Armenia must diversify its security system

The guest of the TV show “Realpolitik”  David Shahnazaryan director of the Center for Political and Legal Studies “Concord”, former head of the National Security Service of Armenia.

Mr. Shahnazaryan, recently Armenia-EU negotiations concluded regarding Association Agreement, the head of EU diplomacy and the head of neighborhood politics and EU expansion Štefan Füle made a welcoming statement. How do you assess the negotiations and are you acquainted with the document which was not published.

I think it is a great achievement for Armenia.  I hope that the process of Association will have a great and successful final.  I consider it to be a historical opportunity for Armenia.

What do you put into these opportunities?

It is opportunity to be closer to Europe. Regarding economical context, Armenia gets the tremendous opportunities.  Armenia gets the opportunity to become part of civilized market. Here I am talking not about half billion EU market, but about billion one. As you know, the US and the EU are conducting serious negotiations regarding establishing of a common transnational market. Which opportunities does this market create for Armenia? First of all, all goods which are produced in Armenia can be sold in Europe. It means that soon we will see an influx of serious investors. Armenia becomes more attractive country for foreign investors, there also many opportunities for local Armenian oligarchs who can transform their commercial capital into industrial one.  Regarding political context, we will move closer to the modern civilization and European values, however we still have to conquer this Rubicon trail.

Mr. Shahnazaryan, the economy of Armenia has serious problems with monopolies and generally with oligarch systems which literally strangle the economy. For instance, how would we look like with such people as chairman of the State Revenue Committee Gagik Khachatryan, Gagik Tsarukyan and other “lfiksamo”, what can we do in European market within the frames of this agreement?

This agreement creates tremendous opportunities for everyone.  Within the framework of this agreement even oligarchs can use their funds in a more effective way. As I said, we have problems not with oligarchs but with a flawed system which must be changed.  No doubt that the economy of Armenia is in horrible state however this agreement provides us with opportunity to pull out our economy out of the path which takes us to the abyss.  In the meantime, it is only first step, there is yet a long way to go before Armenia can achieve this. All our standards must meet European requirements and in economic sense Armenia will be able to become a full member of this market. Regarding politics, this also provides us with opportunity to establish values which uphold Europe and the Free World. Thus, we will become part of Free Civilized world which not only gives various advantages but also provides us with opportunity to diversify our security.

So, now you are talking about security diversification of Armenia?

Yes, there are tremendous opportunities for security diversification. Armenia gains new status in the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.  In other words, the new status provides Armenia with a chance to cover that civilizational, human rights and civil society gap which was present between Armenia and Azerbaijan.  Although human rights situation in Azerbaijan is worse than in Armenia, Armenia still maintains a better record than the former. It is also well known that in all conflicts like the Nagorno-Karabakh one, the success is always achieved by the side which stands on the higher civil level. The first example is the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. In 90s, Armenia was considered to be an “island of democracy” while Azerbaijan was in a worse condition. Well, this becomes clear, when we recall that Armenia received wide support from the Free World, Democratic West, while Azerbaijan tried to solve its problems with the Soviet Politburo and other rudiments of the USSR. Needless to say, that all that attempts and efforts were futile.

So, did Azerbaijan also try to engage with democratic Russia?…

As a result, when democratic processes were initiated in Russia… By the way, 90s was the only period in history of Russia when it was not ruled by a single man. In spite of this fact, Russia still pursued its geopolitical interests and did its best to enhance its position in the region. In that period we also had advantages which provided us with opportunity to combine foreign, domestic, and military policies. We were able to receive arms contracts from Russia, political and financial support from the West, and bread from Turkey. In the end, thanks to the   well organized political, military, and diplomatic moves we managed to achieve a serious success in war and diplomatic field.

What can you say about current Armenia-Russia relations? The last events, famous Russia-Azerbaijan agreement, and Grachya Arutyunyan case showed that Armenia-Russia relations are not going smoothly, and in particular – during the negotiations on the Association.  I believe we must reassess current Russia-Armenia relations.

