Pashinyan falsely blames Armenia’s problems on trauma from the 1915 Genocide

PM Nikol Pashinyan, President Vahagn Khachaturyan, National Assembly President Alen Simonyan and top leadership of the Armenian government visiting Tsitsernakaberd (RA Prime Minister’s office, April 24, 2024)

With each passing day, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s statements contradicting Armenia’s national interests are becoming increasingly alarming.

Pashinyan started by denigrating Mt. Ararat, the preeminent Armenian symbol. He then mocked Armenia’s coat of arms, questioning why there is a lion on it, claiming that there are no lions in Armenia. With this statement, Pashinyan made three factual errors:

1) He did not seem to realize that the lion symbolizes courage and strength. It has nothing to do with whether there are lions in Armenia or not.

2) There are over a dozen countries that have a lion on their coat of arms without having a single lion in their countries.

3) He is also incorrect that there are no lions in Armenia. A well-known oligarch has had several lions in his Yerevan mansion for many years.

The Prime Minister then made abusive remarks about Armenia’s national anthem, using the excuse that it contains the word “enemy.” There are several other countries that have the word enemy in their national anthems.

Pashinyan went on to complain that what is now called “Army of Armenians” (Hayots Panag) should be “Armenia’s Army” (Hayastani Panag), and that textbooks on the “History of Armenians” (Hayots Badmoutyoun) should be called “Armenia’s History” (Hayastani Badmoutyoun). He also wants to distance today’s Armenia from its past by contrasting “Real Armenia” with “Historical Armenia.” He then suggested, in line with Pres. Ilham Aliyev’s demand, that Armenia adopt a new constitution deleting the references to Artsakh and the Armenian Genocide.

Last week, I wrote about one of Pashinyan’s top lieutenant’s incredible suggestion to make a list of all 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide. This is an indirect way of questioning the veracity of the Armenian Genocide.

All of these statements indicate that Pashinyan is retreating from Armenia and Armenians’ nationalist stances to appease Azerbaijan and Turkey.

To make matters worse, on April 24, 2024, the Prime Minister issued a statement full of confusing words, which reflect his unstable mental state. He referred to the Armenian Genocide as Meds Yeghern (Great Crime) 11 times and only four times as genocide. Meds Yeghern is a term that Armenians used until the 1940s to describe the Genocide before the term genocide was coined by Raphael Lemkin. Since then, the proper and legal term that has been used is genocide or Tseghasbanoutyoun, in Armenian.

It does not come as a surprise that Pashinyan, in his April 24 statement, once again obfuscated the meaning of the term genocide, thus continuing his attempts to downplay Armenian national symbols and terminology.

Pashinyan complained that due to the Meds Yeghern, Armenia often deals with other countries in a state of trauma or shock: “For this reason, sometimes we cannot correctly distinguish the realities and factors, historical processes and predictable horizons. Maybe this is also the reason why we get new shocks, reliving the trauma of the Armenian Genocide as a legacy and as a tradition.”

By making such a statement, Pashinyan is blaming the trauma from the Genocide of 1915 for his incompetent decisions and mismanagement of the state. While it is true that there is such a thing as transgenerational trauma, I would advise the Prime Minister to look at his own inability to rule rather than the trauma from the Genocide.

Pashinyan then surprisingly suggested that Armenians “stop searching for a homeland, because we have found that homeland, our Promised Land, where milk and honey flow.”

It appears that Pashinyan has lost all perceptions of reality! He is describing Armenia with its existential problems as “the Promised Land where milk and honey flow!” More likely, he and his family are the ones living a luxurious life at the Armenian taxpayers’ expense.

The only people who were pleased with Pashinyan’s April 24 message are the presidents of Azerbaijan and Turkey, Ilham Aliyev and Recep Tayyip Erdogan. An indication of that pleasure was the crowd of Turks gathered on April 24 in front of the Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C., chanting: “Pashinyan, Pashinyan, Pashinyan,” in the faces of Armenian protesters.

The President of Turkey, as he has done on every April 24 ever since 2014, issued a statement trying to fool the international community that he is acknowledging the Armenian Genocide. He actually lumped together Armenians, Turks and everyone else “who passed away or were martyred as a consequence of armed conflicts, rebellions, gang violence and terrorist acts” during “World War I.” He thus misrepresented the Armenian victims of genocide as war casualties. He described “the 1915 events” not as genocide, but a “tragedy in which both sides suffered casualties.”

In a direct message to Pashinyan, Erdogan stated that “Türkiye’s ties with Armenia…appear to depend on Yerevan’s stance on the issue [of genocide]…A new order is being established in the region, and it is time to set aside baseless claims. It is time to move forward with realities on the ground. It is better than moving forward with fabrications, tales.” This sounds very similar to what Pashinyan is trying to do. Erdogan made the intent of his message more obvious when he said: “Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan understands this [reality].” As a final dig, Erdogan stated: “I hope Armenia escapes from the darkness it was condemned to, thanks to its diaspora, and chooses the path of new beginnings.”

