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Virtual Lynch Mob in Post-Referendum Armenia

Armenia recently held a referendum on constitutional changes which would turn the country into a parliamentary republic. Several hundred violations were alleged during and after the vote by observers and journalists who were at the precincts.

Since the referendum, the Prosecutor General of Armenia, as well as the police, have undertaken an extensive investigation to seek out legitimate claims. At least a dozen criminal cases have been filed by the Prosecutor General, including for alleged bribery, ballot box stuffing, and double voting – and several dozen more are still being investigated.

Despite authorities’ apparent efforts at resolving reported discrepancies, some Internet vigilantes are using social media to exact a digital form of mob justice. The undertaking is led by a Facebook group launched the day after the referendum called Meet the Criminal Election Fraudsters.  The group has taken to posting allegations about individuals – some who have not been charged with any crime and none who have been convicted of one – along with their pictures. When available, they include the accused’s Facebook page address and workplaces or the names of companies they own.

In the absence of due process, the initiative has devolved into a virtual lynch mob where – akin to its cousin in the physical world – an accusation is sufficient to implicate someone in wrongdoing. The consequent vulgarity directed toward the accused has been ferocious. Among the commentary left on the postings were words like “scum,” “traitor,” “monkey,” while many of the women shown on the page have been called “whore.” A page admin even asked members of the group to see if they could find out where one of the people they posted about lived.

One electoral commission member at a precinct where there were allegations of fraud is a visibly overweight woman who attracted seemingly disproportionate ire from group members. Among the epithets directed toward her were “fat whore,” “30 year-old degenerate,” and several comments including the word “pig.”

Among the epithets directed toward her were “fat whore”… and several comments including the word “pig.”

Some comments from the Facebook page were too obscene to reprint in our publication but they should not be surprising.

The About section of the page, written in Russian, has “Banality of Evil” written in one section, alluding to the Hannah Arendt book, Eichmann in Jerusalem, A Report on the Banality of Evil. In another part of the About section, there is a passage from that book which reads, “The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal.” Associating the accused election fraudsters with a genocidal Nazi might well elicit the type of responses that indiscriminately litter the page. 

Associating the accused election fraudsters with a genocidal Nazi might well elicit the type of responses that indiscriminately litter the page.

Ironically, this Facebook page, set up to underscore the violations of Armenia’s laws during a constitutional referendum may itself be illegal. According to Article 23 of Armenia’s constitution:

Everyone shall have the right to respect for his private and family life.

The collection, maintenance, use or dissemination of any information about the person other than that stipulated by the law without the person’s consent shall be prohibited. The use and dissemination of information relating to the person for purposes contravening the aims of their collection or not provided for by the law shall be prohibited.

Besides its potential disregard for the law it’s purporting to uphold, the group also may not be keen on judging all allegations of electoral fraud equally: at least one election observer criminally charged for interfering with the electoral process (link in Armenian) has not been featured on the group’s Facebook page. But right or wrong, guilty or innocent, these are not the concerns of a lynch mob, physical or virtual.


  1. Szabz Szabz Dec 16, 2015

    Well, it’s official. This page is officially a farse for the regime to infiltrate English-speaking Armenians and promote their message and interests in the diaspora.

    The hypocrisy is out of hand too. It’s okay for you and your gang of supporters on Facebook to target all of the figures in the opposition but somehow when the tables are turned on you, it becomes unacceptable? You spent all of the past summer mocking the protesters of electric Yerevan and everyone who supported them in any way. Your lynch mob of Russia fanatics are on this website, attacking everyone left and right. Yet here you are talking about “lynch mobs” as if you yourself have not taken part in mocking and insulting anyone from out side your republican bias…….

    • William Bairamian William Bairamian Post author | Dec 16, 2015

      Dear Szabz / Sabz,

      As the editor-in-chief and author of this article (as well as others you’ve commented on), it’s important for me and this publication that there be a mature discussion of news and opinions ( So, it’s disappointing to read your uniformly aggressive and conspiratorial commentary about what we publish, perpetuating the same cheap criticism from which our nation suffers.

      We’re here to report the news and offer different perspectives that are found nowhere else. If this doesn’t satisfy your need to only interact with information that confirms what you already believe and conforms to your own biases, there are several media outlets which you can patronize instead.

      We understand it’s difficult to deal with realities that challenge your understanding of the world but we think it can be a learning experience and we hope that, eventually, you will see that it is, too. Until then, best of luck.

    • Levon Levon Dec 17, 2015

      Thank you Mr. Bairamian for your reply. I don’t know why this idiot Szabz is still on here – likely a sourpuss Armenian or even a Turk – it can definitely be both.

