As time goes by, the political landscape unties its knots in Armenia. The present government coalition's parties will most probably run independently. On Monday Head of Republican Party of Armenia parliamentary faction, Deputy Chairman of the Party Galust Sahakyan dismissed rumours about a possible new coalition agreement. He didn't rule it out, still it's quite clear that Prosperous Armenia is doing its best to attract valuable names to its party list. Arthur Baghdasaryan, Rule of Law party, already declared that the party will run with its own proportional list.
Among the (many) opposition parties, Heritage and Free Democrats tried and find a common ground for action. Heritage may be a party that would manage to enter the National Assembly also running alone. Still, to be effective it would need something more than few seats. So, in the days following the congress of the 2nd of March the party may reveal its potential new allies' strategy.
Many parties (among them the Armenian Revolutionary Federation) are still working on their party lists. The vote is yet far, in May. And it's even more far in Georgia, albeit a group proposed to anticipate the election date. The most vibrant part of the civil society is at present fully absorbed in the protest against the new Law on Parties. There are issues of concerns, according to relevant national and international organizations. And the government may indeed consider to amend it once more. After all, if the amendments are meant - as many voice - to prevent Bidzina Ivanishvili from interfering with all his money and power in the political life of the country, the measure may still be not only unfair but also disproportionate.
Meanwhile Ivanishvili unveiled the core team of his would-be party. He's still deprived of Georgian citizenship, so just mentioning how hopeful the party might be is totally premature. And the government has many months to come and all the tolls are at its disposal to gain even more consensus than the present, including insisting on the allegations of Ivanishvili's links with Moscow.
As the domestic politics evolves, in the year of parliamentary elections, from the south-east winds of war and instability blow . A car bomb was defused in Tbilisi. Target: the Israeli Embassy. Mastermind? Some suggest Iran. Iran denies, while its relations again touch a negative pick with Azerbaijan. Some knots had better untie slowly and gently.
In Euclidean geometry, parallels never meet. So seem to do Georgia and Russia. On the other hand, like for parallels, they share something.
Right now the two countries share the common pattern of billioners contending the primate to the present leadership. Prokhorov, in Russia, is a Presidential candidate. Ivanishvili in Georgia is much less: actually, he's not even a Georgian citizen. Not any longer. But he gained visibility, he has money and somehow he is in the political arena.
For each of them the previous presidents voiced their support: in Russia Michail Gorbachev said “I think it’s worth voting for him [Prokhorov].”; in Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze in January declared during an interview that he was sure that Ivanishvili would reach the power. In both cases, the aspirants may not gain so much from this statements: both previous presidents are probably more listened abroad than domestically, and both of them are not really loved. For some citizens, they represent - much more than relevant opinion makers - Soviet geriatrics.
In both Georgia and Russia triumphalism seems to be the chosen political language of communication by the ruling class. In Georgia Saakashvili came back from United States claiming to have achieved more that it was even conceivable, in the field of cooperation for defence capabilities. Putin pledged, in case of his election, to cut inflation, to turn Russia in one of the world's economic centres, to drastically change the housing situation, to invest in religious buildings' reconstrucion and to refrain from interference in the affaires of religious association, and, not last, to return to "winter time" and to reverse the demographic crisis, making Russian population reach 154 million.
Both are not really credible: the two of them seem to be promising much more than they can get. And probably their stubborn attachment to power is a destabilizing element in their systems. Some Putin's supporters turned into "bench sitters" after the hand-over with Medvedev. They may not join the protests, but they are not really happy about how all the issue was managed. Some other just think he had his chance to reform the country, and that he did what he did, but now he's done with Russia. And it's clear, as well, that a reply of the Medvedev-Putin tandem, after the amendment that strengthens the role of the Prime Minister in Georgia, wouldn't be welcome. At least not by the international community.
Let's see if the parallels will diverge exactly on this point.
MA Degree in Foreign Languages and Literatures,
BA Degree in International and Diplomatic Sciences,
PhD in Democracy and Human Rights, Political Sciences.
Languages: Italian, English, Russian, Turkish.
Associate Researcher ISPI (Milan), Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso, DIRE (Genoa University).
Previous work experience: Political Adviser EU Council;
EUMM Team Leader and Gender Focal Point.
Assistant Professor El Manar University, Tunis