The Armenian army has demanded that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and the government “immediately resign.” In a live Facebook post, Pashinyan said the army was “attempting a coup” and called on the people to gather in downtown Yerevan to support the government.
A statement from the Armenian General Staff said that “the Prime Minister and the Government of Armenia are unable to make reasonable decisions on the current crisis, which is critical for the Armenian nation.”
The statement said that the Armenian Armed Forces “will not tolerate attacks by current officials seeking to discredit the army.”
Pashinyan called on the people to gather in the Republic Square in Yerevan to support the government.
Pashinyan also dismissed Chief of General Staff General Onik Gasparyan.
These latest developments are a continuation of the political crisis that began when Armenia agreed to withdraw from a significant part of the territories it has occupied in Nagorno-Karabakh for nearly 30 years since the clashes began late last year.
How did the political crisis start in Armenia?
Pashkina’s agreement reached in November at the initiative of Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the conflict with Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh provoked a strong reaction in the country.
After the signing of the agreement, which Pasha described as “painful for our people,” large protests began in Armenia.
During the protests demanding the resignation of the government, it was seen that harsh words such as “traitor” were used for Pashinyan.
Along with former presidents Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sargsyan, leaders of the Armenian Church and other Catholic churches in the country have called on Pashinyan to leave his office.
Pashinyan did not accept the resignation demands, but called early elections for this year.
In a statement in December, Pashinyan said, “I am ready to step down by the decision of our people. Also, if the people’s trust is restored, I will continue to lead the Republic of Armenia in difficult times. There is only one way to answer all these questions. Go to early elections.”
Why does the army react to Pashinyan?
Tensions between the army and Pashinyan escalated with the dismissal of Deputy Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Tiran Kacharyan.
The Armenian army said it did not accept the dismissal of Pashkina’s Deputy Chief of Staff Tiran Kacharyan and openly opposed it.
The Armenian Armed Forces have also tightened their grip, accusing the government of carrying out “attacks aimed at discrediting the army.”
According to the Armenian media, Kacharyan “mocked” Pashkina’s opinion that Russian-made Iskander missiles could not hit the targets set during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Kacharyan was removed from office after the reaction reached Pashkina.
How did the controversy over the Alexander missiles begin?
Former Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan’s remarks in an interview and Pashkina’s response sparked discussions about the role of Russian-made Iskander missiles in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in late 2020.
At the beginning of the conflict, Sargsyan raised the question of why Armenia did not use the Iskander missile.
Pashinyan responded by saying that Alexander’s missiles were “problematic and useless.”
“I would also like to ask him (Sargsyan) the question: why did Alexander missiles not explode? Or, for example, why only 10 percent exploded,” Pashinyan said.
With these words, Pashinyan was in fact the first high-ranking political official to confirm allegations of the use of Iskander missiles during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Pashkina’s words provoked a reaction from Russia. Although the Russian government has not made a direct statement on the issue, some Russian lawmakers close to the Kremlin have criticized Pashkina for his remarks.
Armenian media reported that Kacharyan also “ridiculed” the comments about the Iskander missiles, which were rejected after hearing by Pashinyan.
Iskander is a Russian mobile short-range missile system. The distance of the apartment reaches 500 kilometers.
Armenia, which includes Russian-made weapons in the Armed Forces’ inventory, was also the first buyer of the Iskander-E series, which was completed in 2016.
Who is Lieutenant General Qajarian?
Tiran Kacharyan is one of the most important and well-known officers of the Armenian army.
In fact, according to some Armenian sources, it is possible that at some point in the future he will be appointed chief of staff.
Kajaryan, 43, fought on the front lines during the Nagorno-Karabakh war in the early 1990s and continued his mission with the military in Shushi after the war.
In 2013, he was appointed Chief of the Combat Training Department of the Armenian Armed Forces, and in June 2020, he was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff.
In October, at Pashinyan’s suggestion, he was declared a “National Hero” for his role in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The reason for declaring Kacharyan a National Hero was explained by his “extraordinary services to the defense of the motherland and his courage and loyalty during the conflicts.”