Serj, Nikol and Armenia's 25-plus year old problem child called Democracy - Summer, 2018

For the past 25-plus years Armenians have been enthusiastically experimenting with foreign concepts and foreign notions that are foreign not only to the geographic locality of Armenia but foreign also to Armenian culture and genetic kind. Consequently, for 25-plus years Armenia has suffered sustained cultural degradation and periodic sociopolitical turmoil. Armenians, nevertheless, are valiantly pushing forward in a relentless effort to live up to foreign standards and expectations - be it political, cultural or economic - imposed by imperial officials in faraway lands. Ultimately, this is the fundamental problem at hand. This conversation therefore is not about Russia, United States, Europe, Azerbaijan or Turkey per se. This conversation is not even about corruption, crime, oligarchs, political parties or even politicians like Serj Sargsyan and Nikol Pashinyan. This conversation is ultimately about Westernization and Globalization, and Armenia's political culture and mindset.

This conversation is therefore about the civilizational problem of our times. This conversation is essentially about the kind of seeds we are eagerly sowing in Armenia today in an attempt to live up to foreign standards. I therefore suggest we don't lose sight of this aspect of the following story despite how much we Armenians hated Armenia's now deposed Chobans in Armani suites.

In final analysis, those that want to eradicate national cultures and state borders, or simply put it all under Anglo-American-Jewish control, have more-or-less convinced humanity, including us ever-gullible Armenians, that the state exists solely for the people. While that is true to a certain degree, in my opinion, however, it is more important for a people to unconditionally feel the need to exist for the state. Those that want to eradicate national cultures and state borders, or simply put it all under one global management, have also been pushing the toxic concepts of democracy (e.g. free and fair elections, independent press, people power, empowering of ethic and sexual minorities, etc.), liberalism (e.g. feminism, multiculturalism, interracialism, atheism, normalization of sexual perversions, recreational drug use, etc.), financial dependency (e.g. dependency on credits and loans from Western financial institutions like the Federal Reserve, Wall Street, World Bank and the IMF) and open borders (i.e. "free trade" and unhindered movement of populations across national borders). The aforementioned, which are actively promoted by Western and Globalist or Supranational interests around the world today, are tools of social engineering and control, and they are inherently toxic to all nations on earth, especially so to Armenia.

Such concepts are deliberately pushed onto developing nations or nations not already part of their political, financial and/or economic orbit to either subjugate them or destroy them.

Armenian traits (i.e. those that help us succeed in foreign lands but not in our homeland) and the sociopolitical climate currently prevailing in Armenia (i.e. that which for the most part was crafted by Western/Globalist interests) are being exploited by aforementioned foreign interests to captivate the Armenian spirit and psyche. It has worked for the most part. For 25-plus years, Armenians have been tearing themselves apart trying to meet foreign expectations. For 25-plus years, foreign forces operating inside Armenian society have been effectively exploiting Armenia's natural growing pains in a concerted effort to undermine Armenian statehood. This all has contributed to the country's cultural decline. Armenia is no longer producing high culture, it is merely regurgitating Western and Turkic pop culture. As I always say, Soviet Armenia gave us Aram Khachaturyan, independent Armenia gave us Aram Assatryan. Armenia is not alone in its cultural decline. We see cultural decline even in Europe and North America, both of which are the sources of the problem I speak of. European and Western countries today are resting on their laurels. In other words, they are living off their long past imperial glory. But their civilization is in a steep decline today because of Globalism and Liberalism. As such, Western nations themselves are slowly falling victim to the very poisons they have been eagerly administering around the world for decades. However, Armenia's case may prove worst because of Armenia's geographic location.

But, just as a troubled child will be a troubled child, Armenians be Armenians. Armenians will happily experiment with toxic concoctions for it is in the nature of the ever-restless and ever-gullible Armenian to do so. I keep reminding Armenians that Armenia is located in the south Caucasus, not in Scandinavia. I keep reminding Armenians that Armenia's neighbors are not Swedes, Norwegians, Icelanders, Fins or Danes, but Turks, Azeris, Georgians, Kurds, Iranians and fanatical Islamists. To survive in its very dangerous neighborhood, Armenia today needs close relations with Russia, internal stability, political foresight, a powerful military and a very strong national/ethic identity.

While we as a people are tearing ourselves apart relentlessly striving for "Democracy" and "civil society", Armenia's regional enemies, oblivious to the aforementioned Western fairytales, are simply multiplying in numbers. I suspect it has always been like this. On a fundamental level, the political unrest we see in Armenia every few years is the reason why there is the nation of Turkey in Asia Minor today. Our people's undying urge to live like the Romans has essentially been our people's Achilles heel for past two thousand years, and what has keep Armenia small, weak and endangered. What we saw in the streets of Yerevan last April, while the streets of Ankara and Baku remained peaceful, is fundamentally the reason why I say we Armenians don't have what it takes to become a large and powerful nation. Our Turkic/Muslim neighbors for the most part accept their fate, good or bad, as God's will. And needless to say, they better appreciate their statehood. We Armenians are constantly fighting our fate. We won't be satisfied even if Christ himself ruled over us. And we as a people think we are above the state.

It was almost exactly two hundred years ago when Russians arrived on the scene and helped the region's widely dispersed Armenian peasantry gather in their ancestral lands in the south Caucasus. This historic turning point in Armenian historiography proved to be the spark that eventually gave birth to a resurrected Armenia. Now, left on our own again, we may be doing the reverse. We as a people may be sowing the seed of Armenia's eventual demise. This should not surprise anyone. Armenians have time-and-again proven to be a restless and troublesome people. Just within the past two hundred years, we saw Armenians enthusiastically embrace Czarist Russia against Persia. But when that honeymoon ended, we saw Armenians enthusiastically embracing Communist Russia against Czarist Russia. When the honeymoon with Communist Russia ended, we saw Armenians enthusiastically embracing Western powers against Communist Russia. This cycle is continuing as I write this. Historically, Armenia's greatest problem has been the Armenian. I have been pointing this out for quite a few years now -
The problem with Armenia is not its government, it's the people (2016):
Demonstrations in Armenia are NOT politically motivated, there is NO Maidan in Yerevan (2015):
Yerevan cannot allow its Western activists to politicize the Gyumri tragedy (2015):
Moscow Warning Armenia Over European Integration Drive (2013):
Why Armenians want out of Armenia (2013):
Armenia on the eve of its presidential elections (2013):
Raffilution begins!!! Raffi Hovannisian's turn to lead Armenia's self-destructive peasantry (2013):
The Whore of Babylon in Yerevan (2012):
Collective destructionism of Armenians (2012):
The revolution has begun? Armenians again reveling in self-destructive behavior (2012):
Panel Discussions Calling for Chaos in Armenia (2012):
Marie Yovanovitch, Raffi Hovannisian and Regime Change in Armenia - (2011):
As many parts of the world, including those in the Western world, begin moving away from toxic concepts like Liberal Democracy, Open Borders and Free Trade, because of their inherent toxicity and destructiveness, it seems that Armenians are instead blindly rushing towards it. In my opinion, it's a sign of collective insanity.

You can't change the mind of a suicidal manic determined to kill himself. You can however somehow restrain him in order to stop him from killing himself. But for how long can you keep doing that? The maniac is bound to eventually free himself. And soon as he does, he will once again attempt to kill himself. Sometimes I feel that the only way to stop Armenians from committing collective suicide is to restrain Armenians. violently if need be. But I fully understand that restraint is a temporary reprieve and not a long-term cure. But, I have yet to see a cure for the illness Armenians have. I would naturally want to see an Armenia that is prosperous, powerful and independent. But that now feels more-and-more like a fantasy. I sometimes feel that we Armenians don't deserve anything more than what Chechens, Ossetians or Abkhazians currently have. What the aforementioned have today may in fact be the safest choice for a people like us Armenians.

Simply put: Armenians crave independence but Armenians can't sustain independence. This is a historical dilemma that has afflicted Armenians literally for hundreds of years. And there seems to be no end in sight. In final analysis, if we Armenians are shortsighted and self-destructive enough to embrace Liberalism, Westernization and Globalism, it's our "democratic" right to do so. If we Armenians collectively want to import toxins that will eventually eventually kill our homeland, then who am I to say what we are doing as a people is wrong? I can only standby and watch in disgust, and simply pray that the country averts yet another serious catastrophe. At the end of the day, as long as Armenia is kept securely inside the Russian orbit (voluntarily or by force), I don't care anymore what Armenians do with themselves inside Armenia. In a sense, I give up.

Due to the convoluted and murky nature of politics in Armenia, and the depressing realization that we as a people continue suffering from severe and debilitating levels of political illiteracy and self-destructiveness, I had a very difficult time gathering my thoughts for this blog commentary in order to express them in a comprehensive/cohesive manner. I somehow managed to do it. But I ended up sowing into the story a lot of speculation and conjecture, and even "conspiracy theories"; a lot more than I would normally like. This is because there was a lot more to recent events in Armenia than what we were seeing in the streets or in the press coverage. We still don't know how and why things happened the way they happened this spring. There is no doubt in my mind that political forces outside of our field of view and beyond our depth of perception were very active in what took place. I believe Armenia was subjected to an agenda, most probably an international or supranational one involving a number of regional players; and the so-called Armenian Street took it "hook, line and sinker" as they say in American fishing parlance. Although I would like to be proven wrong on all accounts eventually, I believe the agenda in question will one day prove detrimental to Armenia and/or Artsakh.

As the reader can sense, the only way I know how to write this story is through warnings and speculations. In other words, negativity so many of my readers dread. If such things are not what you are looking for, or if your understanding of Armenian politics falls more-or-less along the lines of "Serj bad, Nikol good", then none of what I have to say here is for you. So, please leave now. Virtually all discussion boards and social networking sites are absolutely ecstatic and orgasmic about recent events in Armenia. If you are looking for conventional fluff and feel good rhetoric, or a place to vent your primitive hate towards "Serzhik" or the "Karabakh Clan", this blog is not one of them. In my opinion, what has been transpiring in Yerevan is very convoluted and to a large degree worrying. The complexity of the issue at hand in Armenia is multi-layered and interwoven. I believe the country is headed towards a difficult period of trials. I believe that we as a people have also set some very bad sociopolitical precedents for our homeland. And all this thanks to "Democracy" and our politically illiterate and troublesome people (which naturally includes our public officials), who don't like responsibilities, laws or hard work, but yearns for good living, designer clothing, American cigarettes and German cars.

I sincerely hope that I am eventually proven wrong on all accounts. I hope to be to ridiculed and chastised for my misdiagnosis, bad analysis and general negativity. After all, what is most important for me is the health and well being of the Armenian state, not my feelings or my ego. Until then, however, I am going to speak my mind. The following blog commentary is basically a loosely organized compilation of  my thoughts about recent events in Armenia. They essentially tell the story of Armenia's 25-plus year old problem child called Democracy. The story has two fundamental parts. One, it's the story of the Armenian people (which naturally includes its leadership both previous and current) and their political illiteracy and self-destructive behavior. Two, it's the story of behind-the-scenes dealings, conspiracies and political machinations, both foreign and domestic; with Armenia and Artsakh being their test laboratory.

Armenia finally suffered its first revolution

On the morning of April 23, 2018, I woke up to learn that Nikol Pashinyan, one of Levon Petrosyan's former street activists and a longtime Western grant recipient, had succeeded in ousting the newly appointed Prime Minister Serj Sargsyan after several weeks of sustained mass protests in Armenia. It was the Armenian Republic's first successful revolution or rather regime change, and it was bloodless. On the morning of April 23, 2018, I therefore woke up to realize that I had finally become what I long loathed, a political opposition. So be it.

Political unrest in Armenia had basically begun soon after Serj Sargsyan, the country's very unpopular president used the country's shift to a parliamentary system (where the country's prime minister yields most of the political power) to maneuver himself into the country's newly established premiership. As soon as his presidential term expired, Serj Sargsyan was quickly voted as the country's prime minister by the newly reconfigured parliament. Although legal, it nevertheless was an audacious and inexplicable attempt to maintain power in a country where the people absolutely hated its leadership. Although in-line with the nation's constitution, what Serj Sargsyan had therefore done was utterly foolish and provocatory. The Armenian public was understandably incensed. Serious political unrest was therefore inevitable.

Serj Sargsyan, immersed in politics for the past 25-plus years, must have know this. He had proven himself to be a very shrewd and intelligent politician throughout his career. If maintaining his power and influence was what he was after, he must have known that he did not need to hold on to the political throne. As the former president and head of the country's top political party in Armenia, Serj must have known that he could maintain a lot of power and influence from behind-the-scenes. In fact, had Serj stepped down from power quietly and voluntarily, and allowed someone like Karen Karapetyan to takeover the country's leadership as it was expected, he may have even enjoyed a surge in popularity in the country.

Let's also consider the obvious fact that Serj is not a young man. I am sure he and his family would rather enjoy the wealth they have accumulated throughout the years without all this political headache, which is also fraught with many dangers. So, why do it? Why risk everything, essentially for nothing?  These questions, as well as strange circumstances leading up to his resignation, leads me to believe that there had to be another political calculus behind Serj's decision to ascend to the nation's premiership. Future events may reveal why he did what he did and why things transpired the way they did. In the meanwhile, we can only speculate.

For his part, Nikol Pashinyan, who had essentially prepared a lifetime for such an opportunity, began an earnest campaign through his political coalition to rally public support in an attempt to oust the newly elected and deeply unpopular prime minister. It should be added that Nikol's "Civil Contract Party" was practically the only real political opposition in the country because all the others in Armenia's political landscape were either known to be working with the government, discredited, disliked by the people or jailed. Nikol and friends therefore were in a clear position to succeed. And they did. Because Serj Sargsyan was universally hated, the Armenian Street was more than happy rally behind Nikol. Curiously, no serious effort was made by Serj Sargsyan's administration or the nation's security services to stop Nikol or quell the growing protests. Then, on the weekend of April 20, after a number of inexplicable missteps by the ruling administration, coupled with Moscow's curious indifference, Serj Sargsyan ominously tipped the balance of power in Nikol's favor. The rest, as they say, is history.

As such, after so many failed attempts, Armenia finally succumbed to a regime change. No, it was not a Maidan. It was not even a conventional Color Revolution in that it did not have anti-Russian elements to it, on the surface at least. It was however a revolution nonetheless. What Levon, Raffi and the so-called "Sasna Dzrer" and "Founding Parliament" failed to do in ten-plus years, Nikol and friends got done in a few weeks. Consequently, the mass hysteria that preceded Serj Sargsyan's resignation, instantaneously transformed into mass euphoria as soon as the news of his resignation was made public. April was a month of high drama in Armenia -

Серж Саргсян напугал новым 1 марта, занервничал и резко ушел с переговоров с Николом Пашиняном. ПРЯМОЙ ЭФИР:
Հրապարակը՝ Նիկոլ Փաշինյանի ու Սերժ Սարգսյանի հանդիպումից հետո:
Thousands Celebrate As Armenia's Longtime Ruler Sarkisian Steps Down:
Of course served with a dose of Armenian style surrealism -
Ծերունին մնաց ոստիկանական փշալարերի մեջ:
Knowing Armenians and knowing how bad Armenia was being managed by Serj Sargsyan's government, it was bound to happen eventually. A part of me was happy because there was no bloodshed or widespread destruction. Seeing how universally hated and despised he was, and as we now know abandoned by Moscow, Serj Sargsyan perhaps had the wisdom to step down without a struggle. A part of me was also happy that Armenia's wealthy/powerful Chobans were beginning to lose control over the country. But, a larger part of me is now seriously concerned about the very future of the country. Why? Because what happened looks and feels like a well planned international conspiracy to topple the old guard and bring in a new team. I should also add that the character of Nikol and his associates are also sources of my deep concern. Why? Simply because they are mostly foreign funded mercenaries and social engineers. Some of them are/were financed by Globalist interests, some of them are/were financed by Anglo-American interests. By all accounts, Nikol's opposition newspaper Հայկական Ժամանակ was at least in part funded by Washington.

There was a deliberate effort by unseen forces to bring Nikol into power

I am a firm believer that nothing major that happens in a nation's political life - be it high level assassinations, major terrorist attacks, wars, financial collapse, regime change, revolutions, etc. - happens by chance. I am a firm believer that there are almost always forces behind-the-scenes pulling strings and guiding events in a nation's political life. Recent events in Armenia is no different. There was either an invisible earthly hand behind all this, or what happened was as result of divine providence. Let's put aside divine intervention for the sake of this blog and let us instead concentrate our attention only on the earthly factors behind what happened. Looking in hindsight at what transpired in Armenia this spring, it is now more than obvious that somebody, somewhere was making things very easy for Nikol Pashinyan throughout the political ordeal. It is even beginning to look as if Nikol Pashinyan's antagonist, Serj Sargsyan himself, was involved (perhaps reluctantly) in the conspiracy to bring Nikol into power.

At the start of the political season in Armenia this spring, Nikol was a nobody in real political terms. He was however practically the only real political opposition standing in the country. As noted above, all other opposition forces were either discredited, jailed or thought to be controlled opposition. This was perhaps a deliberate effort to prepare the country's political landscape for Nikol and his cohorts.

In any case, Nikol's popularity, as well as his "revolutionary" persona, was slowly constructed and his path was meticulously cleared. It was obvious from the very beginning that law enforcement authorities were not taking any meaningful measures to stop Nikol or quell the growing number of demonstrators. There was not one serious effort by the authorities to derail his forward momentum. Whatever they did do in this regard, merely made the situation worst for them. Doors were opening for him and he was clearly being propelled forward. The last few days leading up to Prime Minister Serj Sargsyan's historic resignation seemed quite suspicious. All in all, for reasons that will most probably remain unknown to us, it was Serj himself that created a very volatile situation, a situation where he, as the nation's leader for the last ten years, must have known he would not be able to hold onto power. As such, a series of circumstances, either deliberately orchestrated or a result of providence, elevated Nikol to the political limelight and pushed him forward. And the Armenian Street (full of emotions, hate, anger, jealousy, stubbornness, arrogance, gossip, vindictiveness, hysteria and political ignorance, and incited by Western-funded activists),  well, for the lack of a better expression, took to Nikol like flies to a pile of fresh excrement.

The more I look at the now historic but highly suspicious public meeting between Serj and Nikol, and Serj's abrupt resignation merely two days later, uttering the strange words "Nikol Pashinyan was right. I got it wrong", the more I think that the high drama we witnessed in Yerevan those days was indeed being orchestrated by forces from above. I believe Serj Sargsyan was in on the plan to relinquish power to Nikol. Perhaps he did so reluctantly. Perhaps he was forced to do so at some point. In any case, I do not believe Nikol or his supporters were directly responsible for Serj Sargsyan's downfall. What happened therefore may not have been a revolution after all. In any case, at this point in time, all we can do is speculate.

Was Serj Sargsyan so stupid or blinded by power and wealthy that he did not see the political storm brewing right outside his doorstep? I don't think so. I don't think Nikol's rise in politics was a result of chance or miscalculation or error on the part of Armenian authorities. I believe there was much more to the story than what we were seeing on the streets of Armenia during those days. More particularly, as noted above, events that occurred between April 20 and 23, occurred under very strange circumstances. It all looked and felt contrived and deliberate. It looked as if Serj Sargsyan was trying to deliberately sabotage his political standing.

Serj Sargsyan may be a lot of things, but dumb or blind is definitely not among them. He had come to totally dominate the political landscape in Armenia during his ten year tenure as the country's president. He was by all accounts a brilliant political tactician. He had all the wealthy/powerful Chobans behind him. All mainstream politicians and political parties were known to be cooperating with him and his political party. We also know that a foreign hand or hands (perhaps Russian, perhaps Western, perhaps Supranational) were always present, at least in spirit, in the presidential h0use in Yerevan. There were some signs that even the "Sasna Dzrer" operation in the summer of 2016 may have been orchestrated at least in part by Armenian authorities or some body above it. Why else would the murderous militants who were under constant state surveillance be able to do what they did, and on top of that be given free access to the outside world in order to spew their extremist nonsense throughout the ordeal, even while in prison? Similarly, there were signs during the mass demonstrations that took place in the summer of 2015 that even Nikol himself was cooperating or collaborating with the ruling administration.

The reader may recall that at the time, some of the Western-funded political opposition in Armenia was publicly blaming Nikol for helping the authorities quell the demonstrations by sowing ideological/political divisions within it. Nikol was roundly accused at the time of being a fake political opposition. And there was talk that Nikol would become Mayor of Yerevan.

What I am trying to convey to the reader here is that Serj Sargsyan had expertly maneuvered and navigated himself through Armenia's very murky and often dangerous political landscape for the past twenty-plus years. There was no real political opposition to his rule. Nikol was a nobody in political terms. The country's security services had a tight grip over the country. Moreover, Serj Sargsyan's government could have easily stopped the movement building against them at any point leading up to the now famous and very strange meeting between Serj and Nikol on April 20th. Moreover, let's recognize that even if Serj Sargsyan had retire from politics, which he should have, it was obvious to all that he would still yield great political influence in the country. Yet, for some inexplicable reason he decided to remain in power, knowing full well that it would cause serious political unrest.

Simply put: Serj Sargsyan did what he knew he should not have done (i.e. attempted to retain power) and did not do what he knew he should have done (i.e. stopped the movement against him early on). He had either gone mad or he was following some political agenda. I do not believe he had gone mad. I am convinced that Serj Sargsyan's toxic decision to become the country's prime minister had little if anything to do with greed or megalomania or any other personal factor. I am convinced there was a sound political calculus behind the decision to remain in power. I believe that the bloodless coup Armenia experienced this spring was preordained and orchestrated by political forces beyond our depth of perception. I believe Armenia became a victim of a major political conspiracy. I also believe that Serj Sargsyan, perhaps Nikol as well, are in on the conspiracy in varying capacities and degrees. Somebody, for reasons that will most probably remain unknown, wanted to change the old guard in the country. And this bring me to the former prime minister, Karen Karapetyan.