First of all, let us separate Armenian-Russian relations from Armenia-Russia relations, because right now we are talking about intergovernmental relations. During the whole independence period Armenia-Russia relations have never been so tense. Why and where? I believe we must look for a root of cause in Kremlin.  Let‘s base our discussion solely on facts, because some Russian and Armenian representatives are constantly trying to distort the facts, bring some emotion and hysterical behavior.

In February-March 2011 Russia signed with Azerbaijan 5-6 arms deals. I have to remind you that not all of them were fulfilled. According to my sources, these deals are worth $3.5bn.During that period Association Agreement with the EU did not attract so much attention the way it does nowadays. Later on, the talks became much more serious, when the sides were about to sign free trade agreement which constitutes an integral part of Association agreement and marked the beginning of arms and weapons supply. The deal regarding the last one was worth $1bn and was related to the offensive arms. Some people in Armenia were ready to express gratitude and enormous thanks to Russia for such a gift!

Prior to this, Russia also raised gas prices for Armenia which made some Kremlin analysts claim that it was purely political goal which will force Armenia to forget about existence of the EU and become part of Russian integrational processes that do not match Armenia’s political interests.

It is important to note that it is hence the strategic ally of Armenia who cuts arms deals. In the same line of high authorities of Russia, analysts who work for Kremlin could not even bring a single argument which could match our goals or interests in the region. They even claimed that “we modernize Russian military base in Gyumri”… However, what does it have to do with the armed forces of Armenia? Furthermore, I will remind you that few years ago Putin also clearly expressed his standpoint regarding establishing of Russian military base in Gyumri. During the interview with Azerbaijani reporter, he stated that Russian military base in Gyumri does not go against Azerbaijani interests. Be cautious, it was not against Azerbaijan, but against Azerbaijan’s interests. In the meantime, the interests of Azerbaijan lie not around war with Karabakh but around full scale war with Armenia; this goal constitutes a cornerstone of Azerbaijani military doctrine and foreign policy. Moreover, Russia itself since 2011 called into question two crucial points – first, that we and Russia are strategic allies, and second that Russia will ensure Armenia’s security.

After arms deal with Azerbaijan we witnessed Grachya Arutyunyan case. It is clear that while being in court Grachya Arutyunyan was under effect of some medications. It was simply a coercion of his rights. It is indeed surprising that judge did not make any remarks regarding this issue. In addition, when Grachya Arutyunyan was sent to Butirka prison it turned out that his arm was fractured/broken. We can explain this in two ways; it is either his hand was fractured as a result of car collision or after the court hearing. Moreover, we must turn to the robe issue. Of course, I can suppose that it was done by the order of local “kings”, local authorities. Nevertheless, other Russian authorities did not make any remarks regarding this issue. Yet, we received a strange statement from the Russian embassy in Armenia. However, we have a healthy civil society which reacted in an appropriate way which surprised Russia which did not expect such a reaction.

I also have to point out to the public outcry of our youth which was mobilized after transport fare increase and proved that the generation of Independence will not allow that foreign state trampled the dignity of our country and our sovereignty. The actions of our youth raised a great hope in our society; this hope proves that it is possible to overcome deep psychological crisis which is present in Armenia and on its political arena which started a few years ago. Civil society showed that it can uphold to the high moral values   which were present in 80s and in the beginning 90s.

During the protests related to the Grachya Arutyunyan some representatives stated that they were directed by the Western conspiracy.

I have to admit that over the last years Russia tries to justify its failures by a global Western conspiracy against it. Russia is trying to find reason for its failures outside itself. Russia-Armenia relations are quite important for us, however we should never forget about our statehood, sovereignty, and dignity. Everyone understands this in Russia.

