Farewell to Complementarity: Armenia’s Foreign Policy at a Crossroad

The Armenian Weekly March 2014 Magazine:
Armenia’s Foreign Policy in Focus

In an interview with news.am in June 20121, Armenia’s deputy foreign minister, Shavarsh Kocharyan, defined the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict and ensured that regional security was Armenia’s top foreign policy priority for the coming five years. The creation of favorable external conditions for economic development, and work toward the prevention and condemnation of crimes against humanity, such as genocide, followed in the list. Focusing on the latter, Kocharyan recalled the upcoming “100th anniversary of the tragedy the Armenian people survived,” and pointed out the importance of prevention efforts not only for Armenia and the diaspora but for the entire world—because, he said, “unpunished crimes against humanity and their denial create fertile ground for recurrence of similar events.” As for Armenia’s international relations, Kocharyan mentioned its strategic partnership with Russia, ties with U.S. and the European Union (EU), as well as with neighbors such as Georgia and Iran. China, India, Japan, the Arab world, Africa, and Latin America would be a “focal point of Armenia’s foreign policy priorities,” he said. Concerning international organizations, the deputy foreign minister cited the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and its relations with Russia as factors that ensure Armenia’s military and political security, as well as cooperation with NATO and European powers.

Following the extradition of Ramil Safarov, Armenians took to the streets of Yerevan, burning pictures of the axe-murderer and chucking tomatoes at the Hungarian Embassy. (Twitter photo by @Vozni)
Following the extradition of Ramil Safarov, Armenians took to the streets of Yerevan, burning pictures of the axe-murderer and chucking tomatoes at the Hungarian Embassy. (Twitter photo by @Vozni)

This busy agenda as outlined by Kocharyan was apparently not convincing for the opposition. “We don’t have a foreign policy doctrine as a state; we just act on an ad-hoc basis each time we see something is wrong,” said Aram Sargsyan, head of the Armenian Democratic Party, in a briefing with journalists on Sept. 14, 2012.2 This is the main criticism against Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian and his handling of Armenia’s diplomacy since he assumed the job in April 2008, after the election of President Serge Sarkisian, especially in the aftermath of the extradition of Ramil Safarov (the Azeri official who assassinated his Armenian counterpart during a NATO training program) from Hungary to Azerbaijan, where he was immediately released and honored as a national hero. Whether Armenian diplomacy could have prevented the extradition of Safarov is, of course, debatable. However, there is enough ground to maintain that early warning was emitted, no less than in the form of a letter that the Armenian community in Hungary sent to the Ministry of Diaspora, yet Armenian diplomacy failed to preempt, or react properly.

A single episode, no matter how critical, cannot, of course, be an argument to judge 20 years of foreign policy, as Aram Sargsyan’s statement, among others, suggests. Moreover, the Safarov affair was a circumstantial event, which a priori does not tell much about the rationale of Armenian diplomacy. Yet, when one year later, on Sept. 3, 2013, President Sarkisian surprised everyone with his decision not to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union, and instead join the Customs Union with the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, and Belarus, Armenian diplomacy suffered a severe blow in its credibility. Just days before, the deputy foreign minister had given public assurances that Armenia would stand firm in its engagement with the EU’s proposal and integrate the Eastern Partnership program. Foreign Ministry officials had been negotiating the agreement with their European counterparts since 2010, right after Brussels launched the program.

The disappointment in Armenia was immediate and was widely reflected in the social media. It was not only about “an economic choice,” as Armenian Weekly columnist Houry Mayissian put it.

“The agreement with the EU would have required that Armenia gradually adopt EU regulations and standards. Implemented correctly, these regulations would have contributed to Armenia’s

democratization.”

