Yerevan is worth a mass

News.Az reprints from an article headlined "Yerevan is worth a mass" by Gevorg Mirzayan.

Nikol Pashinyan has headed Armenia. As for the way he came to power, then everything is clear and unambiguous. His accession to the throne had little to do with the law. Yes, the parliament voted for Pashinyan, but the vote was made under the pressure. Pashinyan's supporters, with total inactivity by the police, not only exerted direct pressure on the deputies, but also arranged for the total blockade of the Armenian infrastructure at the call of their leader, promising to withdraw it only if their idol (the representative of the smallest party in Parliament) was made prime minister.

His accession to the throne had little to do with justice. Pashinyan is not a "people's prime minister". A significant part of the people who participated in the rallies of protest came there not for him, but against the current authorities. Pashinyan must prove the status of the "people's prime minister" and the right to occupy the post of head of the Cabinet at the polling stations. For now, the head of the Cabinet was to be the technical prime minister with the task of preparing the country for early elections.

But this uprising fully corresponded to revolutionary logic and selfish interests. A person who does not have a clear program (except for Russophobic, which is not shared by the absolute majority of Armenians) and who initially did not have much support in society (in the elections of 2017, less than 10% of voters voted for his bloc), was brought by the revolutionary wave to the peak of Olympus. Naturally, it would be foolish in this situation not to take power into his own hands. And now it will be just as foolish not to keep it in the hands after the results of the early parliamentary elections (which must be passed in the near future). Therefore, it is important for Nikol Pashinyan to maintain a high level of support for the population, which he temporarily obtained during these protest actions.

But here much will depend on the fact that Pashinyan will take on the post of prime minister, albeit temporary. Those of his supporters who recognize the fact of illegal and unjust procedure of accession to power, assure that the circumstances of this no longer have much significance. To judge a person is necessary not by words, but by deeds.

Of course, they are not quite right. And the problem is not even that the circumstances of the accession to the power (that is, forcing the parliament) will still echo in the course of future elections. But the fact that these circumstances will limit the capabilities of Pashinyan.

So, optimists expect from him as from homo novus an uncompromising struggle against corruption and with oligarchs. However, it is difficult to realize their hopes, and not only because a systematic approach is needed for this. How can Pashinyan fight against Armenian oligarchs, if he received his post thanks largely to them? In particular, to Gagik Tsarukyan, who provided Pashinyan with power by his bloc. It often happens that in exchange for the support of a person, certain business interests of those who support him (a topic popular today, for example, in the US) are given certain immunity. 

If the fight against corruption is postponed, then for the sake of raising / maintaining the rating, only the foreign policy field remains for Pashinyan. That is, to do what the people want from him. And Pashinyan is already doing - for example, he offered Azerbaijan to return the delegation of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic to the negotiating format on Nagorno-Karabakh. Baku, naturally, refused (in fact, it would be difficult to imagine a scenario in which it would agree), but Pashinyan received his share of applause for this proposal.

If foreign policy populism manifests itself in such innocuous statements, it will not do much harm. However, there are fears that for the sake of rating, Pashinyan can take more drastic steps.

This, of course, is not about breaking off relations with Russia. Yes, some Russian political scientists, who are still trying to prove the "Maydan" nature of the Armenian protest, assure that Russophobe Pashinyan will deploy the country towards the European Union. In favor of this version, even fakes appear, for example, reports that allegedly did not correspond to reality about Pashinyan's first decree, in which he stated that Armenian soldiers did not fight for the USSR during the Great Patriotic War, and the Victory Day should be moved from 9 to 8 May. And also that it is necessary to celebrate it in a European way - that is, as a day of sorrow.

The reality is that even if Pashinyan is really a Russophobe, the turn of the country from Russia will not match his populist goals. The absolute majority of Armenians oppose such a turn, because they understand the importance and even the need for a Russian-Armenian alliance to ensure Armenia's security. Therefore, a maximum than Pashinyan can now harm this attitude will be the sounding of a number of claims against Russia, which have no legal or other grounds. For example, the requirement to stop selling weapons to Azerbaijan (which Moscow can not accept, because it is illegal and counterproductive from the point of view of Armenia's security, since the termination of this sale could signal Moscow's refusal to neutrality and lead to the outbreak of war by Azerbaijan).

Pashinyan himself can take sharp steps in the Karabakh direction. If he goes to recognize the independence of the "NKR" (which is demanded by the absolute majority of the Armenian society) or the opening of the Stepanakert airport, these steps will lead to an explosive growth of its rating, but at the same time to a sharp escalation of the situation. The consequences of which will have to be decided by Russia.

That is why the main thing now is to tie Pashinyan for these several months and not allow him to win back populist steps. If he wins early elections and becomes a normal prime minister for full cadence, then the risks will dramatically decrease. Pashinyan will have an opportunity to show whether he is ready to carry out a systemic modernization of the Armenian state. That is, if he can turn from a revolutionary populist into a technocrat, which Armenia needs so much.



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