https://www.turan.az-In the Armenian society, the word treason is oft-recurring since the outbreak of the military conflict in autumn last year. Also, the word remains to be the most frequently used expression in the political lexicon. All things considered, that’s what accounts for voting majority’s belief in the reasons of Armenia’s defeat in the war against Azerbaijan. What’s behind this terse judgment? This is detailed in Turan’s interview with Tigran Hzmalyan, a chairman of the European Party of Armenia.
Question: Many people in Armenia are inclined to charge Pashinyan with treason – surrender of Shusha and arrangements with Azerbaijan. As far as I know, you were in the field during the war. Can you nail down the treason?
Answer: Yes, I was in the field as a member of volunteer’ detachment since October 13, 2020, and, incidentally, our detachment kept its ground in Mardakert region. I want our dialogue to be of thematic perspective, not absrtract-politological: I stand by my words risking not only my political reputation but life as well.
It’d be senseless to plead for all or many. It is alleged that victory has thousand fathers but defeat is an orphan. Indeed, the most frequently used word in Armenia today is «treason». It happened just as expected. It was exactly that led to differences and variances. It has to be kept in mind that a clause «national treason» is stipulated in criminal codes of all countries. It is meant that a citizen or a group of citizens are betraying their own state in the interests of another country. No article in the legislation of a country stipulates that a state or rather its government betrays its own citizens in the interests of another country.
To my thinking, this happened in Armenia not in autumn 2020 but much earlier, 20 years before that. Specifically, on October 27, 1999 when a coup d’etat took place in Yerevan due to act of terror at the parliament and assassination of the prime minister, speaker, deputies and ministers. It should be added that the coup d’état was staged by Russian special services, following which their henchmen and agents had come to power in this country.
Note that November 9, 2020 came to be just the finale of tragedy. That’s why the Pashinyan’s role in the matter being doubtless is indirect. He is none other than a collateral character among traitors and collaborationists.
Question: -You have repeatedly charged Russia with occupation of Armenia and deprivation of its sovereignty. What was Moscow’s part in the recent war? Do you accept the opinion that Russia has betrayed Armenia; and if Yes why?
Answer: In fact, through the years I consistently claimed that Russia has occupied and colonized Armenia by stripping us of political independence and economic self-government. Over the past quarter-century Russia secured a grip on power engineering, industry, railway system, mobile communications, gas infrastructure and electricity network, special services, antiaircraft defense, information resources and a number of political parties of Armenia.
It was not of recent beginning, under Levon Ter-Petrosyan who deployed a Russian military base and Russian Federal Security Service. At full speed the situation continued under Kocharyan and Sargsyan to end under Pashinyan.
It has to be kept in mind that in autumn 2020, both on the battlefield and in the rear of Armenia there were armed forces of Soviet-Russian style under command of semiliterate graduates of Russian military academies politically headed by highly selected shills of colonial administration. All these came as a result of 25-year old selection and «crackdown» held by Moscow following the First Karabakh War after it made sure that Armenia was getting out of the imperial control in a bid to build a national, democratic and independent state.
Account has to be taken of the fact that all dissenters were either killed or exiled from the country, deprived of jobs, votes or imprisoned. With that consideration, the Armenia’s defeat came to be the defeat of the Russian colony, Russian post-Soviet model and as a whole, the defeat of Russia proper. In this vein, losses of many thousands in the war are none other than Armenia’s vicarious sacrifice – ultimate price for liberation from the Russian colonization, for delusions of a part of our society on alliance and patronage of Russia.
As for us personally, we have never had delusions of this sort; over the years we warned against catastrophic consequences of the Russian colonial rule. As often is the case, it was Russia itself that reaffirmed our truth: along with Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, and Belarus, Armenia proved to be the next post-Soviet state to curb the circle of colonialism.
Are the facts cited above an ascertainment of Russia treason? In my view, the situation is far worse: the Putin’ junta sold Armenia for multi billion dollars offered by Azerbaijani oligarchs. The story will be out very soon. I have some recollection that the situation is described in the ancient story of «Pyrrhic victory». As a matter of fact, at stake is «a feast in time of plague» – the mankind announced a sort of great armistice during pandemic and set about salvation matters. I’d like to emphasize that the massacres will be politically and morally evaluated to change results of the war.
