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Why has Freedom House suddenly started to see problems with democracy in Pashinyan’s Armenia?

April 16 2024, 13:25

For the West, the protection of human rights has long turned from a declared mission to a leverage of political pressure. A whole system of “rating” has been created. Everything is evaluated, from the transparency of the election process to the inclusiveness of the public administration system. If the government of a particular country does not show a loyal attitude to the political and economic activities of Western elites, then these countries begin to be choked with all sorts of ratings.
Moreover, various structures have been created around the world that legalize intelligence data, drop important narratives into public discourse, and “leak” information necessary for political manipulation. We are talking about such structures as the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), Reporters Without Borders, Bellingcat, Freedom House, etc.

Each of these organizations has its own partners in a particular region of the world: from the Anti-Corruption Foundation in Russia to the Mirror of the Week in Ukraine. When they want to get something specific from one or another government, they switch on the “rating system” and publish the necessary dose of incriminating materials regarding a particular country or politician.

A simple example: when Ukraine’s Western partners needed to remove Oleksii Reznikov from the post of Minister of Defense, information appeared online in January 2023 that massive illegal schemes for the purchase of food for soldiers were conducted in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Schemes that benefit specific people both in the Ministry of Defense and in the Office of the President of Ukraine.

You may ask, what does Armenia have to do with it? The international human rights organization Freedom House published the annual report “Nations in Transit 2024”, in which it noted the decline in the national democratic governance rating in Armenia.
“Armenia’s Democracy Score declined from 3.11 to 3.07,” the report says.

“In particular, two separate investigative reports shed light on the lack of transparency regarding Civil Contract’s sources of funding. Even more concerning, law enforcement agencies cleared Civil Contract of any wrongdoing, while Pashinyan apologized but said his party had not broken any laws,” the report adds.
This refers to the OCCRP investigation, according to which the real sources of funds were unknown, since a large portion of individuals listed as Civil Contract donors were not aware of donations made on their behalf.

Obviously, since 2018, this is not the most striking corruption scandal related to Pashinyan and his party (stories of cigarette smuggling; hundreds of public purchases without a tender from one source; shares in large companies, from Viva MTS to Lydian Armenia, etc.); however, it was this that Freedom House drew attention to and lowered the rating of Pashinyan’s “bastion of democracy”.

It is more logical to assume that the West had a whole range of expectations from Nikol Pashinyan, and using the carrot-and-stick method, on the one hand, the West promised Pashinyan 270 million euros and 60 million dollars in Brussels, and on the other hand, it publicly pointed out the flaws of Pashinyan’s government, which narrowed the “room for maneuver” for him.

The West has clear expectations from Armenia, such as the withdrawal of the Russian military presence from the country, the transfer of control over the Armenian-Iranian border to a third party. And the Freedom House report indicates that the West’s waiting time is running out.
Think about it…