Armenia marked its 32nd Independence Day with mass protests that have not ceased since Azerbaijan launched a large-scale offensive on Nagorno-Karabakh on September 19, ending with the surrender of the region the next day.

In exchange for heavy artillery strikes, tanks and aircraft from Azerbaijan, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan ordered his army not to intervene in the fighting that could have repeated the scenario of bloody war in 2020.

Yerevan was not involved in drafting the ceasefire agreement proposed by Russian peacekeepers and was keen to emphasize that its troops were not on the territory of the region. Pashinyan also stressed that there were attempts to drag Armenia into a military conflict with Azerbaijan and vowed not to take "reckless actions."

Otherwise, observers believe that serious consequences could have been for Yerevan, as Russia's war with Georgia broke out under a similar scenario after the killing of members of the Russian peace forces in South Ossetia in 2008.


In any case, Karabakh's echo quickly reached Yerevan, and angry residents began gathering by evening in Republic Square at the government headquarters, where protesters accused the prime minister of treason and demanded that he resign.

Near the walls of the Russian embassy, demonstrators waved the Karabakh flag and accused Moscow and its peacekeepers, who were participating during these hours in evacuating civilians in the region, of "inaction" and treason, knowing that many Russian military personnel died as a result of the clashes there.

As protesters demanded that the authorities recognize Karabakh's independence and abandon any negotiations with Baku, opposition leaders emerged in the crowd and scrambled to ride the wave of popular anger.

Among them is the leader of the opposition bloc "Mother Armenia" Andranik Tiffanyan, candidate for mayor of Yerevan, who called on citizens to take to the streets and "change power" and appealed to police officers to join the protesters and not use force against them.

Observers of Armenia's internal affairs say that the country is on the cusp of a new phase of instability, in which this time dissatisfied with the current prime minister's domestic policies are mixed with the feeling of losing Karabakh and worrying about the fate of Armenians there.

Between the jaws of pliers

Armenian political analyst Arig Kochinyan believes that after the recent military operation, the situation of the Armenians of Karabakh can be defined as having fallen into "Azerbaijani captivity", and that if the Russian peacekeepers leave, they are likely to be "singled out", which will again inflame tension between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

He continues in an interview with Al Jazeera Net that the aggravation of the situation in the region will not affect the position of Pashinyan, as he does not face any serious elections in the near future that could "shake him", as well as he has plenty of time before the next elections to reset his political agenda in full and reshape and formulate slogans that will depend on them in the next campaign.

Koshinyan adds that change may be through the use of force and creating unrest, given that about 30 political forces who participated in the protests held a discussion session that ended with an agreement to coordinate all measures to remove the current regime from power, and that the coming days will show whether the opposition will be able to start impeachment proceedings against Pashinyan.

For his part, Caucasus expert Gur Amatonyan said Pashinyan's Western "partners" were likely the ones who pushed him to recognize Karabakh as Azerbaijani territory, which was seen as a signal to Baku to move and treat the conflict in the region as a purely internal matter. In his estimation, this position will be a fodder for the opposition to settle scores with the current prime minister.

He points out that the Azerbaijani authorities will not go to the option of creating special conditions for Armenians, as this will immediately provoke a debate within the country about why people who have pursued a "separatist policy" have a special status that distinguishes them from the rest of the population.

Relationship with Russia

Military affairs analyst Igor Korchenko points to an unprecedented deterioration in relations between Moscow and Yerevan due to what he describes as the actions of Pashinyan, who, as a pro-Washington politician, is trying to make his country an ally of the West.

According to him, Yerevan has deliberately begun a media campaign to discredit Moscow and the Russian political leadership, adding that in parallel Armenian-US military exercises and regular armed provocations have begun from Yerevan in Karabakh.

In particular, he emphasizes that the current leadership in Armenia "hit Russia in the back", at a time when all the Kremlin's efforts have been focused on solving the problems of the "special military operation" and confronting large-scale Western sanctions by launching a transmission line (north and south).

Korchenko does not rule out that against the backdrop of the deepening political crisis between Moscow and Yerevan, this may be followed by a large-scale armed provocation by Armenian separatists with the aim of causing clashes between Russian and Azerbaijani military personnel, using this as a pretext to introduce an internationally mandated EU armed contingent into the region.