When opposition Member of Parliament Nikol Pashinyan led a knot of marchers through northern Armenia in April to protest the return to power of long-serving leader Serzh Sargsyan, no one guessed his campaign would prompt the country to take a leap into the unknown.
Pashinyan and his march reached the Armenian capital, Yerevan, where they started small protests that were soon to catalyse the biggest domestic political upheaval in a decade in this small, isolated Caucasus republic, which is perennially tense due to its unresolved conflict with neighbouring Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. The massive demonstrations the marchers helped build have now forced Sargsyan, who served as Armenia’s president over the past decade, to resign from his recently assumed post of prime minister. These events are now being called a “velvet revolution”, though the story is far from over.
Oleysa Vartanyan, Crisis Group's Analyst for the Eastern Neighbourhood, talks to the World Tonight on BBC Radio 4 about the reasons for the protests in Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan's role and possible ascension to power, and why Russia isn't interfering.