By Emil Danielyan
A top associate of opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian visited Moscow this week to discuss the political situation in Armenia with Russian government officials, a leading Russian newspaper reported on Wednesday.
According to the mass-circulation daily “Komsomolskaya Pravda,” Levon Zurabian, a senior member of Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) alliance, met with unnamed “representatives of Russian power structures” during the two-day trip.
The paper said the talks focused on lingering political tensions in Armenia and, in particular, the HAK’s plans to hold a rally on the first anniversary of the March 1 post-election clashes in Yerevan. “Zurabian presented the HAK’s position in detail,” it said. “The parties noted the importance and productiveness of such meetings and decided to hold more such bilateral consultations in the future.”
Zurabian accompanied Ter-Petrosian during the latter’s confidential trip Moscow in the run-up to Armenia’s February 2008 presidential election. Opposition sources said at the time that Ter-Petrosian met with Dmitry Medvedev, who subsequently succeeded Vladimir Putin as president of Russia.
Ter-Petrosian, who had served as Armenia’s first president from 1991-1998, has asserted his pro-Russian credentials ever since staging a dramatic political comeback in September 2007. After the disputed presidential ballot he strongly criticized the West for its perceived leniency towards the Armenian government and commended Russia for its stance on the post-election developments in his country.
Ter-Petrosian, previously been known for his pro-Western leanings, also unequivocally endorsed Russia’s military campaign in Georgia last August, saying that it saved the people of South Ossetia from “genocide.”