Political expert: Reports that the Azeri Parliament might adopt a law "On Occupied Territories of Azerbaijan" were just an attempt to see the reaction of the Azeri society, Armenia and the world community
Marat Terterov: Armenia’s long term security will be better served by strengthening economic security, rather than defining national security on the basis of the Tsarist Russian catch-cry “armiya i flot”
by David Stepanyan
There are exactly 4 months left before the presidential elections, which will be held in Armenia on 18 Feb 2013, however, neither of the two possible key contenders for the presidential post has not made an official statement on his intentions yet. It should be noted that the republic is experiencing such a situation for the first time. Given the mentality of what is called political elite in Armenia, it appears that such an uncertain situation has become possible exclusively due to the lack of arrangements between the leading political parties of Armenia, the friendly enemies – Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) and the Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP). To all appearances, the problem is not only the domestic political collisions, but also the foreign contradictions concerning Armenia…
Right after the first presidential elections of independent Armenia in 1991, a good tradition was created in the post-Soviet republic – to make a decision on the next head of the state long before the elections, which only fixed the arrangements of the concerned parties’ representatives. Today the given tradition seems to have undergone some adjustments; the intensity of emotions is too big and casts doubt on achievement of final arrangements between the PAP and the RPA. To note, during all the previous parliamentary and presidential elections in the republic, the strategy of artificial opposing of various parties, which, in fact, are a single power team, has completely proved its worth, ensuring retention of power at all possible elections.
As a result, the Armenian society has become completely disoriented, when the overwhelming part of the electorate believes in neither the power nor the “opposition” today, preferring not to go to the polls at all or to spoil the ballots. Despite the fact that the authorities farsightedly liquidated the box “Against Everybody” in the ballots, Armenians found the way out, and the 54,000 ballots recognized invalid during the May 6 2012 parliamentary elections became the best evidence of indifference of the citizens towards the “elections”, the power and the “opposition”. Today an average citizen of Armenia trusts neither the power, nor the opposition, nor the elections, nor the courts. Only the people, who are unaware of the reality, look for justice in all the abovementioned instances.
Under these conditions, the performance of the intra-power confrontation between the ruling RPA and the PAP has become an imperative. The RPA, wherein the incumbent President of Armenia is surrounded by people controlling the main part of Armenian economy, which are considered to be oligarchs, resembles to a certain extent the Communist Party of the USSR with all that it entails. The situation with the PAP nominally headed by Gagik Tsarukyan is much more complicated. The PAP was created in 2006 on the initiative of the then president Robert Kocharyan as a counterweight to Serzh Sargsyan. During Kocharyan’s presidency, Sargsyan was a prime minister and Kocharyan’s single option successor and Kocharyan was concerned over Sargsyan’s political and financial future.
Kocharyan created the PAP to retain power at least at the level of Parliament. However, on 12 May 2007, during the parliamentary elections in Armenia, the people who held high posts and were the so-called administrative resource, obeyed the self-preservation instinct and flopped over to the Republicans within a day. As a result, the PAP gained the second place in the Parliament, yielding to the Republicans. The situation has changed and today’s growing tension in the political field is direct evidence of that. Thus, the RPA and the PAP are playing a tense game, wherein the financial welfare of a group of people owning more than 80% of Armenia’s national treasure is staked.
Accusations, criminal prosecution and black PR are used in the game, in which all the force and judicial structures of the republic are involved. The PAP allegedly wants to control the main levers of executive power, first of all, to gain the prime minister’s post and some ministerial portfolios as a price for supporting Serzh Sargsyan during the presidential elections in 2013. The Republicans allegedly refused to carry out this demand, as they are afraid to lose the political influence after Robert Kocharyan returns to power.
It is obvious that the foreign power centers, first of all, Russians and Americans are also very much interested in the results of the game between the RPA and the PAP. The thing is that Vartan Oskanian, a former citizen of the USA, the second person in the “pro-Russian” PAP, has classical pro-Western views. And one of the key figures in the RPA, which is no less “pro-Russian”, is pro-Western Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan, which reportedly remains a premier exclusively due to the protection of the WB and the IMF. The PAP publicly comes out for Armenia’s membership in the Eurasian Union, and the RPA – for European integration. In the meantime, both parties hardly have about twenty people capable to ground their pro-Russian or pro-Western ideologies. Actually, it is not amazing if all the parties of post-Soviet Armenia resemble a bazaar. Under such conditions, the deep thoughts of the Russian and Western colleagues about the geopolitical interests and ideological preferences of the RPA or the PAP became an object of ridicule for the local political experts long ago. The only ideology and driving force instigating all the political forces of Armenia to rivalry is the irresistible desire of some forces to come to power and the desire of the other forces to remain at power.
Since becoming President Serzh Sargsyan has successfully posed as a pro-Russian politician, who, in the meantime, is eager to integrate his country into Europe and is stably loyal to the United States. They in Moscow, Brussels and Washington perfectly see what is going on and are playing up to the Armenian leader by pretending that they believe in his ability to sit on two chairs at one and the same time. Countries with imperial ambitious have always welcomed leaders with no national ideologies. And it was for this reason that Sargsyan agreed to perform in the United States’ Armenian-Turkish rapprochement show, is actively involved in all of the EU’s integration programs and stays loyal to the Kremlin (only because he sees no other way to ensure his country’s security). And it is exactly this policy that has made Serzh Sargsyan the best possible presidential candidate for Brussels and Washington, on the one hand, and Moscow, on the other.