Aram Manukyan: There will be no change in the Karabakh issue resolution under Nikol Pashinyan
The issue of the new Prime Minister of Armenia has been almost solved: three opposition factions, Tsarukyan’s Block, Yelk and Dashnaktsutyun nominated the Yelk leader, Nikol Pashinyan, and announced their intention to vote for him in the repeat elections on May 8th. The ruling Republican party, in turn, did not nominate its candidate and promised to vote for Pashinyan if he receives at least 35 votes. If all politicians keep their promises, then a transitional period will begin in Armenia, during which the team of Nikol Pashinyan, according to his plans, will change the Electoral Code and prepare the early parliamentary elections so that the RPA could no longer defeat them. However, the expected coming to power of young Yerevan politicians, instead of the old people from the Karabakh clan, poses other threats, first of all, for the foreign policy and economic development of new Armenia. Vestnik Kavkaza spoke about these developments with Aram Manukyan, the deputy chairman of the Armenian National Congress party, with whom Nikol Pashinyan started his political career.
- Aram Vigenovich, first of all, do you expect that on May 8th, the opposition, including Tsarukyan's Block, will support Nikol Pashinyan, and the RPA will keep the promise and will vote for him too?
- Yes, I'm sure of it. The opposition factions made the corresponding official statements, so if they do not keep their words, they won’t be trusted. The stage of uncertainty has already passed. The opposition will support Nikol Pashinyan's candidacy on May 8th, after that the RPA will vote for him, since the head of the faction, Vahram Baghdasaryan, also officially announced the intention of the Republicans not to impede the election of the prime minister.
- What changes in Armenia's foreign policy should be expected with the coming to power of Nikol Pashinyan's team?
- I think that there will not be any changes. Our people, all the supporters of Pashinyan, people on the streets have a very good attitude towards Russia and do not want any major changes in the foreign policy to take place in one or another direction. Nikol himself in recent days has confirmed the preservation of the traditional foreign policy of the state, and, I am sure when he becomes the head of the state for a while, he will be even more sure that no changes are needed in the country.
That is, the changes in Armenia are exclusively internal. I often say that there are so many problems in Armenia that ten revolutions could be headed on their backdrop, not the only current ‘velvet’ one. What is happening here is not the Ukrainian Maidan, not the Ukrainian Orange Revolution and not the Georgian Rose Revolution, but exclusively an internal process. Serzh Sargsyan and Robert Kocharyan have done so much that the people took to the streets neither for or against Russia, nor the US and the EU, but against preserving these problems inside the country, no one needs the changes in the foreign policy.
I also want to emphasize that no one manages these events from outside, no external players are involved here, the only player is our people. Due to this, we did not have any casualties and clashes, the people have a decisive vote. And Nikol Pashinyan played on it, and played well, used technologies that we had not used before. That is, his victory is pure, and the people resolved its own problems, which were accumulating over twenty years.
- How, in that case, can Nikol Pashinyan solve the Nagorno-Karabakh problem, which has a direct impact on the internal situation in Armenia?
- For this, Pashinyan does not yet have the necessary staff. Yes, he has a very high legitimacy, all the people support him and will stand for him, as much as necessary - which, by the way, happened only with Levon Ter-Petrosyan, Serge Sargsyan and Robert Kocharyan did not have such a support - but there is no real political team that would have had the necessary experience of working with strategically important state issues, his people have not been represented in the state structures. Therefore, now he will solve a big and difficult personnel question, and only after that, it will be possible to understand how the formed team of Pashinyan will deal with the Karabakh problem.
In this regard, again, there will be no big changes in the near future, Pashinyan said that the format of the OSCE Minsk Group and the leading role of Russia in the settlement will remain. I even doubt that his plans now include the search of personnel who are well aware of the Karabakh problematic, but I hope that this will happen, he will bring together good, intelligent people and resume the process. We propose to coordinate the course of Levon Ter-Petrosyan and the Armenian National Congress and work for a peaceful solution to the conflict proposed by the OSCE Minsk Group. I hope it will work.
- In this case, what are possible scenarios for Armenia's withdrawal from the economic blockade under the new government and expansion of its participation in the regional economic projects?
- The way out of the blockade will follow the resolution of the Karabakh issue, and Russia's role is very important. I think that the Russian authorities will accept what has happened in our country and take into account all the negative and positive aspects of these changes and will continue to work with those authorities that are supported by our people, preserving their influence and respect for Armenia.