The hard pill to swallow and the outlook you need to have right now

Lake Sevan (Photo: Raffi Elliott)

Last night, I had more than eight hours of sleep for the first time in 45 days. For 45 days, I went to the front, then behind the front, then the home front. I held meetings and worked with people in every level of government, with volunteers making camouflage nets, social workers helping refugees and wounded soldiers, to fighters training for war and techies working on algorithms to knock out drones. I helped coordinate with friends in the Diaspora the purchase of high-tech rifle scopes, body armor, humanitarian aid and medical equipment. 

Throughout these 45 days, I witnessed a global Armenian nation united in a single goal: to preserve itself. What I didn’t see in that time were traitors, defeatists or “sellouts.” Yet over the last two days, everyone else seems to be looking for them.

Right now, many people are probably penning their own views of why what happened…happened, or what we need to do next. Some were quick to point the finger at a man whose wife and son are currently manning positions in the mountains of Artsakh for “selling out” the country. Others will instead blame 25 years of corruption, authoritarianism and wishful thinking. More still will call out the Diaspora for treating Armenia and Artsakh like vacation spots rather than a real place in need of serious engagement. There is truth to all of these, and also lies. The reality is that there is enough blame to go around. 

Those who engage in finger pointing are just acting out on their grief, as are the rest of us. You have a right to be angry, surprised, vexed, humiliated and depressed. We just suffered one of the largest calamities to befall our nation in a century. At a later time, smarter men and women than me will look over the causes and brainstorm what could have been done better. But now is not the time for that. Grieving people do not make rational decisions. 

Now that we’ve had a couple of days to digest our new reality (the armchair generals and keyboard analysts having already made their case), let me summarize my experiences and observations over the last 45 days to help you, fellow Armenians, find your path. First by answering the most obvious question:

How did this happen?

For many of us who went to bed knowing that the battle for Shushi was ongoing, waking up to news of this humiliating ceasefire was quite a shock. For weeks we had been told that we were holding our own. As the war went on, many of us began to internalize the hope that we could actually win this. So what happened? Did Nikol lie to us? Maybe, but in that case, so did Artsrun, Shushan, Armen, Davit, Arayik and all the soldiers who called home and shared news about the brilliant defense they were engaging in.

You see…they were not lying. Just as the Fedayi who successfully defended Van and Musa Dagh in 1915 only to see their homes eventually absorbed by Turkey, or those who stopped the Turkish advances in Sardarapat and Kara Kelissa in 1918 only to see the rest of Armenia swallowed by the nascent Bolshevist state discovered: it is possible to win every battle and still lose a war.

The truth is, we were not beaten by better enemy soldiers commanded by more brilliant officers and strategists. The war we fought could not have been won with just a little more martial spirit, patriotism or elan. Our greatest enemy was much more mundane: attrition. The Armenian army shot down almost 300 UAVs in 45 days—the largest number in the world by a wide margin. For every Armenian soldier who fell in battle they took with them five or six Azeris. But for every drone we shot down, they would simply fly another. For every enemy soldier killed, another imported Syrian mercenary was thrown into the meat grinder to take his place. 

For every member of the old generation lost to the pandemic, we lost a member of the young one to the war. Each day of fighting cost Armenia over $30 million. For context, the total amount of funds raised by the global Armenian community over the course of the war would have paid for about six days of fighting. 

This deal was signed when the war simply became unsustainable for a tiny country of three million which was fighting not just the bottomless pockets of an oil-rich Caspian dictatorship, but one with the backing of a NATO-member dictatorship, access to the latest in Israeli hardware, and endless hordes of desperate mercenaries, all while fighting a deadly global pandemic under the passive eyes of the world community. The fact that we held out against the worst dictatorships in this part of the world for 45 days is nothing short of gallantry. As both the Armenian Defense Minister and the President of Artsakh pointed out: no matter how brave our men, or as well commanded the army, or competent our leadership, ultimately Armenia was caught within a great game played by regional powers yet again.

Those of you who think that this deal was a sellout or somehow the result of being out-negotiated are missing a point. This deal was made by a man with a gun to his head, probably by someone speaking Russian, who told him the alternative for his nation would be worse. Our government made a painful but necessary concession to preserve Armenia to fight again another day.

