Russia conceives that the situation in Armenia was prompted by domestic factors and not foreign forces, Fyodor Lukyanov, political analyst, editor-in-chief of Russia in Global Politics magazine, told Sputnik Armenia.
He said Russia is concerned about the uncertainty of the situation in Armenia. “All the partners of Armenia, and Russia as the closets one, follow the current events there and ask the same question – what will happen next. That is why meetings are currently held with opposition leaders and government representatives,” Lukyanov said.
Domestic political developments, problems of the ruling Republican party were caused by incorrect assessment of public sentiments, the said.
Lukyanov believes that Armenia is in a geopolitical situation that does not allow it “to sway from side to side.” “Economic relations may be corrected and some discrepancies are possible as well, which is natural. However, Russia is the only (foreign) security guarantor of Armenia, because no one else is going to provide such guarantees to it,” Lukyanov said.
He is sure that all the politicians, including Pashinyan and Karapetyan, must step from that fact, irrespective of the outcome of domestic fight.
Experience shows that after every coup Russia’s positions weaken, like it happened in Ukraine. “Russia takes a very balanced position and tries not to influence the developments by supporting any force in Armenia, which is the right position, I think. It reflects Armenia’s realities and Russia’s experience of previous years,” Lukyanov said.
Russia seeks stability in Armenia. Therefore, the expert hopes Moscow will support the future government in Armenia diversifying contacts at the same time.
Talking to VERELQ Information and Analytical Center, expert Hayk Khalatyan commented on Russia’s hard choice in the ongoing political crisis in Armenia.
“Large-scale protests in Yerevan have been suspended and the fight move from the street and squares into offices where representatives of various political forces are trying their best to form new alliances or keep what has remained from the old ones. Leader of the protests, oppositionist MP Nikol Pashinyan believes that the people’s support that helped him achieve resignation of the long-governing leader of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan grants him the right to demand the post of temporary prime minister. This, as he says, will allegedly enable him to prevent election rigging by Republican Party of Armenia (RPA). On his way to that post, Pashinyan relies on people’s support and behind-the-scenes arrangements with other leading political forces of Armenia, the ones he is ready to talk with not in the presence of mass media,” Khalatyan said.
RPA and its actual new leader, acting Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan are trying to gain time to come round after resignation of Serzh Sargsyan. They hope protests will fade away and Russia, including big Armenian businessmen from Russia having good ties with Karen Karapetyan, will support them.
The Armenian expert recalled Pashinyan’s statements saying that the processes in Armenia have no geopolitical context and are “Armenia’s internal affairs” only. Besides, the “velvet revolution” leader has corrected his stance on many foreign policy issues. He is not against Armenia’s membership of CSTO or Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), just suggests discussion the existing problems with partners, particularly Russia. He says that nothing threatens Russia’s interests in Armenia, including the Russian military base in Gyumri, even after power change.
Moscow has appeared in a difficult situation, the expert said. On the one side, there are old partners from the current government, whereas on the other side, there is pro-Western politician Pashinyan and his even more pro-Western team. Although Pashinyan comes out from different positions now in view of his potential appointment as prime minister, Moscow hardly forgot the statements he made previously as oppositionist parliamentarian.
Pashinyan is the most popular politician in Armenia now, and Moscow cannot openly support the unpopular authorities. This may damage Russia’s image in Armenia, where pro-Russian sentiments are still high despite public discontent with Russia’s arms deals with Azerbaijan.
Any reasonable politician caring for the interests of Armenia and not of third countries has to cooperate with Russia and reckon with it, like first president of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosyan did.
So far Russia tries not to interfere into domestic affairs of Armenia. Moscow holds talks and discussions with current government and established contact with leader of public protests Pashinyan. Hopefully, such well-balanced stance will not change in future, Khalatyan said for conclusion.