Lilit Makunts: America’s Asset in Armenia

One year ago, there was an emergency. Armenian National Assembly Majority Leader Lilit Makunts of the My Step coalition desperately needed to speak to US Senator Robert Menendez during her visit to the United States.

The problem was – there was no real emergency. There was an urgency, however – because Makunts wanted a photo opportunity with Senator Menendez. The photo would serve to bolster her growing reputation as one of America’s leading assets in the National Assembly – serving the US State Department’s overarching goal of dividing Armenia from Russia.

Given the heroic role that Senator Menendez would play in December 2019 by securing unanimous passage of the Armenian Genocide resolution in the US Senate, Makunts was aware of the necessary optics and who she should be photographed with while in Washington, DC. She was also smart enough to know her handlers at the US Embassy in Yerevan would be encouraged that she was trying to take credit for the adoption of a resolution that she had absolutely nothing to do with. To be frank – she was practicing the dark art of political appropriation – where you take decades of work by Armenian-American activists in New Jersey and around the nation – and make it seem like you were in on the action as well.

Since her election to Armenia’s National Assembly, Makunts – a former Minister of Culture – has slavishly sought to appease American policy goals in Armenia, rather than represent her home constituency. Look no further than her role as the go-to person for America’s failed diplomat in Yerevan – US Ambassador Lynne Tracy.

National Assembly member Lilit Makunts and U.S. Ambassador Lynne Tracy

Days after the catastrophic Artsakh capitulation document was signed by Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan and thousands of refugees from Artsakh were swarming in Yerevan, Makunts and Tracy met, and a comical dance ensued on Twitter. Their primary topic of discussion, and cooperation apparently, was “strengthening democracy” in Armenia.  This focus on democracy in Armenia completely ignores America’s deep silence on Azerbaijan and Turkish war crimes in Artsakh. It totally ignores America’s failure to provide meaningful aid to tens of thousands of Artsakh refugees. It totally ignores Ambassador Tracy’s leading role in eliminating America’s demining program in Artsakh. It totally ignores the over $150 million in US military assistance to Azerbaijan. No, Makunts and Tracy’s matter of great urgency in this moment is “strengthening democracy.” To read between the lines – the basic political message is – keep Pashinyan in power, at all costs.

For those who believe in the Tracy-Makunts priorities – there is a bridge immediately for sale in Brooklyn, New York.

Here is the comical Twitter colloquy between Tracy and Makunts in the aftermath of the loss of 70-percent of Artsakh’s territory and the resulting humanitarian and refugee crisis throughout Artsakh and Armenia.

A strong and durable relationship between the United States and Armenia is desirable – when that relationship is based on tangible issues – and not based on America’s one-sided foreign policy goal of dividing Armenia from Russia at the expense of Armenia’s national security.

Over the last 50 days, we have seen the disaster of Turkey smartly taking advantage of an orchestrated divide between Armenia and Russia. What Armenia needs now are leaders who stand for our national interests. Lilit Makunts appears to be standing strong – but not for Armenia.

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Sarig Armenian

Sarig Armenian is an attorney and political activist based in Los Angeles, California. She has previously served in both the legislative and judicial branches of the US government.
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11 Comments

    • Nearly every American-Armenian gets it, it’s just you who doesn’t get that we get it, and yet that we are still not impressed with “Mother Russia” because we saw through the fraud a century ago. Yes we also get very much that Russia “protects” Armenia from the monster that it itself has created, and to this day has no control over, nor the courage to confront.

      And yet, despite that we get “Armenia cannot exist without Russia”, Russia is still not excused from it’s backstabbing despicable behavior against Armenia, both in history and in the present.

      We also get that Russia would never have defeated Germany in time in WWII without Armenia to form “East Germany” and get her scientists. And all Armenia got in return was… uh… a moronic Russia-drawn landlocked checkered map benefiting the Georgians, Turks and Azeris, and turning Armenia into a nation in constant turmoil, conflict and decline.

      For 30 years, the anti-ARF knuckleheads of Armenia had convinced us that we in the diaspora actually had a country to look forward to. Little did we realize it was all a show for the purpose of getting “free money”. Some of us saw the writing on the wall in 2016. And 2020 showed us the true nature of the Armenia-Russia relationship.

