Eastern Europe. Everything else will fall into place, if Armenia righted the ship, from Arstkh to the diminishing Diaspora. Estonia is the perfect example. Take a look at their NATURAL resources, and don’t give me the bs of being landlocked, look at their GDP mix. Also take a look at Slovakia, they are landlocked too.

      But instead, we got worse and worse gangsters – a big reason was because Hayasticis at the time, didn’t care about the motherland and left in droves. Leaving the remaining people to fend for themselves against these wolves. The diaspora was also powerless to do anything on the ground because people kept leaving or swindling them out of their money. Also, don’t forget you treated us aghpars like the trash we are! Instead of putting hanging gangsters like Hovik Abrahamyan in the middle of the Yerevan Square, they rather take out a pull out gun on another Armenian in Glendale for looking at their (leased) BMW for too long. Ara, eench es naium a… Yeah awesome.

      Obviously, things are broken not only in Armenia, but within our asg. I don’t see a better candidate at this point that Raffi or Vartan. AR: Yes, I read Raffi’s letter on last year. He was critical of the Armenian government and where we are as a nation today. WHAT IS YOUR POINT? To say they would put Armenia’s interests second or third to a foreign power is completely baseless! They are the best shot of the Armenian nation continuing to the next century. Please tell me another candidate that believes is rule of law, curtailing corruption and strengthening the Armenian nation. GIVE ME ONE PERSON!

    • In response to Gourgen, I think there is a major difference between accusing a political opponent in a TV commercial, and starting a criminal proceedings against him. It would be ok if Serzh Sargsyan simply accused Oskanian of being a Western agent and let the Armenian voters decide who was right. But when they bring criminal charges, it intimidates the opposition, shuts down the democratic process, and gives people further incentive to fear the government and leave the country.

      Accepting the fact that Russia meddles in Armenia’s affairs (a huge understatement) does not mean we should not be outraged by it. I am not saying that it is ok for the U.S. oust Guatemala’s president, but I don’t want Armenia to be like Guatemala and be a toy in the hands of foreign powers. I want Armenia to be like the U.S.. The USSR tried very hard to interfere with the U.S., and in the end it lost, because Americans had faith in their system. A democratic Armenia will be much more immune to foreign interference than the current regime.

    • In your comment above, Vahagn, you used the term “charges” not “criminal charges”, and I responded that charges are made against political opponents in this country, too. Now, since you only now used the term “criminal charges”, please be aware that no criminal charges were initially brought against Oskanian. At the outset, he was just invited to Armenia’s national security agency to give explanations, which he refused. Again, like I said, I do not approve of such methods, but from historical and national security perspectives I can understand when a country protects herself from an unwanted interference. For Armenia in Russia’s backyard, an American man as a potential ruler may be perceived as an unwanted person. I’m just stating the fact.

      Unfortunately, smaller states, whether Guatemala or Armenia, look alike in many respects. Each needs protection of a mightier state. And all are toys in the hands of foreign powers. If you think that Armenia in the hands of the US will not be a toy, then be better stop this exchange.

      Armenia will never be like the U.S. Armenia is not geographically isolated and economically more or less self-sufficient as the US. And two of Armenia’s neighbors are murderer Turkic nations, not Canada and Mexico.

      The USSR lost not because the Soviets had less faith in their system. I can write treatises about the reasons why, how, and who demolished the USSR.

      [A democratic Armenia will be much more immune to foreign interference than the current regime.] Have you noticed a definition of democracy below in my post?

    • Dear Vahagn:

      I appreciate your concerns about Armenia, but at the end, the truth lies at the bottom of a well, and it’s geography. Whether we like it or not, Russia is closer to Armenia than the US. When Russian troops were invading Georgia in 2008, Americans sat and watched. If, God forbid, Turkic savages will be invading Armenia left unprotected, Americans will sit and watch. As long as we have a dormant conflict and two threatening Turkic neighbors, Russia must be there. And there’s a price to pay for it, of course.

      As for the USSR that tried hard to interfere with the U.S. and in the end lost because Americans had faith in their system, this is simply not true. The USSR lost not to the US but to the international corporatocracy and some traitors within the system (Gorby & Co.). The morale of the Soviets about their system was very high. This, coupled with the military-economic might, posed a threat. Margaret Thatcher once acknowledged that it was not the military strength of the Soviets but their economic prowess that didn’t sit well with the sinister multinational corporations and secret societies so that they could expand their markets and influence. The US, with its star wars and purchases of the Saudi oil to damage the USSR, was just a tool in the hands of this international corporatocracy.

    • I am not “Random Armenian,” though it seems he meant “criminal charges.” Regardles of who what ment originally, bringing a political opponent to National Security is still persecution, as it scares the opponent away from challenging the regime. Imagine the outrage in the U.S. if Obama’s adminstration brought Romney for questioning on fake charges. I am glad you do not approve the tacticts, but such tactics make Armenians not want to live in Armenia, which is disasterous for national security.

      Whatever you may think of the causes of USSR’s collapse, the fact is both countries tried to meddle in each other’s affairs, and the U.S. won and the USSR lost. Perhaps we can learn from the winner.

      Maybe we cannot be the U.S., but at least we can try by adopting its system (shoot for the star, land on the moon?). The U.S. started with 3 million people (like Armenia before its independence), and it grew to 300 million in 200 years. Armenia only lost population in 20 years. It can’t be just due to geopolitical isolation. There were other players in the region that were also geopolitically isolated, yet they did not fair as well as the U.S. Which means its system had something to do with it.

    • avatar Random Armenian // October 5, 2012 at 8:00 am //

      “Random, although forms and methods vary, but in this country on a daily basis we watch presidential candidates who approve their messages that contain made-up charges against each other.”

      That’s not the same as dragging a person into the police station to scare them or even bring trumped up criminal charges.

    • avatar Random Armenian // October 5, 2012 at 8:02 am //

      Give me break Hasmik. The soviet union was a rigid unsustainable system that was decaying from within. And people were happy to get rid of the system and break away. Do you see people wanting to go back to the soviet union?

    • Mark,

      I suggest you get over whatever physical or mental beating your received from an Armenian from Armenia. Respect the fact that those Armenians born in Armenia are the reason we have an Armenia today, otherwise we’d be a stateless people like the Assyrians or Kurds. So stop with the childish comments that Armenians in Armenia do not care about the country, they are to thank for the RoA, and if it is not perfect do not blame them instead do your part to make it better. Complaining on a internet forum is NOT the way!

      Those economic reports are put out by Western orgs, think-tanks or NGOs, of course they will say things like that. Please tell me what incentive a foreign company would have to come to Armenia and create factories when 2 of the 4 borders are closed, 1 border leads to an international pariah, and the other to an unstable country that charges absurdly high transport fees? And of course in this scenario we are assuming Armenia is as corrupt-free as possible. It is easy to say if A then we will get Z but what about all the letters (steps) in between? So Armenia righting the ship may be good, but that does not entail for sure that Armenia will be successful. Moreover, the real ship that must be righted is the social and moral ones. Too much of our society has become self-destructive peasants in thoughts and deeds, we have lost too many of our noble-minded and virtuous compatriots. And now we find our people thralls to consumerism and materialism (both Western), more worried about how they look on the outside than what they have on the inside. I realize that this is a condition which has existed to varying levels for ages but it has really gotten worse in the past 20 years.

      And Mark, the onus is on you to show how a western agent of influence would make Armenia better. You can use the example of saakashvili perhaps, but as we can see Georgia is still a mess and a house of cards that is about to collapse. So far I have seen progress from one president to another, I may not like the speed of the progress but at least I can recognize it as such. Thus far, for better or worse, Sargsyan is the best president we’ve had. And the last thing we need is raffi, who’s father falsifies Armenian history, and vartan, who is the tallyrand of Armenia, he will jump to whatever power locus he can, because power is what he wants not progress!

    • Random, you used the term “charges” and I responded that “charges” are being made against political opponents in this country, too. “Trumped up criminal charges” is a different term, but, again, I understand that in the beginning Oskanian was summoned to give testimony at the ministry of national security.

    • Dear Random Armenian,

      How well do you know the subject?

      Wassily Leontief, an American economist and a Nobel prize-winner, was invited to the USSR during the Gorbachev era to investigate the sustainability of the Soviet economy. While he admitted that the problems bore structural nature, he concluded that these problems were not of systemic nature. Any country may from time to time decay from within, but the decay doesn’t mean there must necessarily be a cataclysmic collapse. Red China too was decaying, but the state didn’t collapse. It just transformed from one party-ruled socialist state to one party-ruled capitalist state. The collapse of the Soviet Union, on the other hand, has been engineered so that no transformation was possible. Hundreds of millions of people suffered as a result, including the Armenians.

      People were not happy to get rid of the system and break away. Please don’t twist the facts. The question put on a referendum on the future of the Soviet Union, was:
      “Do you consider necessary the preservation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as a renewed federation of equal sovereign republics in which the rights and freedom of an individual of any nationality will be fully guaranteed?”

      Although the vote was boycotted by the authorities in Estonia, Armenia, and Georgia (though not the provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, where the result was over 98% in favor), Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova (though not Transdnestria) turnout was 80% across the USSR. The referendum was approved by 73% of voters in all nine other republics that took part. How does this demonstrate that “people were happy to get rid of the system”?

      Therea is many people wanting to go back to the Soviet Union. And not only in Russia. As a matter of fact, the nostalgia for the Soviet Union has increased in the recent years.

    • It is hard to imagine, Vahagn, if Obama’s administration brought Romney for questioning on fake charges. But Oskanian is not Romney; he is not a presidential candidate. He’s an MP. And I know several cases when the Congress issued subpoenas to the members of US administration to come and testify before a congressional committee or a government agency. It is likewise hard to imagine that a US citizen, be it a president, a presidential candidate, or just a lay person can refuse an FBI investigation if he or she is officially summoned. Oskanian did.

      Many other factors—chiefly economic–make Armenians not want to live in Armenia. Emigration is disastrous for national security but it’s not the only threat. Pro-Turkish and pro-Azeri policies of the US administration, if carried out, may pose a greater threat.

      Soviet collapse. Again, it was not the confrontation between the USSR and the US so we can easily say: “the U.S. won and the USSR lost”. It was a confrontation between the USSR and those internationalist power elites (transnational corporations, secret societies, etc.) that led to the collapse. Stalin realized that at the time and was victorious in many respects. But it took treacherous Gorbachev, an appointee of those world elites, to finish the business. I don’t want to learn anything from those sinister, world domination-obsessed elites. I despise them.

      Every country adopts a system that conforms to its national, geographic, historical, and socio-cultural peculiarities. You cannot just say: “let’s try to adopt American system”. Yes, there are some good things about America and we may like them, but it doesn’t mean every nation in the world must like them. Other nations have their own values that go down to thousands of years of history.

      The fact that the U.S. started with 3 million people and grew to 300 million in 200 years says absolutely nothing to me because the US is an immigrant country. No possible comparison with Armenia or other players in North America can be made. Being an immigrant country, the US brought in all the wealth of the world. Try to place the US in the region and among the neighbors that Armenia has and see if anyone would want to immigrate.

      I agree that geopolitical isolation is not the only reason and there needs to be an elite change. I disagree in that if the new Armenian elite will be pro-American this will automatically make Armenia prosperous and have all our national causes resolved in our favor. I just don’t think the US or the EU will be willing to send troops to protect the Armenians from Turkic nations or that they adopt resolutions acknowledging the genocide and self-determination of the people of Artsakh. So far, nothing has been done on their part to convince us in the opposite.

  13. While I may not agree with Mark’s generalizations about Hayastancis (and clearly he is venting his frustration caused by the narrow mindedness of his in-laws and others like them), his main points are valid. I suggest that the “pro-Hayastanci patriots” here get over his “anti-Hayastanci” remarks (which have some basis [“some” meaning his Leninakantsi in-laws and other Armenians like them {and god knows in-laws can be frustrating /especially those from Leninakan/}]) …, where was I … yes, I suggest that we focus on his main points, which are valid. Many people in Armenia (and the Diaspora) take conspiracy theories for granted at the expense of hard evidence. They automatically label any pro-democracy Armenian (especially if he is from the West) a “Western agent,” without offering any proof. Just because someone wants to make Armenia a democratic state does not make him a western agent, it makes him a patriot. Democracy is the only way to save Armenia from destruction. It is a matter of national security. Unless we become a democracy, more Armenians will flee Armenia, those who can’t flee will not care (why care when thugs rule the country), and we are going to lose the next war with Azerbaijan (Azerbaijan does not need democracy for strength, it has oil). This will be the end for our country, just like it happened in 1920. And if someone takes money from the West or the East or the Devil to save Armenia, then so be it. Armenia has to become a democracy, even if it takes an outside financial assistance.

