"The statement of the President of the NKR is dangerous and incomprehensible." Opinion from Yerevan
Arayik Harutyunyan joins the sit-in strike
“This is more like a civic action than a political activity, which indicates that the situation is approaching the point of no return. I mean the complete dismantling of the subjectivity of Artsakh,” political scientist Areg Kochinyan said of the decision of the president of the unrecognized NKR to join the sit-in strike.
The night before, Arayik Harutyunyan stated that he could not find another, more effective way forward in the current situation and decided to take “an extreme step – to join the sit-in on the Renaissance Square of Stepanakert.” He was joined by the Speaker of Parliament.
According to political scientist Areg Kochinyan, such moves prove that for these officials “political activity has ended to some extent.”
On July 14, an open-ended nationwide action started in Nagorno-Karabakh. On the same day, a sit-in strike began on the capital’s Renaissance Square. The goal is to unblock the territory of the unrecognized republic.
The Azerbaijanis have been blocking the Lachin corridor, the only road connecting NK to the outside world and Armenia, since December last year. Since June 15, Azerbaijan has banned the import of even humanitarian goods. Responding to the calls of international partners to unblock the corridor, Baku declares that it is ready to “meet the needs of Armenian residents using the Aghdam-Khankendi route,” that is, through its own territory. The Azerbaijani “Armenian integration agenda” was also promoted at the latest talks between the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Brussels. Based on its results, the head of the European Council announced Azerbaijan’s readiness to deliver supplies to Nagorno-Karabakh through Agdam.
“Let’s take tougher measures”
In his address, Harutyunyan talked about the humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh.. He stressed that he had made the decision to join the sit-in “in view of the impending humanitarian and security disaster.”
“This is an additional effort and a wake-up call to attract the attention of the international community, to call on it to the practical implementation of its obligations, to push the Armenian people and all our friends to active and immediate action. I am convinced that tangible results can be achieved through sit-ins and protests in various countries.”
Harutyunyan declared his participation in the sit-in strike as a last resort to fulfill his constitutional obligations.
“If, as a result of international intervention, the situation of the Artsakh people does not return to a more or less familiar course, we will resort to tougher measures both in Artsakh and beyond,” he said, without specifying which exactly.
Political scientist Areg Kochinyan considers the decision of the President of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic to join the sit-in strike as “lack of politics”.
“This move proves that [Harutyunyan] does not have a specific scenario or plan for not meeting Azerbaijan’s demands.”
The analyst told JAMnews that it was not clear to him what kind of tough measures Arayik Harutyunyan was referring to:
“I don’t think it’s a threat. Perhaps he is referring to a more violent civic action, such as a hunger strike.”
At the same time, Kochinyan believes that the statement about the use of tougher measures is “dangerous because it is not clear,” and that such strategic statements should be more thoughtful.
He does not believe that in this situation it will be possible to achieve any results by civil actions. At the same time, he notes that they do not interfere or harm in any way, it is necessary to convey information about what is happening in NK to people in different parts of the world, to attract their attention.
According to the political scientist, the unblocking of the Lachin corridor is not subject to either Armenia or the authorities of the unrecognized NKR.
“If this happens, it will be only as a result of very serious international pressure,” he says, recalling that even the legally binding decision of the international court of the UN has not yet been implemented.
He emphasizes that the blocking of the Lachin corridor has become an important tool for Azerbaijan in relations with Armenia and NK. Rules out that Baku will voluntarily give it up:
“It is likely that from time to time the Azerbaijanis will open and close the corridor in order to put psychological pressure on people. Or they will only allow leaving Nagorno-Karabakh.”
According to Kochinyan, the Armenian side should focus on two issues at this point:
- ensuring the territorial integrity of Armenia,
- preservation of the Armenian population in Nagorno-Karabakh, regardless of its subjectivity and status.
Arayik Harutyunyan joined the sit-in strike