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Armenia sees abortive attempt at orange revolution - analysts

July 01, 2015, 19:14 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara
© Hrant Khachatryan/PAN Photo via AP

MOSCOW, July 1. /TASS/. Attempts at lending a political and anti-Russian flavor to Armenia’s social protests are a sure sign the West remains determined to push ahead with its color revolution technologies, polled experts have told TASS.

The latest protest actions in Yerevan began on June 19, when thousands of demonstrators took to the streets to express their anger over electricity price hikes. On June 22 they blocked Bagramian Avenue, the street where Armenia’s president has his residence. The opposition at once demanded the resignation of the government. On June 23 the police dispersed hundreds of protesters, but the demonstrations resumed in the evening of the same day to have continued up to this very moment, although on a smaller scale.

Analysts remark that while at first the demonstrators had several coarse-sounding loud-hailers, within days they obtained powerful loudspeakers. Well-organized groups of volunteers were bringing foods, drinks and medicines to the center of Yerevan. Journalists agree that the scenario of events in Yerevan was an exact replica of the protest marathon in Kiev at the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015. What made the resemblance still more striking was the demonstrators were being urged to chant anti-Russian slogans: ostensibly, it was Russia’s businessmen controlling Armenia’s electric power grids who were to blame for the soaring electricity bills.

On Tuesday, board chairman of Russia’s Inter-RAO company, Boris Kovalchuk, told TASS the complex situation in Armenia’s electric power industry stemmed from exclusively economic, and not political issues. Mostly, it was a result of systemic problems in controlling the sector. Inter RAO manages Armenia’s power grids, the country’s distribution network monopolist. The company is currently in a grave financial condition and it asked Armenia’s regulator for permission to raise prices by 40%. The regulator agreed to a partial price rise, by 16%.

The deputy director of the CIS Countries Institute, Vladimir Zharikhin, believes that "color revolution moderators" have decided to check in what way the Armenian leadership will respond in case of mass protests in support of political demands. "The protesters’ zeal eased a lot after police on June 23 used water cannon and detained 237 people. By now the number of protesting activists has been down to several dozen. In other words, the attempt at staging a colour revolution in Armenia failed," Zharikhin said.

Caucasus department chief at the CIS Studies Institute, Vladimir Yevseyev, believes that number one aim of the West, first and foremost, the United States and Britain, is not so much to topple Armenia’s current authorities as to make President Serzh Sargsyan, who had turned his back on eurointegration to opt for Eurasian cooperation, more pliable and controllable. "The large Armenian communities in the United States and France have been working hard along the same lines. Both are agents representing Western interests in Armenia. Both provide lavish funding for the opposition. In Armenia, there is an impressive representation of western media and non-governmental organizations, numbering 2,500. This is a lot for a small country," Yevseyev told TASS.

"One should neither exaggerate nor belittle the risk youth may be used for destabilizing the situation in Armenia. The actors inside Armenia, interested in ‘rocking the boat’, may use this group as a fuse to detonate political upheavals and stage an operation code-named ‘successor’." President Serzh Sargsyan had proposed a meeting with the protesters’ activists and to order an audit of the electricity tariffs only to hear in reply there was nothing to talk about," Yevseyev recalled.

"Armenia’s legal political parties, including oppositional ones, should be urged not to stay on the sidelines in the current situation, but to act as a political force responsible for stability in the country," Yevseyev said.

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