Armenia named 'country of the year' in UK

Armenia named 'country of the year' in UK

The British weekly newspaper Economist has named Armenia as the country of the year, saying the South Caucasus nation has a "chance of democracy and renewal" after street protests led to a peaceful change of government.

"Our annual 'country of the year' award goes not to the most influential nation, nor to the richest, nor to the one with the tastiest food. It celebrates progress," the London-based weekly news magazine wrote.

According to the article, "an ancient and often misruled nation in a turbulent region has a chance of democracy and renewal." "For that reason, Armenia is our country of the year," the newspaper stressed.

The newspaper said that choosing the 'country of the year' is tricky, because stellar performance in one year is no guarantee of future success - last year’s pick, France, is now racked by riots. 

Nikol Pashinyan, a charismatic and bearded former journalist and MP, "was swept into power, legally and properly, on a wave of revulsion against corruption and incompetence," the Economist said on December 18. He was elected to the prime minister's post in May after spearheading weeks of mass protests that forced his predecessor, long-entrenched leader Serzh Sarkisian, to resign.

On December 9, acting Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s bloc 'My Step' has received 70.43% of the vote during the Armenian parliamentary elections. The Prosperous Armenia party, led by Gagik Tsarukyan and the Armenian Renaissance party, led by Edmon Marukyan, have also entered the parliament, scoring 8.27% and 6.37% of the vote respectively. The My Step bloc got 88 of 132 seats in the parliament.

Armenian politicians and political scientists warmly welcomed this sign of attention from the UK. The Prosperous Armenia party's representative Naira Zohrabyan, speaking with Vestnik Kavkaza, said that she is completely agree with The Economist weekly newspaper. "What happened in Armenia in April was an unprecedented bloodless revolution for the entire post-Soviet space. This revolution was not against Russia, the European Union or the United States, but against corruption and the total power of the Republicans, who did not give any progress to either the country or the people. This revolution was against lawlessness," she said.

"I absolutely agree that Armenia can become the country of the year, with a revolution, which had only one winner - the people. Pashinyan’s team expresses the opinion of the majority of the people, and I can say that yes, the people won," Naira Zohrabyan stressed.

Ex-mayor of Yerevan Vahagn Khachatryan also expressed gratitude to London for recognizing the state coup in Armenia as a democratic event of the year. "It’s very nice that the actions of Nikol Pashinyan’s team are assessed in the West in such a way. In principle, it was a surprise for all of us that we were able to get rid of the regime, which reigned in the country for 20 years. I think Armenia is worthy of such an assessment," he said.