Many political observers were almost certain Karen Karapetyan, a highly respected former Gazprom official and a man known to have intimate ties within the Kremlin, was slated to become the next political leader of Armenia. That is why he was thought to have been brought back into Armenia's political landscape in late 2016, in the aftermath of the April war and the "Sasna Dzrer" incident. What's more,  Serj Sargsyan was thought to be paving the way for him. Something however must have happened along the way. It is now beginning to look as if either Karen Karapetyan coming to power in Armenia did not sit well with powerful political interests at play in Yerevan, or simply that the political calculus in the country had changed and he was no longer in play. Perhaps Karen was there for some other reason all-together. We don't know at this point. But some are left to wonder if there was a problem between Serj and Karen and that if it was somehow related to the country's wealthy/powerful Chobans, who may have rightly feared the rise of a popular Kremlin-backed bureaucrat. It's a possibility. However, I do not believe this was the case. As noted above, had Serj Sargsyan stepped down from power and allowed Karen Karapetyan to take control, he could still assert considerable degree of influence over politics in the country in order to protect his assets, both human and material. What's more, someone like Karen Karapetyan is not the type that would be interested in causing internal unrest by going after the powerful Chobans. After all, if the intent was to cause internal political unrest in the country, Nikol an company are the perfect candidates. In any case, whatever the reason may be, Karen Karapetyan was left out the game and somewhere along the way Nikol was pushed into the political limelight. Concurrently, the situation was allowed to get a little out-of-hand as tens-of-thousands of people sensing weakness on part of the authorities took to the streets.
The following is an important point to consider: Had Serj Sargsyan not tried to hold on to power and simply went into retirement, as he should have, the only alternative for leadership in Armenia at the time was undoubtedly Karen Karapetyan. I reiterate: Nikol was a political nobody prior to the upheaval in April. Had Serj Sargsyan retired, Karen Karapetyan would have undoubtedly become the next prime minister. Regardless of intention and whether or not he was forced to do what he did, by callously holding on to power and in doing so inciting social unrest, Serj Sargsyan essentially helped propel Nikol (who as I said was the only political opposition standing) into the political limelight, and in doing so he also effectively eliminated Karen Karapetyan's political prospects.

To my astonishment, it was eventually learned that Moscow may have in fact been instrumental in Nikol's rise to power. Perhaps to reciprocate, perhaps he has no choice in the matter, Nikol has since been singing all the right songs about Russia; so has the newly appointed foreign minister; so has the newly appointed president. 

What we saw this spring could not happen by chance or against the wishes of a geopolitical behemoth like Russia and/or Supranational forces (i.e. international elite) at play in Armenia. There had to have been a political masterminds or puppet-masters directing events from behind-the-scenes. Nikol's meteoric rise was clearly orchestrated by invisible forces. Simply put: Somebody wanted Serj down, Karen out and Nikol in. Someone clearly wanted to get rid of the old guard in the country. I suspect Levon Petrosyan's foreign patrons to have a hand in what happened. This therefore leaves us with one fundamental question: Why? And this brings me to current president, Armen Sargsyan. 

Armen Sargsyan was unexpectedly and mysteriously brought back to Armenia from his ambassadorial position in London by Serj Sargsyan himself merely weeks before the political upheaval. It would therefore not surprise me one bit if Armen Sargsyan (and Levon Petrosyan) also played a role in what transpired in Armenia this spring.

Although I have respect for Armen Sargsyan because of his intellect, professionalism and experience in fields of science, business and politics, I nevertheless cannot figure-out the real reason behind his return to Armenia, by the order of Serj Sargsyan nonetheless. His return to Armenia, especially at this crucial period in time, has therefore been enigmatic/cryptic for me. Equally puzzling is Nikol's decision to keep this particular high profile appointment made by the previous "illegitimate" prime minister, when he has gotten rid of most others citing legitimacy concerns. Moreover, Armen Sargsyan may not even be eligible to hold high office in Armenia due to residency issues that have not yet been fully clarified. Many in the country, including CIA asset Paruyr Hayrikyan, have raised concerns over this matter. None of this however seems to be a problem for Nikol. In my opinion, this is all quite suspicious. Perhaps Armen Sargsyan was brought back to the country by Supranational interests, the same that are behind Levon Petrosyan, the same that also put Nikol into power. If so, the City of London and Freemasonry readily comes to mind. Armen Sargsyan is after all accused of being a ranking Freemason. None of this however is to suggest that any of this was done against the Kremlin's wishes; which for me is the main puzzling aspect in all this. In fact, it's beginning to look like the Kremlin was actually part of the plan to get rid of the country's old guard. In any case, Armen Sargsyan is also known to have ties in Russia, and as president he has also been singing all the right songs about Russian-Armenian relations. For now, I will reserve additional comments about him. I will however remain suspicious.

Perhaps Serj, Nikol, Armen, Karen and Levon were all in on the plan in varying degrees and capacities. Perhaps not. Regardless, in the end it was "Moscow's man" in Yerevan that ostensibly came out the loser. At face value, it looks like a Russian defeat in Armenia. But, ask yourselves: After seeing what Russia has done in places like Georgia, Ukraine and Syria when its core interests were threatened, how could the Kremlin be ok with losing Armenia to Western and/or Globalist interests? All indicators suggest that high level Kremlin officials are perfectly fine with what happened. In my opinion, the Kremlin would not take what happened in Armenia this casually if it was not somehow also involved in the effort to replace the old guard. Armenia is just as important to Russia as Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Donbass and Syria. If Moscow is ok with Western/Globalist funded individuals coming to power in Yerevan, then something must be up. That, in a nutshell, is my concern.

Events that took place in April looked and felt deliberate and orchestrated. I am not the only one that thinks so -
«Նիկոլն ու Սերժը միասին էին ծրագրել հեղափոխությունը, փաստեր ու վիդեոներ կան». Ռոբերտ Սիմոնյան:
Նիկոլն ով ա՞. Նիկոլը մարտի 1-ին ժողովրդին խբել տվեց. Սարգիս Կարապետյան:
Before I go on, I would like to say that Nikol has done two things that, at face value, I am very happy about. Foremost, I am glad he has been consistently singing all the right songs about Russian-Armenian relations. I see that he is even going out of his way to show allegiance to the Kremlin. That is to his credit, regardless of who is behind his rise to power. I am also very happy that he has allowed Armenia's National Security Services (NSS) to finally go after Manvel Grigoryan, one of the more disgusting Chobans in Armenia. Ironically, and this should be pointed out, ten years ago Nikol and Manvel were on the same team, that of Levon Petrosyan. In any case, I hope going after individuals like Manvel (who fully deserves his public humiliation) was not merely a symbolic PR gesture or a show designed to appease or distract the euphoric Street, and I certainly hope is was not done as a measure to discredit or weaken the country's very powerful war veterans union (Երկրապահ Կամավորականների Միություն) which has been very active in the nation's political life in the post-war years. Weakening of the war veterans union will only hurt Artsakh. In any case, I hope to see Nikol's regime sincerely go after all those who have engaged in serious criminal activity in the country and not merely prosecute low level criminals. But, I don't expect that to happen because Nikol is serving a grander political purpose in my opinion.

And one more thing. Nikol's "Velvet" revolution was bloodless only because of Vladimir Putin and Serj Sargsyan. I find it very strange that the "Street" is very proud of achieving a "bloodless revolution". Are we as a people so naïve, so delirious that we are giving credit to ourselves for something we had nothing to do with? There are only two individuals who can be credited with the bloodless coup in Yerevan, and they are Vladimir Putin and Serj Sargsyan. Period. We now know that Serj stood-down to give Nikol a path forward. From what we now know, Moscow was somehow involved in the decision. Had Putin given the green light to Sargsyan for a serious crackdown early on, I have no doubt Nikol's movement would have dissolved within a few days. There would have been heightened tensions and sporadic violence for a little while but they would soon subside and life would have returned to normal soon thereafter. For some reason, it was decided to replace the country's old guard. Why? It has yet to be determined.

Moscow's apparent support for Nikol is concerning

I confess I was never a Nikol fan. Until proven wrong, and I hope I am, I will remain a critic for reasons that should be obvious to all by now. Simply put: They are his associations, both past and current, as well as his personal character. In the past, Nikol was one of Levon Petrosyan's main street activists. Almost exactly 10 years ago, he was deeply involved with Levon Petrosyan's Color Revolution. In effect, Nikol at the time was trying to help bring back into power a Globalist-backed criminal who had raped and pillaged the country in the early post-Soviet years. In a sense, Nikol today is fighting a "corrupt system" that was actually put in place by his former boss. In fact, I also suspect Levon Petrosyan's hand in what has occurred. Nikol's revolution may have been a Levon Petrosyan revolution by other means. Both of their foreign backers seem to be the same as well. Nikol and his fellow activists have more recently been closely associated with a number of Western funded NGOs, Washington-based National Endowment for Democracy and Policy Forum Armenia and George Soros financed Open Society -
National Endowment for Democracy's grants database:
Open Society Foundations Armenia Grant List of 2017 Year:
Fighting for Sexual Minorities Rights and Equality in Armenia:
Policy Forum Armenia Members:
Throughout his life, Nikol made a living in politics by fearmongering, mudslinging and smut-peddling (i.e. Western-funded journalism). So, please excuse me for not liking or trusting him. As the reader can see, my opinion about Nikol is based purely and precisely on what we all have all-along known about him all these years. It's that simple. And based on what I have known about him, I am simply making the assumption that nothing good will ultimately come out of his administration. I keep hearing that the past ten years have changed him for the better. I would not be too sure about that. Only time and his actions will reveal his true character. From what I have known about him, Nikol is by nature and character a Globalist and a neo-Bolshevik. Nikol is more of a "street activist" than a professional politician. Nikol is more of "rebel rouser" than a political thinker. Nikol is more of a "shit stirrer" than a reformer. Nikol's revolution can also be characterized as a Levon Petrosyan revolution by other means. I would not be surprised if Levon had a direct hand in what happened. Nikol may also be Jewish from his biological mother's side, but that's not important to the topic of this conversation as it also remains unconfirmed at this time.

What's important is that his newly formed administration is more-or-less a refection of his character. Babken Ter-Grigoryan, the deputy minister of diaspora is a London residing Russophobe. David Sanasaryan, the head of the State Oversight Service is a longtime Western-funded activist that idolizes war criminals like Mikheil Saakashvili and Donald Rumsfeld. Lilit Makunts, the Minister of Culture until recently worked for the CIA connected Peace Corps Ararat Mirzoyan, the particularly repulsive first deputy prime minister supports dangerous vaccinations, GMOs and marijuana cultivation. Arsen Torosyan, the country's arrogant new minister of health is someone that has been deliberately pushing Monsanto products among other Western poisons in the country. Nikol's newly formed government is beginning to look like a George Soros funded kindergarten. These people present a more serious danger to Armenia's long-term health than the corrupt regime they replaced. Let's also understand that Nikol's "non-violent" movement did not follow the model of his African idol Nelson Mandela's nor that of India's Mahatma Gandhi's, but that of the CIA sanctioned book by Gene Sharp titled, "From Dictatorship to Democracy". 

Nikol Pashinyan is a neo-Bolshevik opportunist who managed to exploit the Armenian Street's political illiteracy and hatred toward its leadership. And he was helped in this regard by unseen hands. Nothing good, at least in the long-term, will come out of it. Nikol's government has the potential to facilitate the importation of multiculturalism, loan-based economic system, GMOs, liberalism, feminism, homosexuality, pedophilia, dangerous vaccinations, open society, open borders and of course mind-numbing Anglo-American-Jewish pop culture. But, the "Armenian Street" is happy, and that's what counts according to the sacred tenets of Democracy.

By backing or tolerating Nikol, was Moscow hoping to somehow maneuver Karen Karapetyan into power, as some of us thought or were hoping at the time? If so, Moscow failed miserably. Perhaps, Nikol's lucky stars lined-up and he miraculously managed to outmaneuver all political players in the country. Perhaps, recognizing the inevitability of Serj Sargsyan's political demise, Kremlin decided to embrace Nikol in order to avoid serious unrest/bloodshed in the country, as well as establish healthy lines-of-communication with the new team coming into power in Yerevan. Perhaps, recognizing that Russia is indeed the alpha and the omega of the south Caucasus and Armenia only real lifeline in the world, Nikol and company decided to accept the Kremlin's largess. If what I just outlined above is indeed what more-or-less happened in Armenia this spring - that is if Nikol luckily stumbled into power during a failed effort by Moscow to get Karen Karapetyan into power - then I have no doubt that the Kremlin is preparing Nikol's political demise as I write this. If what happened in Armenia this spring was fully in-line with the Kremlin's wishes, Armenia still stands to lose. We can therefore expect serious problems going forward regardless of who or what was behind Nikol's political rise.

But, seeing how quiet and inactive Kremlin officials and Karen were during all stages of the political movement being built by Nikol, I seriously doubt Nikol's rise to power went against the Kremlin's wishes. We now know that Nikol's team may have actually been in touch with the Kremlin during the ordeal. We also know that the Kremlin did nothing to help Serj Sargsyan stay in power. This leads me to believe that there may have been another calculus behind Moscow's decision to support Nikol. Perhaps Nikol has been recruited by Russian interests. However unlikely it may sound, it is nevertheless a possibility. Weirder or unlikelier things happen in politics. That said, in my opinion, Supranational or Globalist forces are more likely to be the ones behind the effort to bring Nikol into power. But from the looks of it, effort in question seems to have been coordinated with the Kremlin. Again, we have seen weirder and unlikelier things in politics. Whatever the actual case may be, Nikol nevertheless succeeded in ousting Serj, and Karen once again quietly disappeared from Armenian politics. As such, in the post-Soviet struggle in Armenia between Western/Globalist financed mercenaries and wealthy Chobans, the former finally won. We saw however that their win was unique in that this time, perhaps for the first time, Moscow was actually seen supporting those who were known to be financed by Western and Globalist interests.

We basically saw Moscow supporting in Armenia what it has more-or-less outlawed in Russia. This is the puzzle that worries me. And this brings up the very important question of, why? After we have seen what Russia has done in places like Georgia, Ukraine and Syria when its core interests were threatened, how could the Kremlin be ok with losing Armenia to Western/Globalist interests, especially knowing how important Armenia and the south Caucasus is to Russia's regional security? Unless, there is a greater agenda that the Kremlin itself is involved in. Even if Nikol himself was recruited by the Kremlin, why would Moscow support a greater political movement consisting of so many anti-Russian individuals? What sense would that make for a nation as strategic for Russia as Armenia?

This is the puzzle and this is what's worrying me. This is something that is apparently puzzling Azeris as well. In my opinion, Moscow would do such a thing if it had long-term political designs that would require such a move. In other words, seeing someone like Nikol in power may actually fit a particular agenda of theirs. Knowing how politics work, I am sure that agenda is not to make Armenia a better place. Perhaps Kremlin officials have reached some kind of a "power sharing" deal with Supranational or Globalist interests over Armenia. Perhaps Nikol is being prepared for some future event or occasion. My fear is that allowing the reigns of government in Yerevan to fall under the control of foreign funded shit stirrers and rebel rousers like Nikol and friends - who are essentially a group of idealistic people with practically no experience in international affairs - is designed to cause internal unrest in the country, and it may somehow be connected to the unresolved dispute over Artsakh. More on Artsakh later in my commentary. Allow me to remind the reader that unlike developed countries around the world, Armenia has not yet developed political institutions or a "deep state" to assist new comers into politics safely navigate the turbulent waters of Eurasian politics. Simply put, what you see in the presidential office in Yerevan is more-or-less what you get in Armenian politics. This is a very serious matter that poses a serious danger to the country. In final analysis, the country's lack of established political institutions is the reason why I think foreign-funded idealistic street activists like Nikol and associates can pose serious long-term risks to the country. Political inexperience and internal unrest will inevitably have a very negative impact on not only Armenia but also on Artsakh.

Moscow's support or tolerance of a movement full of Western and Globalist funded activists therefore sets Armenia apart from other nations that have fallen victim to Western and Globalist machinations. Russians must know who/what Nikol and his team represent in Armenia. But, as I have been pointing out, we also know that they, the Kremlin, helped paved the way for Nikol's rise to power. I repeat: What we essentially saw Moscow doing in Armenia was supporting something (i.e. Anglo-American-Jewish and Globalist financed activists) that it has effectively banned in Russia. The question is, why? This is the conundrum or puzzle that greatly concerns me. I think there needs to be better realization of this confounding nuance. The mixed signals from Russia is as perplexing as it is worrying. Azeris are also beginning to take note and asking questions -
Following Armenian uprising, Azerbaijan’s saber rattling grows louder:
Armenia changing geopolitical orientation:
We want to ask Russia: Why?!:
Why Pashinyan acts as puppet of the West?:
Russophobes in Pashinyan’s team: Soros tilting boat of pro-Armenian premier:
Брюссельский облом Никол Пашинян решил опробовать путь Порошенко:
Armenia now has a government that acknowledges its dependency on Russia for survival, but also a government that is appointing inexperienced individuals that have been financed by Anglo-American and Globalist interests to important governmental positions. We now therefore have a very weird and potentially dangerous political setup in Yerevan. The character of Nikol and friends was the reason why some Russian officials were initially taken aback with what was happening in Armenia, which is seen as one of Russia's most strategic footholds in the Caucasus. Some of them have been quite angry. The man in the following interview is a Russian Duma official -
I want to say a few words about the comments of the Duma official in the video interview above. The Duma official is clearly upset with what he perceives to be a Western-led Color Revolution in Armenia. He is more-or-less saying that if Armenia is left on its own (i.e. an Armenia without it's Russian military presence), Turks will inevitably begin slaughtering Armenians again and Armenians will be once again be begging Russians to save them. As an Armenian, I fully agree with him. Russians see Armenia/Armenians as a natural part of their political or civilizational ecosystem. They therefore see Armenians who try to breakaway from their orbit as enemies and traitors. And I fully agree with them. When Turks and/or Azeris cross the border into Armenia, and it's only a matter of time that they will try just that the very minute they sense an opportunity, none of Nikol's men nor their benefactors in the Western world will rush to the battlefield to defend Armenia. In such a scenario, the entire Armenian world, as it has for the past two hundred years, will once again be looking to Russia to intervene. History of the past two hundred-plus years have taught us that besides Armenians, the only people on earth ready and willing to shed blood for Armenia (albeit purely for geostrategic reasons) are Russians and no one else. Not withstanding some technical issues in the relationship, Russia is Armenia's natural ally and will remain so for the foreseeable future, unless Armenians screw it up.

Regarding the Russian Duma: It is well known that real political power in Russia has always resided in the Kremlin, not in the Russian Duma. The Duma essentially acts as the PR wing of the Kremlin. What's more, generally speaking, Duma officials are not privy to major or highly sensitive political agendas that are designed in various departments of the Kremlin. That said, it's worrying nonetheless to see these types of sentiments being expressed by Russian officials, regardless of their rank or position. At a basic level, it basically means that Armenia or Armenians are not very much trusted in official circles inside Russia. This is not where we want Armenia to be, especially in the times we are living in. Armenia's is very dependent on Russia for survival. The south Caucasus is a very violent and unforgiving place full of Turkic and Islamic predators. I would like to remind the reader that one wrong step in a place like the south Caucasus and Armenia will have another one thousand years of hibernation. We need an Armenia that is fully integrated inside Russia's orbit. We need organized and persistent lobbying efforts inside the Kremlin. We need Russian official to be confident of their ties with their counterparts in Armenia. Our people's political illiteracy and lack of foresight, as well as its unwavering fetish for all things Western/American, is preventing Armenia from fully benefiting from its historic ties with a superpower and a natural ally like Russia.

As the reader can see, on the one hand Russia (the Kremlin to be specific) is signaling that it has no problems with the recent regime change in Yerevan. On the other hand, Russians (media outlets and individuals to be more specific) are warning Armenia. Am I the only one that sees serious problems here? What we have in Yerevan is a weird setup that will not work well in the long run.
Echoing Armenia's plight in Roman times, when Rome and Persia together ruled over Armenia, what we have today is essentially the joint sharing of the country by Russian and Western/Globalist  interests. I don't like the smell of it. Similar to how such a joint-sharing did not turnout well in Roman times, it will not turnout well this time either. What we have in Yerevan today is a recipe for disaster.

What we have in Armenia today is essentially an amazing feat of political incompetence, shortsightedness and self-destructivity. I don't want to leave the impression that I taking the side of Armenia's wealthy Chobans. I am blaming all sides - our wealthy Chobans and their supporters, our Western/Globalist financed activists and their supporters and the so-called Street - for the serious mess Armenia has been in all these years. Ten years ago, I became convinced that we Armenians are a self-destructive people. Ten years later, I am convinced we Armenians may be the only ones to blame for all the black pages in our history. Collectively, we Armenians are a restless, impatient, shortsighted, disorganized, reactionary, undisciplined, materialistic, clannish, arrogant, emotional and a politically illiterate people, and a people who is also never satisfied with their overall situation. These kinds of traits, especially in a place like the south Caucasus, will continue proving very problematic and explosive. In my opinion, we Armenians, as a people, are still very far from being trusted full ownership of Armenia. I therefore sleep better knowing that the Kremlin looms large in Yerevan.

Speaking of Armenian traits and politics, I want to say one more thing. The Armenian nation loves Nikol because he is by nature a weak leader. He is actually not a political leader at all. As I said, he is more of a rebel rouser and a shit stirrer. He is also an appeaser and he wants to portray himself as a "people's man". Historically, Armenians have loved their weak leaders. Weak leaders make the Armenian Street feel important and strong. Statehood is something the typical Armenian does not profoundly understand or cares much about. A powerful statehood is in fact something that Armenians by nature reject. With Nikol, the people feel it's all about them and not the state. This is a win-win for Nikol and for the Armenian Street, but not so for the Armenian state.

What's good for the health and longevity of the state is not always the same as what's good for the people. In fact, what the state needs and what the people want often clash with one another. There are many examples of this. Simple example: The state may need every able bodied young man in the country to serve in the military. Armenian parents, Armenian mothers in particular, will always beg to differ. Another simple example: The state requires that all its citizens pay their share of taxes. Armenians, Armenians business owners in particular, will always beg to differ. Armenians are by nature a people that tend to reject laws and taxes that they see as nuisances as well as hindrances to their personal and/or family ambitions. Armenians are by nature a people that reject statehood when it becomes too powerful or too demanding. Moreover, Armenians by nature prefer living in already developed nations, rather than developing their own nation. Armenians are also by nature a people that prefers the rule of non-Armenians. We have seen all this throughout much of Armenian history. And all this is essentially why Armenia's enemies today are keen on empowering the "people" in Armenia. These are also the reasons why Armenians have been periodically slaughtered. These are also the reasons why Armenians have been unable to create a long lasting powerful nation in the post-Urartu period.

Other than some show arrests and prosecutions of low level criminals, Nikol's regime  will not "end corruption". Other than lofty talk, they will also not reverse the outflow of people from Armenia. Armenia will continue suffering from economic stagnation and malaise. What's more, Nikol and his team are also the last people in Armenia to do whatever it takes to defend Artsakh's territorial integrity in case of a major war. Which brings me to another point. Although they will deny it, anti-Artsakh animosity played a noticeable role in Nikol's movement. Nikol's popular movement is in no small part a movement to also cleanse Armenia of its so-called "Karabakh Clan". After all, poisonous rhetoric about the Karabakh Clan was first publicly disseminated ten years ago by Levon Petrosyan's team of Color revolutionaries, which of course included none-other-than Nikol himself. What happened this spring can be characterized as a Levon Petrosyan revolution by other means. In any case, the only thing Nikol's government will manage to do at the end of the day  is expose Armenia to a much higher degree of Western meddling, social engineering and financial/economic exploitation. I really hope I will be proven wrong on all accounts, but I feel that rough times now lie ahead for the country.

