Who owns Armenian diplomacy
The Armenian authorities have finally decided on the issue of appointing the leadership of the Foreign Ministry. On July 15, the now ex-head of the Security Council of Armenia Armen Grigoryan, who has been in charge of the republic's national security since 2018, was appointed to the post of First Deputy Foreign Minister. Perhaps it is he who will take the post of head of the foreign policy department in the future.
It was announced that the reason for Grigoryan's replacement of the chair was not an urgent need to fill the gap in Armenian foreign policy, which had been beheaded since May 27, but the fact that Grigoryan had not held "his" position for the past three years. True, it is difficult to talk about who occupies or held "his" position in Armenia and who does not, since the republic is governed by a journalist. Earlier, for many years, the country was under the control of Komsomol activists, who became the nucleus of Karabakh separatism. In the first years after gaining independence, high positions in Armenia could even be occupied by people whose work experience was as far as possible from managerial activity. For example, the post of the Minister of National Security of Armenia in 1994-1995 was held by the physicist David Shahnazaryan. The first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Armenia, Karen Demirchyan, shortly before his death, said that the new principles of appointment to posts in independent Armenia were reduced exclusively to ideological loyalty, which was possessed by a narrow circle of people close to the new post-Soviet government.
Even now, the appointed first deputy head of the Armenian Foreign Ministry can hardly be called a man of foreign policy. Grigoryan is not a career officer, so his appointment to the post of Secretary of the Security Council really raises questions. However, Grigoryan is not a diplomat either. He graduated from the Faculty of International Relations of Yerevan State University (YSU) and graduated from the American University in Armenia.
By the way, ex-Foreign Minister Ara Ayvazyan was not, like Edward Nalbandian or Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, a graduate of a prestigious educational institution that trains professional diplomats - MGIMO. Ayvazyan was also a graduate of YSU, where he specialized in oriental studies. However, at the time of his appointment as the head of the Armenian Foreign Ministry, he had experience of working as a diplomat behind him - since 1994.
Against this background, Grigoryan's "diplomatic successes", which are limited to coordinating work among Armenian youth during the "Velvet Revolution", can hardly be called a practice that would contribute to the formation of competencies necessary for a diplomat. Armen Grigoryan is a classic PR manager from Nikol Pashinyan's team. His appointment fits into the goals and objectives that will be set before the Armenian Foreign Ministry. This appointment is intended to support the image of the re-elected government in two directions at once. So, Pashinyan does not set himself the task of developing a diplomatic line towards Russia, since all the necessary communication channels have been reoriented along the lines of the EAEU and the CSTO. It is not known when the trilateral distillation process on the Karabakh settlement will be resumed; the question of de-occupation of territories is no longer on the agenda, and the topic of recognizing the separatist regime in Karabakh is completely buried.
Pashinyan does not need strong diplomacy, since the military is now responsible for the Armenian-Russian communications. That is why it was necessary to remove from the post of secretary of the Security Council a person who is unlikely to be trusted by Russian officers, given the biography of Grigoryan. By their decision, Pashinyan removed the unreliable in the eyes of Moscow Grigoryan, at the same time making a curtsey towards the West. Grigoryan's appointment is dictated by Pashinyan's foreign policy orientation, who wants to become a popular politician in the West, especially among young members of the foreign diaspora. This is where the experience of the relatively young Grigoryan, who prefers English to Russian, can come in handy.
The newly-made deputy minister will not have to be responsible for the entire foreign policy, since the acting himself is in charge of defining its vector. prime minister. As for the Russian direction, in this case, Pashinyan considers it sufficient to personally meet with influential members of the Armenian diaspora and does not trust anyone to negotiate with the business partners of the Karabakh separatists.