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Events in Armenia: not a ‘colour revolution’

The political crisis in Armenia had clear internal causes and is unlikely in the long term to effect Armenia’s close relationship with Russia

Alexander Mercouris

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One of the great problems caused by the US’s ‘colour revolution/regime change’ policy is that it is sometimes difficult to separate a genuine political crisis and real protests from US confected ones.

Recent events in Armenia provide a good example.

Over the last week Armenia’s has been hit by a massive wave of protests following the ruling party’s attempt to appoint Armenia’s longstanding leader and former President Serzh Sargsyan to the post of executive Prime Minister.

The protests, which took place in several cities including the capital Yerevan and in which by some accounts some members of the military joined in, eventually led to the forced resignation of Prime Minister Sargsyan and of his government.

Talks are now underway on setting up a new government.

Comparisons with the events in Ukraine in 2013-2014 are irresistible, and many see in the events in Armenia a repeat of those events, with a ‘pro-Russian’ leader – Sargsyan – ousted by pro-Western protesters in what is essentially a ‘colour revolution’ coup orchestrated by the US.

In my opinion this comparison is misleading and is almost certainly wrong.

First of all, it should be said that Sargsyan can indeed be described as ‘pro-Russian’ if by that is meant someone with strong personal ties to the Russian leadership who has led Armenia on a course of integration into the Russian led Eurasian institutions.

That the Russian leadership sees in Sargsyan a friend is shown by the extraordinarily warm letter of congratulation Russian President Putin sent to him on his appointment as Prime Minister.  According to the Kremlin’s website parts of it read as follows

Your appointment to this responsible post reaffirms your high political authority and broad support for the reforms aimed at solving the socioeconomic challenges facing Armenia.

I am certain that your activities as head of government will facilitate the further consolidation of friendly, allied relations between our countries and the continuation of mutually beneficial integration processes in Eurasia.

I would like to reaffirm our interest in close cooperation on pressing international and regional issues

By comparison Viktor Yanukovich – the Ukrainian President who was ousted by the Maidan coup – was in no sense ‘pro-Russian’.  His relations with the Russian leadership and with President Putin personally were bad and far from integrating Ukraine into the Russian led Eurasian institutions he resisted doing so.  On the contrary it was his government which negotiated Ukraine’s Association Agreement with the EU.

However the key difference is in the attitudes of the protesters.  In Ukraine the Maidan protesters were outspokenly and vehemently hostile to Russia.  Indeed it was hostility to Russia and the issue of Ukraine’s relationship with Russia which was the driving force behind the protests.

By contrast there is no evidence of hostility to Russia playing any role in the anti-Sargsyan protests at all.  Nor does the question of Armenia’s relationship with Russia appear to have played any role in the protests.

The simple fact is that though Sargsyan has been Armenia’s leader for a long time, many Armenians have become increasingly unhappy with him, and disaffection towards him has been growing for some time.

This was explained at length two years ago during an earlier much more violent protest outbreak in Armenia by Rafael Babikian writing for The Duran

The Armenian public and diaspora were left with mixed feelings about the violent methods adopted by the gunmen. People defined the group by a wide range of terms, calling them anything from ultranationalists to “Armenia’s last hope”. But what’s interesting is that most of those who did not condone the methods, did agree with the gunmen’s demands. The popularity of President Sargsyan has been hanging by a thread for years now. The lack of popularity stems mostly from uneasy economic situation in Armenia. Many Armenians feel that the government has not done enough to promote economic growth, fight corruption and take on oligarchic monopolies, many of whom are members of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia itself……

What’s happening in Armenia is not another Ukrainian Euromaidan as some pundits would like to call it. The protesters have not come out with any chants against any country, and the issue is far from being related to Armenia’s deep ties with Russia, which has been getting deeper every year.

The event which precipitated the latest wave of protests was Sargsyan’s decision to break a promise he made during the constitutional referendum of 2015 not to stand for election as Armenia’s Prime Minister at the end of his second Presidential term if the outcome of the constitutional referendum was to convert Armenia from a Presidential into a parliamentary republic.

Though it is always difficult to assess the precise reasons why people vote the way they do, the fact remains that Armenian voters voted in the constitutional referendum to convert Armenia into a parliamentary republic, and voted in the Armenian parliamentary elections of 2017 for Sargsyan’s Republican party, after Sargsyan gave that promise .  It is at least possible and even likely that some Armenian voters who voted the way they did in the referendum and in the parliamentary elections did so because they placed reliance on Sargsyan’s promise.

