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28 April 201800:47

How Yerevan is done as a "soft coup"

How Yerevan is done as a "soft coup"
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The United States is expectedly interested in the development of the situation in Armenia, there is a Russian military base in Gyumri. The Armenian National Committee of America supports the strengthening of the Armenian-American political, economic and military relations. What schemes can US diplomats use to finance and implement projects for Armenia?
He grew beard, changed his suit for some reason to a khaki shirt, put a baseball cap and a backpack, and went outside the street. This is a rather brief description of a person who has the honor to make statements on behalf of the entire people of Armenia on the streets of Yerevan. Nikola Pashinyan.

Initially, he proposed then to the incumbent Prime Minister of Armenia (in the Armenian political system this is the head of state) to Serzh Sargsyan to discuss the conditions for his resignation. The protests should have ended theoretically after Sargsyan resigned - this was the main demand of the opposition and its supporters. On 23 April, Serge left. But Pashinyan urged people to take to the streets "to the bitter".

And on 24 April Pashinyan stated that he was ready to become prime minister of the country. They will conduct "fair elections", and they will elect a new government. The oppositionist himself, according to him, has very high chances - they support, as it were, 90% of voters, that is why many of his words were perceived as a call for an unconstitutional coup.

Then Pashinyan insisted on negotiations on the transfer of power from the acting president with the Prime Minister of the Republic Karen Karapetyan. The meeting did not take place. Then Pashinyan said that he had communicated with the "representatives of Moscow", who convinced him of Russia's loyalty and the continuation of the policy of non-interference, and some, they say, businessmen are falsely concealed behind Moscow's alleged position for personal purposes. On 25 April, protests continued. The leader of the opposition demanded the complete resignation of the entire ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA). Participants in the rally agreed with his candidacy for the post of head of state.

On the same day, the RPA announced the beginning of the discussion of the question of the replacement of the party chairman. That is, Serzh Sargsyan announced his readiness to leave this post for the sake of bringing order to the country. The next day it became known that the Armenian parliament would discuss the issue of the election of the prime minister on 1 May.

At the same time, Pashinyan said that it is not worth to abandon Russian protection of Armenia's borders with Turkey and Iran, as well as from the Russian 102nd military base in Gyumri.

However, what is happening in the Armenian information space means that the opposition is preparing to destabilize the situation in Gyumri.

On 26 April, Archbishop Sepuh Chuljyan, a native of Turkish Malatia, repatriated in 1969 to Gyumri, made a statement in support of the victories of street protests and, in particular, of youth.

"Let's not forget that this is the youth that won in April, so this is a generation of victory, and it's not for nothing that it is also called the generation of independence. Dear young people, you have proved that in the minds of a young Armenian a very high level of dignity. In fact, a new stage of Armenia's independence has been laid," the archbishop said.

At the same time he asked not to allow internal chaos and interference of external forces, "not to confuse the state and power", law enforcement agencies and protesters - to refrain from violence and exclude provocations.

On the eve some educational institutions went on strike in Gyumri. The protest was joined by people in white coats - as reported in the media, they were medical workers of the city polyclinic №1.

Until 2 May, classes were stopped in the extracurricular "Center for Creative Technologies "Tumo", which is reported on the page of the center on Facebook. The educational institution was established by American businessman Sam Simonyan, who lives in the US "from adolescence."

"In support of our youth [branches] TUMO in Yerevan, Gyumri and Dilijan will be closed until 2 May. April courses will be repeated in May so that all students have the opportunity to continue the educational course without a pass," the report said.

For the first time, the heads of the TUMO reported to suspend the work of the centers for the day on 23 April. And on this day in Yerevan, a meeting with the director of NOOR Images Pier-Mohammed Petit was scheduled. The company was presented as a photo agency specializing in shooting protest actions, riots, wars and natural disasters around the world.

In the afternoon of 26 April dozens of protesters entered the building of Gyumri City Hall, organized a sit-in strike. The protesters demanded from the civil servants to join the procession of the opposition. The vice-mayor explained to them that the staff of the mayor's office had the right to make an independent decision, the procession, accompanied by the priests, moved to the Theater Square.

In general, any protest can not last for any period without leaders of public opinion. If Nikol Pashinyan became the opposition leader on the scale of Armenia, then in Gyumri one can not fail to pay attention to Levon Barseghyan, the head of the Aparez journalism club (a non-governmental organization). Since 2011, he is the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Gyumri-Asparez. By the way, Nikol Pashinyan is a former journalist, the creator of the newspaper Haykakan Zhamanak (armtimes.com).

It is interesting that on the site asparez.am an advertisement was published on the employment in the "Research Service" in the field of public health. The project is funded by the international anti-corruption center Transparency and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Employees of the latter, for example, in Russia in 2012, were "asked to quit" - the organization interfered in the internal affairs of the Russian Federation, so the activity was banned in the country.

