BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN
Since signing the disastrous November 9 agreement, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has taken every opportunity to deflect blame and pass the buck for the humiliating defeat Armenia suffered on his watch.
Pashinyan’s cowardice behavior has been encouraged by members of his My Step bloc, who have adopted a nonchalant attitude toward the seismic losses we, as a nation, suffered under their leadership.
While the messaging of Pashinyan’s presentation—or rather performance—on Wednesday to lawmakers in parliament was more of the same unabashed banter, this time it was punctuated by My Step bloc’s arrogant standing ovation, when the prime minister accused his predecessors of “squandering our victory in the first Artsakh war.”
Emboldened by the applause, Pashinyan continued his divisive antagonism when one of his former My Step lawmakers, Gor Gevorgyan, who left the bloc immediately after the war, challenged his tone-deafness.
“As a member of a post-war country’s parliament, I am ashamed of this applause because we have thousands of casualties, captured compatriots and newly-dug graves. You should have tried to rein in your teammates,” Gevorgyan told Pashinyan from the Parliament floor.
Of course, Pashinyan, never one to display a modicum of humility, shot back at his one-time colleague by saying, “Who are you? Where did you come from? I won’t bother to answer your question,” adding, “We applaud people who believe in the future of Armenia and Artsakh.”
The Prosperous Armenia Party, the parliament’s largest opposition force, boycotted the session, while the other opposition Bright Armenia Party took offense and accused Pashinyan of dodging responsibility for his role in surrendering territories in Artsakh and Armenia to Azerbaijan, the thousands of families impacted by the death or injuries of soldiers, as well as the hundreds still being held captive by official Baku.
The Bright Armenia Party’s Taron Simonyan said that Pashinyan and his allies are being guided by what he called the “My Step moral code.”
“As if these heavy losses were not enough, they are boosting their political leader’s extreme ineptness,” said Simonyan.
This has been Pashinyan’s and My Step’s modus operandi since the November 9 agreement, which while it ended military actions in Karabakh, it opened the floodgates to challenges that often seem insurmountable—the loss of territory in Armenia that was not outlined in the document; the need to negotiate Armenia’s borders with Azerbaijan based on Soviet-era cartography, directly threatening Armenia’s sovereignty; cementing and advancing Turkey’s role in the Karabakh conflict; and the list continues.
During the past almost six months, Pashinyan has praised the prospects of opening the border with Azerbaijan while Baku and Ankara have doubled-down on their expansionist rhetoric by, for example, claiming Zangezur as a historic Azeri territory that will unite “all Turkic people,” according to Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev. Furthermore, Pashinyan, as well as his National Security Advisor, have hinted at “rethinking” Armenia’s approach toward relations with Ankara. These dangerously defeatist positions have been parroted by My Step adherents, who have appeared on national and international stages and have diminished Armenia’s stature and credibility.
On the domestic front, while relatives of Armenian prisoners of war and captives languish at various government building awaiting a solution from the country’s leaders, thousands of family members of killed or wounded soldiers are awaiting promised assistance from Pashinyan and his government.
While there is no question that Pashinyan’s predecessors have compounded Armenia’s current situation through their oligarchic governance that saw the usurpation of Armenia’s national wealth, Pashinyan, as the leader of the country, cannot continue to point fingers at others and must, once and for all, take responsibility for the current predicament. For starters, that requires humility—a trait Pashinyan has always lacked.
Armenians are slated to go to the polls on June 20, in a special parliamentary elections called by Pashinyan. This means that despite the myriad challenges and obstacles facing Armenia, Artsakh and their citizens, Armenia, once again, will be in campaign mode.
Of course, with all its pompous arrogance, the ruling My Step bloc has nominated him as its frontrunner candidate, which defeats the entire purpose of snap elections, since the need for the polls stems from the very fact that Pashinyan and his crew were unable to govern Armenia properly and protect its national security.
However, since logic has never figured into or prevailed in Armenia’s political landscape, it will be up to the voters to ensure that Pashinyan is not allowed to govern Armenia again.