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It’s ‘No to Plunder’, Not an Armenian ‘Maidan’

Special to the Armenian Weekly

When I shared some of the early photos of the protests by the “No to Plunder” movement on Facebook, one of my friends contacted me to privately protest that I shouldn’t be supporting “chaos” and attempts to create a situation similar to the Ukranian “Maidan” in Armenia. I was reminded of Armenia’s hostile neighbors and therefore the need to not aggravate Russia.

It is a sentiment that I’m sure is shared by others, well-intentioned people with legitimate concerns. But the reality is that the protests in Yerevan are not about an Armenian “Maidan.” They are anything but.

‘It is not a geopolitical struggle of East versus West playing out on the streets of Yerevan’ (Photo: Photolure)

This is a struggle for the right to a decent life and a dignified future in the homeland. It is not a geopolitical struggle of East versus West playing out on the streets of Yerevan, even if some people and media outlets outside the country are trying to portray it as such.

This is evident in the conduct of the protesters themselves. The widely shared videos and photos on social media show them singing patriotic songs and chanting slogans such as, “We are the ones who decide,” “We are the owners of our country,” Together we are stronger.” One signpost from the protest read, “We won’t pay so that your bellies grow.” Another one held by anonymous soldiers said, “We’re not defending [the borders] so that you can plunder.”

Indeed, the main focus of the grassroots movement is the electricity price hike rather than a demonstration of anti-Russian sentiment. One protester (@martiros_yan) clearly argued this point in a tweet picked up by the New York Times, saying: “People from #Ukraine, how many times should we repeat that #ElectricYerevan is not #euromaidan. It is against [the] price hike, not any foreign state.”

This movement should come as no surprise. In the past several years, a growing number of young activists in Armenia have been at the forefront of socio-economic and environmental issues in the country, from the Mashdots Park movement to the protests against the pension law reform. They are free-thinking, brave citizens who have a vision for a better life and a keen sense of ownership of the homeland. And they are not going anywhere.

This much the Armenian government should have learned by now. However, despite growing discontent with endemic corruption and poor socio-economic policies, the government continues to institute unpopular measures and has failed to demonstrate genuine political will to carry out meaningful reform. This is the core of the matter. This is what has brought the citizens out in their thousands.

Anyone with a some knowledge of the geopolitical situation in the South Caucasus and the external challenges Armenia faces understands the need for a delicately crafted foreign policy that treads carefully between different regional and global influencers.

However, internal socio-economic reform, policies to improve the economy, measures to create jobs and safeguard citizens’ rights should be undertaken independent of external geopolitical influences. More importantly, improving the domestic situation should be a priority for the Armenian government not only despite external influences, but also because of an unfriendly external environment. To mitigate hostilities by Azerbaijan, and also Turkey, the Armenian government first and foremost needs the vote of confidence of its citizens and genuine internal solidarity and stability.

With this in mind, the way out of the current impasse is for the Armenian government to reverse its decision to increase electricity fares and explore alternative options as part of a sound, sustainable energy policy for the country. In the long term, genuine across-the-board reforms and free and fair elections that produce a representative government will be the only guarantors for internal peace and—to a great extent—external security.

In the meantime, it is our job to remain highly vigilant and denounce all attempts to portray these events as something they are not. Failure to do so will only hurt the cause pursued by the people behind the “No to Plunder” movement.

45 Comments on It’s ‘No to Plunder’, Not an Armenian ‘Maidan’

  1. is this the color revolution the US had in its plan, ?
    Armenians are not Ukrainians or Georgians, please keep your dollars and let Armenia and its people decide if you are a reliable partner

  2. Thank you for quality article.
    In fact, what we seem to ignore is that social media is a medium to “broadcast” to the world what we the people post innocently. While trouble makers post events or sensations with ulterior motives.
    Furthermore, media in general is often known not to report accurate information but rather manipulate traumatic situations they gather or are offered. Because they can.
    Time for the protesters to be vigilant and stay focused on how to resolve the current singular challenge posed by the electricity rate hike.

  3. this problem can easily be solved by Russia, Armenia is a very good ally of Russia, and Russia should help Armenia became a progressive wealthy country, the is what the west does to help Georgia and other countries they want on their side. It will benefit Russia to have a stable rich Armenia.

    • You mean, just the way the US “rushed to help” its ally Georgia back in 2008, when the country was invaded? Or the way the US “helps” sovereign countries of Iraq and Afghanistan?

  4. Trying to distance Armenia from what happened in Kyiv is pointless. The reality is that both movements were the result of young activists raising issues in the past with greater and lesser success until one issue finally got the masses off their butts in response. In Ukraine, it was the beating of students, not the EU Association Agreement. In both countries, people got fed up of being robbed and abused. It’s called “democracy-building” and it’s that nefarious, evil deed that America is being blamed for by the Kremlin. It’s doing the same in Armenia because Pootin is terrified of an active population.

    Russia became an issue in Ukraine only when it started to take militarily interfere in Crimea. It will become an issue in Armenia too, if it makes a similar move.

    • Things have turned out swimmingly in Ukraine after “democracy building” process got into full steam, haven’t they.
      So far about 7,000 civilians have been killed, the country destroyed, facing bankruptcy, private Neo-Nazi battalions owned and operated by foreign nationals (Igor Kolomoisky ) running around killing anyone they want,… “Democracy-building” is absolutely great, isn’t: why, every patriotic Armenian should want a repeat of Kyiv Maidan in Yerevan.

