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Quo vadis Armenia?

Now that Pashinyan has the power that he sought, what will he do with it?

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Opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan has undemocratically wrested control of the Russian allied South Caucasus republic of Armenia. His rise to power took place via mob enforced extortion as he forced out the sitting Prime Minister, Serzh Sargsyan, by threatening the unicameral government with continued paralyzing general strikes on behalf of the nation’s youth, who were mobilized in a massive street protest across the small landlocked country, until his demands were met.

But how did it come to this, and where is it going? For a more complete understanding of the situation, let’s begin by taking a look at Armenia’s post Soviet political history, and that of its new Prime Minister.

In the fall of 1991, Armenia achieved its independence from the Soviet Union, electing the neo liberal Levon Ter-Petrosyan as its first President. The contested region of Nagorno-Karabakh, overwhelmingly populated by ethnic Armenians, voted to secede from Azerbaijan to form an independent republic, which sparked a war between Armenia and Azerbaijan involving the deaths of 6,000 Armenians and roughly 30,000 Azeris.

Petrosyan, in an effort to alleviate Armenia’s economic stagnation, attempted to follow through on delivering the Nagorno-Karabakh territory back to Baku in exchange for open borders and economic integration with Ankara and Baku. However, Turkey and Azerbaijan have been traditional enemies of Armenia, conducting ethnic cleansing campaigns against the Armenians, the Turks in their genocide, conducted in 1915, and the Azeris in all the lands that they seized.

This integration prospect is a part of a larger NATO project of incorporating the post Soviet states, and, therefore, Petrosyan’s plot enjoyed the backing of the US State Department and the EU. This open treason against the Armenian people met with wide spread public disapproval, including his top government officials, leading eventually to his resignation.

After about ten years of relative silence on the political front, Petrosyan again entered the scene in a bid for the 2008 Presidential election, which he lost to his former Minister of Defense, at the time the ruling Prime Minister, with only 21% of the popular vote. Petrosyan contested the results of the election, organizing mass protests, which were put down with force by the government.

Here, Nikol Pashinyan played an organizing role in the uprising, in which conflicts between protesters and the police resulted in the deaths of ten Armenians. Pashinyan was sought out by the police for murder and mass disorder, and was arrested for his role, being sentenced to a seven year imprisonment term which was cut short by an amnesty granted in 2011.

Following the protests, Petrosyan consolidated numerous NGOs and political parties into what became known as the Armenian National Congress to become the primary Armenian opposition party, in which Pashinyan would assume a leading role, which became emboldened by the regime change efforts of the Arab Spring in organizing anti government riots.

Petrosyan led rallies against the Sargsyan government demanding his resignation and the release of political prisoners, which obtained Pashinyan’s liberty, but failed to result in a resignation by the Armenian President. Petrosyan again ran for the Presidential seat in 2013, but once again gained only a marginal percentage of the popular vote.

Through these Western backed NGOs and the second largest US embassy on planet Earth, with which the Armenian opposition was romantically involved, the West continued their efforts of psychological warfare which they were waging against the Armenian populace. The US Ambassador to Armenia capitalized on his role in advancing regime change efforts by brokering the sale of an Armenian Hydro to the Americans, leading to a steep increase in electricity prices in the former soviet republic.

Of course, the Western, partially Soros funded, NGOs and Pashinyan, were quick to point the finger at Russia for the utility price increase, as Russia was being blamed for pretty much everything that is wrong with the nation’s economy, and the present Sargsyan administration, of course, is deemed fully complicit in Russia’s apparently nefarious activities. These events led to massive rallies in the streets of Yerevan, in which Pashinyan again played an organizing role, deemed ‘electric Yerevan’.

It is worth pointing out that there are hundreds of NGOs operating on the ground in the tiny country of Armenia, which only boasts around three million people, many of which are aimed at erecting a western puppet government and in remaking the social environment to something that more resembles California, and away from its traditional Christian values.

These organizations have been lobbying hard to make these things come to pass, some of which have successfully pushed numerous bills before parliament to enforce Western values on the Armenian people. They also largely fund and operate the primary and secondary education systems of Armenia, and essentially all Armenian language television programming and media, hence, from childhood, Armenia’s youth has been sold on the concept that Russia is the big bad empire looking to enslave humanity, while the Armenian government is essentially Russian owned, lock, stock, and barrel, and the West wants to bring economic prosperity and freedom to the Armenians. The propaganda is so bad, that many will even assert that Turkey is more benevolent than Russia, while it was the Turks who carried out the Genocide a century ago.

