Why the second round of "presidential election" in "Nagorno-Karabakh Republic" is useless

Why the second round of "presidential election" in "Nagorno-Karabakh Republic" is useless

Despite numerous recommendations and epidemiological safety measures, on March 31, “presidential election” was held on the territory of the self-proclaimed “Nagorno-Karabakh Republic”. After the first round, former “Prime Minister” Araik Harutyunyan leads with the majority of votes (49.26%). “Foreign Minister” Masis Mayilyan (26.4%) took second place. Former "head of the Security Council" Vitaly Balasanyan came third with 14.7%. The remaining candidates scored a small number of votes, barely exceeding 1.5% on average.

The lack of alternatives in the electoral process is largely associated with isolation of the local political regime, which doesn't allow random people into power structures - everyone must pass ideological test. Theis tendency helps the regime to maintain a certain stability, consistent with its ideology, which was clearly demonstrated by these "elections". Leader of the electoral race Araik Harutyunyan, an economist and chief financier of the regime, is not charismatic. Answering questions about the settlement of the Karabakh conflict, Harutyunyan always said the same things. Nevertheless, he was the one who provided stable cash flow to the budget of the Karabakh clan for many years, he controlled diaspora's financial resources, oversaw budget policy in such a way that it did not cause public criticism.

Karabakh "authorities" are nothing more than illegal regime, and "republic's" legislation imitates international democratic principles and is used as an argument to legitimize the occupation, that's why current head of the regime, Bako Sahakyan, cannot usurp power. It should be transferred to the most reliable person, whom this political "elite" has raised as a worthy replacement. Harutyunyan is considered to be such a person, he's trusted personally by Sahakyan and many other officials.

During the period of the global economic crisis, the main sponsor of the "republic" - Armenia - saw its projected GDP growth to drop by 0.7% in the second half of the year. That's why political forces of the self-proclaimed republic prefer to play it safe, entrusting future of the unrecognized regime to a man who has diligently ensured "stability" for the past 10 years. In other words, the choice has already been made.

On the other hand, the first round of “election” showed that support of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan didn't help Mais Mayilyan to become a full-fledged competitor against Araik Harutyunyan. Militaristic ideology still dominates the mental space of the Armenian public of Karabakh. It's easier for Pashinyan to work with Mayilyan: both are Western-oriented people, who have close cooperation with the diaspora; both are “revolutionaries”, although Mayilyan (like Harutyunyan) has been working in "Nagorno-Karabakh Republic" for many years. However, it's Mailyan who supports the lustration proclaimed by Pashinyan, while other representatives of the Karabakh clan either remain silent or criticize Pashinyan. Mailyan's position in the "election" shows lack of trust of the "republic" residents in Yerevan.

Harutyunyan is considered to be a symbol of the merger of power and business. He is a wealthy man, secretly called the main oligarch the Karabakh clan. Harutyunyan owns land, numerous real estate in Armenia and the "republic". Under the blockade, regime's internal market is completely monopolized, and when it comes to prosperity of the future “president,” Harutyunyan’s critics draw attention to the fact that his savings are not just an inheritance.

Another important point is that in the "republic" (just like Armenia) can now initiate criminal cases against former officials, as well as redistribution of property. Since the "Velvet revolution" in Armenia, lustration has gained support among citizens of the republic. Not a single official subjected to lustration was supported by the public. As for the Karabakh clan under Harutyunyan, these processes will be much milder than under Mayilyan. In this process, the readiness for cooperation between Harutyunyan and Pashinyan will be clearly demonstrated, since all expenses of the unrecognized republic, including military ones, are covered by Armenia.


Vestnik Kavkaza

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