In an interview with Tert.am, Doctor of Political Science Hayk Martirosyan spoke of the July 17 armed attack on a police building in Yerevan, resultant domestic political changes in Armenia, relations between political forces and society and public demand issued in Yerevan’s Khorenatsi street and other issues.
Mr Martirosyan, Armenia’s political forces were preparing for parliamentary elections scheduled for next year. Political parties were established, and political propaganda was under way. How much has the Sasna Tsrer group’s activities changed the game for political forces?
The group’s actions have complicated the situation for Armenia’s authorities. Society is now demonstrating string trends to tension, and political parties have proved their actual absence. The so called intellectuals moving in the ruling circles have shown their true worth as well. Armenia’s political arena is empty, while the only ruling political force is deeply hated. In the previous state of affair, Armenia’s authorities had to spare no effort to rig elections, whereas now they have to resort to reprisals. With discontent with you growing, and you lacking intellect and hardly tolerated, overtly doing what you once tried to conceal. And then you are overthrown because no one is going to tolerate more.
Political forces have a task of coming to or approaching power. How have the Sasna Tserer group’s actions influenced the authorities? What changes will authorities make?
We should realize that one either has intellect and knowledge or has not any. If the former, you can be capable of making right assessments and changes. Since it lacks in this particular case, no favorable expectations should be held. Armenia’s authorities are digging their own grave, and Sasna Tsrer is only of help to them.
What trends were observed in the public-political forces relations after July 17?
A total break, revelation and mutual exclusion. The political scene is exhausted, discredited and destroyed. What we see in Armenia is, as a matter of fact, the Communist-style one party model.
Mr Martirosyan, in the run-up to July 17, there was public discontent in the social media and on other platforms over the absence of a [political] force or leader ruling the crowd. [The Civil Contract party’s leader,] Nikol Pashinyan, made such attempt, but the society wouldn’t accept anyone. What public demand is after all being sketched now?
I find it hard to give an answer. If the [political forces] having adherents are dispersed and driven out of square, the street, which isn’t crowded as it is, will look even emptier. Pashinyan enjoys publicity, at least at the moment, so he is still able to attract people despite his party-backed agenda. Evidently, people reject this government, but they do not take to the streets for now to raise their voice. So to disperse the [political forces] at the moment would mean keeping the squares empty. Political analysts cannot fill the existing vacuum. Whether analysts or politicians, if people follow all this through computers at home their demands too, will be heard from their bedrooms.
How and to what extent did they manage or fail to make the situation work to their own advantage?
All political forces guide themselves by their own interests. What matters is to what extent the interests of the nation and the people are present there. What we hear in the Khorenatsi [street] is the interest of the people’s complaint. But the political forces aren’t there – just as they are absent from everywhere else. Whenever people just take to the streets to raise their demand, real changes become possible. Political forces then follow the people instead of proposing agendas. We do not have situations like this in Armenia. It may be possible sometime in the future, but today, we simply don’t have it.