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What implications may Kocharian’s return to power have for Sargsyan?

27 February 2010 [17:13] - TODAY.AZ
The Armenian public is looking forward to March 1.
According to rumors, the country’s former President Robert Kocharian will succeed Tigran Sargsyan as prime minister.

Actually, Kocharian has snubbed rumors that talks about his comeback to politics are false.  However, we are well aware and have witnessed many times that words and actions vary greatly in Armenia.  

Talks that Kocharian will be prime minister began immediately after Sargsyan became president on April 9, 2008. Everyone expected the country’s third president to appoint Kocharian as prime minister but this didn’t happen. Kocharian made a short trip to Moscow where he supposedly has a large business.

Over less than two years, Sargsyan has been criticized many times. Certain individuals in parliament and some in the government called for Kocharian’s return to power. They thought the former president represented confidence and stability, which Sargsyan lacked. The new president can’t even hide his confusion when making decisions.

Currently, Armenia is experiencing problems domestically. In the last years, the Armenian government has flirted with Turkey, has made ludicrous statements about the Karabakh conflict and has spoiled relations with Russia and Georgia. Therefore, Sargsyan has faced increasing pressure on the domestic and foreign fronts.  

It is possible that someone from Sargsyan’s inner circle advised him to put Kocharian back in power. He caused fear in those inside and outside Armenia, and did not make any contact with Turkey without prior recognition of the so-called “genocide” as required by the Armenian Diaspora.

Perhaps Sargsyan believed mistakenly that Kocharian’s return will help him to retain his presidency. Kocharian’s comeback actually marks the beginning of the end of Sarsgyan’s reign.

Once Kocharian takes the post of prime minister, his role in this position will be quite different from the one that current Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan plays.

In this case, he is obliged to do nothing but restore and even increase the flow of Diaspora money, which decreased slightly due to the global financial crisis and was later significantly cut due to the Diaspora’s dissatisfaction with Sargsyan’s foreign policy.

To resume the flow of Diaspora funds, Kocharian needs to dump all intentions to establish diplomatic relations with Turkey. As a result, he is more likely to declare that relations will be restored only after Turkey recognizes the so-called “genocide.”

Kocharian will take up the Karabakh issue next. He will not freeze all negotiations demanding Karabakh’s independence because it will only hasten military action. Actually, Kocharian, like Sargsyan and many other members of the government, is very afraid of military action. Though they say they are ready for war, this is a mere bluff. Possible military action in any case will not benefit the neighboring country.

In terms of the Karabakh conflict he needs to leave everything as is it is. He will continue the negotiations while delaying the withdrawal from the occupied lands as much as possible.

As a result, within a few months, reinforcing his position and acting as a “savior” for the Armenian state, Kocharian will finally pave a way for his  return to the presidential throne. By that time, Sargsayn, a hostage of  his own decisions, most likely will have no physical nor moral capacity to resist the pressure.

It is of no importance for Azerbaijan who rules Armenia. Azerbaijan’s position remains unchanged. All rulers of the neighboring country know it very well. Sargsyan will be the only person to lose because the only way for him to preserve his presidency is to mend relations with Turkey, leave Azerbaijan’s occupied lands and establish trade and economic relations with the country.

It is high time Sargsyan understood this.

H. Hamidov
Day.Az writer

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