Artsakh is meaningful to many Armenians for many different reasons, but to Aspram Krpeyan, Artsakh is essential to her identity and inextricably linked to a strong Armenian statehood.
“There is no Artsakh without Armenia. There is no Armenia without Artsakh,” she emphasized during a recent interview with the Weekly less than two weeks away from Armenia’s snap parliamentary elections in the aftermath of the devastating 2020 Artsakh War. “This is a decisive moment for statehood building,” she continued, “The generation that holds Artsakh as an identity is the generation capable of achieving it.”
Krpeyan is one of 50 candidates on the Armenia Alliance (“Hayastan Dashinq”) electoral list. An Oxford scholar and international lawyer specializing in human rights and humanitarian law, Krpeyan has held various posts in both Armenia’s Ministry of Defense and the Office of the High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs, but this is her first foray into politics. The driving force behind Krpeyan’s decision to accept an invitation from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) and join this particular political movement that’s vying to unseat the Pashinyan administration is rooted in a shared and hopeful vision of a united and prosperous Armenia. The survival of the homeland is at stake, she says. “Either we fight or we stop existing,” urged Krpeyan.
National security is a top priority for the Armenia Alliance as hundreds of Azeri units currently occupy the Armenian provinces of Syunik and Gegharkunik since their illegal invasion on May 12. “I think that the longer this government stays in power, the more we’re going to lose,” said Krpeyan while reflecting on the territorial losses of the Artsakh War, hundreds of missing POWs in captivity and the thousands of Armenian heroes who perished on the frontlines. When the Artsakh War ended in November 2020, Krpeyan—struck with disbelief—immediately resigned from her post at the High Commissioner’s Office. She headed to Yerablur with close friends to pay her respects and experienced a profound moment amid a sea of fresh graves, plumes of incense and the painful sight of broken families in mourning. “I just wanted to imprint this memory in my head, so I would never forget what’s been done,” described a tearful Krpeyan. “I promised myself that my fight, my personal fight, will never end until I see the dignity returned to these families.”
Krpeyan knows the tragedies of war all too well. She’s the only descendant of Tatul Krpeyan, a patriotic and valiant member of the ARF and a National Hero of Armenia, who led in the self-defense of Getashen and Martunashen during the Nagorno-Karabakh War back in the early nineties. He had just turned 26 years old when he was killed by the Soviet Azerbaijani OMON on April 30, 1991. “I always felt my father’s presence in my life because of my mom,” said Krpeyan, who was just a year old when her father died. “She gave me every bit of information, every bit of confidence, every opportunity to encourage me to fight for my dreams…to never think that there is something I can’t do because I’m a girl or my father is not physically with me. She did everything in her power to give me wings to fly.” Krpeyan, who spent most of her childhood in Shushi, said she grew up always feeling like she was part of a family of three and still consults with her father to this day. She believes her candidacy in the upcoming parliamentary elections is a continuation of his legacy.
The young, female parliamentary candidate said the Armenia Alliance is a dynamic force with experienced and open-minded leaders willing to accept the ideas of visionary and passionate Armenian youth. Krpeyan says she is hoping her candidacy will inspire other Armenian women aspiring to take on leadership roles in politics. “If you want a future in your country, you have to make that future for yourself,” said Krpeyan, as she underscored her dedication to her country and the restoration of its statehood for future generations. “We can have different political affiliations. We can have different ideas about how to achieve this dream, how to make this dream come true. But we should have this national idea…that we all should agree upon, that we need a strong Armenia…that we are nothing without Armenia.”