    By the way, I find it funny how some Armenians complain about Western interference, while Armenia is in the firm grips of Russian interference. Russia is controlling the Armenian economy, politics, the oligarchs, it supports the current thugs who rule the country, and somehow we are worried about Western “interference.” I am not saying we should end our strategic alliance with Russia, but we cannot survive if we only rely on that alliance without making our country more democratic (and therefore more powerful). Otherwise, Russia is going to drop Armenia like a used mistress as soon as its interests are no longer “aligned” with Armenia’s. Just as it happened so many times before.

    • Again, to serve Washington’s interests, as AR originally suggested, and to actually be a Western agent is two different things. One may not be a salaried, in-service agent but can be an agent of influence or an agent of presence. The proof must not be necessarily documentary but can be circumstantial, and the evidence is right there: Oskanian’s foundation is being funded by Western organizations, as is Raffi’s think tank. Imagine this: if a think tank or an advocacy group opens in DC to improve the American democracy (say, to help abolish the Electoral College or unconstitutional Federal Reserve system), and is financed by Russian and Chinese NGOs, how will the American public perceive such an institution in their midst? If a non-US citizen will be invited to teach at a US university and then, shortly, propelled forward to the Department of State to become the new Secretary of State, how would the American public perceive such a person?

      There are also people in Armenia who serve Moscow’s interests. Israel’s interests, especially in the first Armenian administration. Hard evidence is oftentimes not available to the general public, but it doesn’t mean we cannot utilize the deductive-analytic abilities of the human brain to understand what’s going on.

      Oftentimes, the conspiratorial view of politics and history is the one best supported by the evidence, rather than the idiotic accidental view which holds that no one really knows why things happen – they just do. Oskanian just left his diamond business in CA and came to Armenia. Then he just started teaching at AUA. Then he just entered the Armenian foreign service when Raffi just happened to be the foreign minister. Then, year after year, Oskanian just advanced steadily on the career ladder and just happened to be appointed a foreign minister because there were just no other career diplomats in Armenia who received serious diplomatic training during the Soviet times. Only narrow-minded people can believe that all these “just” happened.

      Re: democracy. Traditional definition holds that democracy is rule by the majority, while other forms of government, such as monarchy/dictatorship and oligarchy are ruled by one man and a few men, respectively. However, people who suggest that democracy is the only way to save Armenia from destruction, naively forget that, as with monarchy/dictatorship and oligarchy, this form of government, too, is traditionally controlled at the top by a small ruling oligarchy. The people in a democracy are conditioned to believe that they’re indeed the decision-making power in the government, but in truth there’s almost always a small circle at the top making the decisions for the entirety. Therefore, the only true form of the government throughout history (not that I’m its supporter) has been the oligarchy – a rule by the minority.

      This said, we should think twice about the true intentions of someone or some country who wants to make Armenia a “democratic” state. Armenia will not become a truly democratic state (i.e. a rule by the majority) if it takes money from the West or the East or the devil. The country will simply travel in the same shape: unchanged and unimproved, from one hands, e.g. Russian, to another hands, e.g. American. What difference would it make for Armenia? Virtually none. Americans, just like Russians, will not be interested in making our country stronger and more powerful because, as AR correctly stated, the US will always prefer Ankara and Baku over resourseless and land-locked Yerevan and also because it’s in no one’s interest to see mighty and greater Armenia in the region.

      In 1920, as it’s widely known, Armenia had more perfect democratic (i.e. rule by the majority) institutions and the government, yet democracy couldn’t save the country from losing its independence.

      Outside financial assistance doesn’t make a country more democratic. It is designed to make a country more dependable and subservient to the government that provides such an assistance.

      Armenia is in the firm grips of Russian interference and I, for one, am worried for that, too. But the suspicion I have is: will Armenia in firm grips of American interference be different? Neighboring Georgia, which is in firm grips of American interference, lost–de facto and de jure—two large chunks of its territory and no security guarantee or protection was offered to Georgia by the US against the Russian invasion. Armenia’s security situation is the gravest in the region. At the moment, Russia at least provides some guarantees for Armenia’s security. Will the US do the same or it’ll act just like it acted in Georgia?

      Whoever “takes over” Armenia, so to speak, will have its own preconditions before providing help. I’m afraid that with America such preconditions may include suspension of the Armenian Cause for recognition of and restitution for the Armenian Genocide and a defeatist compromise with the Azeris over Artsakh. I hope I don’t sound overly pessimistic, but the US hasn’t shown any sign to the opposite effect so we understand that with its interference things may change for Armenia’s advantage.

    • Can anyone explain what Peter Rosenblatt, a Board Member of the American Jewish Committee, a notoriously anti-Armenian advocacy group, doing on the Board of Oskanian’s Civilitas? Making Armenia more democratic?

    • Gourgen:

      Regarding the American form of democracy, Americans who understand the country’s constitutional system know that it is not an absolute rule by majority and it is not supposed to be. There are limits on the majority rule, and the founding fathers designed it that way. What some call “small circles ruling the country,” they called them “factions,” and they understood them to be essential for a democracy. Regardless of the details of the U.S. system, and whatever name you want to give it (“oligarchy” or “democracy”), the point is that it works, it has made the U.S. what it is today, and it is much more preferred than the system in Armenia. Thousands of Armenians prefer to leave their country and become citizens of the “U.S.-oligarchy”, and it only makes sense to adopt that system (which I and Americans call “democracy”) in Armenia, so Armenians will want to stay in their country.

      Just because foreign powers do not want to see Armenia stronger does not mean we should not take foreign NGO’s help. If we know that democracy will make Armenia stronger (and history proves it), it does not matter what they believe, we can take their assistance, turn Armenia into a democracy, and see the country prosper and grow.

      I don’t want Armenia to be in firm grips of the U.S or Russia, and I think the best way to avoid anyone’s grip is by being a democracy. As I said in another post, a true democracy will resist foreign meddling more successfully than the current Armenian regime, because then the foreign power will have to deal with the entire people and not just the few oligarchs who are so easy to pressure.

      In 1920 Armenia was far from being a democracy, it was in fact a single party dictatorship, especially after the May uprising, when the country was essentially ruled by the Dashnak bureau (and this was admitted by Kachaznuni in his famous speech). If Armenia were a democracy, people would have faith in their government and would not surrender entire cities to the Turks without a fight.

      As for Oskanian, calling him an agent of influence does not mean that the government is allowed to have less proof to prosecute him (and let’s not forget, the government did not even charge him for being an agent of whatever, but presented the ridiculous charge of embezzlement “trying to protect Civilitas foundation”). Circumstantial evidence still has to be evidence, and in a modern democracy, you need the evidence to rise to the level of probable cause to even start a prosecution. The “deductive-analytic abilities of the human brain” often make errors, and that is why we have due process as a safeguard (i.e. proper evidence etc.). I don’t think the evidence of there in this case. Just because an Armenian NGO receives money from foreign donor (and we don’t know if this was the exclusive source), does not mean that he intends to serve foreign interests. Otherwise, we would essentially have to ban most Armenian NGO’s who truly try to make Armenia a better country but cannot get enough money locally.

      Nor do I think that his successful career makes him an agent of influence—he is from the Diaspora, and that probably made him a better candidate (together with his education) for Foreign Ministry than a Soviet era diplomat. He is a spy because Rosenblatt is on the Board of Civilitas?” Is Rosenblatt himself known to be anti-Armenian? Being a former president of AJC does not make him anti-Armenian. In fact, a simple google shows that a few year’s back AJC’s executive head recognized the Armenian genocide. That does not make the whole AJC pro-Armenian, but still concluding that Rosenblatt is anti-Armenian is a stretch. Rosenblatt has had a long career in the American political system, and maybe Oskanian thought (reasonably) that such experience in democratic statehood could help his NGO.

      And maybe Oskanian is a foreign agent of influence, but without definitive proof, the government should let the voters decide instead of prosecuting him, which will only scare more people into leaving Armenia.

      I do not know how the American public would react to an American NGO getting money from Russian NGO, but I highly doubt that the U.S. government would start criminal proceedings against them. At worst, they would demand that they register as a foreign agent. And by the way, while Russia and Armenia are clamping down on “Western” NGO’s, Kremlin-controlled RT News (headed by an Armenian) has a studio in Washington DC which spews out Soviet-style anti-American propaganda. And the U.S. tolerates it. Which I think makes it a better country.

    • Vahagn,

      I will refute your points one by one.

      [There are limits on the majority rule, and the founding fathers designed it that way. What some call “small circles ruling the country,” they called them “factions,” and they understood them to be essential for a democracy.]

      Not true. The founding fathers did not call small circles ruling the country factions. They called political parties factions. They didn’t understand them to be essential for a democracy; on the contrary, they were convinced that political parties or factions would only destroy representative government and that there should be no place for factions in American democracy. “If I could not go to Heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.” —Thomas Jefferson. “[Political party wrangling] agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another.” —George Washington

      [the U.S. system... is much more preferred than the system in Armenia]

      Armenians themselves are entitled to choose what form of government is more preferable for them. The Soviet totalitarian system also worked for the people until it was destructed by the World Conspiracy. The Chinese one-Communist party system also works, and quite well, for their people. The German, Spanish, and Italian fascist systems also worked for their peoples. The third-way Kaddafi system also worked, impressively well, for the Lybian people. If you ask Belarusians, many will tell you that their “dictatorial” system, as it’s called in the West, works quite well for them.

      [the U.S. system works, it has made the U.S. what it is today]

      Yes, it works and has made the U.S. what it is today, but not because of rule by the majority, read: democracy, but because of rule by the minority, read: oligarchy. Consider this: “Fifty men have run America and that’s a high figure” —Joseph Kennedy, the father of John F. Kennedy. And this, since you brought up the founding fathers: “Real liberty is not found in the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments. If we incline too much to democracy, we shall soon shoot into a monarchy or some kind of dictatorship” —Alexander Hamilton. This is exactly what happened. The US has shot into oligarchy: rule by a few men. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution reads: “The Congress [elected representatives of the majority of the eligible voters, simply the majority] shall have the power to coin money, regulate the value thereof…” Does the Congress coin money? Well, it doesn’t. A private, non-governmental entity called the Federal Reserve does. How does the majority rule? Or, even better, as a member of the majority can you vote on such vital issues as foreign aid or space exploration? Did someone ask the majority of the people whether they agree that huge amounts of the taxpayers’ money go foreign aid or space exploration? When the majority of the American voters cast their votes for one presidential candidate, but the Electoral College elects another, how do you think the majority rules in this case?

      [it makes sense to adopt the American system in Armenia so Armenians will want to stay in their country]

      Few Armenians who leave their country and become citizens of the US have deep understanding of and are thus attracted by America’s system of government. They leave because the system in Armenia is unsatisfactory. They leave not only for the US, by the way, but for Russia (hardly a democracy. i.e. rule by the majority), other former Soviet republics (hardly democracies in the same sense), Eastern Europe (only nascent democracies at best) or Middle Eastern countries (hardly democracies).

      [Just because foreign powers do not want to see Armenia stronger does not mean we should not take foreign NGO’s help... it does not matter what they believe, we can take their assistance, turn Armenia into a democracy, and see the country prosper and grow]

      Foreign NGOs help is not being given for beautiful Armenian eyes. It is designed to keep a country compliant to foreign agendas. Just like in an old saying: “In order to subdue a person, give him money”.

      [If we know that democracy will make Armenia stronger (and history proves it)…]

      History doesn’t prove that democracy makes a country stronger. We know of plenty of examples when a theocracy, a republic, a monarchy, an autocracy, etc. made a country stronger. Ancient Greece, the Roman and British Empires, Czarist Russia, or the Soviet Union are just a few examples.

      [A true democracy will resist foreign meddling more successfully than the current Armenian regime, because then the foreign power will have to deal with the entire people and not just the few oligarchs who are so easy to pressure.]
      Theoretically you’re right, but then again what is “true” democracy? Rule by the majority? Show me one country in the world that is ruled by the majority.

      [In 1920 Armenia was far from being a democracy, it was in fact a single party dictatorship. If Armenia were a democracy, people would have faith in their government and would not surrender entire cities to the Turks without a fight.]

      It was a nascent democracy, not dictatorship. All political parties and ethnic groups were represented in the Parliament and several non-Dashnaks were represented in the government. What “entire cities” were surrendered to the Turks? In fact, Armenian army’s war against the Kemalists to re-gain Kars and Ardahan was successful up until Kemal received gold and ammunition from Lenin. Not to mention General Andranik’s military successes in Zangezour and Karabakh. Not to mention Sardarabad, Bash Abaran, and Karakilisa. In 1920, Armenia lost not because lack of faith in their government, but because it was physically impossible for a genocide-torn and refugee-flooded Armenia to fight bloodthirsty Turks on one front and Bolsheviks on the other.

