Stepan Safaryan. Photo: PanARMENIAN Photo / Hrant Khachatryan

08 January 2015, 07:51

Experts see political context in NDI termination in Armenia

The suspension of the activity of US' National Democratic Institute (NDI) Armenian office is caused not only by financial, but also by political reasons and has to do with the decision of Armenia to join the Customs Union and the EAEU (Eurasian Economic Union), Armenian experts believe.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that the Armenian office of the American National Democratic Institute (NDI), which was operating in Armenia since 1995, announced a suspension of its activities due to financial problems.

However, Stepan Safaryan, the head of the Armenian Institute for International and Security Issues, sees a political subtext in the NDI's termination.

According to his version, the NDI had implemented its programmes in collaboration with political forces, in particular, youth and women's resource organizations, while "in present-day Armenia with its authoritarian regime they are no longer able to change anything in these parties grouped around personalities."

Grant Mikaelyan, a political scientist and a research fellow at the Caucasus Institute, believes that one of the reasons for the cancellation of funding of the NDI was that the Armenian office was "less visible and less politicized" than in some other post-Soviet countries. "Perhaps, this was one of the reasons to stop funding," he told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent. "Nevertheless, there is a feeling that since back in September 2013, when the President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan expressed his country's intention to join the Customs Union, many donor organizations considered the Armenian direction to be a lower priority; and this was an additional factor to save money."

Full text of the article is available on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’.

Author: Armine Martirosyan; Source: CK correspondent

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