Kocharyan challenges Pashinyan to a duel: Verbal duel in Armenia may spread to streets-ANALYSIS

Kocharyan challenges Pashinyan to a duel: Verbal duel in Armenia may spread to streets-<span class="red_color">ANALYSIS</span>
# 10 June 2021 18:02 (UTC +04:00)

Political tensions are increasing in Armenia more and more. Although extraordinary parliamentary elections have been scheduled for June 20, pre-election tensions have reached such a level that a probability of postponement of elections is already being discussed.

Note that according to Armenia’s Constitution, political power, which wins in the parliamentary elections, forms the government and nominates its candidate to the post of Prime Minister. Holding the elections after 44 days fight increases the importance of it much more. Search for domestic enemy in Armenia has been started and a ruthless fight is conducted among parties.

23 parties, 4 political blocs participate in the elections. Forecasts on that main fight will be among Civil Contract party led by acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, “Armenia” bloc led by former president Robert Kocharyan, “I Have the Honor” bloc, supported by former President Serzh Sarkisian and led by National Security Service Director Artur Vanetsian, Prosperous Armenia Party led by businessman Gagik Tsarukyan, as well as Bright Armenia Party led by Edmon Marukyan, and Armenian National Congress Party led by former president Levon Ter-Petrosyan have already started to justify themselves.

As elections near, the emotional environment also becomes tense in the background of provocation-promotion campaigns. Public opinion is not unequivocal in Armenia, immersing the parties each other in the dirt, kompromat war formed a very angry environment. Parties use all means to destroy each other from a political point of view. Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan faces difficulty in responding to criticism addressed to him. He already started to take shelter behind such phrases as “In the war of 2020, God turned his back on us”, which shows a politician, country leader in a pity, agony condition. Furthermore, searching for a way of solution to the difficult condition, Pashinyan made another speech, which disgraces him again. In fact, the shameful suggestion has come to him from former President Serzh Sarkisian, who lost feeling of reality to the same degree. In order to put Pashinyan in a so-called “difficult situation”, Sarkisian suggested Prime Minister to send his son to Baku in exchange for the release of 25 of so-called “prisoners of wars” in Azerbaijan. Pashinyan agreed with the suggestion, which can be considered ridiculous and crazy, said he is ready to send his son to Baku.

Pashinyan’s this step is evaluated by his rivals as the next populist step directed to gain the sympathy of voters. Armenian Former President and one of the main rivals of Pashinyan in the elections R. Kocharyan calls Pashinyan’s this suggestion as a primitive debilism and cheap populism. R. Kocharyan noted that it is impossible to achieve progress with these calls belonging to the middle ages, in fact, by these words, he has a dig at Sargsyan, the author of the proposal.

Word battle between Kocharyan and Pashinyan lowered to domestic level recent days. They already address each other as street slang such as “You are not a man”. In addition, Kocharyan said he is ready to invite Pashinyan to a duel. Pashinyan in his turn has compared him with terrorists for his words. Kocharyan lost his temper for other arguments voiced by Pashinyan against him. Pashinyan said that namely during Kocharyan's presidency the Nagorno-Karabakh separatists were excluded from the negotiation process, so he should answer for it. Unable to find a consistent answer to what said, Kocharyan’s words further increased tension between him and Ter-Petrosyan which continued for many years. R. Kocharyan noted that in 1997 and as of April 1998- until he was elected as president Nagorno Karabakh separatists did not attend negotiations, he blamed the then President of Armenia L. Ter-Petrosyan. Ter-Petrosyan stated that Kocharyan's statement is baseless and that he is engaged in manipulation.

Meanwhile, the dissemination of Pahinyan’s hidden audio recording aggravated the situation. The recording includes talks of Pashinyan with  Putin, Nazarbayev, and Lukashenko on Karabakh.
Although there is not any serious fact in the audio recording, the fact that his opponents disseminate the negotiations of the person leading the country shows incompetent management of official Yerevan, the opposition has information about all the steps of the government. There is no doubt that Pashinyan has kopramats regarding Sarkisyan and Kocharyan. One point that should be paid attention to that the dissemination of Pashinyan’s audio recording took place after the accusation voiced by him against S. Sarkisyan.

 Responding to the words of S. Sarkisyan “If I were Pashinyan, I would shoot myself after defeating in the war”, N. Pashinyan called on him to shoot himself for losing and spending the money allocated to the army in a casino in Monte Carlo.

 After namely this, S. Sarkisyan said he would disseminate Pashinyan's audio recording if he did not confirm what he said.

Pre-election charges do not occur only between Pashinyan and Kocharyan-Sarkissian pair. Artur Vanetsyan who has been the director of the National Security Service in the first years of the Pashinyan’s reign, and currently leads the block “I have honor”  also makes quite serious accusations against the former leader. A. Vanetsyan noted that Pashinyan has called him Russia’s agent, that is why did not want to work with him. Pashinyan’s opposition to Russia is generally one of the main arguments that his enemies use against him. They often mention that N. Pashinyan pursues the policy against Russia, Putin, and take measures in order to reduce Moscow’s influence and prestige in Armenia, so with this, they want to show themselves as puppets of Russia and want Moscow to intervene in the process to force Pashinyan to step down.

The list of mutual accusations and components may be expanded. But it seems that the situation in Armenia before elections is becoming increasingly tense. In recent days, clashes between the supporters of Pashinyan and Kocharyan give grounds to say that, verbal duel may spread to the streets, squares. In terms of this, it is not excluded that elections in Armenia may result in the Civil war.

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