On May 1, the largest rally of opposition forces demanding the resignation of the Prime Minister ended with the installation of tents at the Mashtots-Moskovyan crossroads in the center of Yerevan. Nikol Pashinyanwho came to power exactly 4 years ago in the wake of mass protests, which at that time were not particularly hindered by anyone.
However, now the situation looks exactly the opposite – a bicycle on which varchapet (By the way, just like Zelensky) rode to work a couple of times under the cameras, disappeared somewhere. Moreover, a few days ago, Pashinyan’s armored motorcade knocked down a young pregnant woman to death, which, to put it mildly, did not strengthen his already shabby rating. On the eve of the “Citizen’s Day” on April 30, there were rumors about the intention of the authorities to organize a loyal action using administrative resources, but instead they decided to limit themselves to subbotniks and ridiculous manipulations.
The consultative assembly for cooperation with extra-parliamentary political forces under Pashinyan is almost exclusively composed of representatives of pro-Western anti-Russian groups
Despite the continued apathy of part of the population after the end of the active phase of the third Karabakh war in November 2020, the number of opponents of the ruling regime who are ready for active action has increased markedly. Contrary to the clichés of pro-government propaganda, these are far from being only supporters of the parliamentary opposition in the form of the “Armenia” and “I have a part” blocs, affiliated respectively with the second (Robert Kocharyan) and third (Serzh Sargsyan) presidents. Since April 25, protests have been staged by the relatives of the dead servicemen, demanding an objective investigation of the circumstances that led to the unsuccessful outcome of the hostilities in the fall of 2020, the loss of territories and the death of many thousands of people. There are also supporters of both “traditional” and relatively new groups, who also eschew the politics of citizens, are concerned about the fate of the country and share the thesis that the loss of Armenian Artsakh will eventually lead to the loss of Armenia itself.
Robert Kocharyan in one of the rally columns
Pashinyan’s recent statement about the need to “lower the bar of expectations” on Nagorno-Karabakh, which its main foreign policy partners allegedly demand from Yerevan, has increased irritation on the part of the active part of society and further strengthened the polarization. To some extent, the opponents are trying to reproduce the tactics of the “velvet revolutionaries” 4 years ago. On May 1, columns from Tigranashen, Ijevan, Sardarapat and Aparan moved to Yerevan, joining on France Square – the names of all these settlements carry some symbolic and semantic meaning. In particular, in the battles of Sardarapat and Bash-Aparan in May 1918, the relatively small Armenian army and militias managed to defeat the Turkish army, preventing the occupation of Eastern Armenia. Ijevan – “small homeland” varchapetand Tigranashen, located on the strategic route from Yerevan to Karabakh, Syunik and Iran, is the former Azerbaijani enclave of Kyarki of the Nakhichevan ASSR, the transfer of which (along with the enclaves on the northeastern road to Georgia) is allegedly demanded by Baku. Many opponents of Pashinyan are convinced that with his policy he consistently defends the interests of Turkey and Azerbaijan.
“Over the past week, the Armenian people have proved that they have risen to their feet and reject the political course of the current authorities. The authorities have no mandate for new concessions. In a short time, we must subject the capitulator (Nikol Pashinyan) to capitulation,”
– said during the rally on May 1, the vice-speaker of the parliament Ishkhan Saghatelyan. He also spoke about the next steps:
“Tomorrow we begin the process of depriving them (the Pashinyan government) of power. This is not a power grab. This is the constitutional right of worthy citizens to go out to fight and eliminate the Turkic government as soon as possible. Eliminate in the name of Armenia, Artsakh and the Armenian people. Tomorrow many streets and highways in the republic will be closed. Tomorrow there should not be a single moving car in the central district of Yerevan.”
Calling on the crowd (estimated to be several tens of thousands of people) to observe law and order, Saghatelyan addressed the deputies from the ruling Civil Contract party, saying that they were “hostages of one person” and that most of them had nothing to do with his “crimes and decisions”:
“You have a historic chance to correct your mistake, to stand next to the people. This is your last chance to improve, understand, realize and be with the people. Then it will be too late. Understand, realize and make a decision in the next couple of days.
According to the director of the Caucasus Institute Alexander IskandaryanThe opposition will not be able to topple Pashinyan in the near future: “There is no social base necessary for this. This is a social bubble in which the opposition operates, but everything else in society is occupied by apathy. We actually returned to the situation before 2018 – weak government and weak opposition with apathy in society.”.
The resistance movement’s chances of success in the short term are indeed not yet clear. At the same time, the authorities do not expect an easy life in the near future. Having largely lost their former popularity, the further they go, the more they will be forced to hide behind the backs of law enforcement officers.
On the morning of May 2, the opposition blocks the streets throughout Yerevan, the police are trying to counteract.
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