Tuesday, 04 August 2020

A Analysis

The Karabakh issue against the background of the change of power in Armenia

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The change of power in Armenia presented in a new light the most crucial problems of the Armenian statehood - the problems of the political state of the NKR and the settlement of international conflict relations around it. The former configuration of the Karabakh factor was disrupted. The approaches to the place and role of the NKR in the state policy of Armenia and in international relations have lost their relevance. A completely different situation arose, requiring the revision of approaches to Artsakh as a country, and the Karabakh problem as a component of the security problem of Armenian statehood. This situation requires careful characterization.

For more than half a century, the principle of "miatsum (reunification) on a parole of honor " reigned in the state policy of Armenia. This principle has blurred the political and legal basis of the Armenian statehood, creating great problems both in Armenia's domestic and foreign policy. The history of the formation of political and legal realities and the corresponding state policy is shrouded in fog. Everyone knows that in 1988 the Armenian people demanded the reunification of Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh region. But not all are aware of the political realities that have arisen after this. And the realities are as follows:

On December 1, 1989, at a joint session of the Supreme Council of the Armenian SSR and the National Council of Nagorno-Karabakh, a decision was made on the reunification of the Armenian SSR and Nagorno-Karabakh. A course was taken to create a unified Armenian state. On May 20, 1990 elections to the Supreme Council took place in Armenia. In the territory of the NKAO, elections were held in 10 of the 12 districts. On August 23, 1990, based on the joint decision of the Supreme Council of the Armenian SSR and the National Council of Nagorno-Karabakh of December 1, 1989 "On the reunification of the Armenian SSR and Nagorno-Karabakh", the new parliament of Armenia adopted a Declaration on the proclamation of the process of establishing an independent statehood. The country was renamed the Republic of Armenia.

Nevertheless, in the policy of the first authorities of the Republic of Armenia, the policy of politico-legal separation of the Republic of Armenia and NKAO began. On September 21, a referendum on independence was held in Armenia. The NKR population did not participate in this referendum. Nevertheless, when the independence of the Republic of Armenia was proclaimed, the new declaration was not adopted. On September 23, 1991, the Supreme Council of Armenia referred to the Declaration of August 23, 1990, where the Republic of Armenia was declared jointly with the territory of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region.

Accordingly, the process of politico-legal self-organization of Artsakh went separate way. On November 28, 1991, the session of the NKR Council of People's Deputies passed a resolution on holding a referendum in the NKR, as well as Provisional Statute on elections. On December 10, a referendum on the independence of the NKR was held. Conditions were created for holding elections to the Supreme Council of the NKR - independent state building was initiated. The declaration on the independence of the NKR was adopted at the first session of the Supreme Council of the NKR on January 6, 1992.

During the disintegration of the USSR, it was necessary to show attitude towards the current political and legal realities of the moment. In this sense, it is noteworthy that by signing the declaration on the formation of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) on December 21 in the city of Alma-Ata, which recognizes the sovereignty and existing borders of all the participating states (including Azerbaijan), the Armenian leadership refrained from recognizing independence NKR. The fate of the NKR was left to the international community for consideration. And the further process of state building in Armenia and NKR went on the basis of a completely different philosophy.

Fenced off from the NKR in the legal sense, the leadership of the Republic of Armenia armed with a course to suppress the political independence of the NKR. The first elected authority in the NKR was suppressed by the efforts of the corpus of supporters of the Armenian leadership. The idea of independence of the NKR began to be presented as a fiction, and any power in the NKR should have been formed under the pressure of the Armenian authorities. It was then that the principle "reunification on a parole of honor" came into use. Elections in the NKR were turned into a fiction - a military dictatorship was established in the country.

The situation became even more complicated when a crisis of power arose in Armenia after the 1996 presidential election. The political system of the country collapsed under the onslaught of the military dictatorship of the NKR. The leaders of this dictatorship reduced the NKR factor to a full fiction, removing it from international negotiations on the settlement of the conflict between the NKR and Azerbaijan.

State building in Armenia and Artsakh was trapped in a non-legal atmosphere. The situation described above was preserved until the change of power in Armenia in May this year. With the advent of the new government, the foundations of the power elite of the NKR, which are dependent on the leadership of Armenia, have been undermined. The latter only had to accept submissively the new prime minister nominated by the Armenian society. The NKR society recognized him as well. The fact of long-term usurpation of the rights of the NKR to form its state power through free elections, and also to negotiate, hung in the air. The statement of the new Prime Minister of Armenia N. Pashinyan that Armenia will speak only on behalf of its republic in negotiations on the settlement, only stressed the fact of the emergence of a new situation.

It turns out that the new interim government of Armenia that declared the policy of legal regulation of state life of the country can not take responsibility for problems that go beyond the constitutional territory of the Republic of Armenia. First and foremost, this means that the debated "Madrid principles" of the settlement of the Karabakh conflict do not in any way affect Armenia but are a matter for the NKR and Azerbaijan. Armenia can negotiate with Azerbaijan only on the topic of security due to the fact that it assumed the role of guarantor of the security of the NKR population.

The same concerns the problem of the formation of state power in the NKR. The interim government of Armenia, based on its principles, can not influence the elections in the NKR. All figures and political forces of Artsakh, still having the support of the Armenian authorities, will have to rely on their own resources. This means that an imperative of political reforms has arisen in Artsakh. The current situation demands the rejection of the demagoguery of the principle of "reunification on a parole of honor" and the transition to the principle of political and legal settlement of all spheres of relations between the Republic of Armenia and the NKR. Everything should be regulated by the principle of "right-responsibility" both in domestic life and in the international sphere. It will not be easy to do, but life does not give permission for anything else.


Manvel Sargsyan

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies

Yerznkian 75, 0033
Yerevan, Armenia


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