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Obama Congratulates Sarkisian on Re-Election

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YEREVAN (A.W.)–President Barack Obama congratulated Serge Sarkisian on his re-election, which, he said, “presents opportunities to advance the relationship between our two countries and to build your legacy as a leader who solidifies Armenia’s reforms and furthers the cause of peace for your people and the people of your region.”

Serge Sarkisian

Serge Sarkisian

In the letter, reprinted below, the U.S. president referenced democratization in Armenia, the Nagorno-Karabagh peace process, and Armenian-Turkish relations.

***

Dear Mr. President:

I would like to congratulate you on your reelection as President of the Republic of Armenia. I look forward to continuing our work together as we both begin our second terms.

As we move ahead, I would like to build on the strong ties between our countries and peoples, and to further expand our partnership. We remain strongly committed to Armenia’s development and look to your leadership to promote continued improvements in democracy and the economic reforms that will present opportunities to both the people of Armenia and the Americans looking to invest in a valued partner with significant potential. We will continue to strongly support progress in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, which requires meaningful movement toward a settlement that provides lasting peace and security. We also want to continue our work to promote the eventual normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations.

Your reelection presents opportunities to advance the relationship between our two countries and to build your legacy as a leader who solidifies Armenia’s reforms and furthers the cause of peace for your people and the people of your region.

You can be assured that the United States, as Armenia’s enduring friend and partner, stands with you in working to achieve these worthy goals.

22 Comments on Obama Congratulates Sarkisian on Re-Election

  1. Sakunts to Obama:

    “You undertook immediate responsibility for the falsifications by congratulating those who falsified the elections”

    http://hetq.am/eng/news/24074/sakunts-to-obama-you-undertook-immediate-responsibility-for-the-falsifications-by-congratulating-those-who-falsified-the-elections.html

  2. Sorry non-elected non-president MP Hovanissian: you lost another big chance to get a congratulation from someone that counts.

    [David Cameron congratulates Serzh Sargsyan on reelection]
    {” UK Prime Minister David Cameron sent a congratulatory message to President Serzh Sargsyan on his reelection.
    “Dear President Sargsyan, Congratulations on your re-election as President of the Republic of Armenia.”} (March 5, 2013)

    So sorry. Better Barevaluck in 2018.

  3. Avery, we have both posted on this site for quite some time. I have the highest respect for your ability to articulate your views on a wide variety of matters concerning our nation. You substantiate your opinions with information and I consider you an ardent defender of Armenian rights… A true patriot.
    Help me understand your opposition to the Hovanissian,activity. I understand your support of the current administration,vis a,vis national security. You have been consistent on this. Surely a person of your intelligence and awareness can,see the connection,between our archaic political process and the domestic,challenges our people face. He has approached this election challenge in a non- violent and constitutionally consistent manner. Do you agree that there is a problem? I do consider you a,very enlightened individual,and,it does,concern me that you,have a,very negative almost cynical view,of,these events. What are,we missing?

    • Stepan:

      I will reply shortly. (coming days…some other matters to attend to)
      I will do my best to convey why I feel so strongly re Mr. Hovanissian.

      And I greatly appreciate your view of what I (mostly) stand for.

      Thanks.

  4. Yes, I too like Stepan would like to know what is behind Avery’s highly emotioal opposition to Mr. Hovanissian. But, regardless of the person, would very much like to know whether he disagrees that vast sections of the population are disenchanted, fed up with the current state of affairs in Armenia? Does he disagree that we need change, and we need it right now, in order to have the rule of law and to stop population flight from Armenia?
    I, too appreciate Avery’s unflinching and articulated stand against the intruding Turks and Azeri’s in these pages, but his fiery, almost antagonistic opposition to the present developments in Armenia is puzzling to me.

    • I’m not answering for Avery, but just wanted to point out that his task would not be easy because of the censorship on this and other sites.

      Do you armchair barevolutionaries realize how hard it is to respond or simply post your thoughts on “The Diaspora” controlled media if they are different from yours?

      Talking about democracy and free speech. 2/3 of my comments are censored out and it is simply impossible to predict what I am allowed or not allowed to say here.

      And Raffi’s supporters are allowed to launch personal attacks on posters with different views and they also have the right to say the last word. If you are here only to brainwash the remnants of “The Diaspora” it’s fine. Just honestly state so.