No amount of awareness raising, savvy diplomacy or miraculous intervention by a foreign player could have changed this situation, because, as you’re now coming to realize, the other truth we’ve learned from this is:

There is no justice, and that’s OK

For years, I, like you, campaigned for the powers that be in this world to recognize the Armenian Genocide in the hopes that doing so would bring justice to the suffering of my grandfather and prevent this from repeating itself. Still, the symbolic gestures of 32 countries remained just that: symbolic. Aside from words of pity, none made any tangible effort to stop this again. We know what will happen to the ancient monuments on the land lost because our grandparents have told us what happened to those in Western Armenia. They will be destroyed or their histories transformed to delete us from them by a bloodthirsty enemy. But no matter how priceless, those were just buildings and that was just land. Armenia lives with Armenians. 

Ultimately, the only reason why there aren’t 150,000 extra dead Armenians scattered across Artsakh right now is the valiant 45-day long defense of the Armenian Army against extraordinarily insurmountable odds, and the bowing of our leadership to the new geopolitical reality encompassing our region. Because world opinion only cares about two things:

Power and Influence

Why does the Arab-Israeli conflict always make front page news, while the ethnic cleansing of Artsakh barely gets a mention on page six? Power and influence. Whether you agree with it or not, the state of Israel didn’t survive in a hostile neighborhood by leveraging its hope on the world’s commitment to historical justice. It did it by building a powerful modern army backed by one of the planet’s most technologically evolved and dynamic economies. They did it by investing in their own technological innovation whose output benefited the world. As a friend put it: “You want to wipe Israel off the map? Fine, but no lifesaving cancer research for you.”

See, the point is, in 1994, we made a collective decision not to compromise as victors. However, we then progressively ignored the real responsibilities that come with defending this homeland. We took comfort in the thought that military might, bravado and a hope that the international community was invested in historical justice would be enough to maintain the status quo. 

But the truth is the world doesn’t care enough about Komitas’ brilliant compositions or the timeless beauty of our churches to lift a finger to protect this unique contribution to global culture. It cares about power and influence. 

Now that we have come to terms with the reality that there is no justice, it’s time to take the steps to ensure our survival. Here’s how:

Forward: Repatriation and Democracy

How does Armenia foster power and influence? Powerful militaries only exist when they are backed by robust economies. Economic growth, as many political economists have routinely pointed out, is directly dependent on the establishment of stable democratic gains. The worst thing that we can do to ourselves now is to encourage more regime change, instability, confusion and infighting.

Despite lackluster development over the past 30 years, the pace of achievements in democratic and economic consolidation has quickened recently. This is what needs to be encouraged at all costs. While the world may not but be just and democratic, doesn’t mean Armenia should follow suit. 

This is where you come in. If you care about the survival of the Armenian nation, it’s time to dedicate yourself to the development of Armenia. This means visiting, contributing your knowledge and expertise, investing here, moving here and being a part of this community. In the coming days, you will be needed in Armenia more than ever before. Wounded soldiers will need your care, and refugees will need your assistance. Armenia will need to rebuild investor confidence and who better to start with than its own Diaspora? That unprecedented level of unity that we’ve built over 45 days to win a war must now be maintained to win the peace.

If right now, you’re asking yourself what the sacrifice of all these young men was for, or what was the point of all your activism, donations, struggling and so on, remember this: since the beginning, we’ve framed this war as one for our existence. Despite the harsh terms, there is still an Artsakh, and there is still a Republic of Armenia in which Armenian people live safely, in which the Armenian culture continues to evolve and language continues to be spoken. This is now all that matters. Armenia was wounded, but not beaten. This is what those soldiers gave their lives to preserve—and at least in this way, this was a victory. We have outlived empires. We continue to exist. We continue to survive.

But the lasting victory is for Armenia to thrive. 

Grieve now, but tomorrow, we get to work. 

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Raffi Elliott

Columnist & Armenia Correspondent
Raffi Elliott is a Canadian-Armenian political risk analyst and journalist based in Yerevan, Armenia. As correspondent and columnist for the Armenian Weekly, he covers socioeconomic, political, business and diplomatic issues in Armenia, with occasional thoughts on culture and urbanism.