      Everyone just ignore this moron. Lest we continue to acknowledge the opinions of sheep (perpetual complainers) among lions (progressive thinkers)

  2. Szabz Szabz Dec 16, 2015

    Nice of you to selectively enforce laws as well. You turn a blind eye to obvious election fraud, but use the constitution to say opposition activities are illegal…

    • Դրօ Դրօ Dec 16, 2015

      Listen, you Azeri lover. You can’t say he’s “turning a blind eye to obvious election fraud” when he has already written an article about the alleged violations. It’s the one before this one. It’s titled “Armenian Constitutional Reform 2015: A Digest (Updated)”. I think you’re the one who is turning a blind eye, like the crazy globalist propagandist you are.

  3. Harutik Harutik Dec 17, 2015

    Some pertinent quotes to ponder

    “What Armenia needs is a sociopolitical evolution and not a Western financed revolution. Rome was not built in a day. Was the Western world born this developed, this progressive or this wealthy, or did it have to travel a very long, bumpy path to get to where it is today? The Western world, including the US, took hundreds years to reach where it is today. In fact, the Western world is where it is today not due to “Democracy” but due to numerous wars of plunder, grand theft, genocide and human exploitation”

    “Similar to how the Vatican relentlessly pushed its version of Christianity upon “Godless” societies for many centuries, Washington has in similar fashion been pushing its version of a new religion known as Democracy/Globalism upon the political infidels of the world in recent times. We are all expected by the apostles and proselytizers of the cult of Democracy and Globalism to offer sacrifices to their holy doctrine because their god, the almighty Dollar is omnipresent; their only chosen one, the Zionist state of Israel is omnipotent; and if we dare to displease this modern cult, its wrath shall be unleashed upon us”

    “Elections in the US is basically about two groups of well connected people competing for the empire’s control panels. There has not been “free and fair” elections in the US for generations. The system is rigged to be a two party show. Democrats and Republicans are ultimately two sides of the same coin. Every four years the financial/corporate elite in the US decide what shirt the sheeple will wear, and the sheeple are given the “democratic” choice of picking between two colors. The US political system is like a two ring circus managed by a ringmaster that the audience does not get to see. US presidents are ‘appointed’ to be elected by the sheeple. US presidents are tasked with being the spokesmen or salesmen for special interests running the show behind-the-scenes in the American empire. The US is being run as if it is a multi-national corporation in which the American citizenry is its work force”

    “A little over century ago America’s robber barons (e.g. Carnegies, Rockefellers, Morgans, Goulds, Vanderbilts, Du Ponts, Warburgs, etc) used their immense fortunes to buy into the American political system, forever blurring the line between politics and business. These oligarchs used their powerful influences to impact the making of political legislation. The political system in the US was manipulated by America’s oligarchs to serve their businesses and to preserve their immense wealth. Although it has been in a decline in recent years, the American middle class essentially grew as a result of feeding on the crumbs that were falling off the lavish banquet tables of the nation’s super wealthy”

    “The Western world has severe forms of corruption. It can be argued that Western corruption is by-far the most egregious, albeit more nuanced and/or sophisticated. The main difference between corruption in the West and corruption in a place like Armenia is that corruption in the developed West is strictly reserved for the political/financial elite, whereas in an underdeveloped nation like Armenia all layers of society can engage in it. Moreover, Armenia is a tiny country, therefore any form of wrong doing can immediately be seen or felt by all. Through legislation, the practice of corruption in the Western world has evolved to become fully institutionalized. Therefore, in the West, institutionalized corruption is not for the common folk. Institutionalized corruption in the US, for instance, is reserved for the American empire’s elites (e.g. military industrial complex, Zionist/Jewish groups, pentagon, oil industry, Federal Reserve, Wall Street, pharmaceuticals industry, etc)”

    “Democracy for an adolescent nation like Armenia can prove fatal. As the events of early 2008 clearly revealed, Armenians are not yet politically mature enough to actually be given the responsibility of electing their leadership. We have seen the destruction democracy has visited upon undeveloped or underdeveloped nations throughout the world. The destructive nature of democracy on underdeveloped nations may be why some nations on Washington’s black list are being prescribed a very heavy dose of it these days. A nation like Armenia, just coming out of under a thousand years or Asiatic/Islamic/Bolshevik rule simply cannot have the proper national institutions or the mindsets with which to flirt with a dangerous and potentially destructive political process like democracy”

  4. […] to the reforms also found themselves marginalized and under threat when pro-government groups began targeting individuals that publicly supported the “No” campaign with online threats and physical intimidation during the vote. When I spoke to Vardan […]

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