  5. Avery, thank you . I certainly understand.

  6. Stepan, Arshag:

    I will try to demonstrate that my antagonism to Mr. Hovannisian, post election primarily, is based on sound reasons, and motivated by my view of what I believe is best for Armenia and NKR. I accept without any reservations whatsoever that you Stepan, you Arshag, and all my compatriots who disagree with me on this issue want what is best for Armenia and NKR.

    Election Results:

    I anchor my criticism of Mr. Hovannisian on results of Feb 18th election:
    Turnout: 60%
    Pres. Sargsyan: 58%
    Mr. Hovannisian: 37%

    If one believes that Mr. Hovannisian ‘won’, then nothing I write here will matter.

    However, if one accepts that President Sargsyan won, and by a huge margin at that, then one also must accept that 58% of Armenians who voted, voted for the status quo, voted to stay the course. Of course does not necessarily mean the 58% are happy with the way things are in RoA: it would illogical to think that most people would be, given a poverty rate of about 30%, high unemployment, scarcity of good, high pay jobs, etc. Rather, they voted for a level of certainty with the man they know, and were concerned about the uncertainty with the man they do not know, or possibly do not trust.
    I accept that 37% voted against the status quo.

    That is the landscape we have.

    Pre-Election:

    Mr. Hovanissian ran a fresh, good campaign: he went out into the public, he worked hard, campaigned American-style, pounded the payment, met the voters, pressed hands, kissed babies – and won 37% of the vote.
    A very impressive result considering he had no vast Party machine to back him up.
    But he only got 37%. In addition to his hard work, he was also lucky: if Dodi Gago and/or LTP had run, highly unlikely RH would get 37%.
    Heritage got only 6% during the Parliamentary election of 2012. So RH got the protest vote that would otherwise have gone to Dodi Gago or LTP.

    Post-Election:

    Had he said this on Feb 19th — “Mr. President Sargsyan, Congratulations. You have won the election. I stand ready to work with you during the next 5 years to address the concerns of the 37% of those who voted on Feb 18th, and who voted against you” — it would be entirely different.
    He is young for a politician. In 5 years he will be about 58-59, same age as President Sargsyan is now. He could run for President again, and probably win, although I don’t think he has the personality to be President of RoA. But if people choose him, so be it.

    Unfortunately he did not do that.

    First off, he deliberately disrespected the sitting President of the Republic he is a citizen of by addressing him as “Mr. Sargsyan”, on purpose, instead of the proper “Mr. President” during his one-on-one meeting.
    He can dispute the election results all he wants, but until April 8, President Sargsyan is the sitting President of RoA. Yes or No ?
    He showed up to the meeting in jeans, not a suit as he should have for an official meeting in the Office of the RoA Pres: same as Pres Sargsyan did.
    Both actions were done with forethought and malice to publicly show contempt and disrespect, and to sow doubts in the legitimacy of the Office and President.

    Then it gets worse:

    After his massive loss, Mr. Hovannisian starts demanding (!) this or that, and trying to run some kind of an oriental bazaar to bargain his way to the Office of RoA President. Here are some excerpts from various news sources:

    { Hovanissian says the election was rigged. He told protesters that the president, at a meeting on February 21, had rejected his demand for a rerun of the vote.}
    {Addressing participants of the rally, Hovannisian said he offered the head of the state several compromise solutions. The main was a demand that Central Electoral Commission must cancel election results and recognize people’s victory which suggests holding election re-run. However, Sargsyan gave a negative response, News.am reports. He also offered Sargsyan to hold snap election on proportional system but was met by a refusal again.}

    Somebody, anybody, please point me to the Article of RoA Constitution that has a provision to ‘rerun’ the Presidential election. (whith >50% turnout).
    There is a first round: if nobody gets 50%+1, there is a runoff between two top vote getters. That’s it.

    So what Unconstitutional – as in Illegal – ‘rerun’ ,or ‘snap election’ , or ‘proportional system’ is Mr. Hovannisian talking about ? Can anyone who defends Mr. Hovannisian explain how is that rational or legal ?
    Did Gore, who actually won more popular votes (but not Electoral votes) in 2000 ‘demand’ anything ?
    Did Romney, who lost to Obama 47% to 51%, ‘demand’ anything ?
    Did Sarkozy, who lost to Hollande 48% to 52%, ‘demand’ anything ?
    Did the losers in Georgia’s 2012 Parliamentary election ‘demand’ a ‘rerun’ ?
    No: the losers put their Country first and quietly went away.

