The Future of Armenia and its People

The Future of Armenia and its People

A comprehensive analysis and summary of recent happenings in Armenia, and what the future holds for the Armenian people.

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There are many forgotten regions of the world. Areas in which there is no shortage of human suffering that doesn’t make the big ticket news. Sadly, this has only increased with Russia’s war on Ukraine. One such region which has historically been overlooked, is Armenia. A small nation within the Caucasus that is fighting their own battle of survival. So let’s take a look at Armenia for a moment.

“We want to sign a paper, as a result of which we will be criticized, scolded, called a traitor, even the people may decide to remove us from power, but we will be grateful as a result of this Armenia will receive lasting peace and security on an area of 29,800km2. I will sign a solution that will ensure this. I am not interested in what will happen to me next; I am interested in what will happen to the Republic of Armenia”  –Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan


PM Nikol Pashinyan speaking to Armenia’s parliament, giving the above quote.

PM Pashinyan said this on the 14th of September 2022 after Azeri attacks rocked the east of the nation for three days, the 12th-14th of September. At least 200 Armenian soldiers were killed in the attacks (as per Armenia, Azerbaijan claims 450), and at least 80 Azeri soldiers (As per Azerbaijan, Armenia claims 431).

 

Why is this happening..?

In order to understand what will happen in the future, we should understand; why are they fighting..? The two nations have long been embittered in ethnic strife over the region of what is commonly known as Nagorno-Karabakh, or Artsakh (Hereafter referred to as Artsakh). There is much to the areas history, but the modern strife can be dated to the Soviet era. Artsakh has a majority Armenian population, but was handed to the Azeri SSR in an attempt to gain Turkish support. Before and after the breakup of the Soviet Union, the region voted to join Armenia. A war ensued (from 1988-1994) which saw Armenia gain hold of not only Arstakh, but also several surrounding majority-Azeri regions. Despite this, Artsakh (and those separate regions) were internationally recognized as Azeri in the 1991 Alma Ata declaration. In 1991 Artsakh declared independence as the Republic of Artsakh. Though it has been effectively independent since, it is still internationally recognized as Azerbaijan.

In 2020 tensions once again boiled over into war. Known as either the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war, or the “44-Day War”. Though Armenia was able to hold on at first, Turkish supplied drones on top of thousands of Syrian mercenaries (some from Jihadist groups known for disappearances in Afrin) eventually overwhelmed Armenian and Artsakh forces. Thousands were killed in a month and a half, only ending with a Russian brokered ceasefire. Azerbaijan gained back the majority Azeri territories, and also gained pieces of Artsakh. Territory has been granted to Azerbaijan in pieces, with the local Armenian populations oftentimes being forced to evacuate the areas being handed over to Azerbaijan. The signing of this peace deal saw widespread protests throughout Armenia, including the storming of Armenia’s parliament building by hundreds of protestors. The crisis was so bad Armenia had to hold snap elections after widespread calls for Pashinyan’s resignation. Pashinyan still managed to win these elections.


Protestors inside Armenia’s Parliament on the 10th of November, 2020. They were searching for PM Pashinyan.

Now fast forward to September 2022. Azerbaijan attacks for three days, citing “large-scale provocations” from Armenia (they claim Armenia was laying mines near several Azeri held regions). Across the three days, three separate videos emerged which shocked the world. The first that emerged showed Azeri soldiers raping, torturing, and then killing a female Armenian soldier. Her legs and fingers were cut off, with one of said fingers then being put into her mouth, and rocks were put into her eye sockets. One of the other two videos depicted Azeri soldiers executing 7 Armenian POW’s, with the last depicting an Armenian soldier being tortured by Azeri soldiers. In the last day, Pashinyan says he will recognize Azerbaijan’s territory. The statement was immediately met with protests as many gathered outside the gates of Parliament. Though he initially walked back on this statement, saying “No document has been signed and is going to be signed”, in Mid-October it was officially announced after a meeting between Azeri President Aliyev and PM Pashinyan in Prague that Armenia would indeed seek to recognize Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity as apart of what they hope to be a final peace deal. The meeting was largely organized by French President Macron and EU Council President Charles Michel. Michel has hosted several meetings between Aliyev and Pashinyan in Brussels.

 


Pashinyan, Aliyev, Michel, and Macron in Prague on October 6th, 2022 (Photo from primeminister.am)

So what does this mean..?

It means Armenia will recognize Artsakh as territory of Azerbaijan.

Artsakh’s government has repeatedly stated, both before and after this announcement, that they will never accept any position within Azerbaijan. They have demanded self-determination. Protests have been increasing in the self-declared Republic for the past couple years both in frequency and magnitude. Most recently, on the 30th of October, 40,000 gathered in Artsakh’s capital, Stepanakert, to protest. Both government and populace have unequivocally rejected anything short of self-determination.


A picture from the protest in Stepanakert on October 30th, 2022.

Despite these protests, PM Pashinyan, President Aliyev, and President Putin met in Sochi on October 31st, in what was to lay the groundwork for the final peace deal. The meeting was fairly unsuccessful in establishing anything new, however, and only reaffirmed things that had already been agreed upon. (I wrote an article on this meeting which you can view here: https://theatlasnews.co/conflict/2022/11/01/armenia-azerbaijan-sochi-talks-prove-unfruitful/ )

Since this meeting, Pashinyan has agreed to a Russian proposal to delay the issue of status for Artsakh for an indefinite period of time.

“Moreover, it must be admitted that this is not a new situation, but in any case. To what extent is the policy of the government of Armenia in accordance with this vision? I must say that it fully and 100% coincides.”

The role of Iran

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