Armenians are very interesting people, even more interesting is how they vote. Since the second independence in 1991, with the exception of perhaps two elections, it has been difficult to predict the outcome of the elections based on the polls or people’s expressions. Of course, we should consider that many of the elections have been unfair and rigged with irregularities, including the last one. The disastrous war last year played a major role in this year’s election. The limited to no support from the Armenian government for the Artsakh Defense Army seemed to be by design since the prime minister repeatedly blamed Artsakh and her defense for the poor socio-economic situation in the Republic of Armenia. He also blamed all the difficulties in Armenia on the previous regimes, while taking zero responsibility for improving or even planning to improve the situation in the country. It is worth mentioning that in the past 30 years the most socio-economic advancements and living condition betterments in Armenia were during Robert Kocharian’s presidency. The prime minister’s continuous blame game followed by the disastrous Artsakh war last year were sufficient to make the Armenian people believe that losing the war was a turning point for Armenia and therefore re-elected Pashinyan with the promise of a prosperous country, living happily alongside Azerbaijan and Turkey.
It is almost certain that this was a Turkish designed plan with most probably Israeli oversight since neither Pashinyan nor Aliyev have shown remotely close intelligence to devise such a clever plan. Let’s begin with the Turkey’s involvement where Erdogan was more joyous than Aliyev himself, celebrating this victory, perhaps rightfully so, since the Turkish military was actively involved in the war. Turkish special forces, air force, and drones operated by the Turkish military were the decisive force during this war, not the Azerbaijani army. Of course, we cannot underestimate the Israeli weapons, especially drones, often operated by the manufacturing company staff. Then come the mercenaries and the Arab jihadists, who since day one, were at the front lines fighting for Azerbaijan. What Azerbaijan can celebrate is the power of its oil money to buy the victory, not much else. The Turks were also testing the Russian tolerance by bullying Armenia. Their plan was to distort the close ties between Armenia and Russia through Pashinyan government. They certainly succeeded when Pashinyan began to annoy and disrespect Russians since day one of his prime ministry, basically guarantying that Russians will not get directly and abruptly involved if Azerbaijan attacked Artsakh. This plan was also successful since the Russians did not get involve in the war until almost then end, saving a small part of the republic of Artsakh so they can station their military. The main question that remains unanswered is that if the Russians punished the Armenians by their late actions or did they have an arrangement with Turkey, the latter perhaps less likely.
All these plans were designed not only to occupy Artsakh but to scare the Armenian people. The casualties on the Armenian side, unofficially numbering more than 5000 soldiers, were very heavy for a small country where most of the families have only one son so 5000 families lost their only son. Pashinyan also used it as a scare tactic to win the snap election, claiming that the animosity between the Armenians and the Azeris are over and all can live side by side happily. And the majority of the Armenias who voted believed him. Was this a big mistake? To elect someone whose weak leadership during wartime just months ago resulted in a disastrous defeat? To raise the white flag and invite the enemy to your table? Didn’t Armenia need a strong man? Apparently not, according to the naïve Armenians who believed that by giving up Artsakh the war will end, and the economic prosperity will follow. Interestingly, The Turks and Azeris claimed that Zangezur belonged to them even before the Artsakh war when their armies were tens of kilometers away from that region. Now, their armed forces are inside Zangezur and the weak Armenian government cannot do anything about it. The Azeris are also attacking in the north on Gegharkoonik region and in the West on Yeratskh. What happened to the big promise of getting along side by side and living happily together?? When the people keep a weak and defeated prime minister in power then they basically empower the enemy to attack more and force new concessions, ultimately the people will pay the price.
As I mentioned in the beginning the Armenians are very interesting people, they believe the leaders who lie, and they elect the corrupt ones. Some experts in the diaspora give lectures and write articles on creating a “Civil Society” in Armenia. While this is a very logical and attractive topic it is simply shortsighted and unrealistic, after all it took the US couple of hundred years to establish a civil society. The Armenian people need to be educated on the basics of democracy and how powerful and significant their vote can be. After hundreds of years being occupied or under influence of other governments with no concept of voting, especially during Soviet times in the 20th century, learning democratic values is a must. Understanding that the elected officials must report to people not the other way around. Believing in the power of people and not enduring abuse by their elected leaders. And finally, believing in themselves not the fake saviors that show up from time to time when the previous leader’s time is up. These are basic, yet crucial social studies and responsibilities that we as Armenians need and should advocate before the country can move towards a 21st century civil society.
So, what now? Armenia has a prime minister who continues to lead the country with baseless and empty promises, the last one being “peace”. More than half the country simply does not care to even participate in the elections, the others believed the promise of “the goddess of love will come down from the skies and make the Turks and the Azeris our friends.” The Armenian government has not presented any plans to the people since they took over the power more than 3 years ago. The Azeris keep on attacking the Armenia proper and killing our soldiers, their territorial claims are getting bigger and bigger every day. The prime minister is begging Russia to protect Armenia’s borders. Could it get more complicated than this?? The brave Armenian people need a strong leader, one with diplomatic skills, one who can protect them and pull the country out of this very difficult situation. Well, you voted for the weak, yet all of us will face the consequences.