    I am not a Sargsyan supporter, as unlikely as it may seem.
    I am not a supporter of any person.
    I am a supporter of the institution of the Office of the President of RoA and all other nascent institutions of RoA.
    RoA Institutions must be respected, nurtured, strengthened. All individuals will pass, but institutions – Legislative, Executive, Judiciary – must grow deep roots and gel, so that the country can function regardless of the person, and be highly resistant to future shocks – both internal and external – that will inevitably come.
    People of Armenia must grow to trust and respect their civil institutions.
    And it starts with the leaders first and foremost, like Mr. Hovannisian, and those that came before him. (e.g. Pres LTP).
    You lose, you go away quietly. Try again next time.
    You want to change how the President is elected, or whether RoA should change to Parliamentary-PM (proportional) form of leadership – change the Constitution first. Then run in the next election. You don’t get a second bite at the apple.

    With his post-election actions and pronouncements, Mr. Hovannisian has and is causing harm to RoA civil institutions, to the fabric of the society, and hence to the Nation.
    That’s the way I see it.

  7. Stepan:

    {“ our archaic political process and the domestic,challenges our people face.”}
    {“ Do you agree that there is a problem?”}

    Yes there are many problems, but why do you say it is an archaic process ?
    In what way is it archaic: what would you change ?
    Regular elections are being held. 100% clean ? Not by a long shot. But not what the opposition claims or blatantly lies about either.
    If one loses, it is ‘obviously’ because of massive fraud, not because fewer people actually voted for you.

    Armenia is a new Democracy. 20 years is nothing. US still has electoral issues 230+ years after its independence. And the US founders had the benefit of being from the mother country of Magna Carta. We all know the trauma our people have been subjected to pre-Soviet era, and during Armenia SSR. Dictatorial, despotic rule, lawlessness and arbitrariness for generations.
    Electoral problems in Armenia are no different than in almost every former Soviet republic. Not an excuse not to be the best of the lot, but people should not expect RoA to become Switzerland overnight. RoA is not in Europe. RoA is in Asia. We are in a very violent region that has no history of rule of law and democracy as in Europe.
    I have no idea why Magna Carta came into being in England instead of China or Persia. But it did.

    And the main problem I see with elections in RoA is that people who lose, refuse to accept they lost, and insist on not going away quietly.

    Arshag:

    {“ would very much like to know whether he disagrees that vast sections of the population are disenchanted, fed up with the current state of affairs in Armenia”}
    {“Does he disagree that we need change, and we need it right now, in order to have the rule of law and to stop population flight from Armenia”}

    No, I do not disagree that vast sections of the population are disenchanted,
    fed up.
    No, I do not disagree that change is needed. But what kind of change ? How to do it ? I say gradual, careful, baby steps: iterative refinement.
    Can we be sure that President Hovannisian (2018) can make a fundamental difference ? Based on what ?
    How do you change the legacy of 70-year Soviet non-democratic one-party rule overnight ? Which has left its ugly scars on a huge proportion of Armenia’s population.
    What if the change is for the worse ?
    What if RH does something impulsive and causes irreparable harm to the country.
    Is not a fact that Mr. Hovannisian has done many impulsive things in public life while fully in adulthood ?

    Regarding rule of law: no one man can instill respect for rule of law overnight. It has to develop over generations.
    It is a long process. But it has to start somewhere. A good place would be Mr. Hovannisian: stop demanding Unconstitutional acts to satisfy your ego. And yes, Pres Sargsyan too. This is it: he has 5 years. His last chance to be remembered as a great leader.
    Leaders have to sacrifice their ambitions and personal friendships for the greater good of Armenia.

    Regarding population flight: there is a problem for sure. I have the data. But disagree that President Sargsyan or RPA are primarily responsible.
    There is no empirical data that shows correlation between a given administration, lack of rule of law, corruption and emigration.
    In fact there is empirical data to counter that hypothesis.

