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Chilly Autumn: Political Stagnation Follows Armenia's Foreign Policy

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  • Chilly Autumn: Political Stagnation Follows Armenia's Foreign Policy


    Analysis | 25.09.13 | 12:07


    By Naira Hayrumyan
    ArmeniaNow correspondent

    The forecasts for the hot political autumn appear to have proved
    erroneous as Armenia seems to be "enjoying" perhaps the most tranquil
    period in its recent history. Political forces do not advance claims,
    public rallies have been called off, civil protests that were quite
    vigorous during the summer months have subsided. Even though analysts
    had expected that President Serzh Sargsyan's decision on Armenia's
    accession to the Customs Union that was announced on September 3
    would cause a storm of emotions, in reality it has led to stagnation.

    The sole active actor in Armenia now is Russia, and although Armenia
    has already declared about its intention to join the Moscow-led bloc,
    Russia is trying to prove through its local public relations that
    entry into the Customs Union will be beneficial for Armenia. Few
    people publicly argue with it, Russia continues to advance arguments,
    perhaps realizing that they are not particularly convincing.

    What accounts for such indifference of the Armenian society? According
    to experts, the problem may be that some political forces had been
    tuned to protests and a change of power in connection with the already
    past intentions of Sargsyan to initial the Association Agreement with
    the EU. Still in summer these forces hinted that an agreement with
    the EU would threaten the security of Karabakh.

    In the context of these protests the political forces had also hinted
    at the possibility of impeachment, but the September 3 decision solved
    the task of keeping Armenia within the Russian zone of influence,
    while leaving the task of regime change unfulfilled. And now the
    Armenian political forces need to build a new foundation for the
    president's impeachment or acknowledge that he is right.

    Apparently, this is what explains the political lull in Armenia. The
    Dashnaktsutyun party appears to have taken time out by announcing
    a national program to curb outward migration. The party calls on all
    political forces to consolidate, but it does not demand the resignation
    of the government.

    The second largest parliamentary party, Prosperous Armenia, which has
    always been in favor of the Eurasian future of Armenia, also appears
    to be at a loss - Armenia is almost in Eurasia, and President Sargsyan
    has only strengthened his positions and the party itself is now almost
    irrelevant. Prosperous Armenia has always avoided political decisions
    and steps, and now it only tries to criticize Sargsyan through media
    controlled by it.

    The party of the first President Levon Ter-Petrosyan, the Armenian
    National Congress (ANC), in fact, endorsed the decision by Sargsyan
    on the Customs Union and now focuses mainly on issues of the release
    of imprisoned young activist Tigran Arakelyan.

    Once the questions of power change and Armenia' foreign policy
    orientation have been delineated, the Armenian opposition has to
    decide whether it will rally around the idea of impeaching President
    Sargsyan without linking the matter to the Customs Union or the EU. In
    this regard, some experts do not rule out an alliance between the ANC
    and the Prosperous Armenia, as cooperation between the two parties
    is becoming more noticeable.

    However, after the September 3 development, the local media have been
    increasingly talking about the likelihood of Prosperous Armenia's
    re-entry into the ruling coalition. The party of wealthy businessman
    Gagik Tsarukyan clearly understands that it has few resources for
    the impeachment, especially since there is no Russian support, and
    at this stage it is better to rejoin the coalition.

    As for Dashnaktsutyun, it is unlikely that the party will re-enter
    the coalition - influential members of the American structures of the
    party, in particular, the chairman of the Armenian National Committee
    of America Ken Hachikian, have openly criticized Sargsyan for the
    decision to join the Customs Union.

    From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress