Op-ed by Karen Harutyunyan, Editor-in-Chief
“The future of Armenia depends on one person, and that person is me. The future of Armenia depends on one person, and that person is you,” Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated in his Sunday address to the nation amid mass protests demanding his resignation following Artsakh’s devastating defeat and loss of independence, which has led to a mass exodus of Armenians.
Some argue that there is a concerted Russian effort to undermine Armenia’s statehood and independence, and they may have a point. Russia not only acquiesced to but also potentially greenlit Azerbaijan’s aggression and subsequent ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Armenia’s ruling party media apologists staunchly adhere to the government’s propaganda line. They suggest that while Pashinyan can be blamed for failing to address Armenia’s challenges, he is not solely responsible for the challenges facing Armenia and Artsakh. Since the end of the 2020 war, this concealed propaganda identifies various convenient scapegoats: former corrupt elites, the army, deserters, traitors, the Alma-Ata Protocol emphasizing member countries’ territorial integrity, Russians, Wagner Group mercenaries, and even the victims themselves — the people of Artsakh. Their ultimate goal is to whitewash the current government and portray it as a defender of Armenia’s sovereignty and independence, while those demanding Pashinyan’s resignation are depicted as “players of Russia’s game.”
There are compelling reasons why Pashinyan must step down, primarily because we lost Artsakh during his leadership, due to both his actions and inactions. Each day Pashinyan remains in office poses an existential threat to Armenia’s future.
He is responsible for screwing up Armenia’s foreign and Karabakh policy with his populist statements, lack of strategy, and lack of vision. Pashinyan’s policy has resulted in the greatest tragedy for the Armenian people since 1915.
All Western supporters of Armenia and Artsakh failed to meet their commitments, a foreseeable outcome for seasoned politicians, but not for Pashinyan and his Civil Contract party.
Azerbaijan has now breached all of the West’s red lines without facing any sanctions so far on its government agencies or officials. Assigning blame to Putin, Aliyev, Erdogan, or others is irrelevant. As a citizen of Armenia and an Armenian, I can only hold my government accountable for mishandling everything.
No one should reinforce Pashinyan’s unofficial narratives about “sovereignty and independence.” His populist rhetoric regarding sovereignty now threatens to erode the last remnants of Armenia’s sovereignty.
Pashinyan must step down and pave the way for the establishment of an interim government of national unity before holding snap parliamentary elections. He and his party pose a significant threat to Armenia’s sovereignty and independence.
This article was ready for publication when the breaking news came: “The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic will be formally dissolved by the end of the year. All government agencies are ordered to be disbanded by January 1, 2024, according to a decree issued Thursday by President Samvel Shahramanyan.”
Pashinyan must resign now, without any reservations.