69 Comments

  1. Oh. My. God.

    Never would I have imagined that an “ARF backed” media outlet would publish this DRIVEL by a foreign agent pretending to be a “patriotic Armenian”. Spreading traitor Pashinyan propaganda in the USA while ARFers get arrested in Armenia. A classic case of an agent sent to destabilize a nation and spread false information while doing it.

    Raffi: you, along with your propaganda techniques and lies, don’t fool me for one second. NO ARMENIAN would ever type the drivel you just did. Your version of what transpired is the softened up version of lies coming straight out of Baku. Of course, you would never present the side that was doing the actual fighting on the front lines and suddenly got betrayed by your earth-god traitor Pashinyan.

    God help the Armenian nation, we are doomed.

    • I’m sorry but this article is spot on and must be read by every Tashnag. Can you imagine what would happen today if Pashinyan resigned as the real traitors demanded? Stepanakert would be leveled and many many more Armenians would be dead and all of Artaskh would be gone. We need to preserve democracy while maintaining Russia as our ally. Very doable unless we have these pro Tashnag views driven by the desire for Tashnag political presence in Armenia. For your info I come from a long lineage of Tashnags.

    • Raffi’s viewpoint is a tough pill to swallow. Especially since we lost lands, our people were displaced, they were unnecessarily killed, an unfair deal was made. We all grew up AYFtsis, but you have to come to the realization that his viewpoint has nothing to do with Pashinyan, you’re giving NP too much credit. It has more to do with looking forward and building our future. I know the ARF mentality, preserve our culture till the very end, but we have to think in a more holistic 360 degree view. The only way to “win” is exactly as Raffi is explaining: build the economy, build the infrastructure with valuable resources, build the military. Think about it, the only other democratically run nation east of Armenia is South Korea. If we want to be taken seriously on a global scale, this is what we have to do. We are all angry, be angry, but what could have been is not helping our cause, we have to take action. Azerbaijan in 10 or so years will be obsolete. No one will be using oil as much as a resource. We as a people are extremely smart and resourceful, we can build the future! Therefore, we need to be cognizant of this, unite, and move accordingly.

    • Good article. Passionate and logical. In addition, when the dust settles, when the official collective mourning of our fallen heroes is complete (private individual mourning will last much longer of course), then is the time for the leaders to look at the mistakes made in the lack of preparation for this war. Democracy without punch is seen as a weakness by adversaries. I know as Armenians we have reasons to dislike even hate Israel, but in truth we have to admire their smartness and learn a powerful lesson from their story of survival and progress, especially the way they managed to manipulate and gain USA support as their main backer. We have to seriously think along the same lines. Education is so important. We have to produce smart multi-lingual politicians who can project a good image and influence of Armenia abroad. For that we need to move mountains to modernise and excel in some technological or medical field to advertise our country and say look we can do this and that and we can offer it to the world. We can find more innovative ways to attract tourists to our country. All this will only happen, as Raffi has indicated, to a nation that is dedicated, focused and united. We must retrain our DNA to stop blaming and bickering. We must learn to acknowledge errors and try not to repeat them. Distribute and post leaflets to this effect. Teach it in schools from early age. Also, a nation that will not tolerate corruption is a must. Yes, we must agree that we have a lot of work ahead. ‘All for one and one for all’ to help us make progress towards are immediate and long-term objectives. Good luck to all of us.

  2. Excellent article Raffi!

    It’s time we stop being a past-grieving nation but a forward thinking one.

    Jews said ‘never again’ then didn’t wait a breath for the world to follow suite.

    If anything, we came off with a warning. Our eyes are wide open.

    We are a nation of builders. We are our only salvation… We grieve now, but tomorrow we rebuild.

    • Great article Raffi, I think it formulates the pragmatic perspective very nicely. Please consider having it published in Armenian as well, for circulation beyond the anglosphere.

  3. Please. We are our own worst enemy and you know that. Armenians lacks UNITY. Israel is no friend to Armenia. Lets make that clear. In fact It is a brutal human right violating infiltering mechanism that takes advantage of the USA and all its foreign policy it wants. However we can learn from them too. That simple.

