A leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) expressed misgivings on Thursday about President Serzh Sarkisian’s unfolding dialogue with Armenia’s largest opposition force led by Levon Ter-Petrosian.
Armen Rustamian suggested that the two rival camps are primarily motivated by their parochial interests and that possible agreements between them may well not benefit ordinary Armenians.
“In this process, the people are becoming a tool, an observer,” Rustamian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service. “Under the worst-case scenario, those political forces will agree on something but the people will eventually gain nothing from that.”
“Right now I don’t see signs that this dialogue will lead to a meaningful improvement of the existing situation,” he said.
Neither the Sarkisian administration, nor Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) is committed to “radical” changes that would eliminate the root causes of Armenia’s political and socioeconomic problems, he claimed.
Rustamian made clear at the same time that his party will welcome the dialogue if it eases political tensions and helps to improve the economic situation in the country.
Dashnaktsutyun and the HAK have a tense rapport despite being both in opposition to the Armenian leadership. HAK representatives have repeatedly questioned Dashnaktsutyun’s opposition credentials, saying that it backed the 2008 government crackdown on the Ter-Petrosian-led opposition and was part of Sarkisian’s governing coalition until April 2009.
In Rustamian’s view, by making concessions to the HAK, Sarkisian is keen to ward off opposition threats to topple him and mitigate popular disaffection with his track record. “The authorities are gaining means to limit or prevent possible protests, possible discontent or to let off some steam,” he said. “This is useful for any government.”
Hrant Markarian, another Dashnaktsutyun leader, claimed last week that Sarkisian may go as far as to call snap parliamentary elections.