Statements by Armenia’s leadership spark accusations of promoting genocide denial

Armenian state officials visit Tsitsernagapert on April 24, 2023 (Photo: RA Prime Minister’s office)

YEREVAN—Recent discourse surrounding the Armenian Genocide has sparked controversy in Armenia. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s April 16 lecture at the School of Democracy of KP has been a catalyst for the opening of what some dub as an Overton window for denying, questioning and rejecting the historic event. Pashinyan’s lecture, titled “Socio-psychology of the Republic of Armenia,” refrained from using the terms “genocide” or “Mets Yeghern,” focusing instead on the geopolitical intricacies of the issue.

Opposition circles increasingly believe that Turkey is conditioning the signing of a peace treaty with Azerbaijan on Armenia renouncing its pursuit of genocide recognition. During his April 16 speech, Pashinyan argued that Russia has exacerbated genocide claims since 1946, suggesting that the return of emigrants to Armenia by the Russian Federation intensified demands for acknowledgment.

Following Pashinyan’s lecture, Civil Contract MP Andranik Kocharyan advocated for a comprehensive list of victims to be established, challenging the widely accepted casualty figure of 1.5 million Armenians. Armenian opposition figures and scholars have argued that Kocharyan is openly questioning the fact of the genocide. 

In response to criticism, Kocharyan later told reporters that the proposal reflects his personal stance and not a political decision by Pashinyan’s administration.

Pashinyan’s actions may pave the way for a message on the 109th anniversary of the Genocide. With the approach of April 24, Kocharyan’s remarks have ignited debate over the accuracy of historical accounts. Critics argue that this initiative risks downplaying the gravity of the genocide and capitulating to Turkish demands.

Genocide expert Suren Manukyan cautioned against the government’s stance, noting Turkey’s historical efforts to discredit the genocide’s scale and the impracticality of compiling comprehensive victim records given the Ottoman Empire’s lack of documentation on ethnic minorities.

Manukyan emphasized that the essence of genocide lies not in numerical figures but in the deliberate intent to annihilate a group, citing the Bosnian genocide as a parallel example where the significance of numbers pales in comparison to the orchestrated mass killings.

The government’s pivot on the genocide issue has prompted accusations of capitulation to Turkish influence from opposition figures like Eduard Sharmazanov, who accuse Pashinyan of sidelining Armenian Genocide remembrance in deference to Turkey’s interests. Sharmazanov said Pashinyan’s administration is “following orders” from Turkey to “consign the Armenian Genocide to history.” 

In an interview with, Murad Papazian, a member of the ARF Bureau and co-chairman of the Coordinating Council of Armenian Organizations of France, expressed concern over recent statements made by Armenian officials regarding the Armenian Genocide.

Papazian reacted to Kocharyan’s suggestion, arguing that such remarks reflect a dangerous trend of questioning the reality of the Genocide, echoing past proposals by Turkey to form a commission of historians to reassess the events of 1915.

Highlighting the widespread recognition of the Armenian Genocide by 30 countries and scholarly work, Papazian denounced the Armenian government’s apparent shift in policy. He accused PM Pashinyan of capitulating to the interests of Armenia’s enemies, from conceding territory to questioning the Genocide.

Questioning the rationale behind compiling a list of victims, Papazian likened the proposal to something Turkey would suggest, urging Armenians to reject any attempts to rewrite history.

Papazian criticized Pashinyan’s administration for its disregard of national values, accusing it of neglecting the fight for the recognition of the Genocide and the return of Artsakh, as well as failing to recognize the importance of the Diaspora.

Regarding Kocharyan’s subsequent statement distancing the issue from political decision-making, Papazian dismissed it as a strategic maneuver by the government to gauge public reaction. 

The recent controversy regarding genocide denial follows another effort by the Pashinyan administration to polarize the public. In a recent address to the National Assembly, Pashinyan stirred debate when he suggested a fundamental dissonance between historical Armenia and the present-day nation. Pashinyan’s remarks have drawn criticism for their perceived departure from conventional understanding of national identity.

