ArmInfo’s interview with Gevorg Poghosyan, Director of the Institute of Sociology and Philosophy of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences
by Ashot Safaryan
Mr.Poghosyan, the 4 opposition factions of the Parliament are considering a vote of no confidence in the Government. Do you think they will reach a consensus?
I think that the non-coalition parliamentary factions - Armenian National Congress, Prosperous Armenia Party, ARF Dashnaktsutyun and Heritage - will be able to join efforts to vote non-confidence in the Government of Armenia. Unlike the initiatives of the past years where these 4 factions had disagreements, today they have a single stance. They have got a certain experience of coordination of their actions. Moreover, for the last months, in fact, members of the Government could not give any strict answers to all the problems raised by the opposition in the Parliament, regarding the gas agreements with Russia, the obligatory accumulative pension system and the sale of the Vorotan Hydro Cascade. I should say that today the opposition is acting rather correctly and at the professional level. The problems voiced by them are clearly-worded and they manage to put both the parliamentary majority and the government on the spot. Naturally, in such conditions, we may make a conclusion about the failed government.
What can you say of Prosperous Armenia’s stance? Today it criticizes the Government for the decisions it used to support when being a member of the ruling coalition…
The Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP) is also concerned with the problems raised by the other 3 non-coalition factions, for instance, the 300 mln debt for the Russian gas or the sale of the Government’s stake in ArmRusgasprom to Gazprom. One should not rule out the behind-the-scenes discrepancies between the PAP and the authorities. But we have no clear information on that. Certainly, any process has its pitfalls and this case is no exception.
Do you share the first President of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s opinion that Gagik Tsarukyan is not worse than Bidzina Ivanishvili and that he can contribute to radical reforms and further shift in power in the country?
I do not share Ter-Petrosyan's viewpoint. Unlike Bidzina Ivanishvili, who earned his property outside Georgia and arrived in the native land with the purpose to change the regime, Tsarukyan is a local businessman and does not have a goal to change the power. He takes the hints addressed to him only like interesting ideas. I think that Ter-Petrosyan was trying to push Tsarukyan to resolute actions, but it is hard to say if the Prosperous Armenia Party leader will listen to them or not. There are bigger and more influential Armenian businessmen abroad, who are really able to change something in Armenia. However, we have not noticed such intentions from their side. As for the PAP, they do not even call themselves opposition. They avoid this word. What power change do you speak about?!
The President of Armenia has recently stressed the need to thoroughly study the gas agreements with Russia and to bring the delinquents to responsibility in case violations are revealed. It appears that the authorities themselves admit that their steps are not far-sighted.
It is a funny story. First, they signed an agreement, ratified it, and only then decided to study it and find guilty persons. This is a result of the rash policy conducted by the authorities. It is not hard for the Republican Party of Armenia, instructed from above, to adopt any draft law in the parliament thanks to being the majority in the parliament. At the same time, I think that the president is not always informed about the details of the decision adopted by the government or the initiated draft laws. He does not fully master the information around these processes. And when the opposition starts studying these decisions and putting forward strict arguments against them, all the defects of this or that decision are exposed. The opposition is not able to resist the authorities or torpedo their decisions alone. Certainly, the opposition camp has skilled specialists in economics, but their surgical strikes on the authorities' positions are unable to weaken them.
What role do the civil movements play in the current processes?
Certainly, the civil initiatives are independent formations. Moreover, the civil sector representatives are tired of both the opposition and the pro-power parties’ activities. Unlike the opposition parties, civil initiatives do not seek to change the power. Their protest is directed against specific actions of the Government. Of course, the opposition wants to saddle and manipulate the civil movements but it will fail to, I think.
The authorities are afraid that Armenia may experience a Ukrainian scenario. What can you say about possible re-occurrence of the Ukrainian developments here?
I believe that the developments in Kyiv have put the Armenian authorities on alert, though they do not confess it. In order to avoid destabilization of the domestic political situation in the country, the Armenian authorities should create a big coalition with the opposition and the rest of the society. The people should by no means be driven to despair, because if the citizens' patience is exhausted, neither the Karabaklh conflict nor any other foreign threats will prevent a rebellion. Our people are gradually coming out of apathy. As a sociologist, I can say with confidence that Armenia is on an explosive-timing device and may explode at any moment. The public discontent is escalating with every passing hour, and the authorities should realize the danger of the situation. If the authorities continue this policy, we may lose not only Artsakh but also Armenia. The rebellion on Maidan is an uncontrollable rebellion and neither the authorities nor the opposition can suppress it.