Italian novelist Umberto Eco would have no trouble transforming the turmoil over Armenia's February 18 presidential election into a fantasy thriller complete with secret societies, mystical forces and evil home repairmen.
In a fresh subplot in the ongoing Armenia-elects-a-president drama, one presidential candidate has now been accused of plotting to assassinate another. Meanwhile, a more ordinary stand-off between the two main characters -- the official winner and the runner-up -- continues apace over whether or not the election results were rigged.
On March 5, Vardan Sedrakian, a mythologist, occultist and failed presidential hopeful, was arrested and charged with conspiring to kill candidate Paruyr Hayrikian, who survived a shooting attack two weeks before the election.
Finding the basis for this claim could prove an uphill struggle. But there is one connection to masonry: two of the alleged attackers on Hayrikian reportedly remodeled mythologist Sedrakian’s summer house.
Then, everyone knows, Sedrakian claimed, that Raffi Hovhannisian is a representative of California’s Freemasons. So, add two and two together, he advised, and, of course, American Freemasons would try to kill a candidate about whom only 1.23 percent of Armenian voters care.
Hayrikian says he has never met Sedrakian and thinks the allegations are strange.
And this from a man who might warrant inclusion in an Eco novel himself; a Soviet-era dissident who did time in Siberia and claims to have survived six prior assassination attempts (including one supposedly involving a poisonous snake), he has blamed Russia's security services and terrorists for the January 31 assault against him.
Meanwhile, on Armenia' center stage, a more mundane drama unfolds. At a March 5 rally of hundreds in downtown Yerevan, Raffi Hovhannisian criticized international observers for accepting President-Elect Serzh Sargsyan as the election winner, and said that he would continue touring around Armenia to raise support for his "Hello Revolution" ("Barevolution").
But today, the secondary characters seem to have stolen the main show.