Barevolution on my mind…

By Mosh Babajanyan

I don’t hate our current government. I don’t want to fight, to kill, to destruct. I don’t want to face the same situation every five years in February or March.  What if everyone just reconsiders? What if democracy is real? Maybe it is possible to stop bribing, to adhere to constitutional law, to be protected by professional and nice police? Hm…What if it is possible just to wake up in a world where there is respect?

Winter 1998, 2003, 2008, 2013…those are the elections I recall. The days I remember are so similar… My mom is looking out of the window. Senior citizens, who in any other case, never come out of their homes, walk slowly to the school where they are supposed to elect the new future for their grandchildren. One after another… My mom recalls that most of them worked with my grandparents in the bread factory. Ironically enough, this factory was shut down after the elections of 2008, as it was led by a person from the opposition… Mom knows these people. Tears come to her eyes, as she says: “They hope for change…”

The day of elections is calm. A free day from studies or work full with discussions and hopes… Hopes are always present… Then it is 8 o’clock, the doors of electing points close, and immediately the lights turn off; you can hear screaming and shouting from inside. The lights go on… Next thing you know an observer runs out from the place and says, “They replaced the electoral ballots with new ones!!” Our electoral area is small; we don’t get observers from OSCE or other regional organization… But so do most of the electoral points in Armenia, where the story repeats itself every 1998, 2003, 2008, 2013 winter.

Barevolution is a term for a peaceful protest organized by Raffi Hovhannisyan, the leader, who officially received 37% of votes during the 2013 presidential elections. Raffi is originally from the US, born in a family who the Genocide survivors.  He was the Foreign Minister of Armenia for a year after the Soviet Union fell. His electoral campaign mainly included walking in the streets and shaking hands with everyone who would pass by. As a very well-known political analyst Lyudmila Harutyunyan mentioned in an interview, Armenian people lacked kindness and simplicity from the side of political leaders. In fact, this was not just his campaign; he would shake hands with everyone regardless of the elections ever since I see him in the streets. In Armenian, the word “barev” means “hello”. Merging it with revolution, we get “Barevolution”, a revolution of hello, a revolution of shaking hands.

Almost every presidential election was followed by strikes, tanks in the city, emergency hours and sometimes deaths. This year the nature of strikes is different. Peace and love is promoted towards the leading party and everyone who disagrees with those collected in the squares. Raffi Hovhannisyan went on a hunger strike, stating that the false elections will be continued to be accepted only by means of his death.

In the scope of my thesis work, I am studying the polit-economic changes of Armenia and Azerbaijan after 2003. This is the year Ilham Aliyev was elected in Azerbaijan and the year Robert Kocharyan was reelected in Armenia. Now Sargsyan in many ways continues the policy of Kocharyan. This year, Sargysan was reelected, his ruling party was reelected again (as it has been for the last 15 years) and Ilham Aliyev will most probably be reelected in Azerbaijan.

After conducting research on the possible changes, making interviews with various specialists of the subject, the only preliminary conclusion is that there have been no significant polit-economic changes during last ten years, and there will be no change at least for the coming up five years: people who lost their homes 20 years ago will not get new ones, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict status-quo will remain as it is… the hope will remain as it is…

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