New Promising Era President Armen Sarkissian And VP Nikol Pashiniannew promising era president armen sarkissian vp nikol pashinian new promising era president
Posted 12 January 2021 - 08:33 AM
Towards the "Fourth Republic" – Armenian President publishes article10:18, 11 January, 2021
YEREVAN, JANUARY 11, ARMENPRESS. President of Armenia Armen Sarkissian has published an article “on the inevitability of building a substantive state”, the Presidential Office told Armenpress.
Armenpress presents the article:
“The opportunity of restoring the Armenian statehood was the dream of our people for the last few centuries. It stemmed not only from the need for having a national home to preserve own culture, identity, and history, but also from the desire to be able to master our own destiny. This had been the mission of our ancestors, who practically did the impossible: in the absence of statehood, subject to cruel and bloody trials of history, they preserved the ground, the sense of being Armenians - Armenia- and further enriched the Armenian civilization.
Our ancestors left a great heritage and hoped that we would be able to pass it to future generations in a completely different qualitative form.
The history of international relations shows that small countries often fall victim to the interests of big powers, as it happened with Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. Those nations managed to build high-quality systemic states, were able to thoughtfully analyze the causes of their failures and sufferings, and work to correct their own mistakes, work out clear visions and development programs. Such states have the capability to meet their citizens' internal needs and protect them from external threats. They can also create conditions which allow to compete with regional and even big powers, merge their own interests with theirs or even become a true and valuable ally.
Such examples exist and they prove that through the right policy, diplomacy and governance even the nations, which do not possess ample natural resources, can start as soldiers but rise to kings.
Today, we are experiencing yet another moment of all-national psychological depression. Whether we will be able to overcome it and establish new principles to build our future depend on us only.
Current failures are nothing but the result of once unresolved, deep-rooted problems, which were accumulating over the last three decades. We all, from top to bottom, apparently have no desire to take a substantive responsibility for our own destiny. And it is not about the lack of criticism, but rather its formal nature. Just like before, we are looking for special footholds and "rescuers" - individuals or countries who will be able to take us in the right direction which will ultimately lead to prosperity and security. In this frantic search, we completely forget that this path is right in front of our eyes and is called the independent Republic of Armenia.
Our millennial dream came true: we have our home, at last, our flag, our coat-of-arms, and our anthem. Finally, we are able to be Armenians in the Armenian state recognized by the international community. For the first time in the course of centuries, Armenians did not lose their territories, but regained historical territories in the 1990s during the war imposed by the adversary many times superior to us its resources. We managed to do that because dreams and dedication were our driving forces. They were filled with the insane energy; every Armenian particle anywhere in the world was maximally charged to achieve the national goal.
Subsequent events showed how much we underestimated that gift of history in reality. Instead of building a substantive state and national construction projects, based on the successful examples of small countries and peoples, we mostly engaged ourselves with imitating activities. The basis of internal immunity, i.e. foundations of the effective system of public administration based on the actual division of responsibilities between the executive, legislative, and judiciary branches, was not laid. It is this model that shapes any society and educates its citizens, which is the core value of any government. Such a citizen can appreciate the significance of being able to vote and being elected. And most importantly, such a citizen will be responsible for his or her own choice, the surroundings, and the country. The absence of such a system is an unacceptable luxury for the countries in difficult and geographically limited conditions.
For the past years, we have not conducted a pan-Armenian inventory to understand what is, for example, the real resource base for elaborating long-term development models for the economy, high technology, military and industrial complex, science, education, and healthcare. That is why we did not have vitally important and efficient strategic concepts of defense policy and security of demography, information, and food. After gaining independence, we did not fill it with specific content.
There is no need to go far for examples. In 1994, we liberated Artsakh, but up to September 27, 2020 we did not have a clear vision of the political future of Artsakh. There were only tactics of preventing a new war through diplomacy, doomed from the very beginning. For twenty years, our adversary asserted that it would not allow a second Armenian state in the Caucasus, acquired modern weapons, engaged in active international lobbying, and established networks of influence around the world for one purpose. For what? The question is rhetorical because the answer is very clear.
We lost at the moment we believed the mission to return Artsakh was over. We did not pay enough attention to the real guarantees of Artsakh's development and strengthening: the population growth (population of Artsakh remained the same for the past three decades), and the improvement of the art of war, armament renewal and equipment. We got relaxed and continued to live as if there were no serious challenges or threats. Of course, the victory in the Artsakh war became an integral part of our identity, and it is obvious that the most terrible consequence today is the crisis of self-perception. The Armenians woke up, lived, worked, and went to bed with the feeling that they were part of a victorious nation. Now, in a search of the answer, they ask, "Who am I now?"
We lost the information war, both externally and internally. For years, we indulged in wishful thinking. These lies had crept everywhere, threatening the national security. In that imaginary world, we supposedly had an organized state, a modern economy and science, a strong army, a democratic society, and free press, but in reality the picture was completely different. We had only managed to deceive ourselves, and thus had already signed the defeat statement.
To throw off all this, we need immense efforts, willpower, and courage to look into the eyes of the bitter reality.
We are in a difficult situation, but we cannot allow Armenia, Artsakh and the Diaspora feel defeated.
There is a golden rule in politics for all times: never say never. Yes, we have lost today on the battlefield and on the external front, for which the current government must be held accountable. However, other challenges await us, both domestically and internationally. To preserve our statehood and to take it to a fundamentally new level, we must put our emotions aside and start the difficult, and unpleasant, but essential work on ourselves, giving it first priority.
Today, we (and first and foremost, the government that has taken responsibility for its own citizens and Armenians of the world) must acknowledge the existence of a deep political, economic, social and psychological crisis. Citizens have every moral right to demand concrete, timely and meaningful answers on the ways-out of the crisis from the members of the National Assembly elected by them, the government and prime minister.
