On July 31, Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation made a noteworthy statement in his talk to the journalists.
In response to the journalist’s question on his opinion about recent developments in Armenia, including the arrests, Lavrov stated that the recent events “contradict the statements of the new Armenian leadership that they are not going to persecute the previous authorities for political reasons”. Although Sergei Lavrov does not mention any specific persecuted person’s name, one can conclude that he meant the charges brought against RA second President Robert Kocharyan and CSTO Secretary General Yuri Khachaturov, taking into consideration the moment of making that statement.
Explaining Kocharyan’s arrest by political considerations (both by Lavrov and some internal circles) seems strange for one reason: people were killed on March 1, and for the very political reasons, the circumstances of their deaths have not become subject to independent investigation for ten years already.
Moreover, besides March 1, there were a number of cases when former Armenian authorities used special means and disproportionate physical force against peaceful demonstrators, as a result of which many people were injured. These cases have never become subject to independent court examination by the former authorities, and the perpetrators have not been punished, and the victims have been in the nightmare of filing lawsuits to various court instances. This situation was related to the circumstance that the judicial system was controlled by the former government.
Nevertheless, the situation today is different. Not only is there no political control over the judicial authorities, but there are also specific contradictions among the law enforcement and judicial authorities. Otherwise, Alexander Sargsyan, the brother of the third president of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, who is involved in multi-million corruption schemes, would not have been released after being arrested.
So, is it fair to say that since May 2018, corruption or other charges against former high-ranking officials and their relatives in Armenia have been politically motivated? Not at all… On the contrary, the circumstance of their escaping from justice for years, enjoying the looted property safely and calmly has been politically motivated. On the other hand, the current Armenian authorities have promised not to use a vendetta. But this does not mean pardoning of all deadly sins.
Lavrov’s statement is a manifestation of unacceptable interference from two different points of view. On the one hand, his statement on political motivations indicates that the RF Foreign Minister considers the political interference in the judicial processes normal, and insists that the new government of the Republic of Armenia controls the judicial power. On the other hand, this statement indicates that Lavrov believes that the Armenian government can intervene based on political motives and stop the trial of Kocharyan and Khachaturov’s cases in order to please Russia. Consequently, on the one hand, Sergey Lavrov considers it normal to intervene in the domestic affairs of Armenia and, on the other hand, considers the interference of Armenian political authorities in the judicial cases as normal.
Perhaps, for the first time since the first Russian-Azerbaijani arms sales agreement in 2013, Russia’s image had risen to some degree among the Armenian public due to the absence of interference in the domestic affairs of Armenia during the events of April-May 2018. Nevertheless, such interferences and assessments surely damage Armenia-Russia relations more than they reinforce them.
Union of Informed Citizens