The day of victory

In Noratus, next to the medieval Armenian cemetery, a small booth, where a cheerful old woman is selling thin coffee, knitted socks, T-shirts with the letters of the Armenian alphabet. Among the dolls in Armenian national costume, the national flag is stretched, with a T-shirt on it, displaying the photo of Nikol Pashinyan. I kneel down to take a picture of it. The woman smiles. “Dear little Nikol”, she caresses the photo with love.

“What are the expectations?” I ask our host at the Odzun church. “Ninety-nine percent that he’d be elected.” “And is it not possible that then the oligarchs will call on their followers to block the roads?” He just spats. “The oligarchs, they have long since fled with their money.”

After Karahunj, the Armenian Stonehenge, a car wash with a small eating house, a modern caravanserai, where both man and herd are cared for. A television on the wall, Nikol Pashinyan is holding his introductory speech in the parliament. He’s an unusual sight in suit, after the military outfit of the past weeks. “What is he saying?” I ask the barist. “That everything will be good”, he says enthusiastically.

We arrive to the rock monastery of Noravank around two o’clock in the afternoon. At the monastery’s gate, taxi drivers are squatting, families standing, nobody is moving, everyone is listening to the car radio. The applause just blows out when we get out of the bus. “Victory?” I ask them. “Victory”, they say with shining face. “What proportion?” “Fifty-three against forty-two.” We shake hands. From the radio arises the cheering of the crowd in Yerevan’s main square.

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