The President of the Republic also has his role and responsibility.
The division of the society can lead to catastrophic consequences; thus, the country and the people need treatment. The only logical and civilized prescription is off-year elections in reasonable terms with necessary amendments to the Electoral Code and Constitution, which will allow to start the real process of state building from scratch. Until then, a government of national accord must be formed with the help of the institute of the president, one of the legitimate, balanced and impartial branches of power. I see the main mission of that government in achieving three goals.
Firstly, the elimination of immediate consequences of the war: return of all prisoners, hostages and displaced persons, proper treatment and care of the injured, repair of destroyed homes and apartments, provision of normal living conditions, and accommodation for the homeless.
Secondly, creation and implementation of a roadmap to bring the country out of the political and economic crisis.
Thirdly, the reform of the normative and legal framework, providing the necessary conditions for the early elections in reasonable terms, i.e., reforms of the Electoral Code, the law on political parties and, of course, the Constitution. Proceeding from this, the government should be composed of professionals and experts who specialize in specific areas.
I would like to repeat, there is no need to look for "saviors of the nation" or exceptional personalities. The country should be governed by institutions, a system of checks and balances should operate between the branches of power. All citizens, without exception, should respect the law and follow it. Otherwise, we will find ourselves in permanent crises.
The Law in capital letters and following it are the basis of any healthy society and strong state, the guarantee of development and survival. It is on this basis that our political culture must be built. There is no other formula for building a stable state.
Under a parliamentary system of government, the institute of the President is symbolic or formal in appearance, but internally it can be a lifebuoy in any political crisis. As the head of the state and follower of the Constitution, the institute of the President can become the irreplaceable platform where the constitutional ways-out and mechanisms for overcoming the crisis will be formed through a dialogue. The question is: is our Constitution ideal? The answer is one: no, like the constitution of any country. Everywhere in the world, there are ongoing debates and discussions about changing the basic laws of their countries. As a citizen of the Republic of Armenia, I have my opinion on the shortcomings of our Constitution, but as the President of the Republic, I am obliged to follow the letter of the Law. We can give in to emotions, but all political demands must be carried out within the law.
The “Third Republic of Armenia” is a thing of the past, we are facing a new reality that forces us to be very sober, accountable and purposeful. The national carelessness, disorganization, disorder and inconsistency, the false agendas, ideas and approaches that have accompanied us in recent decades must be thrown into the archives of history.
Unfortunately, to date there is no complete perception of the real scale of the dramatic events in Armenia and the Armenian world, and its causes and consequences. We need to understand that a new page of history begins for us with its challenges, and this time with an exceptional imperative to make no mistakes, and to act competently and professionally.
No matter what we call that new page: "New Page", "Restart", "A New Beginning", "The Fourth Republic" or otherwise, the reality is that we are entering a new stage of history.
After the nationwide shock caused by the war and the obligatory transition phase, we must undertake the construction of a new state, conventionally called the "Fourth Republic" in this article.
The change of power in 2018 could have been the beginning of a new phase in our history, for which there were sufficient grounds for people’s unification, enthusiasm and support, but it became the end of the previous phase, without offering a new ideology.
The defeat in the last war was the defeat of that system, not of the soldiers, the people and the nation.
The "Fourth Republic" must become the new ideological, conceptual and substantive basis of our people. The emphasis will be placed on the quality of the state, which requires a radical overhaul of the system of interrelations with our compatriots around the world. Geopolitical perceptions, politics, economy, security, military-industrial complex, medicine, science and education are created by people, and today we are in dire need of the best specialists.
There is no lack of prominent Armenians and never has been; we need to stop just being proud of their existence, and make them part of our state’s reality. For that, it is enough to remove the artificially created Berlin Walls (which are in the Constitution and in the laws) between Armenia and the Armenian communities. Having a lot of experience in communicating with our Diaspora, I can speak with confidence about their huge potential. I shall repeat that in order to discover and use that potential effectively, we need a state systemic approach and proper governance.
Hard work is expected, but I do not doubt the final success. The main thing is that everyone should believe in it and participate in the work of bringing that day closer within their abilities and opportunities.
We do not have time and chance to think long. The time has come for cold-hearted, quick and effective actions to create an efficient, disciplined and organized modern country based on new technologies and thinking, the FUTURE ARMENIA, ready to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
The ways to reach it will be discussed in the future”.
Posted 25 January 2021 - 08:45 AM
Following the revolution in 2018, Armenians were satisfied that they finally overcame a corrupt regime. After losing a war and experiencing democratic backsliding, the people who brought Pashinyan to power might be the ones bringing him down
January 13, 2021 - Tatevik Hovhannisyan
If we follow Plato’s understanding of regime transitions, it appears that Armenia can soon become a ‘tyranny’. This issue can be traced back to the beginning of the ‘Karabakh’ movement and the desire for independence from the Soviet Union.
The Soviet Union was a classic example of a totalitarian regime. It possessed a centralised government that faced little to no opposition, as well as an (at least publicly) obedient citizenry. In relation to Plato’s description of tyranny, it appears that many modern totalitarian regimes have adopted a very similar model of rule.
Despite this, when the pressures of Soviet totalitarianism proved too much to bare, citizens searched for ways to change the system. Starting in Poland with the rise of Solidarity, demonstrations against the region’s communist regimes soon resulted in a domino effect reaching other countries, including Soviet Armenia. Following this, ethnic Armenians also started to demand the independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) autonomous region from Soviet Azerbaijan.
Both the people and political elite of the ‘Karabakh’ movement expressed their desire to see an ‘aristocrat’ among them become the leader of their newly established country. This was Levon Ter-Petrosyan, the first democratically elected president of Armenia in 1991. He was chosen as he was a prominent scholar, highly intelligent (‘wise’, as Plato would say), spoke six or seven languages, and was able to negotiate and represent his nation well. For a short time, Armenia enjoyed the rule of its ‘wise’ leader, who was even able to give speeches in the UN General Assembly in English. As Plato said, however, a ‘Philosopher King’ will only remain on the throne until “the gold is mixed with copper and the iron with silver, and as a result the balance between virtue and human weaknesses is shifted”.