      [As for Oskanian, calling him an agent of influence does not mean that the government is allowed to have less proof to prosecute him.]

      I never approved of the methods by the government just like I don’t approve Oskanian’s refusal to give a testimony at the national security administration. I just attempted to show that there may be deep-rooted sensitivities towards a man who is widely considered a protégé of the West just like Americans may have sensitivities towards a protégé of Russia or China in their midst.

      [Circumstantial evidence still has to be evidence and you need the evidence to rise to the level of probable cause to even start a prosecution.]

      Circumstantial evidence is for us, onlookers, not for the courts. But we don’t know what the government knows about Oskanian, right?

      [Just because an Armenian NGO receives money from foreign donors does not mean that he intends to serve foreign interests.]

      Generally, he who pays the piper calls the tune. You should know that.

      [Otherwise, we would essentially have to ban most Armenian NGO’s who truly try to make Armenia a better country but cannot get enough money locally.]

      It is no secret that foreign intelligence, among other subversive methods, uses NGOs as agents of influence. No need to ban most Armenian NGO’s, but if one of them starts threatening the national security, the state must take measures. I have hard time imagining that the US would act differently.

      [Nor do I think that his successful career makes him an agent of influence—he is from the Diaspora, and that probably made him a better candidate (together with his education) for Foreign Ministry than a Soviet era diplomat.]

      Diaspora is not a state entity. The United States is. Successful (political) career was secured for Oskanian while he was brought to Armenia. Before that, he was selling jewelry in Los Angeles. A Bachelors’ from Yerevan Polytechnic Institute, a Master’s from Tufts, and an unaccomplished doctorate. There is many more representative, capable, and more educated Diaspora Armenians who could take the job, but cadres for such positions are chosen not based on their educational, professional, or patriotic merits, but among those who indicate that they would be especially capable in terms of the aims of a particular conspiratorial group that watches them as they carry out assignments and eventually are drawn into it.

      [He is a spy because Rosenblatt is on the Board of Civilitas?” Is Rosenblatt himself known to be anti-Armenian? Being a former president of AJC does not make him anti-Armenian. In fact, a simple Google shows that a few years back AJC’s executive head recognized the Armenian genocide.]

      Never said he was a spy because Rosenblatt is on the Board of Civilitas. But Rosenblatt was head of AJC when this advocacy group was blatantly anti-Armenian. Only in 2007 the new AJC executive director hinted at personal—not institutional–recognition of the Armenian genocide. He said (from simple Google, thanks):
      “I cannot escape the events of 1915 and the conclusions reached by credible voices, from Ambassador Morgenthau to Harvard professor Samantha Power, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “A Problem from Hell: American and the Age of Genocide”, to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, about the nature of what took place: it was a genocide, THEY determined, albeit one that occurred more than thirty years before the term was coined.”

      [I do not know how the American public would react to an American NGO getting money from Russian NGO, but I highly doubt that the U.S. government would start criminal proceedings against them.]

      Yes, the US government would do it in a more clandestine fashion and such an NGO, no doubt, would be watched. Again, there were no criminal proceedings against Oskanian at the outset. He was invited to give a testimony which he refused. Can you imagine a US citizen refusing to give testimony to FBI if he or she is officially summoned?

      [Kremlin-controlled RT News has a studio in Washington DC which spews out Soviet-style anti-American propaganda. And the U.S. tolerates it. Which I think makes it a better country.]

      Then, by the same token, BBC, Deutsche Welle, France 24, and US’ own CPB are London-, Bonn-, Paris-, and Washington-controlled. If you think that the US doesn’t intentionally allow for such news networks as Al-Jazeera and RT News to operate, you’re gravely mistaken. After all, a façade of diversity of opinions and sometimes leakage of sensitive information through these networks may be in order.

      Cheers.

    • Vahan,

      George Washington spoke against factions, in his farewell address he warned the nation that factionalism would hurt the country and indeed it did and has. During the time of the signing of the Jay Treaty, Abigail Adams said to her husband, the POTUS, that if the tensions between the Federalists and Democratic-Republicans got any worse that the country would see a civil war, and indeed it did 50 years later.
      Almost since the founding of the US there has been a struggle between one group and another, with the end of the civil war the industrialized oligarchy won out and they have been running the show since. However, unlike the oligarchs in Armenia, they soon figured out that it was smarter and safer to call the shots from behind the seat(s) of power than to actually be members of Congress of POTUS. And now with Citizens United, corporations and their board-members have even more say in how the country will run. This is not democracy, it is a plutarchy.

      And claiming that ‘democracy’ is the only way to save Armenia is short-sighted. The US didn’t become powerful because of its system of government, it became powerful because of its geography. Two oceans to keep major world powers away, native peoples were weak and could not resist subjugation, weak neighbors to the north and south, and navigable waterways for cheap trade.

      As for Russian control of Armenia, lets look at the benefits. Currently, Armenia’s borders and national security are insured by a bi lateral treaty with Russia as well as via the CSTO, so Armenia is now physically safer than at any point in the past 1000 years, Russia has invested billions of dollars into the Armenian economy, it gives weapons at below market prices or free of charge, they allow 2 million or more Armenians to make an honest living in Russia and many of them have risen to the highest ranks (FM Lavrov), plus they actually recognize our peoples Genocide. This is a short list, now compare that to the political West, not just the US.

      Why with the million plus Armenians in US our most famous rep is Kim Kardashian?? Why with over half a million Armenians in Southern California do we not have a major motion picture about Armenians or Armenia or one well known Armenian actor?? Why have we never had a single Armenian serve in top US cabinet position??

      It is sad but amazing, if the political west did half as much as the Russians toward Armenia many of you would be kissing the feet of western leaders, but since its the big bad Russians then it’s alright to bite the hand that feeds us and insult them too. Again, too many of our people are self-destructive peasants, especially when it comes to political issues.

    • AR and Gourgen,

      Yes, Russia has done some good to Armenia. Frankly, given the Armenians’ devotion to Russia for 300 years, and the sacrifices that they suffered because of it, it would be extremely surprising if Russia did not do at least that much good to Armenia. I highly doubt that Russia’s program of moving Armenians from Armenia to Russia is beneficial to Armenia, and recent remarks by Armenia’s government would agree. Russia’s massive “investment” in Armenia came at a very high cost to Armenian sovereignty, given that Russia pretty much controls Armenia’s energy sector.

      However, I am not saying we should abandon Russia and side with the West. Being WITH Russia does not mean we have to be LIKE Russia. Being LIKE the US does not mean we have to be WITH the U.S. A democratic Armenia will always be Russia’s ally, because that is what the people will want, because they will know that it’s in their interests.

      Regarding the U.S. democracy, yes, Washington was against parties and factions, but James Madison was for them, and his vision was the one that won. Political parties have always been part of a democracy, and there is no way around it.

      It couldn’t be just the geography that made the U.S. the most powerful country. There were others in that geography who did not become as powerful and in fact were swallowed up by the U.S. Why were America’s neighbors weaker? The U.S. did not start strong—as I have said it was only 3 million. Clearly America’s system of government had something to do with is growth in strength and territory.

      The fact that America grew from 3 million to 300 tells me that these immigrants preferred to live in the U.S. and went through great sacrifices to do it. If Armenia was like the U.S., our immigrants would be those millions of Armenians around the world who would make the population grow, which is currently a dream for Armenia.

      Yes, other countries (Czarist Russia or Fascist Germany) did not grow strong because of democracy, but that does not mean that democracy does not make a country stronger. It gives the people a sense of ownership in their country, which makes them work hard and fight hard for what they believe they own. Dictatorship may initially strengthen a country but eventually such a system fails in a terrible manner, as with Germany and Russia. The U.S., on the other hand, has not replaced its constitution for 200+ years. How many constitutions did Armenia or Russia or China have during that same period?

      We may disagree whether American democracy is a rule by majority or oligarchy, and you can say that oligarchy and not the rule by majority made the U.S. the strongest country, but it still worked. I say we take what has worked (and what you call U.S. oligarchy) and try it in Armenia.

      Yes, every country’s laws adapt to its values, but there is nothing in the U.S. constitution that only suits the U.S. geography or the American people. Do Armenians not want rule of law? Do they not want their property rights protected? Is there something in Armenian values that is against checks and balances? Armenia can adapt individual laws to Armenians’ values, but it can still adopt the basic framework modeled after the U.S. constitution (because it’s the most enduring constitution) and see what happens. Surely it cannot be worse than Armenia’s modern system. And if Armenians want to improve it later, they can always do it because such a system allows for such change.

      Yes, Armenians leave to other countries as well, but the point is that they leave Armenia, which weakens Armenia. Those who come to the U.S. may not understand how its government works, but they are attracted to opportunities and the rule of law that the system offers, and this in turn is a result of the American system.

      As for accepting help from foreign NGO’s, yes, those who pay determine the tune, but if we know that the tune helps, there is nothing wrong with playing it. If we want democracy, and they want democracy, then our immediate goals match, even if our ultimate goals differ. Just because they don’t think that democracy will make us stronger does not meant that it won’t. Western policy-makers have not always been accurate in their plans and assessments. In fact, they make mistakes all the time.

    • I see you’re progressing, Vahagn: from initial nihilism for most everything that we, your opponents, would say and towards ‘yes, but’ mode of argument.

      I feel I’d need to refute your ‘yes, buts’ this time around, too.

      [I highly doubt that Russia’s program of moving Armenians from Armenia to Russia is beneficial to Armenia... Russia’s massive “investment” in Armenia came at a very high cost to Armenian sovereignty, given that Russia pretty much controls Armenia’s energy sector.]

      Russia’s program ‘Sootechestvenniki’ (Compatriots) is not designed to “move Armenians from Armenia”. It offers permanent residence in Russia’s scarcely inhabited regions for all eligible former Soviet citizens who’d like to emigrate. That is, it is not an anti-Armenian program per se. Best solution? Better-governed, sustainable Armenia from which no citizen would want to emigrate, be it to Russia, the US or anywhere else. You think it’s the US-like democracy (rule by the minority) that is panacea to this. I don’t necessarily think so. Let Armenians decide what form of government works better for them. Russia does control Armenia’s energy sector, much of financial sector, etc. It does worry me since a rigid alliance with any one state cannot be beneficial for a smaller state. But if this is the price that we pay for survival in the turbulent region having as neighbors two blatantly bellicose Turkic states, then reluctantly or not, we must admit it.

      [Being WITH Russia does not mean we have to be LIKE Russia. Being LIKE the US does not mean we have to be WITH the U.S. A democratic Armenia will always be Russia’s ally...]

      Agreed. But Armenia will hardly be like any other country. Even within the USSR Armenia was different. I also disprove of using the term ‘democracy’ as if it is something that is readily available and is being fed on the spoon, and these stubborn Armenians refuse to swallow it. How many decades did it take for the Americans to develop democracy? And, mind you, they were doing this during mostly peaceful times and under no external threat conditions. Yet, still, what they developed is not, as I’ve shown already, the rule by the majority.

      [Washington was against parties and factions, but James Madison was for them, and his vision was the one that won. Political parties have always been part of a democracy, and there is no way around it.]

      The truth is that the founding fathers didn’t establish factions (or political parties). They knew that factions would grow in power too rapidly to control and, before we knew it, the government would become an oligarchy – rule of the few, thus tyrannical. They were, indeed, prophetical. It’d be incorrect to say that Madison was for the factions. In federalist paper #10 Madison describes faction as “a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.” This is hardly an encouragement for factions. Madison then said, “There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.” Only because neither of these was possible factions came to life, not because Madison was in favor of them.

      [The U.S. did not start strong—as I have said it was only 3 million. Clearly America’s system of government had something to do with is growth in strength and territory.]

      Before becoming the US, the land was British colonial possessions. When it’s become the US vast uninhabited lands were available to anyone, and this is how the country grew and why the immigrants preferred to live in the U.S. America’s growth in strength and territory is not a phenomenon. Long before it the Roman Empire, Alexander the Great’s Empire, the Mongol Empire, the British Empire, the Carolingian Empire, the British Empire, the Russian Empire, and the Soviet Union, among others, grew in strength and territory. Some of them lasted much longer than 200+ years.

      [If Armenia was like the U.S.]

      I’m slowly losing my angelic patience proving that Armenia, by definition and due to the host of geographical, geopolitical, historical, economic, and socio-cultural factors, cannot be like the US. Nor any other country can be like another country. Nor the US can be Britain or ancient Armenia.

      [democracy… gives the people a sense of ownership in their country, which makes them work hard and fight hard for what they believe they own.]

