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Sargsyan jeopardizes Armenia to save his power

25 December 2013 17:39 (UTC+04:00)
Sargsyan jeopardizes Armenia to save his power

By Jamila Babayeva

Armenia will remember the year of 2013 with a number of popular protests against social-economic problems. The protests were mainly against irregularities in elections, corruption, oligarchs' enrichment, energy crisis, rising cost of living, soldiers' death in Karabakh and growing role of Russia in the country.

Last developments in Armenia mirror that economic, social and political crisis reigns in the country. MPs and people continue appealling the government's resignation.

Now the question is whether protests can increment into a popular uprising in Armenia, and the crisis in the country can deepen due to non-constructive position in the settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with neighboring Azerbaijan.

Experts do not predict people uprising in Armenia due to country's decision to join Moscow-led Customs Union.

Yerevan made a decision to become a member of the CU, which came into existence on January 1, 2010, and signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Commission.

Armenia's "road map" on entry to the CU was approved at the session of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council (SEEC) in Moscow, on December 24.

Turkish expert Mehmet Fatih Oztarsu believes that Armenia could face the revolution this winter if Yerevan did not state the desire to join the Customs Union.

"People are tired of high living cost due to natural gas crisis and this situation impacted other spheres. The opposition could hold several rallies with thousands of protesters in summer. But, Armenia's President Serzh Sarksyan became closer to Russia and prevented the period of probability," Oztarsu told AzerNews.

He believes that the economic crisis which is on the last point in Armenia did not result in revolution by force of some reasons.

"First, Armenia enjoys support from Russia and Iran in energy sector. Second, unofficial money flow to the country. The system leans to dirty money operations with drug trafficking through Afghanistan-Iran-Karabakh on the top. These two factors are the main reasons why Armenia's economy does not face serious downfall," he told Azernews.

Oztarsu said Armenia saw the most strict rallies and protests in 2013 during overall its independence since 1991, although they resulted in no changes.

He explained the inefficiency of protests with illiteracy of the country's political opposition.

"Armenia lives completely in a mass of problems and despite of economic and energy crisis, is keen to achieve the recognition of so called "genocide", reportedly committed during the governance of the Ottoman Empire," he said.

Georgian political expert Khatuna Lagazidze believes that Armenia completely depends on Russia.

"However, Russia does not provide Armenia with special economic privileges. Armenia has only recently been granted a cut in Russian gas prices," she told Azernews. "Russia cut the price of gas after Armenia's decision to join the Customs Union."

Lagazidze noted that over the years it becomes increasingly difficult for Armenia to abandon the Russian influence.

Georgian expert also does not predict popular uprising in Armenia.

"It is difficult to say whether there is a threat of popular uprising in Armenia, because Armenia is not a top agenda of Europe and the U. S. today. Without at least moral support of the West, any mass discontent against the government will be futile," she concluded.

Another Georgian expert Gela Vasadze believes that Armenia will face serious problems due to forced decision to join the CU.

"Notably, the country has lost a real prospect of development, which would enable it to tackle its numerous problems, and Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is one of them," Vasadze told Azernews.

He said the results of Armenia's membership in the Customs Union will be negative.

"Armenia's membership in the Union means serious restrictions on the borders with both Georgia and Iran. The Armenian authorities has strongly narrowed the only two windows to the world," Vasadze believes.

Furthermore, Armenian Parliament has recently passed the agreement on purchase and sale terms of "ArmRosGazprom" CJSC's 20-percent stake to Russia on December 23. The decision was adopted in the absence of oppositional fractions, which were against the agreement. Parliament opposition believe that the government faced huge debt to Russia due to numerous law violations. Hundreds of protesters accompanied the session near the parliament building chanting slogans "Traitor" and "Slave". Some MPs supported protesters, calling them to rebel.

Armenia's President Serzh Sarksyan could prevent popular uprising with the economically risky decision to join the Customs Union in 2013, and this is not the least, but the last risky decision taken by Armenian leader over the past few years to save his power. Such unwise steps of him are probable to raise popular uprising and lead to complete social-economic collapse in the county, but he is seemed guide by "no risk, no power" motto.

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