In keeping with Plato’s outlook, Levon Ter-Petrosyan was eventually removed from the throne by the country’s ‘timocrats’ or ‘warriors’. In the case of Armenia, these soldiers were those who fought in the war in Nagorno-Karabakh in order to make sure that Ter-Petrosyan could not “give back the lands”. This outcome would have been unacceptable for the warriors, as Artsakh represented the base of their power and influence. How could they let him give away their pride – the region for which they had fought without the final status for Nagorno Karabakh? Besides, there was also an ongoing security issue for both Artsakh and Armenia, which was ‘ensured’ by the adjacent regions to Artsakh (until the status of Artsakh will be solved). This issue does not exist any more as the recent Moscow-brokered agreement between Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia those regions were given back to Azerbaijan. The current situation has created new challenges for Yerevan and the internationally unrecognised Republic of Artsakh.
A ‘timocracy’ often emerges due to the inherent drawbacks of ‘aristocracy’. In reality, a timocratic system represents a combination of both aristocratic and oligarchic elements. Power is crucial in a timocracy, which is strengthened at the expense of virtue. The desire to accumulate property is very typical in this system. The seeds of this type of rule were already planted under Ter-Petrosyan. These later blossomed during the rule of Robert Kocharyan, the second president of Armenia. With warriors in power, strict order and rule is maintained in the country. Subsequently, citizens must become more obedient to their government. Eventually, the warriors’ desire for power grows at such a rate that timocracy gradually turns into an ‘oligarchy’.
Such oligarchic rule was clear during under Kocharyan and it became even stronger under his successor Serzh Sargsyan. In an oligarchy, those who have money become the leaders of the country. As a result, materialism grows and becomes a key part of the oligarchic system. Laws are written to protect the property of those in power and their relatives. During this time, strict measures are taken to protect the property of the oligarchs. In an oligarchy, the society is divided into rich and poor and this social polarisation eventually becomes so clear that one day the society finds itself threatened by revolution. Following this, the ‘democratic’ leader comes to power. In the case of Armenia, this occurred as a result of the “Velvet Revolution” in 2018.
In a democracy power belongs to the people. Despite this, the leaders, who are meant to be the voice of the people, may start doing what they want without consulting the population. This issue is typical in societies where there are no established democratic traditions. During and right after the revolution, the Armenian people were mostly willing to ignore minor violations and infringements by the new leader. After all, Nikol Pashinyan was “their king”. Should the ‘king’ continue to ignore previous promises, however, the people may start to behave in a similar way to their beloved leader of the revolution. Blocking the streets, for example, is a method that has proven to work well in Armenia. This has become a key tactic for various interest groups in the country. For example, importers of right-hand drive vehicles blocked government buildings and organised a demonstration in order to challenge a decree that threatened their business interests. There are many other examples of these protest tactics in the country. Today, Pashinyan has become a victim of his own success. His own revolutionary tactics are now being used against him by people demanding his resignation following the country’s recent capitulation.
According to Plato, “democracy is the son of oligarchy”. If in many cases the oligarch, according to him, has temperate characteristics, the democrat is characterised to have insatiable desires. In Armenia, for example, the oligarchs were earning money by evading taxes, while the revolutionary government justified its own desire to earn money by introducing a bonus system for its “well-deserving” public servants. Or when many oligarchs were found to be smoking marijuana in private, the democratic parliament members started to speak about the necessity of legalising the drug. Whilst this is not necessarily a bad thing, this should not be a priority immediately following the country’s military defeat in Nagorno-Karabakh. Military and civilian captives are still being held by Azerbaijan, their return still remains a crucial issue and many people are homeless and jobless as a consequence of the war. There are more urgent challenges to deal with at the moment!
Democrats are by nature adventurous and this creates the instability that leads them to lose control. This situation can ultimately lead to anarchy. This appears to describe what is happening in Armenia now. After the disgraceful capitulation, Nikol Pashinyan is unable to manage government affairs and has been distracted by micromanagement. Referring to Plato, democrats in an anarchic society are usually afraid of being killed as they soon find themselves with many enemies. After the revolution in 2018, Pashinyan could freely walk the streets. Now, his security in parliament has been strengthened with additional forces from the police. This is an example of how a democratic leader can become a tyrant.Nikol Pashinyan in 2018. Photo: Ավետիսյան91 wikimedia.org (cc)
The end of the cycle
Pashinyan is not able to run the country because he has spent all his life criticising the previous regime. The ability to criticise government and have an effective opposition is essential to building truly democratic institutions, but not enough to govern. The prime minister should have spent time strengthening state security, enhancing democratic institutions, creating favourable conditions for investment and improving strategic relations in accordance with the country’s geopolitical peculiarities. However, he has shown that he now only acts in accordance with his own desires. He has divided the country into ‘black and white’. He started to abuse the power by violating the principle of independence. For instance, he has publicly ordered the courts to open cases against the officials of previous corrupt regimes and has even demanded that the police and the national security services “hunt” his opponents. Overall, he has turned hatred into a principle of governance and lies into a form of governing. The country’s military capitulation has led to anarchy and no public institution has functioned properly ever since.
This situation can not last for a long time. According to Plato, a new cycle should start with the creation of an aristocracy. Plato’s aristocrat, when updated for modern times, resembles a modern technocrat. Today’s Armenia needs technocrats and it does not matter what political party they represent. This is because both the country’s ‘old’ and ‘new’ political factions include many acceptable politicians. Armenia must put an end to this distorted ‘democracy’ and anarchic regime. The country needs a technocratic government, which will help the country rise from its knees, establish the rule of law and continue on its chosen path to real democracy otherwise it will collapse.
