The Time of Reckoning
: Thoughts on the Yerevan Municipal Elections

Maria Titizian

BY MARIA TITIZIAN

It’s time to take away the levers of their perceived power. It is time to eradicate the uneducated, morally bankrupt, economically powerful, groveling, sniveling mob of young men and boys and silly, vacuous girls who think they will determine the destiny of my country.

I’m done with being politically and socially correct. I’m done with the dim-witted and brainless little boys dressed in black who hang out on street corners with their thick necks and shaved and empty heads bullying and terrorizing everybody from residents to the police force. I’m done with thinking that democracy is a process which we must go through to get to where we want to end up because nobody knows the end game.

I’m done with your cheap fireworks and even cheaper dress code. I’m done with your chalaghaj and your khorovadz and your stomach-churning oghi. I’m done with your bravado and threatening words against those who you perceive to be weaker than you. I’m also done with those who have left and those who now, more than ever want to leave.

Yesterday I had to bear witness, yet again to a process that brought shame on me as a human being, as a mother and as an Armenian woman. I always keep naively hoping that with each election cycle we are moving closer to democracy and yet with each election we seem to be slipping further and further into the “mud.”
I was a proxy at two different electoral precincts, 4/28 and 4/30 both in the Arabkir district of Yerevan where I live for the Yerevan city elections. Before taking on that duty, I went to cast my vote. When I arrived at my polling station there was a long line-up of people waiting to vote. That might have been a normal occurrence however it was the group of young men hanging outside the building that annoyed me. I had woken up in a fighting mood anyway and seeing them standing there with their cigarettes dangling out of the corner of their mouths, their iPhones in hand, slumping over each other, acting like silly little brats and watching people as they entered and left certainly set the mood for the rest of my day.

At the first polling station (4/28) where I was a proxy there were long line-ups of voters pushing and shoving their way in. At times it was chaotic and for the three hours I was there until my next posting it was a constant flow of people being led by Republican party apparatchiks who were there acting as a commission member, proxy and observer not to mention the Republican thugs who were congregated outside in groups. The air inside was stifling as the number of voters kept swelling. I went outside to see what was going on and was confronted with an incredible amount of cars and vans. There were several police officers on hand purportedly to ensure that everything was going smoothly. I approached one of the police officers and asked him if there was another polling station in the vicinity because it didn’t make sense to have all this traffic for one station. As I was asking, another more senior police officer went on the defensive and demanded to know why I was even asking the question. I told him the number of vehicles didn’t make sense when the polling station was in the middle of a cluster of buildings where all voters needed to do was walk and he said, “Do you not think we are doing our job? We know what our job is.” I said you clearly know your job because you are not doing anything to prevent this circus from taking place and stormed back into the polling station.

Two specific incidents at 4/28 are worth mentioning. The first was a young man, not more than twenty, who tried to vote with a passport which stated he was born in 1959. One of the commission members was astute enough to notice and quickly called the rest of us over at which time the alleged 54 year old attempted to exit the polling station. His passport details were recorded and a complaint was filed.

Another incident was with another young man who apparently had three grandmothers (he kept escorting one elderly woman after another claiming they were his “dadiks.”) He too was escorted out of the station and another complaint against him was filed. These are only two cases of a continual attempt all day long at all polling stations to use any lever possible to swell Republican Party votes.
When I arrived at precinct 4/30 it was comparatively calm. However, ten minutes before the polls closed all mayhem broke loose as a group of about 25-30 men stormed the polling station and began to create a ruckus over an elderly woman who was demanding to be photographed and who was obviously sent in a few minutes earlier as a decoy so that they could stuff the ballot box. Some of us proxies and observers tried to protect the box while filming the idiocy unfolding before us. The chair of the commission lost all control of the situation until another man (with a very thick neck) stormed in demanding to know what was going on.

Who that man was remains a mystery. In the middle of the commotion was the Republican and Prosperous Armenia party proxies – it wasn’t clear to me whether they were further instigating the mob or trying to contain it. Once calm was restored and the doors locked with us inside, it took the chair and secretary of the commission a whole hour to go through the process of preparing everything for the ballot box to be opened. Once opened and the counting begun, several destroyed ballots were brought out which created yet another storm of controversy among the Republican Party proxy and the Prosperous Armenia observer to determine what constituted a destroyed ballot. A fist fight almost broke out with chairs being whipped across the room. And then calm was suddenly restored again.

