Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan

Armenians Unwilling To Fight, Claims Pashinyan

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By Ruzanna Stepanian

YEREVAN (Azatutyun) — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan claimed over the weekend that most Armenians support his appeasement policy towards Azerbaijan because they want to enjoy their lives, rather than fight and make sacrifices.

Pashinyan said the dominant mood in Armenia is that “we don’t want to fight anymore, we don’t want to survive, we don’t want to suffer, we don’t want to be sacrificed, we just want to live.”

“And the people’s message to their elites and to us as the ruling, governing majority is: “Can you create conditions for us to just live, just live?” he told a conference of his Civil Contract party.

This, Pashinyan went on, is the ideology of “real Armenia” which he and his political team are trying to build. Azerbaijan’s continuing hostility towards the Armenians is one of the main obstacles on that path, he said, adding that his administration must “manage” this challenge.

“What Azerbaijan says [to Armenia,] if we put it very briefly, is as follows. ‘You didn’t let me live for 30 years, I won’t let you live either, and I will take revenge on you,’” he said.

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Pashinyan’s remarks were denounced on June 24 by representatives of Armenia’s leading opposition groups that blame him for Azerbaijan’s victory in the 2020 and subsequent takeover of Nagorno-Karabakh and say that his “treasonous” policy is now creating existential threats to Armenia.

“The concept put forward by him is as follows: “We must yield to the Turks on all issues to prevent war, but if there is a war… we must hand the country’s keys to the Turks or become a Turkish province because we don’t want to suffer,” said Artur Khachatryan of the Hayastan alliance.

“In order to be able to live in your country you must be ready to defend your country’s borders against its enemies,” Khachatryan told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service. “But he says, ‘No, enough with fighting.’ He is thereby destroying the idea of statehood.”

“So in order to live well, raise children and be happy, you have to renounce your faith, your land and [the memory of] your martyrs,” scoffed Hayk Mamijanyan, the parliamentary leader of the opposition Pativ Unem bloc.

He added, Pashinyan wants Armenians to “give up national security” while admitting that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has no intention to make peace.

Pashinyan made his statement following more than month-long anti-government protests in Yerevan sparked by his decision to cede several disputed border areas in the Tavush province to Azerbaijan. The protests led by Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan, head of the Tavush diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church, drew tens of thousands of people to the streets of the capital.

Pashinyan defended his unilateral territorial concessions even before the mass rallies, saying that they will prevent an Azerbaijani invasion of Armenia. The Armenian opposition dismissed those claims as scaremongering. Opposition leaders maintain that Pashinyan’s appeasement policy will not lead to a lasting peace between the two South Caucasus nations.

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