      Democracy, as rule by the majority, must give the people a sense of ownership in their country. But, in truth, since most of the so-called democratic countries are essentially oligarchic (rule by the minority) or plutocratic, the people are only conditioned to believe that they have a sense of ownership in their countries. In reality, they don’t. I brought several examples that were left unanswered. I’ll repeat one more time. The Constitution, which the majority of the US citizens have approved, states that “the Congress shall have the power to coin money, regulate the value thereof…” Does the Congress coin money? Can the majority vote on such issues as foreign aid, space exploration, wars waged in other parts of the world? When the majority of the American voters cast their votes for one presidential candidate, but the Electoral College elects another, how does the majority rule? When the majority voted for Gore but the Supreme Court interfered into the sovereign affairs of a state and gave victory to Bush Jr., did the majority rule in this case?

      [Dictatorship may initially strengthen a country but eventually such a system fails in a terrible manner, as with Germany and Russia. The U.S., on the other hand, has not replaced its constitution for 200+ years. How many constitutions did Armenia or Russia or China have during that same period?]

      Any system fails. In the history of the mankind there was no form of government, or a country, or a civilization that would last forever. The US Constitution is wonderful, but the reason the US has not replaced it for 200+ years is because it has Bill of Rights and Amendments that can be added or removed, as has been done several times over the 200-year period.

      [Armenia… can still adopt the basic framework modeled after the U.S. constitution and see what happens. Surely it cannot be worse than Armenia’s modern system.]

      Armenia’s Constitution is not bad. All necessary adjustments according to the EU requirements have been made. It is not the constitution per se, but how the laws are being carried out in general.

      [Those who come to the U.S. may not understand how its government works, but they are attracted to opportunities and the rule of law that the system offers, and this in turn is a result of the American system.]

      Again, how many decades did it take for the Americans to develop opportunities and the rule of law that the system offers? Under what conditions? In what geography? Among what neighbors? In the time of peace or in the time of war or the threat of war?

      [As for accepting help from foreign NGO’s, yes, those who pay determine the tune, but if we know that the tune helps, there is nothing wrong with playing it.]

      Do we know that the tune helps? Or the tune only serves as the pilot that through programs of democratic development brings control? Georgians also thought that the tune helped and have implemented some reforms (anti-corruption, etc), but when the time came when they needed American help, as in 2008, they were left alone before the Russians whom not Georgians, but virtually no one can fight.

      [If we want democracy, then our immediate goals match, even if our ultimate goals differ. Just because they don’t think that democracy will make us stronger does not meant that it won’t.]

      A hypothetical statement that renounces itself by the next sentence.

      [Western policy-makers have not always been accurate in their plans and assessments. In fact, they make mistakes all the time.]

  14. well said, Gourgen.

    Vahagn, and Master of Arts in English Mark B:

    let me repaste what Gourgen wrote previously: {“The very categorization of Armenians as “Hayastantsis” and “non-Hayastantsis” is deplorable and unacceptable”.}
    Someone attempting to create divisions amongst our people can hardly be considered impartial.

    And we can all go back and forth about Russia, USA, thugs, Oligarchs, etc until Hell freezes over. But here is one undeniable facts:

    Under Presidents Levon Ter-Petrossian, Robert Kocharian, and Serj Sargsian:
    1. RoA became Independent.
    2. AzeriTatarTurk invaders were thrown out of NKR.
    3. Armenian people liberated more historic Armenian lands than in centuries.
    4. Armenian people gained more strategic depth than in centuries.
    5. RoA and NKR have the most combat ready Armies in South Caucasus.
    6. There has been peace for 18 years.
    7. Both Georgia and Azerbaijan lost territory (in absolute, non-historic terms).
    8. Armenian people recovered some of their historic territory.

    End of story.

  15. Unfortunately, Avery, it may not be the end of story. The story may end, but not the way we like it. In January of 1920 Armenia’s future PM Vratsian gave a similarly optimistic picture for Armenia (it’s in British pro-Armenian historian Christopher Walker’s book, and can easily googled). We had won Sardarapat, grown in territory, etc. 11 months later, there was no Armenia. That’s what happens when you ignore warning signs.

    There are a few more undeniable facts that we can add to the list. 1) Large number of Armenians leave Armenia every year, and a large portion of Armenians who have not left, want to leave (exact statistics are on the internet). 2) Azerbaijan has greater military budget than our entire state budget. Given the warning signs, unless we do something about it (and I think the best thing to do is to become a democracy), a few more things will happen in the not-so-far future. 1) Azerbaijan will regain its lost territory, and maybe some more. 2) Many more Armenians will leave Armenia following such defeat 3) many Armenian analysts agree that loss of Artsakh means loss of Armenia.

    • [it’s in British pro-Armenian historian Christopher Walker’s book]

      Vahagn, are you an Armenian? An Armenian wouldn’t use the phrase “pro-Armenian historian”. A Turk or an Azeri Turk would most probably use such a phrase.

      That there was no independent Armenia 11 months after Sardarapat, Bash Abaran, and Karakilisa was not the result of overly optimistic views of some of the leaders of the first republic, but the result of an unavoidable historic milestone, read: the emergence of Bolshevik Russia. Not only Armenia, but also Georgia, Azerbaijan, the whole of Central Asia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Finland, and part of Poland were subdued by an overwhelming Bolshevik force. What were the warning signs that the government of the first republic ignored? That it had a Kemalist Turkey in the South and Bolshevik Reds in the North? And what do you do? Attempt to preserve your independence or develop democracy? Beautiful picture, indeed: bloodthirsty Turks stand in the vicinity of Yerevan and the Red Army is advancing through Azerbaijan, but the leadership of the Republic work their b***s off to become a democracy.

      Vahagn, are you a sober-minded person?

    • Vahagn,

      I want to know why you are repeating the lines generated by Axeri-Turkish propaganda machine? Have you been under the influence of their propaganda machine?

      “There are a few more undeniable facts that we can add to the list. 1) Large number of Armenians leave Armenia every year, and a large portion of Armenians who have not left, want to leave (exact statistics are on the internet). 2) Azerbaijan has greater military budget than our entire state budget. Given the warning signs, unless we do something about it (and I think the best thing to do is to become a democracy), a few more things will happen in the not-so-far future. 1) Azerbaijan will regain its lost territory, and maybe some more. 2) Many more Armenians will leave Armenia following such defeat 3) many Armenian analysts agree that loss of Artsakh means loss of Armenia.”

    • Stella, I “repeat the Azeri propaganda” because one of the best ways to learn is to learn from your enemy. And one of the worst things we can do is to fall into a false sense of security.

      And Gourgen, doubting a fellow Armenian’s Armenianness is the kind of self-destructive paranoia that Mark was talking about. Yes, in the context of my post, I think Walker is pro-Armenian, which is a good thing, as you can be pro-Armenian and objective at the same time (after all, our cause is right). For the sake of the discussion, I will not respond to your attempts at insult.

      And by the way we did not lose the first republic 11 months after Sardarapat. Sardarapat occurred in 1918. Using your logic,a real Armenian would not be so poorly informed about our history. I addressed your other points about the first republic below.

    • Vahagn,

      Axeri propaganda is directed towards its own people, so that a few in power can use the oil revenues as they please. Not sure how much you can learn from them.

      Axerbaijani government knows that there is not going to be a war anytime soon (unless WWIII starts), yet they keep spending billions on weapons. Those weapons eventually will become obsolete and the billions of money spent on them will go go down the drain.

      Axerbaijan knows that should she start a war, the Georgian scenario will follow.

  16. avatar gaytzag palandjian // October 5, 2012 at 11:47 pm // Reply

    To Hasmik,
    Please re read what I commented above.I am agaisnt Brusque(hasty and harshly so)changes in our Motherland-Homeland.We need Evolution there.Fact is -and I don´t mind repeating what I written in book 6 yrs ago.That ARF should be re named Armenian Evolutioanry Federation(which is self explanatory).Of course, I know about the Protocol Fiasco(that is what I hinted at that Serge Sarkissian admittedly also made some mistakes-.-..
    We need MORE MUCH MORE CO OPERATION BEETWEEN ARMENIA AND DIASPORA.That is why I have ¨suggested¨ 5 permanent Delegates ,if not at Gov.t level in Ra, at the Ministry of Diaspora, fro,m our main 5 such.Namely N.&S.Americas,EU.RF.and Middle East.So a s they can on a day to day basis study issiues and solve on the spot. We cannot directly meddle in the Affairs of a Soverign State from outside.But indeed in this fashion sort of suggest things and help them resolve issues more smoothly.Otherwise , as all above have hinted at, ODARs will indirectly influence the System there.
    AS to Someone´s post above that ¨We lost cities in WWI due to this and that,is totally untrue. We wond at Saradarabad(the First round so to say) but reason we lost in the second one…was not because of anything but BETRAYALS..Do you know that the hiuge amount of ammo and food ewtc., that was in kars, was inadverdently -though a money hungry Riussian officer handed to Tuurks…besides Accept facts too.Mustafa Kemal had been able to muster up clouty re organizing their army and unfortunately also becasue of the RED REvolution the Russian soldiers headed back home(natural) and this badly affected the Armenian soldiers , theri Ranks and Files and rest is history. Sometimes one wins sometimes one looses…
    Now fotuntaely as avery has stsated aboe the picture is different .We have a gpood army despite all diffculties at home,shall we say and I only hope we in Diaspora get re organzies d no not around a dilapidated Istanbulla drawn up Sahmanatrutyun more than 160 yrs old , but around a NEW STATUTE that ought to be drawn up by pour BAR association members in Diaspora and Homeland together and (as above descfribed 5 in MinDiaspora)…WE simply cannot go on without having a Super Structure with a Supreme Council (in five depts) I believe in DELEGATING ASSIGNMENTS according Areas, Economy-wise(Geneva), Political-legal-wise(Strasbourg),Demography-wise Moscow -near abroad and Executive wise in NY at UN…
    all in co-operation with RA delegates,and Finally only one of the Depts- we have at St.Etchmiadzin (in conjunction with Great house of Cilicia.Latter,we need, as long as we hav e not settled the Genocide issue and Reparations with great Turkey.

  17. Vahagn:

    [11 months later, there was no Armenia.]
    Well, No: there was no Independent Armenia. But there definitely was an Armenia, a Soviet Armenia, which eventually gave birth to today’s RoA.
    Regarding 1st Republic vs 3rd Republic longevity: 1st Republic lasted only about 2 years. 3rd Republic is 21 years old, and still going strong.

    [1) Large number …. on the internet)]
    You are right: still too many leave. But the trend is slowing. There is always a lag time in social trends. And supposedly exact statistics on internet are not exact at all: I read the same surveys that you and everybody else does.

    [2) Azerbaijan has greater military budget ….become a democracy)]
    Your prescription of countering Azerbaijan’s huge military budget by, quote, becoming a democracy flies in the face of reality.
    First off, RoA is a democracy. There are grades of Democracy. European level; Post-USSR level, etc. Of the 3 South Caucasian republics, RoA is the most democratic.
    Verify it – on the internet – by comparing presidential election percentages in Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.
    Second, Azerbaijan is a hereditary dictatorship: how is it accumulating all that military hardware without being a Democracy ?

    [1) Azerbaijan will regain….maybe some more.]
    Nobody can predict the outcome of a war. Maybe Azerbaijan will re-conquer some historic Armenian lands, or maybe NKR will liberate more historic Armenian lands. BTW: re “Azerbaijan will regain its lost territory”; Sorry, but Armenians regained their territory that was lost to foreign Turkic invaders decades and centuries ago. It was not Azerbaijan’s territory to lose. An artificial state that did not exist before 1918.

    [2) Many more… such defeat]
    You have already decided that RoA+NKR will be definitely defeated. Not sure based on what, but like I said: nobody can predict the outcome of war. And if Axerbaijan was as confident of winning the war as you, they would have invaded already.

    [3) many Armenian….loss of Armenia.]
    Quite correct: loss of NKR will eventually lead to slow death of RoA.

    • I really feel bad for Vahagn that he alone has to take on the choban crew: AR, Avery, Gurgen and co. I am embarrassed about how the continued Soviet conspiracy thought patterns are ingrained in you thinking. After meeting Haiastaci students during my grad school visits at MIT, Wharton and Columbia – I know undoubtedly that you are NOT part of the Armenian intelligentsia.

      No, I’ve never had any problems with a fraudster or wannabe gangster on Glenoaks Blvd. I do not associate myself with people who want to bring me down because I am of the same race or creed.

      And no, I am not an internet patriot either. I’ve served on the board and as vice-president of an Armenian nonprofit in NYC for 4 years, where we raised 10s of thousands of dollars for Armenian causes. When I moved to LA, I brought a tourism business proposal to the Armenian consulate – where obviously, it was then expected of me to front a lot of money and take on all the risk for an altruistic effort. Thank you Armenia. I also fully-drafted a business plan for an SAT prep program for young Armenians in LA, to be shot down by the usually ineffective Diaspora organizations. Getting young Armenians into UC-Berkeley, instead of GCC or C-Sun is the first step to getting the choban or gangster out of you.

