So Much for the Promised Change

Armenia's newly-appointed prime minister, Hovik Abrahamian with President Serzh Sarkisian

BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN

A day after Tigran Sargsyan resigned Armenia’s premiership President Serzh Sarkisian told an audience at the Central Bank that he was dissatisfied with the performance of the government and pledged that the new prime minister would be an individual who can tackle the challenges facing Armenia, specifically as they related to the socio-economic situation in the country.

Then came Sunday’s appointment of Parliament Speaker Hovik Abrahamian to fill Sargsyan’s shoes. From where I am sitting—having covered this and the previous two administrations—Abrahamian is someone whose public service record has shown to be nothing but a party apparatchik with very close ties to the president. In his years as the Speaker of Armenia’s National Assembly, he has shown no initiative to advance the interests of Armenia’s population, as the parliament members are tasked to do, nor has he veered from the official party line.

In fact, as was the case recently with Armenia’s pension plan proceedings, he shut out opposition to the law by staging walkouts by his party and not allowing the voices of dissent about the law to be heard in the legislature.

In introducing him to the outgoing government, President Sarkisian said he and Abrahamian would work closely on the make up of the new government and, once again, reiterated his claim that new cabinet would tackle Armenia’s problems head on.

Since his election in 2008, Sarkisian’s cabinet has been a revolving door of same olds who having mastered the art of corruption, have gotten wealthier on the backs of the Armenian people. Meanwhile, economic growth has staggered and unemployment and poverty rates have gone up. Not to mention the rate of emigration from Armenia has skyrocketed, a problem that the president and his circles do not believe exists in Armenia.

The writing was on wall with Abrahamian’s appointment. His disdain for Sargsyan was fodder for Armenia’s press and social media sites and since the prime minister’s resignation several newspaper sites reported on his appointment and then were forced to take down the news because of the absence of an official appointment.

Throughout his years of public service, Abrahamian has been deemed a controversial figure and has been known as the mastermind behind the notorious vote-rigging that has become commonplace in Armenia’s election culture.

How can doors of a promised cooperation be opened by a man who has shown such disregard for democratic norms during his tenure? We will have to wait and see.

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28 Comments

  1. Armenian said:

    Get used to it. It’s only going to get worse and worse from here on out. Customs Union, full speed ahead!

    • Sarkis said:

      I have to step in here and correct the falsifications here. The Customs Union is in actuality an economic union, not political and not military. It calls for the harmonization of trade and tariff laws among former sister states of the Soviet Union. It DOES NOT touch matters of political, social, or cultural policies.

      The EU, by contrast, is based on unelected EU “officials” who are responsible to no one except the EU Central Bank, and who institute undemocratic policies from the top down without any consideration given to the desires of the people. They appoint Prime Ministers in weaker members like Italy and Greece, and push for militant feminism, unrestricted abortions, special rights to homosexuals and religious cults, non-stop Muslim immigration, crippling austerity and taxes, and policies which are destroying the quality of life, demographic stability and wealth of formerly prosperous and productive nations.

      But to your credit, yes, it’s full speed ahead with the Customs Union for Armenia. Thank God Armenia is safe from the lunacy that is destroying the occupied satrapies of the EU.

  2. Sharkobal said:

    It is such a shame. I can not understand how this man can be appointed as prime minster of Armenia. It is outrageous. We can not let those corrupt officials govern our country. Armenians must protest this nomination.

  3. Vahe Y said:

    …and why is the political party of this newspaper negotiating for a power agreement, if any?

    Sometimes things are not as black and white as they appear. Although I do agree with Mr. Khachatourian’s op-ed in large parts, but we still have to see the proof, through RELIABLE sources that Mr. Abrahamyan is indeed a controversial figure. To date, we only know his so-called nickname and unverified stories and rumors portraying him as controversial. Has anyone done any real investigative journalism? Bloggers and certain individuals sitting at the comforts of their computer workstations don’t count.

    Good piece.

  4. Sarkis said:

    I will wait and see how Abrahamyan’s tenure goes before making any judgments, at lease give him a few weeks. However, even without defending Abrahamyan outright, this piece has several points which are just twisted facts or misrepresentations:

    -“Abrahamian is someone whose public service record has shown to be nothing but a party apparatchik with very close ties to the president”

    This is not a unique phenomenon that only exists in Armenia. That’s the case in every country, whether the most democratic in Europe or the most autocratic in Asia. Partisan politics are not going anywhere. In a Parliamentary Republic like Armenia, the Prime Minister and the President are always going to be linked. It’s illogical to hate the governing Republican Party for being dominant, the other parties in Armenia (Rule of Law, Prosperous Armenia, HAK, Heritage) are either cults of personality, or treasonous organizations controlled from outside Armenia.

