Armenia’s Prime Minister Faces Fury Over Nagorno-Karabakh
In the wake of Azerbaijan’s recent military victory over ethnic Armenian authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia finds itself in the midst of a political storm. Thousands of Nagorno-Karabakh residents are fleeing their homes, fearing Azerbaijani rule, and anger has spilled onto the streets of Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. Here, we delve into the pressing questions surrounding Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and the mounting crisis.
Why is Armenia’s Prime Minister Facing Backlash?
As refugees pour into Armenia, frustration is directed squarely at Prime Minister Pashinyan. Critics accuse him of inaction in the face of a perceived threat to Nagorno-Karabakh’s ethnic Armenians. They fear the region, known as Artsakh by Armenians, may be handed over to a foreign nation, leading to a potential genocide.
Protests and Outrage
Yerevan’s Republic Square has become the epicenter of discontent. Thousands of protesters have gathered, clashing with riot police and targeting government buildings. Hovhannes Ishkhanyan, a Yerevan-based documentary filmmaker, captures the sentiment, saying, "People want to punish the one who will hand over Artsakh to a foreign nation."
The anger persists as the number of refugees crossing into Armenia surges, with estimates well above 28,000. Many endured arduous journeys, highlighting the dire situation. Marut Vanyan, a journalist, described the chaos at the border as a "river of cars," emphasizing the desperation.
Criticism of Pashinyan’s Leadership
Pashinyan’s handling of the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis has led to further outrage. His failure to deploy troops to protect ethnic Armenians in the region has drawn criticism. Demonstrators have blocked roads, and even students at the American University of Armenia have been arrested during protests.
Calls for Pashinyan’s impeachment reverberate across Republic Square, the same location where he once rallied support during the 2018 revolution that brought him to power.
The Broader Context
The conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh has its roots in the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In 1988, ethnic Armenians in the region chose to secede from Azerbaijan and unite with Armenia, sparking a six-year war with casualties on both sides.
By 1994, Nagorno-Karabakh and its surrounding provinces were under the control of Armenia-backed separatists, who proclaimed the area the Artsakh Republic. However, international law recognized the region as part of Azerbaijan.
In 2020, Azerbaijan’s military regained control of parts of Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan’s President, Ilham Aliyev, aims to establish a land corridor connecting his country to Nakhchivan, an autonomous Azerbaijani exclave, through the southern Syunik region, known as Zangezur by Azerbaijan. This has raised concerns in Armenia, which fears being cut off from its southern border with Iran.
The crisis has attracted international attention. The United States dispatched diplomatic representatives to Yerevan to emphasize the importance of maintaining the 2020 cease-fire agreement. Samantha Power, the U.S. Agency for International Development administrator, underscored support for Armenia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
As Armenia grapples with the fallout from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the future of Prime Minister Pashinyan’s government remains uncertain. The crisis has laid bare the deep-seated concerns of Armenians, who fear not only for Nagorno-Karabakh but also for Armenia itself. Whether Pashinyan’s leadership can weather this storm remains to be seen.
Exploring Further Insights on the Conflict
Will Armenia intervene in Nagorno-Karabakh?
Will Armenia Intervene in Nagorno-Karabakh?
Amidst escalating tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenian officials have made their stance clear: Armenia currently maintains no military presence within the region, and they reiterate their commitment to non-intervention in the ongoing conflict. This decision carries significant implications, as the loss in Nagorno-Karabakh has intensified domestic scrutiny of Prime Minister Pashinyan’s leadership. Pashinyan has been under fierce criticism in Armenia for perceived concessions made to Azerbaijan dating back to 2020.
Will a ceasefire lead to a lasting peace in Nagorno-Karabakh?
Amidst the recent military escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh, a ceasefire agreement has been reached, just a day after Azerbaijan initiated an offensive against ethnic Armenian forces. However, the critical question remains: can this ceasefire pave the way for a sustainable and lasting peace in the region? It’s worth noting that Armenia and Azerbaijan have previously engaged in two wars over Nagorno-Karabakh since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Are Armenia and Azerbaijan fighting over Karabakh?
In the tumultuous three decades following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Armenia and Azerbaijan have engaged in two wars over the region of Karabakh. Now, let’s delve into the historical backdrop of this conflict and explore the most recent developments. But first, what exactly is Nagorno-Karabakh?
What happened in Nagorno-Karabakh?
Nagorno-Karabakh, a region with an ethnic Armenian majority that has been the epicenter of two wars between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the past thirty years, witnessed a pivotal event. On September 19, 2023, Azerbaijan initiated a 24-hour assault on the region. Subsequently, ethnic Armenian forces opted for a Russia-brokered ceasefire agreement, resulting in the disbandment of their armed forces.