“Independence is like health - it needs to be taken care of every day” – Pashinyan
Pashinyan’s speech on the independence of Armenia
Nikol Pashinyan’s remarks on the 32nd anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of Armenia sounded some alarm signals. They were picked up on by Armenian social media; Armenian were especially active with questions on the government’s Facebook page.
In particular, the Prime Minister of Armenia said “the government is fighting every day for the independence of the Republic of Armenia”, that the process which began thirty-two years ago is “still not complete”, “the international structures designed to ensure our security are cracking before our eyes” , and “allies are not always only your allies.”
Points of the Prime Minister’s speech and analysts’ commentary
- “Building a state is not an easy task”: an opinion on the internal political situation in Armenia
- Note from Russian Embassy to Armenian Foreign Ministry: Armenians react and analyst comment
- Armenia to complete construction of alternative to Lachin corridor in May 2023
“Independence is for us security”
Speaking of the declaration adopted by the Supreme Council on August 23, 1990, which was the “beginning of the process of establishing an independent state”, Pashinyan stated:
“The process that started de jure ended with the independence referendum of September 21, 1991 and the recognition of the Republic of Armenia by the international community. This process has not been completed to this today de facto, and this is not because we do not have independence, but because independence is like health, which, even one have it, needs to be taken care of every day. The government fights every day for the independence of the Republic of Armenia.
“Independence for us is security, but the international mechanisms designed to ensure this security are cracking before our eyes, and one of the first cracks, unfortunately, appeared in Nagorno-Karabakh.
“Independence means normalized relations with neighbors. Although we have excellent relations with some of our neighbors, we are not making much progress with others because they are asking too much of us, or they think we are asking too much of them.
“Independence for us is a strong allied relationship, but the allies are not always only your allies, but also the allies of those who are against you. […]
“Independence is like the biblical parable of the ten talents: unto every one that hath shall be given, but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
“And so if we have independence, then we will have independence.”
Political scientist Stepan Danielyan agrees with Nikol Pashinyan that Armenians demand too high a price for independence, but maintains that the prime minister is primarily responsible for this. According to Danielyan, it’s been during the short-sighted rule of Pashinyan that the country has gotten weaker and the following question arisen:
“The Prime Minister is well aware of the data of opinion polls, according to which the number of his supporters has decreased, while the number of those who consider him a traitor has increased. During the four years of his reign he has destroyed everything, the borders have collapsed, territories have been lost, the economy has collapsed, etc. Moreover, the destructive process continues because there are no competent people on his team to solve problems. He knows all this and so wants to show that he is fighting for independence, that he is concerned about this issue.”
Commenting on the statements that “independence for us is security”, and the international mechanisms that ensure it “are cracking before our eyes”, Stepan Danielyan said that he sees a threat of “losing part of our homeland”:
“Nikol Pashinyan has spoiled relations with all countries, neither the West nor Russia take us seriously. What alliances are we talking about? All countries of the world are alone in protecting their statehood and independence. All countries are promoting their interests, their agenda, even if they have allies. Allied relations are, first of all, trust, mutual trust, but Pashinyan’s policy nullifies it.”
The head of the Department of Political Institutions and Processes of the YSU Faculty of International Relations, political scientist Garik Keryan, also says maintains that there are no absolutely independent countries, that even superpowers depend on other countries:
“The US depends on China, the Middle East, Japan and vice versa. In a globalized world there are no self-sufficient states; everyone depends on each other. One is very dependent, the other less; one is in danger, the other is not. Armenia is no exception. We just need to find our place through diplomatic flexibility, a well-thought-out strategy, being essentially pro-state, and not pro-Western, pro-Russian or anything else.
“We need to find a formula for coexistence with Russia, Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia. If we establish rules for coexistence with these five states, we will be independent, we will remain on the map.”
Keryan welcomes Nikol Pashinyan’s policy of “opening the era of peace”, as this will improve relations with neighbors. But, he points out, “it is one thing to talk about it, another thing to follow through with it.”
Regarding Pashinyan’s words about an ally who is an ally of “those who are against you”, Keryan does not hesitate to single out Russia:
“A country with allied relations can always find another ally in a given situation. The first Republic of Armenia could not survive because the ally ceased to be an ally in 1920. At that time it was necessary to choose the right direction, not to choose Sevres and not to lose the territory of Armenia. But our politicians did not believe the Bolsheviks, but preferred the Treaty of Sevres with large Armenian territories, and so they received today’s meager territory.
The Treaty of Sevres was signed in August 1920, according to which Turkey recognized Armenia as a “free and independent state”. Western Armenian regions with an area of 95,000 km² were torn away from Turkey and united to the Republic of Armenia.
Now the situation is the same, with some differences. We have Russia as an ally. But will the Russian Federation take steps all year round aimed only at the state interests of Armenia? Of course not; it’s laughable. Russia has its own interests, it is at war with all of Europe and is thinking of itself. Based on the situation, Russia may at some point cooperate with Turkey and we could do nothing about it.”
Peacekeepers or border guards? Russian checkpoints on the roads of Armenia
The border department of Russia’s FSB reported that it has installed new checkpoints “in agreement with the Armenian government.” But not a single state institution of Armenia has announced this decision, made several months ago
Pashinyan’s speech on the independence of Armenia