      And your memory of events in Ukraine is faulty:

      1.Young activists had nothing to with it. I am sure you have heard US Asst Sect Victoria “F____ EU” Nuland discussing with US ambassador in intercepted phone call which one of the puppets she would like to install in Kiev after Yanukovich is illegally overthrown.

      2. Russia did not, quote, “militarily interfere” in Crimea. Crimea had a referendum and they overwhelmingly voted to _re-join_ Russia. Crimea was Russian for centuries, until Khrushchev, in a drunken state, “gave” Crimea to Ukraine SSR without asking the residents of Crimea.

      Nice try.
      Please come back and visit us often: we enjoy debating and debunking the opposition.
      Have a great day.

  5. I have come to disassociate the “American” government with the American nation and people, because the current government of the US hardly represents the nation or its people. This gradual takeover of the government by insidious elements, who also happen to be doggedly anti-Christian, started in the early 1950s with Truman and has steadily led to this point on an uninterrupted, one-way street.

    Thus Armenia cannot harm its relations with Russia by one bit, because Russia has emerged as the one super power that looks out for Christian interests. Recent world events with the behaviors of both the US and Russia prove this beyond any doubt.

    American “democracy” is a scam, and the entire system has been modified to benefit select, privileged people. For foreign policy, “Republican” and “Democrat” mean exactly the same thing. They only pretend to oppose one another on inconsequential domestic issues in order to keep America’s sheeple distracted. The “American” government has absolutely no interest in helping Armenians and Armenia either, despite the fact that Armenian-Americans have had a rich and productive history in the US. Some people who are commenting on these pages continually pretend that the US government, led by the nefarious State Department, are doing things to “help Armenia and Armenians”. Nothing can be further from the truth.

    There is one very simple little event that needs to take place before the claims that the American government “wants to help Armenia and Armenians” gets even one second of consideration: the very simple move to recognize the Armenian Genocide, just like Russia and many other nations that matter have already done.

    And when that does happen, contrary to neocon claims, not one iota of harm would come to so-called “American interests”, because recognition of the Armenian Genocide would not irk the likes of Russia, nor China, nor any other modern nation, but merely one of USA’s many puppets, of which they are a dime a dozen in the Middle East. Only in this case, that one puppet barks a lot louder than the others.

    • avatar Random Armenian // June 30, 2015 at 10:26 pm //

      “American “democracy” is a scam, and the entire system has been modified to benefit select, privileged people. ”

      And you think corrupt Russia is better? It’s run by oligarchs. The privileged few who rake in the petro-dollars.

      $50 billion for winter Olympics? That’s nuts.

      For the US, recognition of the Genocide causes more trouble with belligerent Turkey which the US is dependent on quite a bit in the region. For Russia, it’s an opportunity to rub it in the eye its arch-enemy Turkey, to show that it can get away with it. Russia is a neighbor to Turkey and they have a lot of deals to make.

      That said, the US fears are not as bad as they think it is. They can get away with it. Turkey can’t detach itself from US.

      And this talk of defending Christianity is empty talk. Russia is selling tanks and planes to Azerbaijan who is making genocidal threats to Christian Armenia. Money beats Christian brotherhood any time.

    • Random,

      Russia is no better. But to Russia’s ‘credit’, if I may say so, the Kremlin doesn’t indulge in breast-beating about ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’ all over the world, as America does. And although democracy in America is practiced in some—imperfect—form of a republic, which provides checks and balances, it is, in essence, an oligarchy, too, because real power in this society effectively rests with a small elite segment distinguished by corporate wealth, industrial, and military hegemony.

    • avatar Random Armenian // July 1, 2015 at 10:43 pm //

      john,

      I agree mostly with what you said. And democracy in the USA is referred to as an experiment quite often. And there is truth to it. When the US constitution and bill of rights and the government was set up, it was an educated guess on what a better form of government should be. And a very good guess it was, even though the nation was born with the sin of slavery.

      But it has been a slow but sure move forward in terms of what liberty, freedom and democracy should be.

      And the thing is, since the founding, nations across the world have adopted, emulated a governing system where the people vote for people to represent them in the government. And this includes the countries which came into being after the fall of the soviet union. Elections and a western style government model seemed to be a no brainer.

      There are many countries where elections and a representative government are just a facade. Azerbaijan being a prime example.

      Oligarchy and other money based power will always be an issue in every nation. But how that is tempered and controlled depends on the level of corruption and how well elections are free from influence. And we have seen how how the US government does react to popular discontent, when it’s voiced.

      Ultimately it’s up to the voters to make their voices heard. Democracy is not a spectator sport and must be participated in constantly.

      Ultimately I think the US, Canada and other European countries do run democracy better than most and people around the world see that. It’s still better than what most of them have. If an American president, sitting in probably the most power seat in the world, steps down if they loose the election. And they’re there for only 2 terms.

      People want laws to be followed. That’s what I’ve heard from people in Armenia. It pains them and insults them that the laws on the books are circumvented.

      The level of corruption in Russia is worse than Armenia, and that concerns me given how closely Armenia is tied to that large neighbor.

      This is a big topic that can go on forever and I just don’t have the endurance for it.

