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  1. #1
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Armenia: #ElectricYerevan protests

    The civil protests in Armenia, originally over a hike in electricity prices, now corruption appear to some as a 'colour revolution' that needs to be stopped. The Guardian has a reasonable commentary, on a protest that has been poorly reported here:

    One passage:
    At the heart of the protests is the government’s perceived tradition of looking out for its business buddies: in this case Electric Networks of Armenia, owned by the Russian company Inter RAO, which has close ties to the Kremlin......But some analysts believe these proposals do not go far enough to address the underlying resentment.

    “The post-Soviet system in Armenia, which by itself represents the Russian-style system of vertical corruption, does not work anymore,
    Please note a number of posts in the main Ukraine thread refer to the protests, especially as Russia has been cautious about a 'colour' outbreak and when I have time they will be moved here.

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    MOSCOW/YEREVAN, July 2 (Reuters) - In a veiled warning to the West, Russia cautioned on Thursday against any attempt to spark a new "colour revolution" in Armenia by exploiting protests against electricity prices for political ends.

    Large crowds of mostly young people have been protesting in the Armenian capital Yerevan for more than 10 days, demanding the government scrap plans to raise the price of electricity for households.

    Russia has been wary of unrest on its borders since governments fell in Georgia's 2003 Rose Revolution, Ukraine's 2003-04 Orange Revolution and Kiev's 2014 Maidan protests - events in which it says the West backed the protesters.

    "You know how the 'colour revolutions', and the Maidan in Ukraine, started," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a BRICS Youth Summit gathering of young people from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) in Moscow.

    "The current developments in Armenia - there is also a temptation among many to use them to whip up anti-government sentiment although the root of these events is purely economic," Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.

    "It seems useful for someone to go further and develop these processes in a political way."

    Lavrov said that the West in particular was paying increasing attention to the role of young people in shaping national agendas, including through "peaceful protest".

    His comments were the closest any senior Russian official has come to suggesting the West may have or be seeking a role in the protest in Armenia, which hosts a Russian military base, to pull it further out of Moscow's orbit.


    Thousands of protesters have been gathering every evening in Yerevan though their numbers dwindle during the day. Police tried to disperse them with water cannon early last week but the protest continued and has been peaceful since then.

    The protesters have ignored concessions offered by President Serzh Sargsyan, saying they want the price rise of up to 22 percent planned by the distribution company, a subsidiary of Russian firm Inter RAO, to be scrapped entirely.

    The protesters have avoided chanting anti-government slogans, saying their demands are limited to the electricity price dispute, though many also complain about alleged corruption in Armenia.

    "I think the process of these protests is largely over - or if not over, heading that way," Armenian political analyst Alexander Iskandaryan told Reuters in Yerevan.

    But Russian leaders fear unrest in neighbouring states could encourage protests in Russia and President Vladimir Putin said last year that Moscow "should do everything necessary" to prevent such a "colour revolution" in Russia.

    Armenia, in the southern Caucasus, was once part of the Soviet Union and its 3.2 million people have been hit hard by an economic downturn in Russia, its main ally and trading partner.

    It is also part of the Eurasian Economic Union, a political and economic bloc set up by Moscow to try to match the economic strength of the European Union, China and the United States.

    The Kremlin has said it is up to Armenia's government and the protesters to resolve the dispute themselves.
    Why does Russia get so concerned about "potential" western involvement when it is the massive Soviet style corruption at the heart of every "colored revolt"???? AND especially when it is Russian oligarchs that control virtually the entire energy sector of virtually all of the former Soviet Union republics.

  3. #3
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    ElectricYerevan protesters are joyfully rocking out on #Baghramyan in #Yerevan #Armenia

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    Never think the ongoing Armenian demonstrations have ended----

    'Electric Yerevan' Insists No One Has Pulled Plug On Armenia Protests. #electricyerevan

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    Post-Soviet states entered second anti-communist revolutionary period, Shmelyev says

    2015/07/02 • Analysis & Opinion, Politics

    The post-Soviet world is entering its own version of 1968, Aleksandr Shmelyev says, “and everything taking place in Armenia, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Russia and so on can be conceived as a wave of ‘secondary anti-communist revolutions,’ as attempts to put the authorities under the control of society.”

