ArmInfo.Security expert Rachya Arzumanyan, in an interview with ArmInfo, shared his vision of the unofficial election campaign in Artsakh, commented on the background, the possibilities and intentions of candidates for the presidential race scheduled for 2020. He expressed the idea of the need for an alternative candidate. He predicted possible internal and external consequences if the current authorities made mistakes in the election campaign.
- Does Artsakh have "exclusive" problems that are different from the general Armenian problems?
The main problems today are common, they are inherent in all Armenian statehood. These are the consequences of the oligarchy being in power and, as a result, of the formed oligarchic political system. With all its minuses inherent in the oligarchy: the plunder of the country, the impoverishment of the people, the decline in the combat effectiveness of the army, etc., etc.
- Does all this continue today in Artsakh, given that the power is still the same?
The former power in Artsakh today solves the problem of its own reproduction in order to maintain power. Thus, the problem of the oligarchy in Artsakh is not resolved today. And until new people come to power in Artsakh with new ideas, discussing anything else seems pointless. If the change of power fails, the task remains unresolved, we will deal with another Artsakh and, accordingly, are forced to solve other problems. Accordingly, now the paramount task is to determine how Artsakh will enter and go through the electoral process and whether it is possible to ensure the removal of political forces that are representatives of the old establishment and ensure the transit of power to the new one.
- Do candidates who have already drawn up a public application for participation in the presidential election allow hope for such a transit?
All candidates who have expressed their intention to participate in the elections, in one way or another, are associated with the outgoing authorities. This is one group of persons, forces known to everyone quite well. The real, main candidate for power is Araik Harutyunyan. And there is Samvel Babayan, who is not part of the government today, but is a man who was in power during the war, after the war. He was a dictator of Artsakh in the post-war period. And how he intends, how Babayan will act, once in power, is a completely different issue. In any case, Samvel Babayan - a man from the past, what he has become today - is a completely different issue. However, many in Artsakh would like to see the president as a new face with new approaches. It is too early to discuss specific names, there are different points of view, but the principles that the new candidate must comply with are clear.
- I don't know to what extent this version is true, but Samvel Babayan, allegedly, is setting the stage for Robert Kocharian's "return" to Artsakh:
I heard about this version. But I do not think that it is true. Samvel Babayan sets the stage exclusively for his own return to power. And the only question that Samvel Babayan needs to ask is what he intends to do with this very authority afterwards, having already come to power? Because the first thing he intends to do is imprison the oligarchs who have plundered Artsakh over the past two decades and return all the loot. He declares this quite openly and most of the people support him in this intention. This is one of the main topics that allows Babayan to have his own electorate. And what will Samvel Babayan do, having put the former power behind bars and returning the loot - a question that needs to be asked by Babayan himself.
To date, there are only two candidates for the presidency of Artsakh, the participation of one of which is still in question?
Yes. Samvel Babayan's participation is indeed in question. There was Vitaliy Balasanyan, but the incorrect organization of the election campaign, the incorrect statement of his own position led to the fact that today we can't talk about Balasanyan as a real candidate. Thus, in elections, forces either representing the past or from the past clash with an incomprehensible attitude to the future. That is why many would like to see a third candidate who would look to the future.
- The recent visit to Artsakh by "comrades from Moscow" Kolerov and Tarasov seemed to be directed against the ideas of the miatsum (association). Does this bother you?
I am worried when the Armenian media pay attention to individuals who are marginalized in Russia itself. They are marginalized both in Armenia and Artsakh. Accordingly, do not pay attention to what they say. These comrades represent the interests of a fairly narrow circle of people in Russia and certainly not the Kremlin. To spend energy in order to figure out who Kolerov or Tarasov are working for, for us Armenians, I think, is a waste of time. I assess the reaction to the visit of these people to Artsakh as too exalted. They simply should not be noticed. That would be the best solution for us. In its desire to reproduce itself, power in Artsakh is trying to grab hold of any straw. Kolerov helps them in solving this problem, they will meet with Kolerov, Vasya Pupkin will help them to solve it, they will meet with Vasya Pupkin.
- Does the ongoing struggle for power reduce the degree of security of Artsakh?
Instability in Artsakh may occur after the authorities deny Samvel Babayan the opportunity to legitimately take part in fair and transparent elections. I believe that the admission of Babayan to the elections would be fair and correct. Otherwise, destabilization may indeed begin in Artsakh. Babayan will simply switch to street fighting methods, protests, civil disobedience. Babayan has already stated that he does not have the slightest desire to resort to such methods, but if the authorities leave him no choice, he will do so. Society has the right to civil disobedience. A year ago, we clearly saw this in Armenia. Why can this be possible in Yerevan and impossible in Stepanakert? However, in this case, a period of relative destabilization of the situation will arise in Artsakh. And how the situation can be stabilized so that the enemy could not use it is a serious enough question. The simplest answer is simply not to resort to such methods and not to force Babayan to take the path of street fighting. Accordingly, otherwise the fault and responsibility will primarily fall on the authorities.
- In the Stepanakert speech of the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, there were no allusions to Yerevan's preferences in determining the future head of Artsakh. Do you expect the appearance of "your" candidate from Yerevan?
The question is quite serious. The fact is that Araik Harutyunyan periodically emphasizes the presence of "support for Yerevan" in his unofficial election campaign. As an expert who analyzed the field, I can firmly believe that such statements are far from reality. And today Harutyunyan does not have such support. And it seems to me that until the very last day of the election race in Artsakh there will be no explicit indications of a favorite from Yerevan. How expedient it is is a slightly different question. I would like the public new government in Armenia to publicly support public politicians from Artsakh. She supported the third public candidate, who, as many here hope, will nevertheless appear.