The My Voice project has presented some opinions and assessments of American diplomatic sources about the 2008 presidential election and the tragic events of March 1, 2008, which appeared at the declassified Wikileaks documents. My Voice also provides links to Wikileaks:
The materials of 12 years ago are remarkable today. Moreover, they are especially important today, when an attempt is made to present reality only from the point of view of the Special Investigation Service and some players, the source noted.
The 2008 presidential elections in Armenia, as well as previous and subsequent events, were the focus of the US embassy in the republic. US diplomats did not remain indifferent to these events, trying to understand reality as accurately as possible, and sometimes taking on an intermediary role.
From the materials related to the internal political events in Armenia from November 2007 to April 2008 and published in Wikileaks, we highlighted the documents of greatest interest. Their overwhelming majority was compiled by representatives of the US Embassy in Armenia and sent to the State Department, the US Security Council, and NATO.
According to Wikileaks publications, back in 2007, the US Embassy was collecting information about the upcoming presidential election, while maintaining contact with the main candidates.
In a letter from November 27, 2007, Deputy Chief of Mission Joseph Pennington, presents Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s opportunities in the upcoming elections. According to Pennington, Ter-Petrosyan has very little chance of winning. Speaking about the candidate Artur Baghdasaryan, he noted that the latter would ‘sell’ his support to the one whose probability of victory would be greater.
In a letter from October 12, 2007, Chargé d’Affaires at the US embassy in Armenia, Rudolf V. Perina, notes that Ter-Petrosyan invited the US Chargé d'Affaires, to whom he presented points of view on the Karabakh issue, asking them to transfer it to Ambassador Matthew Bryza. His main idea was one official document that would summarize the results in the negotiation process on Karabakh, recorded during the reign of Armenian second president Robert Kocharyan.
He suggested that the Minsk Group co-chairs present a conflict resolution plan that summarizes all the circumstances agreed to date. Regardless of whether the parties agree to this or not, the presence of such a document meant the publication of the final result of the negotiation process during the time of Kocharyan. According to Levon Ter-Petrosyan, this would enable other presidents to continue from this point to not start all over again. He also asked not to submit the proposal as his, to keep this fact a secret and to present everything on behalf of the American co-chair. Ter-Petrosyan also asked to arrange a meeting with Bryza.
Commenting on the proposal of the latter, Perina notes that this has a certain political motivation. First, in his opinion, at one stage during the expected campaign, Ter-Petrosyan wants to say that the Karabakh issue was discussed with the US, to show that in comparison with Serzh Sargsyan he is a serious alternative. Secondly, if he can become president, which Ter-Petrosyan himself considers very likely, this document will be important in that sense to show that Kocharyan allegedly was negotiating around a losing document. It will also give him the opportunity as a president to compromise in negotiations with Azerbaijan.
This declassified Wikileaks document, perhaps, is distinguished by its exceptional shades: first of all, the fact that Ter-Petrosyan was ready to work against Kocharyan even at the cost of the country's security. In fact, asking the American side to disclose the unacceptable details of the negotiations, he understood that thereby giving Azerbaijan a huge advantage during further talks.
Another major episode: in 2008, Ter-Petrosyan sought power with a willingness to make concessions on the Karabakh issue, which he did not hide during meetings with US diplomats and, naturally, trying to “blame” it on Kocharyan.
Part 2: Manipulation.
February 12, 2008. A letter from the US Chargé d'Affaires Joseph Pennington to the US Department of State, NATO and several other organizations also mentions a rally organized by Levon Ter-Petrosyan on February 9 at Freedom Square. He noted that approximately 40,000 people took part in it. The US representative reports that several influential and wealthy representatives of the Yerkrapah Volunteer Union expressed their support for the latter. Pennington singles out an episode from Ter-Petrosyan’s speech, in which the latter accuses Kocharyan of the readiness to exchange Meghri for Shushi and Lachin. Pennington noted that Ter-Petrosyan’s goal was to show the public that there was a disagreement between the Armenian and Karabakh residents.
