Thursday, February 15 2018 18:32
David Stepanyan

Armen Martirosyan: SerzhSargsyan`s aspiration to play first fiddle deprives him of trusting even his closest team

Armen Martirosyan: SerzhSargsyan`s aspiration to play first fiddle deprives him of trusting even his closest team

The deputy chairman of the Heritage party, Armen Martirosyan, in an interview with ArmInfo comments on the recent domestic political processes in Armenia. He shares his vision of the role and functions of the future President of the country, justifies the desire of the incumbent president to become prime minister, comments on internal political processes in neighboring Azerbaijan.


On February 13, your party held a meeting with Armenian presidential candidate Armen Sargsyan. Would you share your impressions?

The discussion took place in a rather restless atmosphere, it was very rich and informative and mainly concerned the search for solutions to the existing problems in Armenia, which Sargsyan is well aware of, as well as the contradictions in the Constitution regarding the duties and rights of the President. Defining the President as head of state, the Constitution gives him the same responsibility for observing the letter of the law in the absence of legal and applied mechanisms at the disposal of the president for exercising such powers and duties. In other words, in terms of the powers and duties of the president and their fulfillment, there are constitutional contradictions.In  time, Armen Sargsyan was appointed prime minister with the aim of changing the situation in the country, which was unsuccessful. And I have insuperable doubts that it will succeed today, especially in the conditions of the existing system of governing the country. In this light, it seems to me that Armen Sargsyan could fulfill his duties and functions in the direction of changing the situation and realizing the real reforms much more efficiently, being in the armchair of the prime minister, not the president. Forecasting the vector of its future actions in the presence of a problematic system of government today is quite difficult, but the fact that for successful operation it will need public and international support unequivocally.


In your view, are the incumbent President SerzhSargsyan and the future President Armen Sargsyan in the same boat?

Starting from my own political experience, I can say that the declared and real intentions are usually very different. Therefore, I cannot answer your question. The fact that SerzhSargsyan does not follow the way of reforming the country is already obvious. Otherwise, there would not be political prisoners in Armenia, the electoral system would not be destroyed, the political field would be destroyed and cleaned and finally there would be no unlimited reproduction of authoritarian power after the second term. Armen Sargsyanis a person, by and large, extrasystem, he has not been caught dealing with internal political intrigues and therefore it is not possible to identify his concept with the concept of his predecessor.


A certain campaign has already been traced in the Armenian media with the aim of denigrating the person of Armen Sargsyan. What is the reason for such an order, given the declarative-ceremonial character that the power of the future President of Armenia will bear?

Unfortunately, 99% of the Armenian media, if not more, are in the hands of the authorities. And this situation has objective reasons. The lack of independent financing of the media through the receipt of funds within the placement of advertising leads, in essence,   to their financing from sole source with all the attendant consequences. Against this background, it is more than obvious that the black PR campaign against Armen Sargsyan is initiated and directed by the authorities. Similarly, at one time, information campaigns were launched against other persons who seemed to be part of the internal power system. In the case of Armen Sargsyan, this is done to prevent the emergence of his state of comfort. But even this is not capable of stopping it if Sargsyan has the desire to implement real changes in Armenia.


All the recent regulatory changes around working conditions and the main functions of the future Prime Minister allow us to state with a certain degree of accuracy  that Sere Sargsyan is flying to all the couples towards  the premier chair. Meanwhile, the reform of the Constitution implemented by its pass, at first glance, makes it possible to successfully lead the country from the chair of the "secretary general" of the Republican Party of Armenia, putting all responsibility on the Prime Minister appointed by the parliament. What do you think makes Sargsyan to be  the Prime Minister?

It's just a  simple Armenian reality. Having at hand the real mechanisms of power, the data of various oligarchs, the Prime Minister is able very quickly to make a palace revolution, to make steps capable of depriving the Secretary General of even being  the Secretary-General. For one single day in 1998, almost the entire "Armenian National Movement" party lost power, merged into the "Yerkrapah" entity, transforming subsequently into Republicans. And Serge Sargsyan,beingLevonTer-Petrosyan's staff person, perfectly saw how the rest of Ter-Petrosyan's staff removed him from power. SerzhSargsyan saw very well how Robert Kocharyan was removed from the power   by his own entourage. I'm not talking about abrupt changes in the political destinies of Tigran Sargsyan, HovikAbrahamyan, etc. Accordingly, Sargsyan's conclusions are very correct and logical - wanting to continue to be the first violin, he does not trust anyone, including his own inner circle. In the political field, of course, there are people who are able to adhere to the agreements reached. But, at least, in the power camp, the immediate surroundings of Sargsyan himself, such people are not visible.


Do you see any parallels and interrelations between the  postponement of presidential elections  in Azerbaijan to  April and the forthcoming intra-governmental reshuffle in Armenia with further projection on the solution of the Artsakh problem?

No, I do not think so. Our party fundamentally links Armenia's internal problems to security problems. For example, the return to Armenia of at least 30% of the $ 10 billion stolen and withdrawn from our country over the past decade, their use to strengthen the country's defense capacity would almost nullify the threat of a new Karabakh war. Not to mention the April war. Approximation of the terms of the presidential elections in Azerbaijan is also connected with security issues.I do not see  any internal messages in favor of the need to postpone the presidential elections in a neighboring country,  Armenia, of course, is trying to compete with Azerbaijan in terms of the shameful state of human rights, authoritarianism, the number of political prisoners, but, fortunately, so far, Azerbaijan lags behind. Accordingly, the re-election of IlhamAliyev in October in Azerbaijan itself did not interfere. In this light, the reasons should be sought in foreign policy.


Do you mean the Karabakh settlement or are we talking about more global processes?

Baku's foreign policy today faces  two problems: the Artsakh and quite disturbing regional geopolitical situation, which is also able to find a bunch with the Artsakh problem in the future. To say which of the two scenarios underlies Aliyev's motivation, I find it difficult today, however, it is already clear that both scenarios are interrelated with the plans for solving the Artsakh problem through negotiations and mutual compromises. At the same time, the perspectives of a forceful solution of the Artsakh problem in the understanding of Baku remain, as before. In my opinion, we are talking not only about the territory of the present Republic of Artsakh or the former NKR. It is about the territory of Armenia in the form of the Syunik region, which at the beginning of the last century claimed the ancestors of Azerbaijanis in the person of the Caucasian Tatars living in Nakhijevan. Considering that Russia, as then, actively equips Azerbaijan, and Turkey already actually has a military presence in Nakhijevan, the situation today, in principle, has not changed much. In this light, any compromise on Artsakh, for example, this summer, on the part of Baku for Aliyev will be easier to carry out already being elected to the next term as president. It will be very difficult for Aliyev to explain to the Azeris even the recognition of Artsakh in exchange for the surrender of a part of the territories. Nobody today, and not only in Azerbaijan, is able to predict the consequences of military actions against Artsakh and Armenia, as well as the reaction of superpowers. In Syria today everyone is at war with everyone, and this instability is quite capable to penetrate into our region, especially given the active involvement in Turkey's Afrin operation. I suppose that Aliyevin his actions takes into account this threat as well.

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