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Three billion dollars for democracy: how are «networks of influence» created in Armenia

photo: primeminister.am
21 May 2022
Alexander Shpakovsky Alexander Shpakovsky

Alexander Shpakovsky |Minsk

CISS expert

On May 20, in a prestigious Marriott Armenia Hotel in Yerevan the «Armenian Democracy Forum» took place. It was organized by American Freedom House, the «human rights watchdog» with 86% funding by the US government grants and with a stable reputation of deep cover for CIA agents.

Armenian political elites and the USA influence

It should be noted, that the «democratic spirit» of this event had clear-cut boundaries, and only those included into the pre-selected lists could hook into «the values of human rights American-style». Paradoxically, even the Armenian Parliament members representing the opposition parties could not get inside the forum venue as they were simply blocked by security guards. [1] In this context the question of who represents real power in Armenia remains open.

At the same time, the words of Lynne Tracy, the USA Ambassador to Yerevan, pronounced in the margins of the above-mentioned «forum» cast some light on the specifics of formation of Armenian political elites starting from the time of disintegration of the Soviet Union. According to the American diplomat, «Since 1992, Washington spent about 3 billion dollars on democracy development in Armenia». Tracy also emphasized that «those were not just investment, but a contribution, the results of which will be seen in the near future». [2]

We need to recognize that the United States really succeeded in developing the so-called «soft power techniques» stipulating for building a network of non-government organizations serving a kind of incubators for preparing future political elites being in essence committed and financially interested «agents of influence» for Washington. It appears that it would be quite appropriate to draw a parallel with Ukraine, when after the coup dТйtat in Kiyv (the so-called «Maidan») in 2014, the Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs in her interview to CNN stated that the USA had invested 5 billion dollars into supporting the Ukrainian people strife for democracy». [3] The consequences of «the US supporting the democracy in Ukraine» are commonly known: establishment of the proxy regime, impoverishment of the population, debt bondage to the global financial institutions, civil war and finally Ц the fratricidal armed conflict with Russia.

As far as Armenia is concerned, getting back to the speech of Ambassador Tracy at the forum, she spoke about «investment into human capital» including the American plans to achieve implementation of the program to protect the rights of sexual minorities in Armenia. The American Ambassador quite reasonably believes that no investment can assure the return, if there is no one in Armenia «ready to reap the fruit of such support». In this situation, sacral statements about sexual minorities should not fool anyone, even though the West is active in using this topic in the context of «value-based submission techniques».

However, it appears that the key purpose of «investing into human capital» is implementing the strategic geopolitical objectives of the US in Transcaucasia, which eventually come down to squeezing out Russia from this region, creating effective threats for Iran, diminishing the influence of Turkey perceived as the country, which needs to be deprived of sovereign policy and submitted to the will of Washington, turning Ankara into the regional Cerberus similar to Poland in Central Europe.

«Democracy Premier League» selection criteria

Based on the details described above, the fact of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan (currently presiding in CSTO) being present at the Democracy Forum cannot help but raising a flag. The Armenian leader made a speech at the forum claiming that «Armenia has joined the Democracy Premier League». [4] Of course, it is difficult to understand the Premier League selection criteria, however, it is unlikely that he was talking about any unprecedented progress in state building. After Pashinyan coming to power, Armenia lost the Second Karabakh War to Azerbaijan, the inflation rate this year grew up to 14%, the depopulation continues, and domestic political situation is extremely unstable, because exactly on the day of the Armenian Democracy Forum the protesters against Armenian government blocked Marriott hotel demanding the Prime Minister resignation and deporting the US Ambassador.

Probably, talking about the «Democracy Premier League» at the Freedom House-sponsored event, Nikol Pashinyan meant that numerous «civil society legionaries» were present in various government agencies. These legionaries were selected, trained and delegated to the high offices by Soros Foundation, IRI, NDI, NED and other American «independent» organizations. In this case, Armenia indeed can boast of certain «achievements», but in reality, they are not in any way connected with true democracy, which means the rule of the people. Tomas Maier, a German political analyst, rightly highlighted that in the modern world under the veil of pseudo-liberal rhetoric in media the true «democracy of co-participation» was substituted by the false «democracy of contemplation», where citizens deprived of their political sovereignty exist within the illusion of choosing between the imposed simulacra of parties, «civil society», and «opinion leaders».