As we look as the events that have transpired over the course of the past few weeks, one can note that the event was essentially a mobilization of the country’s youth, who, lacking real economic opportunity and any well rounded geopolitical comprehension, were all too ready to jump on board, as we noticed with the Electric Yerevan protests three years ago. From my personal experience from living in Armenia for the entirety of last year, I can testify to the reality of this situation, and having attended organizational meetings of some of these NGOs, and personal interaction with some of the Armenian youth. One doesn’t need to search in order to encounter these realities due to their prevalence. Some of my contacts in the Armenian diplomatic sphere indicated to me that the problem enjoys such dominion due to the fact that there really isn’t an effective counter weight to this Western propaganda.

Last month, Pashinyan began a march to Yerevan which picked up participation along the way eventually leading to tens of thousands of protesters paralyzing Yerevan, Vanadzor and other cities around the nation. The protests went on for almost two weeks before a meeting between President Sargsyan and Pashinyan, which yielded no results as Pashinyan refused to compromise one iota. Pashinyan was going to lead the Armenian government, and no other candidate, let alone Sargsyan, was going to get in his way.

Since then, Pashinyan’s ‘velvet revolution’ has resulted in the resignation of the sitting Prime Minister and his government and the election of Pashinyan as the new Armenian Prime Minister. While Pashinyan, who has been involved in opposition aiming at ousting Sargsyan from power for a decade, has finally attained the power that he sought, with a history of painting Russia as the villain and a corrupt Armenian government owned by Russian oligarchs, the question stands, which way will he go with this?

Many see hope in the fact that he plans to attend the Eurasian Economic Union summit next month and to meet with the Russian President Vladimir Putin, together with the fact that he admits that Armenia needs Russia as a military ally, but given his life story and participation in the events recorded here, there seems to be little real hope of that.

Is this a Western backed color revolution? It’s actually hard to cast doubt on that fact, given his connections with Soros funded NGOs who have as their purpose the remaking of Armenia into a NATO member state which looks somewhat less than fondly at Russia as the originator of Armenia’s woes.

With a perception that prosperity will surely be the Armenian inheritance of an integration into the Western political and economic bloc, which perception comes from anywhere but reality. It really can’t be doubted that this movement, led by a man with a history of hostility towards Russia and a long history of working in the interests of the US and its NGOs, is something that was hatched in Washington and delivered via the CIA’s vicarious operatives, the Open Society Foundation and its ilk.

The country’s post soviet poverty and Sargsyan’s perceived power grab are the grievances that were immediately capitalized upon in order to carry out this so called ‘velvet revolution’. Pashinyan says that he wants to maintain Armenia’s balancing act between the East and West, preserving ties and agreements with Russia while pursuing the partnership of the West, it should be noted that Saakashvili made a similar such promise upon assuming control of Georgia in a similar such incident.

Of course, he knows that he can’t be so bold as to immediately cut off ties with the Russians this early in the game, as Armenia is simply too dependent on Russia to make any real changes to Armenia’s foreign policy at this time, but that this represents his long term goal remains a matter to be seen.

One concern for the future is the nationalism that was put on display during the protests. We’ve watched a heavy nationalistic front take over the Ukraine and lead to regrettable outcomes, in like manner, one worry is that such a nationalism, if radicalized sufficiently, could reignite the conflict with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh highlands, which could lead to an ethnic cleansing campaign being carried out by the Azeris together with a tough geopolitical choice for Moscow.  So, the question stands, which way, Armenia?

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Clinton-Yeltsin docs shine a light on why Deep State hates Putin (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 114.

Alex Christoforou

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Bill Clinton and America ruled over Russia and Boris Yeltsin during the 1990s. Yeltsin showed little love for Russia and more interest in keeping power, and pleasing the oligarchs around him.

Then came Vladimir Putin, and everything changed.

Nearly 600 pages of memos and transcripts, documenting personal exchanges and telephone conversations between Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin, were made public by the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Dating from January 1993 to December 1999, the documents provide a historical account of a time when US relations with Russia were at their best, as Russia was at its weakest.

On September 8, 1999, weeks after promoting the head of the Russia’s top intelligence agency to the post of prime minister, Russian President Boris Yeltsin took a phone call from U.S. President Bill Clinton.

The new prime minister was unknown, rising to the top of the Federal Security Service only a year earlier.

Yeltsin wanted to reassure Clinton that Vladimir Putin was a “solid man.”

Yeltsin told Clinton….

“I would like to tell you about him so you will know what kind of man he is.”

“I found out he is a solid man who is kept well abreast of various subjects under his purview. At the same time, he is thorough and strong, very sociable. And he can easily have good relations and contact with people who are his partners. I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the nearly 600 pages of transcripts documenting the calls and personal conversations between then U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin, released last month. A strong Clinton and a very weak Yeltsin underscore a warm and friendly relationship between the U.S. and Russia.

Then Vladimir Putin came along and decided to lift Russia out of the abyss, and things changed.

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Here are five must-read Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges from with the 600 pages released by the Clinton Library.