Current Russia-Armenia relations started and were established during the presidency of Robert Kocharyan. What was the base of these relations? First of all, the property – in exchange for the debt, secondly, energy security was completely given to Russia, and whole network of rail ways was also given to Russia. Essentially, Armenia-Russia relations were directed to the one point: Armenia can do whatever it wants in foreign area, as long as it does not contradict interests of Russia. When Russia reassessed its policy in South Caucasus, it turned out that we had our own interests which we must pursue and understand. We must strive to the diversification of our own security. The policy of modern Russia reminds me period of collapsing USSR. Basically, Russia is trying to initiate new operation “Ring”. I believe that our society can resist it. In the end we all have to face one crucial question – do we have our own interests in Armenia-Russia relations or we always have to submit ourselves to Russia in order to receive its favor? This process is going on, and we will resist it.

Do you share the standpoint that we will face new “storms” or “cleansings”?

Russia will do its best to create new storms; however it does not have that many opportunities. Russia-Armenia relations are important for us, however Russia has to understand that there is a civil society in Armenia which will protect not only rights of Grachya Arutyunyan, but also our own statehood. What must be done in these regards? Taking into consideration that Russia changed its policies, we need to reset Armenia-Russia relations. Having this in mind, Armenia must ensure its energy security. Thusly, we must also closely cooperate with Iran. Secondly, I also started to notice some progress in regards to diversification of security and military cooperation; for instance, we can point out to the recent successful visit of Armenian Minister of Defense to Georgia.  In other words, under diversification I understand the close cooperation with EU states and countries which signed Association Agreement. Finally, Armenia must deepen its relations with Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova.  By the way, although we have many common political goals with Moldova, I still find our relations to be unsatisfactory.

Last actions of Russia created an interesting situation in OSCE Minsk Group. Russia realizes that it changed its status of mediator. It is unprecedented, when mediator, “honest broker”, as Bismarck used to say, initiated arms race between two sides. If war starts, God forbid, it will not matter for us who sold T 90 tanks to Azerbaijan. Secondly, few times Russia together with other co-chairs pushed sides to the peace talks, while Russia itself initiates arms race between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Kremlin knows the end of every arms race; it is either collapse of one of the sides or a real war. I suppose that in the near future someone other than Russia in OSCE Minsk group will initiate negotiations in order to find exit out of this impasse. It is well known that this impasse appeared after Safarov case, when newspapers wrote that high level Russian authorities participated in the extradition of Safarov to Azerbaijan.

We reached the point when Armenian authorities must stand up not only for themselves but also for the whole Armenian society. Current behavior of the authorities is not adequate. Nevertheless, I believe that our society will stand up to the future challenges. We must also take into consideration that our statehood and sovereignty are absolute values which are currently put in danger.

In relation to the Russian integration projects, there was adduced only one argument.  Is it possible to be in two different economic and security systems at one time? Indeed this is unprecedented. Meantime, the position of Russia in regards to its ally is also unprecedented just as position of peacemaker and mediator. It means that our response will also be unprecedented. Armenia must diversify its security system. There is no alternative to the EU Association Agreement.  This can turn into opportunity which was used by Baltic States after collapse of the USSR. No one wanted them in Europe. Together, three of them,  they tried to enter the EU through the door, however they were rejected, then they tried through the window and it worked out; now they are the full members of the system.

We also have hope for such opportunity. I have no doubt that the day is near when the relations between Armenia and Russia will be restored when the Kremlin’s imperial pretensions disappear, as it will hit primarily Russia itself.

Indeed, Ukraine is really important for Russia, and few days ago Putin listed the advantages and achievements which will be available for Ukraine if it joins Russia. However, on the next day Russia issued import ban on Ukranian “Roshe” product.

Russia implemented punitive sanctions against Ukraine. Needless to say that Russia also went the way too far with Georgia as well. I do not exclude that such steps could be taken in relation to Armenia too. Why not, for instance, Russia can issue import ban on Armenian brandy. But we must be ready for this and look for alternative markets. What did happen when Russia issue ban on the Georgian wine? Currently, the production of Georgian wine meets requirements of the European market.

We need a unity in order to withstand this. Russia has a habit like this when it comes back to the region – and now Russia wants to utilize Armenia in order to solve all questions in the region.  The same took place with Karabakh case. We have experience when Russia acted in this way and we are ready to deal with it. Besides that, Azerbaijan for Russia represents more important ally than Armenia. I am sure that all plans which Russia had with Baku will not be fulfilled as well.  We must realize that sooner or later Russia will leave the region again. Therefore, we must find common language with our neighbors and make use of advantages which are presented by Association Agreement.

