On May 11 the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs will visit the region. This is not their first visit. They have come many times and they will perhaps come for a long time, because the EU report, for instance, states that the Karabakh conflict will not be settled in the upcoming ten years.
However, the visit of the Minsk Group co-chairs is interesting because it will take place after May 6, the parliamentary election.
And if we remember that immediately before the voting the situation at the line of contact was tense, and soldiers were killed, and Serzh Sargsuan visited the Ministry of Defense on the last day of the campaign and instructed to enhance military duty on the border, it is possible that the Minsk Group regional visit will be related to the link between the post-election situation and the situation at the border rather than the settlement of the Karabakh conlflict.
Most probably, the OSCE Minsk Group needs to control this link and not to allow the situation to get out of control.
It should be noted that the problem is subtle and complicated inside the Minsk Group. In regard to a certain course of post-election developments of Armenia essential disagreement will occur among the Minsk Group members.
For the United States and France, the post-election escalation and instability is not a desired scenario because any tension and instability in Armenia leads to growth of Russian influence or slows down the neutralization of the dangerous and destructive level of Russian sentiment in Armenia. At the same time, the U.S. and France need practical examples of productive reforms in Armenia to promote this process of neutralization, essential steps of which must be the present electoral process.
In other words, on the one hand, essential progress is needed. On the other hand, it is necessary to prevent tension. In Armenia it is tough, considering the detrimental ruling system, as well as the absence of an influential social and civil pole and the fight for capital, in which case the instruments for balance of the situation are lesser, and the single influential instrument remains the threats of escalating tension at the border or in the process of settlement.
And since the Minsk Group countries have different interests in comprehensive balance of the situation, one wonders whether the Minsk Group will be able to overcome their internal disagreement and ensure constructive balance in the post-election situation, preventing the necessity for border tensions and victims but at the same time ensuring effective coercion for change of the quality of the election process.
In fact, Armenia had a chance to neutralize external influence in electoral mechanisms of forming government, both useful and harmful. However, first the government, then the other political subjects failed to promote this process. After the previous national election the government did not go for necessary reforms and preferred to mark time, thus creating premises for external influence on the electoral process, while the other political subjects did not make enough efforts to have the government follow their own rules of the political game. Moreover, ahead of the elections, they accepted the rules in one voice.
The consequence is that the Armenian electoral process almost entirely depends on the opinion and attitude of foreign centers. In this situation, the only comfort is developments in line with the Western moods because at present it is the only direction that matches the national and public interests of Armenia, which will keep the window open for domestic change in Armenia.