I strongly believe that Armenia was the subject of an international conspiracy recently. I believe that an international agenda has been set in motion in the country. It may be a combined Russian, Globalist and/or Anglo-American effort. Regardless of who or what is behind it, I fear the agenda is to sow internal instability in the country. As I have said, Nikol an company are the perfect candidates to wittingly or unwittingly carry-out this agenda. While I have no way of knowing the real reason or reasons behind the agenda in question, as I keep suggesting, I fear it may be somehow related to the dispute over Artsakh. It may also be related to a grander plan involving all of the south Caucasus. I nevertheless feel that a new political landscape and climate is being meticulously prepared in Yerevan today for a purpose.

Putting aside any conspiracy theories involving Serj Sargsyan, under his flawed rule we at least knew what to expect in Armenia. In parlance: Serj was the Devil we knew, Nikol is the Angel we don't. 

With Serj in power, we knew the general direction in which Armenia was heading. With Nikol, it's an unknown. Under Serj's rule, we knew the country was slowly improving. Governmental positions in the country were getting populated by professionals, albeit very slowly. The stability and predictability of the government was slowly beginning to attract an increasing number of tourists and investments from around the world. The reemergence of Karen Karapetyan in the nation's political landscape was also a good sign that encouraged a lot of political observers. I should also point out that the country's much hated Chobans in Armani suites are not in the best of health. They would have started to die-off in the coming few years. In any case, under Serj's rule Armenia's economy was slowly growing and Armenia remained stable and peaceful for the most part. In other words, Armenia was slowly evolving. Now, all that has been thrown out the window as they say. And what lies ahead is an unknown.

Nikol and his associates, well meaning as they may or may not be regarding fighting corruption in the country, are nevertheless also the champions of Westernization, Globalization, Liberalism and the Anglo-American-Jewish financial system. Nothing good will therefore come out of them in the long-term. What's more, we still have to wait and see what the Supranational agenda has in store for Armenia. In final analysis, what makes Nikol and friends dangerous is that we don't exactly know who is behind them and what their real intentions are. They are dangerous also because they are far more sophisticated in their ways than the wealthy but backward Chobans they replaced.

In the short-term, we may indeed see some positive things in the country. Things like the perception that "corruption is being fought" and the "Democratic process in the country is working". It will however inevitably prove to be only a veneer. For the long-term, Nikol's government and the precedent his movement has set, has the real potential to prove toxic for the country's long-term health. Specifically, the toxicity I am referring to is the importation of Western and Globalist "values" and financial debt, as well as turning Armenia into a battlefield between East and West in the process. Armenia's post-Soviet generation is already seriously intoxicated with such Western poisons. We are after all talking about an English speaking generation who's idols are "Super Sako" and "Kim Kardashian". As I keep saying, Soviet Armenia gave us Aram Khachaturyan. Independent Armenia gave us Aram Assatryan. Armenian culture is dead today. And it's we Armenians that killed it.  

Sadly, post-Soviet Armenia has faced a stark choice between Western-funded mercenaries and Chobans in Armani suites. Sadly, it has been essentially a choice between the Nemets Rubos, Chorny Gagos, Dodi Gagos and Lfik Samos and Monsanto, USAID, IMF and George Soros. The country, at least for now, has no alternative to the aforementioned. With all that said, in my opinion, the Chobans were less of a long-term threat to the country. I reiterate: Nikol Pashinyan is a neo-Bolshevik opportunist who managed to exploit the Armenian Street's political illiteracy and hatred toward its leadership. And he was helped in this regard by unseen hands. Nothing good, at least in the long-term, will come out of it. In fact, Nikol's newly formed government is already beginning to look like a George Soros funded kindergarten. Some of his appointments pose a more serious long-term danger to Armenia than the regime they replaced. But, the "Street" is happy, and that's what counts according to the sacred tenets of Democracy.

With that said, I have to say that I am not much concerned about Russian-Armenian relations. At this point in time, even if Mikheil Saakashvili became Armenia's Prime Minister, Armenia would still remain closely allied with Russia. The reality of the matter is that Armenia has no where to go. Armenia will therefore stay in the Russian orbit, willingly or reluctantly. But, this "willingly or reluctantly" is what I have an issue with. I want Armenia's alliance with Russia to be willing and organic, as it would prove more efficient and beneficial. I would rather have Armenia willingly and eagerly standing next to Russia instead of forcing Russia to keep it on a short leash. From time to time, I hear our idiots (from top to bottom, from the Diaspora to the villages of Armenia) saying things like, "we have no choice but to be allied to Russia". As if to say, had it not been for Armenia's problems with Turks/Azeris, we would be in the Western camp. What kind of a message are we sending Moscow? Come and put us on a short leash? I want an Armenia that is organically, culturally, integrally and enthusiastically part of the Russian orbit, so that it can freely and efficiently derive benefits from its ties to it. I want Armenians to be in Russia how Jews are in the United States. Perhaps I am expecting too much of a people like us Armenians.

A number of very bad precedents were set by the recent political uprising

What's happening in Armenia today is a very dangerous situation because of a number of bad precedents that recent political events have set. As noted above, the relative political stability and predictability that Armenia enjoyed under Republican (Հանրապետական) party is now destroyed, perhaps forever. Nikol is backed by unknown forces (most probably Globalists) and surrounded by dubious personalities, some of whom have very clear anti-Russian biases. The people or the Armenian Street as it is also called, as emotional and ignorant as it is, is now convinced of its prowess and political wisdom. Going forward, the country now risks having popular uprisings every few election cycle, simply because the Armenian Street has seen that it works. This kind of political culture and societal mindset will prove detrimental for the long-term health of Armenia as well as Artsakh. So, while euphoria and hope fills the air, Armenia is entering a new phase that is actually fraught with unknowns and dangers.

In my political philosophy, an intelligent people do not create political voids and then "hope" that something good will come along to fill it. We basically broke something without first securing a proper or safe replacement for it. It's like quitting a steady job without first finding a better one. At a personal level, it's no big deal, you'll survive. At a national level, it's very dangerous. Nikol will eventually prove to be a bad choice. Maybe not. But that is not the point. The point is, no one knew what kind of a replacement Nikol would be to Serj. The people simply wanted to get rid of Serj's government at all cost and regardless of any repercussion. It was, "anybody but Serj". This is not smart politics. I want to again remind my reader that I was never really a fan of Serj Sargsyan. I always played devil's advocate with him because I saw him to be the lesser evil in the country. However, the conventional wisdom that Serj was a bad guy and that is why the people had to rally behind a good guy like Nikol in order to oust him is a very childish take on a very complex matter. This kind of approach to solving any of life's problems never works out well in final analysis. In my political philosophy, the "Street" should not decide who is given power in a country. Such as task need to be entrusted to an established elite, albeit one that is well educated and patriotic. Unfortunately, we do not yet have such an elite. In any case, giving the Street political prominence is a very dangerous road to be on, especially for a people like Armenians, especially for a place like the south Caucasus.

If the previous regime was flirting with Western powers through an open window, the current regime will open wide all it's doors to it. Unless Nikol has been recruited by Russian interests (which as I said is a possibility albeit a very small one), his government will only ostensibly pay allegiance to Moscow (essentially because it has no choice in the matter), but in heart-and-soul it will be pro-Western, pro-European, pro-American and pro-Globalist. So, with Nikol and friends in power, we can expect a gradual increase of operations by Western intelligence services and social engineers like Open Society, IMF, vaccinations, NED, Monsanto and USAID. We can also expect an inundation of mind-numbing Anglo-American-Jewish-African pop culture, feminist and homosexual propaganda, and even perhaps Muslim war refugees from the Middle East and Africa. As I said, if the previous regime gave lip-service to Western and Globalist interests, the current administration has the potential of opening the floodgates to them.

We as a people need to get out of the revolutionary and/or radical changes mindset. Revolutions and radical changes in politics are dangerous because they are unpredictable. Imagine what would have happened if Serj Sargsyan refused to step down and ordered his forces to crackdown on the protesters. Imagine if foreign mercenaries incited violence as they had done in Ukraine in 2014. Imagine what would have happened is a foreign funded radical groups like the "Sasna Dzrer" rose to power as a result of such political turmoil. Imagine if Armenia descended into chaos, and Azeris attempted to take advantage of the situation. For island nations or nations without neighboring predators, none of these things are a very big deal from a national standpoint; they survive in the end. But for a nation like Armenia, revolutions are risky and they can pose an existential threat to the country.

We may have lost out on the opportunity to gradually evolve a top heavy technocratic government, something Armenia desperately needed. At a fundamental level, a nation-state essentially needs five things to function normally: One, hard working and law abiding citizenry. Two, highly educated and patriotic political and financial elite. Three, well established national institutions of power. Four, protectionist (nationalistic) economic policies. Five, a modern and efficient armed forces. And all this, under a top heavy (semi-authoritarian) government. This is how the world's most successful nations, including those of the Western world, reached their political and economic zenith throughout history. The best political and economic models are those that are in varying degrees both nationalistic and socialistic, and always top heavy. There is no other way forward for developing nations, as well as for nation-states that value their political, economic and cultural sovereignty. Yet, very small numbers of people today truly understands any of this. Therein lies the real long-term danger humanity faces today. What I am essentially saying is that liberal democracy, civil society and "people power" are roads to decay and decline. In the case of Armenia, it may even prove fatal.
The belief that power should rest in the hands of the people can prove suicidal for a difficult people like us Armenians and in a problematic place like the South Caucasus. From the looks of it, we may eventually have this conversation in a few years when Armenians led by another group of scoundrels will sack yet another one of our unpopular leaders. It may be a vicious cycle that will go on-and-on until one day regional predators will simply step in and put an end to our internal troubles. With the political mindset reigning in Armenia today - namely that the people will now decide what is right and that "the people united cannot be defeated" - the country will find itself in a very serious predicament in the not too distant future. And I will find no pleasure in saying I told you so. At this pace, every few years or so we Armenians will face the risk of losing our homeland to regional predators because our "people" are now finally convinced, by imperial plutocrats in the West nonetheless, that Democracy exists and that it works. Well, perhaps with the exception of Iceland and Switzerland, Democracy does not exist and it does not work. Western powers are not Democratic. The West is an elite-based Plutocracy, very similar to an Oligarchy. The kind of Democracy being promoted in Armenia, by imperial Plutocrats in the West nonetheless, envisions giving the ignorant masses of the country the political power to basically be self-destructive. Democracy for underdeveloped or developing nations like Armenia is essentially mob rule. Democracy is also where celebrities (artists, musicians, actors, etc.) think they are among the great political thinkers and philosophers of our time, and they are actually listened to by the masses. In a nutshell: Democracy is toxic for developing nations, especially inexperienced nations and troublesome people like us Armenians. The most important thing for a nation is political stability; the peace of mind knowing where your nation is and the direct it is heading. The moment this predictability and stability is disrupted, the moment political power falls into the hands of the Street, the nation will enter a cycle of instability, unrest and decline.

Because of their hate and emotions, the Armenian Street was blinded to the fact that Armenia's problems are not this or that politician or this or that political party. In fact, most of Armenia's domestic sociopolitical problems come directly from the "Armenian Street" itself. Yes, masses around the world tend to be ignorant and/or easily mislead and/or politically exploited. But there is a huge difference between Armenians and people in places like Japan, Korea, Singapore, Ireland, Switzerland, Austria, Finland, Norway and Iceland. We Armenians are not only politically ignorant (although we have the least excuse to be as such as we have lived in a very political environment) we are also by nature unruly and self-destructive. These traits transpose themselves into our nation's politics. Therefore, putting blame on this or that politicians or activists or political party is to not see the bigger picture. Convincing the masses that it is all powerful when united and that it knows what it's doing politically does not bode well for the country's future. As with any Street in the world, the Armenian Street - with its arrogance, tribalism, materialism, emotions, jealousy and political illiteracy - cannot be trusted to make the right decisions for a country like Armenia, which is located in one of the most volatile and complicated regions of the world. In fact, not everything that is good for the nation is good for the people. There are things that the nation's needs for its security and longevity that may not be something that the "voters" want or even understand. At a fundamental level, this is why Democracy is exceedingly dangerous for a nation like Armenia.
I for one would not want to live in a country, especially one in the south Caucasus, where every few years there may be a new political direction. Even if Nikol is not an agent of the West, we know that many Western agents and unsavory characters saturate the Armenian landscape today. Will they one day also be able to grab power in similar fashion? Also, going forward, every time 51%-plus of the people dislike their leader, will they disregard the nation's constitution and take to the streets to oust him or her from power? Will newly arriving governments use the country's law enforcement bodies to settle scores with the previous government? The reality of the matter is that Armenia stands today on the cusp of a perennial political freak show and circus. The reality of the matter is that the Street does not solve problems; never has, never will. Well established national institutions solve problems. We need to seek what's good for the country in the long-term. Neo-Bolsheviks on the other hand have convinced people that the short-term is more important. They have also convinced the people that they are more important than the state. Let's always be mindful of the fact that what the Street or the people want/desire and what the nation/state actually needs are not often the same.

Trashing the nation's constitution does not bode well for the country's future. The excuse that the nation's corrupt leadership was already breaking rules as to the reason why the so called Street is justified in also breaking rules is a self-limiting and self-destructive approach to any matter, let alone a serious matter like the nation's politics. Such a mentality creates a vicious cycle. After all, two wrongs don't make a right and the product of two negatives is still a negative. The notion that the citizenry can disregard the nation's laws if the people perceives it to be unimportant or breakable will prove toxic for the county in the long-run.  This is a very dangerous road to be on. With the precedence that was set, namely that the people can trash the nation's constitution and laws if it dislikes its leader for one reason or another, Armenia is set to suffer serious periodic political unrest in the future.

I was profoundly ashamed of my nationality when I found out that active duty soldiers had abandoned their base with their commander and joined the demonstrations. Are we a Banana Republic? In civilized countries, soldiers and policemen are expected to functions like robots and machines. They are trained and expected to perform tasks at the behest of the state, regardless of who is at the top. No questions asked. The function of military men is to carry-out orders from their commander in chief, regardless of whether or not they agree with it. At worst, a soldier and/or police officer can refuse to fire on his countryman, if given such an order. But to abandon their posts and join demonstrators just because they don't like their leader?! What kind of a people are we? What's next, each political player in the country will have its own loyal group of soldiers? Maybe soldiers will also refuse to fight wars if they think the war is not to their liking? What happened to law and order? Now that we set this troubling precedence, every few years we can overthrow an unpopular leader (for Armenians there will always be ample reasons to dislike their leaders) with the help of elements in the military. Maybe different units in the military can fight each other next time as well. Why not?

If we want a nation to be proud of, there has to be reverence towards state institutions regardless of how flawed they are thought to be. The same applies to all seats of power. There has to be respect for the premiership/presidency of the country, as well as that of the national church, regardless of how flawed the people occupying them are thought to be. This is how our Turkish neighbors became an empire. This is how Europeans produced so many empires throughout history. Never in the annals of human history did an empire or a powerful nation rise out of a "Liberal Democracy" or "Civil Society", or from a people who hates and/or distrusts their superiors.

Allowing individuals who are financed by Western and Globalist interests to assume positions of power in the country does not bode well for the country's future. In the short-term, it may look and feel beneficial. In the long-term, however, it will prove toxic. Making Moscow deeply distrustful of Armenia's political fetishes does not bode well for the country's future either. Western and Globalist interests finance "social change","open society", "minority rights" and "press freedoms" in targeted nations around the world precisely to weaken them and make them susceptible to inner decay/rot. We have seen them do this throughout the world, including Europe, for many decades. There are two fundamental purposes behind why they relentlessly push Democracy, Liberalism, Westernization and Globalization onto nations: One, to subjugate afflicted nations and put them under the rule of Anglo-American-Jews, after which such nations are economically exploited and their national culture is transformed into a reflection of American pop culture. Two, by empowering the ignorant masses and minorities (sexual, religious and ethnic), they try to sow sociopolitical instability in the country, which then starts a cycle of political unrest every election cycle.

With the tacit approval of all post-Soviet governments in Armenia, Western powers via their servants throughout Armenian society have been writing all the political narratives about Armenia and Russia via a not so little army of Western-funded news outlets and NGOs. Among other things, this narrative basically states that Russian officials have been keeping Armenia under control and economically depressed through Armenia's oligarchs. Consequently, the conventional wisdom in Armenian society therefore was that Armenia's oligarchs were essentially owned by the Kremlin. Although some (like some of my readers) knew all this to be bullshit, the Armenian Street believed it for the most part. We know that there are degrees and variations of control and influence. Moscow did heavily influence Armenian politics merely by its large political and military presence throughout the region. But Moscow did not fully control Yerevan's politics. Yes, Serj and company were keeping close to Moscow for security reasons. We saw this in Armenia's membership in CSTO and EEU, as well as hosting two Russian military bases in the country. But Yerevan did not allow Moscow to call all the shots in Armenia's domestic and foreign affairs. A multitude of Western-funded NGOs, one of the largest US embassies in the word and close cooperation between Yerevan and entities such as NATO and EU attested to this. Moscow never really had direct control over Yerevan. Moscow never really respected or trusted any of Armenia's oligarchs, including Serj Sargsyan. Moscow was simply forced to deal with them because they were successful in holding on to power. Now, by supporting Nikol's rise to power, Moscow was seen as having supported the "Armenian people's choice". This was a revolution in itself. In any case, that Serj is or was "Moscow's man" was a successful lie put out by Armenia's Western/Globalist backed political opposition. The irony in all this was that Serj himself was allowing this kind of disinformation to take hold. Another bullshit peddled by Western propagandists that has also gotten a lot of traction in Armenian society is that corruption in Armenia is a "Soviet legacy". In reality, corruption is a legacy of Western Capitalists that many in the Soviet sphere, like us Armenians, were dreaming of emulating. In other words, Armenian businessmen wanted to be like America's Robber Barons. All in all, the Armenian Street's fetish with all things American/Western and the influence of thoroughly assimilated Armenian Diasporas of North America and Western Europe should not be underestimated in this regard. Nevertheless, for over 25-plus years Yerevan allowed CIA and George Soros type operations to basically write the political narrative and set the societal mood in the country. For the most part, the narration has been, Armenia is hell on earth and Democracy, Globalization and/or Westernization are the only things that can save it. And the mood fostered has been desperate, hysterical and at time apocalyptic.

According to some accounts, Armenia has hundreds of NGOs, and most of the more active ones among them are funded by Western interests. For a tiny, poor country where good paying jobs are very scarce, NGOs pay well and they employ thousands. These thousands have family members and friends. Among these thousands were virtually all of Nikol's supporters, some of whom incidentally are now in positions of power in the new government. Therefore, with so many Western funded NGOs operating inside the country, and after 10 years of an information blitz against Armenia,  Armenia was bound to experience a revolution at some point. Official Yerevan's incompetence, inter-governmental corruption and "Complimentary Politics" bullshit basically facilitated the inevitable. Simply put: Nikol was able to exploit the artificially created political climate in Armenia to push forward an agenda. Nikol was helped along in this regard by a multitude of Western-funded organizations and individuals that have come to saturate Armenia's landscape in recent years. Western interests and their servants throughout Armenian society had created a very toxic environment in the country, and the nation's officials were too corrupt, too inexperienced and too incompetent to withstand it. I had warned about this for many years.

Before it can play with dangerous concepts like Democracy, Armenia first needs to develop well established national institutions and give birth to to less selfish, less emotional, less clannish, less materialistic and less politically illiterate citizens. The danger lies in the realization that Armenia is a very young republic. The country has not had the time to develop/evolve a financial "elite", a political "establishment" or even a "deep state". No such things exist in Armenia today. As the country exists currently, every few years a new political administration can rise to power and fundamentally change the course of Armenian politics. Without deep rooted political, diplomatic, economic, financial and military establishments or institutions - in other words a national elite - Armenia's political vector can potentially change with each and every election. This is a very dangerous thing for a developing nation in a location like the south Caucasus. In fact, this is one of the main fundamental dangers Armenia faces today. Unfortunately, Armenia today is run by individuals, not by institutions. Unfortunately, individuals (especially Armenians because we as a people today lack national ideology) can be easily bought by this or that foreign interest. In any case, political systems and political course cannot be allowed to be determined by foreign funded mercenaries and the ignorant/emotional masses. Moreover, there cannot be major political changes every few years. Armenia needs a homegrown political/financial elite and well established national institutions that are designed to guide political policy regardless of who is the nation's leader. In other words, the country needs to develop a political backbone, as well as political stability, continuity and predictability. If we are not able to do this, we will continue having political freak shows and street circus every few years, and the country will go further and further into decline. Under such circumstances, the only thing preventing Armenia's collapse will be Moscow's financial assistance and military protection. In other words, without firmly rooted national institutions and political stability, Armenia will always be desperately dependent and hanging from a thread. That is not a situation we would want the country to be in. The country today desperately needs to develop a highly educated and patriotic political and financial elite. Until we have that, I sleep better at nights knowing Moscow is constantly watching over Yerevan's shoulders.
My concern is not about the people, politicians, political parties or the major powers of our day. These all come and go with time. My main concern is about the long-term health and well-being of the Armenian state. My concern is about Armenia's national culture (primarily language, script and national church) and state apparatus (armed forces, security services, diplomatic corps, central bank and national borders). What Armenia needs is a national culture, political outlook and economic system that is well suited to Armenia's reality in a very tumultuous part of the world, and a citizenry and officials educated enough and patriotic enough to be able to administer it. What Armenia needs is to focus its already limited resources solely on its immediate neighborhood, and not seek salvation or titillation from thousands of miles away. And what Armenian Street needs is to mind its own business and live its life. It's becoming increasingly apparent that it's futile to explain any of these things to people. A prosperous and powerful Armenia may only remain a dream as we Armenians seem mistakes of our failed ancestors. We may be stuck in a cycle brought about by genetic memory.

Echoing two thousand year old Armenian politics, Armenian officials in the post-Soviet period, both incumbent and opposition, have turned Armenia into a battlefield between Russia and Western powers. Ostensibly this is being done to preserve Armenia's independence from the region's geopolitical behemoth, Moscow. Instead of embracing the behemoth in question for Armenia's benefit, our people instead find it better to threaten it. This kind of mindless politics was first seen in the royal courts of Armenia two thousand years ago. It is therefore the continuation of an ancient political culture. In other words, it may be genetic memory. Two thousand years ago Armenia was fully in Persia's orbit. Armenia's aristocracy was a scion of the Persian imperial court. Gradually, however, an increasing number of Armenians began desiring the more alluring Roman lifestyle. Armenians began for the first time looking westward. Gradually, the nation began getting politically, ideologically and culturally divided. A deep wedge was inevitably placed between Armenia and Persia. As a result, Armenia eventually lost its sovereignty and suffered many wars and serious internal unrest hundreds of years. It can be said that Armenia never fully recovered as a viable nation-state after voluntarily becoming a battlefield between Rome and Persia. Sadly, Armenians have once again turned Armenia into a geopolitical battleground where Russian, Western, Globalist, Iranian and Turkish interests clash and vie for influence. All this, essentially because Armenians want to play both sides. Simply put, because of the age old Armenian desire to live like Romans, but also enjoy the protection of Persians, Armenia has once again become a laboratory for conflicting ideologies and a battlefield for competing powers.

