The current crisis in Armenia and Artsakh has led to a national brain freeze. After having spent the last month and a half in a delusional state, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and his supporters and apologists are now preaching realism. The message is clear: if everyone is to blame for this fiasco, then nobody is to blame, surely not the Prime Minister. In his world, everyone who has led the country and military before him led us down a path that was irreversible in the 30 months of his regime. The Armenian people now are being told to accept this new reality and unite to build a bright and prosperous future. We are being told to remember all the previous calamities of our past and how we were able to overcome them. And these are our realists. Unfortunately, they are once again presenting a fantasy, and I just cannot understand why many people continue to follow along in a mindless trance.
Let me throw some cold-water reality on our realists.
Those referring to the past defeats that Armenians have emerged from fail to realize or mention that each one led to a reduced homeland and decimated population. The Armenian Genocide did not lead to a rebirth of the Armenian people in our homeland, but instead a dispersal of our people. Yes, we rebuilt, but as a global nation, not in our homeland which continues to be pillaged of our heritage. While one should indeed think of our global presence as an asset, every government in Armenia since independence 30 years ago has either squandered the opportunities to harness the Diaspora’s resources or, worse, viewed the Diaspora simply as a cash cow to be milked.
Today’s defeat has led us to sign away even more of our ancestral homeland. Again, we are being told to rebuild to get strong enough to meet our future challenges even though we were incapable of avoiding the supposedly inevitable failures of the past. But tomorrow, with less land, with more Armenians displaced from their homeland, and with enemies even closer to our doorsteps and in more control of our capabilities, we are expected to believe our leadership now understands what is necessary for success.
Pashinyan mistakenly believed he still had some negotiating ability throughout the latest war and now mistakenly believes Armenia retains its sovereignty. In addition, the messaging to the Armenian people is that Turkey and Azerbaijan, given what they want, will allow Armenia to rebuild, to re-arm and to gain the strength needed to defend its reduced borders. As the ANCA has been warning for years – does anyone really believe that more land will make Azerbaijan less aggressive?
The real answer is that with no other options, this is what Armenians must believe in to retain some semblance of hope. Armenians around the world pinned so much hope on the Velvet Revolution that to realize its failings will lead to a profound psychological crisis and be the final straw that broke the camel’s back. Thus, those who were the most hopeful then are the least likely now to face the reality of the situation even though the trappings of that previous hope are all but gone now.
Since signing the agreement with Azerbaijan, Pashinyan has focused on two things; first, consolidating his power through the arrest and intimidation of all those who voice criticism of him and his administration and second, making the Armenian people believe he had done everything he could against impossible odds and we must now accept the capitulation. It does not seem to concern his hopeful followers that Pashinyan is devoid of realistic answers to today’s challenges. Instead, they remain silent and bury their head in the sand so as not to see that their king is no different than the kings before him.
Even Pashinyan’s 15-point plan has not raised a peep of concern; yet its twelfth objective is a new law on amendments to the electoral code. This does not have any relevance to the current crisis and, thus, must be interpreted as another act of political consolidation especially in light of Pashinyan’s actions over the past two weeks.
At this point, if you are still reading, you would be correct in wondering why I should contribute to your feeling of complete and absolute hopelessness.
First, let me dispel some of the messaging out there. Criticism of Pashinyan is not a plea to return to the corrupt regimes that came before him. In this I am being hopeful as I believe that Armenia can be governed by better leadership. The ineptness of Pashinyan or the corrupt authoritarianism of all the regimes before him cannot be our only choices. But again, just like the agreement, the Armenian people are being told there are no such alternatives and, thus, Pashinyan is the lesser of two evils.
Second, if one does not fully understand how we got here, one will not see what is coming next either. While Pashinyan twiddles his thumbs, the Russians, Azeris and Turks are already taking action. Roads are being built; populations are being moved into formerly held Armenian territories; and political and military strategies are being implemented.
With each passing day, we march toward the destruction of Armenia.
The messaging today is that Artsakh is already lost or, worse, must be sacrificed in order to preserve what remains of Armenia. Thus, with nothing possibly to be gained further from the agreement, a change in leadership would only lead to more harmful and dreaded disunity.
Neither sacrificing Artsakh, nor temporarily appeasing Turkey and Azerbaijan, will lead to the preservation of Armenia. If we are to begin building a stronger, more capable Armenia, the process must begin from this very moment. The agreement has left out much of the details of implementation. The fluidity of the agreement has been evident since its signing. Tragically, the Pashinyan government is incapable of taking advantage of the fluidity of the situation and, thus, must resign. With each passing day, we march toward the destruction of Armenia.
If this is to be the end of Armenia with the Pashinyan government incapable of solutions and unwilling to resign, then Armenians best start looking for a new homeland. I do not jest. If you believe nothing could be done to avoid getting us to the dire circumstances we find ourselves in today, then those same realities [excuses] will exist for the foreseeable future and long after Armenia will be gobbled up by its more populace, militarily superior and uncompromising neighbors.
The best option for Pashinyan then is to beg Russia to allow us a new homeland in an area far from the Armenian reality of today. We should not be concerned with our sovereignty or even with governance. Leave that to others. Let us just find a place where all Armenians can live without fear of persecution, and then maybe you will see what we can build and achieve. Wherever that place is, it surely is not in the Armenian highlands. Without such a place, Armenians will continue to be dispersed across the globe as the Republic is gradually depopulated. Ah, remember those heady days just one week before the war broke out when Pashinyan set a goal of five million Armenians in the homeland and 1.5 million new jobs by 2050? I guess those dreams can be added to the garbage heap along with the others.
Thus, under such circumstances, why not propose Russia facilitate the wholesale removal of the entire Armenian population of Armenia, Artsakh and, for that matter, Georgia as well, for example, to the Magadan oblast. This region is the least populated oblast in Russia with a population of around 150,000. With an area over 15 times the size of the Republic of Armenia, clearly it can sustain a much larger population. I cannot deny, the conditions are harsh there. But think of it as just another challenge for the Armenian people to overcome. Hey, in 100 years global warming will probably make it more desirable. That should give us some time to prepare before envious enemies come knocking.
At the very least, we would learn whether Russian interests align with Armenians remaining in their homeland.