From the dock to the elections: plans of the ex-President of Armenia Robert Kocharian

JAM News
April 7 2021
    JAMnews, Yerevan

A court in Armenia has acquitted ex-President of Armenia Robert Kocharian, accused of overthrowing the constitutional order.

The acquittal comes on the eve of the upcoming early elections in the country, in which the former president intends not only to participate, but also to win. He stated this in an interview with Vladimir Pozner on the air of the Russian First Channel.

Kocharian also emphasized his pro-Russian orientation and warned of anti-Russian sentiments in the country. He spoke about his attitude towards the current authorities, presented his vision of the solution to the Karabakh problem, and also spoke about the Turkish threat to Armenia. The former president spoke here about his achievements and strengths, but did not agree to reveal his weaknesses.

Armenian political analysts believe that the addressee of all the messages of Kocharian’s interview is official Moscow, and not the Armenian electorate.

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The Yerevan court no longer considers former Armenian President Robert Kocharian guilty of overthrowing the constitutional order. Judge Anna Danibekyan acquitted the ex-president under the article on overthrowing the constitutional order. The fact is that earlier the Constitutional Court of Armenia recognized article 300.1 of the Criminal Code, according to which he was charged, as unconstitutional.

We are talking about the events of March 1, 2008, when 10 people were killed during the dispersal of a demonstration who did not agree with the results of the presidential elections.

Robert Kocharian’s defense demanded a public apology from the prosecution, but the court rejected this petition. The measure of restraint for the second president also remains in force – a recognizance not to leave the place.

Return to big politics

The day before the court’s decision, Robert Kocharian gave a long interview to Vladimir Pozner and announced that he would head the bloc of parties in the early parliamentary elections upcoming in June.

He is confident in his victory and is proud that many parties would like to enter into an election alliance with him, but he is still negotiating with two political forces. At the same time, Kocharian did not specify with which specific parties he would create a bloc to participate in the elections.

The ex-president stated that he strives for power because he does not see anyone who could correct the current situation in Armenia. But he can. In confirmation, he said that in the past he managed to get the country out of a critical situation twice.

It was once in Nagorno-Karabakh, when 50% of the territory was lost during the war:

“After I became the first person, we not only returned these territories, but also created a security belt with an area twice the territory of NKAO.”

For the second time, Kocharian, in his own words, coped with the economic and internal political crisis in Armenia in 1998. He cited economic growth figures: over the 10 years of his leadership, Armenia’s GDP increased 6 times, and the budget – 8 times.

“Impressive?” – after this listing Kocharian asked Pozner.

For the elections – with a pro-Russian orientation

“I have never hidden my attitude towards Russia. Much has been done during my presidency to strengthen these ties. I have never tried to play on all shades and on all fronts, ”Kocharian said during an interview.

He said that he did not meet with Putin on this visit to Moscow, but discussed something.

Kocharian spoke about anti-Russian sentiments in Armenia after losing the Karabakh war:

“The so-called Soros cohort, non-governmental organizations that consider themselves globalists, are very active in Armenia. The foundation of our identity is being eroded. They want to convince us that it is necessary to change the vector, orientation ”.

However, the ex-president believes that it was not Russia that provoked this war; it did everything possible to stop it. And if not for the active intervention of the President of the Russian Federation, then all Karabakh, according to Kocharian, could come under the control of Azerbaijan.

Karabakh can be returned, but without revenge

“All is not lost, there is an opportunity to discuss the return of the territories included in the NKAO. As for the discussions on the status, it will be very difficult, but there are prospects here too, ”Kocharian said.

When he comes to power, he will not think about revenge. The Armenian army, in his opinion, is now in such a situation that any sober-minded person would not think of revenge:

“However, a world that is too unfair cannot last forever. If we want to put an end to the conflict, we need to find a solution that will be perceived from the point of view of justice. “

Turkish threat to Armenia

According to Kocharian, the greatest threat to Armenia comes from Turkey. And this threat is existential, historical:

“Turks are perceived by Armenians as a threat, and we are perceived by Turks as a threat. This explains the closed border, the absence of diplomatic relations. If the borders are opened, Turkey will try to do the same in Armenia as in Adjara – in terms of its presence in business and economy.

This, among other things, is connected with the historically formed orientation of Armenia towards Russia, which annoys not only Turkey, but also the Americans. “

All the blame is on the current government

According to Kocharian, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan bears personal responsibility for the war in Karabakh and the defeat:

  • he put forward incomprehensible demands and nullified the negotiations that had been going on since 1992,
  • demanded the participation of Karabakh in the negotiation process,
  • stated that “Artsakh is Armenia, period.”

As Kocharian said, this created the impression that the Armenian side was leaving substantive negotiations; Pashinyan did not understand that in this way he was provoking the enemy.

About himself

To the traditional questions of Posner at the end of the program about his personality, Kocharyan replied that he considers his career to be his main achievement. He stated that he values friendship, never forgives betrayal and values loyalty, his main strength is decisiveness.

When asked about his weakness, Kocharian refused to answer in order “not to please his enemies.”

Expert about Robert Kocharian’s interview

Armen Vardanyan, political scientist:

“I think Robert Kocharian once again seized the opportunity to show his loyalty to Russia on the eve of the elections and enlist the support of the Kremlin.

During the interview, he promised Putin several times that if he comes to power, he will be loyal to him, and Armenia will not strive to the West. I think the main addressee of his message is official Moscow and not the Armenian electorate. “

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