Those that do not want to see nationalism or ethnic pride take root in any society, including theirs, are suddenly the ones now encouraging such sentiments in Armenian society. Yes, Armenia's enemies are now encouraging Armenian pride and nationalism. One such example is a cyber-activist that goes by the name of Vigen Avetisyan. He runs a website that is stocked full of Armenian nationalism and Russophobia. Another example of a professional activist who spouses Armenian nationalism and Russophobia is a nutjob called Andranik Dovlatyan. There are many such examples. The goal is obvious: To drive a deep wedge between Armenia and Russia; convince Armenians that they don't need Russia; convince Armenians that Russia is an enemy. This is why Armenians are presented as a proud, capable and an independent people. And this is why Russia is presented as an "aggressor" state and an "occupying" or "colonizing" power. But know this: As soon as political interests behind the above mentioned "patriotic" activists realize their dream of separating Armenia from Russia, they will then do their utmost best kill nationalism in Armenia, as they have done elsewhere.

For a long time I have been warning that nationalism is a double-edged sward. Nationalism is a mindset and it lives in a world of its own. While it can play an essentially role for a nation's survival, especially in times of war, it can also play a role in a nation's demise, especially in times of peace. As I predicted, nationalism, Armenian style mindless patriotism in particular, is beginning to prove detrimental to the long-term health and well-being of the Armenian state. As it has been throughout history, nationalists are among the most gullible, most fanatic and the most easily manipulated segment of any society. This is particularly true of Armenian nationalists, who in their twisted minds think they can recreate a "sea to sea Armenia" if only Armenians united. Such deranged people also think that Armenia can not only survive without Russia but also flourish without Russia; again, if only Armenians united. This kind of nationalism is being encouraged from abroad. This kind of nationalism poses an existential threat to Armenia. It was therefore a very bad idea for the current regime in Yerevan to begin releasing foreign-funded Russophobic militants known as "Sasna Tsrer" from prison. The following is this group's suicidal political platform. Do we want Armenia's new regime to be associated with this kind of suicidal behavior? -
Decolonization (Armexit) or the Beginning of the Life Road:
Again, this kind of nationalism is being promoted from abroad. By releasing these kinds of people from jail, Nikol's regime is encouraging this kind of destructive nationalism. This situation poses a serious threat to Armenia. I repeat: Nikol Pashinyan is a neo-Bolshevik opportunist who managed to exploit the "Street's" political illiteracy and hatred toward its leadership. And he was helped in this regard by unseen hands. Nothing good, at least in the long-term, will come out of it. Nikol's newly formed government is already beginning to look like a George Soros funded kindergarten. Some of his appointments pose a more serious long-term danger to Armenia than the regime they replaced. But, the "Street" is happy, and that's what counts according to the sacred tenets of Democracy.

At the end of the day, Serj and Nikol together opened a very dangerous can of worms. I think Serj's resignation was pre-planned. I think invisible hands were pushing Nikol forward. Hidden hands were guiding political events in Armenia this spring. This is all being planned and funded by players we do not see. There is also a troubling flourishing of fake news sites throughout social media and the internet. And a number of radical activists previously unknown, including some clergy, have also come to the fore. It is clear to me that Armenia is being subjected to an agenda that is now reaching Artsakh and the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, as well as Armenia Fund and the War Veterans Union. Someone, somewhere and for reasons we do not yet know, is trying to sow political instability and unrest in Armenia. Nikol and friends, whether they realize it or not, are serving this agenda. And the Armenian Street, due to its hate and political illiteracy, is blindly following the script.

Was Nikol's political rise somehow connected to the dispute over Artsakh?

Nothing major that happens in politics happens by chance. Armenian politics is no different. The recent political unrest in Armenia had all the hallmarks of an international political conspiracy. There is no doubt in my mind that hidden hands brought Nikol and friends into power for a specific purpose. I also suspect Levon Petrosyan's hand in what happened. The only question is, what is that purpose? I suspected an Artsakh connection from early on. I fear that an agreement has been reached over the fate of Artsakh, an agreement that will not please Armenians. In a sense, Serj may have given Nikol the "honor" of agreeing to major land concessions sometime in the near future.

In my opinion, where we are today started April 02, 2016. That short-lived border skirmish in Artsakh was the catalyst and may have also been some sort of a trial run, a test. The reader may recall that the fighting came a day or two after Kerry, Sargsyan and Aliyev met in Washington DC. Armenia lost more than a hundred of its soldiers and some territory in a very short period of time. It's been over two years since the fighting and there are still many unanswered questions. I think all sides - Armenia, United States, Azerbaijan as well as Russia - were in on it. I believe it was some sort of test. And it seems to have set a number of things into motion, including the violent act by the "Sasna Dzrer".

I believe Nikol's rise to power is somehow connected to Artsakh. I believe it's regarding major land concessions, either through negotiations or war. Let's recall that Nikol and his close associates, Levon Petrosyan in particular, have long been known to espouse anti-Artsakh sentiments. Nikol however had moderated his stance more recently to make himself more politically palatable.

The reasoning behind my concerns over Artsakh are as follows: The regimes of both Yerevan and Baku were being expected to make peace through concessions, however painful it may be. Both sides of the conflict however weren't giving-in due to fear of major public backlash. Several years ago, around 2012-2013 to be exact, the Kremlin began approaching the unresolved conflict in question much more seriously than it had before. It had suddenly become an urgent matter for Russia. Why? In my opinion, with Russia resurging throughout Eurasia, settling this 30-plus year old conflict, which is a dangerous open wound in the region, finally became key to pacifying the troubled south Caucasus; maintaining firm control over Yerevan and Baku; forcing Georgia back into Russia's orbit; and giving the EEU a major boost in the process. So, from a Kremlin perspective, the unresolved dispute over Artsakh is making it difficult for it to bring the entire south Caucasus fully back into its orbit. Therefore, after many years of preserving the status quo in Artsakh (which was beneficial to the Armenian side), the geopolitical calculus for Moscow seems to have somewhat changed in recent years. Enter Nikol Pashinyan and his mentor Levon Petrosyan. Both have been known to be open to major land concessions. All the signs thus far suggest that Western/Globalist interests are cooperating with Moscow on this matter.

We knew for a long time that Russian, Western and/or Globalist interests over Artsakh converged for the most part. Each player however was seeking to solve the dispute under it's own terms and conditions; thus prolonging the matter. For its part, Moscow seems to be seeking a permanent military presence between Armenians and Azeris by stationing troops in or around Artsakh. As suggested above, it's been theorized that Moscow is pursuing this because it wants to eventually reincorporate the entire south Caucasus back into its political, economic and military orbit. For their part, Western/Globalist powers seem to be interested in accessing Central Asian energy resources via the south Caucasus; as well as perhaps negotiating a regional stance against Iran. In a nutshell: High level officials from Russia, the West and elsewhere are negotiating the fate of the region as I write this.

There are powerful international interests today that want to see the dispute over Artsakh settled. These may have reached some form of an agreement. Worrying part for me is that Baku currently seems to be holding a distinct advantage over Yerevan. I think something will be attempted with regards to Artsakh in the next 2 or 3 years, perhaps sooner. Nikol's regime change may prove to have been the pivotal point in this agenda. At the very least, allowing Yerevan to fall under the control of Western/Globalist financed officials with very little experience in international relations and geopolitics will inevitably hurt Artsakh. The recent political turmoil in Armenia may therefore have negative repercussions on the situation in Artsakh regardless of whether or not there was a conspiracy.
There will most probably be a final push to end the dispute. I obviously don't know how it will all play out. There may be a major war the likes of which we have not yet seen. After which, Russia and/or the so-called "international community" may step in to bring peace and establish a permanent presence in the region. In any case, to finally settle the dispute over Artsakh one or two of the opposing sides needed to be weakened or placed under some degree of control. Couple of years ago Baku was due for some internal unrest. It didn't materialize. Being less prone to wanting "freedom" and "the good life" and much less hateful towards their state than we Armenians, Azeris seem to have not taken the bait. Moreover, Baku was smart enough to shutdown some Western propaganda outlets, crackdown on Western-funded civil society activists and organize serious lobbying efforts throughout Russia and the Western world. Azerbaijan therefore remained firmly dictatorial but politically stable, and Baku did its utmost best to make sure it did not give Moscow any reasons to conspire against it. Needless to say, Baku has also long held the favor of major Western/Globalist energy interests as well. I fear that currently Baku has the ear of not only the Western powers but also that of the Kremlin's.

By being politically pragmatic, and less prone to beg for handouts from the West, Baku has managed to preserve a sustained political presence in Moscow. By keeping a tight control over its society, and resisting oil price drops, Baku has shown politically stability, predictability and steadfastness. Also, thanks to its petrodollars, Baku's military keeps growing rapidly. As Yerevan foolishly continues signaling to Moscow that Armenia is ready to join forces with the West if need be (which all, including the West, knows is a silly fantasy and/or a bluff) Azeris are instead forging ahead and building solid relations with Russia and the West with only Artsakh in mind -

Baku hosts ‘Azerbaijan - Russia's only ally in Caucasus’ conference:
As the reader can see, Baku has had the political foresight to curb its political opposition and go to great lengths to lobby its case throughout Russia and the Western world. Armenians, oblivious to the political world they live in as always, are primarily concerned about importing Western and Globalist toxins into ArmeniaAs a terrible storm gathers over Artsakh, Armenians are recklessly obsessing over "corruption", "justice", "civil society" and the right to have a "voice" in politics. The thinking on the so-called Street is that a "Democratic" Armenia is a stronger Armenia. The opposite is in fact true, especially in a place like the south Caucasus, especially for a people like Armenians. Distracted by the dazzle of the Western world, Armenians gleefully continue neglecting lobbying efforts in Moscow, as well as in Tehran. Due to its shortsighted "complimentary politics", Armenia today is a country that does not enjoy the full faith and friendship of any major regional player, including that of its only strategic ally. This failure in international politics will be reflected primarily in the way the major powers involved in the region will treat Armenia's territorial claims on Artsakh. While the Armenian republic itself is secure to due its strategic alliance with Russia, Armenians however have failed to secure the future of Artsakh. Armenia today is clearly the more vulnerable party with regards to Artsakh. With the kind of political culture and mindset we have prevailing in Armenia today, when the inevitable war between Armenia and Azerbaijan happens, and it may happen at any time, Baku will clearly have the advantage over Yerevan. Simply put: The geopolitical tide may have somewhat changed in Baku's favor, while we Armenians continue obsessing over which oligarch stole what. Artsakh's future now seems murky. I see similar concerns from a high ranking general and a former political figure -
Գեներալ Նորատ Տեր-Գրիգորյանց․ Հայաստանի ղեկավարությունը չի կատարում իր ուղիղ պարտականությունները:
«Նիկոլն ու Սերժը միասին էին ծրագրել հեղափոխությունը, փաստեր ու վիդեոներ կան». Ռոբերտ Սիմոնյան: http://bavnews.a
Alarmingly, since Nikol came into power, the signs from the battle-lines around Armenia and Artsakh are not encouraging to say the least. Azeri troops in Nakhijevan have advanced their positions and have put the village of Areni in their line-of-sight. This is a major strategic advantage for Baku as it puts one of the two main highway arteries that would be used to supply Artsakh with military resources under their direct line-of-fire. There have also been a number of military deaths on the border in recent weeks. Moreover, by all accounts, there is also a massive Azeri military buildup along Artsakh's border. All this, in the very short period of time since Nikol came to power. Perhaps Baku is sensing political weakness. Perhaps it's all part of the above noted international conspiracy against Artsakh. Whatever the case may be, the new regime in Yerevan is carrying on as if nothing of real importance is happening on Armenia's borders -
Following Armenian uprising, Azerbaijan’s saber rattling grows louder:
Dugin: Azerbaijan - Russia's main strategic partner in Caucasus:
Azerbaijan reports liberation of Gunnut village:
Aggravated Situation Around Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan Exclave:
Azerbaijan Continues to Maintain Military Build-Up Along Artsakh Line of Contact:
Azerbaijan doesn’t pull back heavy military build-up since April, says Artsakh:
Աղասի Ենոքյան. «Սահմանում վիճակը ոչ թե լարված է, այլ չափազանց լարված է, կուտակումները հսկայական են»:
From a tactical standpoint, the Azeri move in Nakhijevan could have been a trial run to gauge new regime's reaction. It nevertheless is a major strategic advance. Nikol's government has not yet said much about the matter. Thus far, the only thing the current regime seems to have done regarding Artsakh is to ban pro-Artsakh banners in Armenia -
«Ի՞նչ ես անում Արցախի համար» պաստառները կապամոնտաժվեն:
What's more, the "Democracy" epidemic is also being made to reach Artsakh -
Ադրբեջանցի՛ն թող վախենա. հայկական հեղափոխության շունչը Արցախում:
It's worrying. I think Armenia is politically weak and vulnerable today. I think a major war is inevitable. I fear the results of such a war may not be to our liking, ultimately because we as a people (unlike our enemies) are more concerned about adopting Western values than actually protecting and building our homeland. My fear is that Nikol may have been brought into power to facilitate the settlement of the Artsakh dispute through major land concessions. But, I should add that there are other theories as well. Here is one, by none other than Alexander Dugin -
В России есть указание на сближение с Азербайджаном. Но вот армянское лобби:
According to this theory, Serj turned-over power to Nikol to sabotage a Moscow effort to force Yerevan to agree to land concessions. Sounds plausible, but it's highly improbable because such a theory casually assumes that Karen Karapetyan would have easily agreed to such concessions, in a parliament still controlled by the Republican Party nonetheless and in a country where the war veteran union yields a lot of power and influence. More unlikely is Alexander Dugin's indirect assumption that Nikol would refuse to go along with such land concessions. Either Alexander Dugin knows very little about Nikol or he is merely bluffing. If Serj wanted to turn-over power to someone that would resist land concessions, Nikol would in fact be the last person in Armenia. So, at least in this case, we need to take Alexander Dugin's words with a grain of salt. Besides, as his comments about the "Armenian lobby" in Moscow clearly suggests, Alexander Dugin may very well be spreading disinformation inside Azeri news media. The reality of the matter is that there is no "Armenian lobby" in Moscow. In any case, if there is any degree of truth in Alexander Dugin's theory, namely that Serj Sargsyan was able to sabotage Moscow's plan to force Yerevan into land concessions in Artsakh, it still does not bode well for the future, as it will mean that Moscow will inevitably resort to more aggressive tactics now that its plan has been subverted by Serj and Nikol. In a nutshell: If what Alexander Dugin is saying is true, we may see Moscow more involved on Baku's side going forward.

When it comes to Artsakh, I would like to point out that I personally have always been willing to entertain the thought of limited land concessions in return of official recognition and/or reunification with Armenia. My fear therefore is the depth/degree of concession, including the return of hundreds-of-thousands of Azeri refugees, that Nikol's regime may be willing to agree to. Again, I would like to remind the reader that the current regime is more-of-less a remaking of Levon Petrosyan's government. 
It's a possibility.

Remember my words: Nikol and his associates are the last people on earth to place emphasis on defending Artsakh's territorial integrity in case of a major war. What's more, it should be said that despite their carefully calibrated rhetoric on the matter, there is an unmistakable underlying current of anti-Artsakh sentiment throughout Nikol's core supporters. Mostly among themselves, but sometimes in public as well, they blame most of Armenia's problems on the conflict over Artsakh and on Artsakh-Armenians themselves, who they call "the Karabakh Clan". The new regime in Yerevan is fully capable of agreeing to major land concessions. In hindsight, I am now wondering if Serj's resignation was essentially meant to give Nikol, or his successor, the "honor" of agreeing to concessions at some point in the future.

None of this however is to suggest that Nikol has to be Moscow's man or even that he is fully in on the agenda noted above. Simply put, Nikol is opportunist with a sharp wit and a fast mouth. Open doors for him, give him an opportunity and he'll do his thing. It's in his nature/character to do so. So, no need to recruit him one way or another. Serj Sargsyan,  Armen Sargsyan and Karen Karapetyan on the other hand are another story. That said, even this theory of mine is indeed true, none of it is yet set in stone. Politics is fluid in nature. The situation in Yerevan can yet take many more twists and turns in the coming months and years. But, the major takeaway from the current political mess is the following: The relative stability Yerevan enjoyed in the past under the Republican Party (which was crucial for Artsakh in my opinion) has now been finally shattered. All of a sudden, the political fluidity and instability we see in Armenia today risks making it the weak side during future negotiations.

Now, putting all these theories aside, let's also be wise enough to understand that regardless of any conspiracies that may or may not be in play, the political mess we are seeing play-out in Yerevan today has the inherent potential to impact Armenia and Artsakh very negatively. So, conspiracy or not, orchestrated or not, what we see happening in Armenia will prove no good for Armenia and Artsakh in the long-term. In my opinion, Armenia's internal problems have just started. In real political terms, Armenia today is weaker than it was prior to its "Velvet Revolution". One way or another, I think Artsakh's final fate will be decided in the next few years, if not sooner. At the end of the day, the political mess we have in Armenia today is due to its 25-plus year old problem child called Democracy.

Democracy has evolved into a belief system similar to ancient Christianity

There is somewhat of a surreal or suprnatural feel to all this. It's as if we have been here before. It's as if ancient specters are haunting us. It's as if the spirits of our failed ancestors are rising from their graves and leading us into yet another unknown. History is repeating. We are self-mutilating. We are once again opening the gates of our city to allow the enemy in. We are once again ready to tear to pieces our old prince in favor of someone we don't even know. We are once again getting ready to cut-off the head of our Sparapet, so that we may live in peace. The angry peasants are out in force, and they are ready to burn down their village to save it from phantoms both real and perceived. Collective hysteria has gripped the masses. Predators are smelling blood. It all feels preordained by forces beyond our comprehension.

It feels like the first century AD all over again. Tiridates I, an Armenian scion of Persian aristocracy, has just returned from his coronation in Rome and has used Roman funds to build a Roman style place of worship, in which his royal court would continue worshiping a Persian deity. The pagan temple of Garni thus became Armenia's first known expression of "complimentary politics". Armenians today are again building a new place of worship with a new set of rules in the form of Democracy, but they have no choice but to continue again worshiping Russian deities in it.

17 hundred years ago Roman officials began looking at Christianity as an imperial tool of influence and conquest, very similar to how Western powers today treat Democracy. But, similar to how Armenians wholeheartedly adopted Christianity and took all its tenets quite literally, modern Armenians have also wholeheartedly embraced Democracy and are taking its tenets quite literally. Two thousands years ago missionaries came to Armenia to bring Christianity. Today, the modern manifestation of the ancient Christian missionaries are the pierced and tattooed Democracy activists that are pouring into Armenia from the West in an effort to convert backward Armenians to the ways of Democracy. 
17 hundred years ago they came to help us Armenians come out of our backward ways - 
Today, they again come to help us Armenians come out of our backward ways -
Looking at it purely from a geopolitical angle, the very early manifestation of Christianity in Armenia actually proved destructive for the country as it turned Persia, Armenia's natural ally for hundreds of years into a natural enemy. For centuries thereafter Armenia became an object of war and conflict between the East and West of the time. Christianity did however eventually save Armenia from the year 650 A.D. and onward. However, we may not be as luck this time around. The modern world's manifestation of Christianity, Democracy, with its belief system based on the tenets of multiculturalism, liberalism, feminism, homosexuality, minority rights, free trade, open borders, etc., will surely doom Armenia.

Because of our age-old desire to live like the Romans, but also continue enjoying the protection of Persians, Armenia has once again become a laboratory for conflicting ideologies and a battlefield for competing powers. All in all, the political mess we have in Armenia today is brought to us by its 25-plus year old problem child called Democracy. Democracy means one of two things for all developing nations on earth today: Subjugation by Anglo-American-Jews or perpetual sociopolitical unrest every few years. What's more, Democracy today has become what Catholicism/Christianity was in Europe a thousand years ago.

Democracy today has evolved into a distinct belief system. It strongly resembles ancient Catholicism: Just accept Democracy and you will save yourselves, we are told. Democracy even has its very own Vatican - Washington DC - as well as a multitude of martyrs and Crusaders around the world. What I am getting at is this: Nations that refuse Democracy today are equal to nations that rejected the Vatican's version of God a thousand years ago. The repercussions for rejecting the Catholic God back then, as it is with rejecting Democracy today, were terrible. The Vatican at the time was pushing its version of God and Christianity on third world savages (i.e. the non-Christian world), essentially to control and exploit them. When the savages in question refused the Vatican's belief/political system, they were persecuted and subjected to wave after wave of missionaries, the political activists of their time, or, war. No government today therefore wants to be seen as having rejected God, so to speak. They therefore accept Democracy, but do so superficially, just like Christian kings did a thousand years ago. All the "progressive" European kingdoms at the time were gradually adopting Catholicism, but were doing so mostly for political reasons (i.e. trying to establish good relations with the Vatican). Today, Democracy is adopted by nations around the world to establish good relations with Western powers. This situation - nations around the world accepting Democracy at various degrees of sincerity - is what we have in much of the world today. 

In final analysis, Democracy is a weakness, not a strength. The precedence set by Nikol's movement, namely that when you are not happy with the government you can simply disregard the nation's laws and take to the streets, will prove very painful for Armenia for generations to come. I want to remind my reader that our enemies in the region don't have these types of problems. We always look down at Turks and Azeris for not being "Democratic" enough. It's like looking down at them for not being self-destructive enough. We are so delusional as a people that we don't realize that being undemocratic is in fact our enemies' strength, not weakness. The Plutocratic West has convinced our Street that Democracy is the only way forward for Armenia. This belief in Western fairytales (like the one that preceded it nearly two thousand years ago) is one of the reasons why Armenia will remain a small, poor and weak nation for well into the foreseeable future. Democracy does NOT exist. Democracy does NOT work. As long as Armenians are under the impression that Democracy indeed exists and that it's a good thing, and Armenians continue looking at the Western world for inspiration, Armenia will continue flirting with its demise.

Democracy, as promoted by Western powers, is essentially designed to do one of two things: Either place nations under Western/Globalist occupation (after which the occupied country is depleted of all resources and the population is subjected to indoctrination and social engineering) or keep such countries perpetually troubled every few years during election time. If our idiots ever woke up to realize any of this, the nightmare we keep reliving over-and-over again for the past 25-plus years would end overnight. We are today repeating the same mistakes of our failed ancestors. If we are destined to be stuck in a cycle, then are are doomed to repeat the mistakes of our forefathers. If so, we will eventually ruin our relations with Russia and Armenia will remain a lowly ball in a geopolitical pinball machine; as it has been for much of its history. Because of the age-old Armenian desire to live like Romans, Armenia has once again become a laboratory for conflicting ideologies, and a dangerous battlefield for competing powers. What's more, Armenia is once again being turned into a battlefield between East and West. All in all, the political mess we have in Armenia today is due to its 25-plus year old problem child called Democracy.

