Armenia Facing ‘Elite Factions’ Confrontation – American Expert
Azerbaijan, Baku, 6 March / Trend corr A. Gasimova/ American expert Jeff Mankoff said the real dividein Armenia seems to be between different factions of the elite rather than between different ideas of how the state should develop. "In the long run, the Armenian government faces a lot of same pressures that led to coloured revolutions elsewhere (poverty, poor governance, corruption), but for now the real divide seems to be between different factions of the elite rather than between different ideas of how the state should develop," Jeff Mankoff, a fellow at the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University and a writer for the History News Service told Trend via e-mail on 6 March.
After violent suppression of the demonstration, many oppositionists were arrested, and their fate is still unknown.
According to Mankoff, the opposition's refusal to recognize the results of an election, which was largely endorsed by international observers, was an irresponsible step. "Democratic government only works if the losers accept their loss, but are also guaranteed the opportunity to try again in the next election. In Armenia, the government made the situation worse by using force against largely peaceful protesters and arresting members of the opposition," he said.
"The chances are less since Baghdasarian agreed to join the government," he said. Bagdasarian is the leader of the Orinats Erkir party. On 29 February, he agreed to the authorities' call to establish a coalition government and was appointed the National Defence Secretary.
"For that reason, a revolution in Armenia could look more like what happened in Kyrgyzstan than what happened in Ukraine or Georgia".
On 19 February, Armenia held presidential elections. According to the final results of the Armenian Central Election Commission, Serzh Sargsyan, the head of the Republican Party, won the elections with 52.82% of votes (862,369). The ex-President Levon Ter-Petrosyan took the second place (21.5%).
Since 20 February, Yerevan has been facing demonstrations, rally-marches, as well as sitting student protests organized by the opposition. The organizers and participants protest against the results of the elections. According to the Armenian Health Ministry, the number of the victims of riots, which took place in Yerevan on 1 March, has totalled 131, and 8 of them died from gunshot wounds.