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DECEMBER 2020

New Armenian Government Finds Itself In Complicated Diplomatic Situation Amid Developing Internal Crisis

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New Armenian Government Finds Itself In Complicated Diplomatic Situation Amid Developing Internal Crisis

Nikol Pashinyan

It looks that so far the main achieved of the new Armenian goverment is that US officials have started publicly advising it how to employ its foreign policy course.

On September 5, US Ambassador to Armenia Richard Mills stated that Armenia has to respond to Russia’s statements concerning the situation in the country. Mills went further and offered encouragement for an investigation launched by the Armenian government into the “2008 events” in late June. Many described thsi move as an attempt to put pressure on the government’s political opponents – former President Robert Kocharian, Colonel General Yuri Khachaturov and some other former senior officials.

The remarks made on the sidelines of a business event in Yerevan carried out a storm in the Armenian media. So, the US embassy was forced to release what it described as a “transcript” of the statement.

According to the released “transcript”, the ambassador’s words were:

“I have seen those comments. It is for the Armenian government to respond to comments from the Russian government. Our view remains that there has been a need for a thorough and fair investigation into the events of March 2008, and it is important that that investigation be carried out in accordance with the rule of law and Armenian due process.”

In any case, the US is openly supporting what Russia describes as political-motivated prosecutions in Armenia.

“Of course, we are worried by the circumstance that the situation in Armenia remains heated, events that happened 10 years ago are being investigated… No doubt, we consider those to be an internal affair of Armenia and wish that internal affairs remain within the framework of law and on the firm basis of the Constitution and be overcome quickly,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said commenting on this situation.

Since current Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan came to power following a series of street protests, the situation in the country has remained complicated in political and economic terms. At the same time, thanks to long-time anti-Russian rhetorics of Pashinyan and his allies, the Armenian government has also found itself in a complicated diplomatic situation.

Russia is a key Armenian ally and a de-facto guarantor of its territorial integrity. Nonetheless, the role of Armenia for the Russian state is step by step decreasing. This, especially in ligh of the “pro-Western” course of the new government, undermines the diplomatic stance of the country in the region.

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