A severe military and political defeat put the Armenian society, primarily the ruling political class, before the need to make a serious choice.
Should they accept defeat as an accomplished and inevitable fact, and behave in accordance with the new reality, or should they explain it to themselves as a sad misunderstanding that needs to be corrected by pushing the whole Armenian world? Should Armenia admit its defeat and, as is customary throughout the world, correct its previous policy, start rethinking false and ineffective concepts, building a new strategy of relations with its neighbors and trying to get out of the crisis on the path of development and lasting peace? Or throw all the resources of the nation to rebuild the army, start transforming Armenia, as Armenian thinkers write, into a new Sparta, like Israel, militarize the entire population, as is practiced, in the minds of Armenian political scientists and journalists, in Switzerland?
In short, the Armenian society is looking for answers to fateful questions and is preparing to make its existential choice.
The situation is simple: of the two variants of the nation, one should make a choice, bet on one of them. One option has already been tested by life, and the question of its suitability was answered by life itself by the deaths of thousands and thousands of men, destruction and loss.
The second option for the nation is speculative and unfamiliar to people. Yes, the peoples in Europe have already chosen this option more than half a century ago and are following this path, and the results cause general approval and even envy, but will this suit the Armenian people?
After all, the people are not ordinary, they are exceptional, unlike anyone in the world…
Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan calls on the people to choose the first option. Just six months ago, the overwhelming majority of the population supported him in unison and was ready to follow him towards the European choice. But the autumn catastrophe in the Karabakh war brought down his high rating and questioned his ability to lead the state in the right direction. The blame for the defeat was placed on him, and his immediate resignation was demanded.
The defeat of Armenia revived the decommissioned politicians of the Karabakh clan, whose name in the minds of the Armenian people is associated with corruption, lawlessness, degradation and depopulation of the country. The defeat gave the decommissioned politicians satisfaction, the courage to go out to the people and broadcast about the inadequacy of the current government, to present themselves as competent and experienced politicians. They remind the people not of total corruption, of their fabulous wealth stolen from the people, the trampled rights of ordinary citizens, or the sale of the country’s sovereignty, – no, they remind the people only of the victory in Karabakh, that in their time “Karabakh was theirs”.
A small part of the people listens to them and agrees. Most of the people go through a moment of deep disappointment and reflect. The political situation obliges the people to make a choice, to vote in future elections for the current leader and his team, or for the previous ones.
While Vazgen Manukyan, former Prime Minister and former Defense Minister of the early 1990s, was chosen by chance as the leader of the protest movement, it could be assumed that Nikol Pashinyan and his team have a chance to resist and survive the turmoil of the post-war period.
But an event happened that dramatically changes the chances of the parties. Ex-President of Armenia Robert Kocharian announced his decision to return to politics and fight for power. After this announcement, the picture of political struggle in the country changed dramatically. Concepts such as campaigning, action programs and the rule of law are fading away. Elections will be a battle not for life, but for death. Nothing can stop Robert Kocharyan in this battle – neither the law, nor the will of the voters.
After the announcement of Robert Kocharian, the political scene in Armenia sharply polarized. Those citizens who still doubted whether it was worth continuing to support the unfortunate Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan firmly decided to side with his supporters. The fear of Robert Kocharian’s return to power made a fairly large number of voters cast aside doubts and opt for Pashinyan. It was this sharp jump in the number of supporters that prompted him to declare that there is no need to hold early parliamentary elections this spring and that the elections will be held on time, in 2023.
But it seems that Robert Kocharian does not intend to wait until the end of the constitutional term. His whole life proves that he is a man of decisive actions, breaking the prevailing conditions. A rebel against the Soviet regime in Azerbaijan, a militant who fought with his opponents with a weapon in his hand, fired at all those who stood in his way, paved his way up in Karabakh through the corpses of yesterday’s companions, he does not know doubts when he sees the power in front of him.
There are few people in Karabakh who doubt that Robert Kocharian, who lost the elections for the post of Chairman of the Supreme Council of Nagorno-Karabakh to Artur Mkrtychyan, was the only beneficiary of the elimination of the authoritative politician on April 14, 1992 “under unclear circumstances.” It was Robert Kocharian who took the vacant place of the deceased Artur Mkrtychyan. Also, many in Karabakh are convinced that the attempted assassination of Arkady Ghukasyan, the president of the self-proclaimed republic, on March 22, 2000, was not Samvel Babayan, but Kocharyan himself, who had already become the President of Armenia at that time. With this action, he neutralized two authoritative leaders of the Karabakh movement and retained control over the region.
How did he become the sovereign master of Armenia? The first President of Armenia, Levon Ter-Petrosyan, was actually overthrown, having received an ultimatum, by the generals of the Armenian army. Robert Kocharian, who was then Prime Minister, was elected President, but he was in the shadow of the popular Prime Minister Vazgen Sargsyan and the most experienced politician, former First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Armenia and Chairman of the Armenian Parliament Karen Demirchyan. The terrorist act of October 27, 1999 in the parliament building against the strong Prime Minister and the experienced Speaker removed Robert Kocharian’s real rivals from the political scene.
The killer instinct is deeply rooted in the nature of Robert Kocharian. For him, killing a person is an ordinary matter. All of Armenia knows about the case when a poor fellow was beaten to death by bodyguards on his orders for disrespecting President Kocharian in a restaurant.
He also had no doubts when, in 2008, he ordered the shooting of demonstrators protesting against the falsification of the presidential election results. Then 10 corpses were left on the streets of Yerevan.
It was for this crime that Nikol Pashinyan tried to bring Robert Kocharian to justice, but he failed, because the corrupt judges supported Kocharian.
Robert Kocharian recently went to Moscow for support. It seems to me that Russian President Vladimir Putin did not promise his friend support either, because the vector of Russian policy in the South Caucasus is changing, and in the paradigm of the new Russian policy, the Kremlin benefits from Pashinyan, not Kocharian.
But the modern history of the South Caucasus knows a precedent when a politician disliked by the Kremlin came to the head of a defeated small state and managed to impose himself on them as a partner. Robert Kocharian apparently decided to repeat this experience and impose himself on the world as the de facto leader of Armenia.
There is a high probability that Robert Kocharian will not wait until the constitutional deadlines for the elections are observed, and he will go to power in the usual way: by physically eliminating his rival. He will not be able to persuade the army for a coup, as the staff of the US Embassy in Yerevan does not eat their bread for nothing; the Americans, apparently, explained to the Armenian generals the need to respect the law and not interfere in political processes.
There is only one thing left for Robert Kocharian – to organize a terrorist act against Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. If this happens, then there will be no serious political rival to Kocharian. He will become the head of Armenia and lead the country on the previous course – into the dead end of a new war.
Should Azerbaijan be afraid of Robert Kocharian’s return to power in Armenia? I think no. Armenia has no resources left for revenge, and they have nowhere to come from.
Source: Turan News Agency