Kocharyan gives interview to Bloomberg
Five months after a democratic “velvet revolution” that ousted Armenia’s former rulers, an ex-president with close ties to the Kremlin says he’s returning to politics to challenge the new government.
Robert Kocharyan, who’s facing possible imprisonment over the deaths of protesters at the end of his presidency a decade ago, criticized the “revolutionary romanticism” of the authorities under Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, the opposition leader swept to power in May by peaceful mass protests.
Pashinyan, who hosted world leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a Francophone summit in Yerevan this week, remains hugely popular with Armenians angered by widespread official corruption and lawlessness under the old regime that left many citizens in poverty. He’s still striving to consolidate his hold on power as parliament is controlled by the party of Kocharyan’s hand-picked successor.
“I see the shortcomings of the government, they are very much in need of sound and rational criticism,” Kocharyan, 64, said in an interview in the capital, Yerevan, on Tuesday. He didn’t specify what he would change.
“As far as I understand, the elections will take place in December, and it will be Pashinyan’s another personal victory. But it will be the serious defeat of our country,” Kocharyan said.
The second president stressed that it is wrong to conduct elections now and for Pashinyan first of all.
“Such model cannot be succeeded as one political monopoly is being replaced with another,” Kocharyan stressed.
While Kocharyan is wading into the political scene with criticism of the current government, he said he hasn’t set himself a goal of returning to the top role for now.