Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan has been the sole aggressor in what is known as the “Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict.” Numerous failed attempts to reclaim the “occupied territories” of the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) have led to bloody wars and battles since 1988. To the Armenian people, Artsakh is not an occupied territory, rather it is our homeland, culture, history, and legacy. Artsakh represents our will to fight and die for what is rightfully ours; it represents the spirit of survival of the Armenian people in its churches, castles, and tombs. Unfortunately, in the past several decades, the Armenian Nation has had to live with the reality of considering Artsakh as an entity of its own, to the extent in which the Republic of Armenia has not recognized the “Republic of Artsakh” due to the political constraints that would be imposed on Armenia if it were to do so. This happening has had a profound effect on the psyche of the Armenian Nation, which has as a result led to poor decisions having been made on behalf of our leadership, a ripple effect, which has transcended borders and generations. This consciousness, which has ultimately been an obstacle on our path to glory, must be reevaluated. One must ask himself, what could be done differently? Could we do more?
For decades, Armenia and the Armenian diaspora have drawn a distinction between the Republic of Artsakh and the Republic of Armenia for various reasons. The principal reason for this seemingly odd occurrence is the fact that international politics, primarily the consequences which would be brought upon Armenia by more influential state actors, have dictated the actions and decisions of Armenia. As mentioned above, the Republic of Armenia has refrained from recognizing the Republic of Artsakh as it practices strategic ambiguity; a policy in which a country exercises deliberate ambiguity due to contradicted foreign/domestic policy goals or in an attempt to avert economic or political plight, and/or military conflict; in Armenia’s case, the latter is the primary reason for instituting this policy. For decades, we the Armenian Nation, have blindly believed that Armenia had taken the proper steps to avert an Azerbaijani attack, we were made to believe that Azerbaijan would never initiate a direct conflict with Armenia out of fear of the international ramifications that Azerbaijan would face. However, in the past two weeks, we have witnessed that Azerbaijan does not consider these factors when launching a military campaign against Armenia, we have witnessed that the international community including intergovernmental organizations have failed at condemning Azeri aggression against the Republic of Armenia and failed at initiating peace talks. We witnessed that Azerbaijan wants not only Artsakh but also the entirety of Armenia. We witnessed that the continued decision on behalf of the Republic of Armenia to not recognize the Republic of Artsakh did not provide an advantage; it did not provide us the benefits that come with practicing strategic ambiguity, and ultimately did not change the decisions of the aggressing Azerbaijanis. It seems as though the outcome will forever remain the same so long as we abide by arbitrary rules fabricated and imposed by influential countries. We must determine our own destiny.
With the recent events which unfolded in Tavush and continue to unfold, (the bombardment of Armenian villages, schools, and factories in Tavush by Azerbaijani forces), why do we still consider Artsakh a separate entity? Why should we consider Artsakh as a separate entity? Why should we still pursue the recognition of Artsakh as a separate nation state? What are our incentives in drawing a distinction between the Republic of Artsakh and the Republic of Armenia when Armenia is already involved in a direct conflict with Azerbaijan? Why must we act defensively while the enemy breathes down our neck? We could do more. We are not “one nation, two states” we are one nation, one state; Artsakh is Armenia and it is time we officially unify the two republics. It is time we stop playing their game and start playing ours.
OPINION by Troy Mgrditchian
July 24, 2020