Tatevik Hovhannisyan is a political scientist, specialised in political communications and civil society affairs. She is a graduate of the “Hannah Arendt” Promotion at the College of Europe in Natolin, 2019-2020.
Posted 28 January 2021 - 08:41 AM
TEHRAN, Jan. 27 (MNA) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the territorial integrity of Armenia is the red line of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
He made the remarks in a meeting with his Armenian counterpart Ara Aivazian on Wed. in Yerevan.
Zarif emphasized during a meeting with his Armenian counterpart that Iran considers Armenia as an important neighbor, adding that borders of Armenia and Iran have always been borders of friendship and cooperation.
“Iran attaches big importance to the territorial integrity of all countries, and respects and follows that all nations’ religious and other rights are always protected. Our red line is the territorial integrity of the Republic of Armenia, on which we’ve clearly expressed our voice,” Zarif said.
The Iranian foreign minister expressed condolences over the human losses in the 2020 war that broke out between the Republic of Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
He emphasized that work must be done to solve humanitarian issues. “We are a country that has seen war and we are familiar with the pain and sorrow that the people bear during war. Iran is ready to provide any kind of humanitarian assistance to solve these issues,” Zarif said.
He added that Iran is ready to further develop relations with Armenia in the political, cultural, economic and security sectors.
The two countries of Iran and Armenia have common concerns, including the presence of terrorists in the region, Zarif continued.
Posted 29 January 2021 - 09:08 AM
Too bad that our heroic army was left with inadequate weapons.
“We are indebted to our heroic martyrs” – Armenian President addresses message on Army Day10:15, 28 January, 2021
YEREVAN, JANUARY 28, ARMENPRESS. President of Armenia Armen Sarkissian has addressed a message on the occasion of the 29th anniversary of the foundation of the Armenian Armed Forces, the Presidential Office told Armenpress.
The message says:
This year, the Army Day is of particular importance. We are marking it in a state of emergency for our country and nation: a difficult post-war situation, various crises and heaviest losses.
Once again, I bow my head to the ever-living memory of all our martyrs who died defending our Homeland and freedom.
I wish recovery to all our injured heroes.
I extend my support to all the families, waiting day and night for their captive or missing sons and relatives.
Today, more than ever, we must use our minds and deeds first of all to strengthen and support our army.
We need programmatic-conceptual approaches and radical steps from reorganization to re-equipment, taking into account the advancement of modern military art and technologies, also geopolitical tendencies.
However, even the most modern weapons cannot bring forth the wished result
if we have no courage to admit the mistakes made and be ready for fundamental changes,
if we do not recover the honour of the officers and the respect towards military service,
if we do not have a program and the will to carry it out,
if we do not stop looking for enemies among us, having left the external ones aside,
if we are not united and consolidated as a state and society, as one nation in Armenia, Artsakh and the Diaspora.
We are indebted to our heroic martyrs.
Our army, like our state and the entire nation, is going through trials. But we have more than once been able to turn the ordeal into a victory. And that, first of all, owing to our army.
Long live the Armenian army!
Glory to our heroes!”
Posted 29 January 2021 - 09:11 AM
The church should stay out of politics!
Armenian Church insists on Pashinyan’s resignation11:26, 28 January, 2021
YEREVAN, JANUARY 28, ARMENPRESS. Catholicos Garegin II of the Armenian Apostolic Church has reiterated the church’s stance demanding the Prime Minister Pashinyan to step down.
“There is no change in our convictions and stance,” the Armenian Church leader told reporters at the Yerablur military cemetery where he was visiting to honor fallen troops on Army Day.
“Never before has the country been in such a difficult situation, we’ve never had such a loss of the homeland, the country has never faced such dangers. Uncertainty for tomorrow has never been so alarming for our people. In such conditions, naturally the church had to express itself,” Garegin II said.
He reiterated that the church is guided by national and state interests, and if the church’ stance is in line with the stance of any group or political force it shouldn’t be interpreted as bias for any given political party. “The Church is above politics,” he said.
Catholicos Garegin II publicly asked the Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to resign in December 2020.
Aram I, the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church, joined Garegin II in the appeal.
Editing and Translating by Stepan Kocharyan
- MosJan likes this
Posted 26 February 2021 - 09:51 AM
Instead of political parties getting together in order to get the country out of this mess, and put the interests of the homeland and it's people before their own power grab is disgusting. Shame on them all, the country is rudderless and it' drifting apart. Very sad indeed! I have this painful feeling that we don't deserve a free statehood.
- MosJan likes this
Posted 26 February 2021 - 12:10 PM
it's a theatrical. just like it was in 2018.. Nikol Walked.. came to power... Serj walked away.. and now that many blame Nikol for the lass in Artsakh.. old regime... junta would like its power back.. poorly orchestrated.
Posted 27 February 2021 - 08:44 AM
They had 26 years to fix it, what did they do beside robbing the country dry from top to bottom. I don't believe any politician, lost my confidence on all of them, old and new! I have this awful pain that is not going away, don't we have any citizens left to put the nation first?
- MosJan likes this
Posted 28 February 2021 - 10:20 AM
President Armen Sarkissian refused to fire the army's chief of staff, despite Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's claims that the military is attempting a coup.
Amid an escalating row between the government and the military in Armenia, President Armen Sarkissian blocked the dismissal of the top military officer on Saturday.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan claims the military is plotting a coup. He has pledged to fire Onik Gasparyan, the chief of the armed forces general staff, after the military leaders demanded his resignation.
However, Pashinyan's order was deemed to be unconstitutional by "attorneys and experts" who studied it, the office of President Sarkissian said on Saturday.
The statement also said that the president is not protecting any political power and is guided by national interests.