      Back to the crux of my argument, I will reiterate:

      Having ‘western values’ doesn’t mean being aligned with the West. You are correct, it would be utterly insane to not be aligned with Russia’s militarily. It would be a death sentence. However, being aligned with Russia and establishing rule of law and cutting corruption as much as possible are NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE!

      I highly doubt the Armenians from companies such as McKinsey, who took time out of their own schedule to create Armenia 2020 are in the pocket of the CIA and Israel.

      Again, taking a time machine back to 1996 and focusing on cutting corruption and keeping the educated and further teaching them practical skills, there is no reason why a company like Microsoft would not have created at least a call-center in Armenia. In fact, my Haiastanci friend at Wharton said that Microsoft contemplated this, until they realized the actual situation on the ground in Armenia – corruption and the flight of the educated. Further from a tourism standpoint, Armenia is appealing to: Iranian, Russians, Diasporans AND religious tourism – ala Israel. Yet, if you’ve been to Armenia, we don’t even have the infrastructure to remotely accommodate foreign tourists outside of Yerevan. How long has Tigran Sargysan spoke about the ‘North-South’ Highway? It has been nine years by my count. I can go on about how monies from the Diaspora have been repeatedly stolen – Kirk Kerkorian not giving money anymore. How Armenians from Fresno went on agricultural missions to Armenia in the 1990s to be either swindled or completely disappointed by the work ethic or the lack of rule of law. Vodka at 10 am before you start as a farmer. Embarrassing!!

      Cutting corruption and involving diasporans and enlisting additional allies are the only way the Armenian economy will grow.

      You jesters just haven’t taken basic economics classes. You are not in a position to discuss how a country should be run until you understand basic commerce principals. And FYI, NONE OF THEM CAN FLOURISH UNDER AND OLIGRACH-BASED ECONOMY!

      Stop filling the board with stupidity! I’ll break it down: Rule of Law and low corruption = Healthy Armenia and Armenian nation! End of discussion.

    • Mark,

      It is now quite obvious to readers that you have some deep psychological issues in regards to Armenians from Armenia. It’s sad and self destructive, therefore I hope one day you will be able to overcome it. Another obvious point to readers is that you don’t have a clue about the topic since you continue to insult those who disagree with you instead of trying to maintain an intelligent debate free of personal attacks. Try knocking the positions rather than the posters.

      Telling us of your endeavors, assuming they are true, does not change the geopolitical, social, and cultural factors that must be addressed among Armenians both in and out of Armenia. When Armenians can learn to work together, when Armenians can learn to take orders from one person instead of betraying the king, leader, president, to foreign powers, when Armenians can master the art of politics as well as they have mastered commerce, when Armenians can rid themselves of the Asiatic traits imposed and adopted by us in the past 600 years, then we will see many positive changes take root. Simply screaming about corruption and how if it were removed then Armenia would be the land of milk and honey is wrong, childish, and can not be empirically demonstrated.

      The roots of Armenia’s and Armenian’s problems are much deeper and will require more than ‘ending corruption’.

    • Mark B,

      At some point I stopped replying to your posts because, as AR and others pointed out, you seem to have serious psychological problems with regards to Armenians from Armenia; making generalizations about all “Hayastantsis”, as you call them, based on your personal experiences with one or two of them. This is infantile. What saddens me most are your insults directed at fellow Armenians. No one except you descended so low here as to make insults. I hope you heed the fact. Such a behavior only devalues you as a person. If you disagree, critique the posters’ viewpoints not their individualities. A mature person should know this. Throughout my posts I tried to base my arguments or counterarguments on factual or historical material and only sometimes on circumstantial evidence which equally cannot be disregarded since we’re not in the court of law. In general, the Conspiratorial view of politics and history, whether you like it or not, is there and has been there from times immemorial, not just during the existence of the Soviet Union. An erudite should know this. In many cases the Conspiratorial view prevails over the primitive Accidental view that vast masses of myopic people are stuffed with. At least, try to dig into both views and make an elementary comparative analysis to find the truth, instead of accusing posters of having “continued Soviet conspiracy thought patterns ingrained in their thinking”.

      “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.” —US President Franklin D. Roosevelt

      “The world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes.” —British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli

      Are these distinguished politicians and statesmen members of the “choban crew”, too? Is it possible that the continued Soviet conspiracy thought patterns were ingrained in these Western politicians, too?

    • AR / Gurgen,

      I actually agree with majority of what you said. However, thought you made strong arguments, you posed no solutions for Armenia’s most glaring problem, its economy. A blueprint has been laid out for Armenia via Estonia, Israel, Ireland and even Georgia to some extent.

      Armenia needs to focus on: the high-tech sector, tourism and agriculture.
      The steps the Armenian government should take: 1) lower corporate and make the tax code are clear and equal as possible. 2) raise police officer, teacher and politicians pay and create governing body that would report to directly to the judicial branch. 3) The government should then focus on funding computer science and mathematics in schools. Start earlier than any other nation. 4) Enlist the Diaspora for actual human capital assistance: How many Armenians have masters in Medicine, Math, English, Physics, Computer Science, etc. Why not subsidize their stay in Armenia and have them teach for free? There are many educated Armenians from the West that are close to retirement age and would jump at the chance to go to Armenia, UNDER THE RIGHT CIRCUMSTANCES. Every Armenian under the age of 18 should be able to speak 6 ‘languages’ Armenian, Russian, choice (Eng, Span, fench ect, AND C++, HTML and choice, (VBA, SQL, etc) 5) Enlist allies abroad- the polarization between Islam and Christianity are at century highs. There are Germans, Danes, Frenchmen HATE Turks. There is Islamphobia in many parts of the West and China. Yet, I’ve never seen an outreach to these people. Why can’t Armenia follow the steps of Israel with the Religious right in America for Europe and North and South America. Think if the story you can sell people on our story with Muslim Turks and Azeris. AND NO, I do not sthink Iran would care. 6) Focus on equal rights and education for women. They potentially present nearly 50% of a workforce. 7) Use your geography- Iran and Russia. What is not available in these two countries that could be marketed in Armenia? Gambling controlled drug use, pork, women, etc.

      I will stop here for actual recommendations because the first thought you will have is “Armenia does not have the money to take on any of this!” My answer to you is, yes they do if everyone played by the same rules.

      45 families own 55% of Armenia’s economy. Let’s say that is 600 people (extended family) who control $6B (to keep the math simple for you, Avery) That means each family member is worth $10MM. Conversely, that means 2.5MM people are worth $2,000 each.

      Again, I blame RPA and that rat LTP for this. They all have to go! I hope they all burn in hell, sooner rather than later. Yes, PAP is not much better, but as I said in my first post, maybe the shakeup will help the common man in Armenia.
      Yes, I am angry as hell! I am angry that our Diaspora organizations become more ineffective and the Armenian Americans are becoming more and more assimilated.
      I am angry as hell of the conduct of Haiastacis in this country. Thus why I want to help the Diasporan youth education. The SAT is the great differentiator in this country. I was in the 1400 club (no writing score at time, eat it Avery) and worked my ass off for that score. I am tired of the shenanigans Haiastancis pull in this country. Do not act all high and mighty. You guys differentiate. Since, I’ve moved to LA, there are at least a handful of Armenian on Armenian murders EVERY YEAR. This is unheard of elsewhere in the Diaspora! For some reason Soviet Armenians do not cherish Armenian life. But again, instead of staying in Armenia and killing the gangsters who have put them in this situation, they want to come to USA and kill other Armenians in the street for “mad dogging” them! This is cowardice. I don’t care if you served in the Soviet Army or the NKR volunteer army, if you have let because of the conditions in Armenia and have not done anything since coming to USA or Russia, they you are a coward and not a ‘real’ Armenian, as Haiastancis refer to us aghpars. You are part of the problem.

      My Haisantcis friend from Wharton spoke about this with me. He is embarrassed of it. We came to the conclusion this is again, really the RPA fault. They are exporting this gangster, fraudster to the rest of the world. Have you ever spent a day in the Armenia parliament? It is an utter disgrace.

      What is causing this to our once, great nation. Aside from the Turks, this biggest culprit for all of this is the Armenian government. The RPA has to go and it has to go now or the Armenian nation is done.

      Every Armenian Diaspora has disappeared. The Armenians of Crimea that left in the 1100s, – where are they now? The Armenians of Poland 1400s– Where are they now? The Armenians of Cyprus who left in the 1400s – where are they? The Armenians of Thrace during Byzantium, ect.

      You cannot keep a nation, especially if 75% are abroad if you do not have a strong homeland. My grandkids will most likely assimilate as the Fresno Armenian children have. So will yours unless something is done. If not, then there will be no Armenian nation in 100 years from now. Count on that!

      FYI – Avery, I have 30 min for lunch. Screw the spelling.

    • Good points, Mark. Whenever people say that Jews go to Israel because  they love their country more than Armenians do, my response is that Israel is a much better country for Jews than Armenia is for Armenians. Give Armenians the right state, and they will do miracles.

  18. avatar gaytzag palandjian // October 6, 2012 at 5:28 pm // Reply

    To Vahan,
    As to why we have not been able to produce a major Armenian movie re our recent history(not the Mamigonians) but based omn a book by Armenian American Jack Hashian titled ¨ m a m i g o n ¨this novel if script of it written and would make a splendi movie that would suspass¨Schindler´s List¨..
    Please borrow it from an Armenian library and read it…you won´t put it down once you start reading,untill read through…
    Why we can´t make it?????
    Firstly we lack the budget.WE AS YET DO NOT HAVE A NATIONAL INVESTMENT TRUST FUND. Directors script writers? aplenty DDo you know who wrote the Schimdler´s Script?,.an armenian Zildjian or zindjian ..I believe.
    Directprs producers you nanem it .From Keshishian to Roger Kupelian and a few more…
    m a m i g o n ´s stroy begins in Western Armenia ends up in Boston MA.
    I have brought this up at Yerevan Filmmakers central office left one copy of book with them another with Hrach Keshishian(not the one in L.A.) and a few others in U.S- anybody listening. They keep insisting FORTY DAYS OF MOUSSA DAGH-God´s sake this film right from beginning half century ago was opposed to by Toikish agents and their Govt-.s plus friends…
    m a m i g o n is the type that more resembles an American Thriller.Writer of the novel an American lst gneeration Armenian American that thought like an American before thinking as an armenian(which at heart he was…deceased now his heris have to be contacted for rights of the book etc.,but the story is real or half real and he jack Hashian was a State Dept. functionary .So there won´t be a lot of fuss about it being anti Toikish…

  19. Avery, I think the Armenians who live Armenia, and those who want to leave Armenia would highly disagree that Armenia is a democracy. But you want to talk about degrees of democracy, fine. I want Armenia to have the “U.S. type” degree of democracy, not too gay (as European-parliamentary types that succumbed to fascism one by one) but not authoritarian as the Russian and Armenian degree of “democracy.” Why, because history shows that US system has been the most optimal “degree.”

    Azerbaijan does not need democracy to accumulate military strength, it has oil. What we have against Azerbaijan’s oil and wealth is our most valuable resource: our human resources. Having democracy helps us make the most use of that resource, because people feel that they and not the thugs own the country, and they want to work hard (leading to economic might) and fight hard (leading to military might) for what they own. Not having a democracy wastes our human resource, because those who leave are gone, and those who can’t leave don’t care. Just like they did not care in 1920 when they surrendered Kars virtually without a fight.

    The emigration trend is slowing, and that is our consolation? It may slow one day or grow another, but the trend has been in one direction–out of Armenia. We have lost over one million people since independence. Yes, noone knows who will win, but the continuing loss of population and Azerbaijan’s growing wealth and spending lower the probability that we will win.

    As for Gourgen’s and Gaitzag’s comments about 1920, sure, there were external factors such as the rise of Soviet Russia and Kemalist Turkey, but there are always going to be external factors, and while you cannot control the external ones, you can control the internal ones, by making your country democratic and hence stronger. Democracy does not guarantee victory, but it is a powerful weapon, and you won’t know if a weapon helps until you use it. Sure, in post WWI era, Bolshevik’s swallowed up bunch of countries. But they tried and failed to conquer bunch of others (Finland, core part of Poland; and let’s not forget how Turkey skillfully fooled them). Maybe a democratic Armenia would not end up like it did in 1920, or maybe it would, but we won’t know because we did not really try to be democratic. In May of 1920, the country suspended the parliament and turned into a single-party dictatorship. When you do that, you don’t listen to outside opinions and start making mistakes (the path of every dictatorship). Maybe if we listened to other voices, we wouldn’t make some mistakes. Maybe we shouldn’t have cracked down on Armenian Bolsheviks so hard in order not to alienate Soviet Russia, which at that time was next door. Maybe we should have sent a real diplomat to negotiate with Soviet Russia in May of 1920, instead of a playwright like Levon Shant. Maybe we shouldn’t have risked the existence of the entire republic by engaging in a skirmish with Kemalists over Olti.