Via RT

Clinton sends ‘his people’ to get Yeltsin elected

Amid unceasing allegations of nefarious Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election, the Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges reveal how the US government threw its full weight behind Boris – in Russian parliamentary elections as well as for the 1996 reelection campaign, which he approached with 1-digit ratings.

For example, a transcript from 1993 details how Clinton offered to help Yeltsin in upcoming parliamentary elections by selectively using US foreign aid to shore up support for the Russian leader’s political allies.

“What is the prevailing attitude among the regional leaders? Can we do something through our aid package to send support out to the regions?” a concerned Clinton asked.

Yeltsin liked the idea, replying that “this kind of regional support would be very useful.” Clinton then promised to have “his people” follow up on the plan.

In another exchange, Yeltsin asks his US counterpart for a bit of financial help ahead of the 1996 presidential election: “Bill, for my election campaign, I urgently need for Russia a loan of $2.5 billion,” he said. Yeltsin added that he needed the money in order to pay pensions and government wages – obligations which, if left unfulfilled, would have likely led to his political ruin. Yeltsin also asks Clinton if he could “use his influence” to increase the size of an IMF loan to assist him during his re-election campaign.

Yeltsin questions NATO expansion

The future of NATO was still an open question in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and conversations between Clinton and Yeltsin provide an illuminating backdrop to the current state of the curiously offensive ‘defensive alliance’ (spoiler alert: it expanded right up to Russia’s border).

In 1995, Yeltsin told Clinton that NATO expansion would lead to “humiliation” for Russia, noting that many Russians were fearful of the possibility that the alliance could encircle their country.

“It’s a new form of encirclement if the one surviving Cold War bloc expands right up to the borders of Russia. Many Russians have a sense of fear. What do you want to achieve with this if Russia is your partner? They ask. I ask it too: Why do you want to do this?” Yeltsin asked Clinton.

As the documents show, Yeltsin insisted that Russia had “no claims on other countries,” adding that it was “unacceptable” that the US was conducting naval drills near Crimea.

“It is as if we were training people in Cuba. How would you feel?” Yeltsin asked. The Russian leader then proposed a “gentleman’s agreement” that no former Soviet republics would join NATO.

Clinton refused the offer, saying: “I can’t make the specific commitment you are asking for. It would violate the whole spirit of NATO. I’ve always tried to build you up and never undermine you.”

NATO bombing of Yugoslavia turns Russia against the West

Although Clinton and Yeltsin enjoyed friendly relations, NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia tempered Moscow’s enthusiastic partnership with the West.

“Our people will certainly from now have a bad attitude with regard to America and with NATO,” the Russian president told Clinton in March 1999. “I remember how difficult it was for me to try and turn the heads of our people, the heads of the politicians towards the West, towards the United States, but I succeeded in doing that, and now to lose all that.”

Yeltsin urged Clinton to renounce the strikes, for the sake of “our relationship” and “peace in Europe.”

“It is not known who will come after us and it is not known what will be the road of future developments in strategic nuclear weapons,” Yeltsin reminded his US counterpart.

But Clinton wouldn’t cede ground.

“Milosevic is still a communist dictator and he would like to destroy the alliance that Russia has built up with the US and Europe and essentially destroy the whole movement of your region toward democracy and go back to ethnic alliances. We cannot allow him to dictate our future,” Clinton told Yeltsin.

Yeltsin asks US to ‘give Europe to Russia’

One exchange that has been making the rounds on Twitter appears to show Yeltsin requesting that Europe be “given” to Russia during a meeting in Istanbul in 1999. However, it’s not quite what it seems.

“I ask you one thing,” Yeltsin says, addressing Clinton. “Just give Europe to Russia. The US is not in Europe. Europe should be in the business of Europeans.”

However, the request is slightly less sinister than it sounds when put into context: The two leaders were discussing missile defense, and Yeltsin was arguing that Russia – not the US – would be a more suitable guarantor of Europe’s security.

“We have the power in Russia to protect all of Europe, including those with missiles,” Yeltsin told Clinton.

Clinton on Putin: ‘He’s very smart’

Perhaps one of the most interesting exchanges takes place when Yeltsin announces to Clinton his successor, Vladimir Putin.

In a conversation with Clinton from September 1999, Yeltsin describes Putin as “a solid man,” adding: “I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner.”

A month later, Clinton asks Yeltsin who will win the Russian presidential election.

“Putin, of course. He will be the successor to Boris Yeltsin. He’s a democrat, and he knows the West.”

“He’s very smart,” Clinton remarks.

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New Satellite Images Reveal Aftermath Of Israeli Strikes On Syria; Putin Accepts Offer to Probe Downed Jet

The images reveal the extent of destruction in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport.

