In the course of elections, the general delivered the votes, and “the authorities forgave him” for all his misdeeds. “More than that, the authorities delegated to the general the monopolist right of the state for the use of force,” a step that weakened the state in the eyes of the population and in reality.
Now, Grdzlyan says, “Pashinyan doesn’t need the support” of this machine,” and his taking steps to disband it. That will change the nature of power in Yerevan by dramatically expanding the prime minister’s freedom of action and authority.
Portnikov echoes all these points, but he extends the argument to other post-Soviet states, some of which continue to have untouchable private armies and some of which have managed to disband them. Those in the former category remain in trouble; those in the latter have a chance to move forward just as Pashinyan is now doing.