At this point, my nerves and patience were very quickly disintegrating and I thought I was going to have a stroke. The RPA proxy had managed to be drinking throughout the day and approached me stinking of alcohol wanting to see the video footage I had taken of his dismal behavior earlier when he was about to break another man’s jaw over a destroyed ballot. When I refused he kept finding an excuse to approach me as the ballots were being counted, asking my name, where I was from until I told him to be careful because he didn’t know who he was dealing with and there would be irreversible consequences for him if he continued trying to engage me. He walked away with his tail between his legs and left me alone. For all my own bravado, I was literally shaking.

Once the ballots were finally counted with the RPA getting about 60 percent of the vote in my precinct, I asked the commission chair to unlock the door so that I could get out. I was done. I walked out into the clear night trying to breathe in some air only to be confronted by gangs of Republican Party bullies who had been hanging around the polling station waiting for their victory to be heralded. My husband quickly pulled up, picked me up and drove me home. On the drive I couldn’t talk, I was heartbroken, disgusted, disillusioned and felt dirty. And then the fireworks began all over the city…they couldn’t wait to celebrate their deepening grip on power.

After 12 years of believing, hoping, praying that we would be able to embark on the road toward democracy, I have come to the conclusion that while trying to stay the course, you sometimes need to fight like a bulldog, unyielding and be prepared to struggle till the end of your last breath.

Of one thing I am sure, those small-minded, power-hungry thugs with their minions who conduct themselves with disgrace will answer to all of us when we refuse to do their bidding, there just needs to be more of us to shift the balance of power away from the darkness and toward the light. I believe that this regime will collapse only when the rest of us can come to our senses by taking away their power.

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46 Comments

  1. Monte said:

    RPA is the worse thing that has happened to Armenia and Armenians since the Genocide. Need a different approach enough with this civilized and patient ways we are dealing with wolfs and they don’t behave or conduct themselves like humans so we need to talk and act in their language for them to understand.

    • AnaG. said:

      i just want to say this: all those years of independent Armenia (more than 20 years) whatever party was ruling and who ever was elected president, we never heard that the election was fair and that president was good?!!!? I mean US is going down too, but when president is elect the opposing parties fight with thier representative, meanwhile people go to work, not hasadyl or demonstrations over and over and over. Is there a system? President elected, you and your party are aginst it, you do not let “new rules” to apply just like here everything that Obama wants to pass is not passing, but the contry still goes forward to some way, but Armenian “political” system is the same: only fighting with each other. It is indeed sad to watch.Oh, and in addition Diaspora sitting and living here looking down at everything that is going on there, like we are so perfect, right? Well, i guess i said more than one thing.

  2. Janine said:

    Dear Maria, I have never been to Armenia. My grandparents were survivors of the Genocide from Kharpert. But let me tell you that I admire that you have written this, and your faith and your “guts.” You make me proud. Let me tell you also that I sympathize with you especially as a woman. But you make me proud and I wish I could help.

    • Haytoug Chamlian said:

      just continue not to go there, Janine

      I’m sure that will be vey helpful

      (and I understand why you have yet visited “this” Armenia, not even once;
      you’re waiting for the liberation of Kharpert, your true Homeland, of course)

      • Hovsep said:

        Haytoug, your care for Armenia and Armenians is clear to me, and I commend you for that. However, gratuitous sarcasm is sometimes unnecessary. I hope Janine goes to Armenia one day and rediscovers a homeland that is still beautiful, despite the thugs that run it…

        • Haytoug Chamlian said:

          you are right, Hovsep
          (even though, it seems to me that sarcasm is preferable to anger)

          I apologize, Janine

          please, visit Armenia, and then make up your mind about it; don’t be unduly influenced by what others are saying;

          there are some problems there, it’s undeniable; but all in all, it is a great and beautiful country, with a fantastic future, and the majority of the people – our compatriots – who live there are very, very nice, decent and civilized;

          all of its leaders are not total bandits, either

          things are not black and white

          parevnerov,

          Haytoug

      • Janine said:

        Well, I have not stayed away on purpose. I simply haven’t got the opportunity to go in my life. Haytoug a personal attack is really telling me about you, not me.