      Now let’s give a small summary of Russia’s opinion and approach to Armenia:

      Russia: Crimea is ours.
      International law: no it isn’t.

      Russia: South Ossetia is a free country.
      International law: no it isn’t.

      Russia: Abkhazia is a free country.
      International law: no it isn’t.

      Russia: Armenia must hand back Artsakh to Azerbaijan because it isn’t a free country due to “international law, which we respect very much to the point of kissing Turkish ass like we have never done before… we are also stupid enough to believe that the Armenians will not see through our scam and are stupid enough to not know that the right to Self-Determination is also part of international law”.

  1. Yes. Sarig does get it. The Pashinyan government failed diplomatically, politically and militarily on a level not seen in a hundred years since the fall of the First Republic.

    I can personally attest to an anecdote about Sarig Armenian that illustrates how deep rooted her bona fides are. Right after the 1988 earthquake, Sarig, as a young child, slipped a note containing words of hope and encouragement with her address in the pocket of a pair of pants that was being sent to Armenia by our community as part of a clothing drive to aid the earthquake victims. The recipient of the pants found the note and wrote back to Sarig saying how meaningful her note was.

    • Important and clear insight by Sarig about the U.S. role and political machinations in Armenia. And such a beautiful, pure, and meaningful gesture back in 1988.

  2. What democracy is she talking about? all these treaters including PM Pashinyan are in hiding and running their Authoritarian regime from a basement. What have they done last 2.5 years except lyed and deceived the strangling population of Armenia while they like every one before them looted what ever pany they could get from the Republic of Armenia’s government budget, and from all the Humanitarian and other monetary help from other countries and not to mention the money from the diaspora Armenian. Every member of pashinyan party needs to resign ASAP, any one who agreed with pashinyan IS A TREATER. When an idiot like pashinian gives away or sales $$$$ Historical part of Armenia(Artsakh) to the enemy, is a TREATER to Armenian people.

  3. Politics,politics and more politics meanwhile the traumatised ordinary people return to no electricity or piped water at the moment
    Speaking to several Armenians in California i have been shocked that despite huge demonstrations etc the average Armenian appears to be fairly disinterested in supporting those who are trying to help

    • Dear Nina,

      I would not be so quick to conclude that Armenians here do not want to help or are fairly disinterested as you say. The problem for me and for many with whom I speak is the distrust… distrust of government, distrust of those who want to replace the government, distrust of ArmeniaFund accused of “stealing” $170M of diaspora donations, questions about why donations go to a Swiss bank account (that’s what has been reported and circulated), etc.

      The problem is the awareness of the volume of disinformation. Are you surprised that the diaspora has trouble trusting where their money goes? And do you think everyone has dollar bills covering their wood flooring… money to burn so to speak? Are you surprised that people want to give cautiously because we don’t have unlimited funds?

      I also find it beyond insulting that Armenians in Armenia say “shame on you in the diaspora for not giving more.” I just saw this message that I quoted last night on the official government of Artsakh Telegram channel. They just see us as their daddy to bail them out. But what have they done as a nation in 30 years to end the corruption?

      Much to discover… much to determine… much to improve….

  4. I see that Zartir Lao is back to posting hysterically on this board. Never misses an opportunity to copy and paste the same things over and over again.

    As far as the ARF goes, they are partially responsible for this disaster. “Not one inch” they cried,”never Madrid”, as they sipped their lattes from a California Starbucks romanticizing about a Western Armenia they think they can create by simply burning bridges with traditional partners(Russia and Iran); Trying to forge alliances with people very interested in Turkey(western powers, Israel), and then kicking the hornet’s nest(Turkey and Azerbaijan) and leaving the Armenian nation to deal with the massive blowback from Pashinyan’s utterly moronic foreign policy.

  5. Sarig is a right wing opportunistic person who has little understanding of what is actually happening in Armenia and gaslights actual Armenians living in Armenia for her outdated political agenda. I see through you Sarig. Go look at her Twitter and see the type of people she retweets.

    • Wish Sarig made reference to previous regimes and in particular to traitors Levon, Robert, and Serj, who left our motherland a dilapidated place and our brothers and sisters in extreme poverty. That’s what PM Pashinyan and his young, inexperienced team inherited. We failed to assess the enemy’s power and potential, while they quietly prepared for taking Artsakh by force. Lessons Learned perhaps for the future.

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