The Slovak member of the European Parliament, Boris Zala, spoke about what he saw in Armenia as an observer at the parliamentary elections held on April 2.
“I do not usually participate in observation missions, – the MEP writes in an article published by DennikN. “It’s hard work, mostly for young enthusiasts, who still have strength, even after midnight, to visit night clubs after counting votes. However, due to the fact that the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh is close to me, and I am familiar firsthand with the point of view of Azerbaijanis, i have twice been to Baku and refugee camps, i decided it was time to hear the views of Armenians.”
I had meetings with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, local media, public associations, political parties in Armenia. Everyone has their own view and complaint. Armenia, trapped in the vice of Russian interests in the Caucasus, is in conflict with Azerbaijan and has not organized a normal parliamentary and democratic functioning of the state yet.
The influence of Russia is obvious there, the oligarchs have openly divided the country, and even the Armenian president does not hide this in our conversation, pointing out the complexity of the decisions. Yes, this is not Westminster democracy. And the president, no doubt, is also in orbit of at least one of the oligarchs.
The elections started. I was at a polling station in one of the schools in Yerevan. There were a lot of observers. Suddenly, screams were heard across the street. There was a guy calling on people to shout something. The policeman told me that he is a civilian activist. At first I thought it was a madman.
But at the polling station everything was organized, voters were fingerprinted. The equipment was supplied by the EU together with cameras that monitored the objectivity and impartiality of the elections. “
The MEP was shocked by what he saw in the regions. Zala admitted he saw such desolation only in the South American and African slums.
“We went to Ararat and Armavir”, – the Slovak says. – We had a full list of polling stations. I could choose the stations I want to visit. I was surprised that all the stations were very well informed. Every time I took the side of opposition parties in order to reveal manipulation, this was accepted quite normally.
A short lunch break and I went to count the votes in a small village at the end of the road. Everything proceeded in accordance with the law. Although some other colleagues witnessed falsifications and influence of organized groups. This was quite common. But that was not what struck me, and not the poverty, which is noticeable at every step. I was struck by neglect, devastation, lack of care, complete ruin – houses, fences, gardens, fields, terrible roads, smashed to smithereens. Sometimes I meet such a dismissive attitude in the slums of South America or in African towns with unemployment and migration. I do not know why this is so in Armenia. Perhaps because the villagers left for the cities.
Armenia can be a beautiful and developed country, but it is trapped in a geopolitical vice. Armenians know that they are only an instrument in Russian politics. They understand that the EU is their only hope. This was felt in all interviews, even in the interview with the president. It is easy to notice their efforts for close cooperation, but they are also afraid of Ukrainian events …”.