"The ongoing situation is unprecedented, it needs structural and comprehensive solutions, and it cannot be solved by frequent personnel changes without taking the situation into account."
Responding with a Facebook post, Pashinyan said he would make use of his legal right to send the order to the president once again. The prime minister said he expected it would be signed "in accordance with the established procedure."How did the crisis start?
President Sarkissian usually plays a largely ceremonial role in the ex-Soviet state. However, the escalating crisis placed him in the center of the power struggle between the top military leaders and Pashinyan, whose popularity took a dive following a devastating defeat in the last year's war with Azerbaijan.
The 45-year-old Pashinyan has so far managed to hold on to power despite calls for his resignation. The latest row with the military started after the prime minister said that the Russian-made Iskander missiles "did not explode or only 10% of them exploded" on impact during the 2020 conflict.
The claim was disputed by a deputy chief of armed forces. Pashinyan responded by firing the officer, which in turn prompted Onik Gasparyan and over 40 other top military leaders to call for the prime minister to step down.
Pashinyan took power in 2018 on the wings of a popular movement that ousted longtime leader Serzh Sargsyan. However, Pashinyan now faces protests against his own government, with thousands of people rallying in the capital Yerevan for three days in a row and calling for him to resign.
"Pashinyan must leave for the sake of our state because his position is very weak today. Nobody takes him seriously," Vera Simonyan, a 28-year-old IT specialist, told the AFP news agency at the Saturday rally.
Former premier Vazgen Manukyan told the crowd that the crisis would likely be "resolved within two to three days".
"Today Pashinyan has no support," he added, urging the security services and the police to join the army in calling for the prime minister to resign.
dj/mm (Reuters, AFP, Interfax)
Posted 19 March 2021 - 08:24 AM
By Emilio Luciano Cricchio
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced that snap parliamentary elections will take place on June 20, 2021.
Pashinyan made the announcement after a meeting with leader of the oppositional Prosperous Armenia Party and business tycoon Gagik Tsarukyan.
In his announcement, the prime minister said that he and Tsarukyan agreed that the best way out of the current political crisis is early parliamentary elections.
Pashinyan added that the decision was made after discussions with President Armen Sarkissian and the leader of the Bright Armenia Party Edmon Marukyan.
Marukyan too wrote a post on Facebook that he had a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan regarding elections.
“I have stated that June 20, 2021, as a day for snap parliamentary elections, is acceptable for us,” Marukyan wrote.
Iveta Tonoyan, a parliament deputy from the Prosperous Armenia Party, wrote that, “The meeting between Gagik Tsarukyan and Nikol Pashinyan has just ended. Snap parliamentary elections will be held on June 20.”
It is unclear how the non-parliamentary opposition will react to the announcement. It’s leader, Vazgen Manukyan, said earlier that elections must be prevented “at all costs and the government must resign immediately.”
But with parliamentary opposition now backing Pashinyan’s election process, the next few months will undoubtedly be decisive for the country’s trajectory.
Posted 28 March 2021 - 08:08 AM
The continuing political crisis in Armenia is now entering a new stage after snap elections were announced for June 20. This follows an agreement reached at a March 18 meeting between Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Gagik Tsarukyan, the leader of the biggest opposition bloc in parliament. The third largest party, Bright Armenia, also agreed to the early elections.
There is an undeniable internal dimension to the crisis. Snap elections are necessary to address political deadlock after months of demonstrations demanding Pashinyan’s resignation following a major defeat in a war with Azerbaijan in 2020.
Pashinyan’s calculus is clear and sound. The opposition is largely discredited because of its links to the former, pre-2018 revolution government, which was accused of large-scale corruption and overall ineffectiveness. This means the opposition will find it hard to win a majority of votes, let alone garner enough to create a coalition.
Still, the elections will be competitive. Artur Vanetsyan, a former top security official under Pashinyan and now one of the opposition leaders, said he would participate in the election. Another contestant is likely to be the former president, Robert Kocharyan, who earlier announced he would take part. “Yes, we will run, we will fight, and we will win,” Kocharyan told journalists earlier this year.
One critical decision yet to be made is the electoral system to be used. It is not clear if the ruling party’s proposed but not yet adopted electoral reforms will be used, or whether the old system will survive.
The new elections may well result in diffusion of tension, but the structural troubles which beset Armenian politics will remain. Deeper deficiencies, such as a lack of accountability, absence of an independent judiciary, and weak parliament will weigh negatively on any new government.
The vote also has a significant external dimension. And here Russia’s position matters — not so much because it will assist one side or other — but because it will exploit each side’s vulnerabilities.
Russia is in the happy position of favoring both sides of the aisle, and that makes the Kremlin’s position unique. For once, Russia does not need to throw its full support behind an openly pro-Kremlin candidate because in reality, each plausible Armenian governing entity is becoming increasingly dependent. In one masterly stroke in November, Russia wedged itself into the only territorial conflict in the South Caucasus where it previously lacked direct influence. With its peacekeepers in Karabakh and the Armenian army and the general public demoralized and confused after the 2020 debacle, the only hope for Armenia is to prolong the influence it still has in Karabakh by treading the Russian line.
This unavoidable fact is gradually dawning into an understanding among Armenia’s political elite. The Russian position is more or less assured irrespective of which side prevails in the June elections and far beyond.
The election results will not, therefore, bring about significant foreign policy changes. Nevertheless, Armenia-Russia relations will be of importance. The opposition favors deeper ties with Russia, which could change the fabric of bilateral relations. Russia could push for Armenia’s deeper integration within its favored economic organization, the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Better trading terms for Russian companies could be sought, and more Russian state-of-the-art weaponry might be shipped in return.
Indeed, in this event, a new development could occur. Deeper integration would be significant, especially at the time when Russia is carefully navigating working to use the crisis in Belarus to promote the idea of a union between states.
