In Armenia, Prime Minister denounces attempted military coup

In Armenia, Prime Minister denounces attempted military coup

In Armenia, Prime Minister denounces attempted military coup

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian spoke to several hundred of his supporters in Yerevan on Thursday, December 25.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pachinian denounced on Thursday February 25 an attempted military coup and led a demonstration by his supporters in Yerevan in order to reaffirm his authority, weakened by the defeat of the army at the top. -Karabakh.

Several hours after the general staff demanded the resignation of the head of government, no movement of troops was visible in the streets of Yerevan. The Ministry of Defense, for its part, ruled “Unacceptable to lead [l’armée] in political processes ”, thus disavowing the command. Nikol Pachinian also called on the generals to comply with orders, addressing some 20,000 of his supporters gathered in the capital, Place de la République. “The army (…) must obey the people and the elected authorities”, he said to the cheers of the crowd: “These are my orders and no one can disobey them. “


One kilometer away, between 10,000 and 13,000 opposition demonstrators called for the departure of the head of government, who came to power in the spring of 2018 at the end of a revolution. They have planned to camp in Freedom Square until they are satisfied, according to leaders of opposition parties who want him out since the military defeat to Azerbaijan in the fall 2020 conflict. in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Addressing his detractors, Mr. Pachinian called for dialogue. “We are tired of this constant instability (…), let’s start talking to each other”, he said, threatening “Arrests” those who would go “Beyond political declarations”.

Prosperous Armenia, the main opposition party in the country, called on the prime minister to seize his ” last chance “ for a departure from power without violence and to avoid “Civil war and bloodshed”.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also In Armenia, Nikol Pachinian under pressure

Calls for calm

Russia, which has a military base on Armenian territory, said “Concerned” by the situation and called ” quiet “ in this former Soviet Republic. Turkey, Armenia’s sworn enemy, for its part declared that it condemns “Firmly” the “Coup attempt” in Armenia. On Thursday evening, Washington called on the Armenian armed forces to “Do not intervene” in political affairs.

Mr. Pachinian had earlier announced a “Attempted military coup” and took the lead in a support march in response to his staff who had requested by press release his departure to protest against the dismissal on Wednesday of a officer. The step decided, megaphone in hand, the 45-year-old Prime Minister described the situation as “Tense” most “Manageable” and dismissed the Chief of Staff, Onik Gasparian.

On Wednesday, Mr. Pachinian this time sacked Tigran Khatchatrian, the deputy chief of staff, triggering the anger of the military command who, in return, demanded his resignation, accusing the prime minister “Attacks intended to discredit the armed forces”.

Weakened by the military defeat against Azerbaijan

The Prime Minister had sacked Tigran Khatchatrian, because the latter had mocked in the press his statements questioning the reliability of a Russian weapon system, the Iskander missile launchers, during the Karabakh conflict. The general staff ruled that this decision was based solely on “On personal feelings and ambitions” de M. Pachinian.

The Armenian prime minister has been under pressure from the opposition for weeks, demanding his resignation due to Armenia’s military defeat to Azerbaijan in the fall of 2020 in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

At the time, faced with the risk of a debacle, he had accepted, with the support of the army and his staff, the conditions of a ceasefire negotiated by the Russian president, Vladimir Poutin, which implied significant territorial losses for Armenia.

Yerevan still controls de facto, thanks to the presence of Armenian separatists, most of the Nagorno-Karabakh region. But Armenia lost the symbolic city of Shusha, as well as a glacis of Azerbaijani regions surrounding the region and which it had controlled since the 1990s.

This defeat was experienced as a national humiliation, and the opposition has since tried to snatch the departure of the prime minister, who had assured almost to the end of the conflict, which lasted from September to November 2020, that his forces had advantage.

Nikol Pachinian, a former journalist and historical opponent who experienced prison, came to power in the spring of 2018, driven by a revolution promising to lift this Caucasian country out of poverty and uproot a corrupt elite. Armenia, since its independence with the fall of the USSR in 1991, has known a succession of political crises and revolts, some of which were deadly.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also “We overestimated our capacities”: in Nagorno-Karabakh, the debacle of Armenia

Le Monde with AFP and Reuters

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