October 3, 2011 - 11:39 AMT
Levon Ter-Petrossian's zugzwang

During the September 30 rally, leader of the Armenian National Congress (ANC) Levon Ter-Petrossian announced the start of round-the-clock rallies and a sit-down strike in Liberty Square, measures many of Congress supporters demanded back in spring.

The fact that it was a well-thought decision doesn't not arouse doubts, as the tents in Liberty Square could not appear from nowhere, following the wish of the crowd. It's also obvious that the decision was conditioned by the desperate situation the ANC leaders have found themselves in.

Agreeing to the dialogue with the authorities, Levon Ter-Petrossian, who used to compare political struggle with a game of chess, was trapped by President Serzh Sargsyan, who is, ironically, the President of the Chess Federation of Armenia as well.

Having lost his main tool in the struggle against the leadership - rallies that gathered many thousands of people - ANC has finally lost the support of the West, which seems quite satisfied with the current President and the domestic situation. Besides, the approaches the former and the incumbent presidents apply towards the two vital issues - the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations are somehow similar.

The youth wing of ANC has also contributed to the situation in August, when the dialogue between the Congress and ruling coalition was suspended over arrest of young ANC supporters.

Under the circumstances, Ter-Petrossian faces zugzwang. On the one hand, passivity of ANC and refusal from tough struggle against the authorities will result in disappointment of the supporters. On the other hand, ANC lacks real power for a real struggle, as several thousands of people are not enough not only to make a revolution but also just to frighten the country's rulers. This zugzwang is aggravated by the time trouble, as regular elections are impending and possibility of snap elections - ANC's main demand - becomes more and more vague.

Hayk Khalatyan / PanARMENIAN News