Armenia’s unconvincing makes an attempt to “balance” concerning Russia and the West as it moves ever-nearer to the professional-American EU could possibly close in failure as the Yerevan protests set pressure on the country’s leadership to extra decisively transfer westward.
The Roots Of Armenian Rage
The Armenian capital of Yerevan has been rocked by significantly violent protests over the earlier couple of times as demonstrators respond with rage at former President Sargsyan’s bid to come to be the country’s next Prime Minister soon after an impending vote in Parliament later currently. The South Caucasus country a short while ago transformed its governing design to a primary ministerial procedure from a presidential 1, and Sargsyan is primarily retaining the exact powers as before despite him “switching hats” and having on a nominally distinctive job. Protesters are offended at Armenia’s economic stagnation and the notion (crucial phrase) that not substantially has improved given that the nation joined the Russian-led Eurasian Financial Union (EAU), and they blame (regardless of whether rightly or wrongly) what they believe to be their corrupt governing administration and Sargsyan in distinct for perpetuating their plight.
Sargsyan is also viewed as currently being “Moscow’s man” in Armenia a great deal as his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic is deemed to be the very same in the Balkans, and in spite of their true and speculated faults, both leaders have maintained and at minimum visibly expanded their country’s relations with Russia throughout their tenure. In addition, Vucic also “switched hats” not too long ago by turning into Serbia’s President right after possessing served for a while as its Prime Minister, so it’s interesting to draw parallels with what’s taking place in Armenia at present, primarily when taking into consideration that each men satisfaction by themselves on supposedly “balancing” in between the West and Russia. Armenia, nevertheless, is in significantly direr financial straits than Serbia is and the condition is arguably a lot more desperate there, which is why the ongoing anti-federal government protests have the opportunity of turning out to be genuinely harmful both equally in area phrases and also geopolitical ones.
The Most recent Action In A Extended Course of action
Shade Revolutions work most correctly any time there are legitimate grievances within just a place due to the fact this permits their organizers to simply catalyze self-sustaining procedures of unrest that can then be guided by a pick out “core” of people today (some of whom are usually linked to overseas) in the eventual way that is most closely in line with their and their patrons’ geopolitical goals. The domestic and worldwide condition that Armenia finds alone in is quite challenging for the reason that this EAU-member state just lately agreed to a “Complete & Increased Partnership Agreement” (CEPA) with the EU and also proudly participates in NATO “peacekeeping” missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo. In fact, Armenia has been relocating westward for the earlier 3 decades previously, and the pursuing assortment of the author’s works really should be referenced for individuals who are unfamiliar with what’s been taking place:
- 25 Could, 2015: “Are Armenia And Belarus Wandering Westward?”
- 24 June, 2015: “‘Electric Yerevan’ is Sliding Out of Control”
- 13 August, 2016: “Serzh Sargsyan: All Streets Lead to Moscow”
- 9 September, 2016: “The Tripartite’s Big Barter In The ‘Eurasian Balkans’: The Southern Caucasus”
- 10 August, 2017: “Armenia Abandoning Russia: Penalties for the Caucasus”
- 29 August, 2017: “Are Armenia, India, And Serbia ‘Balancing’ In opposition to Russia Or ‘Betraying’ It?”
- 15 September, 2017: “Russia’s New Pondering Towards Armenia And Azerbaijan: An ‘Obstructionist’ vs. An ‘Integrationalist’”
- 4 October, 2017: “The US-Primarily based Armenian Foyer Is On A Mission To Provoke Azerbaijan And Russia”
- 24 February, 2018: “Armenia’s Black Sea-Persian Gulf Corridor Options Risk Antagonizing Russia”
Summarizing The Strategic Traits
The basic thought is that Armenia has drifted nearer to the EU (and by extent, the US and NATO) in spite of its institutional obligations to Russia for each the EAU and CSTO since of the distrust that Yerevan feels to Moscow as the country’s standard companion seeks to “balance” among it and Azerbaijan. Hyper-nationalist fringe components have taken gain of this sentiment and society’s total anger versus the authorities for their perceived corruption and other faults to inspire progressively violent protests towards them, all with the intent of both seizing electric power for them selves and steering the point out in a radically anti-Russian course just like what took place in Ukraine right after “EuroMaidan”.