Of course, no one could question the explanation given by Armenian officials regarding the president’s move: Sarkisian, to quote De Waal, could not have possibly refused Putin’s “offer.”4 Economic

Protesters are blocked off by heavy police presence, following President Serge Sarkisian’s Sept. 3 announcement. (Photo: Samson Martirosyan/The Armenian Weekly)
Protesters are blocked off by heavy police presence, following President Serge Sarkisian’s Sept. 3 announcement. (Photo: Samson Martirosyan/The Armenian Weekly)

and energy dependence and military reliance on Russia were unquestionably the reasons. An expert on EU-Armenia relations, Syuzanna Vasilyan, observes that “[t]hrough its promulgated foreign policy of ‘complementarity,’ Armenia has benefited not only by being able to direct its gaze equally towards both the EU and its member-states and Russia and to take advantage of the technical and financial assistance offered by the former and military guarantees ensured by the latter, but it has also managed not to be the ‘apple of contention’ between the United States and Iran.”5 Despite this carefully balanced foreign policy, Armenia’s main concerns—the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict, the threat posed by Azerbaijan and Turkey’s ongoing blockade—have not been addressed. Vasilyan highlights Armenia’s disappointment from the Europeans: “Previously hopeful of the EU as capable of delivering on these challenges by ‘disciplining’ Azerbaijan to halt military escalation and Turkey to open the border with Armenia, the country seems to have become discouraged given the [EU’s] inability/non-disposition to meddle with such a major security provider as Turkey and energy provider as Azerbaijan.”6 However, she does not discount Russian pressure, which she characterizes as no less than “intolerance” for Armenia’s “complementarity” policy. As a result, Vasilyan concludes, Armenia has moved from a foreign policy of “complementarity” to “supplementarity.”

The Sept. 3, 2013 decision, hence, seems to have indicated a turning point in Armenia’s foreign policy. With the prospect of a Eurasian Union in 2015 and Armenia’s inclusion in it, complementarity would not make much sense. Assuming that the Eurasian project would/could indeed become a reality, it would not be a Soviet Union resurrected, rather the attempt to institutionalize the Russian zone of influence on its “near abroad,” as coined early in 1992 by then-Prime Minister Andrei Kozyrev, a Westerner so to speak. Complementarity, as coined and explained by Vartan Oskanyan, Robert Kocharyan’s foreign minister from 1998 to 2008, is a proactive diplomacy meant to be more than a balancing act or neutrality. The idea, he wrote in his memoirs, was that Armenia could be a meeting point, where the interests of competing powers could find some sort of common ground. “Moreover, pursuing our own national interests, we had to be able to ensure that we would not exploit the opposing interests of third parties and play one against the other.”7 This proactive diplomacy will not end, but it has clearly been seriously jeopardized; and the Eurasian prospect of the Russian zone of influence in its near abroad has put serious limitations on its implementation beyond its use in public declarations, discourses, or wishful thinking…

The complementarity vision is not exempt of criticism. It failed, for instance, to consider the importance of the so-called Global South, in general, and South America, in particular, until Azerbaijan in 2010 launched an aggressive diplomacy and very quickly took advantage of Yerevan’s passivity. Yet, there is little doubt that the concept enjoys popularity and some broad consensus among the Armenian political elite. It is clear now that an assertive Moscow has little sympathy for it. It is also clear that structural factors, namely security, energy, and economy, and not political ones explain the impossibility for the Sarkisian Administration to convince the Kremlin that within the logic of complementarity, Armenia’s Association Agreement with the EU would not have nullified its strategic partnership with Russia. Likewise, at least for now, Yerevan also failed to convince Brussels that while Armenia could be in a Customs Union with the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, and Belarus, within the complementarity logic it could have also joined the Eastern Partnership program. Incidentally, Putin’s either/or logic for the Eurasian Union did not only apply to Armenia; he also applied it with Ukraine, although the now-removed Viktor Yanukovich did not need any conceptual sophistication when deciding in favor of the Russian 15 billion credit line and subsidized gas prices, instead of complications with “European values.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin visits the 102nd Russian military base in Gyumri, Armenia, on Dec. 2, 2013. (Photo: Kremlin.ru)
Russian President Vladimir Putin visits the 102nd Russian military base in Gyumri, Armenia, on Dec. 2, 2013. (Photo: Kremlin.ru)

