Armenia has to choose between reforms and ties with Russia, says expert

Vladimir Inozemtsev
Vladimir Inozemtsev

Photo: rbk.ru

Yerevan /Mediamax/. Director of the Moscow-based Centre for Research on Post-Industrial Societies Vladimir Inozemtsev believes that "Armenian reformers have encroached on the most "untouchable” thing in the post-Soviet area – the "natural” right of the authorities to rob the people, treat the country as their property and get away with it”.

“It seems like the new Armenian Prime Minister is received every other week in Moscow or St. Petersburg. But he does not look like he belongs in that company. Moscow has sensibly ignored (at least for now) how he came to power. But Armenia’s transformation into a normally functioning, corruption-free state with competitive economy and comprehensible transition of power is not in Kremlin’s plans,” Inozemtsev writes in his column on Echo of Moscow website.

“Moscow might be so concerned with maintaining political and military presence in South Caucasus that it could sacrifice something for it. But the Kremlin cannot allow the undermining of the system it considers the only acceptable option. The ties with Russia are extremely important for Armenia. It looks like the official Yerevan understands that. They would want to try to keep those ties, but they should not hope there is a place for an honest man at the “round table” that accepts him for now.

The alert for a “foreign” element is not quite loud yet, but it has reached the targeted ears. The Kremlin still hopes Nikol Pashinyan will “square accounts” with his enemies (which is in line with post-Soviet traditions and therefore can be considered normal) and embark on a course that is usual for heads of state in this part of the world.

If that is not an option for the new Armenian authorities, they need to start thinking about future now and focus on two tasks.

Firstly, they should implement fast economic reforms, which have yet to start and will not begin until snap elections, or so it seems. Secondly, they need to abandon the model of ethnic state, where the authorities rely on the Diaspora and only meet with compatriots who recorded big achievements in business, science or culture during visits to other countries.

Can the new Armenian authorities do that? I should hope so. But we must keep in mind that their success will mean they will have almost no chance of passing for “one of us” among the Russian political elite,” said the expert.


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