Nikol Pashinyan’s Response to Serzh Sargsyan

Armenia


After Serzh Sargsyan’s statement that the time of a “frank conversation” with citizens is coming up Nikol Pashinyan started a series of sincere conversations with citizens. At the very beginning of the series he spoke about the accusations against him relating to the issue of Artsakh.

In fact, Serzh Sargsyan created an information occasion for Nikol Pashinyan and Pashinyan used it. Nikol Pashinyan has been regularly blamed for Artsakh since the velvet revolution, as he reported himself. Why did he suddenly decide to answer those accusations now when these don’t seem to be at an intensive stage?

Pashinyan’s response or “information occasion” apparently had another addressee and this addressee was not the public of Armenia. The prime minister used this occasion to reiterate a position and to reiterate the all-Armenian mandate for the policy conducted by Armenia. This mandate was reiterated not for the Armenian audience. The addressee was, most probably, outside Armenia but maybe someone who was going to visit Armenia.

For example, the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov is preparing to visit Armenia. Earlier the Kommersant known for its anti-Armenian publications informed that a memorandum will be signed during Lavrov’s visit to enable the Russian experts to access the biological laboratories set up in Armenia with the U.S. support.

This topic has been discussed since Serzh Sargsyan’s tenure. Yerevan’s response was interesting. Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan said the program of Lavrov’s visit includes a broad Armenian-Russia agenda with bilateral, regional issues, and negotiations on the laboratories are underway the results to be published as soon as the negotiations end. With regard to the publication in the Kommersant Minister Mnatsakanyan stated that it is inappropriate when sources leak information and cause unnecessary stir.

Which sources, what information leaks and unnecessary stir does the minister mean? One can read between the lines of Zohrab Mnatsakanyan’s statement that ahead of Lavrov’s visit the Kommersant is used to put some pressure on Armenia. But is it about the laboratories or is this issue the so-called distraction while the main issue is the issue of Artsakh where the positional fight will continue for a long time?  And in this fight Russia will regularly try to strengthen the positions of its relationship with Azerbaijan, forcing Armenia to make at least any promise. Successful or not, they will at least try. Moreover, after the revolution Armenia laid direct responsibility on Moscow with regard to war threat and Russia needs to alleviate pressure of this responsibility in some way.

With respect to this the Armenian-Russian relations currently look like “wrestling”, and the issue of Artsakh is going to be one of the key issues for a long time, and every time Yerevan will need to stand firmly on the ground. Moreover, this issue may step into a phase of ultra serious risks in the context of intensifying fight among different groups and wings inside the Russian government.

Serzh Sargsyan is well aware of this circumstance who made serious efforts during ten years of his presidency towards the “fight” with Russia, lacking internal legitimacy and also support in the form of an appropriate opposition.

After all, when Sargsyan announced that he may have a “frank conversation”, everyone understands what issues he may cover. Especially that Sargsyan is so sincere that since leaving the position of president he has not congratulated the Russian President Putin on his birthday and Putin certainly did not congratulate him.



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