I am not acquainted with Association Agreement itself; however I am aware of the main points of this document.  I expect that if this agreement is based upon universal, European, or western, values then it will not be difficult to judge the rest of it. Moreover, I am aware of certain wordings/statements regarding Nagorno Karabakh.

So, you have no concerns regarding this?

The main concern is that there are certain representatives of Armenian political elite who aim only at the defense of Russian geopolitical interests without taking into consideration what really lies behind these interests. One can also close eyes to the arms deals, and dignity of citizens of Armenia. Even if our society bore the arms deals it will never bear the trampling of dignity of Armenian citizens by Russia authorities.

You said we must be unified in the face of forthcoming challenges.

We must solve our internal problems. We must fight against corruption; we must force the Armenian authorities to undertake these steps.

Organic continuation of Kocharian’s word

According to the reporter of “First news and Analyses” Musa Mikaelyan, in the context of Robert Kocharian’s reaction over the presidential elections, it was more interesting actor Gor Vardanyan’s reaction over Kocharian’s. The problem is that it seems Gor Vardanyan’s reaction was the corrective of the second President’s interview, in the sense of the term “karabakhtsi”(Karabakh resident).

As we know, the second President announced that he will not run because he did not want to escalate struggle between “two Karabakh residents, two longtime partners”.

There was a remarkable response in this regard that Robert Kocharian uses that concept of “Kharabakh resident”, trying to divide the community, expressing provincialism, etc. Robert Kocharian, probably did not expect such a response, and immediately felt the need to correct the situation, the manifestation of which is Gor Vardanyan’s response.

Musa Mikaelyan also notes one interesting thing in Vardanyan’s response, directed to Levon Ter-Petrosyan, where Gor Vardanyan accuses him for transparently dividing the society into two parts, bringing people to streets and leaving them alone against the system, and staying at home under the state protection. This also can be viewed as proofreading of Kocharian’s words.

Note that Gor Vardanyan was previously in the second President’s security staff. Today, of course, Gor Vardanyan has nothing to do with his circles, but after the second President’s interview, his reaction and greeting of Kocharian’s speech turned out to be very efficient and organic, increasing the aura and atmosphere left in the interview, with which Kocharian probably was very pleased.

Self-confession of the presidents

Political analyst Aram Amatuni in his political analyses talks about Robert Kocharyan’s recent interview, saying that the second president by his comments showed the whole picture of Armenia of these 21 years. The analyst notes that it is strange that Armenia didn’t use the years of independence to correct the mistakes, but just opposite: it brought the country to a state where the independence itself is endangered. Amatuni notes that people wrongly think that election fraud is the only problem and is the basis for all the problems. But in reality, the problem is in authorities who are antidemocratic and antinational, because only that time, it could have elections like in our country.

The political analyst continues saying that we shouldn’t complain of anybody. Everybody can complain about the struggle between the three presidents except the three presidents. If at least one of them has the feeling of all that happened, then it is good, but it doesn’t seem like that.

There is no need to criticize anybody. In the end, the problem now is the current state of the country and for improving the situation we just need to be conscjous that for decades all generated perception were wrong, ineffective, and the country is under collapse. We have to struggle against the collapse.

Two men from Karabakh continue fighting

Political analyst Musa Mikayelyan in his recent article on the First Armenian News and Analyses writes:

“Yesterday while second Armenian president Robert Kocharyan was spreading his explanations about not participating in the presidential candidates, Serzh Sargsyan was having a consultation will all the representatives of the Government in the Defense Ministry. The incumbent president also presented his speech focusing mostly on the Army and on issues connected with foreign policy.”

The analyst notes that the speech was lacking the inner political problems and even the presidential elections. But maybe, according to the analyst, that would be too much as anyway the elections and inner political issues were in the context of the President’s speech.

