Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Armenia: Theatre of absurd called “presidential election” (or shall I say “assassination”?)

On Twitter, I said I was not sure who could have ordered this ‘assassination attempt’ towards one of presidential candidates Paruyr Hayrikyan but speculations and conspiracy theories were abound. I could not imagine Armenia authorities would want to postpone the election as no candidate, let alone Hayrikyan, pose any real risk to them. PR? Provocation? But why? Framing others?

These were the question marks I posed in the immediate aftermath of this ‘assassination attempt’. Now these question marks reduced to one: PR.

The only person who (at least initially) gained PR-wise was the ‘victim of assassination’ himself. The only possible change this may result in, if at all: some re-ordering in the placing of election runners-up (No.2, No.3 or No.4).

And here we are: 'Victim of assassination' #Hayrikyan won't seek #armvote13 delay. Of course, he won't. It's his 'star moment' #Armenia #theatre [one of my latest Twitter updates @unzippedblog]

Apologies for cynicism, but the ‘victim’ got the best opportunity of public exposure that no campaign would have ever provided to him.

He got a prime time coverage focusing on his persona, with almost non-stop ‘exclusive’ interviews during which recovering Hayrikyan put forward versions of the incident from the strange to the bizarre.

While initially quite a few activists, commentators were more supportive of Hayrikyan, things have changed as soon as he started elaborating on the possible reasons and details of this incident.

He blamed ‘special agents’, current or former KGB or whatever. He claimed he started remembering the face of the ‘assassin’, and he reckons the ‘assassin’ is not Armenian because... he (the ‘assassin’ that is) didn’t say a word in Armenian (!) So not only that ‘special agent assassin’ didn’t cover his face but he was expected to have a lovely chat with perhaps a cup of tea with the intended ‘target’...

Even “assassination attempts” during this election are extremely boring. And very safe, indeed. [I am happy that it was safe, of course, but that’s not the point]

You want the reality show where borders between fiction, theatre and the reality are hardly discernible? Welcome to Armenia. The whole country turned into a big theatre with a play on stage called #armvote13.

Prepare your popcorn. Seat back. Relax. And press the button. Or do not.

In the meantime, the best to come out of this election is DIY satire, internet meme and similar that Facebook and other online forums are full with.


Adrineh D said...

I am still left asking "but why?" You say it's a PR stunt, but at the end of the day, even this PR stunt won't give Hayrikyan a fighting chance of becoming the next president of Armenia. So what does it do for him really? At the end of all of this, he's still in the same political position as he was before, right? I mean, so maybe a few more people know his name now and a few more details about him. So what? In the grand scheme of things, it changes nothing. Quite sad it all is really...

artmika said...

True, that's the point that this changes nothing in a bigger picture and the outcome could be a mere change in order of runners-up, if at all. But here we are, those subtle nuances. May be I simplify things too much, but never underestimate the importance for some of gaining the sense of... self- importance.

In any case, I do not want to go deep into analyses. They do not deserve this. The key for me re this presidential election is to prepare for the next one, whenever it may be.

Onnik Krikorian said...

I think it's best to remain just confused about his incident. That also seems to be the way diplomats are viewing it at all. I'd also definitely avoid statements from Ara Papyan and not least because his words should always be taken with a pinch of salt anyway, and not least because I've heard the opposite from other more reliable sources. True, I'm also reserving judgement, but for now we simply don't know enough. Also true, I don't see how this incident benefits anyone other than Hayrikian, but also as Adrineh says, it's hardly going to benefit him to any significant extent.