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 Ara Toranian, Co-president of the CCAF (Coordination of Armenian Organizations of France), and Publisher of  "Les Nouvelles d'Arménie" and the armenews.com website, addresses this letter to Nikol Pashinyan, Prime Minister of the Armenian Republic.

"Victory has a hundred fathers, but defeat is an orphan, said John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Therefore isn't it a very heavy burden that we have placed on the leader of the Velvet Revolution, by asking him to endorse alone, the responsibility for the surrender of November 9, 2020.  

Need it to be reminded that his party only had a majority in Parliament since December 9, 2018. Pachinian cannot endorse all of Armenia's "failures" which occurred over the previous 20 years? He had inherited cardinal sins that have names : "oligarchy", "corruption", "nepotism", "authoritarianism" that all resulted in a terrifying economic mismanagement. All of the above, the systematic rigging of the elections, the confiscation of the power and resources of the country by a management team that the people, or at least what was leftt of it after continuous waves of emigration, had ended up two years ago when the ancient guard had been forced out. 

Do we have to remember the accusations that were carried out against the current denigrators of Pachinian, by those famous 17 parties which are now trying to rebuild their political strength over the misfortune of Artsakh? One cannot help but to be overwhelmed with horror and sadness at the spectacle offered by those robust men who, upon the announcement of the ceasefire, rushed to Parliament, beating its President in the process.  What was that if not a fanatic crowd, a mob rather than the people, blinded by hatred?  


Was it not also a shame to see at the sight of the demonstration on the 5 December, leaders of the former regime who had been pulling the strings, but still had the decency not to appear.  


This gray mass of 10,000 demonstrators, mainly made up of men average age 55, some of whom we have being told had been paid. Return of good manners ...  All additionally giving an ultimatum to the legal and legitimately elected authorities ... The enthusiasm, the life and the breath that had electrified the spring of 2018 seemed so far away!  


Yes, of course, the military defeat had happened. The homeland was in mourning, grieving its children. But should todays suffering cause us to burn down what we had worshiped yesterday? Will it lead us to sightless to the point that we grasp by mistake the first rotten branch to save ourselves from drowning?


Yes, unfortunately Armenia lost the war. But should we also lose hope? Should Armenia give up its sudden burst of soul by which it had regained her self-esteem while at the same time arousing the admiration of the world?  Nikol Pachinian is arguably not faultless. Probably he made some mistakes. We think in particular of some of his bravado towards Putin, stemming from a badly digested national pride.


"When you only have one protector, you do not stray from it," Gérard Challiand rightly recalls in the last issue of "Nouvelles d'Arménie". Following the same logic, we had pleaded in these same columns, at the time, for the maintenance of Edward Nalbandian at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which would have had the effect of embodying and giving credibility to Pachinian's profession of faith on the preservation of Armenia's diplomatic fundamentals.  


Can we seriously attribute to these small-scale errors of behavior towards Moscow, to which can be added the unnecessary preventive incarceration of Kocharian and more problematic, our inability to stem the Turkish-Azerbaijani offensive? Would it not be more appropriate, more rational, to attribute the first cause to the bankruptcy of our military tool, which Gérard Chaliand recalled in the same interview its state of deliquescence after "the Kotcharian-Sarkissian tandem diverted for 20 years towards the private sector, funds which should have gone to its modernization ".  A tandem which solely relied on the protectorate of Russia (the main supplier of weapons to Azerbaijan) to defend Armenia, while the strategic alliance treaty with Russia did not include the defense of Nagorno-Karabakh, something he knew better than anyone for having extended it until 2045 ...


This war of annihilation, the regime of Ilham Aliev had being threatening us constantly since coming to power in 2003. Everyone was aware that it could break out at any time. It will of course be necessary to make an inventory of the missed diplomatic opportunities and the strategic errors which allowed this defeat. After Kotcharian deposed Ter Pétrossian in 1998 on the grounds that he was preparing to sell off  Nagorno-Karabakh, it is a matter of fact, that Yerevan never gave itself the means to seriously defend himself after his departure... Meanwhile leaving 20-year-old kids to be "killed like rabbits" every week on the "contact lines".  It will also be necessary to take the right measure of neo-Ottoman imperialism revived by Erdogan which directly threatens Armenia, while the military capacities of Russia raises questions, not to mention its political will ...  


Can these challenges be met with the search, as unhealthy and unworthy, of a scapegoat?  


There is talk of incompetence, even amateurism, of the "Mon Pas" alliance. But the truth is that after 20 years of mismanagement, we were structurally far too weak in the face of the pharaonic means and the technological superiority of the Turkish-Azerbaijani alliance which has shown boldness and opportunism in the choice of the moment to lauch its battle.  


So, is the solution to Armenia's problems, including in terms of defense, in the resignation of Nikol Pachinian, at a time when its courage was even being admired by Putin? Sadly, it is feared that the return of the elders, who want, their revenge may only nurture the return of the noxious practices that precipitated the decline of Armenia. This would surely lead to a new demographic bleeding. The same causes producing the same effects, Armenia will not solve anything by sacrificing its democratic achievements which had allowed the country to raise its head. It will not even wash away its honor, which was never questioned thanks to the bravery of its soldiers who resisted the Turkish deluge of fire for 45 days in a row, because they were justly carried by the love of their homeland intensified by the dynamics of the revolution.  


It is this capital, this democratic capacity of the people to control its destiny, that it would be criminal to throw away today, with the return of a past which can only be synonymous with a return to ancient practices in a terrifying"lose-lose" logic. We definitly have to get out of this. We are not condemned to have to cure evil with evil. The worst can never be certain."  


by Ara Toranian on Tuesday December 8, 2020