Artsakh’s Sovereignty: “Who are we to give it away?”

Rally for Artsakh, Stepanakert, October 30, 2022 (Photo: Marut Vanyan)

More than 40,000 Armenians of Artsakh came together on Sunday in Stepanakert to unequivocally express their rejection of life under the Azeri yoke. This outpouring of concern came on the heels of the trilateral meeting held on Monday in Sochi between the heads of the states of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia, where the signing of a potential “peace” agreement was rumored to be in the works. To put this in the proper context, this would be akin to 100-million Americans congregating at the National Mall to express their grave concern on an accord to be signed on their behalf and without their input that would fundamentally jeopardize their future as a nation and a people. The brave men and women of Artsakh spoke in unison through a declaration that they will not give up their right to independence, self-determination and a peaceful life with dignity. 

The trilateral meeting came and went, and no significant declarations were made other than both sides expressing readiness to work with the Russian Federation. Artsakh was not mentioned in any form. It is clear where the collaborator ruling party in Armenia stands. They have washed their hands of Artsakh, having issued a whirlwind of contradicting statements on this topic during their wretched rule. Most recently, they adopted a new platform for their party that simply aims to advocate for the security of the people of Artsakh, their latest attempt yet further lowering the bar.

The National Assembly of the Republic of Artsakh stated:

“Artsakh has never been and will never be part of independent Azerbaijan. This very idea should be the basis for the settlement of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict.

Any attempt to forcibly annex Artsakh to Azerbaijan would be a gross violation of international law and an official license to commit another genocide against the Armenian people, therefore any document with such a content is unacceptable for the Republic of Artsakh.

Reaffirming that the Armenia-Artsakh-Diaspora axis is among the key foundations of all our successes and achievements, as well as of the state-building process, the National Assembly of the Republic of Artsakh states as follows:

No authority in the Republic of Armenia has the right to refuse the mission to ensure the security of the people of Artsakh or to accept any document questioning the existence of the sovereign Republic of Artsakh. We urge the authorities of the Republic of Armenia to defend the common interests of the two Armenian Republics at international platforms, based on the existing fundamental documents, in particular, the Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Armenia and the historic decision of the Supreme Council of July 8, 1992.

We call on Armenians worldwide to continue to support Artsakh, protect the rights and interests of Artsakh in various countries and international instances, and by all means contribute to the process of recognition of the Republic of Artsakh.

The Republic of Artsakh is a supporter of stable peace and, consequently, the steps aimed at signing a peace agreement, but the authorities of the Republic of Armenia should approach the issue of recognition of the territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan with reservations, considering the fact that the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict is not resolved yet.”

These words speak for themselves. They may fall on deaf ears in Europe, as the continent is too busy currying favor with a dictator for winter gas supplies and for leverage, albeit a weak one, against Russia. The Europeans are willing to sacrifice the lives of Artsakh’s Armenians, while dangling $1.5 billion of economic support in front of the collaborator regime in Armenia. Again, to put this in perspective, handing Artsakh to Azerbaijan, in effect committing ethnic cleansing against its inhabitants, will be rewarded to the tune of $13,630 per life of an Artsakh Armenian.  

The question is whether we, Armenians, are also willing to lay our brethren at the altar of “peace” for a few gold coins? Our collective posture of stupor and inaction would hint in that direction. Yet, one could argue that this is merely a smoke screen, one propagated by the collaborator regime and its allies to paint a bleak picture, with no options at our disposal other than complete and utter capitulation. The depth of these collaborators’ depravity knows no bounds, and their willingness to manipulate sees no shame, given their intimate knowledge of the Armenian psyche and the levers that elicit predictable responses from the masses. 

The picture is bleak, make no mistake about it. Yet, the Armenian nation is not without options, as some would like us to believe. We have a wealth of knowledge, capabilities and bright, educated and patriotic Armenians in Armenia, Artsakh and the Diaspora ready to do their part. What we do with these ingredients is up to us. We can let them waste away, or we can use them in a recipe for national rebirth. This will require effort, sacrifice and most importantly, belief, far more than what we offer behind our keyboards on social media. If we are willing to do so, let us come forward and not hide behind the plethora of excuses that we are all familiar with. Otherwise, our history will most deservedly be unkind to us, as those who did not stand for their people, for their rights and for their destiny. Let us remember that sovereignty is claimed, earned and built—one that the previous generation claimed, earned and built in Artsakh.  Who are we to give it away?

I leave you with the words of David Babayan, the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Artsakh.

“We will not deviate from our path; Artsakh will never be part of Azerbaijan. We consider unacceptable any attempts to annex democratic Artsakh by dictatorial Azerbaijan, and we reject any such proposals. We regard this as a gross violation of universal human values and international law, a violation of moral norms.

Each of you now has a choice, either to go down in history as an unworthy, coward, unpatriotic generation that failed to defend their holy Motherland, or to go down in history as a principled, courageous, patriotic, wise generation that fulfilled its Biblical mission and, despite all the difficulties, proved that it is impossible to break, insult, trample on the honor, history and values of Artsakh and the Armenian people.

I am sure that is the way it will be. I am sure, because we have Yerablur. We have Tsitsernakaberd. We have Shushi. We are responsible to future generations and immortal heroes, and ultimately, we must answer to God.”

Ara Nazarian, PhD

Ara Nazarian, PhD

Ara Nazarian is an associate professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Harvard Medical School. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a degree in mechanical engineering, followed by graduate degrees from Boston University, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Harvard University. He has been involved in the Armenian community for over a decade, having served in a variety of capacities at the Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society, the Armenian Cultural and Educational Center, Armenian National Committee of America, St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.

1 Comment

  1. Ara,
    you are point on. Thank you for your article.
    I am tired of the rhetoric that the opposition had their chance-and lost the lection-thus this fool we call our Prime Minister, will be the devil in amongst us.
    Unless we speak up louder, Hold back funs that directly go to the Pashiyan regime, and get involved, then Artsahk will fall, with Armenia being its next victim.

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