It was Sargsyan’s decision to break his promise – confirming suspicions voiced by many of his opponents at the time of the constitutional referendum that the constitutional change being proposed by him was simply a manoeuvre intended to perpetuate indefinitely his hold on power – which provoked the protests.

Given the dissatisfaction with Sargsyan which has been building up in Armenia for some time, and the bad effect on the Armenian public of his broken promise, that is in no way surprising.

At this point I should say that contrary to what some Western commentators are saying, there is an essential difference between President Putin’s appointment to the post of Prime Minister of Russia in May 2008 on the conclusion of his second term as President, and what Sargsyan has just tried and failed to do.

Not only was Putin at that time immensely popular in Russia in a way that Sargsyan has never been in Armenia, but no change to the Russian constitution was made, and no promise that Putin would not be appointed Prime Minister or would not stand in future again as President was ever given.

Where does Armenia go from here?

The nominal leader of the protests is Nikol Pashinyan, an individual with a shady past who is a protege of Armenia’s former President Levon Ter-Petrosyan.  He is now calling for fresh elections and he may get his wish.  Whether he or his pro-Western party does well in those elections – in the 2017 parliamentary elections it only won 8% of the vote – remains to be seen.

Ultimately however Armenia’s position makes a fundamental geopolitical realignment unlikely.

Armenia is hard-pressed by strong and potentially hostile neighbours – Turkey and Azerbaijan – who are effectively in alliance with each other against it.  Moreover it is in a state of undeclared war with Azerbaijan over the disputed Armenian populated territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Though Russia has been working hard and with some success in recent years to improve its own relations with both Turkey and Azerbaijan, ultimately Armenia depends on Russia to guarantee its security.

Armenians – politically speaking a sophisticated people who have traditionally looked to Russia as their friend and protector – understand all this very well.

That makes it unlikely that political leaders and parties such as Pashinyan’s which want to distance Armenia from Russia will gain much traction in Armenia over the long term.

Certainly the Russians appear to be very relaxed about what has happened.  Their position throughout the protests has been determinedly non-interventionist.  Dmitry Peskov – President Putin’s spokesman – put it this way.

This is absolutely Armenia’s domestic affair, this is all I can say. Why should Moscow interfere?

Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s Prime Minister, has for his part in a telephone conversation today with Armenia’s acting Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan sounded similarly confident.  Here is how the Russian government’s website reports the call

During their conversation the officials discussed current issues of Russian-Armenian relations and developments in Armenia. Dmitry Medvedev expressed support for the friendly Armenian people and stressed the importance of keeping the situation within legal and constitutional boundaries.

They also addressed the topic of integration within the Eurasian Economic Union.

(bold italics added)

The implication is that so long as the political situation in Armenia continues to develop within “legal and constitutional boundaries”-  ie. so long as there is no unconstitutional seizure of power by Pashinyan and his like – the Russians are relaxed about it.

Interestingly, from the other side of the fence, the US magazine Foreign Affairs – the  voice of the US foreign policy establishment – is of the same view

……we should not expect this to have geopolitical repercussions beyond Armenia’s borders, nor should we see it as a signal of Russian decline or as a prompt for potential Russian intervention. Sargsyan’s downfall is not about geopolitics. At most, it is a sign that post-Soviet regimes are not as secure as they look from a distance and that the region’s old regimes are perfectly capable of crumbling peacefully without any push from the outside……

We shouldn’t look at the events in Armenia, then, through a geopolitical prism. They are decidedly not a rejection of Russia. Armenia looks out at two closed borders, with Azerbaijan and Turkey — a result of an ongoing 30-year-old conflict over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. The country’s military alliance with Russia stems from that and is deemed essential to national security. (The new opposition wants to lessen Russia’s economic hold over the economy, but that is a different matter.) Nor does Pashinian, the de facto opposition leader, dissent from the consensus line of the political establishment, which is opposed to making concessions over Karabakh, which Armenians fought over with Azerbaijan and have held since 1994.

Much will now depend on how the situation evolves over the course of the next few days.

Though the protests have been large there has been little in the way of violence and with Sargsyan gone the issue which united the protesters and which brought them out onto the streets has been removed.

Unlike Ukraine Armenia is a small but politically sophisticated country of 3 million people with a high degree of social and political cohesion.