Question: How will war results affect further relations between Armenia and Russia?
Answer: Our conversation runs at a moment of nationwide rebellion in Russia against the lie, violence and corruption-based Putin regime. It is clear that further relations with Russia will be based on results of vthe process not only in Armenia but worldwide as well. All of us realize developments to take place in Russia at the earliest possible time.
It would make sense to recall the August 1991 developments in Moscow when official Baku overhastily backed a State Committee on the State of Emergency’ attempted coup while Yerevan far-sightedly condemned it. You are likely aware of consequences to affect further relations between Yeltsin Russia and Azerbaijan/Armenia. Some analogues seem to be obvious when it comes to an inevitable defeat of Putin’ regime. Strange it is that it is exactly Putin’s support that helps Pashinyan to maintain himself in power. All idle talks about alleged «conflicts» between Putin and Pashinyan are none other than a smoke screen for a deal between Moscow and Baku. In reality, Pashinyan’s loyalty to Kremlin has, right from the beginning, been evident as complacency in a political sense of the word.
It was for this reason that we set up a European Party of Armenia in 2018 after we made sure in prearranged stunt of the so-called «velvet revolution» which was meant to disguise and prolong Russian control over Yerevan. Inevitable result of the war will be Armenia’s alienation from Russia was was the case in Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus. Armenia is sure to demolish the power of pro-Russian collaborationists and as a member of South-East European union start integrating into the European Union and NATO.
Question: While at Armenia in February 2019 I was surprised that politicians, military and ordinary people genuinely believed that the Karabakh conflict had finally been settled and that there was no need in reconciling with Azerbaijan nor move toweards each other. Am I to understand that the Armenian society believes that armistice and normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey and Azerbaijan are more preferable than secular enmity?
Answer: Armistice and normalization of relations are always preferable than enmity and self-explanatory in Armenia. A counter question arises: does this axiom sit well in Azerbaijan and Turkey likewise where enmity and hatred to Armenians are cultivated at the national policy, starting with schools and kindergartens and ending in football, opera, army and statements of President Aliyev.
But I’d prefer to refrain from this question knowing that you visited Armenia and, frankly speaking, faced no hatred and enmity.
It must be acknowledged that conviction of military, politicians and ordinary citizens in ultimate resolution of the Karabakh issue in Armenia is based on uprightness and historical justice of our stand. Tacit evidence and validation are fortress-city Tigranakert (1 century B. C.), cloisters and churches Amaras, Dadivank, Gandzasar, tens of Armenian temples having been erected over 2 millenniums.
It is important to keep in mind that armistice and normalization of relations are mutually dependent process. Account has to be taken of the fact that a durable and lasting peace, especially good neighborliness and cooperation have never existed in history between dictatorships. An eloquent testimony to this is Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact violated by Stalin and Hitler two years later. Another variant is that a safe truce between dictatorship and democracy is possible in terms of democracy protection by powerful ally.
Another example is North and South Korea or China and Taiwan where the first are protected against attacks of the second through the US military might.
Finally, the third variant, most preferable and solely realistic: armistice and alliance between the two democracies. An eloquent testimony is relations between Germany and France that fought for centuries; relations between Spain and Netherlands; Britain and Ireland.
What do you think, which of three variants is reminiscent of current and prospective relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan in view of our country’s advancement toward Euro-integration, democracy and freedom?
Question: Prior to the Second Karabakh War, both Armenia and Karabakh rejected any idea of joint residence with Azerbaijani. Are Karabakh Armenians prepared for this or consider it unrealistic? Why is Baku’s willingness to grant all rights to Karabakh Armenians and guarantee their normal residence is taken negatively? Why are Armenians of Karabakh so afraid of the idea of Azerbaijani citizenship?
Answer: I hope that your questions are sincere just as my answers. However, numerous video-records on tortures, humiliations of Armenian prisoners of war and civilians posted online under general approval of Azerbaijani soldiers engaged in decapitating Armenian old men and decorticating helpless prisoners… Do you actually mean the reality of joint residence of Armenians and Azerbaijanis in Karabakh?