The analyst continues, “It is difficult to say whether Sarzh Sargsyan knew that on January 15 Kocharyan is planning to give an interview and that’s why the consultation in the Defense Ministry was also scheduled on that very day. This could be the opposite too: R. Kocharyan could have known about the consultation and schedule his interview on that day.

This way or another, the struggle between two men from Karabakh obviously goes on and even though Kocharyan announced that he avoided the nomination in the elections not to have to go against Sargsyan, it is clear that even this announcement was part of the struggle. The whole problem is that because of their fighting with each other, the state is endangered. Moreover their struggle has almost nothing to do with the state’s problems. Those problems exist only as raw material for their text but in terms of agenda and objectives they are not prioritized for none of the parties.”

Defense Secretary Nominee Owes Apology to Armenian-Americans. Harut Sassounian

The publisher of The California Courier Harut Sassounian in his new article on Asbarez talks about the U.S. Defense secretary nominee Sen. Chuck Hagel who previously came up with announcements denying the Armenian Genocide. Sassounian in his article calls on Armenian Americans to urge to block the Senator’s confirmation unless he apologizes for his remarks.
Read the full article below:

Most political observers predict a contentious hearing in the Armed Services Committee and later in the full Senate on the confirmation of former Sen. Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s nominee as the next Secretary of Defense.
During his 12 years in the Senate, Hagel, a Republican, managed to offend a slew of constituencies, including conservative Senators of his own political party, as well as Jewish Americans, Armenian-Americans, Cuban-Americans, and gays.
In order to appease his critics and secure Senate’s confirmation, Sen. Hagel has been busy in recent days issuing retractions and apologies to various groups.
Upon learning of Hagel’s nomination, Jewish-American organizations harshly criticized him for being soft on Iran and hard on Israel, and for stating that “the Jewish lobby” in the United States “intimidates a lot of people.”

Sen. Hagel responded by telling The Lincoln Journal Star on January 7 that his record demonstrates “unequivocal, total support for Israel” and endorsement of tough economic sanctions against Iran. There is “not one shred of evidence that I’m anti-Israeli, not one [Senate] vote that matters hurt Israel,” Hagel told the newspaper.
The nominee also backed down from his opposition to ambassadorial nominee James Hormel in 1998 whom he had called “openly, aggressively gay.” He issued an apology last week to gay rights groups, stating that his earlier comments were “insensitive.”
However, the nominee for Defense Secretary remains unapologetic regarding his highly insensitive remarks on the Armenian Genocide.

During a press conference in Yerevan on June 2, 2005, Sen. Hagel expressed his opposition to a pending congressional resolution on the Armenian Genocide: “Historians and others should deal with it. But, I don’t think that the United States Government should become involved in the issue based on a resolution or any other way. What happened in 1915, happened in 1915. As one United States Senator, I think the better way to deal with this is to leave it open to historians and others to decide what happened and why.” This happens to be the exact position of the denialist Turkish regime on the Armenian Genocide.
Sen. Hagel went on to tell Armenian journalists: “The fact is that this region needs to move forward. We need to find a lasting peace between Turkey and Armenia and the other nations of this region. I am not sure that by going back and dealing with that in some way that causes one side or the other to be put in difficult spot, helps move the peace process forward.” These comments were simply intended to cover-up the Turkish crime of genocide.

Sen. Hagel’s pronouncements against the recognition of the Armenian Genocide are highlighted by his expressions of admiration for Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, who continued the genocide initiated by the predecessor regime. It is not surprising that the Ataturk Society of America presented Sen. Hagel, the Ataturk Society’s Leadership Award on May 19, 2005, two weeks before going to Armenia and endorsing the Turkish government’s views on the Armenian Genocide.
Hurriyet newspaper quoted Sen. Hagel as making the following highly laudatory statement about the Father of modern Turkey in a 2008 speech: “Ataturk is one of the most valuable leaders of the 21st century. Children in the United States know nothing about this great leader. They should teach about him in schools and write about him in history books. Ataturk played a leading role in shaping today’s world.”