Final thought
Armenian politics may not be for the faint of heart. But I want to remind my reader the words of the great German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche: “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” With this wisdom in mind, let's hope for the best. So, as long as Nikol's government makes sure to steer clear of all forms of Russophobia and attempts to deepen Russian-Armenian relation's, as it has already stated on several different occasions, Armenia may somehow benefit from recent political changes. Artsakh however is all together another story. While I hope recent events may prove beneficial to Armenia in the long-term, I nevertheless believe that the seeds of political unrest has been sown in the country. Nikol and friends are the perfect candidates to see this agenda through. So, despite my best hopes, I still think Armenia is headed towards very difficult times. The country will be tested in the coming years. My gut feeling is that had we shown political foresight and the ability to unconditionally rally around our state (like Turks and Azeris do with theirs), we would not be subjected to this kind of conspiracy and/or test. So, at the end of the day, it's our fault. We the people are responsible for all the bad (and good) that happens in the homeland. We Armenians deserved our Chobans in Armani suites, just as we now deserve our saint Nikol.

It is said that fish rots from the head. But that's not always the case, especially for a country like Armenia. Throughout the post-Soviet period, the kind of criminality, lawlessness and corruption that took place inside government circles also took place inside all layers of Armenian society. A honest look at us Armenians will show that we are generally speaking divided in two groups: Oligarchs and those who wish they were oligarchs.
In societies around the world, the so-called Street is resigned to accepting that their political/financial elite is corrupt. They therefore for the most part simply mind their own business, and they work hard to ensure their living. Not so in Armenia.

The Armenian Street wants to either live like its elite or make its elite live like itself. In other words, if Armenian can't have absolute Capitalism, where they can run around trying to screw and swindle everybody that happens to come their way, they want absolute Socialism, where the state is expected to take care of all their needs. The Armenian Street is quite rotten. The top is merely a reflection of the bottom and vice versa. 

Unlike European, Asian and south American nations, Armenians don't have very good work ethics. Generally speaking, Armenians only like working for themselves, and they like working as little as possible but make a lot of money. Moreover, the Armenian Street does not, at least not yet, understand what civic responsibility and political pragmatism means. These problems go back a long time. During Soviet times, the Black Market in Armenia (where Western goods and products like blue jeans, cigarettes, rock music, movies, pornography and chewing gum were traded for Soviet gold, fur and jewelry) was among the largest in the entire union. Embezzlement, theft, bribery and nepotism, all fundamentally anti-Communist practices, were the main economic factors in Soviet Armenia. At the end of the day, Armenians are too intelligent, too ambitious, too materialistic, too tribal and too egotistical to play by the rules or accept anything less than the good life.  Not a good formula for nation-building.

It is also said that governments are a reflection of their people and that the people deserve the governments they have. So, if the previous government in Armenia was an accurate reflection if Armenia's Street, which it was, the Armenian Street today fully deserves the government it has. The "Armenian Street" is therefore fully responsible for all the good and bad that will eventually come out of the current regime.

That said, we need to at least find comfort in knowing that there has been a revolutionary change, not in government (much of the corruption in government as well as society will remain) but in perception of government; the belief that things are better. The Street is euphoric. The Street is hopeful. There is the perception that things are now better in the country. After many years of an information war against Armenia and its leadership, that in-itself is a very positive development. After all, we all know that for the Street, perception is reality. For a nation suffering from low morale, this is very good. It just needs to last to show positive results. So, the new regime in my opinion will be able to improve the image of the country at least in the minds of the Armenian Street. There will be the impression or rather the perception, at least for a while, that things are better and that Nikol is valiantly fighting corruption. The perception that all's well in the country may in-turn help curb the Armenian Street's urge to act self-destructive... at least for a while.

Ultimately, however, I have no doubt that Nikol's honeymoon with the Armenian Street will not last very long because Armenia's main problems - be it political, be it financial, be it economic - are problems that Nikol's regime cannot fix even if it really tried. Moreover, I find it strange that no one is talking about it, but Nikol has also started staffing governmental positions with relatives and longtime associates. So much for the professionalism the so-called "Street" was hoping for. But, since Nikol is not part of the "Karabakh Clan", all is well according to the "Street". My prediction is that Nikol will not be able to do much about high level corruption in the country, even if he genuinely tried. Giving and taking bribes, seeking to make a quick buck and always looking for shortcuts to the law is ingrained in the Armenian DNA. Whatever Nikol will accomplish in this regard will prove to be mere window dressing; nothing more than a show. Although I admit it's too early to tell, I am nevertheless not impressed at all with what the new regime in Yerevan has thus far done with regards to the so-called fighting against corruption. The only way I will be convinced of Nikol's sincerity with regards to fighting crime in Armenia is if he follows the steps of nations like Singapore and China and makes high level corruption in the country punishable by death; repatriates the tens-of-billions of dollars that are said to be placed in offshore accounts of corrupt officials and businessmen; breaks-up the nation's largest monopolies; and goes after the big name Chobans. I will finally be convinced that the country is indeed headed in the right direction if one or two of the country's most guilty are executed for their crimes against the state. Until that is done, arresting this or that low level (i.e. vulnerable) criminal will only be window dressing, and it will do little to cure the country's socioeconomic malaise.

And speaking of the country's sociopolitical malaise, I repeat: Even if Armenia's dreaded Oligarchs magically turned into benevolent angels overnight, Armenia would continue suffering from serious socioeconomic problems. Even if Nikol turned Armenia's wealthy Chobans into humanitarian philanthropists tonight, tomorrow he will still be faced with an stagnant economy, high unemployment, low wages, a landlocked and blockaded nation, a volatile geopolitical environment, and hundreds of rotted and ruined Soviet-era factories. Let's be mindful that the south Caucasus remains a very volatile battlefield between East and West; Armenia remains landlocked and blockaded in a Turkic/Islamic region of the world; the dispute over Artsakh remains unsolved and may explode at any moment; and Armenians remain among the world's most difficult people to rule over. So, when poverty rates remain high; when jobs remain scarce (and those that exist continue paying low wages); when citizens in all layers of society continue giving and taking bribes; when the rich continue getting richer; when the poor continue getting poorer; when young men continue losing their lives in increasing numbers on the border... the "Street" will begin looking for a new savior, and the vicious cycle will repeat. With what Nikol and Serj started on April 23, going forward, it promises to be a vicious cycle, where opportunistic politicians funded by this or that political interest from abroad provoke and incite the "Street" every few elections. The volatility of Democracy mixed with volatility of the south Caucasus and the volatility of Armenian traits, it promises not to be a pretty sight for generations to come.
Again, I have absolutely no fears about the future of Russian-Armenian relations, at least well into the foreseeable future. As I have said, the Kremlin has Armenia by the throat and by the balls. Armenia has no choice but to remain within the Russian orbit, at least for the foreseeable future. And Russia, for its part, will have no choice but to look at Armenia as a strategic foothold in a very important region on its vulnerable southern border, at least for the foreseeable future. Again, putting Artsakh aside, my main fear for the foreseeable future is civilizational. With the current political climate in the country, Armenia will continue suffering periodic political unrest; continue importing toxic influences from the West; and continue enslaving the country to Western money lenders like never before. Slowly, the centuries old instinct that has kept Armenia close to Russia will gradually dissipate. If this happens, it will prove fatal.

Just like how zealously our forefathers adopted Christianity, I fear future generations will similarly latch on to Westernization, Globalism and Liberalism - all to the detriment of Armenia. Actually, we already see the process I am referring to. As noted above, many of Nikol's ministerial appointments have been extremely worrying. Knowing who Nikol is, it was fully expected. We suddenly have a more Globalist oriented, West-leaning and less professional government in Yerevan, but the feeling on the "Street" is that everything is well. That was also expected. In fact, that's the power of perception. Nothing of real value can be expected from the masses. In any case, all this leads me to believe that despite our best hopes and wishes, Nikol's government will sooner or later fail.

I would like to remind my reader that I disliked Armenia's wealthy Chobans just as much as, if not more, than anybody else. But, I am not about to sing Nikol's praise now just because I disliked them. I simply don't see Nikol and friends as better replacements. In fact, in the big picture, I would rather have backward Chobans at the helm than Westernized and/or Globalized degenerates Nikol has populated the government with. If Nikol's regime did not fear Moscow, I have no doubt that it would turn Armenia into a free playground for neo-Bolsheviks and Anglo-American-Jews overnight. In my humble opinion, the previous political landscape as bad for the short-term, but held some promises for the long-term. The current political landscape may prove beneficial for the short-term, but promises to be bad for the long-term. With the previous regime, Armenia was in a dark tunnel but light was beginning to be seen at the end of it. Today, Armenia seems to be in the light of day, but may be fast heading into a dark tunnel.

Unfortunately, Armenia today faces a choice between Western-funded mercenaries and Chobans in Armani suites. It's essentially a choice between the Nemets Rubos, Dodi Gagos and Lfik Samos and Monsanto, USAID, and IMF. Sadly, the country for now has no alternative to the aforementioned. So, my fellow Armenians, pick your poison. As much as I hate to say it, I personally think that the old regime posed a less long-term threat to the country then what we have today. 

At the end of the day, it's not about about Nikol or Serj, it's not even about Russia or the West, it's about the long-term health and well-being of the Armenian state and the preservation of the traditional nation-state and indigenous cultures. As everyone knows here, my main purpose with this blog is to encourage the deepening of Armenia's strategic ties with a natural ally like Russia for the long-term betterment of Armenia. I see the Russian nations as the word's last front against Globalization, Western imperialism, Pan-Turkism, Islamic expansionism and Zionism. I also see the Russian nation as the last hope for the traditional nation-state and apostolic Christianity. If Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan is able to foster better/deeper Russian-Armenian ties and curb Armenia's exposure to Western toxins, then I wouldn't care if Nikol paraded around 26 Baghramyan Street with an American flag print speedos. What I am essentially saying is that if the new prime minister can develop better relations with Russia (and Iran), protect Artsakh's territorial integrity with all of Armenia's diplomatic and military might, become the spark to move Armenia's economy forward at a faster pace in the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union and finally curb Armenia's dangerous exposure to Western toxins such as the IMF, NED, USAID, George Soros and Monsanto, I am fully willing to accept him as my leader and wish him well in all his endeavors.

The aforementioned two points - closer Russian-Armenian relations and limiting Armenia's exposure to Westernization and Globalization - are strategically important tasks to accomplish for the country's long-term health. The former is a geostrategic matter. The latter is a civilizational matter. Both however should given top priority in Yerevan. In any case, as I already said, I am not going to start praising Nikol for simply saying the right things. I am going to wait and see what he and his team will be doing in the coming months and years. Nevertheless, as of now, it looks as if a group of people with Globalist/neo-Bolshevik aspirations have taken control in Yerevan and ministerial positions are being staffed by Western-funded individuals - all apparently with Moscow's blessing. This last point is my main concern.

In final analysis, if Nikol's rise to power happened against Moscow's wishes, the future does not look too good for Armenia. And if what happened was in-line with Moscow's wishes, the future again may not look too good. Something smells rotten in Yerevan. I repeat: Nikol Pashinyan is a neo-Bolshevik opportunist who managed to exploit the "Armenian Street's" political illiteracy and hatred toward its leadership. And he was helped in this regard by unseen hands. Nothing good, at least in the long-term, will come out of it. But, the "Armenian Street" is happy, and that's what counts according to the sacred tenets of Democracy. At the end of the day, if we Armenians (rulers and subjects alike, native and Diasporan alike) prove incapable of governing ourselves in an efficient and non-destructive manner, I rather have Ivan and Natasha come in and run the show for us. I have no doubt they would do a better job. 

We as a people don't seem mature or developed enough yet and the south Caucasus is simply not safe or civilized enough for the kind of "Democratic" self-mutilation and self-flagellation we continue seeing in Armenia for the past 25-plus years. The most important thing for Armenia is political stability, continuity and predictability. It was not a good idea to give the emotional and ignorant masses the belief that it's powerful and knows what it's doing. This is a very dangerous road to be on, especially because we do not yet have well established institutions of government, especially because we are surrounded by predators, especially because we don't know what are the real intent of the political actors behind-the-scenes. With the kind of political culture taking root in Armenia today, foreign-backed individuals would be able to change the political vector of the country every few years. This will prove utterly destructive. We simply can't have "regime changes" every few election cycle just because another charismatic street leader decides he wants to change the political system again via proven street methods, and cleverly uses foreign assistance to tap into the Street's grievances. Let's be wise enough to recognize that the so-called Street, especially in Armenia, and especially in a place like the south Caucasus, will always have grievances. Finally, we need to recognize that Democracy, which by nature is the rule of the ignorant masses, is a bumpy road to unrest, instability and weakness. A politically unstable Armenia is a weak Armenia, and a weak Armenia equals a weak Artsakh.

It's been a surreal and worrying time in Armenia. We have all been overwhelmed with feelings and emotions. We have all expressed our concerns, fears and hopes. We have all said all that needs to be said, and then some. Now, we have no choice but to move on. What's done is done. Armenians will be Armenians. Let's recall once more Friedrich Nietzsche's wisdom, “that which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” If we Armenians don't manage to kill Armenia with our volatile emotions and political illiteracy, perhaps we'll make her better one day. So, at least for now, we need to put aside our political/ideological differences and biases and simply accept the fact that a new reality has descended upon our homeland, even if we are opposed to it from political, ideological and civilizational standpoint. Despite what we think of them, we now have a new regime in Armenia. We have a new reality on the ground. We therefore have no choice but to accept it. At some level, this is indeed a new beginning for the country. The country is entering a new period. It's a chance to at least try to make things better. We have no choice now but to hope for the best. But, we also need to be realistic enough not to have high expectations and prepare for the worst. Difficult times may be ahead of us. We need to prepare. God bless our homeland. Lets hope that Armenia is able to safely weather whatever the future brings.


Summer, 2018


The Nation: Armenia’s Future Hangs in the Balance

New Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s road to healing the unequal and divided country will be long and difficult

In May 8, 2018, one day before Armenians observed Victory Day, Yerevan once again erupted in jubilation. Opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan had just been officially elected Armenia’s 15th prime minister by the country’s National Assembly, with 59 votes in favor and 42 votes against. The newly elected PM was confirmed by Armenian President Armen Sarkissian and immediately received warm congratulations from Russian President Vladimir Putin and Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili. He also spoke on the phone with Putin personally. This was a striking change of fortune from a week earlier, when the revolutionary leader failed to secure the premiership on May 1, due to the continued efforts by the ruling Republican Party to obstruct such a scenario.

Only one month ago, the prime ministership of Pashinyan would have seemed impossible. The political machine of the Republican Party still dominated Armenian politics, as it had since the late 1990s. It was the fateful decision of Armenia’s then-exiting President Serzh Sargsyan to remain on as PM that prompted Pashinyan to travel throughout Armenia on foot. Supported by his wife, Anna Hakobyan, he and others walked together in protest, from Gyumri to Yerevan. This “Take a Step” initiative signaled the start of the nonviolent April Revolution that culminated in his ascent to the prime minister’s office.

However, the drama has only just begun. Armenia faces many challenges. First among them is political reconciliation. Pashinyan has sought to “close the chapter of hatred” in Armenian politics, and it is now time for the various political forces in the country to come together for the common good. This process is absolutely essential for the new PM as he turns to governance and as he pursues the first order of business: reforming electoral law to ensure free and fair elections. In this regard, there are individuals from the former ruling party, such as the outgoing PM Karen Karapetyan, who could help Pashinyan. Karapetyan’s governing experience, his political and business ties with Russia, and his own impulses for reform are potential assets for the incoming Armenian government. Significantly, as he stepped down from office, the former PM was among the first to extend his congratulations to Pashinyan.

Another, more long-term concern for any future Armenian government is to address the country’s long-standing socioeconomic problems, a process that will likely begin after new parliamentary elections, following electoral reform. Although the revolution was immediately prompted by Sargsyan’s decision to become prime minister, the socioeconomic question was squarely at the heart of it. This question is rooted in the dissolution of the USSR, the collapse of the Soviet welfare system, and the privatization of the Armenian economy in the 1990s. Entire sectors of Armenia’s economic life are monopolized by oligarchs with monikers like Lfik Samo, who act with impunity. Jobs, once plentiful in the Soviet era, are now difficult to find, causing many to seek work abroad, primarily in Russia. Poverty throughout the country remains a major challenge.

Indeed, a striking element of the April Revolution in Armenia was its social consciousness. Most commentators have already observed that the revolution differed from the “color” revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia in that the protest leaders distanced themselves from anti-Russian rhetoric. However, it also differed in the way that social concerns—poverty, jobs, inequality—were at the forefront of the movement. During the protests, one image floating around social media among Armenian activists showed a picture of Armenian children in a rural village living in abject poverty, contrasted with a picture of the ruling elite at an elaborate dinner party, sipping champagne. It was a scene reminiscent of a Victor Hugo novel.

Considering this context, the April Revolution inspired much hope among Armenians from all parts of the country and from all social classes. Its popular leader, Pashinyan, is regarded as a man of the people, not unlike Aleksandr Myasnikyan, the Armenian revolutionary who oversaw the rebuilding of Soviet Armenia in the 1920s. However, as the revolutionary civic activist and father of four exchanges his fatigues and “Dukhov” cap for a suit and the prime minister’s office, the question among Armenians quickly becomes: “Can he deliver?”

If he secures success in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, what will be his socioeconomic agenda for the country? Will he take the tired neoliberal approach as pursued by the “color revolution” governments in Ukraine and Georgia? Or will he strive for a new path in the post-Soviet space—a fair and equitable social-democratic policy (effectively a “New Deal”) for the Armenian people? It is worth noting that even if Pashinyan, or any future Armenian leader, pursues the latter option, change will not happen overnight.

However, for now, Armenia looks toward the future with a cautious optimism, tempered by a pragmatic realism. The April Revolution has given the country a new sense of hope, perhaps best expressed by the revolutionary poet Yeghishe Charents, the Armenian counterpart to Russia’s Vladimir Mayakovsky. Reflecting on his hopes for Soviet Armenia in 1921, he wrote: Like a dagger pulled out of its case the future rises, hard, sharp, and ablaze with sun, never to enter its old dusty place, never to be buried in its old sheath of days.


Russian International Affairs Counsil: Russia–Armenia Relations and the April Revolution
Starting in April, 2018, Armenia witnessed a remarkable political revolution, prompted by Serzh Sargsyan’s attempt to remain in office by becoming the country’s Prime Minister. As massive crowds packed Yerevan’s Republic Square, the veteran Armenian politician ultimately bowed to popular pressure and stepped aside on April 23. The second phase of the April Revolution saw the ascendancy of protest leader Nikol Pashinyan to the Prime Minister’s office. Pashinyan’s proposed electoral reform promises to pave the way for a more competitive political system in Armenia, breaking the monopoly of the ruling Republican Party, which has dominated Armenian politics since the late 1990s.

Even more remarkable was the lack of any foreign involvement in the April Revolution. There were no “little green men” in the Ararat valley, nor was America’s Victoria Nuland on hand to pass out cookies on Republic Square. In reality, the involvement of United States was nonexistent, while the role of Russia was minimal, although not insignificant. In contrast to the reaction to the Electric Yerevan protests in 2015, there was no rush in the Russian media or among Russian political elites to draw parallels with the Ukrainian Maidan or the “color revolutions.” Instead, Moscow was cautious and pragmatic, emphasizing the necessity of a legal transition of power. Publicly, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova even supported the demonstrators, writing “Armenia, Russia is always with you!”

Two-sided nature of the Russia-Armenia relations

The Russia-Armenia relationship is two-sided. For Armenia, Russia means protection from neighboring Azerbaijan and Turkey. For Russia, Armenia represents an important ally in the Caucasus, a region critical to Russian security concerns. Therefore, Russia observed the recent developments in Armenia very closely. Behind the scenes, Russian officials were in contact with both sides in order to gain a clear understanding of the events. According to protest leader Armen Grigoryan and certain unnamed sources, the opposition emphasized to Russian officials that the protest was strictly domestic and was not directed in any way against Russia. This message was further emphasized by Pashinyan to the delegation of Russian Duma deputies who visited Yerevan. Not only were Russia-Armenia relations under no threat, but they would be “deepened” should Pashinyan become Prime Minister. The protest leaders also made an effort to ensure that no EU or American flags were flown during the Armenian protest.

Russian officials were also in contact with representative of the Armenian government and the ruling party. In the early days of the protest, it became clear to Moscow that Serzh Sargsyan had no political future. His decision to remain in power was a major misstep in the Armenian context, and therefore supporting him would be a liability for the Russian side. However, in terms of his successor, Moscow was initially more inclined to support acting Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan. A reform-minded politician, Karapetyan governed Armenia from the Prime Minister post effectively for a year and a half, although the Republican Party machine prevented him from making major changes. The former chief executive of ArmRosGazprom, he also has good business and political contacts with Russia, including with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Russian-Armenian billionaire Samvel Karapetyan (no relation to Karen). Therefore, he represented both stability and change to Moscow.

However, it soon became clear that the protestors in Yerevan wanted to abolish the ruling Republican Party machine entirely. Although Sargsyan’s bid to stay in power served as the immediate motivation for the protests, the causes – chiefly jobs and economic inequality – were much deeper. Fundamental changes were required to remedy them. In this case, Pashinyan’s bid, to both become interim Prime Minister and to reform the electoral laws, represented a better alternative for the demonstrators. Gradual reform of the existing system was no longer a tenable option. Therefore, Moscow remained neutral, while Karapetyan rejected the offer to become the Prime Minister candidate of the Republican Party, leaving the ruling party with no candidate to nominate.

Putin-Pashinyan personal chemistry

The situation was reinforced by Pashinyan’s meeting with the Duma MPs on April 29, which cleared the way for his eventual victory on May 8. Notably, after Pashinyan’s election as Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin was one of the first political leaders to congratulate him. Later, in a phone conversation with Putin, Pashinyan exchanged greetings with him on the occasion of Victory Day, commemorating the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II. Notably, Pashinyan’s grandfather and namesake, Nikolai, fought in the Red Army and died in the war. The new Armenian PM also reaffirmed Armenia’s commitment to the Eurasian Economic Union, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). However, within the context of the Eurasian Economic Union, he may push for a more democratic and egalitarian relationship among the member states to ensure that smaller republics, like Armenia, will have more of a say in determining the policy of the union.

