We have had a Green Revolution……then there was a Red Revolution when the communists came to power…..an Orange Revolution…..a Yellow Revolution…..and the list goes on…..then there was the Velvet Revolution…..
Armenia is in that region that once wrote about as the possible linch pin to start another global upheaval….the region between the two seas…..
It took less than two weeks of protests for Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan, the former two-term president who had previously said he would not take the premiership, to step down from the position. The leader of the protests last week called it a “velvet revolution,” a reference to the pro-democracy color revolutions of the early 2000s that swept the former Soviet Union and the Balkans. But this was no color revolution. The color revolutions pulled states out of Russia’s orbit. Armenia, however, has nowhere else to go.
In the color revolutions of the past, the West offered indirect support to the protesters through vehicles like nongovernmental organizations. Yet there is no overt evidence that the United States or any European countries directly funded or otherwise materially supported the Armenian protests. In fact, no Western government even made statements criticizing Sargsyan or his government. A few Western-funded NGOs went so far as to sign a petition in support of the protests, but this hardly suggests that a dramatic political transformation is imminent.
This region gets very little attention…..and has some of the most volatile situations in global politics…..situations that can easily transgress into a shooting war at the drop of a hat…
And then there is another look at the situation in Armenia…..
When opposition Member of Parliament Nikol Pashinyan led a knot of marchers through northern Armenia in April to protest the return to power of long-serving leader Serzh Sargsyan, no one guessed his campaign would prompt the country to take a leap into the unknown.
One of a mere handful of opposition parliamentarians, Pashinyan has never been a popular leader in this country of three million people. His criticism of the government resonated with those parts of society that oppose Sargsyan and reflected real problems. But when he set out on his march, the former journalist and publicist was a marginal figure.
IST tries to keep its finger on the pulse of the region…well as best it can without access to classified info…..
But could Russia intervene in Armenia?
The resignation of Armenia’s Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan after more than a week of mass protests in Russia’s backyard begs the question: Why has Moscow not intervened?
The demonstrators bring to mind “color revolutions” in the post-Soviet neighborhood that the Kremlin seems to abhor, like in Georgia and Ukraine. But even genuine revolutions, which Armenia has not yet seen, are not enough in and of themselves to prompt Russia to intervene.
An Armenian end run did not succeed……
Armenia’s former president and just appointed prime minister, Serzh Sargsyan, resigned Monday after a 10-day campaign of nationwide protest and civil disobedience. Protests began as soon as Sargsyan announced 11 April that he would, after previously stating otherwise, seek the ruling Republican Party’s nomination to the newly created post of prime minister.
By doing so, he laid to rest any lingering doubt about the reasons for Armenia’s switch to a parliamentary system. Introduced through a contested constitutional referendum in December 2015, the new system came online just as Sargsyan’s second, and by law final, presidential term ended. Executive powers now lie with the prime minister, and the president is relegated to a largely ceremonial role.
This situation is why I enjoy being a foreign policy wonk…..stuff like all this is just fascinating….
IST will keep looking for the rest of this story…..