    DOASPORA ARMY UNITS NOW. another 40-60k troops ready and able to defend to deter is what is needed. Israel has mandatory diaspora services. Real diaspora kids skin on the front lines adds real motivation from ALL OVER THE WORLD. MAny would stay after service and repopulate and contribute. Its a WIN WIN WIN.

    Pashinyan cant stay as leader anymore. Who will take him seriously? And is Artsakh and ancient Armenian property gone to Azerbaijan forever? That’s crazy. Cant accept that. Just like Azerbaijan for the last 30 years did, this document needs to called a cease fire nothing more. To be ignored by the future Armenian leadership.

    What a sad day for Armenia. I blame all of us..Im tired of it.

  4. Dear Raffi Elliot and Armenian Weekly, thank you for such a piercing, comprehensive, objective and forward looking coverage of 44 days of ground zero and its immediate aftermath.
    As a nation we are ready to look forward and march on to make the lives of the babies born today in Armenia and Artsakh brighter twenty years from now.

  5. Hi Raffi, I would say that you have said it in a perfectly clear , sincere and factual way what has to be said.
    I will say that I agree with 99.9% of your text, for that matter , may be 99.99.
    I say this because I can also say that I have been telling in the past few days quite a number of well informed individuals around me almost the same things,therefore,having read your article, I can rightfully say to them: You see, I did tell you so…!
    For that matter, my recent article in the Armenian Mirror-Spectator concerning a proposal to issue now, Armenia, Artzakh Reconstruction Bonds, becomes a centrally important and relevant issue.
    Arshavir Gundjian

  6. Thanks you so much. As an Armenian I am unerring you wishing to all Armenians learn and follow your footsteps. Thanks again and again

    • Thank you Raffi for your analysis and recommendations. We need charismatic leaders that think like you and have the power to shake up our people from their grievances and make them understand that blaming games are painful and disruptive. We have to unify, work hard and make the impossible possible. The world loves the winners and we should win. Haghtelou yenk

  7. Dear Raffi, thank you for this calm, objective and balanced view of a situation which, as you know has unhinged most Armenians. Let’s not waste time bickering, resenting and blaming. As you say: we have a nation to care for🇦🇲

  8. Excellent work !!!
    I will follow your work until the end it’s unfortunate that I am 57. I live in Canada. Maybe our greatest advantage is that we are so disadvantaged no oil, no port and harsh climate. We have no choice but work smarter.
    I believe in the Armenian brain and creativity. We must unit and we must fist build the most democratic state. You words will inspire us all.
    For me we won this for the first day
    20 million + 80 million + isis
    I was hoping with some miracle the international comity would come to aid. Very naive but once again we proved that we are the first and only Christians we are our brothers keeper !!!
    The rest live in hypocrisy that serves Antichrist.

  9. Oui ,nous avons survecu et nous survivrons .La lecon a tirer ,installer la democratie chez nous et investir dans la haute technologie de l armement, aucune nation est venue a notre rescousse , meme pas le peuple huif , qui a connu un holocauste . Notre esprit patriotique chez mon peuple , chez notre jeunesse qui est partie en guerre en chantant, sera aussi notre force contre le yataghan turc.

  10. Well done Raffi, your analysis is realistic & has potential for optimism, despite the difficult situation. The Armenian army has been magnificent fighting a NATO country plus jihadi mercenaries & others. We all feel the anguish of the mothers who lost their young sons fighting an existential war defending loved ones & homeland. It is not right to vilify & scapegoat the Prime minister. He may possibly have been out of his depth but signed the cease fire agreement no doubt to save more young lives & to prevent total loss. It seems the internal corruption in Armenia as well as the sale of 5th generation weapons to our genocidal enemies by many countries is to blame mostly. We should also be thankful that there will be a contingent of Russian peacekeepers around Artsagh/Karabagh, even though the whole arrangement is difficult to accept & an anathema for many reasons.

  11. Thank you Mr. Elliot for this excellent analysis and recommendation. I think it is wise and sound advice that we should all follow, find our better heads and focus on our best traits as creative, hospitable, industrious contributors, and with the strength of our community at large. Armenians, one in all, must show love and kindness to each other starting today because we have all both suffered and given passionately to what is most meaningful on this earth.

