Armenian Prime Minister criticizes opposition as national debates intensify

YEREVAN—Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan recently criticized the opposition movement, claiming that it fails to connect with the true sentiments of the Armenian populace and falls short in resonating with the essence of Armenia as perceived by its people.

“In essence, the opposition’s failure underscores their inability to understand and reflect the true spirit of Armenia,” Pashinyan remarked during a meeting with members of the ruling Civil Contract party in Hankavan on June 22.

In response to Pashinyan’s critique, Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan of the “Tavush for the Homeland” movement reaffirmed the movement’s commitment to what he described as a national liberation struggle. He expressed his dedication to countering any efforts aimed at undermining Armenia’s sovereignty and to advancing the interests of the Armenian people.

“Our mission is not merely oppositional but a national liberation struggle across all fronts. While the government aims to destabilize Armenia, we stand firm in safeguarding our national interests,” stated Archbishop Galstanyan during the latest gathering of the movement on June 23.

Garnik Danielyan, a member of the “Armenia” faction in the National Assembly, countered PM Pashinyan’s assertion that the opposition movement has waned, suggesting that Pashinyan’s remarks were aimed at reassuring Civil Contract party members of his control.

In an interview with the Weekly, Danielyan remarked, “Pashinyan’s claim that the movement has diminished is merely to convey to his party members that everything is managed. His next step is to replicate unilateral concessions akin to those made in Tavush, now targeting the Ararat region, specifically in Tigranashen.” 

Danielyan said that by downplaying the movement’s vigor, Pashinyan aims to deter public dissent against his ongoing unilateral concessions to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan with MP Garnik Danielyan at a joint press conference (“Tavush for the Homeland,” June 19, 2024)

During the meeting in Hankavan, Pashinyan stated that Azerbaijan’s ongoing hostility remains a significant challenge that his administration must navigate. “In essence, Azerbaijan’s stance can be summarized as: ‘You denied me peace for 30 years, now I will deny it to you and seek revenge,’” Pashinyan remarked, highlighting the complexities in managing bilateral relations.

Pashinyan’s remarks faced immediate criticism from Armenia’s opposition factions, who vehemently oppose his policies, which they say led to Azerbaijan’s gains in the 2020 Artsakh War and subsequent territorial acquisitions.

“The prime minister’s approach effectively advocates capitulation to avoid conflict, but this jeopardizes our national sovereignty,” Artur Khachatryan of the “Armenia” faction told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service on June 24. “To safeguard our future, we must defend our borders and uphold our principles.”

Opposition figures, including Hayk Mamijanyan, parliamentary leader of the “I Have Honor” faction, said that Pashinyan’s strategy compromises national security and the memory of Armenian martyrs. They accused him of undermining Armenia’s statehood by prioritizing peace at any cost.

In reaction to Pashinyan’s assertion that Azerbaijan is seeking revenge for past grievances, Danielyan emphasized that this sentiment extends to an existential threat against Armenia. 

Danielyan pointed to Azerbaijan’s promotion of the concept of “Western Azerbaijan” and support for organizations that make territorial claims that directly challenge Armenian sovereignty. These developments are evidence of Azerbaijan’s broader political agenda, which has also become Pashinyan’s agenda, aimed at undermining Armenia’s territorial integrity and national sovereignty, Danielyan argued.

Meanwhile, Armenia’s political leadership has been actively discussing the prospect of applying for European Union (EU) membership, said Arman Yeghoyan, chairman of the Armenian parliamentary committee on European integration, on June 21.

“The ruling majority of Armenia is seriously deliberating whether to submit an application for EU membership, and the government will make a formal announcement at an appropriate time upon reaching a decision,” stated Yeghoyan.

The idea was initially broached by Parliament Speaker Alen Simonyan in late February, against the backdrop of strained relations between Armenia and Russia. Prime Minister Pashinyan reportedly engaged with parliament deputies from the Civil Contract party in subsequent discussions on the matter.

This week, several pro-Western fringe groups aligned with Pashinyan rekindled the debate, urging the government to conduct a referendum within the next three months to gauge public sentiment towards an EU membership bid.

In response, the Armenian Parliament, controlled by the ruling party, promptly convened hearings on the proposal. Yeghoyan, following the six-hour session he chaired, approached the idea of a referendum cautiously. He emphasized that such a vote could only proceed after Yerevan formally applies for EU candidate status and receives positive signals from Brussels.

An EU membership bid would likely require Armenia’s withdrawal from the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization and Eurasian Economic Union, which currently provides Armenian exporters with tariff-free access to Russia’s substantial market.

Moreover, in response to persistent pressure from Azerbaijan to amend Armenia’s constitution, PM Pashinyan has also issued a directive to draft an entirely new constitution by December 30, 2026. This decision marks a significant shift from earlier efforts by a constitutional reform council, which had been tasked with proposing amendments rather than a complete overhaul.

