100 days of Pashinyan and Karabakh

Wed 23 May 2018 15:16 GMT | 19:16 Local Time

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About a month ago, at that time former president of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, who had just taken the chair of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, was forced to resign under the onslaught of popular indignation. Two weeks later, the parliament of this country, on the second attempt, approved the leader of the protest movement, the deputy from the opposition bloc "Yelk" ("Way out") Nikol Pashinyan as the new head of the government, actually possessing the full power, according to the new edition of the Armenian constitution.

The world media paid particular attention to the events in Yerevan, commentators made various opinions and assessments. The interests of external geopolitical players were discussed and the motives that encouraged Armenians to mass out onto the streets were described, among which a special emphasis was placed on the impoverishment of the overwhelming majority of the population against the backdrop of the corruptness of the near circle of S. Sargsyan, acting according to the patterns of the criminal group with all its attributes and the ensuing consequences. Indeed, there was a situation when it was impossible to conceal or even cover up the socio-economic situation of Armenians. This was even recognized by the national statistical service, which for the past several years has documented the outflow of population from the country and its depopulation. So despite all the long-term demagogic rhetoric of S. Sargsyan and the company, as they say, the refrigerator once again won the TV.

In Azerbaijan they also observed what was happening. But the angle, for obvious reasons, was different - through the prism of the prospects for the beginning of the process of an early settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. Baku made it clear that if more healthy forces come to power in Yerevan aimed at real progress in the substantive negotiations so far avoided by the Armenian side, a much wider window of diplomatic possibilities may open.

Along with this, the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan, demonstrating a high level of equipment and training, continue to be a guarantor of effective suppression of any possible regular military provocation by Armenia. Even many of the mouthpieces of anti-Azerbaijani propaganda, like the Russian news agency of the Armenian origin "REGNUM" and its constant columnist Stanislav Tarasov, are forced to admit this.

That is, Azerbaijan took a very balanced position in the issue of the crisis of power in Armenia, which fully corresponds to the spirit and of international law: everything that concerns the formation of a new government is the prerogative of the people and political class of the Republic of Armenia; but the problem of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan and adjacent administrative districts being under the Armenian occupation is a priority task for which Baku is ready to use the entire arsenal of diplomatic and other means at its disposal.

Obviously, a clear realization of these realities by the new authorities in Yerevan could create a more favorable background for the negotiation process. However, while the Armenian side, through the words of N.Pashinyan, as well as the press secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Tigran Balayan, decided to continue rhetorical exercises on the need for "direct negotiations with Karabakh," while adding that Armenia, as a security guarantor, does not refuse to participate in the negotiations.

There is illogicality and hypocrisy of this approach. The whole history of the development of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict testifies to the flawed insinuations concerning the "two Armenian states". After all, in 1988, when the Armenian nationalists came out with the slogan "miatsum" - the exclusion of Nagorno-Karabakh from the Azerbaijani SSR with its subsequent annexation to the Armenian SSR. There are publicly available documentary confirmations in the form of petitions to the central government bodies. But then, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the proclamation of independence by the three South Caucasian states, the Republic of Armenia considered it a good thing to hide behind a screen of some "second Armenian state", which it declared itself in the occupied territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Since then, all successive generations of the Armenian elite continue to suffer from a syndrome of political and diplomatic split: attempts to push the world out of hallucinations about "Karabakh as a side of the conflict" and exploited for domestic use the postulate of achieving "the expansion of the territories of Armenia."

An unambiguous recipe for curing such painful stretches of consciousness is the formula set forth in the 1992 Helsinki Document on Armenia and Azerbaijan as two parties to the conflict and the Armenian and Azerbaijani communities of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan as interested parties. Everything is very clear: the vis-a-vis of Republic of Armenia is the Republic of Azerbaijan, and the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh have the same status as Azerbaijanis from this region. What was evident in 1992 for US Secretary of State James Baker and his European colleagues, formed the basis for the Minsk process and determines its format to this day. The attempts made by the Armenian side from time to time to undermine this format are aimed at once again postponing the beginning of full-scale substantive negotiations on key issues and devaluating the status of the Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh by hypertrophying the status of its Armenian community.

But such attempts of the Armenian side did not succeed earlier, so they are unpromising in the future. Especially in the current uncertainty and weakness of power in Armenia, where the causes of popular discontent are not eliminated, and the euphoria of the "victory of the revolution" is rapidly disappearing. The protests that continued in Yerevan after the approval of the new cabinet of ministers and only recently suspended in response to N.Pashinyan's requests to give him some time are the best evidence of this.

It is likely that N.Pashinyan now wants to earn some image points in the eyes of nationalists in Armenia and the numerous Armenian diaspora, trying to get out of it another urgent assistance for the needs of the republic. But as the experience of all previous years has shown, such tricks quickly exhaust their effectiveness. And Armenians, still not left Yerevan and the surrounding areas, once again remain alone with their difficulties. The hopes that someone from the far North or West will come and solve all the problems created in due time by the irrepressible and disproportionate annexation ambitions of the Armenian political elites were also always groundless and gave rise to disappointment.

Yes, today many in Yerevan are trying to activate the potential of the so-called associative agreement with the European Union, signed, by the way, by S. Sargsyan in 2017. They are proud to say that the EU conducts such a close political dialogue with Armenia that it even discusses with it principles of the resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict and reflects them in this agreement. But this only proves once again that in Brussels it is the Republic of Armenia that is perceived as a party to the conflict, which must make efforts to resolve it.

Such an approach of the EU is quite understandable, because in many political resolutions adopted by its various institutions, the fact of the occupation of the territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan by the armed forces of the Republic of Armenia is recognized and condemned. These undeniable realities are reflected in the UN documents and a number of other international organizations, the territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan is recognized by all the states of the world except stubbornly unwilling to take a constructive stance and put an end to the occupation of the territories of another state of the Republic of Armenia that has become not so much a "guarantor" as a hostage of its expansionist policy.

Indeed, even a much more self-sufficient state would experience serious difficulties in the case of an open armed conflict with the country with which it has the longest border. Add to this the "cold war" generated by the same revisionist ambitions with a neighbor with whom the second longest border is closed. In the case of a small and meager Armenia, this kind of alignment that cuts it off from major infrastructure projects in the South Caucasus and closes the way to almost a 100 million market in Turkey and Azerbaijan is simply disastrous. All the former leaders of the Republic of Armenia, including very dodgy representatives of the clan of war criminals who forever stained themselves with the blood of the peaceful Azeri residents of Karabakh, could not come up with a way to deceive the laws of global politics and economy. Their inglorious result is obvious.

Judging by the statements made by N.Pashinyan and his team members, they understand that there is not much time to correct the situation in Armenia. As you know, with the easy hand of Napoleon in the world lexicon included the concept of "hundred days", for which this or that politician can reveal their potential opportunities. Of course, this term is to a certain extent conditional, it can be a little more or less long. But in the conditions of today's Armenia, the most important thing is to choose the vector of development from the first real steps of the new government. Will it turn out to be a way, though difficult, but giving a real hope for Armenia's inclusion in the regional cooperation of the negotiations for an early settlement of the conflict, or will we witness the collapse of another new government in Yerevan. And personally for N.Pashinyan this will mean the following: will this politician become suddenly a state figure who has brought peace to his people suddenly on the crest of popular protests, or he will slip into the number of ordinary politicians who did not justify the hopes put on him.




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