What makes Armenia's new national security strategy different compared to the old one?

What makes Armenia's new national security strategy different compared to the old one?

Over the past 12 years, many events have taken place in the world and the region, and internal political landscape of Armenia itself has changed since the "velvet revolution". This is the opinion of authorities of the republic and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. That's why country's leadership has ordered to create special interdepartmental group, which will work on development of new national security strategy.

Despite statements and determination of the revolutionary government, it's already clear that existing strategy of the republic won't undergo significant changes. Armenia still develops its national security without any regard for the regional. Tense relations between the West and Iran, Russia and the United States, another escalation of Russian-Georgian relations, unresolved Armenian-Turkish and Armenian-Azerbaijani conflicts force Yerevan to maneuver in foreign policy space, according to Armenian strategists. Consequences of Iran's isolation and aggravation of situation in relations with its neighbors, which are constantly threatening to develop into large-scale military actions, will be painful for Armenia. National security strategy that had existed for many years was based on ideological concept of preservation and maintenance of Armenian identity and didn't envision creation of unified security system of the entire South Caucasus. Current authorities also don't consider possibility of development of common regional approaches to problems of collective security. Armenia consistently builds foreign policy relations exclusively with interested parties, viewing international relations through the prism of balance of forces in the region.

Karabakh issue will continue to play a decisive role among main directions of the new strategy. Secretary of the Security Council of Armenia Armen Grigoryan noted at a press conference on July 26 that "Armenian authorities should take into account the events of April of 2016 in Karabakh and prevent their recurrence." Translating ideological basis of the previous strategy, republic’s leadership basically identified foreign policy of Azerbaijan as the main threat to its security. However, declared values, challenges and threats donэt explain how Armenia will overcome blockade of transit routes to territories of border states, isolation from regional programs, arms race. Any creation, consolidation and expansion of strategic alliances between Turkey and Azerbaijan or other partners of Baku will be considered hurtful in Armenia.

Developers of the program want to strengthen it at the expense of "soft power", which should become a new element of the strategy. Current leadership of the republic doesn't hide its desire to actively use resources of the Armenian diaspora. Pashinyan doesn't want to resolve problems alone and expects, through close contacts with representatives of foreign Armenians, to strengthen statehood and to structure national identity of the disparate diaspora. Zare Sinanian plays a huge role in this. He was appointed chief commissioner for diaspora affairs. His biggest achievement is the fact that he has numerous contacts with diaspora organizations in the United States, France, Belgium and other countries. He also proved himself to be very active in "legitimization" of the self-proclaimed regime in Nagorno-Karabakh, which earned him particular trust from the government.

Developers of the national security strategy also believe that it's necessary to better define institution of the president and his powers. Speaking about prevention of excessive centralization of power, Pashinyan hopes to strengthen Armenian foreign policy, but not powers of the current president, Armen Sarkissian, despite his powerful ties with politicians and big businessmen in different countries, including with Armenian diaspora. Pashinyan is preparing a place for Levon Ter-Petrosyan, who is closest to him when it comes to political views. He hopes to use his return to big politics for personal political ambitions: by delegating some of his powers to Ter-Petrosyan, Pashinyan will protect himself any consequences of the developing Karabakh issue.