Director of the Armenian Center for National and Strategic Studies Manvel Sargsyan in an interview with ArmInfo comments on the latest developments in Yerevan. Speaks about the prospects of the struggle of the movement "Take a step, reject Serzh." He shares his own vision of resolving the situation on the basis of the world experience of classical revolutions and the people's struggle against authoritarian regimes.
Is that what we see today in the streets of Yerevan, an evidence of the society's awareness of ways out of the internal political situation in Armenia, which we have repeatedly spoken over in previous interviews?
On the streets of Yerevan, there is a protest action based on the technology of peaceful civil disobedience. Protesters do this quite rightly in a peaceful, acceptable manner, which they are allowed by all the Constitutions of the world. The action is gaining momentum, quite rightly taking note of the methods and results of the first such action in Armenia to protect against the cutting down of Mashtots Park in 2012. And today we are witnessing a gradual recognition of the vision of political struggle in Armenia. In the case of the current movement, the political problem has been raised for the first time, and its agenda is of a purely national nature and significance. This movement "Take a step, turn down Serzhu" is fundamentally different from all other civil actions in Armenia. The scale of youth participation in these actions is also noteworthy. All this we see on the surface. The rest is connected with the way this struggle is organized. Practically all theoreticians and practitioners of revolutions in different countries in the XX-XXI centuries point to one very important fact: people must understand that they are dealing with the frank struggle of an unarmed army. Unlike all other types of struggle, protest movements of this kind are associated exclusively with an unarmed army. Nevertheless, this unarmed army, as a rule, determines the target, the opponent, after which it is being suppressed.
In other words, it is the "absence of weapons" that is fundamentally important and is a kind of guarantee for the success of such actions?
Certainly. This fact completely disarms the authorities. World experience demonstrates that the use of force in such situations works against its generators, that is, the authorities. It is the use of force in such cases that leads to the collapse of the authorities. Usually the use of force leads to a decrease in the level of support of the authorities by parties, public organizations, etc. All of them gradually pass to the side of the people. The classical formula of victory lies in either neutrality or the transition of the police to the side of the people. And if the movement in Armenia manages to achieve this from the police, then it will inevitably fix the victory. I think that the cautious behavior of the police testifies to the full understanding of Serzh Sargsyan's entire subtlety of the situation. The authorities hope to somehow survive the couple of days remaining before Sargsyan's transition to the post of prime minister without violence, it is well understood that the use of force will increase the resistance wave tenfold and will reduce the support of the regime tenfold. That is, in this case, even if Sargsyan is appointed prime minister, he will not be able to work in this position.
Yes, but the authorities can provoke unarmed demonstrators to violence ...
This will not have any meaning at all. The whole question is precisely the awareness of the action , the understanding of the situation. Such movements are quietly experiencing repression, imprisonment and even executions. Why? Because in the end it all works for the movement, in its favor, of course, if it is correctly delivered. Accordingly, correctly put, to identify the problem is very important, which in the case of the current movement, I do not see. As a rule, movements of this kind begin with a clearly formulated ultimatum. After that it will be necessary to look already to whom it is addressed and, of course, to their reaction. So, the current protest movement in Armenia of such an ultimatum, intending to make an unemployed person from the street the prime minister, did not put the deputy corps in 60-70 people. It is these concrete people who call themselves deputies who will decide this issue, it is to them that they must write, on paper, the demand not to turn Serzh Sargsyan into a prime minister. And this requirement should detail the responsibility of each particular deputy in case of voting "for" Sargsyan before the nation.
That is, targeting, exact address of demands will increase the chances of a struggle for success?
Addressing is the root, the essence of such a struggle. Such a struggle always begins with a very specific charge and with an ultimatum to him or him. Then the struggle goes on, after which those who were presented with an ultimatum, as a rule, surrender. I can not say why this classic scenario is not implemented in Armenia. Perhaps he is not aware, perhaps people do not fully understand its importance until the end. Meanwhile, as the whole world has long been acting precisely by such methods. This is how, for example, the Chileans dealt with Pinochet, and the Poles with Jaruzelski.
And what about "Yerkir Tsirani"? Does it follow such methods in its rather strange, parallel struggle with the authorities?
There is no any struggle there absolutely. In Armenia, there is a persistent myth existing that links the success of the struggle for power with the unity of political forces. This is a very dangerous delusion. One person can lift a million people. 10 people - do not raise 10 people. Because people are raised not by one person, but by the correct formulation of the problem. From the rest of the "lifting" a little. And it's time to understand and accept this logic.
In other words, if now the same Zaruhi Postanjyan joins the "Make a step, reject Serzh" this not only won't add success chances to the protest action, but rather will hurt it?
I think that it will rather hurt. A lot of people do not perceive this power. Accordingly, they will simply leave the streets. That's why there should not be politicians in such movements, one speaker, nothing more. For example, the same Nikol Pashinyan. There must be a task. Therefore, the weakness of the current movement in its absence, the absence of an ultimatum, or, more precisely, of its specific recipients. The key to the success of such a movement is in creating a situation that the authorities cannot solve. In this case, a clearly delimited ultimatum, accompanied by a competent blocking of streets and facilities, will lead to a momentary transition to the side of the people of public and political forces, after which the police will do it. And everything will collapse before our very eyes. All over the world it was like this, even in countries where the authorities managed to bring an army into the city.