  3. Raffi Khatchadourian said:

    Maria reading your article was very enlightening yet surprising, I am wondering who has learned from whom? The Diaspora from Armenia? or Armenia from the Diaspora? I am referring to your analyses expressed in the last paragraph of your article…..

    Everything starts @ home Dear Maria, So let’s clean up our own home here, before trying to cleaning someone else’s……

    • Haytoug Chamlian said:

      how dare you say that there could be anything wrong about the Diaspora, Raffi !!?

      (notably : every community of the Diaspora is an ultimate model of absolute Democracy)

  4. Haytoug Chamlian said:

    I’m truly sorry to hear about this horrible day you had, Maria.

    I do have a question though.

    It is a partially real question, not a totally rhetorical one, because I don’t have enough direct information pertaining to its answer, even though it is not hard to deduct it, through an elementary – but continuous – observation of what has been going on, over there.

    During those past 12 years you are referring to, and going back a couple of years more please, was the electoral process in Armenia, fundamentally, different from the one you witnessed, experienced and had to suffer today ?

    If you are going to answer, I just hope that it will be in the same spirit as the one which inspired you this article.

    I would understand of course if you invoke the cumulative effect of all that, over that whole period of time, which made you feel the way you did today. It is what you are saying already, in fact. You are fed up, and can’t take it anymore (at least, for the moment; I’m sure that you will feel much better after a good night’s sleep).

    I’m just saying that, unless we acknowledge and face also the tragic reality of “our” essential and significant share of the responsibility in all this mess, indeed, nothing will change; anywhere.

    ungeragan angeghds parevnerov,

    Haytoug

    P.S. What is it that you have against oghi ! I think you really went too far, on that one.

    • Anton A said:

      I read the same line as you did and I don’t think I perceived Maria having anything against oghi as spirit in a bottle. In fact, Maria, is talking about a different kind of spirit, about the ill-spirited people who are hopeless in drunken stupor to reality BEFORE even taking a swig out of the bottle. Their obsession with destructive superficiality in the face of some serious nation-building issues is disheartening to us all. So she enumerated a few banalities. What’s the big deal, the point has already been missed by many anyway! Honestly, do they not dress up that way? as if they are going to a funeral or just came from one? Do they not pollute their lungs and the air that way? Do they not put more emphasis on nourishing their buttocks than their brains? Don’t get me wrong, all of the above would have been fine by me, EXCEPT when they intimidate and stand in the way of progress and democracy.

  5. Dr. Babajanian said:

    Dear Mrs Titizian
    I always enjoyed your valuable articles. Also I admire your patriotism and unfulfiled wishes for equality, justice and democracy in our homeland , But meanwhile I am surprise of your simple-hearted behavior, your high expectation and over reaction, which affected your nerves

    Dear Compatriot 70 years they destroyed and changed our nations calture and morality. Now we need dozens of years to correct that. Corruption had been and will be the way of the life in Armenia and stay for a long time. Even some of your beloved party leaders are among corrupted Oligarkhs with their big assets and Dgiaks (Դղեակս ) while people are struggling
    Dear compatriot. Please be patient and lower your expectation.since you are still young, but I don’t expect at least in my life time “equality, justice and democracy” will come to Armenia
    Dr. Babajanian
    USA

  6. Sona Avedian said:

    I agree with everything you have written. I share your frustration

  7. Garen said:

    Maria, many of us here in the diaspora feel the same – watching our homeland being usurped by a bunch of thugs, yet seeing our resolve hardening and our determination firming up day by day. For darkness to turn into light, this fight needs to become panarmenian in scale and more vocal in nature. As difficult as the journey may seem, I know we will prevail because we just won’t ever give up.

    Garen

      • Garen said:

        No, because a lot of things need to become nicer, more pure, virtuous and better in our homeland, Haytoug.

        • Haytoug Chamlian said:

          Siréli Garen, the comment you initially expressed was based on the idea that everything is so much better in the Diaspora, that we are entitled to give lessons to Armenia.

          The fact is that our situation is the Diaspora is worse, much worse than in Armenia. In all regards.

