Nikita Isaev: "Pashinyan's shuttle diplomacy raises questions"
Vladimir Solovyov, speaking during a live broadcast of the Full contact program about the problem of internal conflicts in society, noted that there are contradictions in modern Armenia that could split the Armenian society. The director of the Institute of Contemporary Economics, leader of the New Russia movement Nikita Isayev told Vestnik Kavkaza about how much the situation in Armenia has changed in almost a year after the velvet revolution.
- Nikita Olegovich, do you agree that the Armenian society is on the verge of a split?
- First, I believe that the consolidation of society is extremely high now. There are results of parliamentary elections, when Nikol Pashinyan’s party received more than 70%, and other parties basically have close political positions, the only thing that was different about them is entrepreneurial interests, influencing these parties. But consolidation is much closer than there was in the National Assembly before. But at the same time, the main conflicts in Armenian society are connected with the formation of new elites. That is, people fight for certain places in the executive branch, for control over certain sectors of the economy and economic institutions, for trade relations with other countries.
The second point concerns Russian-Armenian relations. For example, the Armenian society is extremely negative about Moscow's support for (ex-president of Armenia - VK) Robert Kocharian, who is arrested, held in custody, perceived in Armenia as a person responsible for the 2008 bloody events.
Third, the Armenian society is trying to understand who will be the center of power and the guarantor of economic and political security, whether it be Russia, the United States, China, perhaps the European Union, France or Germany. Shuttle diplomacy currently conducted by Pashinyan raises certain questions. But at the same time I do not exclude the possible escalation of the Karabakh conflict, but, more likely, it will be connected with the weakening of Russia in the international arena and the emergence of conflicts near its territories.
- How much has the Western influence on the Armenian policy increased over that time?
- I am not ready to say that it has increased dramatically. It is worth remembering that Serzh Sargsyan was present in various Western-oriented formats with European countries having a frankly anti-Russian agenda, such as the Eastern Partnership. In addition, the contacts of Serzh Sargsyan, ex- president and prime minister, with the NATO, the European Union, the United States also represented contacts with the West. Another thing is that we perceive Pashinyan as a Western-oriented politician who came to power with these slogans, but his current political actions are weighed enough. His six visits to Russia and quite constructive contact with Russian President Vladimir Putin speak volumes. On the other hand, now Russia will try to increase its influence and pressure on Armenia, including by increasing gas prices at the beginning of this year. Other issues that are not settled in Russia-Armenia relations, in general, the absence of a specific dialogue do not mean the effectiveness of Russian policy towards Armenia. And it is really focusing on the West.
- In your opinion, whether is it possible to improve Armenia's economic situation if the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict persists?
- Any conflicts in one's territory, in the nearby territory, in territories having a historical relation to them, affect the economic situation. A vivid example is modern Ukraine. Of course, it also causes direct costs associated with maintaining defense capabilities and the inability to implement effective economic programs, put one‘s foot down within various economic, political, military alliances due to restrictions. Of course, it hinders the economic development. Naturally, possible mutually beneficial relations with the Republic of Azerbaijan could form good cooperation. And Nagorno-Karabakh is the main stumbling block in this issue.