Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Ter-Petrosian Campaign

Levon Ter-Petrosian, post-Soviet Armenia's first president, is up against the levers of power he once controlled as he seeks to make a comeback:
"Public television has already begun to broadcast negative coverage of Ter-Petrosian. A Sunday evening programme called 360 Degrees took viewers back to the former president’s time in office, when the country was undergoing an acute economic crisis. For 22 minutes, the program showed gloomy black-and-white footage of those times, reminding viewers of a series of political murders that had been committed. The blood shown on the screen was made more vividly red for effect.

"Several television reports about the October 26 rally showed pictures of Freedom Square half-empty, apparently using footage of scenes shot before the demonstration started.

"The organisers of the rally told IWPR that almost all television channels had refused to air a video announcement about the forthcoming event, even though it had been sanctioned by the authorities...

"The authorities also responded with heavy-handed tactics to a march held by Ter-Petrosian supporter on October 23 to publicise the rally. Demonstrators clashed with police on one of Yerevan’s central streets, and several marchers and four policemen were injured. The marchers said later that the policemen had demanded that they stop handing out leaflets and surrender their megaphone."

Armenian politics is characterized by corrupt competition rather than strongman dictatorship, and the main players are the businessmen, most of whom probably stay legal primarily because they're the ones helping write the laws. I'm far from being deep enough into the weeds of it all to understand whether that directly relates to Nagorno-Karabakh. Ter-Petrosian's support for a peace agreement with Azerbaijan over the conflict was the proximate cause of his 1998 ouster by his own government.



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