    Pres Sargsyan and RPA:

    There are several internal problems that I hold Pres Sargsyan and RPA fully responsible for. I will list just some.
    One impediment to foreign investments – e.g. jobs: there is no level playing field. No clear laws to protect investments and private property.
    The oligarchs had some beneficial role years ago. But now they are an impediment.
    For example, the Carrefour situation: it is clear that those who benefit from lack of competition are using backdoor channels to block the entry.
    It is almost guaranteed that with Carrefour entering the market, Armenian consumers will see lower prices for groceries.
    Naturally those who richly benefit from lack of competition are doing everything to maintain their monopoly.
    Pres Sargsyan should force the issue and make sure there are no artificial barriers to Carrefour entry.
    There needs to be a bit of caution though: we do not want to become mostly or wholly dependent of foreign suppliers for food.
    Local farmers need to be Gov supported to be part of the supply chain: a vibrant local agricultural sector is a strategic necessity.
    And I am not too thrilled that highly processed Western foods will replace mostly organics from local sources.

    One of the main reasons for the prosperity in the West, particularly English descended nations (US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand) is very strong ethos and laws that respect and protect private property.
    Parliament and Pres need to start working on that. Private property protection. Anti Trust laws. Transparent enforcement.
    A first step would be for RoA Gov to compensate those individuals that had established businesses in Armenia and were for some reason or other cheated and had to leave RoA.
    I remember there was a woman who had a French boutique in Yerevan and claimed she was cheated out of years of work building her business by connected people. Not sure if her allegation was true or not, but even if not the Gov can make a statement by compensating her and those like her: give them the benefit of the doubt.
    I also vaguely remember stories that some Diaspora Armenians invested in the modern Jermuk bottling factory and again were cheated out of their share by connected people. There are quite a few cases like that.
    Allocate a State funds, make good their losses, and then go from there.

    Other shortcomings: poor control of exploitation of Nation’s natural assets. It is OK to use country’s resources to bring in income for the Nation.
    But there has to be strict controls. Market prices, or better, have to be negotiated, not give irreplaceable resources away at firesale prices.

    The Harsnakar murder case seems to have fallen off radar: suspects were promptly arrested, a court case started, but seems to have been postponed indefinitely. Has the malodor of being swept under the rug.

    There is a lot more in Pres Sargsyan’s and RPA negative column. Maybe another post.

    • Good points regarding how Serzh’s regime has failed, and what he should do. Unfortunately, saying what he should do will not get these things done, because Serzh is not responsive to the demands of the people, which is because Armenia is not democratic. Hence, we need to have a democratic change in Armenia in order to bring about all those long overdue solutions to Armenia.

      Same is true regarding changing the constitution and changing power through constitutional means. The problem is that, due to lack of democracy, the Armenian people feel that they cannot change the government through constitutional means by trying to vote every five years. The country from top-down is in the grips of the corrupt elite and its cronies. Therefore the people feel need they need to resort to demonstrations and hopefully other peaceful means of civil disobedience to bring about change.

      The examples of Al Gore and Sarkosy are not applicable to Armenia. They accepted defeat because their countries are democratic, and the process enjoys credibility. In Armenia, the entire electoral process lacks credibility. The international observers issued another report (the first one was an initial report), stating that in places where Serzh won, the numbers were suspiciously high. Other commenters here have stated why it is mathematically impossible, given Armenia’s estimated real population, for Serzh to have won so many votes. In a country like Armenia, when the incumbent claims a victory by 58%, that does not mean that he actually won. When we don’t know who won, then Raffi won. Because he wants to end the kind of corruption that prevents us from knowing who won.

      Baby step might be fineif the Armenian people had patience to wait while the corrupt elite takes its sweet time. They don’t, and they are showing it by leaving the country, which in our case is a ticking time-bomb. Which means we don’t have the kind of time that the English or the Americans had, we need systematic changes as soon as possible. Which also means that instead of nurturing the corrupt institutions that are preventing change, we all need to push for a change of those institutions.

