In an interview with EADaily, Vladimir Poghosyan, security expert, shares his views on possible developments in Armenia that will see parliamentary elections on April 2, as well as on a range of other issues.
What will in fact transition to the parliamentary form of government mean for Armenia?
It leads to collapse in all aspects – to maximum discrepancies in public. In fact, the government staff, not the parliament will be governing the country. The new form of government that was adopted from Germany has already started destroying government institutions. That algorithm is not applicable to Armenia. In these dangerous times, when the country is in the state of war, it is a wrong decision to limit the president’s powers and shift to the parliamentary system.
This means several things. First, the situation in the region is disregarded – Azerbaijan and Turkey have strengthened their power verticals being in the state of war. Second, there are much more issues besides geopolitical tasks - the national interests. Armenia is home to more than 11 million Armenians (including crypto-Armenians). In Turkey alone, there are estimated 4 to 11 million Armenians. They seek to eliminate Armenia. President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan has already weakened the power. Some people from the ruling party say they will hardly retain power within the year even if they win the upcoming elections. People from the president’s team are connected with subtler international and European systems. In 2018, the country will finally face collapse of government institutions. This is happening already.
It is evident that the parliamentary form of government is possible only in a well-developed multi-party system – something Armenia lacks today. The key actors and parties are managed by the president’s administration with help of all possible instruments. The parliament will be experiencing shocks due to momentary unions and collapses of new coalitions. The forces represented here are patchy. Some are under influence of U.S., some are managed from Europe, while others are under influence of Russia. Pro-Russian forces will be the minority, which will help the West implement all possible scenarios of influencing the foreign and domestic policy of Armenia. The most dangerous is that everything will be in the hands of the ruling party, not the parliament. This means that the future prime minister will manage the economy, financial flows, foreign and domestic issues, defense and national security. There will be no checks-and-balances system.
The given reform laid a delayed-action mine not only under Armenia, but also under Russia. Anti-Russian game is gathering pace in Armenia.
What do you call the anti-Russian game?
The authorities are creating artificial anti-Russian structures that will enter the parliament and come out against the authorities and its relations with Russia. It’s a kind of bogeyman for Russia. They will be telling it that only the ruling party can pursue the pro-Russian policy in Armenia. I’d like to say that such a trick worked until now. We know who funds whom and who is supposed to frighten Russia. It is very strange that, for instance, Levon Ter-Petrosyan has suddenly become pro-Russian, while the program of alleged opposition Armenian National Congress (ANC) he leads suggests ceding Karabakh’s territories, refusing from seeking recognition of Genocide and starting rapprochement process with Turkey. Yet, all this will be used against Ter-Petrosyan later.
Do you mean that Yerevan does not need talks with Azerbaijan or Turkey?
No, I haven’t said that. We do need to talk with Azerbaijan, but not on the terms the VIP tourists from OSCE suggest! It is necessary to establish direct contacts with Azerbaijan and keep Russia as the only moderator. We must say goodbye to all the other organizations. Here the stances of Armenians and Azerbaijanis coincide. Both are dissatisfied with OSCE’s work. We have a proposal and a program that will help establishing relations between the two countries.
The same applies to Turkey. Despite the fraternal relations of Turkey and Azerbaijan, Turkish businesspersons would be happy to deal with Armenians! The relations with Turkey can and should be normalized, but without compromising national interests.
I repeat, a direct dialogue Yerevan-Baku is needed, first. It is necessary to stop stirring up hatred in the media on both sides, it is necessary to stop fire and calm down the population. Afterwards, it will be necessary to launch reconciliation mechanisms of people’s diplomacy, then synthesize these two approaches. Politicians will decide nothing unless the peoples calm down. Any inadmissible decision for the Armenian and Azerbaijani peoples will trigger a revolution both in Baku and Yerevan!
Most politicians and even leaders of some countries are unable to comprehend what has happened in the world. The world has become different and more dangerous with Donald Trump coming to power in U.S.
Could you amplify a little on changes the world will see with Trump coming to power?
Now, many speak about Trump. It is necessary to understand that the problem is neither Trump nor Clinton, the problem is the two global systems. One system is conditionally Trump, the other is Clinton. Escalation of tension in Karabakh, Ukraine, and Belarus are links of the same chain.
Let’s start with Belarus. Lukashenko did not even understand how they used him against Russia. By handing over blogger Lapshin to Azerbaijan, he was involved into others’ games. All these dirty statements, attempts to be friends with Baku against Moscow, will not be forgiven. Lukashenko unveiled private talks with Putin. It is wrong, it is inadmissible to any president. Can it be called an ally, if it keeps demanding and does not care about the economic situation Russia is facing. It is a “political lunacy”! Permanent demarches in CSTO not only undermine the relations of Russia with Armenia, but also lead the organization to a collapse by following Azerbaijan that successfully manipulates not only Belarus but also Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
I cannot understand why Russia lacks determination. All these states are members of EAEU and CSTO, and what do we see? They block issues to favor Baku, create discrepancies between the organizations Azerbaijan is not a member of. Are they forced to stay in those organizations? If they tend towards “Great Turan” with Baku, let them leave these formats and go ahead!
But these guys let their guards down too early. Everything is just starting in Afghanistan, which means that everything is starting also for Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. ISIS (a terrorist organization banned in Russia – editor’s note) has not been destroyed. It will make its presence felt near the borders of the CIS soon. EAEU and CSTO cannot be in such poor state amid such high threats. In case of aggression against Kazakhstan, for instance, Armenia can block the decision to help that country. Is it normal?
Lukashenko has not realized yet what the essence of the military organization is. The purpose is that in case of an attack on Belarus, all the CSTO member-countries should come out in support of Belarus. Armenia, not Azerbaijan, will have to provide its economic assistance and manpower to protect the ally, Armenian soldiers will have to die for Belarus. It is very serious. Is he ready to sacrifice all this for two million tons of oil? Is this the cost of Belarus’ security?
The problem is that no one wants to assess what is happening in Karabakh. Everyone knows who is behind the provocations on the border, but everyone observes parity. This is a dangerous path too. Look, tensions have emerged in places very sensitive for Russia and Moscow cannot but respond. If the situation gets out of control, Russia may resort to more serious measures and use force. Russia too has vital interests. In such case, U.S. will not stay aside either. Then, it is very likely that U.S. and Russia may engage. This is what the old system seeks trying to lead Trump and Putin into a tunnel which they will not be able to get out off.
It is necessary to realize that two poles have collided, otherwise we will face a great disaster. This is what we must stem from. We must not let the old system drive the world into a chaos. Trump and Clinton are just names. In U.S., the nation is still separated, more precisely, it was separated. However, I would not look forward for U.S. as world gendarme to weaken and disappear. The collapse of the Soviet Union is a bright example of what happens next. Everyone clashes with each other. The same situation will be in the entire world. Whatever the old world order is, it must not be broken at once, since there will no longer be any restraining power and invasive wars will break out. Bigger powers will start swallowing the smaller ones.
Russia needs to step up efforts to increase its capacities to be ready to offer its services to the world. Here the CSTO may play its role, on condition that all the member countries are true allies, otherwise it will not be a military block, but a circle around Russia. No one has time or money for it.
Meantime, specialists say the ISIS will cease existing soon. What would say about it?
I cannot agree with such assessments. They spent billions on them not to destroy them. The events in Mosul resemble a wise retreat. What direction it will be directed that is the question. It may be conserved or transformed into something else! We should not cherish any illusions here. Things are not that easy! ISIL “control panel” is in the hands of the old world. I think they will gain a foothold in Afghanistan and South Caucasus.