Armenia Azerbaijan

Chaos and anti-surrender protests erupt in Yerevan following Armenian surrender

By | Rachel Brooks

November 9, 2020 

The above is a screencapture of the scene of protests broadcast live from Para TV. Fair use. 

Pashinyan has accepted the surrender, but the Armenian people have not. Chaos has erupted in Yerevan in the hours following the official end of the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War. A portion of the Armenian army now joins an anti-surrender protest. Analysts state that, if a significant portion of the Armenian forces joins this anti-surrender, the scenario may become a “Freikorps” surrender. Analysts believe that this could trigger a complete collapse in authority in Armenia. Meanwhile, Russia sends at least 2,000 troops to maintain regional peace. 

It was reported by local sources that the Armenian Army has refused to accept the terms of the defeat. The terms of a cessation of hostilities were mitigated by Russia. Footage shows soldiers vowing to take matters into their own hands as the verdict was reached. 

The terms of the end of the war have made their rounds across the mainstream media as well as the press local to the scene. The Wall Street Journal reported that the peace deal was brokered by Russia after six weeks of heavy fighting. Pashinyan released an official Facebook statement in which he stated that he had signed the agreement which would effectively terminate the Karabakh campaign. 

In the hours that followed, commentators weighed in. 

“In years to come @serjtankian and @JohnDolmayan etc. will be remembered for having gone full #fascist and #racist to support a lost cause, because they believed in lies and were guided by hate and delusions.

What idiots,” tweeted Thomas C. Theiner, a frequent commentator of the conflict. He was commenting on the position taken by a band member from System of a Down, John Dolmayan, and the musician and creative Serj Tankian. Both of whom support the continuation of the war. 

 

 

Likewise, Caucasus political commentator Neil Hauer stated that protesters have gathered around the government headquarters building screaming “Garabagh” which was the slogan phrase that kicked off the original conflict of the 1988 era.

The international community looked on in wonder if the U.S. Armenian lobby would soon have a swift rebuttal for the ceasefire agreement. Californian Democrat Adam Schiff had been an active advocate until the twilight hours of the conflict for the international community to recognize Artsakh as a self-determining republic, something which even Yerevan was loath to do. Schiff does not appear to have made a public comment on the official end of the war.

 

Likewise, another avid American supporter of Armenia and the Armenian Karabakh campaign, fashionista and TV celebrity Kim Kardashian-West does not appear to have made a public comment in the wake of the war’s end announcements. 

France has made public statements as part of its role in the Minsk Group. In what appeared like bias for the Armenian cause, France expressed disdain for the military advance in Shusha. 

“France expresses its very strong concern over the military advance toward the town of #Shushi. The continued shelling of urban areas is unacceptable, given the risk of civilian casualties,” tweeted the French government account France Diplomacy on November 9. France was using the Armenian name for the city of Shusha in this post. France and its counterpart Russia had insisted that both parties abide by the ceasefire agreement which was brokered by the United States on October 31. 

 

Now, with the cessation of hostilities agreement reached on November 9, France and Russia urged a ceasefire. The use, however, of the Armenian terms for Shusha as well as the language of the statement, appeared to lean in bias to the Armenian campaign, effectively defunct. France had been allegedly biased to the Armenian position in the Nagorno-Karabakh region before the official cessation of hostilities agreement was reached, a fact that was challenged by Turkey, and lead to Azerbaijan’s request that Turkey could be present at the mediation discussions of the OSCE Minsk Group.

 There are concerns of western bias in the future, as some Armenian informal groups may attempt to mitigate funds to launch further informal insurgency beyond the official military campaign which has ceased. This has been made apparent by the rhetoric of the Armenian nationals and military who refused to accept Pashinyan’s motion to sign the cessation of hostilities agreement. 

This is supported by the presence of ASALA-movement personnel at the scene of government protests in Yerevan. Caucasus War Report posted footage of ASALA demonstrators among the throng of people protesting the government’s decision to abide by Russia’s demands and end the campaign. 

 

If such rhetoric continues to inflame the normalization process situation, then the potential for radicalized fire could continue along with the Nagorno-Karabakh territory. Local fear also continues to brew over the Russian presence in the region, as Russia and Armenia have strong ties. For these reasons, the process to full normalization may be somewhat protracted over the coming months.