Saturday, October 20, 2007

Changes in Martuni...

We are kind of over the shock of the elections in the city of Martuni for mayor.

We thought that my wife's uncle Artyom was going to win for sure based on 1,400 people who told us that they were going to vote for Artyom. In the end Artyom only ended up with less than 700 votes coming in 3rd.

There were 4 people running, the person who came in second was Artyom's aid, Azizyan, a man I can only describe as uneducated, unlucky in almost everything he does, never seeming to pick the right road to take and on top of this owing money to the bank and many many people. He once borrowed from me 20,000 dram for a month, but it took him 3 years to pay me back.

The reason why Azizyan ran we later found out was not only was he being backed by the Dashnag's (they always seem to back up someone who if elected they can later on try to control, thus someone who is uneducated in this case was their choice). On top of this, the commander of one of the bases in Martuni, said he and the former police cheif and present day director of the electric company would back him and make their people vote for him, but later on had their people vote for the mayor who ended up winning. The commander and head of the electric company did this to split the votes that Artyom was to get and it worked. If Azizyan didn't run, Artyom could have got 1,500 votes.

So who is our new Mayor? His name is Nelson and he is a businessman who has a small wine factory, a real working stiff who underpays his workers and in many cases was found working his own fields since no one was willing to work for slave wages that were many times paid late. He is also uneducated and can be controlled by those who got him into office. During his visits to schools, the electric company and other gatherings to present his plans if he is elected, he claimed to have an income far less that what he has, only claiming to have a family income of 2,300,000 dram, which for his family of 8, would provide about $65 a month per person. The reality is that he has an income of 10 times that, but only pays taxes on the lesser amount. He also claimed that he donated $15,000 to the construction of the memorial to the people who died in the Artsakh war with Azerbaijan. The fact is that he donated 250,000 dram (about $750).

Anyway, I saw Nelson yesterday at his office and the guy I have seen for the last 10 years working his crop was wearing a suit. I asked him if he had problems with the feel of a suit, which though I didn't say it, really didn't look good on him at all. He said that if it was not raining, he would be wearing his working clothes so he could go out and work in the city to make things better.

Artyom has had 3 job offers since the elections and I'm guessing that there is a good chance that next year they will appoint him regional minister of Martuni.

As for the commander and head of the electric company, word is that there are people at the top who did not like their divide and concur tactics to get their man elected. As a result, I've been told that the head of the electric company will be removed and there is a good chance we will be seeing a new commander in Martuni.

One other sad note. Night before last we had a car crash in the center of the city. It seems that a drunk driver hit the gas instead of the brake and ended up hitting the wall of the theater building, killing the two people in the car and leaving another is very bad shape.

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