That makes it possible and even likely that the crisis will now subside and that a road out of it which preserves Armenia’s vital relationship with Russia will be found.

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Defeat in Bavaria delivers knockout punch to Merkel’s tenure as Chancellor (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 136.

Alex Christoforou

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The stunning CSU defeat in Bavaria means that the coalition partner in Angela Merkel’s government has lost an absolute majority in their worst election results in Bavaria since 1950.

In a preview analysis before the election, Deutsche Welle noted that a CSU collapse could lead to Seehofer’s resignation from Merkel’s government, and conceivably Söder’s exit from the Bavarian state premiership, which would remove two of the chancellor’s most outspoken critics from power, and give her room to govern in the calmer, crisis-free manner she is accustomed to.

On the other hand, a heavy loss and big resignations in the CSU might well push a desperate party in a more volatile, abrasive direction at the national level. That would further antagonize the SPD, the center-left junior partners in Merkel’s coalition, themselves desperate for a new direction and already impatient with Seehofer’s destabilizing antics, and precipitate a break-up of the age-old CDU/CSU alliance, and therefore a break-up of Merkel’s grand coalition. In short: Anything could happen after Sunday, up to and including Merkel’s fall.

The Financial Times reports that the campaign was dominated by the divisive issue of immigration, in a sign of how the shockwaves from Merkel’s disastrous decision to let in more than a million refugees in 2015-16 are continuing to reverberate through German politics and to reshape the party landscape.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the stunning Bavarian election defeat of the CSU party, and the message voters sent to Angela Merkel, the last of the Obama ‘rat pack’ neo-liberal, globalist leaders whose tenure as German Chancellor appears to be coming to an end.

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Via Zerohedge

Voters in Germany’s economically dominant southern state of Bavaria delivered a stunning rebuke to the ruling Christian Social Union, in an election that delivered another crushing blow for the parties in Angela Merkel’s grand coalition in Berlin.

With all eyes on Sunday’s Bavaria election, moments ago the first exit polls showed a historic collapse for the ruling CSU party, which has ruled Bavaria continuously since 1957, and which saw its share of the vote collapse from 47.7% in the 2013 election to just 35.5%, losing its absolute majority and suffering its worst result since 1950, as voters defected in their droves to the Greens and the far-right Alternative for Germany.

German newspaper Welt called the election “the most painful election defeat of the past 50 years for the CSU”. As predicted in the polls, the CSU experienced a “historic debacle” in the Bavarian state elections, according to Welt. The CSU was followed by the Greens which soared in the election, more than doubling to 18.5% from 8.6% in 2013, the Free Voters also rose to 11% from 9.0%, in 2013.

Meanwhile, the nationalist AfD are expecting to enter Bavaria’s parliament for the first time ever with 11% of the vote, and as such are setting up for their post-election party. Party leader Alice Weidel already is having the first beer in the small community of Mamming in Lower Bavaria.

Establishment party, left-of-center SPD also saw its support collapse from 20.6% in 2013 to just 10% today.

The full initial results from an ARD exit poll are as follows (via Zerohedge):

  • CSU: 35.5 %
  • Grüne: 18.5 %
  • FW: 11.5 %
  • AfD: 11.0 %
  • SPD: 10.0 %
  • FDP: 5.0 %
  • Linke: 3.5 %
  • Sonstige: 5.0 %

The breakdown by gender did not show any marked variations when it comes to CSU support, although more women voted for the Greens, while far more men supported the AfD:

There was a greater variation by educational level, with highly educated voters tending more towards the green GRÜNE (G/EFA) and liberal FDP (ALDE) then the average, while low/middle educated voters tended more towards CSU (EPP) and AfD (EFDD).

This was the worst result for the CSU since 1950.

Zerohedge further reports that alarmed by the rise of the anti-immigration, populist AfD, the CSU tried to outflank them by talking tough on immigration and picking fights with Ms Merkel over asylum policy.

But the strategy appeared to have backfired spectacularly by alienating tens of thousands of moderate CSU voters and driving them into the arms of the Greens.

Meanwhile, as support the CSU and SPD collapsed, the result confirmed the Greens’ status as the rising force in German politics. Running on a platform of open borders, liberal social values and the fight against climate change the party saw its support surge to 18.5%, from 8.4% in 2013. Meanwhile the AfD won 11%, and for the first time entered the Bavarian regional assembly.

“This is an earthquake for Bavaria,” said Jürgen Falter, a political scientist at the University of Mainz.

