Western-Backed Regime Change Looms As Armenia PM Resigns Following Mass Protests

After 11 days of mass protests and violent clashes over the perceived power-grab following the outgoing Armenian President's election to Prime Minister, Serzh Sargsyan has resigned and police have released opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan.

“The people are against my rule,” Sargsyan, who took office as prime minister after serving as Armenia’s president for 10 years, said in a statement.

“I am leaving my post.”

As Bloomberg reports, the announcement came as demonstrators flooded the streets of the capital, Yerevan, for an 11th day on Monday demanding Sargysan’s resignation, and hours after police released opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan from overnight detention.

Serzh Sargsyan, left, and Nikol Pashinyan on April 22.

Pashinyan’s arrest prompted the largest protest to date on Sunday, while scores of troops joined the anti-government movement on Monday for the first time.

Sargsyan's election as Prime Minister was largely perceived as a power grab because Sargsyan will largely retain the same powers that he held during his two terms in the Presidential capacity, and took place just after Armenia’s April 9th transition from a presidential system to that of a prime ministerial one.

But as The Duran's Frank Sellers detailed previously, this social unrest (and now resignation) has all the markings of a Ukraine-esque Western-backed effort at regime change to once again disrupt Russia.

Western backed Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been heavily involved in post Soviet Armenia’s education system, community and charity works. These NGOs have been selling the public on the perception that Armenia’s economic woes are directly the result of their corrupt, Russia friendly government, as well as Russia itself.

Hence, the concept that Sargsyan’s government has only made matters for the population worse is the grievance upon which much of the unrest hinges. With Sargsyan seen as being in bed with the Russians, and his further development of Armenia’s ties with Russia, these protests therefore possess a potentially disastrous outcome, both domestically, for the Armenians, and also geopolitically, as it threatens Russia’s position in the region.

However, Armenia has been playing both sides of the fence in recent years, as it has additionally been moving closer to the European Union, signing itself to a Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement with the European bloc, attempting to deepen diplomacy and economic ties with the West, while simultaneously making commitments to Russia’s economic initiatives in the region. Russia gets a villainous wrap over the fact that Russia is playing both sides of the Nagorno Karabakh-Azerb conflict, as Russia is the benefactor of both players, the common perception, derived from the propaganda of these NGOs, is that Russia benefits by stoking the conflict.

The situation, in effect, represents a powder keg scenario, with all the elements in place to provoke the necessary popular discontent that would play into an attempt at regime change.

And, indeed, this situation has all the markings of a color revolution, as the ring leader for this movement, Nikol Pashinyan, is already calling it a “velvet revolution”, an allusion to the regime change that took place in Czechoslovakia in 1989.

Pashinyan has called upon protesters to obstruct roadways and prevent the opening of governmental offices, and has been so bold as to declare that the Armenian government “no longer holds legitimacy”, and that all government agencies and police personnel should only be obedient to “committees” appointed by his revolution.

Keep in mind, however, that Sargsyan hasn’t, thus far, broken any law, nor violated the Armenian constitution, so, Pashinyan’s claim against Sargsyan’s legitimacy can only be viewed as a baseless instigation for further violence and an obstinate unwillingness to look for a middle ground scenario, or peaceful resolution to the situation at hand. An unwillingness to compromise satisfies one of the key factors that is commonly seen in many color revolutions.

The typical manner in which Western backed color revolutions unfold is when a peaceful protest about legitimate grievances are hijacked to become the catalyst for a violent revolution. If we consider the EuroMaidan revolution that took place in 2014, a peaceful protest turned violent after the slaughter of the “heavenly hundred” by mystery snipers, killing police and protesters both, in order to help the conflict along to a point of no return to peace.

To date, the situation on the streets of Yerevan seems to be going in a similar direction, as the protests have already turned semi violent, with police officers sustaining knife wounds. Note that this sort of behaviour is foreign to the Armenian psyche. Western provocateurs are often present to stir up mayhem when these tragedies occur. Pictured here are some of the assailants, observe also that the fellow on the left is not an Armenian.