          In any event, is anyone denouncing what is wrong in the Diaspora, in the same way, to the same extent, as a lot of us are systematically lashing out against Armenia ? I am not talking about Maria; she has paid her dues, she is entitled to let off some steam from time to time; but alas, a majority of her readers have probably never visited Armenian, and since they – rightfully – consider her as a credible person, the “image” or impression of Armenia which they will receive by reading articles like this one will just exacerbate the ideological and psychological distance between them and what is/was supposed to be their Motherland – the only real part of if, for now and for some time… – . — Haytoug

  8. An Armenian said:

    In any civilized country with truly democratic norms and values when the elected officials are unable or unwilling to deliver the services, betterments, opportunities and other things that the society demands and expects, the people of that society vote for a change in the leadership. This is done in the hopes that the new leadership will meet the demands of the people. However, in Armenia the opposite occurs and the people continue to vote for the same president and mayor and other so called “elected” officials who deliver more of the same conditions. These “elected” officials do nothing but create miserable living conditions for the people. Those who can afford to leave the country and those who can’t are forced to vote for the same officials and continue living in the same miserable conditions. This past weekend, my father was very excited as to who is going to be elected the new mayor of Yerevan to bring about the much needed changes for the people of Yerevan and Armenia. I told my father that he should not expect any changes and that Daron Markarian will be “reelected” the next mayor of Yerevan. He did not seem to agree with me. I told him how he can expect any change in the leadership of Yerevan when Serzh Sarkisian was fraudulently “reelected” as president of Armenia and congratulated on being reelected by the US, Russia, China, the European Union and other countries. Therefore, Ms. Titizian don’t let it get to you and live your life the best you can. After all, if these “elected” officials and the thugs who were harassing you and others in and around the voting stations had any intelligence, they would realize that their actions would have an effect on them as well in the long run. All their actions are eventually going to have a boomerang effect. This is so unfortunate for the people of Armenia.

  9. Mikael Åhlin said:

    Thank you Maria for writing this brilliant article. I had the honor to represent Asbarez in one precinct, I will do it again until this country will walk straight! /From a Swedish immigrant to Armenia.

  10. Dr. Babajanian said:

    I have always enjoyed your valuable articles. Also, I admire your patriotism and unfulfiled wishes for equality, justice and democracy in our homeland. However, I am surprised at your overly optimistic stance, your high expectations, and your overreaction, which has apparently affected your nerves.
    Dear Compatriot, for 70 years, they destroyed and changed our nation’s culture and morality. Now we need dozens of years to correct that. Corruption has been and will be the way of the life in Armenia for a long time. Even some of your beloved party leaders are among the corrupt Oligarchs, with their big assets and Dghiaks (Դղեակ ) while people are struggling. Your party can initiate “equality, justice, and democracy” by printing this very note. Dear compatriot, please be patient and lower your expectations. You are still young and your dreams may be fulfilled. But, at least in my lifetime, I don’t expect “equality, justice and democracy” to come to Armenia.
    Dr. Babajanian
    USA

  11. Miss Seda Vartanian said:

    I admire you. We need more Armenians to stand up for what is right, in order for us to see changes. I think bulling attitude comes from the soviet era when we had to be bullies in order to survive the soviet social life, and suppression. The restoration of law and order, and democracy will take some times yet, but thanks to courage’s people like you it will become reality. Remember stand firm and do not give up, because you are the pinier of democracy.

  12. Anton A said:

    Thank you Maria for the report. After reading it, my heart sank with grief as if someone died, and in fact we all died a little more that day. These gutless, neck-less, thick headed bullies are on the prowl because they are ALLOWED by the “police”. This is another sign of metastasized cancer eating away at the social psyche and body of this sick Armenian nation. These animals and their mobster bosses (though it is not fair for the animal to be compared with these two-legged anomalies, I apologize to the four-legged ones) are committing “genocide” by emptying Armenia of its people (the real resources). The Turks “did” 1.5 million and the Armenian Mafia government is handling the rest. About 1 million have left already. Unlike Israel, our homeland is not growing, but shrinking. Moreover, many diaspora-Armenians who attempt to settle in Armenia are readily milked and systematically robbed blind by the gangster tentacles planted in every layer of government. Whether it’s the police, mayors, judges, MP’s, and president. No wonder they all want to be in “government.” Keep your chin up, Maria, and thank you for being our ears and eyes from afar.

  13. Puzant K. said:

    Well done Maria, you have lived up to your name. I wish there were many more thousands like you.
    God bless you Maria.

