Update: Chaos in Armenia, Gasparayan to be fired for “coup attempt”

By | Rachel Brooks

February 25, 2021 

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

Tensions within Armenia have reached a climatic post-Second Karabakh war point. The Armenian military now demands the resignation of Prime Minister Pashinyan. Pashinyan refers to this uprising as a “coup attempt” as rallies pour into the streets. The Armenian military made their demands in a written statement that was posted on February 25. The demand for Pashinyan’s resignation made headlines in all major news outlets. 

Asbarez stated that the Homeland National Movement called for the armed forces of Armenia to take over the country’s leadership. The Homeland National Movement stated that the Armenian armed forces’ patience had “reached its limits” with the continued “defamation” of the armed forces by Pashinyan and his cabinet. An official statement by Armed Forces Chief of Staff Onik Gasparyan was signed by several other military officials. 

Also on February 25, Armen Press stated that the Prime Minister and his cabinet had yet to dismiss Gasparyan. Armenian President Armen Sarkissian’s office received the Prime Minister’s recommendation that he should fire Gasparyan outright. In the meantime, Pashinyan has stated that he has decided to dismiss Gasparyan. Armen Press has reported the Prime Minister’s deputy Tiran Khacatryan has appeared before the military’s high command to issue a demand for Gasparyan’s resignation. Armen Press reported that Gasparyan’s removal requires presidential approval. 

International response 

In the wake of Armenia’s upheaval, regional neighbors have expressed their concern regarding the escalations. 

Fahrettin Altun, Communications Director for the Turkish government, expressed “deep concern” regarding Armenia’s upheaval. 

“We are deeply concerned about the most recent developments in Armenia.

We view the unfolding situation as a coup attempt and unequivocally condemn it.

Turkey always sides with democracy and the free will of citizens – wherever in the world they may come under attack,” tweeted Altun, the morning of February 25. 

In addition to the Turkish response, The Moscow Times reported that Moscow “called for calm.” In addition to Altun’s statements, condemned the “attempted coup”, wrote The Moscow Times. 

Likewise, on the afternoon of February 25, the United States Department of State spokesperson Ned Price broadcast a statement targeting Armenia. 

“We are, of course, aware of recent developments in Armenia. We’re following the situation very closely. We urge all parties to exercise restraint and to avoid any escalatory or violent actions,’ said Price.

Price condemned the attempt at a military coup, urging Armenia to stick to the principles of democracy.

” We remind all parties of the bedrock democratic principle that states armed forces should not intervene in domestic politics.”

He then recalled how the United States and Armenia had long term good relations.

“The United States has been a steadfast supporter of the development of democratic processes and institutions in Armenia. We continue to support Armenia’s democracy and its sovereignty, and we urge its leaders to resolve their differences peacefully while respecting the rule of law, Armenia’s democracy, and its institutions.”