By the way, the change of regime in Armenia, the so-called «Velvet Revolution» of 2018 took place with the active participation of Soros Foundation. During the period 1998-2017, its representative office in Armenia allocated more than 48 mln dollars to implement various projects, including 5 mln dollars to support the «independent media». It is noteworthy that three months before the «Velvet Revolution» Soros Foundation provided support to journalists and civil society representatives from PashinyanТs team. Afterwards, 50 Armenian journalists and 75 public activists having undergone the relevant training performed in the capacity of the leading revolution outlets. [5]

American agents of influence constitute a threat for Russia CSTO

That is why it is quite natural that after Nikol Pashinyan came into power, the «Soros-trained» specialists actively gripped in Armenian authorities gradually creating the respective networks in the parliament, the diplomatic service and in security/defense and law enforcement agencies. After certain criticism and after the position of Russia (where Soros Foundation is designated as undesirable organization) was made known to Pashinyan behind the scenes, some most mediocre persons were removed from the forefront of Armenian politics. However, some of them stayed within the power system performing informal «gray» functions.

For example, Sos Avetisyan, the curator of the civil society development programs in Soros Foundation, during the first years of Pashinyan presidency was appointed to the position of Deputy Minister of Education and Culture; later, he became one of the leaders of the pro-president My Step Alliance in the parliament. In late November 2021, Avetisyan, who constantly was under attack of the media, was appointed to a low-profile position of the Armenian Ambassador to Spain. From there, he continues his activities to influence domestic and foreign policy of the Armenian government.

Armen Grigoryan, the Secretary of the Security Council of the Republic of Armenia (still in his position!) also has a very interesting labor record. Until 2018, he worked for Transparency International in the capacity of electoral programs coordinator, and then, by the courtesy of Pashinyan, he was appointed the curator of the entire block of security/defense/law enforcement agencies.

According to the media, several dozens of Armenian officials and elected members have direct or indirect connections with Soros Foundation and other similar organizations, with the USA Embassy to Yerevan and USAID programs. A number of high-ranking government officials not only received training within these programs, but were actively using foreign grants when they were heading various non-government organizations in the past.

In our opinion, in the context of international relations polarization, Russian special military operation in Ukraine, and direct threat to Russia and its allies from the USA and Western countries, the extensive network of influence of American NGOs (practically Ц the intelligence network) in Armenia threatens not only its national securities, but also the security of the Russian Federations and other allies within the CSTO.

It is important that on 13 June 2022, lawyers Margarita Gyulumyan and Tigran Atanesyan filed a petition with the general jurisdiction court of Yerevan claiming the need «to liquidate the off-shore Armenian office of the venal oligarch George Soros». [6]

Obviously, the actions of judicial authorities of Armenia in response to this petition should be a touchstone for assessing the actual intents of official Yerevan and the political elitesТ sentiment against the background of the growing geopolitical confrontation in the world, Transcaucasia and the Caspian Sea area constituting one of the theatres of such confrontation.


* The activities of Freedom House, Soros Foundation, USAID, IRI, NDI, and NED are designated as undesirable in the territory of the Russian Federation.

1. The rampart of democracy. The opposition representatives could not attend the forum with participation of Pashinyan and foreign guests. International information agency Novosty-Armenia (News of Armenia), 20.05.2022. https://newsarmenia.am/news/politics/bastion-demokratii-oppozitsionnye-deputaty-ne-smogli-popast-na-forum-s-uchastiem-pashinyana-i-inostr/?ysclid=l4e2n7zxf6807450978

2. The US Ambassador Tracy reported 3 billion dollars spent on «democracy» in Armenia. IA Regnum, 20.05.2022. https://regnum.ru/news/polit/3596738.html

3. State Department: the USA invested $5 bn into «supporting democracy» in Ukraine. RIA Novosti (News), 22.04.2014. https://ria.ru/20140422/1004886020.html

4. Armenia joined the Premier League of democratic countries: Pashinyan. RUSARMINFO, 20.05.2022. https://rusarminfo.ru/2022/05/20/armeniya-vyshla-v-vysshuyu-ligu-demokraticheskix-stran-pashinyan/?

5. Armenia became a branch of Soros Foundation. Rambler. Express-Gazeta, 06.10.2020. https://news.rambler.ru/other/44967558-armeniya-stala-filialom-fonda-sorosa/

6. Lawyers demanded to shut down the foundation in Armenia, that promotes SorosТ interests. Information agency Krasnaya Vesna («The Red Spring»), 14.06.2022. https://rossaprimavera.ru/news/d2e827e0?

