Latest interview fuels more speculation about Kocharyan’s plans for political comeback
Latest interview fuels more speculation about Kocharyan’s plans for political comeback –
ARMENIANOW – The talk about the possible return of Armenia’s second president Robert Kocharyan to active politics that has been there for years re-activated recently in the wake of the former leader’s interview taken late last month on the occasion of his 60th birthday anniversary (marked on August 31).
Kocharyan, who once said he did not mean to become a “young pensioner”, has not gone yet beyond criticizing the current government during the past year or so. Hence, the reactions of political analysts to the latest portion of criticism are mixed.
In an interview with the Russia-based Noyev Kovcheg newspaper Kocharyan again criticized Armenia’s authorities, particularly also addressing their decision to join the Customs Union.
“It is unclear what will happen to the regional component of the economy of Armenia after the country joins the Eurasian Economic Union (the matter concerns the commodity turnover with Iran and Georgia). And in general, how will the Customs Union space operate technologically in conditions of the sanctions imposed between Russia and the West? Answers to these questions are either absent or are hypothetical in nature, which means that we have entered a great period of negative expectations,” said Kocharyan.
Despite the speculation that Kocharyan’s more active criticism of the authorities may signal his intentions to make a political comeback, members of the informal four-party minority coalition, including the opposition parties, see no reasons to be worried yet.
“One thing is clear. In the relationships of the Four [parties], in its program and agenda there is no ‘Robert Kocharyan’ phenomenon,” opposition Armenian National Congress (ANC) parliamentary leader Levon Zurabyan told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.
“Why are we again resurrecting ghosts, some fictional characters, bringing them to the arena, while there is no discussion, no program, no agenda about that?” the oppositionist queried.
Another opposition party in the Four coalition, Heritage, shares the ANC’s view on the matter, saying that Kocharyan’s activity cannot lead to his return to major-league politics, as “in addition to other crimes, the responsibility for the crime of March 1, 2008 [deadly post-election clashes] lies with him.”
Expert on political and election technologies Armen Badalyan thinks that by his activity during the past year Kocharyan is pursuing the goal of distancing himself from the incumbent president: “[His message is that] everything was good during his time in office, and now everything is bad, he governed the country well, and the current president is governing the country poorly.”
However, according to Badalyan, the second president does not succeed in achieving his objectives: “Everyone remembers that there was March 1, during which, according to official figures, 10 people were killed, and that it was on Kocharyan’s order that the army entered Yerevan and shot at citizens fighting for their rights.”
According to Badalyan, Kocharyan has not left politics, simply he is not engaged in active public politics, as people who leave politics do not give such interviews.
Yet, the expert does not expect any decisive step from the former president. “Armenia’s society has been broken down to the degree that now it is not the citizens of Armenia, but Moscow that decides who will be the next leader. No matter how often the second president gives interviews or tries to improve relations with one political party or another, he won’t achieve results,” Badalyan told ArmeniaNow.