Publications of experts CACDS - Southern Caucasus

Ruben Mehrabyan: "Transition Turbulence in Post-Soviet Space: A New Wave and Possible Decisions - A View From Yerevan"


The countries of the post-Soviet space entered a period of internal instability in connection with the processes of the transit of power and the political change of generations against the background of the systemic crisis and institutional weakness.

Depending on history and geography, as well as the "history of the disease" of the kind in the post-Soviet period, the subjects are creating their present-day history, based on several facts - cultural and legal traditions, the depths of the sense of national-cultural identity, the degree of the presence of Russia, the degree proximity to Europe and the West.

For almost three decades after the collapse of the Soviet empire, former Soviet republics that have gained independence have, with varying degrees of success, formed state-legal institutions. But in general, due to the lack of experience of free statehood and, as a consequence, the lack of understanding by the political classes of the exclusive role of institutions in the formation of mechanisms of internal stability, in the post-Soviet countries, electoral cycles and processes of transfer of power, political change of generations turn around and will in the visible perspective turn back force -zazors, periods of turbulence with difficultly predictable unions. There external factors or external circumstances, their possible combinations at times will be decisive - both stabilizing and destabilizing. Thus, due to the above factors, the new political generation faced the mission of becoming a pioneering pioneer for many of its state and society.

Post-Soviet countries are at different stages of transit, and this process inevitably leaves strong traces of global trends in the form of information, telecommunication, energy, industrial and technological revolutions. These revolutions objectively knock out autocratic dictatorships based on raw materials (first of all - hydrocarbon) rent and subjects bound to them on the edge of history.

In Armenia and Ukraine, a change of power took place with anti-criminal, anti-oligarchic and anti-corruption agendas, and countries are undergoing a phase of their practical implementation. Moreover, in Armenia, in a country with a parliamentary system of governance, the electoral cycle has been completely and successfully overcome, the new force has won the constitutional majority in parliament and has formed a government that will function until 2023 year. The sanction of the judiciary is under way. At the same time, Ukraine's elections to the Verkhovna Rada are still ahead, and the new team is currently forming a political organization to take part in the elections against the backdrop of external and internal challenges.

As in Moldova, the reformation of the political field took place under the formula "consensus minus superoligarh Plakhotnyuk", with the consensus participants becoming external actors - Russia, the United States and the EU. And one can say that the country that has been in long-term apathy has received a new opportunity for the formation of real, and not imitative, state institutions.

In Georgia, the government seems to be using a controlled destabilization process itself to launch internal reform processes towards the next parliamentary elections - to improve its own chances and reduce the chances of conducting "separate parties" within the ruling elite.

In a state of system frustration for the future, immediately following the "eternally alive" of their leaders, elites live in Russia, Belarus and Azerbaijan against a backdrop of deepening stagnation. In the Central Asia region, at first, Uzbekistan (for natural reasons after the death of Karimov), and then Kazakhstan (by the decision of the leader themselves - Nazarbayev) were able to secure a peaceful and painless transit of power in general with the prospects of relative liberalization. In a small Kyrgyzstan, which is also on the geographical periphery, it is poorly developed, but a mechanism for transferring power through an electoral procedure has been formed, which consolidates the internal political status quo towards it. And only Turkmenistan continues to stay in the "glacial period" politically.

The determining factor in these processes and the driving force in these processes is the inner aspiration of societies to overcome the critical gap between needs and realities. And naturally, multidimensional processes are also subject to the effects of external forces.

With regard to the anti-criminal and anti-corruption peaceful revolutions of the first half of the 2000, Russia was perceived as hostile, turning its toxic propaganda into the primary target, and openly opposed it through political and economic levers. In 2008, she invaded Georgia in order to, according to Dmitry Medvedev, suppress her Euro-Atlantic integration. And in 2013-2014 years. unleashed a hybrid war after the Ukrainian Revolution of dignity ... Against this background, openly formulated claims to the current world order.

Present, calling conditionally, the period of "transit turbulence" is characterized by the fact that Moscow has changed its tactics and positioning, demonstrating more flexibility and striving to expand maneuverability. It seems that, having calculated that it is unprofessional, and impossible to rigidly counteract social laws, to fight against History, the Kremlin took, if not to "lead", at least by its active involvement in processes, directly or indirectly, to provide control or, at least, a blocking A "stock" package in future configurations. At the same time, among the Kremlin "towers" there is no single understanding of the priorities in positioning in relation to processes. The orthodox Chekist wing continues to voice its former position on threats - "traditional values", "beyond Soros," "Narcollerals led by Canada," "colored revolutions," and other chimeras, which on the eve operated in their speech in Ufa on the International Meeting Head of the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation, Naryshkin, high security representatives.