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Via Zerohedge


An Israeli satellite imaging company has released satellite photographs that reveal the extent of Monday night’s attack on multiple locations inside Syria.

ImageSat International released them as part of an intelligence report on a series of Israeli air strikes which lasted for over an hour and resulted in Syrian missile defense accidentally downing a Russian surveillance plane that had 15 personnel on board.

The images reveal the extent of destruction on one location struck early in attack in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport. On Tuesday Israel owned up to carrying out the attack in a rare admission.

Syrian official SANA news agency reported ten people injured in the attacks carried out of military targets near three major cities in Syria’s north.

The Times of Israel, which first reported the release of the new satellite images, underscores the rarity of Israeli strikes happening that far north and along the coast, dangerously near Russian positions:

The attack near Latakia was especially unusual because the port city is located near a Russian military base, the Khmeimim Air Force base. The base is home to Russian jet planes and an S-400 aerial defense system. According to Arab media reports, Israel has rarely struck that area since the Russians arrived there.

The Russian S-400 system was reportedly active during the attack, but it’s difficult to confirm or assess the extent to which Russian missiles responded during the strikes.

Three of the released satellite images show what’s described as an “ammunition warehouse” that appears to have been completely destroyed.

The IDF has stated their airstrikes targeted a Syrian army facility “from which weapons-manufacturing systems were supposed to be transferred to Iran and Hezbollah.” This statement came after the IDF expressed “sorrow” for the deaths of Russian airmen, but also said responsibility lies with the “Assad regime.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also phoned Russian President Vladimir Putin to express regret over the incident while offering to send his air force chief to Russia with a detailed report — something which Putin agreed to.

According to Russia’s RT News, “Major-General Amikam Norkin will arrive in Moscow on Thursday, and will present the situation report on the incident, including the findings of the IDF inquiry regarding the event and the pre-mission information the Israeli military was so reluctant to share in advance.”

Russia’s Defense Ministry condemned the “provocative actions by Israel as hostile” and said Russia reserves “the right to an adequate response” while Putin has described the downing of the Il-20 recon plane as likely the result of a “chain of tragic accidental circumstances” and downplayed the idea of a deliberate provocation, in contradiction of the initial statement issued by his own defense ministry.

Pro-government Syrians have reportedly expressed frustration this week that Russia hasn’t done more to respond militarily to Israeli aggression; however, it appears Putin may be sidestepping yet another trap as it’s looking increasingly likely that Israel’s aims are precisely geared toward provoking a response in order to allow its western allies to join a broader attack on Damascus that could result in regime change.

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“Transphobic” Swedish Professor May Lose Job After Noting Biological Differences Between Sexes

A university professor in Sweden is under investigation after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded”

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Via Zerohedge


A university professor in Sweden is under investigation for “anti-feminism” and “transphobia” after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded” and that genders cannot be regarded as “social constructs alone,” reports Academic Rights Watch.

For his transgression, Germund Hesslow – a professor of neuroscience at Lund University – who holds dual PhDs in philosophy and neurophysiology, may lose his job – telling RT that a “full investigation” has been ordered, and that there “have been discussions about trying to stop the lecture or get rid of me, or have someone else give the lecture or not give the lecture at all.”

“If you answer such a question you are under severe time pressure, you have to be extremely brief — and I used wording which I think was completely innocuous, and that apparently the student didn’t,” Hesslow said.

Hesslow was ordered to attend a meeting by Christer Larsson, chairman of the program board for medical education, after a female student complained that Hesslow had a “personal anti-feminist agenda.” He was asked to distance himself from two specific comments; that gay women have a “male sexual orientation” and that the sexual orientation of transsexuals is “a matter of definition.”

The student’s complaint reads in part (translated):

I have also heard from senior lecturers that Germund Hesslow at the last lecture expressed himself transfobically. In response to a question of transexuallism, he said something like “sex change is a fly”. Secondly, it is outrageous because there may be students during the lecture who are themselves exposed to transfobin, but also because it may affect how later students in their professional lives meet transgender people. Transpersonals already have a high level of overrepresentation in suicide statistics and there are already major shortcomings in the treatment of transgender in care, should not it be countered? How does this kind of statement coincide with the university’s equal treatment plan? What has this statement given for consequences? What has been done for this to not be repeated? –Academic Rights Watch

After being admonished, Hesslow refused to distance himself from his comments, saying that he had “done enough” already and didn’t have to explain and defend his choice of words.

At some point, one must ask for a sense of proportion among those involved. If it were to become acceptable for students to record lectures in order to find compromising formulations and then involve faculty staff with meetings and long letters, we should let go of the medical education altogether,” Hesslow said in a written reply to Larsson.

He also rejected the accusation that he had a political agenda – stating that his only agenda was to let scientific factnot new social conventions, dictate how he teaches his courses.

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