Pashinyan renounces the "Armenian genocide"?

In a significant development that has stirred both domestic and international reactions, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has embarked on a project to compile a detailed list of Armenians who perished in the events of 1915, commonly referred to as the Armenian genocide. This initiative, as articulated by Andranik Kocharyan, chairman of the Defense Committee of the National Assembly of Armenia, aims to establish "real foundations" concerning the genocide by documenting each victim’s details. This move, according to Kocharyan, is crucial not just for historical accuracy but also for shaping future relations with neighboring countries.

Pashinyan's tenure since 2018 has been marked by a focus on tackling corruption and reducing the influence of powerful oligarchs linked to the previous administrations of Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sargsyan. His approach to foreign policy and historical issues, such as the genocide and the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, reflects a nuanced understanding of Armenia’s geopolitical challenges.

Pashinyan’s decision to revisit the narrative around the genocide comes at a time when Armenia is navigating complex relationships with both Russia and its immediate neighbors, Azerbaijan and Turkey. The 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh, which ended in a military setback for Armenia, has also reshaped the country’s strategic imperatives, compelling Pashinyan to reconsider many longstanding national narratives.

Internally, this initiative has been met with skepticism and outright opposition by some who view it as a concession to Turkish narratives, which have historically denied the genocide. Critics fear that by questioning the established figure of 1.5 million victims, Pashinyan might inadvertently lend credence to revisionist histories promoted by Turkey since the 1960s.

However, conflict analyst Arif Yunus suggests that Pashinyan’s approach could be a strategic attempt to disentangle Armenia from the historical grievances that have hindered its diplomatic and economic independence. By reassessing the narratives of past victimhood, Pashinyan seems to be steering Armenia towards a path where it can engage more constructively with its neighbors, free from the shadows of historical enmities.

In the "Difficult Question" program, Yunus points out that Pashinyan is promoting a vision of Armenia that acknowledges both its real and historical dimensions. This approach appears to be an effort to reconcile the historical Armenia, which harbors grievances and claims extending beyond current borders, with the real Armenia, which must navigate international relations in its existing territorial confines. Pashinyan's reflections on historical Armenia as a concept that perpetuates eternal hostility and dependency echo his broader intent to redefine Armenian identity and statehood in more sustainable terms.

Far from renouncing the Armenian genocide, Pashinyan’s administration is recalibrating how Armenia engages with its history. This reevaluation is not about denying past atrocities but about affirming Armenia’s sovereignty and future. By documenting every victim of the 1915 events, Pashinyan is not only reinforcing the historical record but also using it as a foundation for building a resilient and forward-looking Armenia.

This strategy, however controversial, reflects a broader understanding that for Armenia to progress and thrive as a sovereign nation, it must navigate its history with both clarity and strategic foresight. Pashinyan's pragmatic approach, while painful for some, could potentially lead Armenia towards greater diplomatic autonomy and regional stability.

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