On May 14, Pashinyan and Putin met in Sochi where they had very positive and constructive talks. In the meeting, Putin hailed Armenia as a “close ally and partner in the region.” For his part, Pashinyan assured Putin that “there is a consensus in Armenia: no one has ever questioned the strategic importance of the Armenian-Russian relations, and I think it will not be questioned ahead.” He also met with Eurasian Union Chairman and former Armenian PM Tigran Sargsyan and held a rally with the Armenian community of Sochi.

Why Armenia’s opposition shied away from anti-Russian rhetoric

While Russia exercised incredible restraint in reaction to the April Revolution, the leaders of the revolt also learned valuable lessons about Russia-Armenia relations and the potentially adverse impact of their past anti-Russian statements. Given the extraordinary importance of the Russia-Armenia relationship, most Armenian politicians across party lines traditionally understood that Russophobia was counter-productive for the country. However, in recent years, some Armenian opposition leaders, taking cues from developments in Ukraine and Georgia, began to incorporate such discourse into their attacks on the government. Although Pashinyan has never been known to be exceptionally anti-Russian, even he adopted this position in his criticism of the Eurasian Economic Union.

In one way, anti-Russian rhetoric was useful for both the Armenian government and the opposition, to alert Russia that it could not take Armenia for granted. However, the April Revolution demonstrated that Armenian Russophobia could also be fatal for the opposition. Amid their stunning success, it soon became clear that anti-Russian policy was in fact hindering their far more important objectives (e.g., challenging the Republican Party monopoly). Consequently, Pashinyan moved quickly to reassure the Russian press and the Russian political elite that the revolution was not directed in any way against Moscow.

Meanwhile intending to capitalize on Pashinyan’s past remarks, the ruling party attempted to paint the revolutionary leader as a reckless Russophobe for both Russian observers and Armenia’s domestic audience. In the end, they failed to convince these two audiences, both of whom gave Pashinyan the benefit of the doubt. However, it was a close call for Pashinyan and it clearly illustrated the pitfalls of unnecessary anti-Russian bluster in Armenia.

Alternative path

Not only is anti-Russian discourse counter-productive in terms of its immediate political impact, but also in terms of its broader relevance. The April Revolution in Armenia has regional and even global significance that the Rose or Orange Revolutions or the Maidan would never attain since they allowed themselves to be blinded by the allure of geopolitics and national chauvinism. Shifting away from the geopolitical context, the revolution in Armenia presents an alternative path for the post-Soviet states. Instead of excluding Russia and casting it as an “eternal enemy,” why not include it in broader regional discussions about democracy, economic justice, and state-building?

Although each former Soviet republic is unique, they all share broadly similar socioeconomic problems as well as the common historical and cultural experiences of Imperial Russia and the USSR. In an age of globalization, these commonalities are the foundation for greater regional cooperation. Therefore, maintaining broad transnational cultural and economic connections across the post-Soviet space is an asset for all. The April Revolution in Armenia is significant as is a civic movement that realizes such potential.


Ararat Institute: Analysis of Armenia's Velvet Revolution


On April 23, 2018 majority of people in Armenia and thousands of compatriots abroad celebrated nonviolent, velvet revolution in the country which lead to the resignation of the ex-President Serj Sarksyan from recently acquired position of Armenia’s Prime Minister. Days after the resignation of Armenia’s PM protest demonstrations in Armenia continue as people demand resignation of the entire ruling government under the leadership of the Republican Party of Armenia, installment of an interim government of national accord and interim Prime Minister, opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan, and the beginning of new parliamentary elections in the country soon afterwards. At this point it is anyone’ s guess what may happen in Armenia next. Although the security situation on Armenia’s borders is not considered critical yet despite large accumulations of Azerbaijani military personnel and hardware on the LoC in the past few days, prolonged uncertainty in the country may embolden Azerbaijan resume its war against Republics of Armenia and Artsakh at any time.


For more than ten days preceding the resignation of Serj Sarksyan tens of thousands of Armenians engaged in peaceful demonstrations at the Republic Square in Yerevan and other towns and villages throughout Armenia by carrying out acts of civil disobedience and constant street rallies. Despite hundreds of people getting arrested, including Nikol Pashinyan and other protest leaders a few days ago, demonstrators persevered as more people joined them in the process, including war veterans of Four Day War, soldiers from nearby military garrisons and clergymen. A number of cabinet members have resigned within the past few days while two political parties that were part of the coalition government, ARF and Prosperous Armenia exited from the coalition and joined the protestors on the streets of Armenia. Fortunately for everyone involved, despite occasional scuffles that erupted between protesters and police, as well as between protesters and minority supporters of the ruling regime at different times throughout Armenia the protest demonstrations remained peaceful.

In the meantime, Armenia’s National Security Service conducted special operation which led to arrests of several individuals accused of planning to carry out numerous anti-government terrorist attacks throughout the country using remotely controlled IEDs. Large quantities of explosive materials, ammunition and weapons were confiscated as well. The incident is still under investigation as alleged terrorists are being interrogated for more information. Foreign media on the other hand, until recently was largely mute about the events taking place in Armenia. Only after the arrest of protest leaders and the resignation of Armenia’s PM that followed the “velvet revolution” in Armenia received a global coverage by leading American, Russian and European media outlets; foreign diplomatic missions in Armenia struggled to come up with a proper assessment of events taking place in the country and only few days ago made public announcements welcoming the aspirations of Armenian people for change and commending protesters for exercising their constitutional rights to free speech and free assembly through non-violent means of civil disobedience.


It is no secret that the ruling government of Armenia under the leadership of the Republican Party of Armenia doesn’t enjoy the support of the majority of Armenia’s citizens. The Armenian public both at home and abroad accuses them of cultivating a culture of corruption, kleptocracy and mismanagement of economy. Government ministers are viewed as incompetent to solve present day problems and often unwilling to do so due to their own vested interests serviced by the present state of affairs. A history of flawed elections both presidential and parliamentary where people’s voices were largely suppressed or manipulated to their own advantage are tainting the credibility of the RPA. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people demonstrating on the streets of Armenia demand the resignation of the entire government and even banning RPA from playing any role in the future government of Armenia. Resignations of a few people used as scapegoats to deflect public anger do not suffice at this point. The entire government backed by local oligarchs and certain criminal elements is under public pressure to relinquish its place to the new generation of leaders represented by Nikol Pashinyan and others.

Arguably, the resignation of Serj Sarkisyan as the PM of Armenia can be attributed to many factors. However, there are several factors that need to be taken into consideration more than others. The first factor to consider is the indirect role of Armenia’s military which “allowed” its members to join opposition rallies in Yerevan. Armenia’s military is the most esteem institution in the country that enjoys the utmost respect and support of ordinary citizens and Armenian diaspora. As the guarantor of Armenia’s security, it is on the minds and in the hearts of all Armenians around the world. Therefore, when hundreds of soldiers and war veterans joined the ranks of marching protestors on the streets of Armenia the fate of Serj Sarkisian’s was arguable sealed. As a former war veteran himself who has held multiple high-level security positions in the Armenian military and national security establishment before becoming the President of Armenia and Commander in Chief, Serj Sarkisyan couldn’t ignore the fact that he no longer enjoyed the support of his brothers-in-arms. The causes for displeasure with Sarkisyan’s regime could be attributed to the mismanagement of military resources and incompetence of its leaders for the past twenty-four years which lead to large number of casualties and loss of small patches of territory along the LoC during the Four Day War of 2016.

The second factor to consider is the indirect role of Armenian clergy. Although both leaders of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Garegin II the supreme head of the Armenian Apostolic Church and Aram I of the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia issued non-partisan public declarations encouraging both sides of the conflict to stay calm and work together towards finding peaceful resolutions of public grievances a number of clergymen joined the protesters as they marched at the forefront of demonstrators thus in a way co-leading the opposition against the ruling regime. The Armenian church is one of the pillars of Armenian statehood and an essential component of the Armenian nation that played a pivotal role in the Battle of Sardarbad (1918), Artsakh Liberation Movement (1988-1994) and during Four Day War. Thus, the significance of clergy appearing among the protesters and in someway leading people during rallies could have not been lost on Serj Sarkisyan. In light of the fact that the majority of Armenia’s citizens and the Armenian diaspora abroad associate themselves with the Armenian Apostolic Church, loss of their trust towards the government and the Republican Party of Armenia led by Serj Sarkisyan could have not been ignored.

The third factor to consider is the role of Armenian diaspora. As opposition rallies took place throughout Armenia similar opposition rallies took place in Armenian communities around the world, particularly in France, US and Russia. The global Armenian diaspora could be described as the third pillar of the Armenian national identity and statehood. Since 1988, billions of dollars’ worth of humanitarian aid and business projects were implemented in Armenia. Almost every Armenian community that has a capacity to organize itself and fundraise has done a charity project in Armenia, particularly in Artsakh or is in the process of implementing one by itself or in conjunction with others. A number of Armenian businesses particularly those specialized in IT field have either opened branches in Armenia or moved their entire businesses to Armenia. Despite mixed results and significant blame (for failure of multiple business projects) directed towards the ruling government in Armenia, there are still many diasporan Armenians who are continuing to invest in their native homeland. While doing business in Armenia many have reportedly encountered the invisible “red tape” and/or other problems that they didn’t anticipate to deal with. As such, the fate of diaspora Armenians towards the ruling government began to fade and more of them began to side with the opposition.

The fourth factor to consider is the role of foreign players in Armenia’s “velvet revolution”. Surprisingly all foreign players in Armenia, Russia: US and Europe at first ignored the rallies, then expressed support for peaceful expression of public’s will and encouraged both sides to find peaceful solution to political crisis in Armenia. Days later, despite balanced statements by Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs a number of Russian media outlets began painting the events in Armenia as another “color revolution” similar to Ukraine’s Maidan which somehow threatened Russian strategic national interests in the region. Such claims are certainly laughable considering that each country develops its national interests based on the strength and size of one’s economy, and the geographic location of their country. Considering that Russia dominates Armenia’s economy and its national security orientation due to threats emanating from aggressive and anti-Armenian policies of Azerbaijan and Turkey, it is inconceivable to imagine that any government in Armenia would consider pursuing an anti-Russian policy within next thirty years. As the experience of Ukraine and Georgia has shown, anti-Russian orientation results in the loss of territories and economic turmoil due to eruption of wars within the country or as it may be in Armenian case between the two or more countries. Given present circumstances and assuming a number of factors to remain constant, an anti-Russian foreign policy will not benefit Armenia.


As mentioned above, due to geographic circumstances and unresolved territorial disputes with Azerbaijan and Turkey, Armenian foreign policy cannot be anti-Russian or anti-Western. First and foremost, the Armenian foreign policy (as well as domestic politics) must be pro-Armenian and second it must be able to balance between East (Russia) and West (US/EU) similarly to how ancient Armenian kingdoms balanced between Rome and Byzantium, between Persian Empire and Ottoman Empire, Babylonian Empire and Assyrian Empire, etc. Furthermore, Armenia should make slow but steady steps towards restoring its sovereignty; an example of that will be taking over the total control of Armenia-Iran border and later on Armenia-Turkey border within next five to ten years while continuing to host Russian military bases on its soil until the need to have them is no longer there. Furthermore, any government that comes to power in Armenia needs to work towards strengthening of the Armenian state until it is capable of defending its territory and political sovereignty on its own, with very limited assistance from other powers similar to Switzerland or Israel.

Considering present state of affairs in Armenia it is necessary to have a seamless transition of political power in Armenia quickly and peacefully to restore the political stability in the country. Both sides of the conflict, the ruling government and the opposition must realize that they cannot be maximalist in their demands and end up in a situation where one side is a winner and the other side is a loser. Both sides need to compromise to achieve any tangible results and it will take long time to accomplish them. In the meantime, military and the church must be kept outside of political processes in the country as they represent all people of Armenia and cannot be taking sides in a political discourse between competing political forces within the country. Politics must be left to politicians and the civil society of Armenia to sort out using democratic institutions and electoral process enshrined in the constitution of the Republic of Armenia.

Reuters: How Russia played silent kingmaker in Armenia's revolution

In the days before protesters overthrew Armenia’s veteran leader, Russian officials had high-level phone contacts with the protest leaders and the ruling elite that was clinging to power, according to three people briefed on the discussions. Weeks of protests against corruption and cronyism culminated on Tuesday in Nikol Pashinyan, the protest leader, becoming prime minister, in a dramatic rupture with the cadre of officials who have run this ex-Soviet state since the late 1990s.

Breaking the mould of previous ex-Soviet popular revolts, especially a bloody uprising in Ukraine in 2014, Moscow did not back the ruling elite or their right to use force to crush the protest movement. Unlike his counterparts in Ukraine, Pashinyan said he had no plans to pull Armenia out of Moscow’s orbit, and he took steps to reassure Moscow on that score, including via direct contacts, two of the sources said. During the protests, Pashinyan spoke to the Russian embassy in Yerevan, and to an official in the Russian foreign ministry in Moscow, according to one of the protest leaders, Armen Grigoryan, and a businessman close to Pashinyan’s circle who did not want to be identified.

“We worked with them,” said Grigoryan, referring to Russian officials. He said protest leaders explained to Moscow the nature of their movement and that Russia’s interests would not be served by blocking them. Russia’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on any contacts it had with people in Yerevan during the crisis. In the streets, Pashinyan’s supporters were encouraged to display only Armenian national symbols - a conscious break from the Ukraine revolt which angered Moscow by adopting the European Union flag.

On the other side of the stand-off, Serzh Sarksyan, Armenia’s ruler for a decade, was in touch with Russian officials as he fought for survival, according to a diplomatic source who spoke on condition of anonymity. In the 24 hours before Sarksyan quit as prime minister on April 23, he had telephone calls with officials in Moscow, the diplomatic source said. He did not reveal the content of the calls. Russia’s influence was not the only factor in Armenia’s revolution. Missteps by Sarksyan and the energy of the protest movement played critical roles.

But the contacts with Russia help explain how Armenia was able to sweep its rulers away without violence or a prolonged standoff with the police. Reuters has found no evidence that Russia actively intervened in the events in Armenia. Indeed, Moscow’s decision not to do so could have been enough to tilt the balance in favour of the protesters. The contacts also underline how President Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy, focussed on stopping the West encroaching on Russia’s sphere of influence, has turned the Kremlin into de facto kingmaker in parts of the former Soviet Union. Moments after he was installed as prime minister, Pashinyan said he hoped to meet Putin for talks soon, and he was sent a telegram from the Russian leader congratulating him on his appointment, the Kremlin said.


Sitting in an art cafe in central Yerevan, Pashinyan associate Grigoryan recalled how, when the protests started, few imagined they would lead to a revolution. Not more than 150 people showed up for the first rally against Sarksyan in Yerevan, on March 21, he said. The movement adopted some innovative approaches. It was not tied explicitly to a political party. It used social media to organise. It attracted young people, many not previously involved in politics. It used humour and satire. For example, the movement organised a spoof fund-raising campaign to create a retirement fund for Sarksyan. It circulated a caricature of Sarksyan photo-shopped to look like a dim-witted character from a Soviet-era children’s cartoon.

It also used direct action. “You don’t need many people to block a road, and that’s how we started,” said Grigoryan. Crucially, it kept the focus on domestic concerns and steered away from the kind of geopolitical themes that dominated Ukraine’s “Euromaidan” anti-Moscow uprising in 2014. “We learned from Euromaidan that a revolution should not have an international agenda,” said Grigoryan. He said no explicit instructions were given to supporters not to wave the EU or U.S. flags at rallies, but he said: “It was generally understood that it would be just Armenian flags at our protests.”


By April 22, the protests had snowballed, driven by public anger that Sarksyan was switching from the presidency to the job of prime minister to get around constitutional term limits and extend his grip on power. Tens of thousands of people marched through Yerevan, blocking streets and staging sit-ins. Sarksyan had no plans to quit at that point. He walked out of talks with Pashinyan after a few minutes, saying he would not give in to “blackmail.” The same day, police detained three opposition leaders, including Pashinyan, along with nearly 200 protesters. Yet the next day, Sarskyan changed direction, and resigned as prime minister.

In the intervening 24 hours, Sarksyan had intensive discussions with his own allies and officials. They discussed the possibility of implementing a state of emergency, which would give security agencies greater powers to use force against the protesters. “We had two options: parliament could introduce a state of emergency in the country or Serzh Sarskyan could resign,” said Eduard Sharmazanov, a lawmaker with the ruling Republican Party and deputy speaker of parliament. “Introducing a state of emergency would not solve the problem, but postpone it.”

In the same time period, while the internal discussions were going on, Sarksyan was in touch with Russia about what do to next, said the diplomatic source.  “He weighed all the pros and cons and, as far I know, he also had some talks with people in Moscow,” the diplomatic source told Reuters.  The businessman close to Pashinyan said his contacts in the Republican Party told him Sarksyan had conversations with Russian officials during this period. Soon afterwards, Sarksyan quit, opening the way for his opponents to take power. In his resignation statement, Sarksyan said: “I got it wrong.”


A Color Revolution Russia Can Live With
Why Armenia’s Velvet Revolution has not perturbed Moscow

Since the beginning of anti-government protests in Armenia in April, international observers have fixated, often with perplexity, on Moscow’s reaction to the events in Yerevan. Considering the Russian government’s general stance on mass protests, especially in its “near abroad,” it was only natural to expect a negative reaction from the world’s leading opponent of “color revolutions.” Moreover, if one looks at the nature of the protests in Armenia—centered on an opposition figure who had built his reputation on anti-corruption and anti-oligarchy rhetoric, going against the head of state who had already been in power for a decade and opted for prolonging his rule—the parallels with Russia’s own political situation were eerie.

Indeed, many observers compared Nikol Pashinyan to Russia’s leading opposition figure Alexei Navalny, and Armenian mass rallies against Serzh Sargsyan’s attempt to stay in power beyond ten years to the protests against Putin’s more than 18 years in power. Some Russian observers went so far as to compare the events in Armenia to the early stages of Ukraine’s Maidan, explicitly trying to frame the protests as anti-Russian. Russian state television, in its usual manner, accused the protestors of possible “Western connections.” Combined with Pashinyan’s previous criticism of Eurasian integration, the Velvet Revolution seemed to contain all the ingredients for a harsh reaction from Moscow—even if in stylistics and intensity the criticism would lag behind that unleashed previously against the main actors of Georgia’s Rose Revolution (2003) and Ukraine’s Orange Revolution (2004) and Euromaidan (2014).

Despite the odds, however, Moscow welcomed the peaceful transition of power in Armenia and welcomed Pashinyan as the new leader of one of Russia’s closest allies—indeed, its last ally in the strategically important South Caucasus. Russia’s foreign policy community, and by all appearances its leadership, concluded with near unanimity that the events in Yerevan did not pose a major threat to Moscow. A look at their commentary, and at Pashinyan’s careful positioning in the aftermath of the revolution, helps reveal why.

First and by far most importantly, the Russian expert community noted the impossibility of any radical pivot away from Moscow due to Yerevan’s high dependence on Russia. As Sergey Markedonov, one of Russia’s leading Caucasus experts, put it in late April, “Divergence from Russia is fraught with huge risks for the country; therefore, if successful, the supporters of the ‘Eurasian skeptic’ Pashinyan will most likely have to change his position by 180 degrees.”

Armenia is indeed highly dependent on Russia, first of all for security reasons. Russia continues to play a crucial role in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution and, most importantly, in helping Yerevan hold its ground against Ankara-backed Azerbaijani revisionism. In the sphere of economics, Russia accounts for roughly a quarter of Armenia’s trade turnover; in 2017, 26.7 percent of Armenia’s exports went to Russia. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians working in Russia have periodically sent remittances back home, with their total share amounting to nearly $900 million in 2016, a huge amount given Russia’s weakening currency and Armenia’s stagnant economy. According to some estimates, around two-thirds of Armenian industry is controlled by Russian capital; the country is almost totally dependent on imports of Russian energy.* Armenia also hosts Russian military bases on its soil, which many in Armenia consider their only warranty against prospective Turkish invasion. Thus, even the theoretical possibility of an anti-Russian policy being implemented was dismissed as highly unlikely.

Part of Moscow’s calmness can be explained by Armenia’s recent adoption of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with the European Union, which it signed in November 2017. In political terms, this agreement compensated for Armenia’s refusal to sign the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) with the European Union back in 2013 and its reversion to joining the Eurasian Economic Union with Moscow. Symbolically speaking, CEPA allowed Yerevan to accomplish its promise to diversify Armenia’s foreign policy, having direct engagement (if not integration) with both Moscow and the European Union. But practically speaking, CEPA is viewed as a rather shallow agreement by Western-leaning experts in Armenia, due to its lack of a free trade clause as a result of restraints that participation in the EEU had put on Armenia. CEPA is thus a symbolic move that Moscow has officially allowed, depriving any Eurasian skeptics of arguments against “Moscow’s rigid stance.” Thus, in the eyes of the Russian government, Armenia was pre-emptively pacified in terms of a potential pro-European pivot.

The second factor affecting Pashinyan’s reception in Moscow was his carefully crafted messaging about future relations. He went to great lengths to signal both internally and externally his plans to continue Armenia’s strategic ally relations with Russia. That message was heard loud and clear. In his analysis for Valdai Club, Alexander Markarov writes: “Over the past few days Pashinyan has repeatedly stated and stressed, both at rallies and during meetings with State Duma deputies who arrived in Yerevan, that Armenia will not change its foreign policy course within his premiership, withdrawing from the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Eurasian Union.” After repeating this message consistently in various venues throughout late April and early May, all Russian think tanks from the rather moderate Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) to the conservative Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS) concluded that Pashinyan was safe for Russia.

Any final doubts that Moscow might have harbored were cast away after Pashinyan’s talks with President Putin in Sochi, where he reaffirmed his commitment to strengthening Armenia-Russia relations. Despite satisfaction with how Pashinyan is handling the transition for now, though, a few cautious voices from Moscow have pointed out that Russia must watch closely how the West approaches Armenia’s new leader. As Markarov writes: “From the Russian point of view, it is important to ensure that, in the context of a deepening conflict with the West, the latter does not seize the initiative in relations with Armenia, which signed an agreement with the EU this past November.”

Some Armenian experts conclude that Russia had learned its lessons with Ukraine and thus acted much more calmly with Armenia. The logic behind this explanation is that in the case of a more assertive Russian stance toward the protestors, the Sargsyan regime would have been involved in violent clashes that might have left dozens killed and injured. And this might have compromised Sargsyan’s friendly regime and made Russia’s involvement, and Armenia’s unequivocal orientation toward Moscow, problematic.

But although the Ukrainian experience may have played some role in Moscow’s calculation, the key factor was Armenia’s cornered position: its continued dependence on Russia in terms of security, economy, and energy. Moscow, knowing all too well how dependent Yerevan remains, swiftly concluded that no considerable pivot away from Russia was feasible—even before Pashinyan went all out to prove that he seeks only domestic transformation and not to change Armenia’s foreign policy orientation. Even if Pashinyan himself, or his liberal pro-Western support base, wanted to navigate the country closer to Western standards of democracy, a major foreign policy change would remain highly unlikely. And given how marginal the South Caucasus is for EU and U.S. policymakers, they are unlikely to make courting Armenia a priority any time soon. For all the changes at the top in Yerevan, Putin is still sitting pretty.


