Armenia attempts “Carnation revolution”

The Georgian Messenger
16 April 2004

Armenia attempts “Carnation revolution”

Over the last few days, despite the tension between the central
government and the authorities of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara,
the Georgian media still devoted much attention to the events in
neighboring Armenia. The series of protests against the administration
of President Robert Kocharian were forcefully broken up this week, but
opposition leaders say they are planning to continue. Still observers
point out that for several reasons the situation in Armenia is not
similar to that which surrounded Georgia’s Rose Revolution of November
2003 and doubt the Georgian scenario can be repeated.

Last year all three South Caucasian countries conducted elections, the
results of which will play a large role in the future development of
each country. In Azerbaijan and Armenia, as per tradition, the
government prevailed in presidential elections. In Yerevan, Robert
Kocharian was reelected and in Baku, Heydar Aliev managed to pass the
reigns of power to his son Ilham.

Events following parliamentary elections in Georgia, however, unfolded
in a very different manner. After being accused of falsifying the
November 2 campaign, Eduard Shevardnadze’s administration was removed
from power by massive peaceful street protests later dubbed the Rose

Georgia’s example inspired opposition forces in a number of other
post-Soviet countries, among them Armenia. Political processes in
Armenia have always been dominated by the Nagorno-Karabakh
issue. Armenia won control over this region within the borders of
Azerbaijan, but traditionally populated mainly by Armenians after a
vicious three-year war ending in 1994. Today, President Kocharian and
much of the government hails from Karabakh. It can be said that
Armenia has become a prisoner of its victory in the conflict. The
controlling Karabakhi clan can block any opposition insurgence with
the claim that an internal conflict in Armenian society would be
catastrophic for the country’s foreign policy interests. Therefore,
the opposition must resign itself to routine election falsification,
corruption and other governmental sins. In contrast to Georgia, both
the government and opposition in Armenia are strongly
pro-Russian. However, the Russian government unilaterally supports the
Kocharian administration. We can expect no western orientation from
his government. On Wednesday his foreign minister said Armenia has no
plans of joining NATO. He further added, reported Interfax: “If
Georgia and Azerbaijan become NATO members after all and Armenia does
not, this will obviously lead to new dividing lines in the Caucasus.”

Armenia’s “Carnation Revolution” has not been successful. Kocharian
himself, as well as many analysts, point out that Armenia is radically
different from its rosy neighbor. The government there is much
stronger than Shevardnadze’s administration was here in Georgia. All
else aside, during the Rose Revolution, Georgian law enforcement and
military declared their neutrality, which in large part determined the
later development of events. In Armenia, however, the police and the
army unilaterally stood by the side of President Kocharian. It has
been reported that the most active dispersers of last week’s protests
were special service personnel brought in from Karabakh.

Tbilisi’s official position regarding the events in Yerevan was
completely neutral, as the leadership of all three South Caucasian
countries pursue a policy of not interfering in the internal political
processes in neighboring states.

Though Georgians viewed the protests in Armenia from the sidelines,
the local media was awash with speculation about the possible impact
these events could have on Georgia. Their general opinion was that
crisis in Yerevan is not in the country’s interests and that what
suits Georgia best is stable and predictable relations with its
neighbor. In recent days, Armenia made a decision that distances the
country from the path to democratic development. On the other hand,
the decision Georgia made last November greatly accelerated this
process. Change in Georgia is progressing rapidly, with plenty of
successes and plenty of mistakes made by a young government.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS