The Armenian Opposition Always Bets On The Revolution


5 February 2013 – 9:12am
Interview by Susanna Petrosyan, Yerevan. Exclusively to Vestnik Kavkaza

On February 18th Armenia will hold the presidential elections.

Political scientist Alexander Iskandaryan analyzes them in the
interview with Vestnik Kavkaza.

– How can the coming elections influence the balance of
forces in politics? For example, will importance of oligarchs improve
or weaken?

– A president who is elected confidently, who consolidates
elites will be freer. The political essence is that he will do what is
beneficial for presidential power, and it means consolidation of the
political elite and society and deoligarchisaztion. The central power
cannot like influence of tycoons on policy. A confident central power
doesn’t want major business to influence its decisions. I don’t mean
economic decisions. I believe that business’s influence on appointment
of officials, including ministers and ambassadors, will weaken.

– Some experts are indignant with the situation in internal
politics. According to them, previously an active struggle against
falsification took place, but now the situation is different. Do you
agree with this view?

– I don’t think falsification was the most serious problem of
the last election campaigns. Participants spent huge sums on voters’
bribes, construction of various roads, attraction of important people
in regions, PR. Dozens of millions were spent. If falsifications are
possible at the level of pushing a button in the Central Election
Committee, why should they spend millions? The main instrument of
elections in Armenia is not falsifications, but attraction of voters
by various means. All ideological forces failed in the parliamentary
elections of 2012: Dashnaktsutyun and the ANC gained fewer votes than
in the previous elections. For example, the leader of the ANC got
21.5% in the presidential elections of 2008, but in the parliamentary
elections his party gained only 7%. The similar situation is with
Dashnaktsutyun. At the same time, non-ideological political forces –
the RPA and Prosperous Armenia – achieved better results.

Instruments of ideological forces are a word, image, charisma,
ideology, i.e. the struggle in a public sphere; while the RPA and
Prosperous Armenia construct roads, present gifts, and use
administrative resources. The RPA and PA cover the whole territory of
the country due to their resources among serious businessmen from this
or that regions, who are able to talk to heads of village
administrations and governors.

The Armenian opposition always bets on the revolution. As if they
change the country in three months, and happiness will come. It is
ridiculous. It would be nice if it stays in the past. We are living in
the Latin American political environment which requires a quick
victory and coming absolute happiness. But establishing of any
political force means daily hard working.

– In what situation will the ANC and Prosperous Armenia find
themselves after the elections?

– I am afraid the ANC will lose this campaign. As for PA, I
believe it will fail and has already failed because Gagik Tsarukyan
doesn’t participate in the elections. Probably his reasons for this
are based on a businessman’s logic. Participation in the elections
requires huge expenses which should be paid off, according to a
businessman’s logic.

A politician’s logic is different. It requires a struggle not for a
business-capital, but for popularity, attraction of electorate,
building political power, and forming an image.

Perhaps Tsarukyan analyzed the situation and concluded that a
possibility of his victory is small, i.e. the spent resources will be
in vain. Today Armenia has no developed opposition which is ready to
struggle for being a serious rival to President. This is the main
problem of the opposition.

– Do you think “the elite revolution” or “the revolution of
generations’ changing” is taking place? What do you think about
prospects of establishing new political elite in Armenia?

– Transformation is taking place in social conscience.

However, it is a long process and people are changing during it. There
is no “elite revolution.” There were many such revolutions in Armenia,
at the moment we witness the fourth stage. The first elite revolution
took place in 1988-1991 and was marked by revolutionary intelligent
people in power: the committee “Karabakh” and its environment. In
1994-1998 intelligent people were replaced by veterans of the Karabakh
war. The brightest episode of the process was resignation of Levon
Ter-Petrosyan and Robert Kocharyan’s presidency. The third stage of
elite’s changing (2003-2009) is oligarchization. Sometimes veterans of
the Karabakh war and oligarchs were the same people. The current elite
moves from business elite to technocratic elite. But no change of
generations has taken place yet.

From: A. Papazian

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