Vestnik Kavkaza, Russia
March 31 2014

31 March 2014 - 9:57am

By Susanna Petrosyan, Yerevan. Exclusively for Vestnik Kavkaza

The latest events in Armenia have marked a breakthrough in relations
between the government and the opposition. Meetings of Prosperous
Armenia (BHK), Armenian National Congress (ANC), Dashnaktsutyun (ARF)
and the Heritage played a prominent role in the shift of tone. They
formed a common agenda through consultations and focus on changing
the government.

The opposition parties met at the National Assembly (NA) on March 19
and decided to start collecting signatures to organize an off-schedule
session of the NA on April 28 to vote non-confidence. According to
leader of the ANC fraction at the parliament Levon Zurabyan, the vote
of censure would be only a step towards progress. The final goal is
the resignation of President Serzh Sargsyan.

These events formed a new situation in Armenia. It is notable that
opposition has taken the lead in political processes. The rising
political activity of the opposition and its consolidation, joint
efforts of the four parties and the I am Against civil initiative to
oppose the accumulative pensions system have weakened the perennial
argument about its invulnerability and domination. The power basing
on the philosophy of "we are many, so we are stronger and, thus,
always right" is now trying to keep up with the events.

The new political reality may be the reason why Prime Minister Serzh
Sargsyan has proposed a dialogue with the I am Against movement: "A
civil society dictating its rules is forming in Armenia. This means
that the government needs to correct its work. The position "all or
nothing" is unacceptable for us and young people of the civil society.

We are ready for a dialogue and we admit that our laws are not

In response, members of the movement said that the Constitutional
Court should express its opinion about the accumulative pensions on
March 28. Activists say that it would be wrong to go for a dialogue
with the government before the Constitutional Court makes its decision.

The prime minister's initiative was also announced to provoke a
schism between the four parties and the I am Against initiative. A
similar idea can be seen in declarations of lower-rank politicians and
publications of government-controlled mass media. These reports claim
that "volunteers" among BHK leader Gagik Tsarukyan's bodyguards were
involved in the events of March 1, 2008. Meanwhile, the position of
BHK in formation of a temporary commission to investigate the events
that happened six years ago seems weak. The ANC itself most likely
has evidence that Tsarukyan was not involved in the March 1 crackdown.

Otherwise, considering the radical position of ANC in the March 1
case, it is obvious that the organization would not cooperate with
BHK. According to some media sources, the government has woken up to
break the most influential and powerful non-coalition BHK.

Perhaps efforts of the government to break and weaken the movement
is justified. However, in the light of activating opposition, these
actions and the prime minister's readiness for compromise would most
likely be ineffective. Those actions would probably be late.