It’s an Exciting Time to be in Armenia
We keep hearing it around us that it’s an exciting time to be in Armenia.
I thought it was because Allen and I arrived and now live here but alas everyone is referring to the recent elections.
I arrived on election night and the controversy was already in the air with “Gallup” exit polls declaring the incumbent Sarkisian the victor. No one stops to think though, how does a country with such vast inefficiencies and problems with polling end up with an “exit poll” that declares a winner, only hours after the election. Also, this Gallup organization isn’t actually the real Gallup. Weird.
Despite these exit polls and subsequent declaration of victory by the regime, Raffi Hovinessian, a diasporan who moved here during independence, ended up securing a very big chunk of the votes. He “officially” won 36% of the vote, but in town after town, he pulled in more votes than Sarkisian. He actually won by a lot in both Gyumri and Vanadzor–the two next largest cities. So thus he began to rally the people, day after day. And when I say people, I mean lots and lots of people. Though the demonstrations are not as large as after the 2008 elections, they are more substantive.
The general tone is positive and forward looking, with an overall message of “Unity” and “Armenia” as opposed to the negative language of destruction echoed during Ter Petrosyan’s rallies.
We’ve been to most of the rallys and Allen watches everything as it happens on Civilnet.am. I have to say it’s very exhilarating seeing all those people gather together, for one cause, and in Armenia. You cannot comprehend it until you see it and experience it for yourself.
Civilnet produced this nice clip from, what I believe is the first time Raffi went to the streets after the election.
We generally believe that the majority of the country is behind Raffi and the barevolution. They are calling it that because he went around the country during campaign season saying barev (hello) to everyone he met–something very uncommon in Armenia.
Even the students are getting active. There have been student walk outs every day this week.
I’m happy to see this change in the air but will it sustain itself? Will the momentum keep going? The people want a prosperous, democratic Armenia and this regime needs to listen to what the people want…but will they? And how will Raffi play out in the end? What is his plan? Too many unanswered questions.
Enough about politics…