Moscow-Based Forces Behind Armenian Opposition – Pro-Government MP


Golos Armenii web site, Yerevan
20 May 04

Specific Moscow-based forces finance the Armenian opposition and
are behind the aggravation of the domestic situation in Armenia, MP
Gurgen Arsenyan, leader of the pro-government United Labour Party,
has said in an interview with Golos Armenii newspaper. He did not
name those forces, but said that their activities have nothing to do
with Russia’s official position. Arsenyan added that the opposition
is not supported by the public, which is proved by the stable number
of participants in opposition actions. The following is an excerpt
from Marina Lazarian report by Armenian newspaper Golos Armenii web
site on 20 May headlined “Foreign forces are behind the aggravation
of the domestic political situation” and subheaded “Gurgen Arsenyan,
leader of the United Labour Party and head of the party’s parliamentary
faction, thinks”. Subheadings have been inserted editorially:

Moscow-based forces behind standoff in Armenia

(Correspondent) Political consultations have been interrupted and
the confrontation between the opposition and the authorities is
continuing. What is your assessment of the situation?

(Gurgen Arsenyan) There is the logic of political activities in the
context of time and space, and therefore, it should be in line with
them: challenging the results of the presidential elections would have
been relevant a year ago, however, a year later, it is illogical and
ill-timed. Quite specific foreign forces are behind the aggravation of
the domestic situation. This assessment is based on serious analytical
reports that clearly show the presence of interested forces which
are concentrated in Moscow and finance the developments in Armenia
from there. The actions of those forces have nothing to do with the
official position of the Russian state.

The opposition’s aim, and namely, challenging the results of the
presidential campaign is not supported by the public. This is proved
by the stable number (a kind of constant unit) of participants in
street protest actions, i.e. those actions have not detonated public
dissatisfaction. Proceeding from this, the opposition is compelled
to look for a way out of the current situation, for such a method
of activity might lead to failure to honour the recommendations
contained in the PACE (Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe)
resolution, and as a result, to possible sanctions against our country
for failing to honour its commitments to the Council of Europe in
the form of suspending the mandate of the Armenian delegation in the
Council of Europe.

(Correspondent) Perhaps, this is what the opposition is trying to
achieve according to the principle – the worse, the better?

(Arsenyan) The talk is about the sanctions that will not be applied
against the authorities, but against the state, and given such an
outcome, we will only have to state the victory of the third force
which is deliberately promoting the development of the situation in
the described direction.

(Correspondent) If you have serious facts about the interference of
a third force in the domestic affairs of our country, why don’t you
make them public?

(Arsenyan) We keep to the opinion that appropriate state structures,
which are in charge of maintaining the country’s security and foiling
any attempts to interfere in our internal affairs, should deal with
this issue, demonstrating to our friends and enemies that Armenia
cannot be ruled from a distance, which works with regard to countries
called banana republics. I do not think that our colleagues from the
opposition are participating in this processes consciously.

(Correspondent) It turns out that you think that you can get financial
inflows from abroad and not realize why you are getting paid?

(Arsenyan) This is not new: you can finance people, without revealing
your genuine aims, for example, by pretending that you hold the same
views as them. People, to put it figuratively, can be used in the
dark. We believe that this is the case with the opposition.

(Correspondent) I suppose that speaking about the presence of a third
force in the confrontation between the opposition and the authorities,
which is still not known, as the president said, he was talking about
the same force as you?

(Arsenyan) I suppose that the president is aware even of its name.

(Correspondent) Nevertheless, the opposition is not planning to give
up on street protest actions, probably realizing that it is impossible
to come to power in the country in this way.

(Arsenyan) Raising its voice in defence of their demands, the
opposition is talking only about its rights, whereas apart from their
rights, the opposition is also obliged to criticize and oversee the
activities of the authorities, and the opposition “successfully”
neglects the functions that voters have given it.

(Passage omitted: Quoting a Russian writer; the Baltic states are
members of the EU)

Karabakh conflict settlement

(Correspondent) Do you share the forecasts that the Karabakh settlement
process may enter a decisive stage in 2004?

(Arsenyan) We believe that this stage is approaching, and the external
forces we mentioned above, destabilizing the situation in Armenia,
aim to exert influence on this process. However, the prerogative
in the cause of settling the conflict belongs to the authorities of
Armenia and the Nagornyy Karabakh Republic (NKR) and to the Armenian
people, not to our compatriots in Moscow who are trying to interfere
and weaken Armenia’s position in the settlement process in order
to join in the process with the aim of big financial gain. This is
a commercial project which is being implemented from abroad and is
connected both to the settlement process and regional communications,
as well as to other important factors.

As for our stance on the conflict, we proceed from the situation
that Armenia is not a side to the conflict and should not discuss
issues concerning the fate of the Karabakh people, but only issues of
guaranteeing the rights and security of the NKR people. In our opinion,
the sides to the conflict should be Azerbaijan and Karabakh. Armenia
should not have a territorial dispute with Azerbaijan, except for
Artsvashen (the village of Baskand in Gadabay District) which has
been occupied by Azerbaijan. We believe that agreements and security
guarantees should be hammered out through negotiations between the
Azerbaijani and NKR authorities, and those guarantees should satisfy
the people and the authorities of the NKR.

(Passage omitted: Arsenyan will not stand in the next presidential