Against Russian assertiveness, then, Armenia apparently had no choice; it was first and foremost a national security matter in terms of military reliance, as well as for economic and energetic dependence. However, as Mayissian correctly observed, “While partly the result of the hostility we have faced from Azerbaijan and Turkey, it is also in large part a consequence of the inability of successive Armenian governments to negotiate a position of mutual benefit in this strategic alliance. In a region where other countries are either outright hostile to Russia or have more subtly yet decisively expressed their inclinations towards Europe, Armenia remains one of Russia’s few allies. In the last two decades, Armenian leaders—both in government and in opposition—have failed to communicate to Russia that this ongoing alliance comes at a cost; and that cost is not the mere survival of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabagh, but rather their growth and prosperity.”8

This leads us to ask about the root causes of the failure of Armenian diplomacy in consolidating the complementarity action line, if by that concept we mean a strategic orientation in the country’s foreign policy. For, as much as the structural factors put serious limitations on “small states” like Armenia,9 the making of foreign policy is also influenced by domestic factors. Thus, as the field of foreign policy analysis developed since the late 1950’s, the focus has mostly been on the decision-making process.10 Who makes the decisions, in what conditions, and from which perspective? These questions open fields of inquiry that help to shed some light on explications that seem too deterministic or too abstract, such as the widely used “national interests.” So far, Armenia’s foreign policy has not been studied from this analytical perspective; nor do we have serious research on the institutionalization of foreign policy in terms of the structuring of the ministry, the organization of diplomatic careers, the formation of future diplomats, the evaluation of their performance and, last but not least, the resources dedicated to a field Oskanyan defined as “the defensive and offensive frontline” of a small country like Armenia—vital “not only to ensure security and territorial integrity, to seek a resolution of the conflicts, but also to attract investments, secure exportation, implement big project and, in general, for economic development.”11

The farewell to complementarity that Armenia’s East-turn has apparently imposed on Yerevan’s foreign policy does not mean forgetting about its virtues. It suggests, however, that a serious analysis is needed to reconsider the domestic-structural foundations of Armenian diplomacy in terms of decision-making and resource allocation, as well as its strategic orientation. Finally, foreign policy, as any public policy, needs a broad national consensus to rally support for any decision affecting Armenia and Armenians in general. In other words, when addressing the analysis of Armenia’s foreign policy from a normative perspective in terms of “what to do?” and aiming for a broad national consensus-building objective, neither the democratic imperative nor the engagement of the diaspora should be overlooked.

 

Notes

 

1 “Armenian MFA on Foreign Policy Priorities Envisaged in Government Program: Interview.” See http://news.am/eng/news/110512.html

2 “Armenia does not have a foreign policy doctrine: Sargsyan.” See http://www.1in.am/eng/armenia_politics_2218.html. Last access: September 15, 2012.

3 Houry Mayissian, “Democracy, Sovereignty and Armenia’s Eurasian Path,” The Armenian Weekly, Sept. 12, 2013. See http://armenianweekly.com/2013/09/12/democracy-sovereignty-and-armenias-eurasian-path. Last access: Sept. 12, 2013.

4 Thomas de Waal, “An Offer Sargsyan Could Not Refuse,” Eurasia Outlook, Carnegie Moscow Center, Sept. 4, 2013. See http://carnegie.ru/eurasianoutlook. Last access: Sept. 4, 2013.

5 Syuzanna Vasilyan, “Armenia from a Foreign Policy of ‘Complementarity’ to ‘Supplementarity’? A Sandwich Story!” International Affairs Forum. See http://www.ia-forum.org/Content/ViewInternalDocument.cfm?ContentID=8084. Last access: March 6, 2014.

6 Idem.

7 Vartan Oskanian, Through the Road of Independence. The Big Challenges of the Small Country. From the Minister’s Diary, Yerevan, Armenia: Civilitas Fund, 2013, p. 82. Original in Armenian; unofficial translation by author. The same procedure will apply to any quote from any non-English texts.

8 Mayisian, Op. Cit.

9 See Asbed Kotchikian, The Dialectics of Small States: Policy Making in Armenia and Georgia, VDM Verlag, 2008.

10 Valerie M. Hudson, “The history and evolution of foreign policy analysis,” in Foreign Policy. Theories/Actors/Cases, Second Edition, Eds. Steve Smith, Amelia Hadfield and Tim Dunne, New York: Oxford University Press, 2012, pp. 13-34.

11 Oskanyan, Op. Cit., p. 12.

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Khatchik DerGhougassian

Khatchik DerGhougassian holds a Ph.D. in international studies from the University of Miami (Coral Gables, Fl.). He is a professor of international relations at Universidad de San Andres (Argentina) and visiting associate professor at the American University of Armenia in Yerevan. From 1987 to 1997, he was the editor of the weekly newspaper ARMENIA in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
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20 Comments

  1. I am not convinced that Armenia has a non-complimentary foreign policy. It still cooperates very much with NATO, trades with Europe, and has excellent relations with the West. I also do not believe that the Customs Union means the end of Armenian economic relations with the West.

    Unfortunately, the West has a mental illness known as Turkophilism, which is immune to psychotherapy, drugs, and common sense.

    The oil and gas that Europe and Israel inject into their veins with hypodermic needles on a daily basis have also led to a dangerous addiction to Azerbaijan.
    This is not our fault. Armenia should publicly slam the West more, and at least get it on the defensive. Leaks by the Foreign Ministry would be a good idea. I don’t see why, for example, there are not demonstrations in front of the American embassy in Yerevan. The US clearly supports the worst opposition forces in Syria and could not care less if Kessab is destroyed and its inhabitants sent to Der Zor to die. Slam the West in all sorts of ways. Make it look really bad.

    • Agree 100%. I’d alos like to add that Armenia will get much more mileage out of the “West” by not being its supplicant.

  2. “when addressing the analysis of Armenia’s foreign policy from a normative perspective in terms of “what to do?” and aiming for a broad national consensus-building objective, neither the democratic imperative nor the engagement of the diaspora should be overlooked”

    Right on point. As I have stated often, democracy is critical for Armenia’s success in foreign affairs. This is demonstrated by Armenia’s recent abrogation of sovereignty to Russia and the regime’s foreign policy blunders, including the infamous UN vote against the Crimea resolution. Armenia basically placed itself in the list of 11 rogue countries, against the West. This is a result of the government solely responding to the pressures of Russia instead of its own population (a consequence of lack of legitimacy). It’s also a result of brain-drain of talented potential professionals in the field of foreign affairs. The regime basically does what is in ITS interest, and it is in the regime’s interest to be a Russian dependency. As long as Armenia is not democratic, it will keep losing its independent voice, until it ceases to exist as a state.

    • “Armenian god” you will be ceased to exist, when Axerbaijani oil Sheikhdom is divided into three newly States: Talishesta, Avarestan, and Aran and the rest will join to Iran’s Azerbaijan!

  3. The dearth of any tangible support promised by or provided by the West is partly what led Armenia into Russia’s arms. The EU doesn’t have much to offer Armenia, other than “EU values” (read: PIIGS and EU corruption scandal).

    The “West” did nothing to pressure Turkey into accepting its obligation under the protocols. The protocols themselves were of course a western-inspired game against Armenia, where the Armenian government was naive enough to play along.

    Until the EU/NATO take concrete steps to curb Azerbaijani revanchism in Artsakh, end the Turkish blockade and push them to stop funding al-Nusra terrorists against Armenians in Kessab, the West CANNOT be trusted.

    Also a word of advice, Vahagn, be careful when using the word “regime” if you wish to be perceived as anything more than a NATO/Turkophile shill.

    • The EU can offer plenty to Armenia, including democracy and rule of law, two things that are essential for Armenia’s survival. With Russia, Armenians have instead received lack of progress, authoritarianism, destruction of Armenian families (by using Russia’s main export: prostitutes), and loss of Western Armenia.