    • {“ And you think corrupt Russia is better?”}

      Where in his post did [Hagop D] claim Russian democracy was better than US ? He wrote American “democracy” is a scam: it is.
      If it weren’t, US would not be allies with, defend, protect, and look the other way when it comes to one of the worst undemocratic, human-rights-violating, medieval, corrupt states in the world – the Wahhabist sultanate of Saudi Arabia.
      Add to that list the “champions” of defending human rights Turkey and Azerbaijan: both states being coddled by US.
      It is a scam, because as [John] noted, at least Russia does not go around the world lecturing anyone and everyone about “democracy”, “human rights”, “women’s rights”, “the rights of gerbils”,…..while being in bed with one of the worst violators of human rights in the world: medieval, misogynistic, absolute dictatorship Saudi Arabia.
      (just one example of US hypocrisy re “democracy”: there are numerous others)

      {“$50 billion for winter Olympics? That’s nuts.”}

      Are you serious ?
      The official cost to the US _taxpayers_ of the 2008 bailout is $700 Billion.
      That’s the official figure.
      (various independent estimates put the number at up to several trillion).

      How many banksters went to jail for fleecing and robbing the American taxpayer of at least $700 billion, not counting all the ordinary people who lost life savings when the financial institutions went bankrupt and the stocks went to zero or to pennies on the dollar.
      The whole mortgage scam was an illegal pyramid scheme.
      You don’t think the privileged few in US pocketed that $700 billion?

      {“… recognition of the Genocide causes more trouble with belligerent Turkey which the US is dependent on quite a bit in the region.”}

      US is not dependent on any country in the world for anything.
      Turkey is a useful, convenient tool: nothing more.
      Turkey has thrown a tantrum every time a European country has recognized the AG, and then quietly gone back to doing business.
      Turkey is dependent on West/US for its very existence.
      It has so many fault lines, that if US wanted to, it could fracture Turkey into 3 or 4 parts in less than a year.

      US does not recognize AG not because of Turkey.
      There are other interests in US who do not want the Armenian Genocide recognized.
      Turkey is just an excuse.
      If US wanted to, it would recognize AG and tell Turks to go pound sand: because that’s all they can do.

      {“ And this talk of defending Christianity is empty talk. Russia is selling tanks and planes to Azerbaijan who is making genocidal threats to Christian Armenia. Money beats Christian brotherhood any time”}

      No it isn’t empty talk.
      And we have already covered the sales of weapons to Azerbaijan by Russia in depth in other threads: you simply refuse to admit we are right and you are wrong.
      Russia is strategic partners with Armenia and not Azerbaijan because Armenia is Orthodox Christian and Azerbaijan isn’t.
      It would be far more advantageous moneywise, if money beat Christian brotherhood, for Russia to be strategic partners with Azerbaijan and not RoA.
      Russian and Armenian friendship and cooperation goes back centuries. Part based on common, mutually beneficial geostrategic interests and part based on our common* Orthodox Christian faith.

      —-
      * http://armenianweekly.com/2015/05/05/museum-exhibits-artifacts/

      {In 1916, during the Russian military campaign which temporarily liberated Western Armenia from Ottoman Turkey, Saint Petersburg’s Russian Museum of Ethnography sought Czar Nicholas II’s permission to dispatch a scholarly expedition to the Van area to collect Armenian artifacts from imminent loss. The Czar gave immediate consent in his handwriting: “Approve. Need to hurry.”}

    • Random,

      {When the US constitution and bill of rights and the government was set up, it was an educated guess on what a better form of government should be.}

      There was no ‘educated guess’, sorry. There’s no single word ‘democracy’ in the Declaration of Independence. Founding fathers favored the republican form of government, in which government executives exercise power according to the rule of law, over democracy, which they feared would lead to oligarchy. As we can see, their fears have panned out. Yes, many nations across the world have adopted a governing system where the people vote for people to represent them in the government. But this form of government is not a panacea to the ills of these nations. It is just one of many forms of government and not necessarily the best, if at all there’s such a thing as the ‘best’ form of government.

      {There are many countries where elections and a representative government are just a facade. Azerbaijan being a prime example.}

      To a different degree, the same façade is in this country, too. One example is the 2004 ‘re-election’ of George W. Bush, when the majority were ready to vote for anyone but him. Somehow, Bush was re-elected. The issue about democracy, as I understand it, is fundamentally different. If the US, Canada and European countries run democracy better than most, well, good for them. But it doesn’t mean that the US, Canada and European countries are in the position to impose democracy on others. For others other forms of government may be more attractive. Throughout their history and until the February 1917 Freemasonic ‘revolution’ that deposed the Tsar, the Russians favored monarchy. Who can say that their choice for monarchy was worse than the Americans’ choice for democracy?

      {American presidents, sitting in probably the most power seat in the world, steps down if they lose the election.}

      Okay. And what does that demonstrate? A change? Don’t you know that in this country there are certain groups, such as the Council on Foreign Relations, who are tasked to ensure that no matter who controls the Congress—Democrats or Republicans, and no matter who is elected president, the continuity of the American political establishment is uninterrupted and unmodified?

      {The level of corruption in Russia is worse than Armenia, and that concerns me given how closely Armenia is tied to that large neighbor.}

      If tomorrow, hypothetically speaking, America is in Russia’s shoes, the level of corruption in Armenia will miraculously drop?

      {This is a big topic that can go on forever and I just don’t have the endurance for it.}

      Because, I’m afraid, you’re not showing flexibility in understanding your opponents’ views.

