Wednesday, September 30, 2009

40% reduction.

Just to show the impact the crisis is having on Armenia, the defense budget for the next fiscal year has been reduced by 40% to $300 million from $500 million this year.

It's a truly disturbing situation.

Just like children.

Raffi Hivhannisian has taken back his application for his own resignation from the parliament. Politicians are supposed to be flexible but this just looks childish. Unfortunately, he is not alone - a vast majority of the real and self-declared politicians in Armenia are similarly vulnerable to doing childish things.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

People still passionate about rapprochement with Turkey.

I have been thinking for some time about the pending rapprochement agreement between Armenia and Turkey. I like the idea of normalized relations and open borders from a practical standpoint - it will facilitate access to the Mediterranean and Europe in general. Now that things have calmed down in the Balkans, Paris would be 5-6 day's drive away from Yerevan. So, this is the benefit that Armenia would obtain.

The tricky part is the historical commission about Metz Yeghern. There are fears that this will be a tool to deny that the genocide ever took place. I think this is valid concern. I liken it to a civil court case where one side has suffered and is demanding damages but has no resources to hire good lawyers. The wrongdoer has much more resources and can hire star lawyers. Even though the plaintiff is right, there is still no guarantee they will win. Armenia not only lacks the resources that Turkey has, she also comes to the table with discredited and illegitimate leadership.
SS is like an audience member in a circus standing on long pole with lions roaming underneath. He and his team are mental midgets and do not have much support among the citizens of Armenia or in the Diaspora.

Another complication is that the efforts to have the US recognize Metz Yeghern will be put on the back burner. It was an inconvenient matter and now there is an excuse that the historical commission is taking care of it.

But then there is the chance that the commission will reveal facts that Metz Yeghern indeed took place. There is a precedent for this. A few years ago the non-governmental TARC (Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Committee) ruled that the genocide had taken place. At the time of TARC's existence, there was a lot of resistance in Armenia and Turkey but after that it became possible for the Turks to actually discuss the matter in their press and made it possible for their elite to question the policy of the Turkish government.

The last concern among the Armenians is that the Turks will invade Armenia, all the Armenian women will move to Turkey and become prostitutes, the Armenians will be forced to buy Turkish products and such fears. Frankly, I think these are ridiculous.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

New neighbors.

A neighbor is moving in since this morning. There is a lot of commotion and noise - luggages and furniture being dragged, infrequent screams and such.

Yes, it looks like either a squirrel or a raccoon is moving into our attic.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ments back to their beloved methods.

When the ARF started their protests in the Republic Square, there was minimal police presence. For a moment, I thought maybe the regime wants to encourage the anti-reconciliation message.

Yesterday, Miatsum movement that is affiliated with HAK, started a protest on Baghramian Street in front of the building that SS sits. Lo and behold, the cops were there to abuse them. Bazaz The Notorious Ment even attacked an elderly lady - the mother of the first soldier to die in the Karabagh War.

It is obvious that the banditocracy wants a protest by their partner Dashnakcutyun but still do not tolerate dissent by anyone else.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The runt of the litter.

Armenia has officially become the runt of the litter in the South Caucasus. Now even Georgia is kicking Armenia around. Last week the Georgian border guards moved into Armenia and seized 65 hectares of territory. Armenia has not responded yet. A normal country would have not allowed this in the first place and even if it happened, would have swiftly taken the territory back and captured the soldiers who did that (possibly without bloodshed). The clean up would then be for the Georgians to apologize for the mistaken action based on faulty maps.

But if Armenia does not respond, they admit that what Georgia did was legitimate and will open the door for further problems in the future.

But what else would you expect from the incompetent and illegitimate government of SS?

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Saddest September 21.

For some reason, this is the saddest September 21 so far.

For whatever it's worth, happy birthday to Armenia.

Update: The funny thing is that even the most jingoistic blogs and such did not call yesterday an "Independence Day" but a birthday. Observer was one of the handful that still calls it an independence day. Garbis wondered about the depressing day, too.

The most cheerful was perhaps the canned message from the President:


Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release September 21, 2009

Statement by the President on the Occasion of Armenian National Day

The people of the United States join the people of Armenia in celebrating Armenia’s day of independence today. We deeply value the many cultural and historic ties that bind our two countries. The United States gains strength as a nation from the contributions of so many Americans of Armenian ancestry. We congratulate the people of Armenia on their national day.

Friday, September 18, 2009


There is a fledgling social movement in the US called Freecycle. The point is to reuse items not needed by individuals instead of dumping the old but usable items and purchasing new stuff. It fits nicely with the traditional American way. After all, Americans are the people who came up with the saying "One man's garbage is another man's treasure". Somewhere after the 50-s this spirit of frugality was lost in the name of progress and economic growth.

So I was browsing through, the main website that compiles the offers and wanteds of the movement, and, among offers of kitchen sinks, blankets, sofas and such, came across an offer of "2 female cats".

It cracked me up. It's probably an insider humor for me - I try to freecycle my cats to my friends. I have had colleagues try to freecycle their cats to me on a number of occasions, too.

Monday, September 14, 2009

ARF hunger strike

In their usual 'a day late and a dollar short' fashion, ARF is going to have 24 people on hunger strike and 50 people on a sit-in. They are going to demand the resignation of FM Nalbandian for unsuccessful foreign policy. This will probably use up all the available ARF members and sympathizers in the country except for the elite.

Someone suggested that the reason they make an absurd demand for the resignation of the FM instead of his boss is that SS is related to ARF chief Vahan Hovanisian.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Dune buggy.

Yes, it can be as cool as in this video.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

A quick primer into 3-rd world dictatorships.

The Reason magazine has an article that looks at the Third World dictatorships. It's an easy read and shows that Serj Sargsian or the ruling regime in Armenia are not really unique.

[...] The most common misunderstanding centers on the fact that all governments, even dictatorships, need some form of legitimacy to justify their rule to their own people. Otherwise they must revert to brute force, which is both expensive and corrupting to the police and army, who then abuse their respective powers and cause growing public resentment and anger. But while force and fear are temporarily effective, they are not enough for the longer term. A foreign threat thus helps dictators, as it is used to justify their despotic rule. Economic blockades can actually reinforce dictators' power and indeed even make their cohorts richer as they profit from the consequent smuggling and black markets. In the eyes and minds of the conquered, American soldiers certainly do not have "legitimacy," as we have repeatedly learned. [...]

The biggest issue.

The biggest issue is, how do you fight for change effectively without tearing the country apart and endangering it? Especially, when the opponent is a group of thugs who don't care about tearing the country apart.

That is HAK's biggest dilemma.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Robert Kocharian

The previous president of Armenia was famous for his love to cut red ribbons and open buildings and different things regardless of whether they were complete or not. I always felt jealous of his scissors.

Now mere mortals like me can have scissors as fancy as his.

This is what you get when there is no respect for humans in the society.

I have posted about the degradation of the Armenian society quite a few times. My main concern is the absence of respect for fellow human beings. It is perpetrated by people from the whole continuum of the society with the worst layer being the mafioso style political and economic "elite" of the country.

Yesterday a conscript soldier, Aram Mkrtchian, died in a hospital ICU in Yerevan. He had been subjected to a severe physical assault by his commanding officer, Captain Andok Galstian. The captain has now confessed his crime. If he has government connections, he will probably get away with probation now.

Unfortunately, such behavior towards the conscripts is not uncommon.

A friend of mine was executed by his commanding officer in the early 90-s when the army was still forming and I had hoped that 17 years later the bad apples would be weeded out. There has been some progress as the murders and abuse have declined over the years. I think, though, that not enough is being done. After all, how can you expect a soldier to stand and fight if he is abused? We see soldiers cross the border to Azerbaijan because of this seeking better treatment in the hands of the enemy as a POW. The Azeris have a similar issue in their army and we see their soldiers cross into Armenia, too.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009