Deeper ties with Armenia would also mean that Russia could again pit Armenia and Azerbaijan against each other. Such an approach is no novelty, but this time the intensity of the game would much greater. In four years’ time, Russia has to officially prolong its peacekeeping mission in Azerbaijan. Yet the Russian military presence disturbs political minds in Baku. A desire to abrogate the Russian peacekeeping agreement will be running high and President Putin will need to play a clever game. Some concessions to Baku might be effective, but other political and military messages might work.
Imagine the prospect of Russian peacekeepers preparing to leave, while a much better prepared and equipped Armenian army, bristling with Russian high-tech weaponry, prepares an irredentist military campaign. Moscow wins either way.
It is hard to see a way out of this for Armenia. Ordinary Armenians can hope that internal reforms improve everyday life, but the country remains vulnerable and its reliance on Russia will only increase because there are no other options. As for the future, Armenia-Russian relations are likely to serve as a model for the closer integration Russia hopes to encourage within the EEU.
Author’s note: first published at cepa.org
Posted 21 May 2021 - 08:24 AM
Stepanakert city, bombarded (novembre 2020). © Alex McBride/Getty Images
On the evening of April 8, a crowd gathers at the Yerevan airport. There is an air of celebration. The many family members of the more than two hundred prisoners of war still detained in Azerbaijan, both military and civilian, are anxiously waiting: a wait that has dragged on since November 10, when the ceasefire came into effect, suspending the last war in Karabakh without any peace agreement. Many of these prisoners, as confirmed by an investigation of Human Rights Watch, have suffered abuse and torture (also filmed and shared on social media in a systematic way). The end of a nightmare seems in sight. But the plane, which departed from Moscow and passed through Baku, lands empty. Not a single prisoner accompanies Rustam Muradov, commander of Russian troops in Karabakh. As if that were not enough, he immediately accuses the Armenian government: "They have misled the population". All this, please note, after the Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan had just returned from a meeting with Putin in Moscow.
Not even a month had passed since the incident when Artak Zeynalyan, who represents the interests of prisoners at the European Court of Human Rights, announced the death of 19 of them. A disgrace for the Armenian population and government, just emerging from a bitter defeat.
All this while shooting has been going on for months in Karabakh. There was also shooting when I was there, at the end of December and on New Year's Eve: at the exact stroke of midnight in the outskirts of Stepanakert, the region's major center, gunfire started for a few hours in a ghostly atmosphere: deserted streets, except for cars speeding towards the site of the escalation. I open Twitter, usually the best source of real-time information, especially about the Caucasus. Silence from the Armenian and international media, complete silence. There are many accounts from civilians, in that town and in the villages, of night shots against civilian dwellings and animals, and when I visit Martakert during the day, just before, we still hear gunfire. Then there are the unexploded ordnances: the entire territory is littered with them.
But that's not all: for months, once again after the war, there have been reports of Azerbaijani army raids in Karabakh and Armenia, against a defeated army in serious difficulty. In this regard, I remember the story of some civilians after one of these incursions: gathered in front of the nearest Russian military post, they ask for help and protection. They were afraid: the war, marked by the incessant bombing of Karabakh's towns, was still fresh. But the Russians, officially on a peacekeeping mission, do not move. On the contrary, they systematically prevent foreign journalists from entering Karabakh (I was among the last to enter, and not without difficulty).
The most striking case, however, has occurred in the last few days: an incursion of several kilometers by the Azerbaijan army into southern Armenia. All done, once again, with perfect timing, while the eyes of the world are focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. France, the US, and Canada are protesting at governmental level, while Russia, even if in the agreement of military cooperation that binds it to Armenia (despite the fact that it exports weapons to Baku), is at first defiladed, but then intervenes quietly - after a few days - with the official intention of finding a mediation.
Now, what is clearly emerging is that the new masters of Karabakh - Russia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey - after having ousted Europe and the USA from the table of diplomacy and peace, want to give a very precise direction to the Armenian elections of June 20. And they do so, as is Moscow's habit, by playing dirty: discrediting, manu militari, a government - the Armenian one - that despite the many mistakes made during and after the war, remains the _expression_ of a non-violent and democratic revolution that, just two years ago, had turned its back on a past dominated by oligarchs, corruption and violence.
It will be no coincidence that, magically returning once again from Moscow, the trial against ex-president Robert Kocharyan - accused of being responsible for the death of 10 protesters during the 2008 elections - has been blocked. Not only that: it should be noted how magically, once again, the ultra-nationalist Kocharyan, a champion of corruption, violence, and electoral fraud, was chosen as leader of the Armenian opposition.
For years, and still, during the war, bad journalists and analysts have been trying to tell us the Karabakh conflict as a Russian-Turkish proxy war, with a lot of useless calculations and unfounded predictions. An idiocy, as we have seen in the evidence of facts, and as we can still see today, when the three autocrats (Putin, Aliyev, and Erdogan) who rule in the South Caucasus, have once again found a love match in trying to put the point (of a bullet) to the already fragile Armenian democracy, after having peddled a peace that does not exist (in fact) in Karabakh.
Now, if Armenians want Kocharyan or Pashinyan, they must be free to choose him for themselves, without guided (and violent) interventions by the usual autocrats. The irritation felt by Moscow for the Velvet Revolution that brought the latter to government is more than known and needs no explanation. Now, while in Germany the careers of Aliyev's political servants fall one after the other, while the USA and France try as best they can to remedy the political vacuum left (also in this context) by Trump, Italy sleeps heavily, immersed in the fumes of oil and gas that we import from Baku.
But it's a mistake: the end of democracy in Armenia would have important effects outside the country as well, and it could be an excellent ram's head - for the consolidated trio mentioned above - to "put back in order" even neighboring Georgia, which is experiencing a season of crisis and contradictions. Not to mention the indelible lesson - in the ex-Soviet space - for those who would try to rise up from the oligarchs and autocrats in charge, in a space that goes from Central Asia to the heart of our Europe.
