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Friday, 4 May 2018

What’s Washington Really Doing in Armenia?

F. William Engdahl
New Eastern Outlook

There has been considerable speculation in recent days as to whether the recent and ongoing protests across former Soviet Armenia constitute another Washington Color Revolution destabilization or whether it represents simply the angry revolt of citizens fed up with the deep corruption and lack of economic development under the regime of Prime Minister Serzh Sargysan. Following days of large protests, the former President was forced to resign on April 23, declaring, “Nikol Pashinyan was right. I was wrong.” Armenia is an integral member of Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union and were it to come under control of a pro-NATO opposition could bring a strategic problem for Moscow to put it mildly. The issue is significant. 

Ironically, what nominally sparked the protests was the action of Sargysan to in effect do what Turkey’s Erdogan has done, only in reverse. He and his parliamentary majority party managed to strip the office of President of almost all but ceremonial roles, while giving actual decision powers to the office of Prime Minister. That he managed just before he himself became Prime Minister. Reaction from Moscow to the ongoing protests until now has evidently been muted following a statement that it won’t get involved in Armenian internal affairs.

At this point, despite the fact that Sargysan resigned as Prime Minister and did not submit himself as candidate to oppose Pashinyan in the May 1 parliament vote, Pashinyan fell short of the majority needed to be named Prime Minister. As of this writing he has called for a total blockage of traffic and government buildings by “peaceful acts of civil disobedience.” He told a crowd outside Parliament after the failed vote was announced, “Tomorrow total strike is declared. We block all the streets, communications, subway and the airports starting from 08:15. Our struggle cannot end in a failure.” 

Color Revolution? 

What evidence points to a directed Washington intervention into a country strategic for Moscow? First we have the established presence of an office in Yerevan of the Open Society Foundations-Armenia of George Soros. As the anti-government protests built in size on April 17, several NGOs signed an open letter to the government warning that they had identified probable government-backed protest disruptors and warned against their deployment against the peaceful protestors.

The call was signed among others by Helsinki Committee of Armenia, part of Helsinki Committees which in part is funded by George Soros’ Open Society Foundations. The call was also signed by Soros’ Open Society Foundations – Armenia.

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