    If nothing else, this war, which was thrust upon us, demonstrates the gigantic spirit of the Armenian people, which has reawakened as a unified force throughout the world. Our greatest resource is again right before us, let us not lose this thread. We will weave another beautiful tapestry upon the world.

  12. What a wonderful piece, dear Raffi! You have expressed my personal assessment of the situation and expectations in a cogent and eloquent manner! You are 100% correct. I appreciate you.

  13. I’ll tell you all this we’re not finished yet
    Look at the new map configuration it’s a mass under the Russian control
    it’s a time bomb for the years to come planed and designed missing a spark to ignite a war
    The virtue is not to understand what happened and analyze
    But an alternative for the coming century
    create an objective organized conducted by skilled and high competency academicians
    to guid the motherland to a brighter future
    First step is to reduce existing 17 parties to a maximum of 3
    As individuals let us educate ourselves instead of blaming to start autocorrections
    To understand the power of working collectively
    To be at the standard of international level which impose respect without using force
    To be objective and not subjective
    To act with a vision for the centuries to come
    As a starting point I think it’s the most pragmatic way to built our nation

  14. Excellent analysis, I hope every Armenian brother & sisters think this way, contradiction won’t take us no where, left be united. Long Live Armenia.

  15. What a crock this article is. Why don’t you read Eric Hacopian’s interview where he says that all the advanced weaponry that Armenia should have had is “in the Swiss bank accounts of the leaders” meaning that the money that should have been used to defend the country was stolen.

    Armenians are united, eh…? Exactly which Armenians…?

  16. Dear Raffi,
    You being good analyst should have also looked at the reasons why our Russian allies did not intervene and stopped the bloodshed.We know what we have to do now.We do not need a lecture .
    Can you explain why Mr.Pasinyan last year announced that Artsakh is Armenia Period.Why Armenia did not recognize Artsakh then.Who benfited from that announcement.In my opinion Azeris .The Minsk meetings stopped and We upset our allies,who were members of that group including Russia.
    Pashinyan never established a good relationship with Russia thinking the west will help him including USA.

  17. Excellent analysis Raffi thank you. Some people keep sleeping with nationalist tales. Reality hits our face again! Armenia needs help more than ever.

  18. Very well written. Much appreciated how calmly you articulated the situation. I believe most will agree with your perspective. My greatest fear for our future is how to handle the naysayers. Although this article wasn’t meant for that. Wonder if an article should be written about the people who are so quick to judge, who believe their way is the only and right way, how to progress with critics abound and plenty.

    Anyhow, your article was just what we needed to read. Thank you!

  19. Dearest Raffi:
    I am sure that your Genocide-survivor Grandfather would be immensely proud of you when reading your extremely wise and balanced article.
    It is unfortunate that “brave” readers choose to comment “anonymously” and hurl insults at those who do not see reality the same way they do.
    I feel the same pain our “braves” feel, but I also see the important point about our REMAINING UNITED FOR OUR EXISTENCE that you article ends with: “This is what our soldiers gave their lives to preserve”

  20. Great article. Now it’s time to get to work and build an economy. One that will help Armenia create power and have a seat at the table called ‘influence’. We are all called to action. We need to help Armenia build upon the country’s most precious and valuable resource—its loving, intelligent, generous and resilient people!

  21. This article is not being fair to anyone here at all. We have to all agree that Artsakh cannot be compared with Fedayis’ situation on any aspect because there’s just too many things wrong with that comparison. Is this his way of hiding the fact that the war was ill managed albite having two governments at its back? Fedayis and Armies are not the same thing at all. And if we had a Fedayi alignment on the borders instead of that of an army then how on earth did we consent to continuing the war even as it started? That was (1) suicide and (2) the biggest shame to our army’s name!
    On the other hand, Raffi Elliott is playing more word games with a sentence like “The worst thing that we can do to ourselves now is to encourage more regime change, instability, confusion and infighting.” The resignation of a prime minister and the appointment of a new government is not a regime change in any means and what could achieve instability is when the resigned prime minister doesn’t do his job at preparing the land for new proper elections. The fact that he has still not resigned or not spoken anything about what comes next is what is creating confusion and infighting. If he were a true leader, this situation would have been contained before he had announced about the surprise treaty which, btw, has many different versions according to who you ask russians or turks.
    Why is it always the case that people are shamed for protesting about what they want?
    Slipping outrageous ideas within an otherwise sound article with very powerful and constructive ideas just to make those outrageous ideas pass for normal and impress them on people’s thoughts is a very disturbing talent.

