Yerevan / 11.02.19 / Turan: More and more Armenian citizens are inclined to believe that the future of the country is linked to Western values with Europe. Just the rapprochement with Western civilization that most of all corresponds to the economic, political and cultural needs of Armenia. The co-chairman of the European Party of Armenia, film director Tigran Khzmalyan said this in an interview with Turan.
What then is the reason that a significant part of the citizens of Armenia consider it necessary to focus on Russia, and not on the West? Khzmalyan answered that according to the latest polls in Armenia, 87% of respondents were in favor of deepening ties and relations with the European Union. "Therefore, one should be careful in stating that the majority of Armenians are in favor of an alliance with Russia. I personally think that Armenia is not just under Russian influence, but under Russian occupation since November 29, 1921," he said.
The European Party of Armenia proceeds from the fact that Armenia remains an occupied territory, with limited sovereignty and the main task of the political elite and the whole society in restoring national sovereignty, Khzmalyan said.
When asked how Armenia"s relations with Russia should be built, he said, "We are not allies and partners of Putin"s Russia. This country once again departs from the European vector of development. We see how this country self-isolates from the world and pulls along behind those countries and peoples that are in political and economic dependence on it. Moreover, Russia is pursuing an open colonization policy.
It is enough to say that practically the entire economy of Armenia, its energy sector, the financial and banking sector, the railway, aviation, communications, communications, as well as the security system and much more, are under the complete control of Russia. Under these conditions, it is absurd to talk about sovereignty," Khzmalyan says.
During the four months of its existence, the European Party of Armenia brings this position to the public of the country, as well as to the Russian Embassy. "We are categorically against the stay in Armenia of the Russian military base and the forces of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation," our interlocutor notes.
Let us assume that the Armenian government will raise the issue of withdrawing the Russian base from Gyumri, and revising relations with Russia, do they not fear in Yerevan that the fate of Georgia and Ukraine will repeat?
Khzmalyan answers that Armenia and Azerbaijan have already been through this. "It began with us in 1988: destabilization in the region, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the 4-year war in Karabakh, the transfer of huge masses of people from Armenia to Azerbaijan and vice versa. That is all that we may fear already. Therefore, it should not be afraid," said Khzmalyan. What will happen if Moscow supports Baku in the Karabakh conflict in order to punish Armenia?
This question surprises Khzmalyan, who replies that Moscow, in fact, supports only its own interests. "In this case, Armenia and Azerbaijan are instruments for holding Russian interests. Something similar happened already during the April 2016 war. In our opinion, this operation was coordinated by the General Staff and the military-political leadership of Russia. If you look at the map, it is easy to see that the strikes were carried out in the north and south of Karabakh – in the immediate vicinity of the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline and near the Iranian border. By the time these events coincide with the activation in Syria. Moscow"s local interests are clear – control over oil and gas flows. Then, Serzh Sargsyan was required to do one thing – to call for help from the Russian peacekeepers, which he refused to do. On April 5, one day after the signing of the truce, Sargsyan flew not to Moscow, but to Berlin, where he made a sensational statement, which few people noticed. He said that from now on Armenia has no political patrons," said Khzmalyan, who regards this statement as stating that from now on Armenia cannot maintain allied relations with Russia.
According to him, the consent of Armenia and Azerbaijan to bring peacekeepers to the conflict region will allow Moscow to control not only Azerbaijani oil and gas routes, but also possible transportation of hydrocarbons to the West from Iran, Syria and other regions. However, neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan agreed to such a proposal, preferring a fragile truce.
At the same time, Khzmalyan did not rule out the likelihood of punishing Armenia with the hands of Azerbaijan, although he believes that the Armenian side is well prepared to repel the attack.
"This well-prepared operation did not lead to any strategic changes. On the contrary, the reaction of our society was very interesting when the masses of volunteers went to the front. In society, even 25 years later, a consensus remained on this issue. Therefore, we do not exclude such an option, but we are not afraid of it," says Khzmalyan.
