The regime that rules Armenia has crossed all red lines

Police clashing with protesters in Yerevan, June 12, 2024 (“Tavush for the Homeland” movement)

I am deeply disappointed and saddened by the events that took place in Armenia last week. There was so much violence and blood in the streets of Yerevan and so many insane statements made by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

It was so upsetting to see Pashinyan’s police throwing stun grenades and beating to a pulp peaceful men, women and children who were merely exercising their civil rights in a country falsely labeled as democratic. To hide the violence from the public, the police even assaulted a dozen members of the media and destroyed their equipment. The police used the same tactic inside the parliament, when pro-Pashinyan members physically assaulted the opposition. The police tried to force the journalists to stop broadcasting the parliament members’ violent behavior, but the courageous journalists, who were all female, continued to air the embarrassing brawl.

Over 100 civilians and a handful of policemen were hospitalized. One protester lost three fingers because of the stun grenades. In addition, Abraham Gasparyan Ph.D., a critic of Pashinyan, was specifically targeted by the police. After his arrest, a dozen policemen attacked him viciously, causing him to suffer a concussion, a deep gash in his head and several broken ribs. Gasparyan, an expat from Syria, is an associate professor, TV anchor and founding director of the Genesis Armenia think tank. These brutal actions were condemned by Amnesty International, the Lemkin Institute and the Armenian Bar Association of the U.S.

We now turn to Pashinyan’s absurd statements in parliament, lasting more than five hours over a two-day period. He started by announcing that Armenia will withdraw from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), but he said he does not know when. It could be “in one month, one year or three years from now.” This is what I call “a decisive leader!”

Pashinyan then went on to denounce President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus (a CSTO member) for backing Azerbaijan before and during the 2020 war. Pashinyan said that neither he nor any of his officials will visit Belarus. In line with his constantly contradictory statements, Pashinyan then turned around and said that he will reconsider his decision only after Belarus leaves the CSTO or if Lukashenko offers apologies and explanations that are understandable and acceptable to the Armenian people!

Even though Lukashenko is no angel and should be criticized for his support of Azerbaijan, Pashinyan once again proved his incompetence by making several errors:

1) Why did Pashinyan all of sudden in 2024 realize the fact that Belarus supported Azerbaijan, when this has been public knowledge since before 2020?

2) Russia, the leader of the CSTO, has supplied Azerbaijan with around $5 billion of military hardware for the 2020 war. Why is Pashinyan not announcing that he will never visit Russia as long as Putin is president?

3) Even though Israel is not a CSTO member, why is Pashinyan not criticizing that country and pledging not to have anything to do with it, since Israel has supplied Azerbaijan with billions of dollars of advanced drones and other sophisticated weapons with which thousands of Armenian soldiers were injured or killed?

4) While Pashinyan is refusing to go to Belarus, he gladly went to Ankara for the inauguration ceremony of Pres. Recep Tayyip Erdogan and shook his hand in congratulations! Turkey not only supplied deadly Bayraktar drones and transferred thousands of Jihadist terrorists to Azerbaijan to fight against Artsakh, but more significantly directed the 2020 war. Shouldn’t Pashinyan have refused to go to Turkey, instead of cozying up to Erdogan and normalizing relations with an unrepentant genocidal country that is still helping to kill Armenians?

5) Why didn’t Pashinyan announce that he will stop all trade with Belarus, Russia, Turkey and Israel because of their support for Azerbaijan? Why is it business as usual with countries that are arming your enemy to kill your citizens? 

Pashinyan went on to say from the podium of the parliament the most insulting and vicious lies about the Catholicos, Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan, Artsakh Armenians and the opposition. Such behavior is inappropriate for the prime minister of a country.

Pashinyan then confessed that it was his biggest failure that he had not given Artsakh to Azerbaijan when he first came to power: “And, yes, I admitted yesterday that it was my greatest mistake and my greatest failure that I did not do it in 2018.” This is the same man who proclaimed while visiting Artsakh in 2019: “Artsakh is Armenia. Period.” He then turned around in 2023 and said the exact opposite: “Artsakh is part of Azerbaijan.” No wonder Pashinyan’s critics think that something is wrong with him.

Pashinyan went on to say that Armenia should have “lowered the bar” of the Artsakh settlement in order to comply with international consensus on the issue. He forgot that his job was to defend Armenia’s interests, not to comply with other countries’ wishes. Illogically, he tried to explain why it was wrong to start bargaining from your highest demand. He then said that he had discovered a document from 1996, but claimed that hardly anyone knew about it since there was no internet back then. In reality, the internet was created in the 1970s. He read the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe chairman’s criticism of Armenia, but failed to read Armenia’s objections to it. He falsely claimed that “the clerical-feudal elite of Armenia” had fooled the people, even though he himself was trying to deceive the public.

Pashinyan and his supporters should know that sooner or later they will be prosecuted for their multiple violations of Armenian laws. He and his police should be tried by the European Court of Human Rights and International Criminal Court. All of the illegal agreements Pashinyan signed with Azerbaijan will be considered null and void and reversed by the next nationalistic government.

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.

2 Comments

  1. Although there had been times when a settlement with Azerbaijan seemed close it was yet so far and clearly in retrospect a lost opportunity to get some benefits from the conflict whatever settlement will be much more adverse. Clearly indecisive behaviour seems to be a trait, for many years there was the ask Moscow first principle this is much diminished nowadays as Armenia becomes more open minded. Miscalculation seems to be the national habitat such as the fact that Israel who has gone out of its way to be hostile to Armenia, Armenia doesn’t recognise Palestine which would be a gentle pressure on Israel and only recognises Israel. As for Belarus as Russia lackey Pashinyan probably feels it’s easier to blatantly fall out with Belarus than Russia. Also the issue of betrayal Israel is no friend so whilst it’s sales to Azerbaijan are hurtful unlike Belarus this is an ally within the CTSO supplying weapons to an enemy. Sometimes there is the principle of revealing at a later date rather than affirming at the time. As for his stating Arktash is Armenia in 2019 and in 2023 stating that it’s part of Azerbaijan this is a reflection of the collapse of Armenia cause although it’s certainly implies a lack of integrity of him. As for Armenias interests and international consensus. The fact that Armenia whilst never getting much strident international opposition to its cause in Arktash, failed to gain meaningful international support and hence why Armenia was coy in never recognising its independence let alone incorporation in Armenia despite its constitution affirming unification as a national policy. The international position that the area was part of Azerbaijan as it had been assigned by the Soviet Union and principle that the SSR boundaries would be international ones in the event of their independence from the USSR regardless of the rationality and practicality of the boundaries as sovereign ones in many cases such as Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan . As for the prospect Pashinyan and acolytes going on trial in the ECHR and ICC this is hilarious since he is their man .

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