Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 9
By Fikret Dolukhanov – Trend:
"Reason says: the whole cannot be endangered because of the part, and, at a minimum, it is necessary to declare, loudly declare that we do not need these fields, that we are ready to return these lands for the sake of peace."
The above line is from a translated fragment of the biographical novel of the acting Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan entitled "The Other Side of the Earth", which became a bestseller in the country in 2018.
The excerpt was published under the same headline on the Armenian analytical portal "Voskanapat".
Pashinyan, who became Prime Minister of Armenia as a result of the velvet revolution, who was sometimes considered a “protégé” of Levon Ter-Petrosyan, was remembered in 2015 for his claims to to return the occupied regions around Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan.
In 1997-1998, then-President of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosyan proposed a plan to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, implying the demilitarization of the occupied territories and the return of a number of settlements to Azerbaijan.
As a result, Prime Minister Robert Kocharyan, Minister of Internal Affairs and National Security Serzh Sargsyan and Minister of Defense Vazgen Sargsyan, dissatisfied with such a plan, actually forced him to resign before the end of his Presidential tenure - February 3, 1998.
During the 2008 presidential election, Ter-Petrosyan, made an attempt to return to power, and as a result he gathered 21.5 percent of the votes and settled for the second place. Serzh Sargsyan, the protege of the incumbent President Robert Kocharyan, won the election.
The opposition, however, did not recognize the election results and accused the authorities of fraud. Thousands of people went out to the streets of Yerevan. The confrontation turned into unrest, during which 131 people were injured, eight of whom died from gunshot wounds. On the same day, Kocharyan announced the state of emergency for 20 days in Yerevan.
The mentioned political biographical novel "The Other Side of the Earth", was published in parts in May-December 2008 in the "Haykakan Zhamanak" newspaper when Pashinyan was hiding.
The author describes in the book how he, allegedly, illegally left Armenia, since he was on the wanted list after the events of March 1, 2008. That is, the book was a direct result of the riots of 2008, when Pashinyan was still a supporter of Ter-Petrosyan. However, we assume that he still remains a supporter of Ter-Petrosyan.
As we see, Pashinyan, like Ter-Petrosyan, even then understood that the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is impossible without the return of Azerbaijani lands, about which, as it turns out, he even openly wrote.
So why did Pashinyan change his rhetoric after coming to power? Is the fact that the power struggle in the country, as the Turkish expert on the Caucasus Mehmet Fatih Oztarsu told Trend earlier, is being built around the Karabakh issue, and if someone tries to change the country's position on this issue, then he can be dismissed from the government the next day?
As we remember, the US Ambassador Richard Mills, in an interview with the Armenian portal EVN Report, stated that Armenia would have to make compromises with Azerbaijan in order to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and expressed hope that the transition period which Armenia had entered would lead to a discussion of the options which the country has and the compromises which the country is ready for, because what he heard before was worrisome.
The topic of returning the lands has recently been heard and is being discussed more and more often in Armenia. Perhaps, instead of engaging in populism in order to preserve power, it is worthwhile to start preparing the people for the compromises that the country will have to make anyway?
Follow the author on Twitter: @FDolukhanov