In this specific context, an extremely-nationalist Armenia on unfriendly phrases with Russia may well both provoke a “Continuation War” in Nagorno-Karabakh so as to drag Moscow into possible conflict with Azerbaijan & Turkey and/or undermine the North-South Corridor by means of an Armenian-transiting branch to the Black Sea, both equally results of which are harmful to Russia’s strategic interests. It must provide as no shock that the very same guy who performed a foremost job in the 2015 “Electric Yerevan” Coloration Revolution “probing” endeavor, Nikol Pashinyan, is also front and center in this week’s disturbances as effectively, making it noticeable that politician has been tasked with becoming the deal with of Armenia’s hyper-nationalist Shade Revolution actions.
The “Armenian Dagger”
The conclusion end result of his provocations – no make a difference how supposedly “justified” they might be in channeling the public’s pent-up rage versus an totally dysfunctional process – is to fulfill the “Armenian Dagger” scenario that the writer wrote about on 23 September, 2016 in his work about the “Mideast: Better Eurasia Scenarios” and which is remaining republished down below for the reader’s convenience:
“Armenia undergoes both a hyper-nationalist Pravy Sektor-like Color Revolution or these types of ideologically affiliated candidates are democratically voted into office, right away transferring the state closer to the unipolar camp when the incredibly hot-headed leaders expel Russia’s armed forces presence mainly because of Moscow’s careful refusal to aid in the new Armenian leadership’s hostile provocations towards Azerbaijan. Yerevan rapidly pivots closer to the EU and NATO, and Washington wastes no time in deploying armed service property there in order to guard its new regime from their “pro-Russian” Azeri enemies, so turning the curve-formed nation into a decisive dagger placing straight at the coronary heart of the Russian-Iranian-Turkish Tripartite of Good Powers.”
In this situation, Pashinyan’s Pravy Sektor-like Coloration Revolution does not even have to thrive in the common feeling of installing its have associates into power, but all that it has to do is exert sufficient “grassroots” pressure on the authorities that they grow to be intimidated into complying with his eyesight, which would in essence allow him to exploit Armenia as a tool of geopolitical blackmail against Russia.
Armenians may have certain them selves that shifting nearer to the West would safeguard them from these Hybrid War scenarios, but such an assumption would betray a naïve belief that only a “desperate” populace could drop for. This would make the circumstance all the extra harmful simply because there are in fact many “legitimate” factors for individuals to be angry with the authorities, and there’s constantly the ever-current menace that some demagogues could attempt to exploit the masses’ very easily manipulatable “crowd psychology” by supplying an anti-Russian angle to occasions in alleging that all of Sargysan’s political and other faults (equally presumed and real) are attributable to Moscow in 1 way or one more. The scenario has nevertheless to unfold in this manner, but there are arguably deep roots of rage surrounding Russia’s regional “balancing” job that could be tapped into if “need” be.
What is occurring presently in Yerevan consequently is not nearly anything thematically new given that it follows the precise exact sample as what took place in 2016, 2015, and even in prior decades before people two. The only actual variance is the certain “trigger event” that is becoming relied on as the public pretext for location these preplanned provocations into movement and deceiving the several peaceful civilians who are innocently using portion in these protests for good reasons unrelated to the geopolitical endgame that its organizers have in brain. It is even now much also early to gauge whether or not this newfound destabilization try will have the staying power that “Electric Yerevan” did and if it’ll generate any tangible political dividends for the forces that are powering it, but any “success” in this respect would certainly characterize a “zero-sum” “defeat” for Russia and severely complicate its regional peacemaking initiatives.
This short article was at first posted on Eurasia Foreseeable future.
Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the connection involving the US method in Afro-Eurasia, China’s 1 Belt One particular Highway worldwide eyesight of New Silk Street connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to World-wide Analysis.