MAGA Hat Redefined

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[Author’s note: This post has been revised].

Here is a different kind of MAGA hat. Only this one refers to Make Armenia Great Again — by removing its autocratic leader. Dukhov T-shirts and baseball caps have been ubiquitous from the start of the velvet revolution, “Dukhov means ‘with spirit and courage’ in Russian. It is spelled here in Armenian. The opposition leader, now prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, donned a dukhov baseball cap during the April and early May rallies, and it became the battle cry of the movement. Here are some other cries, slogans and songs for freedom.

“Back in December 2015,” noted The New York Review of Books in April 2018, “Armenia held a constitutional referendum to transform the government from a semi-presidential to a parliamentary system. The ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), a coterie of free-market business elites, oligarchs, and allied politicians, engaged in its usual election habits of vote-buying and other irregularities to make sure the referendum passed. The object was to enable the RPA’s leader, the former president Serzh Sargsyan, to become prime minster instead, once his presidential term elapsed—which it did on April 9 this year.”

It continued:

“Sargsyan’s attempt to extend his decade-long rule, now as prime minister, met a different fate. Tens of thousands of peaceful demonstrators who opposed RPA’s near-monopoly on power took to the streets in the capital Yerevan, last month, blocking major thoroughfares with benches and other makeshift barricades. The Republicans issued a boilerplate warning that it would be politically shortsighted to continue to test the government’s patience. But a large swath of the population did not want to see Sargsyan stay in power for another ten years, and the protests continued.”

 

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