"Battle in the ranks of the political elite" - Armenian political scientist on the situation in NK
Possibility of resignations in NK
Armenia is actively discussing the internal political situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, in particular the possible resignation of the president and state minister. President of the unrecognized republic Arayik Harutyunyan is not commenting on rumors about his resignation. Moreover, he has stated that there is no internal political crisis in Nagorno Karabakh, adding that it would be possible to deal with internal political problems only after overcoming the situation caused by the blockade.
State Minister Ruben Vardanyan denied rumors about his own possible resignation, stressing that in the current situation it is “unacceptable” for him.
Meanwhile, the speaker of the parliament of the unrecognized NKR did not rule out holding early presidential elections, and even stated that he intended to run for office.
According to journalist and expert on the Karabakh conflict Tatul Hakobyan, the crisis in NK, along with other factors, is the result of an internal political, interpersonal struggle. Political scientist Suren Surenyants believes that the topic of resignations is being generated by circles close to the Armenian government.
“We have no right to surrender”
Ruben Vardanyan stated that local officials have no “right to serve the Azerbaijani agenda”:
“I am not going to retire, especially in the current situation. At the same time, the possible resignation of the president of the country, and therefore of the parliament, is unacceptable.”
He called on everyone to maintain “political sanity and solidarity”, and also expressed confidence that now there is “a real opportunity to keep Artsakh Armenian”.
Vardanyan has repeatedly announced that Armenia and he himself is ready for a constructive dialogue with Baku:
“Azerbaijan must understand that there can be no peace at the cost of the lives of Armenians.”
“I’m ready for self-sacrifice”
This statement was made by the speaker of the parliament of the unrecognized republic Artur Tovmasyan. He talked about this in the context of the possibility of holding early elections and the intention to put forward his candidacy.
“If elected, I will not leave my people,” he said, without specifying how he is going to solve the problems of NK.
Answering the question of what the current government should have done to get out of the current crisis, but has not, Tovmasyan replied that he “does not poke his nose in the affairs of the government.”
The local opposition believes that the speaker of the National Assembly is ahead of the curve, because before the snap elections it is necessary to hold a referendum on constitutional changes and choose a model of government. Oppositionists say that, despite the crisis situation, officials in power have launched an “election campaign”.
Political scientist Suren Surenyants says that if Ruben Vardanyan is not going to resign, this does not mean that “the topic of his possible dismissal” is over. He believes that circles close to the Armenian government have begun to talk about Vardanyan’s resignation from office.
According to Surenyants, the newly appointed official “chosen for NK the scenario of the battle for Avarayr, but there are no resources in Artsakh to support it.”
The Battle of Avarayr (May 26, 451) is one of the most famous battles in the history of Armenia. 66,000 Armenians led by Vardan Mamikonyan met on the Avarayr field with the 220,000-strong Persian Sassanid army. The Armenians entered the battle knowing in advance the advantages of the enemy and the possibility of being defeated, which did happen, but thus defended their right to remain Christians.
Surenyants not exclude that it is for this reason that Vardanyan will one day be “forced to leave Artsakh”:
“If Vardanyan’s line is rejected, then which line will be accepted — reintegration [to Azerbaijan] or evacuation?”
He regards the statement of the speaker of the parliament on the nomination of his candidacy as a “provocation”.
“The last act of the destruction of soviereignty is taking place in Artsakh. Constitutional power may be abolished in NK. In Artsakh there is a squabble in the ranks of the so-called political elite using the “strong arsenal” of the information war,” he wrote on Telegram.
According to journalist Tatul Hakobyan, the crisis in NK is a reflection of the interpersonal struggle of political elites.
“In a situation where Azerbaijan, with the permission of Russia, continues to blockade Artsakh, playing a zero-sum game on the domestic political field is not the best option,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
According to Hakobyan, three scenarios are possible in the current situation:
- “the resignation of President Arayik Harutyunyan, in which case Russia and Azerbaijan will not allow new elections or something else will be torn away from Artsakh/Armenia,
- resignation/dismissal of State Minister Ruben Vardanyan, and in this case there will be a unanimous opinion that Vardanyan “left a good life and stood next to Artsakh, and with his resignation, the subordination of NK to Azerbaijan begins”,
- neither the president nor the state minister resigns, as a result of which passions subside at least for a while, and everyone again focuses on the topic of the blockade of Artsakh.”
Probability of resignations in NK