Preamble: Boris Rozhin followed this analysis with another article, which explores further developments in Yerevan after the initial protest action, which erupted on June 22, 2015, was dispersed. That note will be published shortly. We suggest that the analysis below be read in conjunction with Anatoly Nesmiyan’s assessment, which was published on Slavyangrad.org earlier.
On June 22, 2015 we witnessed an intensification of protests in Armenia, triggered by the price increase in electricity tariffs.
As it often happens, objective economic demands were soon accompanied by political ones. As the Company that increased tariffs is owned by the Russian Federation, it is natural that, in addition to the demands not to raise the tariffs, to return everything to the way it was, further demands were directed against at the incumbent President (who is to a certain extent convenient for Russia) and against Russia herself.
Upon reflection, something similar has already been observed in Brazil before the World Cup, when the increase in public transit fares sparked multi-monthly protests along with demands for the President of Brazil to resign. For the most part, the world of capitalism will continue to breed this type of discontent—something we already saw in the United States during the Occupy Wall Street series of protests, aside from the fact that there simply was no one to direct them down a political path. In Yerevan, on the other hand, those who would want to direct the protests can be easily found.
In the Armenian case, we can already observe an attempt to turn objective discontent down a very specific political path. Ideas relating to the need to overthrow the incumbent President and a demand for a withdrawal of Russian troops from Armenia are being openly floated. Ukrainian media is reveling in the news of a “new Maidan against Russia” and in the hope that the “pro-Russian regime in Armenia will be overthrown, as it was in Ukraine.”
In reality, during the course of 2014, the situation in Armenia was restless—the war in Karabakh was on the verge of being reignited, and shooting duels resumed between Armenia and Azerbaijan with both sides sustaining casualties. The Russian MFA then exerted some serious efforts to ensure no intensification of the conflict.
In addition, at the beginning of this year, a scandalous killing of Armenians by a serviceman of the Russian Federation took place in Gyumri. This triggered protests and exacerbated anti-Russian sentiments in the radical “democratic” circles. In essence, this event was used to incite anti-Russian sentiments.
Now, as it happens, the bleak economic situation added a further layer to the developing discontent. Characteristically, at the core of all protests lie objectively extant socio-economic problems, and it is irrational to deny them. On the other hand, we can already see the channeling of these protest sentiments in a fairly transparent political direction, with an open announcement of the ultimate goal—the removal of the incumbent President and the withdrawal of Russian troops. In particular, Military Base No. 102. This latter part reminds one of the multi-year activities of the Banderites aimed at preparing the groundwork for the expulsion of the Russian Black Sea Fleet from Crimea.
Whether or not it will be possible to turn what is happening into a full-fledged colour revolution of the second wave will become apparent in the next 2-3 days. As usual, there are already rumours (spread by the Ukrainian media—Ed.) that the police is joining the protestors. Essentially, if the loyalty of the security forces in Yerevan turns out to be mediocre, and the incumbent authorities lose the ability to arrest the “nonviolent” seizure of power, their fate would not be a cause for envy. For now, the police has warned that they are ready to use force to disperse the protestors. Significant reinforcements of the local security apparatus have been redeployed to the capital.
If we take the situation as a whole, apart from Armenia herself, it can have negative ramifications for the Russian positions in the Caucasus (in the event of a successful overthrow of the current government) and aggravate the situation in Nagorny Karabakh, where this smoldering conflict persists.
In fact, something like this was expected. This is so as Ukraine was unlikely to remain the only front of the ongoing confrontation between the Russian Federation and the United States. There have been repeated warnings on the other Russian borders that there may be escalations connected with attempts by the United States to limit Russian influence, and to create additional difficulties in other directions.