    As for traitors, yes, there were traitors in the first republic, but maybe they wouldn’t be there under democracy, or they wouldn’t be as effective. Someone said above that Soviets lots because of traitor Gorby (Gorbachev). Why didn’t Soviets find a traitor like Gorby in the U.S. I highly doubt they didn’t try.
    Same thing is true now, we don’t know if democracy will help Armenia prosper and win the next war (though history shows that it should), but we won’t know unless we try.

    And yes, the first republic should have tried to both maintain our independence and be democratic, because being democratic helps maintain democracy. We shouldn’t have waited till Turks were at the gates of Yerevan to think of democracy (not that we did), we should have done it way before. We could do it in May of 1920, when instead we suspended the parliament and turned the country into one-party dictatorship. Or we could have done earlier. The U.S. didn’t suspend its Continental Congress during its fight against Britain. During the civil war, the U.S. didn’t stop elections. They didn’t switch to dictatorship when Britain burned Washington D.C. in the war of 1812. Instead, they grew to be the most powerful and longest lasting republic. Maybe we should learn.

    • In the first 20 years after America signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the country:

      1. Was still not free from Britain.
      2. Was involved in a long and bloody war that lasted for seven years.
      3. In many instances came close to losing in the independence war.
      4. When the fighting ended in 1781, signed the Treaty of Paris only in 1783.
      5. Acquired international recognition as an independent country only after the end to the war.
      6. Was under the Articles of Confederation until the Constitution, the cornerstone of any democracy, was adopted only in 1789.
      7. Started difficult state-building process afterwrds.

      In the first 20 years after the RoA became idependent in 1991 [Avery, I hope you don’t mind borrowing from your post]:

      1. Azeri Turk invaders were thrown out of NKR.
      2. Armenian people liberated more historic Armenian lands than in centuries.
      3. Armenian people gained more strategic depth than in centuries.
      4. RoA and NKR have the most combat ready Armies in South Caucasus.
      5. There has been peace for 18 years.
      6. Both Georgia and Azerbaijan lost territory (in absolute, non-historic terms).
      7. Armenian people recovered some of their historic territory.

    • Vahagn,

      Just as a clarification for the point that seems to be the major point of contention in this discussion. If Armenia develops not into the US-like democracy that you’re so fervent about and that I’ve proved to be sheer oligarchy, but to a dictatorship or a fascist society in its classical not Nazi-type definition (not that I’d wish the country to become dictatorial or fascist), and that would allow the people to have jobs, guaranteed income, social and legal protection, basic civil rights, sustainable economy, and strong military, would you be against such Armenia? I hope you understand that by posing such a hypothetical question I only wish to comprehend why you obsessively stick to the “US-like democracy”? What is this form of government: a panacea from all social ills, a guarantee of continuing, uninterrupted success? I’ve shown you more than once that many other forms of government succeeded in the course of history and lasted, in fact, much longer than 200+ years. If, again hypothetically speaking, Armenians recover monarchy which we had until the 15th century AD (the Kingdom of Cilicia) and this would bring societal tranquility, harmony, and strength to the nation, would you be against if the majority of your people welcome it?
      Not having a democracy has absolutely no historical connection with the surrender of Kars in 1920. You concentrate on what the Armenians have lost conveniently forgetting that before the loss of Kars the Armenian army has regained it. Was this not at the same times when, as you say, there was no democracy? Gaytzag in his post explained the reasons why Kars was surrendered. I’d only add that Armenians naively believed that the Kemalist Turkish troops advancing under the Red banners were different from the murderous Ottoman Turks. They paid with their lives for this aberration. Likewise now: if we believe once again that modern Turkey is different from Ottoman Turkey, we are doomed as a nation.

      You say: “Bolshevik’s swallowed up bunch of countries… but they failed to conquer bunch of others (Finland, core part of Poland; and let’s not forget how Turkey skillfully fooled them)”.

      And the reason being? That Finland, Poland, and Turkey were full-fledged democracies at the time and our first Republic was not? I’m sorry, Vahagn, but this a absurd statement. By all historical and political assessments, the Armenian Republic of 1918-1920 was a nascent democracy. I’d say, in relative terms it exhibited more democratic traits than modern-day Armenia. Take alone the fact that there was no oligarchy back then. Again, the parliament was diverse and representative and the government was diverse and accountable until the things went from bad to worse on the external fronts that required consolidation. Several important reforms have been implemented. The Constitution was much like the constitutions of other European nations of the time. Again, when the country is sandwiched by an overwhelming force in the South and an expansionist one in the North, you don’t think about forming a government more diverse than the previous. Had the armies of George Washington been preoccupied with forming a participatory government or holding free and fair parliamentary elections, he would most probably have lost to the British. Had Stalin thought about the same at the times of peril during the WWII, he would have lost to the Germans. Regardless the level and the degree of perfection of Armenia’s democracy back in 1920, the country was doomed because it was beyond any government’s ability to fend off two overwhelming forces attacking you at the same time. Again, if Armenia has lost in 1920 because it wasn’t a democracy, why have Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldavia, whole of Central Asia, Finland, part of Poland, and, later in the 1940s, Latvia. Lithuania, and Estonia—all lost to Bolshevik Russia?!

      You say: “maybe traitors wouldn’t be there [in Armenia] under democracy, or they wouldn’t be as effective.”

      When America was fighting the independence war against Britain to develop democracy, there was Benedict Arnold. When Rome was a republic with Gaius Julius Caesar appointed as magistrate by the Senate to rule the country in times of emergency, there was Marcus Junius Brutus.

      Further: “Why didn’t Soviets find a traitor like Gorby in the U.S.? I highly doubt they didn’t try.”

      Because Gorbachev wasn’t a find that the US alone has discovered. The internationalist Corporatocracy (transnational corporations, secret societies, intelligence agencies, etc.) have dug out Gorbachev and brought him to the fore with the single assignment: to dissolve the Soviet Union. Had they wanted to dissolve the US, make no mistake, they’d find one like Gorby here, too.

      Further: “We shouldn’t have waited till Turks were at the gates of Yerevan to think of democracy”.

      Well, we didn’t. We established a democratic republic and attempted to recover some native Armenian territories.

      Lastly: “The U.S. didn’t suspend its Continental Congress during its fight against Britain. During the civil war, the U.S. didn’t stop elections. They didn’t switch to dictatorship when Britain burned Washington DC in the war of 1812.”

      One historical event taken out of a specific geopolitical context cannot be extrapolated at will onto another event that took place in other part of the world. The British were an overstretched military force fighting thousands miles away from homeland, on what was a colony, nominally, a foreign land. Yet, on several occasions Americans were on the verge of losing the war. Who’d care whether America was a democracy or a dictatorship had she lost? As for the Civil War, the elections didn’t stop, but eleven Confederate states that declared their secession from the Union were not going to take any part in them. Given your fixation on democracy, what do you do if you were Abraham Lincoln? Let the Confederate states slip away from the United States of America or concern yourself with the democratic elections without them? Well, guess what, Lincoln chose warfare as a result of which the Confederacy surrendered.

  20. Very-very impressed by political wisdom and the historical insight expressed on this page by Gurgen and Ar. Glad to know Armenians like you exist.

    What was the US a two hundred years ago? A slave plantation. What was the US one hundred years ago? A sweatshop run by robber barons. What is the US today? A Plutocracy run by a conglomeration of international mega-corporations. The American republic turned global empire is in decline. Armenia will be around long after it is gone.

    Armenia at 21 years of age is doing much better than any of the developed nations of today when they were 21…

  21. Forgot to add: Without Russia there wouldn’t be an Armenia today.

    • Was that before or after Russia armed Ataturk so the two can invade and split Armenia among themselves?

    • That was before, during and after.

      Please educate yourself about modern Armenian history and the time period you are referring to.

    • Hagop,

      It was before the US trained and equipped Georgia only to tacitly allow the country be split and after Britain invaded half of the world to split it among different existing and newly-created territories, such as Hong Kong, Pakistan, and Iraq.

      Bolshevik ideology and expansionism and Kemal’s sly concealment as Red played the major role in splitting Armenia between Bolshevik Russia and Kemalist Turkey.

      If you can make no distinction among Russia of Ivan IV the Terrible, Russia of Peter I the Great, Russia of Nicholas II Romanov, Russia of Bolsheviks most of whom were ethnic non-Russians (just as Kemal was a non-Turk), Soviet Russia, and Russia of today, and the politics and ideologies of these many Russias, then I can only regret it.

      In 1828, all of Eastern (Persian) Armenia was transferred from the Persian rule under the Russian rule and some portions of it formed a guberniya (province) in the Russian Empire. I’d venture into saying that had this not been done by Russia back then, Eastern Armenians under Persian rule would most probably assimilate. With Western (Ottoman) Armenians mass murdered 85 years later, there would have been no Democratic Republic of Armenia in 1918 and no Republic of Armenia in 1991. It is safe to say, therefore, that the removal of Armenians from the Persian rule and their placement under the Russian rule has saved the Armenian nation.

      Hagop, if, hypothetically speaking, instead of Russia America occupied Russia’s location and the political and ideological interests of the US and Turkey converged in the early 1920s, as they do now, do you think Amercia would fight to preserve the territorial integrity of Armenia? Again, in 2008 Amercia’s and Georgia’s geopolitical interests coincided. Did Washington come to rescue Georgians from the Russian invasion?

    • Arevordi:
      I think I know sufficient history of modern Armenia to understand that what Soviet Russia did to Armenia, is perhaps the most significant, destructive event in our modern history which to this day has caused us major suffering and is the source of all our troubles.

      Gourgen:
      You are right that I need to make a distinction between Soviet Russia and non, but consider that I often see statements in black and white such as above, “without Russia Armenia wouldn’t exist” – that may be true, but only after the fact: that statement is part B and part A is missing. The correct statement is: Russia placed Armenia in a precarious situation whereby without Russia, Armenia wouldn’t exist. To an Armenian raised in Armenia, that may cause them feelings of gratitude, but to someone like me raised outside Armenia, I am not impressed with Russian “charity” knowing its dirty history and politics, not much better than Turkey’s. When we chose the lesser of two evils, that did not make the less evil good.

      Some would say ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you’. To which I would say, I wish I didn’t get the feelings of biting the hand that made me starve, and is now dangling a bone in front of me.

      Regarding the hypothetical US in place of Russia in the 1920’s scenario. If the USA was there with its ideology of the time, then yes, the USA would uphold the territorial integrity of Armenia, after all it was the USA at the time which came to Armenia’s rescue and it was Wilson that agreed to the borders of Wilsonian Armenia. And if the USA was communist, perhaps it would do the same thing Communist Russia did.

      Fast forward to today, that being the case, I actually want to see in my lifetime that “Russia is Armenia’s friend” and act like it, as I am totally for this, provided that it is based on a genuine gesture rather than politics and temporary convenience. And in my opinion if Russia wants to prove it is our friend, then it would today uphold the territorial integrity of Armenia it helped destroy during the Soviet Union. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not against Armenian-Russian ties, however, I tell it the way I see it. In fact I am delighted that Armenia has a positive relationship with Russia – I just hope it is real.

    • Hagop,

      It does worry me to see Armenia allied to Russia to the extent when this alliance resembles more a partner-client relationship than state-to-state partnership. But, again, if this is the price that needs to be paid for the survival of the Armenian nation, then so be it.

      Your statement to the effect that “Russia placed Armenia in a precarious situation whereby without Russia, Armenia wouldn’t exist” is only partially correct. Yes, from the Russian perspective Moscow needs Armenia as a bastion in the turbulent South Caucasus and greater Middle Eastern region. But imagine the region without the Russian factor. Do Armenia and Artsakh have enough military capabilities to maintain the military-strategic balance in the region?

      You complain about Russia’s “dirty history and politics, not much better than Turkey’s”. But every powerful country’s history and politics are dirty. Politics, by definition, is dirty. It’s wrong to say that Russia’s politics were dirtier than that of Turkey’s. Russia did not exterminate 2 million Armenians. Occasional suppression under the Tsars Alexander II and Nicholas II did happen. Bolshevik colonization did happen. Stalinist purges did affect Armenians. But genocidal extermination of Armenians happened only under the Turkish rule.

