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Tuesday June 25 2024

Protests against PM Pashinyan in Yerevan: stays or goes?

1 June 2024 18:00 (UTC+04:00)
Protests against PM Pashinyan in Yerevan: stays or goes?
Elnur Enveroglu
Elnur Enveroglu
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- Armenia before and now

- Can protests result in Pashinyan's resignation?

- Are the people ready to entrust the country to clerics?

- And finally, is Pashinyan leaving or staying?

All these questions are concentrated on one point: which direction has Armenia been moving for three decades?

The defeat of Armenia actually started in the 1990s. For Armenia, which went down in history as an invader, this was a move towards defeat rather than victory. Levon Hakobi Ter-Petrosyan came to power in Armenia for the first time in 1991 after the breakup of the Soviet Union. His coming to power did not give Armenia anything other than what it gained by occupying Garabagh. During the rule of LTP, Armenia cut off diplomatic relations with Turkiye and both sides closed the borders and further to this, Yerevan got itself into hug of Moscow.

Armenia, which declared itself an independent state on September 21, 1991, until 2018, was governed by political figures who were closely connected to the official Kremlin and took instructions from it and settled with their theses. Owning Garabagh began to push Armenia further away from its political orientation. In 1998, the country passed into the hands of Robert Kocharyan, who was a member of the former ‘Karabakh clan’ and was the prime minister and president of the so-called NK, who was later accused of corruption. Although Kocharyan is pro-Russian, his association with corruption gave Western forces a chance to step forward. However, as Yerevan was still under the influence of Moscow, it could not take advantage of this opportunity. It was Serzh Sargsyan's turn, the Kocharyan's prototype who filled the gap in power following his resignation. There was no difference between Sargsyan and Kocharyan. Both of them are known as the father of corruption in Armenia. The two political players who took control of everything from customs to the banking system gradually weakened the backbone of the country.

In 2018, through the velvet revolution, real conditions were created for the West to penetrate Armenia and put its own figure at the head of power. The Karabakh clan had become the most disreputable and worthless political group in the nation. Even before Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan came to power, a somewhat visionary section of the people knew that Garabagh would one day return to Azerbaijan. Articles about this were published in both Russian and Western publications. Armenia's potential opportunities to acquire territories that did not belong to it were non-existent. Creating the opportunity and conditions for Pashinyan to come to power was an opportunity for the Kocharyan and Sagsyan couple to avoid public outrages. The return of Garabagh to Azerbaijan by their hands was equivalent to taking the corrupt couple themselves to the gallows.

Pashinyan took on this difficult mission after coming to power following the Velvet Revolution. Although his views reflected the thoughts of ex-Armenian leaders before him, the realities in the region in favour of Azerbaijan did not allow him to pursue his policy. Pashinyan had to change the contours of both his domestic and foreign policy. For this, he had to sacrifice one of the parties - either Russia or the West.

Following the humiliating defeat in 2020, the Armenian authorities took a step that they had never ever durst to do in the history of Armenia. The deterioration of relations with Russia made Pashinyan somewhat lean towards the West. Because Pashinyan was the second person after LTP to start the Garabagh War with Azerbaijan, which caused him to learn a harder lesson.

Despite all this, the defeated, beaten, and humiliated prime minister did not lose his rating. The people re-elected him and supported his political stance.

Nevertheless, today the situation has completely changed. The ongoing protests in Yerevan insist that Pashinyan step down from power. However, it poses a question: why would Armenia want to resign the Prime Minister it elected three years ago?

In 2020, Nikol Pashinyan surrendered Garabagh to Azerbaijan through war. Four years later, he returned 4 villages belonging to Azerbaijan based on negotiations. The difference was simply an event that had never happened in the history of Armenia - that Armenia returned the occupied lands to Azerbaijan without arms, without war, and simply through negotiations. Everyone in Armenia knows very well that it is pointless to wage war with Azerbaijan, and they have a clearer idea of ​​what the result will be. Pashinyan even reminded the Armenians about this in his address in Tavush, where he said, "Otherwise, more difficult days may await Armenia".

Pashinyan's enmity with clerics

It was Pashinyan's conversation with the Tavush community and his position that made him a common target in front of the opposition and religious figures. Because the Armenian religious section is the only organisation that promotes war, which calls the people to arms, knowing what the fate will be.

In addition, Pashinyan is a pro-Western figure who is ruthless against corruption and the forces that obstruct power in the country. Many call him the first democratic prime minister of Armenia. Starting in 2019, the conflict between N. Pashinyan and the Armenian Catholicos II Karegin caused a rift between the clergy and the authorities. One of the behind-the-scenes points was that the Church was closer to the Garabagh clan and wanted to have hidden wealth to keep the Yerevan government under its influence. Pashinyan did not like the separatist leaders of the so-called NK, who are currently in prison in Baku, and he also hated church representatives. Although this was previously hidden, it began to be revealed later. Today, the voices coming from the streets of Yerevan and the crowd demanding Pashinyan's resignation are not those who once voted for him, but are just a game made by Kocharyan and Sargsyan, who are hiding behind the walls of the church.

The continuation of tensions and processes in the country in favour of Azerbaijan gives the opposition and religious figures reasons to provoke the people. But those who cannot think of the other side of this are unable to answer one question: what would Kocharyan do if he were in Pashinyan's place?

Today in Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan's public sympathy is sincere, but there is zero hope for the former opposition leaders, who have gained a bad and disrespectful image. That is why the couple of Kocharyan and Sargsyan, who could not find the courage to come out to the people, hid behind an apolitical religious figure like Bagrat Galstanyan and raised the people against the government. Rather than the waves of protest against Pashinyan, this disgrace reflects their weakness and powerlessness in the foreground.

On the other hand, Baku is still observing the processes - until Armenia reaches the right conclusion and signs a peace agreement that promises stability and security to the region.

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Elnur Enveroglu is AzerNews’ deputy editor-in-chief, follow him on @ElnurMammadli1

Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz

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