Magazine article New Internationalist

Reintroducing. Serzh Sargsyan

Magazine article New Internationalist

Reintroducing. Serzh Sargsyan

Article excerpt

Looks like business-as-usual in the Caucasus, with Serzh Sargsyan winning re-election as President of Armenia in February, amid the usual street protests and fraud charges. Not that the result was ever much in doubt, with all major opposition groups refusing to run. But the one serious candidate who did stand, RaffiHovannisian, has proved a pain for the Armenian political establishment. He refused to accept defeat and engaged in an anti-Sargsyan campaign, which included a hunger strike. At least Armenia was saved the bloodshed of Sargsyan's 2008 electoral victory, when eight demonstrators died.

Sargsyan is typical of Armenia's post-Soviet politicians: a conservative nationalist who walks a tightrope between Putin's Russia, the Muslim world and the siren calls of Western capitalism. A former apparatchik, he hails from the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, which was seized from Azerbaijan in 1994. …

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