The CSU had governed the state with an absolute majority for most of the last 60 years. “It was Bavaria and Bavaria was the CSU. That is now no longer the case.”

The latest collapse of Germany’s establishment parties highlights the shaky ground the grand coalition in Berlin is now resting on as all three parties in the alliance, Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, the CSU and the SPD, are haemorrhaging support. Some are now questioning whether the coalition, already frayed by personal rivalries and near constant bickering over policy, can survive a full term in office.

“This outcome throws ever more doubt on the future of the grand coalition,” said Heinrich Oberreuter, head of the Passau Journalism Institute and an expert on the CSU. “Based on current polls, if an election were held now, the CDU, CSU and SPD would not even command a majority in the Bundestag.”

The CSU will now be be forced to form a coalition government — a humiliating outcome for a party that has run Bavaria single-handedly for 49 of the last 54 years. Its preference is probably for a three-party coalition with the Free Voters, a small party that is mainly focused on local politics. It could also team up with the Greens, though it would be highly reluctant to do so: the two parties are deeply divided over immigration, transport and environmental policy.

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Elizabeth Warren’s DNA ploy backfires big time (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 1.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a quick look at Senator Elizabeth Warren’s ‘genius’ idea to accept POTUS Trump’s ‘Native American DNA’ challenge. Let’s just say that Warren will never recover from this self-inflicted wound.

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The Cherokee Nation issued a statement crushing Elizabeth Warren for her “continued claims of tribal heritage.”

“A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship. Current DNA tests do not even distinguish whether a person’s ancestors were indigenous to North or South America. Sovereign tribal nations set their own legal requirements for citizenship, and while DNA tests can be used to determine lineage, such as paternity to an individual, it is not evidence for tribal affiliation. Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong. It makes a mockery out of DNA tests and its legitimate uses while also dishonoring legitimate tribal governments and their citizens, who ancestors are well documented and whose heritage is prove. Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.

– Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin, Jr

Zerohedge reports that Elizabeth Warren just owned herself after releasing a DNA test confirming that she’s as little as 1/1024th Native American – about half the percentage of the average white person.

What’s more, the DNA expert she used, Stanford University professor Carlos Bustamente, “used samples from Mexico, Peru, and Colombia to stand in for Native American” as opposed to, say, DNA from a Cherokee Indian which Warren has claimed to be throughout her career.

Adding to the absurdity are two major corrections by the Boston Globe (which has become the media mouthpiece of Warren’s 2020 damage control efforts of late), letting readers know that “Due to a math error, a story about Elizabeth Warren misstated the ancestry percentage of a potential 10th generation relative. It should be 1/1,024,” and later updating it to “between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American.”

Adding to the absurdity are two major corrections by the Boston Globe (which has become the media mouthpiece of Warren’s 2020 damage control efforts of late), letting readers know that “Due to a math error, a story about Elizabeth Warren misstated the ancestry percentage of a potential 10th generation relative. It should be 1/1,024,” and later updating it to “between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American.”

Elizabeth Warren’s got trolled by Trump in the most epic fashion, pushing the Senator to make a blunder that will follow her for the rest of her career.

The Daily Caller’s Benny Johnson exposed Elizabeth Warren’s history of lies in 10 simple tweets…

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Hillary Clinton: Democrats have been TOO CIVIL with GOP (VIDEO)

Civil war becomes more likely as Clinton calls for greater civil unrest after weeks of absolutely insane behavior from leftist activists.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Former presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton just called for an end to civil behavior towards Republicans and conservatives. In an interview with Christiane Amanpour of CNN expanded on in a piece by USA Today, the failed candidate had this to say:

“You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about… That’s why I believe, if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and / or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again.”

Clinton said that Senate Republicans under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., “demeaned the confirmation process” and “insulted and attacked” Christine Blasey Ford – who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about a sexual assault she alleges Kavanaugh committed in 1982 – along with other “women who were speaking out.”

It should be pointed out here that Clinton told a lie. The Senate Republicans did everything possible to hear out Dr Ford’s testimony, and no one has gone on record with any sort of insults or demeaning comments about her. Every Republican Senator who stated anything agreed that something happened to her, but they also agreed that there was no corroboration showing that Judge Kavanaugh was actually involved in any misdoings. USA Today’s piece continues:

Clinton compared the handling of Kavanaugh’s confirmation to “Republican operatives shutting down the voting in 2000,” the “swift-boating of John Kerry,” attacks on former Arizona Sen. John McCain in the 2000 Republican primary and “what they did to me for 25 years.

