"Harutyunyan is a deserter." Opinions on the resignation of the President of the unrecognized NKR
Resignation of the President of the unrecognized NKR
On September 1 the president of the unrecognized NKR will resign, Araik Harutyunyan announced on his Facebook page. He emphasized that he had made the decision taking into account opinions in recent weeks given during contacts with “all internal and external players.”
“This is a balanced decision based on the results of analyzing the data available to me, it was made by me personally,” he said, apparently wanting to emphasize that he was not under any pressure.
Armenian political analysts regard Harutyunyan’s resignation as a desertion and believe that by doing so he deprived the unrecognized republic of “the slightest possibility of preserving its subjectivity: Baku will not negotiate with an illegitimate government”. Karabakh experts believe that the change of power solves internal issues, and the choice of local residents “is not determined by who Baku would like to talk to and who it would not”.
“I will continue to bear my share of responsibility.”
Harutyunyan assures that he will continue to “bear his share of responsibility for the future of Artsakh” and that he will support whoever succeeds him, he and his family will remain living on the territory of NK.
“Most of all, I will be involved in the process of ensuring Artsakh’s security,” the text of the statement reads without specifying details.
According to Harutyunyan, his resignation will serve “internal stability and strong public order.”
“Despite all the difficulties, internal stability and solidarity of society are the prerequisites for all our successes. And any deviation or attempt to deviate from them must be ruled out.”
He declared that the unstable geopolitical situation, regional developments and projected developments, the phenomena taking place in and around the NK, speak directly to the need to change approaches and actions, to show flexibility. For this purpose, in his opinion, it is necessary to change the main actors:
“My biography and Azerbaijan’s attitude to it artificially create a number of conditions that cause significant problems for building our further steps and conducting a flexible policy”.
At the same time, State Minister Gurgen Nersisyan was dismissed by Araik Harutyunyan’s decree. He was replaced by Samvel Shahramanyan, who had been the Secretary of the Security Council. According to some Armenian media, Shahramanyan will be elected as the next president within 7 days.
Political scientist Gurgen Simonyan
“With the resignation of Araik Harutyunyan, the only legitimate representative of the Armenians of Artsakh is no longer the president. No one is going to organize free, fair and transparent elections in the current conditions, as a result of which a president who has received a national vote of confidence can come to power. It turns out that in this crisis situation some persons will be appointed by a group of suspicious persons without holding elections. And this implies usurpation of power. This creates the ground for a permanent political crisis.
With this step, Harutyunyan and the group of people who pressured him deprived Karabakh Armenians of legitimate representation in negotiations with Azerbaijan. Baku now has every reason to refuse to negotiate with Artsakh, as a collaborationist leadership that has not received a mandate from the people will establish itself there. They have given Azerbaijan a reason not to enter into negotiations with Artsakh, depriving it of even the slightest self-determination.
The president that the parliament will elect now cannot be equal to the figure elected by the people. This will have disastrous political consequences.
All responsibility has been placed on ordinary citizens by taking this treacherous step. As for the statement of the retired President that he will bear his share of responsibility, Harutyunyan is a deserter. He had a crucial role to play, but he ran away. He no longer has the ability to maintain Artsakh’s security in any way.”
Political analyst Boris Navasardyan
“Nothing fundamentally changes with the resignation of Araik Harutyunyan. The confrontation between the most influential groups in Nagorno-Karabakh remains, and Harutyunyan’s associates continue to control most of the power structures. Apparently, the new state minister is the most trusted person of the retired president, otherwise Samvel Shahramanyan would not have been entrusted to represent MK Armenians at the only meeting with Baku’s plenipotentiary representative in Khojaly in March this year.
And the recent election of David Ishkhanyan as parliamentary speaker, exactly on Araik Harutyunyan’s proposal, shows that the majority in the parliament is not ready for a radical change of leadership. This means that Shahramanyan has good chances to be elected to the post of MK President.
Despite the growing dissatisfaction in the society with the behavior of the Russian peacekeepers, the latter have hardly lost their levers of influence on the processes in MK. In other words, there is a certain consensus between the command of the peacekeeping contingent and the main branches of power in Artsakh.
The main figure challenging the status quo is the former commander of the NK Defense Army Samvel Babayan. But he still has nothing to oppose the main decision-making centers, yet the dynamics in the internal situation are determined not so much by the groups competing here, as by the factors that are formed from Baku.
Both the term and the status of Samvel Shahramanyan’s tenure in power will depend on how things go with the passage of humanitarian cargoes through Lachin or Askeran (on the Agdam road), whether there will be a meeting between representatives of Karabakh Armenians and official Baku, as well as how the elections to the Yerevan Council of Elders [the city parliament, the pre-election campaign has begun, the elections will be held on September 17] will be finalized”.
Political observer Naira Hayrumyan
“The resignation of the President was clear even when David Ishkhanyan, a representative of the Dashnaktsutyun party, was elected as Speaker of the Parliament. The fact that the ruling party nominated a representative of a minority party for the post of the Speaker of the National Assembly caused a great resonance, until the situation was clarified by the representatives of the party bureau and David Ishkhanyan himself. As a result, it turned out that there was an agreement between the internal forces of Artsakh that the Armenian Diaspora, represented by Dashnaktsutyun, would play a greater role in the governance of MK and the resolution of the crisis.
According to the constitution, it is Ishkhanyan who should succeed the president, but the Dashnaks’ relations with the Pashinyan government are in crisis. Who will become the head of NKR will be decided with Yerevan. But it cannot be a person who has zero relations with the Armenian authorities. I don’t know what camp Samvel Shahramanyan is from. But I assume that he is with those who will try to simultaneously promote local interests, but, at the same time, not to spoil relations with the Armenian government. I do not rule out that Shahramanyan will be nominated for the presidency.
Today the Russian Armed Forces are also here, Moscow controls almost all political forces in Artsakh – some a little more, others less. Over the past two months, Russia has stated at the level of Foreign Minister Lavrov that its position is the integration of Artsakh within Azerbaijan. Local political forces, which before openly supported Russian policy, cannot do so now. Because it will turn out that they also support the idea of integration. There is a certain gap, a vacuum, which Moscow is trying to fill with something, but it cannot yet.
Now the EU in the person of France is gaining a great influence – I will not say on a resolution, but on the developments around the Karabakh issue.
I think that a discussion is planned in the UN Security Council. I believe that French President Macron will present a resolution implying humanitarian, not political solutions, which will definitely be vetoed by the Russian Federation. I am talking about humanitarian intervention, which is envisioned in the UN Charter. The notion of “humanitarian intervention” implies the possibility of overcoming the sovereignty of any state if there is a threat of genocide and famine and there is authorization from the Security Council.
The convoy of trucks with humanitarian aid from France, which failed to reach Artsakh, the confirmation that the road is closed, people are on the verge of starvation, will be the basis for the French side to submit the decision on humanitarian intervention to the Security Council. The alternative is genocide or forced relocation of people.
The issues related to the statehood and authorities of the NKR have absolutely nothing to do with negotiations or non-negotiations with Baku. This is a purely internal, state issue that is decided by the locals by electing their representative. After that, whether Baku will agree to talk to him or not is no longer the problem of the Karabakh people. Now there are authorities in Artsakh, but Baku does not talk to them. Karabakh Armenians do not condition their choice on who Baku wants to talk to and who it does not want to talk to. This is Baku’s problem.
Resignation of the President of the unrecognized NKR