In a widely hailed analytical piece for the Carnegie Moscow Center, RSC Analyst Mikayel Zolyan explores the significance of the criminal investigation targeting former Armenian President Robert Kocharian and others for their role in the country’s deadly March 2008 post-election crisis. For select excerpts, see below:
“Inside the Explosive Case against Armenia’s Ex-President”
“The case against ex-president Robert Kocharyan has become the most explosive episode in Armenian politics since this past spring’s Velvet Revolution. It has unnerved Moscow, as well as Kocharyan’s allies in Yerevan, with the former fearing that Armenia is pivoting to the West and the latter accusing the Nikol Pashinyan government of political persecution. But the case against Kocharyan is neither geopolitical nor the beginning of a campaign of terror—it is all about the March 1 affair, Armenia’s Bloody Sunday.”
Zolyan goes on to explain that “the symbolic importance of the events of 2008 for Armenian society has prompted the new government to take the case to its logical conclusion. Otherwise, it would lose the backing of even its most loyal supporters. Besides, the case serves the ongoing removal of old elites from power, a process that began in May 2018.
Armenian society needs the dark pages of history, especially those related to the March 1 affair, to be investigated. The new government cannot ignore the uncomfortable legacy of the past without losing many of its supporters. Yet if such an inquiry is taken too far, all of Armenia’s post-Soviet ruling elites will have to be put on trial, which is not what the new government wants to do. It needs to concentrate on formulating the new rules of the game, not settling old scores.”