Armenia’s ruling circles holding secret discussions on need for changes – Armen Badalyan

17:34 • 03.08.16



In an interview with Tert.am, expert in political technologies Armen Badalyan says that two groups within Armenia’s ruling circles are holding secret discussions on a need for changes.

As regards Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan’s statement on a government of national agreement, Mr Badalyan said that it is not the name, but the actions of such a government that is of importance.

Mr Badalyan, in his speech President Serzh Sargsyan spoke of a government of national agreement and, in this context, of constitutional reforms. That is, did he speak of a coalition government, namely, of a qualified majority, or of a government of national agreement, the thing society demands, expecting the authorities to carry out reforms?

It is difficult to say what society demands. Different sections of Armenia’s society have different demands. One part of society - those emigrating from Armenia – are not at all concerned with a government of national agreement. The other part of society, the one struggling within the law (elections, reforms and so on), may be interested in a government of national agreement. But the meaning of government of national agreement must be specified. And still another part of Armenia’s society, the one that embarked on the way of armed struggle, this one is not at all interested in a program of national agreement. Rather, they are interested in individual reforms - regardless of whether it is going to be a program of national agreement or the current government. And the fourth way is not getting involved in the processes. True, they are concerned with improvement of their social conditions as well. That is, a government of national agreement cannot satisfy everyone.

It is not a government of national agreement that is in question. Rather, it is national agreement in essence. That is, is it going to be one more coalition or a government of national agreement?

It is not the name that is in question. It is its actions that are of importance. Even if the current government puts an end to monopolies and carries out reforms and crate necessary conditions for business development, its name is not at all important.

I mean exactly that, as President Serzh Sargsyan said it is now time to draw conclusions to resolve all this. Do you think those are just words or did the authorities really analyze everything to see why people should take up arms to resolve problems?

That depends on the Government’s work, as the past eight years really demonstrated that the authorities won’t draw any lesson at all; they stick to their old practices. So time will show whether there will be any changes in Armenia at all. Did the authorities realize what happened? Especially now that the external outlook and the external message to the authorities for initiating reforms, fighting corruption and eliminating monopolies are clearly visible. There is an external factor, and that force is, very probably, actively working. So should they see the authorities did not learn a lesson, with their promises for a national unity government being limited to words, believe me, we will see more bloodsheds very soon.

You are, of course, speaking about the West. What Serzh Sargsyan said was “Yerevan is neither Beirut nor Aleppo”.

The guidance was, naturally from the West, i.e. - the EU and United States, and you probably noticed that those circles’ consolidated viewpoint was voiced this time. What they condemned was violent methods of effecting political changes. That is, they do not accept the methods but admit that [the armed group members] are not terrorists, and they urge the authorities to initiate political changes. You also probably noticed that no one from those circles condemned [the recent unrest] apart from Russia. Hence, this was an implicit message by the 28-member European Union. And hence the West can be said to have issued an ultimatum to the Armenian authorities, urging them to implement reforms. And we can also fix the fact that no assault was committed, as they [the armed group] surrendered. That also means that the West’s message rather than Russia’s was a success this time.

The hypothesis that the West was behind all this needs a proper consideration by the government. And it has been practically considered. So will the authorities try to initiate those reforms?

Some in the government do really see that it is time for reforms, as the operations by Sasna Tsrer revealed the hatred towards the government, not just the discontent that gave ground to the latter. And that finds vent only in negative methods, i.e. retributions. Most people think they must be exercised, while others believe they can still hold on to repressions and pressures to govern the country till they see what’s what. Those discussions – i.e. whether and how to do all this and with what speed, are now going on, but they are closed-door discussions.

 

Anush Dashtents





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