Armenians, after the war, showed great strength in resisting the sirens of violence and dictatorship (a prospect that always looms after defeats of such magnitude). We have a moral debt towards Armenia. That of supporting a democracy that risks imploding under the joint blows of Moscow, Baku, and Ankara.
Europe must knock a blow. And resume turning the spotlight on Armenia in the month that separates us from the elections. A vote in which it is very easy to imagine attempts at fraud, as well as new political and military blows that completely distort the democratic competition.
I know that many representatives of civil society and politics in Italy feel guilty for not having prevented the carnage of civilians in Karabakh during the last war. I know this from their direct testimony. But this is not the time to shed tears. It is time to be vigilant and active. Armenia, eternal phoenix, may be reborn, as it has done so many times in history, but only on condition that the hand of those who want to smother it in ashes today is stopped.
Posted 09 June 2021 - 06:53 AM
YEREVAN, June 8. /TASS/. Armenian President Armen Sarkisyan has pledged to do everything possible in order to prevent any violence or unrest after the June 20 snap parliamentary elections, the presidential press service announced Tuesday.
"Today, the public is occupied by the elections, and I hope that they will bring some stability and clarity about our country’s future, that the June elections will solve our problems. As president, I will do everything I can, I will use my main tools - those being my words, because I have no other tools - so that the country had more humane, stable elections, without strife or riots," Sarkisyan said during the online meeting with the US Armenian Lawyers’ Association.
Earlier, Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan promised to carry out "civil vendettas, revenge and staff purges."
In June, campaigning for the snap parliamentary elections kicked off in Armenia, after Prime Minister Pashinyan and leaders of parliamentary factions struck an agreement. On May 10, the lawmakers carried out all necessary formalities to make the dissolution of parliament legally possible. Later, President Sarkisyan named the election date - June 20. Pashinyan and his cabinet remain in office as acting ministers until the elections. Pashinyan’s party, the Civil Contract, is also running in the elections.
According to experts, one of Pashinyan’s main rivals will be ex-President Robert Kocharyan and his political alliance, dubbed the Armenia Bloc. Other contenders include ex-President Serzh Sargsyan and his Republican Party, currently in a bloc with the Homeland, led by the ex-National Security Service head Artur Vanetsyan. The country’s opposition parties - Prosperous Armenia and Enlightened Armenia - will also run in the elections without entering any blocs.
- MosJan likes this
Posted 21 June 2021 - 07:36 AM
Now that the people of Armenia has spoken, it's time for all Armenians to put their political differences aside and stand together against the outside threat. But unfortunately I don't see it happening!
Armenia election: PM Nikol Pashinyan wins post-war pollPublished 5 hours agoShareRelated TopicsIMAGE COPYRIGHTGETTY IMAGESimage captionNikol Pashinyan came to power after leading a popular revolution in 2018
The party of Armenia's acting PM Nikol Pashinyan has won snap elections, the country's electoral commission says.
Preliminary results from all 2,008 polling stations give the Civil Contract party 54%, it says.
The opposition Armenia alliance led by ex-President Robert Kocharyan is a distant second with 21%. The block has alleged election fraud.
The vote was called after Armenia's defeat in a war with Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Last year, Azerbaijan regained control of large swathes of the mountainous region, which it lost to Armenia during the first Nagorno-Karabakh war in 1988-94.
The region is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan.
Earlier on Monday, Mr Pashinyan declared victory in the elections, urging supporters to gather in the main square of the capital Yerevan in the evening.
"The people of Armenia gave our Civil Contract party a mandate to lead the country and personally me to lead the country as prime minister," he said.
"We already know that we won a convincing victory in the elections and we will have a convincing majority in parliament."
Almost 50% of the country's 2.6 million eligible voters cast ballots on Sunday, Armenian election officials said, adding that the vote was carried out in accordance with legislation.
Mr Kocharyan's alliance said it would not recognise Mr Pashinyan's claim of victory.
"Hundreds of signals from polling stations testifying to organised and planned falsifications serve as a serious reason for lack of trust," the bloc said in a statement.IMAGE COPYRIGHTEPAimage captionElection officials say turnout on Sunday was 50%
On Sunday evening the general prosecutor's office said it had received 319 reports of violations, and had opened six criminal investigations. All of these were related to alleged bribery during campaigning.
Mr Kocharyan, a friend and ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was himself previously accused of fixing a presidential election in favour of a political ally.
He was also accused of presiding over a deadly crackdown on protesters in 2008.IMAGE COPYRIGHTAFPimage captionAn alliance led by former president Robert Kocharyan has disputed Mr Pashinyan's claims of victory
Mr Pashinyan came to power after leading a popular revolution in 2018, and Armenia was praised by some international countries when it held its first free and fair election under his leadership that year.
But the country has been in a political crisis since November 2020, when Mr Pashinyan signed a Moscow-brokered truce with Azerbaijan to end the Nagorno-Karabakh war.
Officially, 2,904 Azerbaijani servicemen lost their lives in last year's war. Armenia lost an estimated 4,000 servicemen.media captionHow lives on both sides of the divide in Nagorno-Karabakh were changed by the last year's fighting
- MosJan likes this
Posted 18 July 2021 - 06:39 AM
Armenia's Constitutional Court on Saturday rejected an appeal challenging the results of the country's snap parliamentary election.
The court's verdict upheld the victory of acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's party in last month's vote.
The June 20 election gave 71 parliament seats to Pashinyan's party, while 29 went to a bloc headed by former President Robert Kocharyan. A different bloc led by another former president, Serzh Sargsyan, won seven seats.
Those blocs and two smaller parties appealed the election results, arguing to the Constitutional Court that they should be declared invalid because of alleged voting violations. Representatives of the losing blocs alleged Saturday that the court made its ruling under political pressure.
