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Ter-Petrosyan’s Rhetoric on Karabakh Issue Anachronistic

Opposition Armenian National Congress (ANC) and People’s Party of Armenia (PPA) alliance leader Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s election campaign was an attempt to “normalize” the issue of surrendering Karabakh lands to Azerbaijan, which until recently was still considered a taboo, Lilit Gevorgyan, Jane’s Intelligence defense and security analytical center analyst, said in conversation with 168 Zham daily.

– Ter-Petrosyan and his team were unconvincing because they put their main emphasis on a vague and obscure international community. This is, at the very least, frivolous against the background of the Yazidi genocide, the human meat grinder in Syria, and the dismemberment of Ukraine. Ukraine is a particularly good example of how the so-called international community did nothing to prevent the loss of the country’s territorial integrity, especially given the fact that in 1994 Ukraine agreed to abandon its nuclear weapons stockpiles, and the superpowers, including Russia, pledged to become the guarantors of Ukraine’s security and territorial integrity.

The Madrid principles and the international community mentioned by Ter-Petrosyan are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. It was a short period of time after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the Cold War ended and serious globalization programs were implemented, particularly the expansion of the European Union and the creation of the eurozone.

Currently, contrasting processes are underway: nationalism and separatism are growing, the future of the EU is threatened, and the US has an unpredictable president who during his election campaign was in fact advocating actions that could destroy the international security system that has been in force since 1945. The European Union, the USA and Russia are the guarantors of the Madrid deal. At the moment, they do not even have normal relations with each other and are fighting a “war of sanctions.”

The weakness of Ter-Petrosyan and his team was in its anachronism. Perhaps Ter-Petrosyan could have been able to convince the public if he had shown them how safeguards and security arrangements would work. If he were able to explain how the international peacekeeping mission would be able to successfully prevent new violence in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, despite the fact that there have been almost no such precedents in the world in recent decades. Even the Russian peacekeepers failed to do this in Ossetia in 2008.

Ter-Petrosyan’s campaign tactics included threats, not arguments; he presented the Nagorno-Karabakh issue as a choice between peace and pointless loss of young lives. A choice between a total defeat, an economic collapse and an economically strong and corruption-free Armenia. Of course, this black and white rhetoric was insincere and frightening, which, I believe, was what the Armenian National Congress was shooting for; but it did not work.

And finally, when it comes to polemics, the ANC and its main orator harmed themselves when they began insulting the critics of their theses. In terms of campaigning, this was a total failure; a lesson in how not to talk about a sensitive subject.