      Russia can hardly be trusted, as Russia has proven that it will abandon Armenia or even turn against Armenia when feels like it (emptying Western Armenia of Armenians by repeated invasions and withdrawals, letting the Genocide happen just a few miles from its troops, Brest-Litovsk 1918, partition of Armenia 1920, Kars 1921, Operation Ring 1991, aiding Elchibey’s attack at NKR in 1992, sale of weapons to Baku, and the list goes on.). Instead of blindly trusting Russia or anyone else, Armenia needs to rely on its people, which means not treating its people like dirt, which can only happen if Armenia becomes a democracy.

      A word of advice to you, James. In an undemocratic state, Serge’s administration can only be described as a regime. Unless you want to be perceived as pro-Serge/Russophile shill, I suggest you be careful about defending them.

  4. I am glad to hear that the majority of the commentaries are Positive. In the sense that what did the West offer us? The french are offering assistance to the Turks and the so called FSA to demolsih Kessab. The same french who ran away in the middle of the night and left us to fend for ourselves.
    Well I think an aggressive stance against the west will not do any harm at all, in fact the Russians would love an aggressive partner. But our leaders in Yerevan are pacifists. In fact it is a good opportunity to escalate the tensions now and keep azebaijan busy while Turkey is busy. For Example; why don’t we annex Nakhichevan!
    In all from the remarks coming out of Moscow, we are not very far away from war.

    • {“ But our leaders in Yerevan are pacifists.”}
      Do you even have a clue of who RoA and NKR leaders are to make such an illogical statement ?

      {“ For Example; why don’t we annex Nakhichevan!”}
      Why don’t you yourself go and do it with a dozen of your friends.

      Do you have any sons serving in the RoA or NKR military ?
      Are you willing to see them shot full of holes or blown to bits ? Because that’s what happens in war.
      Are you currently serving in the RoA or NKR military ?

      Are you _yourself_ willing to die in battle ?
      If you are, why don’t you go and enlist in RoA or NKR military and guard the borders: they need new men all the time.
      Every couple of month or so we lose another young man to Turkbaijani snipers.

      You are either a clueless keyboard warrior, or a Turkbaijani shill attempting to stir up trouble.

  5. What is Yerevan doing cooperating with an imperial criminal organization like NATO who for the past twenty years has been blockading Armenia? What is Yerevan doing cooperating with a criminal organization who has been conspiring against Armenia’s strategic ally Russia and Armenia’s only good neighbor Iran? What is Yerevan doing cooperating with NATO against the Crimean people’s right to self-determination? What is Yerevan doing cooperating with NATO at a time when NATO is encouraging Al-Qaeda terrorists to exterminate Christians and Alawites in Syria?

    Yerevan’s so-called “complimentary politics” made sense in the 1990s. Today, it’s a serious liability for Armenia. I hope to see Yerevan gradually move away from dealing with dangerous Western organizations like NATO, IMF and USAID. President Sargsyan’s announcement in early September, 2013 is a very encouraging sign.

    Our Americanized zombies need to wake up from their EUrotic dreams and recognize that Armenia’s only hope for a better and more secure future is Russia. For Armenia, independence from Russia means dependence on Turkey. No Russia in the south Caucasus means no Armenia in the south Caucasus. There are no viable alternatives to the above calculus. The Russian nation is providing Armenia today with an opportunity Armenians have not had in well over one thousand years. Instead of doing the work of Western reptiles by disseminating anti-Russian propaganda throughout Armenian society, we Armenians need to wake up and use our God given talents to take full advantage of being a strategic partner of a superpower like Russia. Armenians can be in Russia what Jews are in the US. Western civilization is in decline. The East is rising. Wake up!

    • “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.”

      ― Niccolò Machiavelli

      RoA leaders (and the ‘brains’) are a lot smarter and far-looking than many of our compatriots give them credit for.
      Since before Independence, under unbelievably challenging conditions, they have created and maintained, in good condition, two miracles: RoA and NKR.
      Mistakes were made for sure. But given the incredibly limited resources they have had, and all the competing interests they have had to balance under unreal conditions, our RoA & NKR leaders and people have done Great.

