Armenia’s electricity price hike and more broadly its deteriorating economic circumstances have triggered mass protests in Yerevan. But there is more to “Electric Armenia” than economics. Because of the security concerns related to the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Yerevan was forced into a military alliance with Russia. Moscow did not limit this alliance to security issues, but used the alliance to ensure Armenia’s full-fledged political and economic dependence on the Kremlin. In order to accommodate Russian interests, Armenia’s governance style has become increasingly top down. This notwithstanding a burgeoning civil society, which is mature enough to stand up in defence of democratic values. New forms of active citizenship are emerging in Armenia, as youth movements raise their voice in Baghramyan Avenue. The current demonstrations may not cause a breakthrough and immediate U-turn in Armenia’s domestic and foreign policy priorities, but a value system clash between Armenia and Russia is in the making, exacerbating the ongoing clash in EU-Russia relations.
1. The causes and driving factors of the Armenian protests
2. Russia keeping a close eye on Armenia
3. A new generation of Armenian civil society