May 25, 2007 - 14:28 AMT
Sergey Markedonov:
No pro-American or pro-Russian forces will come into power in Armenia, there will be a pro-Armenian power in Yerevan
Still for a long time parliamentarian election in Armenia will be at the center of attention both of western and Russian analysts. They both think that forces oriented exclusively only towards West or Russian won in Armenia. Actually everything is not so simple. Candidate of science, head of the department of international relations at the Institute of Political and Military Studies Sergey Markedonov commented on his views concerning the results of elections to PanARMENIAN.Net.
How have you characterized the elections in Armenia: as a victory of common sense or change of Russian orientation towards West?
Before parliamentarian elections in Armenia I have given a lot of interviews and comments to various information agencies, TV and radio companies and press representatives. However, I'd like to notice that the range of questions concerning the start of campaign in that South Caucasian country was rather narrow. In fact, journalists were interested only in two problems: if a next "color revolution" will take place in Armenia on the post-soviet territory, and what forces in Armenia are "pro-Russian" or "pro-western"? Unfortunately, only these two problems have become leading in Russian journalism, including analytical. Meanwhile they have quite indirect relation to the real situation in Armenia and other post-soviet countries. Let's begin with determination of geopolitical preferences with the Armenian elite. Answering the question about "pro-western" and "pro-Russian" followers of Armenia suddenly I remembered one of the founders of the post-soviet Armenian State, Vazgen Manoukyan, who occupied the post of Prime Minister and had run for presidential post. Thinking over the "putsch of shaky hands" in August of 1991, Manoukyan stated that it's all the same for Armenia who will come to power in Moscow. The key point is to resolve the "Karabakh problem" in favorable conditions for Armenia and all Armenians in the world. Perhaps beginning from 1991 nobody has ever expressed the gist of geopolitical preferences of Armenia and its elite better than Vazgen Manoukyan has. After all it's all the same for Yerevan who provides assistance, the key point here is the solution of Karabakh conflict. Here the very fact of assistance is important. If the State Department does it, the Armenia elite becomes pro-American, if the Russian State Duma does it, pro-Russian sympathies of the Armenian elite are guaranteed. In 1992 the U.S. Congress adopted the famous 907 Amendment, which for a rather long period of time blocked American state assistance to Azerbaijan. In 1995 in connection with the 80th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide Russian parliamentarians adopted a tough resolution, which condemned the policy of the Ottoman Empire towards Armenians. In both cases Armenia expressed its support, first to American congressmen and then to Russian parliamentarians. The main thing here is that how Armenia's interests will be taken into account while working out the policy of superpowers.
What did the May 12 parliamentarian elections show, particularly in respect of change of orientation and the possibility of "color revolutions"?
If we analyze those publications and comments, which occurred before and after elections in Armenia, we shall get only predictions: if Armenia will orient to West or will remain loyal to the "Russian choice". Furthermore we see extensive debates that Armenia "forever and for centuries" has been together with Russian. I'd like to remind one more simple truth in this respect. Before becoming a part of the Russian Empire the Eastern Armenia was a province of Persia. That period was much longer than the "Russian stage". And so what, does it mean that Persian-Armenian ties guarantee any special privileges for modern Iran within Armenia? In this connection I'd like to remind that at the beginning of the 20th century Armenian revolutionaries did not favor too much the Russian Empire when imperial authorities nationalized property of the Armenian Apostolic Church. And still I put it mildly. Today Armenian Revolutionary Federation "Dashnaktsutyun" is one of the "power parties" in Armenia and supports the idea of strategic partnership with Russia At the end of 1980ies Armenia was one of the most anti-Soviet republics in the USSR. In March of 1991 Azeri authorities urged to vote for "refreshed union", however Armenian leadership was already busy with preparing a civilized divorce with the USSR. Today Yerevan is a CSTO and EURASEC member-state and makes efforts towards closer integration in the framework of CIS. Thus, all those who write and show about Armenia, as well as other republics of the former "inviolable union" must understand a simple truth. There will be no pro-American or pro-Moscow powers in Armenia. There will be a pro-Armenian power only in Yerevan. And any other forces in Armenia will not hold out even a minute. Any force will cooperate with Russia only as much, as that cooperation corresponds to the interests of that political force. Parliamentarian or presidential elections will not change that iron rule.
So, who did after all win on May 12, 2007?
Thus, not pro-western or pro-Russian forces, but followers of republic's most optimal development won in Armenia on May 12. The opposition, which Russian media characterizes as mercenaries of the world capital does not oppose the idea of cooperating with Russia. Do you really think that yesterday's ministers, Prime Ministers, Parliament Speaker, in other words those who have a rich experience in cooperation with Moscow will become radicals or Russophobes? It's another question what Russia to cooperate with. Those who today oppose Robert Kocharian, speak for wide openness of Russia, his democracy. After all in many respects the new democratic Russia guaranteed security for Armenia at the beginning of 1990ies. Both Armenian opposition representatives and officials are seriously concerned over the growth of xenophobia in the Russian capital and regions. Armenian opposition leaders indicate, and with serious reasons, that how the Armenian establishment copies the "creative experience" of their Russian colleagues-officials during preparation and conduction of electoral campaign. Consequently it would be a great mistake to push off those people from Russia, to turn them into opponents of Russian interests in Caucasus.
What do you think isn't it better to cooperate with Moscow or West?
It doesn't matter if politicians in Moscow want or no, winners of parlaimentarian campaign-2007 will cooperate with West. Under "West" we understand both the United States and the European Union and international institutions, including NATO. They will cooperate for quite pragmatic reasons. There exist a lot of Armenian communities in West, and first of all in the U.S. and France, and a lot of Armenians are involved in business and the process of making administrative and political decisions of those countries. With the help of West Armenia tries to exert pressure on Turkey. Ankara wants to enter the EU, and consequently he must fit "European standards". This means that it doesn't matter who will win in Yerevan, those "winners" will act following not beautiful toasts, but the real politics, political interests and pragmatism. Russia also should be pragmatic in working out his strategy in Caucasian, as well as other CIS states. I think that it necessary to proceed from the language of toasts and recollections of the "glorious past" to pragmatic interests. Armenia is ready to cooperate with Russia in military and security spheres, unlike Georgia. It is necessary to use that opportunity, like other opportunities. Few people are aware that gasification of Armenia goes on quicker than within Russia himself. Russian business is quite active in the sphere of telecommunications. During one single year the Russian operator invested more than the previous Greek operator did during ten years. Namely those interests and not search for western threats and "color revolutions" must become bases for full bilateral cooperation between Armenia and Russia.