    • John:

      {“…the Russians favored monarchy. Who can say that their choice for monarchy was worse than the Americans’ choice for democracy?”}

      American “democracy” is in name only.
      In reality, it often comes down to one member of the SCOTUS voting one way or another: in effect a rotating Monarch.
      Several recent controversial cases, where every single citizen and resident of US is required to obey the Supreme law, passed by a vote of 5-4, should disabuse anyone who believes US is a “democracy”.

      There a is fair level of democracy at the local level, to be sure.
      However, the further up we go – local, county, state, fed – the less control people have.
      A select few at the Fed level decide pretty much macro-everything for all 320 million people in US.
      Not making a value judgment here: a “pure” democracy is no panacea either.
      Founding Fathers were intelligent and learned men. They knew history and did everything possible to set up a system where there were checks and balances over everything, including the tendency of people, by a majority democratic vote, to votes themselves privileges and goodies at the expense of the minority.
      It’s just that the constant lecturing and hectoring of US and the West about “democracy” this and “democracy” that is wearing thin.

      Finally, the Citizens United v. FEC case.
      SCOTUS declared, meaning it is the Law of the Land, that Corporations are in effect people.
      Corporations in US can spend all the money want, with no restrictions, to in effect buy elections and votes.
      (a recent California Proposition(37) to require food corporations list on food labels if GMO ingredients were used was defeated by corporations which outspent the citizens 5-to-1).

      So we have oligarchs in Russia and Armenia exercising inordinate influence over lives of ordinary citizens.
      That’s bad.
      In US we have oligarchs (aka legally sanctioned Corporations) exercising inordinate influence over lives of ordinary citizens.
      That’s good.
      Why ?
      Because we are the West; we are virtuous by default, that’s why.

    • Sad. I’d add to this that when at an earlier stage fourteen or so states adopted same-sex marriage legislations (in some cases with 51:49 percentage ratio), already talks would start about the need to change the federal legislation. But when the legislatures of 44 out of 50 states have made proclamations recognizing the mass killings of Armenians in 1915-1923 as genocide, it’s still a hush up affair on the fed level. One hell of democracy…

    • avatar Random Armenian // July 8, 2015 at 11:19 pm //

      john,

      The word democracy as is used today is shorthand for the most common form of *representative governments* we see in Europe, Canada and the US. That’s what’s implied when just the word “democracy” is used today.

      And no it’s not a cure all, but it’s the least imperfect form of government that I believe we have in the world right now. I don’t know what other form works better. China? Full of corruption there too, even with a government that’s transforming the country before our eyes. Russia? nope. Armenia? No, even though the corruption level there is less than Russia.

      Under such a democracy, greed, corruption and injustice do not magically disappear. They will always be there as they are part of human nature. But under a well functioning democracy, they tend to be dealt with better than other countries. Under such a democracy there will be injustices, civil liberties walked over, setbacks, corruption etc. But the public has a better way of pressuring their representatives and governments. They are given the mechanism through elections and independent courts to punish wrongs and change the policies of the government. The thing is, you have to work those mechanisms, exercise your rights and make yourself heard. The US has changed over the decades because of this.

      And that’s the Achilles heel of democracy. The public has to be engaged. Otherwise those representatives in the capitals will do whatever they want.

      But all this system of democracy isn’t worth anything without at least two things:
      – a voting system that has little or no corruption. ie. the votes are counted and those who are voted out, accept the results and leave their post.
      – the courts are independent.

      And yes there are many examples where democracy has failed in the US, specially when it comes to African Americans. But overall it is a good system when it takes hold in a country.

    • avatar Random Armenian // July 8, 2015 at 11:55 pm //

      “{“$50 billion for winter Olympics? That’s nuts.”}

      Are you serious ?
      The official cost to the US _taxpayers_ of the 2008 bailout is $700 Billion.
      That’s the official figure.
      (various independent estimates put the number at up to several trillion).”

      You’re comparing the one example of building to host the olympics vs the entire housing market fiasco of the US. That’s like comparing a single apple with a bag of apples. Imaging what else is going in Russia.

      $50 billion for a single winter olympic makes no sense! That’s way too much. %1 of that would pay for the north-south highway in Armenia. And building a highway is not cheap.

      Or is this your way of agreeing that that Russia is corrupt. I know it’s not easy for you and me to admit to agree on anything ;-)

      Although the Russian winter olympic opening ceremony was very well done.

    • Random,

      I’ve spent months of intensive research into the subject of democracy, state- and nation-building from a historical perspective. I appreciate your thoughts, but you don’t have to waste your time elaborating on the word ‘democracy’, its implications, and what it denominates in modern times, because I don’t disagree with many of your thoughts. What I disagree with is when the Western model of democracy, whether it’s called ‘representative government’ or ‘government by the people’ or ‘rule by a majority’ or ‘a system shared with oligarchy’ or ‘a system shared with plutocracy’ or what have you, is being portrayed as: (a) the least imperfect form of government that we have in the world now; (b) a good system capable of taking hold in a country; and (c) a form of government that must be imposed on the rest of the world (you haven’t said that).

      Misperception A: “Democracy is the least imperfect form of government that we have in the world now”.

      There is other least imperfect form of government that we have in the world now, namely, constitutional, limited or parliamentary monarchy. Non-Western constitutional monarchies, such as Japan, Malaysia, Kuwait, Jordan, Thailand, Morocco, and Brunei Darussalam are doing quite well, according to the 2014 Human Development Report. Some even better than democratic Western European country of Greece. The least imperfect form of government that we, unfortunately, don’t—but could—have, is a republic, a form that founding fathers and framers of the US constitution intended to create and that must have been contrasted with a democracy which they feared as much as they feared monarchy or aristocracy.

