'Sargsyan’s Armenia' vs 'Pashinyan’s Armenia' – which is better?
Armenia has been in a state of uncertainty for several months now, as the public wonders who will be able to lead the country out of the crisis in which it found itself following defeat in the second Karabakh war.
The opposition has been demanding PM Pashinyan’s resignation, but the latter has no plans to leave, saying he would do so only per the result of snap elections in which the country’s population would express its opinion.
Later, his ruling party backed down on the idea of snap elections.
For two days in a row, ex-President Serzh Sargsyan has appeared on the air of the local opposition TV channel, lambasting PM Pashinyan, stoking the opinions of many that the new government is to blame for the current crisis.
In the first part of the interview, the former president focused on the details of the negotiation process on Karabakh and criticism of the current Armenian authorities for not recognizing the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh in the fall of 2020, during the war.
In the second part of the interview, Sargsyan accused the authorities of failing to protect the country’s interests and of deteriorating relations not only with Russia’s strategic ally, but also with all its neighbors.
Below – the opinions of Armenian politicians, experts and social media users, who have not in the least remained indifferent to the interview.
- Ex-President of Armenia Sargsyan thrashes PM in interview
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“Pashinyan is Sargsyan’s own project”
During the interview, the journalist asked Serzh Sargsyan if the rumors were true that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan was his “project”.
In Armenia, many think that Sargsyan “handed over” power to the leader of the “velvet” revolution Nikol Pashinyan in 2018, so as not to sign a document on the surrender of the territories of Karabakh to Azerbaijan.
But the ex-president replied that “such a project I would not even wish on an enemy.”
Political observer Hakob Badalyan wrote on his Facebook page in this regard:
“Okay, let’s leave aside the views, analyses and conspiracy theories about whether what happened in the spring of 2018 is Serzh Sargsyan’s ‘project’. Let’s say this is so. I would like to imagine a situation in which we ask Serge Sergsyan – is this so? And he replies: yes, you know, it was my project, I didn’t want to talk about it for so long, but since you asked, I must admit.”
Speaking about the fact that Pashinyan is not his project, Sargsyan also stated that Pashinyan is a project of those forces with which he “could have nothing in common”:
“I had only disagreements with them. There are disagreements in the sense that my views on the development of Armenia and Artsakh differed significantly from the views of these forces.”
Political commentator Hayk Khalatyan commented on this answer:
“And here questions arise that Serzh Sargsyan did not answer: what kind of mysterious forces is Pashinyan projecting, with which the ex-president ‘could never have anything in common’, ‘only disagreements’? Or why, knowing that this is an “anti-Karabakh movement” [as Sargsyan himself stated], he did not take any tough measures to ensure the security of Armenia and Artsakh? And no matter how now Sargsyan urged ‘not to blame him,’ by his actions or inaction, he actually became an accomplice in the surrender of Artsakh and the death of more than 5,000 Armenian servicemen and volunteers”.
The ex-president was a pro-Russian cadre and now criticizes the new authorities for ruining relations with its neighbor to the north.
The Sasna Tsrer party, which has always acted as a radical opposition to pro-Russian rule and, in particular, to Sargsyan himself, also issued a statement:
“The Kremlin realizes that its Armenian pupils no longer enjoy the trust of wide public circles inside the country, and the Russian presence in Armenia is gradually being reduced to nothing. While before the war the Kremlin managed, with the help of multilevel control and manipulation by various columns of power, to control the political life of Armenia, now, when, figuratively speaking, ‘the horse has escaped from under the knight,’ the rider is forced to walk independently and openly throws the last worn out weapons.”
Social media response
Users of the Armenian Facebook segment also actively commented on the ex-president’s interview.
Here are some comments:
“To be honest, I am very surprised and angry. I was surprised by what was said about the war, about the reasons for the defeat, about the possible steps that could have been taken, but they were not treacherously taken.”
“It pains me very much that the ex-president, knowing the real situation, did not speak about this anywhere from the first days of the war. What prevented us from speaking in those days and declaring that in addition to the CSTO [a military bloc under the leadership of Russia, which includes Armenia], we also have a bilateral military agreement with Russia, that this fact can be used to ensure the country’s security? And then our army could go on victorious operations, and not rely on the detachments of volunteers.”
“Let him come out to the square and speak from there. Then he will see that he will be answered. It was he who made this mess.”
“If Sargsyan ruled the country normally, people like Pashinyan would not have come to power. We need a new prime minister – and he should not be from Armenia.”
“Nichol is a consequence. We had to get rid of you and got rid of you. Nikola’s time will also come, but you will not be in this business.”