The situation in Armenia clears up, but Russia does not get any better from this | Eurasia Diary -

6 April, Monday

The situation in Armenia clears up, but Russia does not get any better from this

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The political situation in Armenia changes with kaleidoscopic rapidity, leaving no time for its more in-depth comprehension and analysis in the form of an analytical article, and therefore it is necessary to work in the genre of the essay. In accordance with the requirements of the genre, one cannot divert into several publications in one publication, and therefore one is taken into analysis, - why the Russian authorities could not believe that they are irretrievably losing their position in this country.
In my opinion, the answer lies solely in the ideological plane: the model of Armenia's external governance for the Kremlin seemed almost ideal, since it had been working for almost two decades, and therefore it was transferred to Russia, although it began to slip inside the country earlier than outside. Armenia seemed, to the Kremlin, to be an example of administrative and bureaucratic controllability, but it literally fell in two weeks, burying all illusions at its own expense.
Russia’s faults
The strategic mistake of the Russian political leadership in the face of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and his closest associates in organizing their influence in Armenia has been and still is that this country has been perceived by them for almost two decades as almost a subject of the Russian Federation. Therefore, their attitude towards it was completely identical.
Within Russia, the relationship between the federal center (Kremlin) and the regions is based on a primitively feudal system, but no less effective and even rational triune principle - control over resources, control over infrastructure and control over local elites. Since Armenia is extremely poor in natural resources, its main exploitable resource has become the people, today in Russia up to 1.5 million citizens of Armenia work as migrant workers. Moreover, their employers are mainly ethnic Armenians, affiliated with high-ranking Russian officials who receive a share of the margin from the exploitation of immigrants from that country.
Today, the Russian state-owned corporations (Gazprom, RZD, Rosatom and others) possess almost the entire infrastructure of Armenia, without which it is absolutely impossible even for the flawed existence of the local population in fact put on the brink of physical survival. The political elite of Armenia in the persona of the so-called "Karabakh clan" and the military junta of field commanders of illegal armed groups in Armenian separatists of Nagorno-Karabakh was also loyal to the Kremlin, since it was with its tacit consent that it came to power in November 1999 after the terrorist act in the Armenian parliament.
However, from this seemingly ideal scheme of state administration of the vassal territory, one crucial element was completely excluded-the very population of the country, which was perceived either as a mute and powerless object of management, or as an object of profit extraction through the sale of energy resources or public services. The real concern of the authorities about the well-being and welfare of the population was replaced by propaganda and other forms of extra-economic management-the fanning of hysteria on the topic of external threat, the artificial strengthening of the influence of the church, the clericalization of public life, the fascization of society through the transformation of the theory of the Tsagakron Garegin Nzhdeh into state ideology, the immense exaggeration of the grandeur of the semi-mythical historical heritage, which in reality was not.
It was on this path that Italy went in 1924 when Benito Mussolini came to power in this country. By the way, it was he who in 1929 signed a decree on the creation of the Vatican. On the streets and squares of Yerevan and other Armenian cities, the local flankers led by the priests were proudly marching, but they were only called in the local manner of "Yerkrapah", and their marches were headed not by Roman Catholic but Armenian-Gregorian priests. In all other respects, the similarity between Italy of the 1930s and Armenia of 2000 was striking, at least for an impartial outside observer with deep historical education and a propensity for analysis.
The Russian authorities were fully satisfied with this state of affairs in th vassal country, since the system and methodology of public administration of public life in Armenia as a whole corresponded to the Russian one, and therefore was understandable. The Armenian government was loyal to Russia, the people were almost silent, and everything to the Kremlin in this country seemed beautiful and prosperous. It's only with the absolute power of the junta of war criminals that the people of Armenia did not want to tolerate, periodically rising to social protests in 2008, in 2015 and 2016. These protests became more frequent and ever more large-scale as society withdrew from power, and the grip of power on his neck weakened due to an ever-growing scarcity of resources.
Was there an intervention from the West?
Naturally, all this was attributed to the "intrigues of the West", and primarily to the US, which, of course, was much more effective and, most importantly, strategically correct, as Moscow habitually flirted with the Armenian corrupt elite, and Washington - with the people. The Kremlin knew perfectly well how many American governmental and "non-governmental" organizations operated in recent years in Armenia, how many programs they implemented in the economic, social and environmental spheres. However, the US authorities never hid this very much. The site of the US Development Agency (USAID) openly published reports about its activity in this country. But in Moscow, no one reacted to this by return activity, hoping for Sargsyan and the Russian military base in Gyumri, whose political influence, as the course of events in recent weeks showed, turned out to be zero.
On what Sargsyan’s power was based?