During his speech, Pashinyan posited that historical Armenia and contemporary Armenia are not only incompatible but often diametrically opposed, posing potential threats to each other. This assertion, along with previous statements from the Prime Minister questioning the relationship between national and state interests, has raised eyebrows among political observers. In Pashinyan’s view, “national interests” are in conflict with the broader concept of the “people’s interest,” a dichotomy that some see as contrived and potentially divisive.

Detractors have highlighted the essential role of historical narrative in shaping national identity. By framing historical Armenia as antithetical to contemporary realities, Pashinyan has sparked concerns over the erasure of cultural heritage and collective memory. Critics argue that such rhetoric risks undermining the cohesive fabric of Armenian society. Moreover, Pashinyan’s emphasis on a redefined national identity has prompted questions about the inclusion of ethnic minorities within Armenia’s social and political landscape.

In another point of national controversy regarding the government’s policies, PM Pashinyan made an impromptu visit to the Tavush region on April 17. During this visit, he convened meetings with residents from Voskepar, Kirants and Berkaber. Attendees were required to surrender all cameras and mobile devices under the supervision of Pashinyan’s security personnel.

According to local political scientist Suren Petrosyan, Pashinyan departed abruptly without addressing the concerns of residents. Petrosyan said that the prime minister showed disregard towards the citizens of Voskepar.

“In the meeting, residents were denied the opportunity to pose questions to Pashinyan, who swiftly exited the scene,” Petrosyan remarked during a Facebook live session, showcasing a participant who was unable to engage with Pashinyan.

“They kept him at a distance of several tens of meters, ensuring no questions or interactions could occur. It was as if they fled,” added the political scientist.

According to Petrosyan, Pashinyan is in 90-percent alignment with Aliyev regarding the status quo. Negotiations are underway to maintain Armenian control over a key road that passes through the region. Villagers opposed the idea of constructing an alternative route, fearing it would prompt swift concessions.

The civil movement “Tavush for the Motherland” released a statement denouncing the unexpected visit. The statement argued that discussing crucial issues regarding the fate of the Armenian nation in a closed format is inherently misleading. It emphasized that the matter at hand extends beyond the concerns of individual villages like Voskepar, Baghanis and Kirants, and decisions to cede strategic territories affect the entire Armenian populace.

The movement upheld that border demarcation issues cannot solely rely on the consent or dissent of residents from a few Tavush villages. They argue that placing the responsibility solely on the shoulders of villagers diverts accountability from the state leadership and burdens citizens with the weight of determining the nation’s territorial integrity.

Furthermore, the movement cautioned against exacerbating social divisions among villagers by imposing the decision-making process solely on them. They warned that such an approach could breed internal discord and animosity within Tavush communities, jeopardizing the solidarity they have maintained through various challenges.

The statement condemned the ruling authorities’ actions, asserting that border demarcation issues must be addressed in accordance with established legal procedures and international agreements.

They stressed that any alternative proposals or decisions made without adherence to legal frameworks are illegitimate and potentially criminal acts against the state.

The movement reaffirmed that surrendering sovereign territories of the Republic of Armenia and making unilateral decisions without proper authority constitute grave offenses against the nation’s sovereignty and security.

Hoory Minoyan

Hoory Minoyan

Hoory Minoyan was an active member of the Armenian community in Los Angeles until she moved to Armenia prior to the 44-day war. She graduated with a master's in International Affairs from Boston University, where she was also the recipient of the William R. Keylor Travel Grant. The research and interviews she conducted while in Armenia later became the foundation of her Master’s thesis, “Shaping Identity Through Conflict: The Armenian Experience.” Hoory continues to follow her passion for research and writing by contributing to the Armenian Weekly.


  1. The facts of the Armenian Genocide including the killing of 1,500,000 Armenian Martyrs is well established. So is the premeditated systematic plan of race extermination. The first hand accounts of innumerable diplomatic personnel and missionaries which is backed up by scholarly research is solid. For just a sampling of the first hand accounts one can look at the writings of US Ambassador Henry Morganthau in Ambassador Morganthau’s Story, US Consul Leslie Davis in The Slaughterhouse Province, and US Consul Jesse B Jackson’s communications.
    The bullying techniques of the current Turkish government to peddle a revisionist history and squelch the truth should be categorically resisted. It is reminiscent of the hideous practice of forced Islamization that was employed by the Turkish government during the Armenian Genocide.
    Any officials of the Armenian Government who promote giving in to the Turkish position of Genocide denial as a way to bring peace are misguided and potentially treasonous. The Turks will use such weakness as propaganda in furtherance of their grand genocidal plan to eliminate all traces of Armenian existence in our ancestral homeland. In addition any sign that the Armenian Government will accede to Turkish bullying on this subject risks alienating the entire Armenian Diospora, which would be disastrous for the Republic of Armenia.