    • The reason you and those that think like you cannot convince someone that thinks like me is demonstrated here by you.
      You see nothing but mistakes and refuse to acknowledge Sargsyan successes.
      I recognize that Pres Sargsyan has made mistakes and am not shy writing about it.
      Show me a single post by those who defend Mr. Hovannisian on AW pages and who will also admit what he is ‘demanding’ right now is Unconstitutional, and his actions have become bizarre and counterproductive.
      Show me a single post by the Hovannisian side chiding him for the deliberate disrespect he has shown to Pres Sargsyan, a war veteran.
      This while he carefully keeps his 4 sons away from serving in the Military.
      On the day Mr. Hovannisian was fulminating about his ‘win’, with one of his draft age sons standing next to him, Feb 19th, an Armenian young man of 19, Gor Ghazaryan, was killed by Azeris while defending the right of Mr. Hovannisian to stand in public in complete security and safety in Yerevan and attack the Republic’s constitution and its elected leaders. (RH tried to do the same in Baku: he was shouted down and forcibly removed by the Azeri mob)

      You are convinced Armenia is not democratic: apparently your definition of democracy is that your guy win.
      Facts and foreign observers say it is democratic and getting more so every election. Not withstanding the minor irregularities they also note.
      Like I said in the post about RH: if you still believe that Mr. Hovannisian ‘won’, then nothing I write here will matter.

      Regarding Pres Sargsyan: I recognize the mistakes he has made. The post was already long, so no room to list the successes.
      The one thing that he, his administration and those that came before him get 5-stars for is for the undeniable success in the Number 1 duty and responsibility for the President or leader of any nation: Security of the nation.

      The fact that Armenia has been able to prevent a massive invasion of NKR by Azerbaijan is the most important accomplishment of leaders of Armenia and NKR. The fact that Armenia and NKR have the most combat ready and combat capable militaries in South Caucasus did not happen by accident. Their success in that area trumps all their other failures. For the first time in centuries Armenians can negotiate from a position of military strength. None of the other metrics will matter in the least if NKR is lost.

  8. “Regarding population flight: there is a problem for sure. I have the data.”

    Could you share it with us here?

    This is what I don’t understand: Raffi’s camp claims that Armenia lost over 1 million due to emigration and they blame the current regime for it. Fine.

    My suspicion is that this number is cumulative of all years since independence and maybe even since the last Soviet census.

    Yes, there was a flight of population in these terrible years with the earthquake, Artsakh war, blockade and influx of refugees from Axerbaijan.

    Now, if we drill a bit deeper, who says that all who left Armenia were Armenians? There were Azeri Turks moving closer to their Altai mountains. There were Russians, Ukrainians, Moldovans, etc. moving back to their newly independent countries. Remember, Armenia was part of the Soviet Union and people who worked in Armenia were employed there because they had the skills, not because they were Armenians. On the other hand, Armenians were working all over the Soviet Union and even in places like Mongolia. When Armenia became independent many of them decided to stay where they were instead of moving to a war zone.

    Now, when they are talking about current situation they criticize Russian embassy for having a program to help people move to Russia. Who said that Russian embassy is targeting Armenians? Are there people of other ethnicities living in Armenia now? What about ethnic Russian Molokans? Can they move back to Mother Russia? Note that there is no criticism of the US Green Card program – Glendale needs cheap labor, US army needs young blood.

    Same with other non-Armenians. Imagine a Ukrainian woman who had been married to an Armenian guy since Soviet times and they lived in Yerevan and now he found a new wife or died. Can she go back to her mom in Ukraine? Did Raffi count her among the 70k/year?

    All I’m saying is that there must be a better scientific way to figure out what is going on with the population migrations rather than hysterically repeating Axeri Turk propaganda about “empty” Armenia and Artsakh.

    How about we look at the food consumption figures? We know how much sugar, flour, meat an average person needs per year. We know how much of this is produced domestically and imported. We can get an estimate of real population for each year since independence this way and compare it to the official and Raffi’s numbers.

    What about high school graduation numbers? This indicator is hard to manipulate. It shows either population growth or drop since the average number of children per woman didn’t change much.

    And the last thing. With Yerevan population of around 1 mil and 1 mil emigrants, why are the real estate prices going up? I just looked at the listings and on average the condos in Yerevan are more expensive than in many places in the US. How do you explain this?