The power of the "Karabakh clan" in Armenia was based on propaganda, violence and people's fear of this violence. But as soon as a part of the military forces summoned from Karabakh to suppress social protests or mass riots (not the essence) in Yerevan went to the side of the protesters, the power of fear dried up. And Serzh Sargsyan himself and his entourage from the stars of the first magnitude suddenly turned into a complete jerk, which they were, in fact, before their ascent of the power of the Karabakh war to Olympus. In 2018, the same thing happened in Armenia as happened in Italy in 1944, and in Germany in 1945: Armenians turned away from Sargsyan's corrugators as Italians turned their backs on Mussolini's fascists and Germans from Hitler's Nazis.
Is a "Crimean" scenario possible in Armenia?
Russia today does not have the slightest chance to influence the situation in Armenia by force, no "Crimean" scenario of the sample of 2014 in the present conditions in Armenia is absolutely impossible. Russia today does not have the slightest social support in the face of the Russian (it was all squeezed out) or Russian-speaking (emigrated for economic reasons) population. In the country there remained youth, brought up in a nationalistic spirit, and peasants who, by virtue of their ignorance, were never close to Russia and Russian culture.
These processes were well known to the Kremlin, but they were not actively opposed, as President Putin and his entourages was convinced of the inviolability of the power of the junta of Armenian war criminals, whose manner of governing their country was almost identical to that of Russia. Therefore, even if the Russian military presence based on the 102nd base of the RF Ministry of Defense in Gyumri will be increased, it will not do anything, since the bulk of the population will be met with hostility and will be perceived as Moscow's attempt to restore by force by force the power of the deposed social protests of the "Karabakh clan". Therefore, the Kremlin can only wait and frankly wait for the miracle in the form of some fatal mistake by Nikol Pashinyan.
But one does not have to rely on these obviously Russian authorities, because he has not committed a single mistake yet, and this circumstance allows to state with a high degree of probability that he will not continue to do so. Pashinyan has always been one step ahead of the current government during the entire period of political turbulence in Armenia, constantly put forward demands, to which she was never ready to answer. An indicative situation in connection with the expression of the position of Armenian political forces on the eve of the elections of the Prime Minister of the country was appointed on May 1.
Acting Prime Minister Karapetian and Foreign Minister Nalbandian, immediately after the announcement of the date of this action, flew to Moscow on April 26 "for consultations," where they met with Putin and Lavrov respectively. Returning to Yerevan, they could not offer a protesting metropolitan public any intelligible or concrete intellectual alternative to the demands of the opposition. It seems that there was no such opinion on the account of the ruling Armenian tops, who firmly believed in the infallibility and infinity of their power. And in Moscow for them nothing sensible in the crisis conditions could not come up, as they were lulled by the sweet-talked assurances of the Russian Foreign Minister that the situation in Armenia is under his vigilant control. But in the end we have what we have.
Who will be the new premier?
On April 28, all parliamentary political parties of Armenia announced that they would support Nikol Pashinyan's candidacy at the upcoming elections. Even Dashnaktsutyun, which was withdrawn from political oblivion and dusted personally by Serzh Sargsyan and who for a long time was a political satellite of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia, even spoke in his support. The position of the Armenian Republicans in the current situation is different as the faint-hearted cannot be called. They said that they would not nominate their candidate for the post of prime minister, thereby letting everyone know that Karen Karapetyan, the protege of the Kremlin and Gazprom, quietly stepped aside to keep his head intact.
Actually, I get the impression that the "Karabakh clan", which for almost two decades served Russia faithfully and lost its supplement for violence or exhausted the people's belief in the possibility of using this violence to protect their power, burst like a soap bubble. In my publications, I have repeatedly warned the authorities of Russia over the past five years that one should never believe war criminals and take in the service of accomplices of international terrorists, honoring the elbows in the blood of peaceful representatives of Azerbaijani and other Muslim peoples. The Russian president should not shake hands with scoundrels who gave orders to kill civilians in Khojaly, no matter how convenient and helpful they were.
Today, no one has any doubt that Nikol Pashinyan will become Prime Minister of Armenia, provided that he, of course, on the eve or during the voting in the parliament will not be killed. This, too, cannot be excluded, knowing the latest history of this country and some dark and bloody nuances of the struggle for supremacy in Yerevan in the last two decades.
What's next?
We are all witnessing a change in the political regime in Armenia. There is a hope that to replace the leaders and accomplices of international terrorists who have practically gone to political non-existence, more progressive and liberal-minded people will come to power in this country, who in their politics will be guided by the realities of this world, and not by ideologies dug from the decay of the past.
Thus, the universal truth is found to be true that for the sake of one's own ambitions or management convenience, no people-neither a stranger nor one's own-can be held to be brainless and silent cattle. Sooner or later the sense of human self-respect as a spark of God will inevitably light up. And then, as Alexander Dumas-son wrote, "no army in the world can stop the idea, the time of which has come."
Oleg Kuznetsov
Russian political scientist and historian

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