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Pashinyan has real opportunity to improve situation in Armenia: opinion

Alexander Krylov, head of the Center for Post-Soviet Studies IMEMO RAS

The new leadership of Armenia has a real opportunity to significantly improve the situation in the country, Alexander Krylov, head of the Center for Post-Soviet Studies IMEMO RAS has said in a talk with EADaily. According to him, the events in Armenia have two stages. The first one was to remove Serzh Sargsyan from power, the second stage ended with Nikol Pashinyan becoming the prime minister. Mass protests became the main means of successfully meeting these challenges and although they cannot be assessed as completely legitimate, however, such a massive violation of public order was the only effective means of destroying the power model created by the third president of Armenia and intended to ensure his further unlimited rule.

Krylov noted that in the neighboring Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili also tried to maintain his power through a constitutional reform and changing the presidential form of government to a parliamentary one. In Georgia, Saakashvili's party was defeated at the 2012 elections and he was forced to leave the country. In Armenia, everything went according to a slightly different scenario, but the result was just as disastrous for the constitutional reform initiator.

"The relatively peaceful nature of the events and the generally neutral position of the security forces have become a great achievement for Armenia. Fears for a possible bloodshed, fortunately, were not justified. Absolutely groundless were initially absurd allegations about possible interference of Russian troops into the proceedings. Summing up the two initial stages of the transition in Armenia, we can state that the formally legitimate continuation of Serzh Sargsyan's rule as prime minister was not recognized as legitimate by a large part of the Armenian population, and illegal mass actions (blocking streets and administrative buildings, etc.) were considered as complete legitimate in the conditions of a specific situation, because there was no other way for the public to remove him from power," the Russian expert said.

However, now, after Pashinyan’s candidacy for prime minister’s post was approved, the third stage of reformation begins. Alexander Krylov recalled that according to the statements of the new prime minister, this stage will last 3-6 months and its main goal will be to hold genuinely democratic elections guaranteed from various frauds and violations.

This task seems quite logical, since the opposition did not consider the current composition of the parliament legitimate and reflecting the will of Armenian voters because of the questionable, in its opinion, character and the results of the recent elections. "So, if the current parliament is not absolutely legitimate, then the appointment of Nikol Pashinyan as prime minister is also the same. On the other hand, against the backdrop of mass demonstrations and accusations against the Republican Party, it can hardly be asserted that the parliamentarians had not been pressured and voted solely on their own. In this situation, only new parliamentary elections can take the situation in Armenia back to the legitimate course; the elections will allow forming an absolutely legitimate parliament that expresses the will of the voters," the expert stressed.

Despite all the validity of the Nikol Pashinyan’s position, the expert is also aware of the challenges that arise. 3-6 months is a very long period in the conditions of Armenia. So in addition to preparing new parliamentary elections, the new Armenian leadership will have to deal with acute social and economic problems. If the population does not feel real progress, and even more so if the situation worsens, this may affect the results of the upcoming parliamentary elections in a negative way for Pashinyan's supporters. On the other hand, the "temporary" and short-lived nature of the new administration's governance may complicate its activities in the international arena, as foreign policy partners may prefer to take a certain "pause" in relations, up to the formation of not a "temporary" but permanent leadership of Armenia.

"At the same time, in the current situation there are factors favorable to the new administration. One can expect a significant increase in the economic activity of the Armenian Diaspora, previously hampered by the rules existing in Armenia. These same rules largely impeded the full-scale use of the potential of bilateral Russian-Armenian economic ties, as well as the potential of the EAEU integration association. The media also received information about the possible return of illegally acquired and exported capital from Armenia, which, if it does happen, can significantly supplement the Armenian budget and become an additional source of development. So the new leadership has a real opportunity to significantly improve the socio-economic indicators of Armenia only by removing those barriers that were caused by the nature of the ruling regime, which was suspended from power," Alexander Krylov summed up.

Recall, a day before the Armenian parliament, from the second attempt, elected Nikol Pashinyan as new prime minister of the country.

Lia Khojoyan

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