    -“as the parliament members are tasked to do, nor has he veered from the official party line.”

    The members of the ARF can be described the exact same way, even when the ARF leadership embraces anti-Armenian policies, or goes hysterical over the something like the Protocols, or decides to throw in its lot with the radicals at HAK and Heritage”

    -“His disdain for Tigran Sargsyan”

    Hate to break it to you but the IMF-trained Tigran Sargsyan was nearly universally despised in Armenia. His main supporters were the western/international banking community.

    -“Throughout his years of public service, Abrahamian has been deemed a controversial figure”

    Name one single high-ranking politician in any country that is not controversial.

    -“mastermind behind the notorious vote-rigging that has become commonplace in Armenia’s election culture.”

    Making allegations without providing any proof whatsoever would, under normal circumstances, be called “lying”. Vote-rigging in Armenia saw its birth and peak under the reign of traitor LTP, the same jackal that the ARF is now in league with. And even the Turcophile European election observers have had to concede that Armenia’s elections have been improving by leaps and bounds since 2007, and that the 2012 and 2013 elections were essentially fair and free. The State Department gave the same assessment at first, but then reversed itself through a diktat from the top for its own, anti-Armenian interests; of course this is the same State Department which denies the Armenian Genocide and refuses to recognize the right of Artsakh to freedom and self-determination, so their biased assessments are less than worthless.

    • Hagop D said:

      Sarkis, you have some good points sometimes which describe foreign countries correctly, but your rhetoric about diaspora Armenians, the ARF and the “holiness” of Armenian politicians ruined it. You sound a lot like a couple other posters… Avetis, Harutik etc who all sound the same, so I’m guessing they are all you. “The diaspora are all western agents, we must give Armenia to Russia”, etc this is all old already. We all agree Armenia’s security is paramount. But come clean and call an incompetent person an incompetent person, even if he is your distant relative in the Armenian government. Some of you Armenians who are doggedly protecting the reputations of unimpressive Armenian officials are not doing anyone a favor. In fact, silencing criticism where it is due only leads to mediocrity.

  5. Josef said:

    Corrupt government is i’m sorry to say Armenia until one of two things change we get someone from the outside or there stomachs get full which I don’t see happening !!

  6. Aram said:

    “The writing is on the wall” No need to “wait and see.”
    I am sickened and tired of seeing these old masterminded corrupt artists with complete disregard for the people of Armenia continuing to hold on to power.
    I don’t know what it takes to get rid of these jerks but they need to go now.

  7. GeorgeMardig said:

    To keep pounding on behalf of US style Democracy in Armenia is not realistic, Geopolitics comes first, the safety of Armenia overrides all other priorities, it is going forward slowly but surely,

    • Armenian said:

      How do you plan on keeping Armenia geopolitically safe when Armenia loses 1% of its population yearly to immigration that is caused and overtly encouraged by people like him? Don’t tell me that you have been duped into thinking that the very people who steal and rob Armenia of its wealth, potential and human capital have convinced you that the sky will fall if they aren’t in power, too.

      At this point, corruption has become more than just a societal problem, it is a a national security issue as well because so many people in Armenia are throwing their hands up in frustration, packing their bags and leaving the country, with a large portion of the defectors leaving for good and vowing never to look back. How do you plan on keeping Armenia safe, even in terms of geopolitics, with a rapidly shrinking population when Azerbaijan’s population has grown by almost 100,000 people yearly?

      People like Hovik, Serjhik, Sharmazanov, and the entire clan of oligarchs who have formed a parallel state of their own are part of the problem because they explicitly encourage outward migration, promote fascism, and continue to eat away at Armenia as both a country and a nation. These people have no sense of nationhood, humanity, or national pride and will sacrifice the entire nation for the sake of their bottomless greed. They are finishing the job the Turks started back in 1915, and nothing good will come out of their promotions. They must be removed from the picture immediately.

      • Sarkis said:

        “Democratic” Europe has the lowest birth rates in the world. In the most “democratic” and economically developed European countries the birth rate is well below the replacement level and has been for decades. In fact, there has been almost zero natural population growth in Europe for years, the native Europeans are not having children and are being bred out and dying. Instead, the only reason there is any population growth in Europe is because MILLIONS UPON MILLIONS of Muslim, Black, Middle Eastern and Asian immigrants are flooding into the once clean and safe cities of Europe… This is all planned out from the EU which promotes multiculturalism and anti-nationalism for the captive EU provinces in order to completely destroy the concept of the traditional, sovereign, ethnic-based nation-state and replace them with internationalist workers and peasants. The only European country that has reversed this trend has been Russia under President Putin.

