"Ruben Vardanyan committing terrorist act against Karabakh Armenians"
    Caliber.Az interview with activist Ishkhan Verdyan

    INTERVIEWS  17 January 2023 - 13:23

    Vadim Mansurov

    Reshuffles and appointments in Karabakh's "grey zone" are clear signs of the crisis of Vardanyan's scam, whose ephemeral power is bursting at the seams. Moscow businessman, who started the game in Azerbaijan's Karabakh, despite all his zeal is clearly unable to cope with his "projects" - "humanitarian crisis" proved to be another myth of Armenians, and the extraction of precious metals is frozen. Moreover, Vardanyan cannot get out of the RPC's area of responsibility.

    The toxic policy of the "state minister" with his disregard for the needs and interests of Karabakh Armenians has led to growing discontent among the residents of Khankendi - for the sake of maintaining the "legend" about the humanitarian crisis and the status of a "sieged Leningrad" he has become too involved in the role of a prison warden.

    Vardanyan's loud, aggressive statements have already enraged Pashinyan, who recently publicly reprimanded the separatist leader for his truly destructive tactics for the Armenian population of Karabakh. Pashinyan's displeasure also indicates that storm clouds are piling up over Vardanyan's head. He is too ambitious and radical for Pashinyan, and his constant calls "to fight the enemy" are already seen even in Armenia as too obvious a provocation and a challenge to Baku.

    What can the destabilisation of the situation in the Karabakh zone of responsibility by Vardanyan's efforts lead to? Is there a direct conflict between Pashinyan and the "Karabakh businessman"? How far can the "state minister" go? Armenian blogger-activist Ishkhan Verdyan answers these and other questions of Caliber.Az, expressing his views on the subject.

    First of all, Verdyan specifies that despite attempts to deny any ties with Russia, it is obvious who sent Vardanyan to Karabakh.

    "It's no secret that Russia has its long-standing plans for our region, and it has repeatedly stated in one way or another that its plans include extending the presence of its troops on the territory of Azerbaijan. It will not be easy to do so after 2025, because Azerbaijan has already declared in advance that it is not going to extend their presence there after the end of the agreed term. Consequently, the situation has to be changed somehow, which is what Vardanyan is trying to do," the Armenian blogger believes.

    In his opinion, Vardanyan is now trying to provoke Azerbaijan into some kind of military action in order to trump up this to the international community as proof of "genocide" and give Russia a reason not to withdraw its troops.

    As for Vardanyan's efforts to limit Karabakh Armenians' communication with Azerbaijan as much as possible, the Armenian activist believes that other forces are also involved.

    "There is indeed such a ban, and its implementation is overseen by a paramilitary illegal formation which calls itself the 'national security service'. This is a punitive body, which strictly suppresses any contact of ordinary people with the legitimate structures of Azerbaijan. This was the case before Vardanyan's arrival and will continue to be so after his eventual departure. The problem here is more fundamental, and to solve it we need to understand the situation correctly. The people of Karabakh are under the complete rule of terrorists, which was the case long before Vardanyan came," Verdyan said.

    At the same time, he believes that Pashinyan cannot refuse to support the civilians of Karabakh, something that no one in Armenia would forgive him for. However, he understands that "politically he will not be able to provide this assistance, so he is left with only the humanitarian option".

    "At the last government meeting, Pashinyan expressed dissatisfaction with Vardanian's behaviour and advised him to be realistic and set himself realistic goals. If we relate this to what he said during his press conference the day before, I think that Pashinyan admits that he is powerless to influence Azerbaijan politically when it comes to Karabakh. Pashinyan leaves the decision to Azerbaijan but wants to influence this decision somehow. A complete renunciation of territorial claims to Baku and transfer of the dialogue format to a humanitarian platform, with the recognition of Azerbaijan's sovereign right to make decisions on its territory, would be an excellent option, but so far Pashinyan has been slow to do so," Verdyan concludes.

    At the same time, he says, "Vardanyan aims to aggravate the humanitarian crisis, and if the crisis does not want to aggravate itself, Vardanyan will exacerbate it". As activist notes, the day after the last gas cutoff in Karabakh, the "state minister" banned planned surgical operations there, although he himself admitted that there was no shortage of medical supplies and that the premises were heated.

    "In other words, he decided to leave people without medical care for no reason. I regard this as an act of terrorism against the population," Verdyan believes.

    The blogger has no doubt that "there is no humanitarian disaster in Karabakh, but it goes against Vardanyan's plans. If the population has no problems, then there is no reason for reckless actions both on the part of Karabakh Armenians and Armenia, that is, Azerbaijan has no reason to use force - and the 'state minister' is counting on the latter. This is the essence of his provocations".

    Meanwhile, Verdyan believes that "there is no serious conflict between Vardanyan and Pashinyan and there cannot be at this point in time".

    "I am aware of conversations that Vardanyan is using Karabakh as a springboard to jump into the chairmanship of Armenia. I assure you, as long as Armenia remains a sovereign state, Vardanyan has no chance. But if Armenia loses its sovereignty, which is also part of the plans of Vardanyan's masters in Moscow, then the latter will undoubtedly be appointed the head of Armenia, or rather the federal entity that will emerge in place of the Republic of Armenia," the Armenian activist concludes.


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