The council, established in 2022, had been advancing a set of amendments throughout the year, with the initial draft submitted to the government in January. However, Pashinyan’s latest directive explicitly mandated the creation of a “new constitution” rather than amendments, raising questions about the fate of the council’s previous work.

Artur Sakunts, a member of the council, expressed surprise at the decision, noting it was issued on May 24 and posted on the government’s website without prior discussion with the council. He emphasized the need for clarity on whether the council’s ongoing efforts would be discarded or integrated into the new draft.

Azerbaijan’s demand for constitutional change stems from what it perceives as a territorial claim in Armenia’s Declaration of Independence, which mentions the unification of Armenia and Artsakh. Despite Azerbaijan’s insistence, Armenian authorities maintain that internal constitutional matters are not subject to external demands, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently reaffirmed.

The debate within Armenia has intensified over whether to retain references to the Declaration of Independence in the new constitution. While many argue that it symbolizes Armenia’s historical aspirations, others, like PM Pashinyan, continue to warn of potential diplomatic repercussions and the risk of renewed aggression from Azerbaijan.

Vladimir Vardanyan, another council member, declined to clarify whether the previous draft would be abandoned or revised, adding to the uncertainty surrounding the process. Meanwhile, Daniel Ioannisyan, also a council member, stressed the need for extensive public consultation before any decision on the Declaration of Independence is made.

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.

27 Comments

  1. That’s exactly what they need, revolution, and civil war. That’s the only way out. Forget dragging the crowd from one corner to the next.

  2. Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This incompetent liar and traitor Pashniyan needs psychiatric help and should see a shrink ASAP. According to this article, he tells you what that chicken-hawk Aliyev, the coward son of the late KGB agent Heydar who was defeated with utmost humiliation in 1994 at the hands of his Armenian victors, is doing and is after while hiding behind Turkey’s terrorist-in-chief Er-dog-an yet he continues to go along with his so-called “peace plan” with that vindicate coward criminal. A plan that has been a disaster since the get-go. He concedes one thing to that terrorist and soon finds out he wants something else and this psychopath by fooling people and lying to them prepares them for his next disastrous move.

    Unfortunately the majority of those who voted him in are politically ignorant and gullible people who have fallen for his traitorous schemes under the guise of “making peace” which he will never be able to achieve and in fact his behavior and actions are taking the country closer to another war instead by giving the enemy a foothold right in Armenia’s backyard without neither getting anything in return nor strengthening Armenian positions, not to mention demanding the enemy terrorist forces withdraw from occupied sovereign Armenian territories.

    The violent actions of his police force against the protesters recently showed the movement started by the Archbishop Galstanyan has gotten much more traction and that is why the police had increased its presence with many criminals among them in plain clothes and they resorted criminally to the use of military grade weapons to disperse the crowd causing significant injuries. He has felt the strength of the Archbishop’s movement on his skin and is trying to save his skin by use of his criminal gang. He should give up his seat in the parliament and take up a new seat in prison appointed shrink’s office!

  3. Pashoglu is a disease or sickness on Armenia that needs to be removed, like a tumor. Until then, Armenia will continue to diminish and weaken, until it is fully subjugated by the turks and the west. Turks and fhe turkic language will be everywhere in yerevan, and the genocide monument will be neglected, and eventually closed. Do the hayastancis realize what is coming?

    • Pashinyan is not the disease he’s the symptom.
      The disease lies in the psyche of the Armenian people who overwhelmingly supported pashinyan in 2018 and once more in June 2021 despite his toxic past and obvious anti-Artsakh ideology. The disease lies inside the diaspora, the people on this forum who rejoiced at his coming to power. The disease lies deep in those who haven’t expressed an ounce of regret for their part in pashinyan’s ascension.
      Stop looking for others to blame and look in the mirror people.

  4. Remember that time, the AGBU and AUA and Zoryan were doing everything to remove Rob and Serzh as being corrupt, while publishing and hosting events all about Turkish rapprochement?

    Not sure why these facts are no longer discussed

  5. In 2018, we rejected “Serj” and got what we wanted, “democracy” and “freedom from Russia”. In 2021, we rejected “Rob” and Russia. Now, we are getting what we deserve, historic tragedy.

    The traditional diaspora, the north American diaspora in particular, is and has always been utterly toxic to Armenia. What Armenia needs is less exposure to diasporan missionaries (i.e. democratizers, benefactors, westernizers, political activists, “experts”, etc).

    We had the chance to be like a Belarus or a Chechnya, we instead chose to be a Kurdistan. Now, stop complaining and enjoy the show.

  6. Gurgen,
    Don’t you think you’re complaining? I mean, are you ever going to stop rambling on and on about Armenians, in particular Armenian-Americans? PaSHEEThead,said it numerous times in 2018, at Freedom Square, with his squeaky vioce,” eeeeeither I am going to be the next prime SINISTER of Armenia, or Armenua WILL NOT HAVE prime MINISTER”. So, enough of your garbage already. As a matter of fact, Putin was the first foreign dignitary to congratulate Armenia’s Smartest DUMBA•• for becoming Prime SINISTER by power grab.

