Foreign Policy News has published an article on Nagorno-Karabakh after signing a trilateral peace deal on November 9, 2020.
According to the author, a stream of cars was formed in the region, piled high with belongings, while ‘people who could not afford to transport their livestock simply killed them, beheading chickens and gutting horses, the hot steam rising through the cold air.’
“Others walked their herds for miles along narrow mountain roads, hoping they would not succumb to exhaustion or an oncoming car,” the author noted.
“This was the tragic face of an exodus, a large-scale migration of people from a land that has literally changed owners overnight. Days after Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced an end to the war with Azerbaijan over this small, mountainous enclave, thousands of ethnic Armenians have been forced to flee their lands, which have been handed back to Azerbaijan.”
“Even before Pashinyan announced the end of the war in the wee hours on Facebook, bringing an end to six weeks of bitter fighting that left 1,400 Armenians dead, Armenians had a pervasive sense of loss. For a Christian country surrounded by Muslim neighbors on three sides, and for a people still struggling to come to grips with genocide more than a century ago, the national psyche is dominated by existential fears. Everywhere, people fret that Turkey—which backed Azerbaijan in this conflict and has never officially recognized the 1915 slaughter of about 1.5 million Armenians—is trying to wipe them out.”
The author adds that some villagers, feeling that they had nothing more to lose, set fire to their homes so that their enemies would not sleep there.
“Some of the most visceral fears were saved for the ancient hillside monastery of Dadivank, thought at first to have been passed over to the other side under the agreement.”
Dadivank, at least for the moment, seems to be saved, the author notes, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin asked Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to take care of the Christian shrines of this territory.
“The Russian troops—and soon, perhaps, Turkish ones too—see their job as peacekeepers. But not everyone is ready for peace. Though the fighting was over, Ardak and Ararat, mechanics in their normal life, are still ready to offer their services on the front line. They fried potatoes and processed sausage to fortify themselves for a bitter night in the biting cold of a mountain military outpost.”
According to the author, they, like many, are angry at Pashinyan for signing a deal, in which Baku won a lot after more than a thousand people died to keep the entire enclave Armenian. Protesters in the Armenian capital Yerevan stormed parliament last week, demanding Pashinyan’s resignation, although the president of Nagorno-Karabakh admitted it was inevitable.
“He should resign, or he should kill himself. Or commit harakiri,” said Ardak. “If he resigns, the old regime will come back and that’s not good either,” he said.