Do not you find it strange that Pashinyan in the street fight is not supported even by the partners of the "Elk" bloc?
It would be strange if they supported him. There are struggling and to climb into this struggle these people - the "opposition" does not want. Opposition activity in Armenia for years was limited to bargaining for the clientele represented by the opposition with the authorities. Do you expect that these customers will go over to the people today?
Yes, but one of these clients is Pashinyan himself, who quietly took the deputy's mandate, and today he is part of the struggle against the authorities. And this causes unavoidable questions ...
Many people ask such questions today. Therefore, it is necessary to judge not by his words, but only by actions. For example, I am most worried about the absence of an ultimatum, although in Pashinyan's team, I'm sure there are people perfectly aware of the role of the ultimatum. Therefore, here you begin to think about many things. What kind of popular movement is there in which there is no addressee of demands? At whom and what does it require? In 1988, the people of the addressee knew the requirements. And directly called to account nomenclature deputies, and by name. What it all ended, we all know.
The idea of Serzh Sargsyan to appoint himself as prime minister has essentially crushed the democratic screen behind which the essence of the Armenian power hides. And this has already been reflected in the reports of international organizations, especially regarding the restriction of the freedom of the Armenian media. You do not admit that one of the goals that prompts the authorities to tolerate for the time being Pashinyan's rebellion is the desire to somehow patch up this screen?
You can allow a lot, because over the past decades in Armenia one could see anything . Therefore, we should only care about the result. The result is in the form of preventing the appointment of the prime minister by the party. There will not be this result, feel free to admit anything, it will not be of any importance.
Your versions of possible scenarios of movement under existing conditions: without an ultimatum and with Nikol Pashinyan?
Existing conditions already contain a negative scenario, contain rudiments of failure. Regardless of everything else. Version two: self-seekers simply can run away. What is weak is the camp of authoritarian regimes before the people, so this is a 100% contingent of self-seekers. Such power at the same time keeps on being self-indulgent and disintegrates from the same.
Self-seekers can simply misestimate the situation?
Of course. Today only one deputy, Armen Rustamyan, came to the parliament to discuss the current situation, all the others have already hid. And this is in conditions when they are still not threatened, when they have not even received an ultimatum. Can you imagine what would happen if you got it?
But Serzh Sargsyan understands the situation. And this, by the way, is already expressed in attempts to disperse the "unarmed army" ...
And what's left for him? He must scare them in every possible way ,with the army, with Putin, with something else, demanding from the deputy corps complete obedience to the vote on the assertion of himself as prime minister. I'm sure that he's just worried about this now. And only this he does. And the lack of an ultimatum to this very corps Sargsyan's task makes it much easier. There would be an ultimatum they would instantly bring him to his table and demand clear guarantees of their own immunity. Especially in conditions when in the ultimatum those would already be contained. Rationality is always a victory. There was not a single case in history when a rationally thinking people would not have won. Never any police will not protect 70 self-seekers forever, it can protect them 3-4 days, 10 days, and then the end comes. Therefore, the police should also conduct bona fide work. By the way, the police line has already clearly defined the line - "policemen are our friends, not enemies", it's a pity there are no lectures.
Your pledge to the success of the "Make a step, reject Serzh" movement?
A clearly addressed ultimatum, accompanied by individual, explanatory work with 70 deputies in their offices. If someone else interferes, someone else needs to do an individual job with him. And no provocations of power will not help it, in this case everything will work against it. Even the intervention of external forces will not change the situation. Well, Russia will intervene, troops will enter Armenia, but one day, under the pressure of the people, the Russians will inevitably leave and will lose Armenia there definitively. A vivid example - how many years they tormented the Karabakh people, but then they left and finally lost Karabakh.
And how do you see the further domestic political scenario in the event that "Serge will still be refused"? You need to think about the next steps.
A group of young people from today's movement has already presented an excellent, clear program of state building. First, an interim prime minister will be appointed who will implement the new program on the basis of the most important normative, legislative acts that will be adopted by these today's "surrendered" parliamentarians. And only after all this the parliament will be dissolved and new elections will be held. Among these important acts, decapitalization, the demonopolization of power, the compulsory, very complex division of capital from politics, and, by the hands of the usurpers of power themselves. Oligarchs, monopolists for 10-15 years will be forced to pay a huge amount of money by the decision of the Supreme Court, receiving in return an amnesty, a guarantee of their own immunity. It will be necessary to adopt a new law "On parties" after which 65 out of 70 current Armenian parties will voluntarily disappear, and the rest will be re-registered. And the corresponding, excluding any pre-electoral fraud Election Code. And, of course, leading to the formation of a fully independent judiciary, the reform of the judicial system. Of course, this is not the work of one day, but it is quite possible. It is also necessary to legislate the right of the people to a referendum. The first referendum, by the way, is desirable to hold to find out the opinion of the society on all these plans. People are just beginning to understand all these things, and when I talked about it a year ago they looked at me almost like a madman. But there is only simple logic and nothing more.