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Success of Armenia's foreign policy not to solve problems of democracy and authoritarian rule in country: ACNIS director

Politics Materials 14 October 2009 15:41 (UTC +04:00)
Director of the Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) Richard Giragosian, especially for Trend News.
Success of Armenia's foreign policy not to solve problems of democracy and authoritarian rule in country: ACNIS director

Director of the Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) Richard Giragosian, especially for Trend .

The recent progress in Turkish-Armenian diplomacy, culminating in the recent signing of the two protocols between the two countries, has already triggered an intense reaction in domestic politics within Armenia. This reaction has been expressed on two levels.

First, as manifested through a significant division between the global Armenian diaspora and the Armenian government. And second, marked by a widening divide between the Armenian authorities and the country's political opposition parties, led by two very different groups: the opposition united around former Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrosian and a tactical alliance between the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), or "Dashnak" party, and the "Heritage" party, which stands as the only opposition party represented in the Armenian parliament, led by former Foreign Minister Raffi Hovannisian.

These divisions have already occurred and were merely bolstered by the signing of the protocols. 

The outlook for any possible "change of leadership" within Armenia depends on a very different set of variables. Although the external factors of the normalization effort with Turkey and the outcome of the protocols play an important role in determining the future of the current Armenian government, these issues serve more as secondary pressures, as the real test is strictly internal in nature.

The Armenian government of President Serzh Sargsyan has largely been driven by a need or even a sense of "desperation" for a success in foreign policy, to both endow it with a greater sense of legitimacy and to distract scrutiny away from domestic deficiencies in democratization. 

This is due to the impact of Armenia's post-election crisis of last year, which remains unresolved and that has made this particular Armenian government more unpopular and much less legitimate than any previous Armenian government. 

Thus, no matter what happens with Turkey, the real test for the future of the leadership will be in dealing with the unresolved demands for change and reform form the general population. And this also means that even in the "best case" scenario, assuming a complete "diplomatic victory" by Armenia in terms of forging new relations with Turkey, such "success" will do little to solve the underlying problems and shortcomings in the lack of democracy and authoritarian rule within Armenia.

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