The point to be emphasized is that Azerbaijanis do not understand an important feature of the Armenian history and psychology: Armenians appreciate the Karabakh conflict as continuation of the Armenian genocide. Strictly speaking, that’s true: it was the Russian-Turkish treaty of 1921 and Stalin’s subsequent decision on transfer of Karabakh from Armenia to Azerbaijan that became a final act of Genocide and Patricide – annihilation of the Armenian people and deprivation of their Homeland carried out jointly by Turkey and Russia for the period from 1915 to 1921.
Needless to say that there are routine repressions against Armenian sportsmen, musicians, entrepreneurs and foreign tourists that suffered in Azerbaijan due to prosecutions, kidnapping and arrests. In fact, division of peoples that occurred in the beginning of the century is the most effective and reliable method of struggle against permanent tensions, suspiciousness, fear and new wars. Alternative effect occurs contrary to will of nations, out of malice of the authorities that fuel enmity and hatred in line with their own interests and purposes. In doing so, corrupt leaders gain the upper hand to plunder their country and people, unpunished and uncontrollably.
Question: At present some political experts of Armenia stress the necessity of returning lost territories and taking vengeance. How far are these sentiments reflective of Armenia’s public opinion?
Answer: Let’s clear up your question; otherwise my answer will be incomplete. To my thinking, there are not genuine, impartial data on real or intermediate results of the war in devastated Armenia or elated Azerbaijan. Who is in control of total military-political situation in the region, and much obvious and effective than prior to the 44-day war? Certainly, not Armenia. But are you sure that it is Azerbaijan?
I think that a hardheaded analysis is indicative of Putin Russia, the country that plunged our region into a bloody jumble of the war. Its troops are currently deployed in Karabakh as an enormous Russian military base with the Russian tricolored flag above strategic heights and roads, from Mrov range to Arax. Did Aliyev launch this war by killing 5, 000 Armenian teenagers for the sake of this war? I cannot say anything about losses of the Azerbaijani party
It will suffice to mention that within 44 days Armenia fought not only against Azerbaijan but Turkey as well with its unmanned aircrafts, instructors and generals and on top of all with Russia that regularly switched off the Armenian antiaircraft defense forcing Pashinyan to decline from any diplomatic, political and military aid from the West. As a matter of fact, Armenia suffered not only military defeat but civilizational collapse of its policy, economy and ideology over the past 20 years aimed at rapproching with Putin-led, imperial and colonial Russia.
Paradoxical it is that Russia has lost vastly larger from this «victory» than gained. With its troops deployed in Karabakh not for the sake of peace but for conservation and control over a permanent and manageable war in the region Russia has finally and completely lost Armenia as was the case with Georgia in 2008; Ukraine in 2014 and Belarus in 2020. A question arises: what has Russia gained in the end? Abkhazia, Pridnestrovye, Crimea, Donbas and Karabakh? No, it gained war, hatred, international isolation and sanctions which challenge not only these «possessions» but the very existence of Russia within the framework of its current borders with due regard for situations in North Caucasus, Povolzhye and Far East. Another question arises: what did Azerbaijan «gain» from this war?
Particular emphasis needs to be placed on the fact that under no circumstances Armenia would relinquish its rights and commitments in Karabakh. Irrespective of allegations of some politicians in service of Russia, there is an absolute consensus on the subject in the Armenian society and diaspora. Proof of that is a great volunteering activity on the war days with me as a participant of the movement, and strong support in the rear and from diaspora. All these efforts were suppressed by Russian special services and local agents.
Suffice it to say that all «strange retreats» in the war were carried out not by military bases and volunteers but special subunits controlled by Federal Security Service and Main Intelligence Directorate of Russia. Thus, it took place on October 3 when «quite unexpectedly» FSS relinquished their position in the frontline; and earlier November the Armenian battalions left Shusha for the same «strange» order.
It will suffice to emphasize that the deoccupation of Karabakh has first been mentioned not in Armenia proper. This formulation was sounded in a resolution of the French Senate on November 25, and then echoed by Parliaments of Belgium and Netherlands. Illegality, inadmissibility and unfeasibility of the trilateral agreement signed by Putin, Aliyev and Pashinyan on November 9 are declared not only in Yerevan and Moscow but Paris and Washington.
