Prospects of Kocharyan’s return

David Stepanyan, Yerevan. Exclusively for Vestnik Kavkaza

The prospects of the return of Armenian ex-President Robert Kocharyan are taking shape. This time he may take the prime minister’s seat instead of the president’s.


The ex-president spent the whole previous year criticizing Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan for his unintelligible economic policy that put the national economy on the verge of collapse. It seemed that Kocharyan would calm down after the dissolution of Sargsyan’s government and the appointment of Ovik Abramyan as his successor according to the “run with the hare and hunt with the hounds” principle. The ex-president has recently published a new critical article, where he said that the problem of Armenia was not in the model of administration, but in the style of governance. Considering that his old target Tigran Sargsyan was gone and enjoying himself in the U.S., further criticism and its objects look symptomatic.


Following Kocharyan’s burst, Prosperous Armenia leader Gagik Tsarukyan assured his party members that the ruling Republican Party will not win the upcoming elections. Tsarukyan cannot tolerate “retreat at the expense of personal dignity or image of the party.” The statement became a response to the speech of Eduard Sharmazanov, vice speaker of parliament of the Republican Party. The latter said that “any politician striving to take authoritative posts in Armenia in the past 10 years should walk along Melik-Adamyan Street [where the office of the ruling party is situated].”


Prosperous Armenia was founded by Kocharyan himself, and the fact that Tsarukyan’s latest statement has the ex-president’s figure in the background is beyond doubt. Prosperous Armenia will join the ruling coalition only after receiving tools for adjusting the socio-economic course. Confrontation between the Republican Party and Prosperous Armenia is entering an open phase.


Prime Minister Ovik Abramyan, being both a prominent functionary of the Republican Party and matchmaker of Tsarukyan, is trying to de-escalate the situation and drag Prosperous Armenia back into the ruling coalition. What is peculiar about Armenia in this aspect is that it is not the party membership that matters in the political alignment but clanship and kindred relations. Abramyan’s belonging to the Republican Party and his kinship may play their role.


Kocharyan has already started preparing for the 2017 parliamentary polls and the 2018 presidential polls. He is obviously putting the bets of Prosperous Armenia under strong backing by Tsarukyan. It may happen that Kocharyan will not wait for the elections and bet the ranch on a coup attempt in the next months. The question is whether the Republicans and members of Prosperous Armenia find common grounds and what their new coalition would look like. Most importantly, who will take the best parts of the economy under control after another property redistribution?