Is Armenia’s Democracy under threat?

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The November 2020 ceasefire that followed the Karabakh war between Armenia and Azerbaijan has fuelled political unrest. Mass rallies across Armenia have seen calls for the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, as well as the head of the Karabakh Administration, Arayik Harutyunyan.

The country’s leadership has made the case that there was little choice but to sign the Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement, ending a costly 44-day war that devastated Armenia in terms of human casualties, loss of territory and cultural heritage.

The country appears to be in disarray, with an economic meltdown compounded by the advent of a refugee crisis.

Ceasefire and instability

Armenia’s new territorial status quo changes the former reality on the ground which had formed from a Russian-brokered ceasefire in 1994. President Putin has urged Armenia to accept the new reality and work towards restoring the rule of law.

The government is under enormous pressure from the powerful Armenian Diaspora, which is a political force to be reckoned with, stretching from the United States to France, Lebanon, and Russia. For the Diaspora, this is not merely a conflict with Azerbaijan but a second confrontation with Turkey. At this point relations with the Diaspora can make or break any government in Armenia, politically and economically.

To make sense of domestic developments in Armenia, Tactics Institute talks to a member of the Armenian Diaspora, George Meneshian about Diaspora politics, the role of Armenian geography as the sole determinant in its foreign policy as well as the chances of a military coup .

Mr Meneshian is a political consultant and a postgraduate student at the University of St Andrews (Middle East, Caucasus and Central Asia Security Studies). He holds a BA in European Area Studies from Panteion University of Political and Social Sciences and is a research associate at the Institute of International Relations, He is a frequent contributor for the online European magazine ‘Libertas’.

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