In other words, Baku is directly and cogently pressured by the Minsk Group, to be exact, by France and the United States. It’d be wrong to rely on Putin today: he won’t be long now to rejoice amenities. The same is true of Erdogan: Turkey is presently faced with serious challenges and pressing put forward by the NATO and EU, IMF and PACE, Greece and France, Arabs and Kurds. Further complicating the case with Aliyev’s popularity are Syrian jihadists. Also, oil and gas are falling in price with every passing day. That’s the current reality we are witnessing in Armenia earlier 2021.
Question: Prior to the Second Karabakh War an offer to return 7 regions in exchange for the Status of Karabakh was strongly denied, and movers were harshly criticized. What’s their opinion today? Are there any changes, and if so why?
Answer: I’m not minded to comment words of Armenian false politicians who defrauded their own people and the rest of the world for 20 years; who plundered their country and paid tributes to Moscow in return of their betrayal. National-democratic forces that are likely to seize power and responsibility in Armenia in a short while will proclaim a legal succession from the First Republic of 1918-1921 as was the case in due time with Azerbaijan and Georgia.
In 1990, a clause of legal succession to Soviet Armenia was inserted into the Declaration on Independence under the pressure of Levon Ter-Petrosyan. We are minded to correct this criminal error. If this occurs, the point will not be about the right of Karabakh Armenians to self-determination but about the territorial integrity of the Republic of Armenia. By the way, any international court will direct attention to the fact that no Karabakh had ever been mentioned as a part of the first Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan as set forth in your current Constitution. In other words, issues of this sort are to be resolved not by the right of force which is rather inconstant but the right of law which is unalterable. Our future power is sure to offer this principle. Peace and good neighborliness are attained by law, not by arms.
Question: There were 2-3 materials in the Armenian press after November 10 (interview of Jirayr Liparityan, article by Edward Nagdalyan) as saying that the Armenian society made a strategic and system miscalculation not only in the conflict with Azerbaijan. These articles insist that the very ideology of society is ill-natured to doom Armenia and Armenians to senseless enmity against neighbors without real dividends. How did Armenia take these evaluations? Why has Deputy Andranik Kocharyan’s proposal on the necessity of peace conclusion and establishment of diplomatic relations with Azerbaijan found a hostile reception in the Armenian society?
Answer: I beg to unite your two questions into one, for the point is about minor officials of Ter-Petrosyan period. It ought to be noted that their opinion is reflective of the position of their ideological leader – first President of Armenia that laid down foundations of 25-year old degradation and stagnation of our country. With that consideration, perversity of ideology, policy and diplomacy, as well as system and strategic miscalculations came from previous Armenian authorities’ square refusal from European development path and denial of military-political partnership with the West that led our country to the mire of post-Soviet colonialism and military-political catastrophe of 2020.
It is worth pointing out that now they are casting the blame on Pashinyan in disregard of the fact that Nikol was closest associate and zealous supporter of Ter-Petrosyan since 2008.
One has to admit that their signature move of manipulations with the Armenian society is intended to oppose Russians to Turks and persuade Armenians to reconcile with former in a bid to avoid the latter. Sometimes, for greater effect this forgery is furnished with Liparityan’s fairytales about excellent friendship prospects with Turkey. By the way, Turkish chauvinists that killed Grant Dink in Istanbul or Azerbaijani valiants that recently stoned Armenian lorries in Marneuli, are quick in restoring the paradigm into the traditional Russian-Turkish trap.
Granting this, we are countering this century-long lie with the simplest way out of the situation: Armenia’s Euro-integration and country’s entry into the EU and NATO. Ukraine and Georgia have made their choice. The ball is with us.
Question: Any society that suffered a military tragedy is eager to find causes and persons at fault. To judge by mass media reports, most people in Armenia are inclined to find Pashinyan guilty of the crisis. Is that right? Is the society ready for serious and impartial analysis of war causes? Was it possible to avoid the crisis?
Answer: Your first question that remains the last one in my interpretation I leave unanswered. It is for you to decide – on the basis of my previous arguments – if the Armenian society is ready for impartial analysis of what happened. I tried to be impartial and sincere. Thank you for your questions and attempts to establish a dialogue during these difficult times.