The true meaning of Erdogan’s words was revealed when the Istanbul Governor’s Office once again banned the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide on April 24. Actions speak louder than words!

Harut Sassounian

Harut Sassounian

California Courier Editor
Harut Sassounian is the publisher of The California Courier, a weekly newspaper based in Glendale, Calif. He is the president of the Armenia Artsakh Fund, a non-profit organization that has donated to Armenia and Artsakh one billion dollars of humanitarian aid, mostly medicines, since 1989 (including its predecessor, the United Armenian Fund). He has been decorated by the presidents of Armenia and Artsakh and the heads of the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic churches. He is also the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.


  1. We need more articles about the incompetent Pashinyan published in every language and in every news outlet. Pashinyan is nothing but a liar and a lost puppet of Putin, Erdogan and Alive, who is only serving in the interest of Armenia’s enemies and his authoritarian masters.
    Pashinyan and his so-called government and his stupid politicians think they will change thousand and thousand years of history of Armenia in a few years and wipe out the Armenian identity with it, which Turks with Russia’s help have been working on for the past 300 years. Now our enemies found a perfect dummy to complete their mission.
    1) Mount ARARAT is located in Greater Armenia and has been part of Armenian historical Identity for thousands of years, no one can take that from the Armenian people, not symbolically nor by occupying the Western Arminia (Western Armenia is and it has been under Turkish occupation for the past 100 years).
    2) Same thing with lions, it’s part of our Armenian heritage, the historical legendary story of “Sasuntsi Davit Epos” and “Mher the Lion”, it’s unexplainable for Turks because it talks about Western Armenia.
    3) As a descendent of the Armenian Genocide server, I would like to remind the person(s) or to who ever made suggestion about making a list of all 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide. Why don’t you ask Erdogan to dig their Archival records, the actual systematic planed and documented steps of the Armenian Genocide. Or perhaps they burned every Armenian person’s record who was burn in Western Armenia, Cilicia, Nakhichevan just like they destroyed and burned all the Armenian Churches, Historical Monument and destruction of tens of thousand of Unesco protected ancient stone carvings and cemetery grave khachkars.
    My ancestors being from Western Armenia, as an Armenian one of the most unfortunate things is my identity tracing, I can not go to a registration office or a library or some document office to find out about my ancestors. Where some one like Nikole Pashinyan, Alen Simonyan, Antranik Kocharyan, Erdogan, Aliyev or any European, Middle Eastern or Asian can go to these places and get 400 or 500 and more years back about their ancestry.

  2. As Diosporan Armenians we have the right to apply for and become citizens of the Republic of Armenia. As such we would have the right to vote. For those Diosporan Armenians who would like to support and strengthen the country and have a say in it’s direction, this would be a logical thing to do. 2026 is right around the corner.

  3. Armenian’s need to decide what they want. Do they want to live in peace with their Turkic neighbours or do they want to follow the policies of the past 30 years. I cannot speak for Azerbaijan, but if they seek neighbourly relations with Turkey then some steps are needed. They cannot have in their coat of arms a mountain that is located in Turkey.
    Unlike Mr Sassounian claims, Turkey is not trying to fool anyone. Turkey does not acknowledge the events of 1915 as genocide and the government is correct in not allowing its commemorations in Turkey.
    However, these do not mean we cannot have neighbourly relations one were Turkey and Azerbaijan do not pose a security threat to Armenia and one where Armenia lives in peace. And from what I see Mr Pashinyan is actually heading in the correct direction.

    • I know of no other instance in the world where one country strong arms another country to change it’s constitution. It is a ploy an to erase another culture, by denying the roots of their past. This is a method of cultural genocide. The fact that you can not see this is very troubling. Try to put yourself in the place of people who had their families murdered and had to flee with just the clothes on their back. My ancestors went through hell and miraculously survived. That is the story of nearly EVERY Armenian from Anatolya. 1.5 million Armenians were killed. It’s a fact, PERIOD!!!! Please refrain from supporting a cover up of the historical truth.

    • I don’t know about you, your ethics background or your original ancestors home land, however based on at list past 5-7 thousand years of historical facts, for what you today call turkey, historically was Armenian Highlands, and since Armenians since ancient times have lived on the valleys and around mount ARARAT, Armenians are not going to start warship the moon and remove mount ARARAT from the Coat of Arms just because you and people like you think we should obey Turkic people commands.
      As far as making peace with our Turkic neighbors;
      1) Turkey and Turkic people should return all the historical Armenian lands to the Armenian people.
      2) turkey and Turkic people should recognize the atrocities that was committed against the Armenians on the Armenian Highlands, the Armenian Genocide of 1915.
      3) Restitution for the victims of the Armenian Genocide in billions of dollars to the descendent of the Armenian Genocide. Just like what German government did for the survival’s of the holocaust victims.
      As a descendant of the Armenian Genocide survivor this is my condition for peace.

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