Western powers would have been far more supportive of opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian had he harshly criticized Russia and sought to reorient Armenia’s foreign policy, a senior member of his Armenian National Congress (HAK) claimed on Monday.
Arman Grigorian, the HAK’s representative to the Council of Europe, said Ter-Petrosian’s cautious stance on Russia is the reason why the West is more “enthusiastic” about opposition groups in Belarus or Ukraine.
“If Levon Ter-Petrosian and other opposition leaders had lambasted [Russian Prime Minister Vladimir] Putin, slung mud at Russia or knocked on NATO’s door every single day, the West’s attitudes towards us would have been much more sympathetic,” he told a news conference.
Ter-Petrosian has repeatedly accused the European Union and the United States of turning a blind eye to human rights abuses in Armenia. He has claimed that they are reluctant to pressurize the administration of President Serzh Sarkisian in hopes of accelerating the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations.
Earlier this month, Ter-Petrosian urged the EU press harder for the release of his loyalists remaining in prison, the Armenian government’s respect of civil rights and an objective inquiry into the 2008 post-election unrest in Yerevan. He said that would dispel what he described as a widespread suspicion in Armenia that the bloc is ready to “sacrifice its own values” for geopolitical reasons.
Ter-Petrosian and his loyalists have also been highly critical of the Council of Europe and its Parliamentary Assembly (PACE). They say that the Strasbourg-based body has disregarded its own resolutions on Armenia that demand an end to the 2008 government crackdown on their opposition alliance.
PACE representatives deny this. The Armenian authorities, for their part, insist that they have essentially complied with those resolutions.
Grigorian also cited objective reasons for the Council of Europe’s perceived leniency towards the Sarkisian administration, saying that Armenia is not the only member state flouting its membership commitments. “In Europe, the dominant way of thinking is this: if we punish a particular government, then we must also impose sanctions on others,” he said. “And that is too problematic and undesirable.”