  22. Probably the best and most inspiring analysis I’ve read over the past days. As a French of Armenian descent I have been very saddened by the recent events and shocked by the lack of proper reaction from most foreign governments. We can only remotely understand the feelings and the pain of the populations directly impacted. I cannot claim expertise but from an international perspective your analysis is the correct one. Armenia can only get stronger by continuing supporting democracy and fighting corruption. Armenia can only get stronger by investing in education for its young ones and supporting innovative business projects. Armenia can only get stronger by respecting human rights and promoting gender equality. I have seen many of these forces at work during my first visit to Armenia a few months ago. They make Armenia so much better than its neighbours. I have been impressed by education projects such as TUMO. I have been impressed by the passion deployed by winemakers to put Armenian wines on the global map. I have been impressed by the hospitality and the vitality of the people of Armenia. It is only through these conscious efforts and moves that Armenia will be able to fight its space on the international map.

  23. You have got to be kidding, is this guy LTP’s nephew?…. this is an ARF newspaper? Forget that, what happened to our Armenian pride? Raffi maybe you also agree that what Nigol is doing now to silence the opposition is right…. you probably agree that LTP was in the right for arresting our ARF ungers, Hrant and Vahan.

  24. The political and military leadership will learn from this new Armenian experience……..The lessons learned need to be part of a responsible national discussion. Things need to be talked over within the democratic process, to understand it, not to blame anyone in particular. This will help to digest what happened, educate our population, and will also help to find solutions to be implemented in the future……The Armenian journey will continue. Worse things have happened to us…….This is a time to learn the lessons that the world just taught us…..And then act accordingly.

    • Mr. Pashinyan needs to resign. If he does not do so on his own, the constitutional mechanisms that provide for his removal need to be implemented…….After that, new parliamentary elections need to be conducted. This will bring the necessary change in leadership that the country is in need to swallow this bitter pill……..These changes are indispensable to keep the nascent democracy that has started in Armenia……..If he stays, we will have a coup at some point, and our political progress will be lost. The country would go back to the days of oligarchic rule…….If he stays there is the danger of internal violence. Today this man asked the soldiers in Artsakh to go back to Yerevan to protect him……..He needs to go………Let the solutions to the lessons learned be implemented by the new leadership………

  25. We need to build, we need to donate, we need to repatriate. Okay…? Hasn’t this been said since the 2000s, at least? Oh, we really mean it this time. Sorry, but I can’t help but be cynical about this. I’ll wait and see how many Armenians repatriate.

    And if you do happen to repatriate, what happens then? Living in a country beholden to Russia’s cynical foreign policy and design? Yes, very many Armenians repatriated to Soviet Armenia too. At least back then you knew you were effectively giving up any notion of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law and living in a state where you couldn’t get away with openly criticizing the leader until they dropped dead (of course emissaries in the diaspora painted a much more idyllic picture).

    I’m sure Russia will stand idly by and allow diaspora repatriates to make Armenia the regional power they are now very, seriously committed to making it be. Just like how I believe the CSTO and Russian peacekeepers will protect Armenians, when they aren’t going on murderous rampages like Valery Permyakov in 2015.

    • Agreed Hagop. What is ironic is that so many Russophile Armenians will probably reply to your comment saying that Armenia was to blame it that Russia is Armenia’s ‘saviour‘. We have to learn from this war that Russia will never back Armenia up, because the Russians hate us and are jealous of our achievements. This is why they sided with Turkey (a NATO member with US airbases in it) and Azerbaijan (a country with no Russian military base and who recently shot down a Russian military helicopter).

  26. Once again, Mr. Elliott presents a clear and meaningful picture of the topic at hand.

    Some have said Pashinyan should have (a)held a national mandate before yielding and (b) there should have been discussion in Parliament.
    Can you see it ?
    “Vote now: Do we give up or continue being slaughtered, losing our boys?”
    Sure–right out in the open for media to trumpet and the enemy to ridicule.
    Did the enemies seek mandates at home to be aggressors ?