      “When we chose the lesser of two evils that did not make the less evil good.” Agree. But then, again, when you compare how the Armenians were throughout the history treated by the Russians and by the Ottoman Turks, you understand that Russia is, without doubt, a lesser evil even if it doesn’t make it a good one.
      How did Russia make Armenians starve, I don’t understand. I know in America they called the genocide refugees “starving Armenians” and this was the result of Turkish atrocities. Where is Russia in this equation?

      You say: “If the USA was in the 1920s in place of Russia with its ideology of the time, then the USA would uphold the territorial integrity of Armenia.” How can you be sure? In 2008, the US had Georgia as an ally in the region. When Russian tanks invaded the country, the US actually betrayed Georgia.

      You further say: “After all it was the USA at the time which came to Armenia’s rescue and it was Wilson that agreed to the borders of Wilsonian Armenia.” You mean Washington rescued Armenians from physical extermination? The US did provide assistance to refugees when Western Armenia was emptied of Armenians. And Wilson did not agree to draft the borders of Wilsonian Armenia. He was CHARGED to do so by the Treaty of Sevres.

      As for Russia’s friendship as a genuine gesture rather than politics and temporary convenience, there is no such a thing in international politics as genuine gesture.
      You say: “If Russia wants to prove it is our friend, then it would today uphold the territorial integrity of Armenia it helped destroy during the Soviet Union.” Agree. And I think part of historic Armenia was already recovered.

    • Hakob:

      If you knew modern Armenian history well, you’d know that it was the Tsarist armies that were liberating Armenian lands from the Persians and turks, and up until 1916 the Russian Imperial Army with the help of Armenian irregulars were cutting through turkey and were on their war to bitlis and diyarbakir before the Russian Revolution started. And you should also know that ethnic Slavs suffered more under bolshevism than any other ethnic group. Moreover, do not conflate Tsarist Russia, and the Russia of today, with bolshevik Russia which until Stalin’s purges was predominately made up of minority groups, particularly Jews.

      As for the client state relationship that Armenia has with Russia, that is normal given the way the political world is ordered. The US has many client states, in fact, it has more than any other country in the world. I think your real argument is that Armenia would be better off as a US client state, however that is pure nonsense given the many reasons I and others have posted previously.
      The geopolitical structure of the area, how Armenia fits into it, and the designs of the political West, alone dictate that the US can not be a true ally for Armenia. It is not that Armenia is bad or US is bad, it is pure geopolitics which is free of value judgments.

      I would advise you to carefully ponder the famous line uttered by Thucydides, ‘the strong do as they will and the weak suffer what they must.’

    • Gourgen,
      I appreciate your sober approach, but the point I’m trying to make is, within a historical context, (Soviet) Russia is hardly the saving grace of Armenia certain Armenians proclaim at every opportunity – the truth is quite the opposite. You gotta admit that Armenia got swindled big time compliments of Soviet Russia. All politics may be dirty, but the politics played on Armenia deserves a special place. In fact, Soviet politics so far as Azerbaijan and Turkey are concerned proved to be their jackpot, and Armenia’s plunder.

      And another point is in answer to “without Russia Armenia wouldn’t exist” – in fact without (Soviet) Russia, not only would Armenia exist, but our entire country today would have been liberated. That is to say, if only (Soviet) Russia had stayed neutral. In 1920, bankrupt, poor, starving, weaponless CUP Turkey had no capacity to do a damn thing to Armenia. Miraculously, Turkey soon waged a “war of independence”, taking the Armenian vilayets and the Greek territories in the west, thanks to (Soviet) Russia.

      Has anyone here ever heard of such a thing as a large country who plots with another country to invade and conquer a small country, then proceed to take that half of the large country’s share and chop it up into little pieces and gift parts of it to another small country who happens to be the ethnic cousin of the partner country? Such a country responsible for this heinous act was called Soviet Russia – that’s why today Nakhichevan is not part of Armenia, and neither was NK until it was liberated, thanks to the Armenians, not Russians.

      More than 50 years after the criminal who puts Hitler to shame died and entered Hell, his plan is still working brilliantly. And the worst part is, this mass murdering scoundrel is still popular and considered a “hero” by much of today’s Russian society.

      And to tell you the truth, for the Russians, whether Azerbaijan won NK or Armenia, it did not seem that it mattered. They would have supported either side who came out on top. And yet there is another part, especially since you mentioned the Russian invasion of Georgia which is applicable here. When Georgia went too far in orienting itself towards the west, Russia had no problems showing its teeth to NATO and doing whatever it needs to do to insure its security.

      But when NK Armenians were ready to put an end to the madness permanently, and NATO threatened to attack, Russia promptly bowed down and ordered the Armenians to stop their final attack on Azerbaijan and forced them to sign a cease fire. And the objective of a “cease fire”? “Lets sell more arms to the Azeris and Armenians so they can keep on killing each other in the future”, the old Soviet mentality of divide and conquer is still in place.

      With all this said, I will be the first to admit that today Russia is of utmost importance to Armenia’s security, and without Russia, the two genocidal savages would soon gang up on Armenia, with the passive approval of NATO. Yet my aim here was to establish why it is Russia is important, and the reason being political not charitable. We need to admire ourselves before anyone else and that includes our supposed “savior” Russia.

    • Arevordi, I wonder if you are the same “Arevordi” who authors the “TheRisofRussia” blog. If yes, I must say your blog is both entertaining (not in a good way) and sad. Probably not even Russians bend over as much for Kremlin as some Armenians do These folks do not realize that instead of helping Armenia, they are being used and abused by Putin’s regime for his sinister goals. As an Armenian, I am ashamed that the head of the RT news, the Kremlin’s Soviet-style propaganda machine, is an Armenian, who is probably a concubine of some oligarch.

      I also find it ironic that someone calling himself “Arevordi” and a nationalist glorifies Russia and yet calls his own people genetically damaged peasants (it’s all in the blog). I prefer the opposite view. I reject the view that there is anything wrong with us. I believe we are a great people who have a pathetic republic. I think that’s the better approach, because it’s impossible to change an entire people, and it’s much easier to change a government.

      I find it funny how our Russophile compatriots are excited that “America is in decline” (as many fools have “predicted” for the past 200 years), when in reality Russia is, in essence, a dying nation. Look at the rate of population decline since 1991. People are not just leaving, they are dying from extremely unhealthy lifestyle (AIDS, alcoholism etc.). It is extremely sad that because of its inept government, Russians basically have become a nation of prostitutes, drunkards, and bums. And the sad part is, if we tie our fate to them, we are going down with them.

      Those who advocate blind reliance on Russia forget how often Russia has betrayed Armenians. In 1915, Russia encouraged Russian Armenians to form volunteer units. And yet shortly afterwards, when Armenian needed them most, Russia disbanded them because now it did not need them any longer. And let’s not forget how often the Russian army moved the front back and forth in Western Armenia, allowing the Turks to complete the Genocide. Not to mention Kars, Karabagh, and Nakhichevan, as Hagop mentioned. Or Russia’s recent policy of building closer relations with Turkey. Or the weapons that Russia sells to Azerbaijan, while pretending to be Armenia’s ally. We cannot afford to rely solely on Russia, we need to develop ourselves so we can rely on ourselves if Russia again drops us like a used handkerchief.

  22. Vahagn:

    Not sure what US style democracy has anything to do with Armenia, but let me give you some examples to disabuse you of your rose-colored view of USA.

    1) Shortly after Civil War broke out, Lincoln declared Martial Law and suspended the Habeas Corpus. About 13,000 people were arrested: many for nothing more than criticizing Lincoln’s suspension of US Constitution and his war policies.
    2) During WW2, about 10,000 native born American citizens, native to USA 2-3 generations, were rounded up and sent to Manzanar. Their crime was that they were Americans of Japanese descent. They lost everything they had.
    3) Today, 2012, the POTUS can make any US Citizen disappear into the dungeons of Guantanamo or who knows where on his say-so alone.
    The President claims the right to assassinate any US Citizen anywhere in the world on his say-so alone: without any charges, without presenting evidence, without any trial, without any conviction in a Court of Law. And has done so at least once already.
    4) In the US style of Democracy, an inanimate object, a Corporation, has the same rights as a Natural Person – a human being. So said the US Supreme Court recently. So in effect, a wealthy person can buy himself not 1 not 2, but practically an unlimited number of votes. Some Democracy to emulate for Armenia.

    I will address your other points after a short commercial break.

  23. avatar gaytzag palandjian // October 7, 2012 at 11:46 am // Reply

    First to Gourgen *Kourgen
    I would not be posting here-like I stopped to in another Forum-if X or Y or Z was not sober. I ‘d think everyone contributes his/*her bit here soberly/
    Secondly, opinions may vary-naturally- there is no need to get dismayed ^and offended.Now as to above posts in precis format>/
    1 was very much interested to know why we lost Kars,so I purchased one book that is mainly about Karin but also SURROUNDING AREAS.Title is Dzitogh*Dashti Garno(Karin) by Vartiter Kotcholosian(Hovannisian) wife of renouned historian Prof. Richard G.Hovannisian.She a daughter of the family and related families that ñlived in the region during the tumultuous 1918´s..
    it is in that book that I came across how the cache,THAT OUR ALLIES(SUPPOSEDLY) THE BRITISH HAD LEFT -now this is very interesting -instead of outright to ally little small Army Armenia-through a Russian officer, who was to administer it ,indeed not to Turks with whom the British (remember Galipoli,Brit-Aussies being crushed by Turkish forces) were then officailly at war .This Rusky officer is beautifully bribed by the Turks-something they and azeris are masters of-and eventually drops into turks lap.
    Another major factor for leaving Kars and retreating-without fight-was the Russians leaving to join their brethren sisters and be in mother Russia .
    Bygones are bygones…as to now.
    I HEREDECLAR AND INSIST THERE IS NO DEMOCRACY IF TOMORROW I WIN A BIG REAL BIG LOTTERY,THEN INVITE ALL OF YOU AND MY EXTENDED FAMILY AND FRIENDS AND NON FRIENDS TO VOTE FOR ME TO BE PRESIDENT OF ARMENIA LET US SAY,or any such country or even those WHO CLAIM THEY ARE RUN BY A dEMOCRATIC rEGIME. hOGWASH!!!! IF YOU CAN BUY VOTES AND SYMPATHY AND ARE PROMISED GOOD LAVISH POSTS IN MY CABINET AND ALL gPOV.T ESTABLISHMENTS THROUGH LATTER,THEN THIS IS DEM0CRACY THAT CAN BE BOUGHT.
    nOT TO BE VERY HARSH, I now calm down..
    Indeed there may also be some elected for being truly believers in Doctrines such as their or the others.This, even in Europe,older Democratic area..is still practiced.What do I picture and or ¨suggest¨to be Democratic is through a new concept of electoral system and governance that is based on merits-A MERITORIAL ELECTORAL SYSTEM.THIS YOU CAN READ IN MY ESSAYS OR ARTICLES IN…www.armeniannews.info…
    As to what I WOULD NOW WISH THAT THE NEWLY REBORN REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA WOULD ADOPT(besides electing via Merits) I MEAN THE ORGANIZM OR VERTEBRAL COLUMN OF THE BODY..as you wish..
    is through DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISM(my invented title) that also conveys what it manifests…
    Yes, rather similar to those in Sweden, Finland and a couple more.Where heavy taxes-to begin with-LOGICALLY ARE levied on thOSE ENTERPRISSES,INDIVIDUAL ,COMPANIES ,.CORP.S ETC., THAT EARN LET US SAY 5/ 10 MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR.. AN 80%.or thereabouts and this lowered for those who earn 2/5 million per annum, 50/60% to those that earn less than 2 million ,say 20% etc., etc., etc.,
    it is clear that the Taxes collected would be used-with no corruption involved- for the public entities, such as schoolin(edu) trasnport, Health etc.,
    However, if this is to be realized IT CANNOT-I admit in my articles aswell-that IT SHOULD SORT OF CREEP IN ,IN PARALLEL WITH EXISTING SO CALLED DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM,NOT TO IMMEDIATELY R E P L A C E IT.
    Which would be like paddling counter current in a small boat upstream a crazy river….
    That much for my beliefs..As to how we can at the very least begin FORM, yes to form NO SOMOS UNA NACION FORMADA.We are not a aSOCIALLY FOREMD NATION ,neither in Homeland nor in Diaspora.
    What some latter day change searchers are TRUMPETING/ADVOCATING AS CIVIL SOCIETY…they are in search of what I describe as A DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST SYSTEM, that can indeed find its way into it by -as above and in my colums,i.e., thorugh `PROFESSIONAL COLLEAGUES ASSOCIATION.Since the thick of the real peopl(not babik mamik, or just over 18 yrs old youth and young are there in millions of PCA´s,Amongst Armeniasn globally I´d fathom some 100,000 strong.These people constitue rather will constitute when formed in the associations the FORCE/POWR.
    Our Human resources8some say our knowledge) and THROUGH THESE THE NATIONAL INVESTMENT TRUST FUND.OUR ECONOMIC POWER THAT MAY EXCEED 10 BILLION DOLLARS EASILY…CHECK IT OUT first in google Armenian millionaires…
    Best to you all Hayortis…

  24. btw, Vahagn:

    while I am working on more points, would you please clarify for the audience here @AW what exactly did you mean by this expression:

    {“. I want Armenia to have the “U.S. type” degree of democracy, not too gay (as European-parliamentary types that succumbed to fascism one by one) “}

    you know, the “not too gay” part.