    • Attempts to collate information as to who died as a result of Turkish actions will be difficult, the passing of time, hence all witnesses now deceased, limited access to ottoman census records, limited recording in the first place by the Turks of their actions, reliance on statements from people presumably now deceased of who they knew who had died as result of purposeful acts, thus those who died on forced marches or those violently murdered. Thus there will be the number known persons who died and where and how and the number of missing people who there is no proof of life beyond a certain point of time. Prosaically the passing of time and everyone who had direct experience no longer with us and hence the transition from memory into folklore means it has less relevance to the present population in addition the problems of the present lead to a diminishedment of past affairs. Thus the wrong remains but the relevance to the present population diminishes. Was there a state commission to try and collate a database of those who died as result of Turkish actions?

    • The Armenian genocide is not in doubt. The word GENOCIDE was invented using 2 examples: the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide. Its well chronicled and well documented. Today 30 countries recognize the Armenian Genocide. In reality it was orchestrated by Jewish British banking. The Young Turk Regime was a “Jewish movement” so said sir Gerard Lowther, British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire who witnessed the whole transition. Ataturk himslef was a Sephardic Jew. Once Oil was found in Baku in 1905, it sealed the fate of the Sultan, who was removed in 1908, and the fate of the indigenous Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians who were all murdered to make way for easier oil trade routs for profit and of course the theft of wealth and property as is happening today. That is the real resistance and the “big secret” of the reality of the Armenian Genocide. No surprise that England took the actors of the AG and released them all on the Island of Malta in a trial that was nothing more then a big charade.. England is equally guilty and works hard till this day to hide its role in mass murder and theft of the Armenians. No big surprise that both Israel and England today deny the Armenian Genocide. IT WAS THEM and yes the actual murders were carried out by Turks and Kurds!

  2. Do we have anymore idiots like Antranik Kocharian in the Armenian government . Armenia needs a revolution or a coup D etat.

  3. These Armenian anti Armenians are getting paid to give away Armenia without any conscience. My family like so many other Armenian families suffered to know of this shame!

  4. There is left no doubt that this guy (Pashinyan) and his cronies are Erdogan’s mouthpiece. With a prime minister like this, why would Turky need to do anything to continue its old plan? Wake up Armenians, your motherland is being given away right from under you and in daylight. Enough slumber and naivety. Wake up, wake up.
    We blame this country and that country for not coming for our aid, but the enemy is within. Why would any country sacrifice its own youth and interest when we are just sitting and watching? Please wake up.

    • Who reading this did not support Pashinyan and his team back in 2018? So, stop complaining and enjoy the fruits of “democracy”, “westernization” and “independence from Russia”.

  5. The Armenian Army must do its duty and mount a coup.

    It must be clear to everyone now that Pashinyan is Turkey’s and America’s man.

    Only the Armenian Army can save Armenia.

    • The people need to wake up too.

      Stop blaming russia, we are just parroting what the west wants us to say.

  6. These delusional traitors are playing with fire. The sooner they quit their treasonous activities the less painful their ends will be. Needless to say, they will all burn in the fire they have ignited and are trying to spread.

  7. Tomorrow, We should pray for the rescue of whats left of armenia from foreign occupation as well as the memory of those lost in 1915

  8. There can be no peace between us (the descendants of genocide survivors) and the turks until they return our lands. They can kill us all or they can make peace with fake traitorous Armenians but there will never be true peace.

    And the turks will be wiped out by someone down the line. Because they are a cursed nation.

  9. Brothers and sisters!
    It’s okay. At least we are now at a liberal democracy and we finally freed Armenia from Russia’s yoke. This is what we all wanted in 2018. France is out ally and they love us. Be positive!

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