The US official also thinks that the real purpose of Ter-Petrosyan’s speech was public manipulation.
From this it becomes clear that American diplomats initially determined the main goals of the Ter-Petrosyan’s movement to manipulate society and sow enmity between the residents of Armenia and Karabakh.
Part 3: The rallies is the goal.
On February 13, 2008, Pennington noted in a letter that both Levon Ter-Petrosyan and Serzh Sargsyan were ready to go all the way to obtain positive results in these elections. No one is ready to accept a loss based on the results of the vote. The US representative predicts that Ter-Petrosyan will not be able to bring the required number of determined people to the street. He predicts that, protests will be quickly dispersed by the authorities with minimal use of violence, but at the same time not excluding the possibility of serious clashes.
Pennington notes that Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s plan is precisely in rallies. He is preparing to fill the streets after the election and declare that the election results were falsified by the authorities.
Part 4: Elections - Americans tend to believe the results of candidates.
02/20/2008 Pennington's letter sent to the State Department, the US Security Council, Turkey (probably to the US Embassy in Ankara) and several other organizations,
The SS is recognized as the winner of the elections: the number of participants in opposition rallies reaches 50,000.
The US representative in a letter notes that, according to the situation at 8pm, the number of demonstrators reached 50,000 mark at the Freedom Square, and so far the rallies are peaceful. It is also noted that the OSCE observation mission described these elections as mostly in line with international standards.
02.21.2008 Pennington writes an urgent letter that he sends to the State Department. It notes that on February 21, Ter-Petrosyan’s advisor Levon Zurabyan asked to arrange a meeting with a representative of the US Embassy. Zurabyan handed the letter to the latter, noting that it was personally from Ter-Petrosyan. It is noted that it is Zurabyan who is the person who maintains contact with the US diplomatic mission from Ter-Petrosyan.
Zurabyan also made two comments. He stressed that they have information that the authorities are going to interfere with the rallies planned for 3pm. According to him, the authorities are holding open the possibility of holding a second round, since Sargsyan’s result may fall even further from the mark of 50% and a second round will be held. Zurabyan said that they are sure that Ter-Petrosyan won the election.
According to Ter-Petrosyan’s letter, people are angry, they push them to decisive action. He noted that they kept the rallies within the rule of law, but at some point the situation may get out of control. The only way out is the second round, he noted calling on the US embassy to put pressure on the authorities so that a second round takes place and that no one interferes with their peaceful rallies, noting that the authorities will not be able to refuse the requirements of the diplomatic mission.
Commenting on Ter-Petrosyan’s letter, Pennington noted that they don’t want to get involved in the domestic political life of Armenia, while Ter-Petrosyan is waiting for this.
02/27/2008 The US Chargé d'Affaires ad interim and another embassy official meet with the main assistant and adviser S. Sargsyan on February 26, they ask the US to show even greater support for Sargsyan due to legitimacy, which, according to them, will make the rest of the parties show proper behavior. Embassy’s representatives replied that the clean conduct of the democratic process is Armenian government’s business, and that the US cannot give a green light on this issue. Although the US representative in his letter did not directly indicate the victory of Serzh Sargsyan, he noted that the latter gathered more votes than other candidates.
02/28/2008 Pennington presents the details of the meeting with Kocharyan on February 28. During the meeting, Kocharyan informed the American side that several days ago there were dangerous processes involving Yerkrapah, when the situation from the political channel could develop into a military one, meaning a coup attempt. Kocharyan noted that Yerkrapah already knows that if they try to provide military support to Ter-Petrosyan, the state will be able to withstand this with all force.
Touching upon a number of detentions, Pennington quoted Kocharyan as saying that their goal was to exclude the presence of weapons during rallies. Kocharyan also noted that if he wants to free the square, he will do it in 40 minutes, but this will harm the demonstrators, and he does not want it.
The US information once again confirms that an attempt was made with the help of senior officials of Defense Ministry, some Yerkrap commanders to lead political processes in a way dangerous for the statehood of the country in the direction of overthrowing the constitutional order with the use of violence.
To be continued.