By Harut Sassounian,
In a May 26-28, 2022 Gallup International Association poll, 89.3% of Armenia’s surveyed citizens said it was unacceptable for them “if the population of Artsakh will be granted the status of a national minority within Azerbaijan.” Only 4.4% of those surveyed found it to be acceptable.
51% of the survey respondents were negatively inclined toward the results of the May 22 trilateral meeting of Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Azerbaijan’s Pres. Ilham Aliyev and European Union President Charles Michel in Brussels. Only 34.7% of the respondents positively assessed the meeting. The leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan had agreed to unblock transport links between the two countries and establish a road between mainland Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan crossing Armenia’s territory.
Those who were surveyed thought that Armenia could receive weapons from: Russia (48.1%), France (13.9%), United States (6.4%), Iran (1.7%), CSTO — Collective Security Treaty Organization (1.1%), NATO (0.5%), and UN Security Council (0.1%).
In an earlier poll conducted on April 2-6, 2022 by Gallup International Association, 57.2% of the respondents did not believe that “the current Armenian authorities will be able to sign a peace agreement with Azerbaijan on acceptable terms in the interests of Artsakh and Armenia.” 30.4% thought it would possible.
In response to the question as to who is responsible for the tension created in and around Artsakh, 43.8% said it was Azerbaijan, 27% held Armenia’s authorities responsible, 14.1% said the Russian peacekeepers, 6.1% said the Artsakh authorities, and 3.5% put the blame on Turkey.
47.7% of those surveyed gave a negative evaluation of Prime Minister Pashinyan’s work,” while 38.8% thought it was positive.
The survey respondents were almost evenly divided between those who said Pashinyan should resign (41.7%), and those who said he should not (38.7%).
When asked which political party they would vote for if the elections were held nowadays, 20.4% said they would support the ruling “Civil Contract” party, 12% expressed support for the two opposition parliamentary parties, and 1.7% for “Prosperous Armenia.” However, 28.8% of those surveyed said they would not vote for any party. The ruling party’s rating has declined precipitously from 70.4% when Pashinyan first came to power in 2018, and decreased even more from the 53.9% of the votes his party received in the June 20, 2021 parliamentary elections.
When asked how they “assessed the current political situation in Armenia,” 66.5% (two-thirds) of those surveyed gave a negative reply, while only 22.3% had a positive opinion.
When asked for their solution to the current political situation in the country, 27.6% saw no need for a change, 26.6% suggested that new parliamentary elections be held, 21.8% favored the formation of a transitional government, and 11.4% wanted more pressure exerted on the opposition.
45.6% were against the recent street protests by the opposition, while 32.5% said they were supportive.
46.1% supported the confrontational conduct of the Armenian police with the protesters, while 37.2% were critical.
In response to a question as to whether the survey respondents were “for establishing diplomatic relations with Turkey without preconditions and opening the borders,” 68% said they were against it, while only 26.3% were in favor.
In conclusion, the Armenian society is sharply divided regarding the country’s internal problems. There are those who support Prime Minister Pashinyan and those who prefer that he be replaced. Nevertheless, Pashinyan’s popularity has deteriorated significantly in Armenia and most probably in the Diaspora compared to his initial extraordinary popularity in 2018.
On critical issues facing Armenia vis-à-vis Azerbaijan and Turkey, most Armenians are very negatively disposed toward any concessions in order to improve relations with their two hostile neighboring countries.
Respondents to several of the above questions have left no doubt that the Prime Minister’s frequent claim that he has “the people’s mandate” is no longer true. Pashinyan’s and his political party’s ratings have diminished substantially, particularly after Armenia’s devastating defeat in the 2020 war. His political party won last year’s parliamentary elections with around 25% of the registered voters, which is a small percentage of Armenia’s total population.
Since no such polls are conducted throughout the Diaspora, no one knows Pashinyan’s exact rating among Diaspora Armenians. All indications are that his rating in the Diaspora has suffered a precipitous plunge just as in Armenia. Therefore, despite the Prime Minister’s extremely high rating when he first came to power in 2018, his followers now form a much smaller portion of Armenians in Armenia and the Diaspora.