      Misperception B: “Democracy is a good system capable of taking hold in a country”.

      Are you saying that monarchies, people’s or communist republics or fascist regimes were not capable of taking hold in their countries, even if their methods were harsher than in democracies?

      Misperception C: “Democracy is least imperfect form of government. Therefore it must be imposed on the rest of the world”.

      This reminds me of the saying “Be nice to America. Or we’ll bring democracy to your country!” The saying was even attempted to be put into practice in a country like Iraq. Did it work? Nope. The truth is that this form of government can work—however imperfectly—in some countries, but won’t work in others. Let other countries decide what form of government is ‘imperfect’ for them. If monarchy or fascism or people’s republic will work for the benefit of the Armenian people, I could care less what form of government the people have favored in the country.

      In the US there indeed are many examples where democracy has failed, especially when it comes to the creation of the Federal Reserve System, a non-governmental enterprise that was given the unconstitutional authority to coin money in violation of Article I, Section 8, Clause 5 of the Constitution. I’d venture into saying that American democracy has expired in 1913.

    • avatar Random Armenian // July 11, 2015 at 4:05 pm //

      john,

      What’s the difference between the Japanese constitutional monarchy vs the European one’s? Aren’t they all ceremonial? If you took these kings and emperors away, what would be the impact? You’d still have an election based representative governments in place running the country. What do you see the difference here? Are the Japanese doing something different that you like?

    • Random,

      I only replied to your comment about democracy being ‘the least imperfect form of government that we have in the world now’. I demonstrated that we also have another least imperfect form of government in the world now, namely: the constitutional, limited or parliamentary monarchy. Whether monarchies are strictly ceremonial is a subject of another discussion. If you really think that British monarchy plays only ‘ceremonial’ role in the UK and the world, then we’d better close the subject before even starting it. And if we take kings and emperors away in those constitutional monarchies, the impact could be significant for the whole fabric of their respective societies, because monarchs act as heads of state and are defined to be symbols of the State and of the unity of the people. As for the Japanese, what they do different is that their executive branch doesn’t obtain legitimacy from the parliament, but instead derives its authority directly from the people through a parallel voting system. This is something I like in comparison to the American “democracy”, in which the election of the head of the executive branch (the president and the vice-president) is not decided by the people, but by ‘electors’ who are chosen on a state-by-state basis.

    • avatar Random Armenian // July 18, 2015 at 1:29 am //

      john,

      “And if we take kings and emperors away in those constitutional monarchies, the impact could be significant for the whole fabric of their respective societies, because monarchs act as heads of state and are defined to be symbols of the State and of the unity of the people”

      The Queen of England has no decision making powers. Simply ceremonial. And if the monarchy went away, the UK will be just fine. There is a fully functional government and judicial system which simply will carry on running the country.

      I really don’t see the benefit of constitutional monarchies. They have no decision making powers and are not elected by the people. Any connection with such monarchies or keeping them is more sentimental than anything. They have no direct impact on the people. Their governments do. What limited powers they have, if any, can simply be transferred to the government and that would be that.

      The decisions which govern these countries is made by the governments and not these leftover monarchies.

  6. Elections in the US is basically about two groups of well connected people competing for the empire’s control panels. There has not been “free and fair” elections in the US for generations. The system is rigged to be a two party show. Democrats and Republicans are ultimately two sides of the same coin. Every four years the financial/corporate elite in the US decide what shirt the sheeple will wear, and the sheeple are given the “democratic” choice of picking between two colors. The US political system is like a two ring circus managed by a ringmaster that the audience does not get to see. US presidents are appointed by the elite to be elected by the sheeple. US presidents are tasked with being the spokesmen or salesmen for special interests running the imperial show behind-the-scenes. The US is being run as if it is a multi-national corporation in which the American citizenry is its work force. The US is more of a plutocracy than a democracy.

    US civilization prospered not because of a wonderful democratic system but because of centuries of mass scale exploitation of humans and nature and war plunder. US civilization lives well currently because of the absolute global domination the US dollar. For US civilization to continue living well, the hegemony of the US dollar has to be maintained and potential competitors on the world stage have to be either isolated or destroyed. The US has become a monster of global proportions. But a monster that will not live forever.

    The American system will eventually collapse, perhaps within this century. And once it does, it will make the Soviet collapse look like a leisurely stroll through a flower garden.

    Russia is the last hope for western/European civilization, apostolic Christianity, societal conservatism and the traditional nation-state. Russia is the last front against Western imperialism, Globalism, Zionism, Islamic extremism and pan-Turkism. God bless Mother Russia. God bless our Hayrenik. And may God help protect our centuries old Russo-Armenian alliance from all enemies both foreign and domestic.

    • avatar Random Armenian // July 8, 2015 at 11:31 am //

      “Russia is the last hope for western/European civilization, apostolic Christianity, societal conservatism and the traditional nation-state.”

      Last hope? Corrupt Russia? Freedom and equal application of law and voting bad politicians out of office is what nations need. Not ideological and religious control of people’s lives. You’ll have corruption when you have the latter. There has been centuries of morally corrupt Christian history in Europe. Is that where we want to go back to? Church hierarchy can be just as corrupt as governments, specially when they are powerful and have no-one to answer to.