  14. vagharshak said:

    Thank you Maria, for this story and for your courage in directly confronting those attempting to steal the election. In honor of our long history and struggle for existence, please don’t give up. Armenia needs people like you more than ever.

  15. Mihran said:

    All elections in Armenia be it national or provisional have been rigged by the corrupt and criminal regime,sadly it wont change until and unless the people rise up and put all these criminals where they truly belong namely in jail, only than we can breath some fresh air and start a new era of justice and economical growth,only than our people wont leave Armenia,anything less will not do as we will be kidding ourselves.

    A powerful article.

  16. Aram said:

    Ms. Titizian your article is truthful (I witnessed the voting) and I share your anger in view of reality on the ground in Hayastan. Some of your readers have the luxury of being philosophical (especially from a distance) but life for the average Hayastantsi is depressing and hopeless. We need to change the mindset
    of our compatriots in Hayastan with all the help we can muster locally and from the diaspora.

  17. Vachagan said:

    We need to have more folks like Maria living, working and fighting with their boots on the ground in Armenia. More Diaspora involvement – with their education, mindset, and experience – only the critical mass can change this on-going nightmare.

    To be clear – what’s going on in modern Armenia is nothing peculiar, nothing strange – pretty much every post-Soviet nation led by folks who grew up in Soviet environment, who still have Soviet mentality is going through the same process, experiencing the same type of disease (affected by some national character). BUT… only Armenia has a powerful Diaspora of population 2-3 times of its own of people, many of whom KNOW how a proper democracy should function. And only Armenia is in a great existential danger – which leave the THUGS less space for maneuvering (imaging if Armenia had all the oil azeris have – they’d pretty much shut the Diaspora out for good!). So it’s an opportunity and historic chance for Diaspora’s greater involvement in Motherland’s development. The Armenian nation has no future without prosperous Armenia, you cannot hide in California or Marselle – if you do care about the future. We need to FIGHT!

    Last thing: there is plenty of young Armenians who are fed up and who would fight for the change – bu they badly they need Diaspora’s support, guidance and example.

  18. German_in_Yerevan said:

    As a (non Armenian) German resident in Yerevan I enjoyed the relative pre election commotion around the center of Yerevan. It intensified in the last three days run up to the election and people seemed pretty relaxed and almost in a carnival mode.

    I even went as far as giving a forgiving smile and managed a “shnora kalutsyon” to the kids that came knocking on my door handing me colorful pamphlets of the various parties. Though the pamphlets went straight to the bin (I am not interested in Armenian politics as Armenia has little geo strategic importance and negligible economic clout in the region), I felt people took a keen interest in these elections and that is surely a good thing.

    Dear Maria; I sense your frustration at the loss of the party you work for, but as a foreigner who has ‘no dog in this dog fight’ I fail to sympathize with you because what you describe does not sound to me like electoral fraud. A heavy police presence outside a polling booth does not and can not change a voter’s vote if the voter is left alone and can seal his vote as was the case in these elections.

    Also the “guy escorting his the three datik jan’s” is nothing out of the ordinary. This is a practice common in Germany too (suprise surprise) and yes many of these “datiks” have no idea what they are doing there but who are you to decide who does and who doesn’t?

    In conclusion I share some of your frustration at the arrogant and often dishonest behavior of the (mostly men) nouveu riche of Yerevan, but I have come to accept that this is a result of cultural and historical circumstances. Yes, there are disgusting manifestations of ignorance and rampant materialism in Yerevan. But this is the case in many CIS countries. I dare challenge you to try and convince me that the culture of ‘show off’ and dishonest dealings is exclusively the domain of ruling party supporters and that others happen to be angels in waiting.

    • Harutik said:

      Danke kamerad.

      Leave it for a German to teach Armenians some political maturity.

      Maria Titizian,

      Please do us all a favor and leave Armenia, it does not deserve your magnificent presence.

      • Ara said:

        Harutik, Armenia belongs to all Armenians. It doesn’t just belong to you and you don’t have the right to kick out people. Patriot Maria Titizian has as much right as you do to be in Armenia. She is trying very hard to improve our homeland. If every Armenian does whatever she is doing, then we would have a much better country.

      • Kohar said:

        Harutik,

        How dare you ask Mrs. Titizian to leave Armenia when she is one of the few who is actually helping? Wherever you are, Harutik, stay there and get rid of your internet connection.