      The proof is right here: take a look.
      http://armenianweekly.com/2013/10/22/armenia-fund-telethon-2013-a-new-route-to-security-and-prosperity/#prettyPhoto/0/

    • even our senior strategic partner, Russia, cooperated and wants to continue cooperating with NATO.

      [‘Cold war rhetoric’: Moscow blasts NATO move to stop cooperation]
      http://rt.com/news/russia-nato-cold-war-837/
      {Neither NATO, nor Russia will benefit from suspended cooperation, the Russian Foreign Ministry has said. NATO’s announcement of freezing “all practical civilian and military” joint work is reminiscent of Cold War language, Moscow said.}

      {….freezing “all practical civilian and military” joint work…”}

      Of course ‘cooperate’ actually means ….“Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.”
      Both sides know what ‘cooperate’ means, publicly pretend not to know, but continue playing the game for mutual benefit.

      Same thing happened after South Ossetia war in 2008: West threw a tantrum for a few months, then everything went back to the same-old-same-old.

    • You are doing a really go job spreading Russian propaganda. I hope you are getting paid for that.

  6. The primary reason for foreign policy failures in recent years is the lack of legitimacy of the current and previous governments. Though Kocharian’s government is credited with putting forward the complementary policy it is during his time that the foundations of complementarity started to erode due to his handing out of major energy assets and important enterprises to Russia, deepening our military dependence on Russia and succumbing to Russian pressure not to build a high capacity gas pipeline from Iran that would allow us to act as a regional power broker and share holder in energy distribution.

    Illegitimate governments without popular support are weak domestically and hence have to rely on foreign powers to maintain your own power, be it Russia or the West. In that sense it is difficult to conduct a foreign policy as a sovereign state regardless of what that policy may be. That’s what we have been observing in the last 15 years that Armenia’s relatively substantial international clout as a winning country has steadily diminished over the years and we are here today finding ourselves in a sad state where a foreign leader visits our country and the head of state is not the first person he meets with… This essentially means that we are not regarded as a sovereign state, we are merely a territory run by an administrator and not a head of state. Under such conditions it hardly makes sense to talk about a foreign policy course. Our international conduct is now largely dictated by Russia. Hence the humiliating pro-Russian vote at the UN. It was just one example and more is to come.

    The priority now is not to formulate this or that kind of foreign policy which in either way we are unable to conduct. The priority is regime change that will enable us to regain our lost sovereignty. Until and unless we have legitimate authorities we will continue suffering humiliating defeats and being treated as nothing more than a Russian province.

  7. I say we should keep pace with world politics not just Nato,Cisto etc.There are small countries that have existed for a long time in sometimes hostile neighbourhoods.Take Switzerland.Why shouldn´t we think that wise.There are some good signs…Iran is moving towards more open societies and it may by and by become the ¨other¨small superpower in the area.
    Moving into Nakhijevan ccan be speculated when the time is ripe.Which measn Kurds become more restless,great Turkey less supported ny old¨chums¨ and then why not.But cautiousness and patience should not be ruled out.It is a virtue we have luckily. Why worry so much to please this or that superpower.Like someone opined we must act aloof sort of so as the others would have to court us.A game great Turkey has `played for long.Now it should be our turn.However, we cannot imagine us to be even one half the power This neighbour is.As to Axerbeijan or Turkbeijan as Avery correctly addresses them.Understand please IT IS ONE NATION IN TWO STATES.PRETTY MUCH LIKE RA AND ARTSKAH.
    Instead, we ought to PREPARE OURSELVES.BOTH IN RA/ARTSAKH,NK AND THE DIASPORA.Latter is where we are weak…
    WE need to ssend our young to RA/Artsakh to train as military cadets with the conscripts there.Not just dancing around bonfires ain ¨ARI TUN¨ T shirts.There are many wake up calls here and in other threads.how about also insisting NOW that our Five major Diaspora Continent communities have one from ea permanent rep.s in Diaspora Ministry and cooperate further and deepr w/RA.
    Take care

  8. {“ Illegitimate governments without popular support”}
    (Sassoon Kosian // April 3, 2014 at 7:31 pm //)

    Obviously your ‘legitimate’ BarevaLeader who got 37% of the popular vote has ‘popular support’ right ?
    A President who gets 58% vs 37% in an open, fair, democratic election by definition has popular support.