Sadly, as Sellers concludes, many Armenians are of the persuasion that by changing their government and rejecting Russia as Armenia’s strategic partner, in favour of hopeful Western integration, Armenia will realize greater economic opportunity, and a vastly improved standard of living for the average Armenian.

However, what does history show us about just what Western-backed regime changes bring to their victim nation? Let’s observe the economic situation in the Ukraine before and after the coup d’état, as reported by Vesti:

If we evaluate the results of the new government, they’re simply disastrous for the country. In the year before the coup, the GDP was estimated at $180 billion, in 2017 it’s expected to be half as much, $90 billion.

The average salary in the country was more than halved, from $408 per month to $196 last year. The exchange rate of the hryvna fell three and a half times, from 8 to 27 per dollar. As the main high-tech enterprises are destroyed, the economy acquired a colonial structure.

More and more raw materials are exported, being nearly 80% of exports. Half of this is agrarian. Total export volume fell by 57%. Foreign direct investment fell by at least four times, from 6 billion a year to one and a half. That’s practically nothing. And out of this nothing, however, most of the investment still comes from Russia.

The national debt has been increasing all the time and has now become difficult to be paid back. It was 64 billion dollars which then became 80 billion. Many millions of its citizens have left the country in search of a better life. Some of them went to the West, some to Russia. The health system and the education system have deteriorated.

The system of legal proceedings as well. Corporate raiding became the norm. Corruption increased. The country broke into pieces.

Poroshenko and his team deceived everyone: the West, and Russia, and their people in terms of the country’s prospects, the practices of the new government, and the Minsk Agreements.

An about-face with regards to Russia, and an adherence to the West, however, not only fails to present the economic outcome that many Armenians might hope for, but it presents a very real danger in the form of a greater escalation of conflict with its neighbor Azerbaijan, with regards to Nagorno Karabakh, the last such major conflict costed the lives of some 6,000 Armenians, and approximately 30,000 Azeris.

Additionally, if these protests continue to move in a violent direction, and categorically seek regime change, if the government does not step down in favor of the opposition, but instead opts to call in the military to defend itself, then the situation could lead to a destabilization of the country. During such a period of chaos, it is not unthinkable that the Azerbs could seize the opportunity to launch a fresh campaign to take Nagorno Karabakh while Armenia’s government and forces are concerned with preserving order elsewhere.

Such a renewed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan produces results that are simply unpredictable, concerning the geopolitical implications regarding the involvement of Russia and NATO, seeing as Armenia hosts Russian military bases, while Azerbaijan is host to a NATO base, but if the Armenians have broken off its relations with the Russians in the favor of the West, Russian involvement is left in a state of bewilderment, while the conflict devastates Russia’s economic and military perspective in the region. This, therefore, holds the possibility of being the next proxy war between Russia and the West.

Therefore, these protests are exceedingly dangerous, not just for the region, but also relevant to the geopolitical balance of power between the east and west, due to the possibilities that could be unleashed if these protests escalate out of control. While protests against Sargsyan’s government isn’t anything new, considering the protests of recent years, the protests taking place at the present time differ from its predecessors in the sense that previous riots were confined only to Yerevan, whereas the current uprising is national in its scale, and therefore presents a much greater concern.

Meanwhile, the well meaning populace of Armenia has no idea that their grievances are being played upon by international interests like a pawn on a global chess board.

Comments

Mister Ponzi Oldguy05 Mon, 04/23/2018 - 09:52 Permalink

I am quite familiar with Armenian history and politics and have visited the country before. So, I can comment on the Armenian psyche and their attitude towards the West and Russia. While it is true that the Armenians have played both sides in the recent past, there is deep seated feeling in the population that only Russia can provide a wipe-out of their country by the enemies that surround the country (above all Azerbaidjan and Turkey). Looking to the West for help has proven to be a recipe for disaster in the past and there is really no reason to assume that it will be different in the future. There was this joke when Armenia entered the Russian-led economic union that Armenians wondered who would help them in case of troubles. Then, they saw a picture of Vladimir Putin and one of Herman van Rompuy (at the time) and chose accordingly...

