Update: Armenian president refuses to fire Gasparian

By | Rachel Brooks

February 27, 2021 

Image credit: “File:Nikol Pashinyan (16.02.2018).jpg” by iravaban.net is licensed under CC BY 3.0 

Armenian President Armen Sarkisian has refused to fire Army Chief Onik Gasparian over the “attempted coup” cited by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Radio Free Europe reports. A statement delivered via Sarikisian’s website states that the president’s move gave Pashinyan five days to resubmit the motion to dismiss Gasparian. Pashinyan declared that he has already resubmitted the dismissal. 

Prime Minister Pashinyan responded to Sarkisian’s refusal via his Facebook. 

“Dear compatriots:

The President of the Republic decided to send the draft decree to the Prime Minister’s staff on the dismissal of the RA Armed Forces General Staff with subjects. This decision does not help to eliminate the situation at all,” wrote Pashinyan, originally published in Armenian, earlier on February 27.  

“I again sent the petition to the President of the Republic, expecting it to be signed in accordance with the order of GSH.

The rest, as we agreed the other day at Republic Square.”  

Based on this statement, it would appear Pashinyan has no intention to acquiesce to the demands of the public protests or the military for his resignation. 

The continued escalation of political tensions in Armenia has followed with weeks of demands for Pashinyan’s resignation following the outcome of the Second Karabakh conflict. Yesterday, February 26, reports across multiple news agencies stated that protestors continued to crowd the streets of Yerevan. Protestors sang national songs and blocked the streets with trash can and bench barricades. 

Outcry over Prime Minister Pashinyan’s continued cabinet presence continued as Azerbaijan named further terms for the post-conflict process. The terms included a warning against any plots for revenge or revanchment by Armenian forces. This was announced in President Ilham Aliyev’s recent press conference. 

Prime Minister Pashinyan continued to denounce an “attempted military coup” as of February 25. Regional conflict media watchdogs including Conflict News republished video footage that appeared to show a MiG-29 flying over the protests. The military continued to demand Pashinyan step-down.