    • {Freedom and equal application of law and voting bad politicians out of office is what nations need.}

      Random, are you suggesting opening a debate about the extent of (a) freedom; (b) equal application of law; and (c) voting bad politicians out of office in the West? I stand ready to prove, based on facts, that all three notions are limited in Western societies. Especially the third one, which amused me a great deal, as I recalled how badly the American people wished—and failed—George W. Bush out of office back in 2004 (as just one example).

      {Not ideological and religious control of people’s lives.}

      After the demise of the Soviet Union there has been no ideological control of people’s lives, if you were referring to Russia. And religious control has been non-existent there from the times of the so-called “Russian” Revolution.

      {There has been centuries of morally corrupt Christian history in Europe. Is that where we want to go back to?}

      Those centuries of Christian history in Europe were not only “morally corrupt”. They were also pietistic, progressive, productive and innovational. No time period in history of the mankind can be painted in only black or only white color.

    • avatar Random Armenian // July 8, 2015 at 11:41 pm //

      “Random, are you suggesting opening a debate about the extent of (a) freedom; (b) equal application of law; and (c) voting bad politicians out of office in the West? ”

      I’m saying those are the ideals. And closer a country gets to these ideals, the better the people are.

      I’m quite aware of the Dubbya elections. The first one was on a knife-edge and some judge in Florida tipped it in Bush’s favor.

      “They were also pietistic, progressive, productive and innovational. ”

      True, but we can see what happens when an organization with power over people and no opposition and accountability, can become breeding ground for corruption.

      Besides, at this current stage of human history, people tend to want a representative government where they periodically choose said representatives, or kick them out.

    • Then, I guess, you should have brought forth these ideals for all of the humanity and not in relation to Russia or Christian Europe alone. This is an impression one gets after reading your post, e.g. “Corrupt Russia? Freedom and equal application of law and voting bad politicians out of office is what nations need” or “There has been centuries of morally corrupt Christian history in Europe. Is that where we want to go back to?”

  7. RA,

    Didn’t you contradict yourself in your reply? First you say US is dependent on Turkey “quite a bit” and so suggest that the USA does not recognize the Genocide for that reason, then you say “Turkey can’t detach itself from the USA” again with the implication that even if the USA recognizes the Genocide. So which is it?

    I’ll agree that greed and money overrule religion, that means all religions and always has been that way, but that is not the point of my post. Christianity, especially for us Armenians, is not just a religion. It is also our traditions, culture, and identity. You can ditch this aspect all you like, except you will be a person whose cultural Armenianness diminishes considerably. Here is where Russia has overtaken the USA, the Russian Orthodox Church now is relevant in the country, and while they do not “rule”, they provide an important moral input, very much in-line and compatible with out own culture.

    And I’ll agree with John that the USA does have desirable aspects of a democracy. But that is as a result of the vision and stipulations of the original founders, and not any person or group in power today, nor in recent history. The system has been abused and bought out already such that aspects of the US government are even being run from abroad, and all in the name of “American interests”. And all of this affects us, 98% Americans of Armenian and non-Armenian descent, negatively.

    So Russia is run by oligarchs. How is that any worse than the USA being run by greedy corporations and certain lobby groups who don’t have the interests of the general American public at heart?

    • avatar Random Armenian // July 4, 2015 at 4:21 pm //

      It’s not a contradiction. Turkey has influence over the US and US has influence over Turkey. Countries can become dependent on each other because they both have something to offer the other. Turkey is dependent on the West for technology and weaponry and the US benefits from having bases and access to the middle east through Turkey.

      That said, Turkey has been ramping up their domestic military industry for the past decade or two (and profit from exporting arms), giving them more wiggle room. Their interest in Chinese missiles over Nato ones is one sign of where they’re headed in the future. The neo-Ottomans in Turkey never wanted to be dependent on the West and don’t see themselves as part of Europe.

      When it comes to legally non-binding declaration of the Armenian Genocide in congress vs monetary and military interests in Turkey, Turkey is able to put pressure on the US. For most American lawmakers even if they agree with the historical truth, it’s not worth it when balanced against American interests of today.

    • avatar Random Armenian // July 4, 2015 at 4:43 pm //

      The way I see it, the US should be able to get away with recognizing the Genocide even if painful short term. But long term Turkey will settle down because of mutual interests. But, there is not enough courage in Congress against Turkish pressure.

      “I’ll agree that greed and money overrule religion, that means all religions and always has been that way, but that is not the point of my post. Christianity, especially for us Armenians, is not just a religion. It is also our traditions, culture, and identity. You can ditch this aspect all you like, except you will be a person whose cultural Armenianness diminishes considerably.”

      So many people around the world see their religion as part of their identity and at the same time don’t live by the tenets of their religion, in part because they don’t understand the religion which they see as part of their identity.

      You may see me less of an Armenian, but I certainly don’t. I don’t see you any less of an Armenian either. Any group of people have their diversity and we Armenians are no different.

  8. avatar Yerevanian // July 5, 2015 at 6:18 am // Reply

    Avery,

    “Russia is strategic partners with Armenia and not Azerbaijan because Armenia is Orthodox Christian and Azerbaijan isn’t.”

