Armenian PM declines invite to participate in Victory Day parade
The Prime Minister of Armenia will not go to Moscow to participate in the Victory Day parade on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II.
PM Nikol Pashinyan informed the Russian president about this in a letter, citing a deterioration of the situation concerning the coronavirus epidemic in Armenia.
Pashinyan is not the only high-ranking official who has declined the invite from Moscow. The presidents of Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Croatia, the Prime Minister of Japan will also not go to the Russian capital.
Press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov said on June 23 that Russia is sympathetic to the fact that the leaders of some countries will not be able to come “for one reason or another.” In most cases, the reason for the refusal of the invitees was related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, in Armenia itself, Nikol Pashinyan’s refusal of the Kremlin invitation has been perceived ambiguously.
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In his message, PM Pashinyan noted the victory in WWII is “our common heritage”:
“As you know, I with great pleasure accepted your invitation and was going to visit Moscow to participate in the celebrations. However, as it later turned out, the current epidemiological situation does not allow me to make this visit. Based on this, I decided to refrain from my trip to Moscow, which was discussed in detail and agreed between our administrations. I look forward to our meeting soon, which will allow us to discuss issues on the agenda of the allied relations between our countries.”
But Armenia will be represented at the parade in Moscow. The press secretary of the Prime Minister Mane Gevorgyan said this on her Facebook page:
“At the parade, Armenia will be represented by a detachment of 75 people, which will be led by Minister of Defense David Tonoyan.”
What Armenia thinks about Pashinyan’s refusal
Parliament Vice Speaker Alain Simonyan commented on the issue.
He said that the leaders of all countries of the world are now faced with the problem of the spread of coronavirus, and not only Pashinyan forced to cancel the trip, but also the leaders of other countries.
There were also publications in the Armenian media stating that Pashinyan refused to go, as he was offered to take a coronavirus test in Moscow. Apparently, this was due to the fact that on June 1, Nikol Pashinyan announced he had contracted the coronavirus. But the vice speaker did not confirm this information. In his opinion, “this cannot be the reason.”
Some local experts believe that the reason for the refusal is not at all connected with the coronavirus situation and lies in interstate and domestic political problems.
In particular, it is a matter of criminal prosecution against the leader of the Prosperous Armenia opposition party and one of the richest entrepreneurs in Armenia, Gagik Tsarukyan. His party in Russia is considered the only pro-Russian force represented in the country’s parliament. And depriving her leader of parliamentary immunity and initiating criminal cases against him may be perceived as an attack on Russia-friendly political forces.
In addition, Pashinyan’s refusal to fly to Moscow is associated with the story of the ex-president of Armenia Robert Kocharyan, with whom the Russian president has friendly relations.
Political observer Hakob Badalyan came to the following conclusion about this:
“Before the parade, Yerevan presented a gift to Putin, changing the measure of detention of Robert Kocharyan. This is one of the nodes of complex Russian-Armenian relations, which Moscow used as a psychological pressure on Yerevan. Now Armenia is turning this lever against Moscow, and after the court decision Pashinyan has refused to go to Moscow, hinting to Putin that he is waiting for a meeting to discuss issues.”