Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Advice for barevolutionaries

Guest post from a friend

I, like many others in Armenia, are steering clear of Raffi and his mob.   Sure, now that the ARF has decided to capitalize on its pre-election propaganda campaign against the legitimacy of Armenia  and dragged its rank and file into the fray, it may seem more political and less personal, but in the end this is about grudges.   Some of the grudges are between oligarchs, the exclusive club to which Raffi, Serge, LTP, Tsarukyan, Paruyr, and the other dozen or so figures with whom the public is on a first name basis and who have arrogated to themselves the right to decide the outcome of elections behind closed doors.   Other grudges are between ordinary people and functionaries who overplay their hands, smug and abusive.   Others are societal, between various groups that believe they are entitled to a bigger piece of the pie.  So what do we have, our post-election ritual - a bunch of people trying to settle their grudges on the streets.   When they see a brawl in the making, thoughtful people stay clear or try to calm things down.   The idle, gawk.   The bored and irresponsible, goad.   The instigators and beneficiaries, gloat.     In the face of this, the result of the elections that most independent observers said were a step forward for Armenian democracy is preferable, regardless of who was elected.   The peaceful process that we took part in is now being undermined by the mobocracy with a former American citizen as its ring-leader.   Nice job, Raffi.   Just what we've waited 10 years for you to do - make a royal mess of things and package it in tired slogans about truth, justice and the American way - you must have missed the class on Al Gore.  

Instead of asking for power, it would be nice to have a substantive list of things that will make life better for people:

1.   more support for the elderly

2.   fairer tax collection, especially from oligarchs

3.   cheaper natural gas

4.   less regulation and more protection for small business

5.   support for families with children

6.   compensation for farmers who've been foreclosed after being forced to buy defective seed wheat from the Government

And the list goes on.   It would be nice, but unlikely that Raffi will turn his leverage to actually improving something for real people in Hayastan - instead he and his coterie will likely focus on getting positions for themselves, on the theory that first they get power, then they will attend to the needs of the people.   But they've got their priorities backwards.   The people should come first.

Barevolution is the term he coined and also the color is orange, just like in Ukraine. Smart people learn from their own mistakes, really smart ones from mistakes of others. Where is Ukraine after the "revolution"? Georgia? Both worse off today than before. Georgia's final loss of territories is part of that equation.

I think realistically he will try to drag this mobilization to Yerevan's mayoral election. There's nothing else from a rational political calculus that is workable.


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