Political assassinations in Armenia have been prominent recently, notably the October 1999 massacre in parliament and the attempted murder of Arkadii Gikasyan, the president of the "Nagorno-Karabakh Republic" in late March. Less in the headlines are the attacks on the journalists who are working to keep these same politicians accountable.
As the 20th century drew to a close, many Armenians worried that the 1915 Genocide might recede from the collective memory and, ultimately, be forgotten. In reality, the opposite has happened as the new millennium proceeds. The issue is generating more discussion today than perhaps ever before.
Armenian President Robert Kocharian sacked Prime Minister Aram Sarkisian on May 2. The president suggested the move was designed to reestablish a balance of power between the executive and legislative branches of government that has been lacking since the October parliament shootings.
The ramifications of the October attack on the parliament are still being felt in Armenia. Filling the power vacuum created by the assassinations of six MPs, including Prime Minister Vazgen Sarkissian and Parliament Speaker Karen Demirchian, is proving difficult. As a result, domestic politics remains enveloped by a mood of uncertainty, damaging prospects for regional stability.