    • Voskanapat,

      I have no data on Armenia’s population, but I can tell you the situation of the village I was born and lived until 17. The village is in north-west. The climate is not favorable: long winters and very cold, humidity wise-quite dry. You can only grow crops there. Most of the people have gardens with apple, plum and pear trees. There is no industry there. Ecologically it is a very clean environment though. You would think most of the people would leave the village and would be be empty by now right? And, there are quite a few families that left, but surprisingly there are not many empty houses in the village. What happens is that when young people get married they buy one of those empty houses and live there. So, in a sense when you are there you do not have a feeling that Armenia is emptying because almost every house has residents and most importantly kids. It is almost unheard for a family to have only one child, 2 or 3 or more, but mostly 3. After living in Yerevan, in Europe and US I can tell that it is a safe heaven. I did not appreciate it when I lived there because I am a city person by nature, but one thing is for sure, kids grown in that environment are pretty healthy.

  9. avatar gaytzag palandjian // March 8, 2013 at 11:07 am // Reply

    Avery,
    I like that!!! and I quote ¨I am an institutional(man)¨.Which automatically implies and i believe you refer to that as well, namely Constitution(Constitutional) whether you said it or not,it so implies….
    Constitutions of countries -most are near age old or even more so…
    In this age OF FINANCES ,who remembers(like Hitler´s said w/ref to Armenians) constitutions.This age of- Money talks-…..pray tell me…
    When MP´s are elected for their money spending(read lobbying) LOBBYING????
    what word is that indeed, the corridors, passages of bldgs of Parliaments Congresses??? where these brokers, rather than Lobbyists work their asses off?
    You tell me for what?,or shall I tell you, for MONEY!!! so the whole Institution is……..purchaseable,or is it the way you imagine…
    That is another way of thinking of course that has legitimized position buying.Plus of course, the more,rather more acceptable political party ,ideologically led groups, which indeed are also over centuries old!!!!!!
    What the NEW World needs a reshuffling of these Institutions and their constitutions,which latter is there just as a SHOWCASE ,some really well prepared and drawn up, but who abides by them and if they do the other HEAVIER WEIGHT champs overrule the Laws therein contained in many subtle ways that only these can,plus their Lobbyists…
    So much for that. What I personally believe in is a New Concept of Electoral Law and Governance. Only person that within last decade or so attempted to bring that up and search for a more egalitarian and correct rule, was….Al Gore…He invited delegates of 140 countries to D.C. ,but as of then nothing was really solved to that direction.They went home and Al retired or semi retired from politics…

  10. Avery, first I want to thank you for thoughtful and clear( as usual) response to my questions. I appreciate the time you took to explain your views, take it as a sign of respect for your fellow Armenians and now have a much better understanding of your perspective.
    Perhaps the most telling comments was , ” I am a supporter of the institution…..”
    I think herein lies the differences. Supporting an institution such as the Presidency of RoA is certainly important and you are correct,; is necessary for Armenia to grow as a society. At times though, I feel that respect and support can neutralize the need for change. It brings on the fear that ” change” in Armenia and “instability” are interchangeable terms. They are not in my view. There is no question that President Sargsyan has done an admirable job in the foreign affairs and security of Armenia and NKR. Mistakes? Learning curve? Certainly, but the evolution of his thinking and handling of the Protocols is an example where I believe Armenia is viewed as the “good guy” and the Turks look exactly as they approached the issue…. insincere and duplicitous. I believe he has governed the foreign affairs as a patriot.
    I support stability as being in the best interests of Armenia. Given the neighborhood we live in, this makes change challenging. It must always be done with an eye on the fundamental security of the country so that Armenia can not be exploited. I understand this is a driving force behind your thinking and recognize that many who voted for Sargsyan believe the same. This why the Raffi campaign has great potential to serve as valid catalyst for improvements or can become very discouraging to vulnerable demographics such as the poor and the youth. The answer lies in working within the context of the constitution and working to impact the political and as a result the economic structure. New elections? Forget it. Sargsyan resigning? I don’t think so. But a popular display of political freedom can do a great deal to restore faith that they can make a difference. Or it can create cynicism. The difference is whether he has a plan that will make people feel like it mattered. Rallies and demonstration create the emotion required for commitment and serve as a means of communication. I am concerned that what I am hearing is not pragmatic and may lead to great disappointment.
    The best idea I have heard has been for refocusing on the municipal elections. Change the system by becoming the system. If their assertions are correct and people are stepping forward without fear and intimidation, then it should reflect in the electoral process.You are absolutely correct that Raffi and Heritage were the beneficiaries of the neutrality of PAP, ANC and the ARF. His credibility was initiated by the 37+ % garnered by the political vacuum and protest vote. If the opposition doesn’t unite effectively and simply fight for the “new” populist surge, then his capital is reduced. Furthermore, the events between now and April 9 and the May municipal elections must produce something that his supporters can build upon and Armenia can benefit from. Thus far, I do view the public displays as healthy for the citizens in Armenia. The absence of hope is the root cause.
    Free expression is good for Armenia as long it is done in the context of the constitution. It is my hope that the combination of Raffi energizing a group to work for change within the system and President Sargsyan getting the message and initiating infrastructural changes in the political and economic processes that Armenia and its citizens will be the sole beneficiary of.
    Always a pleasure Avery. We agree on much, disagree in a few areas, but I will always respect your love of Armenia and the intelligence you apply to your patriotism.

