A Good Resource for Information on “Eurasia”

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Eurasianet.org has a very informative website that offers news from Eurasia. Here is a snippet from their about page (when you find a source online always read their “about” or “description” page to get an idea of what the organization is, if they have any political biases, etc.):

EurasiaNet provides information and analysis about political, economic, environmental and social developments in the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus, as well as in Russia, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia. The web site also offers additional features, including newsmaker interviews and book reviews.

Based in New York, EurasiaNet advocates open and informed discussion of issues that concern countries in the region. The web site presents a variety of perspectives on contemporary developments, utilizing a network of correspondents based both in the West and in the region. The aim of EurasiaNet is to promote informed decision making among policy makers, as well as broadening interest in the region among the general public.

EurasiaNet is operated by the Central Eurasia Project of the Open Society Institute.

Today, they report on contested presidential elections in Armenia, where opposition supporters claim fraud has taken place while supporters of current Prime Minister (and declared winner) Serzh Sarkisian believe that their candidate has won with more than 50% of the vote, obviating the need for a run-off election (in many electoral systems, for a candidate to be declared the official winner, s/he must have received a majority (i.e., 50%) of votes cast. If no candidate passes that threshold, a run-off election is held where the two leaders go head-to-head.) You can read the Washington Post’s report here, with a snippet below:

armenia_elections.jpgYEREVAN, Armenia — Thousands of opposition supporters marched through Armenia’s capital Wednesday after an election official said complete results showed that the prime minister had won the presidential election.

Allegations of fraud and threats of mass protests have raised concerns about the stability of the volatile, strategic country, located at the juncture of the energy-rich Caspian Sea region and southern Europe and bordering Iran.

An initial count of the ballots showed Prime Minister Serge Sarkisian had nearly 53 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s election, Central Election Commission chief Garegin Azarian said _ enough to win outright and avoid a runoff. Top opposition candidate Levon Ter-Petrosian had 21.5 percent, Azarian said.

Ter-Petrosian’s backers have alleged widespread fraud, and a crowd gathered in central Yerevan to protest the results, swelling to some 20,000 as riot police with truncheons guarded the election commission building a five-minute walk away.

The protesters then marched to the government headquarters in a broad central square, many shouting “Levon!” and raising a clenched fist _ Ter-Petrosian’s campaign symbol. Helmeted police blocked the building, and the protesters moved on, marching toward the election commission building.

I have no doubt that the authorities have falsified the election and I will protest with all those who also feel cheated,” Simon Grigorian, a 38-year-old engineer, said at the protest.

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