Chatham House has published a report on Russian weakening influence in the South Caucasus, and states about Armenia that Robert Kocharyan sold Armenia to Russia, thus jeopardizing the country’s sovereignty, while Serzh Sargsyan appears to be less pro-Russian.
This statement sounds primitive. When the period of presidency of Robert Kocharyan and Serzh Sargsyan is discussed, it would be superficial to view the problem in terms of someone Russian or the other’s Western sentiment. It would be better to say that they both are pro-government, that is both have one aim – to hold on to power and their foreign policy or the so-called sentiment is built up on this.
In fact, it would be wrong to say that they did not care for the national interests of Armenia. They could not ignore it for the simple reason that any serious state failure would immediately affect their stay in government.
Hence, for both Kocharyan and Sargsyan it is important in terms of foreign sentiments which foreign partner will ensure more reliable and effective guarantees of their stay in government. In fact, they do have their personal likes and dislikes for one city or another. But their likes or dislikes would hardly have a crucial role otherwise these persons would be unable to remain in government despite strong public dissatisfaction and pass it to each other, despite internal disagreement and clash of interests.
Recently Lragir.am has published articles on why the West chose Serzh Sargsyan. Perhaps it is equally interesting to know why Serzh Sargsyan chose the West, thus gaining the image of a less pro-Russian figure, and this opinion is spread not only among the Western but also the Russian experts.
A general answer it given above. Serzh Sargsyan and Robert Kocharyan make their foreign political choice according to the requirements of duration of their rule. Hence, Serzh Sargsyan thinks that the interests and requirements of his administration will be better supported if he faces the West. For its part, it is based on the national interest because as I said above the ruling system and its leaders may prioritize their personal interests but the national interest has to be linked with this, at least because their rule and the weight of problems during their rule are essentially determined by the stability and effectiveness of the state.
Perhaps Serzh Sargsyan thinks that this process will be more stable and effective if he faces West, and the West can be a more efficient and useful partner.
For its part, Russia is in a new stage of global weakening. Unlike the first stage of the 1990’s, this weakening has fewer external expressions but is more serious in terms of profoundness.
Weakening Russia is not only an ineffective economic partner but also a generator of destructive public mentality because for weak Russia the only resource for ensuring its own interests in the key region of the South Caucasus remains the permanent-local or general destabilization. If we add the context of wider geopolitical developments, it is becoming clear that it would be thoughtless not to consider the West as an economic, political and civilization priority and Armenia would go against the stream, suffering state losses and leading to loss of power of the ruling elite.
Does this mean that during Robert Kocharyan’s presidency the choice of Russia was made with the same principle? There are some essential nuances which need to be taken into consideration, considering Robert Kocharyan’s presidential choice.
The first and crucial was the factor of October 27. Robert Kocharyan’s choice was made after the 27th. Besides, during the eight years of his presidency another process was underway in Russia, and after the so-called first stage of weakening in the 90s Russia had entered into a stage of reconstruction and set forth serious ambitions in both domestic and foreign policies. It is notable that the West abstained from serious competition or resistance. In this situation, Robert Kocharyan made his choice.
In fact, this is not a matter of someone’s correct or wrong choice but is on one of the possible motives.
The point is that in the correct or wrong option the key thing is the choice inside the country on what state and social coexistence rules are chosen as the axis of the independent state of Armenia, constitutional and legal order, clan and quota-based economic and political style of life. It is known what so far the ruling elites have chosen in Armenia.