What will be if Russia raises the price of gas from $ 165 to $ 200-250? Khzmalyan says that the real price for gas today is already 300 dollars. "Up to the border of Armenia, the gas comes for $ 165, and then transferred to 100% of the Russian structure of Rosarmgazprom, which sells it to consumers at a different price. For ordinary consumers, this price is $ 300 per thousand cubic meters. That is, in fact, Russia sells gas to us very expensive, more expensive than, for example, Ukraine," Khzmalyan says.
He sees a way out of the situation in gas purchases from neighboring Iran. "Why drag oil and gas over three thousand kilometers, when less than 300 km. from Yerevan there is a reliable partner – Iraq, which supplies gas at a much cheaper price – $ 100. It is noteworthy that even this pipe, through which gas comes from Iran, belongs to Gazprom. However, in the case of force majeure, no one and no one will prevent Armenia from breaking this enslaving contract, "our interlocutor believes.
What will happen if the Armenian citizens will not be able to live and work under the conditions created by Russia, and will be forced to return? Khzmalyan said on this question that he does not exclude the possibility that Russia will blackmail Armenia with this issue. During the war with Georgia in 2008, hundreds of thousands of Georgians experienced similar pressure in Russia. Therefore, we should not allow people to become hostages of this situation. "Russia is experiencing a serious economic crisis, is under strong sanctions, earnings there are falling and Russia has been able to, like the Soviet Union on the eve of the collapse.
Oil prices are controlled by the United States, which has turned from a buyer into a major seller of hydrocarbons. On the other hand, the events in Venezuela will lead to the fact that this country will also cease to be an ally of Russia and fall under the influence of the West. Therefore, countries relying only on oil will soon find themselves in a difficult situation.
In addition to reducing the price of oil, the United States is starting a new arms race, which the Russian economy will simply not survive. "Therefore, our compatriots either themselves will guess that they should return, or the Russian authorities will explain this to them by their repressions. However, the return of a million or one and a half million for Armenia is not a disaster, but even very good. This is a painful question, but in no case should it influence the choice of sovereignty," Khzmalyan stressed.
Threat and blackmail can achieve the goal for a short time. However, to build long-term politics on blackmail is impossible. "The younger generation of Armenia will never agree with this, they do not want to live in a slave position. No matter what the great powers do, we must get out of this colonial dependence, from those structures that preserve it – this is the CSTO and EurAsEC, frankly hostile to us and in parallel to develop cooperation with Europe.
If we briefly describe our program, then it is:
1) Armexit – Armenia"s withdrawal from Eurasia and the CSTO;
2) Armenter – Armenia"s entrance to the European Union and NATO;
3) Renovation – European integration with infrastructure and legislative changes in the political field based on European standards. These are our strategic objectives and our generation is obliged to do this," says Khzmalyan.
How can Armenia survive without Russia in the presence of a conflict with Azerbaijan and a closed border with Turkey? Our interlocutor answered this question; it will help the example of Georgia.
After the rapprochement of Georgia with the European Union, its citizens were able to move freely and live in Europe. The Armenians of Georgia took advantage of this and this significantly reduced tensions in Javakheti (Armenian-populated region of Georgia – ed.) The question disappeared when one of the countries found itself in another civilization field, in this case, European. Armenians appreciated the value of the Georgian passport and the interethnic conflict, fueled by Russia in this region, has disappeared.
How should the conflict with Azerbaijan be resolved? To this, Khzmalyan replies that this requires a direct dialogue between sovereign and democratic countries. "If this is not the case, then we can only talk about a truce, and not a long-term peace. As for Armenia, it should become independent, freed from occupation and colonial pressure. Only after this negotiations will be worth something. Now you are talking not with Yerevan, but with Moscow, and everything happens with full control and dictate of Russia," Khzmalyan says.
If we talk about principles, then the world should be based on universal human values, on respect for the rights and freedoms of the individual. "I think that our two nations, having millennial neighbors, will find a solution acceptable to our peoples and states," says Khzmalyan.
On the question of whether he represents Nagorno-Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan, he says a categorical "no."
"There is a common opinion in the Armenian society. Moreover, any government that accepts such an opinion will not last 24 hours in power, including the current one," the leader of the European Party of Armenia stressed. -02B-