The Emperor is Naked

…and the Armenians of Artsakh are being led to the slaughterhouse

Yesterday, we all woke up to the horrifying news of yet another large-scale Azerbaijani attack on Artsakh. So far, we have more than 30 dead and 200 injured, and thousands of civilians have been displaced. The mayor of Martuni, Aznavur Saghyan, has fallen defending the city. Tragically, the Amaras Monastery is now under Azerbaijani control as well. 

Nikol Pashinyan delivers address over Facebook live, Sept. 19, 2023

Armenians in Armenia have been protesting over the last 24 hours, with the government announcing that it will respond with force. The security apparatus is going door to door and arresting people who participate in protests and opposition leaders, several of whom have reportedly been attacked or arrested. True to form, PM Pashinyan has declared that Armenia will not be dragged into this, meaning it will not help to prevent the ethnic cleansing of Armenians in Artsakh, while most likely hiding in a Ministry of Defense bunker.

The unthinkable is upon us, as the Armenian nation has chosen to tolerate a collaborator regime for the past three years, placing immeasurable human costs and other losses upon our nation. This speaks immensely to our lack of foresight when facing mortal danger. The Azerbaijanis and the Georgians took a year or less to see the damage heaped upon their nations by Presidents Abulfaz Elchibey and Zviad Gamsakhurdia, respectively, and removed them. Finally, a glimmer of hope appeared this weekend, as the ruling Civil Contract party could only muster 75,000 votes in Yerevan’s mayoral elections, a quarter of the votes in the last elections. This is significant, given the vast state resources at the disposal of ruling incumbents in Armenia come election time.

Recent events should put to rest any doubts that the Armenian government works in lockstep with the Turkish-Azeri tandem. PM Pashinyan’s declaration of Artsakh as part of Azerbaijan in Prague last year is the fundamental step that has brought us to this point. This mortal wound has brought us to death’s door. 

Leadership change is no longer just necessary – it is a matter of survival. New leadership must be ready to establish Armeno-centric policies. No longer does the argument, “If there is a regime change in Armenia, there will be chaos,” hold, as we reach the bottom of the abyss. No longer is the nakhkin insult relevant or bearable, as Armenia has bright, intelligent and patriotic sons and daughters who can, must and will usher in a new era for the nation. 

PM Pashinyan is doing everything to maintain his hold on power. While understandable from his perspective, his departure is fundamental for the survival of Armenia and Artsakh – a necessary but insufficient step that will bring back a modicum of self-respect and self-determination to the Armenian nation.

Make no mistake: the fall of Artsakh is not the end. It is only the beginning. As Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated at the United Nations this week, Turkey and Azerbaijan, one nation, two states, will connect through the Syunik Corridor. Next will be Tavush and Sevan, which will be the end of Armenia.

While only a small minority drives change in any nation, they play a significant role in guiding the rest of the nation. Armenia is no different. It is incumbent upon this minority to set an example and to right the wrongs of the past thirty years, starting with securing our national agenda, instilling a culture of competence and accountability, re-establishing key alliances, making new ones based on common interests and, most importantly, educating the next generation to become better citizens, capable of distinguishing between individual and social responsibility and understanding the need to balance both for personal and societal gains. It will not be easy to let go of the laissez-faire mentality, but it must and will be done.

Make no mistake: the fall of Artsakh is not the end. It is only the beginning. As Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated at the United Nations this week, Turkey and Azerbaijan, one nation, two states, will connect through the Syunik Corridor. Next will be Tavush and Sevan, which will be the end of Armenia.

Martin Niemöller’s 1946 confessional holds for us today as it did then. 

First, they took Artsakh, and I did not speak out – because I was not from Artsakh.
Then they took Tavush, and I did not speak out – because I was not from Tavush.
Then they took Sevan, and I did not speak out – because I was not from Sevan.
Then they came for Yerevan – and no one was left to fight for me.

In their charitable mood, Azerbaijanis have offered to provide a corridor for the Armenians of Artsakh to leave. By PM Pashinyan’s callous declaration in Prague, all men in Artsakh who have served in the armed forces will be considered subversives against their government. How do we think they’ll fare as they go through Azerbaijani checkpoints to leave their homes? 

To further humiliate the Armenian nation, Azerbaijan has set a date to meet with the Artsakh leadership to “reintegrate” on September 21 – Armenian Independence Day.

We all must stand up and change this collaborator regime. We have no other recourse. While tragically late, there is a glimmer of hope that people have woken up. Let’s not let this glimmer fade away.

In the meantime, let us pray for our brothers and sisters in Artsakh facing a most difficult and uncertain future.

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. To extrapolate from the sentiments of this author, I would guess that he would prefer that all brave men of Artsakh and Armenia fall – wielding pots and pans and knives against a professional and well-equipped army…

    That would be an honorable, if stupid, death for many Armenians, befitting a “revolutionary” ideology. What, pray tell, comes after that?

    There are many valid critiques one could level against the Pashinyan government: inept, inexperienced, brazen yet weak, big-talking with no stick. But collaborator? Aside from the indisputable fact that all this happened under his watch, could you provide some non-circumstantial evidence that shows positive proof of collaboration?

    A much more valid and constructive diagnosis would be the following: after decades of mis-management and corruption, Armenia became weaker than Azerbaijan, and weak countries don’t dictate terms. Armenia leaned much too heavily on Russia for security guarantees, misunderstood the West’s sympathy for willingness & capability to intervene, and suffered from a Diaspora who preferred – in many instances – not to play if they didn’t control the ball.

    That diagnosis at least points toward a path of positive development: Armenia must learn to respect its neighborhood, understand who are its long-term and short-term friends, and have a united diaspora behind it.

    Your diagnosis? Tear down the existing government and replace it with a new one – with the same vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and pathetic, miasmic dreams…

    The same *real* critiques of the Pashinyan government apply to the ARF. Leave the revolutionary Marxist/socialist ideals to the 19th century and wake up to the 21st.

    • I agree in part, but it hardly matters whether or not he is a collaborator. History will tell. Elchibey and Gamsakhurdia were not accused of being collaborators, but thier nations realized that enough was enough. It didn’t take 3+ years. That’s Nazarian’s key point. If I understand your “diagnosis” Pashinyan should basically remain in power because… he has learned from his fatal mistakes? For goodness sake he just used his wife as a prop by sending her to Ukraine, further provoking Russia. Yup, Ukraine, our ally! What was the strategic intent “pray tell”? Then who knows what he talked about with Erdogan? A few days later all hell breaks loose, but it cant be coincidence. I’m no psychologist, but I bet he thinks that he has done everything right – just like any smug, card-carrying narcissist. If it’s status quo and he somehow clings to power, Armenia will continue this downward spiral toward oblivion.

  2. A leader needs to deliver results in business and government. If they can not deliver the results, they should step down. It does not matter, why he/she did not deliver the results, if they were not capable of turning the tied it only means they should not lead.

    This has nothing to do with intention, character or believes. If the Armenians who are filled with so much hate towards past leaderships would rather see Pashinyan burn it to the ground, with the millions of excuses they have, then the faith of Armenia has been written.

    Again, nothing on character, territory etc. This is the absolute essence of logic. If you can’t deliver, you need to go. This is not family this geopolitics.

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