“Velvet Revolution” in Armenia Indicates a Stronger Russian-Armenian Relationship

In the wake of former Armenian President and Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian’s resignation on April 23, a shift in of policy might have been expected. However, new prime minister and protest leader of Armenia, Nikol Pashinian, was seen meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Sochi on May 14 reaffirming the Russian-Armenian strategic relationship. At the meeting, Pashinian not only supported maintaining the current Russian-Armenian relationship but also suggested a “new impulse” for political and trade relations.

Interestingly, Pashinian does not precisely have a history of supporting Russian-Armenian relations. His party, the Yelk Coalition, submitted legislation last year to leave the Eurasian Union. Further, he has spoken out against the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). In response to these claims, Pashinian has claimed that now that he has accepted the prime minister position, his focus is on the country rather than maintaining loyalty with his old party positions.

Where did the revolution in Armenia come from?

The demonstrations against Sarkisian were fueled by a number of factors, including electoral fraud in 2008, changes in pensions and municipal services, a hike in energy bills in 2014, Sarkisian’s re-election as president in 2013 and his subsequent run towards prime minister this year. Although there was no suggestion that a protest bringing such a radical change in government would come, within weeks, Sarkisian had resigned. This is primarily because there were widespread protests, including more than 100,000 people gathered in Yerevan’s main square the day before his resignation.

Sarkisian was known as the Kremlin’s man. Because of that, many observers waited and watched Russia’s reaction in particular. However, Russia did not involve itself other than speaking with Armenian politicians. Perhaps more blatant Russian interference was expected, as Pashinian actually praised Russia’s “balanced position… it was a very constructive position. And I think this is highly valued not just by our government but in Armenian society in general.

Where are new Russian-Armenian relations headed?

Pashinian’s new government position on crucial matters such as the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory are as of yet unknown. Despite this populist win in Armenia that was very much sought by the people, right now the country remains at a crossroads. Pashinian has stated he wants to work with the old governing party but also fight ingrown corruption. Confrontations in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region have reached an all-time high since 1994 when more than 200 people died in April 2016. Since then, both Azerbaijan and Armenia have been building up military might on both sides of the border.

The simmering conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh might prove to be one of the factors in the maintenance of the Russian-Armenian relationship. Since the beginning of the tensions, Russia has acted as Armenia’s security guarantor, providing training and weapons to both Armenia and Azerbaijan. Armenia also has been dependent on Russia for financial aid, military development and protection in general. Notably, in Sochi, Pashinian told Putin that he wanted Armenia to buy more Russian weaponry. So, despite this revolution against a ruler that was supported by the Kremlin – how much can really change? Conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh implies that Armenia must continue to turn to Russia for regional security and assistance.

As tensions rise in the region and there are signs of Azerbaijani destabilization, will the ceasefire and uneasy peace continue to hold? Armenia’s estrangement from Azerbaijan and Turkey means that they remain dependent on Russia. Beyond that, as this change in government continues to grow and develop, wouldn’t this be a convenient time for Azerbaijan to decide to take back some territory?

Eduard Popov: Armenian ‘street revolution’ is not a Maidan

From the very beginning the April events in Yerevan and in Armenia as a whole differed from the events in Ukraine (“orange revolution” and “euromidan”) or in Georgia (“the Rose Revolution”). That’s why it seemed to me hasty to apply the term from Ukrainian political language, the Maidan (a word of Turkic origin denoting a plaza, in the political context, a street revolution) that has entered into broad political usage.

In my previous article, I wrote, with reference to my contacts in Armenia, that the preservation of the “pro-Russian” ex-President Serge Sargsyan in power met with indignation in society. And the point here is not the pro-Russianness of Sargsyan, but the corruption and total poverty in Armenia, which are strongly associated with his 10-year rule.

Russia has been and remains the main political and economic partner of Armenia. For example, Moscow supplies energy to Armenia at prices much lower than in other countries. That is, with less profit. “Gazprom” in 2018 will keep gas prices for Armenia at $150 dollars per 1 thousand cubic meters. For comparison: on the reverse, Ukraine now buys gas at a price of about $ 280 dollars per 1 thousand cubic meters. We can cite similar data for other types of energy resources. But at the same time in Armenia they complain about high tariffs for utilities. As the Armenian experts, that the author of these lines has worked with in international conferences, told me, price “scissors” are explained by the aspirations of local operators to superprofits. The difference between domestic and procurement prices for gas for Armenia is a factor of two: In 2014 Armenia received Russian gas for $ 189 per 1,000 cubic meters, but it sold to the domestic consumer at a price of $ 391 per 1 thousand cubic meters. Armenia is a country with a very poor population and the price of gas is very high. The mass discontent in the Armenian society with the extremely high prices for gas is quite understandable.

But where does this discontent go? Once again I will refer to the opinions of my familiar experts from Armenia: the authorities blamed Russia for high gas prices. (Belarusian President Lukashenko also carries out the same propaganda policy, only more roughly and rectilinearly). Thus, the shortfall in profits of the Russian “Gazprom” flows into the pockets of Armenian oligarchs and is transformed into the growth of anti-Russian sentiment in Armenia.

A simplified and profoundly flawed policy has emerged in Russia that determines the country’s behavior towards its allies in the post-Soviet space. If a country’s leader declares his pro-Russianness, he must be supported at all costs. As a result, Russian support for corrupt and unpopular regimes, both overthrown and now existing. It would seem that Moscow acts on the same principle as the Americans: “he may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.” But this is only an external identity.

The US, when necessary, demonstrates enviable flexibility and easily goes to replace a turncoat or failing regime. Let us recall a classic example of this kind: the “Rose Revolution,” organized by the American “son of a bitch” Saakashvili to overthrow the “son of a bitch” Shevardnadze, who had brought so much benefit to the US as USSR Foreign Minister. In Moscow, they persistently supported Kuchma and Yanukovych, as they now support Lukashenko. Why is a corrupt head of state, who defames the pro-Russian vector of his country’s policies, better than a street revolutionary?

But it seems that in Armenia the method in the workings of the Russian Foreign Ministry have substantially changed: not to support the unpopular regime, which is failing in its socio-economic results, but to try to reach agreement with the new government on conditions favorable to Russia. That is why Russian official media are very reserved in covering what is happening in Armenia. And in the statements of the highest officials of the Russian state, there is far from that condemning certainty that sounded when assessing the “euromaidan” or street revolution in Minsk.

So, already on April 23, State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin commented on the resignation of Armenian Prime Minister Serge Sargsyan as “The Sovereign Affair of that State.” Even more interesting is the statement made by the press secretary of the Russian president Dmitry Peskov. “We are wishing for our Armenian friends to resolve the political situation that has developed as soon as possible. We also hope that in any case, the allied, kindly, and constructive bilateral Russian-Armenian relations will remain a constant both for the foreign policy of our country and for the foreign policy of Yerevan.” In other words: if the new government of Armenia remains committed to the pro-Russian course, Russia, in turn, will perceive it as “Armenian friends” with all the ensuing consequences.

These appeals (presumably there were not only speeches intended for the general public, but also behind-the-scenes negotiations), apparently did not remain unheeded at the headquarters of the street opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan. Familiar with the Armenian political scene, political scientists from Russia (including ethnic Armenians) drew attention to the change in Pashinyan’s foreign policy rhetoric. A year ago, he advocated the withdrawal from the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization, including Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan – a kind of anti-NATO in the post-Soviet space) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EurAsEC or EEMA).

But the other day, speaking from the rostrum of the Armenian parliament, Pashinyan stated the following: “We do not and will not raise the question of Armenia’s withdrawal from the EAPC, did not and will not set the task of withdrawing Armenia from the CSTO. However, we say: we do not believe that everything is perfect there. There are numerous problems that need to be discussed in a constructive atmosphere.”

He stressed that Russia was and remains a strategic ally for Armenia. But he drew attention to the existing problems in the relations between the two countries and within the CSTO. With the latter you can not argue. For example, Belarus, a member of the CSTO, in defiance of the organization’s charter, refuses to send its troops to the aid of an ally (it means the eventual war of Armenia and Azerbaijan for Nagorno-Karabakh). The President of Belarus, Lukashenko, handed the pro-Armenian blogger Lapshin (who is Russian and has Israeli citizenship) over to the Azerbaijani authorities, and maintains more allied relations with Baku (from which he receives economic preferences) than with his official ally Yerevan.

Of course, in the interests of political struggle the candidate for the post of prime minister (that is, the head of state) can say a lot. And so, too, can an incumbent head of state: take, for example Kuchma, Lukashenko, Sargsyan, who hide behind friendship with Russia and conduct policies, foreign or domestic, either one, far from novorossian.

I will quote the well-known Russian political scientist Armen Grigoryan: “Troubles in the region of Armenia are unlikely to happen, because politically the people preserve a certain unity. The opposition and the ruling power are similar in the main – they are committed to the development of partnership with Russia.” I am also a cautious optimist in this matter.

On May 2, the ruling Republican Party of Armenia announced that it was ready to support a single opposition candidate on the ballot – and, as it seems, three opposition factions of the parliament are ready to nominate Nikol Pashinyan (there is no official support from the “Dashnaktsutyun” faction yet). Therefore, it is highly prtobable that Pashinyan will be elected the new head of government (and head of state) on May 8. The change of power in Yerevan will open the possibility of raking up the Augean stables in bilateral (Russia-Armenia) and collective (CSTO) relations. And it will show that Russia is ready for trusting cooperation with any government supported in the society and aimed at allied relations with Moscow. The Russian side has demonstrated the flexibility that we so often lack. Now let’s see how convincing Pashinyan will be in the head of state role in raking up the rubble. 


EurAsia Daily: Eurasian realities look promising, Armenia on the right way: expert

Armenia’s economy saw upward trend in 2017 and in the first quarter of 2018. Aram Safaryan, head of Integration and Development NGO, Coordinator of Armenian Expert Club, said talking to EADaily.

Economy of Russia is on the way of sustainable growth which has a positive impact on economies of Eurasian space and a significant growth of almost all indicators. “We can see growth of export and import, industry and construction. Even such heavy sectors as agriculture and energy have increased as compared to last year. This will continue in second quarter of 2018 as well. It is very important for us to see a tendency towards two-digit growth in the key sectors of Armenian economy (including export of finished products), due to developing trade and economic ties with Russia, first of all,” Safaryan said.

Russia accounts for one-fourth of total export from Armenia – an absolute leader. Economic partners of Armenia after Russia are Switzerland, Bulgaria, Germany, Iraq, UAE, Netherlands, China, Iran and U.S. Altogether it is 75% of Armenia’s export. However, part of these countries may not be in that list as early as in second quarter of 2018. Hence, speaking of a significant growth of cooperation to boost Armenian export, one should focus on Russia, first.

“Russian economy is of high importance for Armenia. Its role and factor in Armenia’s economy has a tendency of sustainable growth, which creates big expectations of economic improvements and higher living standards for the Armenian public. Money remittances from Russia to Armenia have increased as well – Russia is still the key source of money remittances to Armenia and one of the key partner-countries, where money is transferred from Armenia. This means that we are involved in private investments in Russian economy, which is an evident development of integration processes inside EAEU,” Safaryan said adding that in 2017, Armenia received monetary transfers for $1 billion 70 million, 60% of which – from Russia.

At the same time, members of Eurasian expert club refrain from forecasts for entire 2018, since economic processes develop in a contradictory manner, especially for such sensitive states as Armenia. However, there are some forecasts for a six-month period. For instance, Safaryan anticipates a growth in agricultural sector, processing, textile and footwear industry. Safaryan recalled World Bank’s forecast of 3.8% economic growth in Armenia in 2018, whereas government of Armenia envisages 4.5% growth.

“However, we believe that if government sets an ambitious goal to double GDP of Armenia within ten years to lead the country from the group of third countries to the group of developing ones, that ambitious task can be settlement by combined efforts of the Armenian public, business and government. The recent developments in Armenia speak of potential return of money that vanished abroad, anti-corruption measures, elimination of monopolies, embezzlement of budgetary and private funds. These positive trends cannot but have a positive impact on overall economic climate in the country. We believe that if the new government announces capital amnesty for the money legally or illegally taken abroad during the last 20 years (I am speaking about more than $20 billion in offshore banks) and at least part of those funds is returned and invested in Armenia’s economy, it will improve the situation dramatically,” the expert said.

EurAsia Daily: Russophobes in Pashinyan’s team: Soros tilting boat of pro-Armenian premier

On May 8, the National Assembly (parliament) of Armenia elected Nikol Pashinyan, representative of parliamentary minority as prime minister. Under the new constitution of Armenia, the prime minister has full power and is de-facto head of the state. The so-called “velvet revolution” in Armenia succeeded and leader of public protests formed government of “people’s confidence” and started preparations for snap parliamentary elections, date of which is so far hard to foresee.

Since the very beginning, organizers of the protests insisted that it was just domestic policy process with no foreign policy hidden motives.

Nikol Pashinyan was well aware that Armenia is not Ukraine and the Armenian people, at least the overwhelming majority of it, will hardly follow a leader trying to lead them against Russia. The Armenian people demanded social and economic changes and improvement of living standards. At that moment, Pashinyan headed the Yelq parliamentary faction, the political program of which particularly reads: “The Yelq Bloc considers Armenia’s EAEU membership a mistake that poses serious risks to sovereignty, security, normal economic and political development of Armenia, fair settlement of Artsakh issue. The Yelq Bloc believes that these risks need to be managed through deep analysis of the regional and international situation and balanced implementation of national interests of the Republic of Armenia.”

Besides, Pashinyan’s faction initiated hearings in the parliament related to Yerevan’s withdrawal from EAEU. Leader of people’s protests Pashinyan was well aware that if his undertaking succeeds, partners in Russia will have concerns over further development of Russian-Armenian relations. That is why, during rallies, he constantly expressed his loyalty to Moscow and priority of Armenian-Russian relations. He talked about this also at the meeting with Russian Embassy diplomats in Armenia and State Duma members.

On May 14, Sochi hosted EAEU Summit. Nikol Pashinyan and Russian President Vladimir Putin made on sidelines of the summit. During the meeting, Pashinyan thanked Russia for its balanced stance on events in Armenia and reiterated that no one in Yerevan will ever cast doubt on importance of Russian-Armenian relations. After the Summit in Sochi, Pashinyan continued forming his cabinet. It is no secret that overwhelming majority of the new government representatives graduated from various Western universities. There is nothing bad in it. However, what some of them were engaged in during study-free time gives pause for thought.

One of Pashinyan’s most interesting appointments that, to put it mildly, does not fit into logic of Russian-Armenian allied relations, is appointment of Armen Grigoryan, Election Program Coordinator of Transparency International, as Head of National Security Council. Transparency International is sponsored by Soros Foundation, an NGO of American billionaire who used to sponsor “color” revolutions worldwide. George Soros considers Russia his archenemy and over 70 organizations in Armenia are funded by his Foundation. Many of those organizations seek to undermine the Russian-Armenian relations and damage Russia’s image in Armenia.

Another, not less noteworthy event for prospects of Armenian-Russian alliance was appointment of David Sanasaryan as Head of the State Audit Service. David Sanasaryan, former representative of Heritage pro-Western chaired by U.S. Armenian Raffi Hovhannisyan, was regularly noticed in front of the Russian Embassy in Yerevan with a new anti-Russian poster directed by his American bosses. Sanasaryan is known to throw eggs at the building of Russian Embassy and demand withdrawal of Russian military base from Armenia.

David Sanasaryan in front of Russian Embassy in Armenia

Recently Nikol Pashinyan has charged Daniel Ioanissyan, coordinator of the Union of Informed Citizens NGO, to head work on new version of Election Code of Armenia. Many know Ioanissyan as whistle-blower who exposed school principals lobbying for the Republican Party during last parliamentary elections. Articles by representatives of this NGO on EAEU, CSTO and Russia are available on its website. The NGO received grants from above Foundations to discredit the process of Armenia’s participation in EAEU.

Screenshot from NED Foundation website

On May 25, Babken Ter-Grigoryan was appointed as deputy minister for Armenian Diaspora. Ter-Grigoryan was born in Paris, grew up and received education in U.S. Like Armen Grigoryan, he worked at Transparency International, was coordinator of Soros Foundation programs. Simultaneously, he is appointed Advisor to deputy prime minister for economy issues. Of course, Pashinyan saw Ter-Grigoryan’s images holding a poster insulting leader of the state having the biggest Armenian Diaspora. Pashinyan who has recently called the Diaspora for support should not anticipate Babken Ter-Grigoryan’s assistance in this not to feel deeply disappointed.

Deputy Minister of Diaspora Babken Ter-Grigoryan (on the left)

Newly appointed Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Mane Tandilyan worked as accountant at Synopsys Inc. American company for long years. Tandilyan represents the Yelq Bloc and pro-Western Prosperous Armenia Party. Tandilyan and her party believe that Armenia’s withdrawal from EAEU will create new opportunities for Armenia, and Armenian goods will become in demand in the European market. The same “Soros’” ministers of Saakashvili’s team in Georgia used to say until they ruined agricultural sector and had to ask Russia to open its market for Georgian wines and beverages. Basically, it is not clear how Pashinyan is going to improve the Russian-Armenian relations with such team. These persons are evident chronic Russophobes and they have repeatedly proved it by their actions. In fact, it is not the full list. We will introduce also other newly-appeared American politicians and officials who are “full of energy,” as Pashinyan said in Sochi, to develop the strategic alliance of Armenia with Russia.


Anatoly Karlin: The benefits of the Russian-Armenian alliance are largely borne by Armenia

Now to be sure, I still think my analysis here stands – Armenians genuinely do approve of Russia, and even if they didn’t, they certainly approve of Azerbaijan and Turkey far less, and with good reason – but if we do get an anti-Russian Armenian government…

OTOH, Saakashvili also started off by saying he wanted better relations with Russia. Anyhow. What will happen if Armenia tells the moskal occupants to go home is that while the Starikovs and the Dugins and the Western Russophiles will throw a hissy fit, Russian nationalists will be quite platonic about it. Here’s why:

1. Armenia benefits from its Russia relationship far more than does Russia. The Armenian Lobby is the most powerful ethnic lobby in Russian politics, and probably the only one that makes a discernible impact on Russian foreign policy.

2. Armenia was a real geostrategic asset for the Russian Empire before World War I, when ethnic Armenians in the Ottoman Empire were a potential dagger in the backs of the Turks. Their desire to create a Greater Armenia tallied well with Russia’s centuries-long project to dismantle the Ottoman Empire, and it was their consequent loyalty to Petrograd that more than anything else spurred on the Armenian Genocide. Had Russia won the war, a Greater Armenia would have stretched deep into Anatolia, creating an Orthodox landbridge to Lebanon and the Holy Land. With Russia in control of Tsargrad, and the Greeks recreating Magna Graecia, the Turks would have been bottled up in the Anatolian highlands (perhaps no other nation was spared so catastrophic a 20th century fate as Turkey by the Russian Revolution). Russia, not Britain or the US, would have ruled over the Mediterranean.

Today, these are all ancient pipedreams. The Mediterranean is an American lake and will remain so regardless of what happens in Syria. Turkey dominates the region, economically and demographically; if a century ago there around about as many Greeks and Armenians as there were Turks (!), today there are 80 million Turks to 10 million Greeks and 3 million Armenians. In this context, Armenia is strategically overrated. It is landlocked. It is surrounded by hostile and far more powerful states. It locks Russia into military commitments via the CSTO alliance – for instance, if the Turks were to open up a second front in support of an Azeri invasion of Nagorno-Karabakh. And Iran, a genuinely useful if prickly partner, is accessible via the Caspian anyway.

3. There are negligible numbers of ethnic Russians in Armenia. An anti-Russian turn in Armenia will not impact on the welfare of ethnic Russians. Neither will Armenia reaping the results of its folly.

4. Armenia’s friendship is highly situational. To be sure, it supports Russia today. And Jews also support the US. That doesn’t necessarily imply deep loyalty – just that both states advance their respective peoples’ ethnic genetic interests. When they perceived things were otherwise, they made that known. Obscure historical note: The “tradition” of terrorist bombings of the Moscow Metro began with Armenian nationalists in the 1970s.

This is not surprising because Russia have any deep cultural, linguistic, or genetic links to Armenia. Is is its own ancient civilization that is highly distinct from Russia’s.

Now ditching allies just because you know they aren’t that genuine in their love for you, or because they’re not not pulling their weight, doesn’t look good from the side. It’s not just bad from an ethical perspective, but a reputational one as well. Who’d want to be allies with a blackguard, anyway? This is why, unlike some Russian nationalists, I don’t support unilaterally dissolving the special relationship with Armenia. It’s dishonorable, and won’t bring obvious benefits anyway – for instance, it’s not like it will make Turkey into a genuine friend. However, this is not an excuse for allowing oneself to be cucked and enjoying it, so if the initiative comes from the Armenians themselves – well, no reason why Russia shouldn’t take them up on it.

In this scenario, Azerbaijan will probably take the opportunity to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh issue by force in the next few years. At least seeing the color revolutionaries vainly beseeching their Euro-Atlantic sponsors for help will be amusing. At this point, a rump Armenia terminally disillusioned with the West may go back to Russia anyway. But if it doesn’t, who cares, anyway. By then will be even more irrelevant than it is today. Main downside for Russia, apart from the obvious one of losing its last major (but isolated) military base in the South Caucasus, is hundreds of thousands of Armenian refugees, as the Azeris proceed to ethnically cleanse that region.

Just to clarify. I don’t want Armenia to turn anti-Russian, nor – more importantly – do I think it will turn anti-Russian. Considering that both Foreign Policy magazineand the Kremlin agree, this is hardly a controversial perspective. However, if I and Foreign Policy and the Kremlin are all wrong, and the people who see an anti-Russian conspiracy underneath every color revolution are correct after all, it will, at least, not be Russians who will bear the brunt of the ensuing suffering, as happened in the Ukraine.
Geopolitica: The ominous Armenian destiny

It is not the first time that Armenia enters the sights of variously colorful revolutionaries in the pay of foreign powers. Already in 2008, following the defeat in the presidential elections of Levon Ter-Petrosyan, the champion of the current "velvet revolution" Nikol Pashynian (editor of the liberal newspaper Haykakan Zhamanak - The Times of Armenia) instigated riots and protests that led him first to the inaction and then to the detention on charges of premeditated actions aimed at laying siege to the buildings of the State government. In 2015 (not by chance after the country's accession to the Eurasian Economic Union) another wave of protests from the high-sounding name Electric Yerevan invested the capital of Armenia due to the increase in electricity supply costs. Not achieved the desired result with the "peaceful" protest, even then, paramilitary groups appeared on the streets accusing the government of a too soft attitude regarding the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh (or Armenian Artsakh). In fact, in July 2016, an armed group broke into a barracks in Yerevan demanding the release of their leader Jirair Sefilan; prominent military commander during the conflict of the late eighties and early nineties, joined in 2015 to the opposition group New Armenia by Raffi Hovanisian closely linked to the US Embassy in the country.