    Presidential elections (Feb 2013):
    RPA candidate 58%
    Heritage candidate 37%

    Yerevan municipal elections (May 2013):
    RPA 56%
    Prosperous 23%
    Heritage 8.5% (Raffi Hovannisian party)

    Community elections (March 2014):
    RPA candidates won in 28 communities (out of about 40)
    Prosperous won in 3.
    ARF won in 1.
    8 others had no party affiliation.

    Clearly your concept of ‘popular support’ has no connection to reality.

    As to ‘regime change’: somebody already tried that.
    His name is Shant Harutyunyan.
    He is currently in a mental asylum in Yerevan.
    If convicted of the charges, he will spend 4-8 years in jail planning his next ‘regime’ (sic) change.
    Give it a try: go to Yerevan and organize a ‘regime’ (sic) change: see how it works out for you.

    As to “humiliating pro-Russian vote at the UN”: one of the most principled and courageous UN votes for RoA.
    It would have been quite a trick for RoA to abstain or vote _for_ a so-called territorial integrity, and then try to argue that the so-called territorial integrity of Azerbaijan does not apply to NKR.

    And what if the vote was pro-Russian: US compels her allies to vote with her at UN regularly, whether it is in their interest or not.
    Russia needs moral support at this time re Crimea: Russia is a crucial, strategic ally* of RoA; there you go.

    And when you guys complain about Russia buying this or that, do you also complain about:
    – An American consortium buying the Vorotan Hydroelectric Complex.
    – A French consortium buying the crown-jewel of Armenian brandy industry, Ararat Brandy, a national icon.
    – The several gold, copper, etc mines owned and operated by Canadian, American, Irish, Chinese,…

    —-
    *in 1993, when Armenians finally broke the back of the nomadic invaders, and started liberating one occupied region after another, Turkey massed an army on RoA’s border, threatening to invade in support of their Turkic nomadic savages. I’ll let you remember which country was it that told the howling grey wolves to ‘Get!’. No, it wasn’t US, wasn’t France, wasn’t EU, wasn’t NATO,…

  9. Avery: “A President who gets 58% vs 37% in an open, fair, democratic election by definition has popular support.”

    Ever heard about election fraud? http://www.pf-armenia.org/sites/default/files/2013%20Election%20Statement-3.pdf

    Generally speaking there is nothing wrong about selling assets to foreign companies if it’s done in a way that benefits your country. There is nothing beneficial to sell a disproportionate portion of your assets to one country because it creates heavy dependence. Well thought through, transparent and balanced deals with the right foreign companies could be very beneficial for Armenia. But that’s not at all what we see. Do you know that after the infamous gas deal late last year Russia has full control of the energy sector in Armenia? Putin gets to set not only the gas prices but also electricity prices in Armenia. And that humiliating deal is going to cripple Armenia for 40 years. Putin’s aggressive neo-imperialistic policies mean Russia is no longer a strategic partner. Armenia is swiftly shrinking into a vassal state only because it’s leadership has lacks the will and ability to resist Russia’s pressures.

    Speaking of Vorotan, do you know that the proceeds of the sale never entered into the state budget? The government explanation has been that the money has been transferred to a “secret fund”. Yeah, the secret accounts of Serge Sargsyan so he has plenty of money to gample with…

    Regarding Armenia’s UN vote and recognition of the Crimea referendum: in exchange for recognizing Crimea’s independence Armenia should have demanded that Russia recognize NKR’s independence. That’s what strategic partners would do, scratch each others back. But no, Russia for 20 years has avoided to do that and is obviously not prepared to do it now. There goes our “strategic ally”. Not to mention the backstabbing acts of selling deadly weapons to Azerbaijan.