    Armenians were on the brink of a genocide at the hands of Azeris, Turkey, mercenaries,
    Israel’s role and a world of indifferent nations. Pompeo wished us good luck.
    This conflict has been referred to as “military imbalance”….that’s for sure.
    We have no friends.

  27. Very pragmatic and well explained to the point.
    Raffi you spoke through my heart, bravo, our fight, not the war is just starting.

  28. This article would be so much more effective and welcoming without the high-handed, I-know-best, do-as-I-tell-you tone. Please tamp it down, Mr. Elliott. We want to be on your side.

  29. Thank You for your article. Some will not see your point, because they have made up their mind, and every one is entitled to their beliefs and opinions. Always enjoy your article.

  30. Thank you for this article Raffi. As long as there is life, there is hope. And we can do so much if we work together. It is true what you said: Armenia lives with Armenians.

  31. Very insightful.

    On May 8, 1945 Germany was in a much worse shape, than Armenia &Artsakh are today. They lost Prussia, a lot of Germans were displaced (ethnically cleansed), Germany was bombed to the Stone Age, and looted completely by the conquerors – the Soviets. Yet thirty years later, on May 8, 1975 I would much rather be living in Germany (even in East Germany), than the victorious USSR.

    If we stay united, and are willing to create a democratic country governed by the rule of law, we will succeed.

  32. Excellent article. We need to make sure that democracy will be kept in Armenia and we will never go back to the previous corrupt governments. For this this is no time for any government change out of constitution process. All such demands are harmful to the future of Armenia.

  33. Very eloquent indeed. but there are 2 flaws in the logic.

    1- This deal was made by a man with a gun to his head, probably by someone speaking Russian, who told him the alternative for his nation would be worse.

    This is a pure speculation or assumption

    2- If it was anyone else other than pashinian, who was a bit less megalomaniac, had a smaller ego and a bit more vision when it came to strategic thinking, international relations and foreign policy, he wouldn’t have turned his back in putin, specially when you are in his backyard, so to stay on his good side should a situation like this arise.

    • Haig,
      I agree with you on #2 but I would have added that if he consulted with experts before making major strategic decisions…as to your comment 1, Raffi is indeed saying that this is his speculation and an assumption most everyone would agree.
      See you in Armenia soon I hope

  34. If Armenia wants to be successful and mighty militarily she has to make the informed choice on how to benefit from the vast potential of the diaspora in almost all aspects. Unfortunately, this was not done for the last 30 years and now the world Armenians are paying dearly for it. Hopefully, this last very painful experience will be a lesson to wake up.

  35. Mr. Raffi Elliott;
    Did Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan
    act without the Armenian government
    and Armenian people’s input?
    If so, was this fact included in your article?

  36. I was wondering where Raffi was for the last 4 days. He’d left this void on Twitter!
    Nailed it, Sir.
    Thank you for your sober analysis.

  37. I appreciate your account of events, your thoughts for what we need now and for the future. Very well expressed. I also congratulate the editorial board for publishing this article.

  38. Raffi, great article spot on with your observations many Armenians feel the same way. There are a lot of failures but Soldiers actions were not one of them. As hard as it may be, Armenia needs a celebration of unity, the Soldiers need to be feel welcomed and support by the nation. Armenia will move on but we cannot simply not learn from our past.

  39. Excellent article Raffi!
    We need to rebuild our country and there is no room for previous mafia leaders. If one of them or their minions ever takes control of the government, entire diaspora will loose trust forever!!!

  40. Presenting PM Pashinyan as a great man “with a gun to his head”, showering him with generous praise as a man whose wife and son are manning posts, while conveniently ignoring 2.5 years of abject failures on nearly all diplomatic fronts, repeatedly embarrassing behavior on the international level, constant “missing the forest for the trees” policies/politics/rhetoric from PM Pashinyan’s government is disingenuous at best.

    Interestingly many of these voices with these pseudo-intelligent and “conciliatory” messages are ones who seem to have a fondness for the traitorous government and unfinished anti-Artsakh legacy of Levon Ter-Petrosyan.

