Authorities in Armenia Getting Rid of Pro-Western Politicians

As a result of the events taking place since July 17, there have been many arrests of political and public figures attributed to the so-called pro-western political wing. The political parties, which mainly advocate limitation of Russia’s influence in Armenia, have appeared on the frontline of the wave of mass protests and have, in fact, taken the consequences of the inadequate activities of the authorities on their shoulders.

As it is known, July 17 saw the takeover of the RA Police patrol-guard regiment by “Sasna Tsrer” armed group. All the high-ranking policemen present in the base were taken hostages. The group demanded RA President Serj Sargsyan’s resignation, as well as release of the arrested politician Jirayr Sefilian and a clear position on the Nagorno Karabagh issue. Parallel to the takeover of the police base, public rallies started in Yerevan in support of the armed group members.

The protests reached their culmination on July 25 and the following days. It was specifically on these days that pro-western political and public figures appeared on the frontline of marches and gatherings. In particular, the coordination of the demonstrations was taken over by the Heritage Party, which has a pronounced Western orientation, as well as Civil Contract Party, which advocates decrease of Russian influence in Armenia.

The protests, which were increasingly gaining momentum, became very dangerous for the RA authorities and their response followed very soon. During the peaceful protest on July 29, the Police used excessive force as a result of which dozens of peaceful protestors and journalists were injured. It is worth mentioning that in contrast to other CIS countries, the press in Armenia is distinguished by its relative independence and immunity against Russian propaganda. And hence, by using brutal force against journalists, particularly journalists from Radio Freedom, A1+ and other media, the RA authorities seemed to challenge the West and the western values adopted by Armenia.

Dozens of protestors were detained on July 29 and the following night by being subjected to deliberate and targeted physical violence. Representatives of the opposition were detained or arrested.

In particular, the following famous politicians have been arrested and subjected to pretrial detention:

  • Armen Martirosyan (Deputy Head of a clearly pro-European Heritage Party),
  • Andrias Ghukasyan (one of the leaders of New Armenia Movement initiated by Jirair Sefilian, famous for his anti-Russian position),
  • Davit Sanasaryan (spokesperson of Heritage Party, famous for organization and active participation in numerous protests in Yerevan, including those related to Lavrov’s visit to Yerevan. Sanasaryan was the one who threw eggs at the Russian Embassy during the protests against Russia’s arms deals with Azerbaijan),
  • Hovsep Khurshudyan (member of Heritage Party, member of the governing body of the EU Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum)

Hence, the RA authorities have got rid of the figures who had taken over the responsibility of leading the protests and who were famous for their pro-western positions.

It is worth to note  that when they were surrendering, member of “Sasna Tsrer” group Varuzhan Avetisyan told the journalists that their struggle was aimed against Russian colonialism. “Today all the processes are directly governed from outside. I am talking about Russia. The process of suppressing the national liberation struggle of the Armenian people and our liquidation is not governed from Armenia. All these pressures are governed by Russia”, Avetisyan said.

Vahe Ghukasyan,

“Union of Informed Citizens”

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