    That’s almost as ridiculous as that foolish statement that’s constantly being made by that one particular neurotic Russian nationalist in regard to Russia being Armenia’s mother (Mother Russia). Anyway, it’s certainly not because of Christianity that Russia happens to be strategic partners with Armenia. It happens to be strategic partners with Armenia, because of Armenia’s extremely important location, right next door to Turkey (NATO’s Middle East headquarters). And, as a result of the Turkish threat to Armenia, Russia is therefore able to have its military present on Armenia’s soil. This is an absolutely perfect situation for Russia; it couldn’t have received anything more from any other potential partner.

    On the subject of Christian brotherhood, if “Christianity-appreciating” Russia truly valued Armenia’s Christianity, then it obviously would not have sold four billion dollars worth of military arms to Armenia’s mortal enemy (Islamic Azerbaijan), nor would it continuously refrain from condemning Islamic Azerbaijan for its campaign of terrorism against Christian Armenia. Just like the United States, Russia has no “Christian interests.” The interests of these two greedy, rogue superpowers are based upon nothing more than expanding their influence and power even further.

    • What is even more ridiculous is this from the other thread:

      I wrote:
      (Avery // June 24, 2015 at 5:14 pm //)
      {“ btw: go and peacefully sit, with a few of your friends, in the middle of Vermont Ave, East Hollywood, weekday or weekend.”}

      you replied:
      Yerevanian // June 25, 2015 at 8:07 am //
      { Actually, earlier this week, I happened to be peacefully hanging out with about twenty of my neighborhood brothers over by Hollywood and Normandie.”}

      Uuummm: I don’t how to say this, but…..well the idea was for you and 20 of your friends to go and sit in the _middle_ of “Vermont Ave”, not on some sidewalk in East Hollywood.
      On the street. Not on the sidewalk.
      Street: illegal.
      Sidewalk: legal.
      OK ?
      Do you see how ridiculous your retort was ?

      So please, pretty please: go and sit in the middle of the intersection of any of these:
      Vermont & Sunset.
      Vermont & Hollywood.
      Normandy & Hollywood.
      Not off the street, _on_ the street.
      Just like people in Yerevan are blocking Bagramian Ave.
      OK ?

      Please post a note @AW 1-2 weeks in advance: where and when you and your 20 friends will sit _on_ the street, and block traffic.
      I read AW regularly.
      I live in SoCal.
      I will make a point to be there, on the sidewalk, in East Hollywood, with 20 of my friends.
      We will record the savage beating LAPD will administer to you and your 20 friends when you and your 20 friends fail to disperse in 10 seconds and put it on YouTube.
      It will be most entertaining to watch LAPD at work enforcing the law.
      Can’t wait.

    • avatar Yerevanian // July 7, 2015 at 8:19 am //

      And why is it ridiculous for me and twenty other Armenian brothers to hang out on the sidewalk by Hollywood and Nomandie, and engage into a discussion about Armenian issues? You seem to be really turned on by all of this?

      Well, since you proposed the extremely ridiculous idea of sitting in the middle of Vermont Avenue while all those automobiles are coming and going, why are you not doing this? From the sidewalk, I would love to watch what happens. You may even end up getting savagely crushed by one of those moving vehicles. Anyway, make sure to let me know if you decide to do this. Can’t wait!

  9. Orthodox Christianity is one of several determinants of Russia’s being strategic partners with Armenia and not Azerbaijan. It certainly isn’t THE major determinant, and certainly not as important as Armenia’s geographical location. However, it is outrightly foolish to shrug off the factor of common faith as an important component of the Russian-Armenian strategic alliance. Paraphrased as ‘spiritual kinship’, this factor can often be heard in the speeches and interviews by officials, experts, and the clergy representing both nations.

    • avatar Random Armenian // July 8, 2015 at 11:43 pm //

      john,

      but this kinship can easily be overridden by geopolitical changes and priorities. Or by a change in leadership.

    • Random,

      Agree. In 1917 the change of Russian leadership from being Russian Orthodox to being Judeo-Masonic overrode this kinship. But several posters here are glad that in the modern times the kinship is being revived.

      Your point what exactly?

    • avatar Random Armenian // July 18, 2015 at 1:39 am //

      john,

      At what level is this kinship playing out? Certainly not when selling several billions in arms to Azerbaijan, which they would be using against Arstakh and Armenia. Even if they fail again militarily, it will mean deaths of hundreds if not thousands of Armenian soldiers and not to mention civilians and infrastructure and damage to a fragile economy.

      If Azerbaijan resumes the war, which frankly they’re getting more and more capable of doing, they will attack the civilians population indiscriminately in order to drive all Armenians out of Artaskh, and even take southern Armenia to connect with Nakhichevan. They’re not interested in coexisting with Armenians.

      Have anyone in Russia who share a spiritual kinship with us spoken up against the weapons being sold to Azerbaijan to be used against Armenians? Do they actually care?

  10. avatar Yerevanian // July 7, 2015 at 8:39 am // Reply

    It’s outrightly foolish to keep insisting that Orthodox Christianity is one of the determinants in Russia being strategic partners with Armenia, and not Azerbaijan. If this were really true, then Russia would not go behind Armenia’s back and sell four billion dollars worth of military arms to Armenia’s mortal enemy (Azerbaijan), nor would it remain totally neutral in the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict.

    And the reason why Russia happens to not be strategic partners with Islamic Azerbaijan is due to the reason that Sultan Aliyev does not want a strategic partnership with anyone other than Turkey, nor would he ever allow the Russians to have a military base within Azerbaijan.