“When you’re dealing with an ideological party that is driven by the lust for power, that is funded by corporate interests who want a government that does its bidding, you can be civil but you can’t overcome what they intend to do unless you win elections,” she told Amanpour.

Clinton compared Kavanaugh’s swearing-in ceremony at the White House on Monday to a “political rally” that “further undermined the image and integrity of the court.”

She told Amanpour the effect on the court “troubles” and “saddens” her “because our judicial system has been viewed as one of the main pillars of our constitutional government.”

“But the President’s been true to form,” Clinton added. “He has insulted, attacked, demeaned women throughout the campaign – really for many years leading up to the campaign. And he’s continued to do that inside the White House.”

Here, Clinton told at least two more incendiary whoppers.

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First, no one has been specifically after her, and second, President Donald Trump’s record with women including in the White House has been nothing short of stellar and gentlemanly. Nikki Haley, who supported Marco Rubio in the 2016 campaign and has at times been openly critical of Donald Trump, yesterday announced her full support of his 2020 campaign and her intent to campaign with and for him.

By all accounts, Mrs. Haley is a woman.

The first American Civil War had economic policy and states’ rights as its central focus. Slavery was a part of that issue, though slavery was practiced in the North as well in the South before this war began.

Now a new civil war is coming, but perhaps it should be called the American Social War. It is not about any real policy matter at all. It is hysteria, but it appears to be hysteria with a purpose.

The first American Social War has two apparent sides and allying forces and groups:

The Left:

  • pro-gay marriage
  • pro-death (in other words, pro-abortion)
  • anti-Christian, especially Christianity that says these first two issues are wrong
  • anti-GOP / Republican / Conservative
  • “victim class” – feminists, some millenials
  • supporters of legalized use of mind-altering / mood-altering drugs
  • appears to support overreaching socialist style government, featuring “fair” wages, such as a $15.oo minimum wage
  • anti-traditionalist
  • Mainstream media is strongly allied here
  • George Soros is a supporter
  • social media outlets, like Facebook and Twitter are supporters through “scrubbing” of media content
  • anti-white, anti-male, and if you are white, male and Christian, look out. You are Enemy Number One
  • supports and executes violence against all these people they are against, including family members.
  • very zealous, and very monolithic in terms of alignment and energy

The Right:

  • Conservatives
  • people who generally want the government to leave them alone
  • generally favors life, considering abortion tragic and to be avoided, though some consider that it should be made illegal
  • marriage has always been between one man and one woman and it should not be redefined to fit the whims of a few
  • God is sovereign (though many conservatives would never make this connection)
  • No real animus against the left, but at the same time, fed up with being hectored by the left all the time, as we saw in Senator Lindsey Graham’s explosive confrontation against Senate Democrats
  • Generally Republican by party affiliation, though many libertarian and conservatives are also present as well as a number of conservative democrats.
  • seeks to avoid violence. While there do exist a very few neo-Nazi types, their numbers are infinitesimal, and their behavior is rejected by the Right
  •  generally against drug use, though many have unfortunately moderated on the matter of actual illegality

The main characteristic of this approaching war, as stated before, is little more than some sort of outrage over identity politics and perceived victimization. This is something both new and old, as there is always a party in any war that claims that they are fighting because they are in fact the aggrieved party, under the other side’s aggression and suppression.

That factor exists with this war too. However, the reality of that aggression or suppression is that it does not exist, and this makes it very difficult for the “perceived aggressors” to ramp up the zeal needed to carry out the fight.

This factor is often very maddening for conservative people. As a whole they do not wish to fight. They wish to be left alone. The left on the other hand insists that everything must be fought for because the right has somehow managed to take it away from them, or is keeping it away from them.

This is purely fiction but it is almost impossible to convince a leftist that this is so. Tucker Carlson expands on this matter in this report. He makes reference at 6:37 about how Hillary Rodham Clinton is now openly calling for civility to the GOP to end (as if it hasn’t already!), but the entirety of this report begs to be seen to give perspective to the look and feel of this crisis:

This is unfamiliar territory in many ways, and it is unclear how far this will go. But one this is clear: it is testing all available limits, and it may come to real fighting, and real killing, for no reason better than perceived victimization.

It should be understood that the advocates for violence are all people that reject God and traditional values openly. There is certainly a connection.

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