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Old June 14th, 2018, 04:28 AM   #1
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Armenia's 'Interim Government' leads the country to geopolitical collapse

Inability of Armenian opposition to compete legally with the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) in conditions of accumulated problems in social and economic fields, multi-level corruption, the stranglehold of oligarchic monopolies and growing military tension around Nagorno-Karabakh creates a high level of Armenian society's needs for radical solutions to internal political problems. When Serzh Sargsyan felt the growing crisis and explosive situation in the republic, he decided to minimize risks for his assets and provide guarantees for his personal safety by giving a large-scale performance in late April, under the guise of democratic 'change of power'. Protests of unlimited duration were organized in Yerevan thanks to financial and political support of the US and UK. Such experienced 'systemic oppositionist' from Yelk Alliance as Nikol Pashinyan was appointed to lead the process. Hesitance of law enforcement authorities, the record number of people involved in civil disobedience actions and quick acceptance of resignation by Serzh Sargsyan, who had been governing the country for 10 years, all this indicated that arrangements between 'opposition' and legitimate authorities for the 'democratic transfer of power' to Nikol Pashinyan had been carried out beforehand. This is further illustrated by the fact that after heading the 'Interim Government' on 8 May, on his second try, the oppositionist assured almost immediately that he was not going to settle scores with the previous administration and practically eliminated the need for lustration which was usually an integral part of all coups d'état. In doing so, the new premier paid tribute to Serzh Sargsyan for the 2011 amnesty carried out by him in connection with the 20th anniversary of Armenia's independence, as a result of which Nikol Pashinyan, who had received seven years' sentences of imprisonment in 2010, was released. Perhaps, already at that time, they started to prepare him for the role of a controlled revolutionary.

Despite reforms and country's course to fundamental structural changes announced by the 'Interim Government', Nikol Pashinyan was severely limited in his actions as expected by Western scriptwriters of the coup in Armenia. And now his policy seems to be far from democratic ideals. The RPA representatives are still in the majority in the National Assembly of Armenia. The new government was formed on the party basis, contrary to all postulates of 'popular riots'. And of the eight governor's appointments that Pashinyan has made now, only two are non-party ones. It is indicative that on May 17th, Nikol Pashinyan called on civil activists demanding to clear the government bodies of their old staff to stop acts of civil disobedience and improve the situation on the streets. The interim prime minister believes that henceforth, the authorities are accessible to the people, and that is why there is no point in holding rallies anymore. Nevertheless, disturbances of farmers who complain about the purchasing price of their agricultural products, as well as, activists' aggressive calls for resignations of the Chairman of Armenia's Court of Cassation Arman Mkrtumyan and other officials are gradually spreading throughout the country, threatening to turn Armenian political life into total chaos in the case of a failure to satisfy their demands.

The installation of the new government, changes in leadership of the security services did not knock the real levers of power out of hands of Sargsyan's low- and mid-level appointees all over the country. Moreover, the commitment of the 'Interim Government' to hold extraordinary parliamentary elections within a year offers high chances of the RPA victory because those political forces that appeared in opposition will take advantage of imminent lapses of insufficiently professional and relatively inexperienced team of Pashinyan that had received its power from the US puppeteers and Serzh Sargsyan, who is quite capable of coming back to power with time.

Currently, the Armenian society accepts what is offered, namely, refreshed political atmosphere, easing of customs procedures, Pashinyan's raids on stores with the aim to put pressure on oligarchs and unprecedented attacks of security officials on crime lords' meetings in Yerevan. Unfortunately, we cannot say that about Nagorno-Karabakh's inhabitants, who can turn out to be main victims of Yerevan's staged coup. A wave of Armenian protests has smoothly spread to the Republic of Artsakh. For instance, late in May, Artsakh's opposition required an open discussion of the country's budget, and then activists forced the authorities to invite the three major Armenian mobile operators into the country. On 2 June, there was a meeting in Stepanakert that called for the resignation of all heads of security services. Destabilization of the political situation in Nagorno-Karabakh comes against the backdrop of continued violations of the cessation of hostilities, which were made by Azeri soldiers who from 27 May to 2 June fired 200 times on positions of Artsakh Defense Army.

Nikol Pashinyan, in turn, wants to make dramatic changes in the international negotiating process on Nagorno-Karabakh issue, despite Artsakh's full support. He stressed that he tried to find a political settlement to the conflict, making Nagorno-Karabakh an individual negotiator in talks with Azerbaijan. Armenian new premier's statement that despite the increase in Azerbaijani armed forces' activity on the line of contact, Armenia does not want and is unable to be at war there may be regarded as a landmark message to Stepanakert. Thus, Pashinyan prepares Artsakh for autonomous decision-making process. And reversals of Nagorno-Karabakh's gains seem to be quite possible terms agreed upon between Sargsyan, Pashinyan and the USA.

During the period between 20th and 30th of May, five Armenian soldiers were killed in Nagorno-Karabakh and at the border with the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic where, among other things, Azerbaijan succeeded in capturing two dominating heights. And during Armenia's crisis of authority and socio-economic chaos controllable from the USA, Baku has enough time to plan a full-scale military invasion of Nagorno-Karabakh and recapture a number of Armenian territories in a south-westerly direction. It is worth recalling that primary aims of Pashinyan's democratic opposition are to move closer to the EU, attract Western investments and actively cooperate with the US Armenian Diaspora. In order to attain them, Armenian new authorities intend to chart the policy course towards NATO entering. And this will be a precondition not only for Yerevan's non-interference in matters of Nagorno-Karabakh, but also for the use of Armenia's territory as a staging area for the Alliance's pressure on Iran.

The bloodless coming to power of Nikol Pashinyan, rapid admitting own mistakes and abdicating power of Serzh Sargsyan, as well as, the sincere faith of some members of Armenian society in a full power reboot - all this could not hide signs of the pay-for-play among the West, Sargsyan and Pashinyan. As a result of such mutually beneficial castling, the RPA and Yelk functionaries not only put Armenian State's security and its foreign-policy independence at risk, but they also used the life of Nagorno-Karabakh inhabitants and Armenian people as political bargaining chips in their play. Furthermore, in the next few years, Armenian population will have to suffer from social and economic shocks, anarchy and other difficulties associated with popular solutions of any puppet authorities.
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