The recent dramatic events changed not only Armenia’s government but also the “mindsets” of its citizens and earned the country a “very positive image” abroad, a senior European Union diplomat said on Tuesday.
“I believe that what happened in Armenia is something very deep,” Piotr Switalski, the head of the EU Delegation in Yerevan, told RFE/L’s Armenian service in an interview. “It’s not just about a change in power, it’s not about bringing new faces or new political personalities into the government. It’s not about changing policies.”
“This was a revolution of mindsets,” he said. “People decided to get rid of the remnants of past thinking, past syndromes. I believe that is something lasting. In particular, the young people [in Armenia] are different people now.”
“The challenge for the [new] government and also for the society at large is to sustain this positive change and this positive energy which has started emanating from the people,” stressed Switalski.
The envoy also praised Armenia’s former leadership, the leaders of protest movement that removed it from power as well as “other political and societal forces” for jointly ending the nearly month-long unrest.
“I think that from the political point of view what happened in Armenia was very unique because the crisis which erupted in Armenia has been solved, defused peacefully and within the constitutional frameworks, which has sent a very powerful message to the outside world … This message is building a very positive image of Armenia in the outside world,” he said.
“It is sending a powerful signal about the solidarity, unity and political maturity of the Armenian society,” added Switalski.
The EU closely monitored the crisis in Armenia sparked by former President Serzh Sarkisian’s attempt to hold on to power after serving out his second presidential term on April 9. It repeatedly urged Armenian political factions to end the standoff through dialogue.
Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, and Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president, sent a congratulatory letter to Nikol Pashinian, the main organizer of massive anti-Sarkisian protests, two days after he was elected prime minister on May 8. “We look forward to cooperating with you in your new position to further strengthen the relations between the European Union and Armenia,” they wrote.