Armenian-Americans and human rights activists, who are deeply concerned about Hagel’s nomination, were quoted in an article by Adam Kredo in Washington Free Beacon titled, “Chuck Hagel has an Armenian Problem.” Here are some of their statements:

“We remain troubled by former Senator Hagel’s acceptance of Ankara’s gag-rule on American honesty about the Armenian Genocide,” ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian stated.
“We expect a rigorous confirmation process which will also serve as an opportunity for Senator Hagel to forthrightly acknowledge the U.S. record on the Armenian Genocide,” stated Bryan Ardouny, Executive Director of the Armenian Assembly of America.

“On the eve of the Holocaust, Hitler mockingly asked, ‘Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?’ Not Chuck Hagel, apparently,” stated Rafael Medoff, Director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.
“What Chuck Hagel said in his press conference in Armenia in 2005 regarding the genocide of Armenians by Turks is shameful,” said Walter Reich, former director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “In his forthcoming confirmation hearings, senators should confront him with what he said and should expect him to address it.”
Hagel’s opposition to U.S. recognition of the Armenian genocide “betrays a shocking lack of moral leadership,” stated Thane Rosenbaum, Fordham University Law Professor.

Unless Sen. Hagel apologizes for his “insensitive” remarks on the Armenian Genocide, Armenian-Americans should urge the Senate to block his confirmation.

Fight for the PAP

Speaking about the presidential election process, Robert Kocharian in the interview with “Mediamax” pointed out the fact of turning political compromise into petty trade as a reason for not running.
Reporter of “First News and Analyses” Yeghiazar Ayntaptsi writes that this observation is particularly interesting in the context of that political power, the growth of which was appraised by the second President for several times in the past, obviously welcoming “Prosperous Armenia” party’s successful ratings.
While now Robert Kocharian has not said anything about “Prosperous Armenia”, has not tried to reflect the PAP’s position in any way, which is perceived by the public and political circles, to say the least, not ambiguous.
Robert Kocharyan is not even trying to encourage the PAP and to express support for its decision, just simply betrays the party to carelessness and demonstrably ignores.
The reporter notes that here, apparently, there is his discontent about Gagik Tsarukyan’s decision, and the second President likely wants to express dissatisfaction with this, because he does not even mention the PAP’s or Tsarukyan’s factor in the context of internal political competition.
“Kocharian is either trying not to open his cards ahead of time and provoke Serzh Sargsyan, driving PAP to make the final blow, or the second President would like to emphasize that Tsarukyan no longer posess a key role in his political plans. However, from this point of view, of course, it is interesting whether it refers only Tsarukyan, or the PAP as a party.”concludes the reporter.

What should have said Kocharyan?

The political hit of today is definitely the interview with Armenia’s second president Robert Kocharyan where he talks about Armenia’s inner political and economic situation. As it was expected Kocharyan considers the current economic situation dangerous. Political analyst Hovhan Mandakuni in his article on the First News and Analyses writes that there is one thing notable here. That is in the latest interview Kocharyan doesn’t criticize the economic situation as he sued to do in his previous interview, but here just expresses his concern about the situation.

Maybe the second president doesn’t want to criticize everything because in that case it will be confusing that he voids returning to active politics. The main point of the interview was the explanation of his actions. As the analyst notes, Kocharyan is not original here. He also from the point of view of political competency considers the country not interesting and the absence of that struggle dangerous for the society. But in that case, Mandakuni raises a question of Kocharyan not coming back and trying to make the political situation more interesting. The fundamental and non-fundamnetal reasons that Kocharyan brought in for not running for president, the analyst considers not strong enough as those existed even when Kochayan was the president.

On the other hand, Mandakuni states, it is understandable that Kocharyan is in a difficult situation and can’t just announce about the failure of his tactics. Naturally he has to find other explanations but as they are too far away from reality they stop being persuasive.

The analyst concludes by saying that it is important that Kocharyan talks about him endorsing Sargsyan for presidency and that eh understand the incumbent president’s desire to be reelected. Kocharyan seems to be hinting that Sargsyan should understand his desire for coming back too.

