“Troika” Discredited by RoA Govt.

Is There Room for True Opposition?

Robert Aydabirian, Paris, 24 February 2015

The shameful way in which the board of the Republican Party and its president insulted Gagik Tzaroukian on 5th February, the leader of the Troika (the three-party opposition coalition), by ordering him to leave the political realm and threatening him with a tax investigation, speaks volumes about the ruling party’s attitude towards democracy.

A demonstration scheduled by the opposition for 20th February 2014 was initially banned by the municipality and subsequently cancelled by Tzaroukian following a meeting with Serzh Sargsyan,  leaving Armenians both disappointed and frustrated once again in the face of blackmail and cowardice. Close circles of the Kremlin and the Russian press had indeed demonized the demonstration as the umpteenth rally in Opera Square, presenting it as a prelude to an Armenian Maidan.

Is There Room for True Opposition?

Robert Aydabirian, Paris, 24 February 2015

The shameful way in which the board of the Republican Party and its president insulted Gagik Tzaroukian on 5th February, the leader of the Troika (the three-party opposition coalition), by ordering him to leave the political realm and threatening him with a tax investigation, speaks volumes about the ruling party’s attitude towards democracy.

A demonstration scheduled by the opposition for 20th February 2014 was initially banned by the municipality and subsequently cancelled by Tzaroukian following a meeting with Serzh Sargsyan,  leaving Armenians both disappointed and frustrated once again in the face of blackmail and cowardice. Close circles of the Kremlin and the Russian press had indeed demonized the demonstration as the umpteenth rally in Opera Square, presenting it as a prelude to an Armenian Maidan.

The Crisis is Growing

In recent months, the country has witnessed several factors:
– An increase in police violence against activists from various movements including the Founding Parliament movement,  and parties such as the Armenian National Congress (ANC) and the Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP) in Berdzor and Yerevan
– An overall rise in social discontent, in particular that of the workers of Naïrite who have not been paid for 18 months and face the looming prospect of losing their jobs
– The exasperation of the inhabitants of Gyumri as they witnessed the blatant lack of judiciary power concerning the case of the slaughter of an entire family by a Russian soldier
– The growing discontent of small traders and entrepreneurs.

All this led to a scathing retaliation by the head of the Troika on 13th February, who responded to Sargsyan’s provocation by highlighting ten major malfunctions of the State and demanding (in vain) to hold early parliamentary and presidential elections.

Excluding any idea of power sharing or the formation of a national salvation  government, the ruling power’s hegemonic behavior and inquisitive nature instead purport to the ominous period of the Stalinist regime. The worst is to be expected from the private militias who, with the support of the internal security services and the reign of a passive justice system, will increase their actions to repress and eliminate the most active and courageous members of Armenian civil society.

The economic crisis became further pronounced in December 2014 with the fall in the value of the rouble and oil, which led to a decrease in subsidies from migrant workers in Russia, the fall of the Dram and a dramatic rise in prices.   The population is turning more and more towards bank credit, at a minimum rate of 20%. The banking system is showing signs of weakening, while imports account for 2/3 of a trade balance that is in jeopardy.  Even in the very centre of Yerevan, shops have been closing and employees have been dismissed.

In anticipation of a national revival

Time is now Armenia’s as well as its reigning power’s arch enemy. To wait for the 2018 elections and imagine that they will run smoothly and will allow a change of government policy and shuffling seems both illusory and dangerous to those who are concerned about the disintegration of the country, the worsening social climate and the continued mass emigration.

So how will the national revival that is so essential to the survival of the Armenian Republic arise?  A national revival that is so essential in securing its independent status within the international community, as well as the historic homeland of Armenians worldwide.  Will it be sparked from within the government, from the parliamentary opposition, from civil society or the military? The first two having already lost their credibility, some will perhaps turn to the latter two. In principle, the army is the last resort for the protection of the homeland and its people.

Let us remember the historic Battle of Sardarabad when the population, framed by the fedayis and other experienced officers, repelled the last Turkish attack in 1918 and brought forth the birth of the first Armenian Republic.

What moral support can we expect from the Diaspora who are involved in the centenary celebrations? Will they finally look at the fate of their people as it is today, without being misled by statements of complacency?

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