The Economist has named Armenia as its country of the year, saying the South Caucasus nation has a "chance of democracy and renewal" after street protests led to a peaceful change of government.
Nikol Pashinian, a former anticorruption journalist and opposition lawmaker, "was swept into power, legally and properly, on a wave of revulsion against corruption and incompetence," the London-based weekly news magazine said on December 18.
He was elected to the prime minister's post in May after spearheading weeks of mass protests that forced his predecessor, long-entrenched leader Serzh Sarkisian, to resign.
Pashinian’s My Step alliance won more than 70 percent of the vote in December 9 snap parliamentary elections.
"A Putinesque potentate was ejected, and no one was killed. Russia was given no excuse to interfere," The Economist said, adding that "an ancient and often misruled nation in a turbulent region has a chance of democracy and renewal."
However, the weekly cautioned that Armenia’s "nasty territorial dispute" with Azerbaijan over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh "has not been resolved and could ignite again."
The Economist has picked a "country of the year" since 2013. The title goes to a country that "has improved the most in the past 12 months."