By Edmond Y. Azadian
While the Cold War is intensifying over the Syrian crisis, pitting again the old warriors against each other, an internal crisis is brewing in Armenia with broad ramifications; this time the oligarchy is on the defensive, mind you, not yet on the run.
In order to put the crisis in perspective a background flashback is warranted here.
Since Armenia emerged as an independent country, it claimed to have adopted the system of market economy, replacing the Soviet-style command economy. But it turned out that only the worst traits of capitalism were adopted and practiced giving rise to a sharp divide between the rich and the poor. A caste of oligarchs evolved, making its own rules of conduct and placing itself over the law and the constitution.
Each oligarch has a fleet of luxury cars driven by a band of bodyguards to follow the movements of their boss, always ready to take the law into their hands, at the nod of their bosses. Their cars have special license plates to intimidate and threaten traffic police, who remain mindful of job security and leave alone the oligarchs and their mafia-type bodyguards to violate all laws with impunity.
At times these oligarchs have killed or driven away foreign investors who inadvertently have violated their business turf. Therefore it is self-evident why Diaspora Armenians or other foreign investors stay away from meddling into the affairs of these oligarchs who have instituted a chokehold over Armenia’s economy. To buy impunity from any prosecution, these oligarchs are keen to be elected as parliament members.