    • Antoine S. Terjanian said:

      Very well said Mr. German:
      While I may not like the election results, nor the look of some of those men with thick necks, and understand that people (men or women) may feel intimidated by their presence, what is described here “does not sound to me like electoral fraud” either, and I was there (still am).
      These “goons” that drink oghi that we may dislike, are still Armenian, and do have the right to live there and be active politically. Let’s face it, we lost the election because the others were better organized than us and got their sympathizers out to vote. Let us stop crying foul every time we loose an election.
      Whoever has seen some of these “investigative journalist” videos posted on the net can realize the type of aggressive behaviour displayed by these journalists “monitoring” the elections. I do not call that “monitoring”, I call that “disturbing the peacefulness and serenity of the elections”, as to the tone used, camera in hand, I call that “harrasment”. In Canada, you would be taken to court for that. There are polite and un-disruptive ways to achieve the same results. Believe me, they succeed: Check my own video asking the Chairman to have President Sargsyan’s portrait removed http://youtu.be/LVCx633b8GQ ; and he did. Check also the peacefulness and serenity of the voting process in the voting precinct where I was assigned (http://youtu.be/-Pf6_QLhnS0 ) in contrast to the descriptions in this article by Mrs. Titizian whom I respect and whose patriotism I do not doubt. Please note in my video, how scared or intimidated these voters were not, though I have no doubt, many of them had received 5 or 10,000 dr to encourage them to vote for this or that party. Ultimately, whether they received money or not, no one can tell for sure who they individually voted for in the end.
      Finally, here is an article in the AW by a diasporan observer that coincides exactly with my own observations on the ground: http://www.armenianweekly.com/2013/05/06/impressions-of-an-armenian-election-observer/

    • Haytoug Chamlian said:

      We should acknowledge that, in the Western world, some unlawful tactics, illegal methods and immoral behavior deployed during elections are a bit more… subtle, more sophisticated, than what we are reading in this article.

      But how come that, in our famous Communities of the Middle-East, we were never troubled by the way “elections” were taking place there… ? In terms of rudeness, it was certainly much worse than what Maria is reporting here. Yet, we found it normal, and we even took part in it, for various reasons – not all of which were “in the highest interests of the nation”… – . We still do so over there, actually.

      (Because those countries were not our homeland ? Oh please, let’s be serious. Even until today, a large proportion of Armenians in those countries consider the latter much closer to their heart, spirit and soul, than Armenia.)

      Haytoug

      • Gurgen said:

        @ Haytoug,

        We should also acknowledge that the Western world has had hundreds of years to develop their so-called “democracy” and “civil society” of course at the cost of slavery, genocide and global wars for plunder.

  19. Anton A said:

    It was quite obvious that the angle of your arrow was aimed to overshoot its mark from the get-go. The bull’s-eye my friend is, IS: Fraud, ballot stuffing, intimidation, and corruption. If you did not see this while enjoying the election commotion in Yerevan, good for you, congratulations! all it means that the apparatchiks, perhaps, are getting better at it each time, after all, they have been doing this for quite sometime now. And thanks for enjoying that carnival atmosphere they provided. Second: you say, you are not interested in Armenian politics (but yet you speak volumes) for we have no Geo-strategic importance and no economic clout: Bingo! Well said! that my friend is exactly why every concerned Armenian should be INTERESTED and try to spot it FIRST and then stop it NEXT. Third: To any responsible Armenian, It has never ever been about the dog irregardless of the party, it has always been about the dog-fight. Fourth: Surprise, surprise, this surprised me as well, you mentioned that Germany, too, conducts elections with clueless datik jan’s, therefore a normal practice according to you, so no reason for concern just yet. Five: you say, this is the case with many CIS countries: So how dare us well-intentioned Armenians dream to be better than our fraudulent counterparts? This point is actually a little insulting to our intelligence, don’t you think? Lastly: Oh, those darn immature nouveau riche of Yerevan, they are the result of cultural and historical circumstances. As if you had first hand knowledge as how these New-money-characters amassed their wealth while others more intelligent then them stifle in abject conditions. Most importantly, and I am 100% candid about this: Thank you for offering your unique perspective and convoluted ratiocination on these matters and I do appreciate your two cents on Armenian realpolitik.

