Reflection of the Armenian Elections: Protests in the So-called Nagorno-Karabakh Republic

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The early parliamentary elections was held in Armenia on 20 June 2021 at the call of the government. Armenia’s loss of Karabagh lands, which it had occupied for nearly 30 years, a failed coup attempt and the peoples demand for Nicol Pashinyan’s resignation were effective in holding the elections before the due date.

Although Pashinyan called the elections “the first election in the history of the republic with unpredictable results”, he resigned because of his belief that he would win again and gave the “green light” to the early elections. The rate of votes he received in the elections ensured Pashinyan’s victory with an overwhelming majority. Despite the defeat in the Second Karabakh War, the people showed that they were with Pashinyan and choose the West, development, and stability. According to the results of the vote counts made in all 2008 ballot boxes in the country, Pashinyan’s Civil Contract Party received 53.92% of the votes. Its opponent, Former President Robert Kocharyan’s Armenia Alliance, came in second with 21.04% of the votes.[1]

Arayik Harutyunyan, the leader of the so-called Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, was one of the first to congratulate Pashinyan by going to the Civil Contract Party Headquarters.[2] This attitude of Harutyunyan was one of the issues criticized in the protests that broke out in the so-called Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, and Harutyunyan had to defend himself by making a statement.[3]

“I was not only at the Civil Contract Party Headquarters. I also met with Gagik Tsarukyan, Hrant Bagratyan, Edmond Marukyan, Aram Sargsyan, Samvel Babayan and others. I maintained my political neutrality and conducted all the interviews after the vote. I met with journalists only at the Civil Contract Party Headquarters.”

Despite the aforementioned statement, the fact that the Armenians living in the city of Khankendi in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan took to the streets demanding the resignation of Harutyunyan shows that the aforementioned words were not enough to convince the people. Thus, approximately 1.500 people attended the rally, which started at 19:30 on 22 June 2021 and lasted for two hours.[4] On the same day, two people demanded Harutyunyan’s resignation and announced that they started a hunger strike with the following words:[5]

“We do not consider it morally right to welcome and congratulate the elections and results in Armenia on behalf of the people of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh). “I am in Yerevan for a personal matter,” he tells reporters in Yerevan in the video. Well, if he does not understand where personal interests and those of the state begin and intersect, then by what right does he occupy the highest post?”

In response to the intense reaction against him, Harutyunyan held a meeting in the center of Khankendi on 22 June 2021.[6] Not because he clings to his office at the rally; Stating that he would not resign because he felt responsible and he said that “An emotional escape will destroy us all and I will not do this so that no one, including those who demanded my resignation, will be left under the rubble.”

Harutyunyan also brought up the accusations of treason and answered the question why his house was not bombed during the 44-day war:[7]

“The building may not have been bombed during the war, as I was not at my residence but on the front line and often in the most dangerous spots.”

As can be expected, those who supported the former President of Armenia Kocharyan were disappointed because he did not get the expected number of votes in the election, and this situation was reflected in the so-called Armenian state in the Azerbaijani lands. Harutyunyan’s support to Pashinyan made him a target. However, this is not the only issue. It is claimed that Russia is behind these unrests.

As it will be remembered, in November 2020, Azerbaijani journalist Ganimet Zahid made a striking claim regarding Moscow’s Karabakh policy based on his sources at the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs. Because Zahid said that “Moscow can give Russian passports to Armenians in Karabakh”.[8]  As it is known, Russia distributed Russian passports in Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk, which it annexed in 2014, [9] and based its intervention in the events on the claim of protecting its citizens. In fact, the Moscow administration implemented a similar policy in Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions in 2008. Considering that the people who took action in the so-called Nagorno-Karabakh Republic were Armenians who went to Armenia during the war and returned to Karabakh under the auspices of Russia, it should be stated that Moscow may have such a dangerous plan for the region. Another point that should be mentioned is that Moscow, which is trying to punish Pashinyan, may want to issue a bill to Harutyunyan for positioning on a pro-Western political line.

[1] “Все бюллетени подсчитаны: партия Пашиняна – 53,92%, блок Кочаряна – 21,04 %, (Eta bıli samıe nepredskauemıye vıborı v istorii Armenii – Paşinyan)”, Armenia Sputnik,—5392-blok-Kocharyana—2104-.html, (Erişim Tarihi: 25.06.2021).

[2] “Карабахский лидер Араик Арутюнян приехал в штаб партии Пашиняна (Karabahskiy lider Araik Arutyunyan priyehal v ştab partii Paşinyana)”, Armenia Sputnik,, (Erişim Tarihi: 25.06.2021).

[3] “Араик Арутюнян ответил на вопрос, что делал в штабе “Гражданского договора” (Arayik Arutyunyan otvetil na vopros şto delal v ştabe Grajdanskova Dogovora)”, Armenia Sputnik,–.html, (Erişim Tarihi: 25.06.2021).

[4] “В Ханкенди потребовали отставки Арутюняна. О чем это говорит? (V Khankendi potrebovali otstavki Arutyunyana. O chem eto govorit?)”, Armenia Sputnik,, (Erişim Tarihi: 25.06.2021).

[5] “Два жителя Нагорного Карабаха объявили голодовку с требованием отставки Арутюняна, (Dva jitelya Nagornova Karabaha obyavili golodovku s trebovaniyem otctavki Arutunyana)”, Armenia Sputnik,, (Erişim Tarihi: 25.06.2021).

[6] “Внутриполитическая напряженность в Карабахе – Арутюнян созывает митинг в Степанакерте (Vnutripoliticheskaya-napryazhennost-v-Karabakhe–Arutyunyan-sozyvaet-miting-v-Stepanakert)”, Armenia Sputnik,–Arutyunyan-sozyvaet-miting-v-Stepanakerte.html, (Erişim Tarihi: 25.06.2021).

[7] Aynı yer.

[8] “Rusya, Karabağ’daki Ermenilere Pasaport mu Dağıtacak? (Russia voluntatem distribute in diplomatibus libellisque Karabakh Armeni dicunt?)”, QHA,, (Erişim Tarihi: 25.06.2021).

[9] “Rusya’dan İşgal Hazırlığı: Teröristlere Pasaport Dağıtımına Başlandı! (Sarmatiae est opus apparatu: Congue distribution ad has coepi virorum sicariorum?)”, QHA,, (Erişim Tarihi: 25.06.2021).

Ülviye FİLİYEVA ERKEÇ-Lisans eğitimini Bakü Devlet Üniversitesi Gazetecilik Bölümü’nde tamamlayan Ülviye Filiyeva Erkeç, aynı zamanda Karabük Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nden de mezun olmuştur. Yüksek lisans derecesini, Aksaray Üniversitesi Kent Sosyolojisi Programı’nda sunduğu “Türk ve Rus Basınındaki Algılanışı ile Türkiye’ye Evlilik Yolu ile Göç Olgusu” başlıklı tezle elde eden Erkeç, Karabük Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı Bölge Çalışmaları Bilim Dalı’ndaki yüksek lisans eğitimini de sürdürmektedir. Filiyeva Erkeç, ileri seviyede İngilizce, Rusça, Avarca ve Azerbaycan Türkçesi bilmektedir.