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ArmInfo’s interview with Karapet Rubinyan, ex-vice speaker of the Armenian Parliament, oppositionist
by Ashot Safaryan
Mr. Rubinyan, the second and the incumbent presidents of Armenia have recently visited Moscow almost simultaneously. Is there any competition between them in the context of Robert Kocharyan’s supposed intention to return to power?
I do not think that disagreements between Robert Kocharyan and Serzh Sargsyan may grow into a serious conflict, for that scenario would lead to loss of their financial and political assets. In addition, the member of the ruling coalition, Prosperous Armenia Party, cannot be regarded as opposition either. The point is that Kocharyan, Sargsyan and Leader of Prosperous Armenia Gagik Tsarukyan are the brightest representatives of oligarchy who possess the key resources of the country. These people may have certain difficulties, conflicts of business-interests, but these conflicts will deepen as long as they do not feel any threat to their property and power. Despite the regular political steps of the second president, who has recently met with the president elect of Russia Vladimir Putin, I do not think that he is willing to put a spoke in Serzh Sargsyan's wheel. They have common business interests and common concerns over the gradually activating civil society, forces with liberal approaches.
Let’s speak about the political forces that have potential and willingness to bring the country and the government system out of the oligarchic regime by means of the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Any sober political force or politician understand that the forthcoming parliamentary election will bring nothing significant to Armenia in the context of changing to the better, vice-speaker of the parliament. On the basis of the political situation in Armenia one can say for sure that the election will be held under the auspices of the ruling regime. I am absolutely sure that just the authorities will dictate the rules of the game and they will win thanks to these rules. Today we have come across an absurd situation when the results of practically all the public opinion polls predict the victory of the ruling party, whereas the true level of the public trust in the authorities is extremely low. How may it happen that everybody see hard social and economic situation, migration of population from the country, permanent growth of external debt and "brain drain", but the society goes on trusting in the authorities? It is simply funny. I am sure that the authorities have no chance to win, but they will take all possible attempts to get absolute majority in the parliament thanks to mass fraud with active attraction of administrative resources.
Your name has been included in the joint list proportional representation of Heritage and Free Democrats parties, which quite seriously declare ideas and intentions to change the situation in the country. Have those parties any real chances and resources to fulfill their tasks?
As I have already mentioned the forthcoming May parliamentary election will be held under auspice of the authorities. This rules out any possibility of holding of the "revolutionary" election. It is at least not serious to say that any opposition political force, for instance Heritage or Armenian National Congress, may reach parliamentary majority in the present conditions or impeachment of the president and replace the power. Today we do not see the signs of the pan-national anger. The strong wave of protest is not expected either, and the opposition leaders are not striving to that either. For this reason, the above mentioned parties together with the public sector have a task to enhance their positions in the law-making body. Sure, the true political fight against the ruling regime will start out of the parliamentary election, and in this context the supposed parliamentary faction Heritage and Free Democrats will ensure the rare of this all-national fight. As for my name in the list, I was offered to run for the parliament and I have got an opportunity to fixe my place in the political field as a representative of the liberal wing, and to contribute to those forces fulfilling their tasks. As for the other plans, methods and instruments of these forces, I have no information yet.
Many politicians and experts consider Free Democrats as a U.S. project, motivating it with the regular meetings of the party members with representatives of the U.S. diplomatic mission in Armenia.
For the West including the USA Armenia is not of a great significance in the context of energy resources, but they undoubtedly have geo-political interests here. During 20 years of independence of Armenia the USA was the leader by the volume of the financial aid shown to our country. Taking into account the traditional policy of Washington on enhancing of democratic values in all over the world, we have got a friend and an ally in the person of the USA.
I see the signs that any political force of Armenia has been acting stemming not from the interests of its own country but those of "uncle Sam", such a policy will be categorically inadmissible for me.
Nevertheless, activity of the two liberal parties aimed at strengthening of democratic principles in the country coincides with Washington’s policy at the given period of time.
I do not rule out that in the context of liberalization of the political system and enhancing of democratic values in Armenia, the interests of the USA and Free Democrats may coincide, but one should not forget about the danger of interference in local affairs of the sovereign state, covered under the so-called "export of democracy".
It is very much important not to let political intervention in Armenia from any force center. When the USA declared development of democracy in other states its priority, it allocated huge funds for that. For instance, in Russia the USA showed great support to development of civil society, and it is normal, he said. "But if one day Washington starts withdrawal of undesirable politicians with a help of various technologies, and holding of the black PR regarding any political force, such a tactic will be simply unacceptable for us.