  20. George said:

    Lol, why would any sane person vote for the ARF? Did you forget what happened in 1921? I also love how Raffi barely got any votes. Good luck trying to “democratize” Armenia whatever that means. And is it really so bad that RPA is very well organized and can get their voters to the polls? If you cant beat them, be them. Theres nothing wrong with “party apparatchiks” getting their own voters to the polls. Props to the RPA for developing Armenia thus far. Dont forget that a landlocked country cant recover from an economic crisis very fast no matter whos in charge.

  21. Sheila Y. Terjanian said:

    Bravo Maria Titizian! You were fed up and you went and did something to try to change it! If more people stopped talking and took positive action to improve things as you did, well, who knows what might happen!

  22. Haytoug Chamlian said:

    Elections in Armenia were the same – actually, they were probably worse – during those eleven (11) years when the ARF had chosen to be part of the regime.

    During all that time, not only we did not denounce those same electoral methods and tactics, but we directly profited, benefitted from them.

    Even after the March 2008 events, we chose to remain silent, or restrained enough in our criticism so that we could keep those 3 ministerial portfolios, plus all the other less visible advantages, rewards and perks of being a partner of the government.

    In light of these basic facts, what is the actual, substantive value of this type of articles ? Its only real effect is to contribute to the emergence of that absurd notion of a Diaspora which would be an “end by itself”. A notion which amounts to collective national suicide.

    Ironically – or rather, sadly – on the personal level, Maria Titizian represents the opposite and contrary of said notion.

    Haytoug

  23. Maria said:

    Dear compatriots and German in Yerevan,
    Thank you for all the comments. Let me start off by saying that this is not the first elections I have taken part in, the article’s tone comes from a culmination of similar electoral experiences in the past. Contrary to what some of you read into my article, it had NOTHING to do with the ARF’s loss at the elections. Did I mention anything about that? As far as I am concerned, any tactics utilized by the ruling regime did not in any way impact the outcome of the ARF’s showing in the polls. That is something that the ARF must evaluate for itself. This is about the political culture and future of Armenia. Yes, the RPA was very well organized (although Taron Margaryan did not participate in any of the organized debates among candidates and never used the term RPA because his team knew it would work against Margaryan), it used all the resources it had at its disposal and yes it’s completely acceptable to pull the vote by assisting your supporters by driving them to their polling stations if they need assistance or encouragement to do so, we used to do the same in Canada during municipal, provincial and federal elections. The difference here is that those very people being brought in were “encouraged” through bribes and or subtle and not-so-subtle coercion. Yes, there were polling stations where everything went smoothly on the surface, it’s when you look below that surface that you see the abject degradation of the vulnerable and not so vulnerable segments of our society. Unfortunately my experience was different than the one described by another observer in the Armenian Weekly but when you watch this video of how RPA apparatchiks behaved outside of polling stations perhaps you will understand my frustration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=p_rD1hYuevo
    In closing let me state very clearly that regardless of our political beliefs and affiliations we are all responsible for what is taking place in our country. We all share the blame and we must all therefore work even harder to ensure that we eradicate the current political culture. And just to add one more thing to all the “traffic” here, today President Serge Sargsyan awarded a medal of bravery of the 2nd order to RPA member Surik Khachatryan (http://www.aravot.am/2013/05/08/241262/), otherwise known as Liska, the governor of the Marz of Syunik who slapped a woman in public at the Marriot Hotel in the heart of Yerevan, who broke the jaw of a boy who happened to insult his son, who has initiated the leasing of Armenian lands to Iranians to graze their sheep, who threatened an environmental activist…this is a reflection of the value system of the RPA…I will leave you to draw your own conclusions.

  24. amb said:

    For another honest account see Serouj Aprahamian’s report in the Armenian Weekly.

  25. Katrina said:

    Maria, you have done the diaspora a huge favor by painting such a detailed picture of the deplorable situation and employing all the senses to portray your horrific experience. Thank you. In the meantime, now that the tides are turning insofar as individuals and groups publicly exposing the thugs and bullies representing the Armenian nation, what specific steps can be taken by the diaspora to help save the homeland before it is too late? Time is not on our side and as usual we Armenians keep missing the boat by biding our time and never agreeing on one unified strategy to achieve our national goals. Now that you have helped let the cat out of the bag, what do we do about it?

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