A path of peace or a revanchist deadlock?
    Armenia has to choose

    ANALYTICS  06 February 2023 - 14:58

    Murad Abiyev

    On February 3, a deputy from the ruling Civil Contract party Gurgen Arsenyan spoke at parliamentary hearings in Yerevan on the topic of "Blocking the Lachin corridor by Azerbaijan".

    Arsenyan, a representative of the business circles advocating normalization of relations with Azerbaijan and Türkiye and Armenia's participation in integration economic projects, is a kind of translator of the "seditious" ideas of Pashinyan's team. Probably, with his help, the prime minister is probing the mood of Armenian society and its readiness for rapprochement with Baku and Ankara. Just a couple of weeks ago, he made a statement that Türkiye has never threatened Armenia and the purpose of the Russian base in Gyumri is "not the protection of Armenia, but Russia's threat to Türkiye."

    Yesterday, the MP said, in particular, that the opposition constantly speaks about the fate of "120 thousand Armenians" (actually, no more than 30 thousand - Ed.) living in Karabakh, but does not think and does not care about the three million people in Armenia. For the authorities, according to him, their fate is a priority. He also noted that the need to normalize relations between Yerevan and Ankara stems from Armenia's state interests. The xenophobia spread by opposition MPs poses a threat to Armenia.

    The Armenian MP's concern is legitimate. While Armenian society continues to daydream about Karabakh and to "worry" about the Karabakh Armenians, the Republic of Armenia itself is experiencing a continuous exodus. If Arsenyan's logic continues, if the Armenians of Yerevan do not address their own country first, there will soon be no one to worry about Armenia itself. Karabakh's Armenian ethnic population will have Azerbaijani citizenship, exist in a multicultural society free of toxic mono-ethnic stench, their welfare will increase, their livestock will grow, and the day when they will look down on those living in Armenia is not far off. They might even be nicknamed unflattering names...

    In general, the Miatsum project revealed the lack of strategic thinking on the part of Armenian intellectuals. They had the plan to take the territories away, but no plan to develop and preserve them. And there could never have been such a plan. Everything was done according to the logic of a little boy trying on his father's clothes while he was away.

    The only Armenian politician who had a strategic vision and dared to articulate it (we are talking about the urgent need to make a tangible compromise with Azerbaijan in the late 1990s) was Levon Ter-Petrosyan, even though 20 per cent of the territories of Azerbaijan were occupied under his rule. These thoughts cost him the presidency. The first Armenian president was unable to promote his agenda because it is difficult to prove to a chauvinistic society that it is necessary to return lands when you have just occupied them. Yet Ter-Petrosian argued that time was working against Armenia, that once economically stronger, Azerbaijan, supported by international law and the community, would win back Karabakh. And now, more than 30 years later, some members of the ruling Civil Contract party are demonstrating a certain tendency towards common sense, voicing the need for a lasting peace with Azerbaijan and Türkiye.

    There is little hope for the evolution of Armenian public consciousness. It is interesting to compare the results of two polls conducted by Gallup University in Armenia. In May 2022, 83.3 per cent of respondents were unequivocally (let us give the exact wording) "against granting the population of 'Artsakh' the status of a national minority within Azerbaijan". In November of the same year, 80 per cent of respondents were against the same option. The title of the second poll is noteworthy: "Water dripping day by day wears the hardest rock away". Water may wear the stones, but it is too slow. Events sometimes have to be spurred on, as they were in 2020...

    Under Ter-Petrosyan the Armenians were driven by the euphoria of a pyrrhic victory, now by the thirst for revenge. But these feelings are based on one thing - a monstrous arrogance. A nation that considers its country the cradle of Christianity is seized by overwhelming arrogance, something the Christian faith condemns as a grave sin. Is such a thing possible? In the case of Armenia, anything is possible...


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