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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Protests in Armenia could potentially become anti-Russian

Events in Yerevan is developing rapidly. On the one hand, they are caused by purely internal problems, aggravated by the prolonged inaction of the government, hatred of which we can understand. On the other, noticed all the signs of a potential “Maidan”, though with private, not Ukrainian specifics.

This story unfolded gradually and did not begin yesterday. You can, for example, to remember the riots of December 2013 during the visit to Armenia Vladimir Putin. The protest was not pure anti-Russian, but rather, economic. The future accession of Armenia to the Customs Union was threatened with an automatic increase in tariffs, as always happens when a state with a weaker economy begins to play a more stable enterprises. Entered Armenia by some miracle the European Union, yet such increase would have begun, not only in terms of energy. Nevertheless, the pathos of performances of December 2013 was directed specifically against the Customs Union. The opposition speculated that the Russian power structure, in fact, privatized the Armenian, and the company “Electric networks” has become a “daughter” of “inter RAO”.

“The flags of the European Union, which themselves arose in the crowd of protesters, still forced to think about “Maidan” character”

The country has a whole generation that does not remember the beautiful painting of the pipe “stoves” out of every window in Yerevan and believes Russian business is almost an “aggressor”. When electricity did not exist, no issue of fees was not set up, now have electricity and it is possible to talk about the fact that Russia pulled Armenia into the customs Union. Within this rhetoric are very easy to manipulate facts. It’s easy to forget about the stability of the economic situation, which gives TC, military security, on the streamlining of rules of the game in the business, the growth of trade, which, in turn, guarantees social programs. In the end, the article discusses the growth of tariffs and the inefficiency of the administration of Serzh Sargsyan.

With the last argument can be partly agree. The 2013 presidential election showed a surprising result of the opposition: Raffi Hovhannisyan scored 36% of the votes at a shocking election campaign, the absence of personal charisma, and structured views, in addition to “down with all”. It was a typical protest vote, people went to the polls against Sargsyan, but not for Hovhannisyan. Further failure, “leader of opposition”, the failure of the campaign of the Council of elders and the ranking drop only confirmed this thesis.

In the same 2013, in November, a month before Putin’s visit in Yerevan clashes similar to this but smaller in scale. Molotov cocktails, smoke bombs, unfinished, purely Armenian inherently barricade, 20 people arrested, 30 detained, 9 hospitalized. The leader of the party “Tsehakron” Shant Harutyunyan started this coven, called the events a “revolution.” The event was called the “million mask March”, to participate meaningfully 100-150 people, no clear slogans the world was not presented.

And we are talking not only about American or European representatives in NGOs and political organizations. Great questions there is also the Armenian Diaspora, which is extremely unhappy with any form of power in Armenia since 1991. Yerevan has consistently limited the ability of the Diaspora to influence the internal situation in the Republic and Diaspora constantly reproached for failing to invest in the Armenian economy. Diaspora, which is composed mainly of descendants of immigrants from outside of Armenia and Cilicia, focused not on the interests of Armenia, and the problems of historical, ethical, and humanitarian. This annoyed all of the government in Yerevan. And now there’s talk of that “Heritage” party Raffi Hovhannisyan are precisely the representatives of the Diaspora, and for small extremist groups like “Tsehakron” – NGO.

When the elections of 2013 were still won, surrounded by Serzh Sargsyan, probably, counted that the job is done – and relax. What this power really shows miracles of inefficiency, no doubt. Even the current decision on the tariffs of 16% could be realized otherwise. Yes, “inter RAO” is pure business, and tariffs in Armenia and so close to cost. But the government could be spending with “inter RAO” consultation on the restructuring of tariffs to negotiate a one-time, and by a gradual increase that would be perceived not so painful. The Parliament could establish a conciliation Commission, and not to vote for this bill, “one day”.

Important point: the protests are not involved with the parliamentary parties. Not visible in the squares and pensioners with the public sector for which the tariff increase should hit in the first place. Dominated by young people, students – a typical reserve of such shares. The structure of the Armenian society has changed markedly in recent years, and public sentiment, especially among young people, is not too encouraging. Meanwhile, the Russian Embassy in Armenia and Rossotrudnichestvo, very prone to self-praise, was in his repertoire, that is, not doing anything practically useful.

Of course, talking about the massive growth of anti-Russian sentiment that is impossible. But noticeable roll in the direction of European and American component. And EU flags, which themselves arose in the crowd of protesters, still forced to think about “Maidana” the nature of what is happening, as corny as it may sound.

The protests in Kiev began as oligarchies. But now in Yerevan, the coordination of such actions is through social networks, driving up food and water, is taken from tents and bottles. The internal situation in Armenia (the social issues, unemployment, emigration), of course, in the first place, but to completely deny the existence of a control center is impossible.

Another thing is that all of this is happening purely local. There was one time when the protesters were unable to form a group of five people for the meeting with President Sargsyan, who has already agreed to accept them. Not agreeing, went to block Baghramian Avenue, although the police initially was not going to drive them from the area. Those who started all this, it will be difficult to achieve at least formal unity in the ranks of the opposition even in the presence of force.

The opposition as it is in the face of a number of parties, more or less large, but at the same time, it seems like no, since there is no clear slogans (except “down”), the serious political and economic programs. There is no anti-Russian moods, although the recent tragic events in Gyumri seriously escalate the situation around military bases. Most people are against the current government and not against government in General and, consequently, held against Sargsyan’s policy of rapprochement with the Customs Union and Russia. But this hostility extends to the figure of Putin, who supply the opposition press, oriented to Western standards of propaganda, is presented almost as the aggressor and the main tool “aggression” is a Russian company, the Customs Union and their affiliated Armenian enterprises.

In short, we cannot say that the crisis in Armenia is a result of purely internal problems. Yes, the internal problems – the direct reason. The government’s inaction is the catalyst. The General vector of the protest ideology are directed only against the government, but in the long term is associated with the idea of changing the foreign policy of Armenia. The isolation of Armenia from the General relationships and fate with Russia is possible not through a direct anti-Russian propaganda, and veiled, through the “back door” when the economic and social slogans of the first trial, and then more clearly drags the idea of change of all political orientations.

The government of Armenia has received an important lesson – we should not be substituted. Now is not the time to be able to afford a Mediterranean type of behavior when it slow, fraternally and with stops for a smoke break. No internal problem, no external. But while it is still hoped that the conflict will be able to repay, especially given the fact that Yerevan this kind of protests is not unique.

Another thing is that in Armenia we can expect any. The main thing – not to give a reason for this.

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