    Many years ago ‘gay’ in common English language usage meant a ‘happy, carefree, enjoying life” person.
    That was a very long time ago.
    Today it is a synonym for a Homosexual person, usually male.

    It appears that you don’t want Armenia’s democracy not to be “too gay”, like Europeans: I am pretty sure you did not mean “not too happy, not too carefree, etc”, because of the context.

    So what did you mean ?

  25. Mark B:

    You lumping me with AR and Gourgen is quite a complement: I do not feel I deserve it.
    I have read AR’s posts for a long time: do not agree with everything he writes, but he understands more about the Big Game than you or your insultobuddy ‘Vahagn’ will ever do.
    I do not recall seeing Gourgen @AW before, but his recent posts also show a deep understanding of what the real dangers facing Armenia and NKR are (as vs superficial, inconsequential, cosmetic).

    And apparently your intellectual achievements, which you managed to accomplish {“….during my grad school visits at MIT, Wharton and Columbia”}, have not improved your basic knowledge, or lack thereof, of the English language. I highly doubt someone who claims to be an intellectual, or having taken basic economic classes – unlike us jesters – would not know the difference between ‘blockade’ and ‘block aid’”

    [Blockade]: an effort to cut off food, supplies, war material or communications from a particular area by force, either in part or totally
    [Block aid]: providing aid in one unit or block. Somewhat analogous to the term ‘tranche’ used in financial parlance. A contrived construct: not commonly used in the English language.

    {” The funniest thing is, you jesters think it is because of the block-aide, when it has been written in countless economic publications that the block aide would have a small impact on the Armenian economy”}

    (no, it was not a typo: you used it twice – you just don’t know)

  26. “Avery,” (since you put my name in quotation marks), you must know that picking on your opponent’s spelling is a sign of defeat: it shows that you do not have good arguments to address the other person’s points. Now, I don’t know what “insultobuddy” is, but ranting conspiracy theories instead of offering facts and evidence does not mean having “deep understanding.” The affect of the Soviet legacy on its people’s minds is a well-known phenomenon. It has led many people to distrust any mainstream view and instead seek secret conspiracies. You might benefit from considering Mark’s points and try to change the same-old dead-end pattern of thinking.

    Now, regarding your question. I believe any model of an established successful democracy, whether European or American, will benefit Armenia, as they are all in much better position than Armenia. It is wise to adopt what has worked for others instead of spinning your wheels. Having said that, I prefer the U.S. democracy, because it has been most successful in terms of power, prosperity, stability, longevity, and attracting others to the country. These are the things that we Armenians want most for Armenia. We want Armenia to be powerful, prosperous, and stable. It then makes sense to learn from a country that is the most powerful, the most prosperous (GDP-wise), and whose constitution has not been replaced for 200+ years (i.e. stability). Yes, there have been amendments to the constitution, but that is part of the constitution: it makes the constitution organic enough that it can adapt to changing time without being replaced. And besides the three aspects that I mentioned, America has been most successful in attracting others, including many Armenians. It only makes sense to adopt this system in Armenia so the Armenians who want to go to the U.S. will have less reason to do it.

    About the “gay” comment, I was being humorous, and in no way I meant to offend anyone. What I meant with that term was “less tough.” I prefer the U.S. presidential system instead of the European parliamentary system, which involves shifting coalitions, no-confidence votes to the prime minister, resignations of entire cabinets, which can lead to instability. This was part of the reason why the European democracies in 20’s and 30’s fell to fascism, though they have made improvements after WWII. At least in the U.S., even when the Congress is stuck, that does not stop the President from running the government. And that is why I am also in favor of the majoritarian system (in elections) instead of the proportional system (which the current Armenian opposition advocates), because the proportional one allows numerous little parties to gain entry into the parliament. By the way, that is how Hitler came to power. Look at Armenia, the parliament has been divided into a bunch of parties who cannot offer a meaningful opposition to the Republican party. I also prefer the social rights (right to medicine, housing, welfare) to be part of legislation (laws that are adopted based on the needs of the time) and not the constitution. This can create a tension with what I consider more fundamental rights–rights to life, property, freedom of speech etc.. Social rights sometimes have to be modified based on the economic necessities, which can be difficult if they are in the constitution. Look at Europe, when the government limits some of these social rights due to the austerity measures, some people there call it a violation of human rights.

    And by the way, gaytzag, I am not against the European model of democracy or the Swedish socialism per se, though I think that the American model is likelier to produce the economic and military might that we Armenians want. There was a recent documentary about Sweden, which showed that since the Socialism, Sweden has had fewer industrial giants, as entrepreneurs prefer to invest in countries such as U.S. We want Armenia to develop its own industrial giants. But again, I am not against your taxation model per se. I just believe that if Armenia adopts a U.S.-type constitution, it will allow the people and the political forces to debate and come to a proper consensus as to what economic model is best for the country. They cannot do it in the current authoritarian system of Armenia, with its pathetic constitution, which is more of an incoherent and contradictory list of principles than a legally enforceable document.

    And by the way, gaytzag, you were talking about the 1918 fall of Kars. Kars fell twice, in 1918 and 1920. In 1918, the Georgian head of the Transcaucasian republic handed Kars to the Turks, and sure, as you said, the Russians’ flight from the front contributed to it (which should make us think twice before blindly relying on Russia). But in 1920, Kars was not under Georgia, it was under Armenian jurisdiction, and we were fully responsible for its fall. People and soldiers had lost all faith in the government and in the country, which led to desertions, apathy, and the destruction of the first republic.

    Avery, regarding your list of “faults” in the U.S. democracy. Lincoln did not suspend the whole Constitution, he only suspended one right (habeas corpus), which was confirmed by the Congress. Even with your list of American “faults,” many people, including Armenians, still dream about living there.

    Regarding attracting immigrants, I think Gourgen said that immigrants poured into the U.S. because of vast open lands. Well, we have vast uninhabited lands (for Armenia’s scale) as well: they are called liberated territories. Or all those homes left empty by the Armenians who have left. Are Armenians from abroad pouring into these areas? Imagine how much more that would strengthen our national security. Perhaps if Armenia had a system like the U.S. and created proper conditions, people would pour in and strengthen the country as they did with the U.S.

    And Gourgen, first let’s correct some historical facts. The Cilician kingdom did not last until 15th century AD, it ended in the 14th (1375). You previously suggested that the Sardarapat battle occurred in 1918. You also mentioned that Armenians suffered some oppression under Alexander II and Nicholas II. Perhaps you meant Alexander III, who was notorious for oppressing Armenians and who closed Armenian schools. Alexander II, instead, was called the “Liberator Tsar” for his progressive reforms. It is ironic that you pretend to have such intimate knowledge of secret conspiracies yet lack knowledge of some basic facts of our history.

    Now, regarding your question as to whether I would favor a dictatorship that miraculously had the characteristics you listed (basic civil rights etc.). I usually prefer not to dwell on hypotheticals, especially the highly unlikely ones. Perhaps I might favor such a government, although I believe that Armenians naturally favor values such as liberty and democracy (despite what some suggest). Unlike other nations, we have not had an absolute monarchy, our king was always the first among equals. And many 18th century Armenians embraced the principles of enlightenment from the beginning and even wrote a constitution for an Armenian Republic (authored by Baghramyan) modeled after the British parliamentary system, which of course was utterly crushed by the Tsarist Russia. Fortunately, your hypothetical is irrelevant, as history has showed that such a system has not been viable. Dictatorships may provide some initial boost to military strength and economy, but in the end they all burn and crash because eventually they keep making mistakes, in the absence of debate and accountability. I explained above why I favor the American system for Armenia. The fact that some empires have lasted for more than 200 years is irrelevant right now. We know that they are gone, and that they did not work. We can only speculate that the U.S. system will be gone. Every now and then there were people who predicted the imminent demise of the U.S., yet it still works. If it does not, then we can adopt a different system, but so far it does, as it has for 200+ years due to its carefully designed checks and balances and the flexible constitution which has been called a political genius.

    And this idea of comparing 21-year old Armenia to 21-year old U.S. is completely useless. If it takes someone else 1000 years to invent a bicycle, it does not mean that we have to take 1000 years to develop invent it ourselves. We should learn what others have successfully done. We do not have the luxury of 200 years to develop Armenia. Armenians justifiably do not have the patience to wait even 20 years, they are leaving their country now for a better country. We are in a race with Azerbaijan: they are growing using their oil, and all we have is our human capital, and the best way to use that capital to the fullest is democracy. If we don’t do it now, it may be too late later. And by the way, if Azerbaijan becomes a democracy before us, we are finished, because we will be against two powerful weapons: oil and democracy. Hell, maybe we should let them know that.

    And noone said that Armenians are too stubborn to accept democracy. However, they are not allowed to do it by the thugs who rule the country. They also may not know how to do it, given the dysfunctional systems that they have lived in. We in the Diaspora can help them as through decades we have accumulated vast knowledge about how a successful democracy works.

    There is nothing uniquely American about the American constitution and its basic framework. Americans are not a better people than us, if they could do it, so can we. We are a great people with a disfunctional state. If we are allowed to operate in the right system, there is no stopping of us.

    • After the Mamluks had taken over Cilicia, Armenians left the kingdom and settled in Cyprus, still ruled by the Lusignan dynasty until 1489 when Cilicia finally fell under Ottoman dominion. They year 1489 is the 15th century. Or is it not?

      The Battle of Sardarabad took place from May 21-29, 1918. When else?

      Yes, it was Tsar Alexander III and II. Just a mechanical erratum.

    • “Ranting conspiracy theories instead of offering facts and evidence does not mean having ‘deep understanding’.”

      In many posts here there’s been an abundance of historical facts and scholarly evidence. If one considers oneself an erudite, he or she must know that the so-called conspiratorial view of history and international politics oftentimes is the one best supported by the evidence as compared to the debilitating accidental view, which holds that no one really knows why events happen… they just do.

      “The affect of the Soviet legacy […] has led many people to distrust any mainstream view and instead seek secret conspiracies.”

      Oh, then we are to believe that great Westerners like FDR (“In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way”) or Benjamin Disraeli (“The world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes”) or Winston Churchill (“From the days of Weishaupt to those of Karl Marx, this world-wide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilisation and for the reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence, and impossible equality, has been steadily growing”), among many others—all have been “affected by Soviet legacy”?

      “I prefer the U.S. presidential system instead of the European parliamentary system, which involves shifting coalitions, no-confidence votes to the prime minister, resignations of entire cabinets, which can lead to instability.”

      Meaning, you approve of the inherently undemocratic Electoral College and the fact that the unrepresentative, unelected, and unaccountable Council on Foreign Relations runs this country no matter who’s elected president and which party forms the majority in the Congress?

      “Gourgen said that immigrants poured into the U.S. because of vast open lands. Well, we have vast uninhabited lands: they are called liberated territories. Are Armenians from abroad pouring into these areas?”

      It will happen when the time is right and circumstances allow. The New World lands were not war zones and had no threatening Turkic neighbors. Consider geography as key to understanding many historical and political events.

      “History has shown that dictatorships may provide some initial boost to military strength and economy, but in the end they all burn and crash because eventually they keep making mistakes, in the absence of debate and accountability.”

      Empires also burn and crash, monarchies also burn and crash, democracies also burn and crash. No state formation or civilization exists eternally. “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the Public Treasury.” –Alexander Fraser Tyler, “The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic”.

      “The idea of comparing 21-year old Armenia to 21-year old U.S. is completely useless. If it takes someone else 1000 years to invent a bicycle, it does not mean that we have to take 1000 years to invent it ourselves. We should learn what others have successfully done.”

      We can certainly learn what others have successfully done but we cannot mechanically extrapolate what others have successfully done onto a different geographic area or a peculiar societal order. There’s a plethora of ethnic, historical, geographic, customary, psychological, behavioral and other factors that may not allow for such a mechanical replication.

      “There is nothing uniquely American about the American constitution and its basic framework.”

      Actually, there is. Other constitutions rely on the state as the grantor of human rights. America’s founders, however, believed that a government should possess limited powers. Through the Constitution, they delegated to government only those rights they wanted it to have.

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