Only Kocharian is left

As writes the reporter of “First News and Analyses” Musa Mikaelyan, it seems that everyone opened his cards and everything is on the table now, but something seems to have been left out. Robert Kocharian hasn’t said his promised wordyet.
This opinion, of course, will hardly change anything or will have any decisive significance in the current situation. Nevertheless, it will be interesting, because no matter how open we consider today’s playing cards, it is doubtful that many people, including Robert Kocharian, have withheld cards, dreams or desires in 2017-18.

From this perspective, Kocharian’s response, of course, is expected with interest, which will characterize the fact where he is now, not physically, but in terms of content, and what his plans for the future are. The reporter notes that some aspects are of great interest, for instance, what Kocharian will say about “Prosperous Armenia”. Recall that quite recently he openly expressed his joy that the party has become a major political force.

According to Musa Mikaelyan, there is a great probability that Kocharian will criticize the government. It is interesting also what kind of place he will give to the President Serzh Sargsyan. The point is that if Robert Kocharian is displeased with the current situation, it would be very difficult for him not to talk about why he didn’t nominate his candidacy.

Kocharian’s main problem, of course, are guarantees of his capital, which he may receive for not interfering in the major processes of geopolitical context in Armenia. On the other hand, Kocharian, of course, himself has enough adequacy to assess rationally his chances in the context of these processes and in the internal logic of developments.

Eurasian sword over the head of autocracy

The reporter of “First News and Analyses” Hovhan Mandakuni notes the fact that Armenia’s presidential elections have nothing to do with the problems the state and the society are facing, especially the vital challenges requiring urgent solutions. One of the most vivid examples of the fact is that Armenia’s political agenda almost fails to have the Customs Union or the so-called problem of the Eurasian economic prospects that Russia is trying to impose on Armenia. At the same time, the European Union repeated several times in the recent weeks, that if we go to the Customs Union, we should forget about deep free trade agreement with the European Union.

This testifies the fact that the EU considers the situation very serious. But the state figures of the official Yerevan note that for Armenia the European Union and the Eurasian Union do not contradict each other, which, of course, is a demagogy.
The latest developments showed that the triplet PAP – ARF – ANC also doesn’t hold out any hope, the main approaches of which displayed Russia’s interests in Armenia. Thus, Russia is able to control Serzh Sargsyan’s efforts to deepen relations with the West. Currently, a situation is created, where the so-called Russian opposition is neutralized, contracted and is facing a difficult situation to overcome many problems. But now Armenia’s interest here demands the EU, because there are economic opportunities, which will enable to develop and integrate Armenia into the civilized world, at least in the perspective of modern technology.

The reporter notes that there are, of course, certain powers which are clearly against these perspectives: the ANC breakaway political units, individuals from “Heritage” party, but their collective potential is very weak.

From all the above mentioned Hovhan Mandakuni conlcudes that Russian influence in Armenia both in the fields of the government and the opposition is preserved, which, convening to the economic impact, displays a picture of a dangerous prospect of irrecoverable loss of sovereignty.

Davit Harutyunyan is not interested in the position of the NA president

According to circulating news, after the upcoming presidential elections in Armenia, a change is expected in the position of the head of the NA. According to the First Armenia News and Analyses journalist, Marine Kharatyan, incumbent NA president Hovik Abarahamyan didn’t manage to get Gagik Tsarukyan’s support for Serzh Sargsyan. The West, in its turn, made a requirement to get rid of oligarchs in politics and Abahamyan is an oligarch. Thus a change is expected.

A probable candidate for that position is the deputy minister of justice from 1997 to 1998, and minister of justice from 1998 to 2007, politician Davit Harutyunyan. In a conversation with the First News and Analyses, Mr. Harutyunyan noted that he is not interested in that position and he doesn’t want to have that kind of responsibility on his shoulders.

To the question about another probable candidate for that position, Harutyunyan noted, he still sees only Abrahamyan in that position and he doesn’t think there will be any changes after the presidential elections as there is no basis for that.