Armenia, from the moment it gained independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union, has been forced to live in both economic and geopolitical difficult conditions. Closed in a narrow space dimension (and extremely reduced considering the extent of the territory in which the Armenians lived in the past), crushed between two hostile nations (Turkey and Azerbaijan) and landlocked, Armenia chose to lead a policy called of the "double track" linking both to Russia, historically responsible for its security, and to the West through the role of the diaspora (active especially in France and the United States) and the clearance to the massive presence of foreign NGOs in the national territory.
However, it was precisely the strong cultural link with Russia that tore the scales for the choice of field in international relations. The complex geopolitical game of the powers in what the Arabs called Djabal al-Alsun (mountain of languages) for the profound ethno-linguistic diversity that distinguished the Caucasus, led, as the Italian historian Aldo Ferrari often pointed out, to the formation of two axes of alliances: a vertical one that includes Russia, Armenia and Iran (which paradoxically took the parts of Armenia against Azerbaijan Shiite in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict); and a horizontal one made up of Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan closely linked to North American interests.
In recent years, the progressive effort of the Russian Federation to eradicate the remaining jihadist cells in the North Caucasus and to freeze the conflict around the Armenian enclave in Azeri territory, to which was added the Turkey's Eurasian repositioning following the Western failure in Syria , have put in crisis the North American geopolitical planning aimed at tightening Russia within a sanitary cordon that prevents a hegemonic role in a region that is part of several infrastructural development projects through which the natural resources of the Central Asia. In this context, it is clear that the difficult situation in Armenia (it is useless to deny the obvious structural and economic difficulties of the country) could only represent a favorable opportunity to put in place yet another attempt to subvert not a corrupt government and tyrannical (even if the government of the president and prime minister since April 2018 Serzh Sargsyan has often been addressed in these terms also by the Azerbaijani dynasty of the Aliyev, sic!) but precisely the geopolitical positioning of Armenia.

The figure of Sargsyan, father master of the Armenian politics of the last ten years and a character not without serious responsibilities, is only ostensibly stigmatized by his alleged authoritarian drift. The real objective of the velvety revolution under way in Armenia is to hit the framework of geopolitical alliances in which Armenia has entered, becoming part of the Eurasian Economic Union. The idea that street protests derive from generic demands or claims for a deep westernization is totally groundless if one considers that, as Arman Boshyan (president of the Yerevan Geopolitical Club) argued, the Armenian government under the chairmanship of Sargsyan was the most pro-Western in the history of the country. Regardless of the fact that only on 9 April was elected president, with the votes of the Republican Party of Sargsyan, a man, Armen Sarkissian, who possesses dual Armenian and British citizenship, in the last ten years have also been initiated forms of partnership with the EU, introduced civil rights for homosexuals and implemented reforms in open contrast with what is the tradition of a country and a people profoundly proud of their Christian cultural and religious heritage. One can not forget that Armenia, although still a tributary of the Roman Empire, was the first state entity to make Christianity its official religion as early as 301 AD. C. And the subsequent separation from both the West and the Byzantine East, through the rejection of the outcome of the Council of Chalcedon of 451 and the alignment with miaphysitist positions following the Council of Dvin of 455, have further emphasized the peculiarities of the National Apostolic Church and of the Armenian people in general.

Therefore, the constitutional reform that transformed Armenia from a presidential republic to a parliamentary giving the possibility to former president Sargsyan to hold the role of prime minister at the expiration of his double presidential term was only the spark used by a movement incapable of reach 10% in national elections to implement, as the ideologist Gene Sharp has taught, yet another impersonation of the majority by a narrow minority. All seasoned by the usual complicity of the Western media always willing to paint these reactions as an expression of the unease of young people who take the street protest square driven by their alleged desire for freedom.


William Engdahl: What’s Washington Really Doing in Armenia?

There has been considerable speculation in recent days as to whether the recent and ongoing protests across former Soviet Armenia constitute another Washington Color Revolution destabilization or whether it represents simply the angry revolt of citizens fed up with the deep corruption and lack of economic development under the regime of Prime Minister Serzh Sargysan. Following days of large protests, the former President was forced to resign on April 23, declaring, “Nikol Pashinyan was right. I was wrong.” Armenia is an integral member of Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union and were it to come under control of a pro-NATO opposition could bring a strategic problem for Moscow to put it mildly. The issue is significant.

Ironically, what nominally sparked the protests was the action of Sargysan to in effect do what Turkey’s Erdogan has done, only in reverse. He and his parliamentary majority party managed to strip the office of President of almost all but ceremonial roles, while giving actual decision powers to the office of Prime Minister. That he managed just before he himself became Prime Minister. Reaction from Moscow to the ongoing protests until now has evidently been muted following a statement that it won’t get involved in Armenian internal affairs. At this point, despite the fact that Sargysan resigned as Prime Minister and did not submit himself as candidate to oppose Pashinyan in the May 1 parliament vote, Pashinyan fell short of the majority needed to be named Prime Minister. As of this writing he has called for a total blockage of traffic and government buildings by “peaceful acts of civil disobedience.” He told a crowd outside Parliament after the failed vote was announced,
“Tomorrow total strike is declared. We block all the streets, communications, subway and the airports starting from 08:15. Our struggle cannot end in a failure.”
Color Revolution?

What evidence points to a directed Washington intervention into a country strategic for Moscow? First we have the established presence of an office in Yerevan of the Open Society Foundations-Armenia. As the anti-government protests built in size on April 17, several NGOs signed an open letter to the government warning that they had identified probable government-backed protest disruptors and warned against their deployment against the peaceful protestors. The call was signed among others by Helsinki Committee of Armenia, part of Helsinki Committees which in part is funded by George Soros’ Open Society Foundations. The call was also signed by Open Society Foundations – Armenia.

This past February the  OSF-Armenia announced a joint project with the European Union designed to, “focus on engaging youth, young activists and journalists. It will serve as a bridge between the established human rights advocates in Armenia and younger generations of activists interested in gaining more expertise in defending rights of the RA citizens.”

Another signer to the warning statement to the Armenian government was an Armenian NGO calling itself the Protection of Rights Without Borders NGO. It turns out that that NGO is also funded not only by  OSF-Armenia, but also by the EU and by the US State Department USAID, an organization as I describe in my newest book, Manifest Destiny: Democracy as Cognitive Dissonance, that is frequently tied to US Government regime change destabilizations and Color Revolutions.The fact that Open Society Foundations-Armenia and others signed such a statement directly tied to unfolding events on the streets of Yerevan suggest at the least more than an academic interest in the growing protests.

What about the role of other US-based NGOs in Armenia? The leading US regime-change NGO, National Endowment for Democracy, created in the 1980’s in the words of Allan Weinstein, one of its founders, to do what the CIA used to do but privately, has become far less forthcoming about its grants. Nonetheless some research reveals that the NED has also funded numerous programs in Armenia ranging from promoting rule of law and government accountability in Armenia, as well as funding a 2017 program for Armenian journalists to show “how Georgia benefits from its associations with the EU and how Armenia does not reap similar advantages from the Eurasian Economic Union.” In another generous grant the NED gave more than $40,000 in 2017, a hefty sum in the depressed Armenian economy, to finance Armenian Times Newspaper as they put it, “to improve the quality and increase the availability of independent news…”

Now if we add to the established presence of Washington-financed NGOs the fact that the US State Department actively is in contact with opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan during the recent protests it becomes even more likely we are witnessing a variation of Washington’s Color Revolution. On April 30, the day before the fateful parliament vote, US State Department Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, A. Wess Mitchell, noted he had initiated a phone discussion with opposition Civil Contract MP, Nikol Pashinyan. In his official statement Mitchell merely stated that the
“US government looks forward to working closely with the new government in Armenia, aiming to further deepen the decades-long US-Armenian relationship.”
Wess Mitchell sits in the post held under Obama by the infamous neoconservative Ukraine Color Revolution instigator, Victoria Nuland. It seems he is the continuity of Nuland as well. Mitchell came to the State Department post in 2017 from something called the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) where he was CEO and which he actually founded. Now things get interesting. The CEPA, a Washington think tank founded in 2004 at the time the US was deep involved in the Ukraine Orange Revolution, describes its mission being “to promote an economically vibrant, strategically secure and politically free Central and Eastern Europe with close and enduring ties to the United States.” A major program of CEPA is “dedicated to monitoring and exposing Russian disinformation in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.”

Indeed Assistant Secretary of State Mitchell comes from a Washington anti-Russian think tank whose funders include NATO, US Defense Department, National Endowment for Democracy, the major military industry giants including Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, BAE Systems, Bell HelicopterNotably after an article in the Russian state RT on the funding of CEPA that portion of their website seems to have vanished into cyber nirvana.

In addition to Russophobe Mitchell in admitted contact with opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan, US Ambassador to Armenia, Richard Mills, a former Senior “Democracy Advisor” (sic) at the US Embassy in Iraq owes his job to Victoria Nuland who reportedly brought Mills to Yerevan to help bring Armenia, like Ukraine, into the US sphere and away from Russia. Mills reportedly played a key role in brokering the sale of an Armenian Vorotan Hydro complex to American company that triggered a failed 2015 attempt at a Color Revolution protest over the ensuing 16% hike in electricity prices. US-funded NGOs argued the main reason for the rising electricity was Russia whose Gazprom dominates the Armenian energy market. Protests were spread then using the social media hash tag #ElectricYerevan.

This time all indications point to a far more refined remake of a US Color Revolution, this time with a credible leader, 42-year old journalist and prison veteran from earlier anti-government actions Pashinyan. Pashinyan has been careful to declare if made Prime Minister he would not take Armenia out of Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union. On May 1 he declared,
“We consider Russia as a strategic ally, our movement does not create threats for this…If I am elected [as the prime minister], Armenia will remain a member of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organization.”
At this juncture it is clear, despite Nikol Pashinyan’s soothing words, that the Armenian events are not at all good news for Moscow whose direct options are for the moment limited.

Why Armenia?

Armenia is a strategic ally of Moscow ever since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. It is bordered by two hostile countries—Azerbaijan and Turkey. Her other neighbors are Iran and Georgia. With the situation in Georgia precarious since the US staged a Color Revolution in 2003 bringing the pro-NATO Mikhail Saakashvili into power, were Armenia to come under influence of a leader determined to pull the country away from Russian dependence, its major trading partner and investor, it would result in some kind of civil war.

Already there are voices in Azerbaijan gleefully anticipating such an outcome. On May 1 as the Armenian parliament refused to vote Pashinyan in as Prime Minister, Azeri parliament member Gudrat Hasanguliyev warned that the situation in Armenia might turn into a civil war. He insisted that Azerbaijan should be prepared to use such a civil war as a chance to retake the secessionist Nagorno-Karabakh whose population is majority Armenian. Since the Russian-brokered end to a war between a US-backed Azeri army and Armenia in 1994 the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave has been in an uneasy ceasefire. It was broken briefly in 2016 when Azeri forces tried a military occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh before being forced to backdown. All evidence at this point suggests there is a dirty hand of the US NGOs and State Department pushing to take advantage of the internal discontent inside Armenia to further weaken Russia and its Eurasian Economic Union by at the minimum creating unrest and chaos in Armenia. If this is so will be clear soon enough.


The Moscow Times: New Armenia Will Stay With Russia, If Reluctantly

Earlier this week, on May 1, the Republican majority in the National Assembly of Armenia voted down Nikol Pashinyan’s candidacy for Prime Minister. A “people’s candidate” supported by three other parliamentary factions, Pashinyan responded by calling a general strike. The next day, protesters shut down the entire country, including the road to the Zvartnots International Airport. The Republicans caved, announcing that for the next vote on May 8, they wouldn’t nominate their candidate, and would support any candidate with secure one-third of the vote, i.e. Pashinyan.

Enjoying a level of support unprecedented in Armenia’s history, Pashinyan is now on his way to taking the helm of the South Caucasus republic, which has historically been aligned with Russia. And to date, its age-old ally has, at least publically, stayed neutral. Both the Kremlin and Foreign Ministry have stressed that Moscow is not interfering. Pashinyan is playing along. “I’m confident that Russia, a nation that respects international law, is not interfering with Armenia’s domestic issues. I’m absolutely positive about it,” the protest leader said at a press conference last week.

Although Russia’s state-run media has compared Armenia’s protests to the Maidan revolution that toppled the Kremlin-friendly government in Ukraine in 2013, it has not unleashed its full propaganda force against the protests. The most biased piece of reporting, which was produced by the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper, went out in search of a Western plot. With the United States increasingly disengaged from the region and the U.S. Department of State famously understaffed, this can’t have been an easy task. The only clue the paper was able to dig up was a “chubby lady” in the crowd who didn’t speak Armenian and had quite a negative opinion of Russia.

The emergence of a young, energetic democrat, independent from Russian oligarchs as a future leader of an allied country, however, does present Moscow with a challenge. Unlike the new generation of Ukrainian and Georgian leaders, Pashinyan doesn’t want to pick between Russia and the West. Instead, he is advocating an Armenia-centric approach.

“Pashinyan is very different from the kind of political elites that have so far dominated the Eurasian Economic Union,” Mikayel Zolyan, an analyst with the Yerevan-based Regional Studies Center think tank, told the Moscow Times. “There is a lot of mistrust on the part of Moscow toward Pashinyan and his movement.”

Pashinyan’s record as a parliamentarian won’t necessarily impress the Kremlin either. A notable critic of the previous regime’s decision to join the Eurasian Economic Union, he called it “a threat to national security” and argued it would damage Armenia’s economy. But the 42-year-old politician has also demonstrated a unique ability to to reinvent himself. Over the last ten days, Pashinyan has given numerous interviews in which he endorsed Armenia’s current stance towards Russia.

“We are not going to make any sharp geopolitical moves,” Pashinyan said to Russian media last week. On Sunday, together with three other Yelk MPs, he met with a delegation of Russian lawmakers visiting Yerevan. “We said that Armenia should continue being a EEU, CSTO member,” he said, referring to the economic and security agreements it has with Russia.

The ties that bind

Opinions vary on just how deep Russia’s ties with Armenia go. Some have called the South Caucasus republic a client state of Russia, citing Yerevan’s binding military and trade agreements with Moscow and the presence of the 102nd Russian military base in Gyumri. (It’s worth noting too that the two countries have a joint air defense system, and that Russia’s Federal Security Service guards Armenia’s border with Turkey.)

Others point to the recently signed partnership agreement with the European Union and argue that Armenia has an increasingly diversified geopolitical stance. With Moscow and Yerevan rarely making their relationship public, it’s hard to assess what the real level of coordination is between the two. In return, Armenia has backed Russia in its confrontation with the West. It has supported Moscow in its diplomatic scandal over the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Britian and voted against a UN resolution condemning the annexation of Crimea.

So far, however, those attempting to pull the Moscow card in Yerevan have not met with success. Throughout last week, Karen Karapetyan, Armenia’s acting Prime Minister, a former Gazprom executive with business interests in Russia, publicized his phone conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev.

“Karapetyan was always seen as Russia’s guy in the region and in the country,” Paul Stronski, a senior fellow in Carnegie’s Russia and Eurasia Program, told the Moscow Times. But with little support from his Republican party of Armenia, Karapetyan lost his bid. His party didn’t nominate him for the Prime Minister’s office last week. “I think that Pashinyan’s and other opposition leaders’ promises have been heard,” said Stronski. “Moscow is watching closely and playing long term."

Moscow’s initial stoic reaction to Armenia’s “Velvet Revolution” might have been based on the calculation that Karapetyan would just slide into PM’s office, Zolyan of the Regional Studies Center said. But when Armenians rallied behind the opposition leader, Russia decided not to reconsider its neutrality. “Moscow is not ready to intervene in order to prevent Pashinyan from gaining power,” said Zolyan. “[The Kremlin] understands that the risks of intervening in Armenia are much higher than the risks of staying neutral and taking a ‘wait-and-see’ approach.”

Even the former government’s pro-Russian orientation was mostly out of necessity, says Areg Galstyan, a Yerevan-based political scientist. “It’s hard to find a genuine pro-Russian politician in Armenia.” Given his comments this week, however, Pashinyan appears ready to sacrifice his skepticism towards Russia for the sake of fulfilling the promise of his revolution. But even that, however, doesn’t rule out uncertainty for Russia. If the opposition leader succeeds in making Armenia’s elections free and fair, as he now promises, we might see new challenges for the long-standing alliance with Russia.

The Founding Parliament, a radical political force that wants Armenia to break away from Russia, could get a second wind, after being barred during Serzh Sargsyan’s rule. In July 2016, a few of its members calling themselves Sasna Tsrer, or the Daredevils of Sassoun, seized a police station and killed two police officers.

At a rally last Wednesday on Yerevan’s Republic Square, a crowd suddenly started chanting "Sasna Tsrer! Sasna Tsrer!” and a placard saying “We shouldn’t forget our heroes. Sasna Tsrer shouldn’t be political prisoners” appeared on the square. One of the first things on the Founding Parliament’s agenda, should they be allowed into the political mainstream, will be “Armexit.” The term coined by the organization’s Vice President Varujan Avetisyan stands for Armenia’s “decolonization from Russia.”

“To create a sovereign national state we must first liberate our country from the Russian colonialism,” wrote Avetisyan last December. Should the group enter parliament, it’s unclear how the Kremlin might react.


Eurasianet: Following Armenian uprising, Azerbaijan’s saber rattling grows louder

Analysts say the recent escalation is an attempt to test the ties between Russia and Armenia's new government led by Nikol Pashinyan.

Azerbaijan has sharpened its threats of war against Armenia in an apparent attempt to ratchet up tension over Nagorno-Karabakh, the territory that both sides claim. Verbal threats toward Armenia are nothing new for Azerbaijan, a state for which the phrase “bellicose rhetoric” has become something of a journalistic cliché. But Baku's rhetoric in the past has tended to couch military threats in the conditional tense, a last resort if diplomatic negotiations fail. Increasingly, however, the military option is being portrayed as the only one.

“The developments unfolding in the world confirm that the international law does not work,” Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev tweeted on June 28. “If it did, Azerbaijani lands would have been freed from the invaders long ago.”

On July 2, the Azerbaijani armed forces started large-scale exercises, the scenario of which, the Ministry of Defense said in a statement, will be “the liberation of the occupied territories,” as Azerbaijan refers to Nagorno-Karabakh. And Azerbaijani state television has been airing a computer-simulated video of a potential victory in Nagorno-Karabakh, with artillery and tank attacks eventually leading to a prosperous redevelopment of the territory and a statue of Heydar Aliyev – the former president of Azerbaijan and Ilham's father – in front of the government building. 

“It is the first time that Baku has displayed a video announcing, and forcing, the state to defeat the enemy militarily,” the independent Azerbaijani news agency Turan wrote in a June 2 analysis. “It is the first time Azerbaijan doesn't hide the exclusively military route to the resolution of the Karabakh problem.”

Azerbaijan's heightened rhetoric over the past week follows on a heavy PR push to glorify a modest advance inside the no-man's-land between Armenia and the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan. And on June 26, Azerbaijan held a military parade in Baku.

Talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia have stalled in recent years, and a diplomatic resolution of the Karabakh conflict seems farther away than ever. That may put Baku in the position of feeling as if war is its only option to regain what it considers its lost territory, from which hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis fled during the war in the early 1990s. Azerbaijan's government also, however, tends to use escalations – either in rhetoric or in actual fighting – as a means to force international mediators to put more effort into trying to resolve the conflict.

Armenian officials have played down the escalations. “The situation is under control. Regular activities are underway with no reasons to be concerned,” Armenia's Chief of the General Staff Artak Davtyan told reporters. “There is no immediate threat of war, yet we should always be ready for developments as the threat of war has always existed. [...] We proceed from the fact that a war may start at any time.”

Armenian reactions have tended to be determined by domestic politics, in particular the relationship to the new government led by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. “The pro-Nikol crowd says there is nothing to be afraid of, it's not the first time this has been happening,” Yerevan-based political analyst Mikayel Zolyan told Eurasianet. “Anti-Nikol people are saying the threat of war is very big and Nikol is doing nothing about it.”

Armenians also have been concerned by the surprise appearance of several high-profile Russian figures at a conference in Azerbaijan titled “Azerbaijan – Russia's Only Ally in the South Caucasus.” Armenia and Russia have a treaty relationship through the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a post-Soviet military alliance, and Armenia also is the only Caucasian member of the Russia-led economic bloc, the Eurasian Economic Union.

Nevertheless, the Russian participants – including members of the Russian Duma and Eurasianist ideologue Alexander Dugin – portrayed Azerbaijan as Russia's true ally, particularly after the rise of Pashinyan. The new Armenian leader has taken pains to reassure Russia of Yerevan's loyalty, but the Kremlin remains uneasy about the former opposition journalist with a history of pro-Western positions.

“Pashinyan's rise to power and the arrest of the close circles of [former leader] Serzh Sargsyan has completely changed the shape of Armenian-Russian relations,” said pundit Maxim Shevchenko, speaking at the conference. “Now Russia is gradually being excluded […] and the Russian president does not like it when people act like that with him.”

Another participant, Duma member Dmitriy Savelyev, called on Armenia to return Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan without preconditions. This prompted a response from the Armenian embassy in Moscow: “The Russian deputy should understand that in our fragile world every word is a shot fired, which could double the risk of escalating the situation and threaten the peaceful resolution of the conflict,” the embassy said in a statement.

In Armenia, “there is a worry that the Russians may be trying to punish Armenia through Azerbaijan,” Zolyan said.

Azerbaijani political analyst and historian Altay Goyushov also said the recent escalation appeared to be tied to Pashinyan and Russia, but said it remained unclear whether it was Moscow or Baku driving events. One possibility, he said, was that Russian President Vladimir Putin “wants to put pressure on Pashinyan and urges Aliyev to assist”; and another is that “Aliyev thinks that in this situation he can obtain Putin's approval for a military action against 'disobedient'-to-Russia Pashinyan.” Goyushov said he believed, however, that Baku would not undertake serious military action without clear approval from the Kremlin.

But Baku also is satisfied with the way things are going in Yerevan and so will not want to start a war now, said Fuad Chiragov, a foreign policy analyst at the Azerbaijani government-run think tank Center for Strategic Studies. “Azerbaijan carefully, patiently, with satisfaction observes the wave of corruption scandals and arrests of former officials and warlords,” Chiragov told Eurasianet. “Azerbaijan is not interested in interrupting the deconstruction process of the old system.”