  11. Avery, you are living in a complete denial. You have huge problems with your perception and accepting the reality. We all appreciate to the veterans who fought for our precious land , but it doesn’t mean that we are going close our eyes in order not to see what is our president is doing or what is wrong with our country. Is this what you want? Favoritism is the worse thing to do when our country is in trouble.You know that but you are trying very hard to put things under the carpet. I hope one day you will understand that, but sooner is better. Good days.

    • {“Avery, you are living in a complete denial. You have huge problems with your perception and accepting the reality.”}

      Thanks for the WebMd psychoanalysis: saves me from going to a shrink.
      Always suspected there is something wrong with me.

      Now I know exactly what.

  12. Avery
    Thanks for your lengthy response and the time you took to write.
    I will not make it too long, but just address a couple of issues which I find of overriding importance.
    What is clear now is that Armenia needs change and she needs it right now. As I seen you don’t deny it either. There is no denying also that in the past elections close to 40 percent of the voters made this wish clear by casting their votes to a non-establishment candidate. That is by no standard an unimportant percentage, even if you assume that the majority of those votes were protest votes. But, there were other factors present in these elections which exclude the possibility of writing off Hovanissian for reasons that you mention.
    It should have been clear that the incumbent president whose party has all levers of power would at any rate get the majority of votes. In the official winner’s case that is about 60%. No big deal.
    Further, in view of the fact that Raffi’s percentage was far ahead of other presidential candidates who fared so awfully poorly, we may conveniently conclude that Raffi’s win was in fact a de facto victory.

    Ther is also no denial that after the elections, other opposition forces lent their support directly or indirectly to this de facto winner.

    All the above does not of course mean total approval of his performance after the elections.
    In my other comments elsewhere in these pages I expressed my doubts as to the wisdom of continuing with street rallies as tha main means to achieve political ends. Mr. Hovanissian, in fact no one, can guarantee totally free elections in Armenian any time soon, even if he comes to power today. My worry is that by relying only on street rally’s and continuing the call for Mr. Sarkissian’s resignation, people’s enthusiasm will fade away and he will lose his opportunity to achieve effective results from his rightfully earned position.

    That’s not to say that in his failure, Mr. Sarkissian will have an easy time. Even if Hovanissian fails to deliver, Mr. Sarkissian will have a very hard time in addressing the pressing issues that the country faces. He will have to confront the oligarchs -which he very probably will not – to qualm the widespread dissatisfaction. Oligarchs and the system they run are in fact the real problem in Armenia, not Serge or Raffi. Thus protests by large sections of the population should be expected to continue with unforseen developments in store. In order to avoid those unforseen developments it is important that we acccept the reality of the need for change and be prepared for it. The risk that it might be derailed and move to the wrong direction is always present in any changing circumstance. The remedy is not to to stop it as it also can make the situation worse. Only in that light we may find realistic ways to avoid big upheavals, which no responsible person can afford to allow again.

    • Arshag, I have seen your comments elsewhere re street rallies.

      You make many good points in this post as well.

      Regards.

  13. {““Regarding population flight: there is a problem for sure. I have the data.”
    Could you share it with us here?”}

    Voskanapat:

    I have not forgotten: will post here in a little while.

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