      • Sarkis said:

        Let’s put the claims of western agents and agitators and propaganda outlets masquerading as “independent news outlets” to the test by doing some mathematics regarding demographics within the Republic of Armenia. Firstly, thank God, Armenia is not a multicultural theme park like the EU has turned the once great nations of Western and Central Europe into, so we can safely assume that virtually all of these numbers apply to ethnic Armenians, who constitute more than 97% of Armenian citizenry. That alone is a massive victory for Armenia.
        Let’s generously assume that Armenia’s total population was four million (4,000,000) citizens at the time of Armenia achieved independence from the Soviet Union on September 21, 1991. Let’s further round up our calculations to begin in January 1992, and calculate until January 2014. That gives us 22 years or 264 months total. That means if only 181,819 citizens abandoned Armenia per year in the period between 1992 and 2014, or in other words 15,152 citizens per month, then Armenia would have a population of ZERO citizens remaining today.
        Yet we know that Armenia is not entirely devoid of population. The lowest estimates from hostile and unreliable NATO (read NATO=turkey) and NATO-funded sources never list Armenia’s population as lower than two million (2,000,000). A more realistic estimate would be between 2.7 million and 3 million, including temporary/seasonal Armenian migrant workers in Russia or Europe. This is important because, in their quest to exploit Armenia’s natural growing pains, western propaganda outlets report wild exaggerations and deliberate lies regarding Armenian emigration. How many times have we heard numbers similar to what is described in the above paragraph (and keep in mind those numbers were much higher than the roughly 3.4 million peak population Soviet Armenia ever had, including the large number of Azeris in Armenia at the time; and the calculations were done with the aim of bringing Armenia’s population down to zero, not 2.7 million) , sounding the alarm that Armenia will become extinct unless at this rate… Unless of course we Armenians enact the plans that the democracy-spreading freedom-lovers of the west conveniently have available for Armenia.

        Why would anyone deceive Armenians like this? As we all know by now, the evil imperial empire of the west, best described as the Anglo-American-Zionist alliance, lacks any factually substantive grounds to delude free nations around the world into voluntarily submitting to western domination/exploitation (after all, their economies are in the toilet; their barbarism against Serbia, Iraq, Palestine, Libya and Syria among others have exposed their true bloodthirsty nature; third world immigration is setting up their nations for an upcoming civil/racial war; their “culture” now produces and promotes essentially nothing more than pornography, violence and filth; their once great middle classes are largely extinct; their governments are quickly morphing into totalitarian, all-seeing, all-spying and all-controlling police states; their populations are massively addicted to drugs and alcohol; their natural birth rates (in non-immigration population growth) are dangerously below the replacement level; and homosexuality, race-mixing and abortions are on record highs while mental and physical health are declining at alarming rates). So they rely on exacerbating and sensationalizing the developing pains of newly independent and emerging countries around the world in order to incite upheavals and revolutions, which then lead to anarchy, which in turn leave the targeted nations as failed states. These failed states are the partner of choice for teh Anlgo-American-Zionists, because here they can install brutal puppet regimes, which will remain entirely obedient on Washington for the external support needed to maintain control, and these puppet regimes will be inherently hostile to washington’s rivals (ie domestic nationalists, Russia, China and the rest of the BRICS nations, etc.) Of course despite submission to western loan sharks like the IMF and World Bank which lead to debt slavery from which poor countries can never possibly escape, and colonization by ruthless multinational corportations (ie GMO seed companies, manufacturers looking for sweat shops and slave labor, pharmaceutical companies looking to hook new victims, and of course direct narcotics production and transport, among others), western puppet dictatorship regimes are portrayed by the controlled mainstream media as lights onto the world. So next time you hear unsubstantiated stories about “undemocratic regimes causing massive population exoduses from Armenia”, stop for a second and do the math in your head… And of course this does not factor in the fact that most of the world’s economic is struggling due to western corruption and debt, or that the modern economy and modern methods of transportation make migrating for economic benefits a reality even for rich nations like Britain.

        • Armenian said:

          Congratulations on completely ignoring the question and instead responding with Kremlin-approved talking points.

  8. Hagop D said:

    Sarkis, you say:

    “EU which promotes multiculturalism and anti-nationalism”

    Yes but don’t go too far, so does Russia. In fact that is why diaspora Armenians for the past several decades have not cared for Russia. Because Russia has always viewed Armenian nationalism and its pursuit for nationhood as a threat. That is the reason Nakhichevan and Artsakh are today the way they are. And it does not matter if the early Bolsheviks were not ethnic Russians. What matters is later they were, and had basically the same ideology against Armenians.

    I don’t care for European values, but Russia has a long way to go before it proves it is Armenia’s ‘friend’.