    I write this as someone who has absolutely no sympathy or ties or excuses for the prior governments of Armenia and who was initially quite inspired by PM Pashinyan’s revolution. However, to remain blind to this man’s utter incompetence as a political leader and to peddle excuses for his incompetence is despicable.

  41. I do not post at this site all that often lately, but Interesting observation I would like to make here regarding this article.

    This article, essentially a celebration of defeat, “we lost now let’s move on” type of thing, got immense “support”, by commenters who who never commented here before, at least not with the handles they are using. It is also no secret that dear old democracy loving Nikol has been found to have his own troll farm, a collection of gullible, politically inept young girls with “computer skills” pushing the Nikolakan “anti-nationalist” narrative. Of course I do not have access to Aremnian Weekly servers to analyze where all these comments are coming from, but at the end of the day, Nikol’s troll farms could also be located in the USA.

    So just like the Azeri and Turkish troll farms pushing their heinous propaganda, what we have here, is the revelation that dear old democracy loving Nikol is not that fundamentally different than Erdogan or Aliyev, a wannabe dictator disguised as a “democratically elected leader using principles of democracy to lead”. Now it is his turn to swallow the pill he fed the people of Armenia in order to get to power for “positive” change, and of course like any other hypocritical fraud of a leader, he refuses.

    More disturbing than these fake troll comments, there are actually some clueless Armenians out there on social media (clueless young Nikolakans) making excuses for Nikol, without having the slightest clue about anything that is going on in Armenia. This is called the ‘Cult of Personality’, and I am actually saddened that the average Armenian is that gullible.

    Now the point I am trying to make here is, what the author of this article is trying to claim, the EXACT OPPOSITE WILL TAKE PLACE unless the inept, incompetent fraud called Nikol Pashinyan steps down immediately. How do I know this? Well putting the crazy emergency situation that has been created in Armenia aside, there is a similarly disturbing emergency situation that is taking place in the diaspora. As Nikol’s fraud and corruption protective bubble has already burst, the absolute lie that the diaspora was fed about this “war” by the Armenians “government” has shocked and angered so many diaspora Armenians who were willing to to anything for support, only to be turned away, unless they had some hard cash in hand.

    Unless some heads roll in Armenia, and a solution and reversal is made to this pre-planned Artsakh handout, a large segment of the diaspora is NEVER going to trust Armenia, or in fact, have anything to do with it. And you people here have the audacity to use words like “unity”. Unity? With what? I don’t need and unity with a bunch of charlatans, frauds and thieves masquerading as “leaders” and their “supporters”. If that is your country, have at it, and I wish you luck, and I want nothing to do with you because that is not my Armenia.

    You think I’m the only one feeling this way? Guess again, already a lot of people want their money back for the lies they were fed about a phony war, and I am pretty sure a lot of people are going to dispute charges on their credit cards. Armenia fund has the inside details, ask them out of the more than 160 million they “collected”, how much of it is disputed and people telling them to stop any additional charges.

    What happened under this fraud called Nikol is one of the saddest chapters of Armenian history, and if this holds, Armenia may never recover from it.

  42. Paragraph by paragraph you nailed it. You expressed so perfectly what many have been trying to say since November 10th. Your written voice needs to be heard everywhere. I just hope people who are trying to grapple with what has happened will leave better educated and understand objectively not emotionally after reading this. You also gave all of us a way to participate in the rebuilding of Armenia and Artsakh. Thank you Raffi for this. I hope you continue be a hopeful voice in the midst of this painful chapter of Armenia.

  43. Excellent article, Raffi. Your thoughts are very well expressed and true and just in my opinion. Keep up the good work. We need more open minded and forward looking people like you, thank you!

  44. dear Raffi,
    thank you for this most insightful article.
    I do believe we should now unite and help to go forward, it is pointless to finger point. Whether Mr Pashinian is a politician or not or even worse now people want Our President to resign as well, this will only take our country backwards, not forward and help it get stronger. I agree that we need to all help each other to preserve our land and our people. As the poem says zizernake boon e shinoom oo shinoom e norix shinoom. We will rebuild again and be stronger than before. Thank you again for your thoughtful article.

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