Velvet Revolution in Armenia, Current Situation

Velvet Revolution in Armenia, Current Situation

Political analyst Mikael Zolyan describes the current situation in Armenia:

"Events of the last couple of weeks have changed Armenia profoundly. But now is probably the most difficult moment since the start of the protests. History is full of examples of revolutions gone wrong. Today we can see that the former government is getting weaker day by day, but the new one has not been formed yet.

Today there are two centers of power in Armenia: one is the formal power, represented by the government and the acting prime-minister and the other one is the new power center that has emerged on the Republic Square. It is hard to say which of these centers has more influence today: the formal one of the informal one. But in any case, this is a dangerous situation and the longer it lasts, the more dangerous it gets. So far, this revolution had been exemplary in the way that it had avoided the dangers that are usually associated with revolutions. Serzh Sargsyan, a skilled chess player, realized that he had lost the game and resigned. But today, it seems that the old elite is not ready to give up its position without a fight. And the opposition needs to keep up the protests, otherwise it may risk handing the fruits of its efforts to other political forces.

Ultimately, things depend on whether the protest leaders will be able to accomplish two things, which may seem contradictory. One, the protesters need to keep up the pressure in the streets: if the level of activity of the street protests falls, the protest leaders may lose the initiative, and third forces may step in and “steal” the victory. But at the same time, they need to offer the old elite a way out, an opportunity to accept defeat without “losing face”. And the Republicans, in their turn, need to follow the example of their former leader: whatever one thinks of Serzh Sargsyan, he had the wisdom to realize that he had lost the game and the strength to acknowledge his defeat. If Republicans do that, they will have a chance to rebrand themselves and remain a part of Armenia’s political landscape in the future, and maybe even one day come back to power through democratic means. And most importantly, this will offer Armenia a chance for a smooth transition."

Armenia's National Assembly will discuss the election of the new Prime Minister on May 1.