    • Avetis said:

      I think you are confusing the Russian Federation with the Soviet Union. Very typical of you Amerikatsis. LOL

      I don’t know about friendships, but without Russia not even a million “Hagop Ds” would be able to stop Armenia from turning back into a Turkic Islamic cesspool once more…

      • Hagop D said:

        No, I am not confusing the two, it seems you are. I am sure you’ve been watching Russian news lately. Are you conveniently ignoring the part where they continually state how Ukrainian ‘nationalists’ are a problem and how they did this and did that which is not in Russia’s interest? I don’t blame Russia for is stance on Ukraine, but Russians like nationalism as long as it is Russian nationalism, nothing else.

        “without Russia not even a million “Hagop Ds” would be able to stop Armenia from turning back into a Turkic Islamic cesspool”

        So? Where did I say Armenia doesn’t need Russia? I have a bigger issue with you pseudo-patriots who promote Armenia losing its sovereignty to Russia, instead of using her to correct all the past wrongs and securing Armenia’s future as the homeland for all Armenians who wish to make it their home.

        • Armenian said:

          Brilliant. Pseudo-patriot is a perfect word to describe such sentiments, and I agree with everything you said in the last paragraph.

        • Sarkis said:

          Armenia should be the homeland for all Armenians as it exists, not some mythical, zanadu-type “future homeland”. The fact that the western diaspora, even after Armenia’s independence, showed practically zero interest in repatriating to Armenia proves that all talk is cheap, and that the diaspora does not and cannot contribute to Armenia’s development in any serious manner.

          And I suggest you educate yourself on how diplomatic language works,

          • Armenian said:

            Wow, so sad to see that your hatred for the West extends to Armenians living in those countries, too. Remind me again, where you living right now?

            Many diasporans made an initial effort to invest in Armenia; they were cheated and their efforts were taken advantage of by corrupt authorities who can easily take your earnings away with their selective enforcement of the law. There our countless horror stories from people who tried to do something positive, but failed because they lacked the proper connections. It’s clear that you’ve never been to Armenia nor do you have anyone living there because this statement is so blatantly detached from the realities on the ground there.

            Even if one is a die-hard Armenian, nobody wants to make an investment in a country that is so shrouded in uncertainty and injustice, and start a venture in which is destined for failure because an oligarch, who also happens to be a member of Parliament, will use every opportunity to his advantage to shut you down and chase you out of the country. Armenia’s Customs Union U-turn after literally 4 years of saying “Armenia will never join the Customs Union” is a perfect example of how Armenia is a completely unpredictable both socially, economically and politically.

            Our attitudes alone make us an unattractive place for investment as everything there is hindered by corruption. Nobody wants to be cheated and nobody wants to have their hard work be usurped in a day by some swollen thumb in a Versace tuxedo like Dodi Gago. When the government becomes less corrupt and more respectful to the legal and commercial rights of others, Armenia will begin prospering.

          • Armenian said:

            And I’d also like to add to my earlier statement, that one of those people is Kirk Krekorian, a billionaire who initially aimed to invest in the country since independence, and at some point even plotted out multi-million dollar infrastructure projects in Armenia, eventually gave up on it because he came to the realization that an investment in Armenia, with its current leadership, is simply not one worth making because they’re going to scrap and try to dupe you out of your worth. It’s the only way these backwards, tget, village idiots can make a living: cheating, lying and stealing at the expense of Armenia and the national dignity of our country for their own interests.

      • Armenian said:

        Please, they’re contributing just as much to our destruction as the Turks are; only in different ways.

        • Lus said:

          Like it or not, Armenian fate is in the hands of Moscow and the honourable Vladimir Putin. Jesus, it’s so obvious to me, I don’t get some Armenians minimizing this…. Our bright President has realized that and is working on the expansion of our bilateral ties.

          • Armenian said:

            Honorable? That’s subjective. Putin is honorable (to some extent) to his people, and his people only. He doesn’t care about Armenians’ rights, quality of life, right to live in their homeland, and neither do you or any of his die-hard supporters, it seems.

            When Russia starts terrorizing Armenia from the base in Gyumri every time we decide to opt for things that are in our best interests, then we’ll see who the “honorable” one really is…

          • Sarkis said:

            The Russian base is the only thing preventing Armenia from becoming the easternmost part of Turkey. The only way Russia can “terrorize” Armenia through the base is to listen to the advice of lunatics like you and shut down the base and leave Armenia on its own against the regions 100 million Turks.

            Russia in general has been not only honorable to Armenians in Armenia and in Russia, but also Armenians in Crimea, Javakhk, and Kessab as well.

          • Lus said:

            Not only has he been honourable to Russians but Armenians, Syrians, and the whole Middle East region which did not fall into the hands of bloodthirsty murderers thanks to his brilliant shrewd political moves… So yea, not only his honourable but also God-sent I would say…

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