On the other hand, one of the people close to Putin from the "camp of system liberals," Alexei Kudrin, in a direct text warned about the possibility of a revolutionary situation in the country and the need for real reforms. It should be noted that these two opposing positions combine in the first place the domestic context and the desire to avoid, first of all, destabilization within Russia. Another thing is that the ways of this are seen differently, in particular, with regard to foreign-policy campaigns with a military element. Thus, the Kremlin brings these points of view to a common denominator and tries to adapt to the new situation with the new conditions, while also trying to soften the external, above all, sanction pressure from the West. Perhaps this is the secret of the unprecedentedly mild reaction of official Moscow to the Velvet Revolution in Armenia.

There are no unanimous approaches in the American elite. Along with the real consensus on holding Russia and, at the same time, a dialogue with it, the difference in approaches is the ratio of the first to the second, different "hierarchies" of priorities, in which Russia fits in different hypostases. It is a question of the scatter from the existential adversary number one to a potential partner in various regional issues, which initially involves completely different strategies. Against the backdrop of increased uncertainty, if not a crisis, in the transatlantic relations, the European elites demonstrate an increasing tendency not only to not tighten the approaches towards Moscow, but actually to expose factional erosion and without that gentle sanctions regime.

Having worked on mistakes and "learned lessons" of the past five years of hybrid warfare, Moscow gave more flexibility to its policy towards the post-Soviet countries within the framework of the goal of achieving a revision of the world order and the establishment of a "multipolar world." In it, through the "Yalta-2", a "pole status" will be secured, envisaging the legitimization of domination in the post-Soviet space and "respect" for its "exclusive interests", "influence", etc.

Noteworthy is the position of China, skillfully using the created alignment of forces. In the lobby of the Ufa Security Meeting, according to communication Chinese government agency Xinhua, a meeting of the member of the Politburo of the CPC Central Committee, Guo Shengong, with senior representatives of the security structures of Armenia, Afghanistan and Serbia took place. The Chinese representative made a statement on Beijing's readiness to strengthen security ties with these three countries "to protect their common interests" ...

The emerging set of vectors of external influences, combined with internal conditions, is a challenge for all without exception of the post-Soviet countries during their "transit turbulence". In large part, its divisions are represented by the formula "salvation of drowning - the business of the hands of the drowners themselves", in terms of what at first it is possible to speak about the absence of "rules of the game", a value basis, the possibility of the most unscrupulous compromises for the sake of solving some immediate tasks.

Moscow at the moment will aim at the institutional integrity of its potential victims. And the more insolvent they are, the more likely it is to win compromises from its point of view, especially with the European partners who are in a state of systemic stagnation. At the same time, Moscow itself was, is and will remain the main producer and exporter of controlled chaos in the post-Soviet space using the entire spectrum of components of the hybrid war. From information to military. To do this will be someone else's hands, through their proxies and "useful idiots" of different specializations. And depending on the specific conditions of the situation ...

What can this contrasted with the post-Soviet countries, which in the visible perspective "to swim singles"? First of all, minimize geopolitical risks, strengthen national sovereignty and neutralize internal challenges. The most reliable "airbags" in the event of possible force majeure for European nations in the post-Soviet space are:

legitimate power with effective channels of feedback with society,

as possible, reliable state-legal institutes capable of autonomous functioning,

rational use of "soft" security tools,

public calm and law and order

"Filling" internal social fractures and neutralizing the conflict potential within society through effective political steps, and in the longer term, strengthening national-civil identity and a sense of common destiny at the national level.

Obviously, the "new regime" of relations in conditions of changing realities is still being established, and, in particular, Moldova has become, in its own way, a "polygon" for overcoming possible configurations. But it is not a fact that Moldovan "workouts" will become something universal for such diverse scales and conditions of subjects of the post-Soviet space. It is also obvious that the fate of Ukraine and its reforms will determine the future of the neo-imperial idea of ​​the Kremlin and, as a consequence, the European future of European nations in the geographical East and South-East Europe.

Already today, in this period of "transit turbulence", when the post-Soviet space passes into the "post-Soviet space 2.0" (and the transition is still far from complete), it is obvious that nothing is predetermined. The success of each country will depend on the extent to which its society is ready and ready to "live without Russia" in the traditional sense and begin to form civilized relations with it in all respects: in political, military-political, security, cultural, and economic. How will their "exit strategies" be prepared for such "Time X" when the current regime in the Kremlin, with its meaningless and merciless neo-imperial ambitions and "spin-off" "integrational associations", will collapse with the political departure of Putin.

This can happen tomorrow, with the arrival of some "black swan", or not happen for quite a long time. But precisely now is the time of diligent, practical "homework" with honest and cold-blooded rethinking of the traversed path.

Ruben MEGRABYAN, Expert of the Armenian Institute of International Relations and Security, editor of the Russian-language version of "Aravot", Yerevan, Armenia