Thursday, July 14, 2005

Revolt Brewing Against Culture Minister

RFE/RL reports that another revolt is brewing against the Armenian Minister of Culture, Hovik Hoveyan. After confusing people by suggesting that youth need to learn how to hold a funeral and lamenting the popularity of folk dances because they are a sign of socio-economic hardship, the Minister is now planning to replace the head of the State Dance Ensemble.
The man rumored to be Hoveyan’s choice of ensemble chief is Karen Gevorgian, dean of the Culture Department at the Armenian State Pedagogical University. The minister already tried to appoint him as head of Armenia’s main ballet school last September but had to back down after a three-week strike staged by the school personnel.
Given that Armenians take such pride in their culture, what is it about the position of Culture Minister that seems to attract people of this "callibre" to the post? Hoveyan's predeccessor, Tamara Poghosian, had to leave the position last May because of the public and political backlash against her short-lived tenure.

Of course, the position of Culture Minister has been "given" to Orinats Yerkir and so, that determines who gets appointed (Hoveyan reportedly joined the party a few days before his appointment) but I suppose, like Tamara Poghosian and Ara Aramian, at least these guys have the decency to go when the patience of the public is exhausted.

In case you don't remember, the Minister of Urban Development, Ara Aramian, had no choice but to resign last April after his son started to shoot off guns at a cafe close to where the Armenian President was wining and dining his Georgian counterpart, Mikheil Saakashvili. Aramian was also a member of Orinats Yerkir, one of the three parties in the ruling coalition government.

The news item can be read online here.

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