West Does Not See Armenia as a Democracy

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"In the West–Armenia is described as an authoritarian and democratic country," Ronald Suny–Chicago University professor said at the "Transcaucasus Today: Prospects of Regional Integration" conference Tuesday.

In his report about cooperation in the Transcaucasian nations–Suny noted that the suspension of the activities of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation in December of 1994 had an impact on democracy in Armenia. He said that the National Assembly elections in 1995 were described as free but not fair–while the 1996 presidential elections were followed by riots.

Levon Ter-Petrosyan has not yet turned the court into an instrument of state power–however–the court is not yet free–Suny said.

Describing the situation in Azerbaijan–Suny noted that Azerbaijan lost the war–failed to unite the nation and lives on promises that the oil problem will be solved. He spoke highly of Gaidar Aliyev’s activity–saying that he brought order to the country. Suny believes that unlike Armenia–Azerbaijan needs nationalism to create a myth around which the people could unite. Suny also said that Azerbaijan–which represents itself as a secular state–looks toward Turkey for guidance rather than Iran.

Suny described the policy pursued by Georgian president Edward Shevardnadze as a rude democracy. He said that Shevardnadze’s achievmen’s after the December 1991 developmen’s were rather considerable. The Transcaucasus should have strong but not authoritarian countries–Suny said.

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