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How is Pashinyan preparing a new surrender?

November 23 2023, 16:00

Both from the residents of Armenia and from foreign experts who have been closely monitoring the recent events in the South Caucasus, you can hear the same question: what is happening in the Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiation process and why has everything stalled? All this happens despite “the formally closed issue of Artsakh”, because at this historical stage, official Baku has taken full control of the territory of the second Armenian state.

To understand what is happening, one should carefully read the statements of the foreign ministries of Armenia and Azerbaijan, the statements of officials of both countries, as well as statements from international actors involved in the process.

So, what do we have today? Armenia boycotts events at almost any integration platforms on which Russia is present in order not to give Moscow even a theoretical chance to interfere with the negotiation process between Yerevan and Baku. The essence of these actions was voiced this week by the member of the Civil Contract faction, Armen Khachatryan, who stated that a peace treaty between Azerbaijan and Armenia will be signed in the West.

“Armenia will not repeat the mistake of November 9. Our goal is to have specific guarantees after the signing of the peace treaty so that, in case of any violation, we know what international mechanisms we can use. All guarantees from Russia disappeared after November 9. Armenia will not repeat this mistake,” Khachatryan said.

The position of Azerbaijan and other regional players is that all processes in the South Caucasus should be regulated by regional powers without involving third parties. At the same time, Baku, having gotten the most out of the Western negotiating platform (no sanctions for ethnic cleansing and Artsakh without Armenians), does not want to burden itself with additional obligations and therefore refused to negotiate in Granada, Brussels and Washington.

Instead, a new statement about “direct talks between Yerevan and Baku and negotiations without intermediaries” has been thrown into the field. This follows from the statements of the Spokesperson of the US State Department, Matthew Miller, and from one of the latest statements of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry.

The position of the US is clear. It understands perfectly well that the concept of “direct negotiations without intermediaries and without third parties” does not exist since Turkiye always stands behind Azerbaijan. As for Azerbaijan, based on the statement of its Foreign Ministry that the two countries are responsible for the continuation of the peace process, including the choice of a mutually acceptable venue or a decision to meet at the state border, it becomes clear that Baku intends not just to “normalize relations” with Armenia but also insists on such a format of negotiations and the “signing of a peace treaty that will not have concrete guarantors” so that it could get away with violations of the provisions of that treaty.

To put it differently, Baku repeats what one of the “big brains” of the authorities, Zhirayr Liparityan, said on Public Television in the spring of 2023, and what Pashinyan’s “court experts” tirelessly repeat: to come to an agreement with Baku and Ankara without guarantors.

It is clear that such an agreement would be the beginning of a countdown to the disbandment of Armenian statehood. However, in order to make it true, many steps should be taken, first of all to create the illusion that Armenia is left without allies and that the country has no other choice but to rely on “the word of honor of Aliyev and Erdogan.”

It is also necessary to destroy the hotbeds of internal resistance and do it while fighting against the basis of the Armenian identity: to abandon the church, abandon state symbols, condemn and tarnish military heroes, etc. In short, to abandon the “historical stereotypes” that John Bolton spoke about in 2018.

This is exactly what is happening, and this is what Nikol Pashinyan has been globally preparing since 2021, destroying the pillars of Armenian statehood and preparing the country and the people for a new surrender.

But is this really how it should have been originally? No, and we had a chance to change the course of events in 2021. However, one part of the political elite of Armenia could not find effective ways of communicating with the people, and another part of the seemingly military-political elite was concerned not with political changes in Armenia but with the issue of not allowing opposition leaders to come to power. This is what led to Pashinyan’s victory in the snap elections and the current historical and political collapse.

In other words, responsibility for a possible new surrender will be borne not only by Pashinyan but also by those who contributed to the retention of his power in 2021.