    Going back to the subject of Christianity, the religion of Russia’s government is certainly not Christianity. Their religion is corruption.

  11. “The relations of the brotherly nations of Russia and Armenia have been always characterized by SPECIAL SPIRITUAL AFFINITY [capitalization mine–john] and mutual support.” ~Russian President Vladimir Putin during the speech at the Armenian Genocide Memorial in April 24, 2015

    Oxford English Dictionary:
    Spiritual, adj. 2 Of or relating to religion or religious belief.

    • avatar Random Armenian // July 8, 2015 at 11:47 pm //

      That’s what’s said publicly. What’s going on behind closed doors when Russia deals with its Christian and non-Christian neighbors? I’ve always ignored such public statements by politicians.

    • The extract from Putin’s speech was cited to demonstrate that had there not been a factor of Orthodox Christianity in the Russian-Armenian relations or had Putin not considered the factor noteworthy enough to mention it in his speech, he would not have made reference to it, especially at the Armenian Genocide Memorial, especially on April 24th, and especially before the high-ranking international audience.

      The issue here wasn’t about what’s going on behind closed doors when Russia deals with its Christian and non-Christian neighbors. The issue here was that it’s fair to say that Orthodox Christianity is considered by both Russia and Armenia as one of determinants of their alliance. Not the major one. One of. Never had Putin used the phrase “special spiritual affinity” in his speeches in AzerBEYjan or about Russia’s relations with AzerBEYjan. What does this tell you?

      You can choose to ignore public speeches by statesmen and political figures all you want. This won’t change the fact that their public speaking is aimed at informing the audience, in a structured manner, about things they consider important, knowing that their speeches are carefully listened to and widely analyzed. Whereas your comments, or mine for that matter, are just that: comments.

      And since some bubbleheads here appear to know that Putin is unChristian, I personally don’t know to what extent Christian faith shapes his personality and worldview. But Putin appears to be more Christian that the U.S. president who on one occasion said he believed that “America is no longer just a Christian nation” (http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/204016.aspx) and on other occasion admitted to being a Muslim (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKGdkqfBICw).

    • avatar Random Armenian // July 18, 2015 at 1:50 am //

      Seriously john? You actually believe Obama is a muslim? and your evidence is an out of context clip of a slip of the tongue? Haven’t you or anyone else made an honest slip of the tongue when they said one thing instead of another.

  12. avatar Yerevanian // July 9, 2015 at 7:13 am // Reply

    How insulting it was to have a person as horribly corrupt and unchristian as Putin to make a speech at the Armenian Genocide Memorial on April 24th, 2015.

    • avatar Harutik // July 9, 2015 at 6:35 pm //

      “Yerevanian” Whether you realize it or not you have an agenda here that only serves Turkish and Western interests. Eferim! I can just imagine what you would have said had the great president Russia NOT attended the historic commemoration… My God, how have Western people become so intellectually and spiritually hollow? Why does their view of the world seem so upside-down? I sometimes cringe in disbelief at what I see apparently adult, well educated Westerners say and do.

    • The more this ‘Yerevanian’ ignoramus pops up in these pages blowing hot air ad nauseum, the more I tend to suspect that his primitive negationist posts may serve Azeri and/or Turkish interests. Hardly would a genuine Armenian—even decisively pro-Western one—so foolishly discard all hard evidence that posters bring forth here to support their arguments. All he can do is negate. Simple mind… so uncharacteristic to the Armenians.

    • avatar Yerevanian // July 11, 2015 at 7:40 am //

      “Harutik and john”,

      It’s rather hilarious that two anti-Armenian ignoramuses, such as yourselves, would try to suggest that I’m serving Azeri/Turkish interests when it happens to actually be the two of you who are serving their interests (and doing such a magnificent job of it too) by persistently being so supportive of Russia’s foul treatment of Armenia (which, of course, consists of going behind its back and supplying its mortal enemy of Azerbaijan with four billion dollars worth of military arms, remaining neutral in the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, and continuously refusing to condemn Azerbaijan for its terrorism campaign against Armenia and Artsakh). In addition, by way of the Sargsyan regime, Armenia is filled today with Russian corruption, which as a result, is causing a massive amount of Armenians to depart from their homeland, which as a result, is shrinking Armenia’s population year after year. This, by itself, greatly serves the interests of Azerbaijan/Turkey. With fewer Armenians in their homeland, Armenia, therefore, cannot possibly do anything against its two big enemies who wish to completely destroy it.

      In regard to the West, I most certainly do not have any support for it. I’ve been equally as critical of the West as I’ve been critical of Russia. My agenda revolves around the interests of the Armenian Nation. And what I desire for Armenia is a pro-Armenian leadership, as opposed to a Western-controlled or Russian-controlled leadership.

  13. avatar Yerevanian // July 10, 2015 at 4:25 am // Reply

    Why is it fair to say that Orthodox Christianity is one of the determinants of the alliance between Russia and Armenia? Because the Russian nationalists claim it to be this way? That’s not a reason! On the contrary, Russia’s foul treatment of Armenia has been the exact opposite of Christian brotherhood.

    And, of course, by accurately depicting that crooked, corrupt Putin as being the exact opposite of a true Christian, his deeply offended admirers desperately feel obligated to try and prove that he’s at least more Christian than the president of the United States. Those butthead supporters of Putin are becoming more and more desperate by the day.

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