Archive for July, 2007

Protest in Yerevan over Construction in Park

July 27, 2007

A protest action was held by a group of NGO-s in the city center where a huge construction pit has emerged. Authorities so far have claimed not knowing who was responsible for this pit and were even forced to declare the construction works illegal. Around one or two hundred people collected for an action which involved symbolic dropping of earth into the pit in an attempt to “bury” it.

The issue of destruction of green zones has for several years been a pressing one, after
multiple cafes were and are continued to be built in parks, pushing back green areas and and filling them with concrete. This last incident was however outrageous by the scale of the construction and forced action by the civil society.

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The big picture of NKR elections

July 24, 2007

In his daily column Aram Abrahamyan, editor of the Aravot Newspaper, expressed opinion, that the elections in Nagorno Karabakh were important not only for the NKR but could also serve an example for the political field in Armenia. Mr. Abrahamyan finds it noteworthy, that after the vote, Masis Mayilyan congratulated Bako Sahakyan with victory, something that has apparently never happened in the history of Armenian elections.

Similar opinions were expressed by Sergey Markedonov, a member of the election monitoring team. Mr. Markedonov stressed that the elections were neither a succession of power from father to son, nor a “color” revolution.

In an interview Arkadi Ghukasyan, the NKR’s outgoing president commented on the fact, that well before the elections the majority of  political forces in the country had declared support for Bako Sahakyan.  Mr. Ghukasyan expressed opinion that this was probably an endemic phenomenon for the NKR and had come about mostly from the pressure of the unresolved conflict. In fact, the consolidation of political forces behind Mr. Sahakyan, apparently after his victory became more or less apparent, is probably the single most important factor, questioning the pluralism and free spirit of the elections.

Vardan Ghukasyan’s son in custody

July 24, 2007

Several news sources report that Gumri mayor Vardan Ghukasyan’s son – Spartak Ghukasyan, has handed himself to authorities late last week. Spartak Ghukasyan had gone into hiding after apparently initiating a high profile shootout in the city center back in May. The incident, which involved the son of a Bargavach Hayastan (Prosperous Armenia) party member and injured several civilian bystanders, rocked the city and made headline news in the country. In what is to be considered an exceptional case, the authorities were compelled to display force by commissioning special police units into the city.

Aravot cites unnamed sources suggesting that Vardan Ghukasyan had received an ultimatum on surrendering his son, from the president, otherwise risking loosing his post. The daily further suggests that pressure was also applied by the prime minister. The fact that Spartak Ghukasyan handed himself over to authorities appears to confirm this information.

Following NKR Elections

July 23, 2007

Reactions are coming in on the presidential vote conducted in Nagorno Karabakh last week. Obvious positive responses coming from Armenia, with the president, prime minister and parliament speaker congratulating Bako Sahakyan with victory.

Also in a predictable move international organizations and western states, particularly NATO, the EU and the US were quick to criticize the elections. Rudolf Perina, United States charge d’affairs in Armenia stated that the US, as any other country, does not recognize the NKR and subsequently the elections held there.

A Russian newspaper “Vremya Novostey” (News Time) expressed an opinion, that Mr. Sahakyan will be a good partner for Serge Sargsyan, apparently accentuating widely held expectations that Mr. Sargsyan will succeed Robert Kocharyan in 2008.

With regard to reactions coming from Nagorno Karabakh, Masis Mayilyan, Mr. Sahakyan’s main contender in the vote, congratulated the president elect and said, that Mr. Sahakyan has been rightfully elected, despite some falsifications in the voting process. It is highly unlikely that the results of the vote will be in any serious way challenged from inside the NKR. With official monitoring missions limited mostly to former CIS countries it is yet unclear if a more independent assessment of the elections will become available in the future.

Presidential Vote in NKR conducted

July 20, 2007

Presidential elections in Nagorno Karabakh were held yesterday. The NKR Central Electoral Commission reports that 76.25% of eligible voters took part in the elections. Of the five candidates running for presidency, two – former NSS minister Bako Sahakyan, and deputy minister of foreign affairs, Masis Mayilyan, were considered front runners. Preliminary results show, that as was predicted, Mr. Sahakyan took a comfortable majority, with 87.14% of the vote.

Media reports state of a 93 person international monitoring mission, which has so far reported favorably of the voting process. It is important to remember, however, that since the NKR is not internationally recognized, major international institutions such as the OSCE or the EU did not, in any major extent participate in monitoring the elections. It appears that mostly representatives of several CIS and former socialist countries as well as breakaway republics such as Northern Osetia and Transdniestria constituted to this mission.

So far there are no reports of the four other candidates’ responses to Bako Sahakyan’s apparent landslide victory. It is most likely that criticism of the vote from inside the NKR will be limited, with many parties and structures in the country having declared support for Mr. Sahakyan well before the polls.

A short break

July 1, 2007

This goes to inform, that Tesaket will not be updated for a couple of weeks. We will be back mid July with more news from Armenia.