“NEW RISE ON CAUCASUS”
Having inspired by Georgian “revolution of roses”, the Armenians too demand change of regime. Last days many thousands peace demonstrations gather in the Freedom Square in Yerevan. The government has arrested hundreds people and threatens with violence in case demonstrators will move to the presidential palace. To avoid bloodshed, it is necessary to carry out a referendum under the control of the international observers and to find out, whether the majority of resignation of president Robert Kocharyan wants.
Many in Armenia are adjusted against Kocharyan's corrupt and incompetent administration. Apathy has become anger; especially the young Armenians are dissatisfied with absence of opportunities. Representatives of young generation aspire to emigrate from the poor and isolated country. In 1989 the population of Armenia made 3,5 million person, today remained about 2 million.
Armenia experiences crisis since Kocharyan has discharged authority of the former president Тер-Petrosyan in 1998. His worst moment became on October 27, 1999, when armed people in masks have rushed into the building of National Assembly and have killed the Prime Minister and the Speaker of Parliament. Incompetent investigation has disappointed many Armenians and has generated accusations to address of Kocharyan in arrangement to murderers.
The son of killed speaker - Stepan Demirchyan and the brother of the killed prime minister - Armen Sarkisyan aspired to restore validity at elections. But though the international observers have accused the government in falsification of results of presidential elections in February 2003, it has not helped opposition, as the government has ignored statements of observers and has refused to leave in resignation.
Obvious occasion at present demonstrations was not. Armenia has tradition of a tacit protest, but on this time Armenians aloud accuse Kocharyan of creation of the mafia state and demand changes.
In contemptuous tone, the representative of high rank of authorities has accused opposition of undermining safety of Armenia during the moment when the new president of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev becomes more and more resolute.
Having found independence after disintegration of the USSR, Armenia has won bloody war with Azerbaijan for Azerbaijan region Nagorny Karabakh in which the Armenians lived. In this war were lost tens thousand people, and one million Azerbaijanis have been ousted from the native lands. Bloodshed has stopped after in 1994 as the parties reached ceasefire.
The Armenians have dearly paid for war with Azerbaijan. As a token of solidarity with the ethnic brothers, Turkey has imposed embargo concerning Armenia, having coordinated opening of the Turkish-Armenian border with returning occupied territories.
Though logically Armenia should appear on a way of transportation of oil and gas from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, and the oil pipeline Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, cost of 3,2 billion dollars, goes through Georgia.
To distract attention from internal problems of Armenia, Kocharyan can answer with threats to the statements of the President of Azerbaijan. Keeping Armenia in a condition of the conflict, Kocharyan successfully uses problems of safety and fear of the population in the political ends.
In the certain degree, poverty and isolation of Armenia are caused by closeness of border with Turkey. When I have put to the Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan a question on opening of borders, in what are interested both Turkey and Armenia, he answered: “I positively concern to trading connections. But Armenia should declare clearly on its the intentions”.
Turkish leader Erdogan means Kocharyan's refusal to make the statement that Armenia does not apply for territory of East Turkey.
Being consecutive in support of reforms in the East Europe and former Soviet republics, the US should help to Armenia to carry out the next stage of difficult transition to democracy. The Bush Administration has strong influence on Armenia, which is the largest addressee of the American assistance in per capita. Let know, that it will not suffer violence over participants of demonstrations at the Freedom Square, Washington can help with achievement of the agreement between the government and opposition about carrying out of a referendum within three months.
Progress in democratic development of Armenia can promote renewal of peace talks on Karabakh, induce Ankara to open border, to weaken influence of Russia and Iran on Southern Caucasus. This progress will enable people of Armenia to look with optimism in tomorrow and to build more safe future.