Culturally, Armenia is closer to Russia than it is to Europe as a whole, and proximity and the relationships of their respective ruling classes make a closer union between the old Soviet states more likely than not in the long run.
Through history and culture, Armenia views itself as part of the West. Armenia cannot escape its geographical position: it should seek a solid relationship with Moscow and a warmer peace with Azerbaijan.
If a vibrant democratic culture that respects the people’s basic rights and provides them with a viable choice in future presidential elections is to be realized in Armenia, the opposition parties must come together around a common agenda.
Given the lack of enthusiasm surrounding the presidential contest this year, there likely won’t be a repeat of the unrest in 2008. Even so, we cannot help by despair at the lack of serious challengers in this month’s presidential election.
While some observers, such as the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, see the ECU as a genuine attempt to improve economic prospects for the developing nations of the former USSR, Ukraine is wise to remain wary.
To allow Armenia to establish purportedly legitimate symbols of sovereignty on soil the world recognizes as Azerbaijani is to take the already-fragile peace process in which the two countries have been engaged and ceremoniously set it ablaze.
While noting that Baku still has some distance to go, Stanley Weiss points out that while Azerbaijan’s strategic importance is unquestionable, the Obama Administration is nevertheless allowing the relationship to deteriorate.
Safarov’s pardon and victory celebration were frankly unbecoming a modern nation, but the ridiculous European Parliament resolution is yet another reminder of the deep scars borne by Azerbaijan as a result of the Armenian occupation.
The elections are either a profoundly unwise gamble that Azerbaijan will remain quiescent and the Minsk Group forgiving (at least until the region’s independence is a fait accompli) or a story of Armenia losing control of the forces it put in motion.
OSCE observers were quick to note that the Republican Party of Armenia engaged in systematic subversion of the electoral process, including pressure on voters and a refusal by electoral commissions to enforce the law.