    • No silly, I am not complaining. I am explaining why we are where we are. You seem more interested in getting into a contest with me than calling things by their names. As for Russia in 2018, if I were in Putin’s place, I would have cut the umbilical off completely. You can’t reason with a people suffering from cognitive dissonance and illusions of grandeur. Because we, with the help of the said diaspora, refused to become a Belarus or a Chechnya, at a time when a major conflagration was comming, Putin allowed us or rather helped us to become a Kurdistan. Understood?

  7. The traitor Pashinyan called for the adoption of a totally new constitution for Armenia. We all know what this will entail. A constitution that will dilute the essence of Armenian nationhood and weaken Armenian statehood, weaken the separation of powers, weaken the National Assembly and the Constitutional Court by accumulating all power to himself whether as prime minister or as an executive president or by fusing the two posts, remove Mount Ararat and the four historical Armenian states from the coat of arms and other Armenian symbols, weaken the provisions of territorial integrity and allow the cession of Armenian territory without a national referendum and by bypassing the National Assembly (the latter two especially in order to appease and please the two aggressive and expansionist Turkic archenemies), remove the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church as a national church and from the constitution, remove the reference to the Armenian Diaspora and ban the automatic naturalization of Armenian Diasporans. This will not be an Armenian constitution, but a Pashinyan constitution. That is why this traitor needs to be deposed ASAP, before he can implement his own constitution, become a dictator and mutilate Armenia.

    • Adding insult to injury, that traitor Pashinyan even questions the Armenian Genocide and downplays it! All in order to please the genocide perpetrators the Turks and the Azerbaijanis! What’s next? Demolish Tsitsernakaberd?!

      The threshold and the patriotism of the Armenian electorate must be extremely low, to vote for this traitor twice and for this traitor to question the ultimate Armenian tragedy, the Armenian Genocide, alongside Armenian symbols, all the essence of Armenian nationhood and statehood.

      The Armenian nation is like a frog being slowly boiled alive, with him at the helm.

    • Who wants to be like Belarus, internationally sanctioned and under the control of fellow pariah Russia and except for Russia it’s borders being hostile states. Chechenya, it’s capital Grozny destroyed by Russia and rebuilt in grandiose Pyongyang style and sharia law implemented including with despotic rule, and subject to the same sanctions as Russia.

  8. During WWII, when, the Soviets, the Russians to be exact, needed manpower to fight off the NAZIs, the Armenians heeded to the call. They dispatched as many as 600,000 volunteers to fight alongside the Red Army against the German Nazis. So, I ask you, Gurgen, Fast forward 2018. Where was Russia when Serj Sargsyan needed help?

    • I explained already. You obviously have problems with comprehension and/or perception. Hint: during WW2 Armenia was part of the USSR. Had Armenia been part of Russia in 2018…

    • PS: Robert Kocharyan is the only Armenian leader that enjoys good ties with the Kremlin. Serj is an enigma…

    • Had Armenia been part of Russia in 2022? off to Ukraine you provincial minorities just like the 1940s

    • Yes, you are 100% correct. Just befriend Sir Charlie and live happily ever after…

    • Right, a CSTO member with a Anglo-American-Turco (and George Soros) financed and led government. Anyway, the point is, Armenia refused to become like a Belarus or a Chechnya, it was therefore turned into a Kurdistan. Characters like you remind me that we are the authors of all the black pages in our history…

  9. A lot of you are missing Gurgen’s point when he says Chechnya/Belarus vs Kurdistan.

    Armenia’s options are LIMITED to only being Chechnya OR Kurdistan, based on the FACT that Armenia shares borders with GOERGIA, AZERBAIJIAN, TURKEY, and IRAN.

    A lot of Armenians are delusional in thinking that it can be like the Switzerland of the Caucasus. Switzerland is bordered by GERMANY, FRANCE, AUSTRIA, ITALY and LICHENSTEIN.

    90% of ARMENIA’s borders are with ISLAM-TURKS who have committed GENOCIDE against ARMENIA.

    ARMENIA must make choices based on its GEOGRAPHY… NOT WESTERN IDEALS…

    Gurgen is speaking facts. Most of you are speaking dreams… Why is the concept of GEOGRAPHY so difficult to understand???

  10. One hundred percent of Israel’s borders are with Arab Muslims. She has been protected with very reliable allies: the United States, United Kingdom, and the EU. Unlike wishy-washy Russia.

  11. Jay, you are manipulative and dangerous for Armenia

    You purposely ignored Israel’s huge coastline. Where is Armenia’s coastline? In your imagination?

    Giving half-truths to win a point is disgusting, deceptive, and degenerate

  12. Jay
    I now see the level of your understanding of politics, history and society. Enjoy your silly fantasy world…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*