ArmInfo. Russian political scientist, Leading Researcher at the MGIMO Institute of International Studies of the Russian Foreign Ministry Sergey Markedonov presented five theses on the political legacy of the first President of the Republic of Armenia Levon Ter- Petrosyan, Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh issue.
Markedonov began his first thesis by recalling that today, January 9, 2023, the first President of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosyan turns 78 years old.
"Like any other major political figure, it is impossible to assess him in a two-tone scale. However, in the context of Armenian post-Soviet history, the figure of Ter-Petrosyan has a special significance. It was he who came to power, riding the Karabakh wave, defeating both the national communist nomenklatura and the national radicals in the struggle for it. But none other than the first president of Armenia, broke the taboo on the topic of political concessions to Azerbaijan. In November 1997, he stated that following the maximalist guidelines (attempts to build statehood through the de facto integration of Armenia, Karabakh and seven adjacent areas with the former NKAO) can bring the Armenian national state project to the brink of disaster," the expert noted. However, according to him, his warning did not become a subject of serious reflection both among the elites and in the society of Armenia.
According to Markedonov, on the contrary, this led to the resignation of Levon Ter-Petrosyan. "And his attempts in 2008-2012 to return to power either as the head of the republic, or the mayor of Yerevan, or a MP were unsuccessful. The first president remained a high-ranking retired commentator on current political processes," the Russian expert noted.
Secondly, the political scientist believes that the discussion about the price of keeping Nagorno-Karabakh, supporting its self-determination, the limits of concessions to Baku resumed with renewed vigor after the defeat of Yerevan in the 2020 war.
"However, now it was no longer a format for discussing the text (statement) of the head of state. The whole society was involved in it. The concessions on Karabakh became not a matter of negotiations between Armenians and Azerbaijanis, but an intra-Armenian dialogue, filled and overflowing with emotions and accusations of betrayal. But in this chore it is important to note one fundamentally significant thing. The defeat of Armenia in the "autumn war" was the trigger for this reflection, but not its cause. There were fundamental reasons for breaking the Karabakh determinant of Armenian politics," the Russian expert is convinced.
As the third, most important thesis, Markedonov pointed out the victory over Azerbaijan in 1994, won with burdenes. The expert acknowledged that Baku had indeed lost control lost control over almost 14% of the territories that were considered Azerbaijani in the formal legal sense. "But Armenia also received two of the four borders closed, and two filled with a heap of geopolitical problems (Russia-Georgia-West, USA-Iran). Let's add to this the oil factor for Baku and the Azerbaijani-Turkish alliance, which precisely (!) thanks to the Armenian success of the 1990s strengthened to previously unimaginable heights. All this made the Armenian state project as dependent on external forces as possible," the political scientist believes.
Fourth, he continued, if we talk about the internal contour, then for thirty post-Soviet years within Armenia, democratic and nationalist discourse fought and mutually complemented each other. The expert believes that at the stage of the struggle for "Miatsum" they were a whole, but later they were alternately and simultaneously discredited (disputing the election results, using the street in the political process, delegitimization of state institutions).
"At the same time, several years of personnel "Karabakhization" were enough for the mass consciousness to perceive the "fight for Artsakh" as a synonym for nepotism, corruption, and negative social trends (the most important of which is mass exodus from the country) began to form an idea of Karabakh, as a source of internal problems for Armenia itself. Ter-Petrosyan and his followers (Robert Kocharyan, Serzh Sargsyan, Nikol Pashinyan) are responsible for all this. Each of them individually and all together," the political scientist is convinced.
As a fifth thesis, Markedonov noted that the abovementioned gives reason to believe that it was not Pashinyan (to whom there are a lot of well-founded claims, both from the citizens of Armenia themselves and from foreign partners, including Yerevan's main allies) and not the military defeat of 2020 that opened " de-Karabaghization". "It was largely predetermined by the internal and external political development of both the Armenian national-state project itself and geopolitical trajectories in the Transcaucasus," the expert summed up.
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