The recognition of Karabakh, its inclusion in the negotiation process and Armenian-Turkish relations without preconditions are some of the topics which will be the new Armenian premier’s priorities
The largest protests between the authorities and the people in the modern history of Armenia came to an end on 8 May 2018. Parliament elected opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan to the premiership in a second round of voting. The next day, on 9 May, Pashinyan went to Karabakh.
The official reason for the visit was to participate in the 9 May (Victory Day) celebrations, which Karabakh celebrates as the Day of the Liberation of Shusha in 1992 during the Karabakh conflict.
Everybody wanted to hear what the PM would say, and what topics he would give the most attention to at his first press-conference. The topics were not surprising: the Karabakh negotiation process, efforts to have it internationally recognised and relations with Turkey. Nikol Pashinyan spoke in very concrete terms about all of these issues.
“I came here [to discuss] two issues”, is how Pashinyan began the press-conference. The first statement was about how he “completely trusts president Bako Sahakyan”.
The second issue for the new Armenian PM was the inclusion of Karabakh in the negotiation process, which is still being conducted in the format of Azerbaijan-Armenia with the participation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs.
Pashinyan said that he believed this was a faulty format, and that in such a “half-hearted format, negotiations have no chance of being effective”. Karabakh does not participate in the negotiation process, and that is why they are uneffective talks, Pashinyan said.
The topic that got special attention from the new PM of Armenia was the ‘international recognition of Artsakh’ [Ed. Armenian name of Karabakh]. He said that the resources of the diaspora must be put to work to quicken the process of Karabakh’s recognition by the countries of the world as an independent state.
“Armenia is still willing and ready to establish relations with Turkey without any preconditions”, Nikol Pashinyan said. He also said that Armenia would continue working for the international recognition of the Armenian genocide in Turkey. He did, however, say that this process was connected to Armenian-Turkish relations. The aim is different, Pashinyan said: “to contribute to the fight against the mass extermination of people and crimes against humanity”
A number of residents of Armenia came to celebrate 9 May in Stepanakert. The photograph shows a person who presented himself as a ‘member of the Arabo detachment’.
Anna Hakopyan, the wife of Nikol Pashinyan. She is also a journalist, as was he. Now, she is the senior editor of the opposition paper “Haykakan zhamanak” (“Armenian time”). This newspaper was created by Pashinyan but in 2012 he became an MP and quit as its editor. They have four children. Their older son Ashot participated in the protest demonstrations alongside his father.
Anna Hakopyan became a well-known figure during the demonstrations in Armenia. She was almost always with her husband and photographers have made her face famous across the world. In Armenia, she is very popular. Social media has many pictures of her tightly holding her husband’s head with captions such as “This is true love”, which has practically become a meme on Armenian Facebook. Her haircut has become a popular style, many asking for a cut ‘that looks like Anna Hakopyan’s’.