by David Stepanyan

Tuesday, October 30, 14:31

ArmInfo's interview with Hovhannes Igityan, member of the Board of the
Armenian Pan National Movement, former head of the Armenian National
Assembly Committee for Foreign Affairs (1995-1999).

Would you forecast the outcome of the presidential elections in
Armenia in Feb 2013?

Given the nature of elections in Armenia, especially since 2008,
it is clear that no civilized elections will be held in the republic
in 2013 if nothing is changed in Armenia. The upcoming presidential
elections will be almost the same as in 2008, but without any blood.

They will be like the past parliamentary elections, the results of
which pleased many European observers, by the way. That is to say,
the visual aspect of the upcoming presidential elections will be quite
good for the European observers. On the other hand, Armenia will
undergo a process, which cannot even be called elections: people
will go to the polls and drop the ballots into the ballot boxes for
money or under administrative pressure. That's it.

First of all political forces are considered to be the election
participants in today's Armenia, and people forget that the key
participant is the public, which is now more indifferent than ever.

It is easy to handle the indifferent society's votes by means of money
and administrative resources. Against this background, the appearance
of an Armenian Ivanishvili is impossible.

That is, money will not work in Armenia without the administrative
resource, because the owner of the money will immediately go to jail.

Thus, if this shameful situation fails to change in Armenia, the
authorities will retain the power in Feb 2013.

There are enough factors in Armenia to stir up the society: beating
of soldiers, murders in the army, the crime in Harsnakar Restaurant,
the impudence of politicians who appoint their children to state
posts, total lawlessness, etc. The authorities have gone all the
possible lines. All this should have stirred up our society long ago,
but there is no such a thing. As a result, during the forthcoming
presidential elections the authorities will draw the number of votes
they like. They even can organize the second round of elections to
demonstrate that Armenia has an alternative candidate and democracy.

At the parliamentary elections in 2007 Robert Kocharyan had both
money and administrative resources, but Prosperous Armenia did not
gain majority in the parliament yielding to the Republicans...

Kocharyan did not pursue a goal of making PAP the major party
in the parliament. He had another goal. The changes made through
Constitutional reform in 2005 connected the government with the
parliamentary majority. The point was to form the prime minister in
the person of Serzh Sargsyan, who then joined RPA accompanied by his
supporters, and created majority in the ratio to the backbone of the
Republicans headed by Andranik Margaryan. That goal of Kocharyan was
achieved. I do not rule out that at a certain moment Kocharyan lost
control of PAP, as he set too insignificant goals to return to power
as a prime minister on the Russian scenario.

Will RPA and PAP achieve any agreement before the presidential
election or they will sit at the negotiating table after the voting

In Armenia we have a distorted political system, where some forces
act as a parliamentary majority, while the others as a minority. In a
country where people do not decide anything everything turns into an
absurd theater, where people having nothing to do with politics and
the Republican Party of Armenia are admitted into that party and are
appointed as ministers just because they 'belong' to it. The same is
for the parliament, where the selfsame RPA has a majority. It would
not have it if the parliament were elected by the people. The only
thing the regime is afraid of is mass protest, but since there is no
force that can lead people, the regime has nothing to worry about.

Yes, but in case of relevant incentives, Gagik Tsarukyan may go
to street and declare that he does not recognize the presidential
election outcome. Isn't it a danger?

They in the Prosperous Armenia Party may say: "the presidential
elections were a fraud" but they will still attend the new president's
inauguration and will shake hands with Serzh Sargsyan.

That is, everything will be according to the known scenario...

Yes, everything will be according to the same scenario as the only
alternative to RPA is people who love Armenia but can change nothing.

What about 'Oskanian case'?

Everybody in Armenia and mass media, look first of all at the
political part of Oskanian's case. I offer to look at its judicial
part thanks to which our authorities have been trying to demonstrate
their explanation of the money laundering.

I look at Oskanian's case through the prism of the actions
taken earlier by the Russian authorities against non-governmental
organizations which got foreign grants. Any foundation in Armenia,
which is taking part in formation of civil society in this or that
way, is extremely dangerous for the authorities of Armenia if it is
financed from abroad, even if an Armenian finances another Armenian.

Except the Civilitas, there is no such big foundation in Armenia. And
what is incriminated to Vartan Oskanian is not linked with an idea
of money laundering. I think that Oskanian could be accused by this
article if like a politician he would be financed with the money
got from drug traffic in Armenia. It is not the National Security
Service that should investigate the case, as at present it watches
the opposition not like a danger for the pro-power candidate but like
a danger to national security. For this reason, NSS investigates all
the cases linked with election 2008, Vartan Oskanian's case, etc.

Few people know that there is drug traffic in Armenia, in a big
scale. And all the sums gained from this trade enter in the official
field just through laundering. I do not agree to the viewpoint
according to which this process creates a political capital for
Oskanian. I am sure that in such a way it is impossible to create an
image of a persecuted politician in Armenia, as the Armenian society
is indifferent.

Did they want to punish Oskanian or PAP as well?

Anyway, I think that they really wanted to punish Oskanian in such
a way, for the others not to want make similar statements. They also
wanted to punish Prosperous Armenia Party, as Oskanian would not be
punished if not being a member of the PAP. Nevertheless, Oskanian
has a right to run for president, but the majority of the society
will hardly support him if he says about the election fraud".

What is the share of external forces in the domestic political
disturbances in Armenia?

Some people in Armenia think that one can easily overthrow the local
regime if supported from abroad, but this is not the case with Armenia,
nor is it with the United States, Europe or Russia. On the contrary,
the organizers of color revolutions have realized that it is much
easier to influence an elected person than to make a revolution. But
in case of Serzh Sargsyan they don't need to support him during the
elections in order to make a puppet of him. A small country cannot
help being influenced by super powers, but such things must be done
in a civilized manner and not as Russia does when it sets its own
price for an enterprise it likes in Armenia or as the United States
does when it wants the country to take part in a NATO mission.

At the same time I don't think that there is no alternative to Serzh
Sargsyan for foreign forces. Simply, the situation Armenia has found
itself in is very vulnerable as the authorities do their best to
retain power only within their personal interests. Sometimes, in
some countries the same people remain on the post of the president
but in different quality and with different team and are reluctant
to do quite different thinks.