Before reacting to any other words on this page,
please hear these:
Criticism of the current President of Armenia
should not be read as a de-facto endorsement of
Robert Kocharyan has a track record. In my opinion,
primarily in the areas of human rights and rule
of law, it is a record deserving harsh criticism.
And, yes, I know about his success in improving
the economy by 12 percent. But 12 percent of nothing
is still nothing for many people whose lives have
been made worse while a few, primarily Kocharyan
cronies, have been made better over the past five
Still, he at least has a record, something to
be judged by.
Stepan Demirchyan has a name. In my opinion,
it is a name that no longer has relevance unless
the son intends to resurrect the Soviet Union
under which his powerful father flourished and,
at least in nostalgia's revised history, gained
If a government administration could be built
on spite, I've no doubt Demirchyan could establish
a strong one. As I write this, his supporters
have again gathered to shout their claim on the
Presidency. But voters in Armenia at least deserve
to know what he'd do with the Presidency if Demirchyan
in fact gained it.
It's hard to imagination, for example, Demirchyan
representing Armenia in a meeting of foreign diplomats
and expecting to advance the national cause using
"I am my father's son" as international
It is hard, in fact, to place him in the role
of diplomat at all, considering his apparent unease
and halting manner of public speaking - so obvious
even someone who doesn't speak Armenian can notice.
"None of the Above", then, becomes
a legitimate contender, and here voters are actually
offered that choice on their ballots.
Having clarified that . . .
I don't need to remind you that I am an outsider
here, so forgive me if I'm too dense to understand
the Armenian Justice System. If the President
or the Prime Minister or the Minister of Justice
or the Catholicos himself cares to explain, I
stand eager to be enlightened.
A lot of arrests have been made here in the past
several days, and I'm reminded of the situation
about this time last year when a criminal case
was being tried.
A court found Aghamal "Kuku" Harutyunyan,
one of President Kocharyan's bodyguards, guilty
of negligent manslaughter after Poghos Poghosyan
was beaten to death at Poplovak café.
Kuku (and the nickname implies what you think
it does) was sentenced to exactly zero days in
prison. Did not do a single day of time, not a
minute in fact. And, his year of suspended sentence
having passed, I'm told that he is now in charge
of a department in one of Yerevan's police stations.
A citizen was killed, a court ruled, and the
killer was merely told to go to his room and behave
himself until Daddy says it's okay to come out.
By contrast: Over the past several days at least
155 citizens have been arrested and 86 of them
put in jail for up to 15 days because they behaved
And if you are thinking that these people were
arrested on the spot, perhaps for throwing bottles
or invading government property or making threats,
know that the arrests were commonly made days
later at the "hooligans" homes. And,
by the way, turns out that many of the ones tracked
down by hard-working crime specialists hold staff
positions in the campaign of the President's runoff
Let me belabor the point to add this:
On a September night at Poplovak, a member of
the President's security staff killed a man in
a bathroom of a café that holds about 200,
with one entry, bordered on one side by water,
and covered from above by another café.
And, police could not find anybody who saw anything.
Yet out of crowds, estimated at up to about 40,000,
spread over a half-mile or so in the wide open,
Armenia's crack squad of police is able to pinpoint
individual violations and duly protect the citizenry
from the pressing threat of political word-slinging.
The sentence for manslaughter: No days. For name-calling:
15. Seems fair doesn't it?