Jan 30 2008

The Russian politicians and political scientists, unlike NATO and the
West, do not even try to appear neutral in the Armenian presidential
election, and they even hold round-table meetings in Moscow where
they utter the name of the candidate which they think will win the
election, considering Serge Sargsyan as such, pay official visits in
the pre-election period, which are instrumentalized in the election
campaign. On January 30 the reporters asked the presidential candidate
Vahan Hovanisyan whether this is not an interference with the internal
affairs of Armenia, who spelled out his vision of the foreign policy
of Armenia at the NATO Information Office in Yerevan.

"I think the Russian government agencies, at least the top ones,
publicly avoid interference. There are elements of interference in
some speeches of political scientists. We suppose that one political
scientist or another is related to one political circle in Russia
or another. In this respect, it is rather unpleasant when a Russian
political scientist states directly that the victory of this or that
candidate is in the interests of Russia, and they will try their best
to foster his victory. This is clear interference, and unacceptable
because it will enable another country from another continent to
endorse another candidate and say they will do their best to help
him win. The question occurs what "trying their best" means," Vahan
Hovanisyan says.

According to him, Armenia should not become an arena where the
interests of great powers clash. He admits that there are external
interests but he gives the example of the U.S. presidential election
in 2004. Vahan Hovanisyan says Bush stood a small chance to win. "But
he succeeded. Because the world media started criticizing him. The
European media, the Russian media, the media of the Far East and
the Near East, everyone wanted Bush to lose the election. But the
Americans love freedom, and when they saw that others are trying to
influence them, and influence their choice, they opposed and elected
George Bush," Vahan Hovanisyan says. According to him, this is the
right approach, and the Armenian people should act similarly.

"Outside efforts cannot guide us. I think our people should realize
this. And it is dangerous. In reality we know what a favor the foreign
sources do when they start praising a candidate. I think this track
does not lead Armenia toward development," Vahan Hovanisyan says.