The response to Nikol Pashinyan’s call to open the road to the gold mine of Amulsar for employees was tough, and the people blocking the road in protest against extraction of gold in Amulsar stated that their families will stand up. On the social networks there was also response from circles who are not among the road blockers but said likely to join them.
Earlier Zhirair Sefilyan, the leader of Sasna Tsrer Party, made a statement that their party will also be against extraction in Amulsar. At the same time, Sefilyan said the forces of the “fifth column” are looking forward to a decision on extraction to use the disagreement to the mine to provoke a clash and harm Nikol Pashinyan’s reputation.
When Nikol Pashinyan called to open the road to the mine on September 9, he reassured the public that the operation of the mine will be under constant monitoring, will be discontinued in case of the very first threat, and if the shortcoming is not eliminated, the mine will be closed. According to Pashinyan, discontinuing the mine without legal grounds and keeping the road closed damages the international reputation of Armenia.
Judging by the first reactions, the prime minister’s argument and call did not persuade at least the greater part of the opponents. It is beyond doubt that there are circles in Armenia which have no concerns about Amulsar or Armenia but will use the opportunity to have a more populous resistance and to leave no alternative to a clash.
On the other hand, if the prime minister steps back from the logic of his September 9 call, it will be seen as a political retreat. Obviously, it will lower the international reputation of Armenia, and Nikol Pashinyan personally. The fact is that Pashinyan cannot resolve the issue of Amulsar without detriment to his reputation. However, in this case the issue of personal reputation is a trap because the structure of personal reputation or rating for a politician and a statesman is highly complicated.
Hence, the main issue is what Armenia gains or loses from one decision or another, and what risks there are in case of one decision or another which must be managed.
And full information on this issue is possessed by Prime Minister Pashinyan or also a very limited number of people. In addition, the point is not about the current process but the full history of this issue which was not smooth even during the previous administration.
Moreover, with the current opposition there are not only “newly emerged” political interests which have pushed the forces that used to be silent or mostly restrained to step into a round of resistance. Many of them simply lost the previous round and are trying to achieve political revenge. In addition, the point is not about power or other political revenge but a geo-economic-political revenge with regards to Amulsar. The price of the political aspect of the issue is not only that of using it against the government but also simply preventing an essential change of the geo-economic status quo in Armenia that could be the operation of the mine in Amulsar.