Within almost one day, France elected a new president, Russia installed its old one and Armenia essentially kept its old parliament. All three events have significant implications for Armenia’s future.
Back in Yerevan, Armenia’s political opposition is finding it hard to digest the news that it will remain an opposition and one with a modest presence in the new parliament, according to early election results. Whether or not the election's top-two finalists -- President Serzh Sargsyan's Republican Party of Armenia and the Prosperous Armenia Party -- will revive their governing coalition remains open to speculation, but is not a question likely to keep anyone up late.
But while Armenia faces a prospect of more of the same in its political kitchen, there has been a change on the foreign policy front.
On May 6, France laid off President Nicolas Sarkozy, a self-styled friend of the Armenians and a longtime Turkey-skeptic. President Sargsyan enjoyed good vibes with Sarkozy, and the latter played the Armenian card heavily in the final year of his presidency.
In France, Sarkozy backed a law that criminalized denying that the Ottoman Empire's World-War-I-era slaughter of ethnic Armenians in Turkey was genocide. He went barn-storming across the Caucasus, where he struck the pose of a supporter of the Armenian cause and the savior of Georgia during its 2008 war with Russia. But wagging a finger at Turkey and wooing the Diaspora Armenian vote did not help Sarkzoy secure a second term.
Yerevan has little to worry about with another ally, Russia, where former Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and former President Dmitry Medvedev now have switched jobs. Whichever was on top as Russian president, Putin and Medvedev both maintained a close diplomatic and economic partnership with Armenia, where Russian troops serve as a key deterrent against enemy Azerbaijan.
All other variables being constant, that means that, geographically speaking, Armenian friendship will continue to work vertically (Russia to the north and Iran to the south), and enmity horizontally (Turkey to the west and Azerbaijan to the east) for the foreseeable future.