BY ALKHAS ISMAYILOV
The April 'velvet revolution' in Armenia, it would seem, opened up new opportunities for the country to further strengthen ties with some countries and create mutually beneficial relations with others. However, those and others are not in a hurry to lend a hand of friendship to the Armenians, to support and even help in a difficult post-revolutionary situation. The governments of both the West and the East adhere to a cautious and wait-and-see attitude towards Armenia, and even the allies in the EAEU behave quite evasively.
The whole matter, apparently, is that not only the Western capitals, but also the eternal friend and guardian Moscow do not really understand where the vector of the new Armenian policy will be directed, and in general, what is happening in this country. It seems that the Kremlin does not really trust the newly minted political partner.
'Pashinyan is neither a systemic figure, nor a statesman, he made a proper mess and introduces an element of the bazaar into interstate relations,' a very high-ranking Russian official characterised the Armenian prime minister, according to Kommersant.
Evidence of the current 'high,' as is customary now to say, relations between Moscow and Yerevan was the New Year greeting sent by Putin to Nikol Pashinyan's worst political enemy Robert Kocharyan. The Russian leader wished the 'Armenian friend' under arrest 'good health, firmness and fortitude...'
Western capitals, although at first they greeted the 'peaceful' coup in Yerevan and the coming to power of oppositionist Pashinyan, now can’t figure out what he really wants, what goal he pursues, especially since there are no positive political or economic changes within the country, a more difficult situation is further aggravated.
Former US Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group Matthew Bryza said in an interview with Azeri Daily that in Washington 'they are still studying Pashinyan.'
'Yes, he proclaims himself a democrat, but so far we hear a lot of words and do not observe concrete actions. The interests of the United States in the region are in the speedy resolution of the Karabakh conflict, but Pashinyan has not shown himself on this issue either. As they say, we must wait, look at his further actions,' said the American diplomat.
Waiting, however, is being too long. Despite the efforts of the Armenian diaspora in the United States, Pashinyan did not manage to receive invitations from the White House. According to Armenian sources, the new leader really wants to get an audience with Trump and speak at the US Congress as a champion of democracy, but the American side does not give him that chance.
The European Union, which seems to have promised at first financial aid to Armenia, is also silent. The multi-billion injections from the EU, which Pashinyan very much hoped for, did not happen too.
Armenia is not averse to establishing relations with the neighbouring Islamic Republic of Iran, but Tehran is also not in a hurry to determine its attitude towards Yerevan.
The caution of former and prospective partners is also noted in Armenia itself. Political scientist Armen Grigoryan also believes that Pashinyan has managed to build mutually beneficial relations with virtually no one, although he believes that there is still hope for favourable cooperation.
'The European Union is still waiting. But, as the ambassador of this organisation in Armenia, Peter Svitalsky, noted before the recent extraordinary parliamentary elections, the EU is considering long-term financial projects, and after forming a sustainable system, it is ready to expand the framework of relations with Yerevan. In the format of the Armenia-EU agreement, we are now at the initial stage of preparing the 'road map.'
Russia, by tradition, continues to consider processes from a geopolitical point of view - in the logic of a 'zero-sum game,' while also using every opportunity to demonstrate its dominant role and expect new concessions. Although in the West Armenia is no longer associated with corruption and authoritarianism, but new partnerships have not yet been established, work in this direction has not been carried out.
Iran also seems to have been waiting. Tehran, probably, also expects Armenia to take the initiative.
Pressure from Russia always exists, in different contexts. But if, up to now, it has not arbitrarily raised the price of gas using its monopoly, then maybe Moscow is expecting some concessions,' Grigoryan outlined his vision.
However, reality shows that the expectations of the Armenian authorities for the best times for themselves, which depend on good attitude of Moscow and the West, may not be justified. Although Pashinyan is trying to make a good face on a bad game, his inconsistency and inadequacy of actions are seen so clearly that the prospective partners of the country distance themselves from them more and more.