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Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies
Publications

Three billion dollars for democracy: how are «networks of influence» created in Armenia

photo: primeminister.am
21 ма€ 2022
Alexander Shpakovsky

Alexander Shpakovsky | Minsk

CISS expert

On May 20, in a prestigious Marriott Armenia Hotel in Yerevan the «Armenian Democracy Forum» took place. It was organized by American Freedom House, the «human rights watchdog» with 86% funding by the US government grants and with a stable reputation of deep cover for CIA agents.

Armenian political elites and the USA influence

It should be noted, that the «democratic spirit» of this event had clear-cut boundaries, and only those included into the pre-selected lists could hook into «the values of human rights American-style». Paradoxically, even the Armenian Parliament members representing the opposition parties could not get inside the forum venue as they were simply blocked by security guards. [1] In this context the question of who represents real power in Armenia remains open.

At the same time, the words of Lynne Tracy, the USA Ambassador to Yerevan, pronounced in the margins of the above-mentioned «forum» cast some light on the specifics of formation of Armenian political elites starting from the time of disintegration of the Soviet Union. According to the American diplomat, «Since 1992, Washington spent about 3 billion dollars on democracy development in Armenia». Tracy also emphasized that «those were not just investment, but a contribution, the results of which will be seen in the near future». [2]

We need to recognize that the United States really succeeded in developing the so-called «soft power techniques» stipulating for building a network of non-government organizations serving a kind of incubators for preparing future political elites being in essence committed and financially interested «agents of influence» for Washington. It appears that it would be quite appropriate to draw a parallel with Ukraine, when after the coup dТйtat in Kiyv (the so-called «Maidan») in 2014, the Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs in her interview to CNN stated that the USA had invested 5 billion dollars into supporting the Ukrainian people strife for democracy». [3] The consequences of «the US supporting the democracy in Ukraine» are commonly known: establishment of the proxy regime, impoverishment of the population, debt bondage to the global financial institutions, civil war and finally Ц the fratricidal armed conflict with Russia.

As far as Armenia is concerned, getting back to the speech of Ambassador Tracy at the forum, she spoke about «investment into human capital» including the American plans to achieve implementation of the program to protect the rights of sexual minorities in Armenia. The American Ambassador quite reasonably believes that no investment can assure the return, if there is no one in Armenia «ready to reap the fruit of such support». In this situation, sacral statements about sexual minorities should not fool anyone, even though the West is active in using this topic in the context of «value-based submission techniques».

However, it appears that the key purpose of «investing into human capital» is implementing the strategic geopolitical objectives of the US in Transcaucasia, which eventually come down to squeezing out Russia from this region, creating effective threats for Iran, diminishing the influence of Turkey perceived as the country, which needs to be deprived of sovereign policy and submitted to the will of Washington, turning Ankara into the regional Cerberus similar to Poland in Central Europe.

«Democracy Premier League» selection criteria

Based on the details described above, the fact of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan (currently presiding in CSTO) being present at the Democracy Forum cannot help but raising a flag. The Armenian leader made a speech at the forum claiming that «Armenia has joined the Democracy Premier League». [4] Of course, it is difficult to understand the Premier League selection criteria, however, it is unlikely that he was talking about any unprecedented progress in state building. After Pashinyan coming to power, Armenia lost the Second Karabakh War to Azerbaijan, the inflation rate this year grew up to 14%, the depopulation continues, and domestic political situation is extremely unstable, because exactly on the day of the Armenian Democracy Forum the protesters against Armenian government blocked Marriott hotel demanding the Prime Minister resignation and deporting the US Ambassador.

Probably, talking about the «Democracy Premier League» at the Freedom House-sponsored event, Nikol Pashinyan meant that numerous «civil society legionaries» were present in various government agencies. These legionaries were selected, trained and delegated to the high offices by Soros Foundation, IRI, NDI, NED and other American «independent» organizations. In this case, Armenia indeed can boast of certain «achievements», but in reality, they are not in any way connected with true democracy, which means the rule of the people. Tomas Maier, a German political analyst, rightly highlighted that in the modern world under the veil of pseudo-liberal rhetoric in media the true «democracy of co-participation» was substituted by the false «democracy of contemplation», where citizens deprived of their political sovereignty exist within the illusion of choosing between the imposed simulacra of parties, «civil society», and «opinion leaders».

