"Pro-Russian opposition to Armenia harms Russia's image." Opinion
Opposition active in Armenia
“Negotiations on the resolution of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations should be held between Yerevan-Moscow-Baku. The negotiator from Armenia needs to be changed.” These are the demands of the Armenian opposition, which is again becoming active in the streets.
The ruling party does not believe that opposition rallies can have a serious impact on the country’s political agenda. It thus recalls the active street campaign that the opposition carried out in the spring of this year, which did not gain a critical number of supporters for a change of power. Experts believe that the people did not want the former leaders to return to power — the leaders of the opposition are the ex-presidents of Armenia, who hold a pro-Russian position.
Political scientist Suren Surenyants believes that the opposition have primitive ideas about politics, and that the oppositionists demonstrate their pro-Russian sentiments equates Armenian-Russian relations with the “restoration of the criminal-oligarchic system.” This only harms the image of Russia.
The demands of the opposition, the reaction of the authorities, and the assessment of the situation by an expert.
Why the opposition demands participation in the negotiations of Moscow
The Resistance movement organized a rally over the weekend with the slogan “Artsakh will not be part of Azerbaijan.” The organizers of the rally said in advance that its purpose was to announce to the authorities of Armenia and the world: “No one has the right to sign a new document of surrender.” Their goal is to fight for the “sovereignty of Artsakh and the territorial integrity and security of Armenia”, and not power itself.
The leaders of the movement are two parliamentary opposition factions: Hayastan (Armenia) and I Have The Honor. Their leaders are former presidents Robert Kocharyan and Serzh Sargsyan. Both are considered pro-Russian politicians in Armenia.
Therefore the movement’s demand to negotiate through Moscow and not turn the Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiation format and the Karabakh issue “into a bone of contention of geopolitical competition” is not surprising.
“Only Azerbaijan benefits from the competition of geopolitical centers, which cannot be allowed,” participants in the movement announced.
The Resistance movement was formed in April of this year and carried out an active street struggle until June. The goal of the movement was the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, which was never achieved. Opposition parties are aware that a “broad socio-political consolidation” is needed to change power, but do not specify how they intend to achieve it.
“A new capitulation?” The approach of the opposition and the response of the authorities
According to Ishkhan Saghatelyan, an MP from the Hayastan opposition faction, “another capitulation can be prevented only by the ‘formation of a national government’.
The opposition states that the Prime Minister of Armenia has no right to sign any document restricting Nagorno-Karabakh’s right to self-determination — “no one has the right to sign a new document of surrender.”
After the rally, its participants held a procession of “unity and solidarity” by heading towards the government building. In their hands were white sheets of paper on which “Peace Treaty” was written in quotation marks, and capitulation outside the quotation marks. They burned these papers, declaring that if such a document were signed, they would react to it in the same way.
“I don’t think that these rallies will seriously affect the political agenda of Armenia, nevertheless this is the right of the people and such rallies can take place in Armenia, which is a democratic republic,” Vahagn Aleksanyan, an MP from the ruling Civil Contract faction, said.
He recalls that the same opposition leaders claimed a few months ago that a surrender was signed in November 2020, and therefore asks:
“If this has already happened, how can you capitulate again? I do not understand this”.
Earlier, a rally in support of the Russian presence and mediation was also held in the unrecognized NKR. Its participants stated that Armenia should not abandon the mission to ensure the security of the people of NK. Parliament issued a statement saying:
“The Armenian authorities have no right […] to sign any document that questions the existence of the sovereign Republic of Artsakh, our right to self-determination and the fact of its implementation, since this does not reflect historical and legal realities.”
“Today’s parliamentary opposition, positioning itself as pro-Russian, deals the biggest blow to the image of Russia and Armenian-Russian relations, equating them with the restoration of the criminal-oligarchic system,” political scientist Suren Surenyants said.
According to Surenyants, if he wants to overthrow Nikol Pashinyan, ex-president Robert Kocharyan should have announced his retirement from politics, and not participate in the rally.
In his Telegram, Surenyants wrote that the opposition not only harms Armenian-Russian relations, but also “fails to realize” other truths, in particular the uselessness of the formula “we will change the negotiator to gain time.”
Surenyants says that this formula reflects the opposition’s primitive ideas about politics, thereby legitimizing Pashinyan’s “loser power”.
“The opposition did not draw conclusions from the results of last year’s parliamentary elections, again focusing on the tactics of lightning-fast decisions,” he writers.
According to Surenyants, at the moment Armenia, as a country that was defeated in the war, has neither the time nor the resources to search for “illusory opportunities.” He says that now the task is to sign a peace agreement with minimal risks and losses.
Opposition active in Armenia