Sarko in Caucase (PanArmenian)

The visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Armenia on October 7th was number one topic in Armenian press. But not only because of its words about recognition of genocide…

By Arsaluis Mghdesyan

Provocation or electoral trick? During his official visit in Armenia beginning of October, Nicolas Sarkozy and President of Armenia, Serge Sargsyan, hold a common speech on the square “France“, in the center of Yerevan, inaugurating at the occasion a sculpture made by the famous artist Auguste Rodin.

French President made several notable statements concerning the Karabakh conflict and the acceptation of Armenian genocide by Turkey. These words, designed to win sympathy of the half a million french armenian community before the French presidential election in 2012, have caused an expected protest reaction from Ankara.

But behind eloquent sentences and vows of eternal friendship between French and Armenian peoples, Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit to Yerevan was marked by two events: the collapse of the transports because lots of streets of the capital had been blocked for this official visit and the round-the-clock sit-down strikes from the oppositional party, « Armenian national congress » (ANC).

Bye bye buses

The day of the performance of the two Presidents, transports were entirely paralysed. It was impossible even to driving up to the city center, as all avenue leading to the center had been blocked on 6 to 8 kilomètres. People stood for hours in traffic jams, traveled by taxi and sometimes took up to five hours to get to the center but only using the subway.

However the underground has a problem too, because the subway in Yerevan works only in the central and south-western part of the city. The police had not warned in advance the Armenian population of inconveniences on the roads, nor did offer alternatives. Even the drivers of “marshrutkas” -route minibuses- were not informed.

Silence of Opposition

In the meanwhile on the Freedom square, the 7th day of round-the-clock opposition’s rallies took place. Armenian opposition members behaved themselves very silently during “Sarkozy’s performance”, happening about 200 meters from them – probably a kind of “gentleman agreement” with the authorities?