    Some of you guys need to wake up to the new reality that we are loosing statehood and blindly supporting the regime that is steering Armenia into disappearance is not really a good choice. Supporting Armenia today should mean supporting the people to gain the ability to self govern via fair elections and a transparent democratic process. We don’t need foreign powers to interfere to establish democracy. For that we have Diaspora which sadly today is being quite counter productive by supporting a corrupt and illegitimate regime.

    • Allegedly ‘fraudulent’ in the _opinion_ of a Washington DC based Anti-Armenian NGO.
      Supposedly ‘analyzed’ by a Washington DC based Anti-Armenian NGO.

  10. {“ Ever heard about election fraud? “}
    (Sassoon Kosian // April 6, 2014 at 2:22 pm //)

    Yes, I have, Sassoon: I have also heard that 2+2=4 in Yerevan, in Los Angeles, in Beijing, on the Moon, on Mars,…
    And I have heard that 58%-37%=21%.
    A landslide win. Not even close.
    And have you, Sasoon, heard of Disinformation ?
    Have you heard of Foreign-funded NGOs, hundreds of them, working tirelessly to cause damage to RoA by manufacturing lies ?

    As to PFA: if you have to rely on their disinformation to ‘prove’ there was alleged election fraud in RoA, then you have lost the argument even before it starts.
    I will discuss PFA more below, but I do not rely on some organization that churns numbers and supposedly ‘proves’ something or other by statistics. I can see with my own eye, and I can add, subtract, divide, and multiply.

    On April 9, 2013 out of a resident population of 1+ million of Yerevan, only about 8,000 showed up to protest.
    That is a blip.
    The silent majority, the 58%, stayed home and watched the circus.
    Nowadays the BarevaLeader will be lucky to get more than a 100 people or so to show up to his dog & pony shows.
    He is a proven loser.

    And you actually think I am going to give credence to what some Washington D.C. based NGO tells me about the election, compared to several thousand election monitors, several dozen organizations from various neutral countries, exit polls matching election results ?
    Voters of RoA gave 37% to Raffi Hovannisian not because he was 37% popular, but because Prosperous Party did not field a candidate.
    Mr Hovannissian got the protest vote that would have gone to Prosperous.
    This was confirmed by the Yerevan municipal election: Heritage party only got 8.5%
    About the same percentage they regularly get in the Parliament.

    As to PFA.

    Not one of their doom & gloom prognostications about RoA has come true.
    Not one.
    Here is a great debunking of one of their reports, clearly showing PFA’s destructive, Anti-Armenian agenda.
    http://asbarez.com/85471/an-abridged-analysis-of-the-pfa-and-its-recent-report/
    All their other reports are similarly based on disinformation and manufactured ‘facts’.

    As to Crimea, NKR, etc.

    You wrote: “…in exchange for recognizing Crimea’s independence Armenia should have demanded that Russia recognize NKR’s independence.”
    If that is your understanding of how the world of geopolitics works, then I am afraid you are the one who needs to “wake up”.
    Russia recognizing NKR would mean zilch.
    Russia, and only Russia, has recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia: the West could not care less.
    Nothing has changed in South Ossetia or Abkhazia as a result of Russia’s recognition. Nothing.
    The idea of recognition for NKR is to have Azerbaijan’s Western patrons and protectors recognize it: the reason that is so should be obvious.
    And if you “wake up” and look below the obvious, you should be able to see that non-recognition at present is the best thing for both RoA and NKR.

    I have discussed the non-issue with Russian weapons sales to Azerbaijan in a long post in another thread @AW.
    You can read it, if you are interested.

    Finally: despite some misguided individuals in (Western) Diaspora, the silent majority here supports the unquestionably legitimate, democratically elected governments of both RoA and NKR.

    Pleasant dreams.

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