A Word document is in the attachment, in the letterhead of wthe document the contact details of the NGO "Asparez" are indicated.

In other words, the invitation was signed on behalf of the leadership of the journalistic club, the date is 22 April, 2018. Of course, this only means that Barseghyan's NGO was chosen for the implementation of foreign projects, and donor funds should be channeled to Asparez or Barseghyan in person.

However, the source of the news agency "SM-News" assures that on the eve Barseghyan received $40,000 specifically to destabilize the situation in Gyumri. It's not gonna work with an Armenian journalist to dip in his pocket, but the announcement of recruiting employees to a foreign project is simple: the money has already been allocated, and probably has not yet been spent.

"After the presidential elections in Armenia, at the end of February 2008, demonstrations were lasting for 10 days, and after fights had began in the streets in the center of Yerevan, former President Robert Kocharian declared a state of emergency throughout the territory of Yerevan for 20 days, from 1 March. But the state of emergency was actually realized on the territory of the whole Armenia. On 1 March, Armenian Security Service employees came to Yerevan, regional TV companies and regional newspapers, warning that any news reports covering the events in Yerevan could be interpreted as a violation of the President's Decree on the imposition of a state of emergency," Barseghyan said.

Most of all he was indignant at the fact that all this time on Armenian TV channels they did not talk about the political situation in the country, and the employees of GALA-TV channel were subjected to numerous attacks from government agencies during the half-year before presidential elections.

The editorial office of GALA-TV was based in Gyumri, and continued its activities.

The accounts of the TV company were audited, during which tax violations were found in the amount of about $ 85,000, the tax authorities appealed to the court.

And then the Aparez organized a fund-raising campaign in support of GALA-TV.

"... about 90 000 US dollars were collected from people from all regions of Armenia, as well as from the Armenian diaspora. About 10 000 people, this is 2,220 donations, were saving for GALA-TV ", the text of the statement says.

However, does the reader find the system of public donations like a form of covert funding? For example, such a large Armenian diaspora as the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is based in Washington.

On 23 April, the organization's website published a statement, the authors of which welcomed the "peaceful political transition in Armenia, reflecting the will of the people and respect for the rule of law"

"ANCA welcomes the peaceful political transition in Armenia, reflecting the will of the people and respect for the rule of law, and counts on cooperation with the new leadership of the Republic on issues of common concern: the strengthening of the Armenian-American political, economic and military relations," the statement said.

Even logically, well, they support the political transition, expect cooperation with the new authorities, including, the development of bilateral military relations, and they really invest in a case that is clearly in the US interest, don't they? It is clear that the main thing is not money, but their quantity ... Therefore, it is fair to assume that through the donations of, say, the Armenian National Committee of America, financial flows come from the US Department of State. The source of the news agency "SM-News" claims that Nikolay Pashinyan intends to send 90 000 dollars to ANCA.

Well, the Armenian protest leaders already know how to twist the schemes, drop the ends in the water. Oh Barseghyan with the experience of GALA-TV does for sure.

Finally, one more fact. In December 2017, Armenia initiated the procedure for banning the activities of the American Soros Foundation, which financed various projects. It was expected that the status of the organization would be determined by the Armenian parliament in the spring of 2018. On the Internet, a petition was issued asking them to ban the Foundation.

"Open Society - Armenia" released very quickly two grants to organizations, so that they questioned the new doctrine "Nation-Army", worked out by the Minister of Defense of Armenia Vigen Sargsyan. The purpose of the doctrine is to unite the people around the army, to strengthen the organizational spirit and security of the country. According to the objectives of the grant, representatives of the public organization that received it were supposed to conduct various focus groups among students in order to develop an alternative point of view with respect to the doctrine of "Nation-Army". 

Roughly speaking, they are engaged in subversive activities," Tsovinar Kostanyan, deputy chairman of the International Organization for Humanitarian Development of the International Organization for Human Rights, co-author of the petition, to the journalists of the Business Eurasia portal, said.

Earlier, in November 2017, Republican Party MP Hayk Babukhanyan announced the figure in the parliament: the Soros Foundation allocated 20,000 dollars to the NGO Public Agenda for criticizing the military doctrine.

The source of the news agency "SM-News" asserts that on the eve one of the opposition leaders David Sanasaryan (member of the "Reject Serzh!" Initiative group) discussed in the "Open Society - Armenia", disscused the Foundation's grant for social studies and organization of protests. The meeting was held on 24 April. In connection with the involvement in the organization of protests in Yerevan, Sanasaryan was detained by law enforcers, he was charged with organizing mass riots. On 23 April, he was released on a recognizance not to leave.
Elena Winter Translated by Elena Winter
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