By the way, the change of regime in Armenia, the so-called «Velvet Revolution» of 2018 took place with the active participation of Soros Foundation. During the period 1998-2017, its representative office in Armenia allocated more than 48 mln dollars to implement various projects, including 5 mln dollars to support the «independent media». It is noteworthy that three months before the «Velvet Revolution» Soros Foundation provided support to journalists and civil society representatives from PashinyanТs team. Afterwards, 50 Armenian journalists and 75 public activists having undergone the relevant training performed in the capacity of the leading revolution outlets. [5]

American agents of influence constitute a threat for Russia CSTO

That is why it is quite natural that after Nikol Pashinyan came into power, the «Soros-trained» specialists actively gripped in Armenian authorities gradually creating the respective networks in the parliament, the diplomatic service and in security/defense and law enforcement agencies. After certain criticism and after the position of Russia (where Soros Foundation is designated as undesirable organization) was made known to Pashinyan behind the scenes, some most mediocre persons were removed from the forefront of Armenian politics. However, some of them stayed within the power system performing informal «gray» functions.

For example, Sos Avetisyan, the curator of the civil society development programs in Soros Foundation, during the first years of Pashinyan presidency was appointed to the position of Deputy Minister of Education and Culture; later, he became one of the leaders of the pro-president My Step Alliance in the parliament. In late November 2021, Avetisyan, who constantly was under attack of the media, was appointed to a low-profile position of the Armenian Ambassador to Spain. From there, he continues his activities to influence domestic and foreign policy of the Armenian government.

Armen Grigoryan, the Secretary of the Security Council of the Republic of Armenia (still in his position!) also has a very interesting labor record. Until 2018, he worked for Transparency International in the capacity of electoral programs coordinator, and then, by the courtesy of Pashinyan, he was appointed the curator of the entire block of security/defense/law enforcement agencies.

According to the media, several dozens of Armenian officials and elected members have direct or indirect connections with Soros Foundation and other similar organizations, with the USA Embassy to Yerevan and USAID programs. A number of high-ranking government officials not only received training within these programs, but were actively using foreign grants when they were heading various non-government organizations in the past.

In our opinion, in the context of international relations polarization, Russian special military operation in Ukraine, and direct threat to Russia and its allies from the USA and Western countries, the extensive network of influence of American NGOs (practically Ц the intelligence network) in Armenia threatens not only its national securities, but also the security of the Russian Federations and other allies within the CSTO.

It is important that on 13 June 2022, lawyers Margarita Gyulumyan and Tigran Atanesyan filed a petition with the general jurisdiction court of Yerevan claiming the need «to liquidate the off-shore Armenian office of the venal oligarch George Soros». [6]

Obviously, the actions of judicial authorities of Armenia in response to this petition should be a touchstone for assessing the actual intents of official Yerevan and the political elitesТ sentiment against the background of the growing geopolitical confrontation in the world, Transcaucasia and the Caspian Sea area constituting one of the theatres of such confrontation.


* The activities of Freedom House, Soros Foundation, USAID, IRI, NDI, and NED are designated as undesirable in the territory of the Russian Federation.

1. The rampart of democracy. The opposition representatives could not attend the forum with participation of Pashinyan and foreign guests. International information agency Novosty-Armenia (News of Armenia), 20.05.2022. https://newsarmenia.am/news/politics/bastion-demokratii-oppozitsionnye-deputaty-ne-smogli-popast-na-forum-s-uchastiem-pashinyana-i-inostr/?ysclid=l4e2n7zxf6807450978

2. The US Ambassador Tracy reported 3 billion dollars spent on «democracy» in Armenia. IA Regnum, 20.05.2022. https://regnum.ru/news/polit/3596738.html

3. State Department: the USA invested $5 bn into «supporting democracy» in Ukraine. RIA Novosti (News), 22.04.2014. https://ria.ru/20140422/1004886020.html

4. Armenia joined the Premier League of democratic countries: Pashinyan. RUSARMINFO, 20.05.2022. https://rusarminfo.ru/2022/05/20/armeniya-vyshla-v-vysshuyu-ligu-demokraticheskix-stran-pashinyan/?

5. Armenia became a branch of Soros Foundation. Rambler. Express-Gazeta, 06.10.2020. https://news.rambler.ru/other/44967558-armeniya-stala-filialom-fonda-sorosa/

6. Lawyers demanded to shut down the foundation in Armenia, that promotes SorosТ interests. Information agency Krasnaya Vesna («The Red Spring»), 14.06.2022. https://rossaprimavera.ru/news/d2e827e0?