A special report for 301
Since Armenia’s independence in 1991, there has been no shortage of foreign-funded anti-Armenian lobbying firms operating in the United States. It is now common knowledge that both Turkey and Azerbaijan have invested millions of dollars to prop up these firms. What is, however, astounding information that has heretofore gone unnoticed among Armenians, is a peculiar connection between one such anti-Armenian lobby–The Livingston Group–representing a registered Armenian opposition political party. The National Democratic Alliance (formerly Axis) or NDA, also affiliated with “Sasna Tsrer,” is being represented by The Livingston Group, an outright anti-Armenian lobbying firm with known ties and millions in contributions from the Turkish and Azerbaijani governments.
Many are familiar with the insidiously anti-Armenian lobbying efforts of The Livingston Group because its founding partner, Robert (Bob) Livingston, is a former US Congressman, who hastily left Congress in disgrace on March 1, 1999 after his multiple extramarital affairs were exposed by Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flint.
While in Congress, Livingston was a loyal supporter of Turkey and Azerbaijan. When Section 907, which sought to ban any kind of direct aid by the United States to the Azerbaijani government, was introduced and passed, Livingston was the legislation’s loudest opponent.
After leaving Congress in 1999, Livingston entered private practice as a lobbyist and represented Armenia’s enemies on many different issues. Both Turkey and Azerbaijan have hired The Livingston Group to lobby their interests in the US Congress for several years and have spent millions of dollars towards this end.
The Livingston Group acts as a mouthpiece for the Turkish government, promoting its agenda of denying the Armenian Genocide and severely undermining efforts for recognition and justice for the victims of the Armenian Genocide. In addition, the Livingston Group’s portrayal of Azerbaijan as a democratic and friendly neighbor disregards the country’s long history of human rights abuses, including political repression, media censorship, and discrimination against ethnic minorities.
According to an article in “The New Republic,” Bob Livingston is described as the kingpin of Turkish advocacy due to his lobbying firm, the Livingston Group, having received approximately $13 million in Turkish funds since 2000. Livingston, best known for his brief and controversial tenure as House Speaker-elect during the Clinton impeachment scandal (before resigning from Congress after admitting his own extramarital affair), has lobbied on various issues aligned with Turkey’s interests. However, it is his relentless efforts against the Armenian Genocide resolution that earned him hero status in Ankara. In 2000, Livingston’s team personally contacted 141 members of Congress in the lead-up to the vote on the resolution, and on October 19, the day the vote was canceled. His mission was accomplished.
Recently published documents from the US State Department indicate that The Livingston Group is now representing National Democratic Alliance (NDA), an alliance affiliated with Sasna Tsrer—a political opposition party in Armenia, which organized and executed a terrorist attack referred to as the “2016 Hostage Crisis” that resulted in the murder of 3 Armenian police officers. Following the attack, the political party has remained active in Armenia, garnering 1.82% of the vote in the 2018 election, and 1.49% more recently in the 2021 snap elections.
Sasna Tsrer, while widely unpopular in Armenia as an opposition party, mustered a show of support in September 2022 when then-US speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visited Armenia. Sasna Tsrer is a vehement proponent of US/Western intervention in Armenia.
Among the US State Department documents is a statement circulated by the Livingston Group, which mentions that the purpose of NDA is to establish relations with relevant officials in the Administration, Congress, and think-tank community, and explore how the NDA can help strengthen relations between the United States and Armenia, and counter the influence of Russia in Armenia.
The statement also notes that the National Democratic Alliance of Armenia is interested in strengthening ties with US allies and the European Union.
— 301🇦🇲 (@301arm) April 13, 2023
Stated in the Livingston Group and NDA’s documentation with FARA, “Pashinyan is highly unpopular in Armenia and any attempts by the US and its allies to prop him up and entice him to change his allegiances will undoubtedly backfire. He needs to be replaced by a truly pro-Western and reformist government with capacity to carry reform. NDA is the political movement that has the potential and credibility to make this happen. With the help of Armenia’s Western partners, NDA will spearhead this shift and prevent the further takeover of Armenian territory by Azerbaijan and Turkey, along with launching a massive economic reform effort capitalizing on the financial and human capital of the Diaspora.”
— 301🇦🇲 (@301arm) April 13, 2023
Following the capitulation from the 44-day war in Artsakh in 2020, Armenia has been in political turmoil. Current Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinyan, is a polarizing figure in Armenia, and his popularity has fluctuated significantly since he was elected as the country’s Prime Minister in May 2018.
The Livingston Group has been hired to represent the National Democratic Alliance from March 28, 2023, to April 27, 2023. NDA Council members, Ara Papian and Jirayr Sefilian with the help of The Livingston Group’s ties, will be traveling throughout the US to meet and secure support for their opposition party.
Based on their scheduled events, it is evident the group plans to spend a significant amount of time in the Washington DC area developing their existing ties to various US officials through Turkish and Azerbaijani-interest serving Livingston Group, led by none other than the disgraced former US Congressman Bob Livingston.