In an exclusive analysis for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) Azerbaijani Service (Radio Azadlyg), RSC Director Richard Giragosian assessed the implications for Armenian foreign policy from the next Armenian government.
Entitled, “The Next Armenian Government: The Outlook for Nagorno Karabakh,” Giragosian noted that “as the new (Armenian) government is widely expected to focus more on domestic economic issues than on foreign policy options, and as the ministers of defense and foreign affairs are most likely to return to their previous posts, there is little indication of any real or sudden shift in policy,” adding that “for the more fundamental elements of Armenian foreign policy, the twin pillars of Nagorno Karabakh and Turkey remain largely unchanged.”
He further noted, however, that while “there are few signs of any real change,” as “Armenia’s strategic partnership with Russia remains unchallenged, the real danger for Armenia now is from a deepening of dependence on Russia. And this danger is only exacerbated by Armenia’s vulnerability from being hostage to Russian policies elsewhere, such as its aggression against Ukraine, for the most prominent example. In this way, Armenia is in danger of becoming a “captive nation” isolated on the “wrong side of history” and imprisoned behind what seem to be Russian President Putin’s desire to reconstruct a new “iron curtain.”
In the fourth in a series of RSC commentaries regularly published on the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) Armenian Service website blog, RSC Director Richard Giragosian presented a unique analysis of Armenian politics entitled, “Armenia’s Game of Thrones.”
Armenian-language version: www.azatutyun.am/content/blog/25335116.html
In an extended, two-part interview with the “168 Zham” newspaper, Richard Giragosian, the director of the Regional Studies Center (RSC), expressed disappointment with the recently released set of proposed changes to the Armenian constitution. Giragosian described the move as “a lost opportunity in democracy-building efforts” and added that he did not think that “the proposed reforms would ensure the separation of powers and accountability mechanisms.”
Giragosian further pointed out several serious deficiencies and discrepancies, including the failure to address the presidential authority to appoint regional governors and most judges, which he defined as “a lost opportunity in terms of ensuring proper checks and balances between government bodies.” Commenting on the proposal for adopting a parliamentary form of government, he added that he “did not think such a move would have a positive impact on the country’s democracy in light of the inadequacy of the parliament as an institution and its failure to curb the excesses of the incestuous relationship between business and politics.”
In an interview for the Tbilisi-based “Investor.ge” publication, RSC Director Richard Giragosian assessed the “potential impact of the Ukrainian crisis onArmenia’s decision to follow Russia into its Customs Union instead of signing an Association Agreement with the European Union.”
In an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) Armenian Service on April 9, RSC Director Richard Giragosian assessed the deepening of Russian-Azerbaijani military cooperation and the recent trend of a steady increase in the quantity and quality of Russian arms sales to Baku. The interview was timed with the visit to Baku by Russian General Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the Russian army’s General Staff, and reports of a new pending arms deal between the two countries.
Giragosian noted that “Moscow has been consistently seeking to improve its relations with Baku and has emerged as the number one arms provider to Azerbaijan, as well as to Armenia.” He also stressed that “Armenia should be concerned with this trend, especially as Azerbaijani has been increasing its procurement of much more modern offensive weapons systems in recent years.”
More specifically, the level of Russian arms surged in recent years, with deliveries of nearly $1 billion worth of offensive weaponry, including about 100 tanks, to Azerbaijan in accordance with defense contracts signed in 2010-2011. Azerbaijani President Ilham President Ilham Aliyev said in August 2013 that “the volume of military-technical cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan is measured at $4 billion and it tends to grow further.” Russia has previously supplied Azerbaijan with state-of-the-art S-300 air-defense systems worth hundreds of millions of dollars and agreed in 2010 to sell 24 Mi-35 combat helicopters for a combined $360 million.