What is happening in Yerevan, where the Armenians are once again trying to get rid of the Maidan government, which came in 2018, very clearly shows that it is very easy to admit such people to power, but it is extremely difficult to tear them away from the state apparatus, to which they still stick stronger than the overthrown “evil authorities”
The discrepancy between the promises of the Maidan and the real policy of the “free and democratic authorities” is a common feature of both Armenia and Ukraine, and the intermediate results (especially in comparison with what was before the Maidan) of pseudo-revolutions look monstrous – territorial losses, a split of the country, human casualties and the collapse of the standard of living, while as compensation, solid abstractions are offered on the theme of the “civilized world”, “the path to Europe” and other similar nonsense, under the guise of which society is fed a new team of benefactors aimed at privatizing the state.
Of course, over time, a simple idea reaches the masses that in the end another swindler was chosen (and this is the best case), after which the ratings of such figures dive down, which happened with both Pashinyan and Zelensky. The former crowds of supporters are no longer gathering, the electoral situation is getting worse and worse every month, none of the key problems of concern to the masses is being solved, and the proposed imitations are becoming less effective. But does this mean that such a figure who has not justified the people’s trust will say: “Yes, you are right, I did not succeed, I am leaving”. Of course not. Until the very end, such cadres pretend that the drop in ratings is the intrigues of the opposition, competitors, oligarchs, stupid people, an external enemy, just to find a reason to shift responsibility for their own failures to someone else.
Moreover, the fault here, of course, lies not only on the “democratic leaders”, but also on those who supported them during the period of the color “revolution”. Now, under the influence of the obvious results of foreign and domestic policies, hysterical dissatisfaction begins with demands to urgently remove the spoiled “people’s idols”, as is now happening with Zelensky and Pashinyan, who did not justify high confidence. And those, in turn, demonstrate that they did not care about such discontent and the drop in ratings, showing by all means that at any cost they want to sit out at least one term to the end, regardless of the consequences.
The rallies in Kiev and Yerevan, with all the objective differences, have one thing in common – they call for a kind of morality, which, in the minds of some participants, allegedly exists in Zelensky or Pashinyan, who, realizing the inconsistency of their actions with “revolutionary ideals”, should do something – then to realize and transfer power to “knowledgeable people”. In practice, however, such an infantile notion of the issue of power runs up against a harsh reality where the disappointed “idol” does not go anywhere even in the face of growing general rejection of his activities. Pashinyan is a clear example of this and a downright living illustration of Zelensky’s future after his rating falls below 10%.
Pashinyan, even after losing the war, continues to pretend that he is loved by the people, that someone else is to blame for everything, but not he, although not only the opposition, but also the leadership of the army, the leadership of the church, some of those who fled from the ruling party of politicians and officials, public figures, athletes (like the chess player Aronian who left for the USA). But Pashinyan does not give up and continues to pretend that he can and will rule Armenia for a long time to come. This approach, of course, is not new, one can recall Georgia during the late Saakashvili, when “America’s best friend”, after defeat in the Olympic War, suppression of opposition protests with sticks and history of torture in prisons, pretended to the very end that he was the only worthy president of Georgia who should not be responsible for what he did.
As a result, Saakashvili is still running around foreign countries (with the support of certain circles in the United States), while he is being searched for in his homeland for various political and criminal affairs. It is quite understandable that after the opposition squeezes Pashinyan, he will be billed, where the main charge will, of course, be the activities that led to the catastrophic defeat of Armenia in the Karabakh war. For the Armenian opposition, towards which a significant part of the population of Armenia has a significant dislike (which is what Pashinyan is trying to use), the legal prosecution of Pashinyan is one of the ways to focus attention on his failures and crimes in order to remove the urgency of questions for the opposition itself.
Therefore, the transformation of the protests into a long-term confrontation occurred not due to the fact that the opposition was bringing people to the rallies, but because of the open speech of the Armenian generals, which is used as an assembly point for all anti-Pashinyan forces in Armenia and among the Armenian diaspora. Despite the lost war, the popularity of the army in Armenia is higher than the popularity of Pashinyan himself, hence the attacks on the military leadership from Pashinyan, who is trying to shift the responsibility for the lost war onto the generals, although the General Staff recommended that the political leadership wind down it after 4 days of the war.
And Pashinyan had such an opportunity in early October, when the battle in the Hadrut direction was still raging. But the negotiations in Moscow failed, Pashinyan refused the proposed conditions, and after a month and all the losses he had suffered, he was forced to agree to even worse conditions for Armenia and NKR. Now he nods at the military, pretending that he has nothing to do with losing the war. The military suffered these attacks for several months, but the last straw was accusations of firing by non-working Iskander, which caused bewilderment in Russia and even in Azerbaijan, where they said that no one had fired Iskander at them. After that, the hidden tension broke through, and Pashinyan entered an open direct clinch with the leadership of the General Staff of the Armenian Armed Forces.
In fact, Pashinyan’s sketch about Iskanders served as a fuse for an open political rebellion of the military, who acted as an independent political actor calling on the political authorities to resign. But this is not yet a military coup, since the military did not use military forces to occupy the center of Yerevan in the scenario of the recent military coup in Myanmar. There are still appeals for morality in the expectation that Pashinyan will look at the rallies, a tent camp in the city center, open letters from generals, demarches of clerics and athletes, will be ashamed and leave. But his yesterday’s race around the city, surrounded by a few fans and the police, showed perfectly well that he is not going to leave and he does not consider the military demarche without concrete action on their part as “the last argument” that he will have to accept.
In Ukraine there is such an illusion that “we overthrew this and we will overthrow these too, if we want”, although in practice it does not work from the word at all, because “color coups” are organized not by the people (as some mistakenly think), but by local oligarchs doubled with part of the old government with the help of foreign forces. And if there is a go-ahead for a coup, the necessary political, financial and informational resources are brought in for it. And if there is no such signal, then fermentation and protests in the streets remain protests and fermentations in the streets. Therefore, none of the various Maidans after 2014 led to significant results, because the go-ahead for them was not received from Washington.
External legitimacy turns out to be many times more important than internal.
So Pashinyan, in conditions of falling internal legitimacy, is trying in every possible way to focus attention on “friendship with Russia” and the support of his government by Western countries. Whether he will have enough external legitimacy in the face of collapse of internal legitimacy will depend on the willingness of his opponents to take decisive action, where fervor in Yerevan and open letters are frankly not enough to successfully get rid of the discredited “people’s leader” on Soros’s bread.
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