    In 1968, 23 years after the end of World War II, “a new generation of Europeans who were not satisfied with the post-war level of civil rights and freedoms appeared,” the Moscow commentator says. Now, 24 years after the end of the USSR, a new generation has appeared with the same anger and the same goal.

    “Despite 24 years of a divided history and anything but simple relations among the post-Soviet states, Shmelyev says, civil society encounters in them approximately one and the same set of problems.” Among these are “weakly developed democratic institutions, an appalling level of corruption, unjust laws, the absence of an independent judicial system, insane income differentiation, the treatment of the political opposition as ‘enemies,’ intolerance to minorities, and torture in the police and penal system.”

    At the same time, however, he continues, over this almost quarter of a century, “under conditions of relative freedom and inclusion in the globalized world have appeared a sufficient number of citizens who disagree with such arrangements but do not have the opportunity to change them by political means.”

    According to Shmelyev, “the Internet is allowing those protesting from Mensk, Kyiv, Moscow, Yerevan and so on to be in constant contact with each other, to share experiences and to support one another.” In the post-Soviet space, this is facilitated by the fact that there is as yet no real language barrier: most of these communications are in Russian.

    “If one can speak about ‘a Russian spring’ in the social-political sense, then only in this context as a series of mass protests against post-communist authoritarian hybrid systems. Then analogies with ‘the Arab spring’ appear completely logical.”
    Consequently, “if one can speak about ‘a Russian spring’ in the social-political sense, then only in this context as a series of mass protests against post-communist authoritarian hybrid systems. Then, analogies with ‘the Arab spring’ appear completely logical,” the Moscow commentator says.

    “No one knows,” he says, how the current round of events in Yerevan will end. “In Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Ukraine, street protests grew into revolutions; in Thailand and Belarus, they were harshly suppressed… in Turkey and Russia, the brakes were applied and a reaction followed; and in Syria, things descended into a long civil war.”

    But if one considers these phenomena from a global perspective and not from a conspiratorial geopolitical one, “it is almost obvious that the future of each of the post-Soviet republics lies with those who are now protesting in the streets.” They have the advantage over those in power generationally and in terms of education.

    “It is almost obvious that the future of each of the post-Soviet republics lies with those who are now protesting in the streets.” They have the advantage over those in power generationally and in terms of education.
    And consequently, Shmelyev says, “sooner or later, Lukashenka, Nazarbayev, Putin, Sargsyan, Aliyev, and Karimov will pass into history together with the systems they have created. The question involves only when and at what cost in victims.”

    Shmelyev’s optimism comes placing events in the post-Soviet states within a broader context (there have been mass civic protests in almost 80 countries since the beginning of the global crisis in 2008) and from three characteristics the post-Soviet cases share with the others.

    First of all, he says, “contemporary protests do not need leaders and organizers.” Consequently, parties and trade unions play very little role in them and “cannot take them under control.” Horizontal ties are more important for the protesters, and they are suspicious of any vertical organization.

    Indeed, he continues, “the agora of modern times does not need representation; its strength is in the absence of leaders whom the powers that be can so easily intimidate, deceive, buy off or isolate.”

    Second, those protesting are not supporters of any particular ideology. They may “advance some specific demands,” but “at a deeper level they are typically moved by a global dissatisfaction with the authorities whom they view as backward and out of date.”

    And third, Shmelyev says, this means that “the occasion for mass civic protests in our time can be almost anything,” including what many might think are minor or marginal issues. That makes these protests “practically impossible” either to predict or prevent, and it also means there will continue to be more of them.

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    Another small victory for #ElectricYerevan
    Armenia opens probe into police violence against protesters

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