Pashinyan called the early election after months of protests demanding his resignation because of a November peace deal he signed to end six weeks of fighting with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
The peace agreement saw Azerbaijan reclaim control over large parts of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas that had been held by Armenian forces for more than a quarter-century. Protesters in Armenia denounced the deal as a betrayal of national interests,
Pashinyan stepped down as prime minister, as required by law to hold the election, but has remained in charge as the country's acting leader. He stands to be formally appointed to the job by the newly elected parliament once it convenes.
Posted 21 July 2021 - 07:11 AM
Arrogance? If I can't be the prime minister , I collect all my toys and go home! Stay there and hold the government accountable, criticize when they do wrong and encourage when they do good.
EurasiaNet.orgJuly 20 2021Kocharyan won’t join Armenian parliament The former president said he won’t take his seat because he’s “a man of the executive branch,” but he’ll continue to lead his bloc outside parliament. Ani Mejlumyan Jul 20, 2021Former president, and current opposition leader, Robert Kocharyan at a June 22 press conference. (photo: Armenia Alliance)
Former President Robert Kocharyan, the leader of the second-place bloc in last month’s elections in Armenia, will not take his seat in parliament, he announced.
Kocharyan explained the decision in a July 19 post on the Facebook page of his Armenia Alliance. “I have always been a man of the executive branch,” he wrote.
He claimed that the move was one demanded by “thousands” of his supporters, who following his career as the de facto leader of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and then of Armenia, felt that “I should not be tempted by a deputy's mandate,” he wrote. “After all, people voted for me as the Alliance's candidate for the post of prime minister.”
The 66-year-old ex-president ruled Armenia from 1998 until 2008, and after stepping down, he disappeared from public life. He left Armenia and, since 2009 has served on the board of directors for Sistema PJSFC, one of Russia's largest investment companies. He came back to run in snap elections, positioning himself as stronger on security than Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who led Armenia through the catastrophic defeat in last year’s war with Azerbaijan.
The court ruling allows the Central Election Commission to distribute the mandates. According to the final results, Pashinyan’s Civil Contract will get 71 seats, and the Armenia Alliance 29. The final seven seats will be taken by the I Have Honor bloc, led by former top security official Artur Vanetsyan and backed by another former president, Serzh Sargsyan.
The first session of the new parliament is scheduled for August 2.
The two opposition forces had initially floated the idea that they would not accept their mandates, and have not formally announced their intention to do so, but Kocharyan has already made it clear they would in fact enter parliament. In his July 19 statement, he said he would continue to lead the Armenia alliance. "I will contribute to the victories we expect in the future through consistent hard work,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, the ruling party has said that the speaker of the previous parliament, Ararat Mirzoayan, will not run for the post again. The party has instead put forth another close Pashinyan ally, Alen Simonyan, who was deputy speaker in the previous parliament. Simonyan also has been Pashinyan’s point man in negotiations with Russia since the signing of the ceasefire statement that ended the war in November.
Candidates for the deputy speaker position include Hakob Arshakyan and Ruben Rubinyan, said Hrachya Hakobyan, Pashinyan's son in law and an MP in Pashinyan’s alliance. Cabinet members for the new government also have yet to be announced. “Discussions on the candidates for members of government are in progress, but I can't say who will be appointed,” Hakobyan told RFE/RL.
Ani Mejlumyan is a reporter based in Yerevan.
Posted 21 July 2021 - 07:22 AM
‘Peace beneficial to all’ – Israeli publicist calls on Azerbaijan’s Aliyev to refuse from militaristic rhetoric
09:13, 20 July, 2021
YEREVAN, JULY 20, ARMENPRESS. Israeli publicist and public figure Avigdor Eskin, who visited both Armenia, Azerbaijan and Artsakh for many times, says not only Armenia, but also Azerbaijan need a peaceful and long-term normalization of the relations.
Mr. Eskin told ARMENPRESS that today’s status of Azerbaijan in the world greatly depends on its readiness to sign a peace agreement with Armenia. In this context he called on Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to refuse from militaristic rhetoric against Armenia, stating that it obstructs the negotiations.
“Aliyev understands very well that today the status of Azerbaijan in the world significantly depends on his readiness to go to a long-term, peace agreement with Armenia. Azerbaijan’s close ties with Turkey and domestic situation are seriously criticized by the whole world. These are not only the forces which are in conflict with Azerbaijan. Firstly, the talk is about the Soros organizations, with which Aliyev is in war for already several years, and also the US Administration and the European Union which criticize Azerbaijan. Therefore, it would be better if your neighbors understood that the steps aimed at the peaceful, lasting settlement are necessary not only for Armenia but also Azerbaijan”, the Israeli publicist said, adding that the peaceful settlement is beneficial to all both in economic and other terms.
Avigdor Eskin commented on Aliyev’s statements about Zangezur, Sevan and Yerevan, calling such rhetoric a wrong step by the Azerbaijani leader.
“If it’s a policy, it’s a wrong policy which has no opportunity to be fulfilled. If it’s rhetoric, it’s worth refusing because it provokes a new dispute, creating natural concerns in Armenia. What does it mean “Azerbaijan is returning to Yerevan”? It means they are attempting a crime against the independence of the Armenian state? This will not happen. The rhetoric, in any case, hinders the talks”, he said.
He noted that contrary to many predictions, the domestic political situation in Armenia after the June 20 snap parliamentary elections has become more stable. “Just a month ago it seemed this country could be embroiled in a domestic conflict. The level of resistance, the escalation of passions have reached the brink of violence and clashes in Armenia. Fortunately, this didn’t happen as Armenia entered into a peaceful existence phase. And Azerbaijan needs to understand that although Armenia has faced heavy developments, it remained stable inside and is ready for serious political steps by enjoying an international reputation”, Avigdor Eskin noted.
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