In reply to by Oldguy05

short screwed Mister Ponzi Mon, 04/23/2018 - 10:17 Permalink

Last year, I met an Armenian guy and we started talking about the election.  He hated Hillary because of her stance on the war in Syria.  He told me how Armenians have always looked to Russia for protection from the Turks and other Muslim nations.  He felt that Putin was the defender of Christian minorities in the region.  He was an older guy and probably knew from experience.  I guess the younger generation of Armenians are going to learn the hard way that promises from West are often hollow.

In reply to by Mister Ponzi

AriusArmenian short screwed Mon, 04/23/2018 - 11:38 Permalink

That after the example of Ukraine they would launch on a monumental strategic mistake will be a disaster for Armenia that is sandwiched between two implacable enemies.

Armenia is walking straight into a death dealing existential vise.

Western NGOs have been all over Armenia for about fifteen years, and why? To run pipelines from Azerbaijan. The West will cry crocodile tears while running pipelines over what is left of Armenia.

In reply to by short screwed

AriusArmenian Brazen Heist Mon, 04/23/2018 - 12:06 Permalink

I know how Armenians in the West think - they have internalized American and EU supremacist narratives. 

And I was born in the US and it took a lot of effort for me to get those narratives out of my head.

Armenians in the West are definitely naive, but that in Armenia they are naive is stunning.

Armenia is opening the door to face national disaster.

In reply to by Brazen Heist

AriusArmenian Buckaroo Banzai Mon, 04/23/2018 - 16:14 Permalink

That Anglo and other Americans allow dual passport holders from UK, Israel, and Saudi Arabia to control US foreign policy I do not blame on foreigners.

I blame Americans that have the power to change it, but do nothing.

I blame Americans that cooperate with foreign vermin in subverting the US for dollars in their pockets. 

Let's put the responsibility where it is. 

In reply to by Buckaroo Banzai

Joe Mama 3 Fireman Mon, 04/23/2018 - 09:36 Permalink

Exactly !!!!!!!   Armenia's worst problem for at least 100 years is Turkey !!!!!!! I thought Armenia was ALREADY a western style state completely surrounded by rabid mooslim dogs !!!!!!!!!!! Armenia is a true underdog, whose future could be altered at any moment by a crazed neighbor !!!!!!!   Remember da Massacre !!!!!! Armenian Genocide by Jive Turkeys !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In reply to by Fireman

land_of_the_few shovelhead Mon, 04/23/2018 - 11:49 Permalink

And extreme poverty, economic collapse, mass emigration, privatization but only ever to Western Anglo Oligarchs in NYC and London, loss of sovereignty, interethnic mass murder cheered on by G7, theft of all assets whether physical or financial, compulsory racism  by Govt decree, ruination of health services and health of population, destruction and debasement of all education, water supplies, energy supplies, forests, trade markets, farmland, all factories, all cherished monuments and public buildings desecrated..... all pension payments and job salaries reduced to a tiny fraction of a living amount. On the plus side, their power requirements will go down, just like Ukraine and all its neighbors in the EU ... no industry = no need for energy.

Oh, did I mention just general Western "skankiness" absolutely everwhere, and obesity? Yep they're gonna get type II diabetes. Check the second guy in the picture. 

In reply to by shovelhead

LightBulb18 Mon, 04/23/2018 - 09:05 Permalink

I guess this time the mass protests worked. Its hard to keep track of when they do and when they don't 'force' the government to do things. Catalonia no, ukraine no, egypt was like A no then yes then no I think. iran was A no, baharain doesn't even show up on the map, the saudis use f-16's to bomb shites protesting in the country, and that does not make the news. Human rights are very, very complicated and only appear to work when it benefits some powerful interests. Also notice the enemies of the west do show up in the news as human rights abusers and the list of those enemies include iran, russia, syria and Israel. Would you be able to consider that the Jews of Israel were not the bad guys and the americans were? In G-d I trust.

ken1990 Mon, 04/23/2018 - 09:10 Permalink

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