If a post-Communist record-book were kept of political protests in formerly Soviet states, Armenia could easily rank near the top. But, after years of demonstrations under various politicians, how long will Armenians keep rallying without results?
That’s the question facing former presidential candidate Raffi Hovhannisian, the American-born, opposition Heritage Party leader who finished second to Serzh Sargsyan in Armenia’s February 18 presidential election. Disputing the finish as fraudulent, Hovhannisian, 53, launched a national series of rallies to struggle for “people power.”
Dubbed the “Barevolution,” or “Hello Revolution,” for Hovhannisian’s walkabouts, the protests, drawing thousands of people, initially stirred surprise. After the bloody clashes in 2008 between police and protesters that left 10 people dead after Armenia’s last presidential vote, few had expected many voters to take to the streets to contest the official election results.
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Marianna Grigoryan is a freelance reporter based in Yerevan and editor of MediaLab.am.