Maxim Shevchenko: "Peace with Azerbaijan will turn Armenia into Switzerland"
Journalist and politician Maxim Shevchenko, in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza, explained why Nikol Pashinyan won the elections in Armenia: the citizens of the republic want peace and strive for the observance of civil rights, which are unthinkable under the rule of nationalist Robert Kocharian. Shevchenko also assessed the results of the presidential elections in Iran and analyzed the possible role of Georgia in the peace process between Baku and Yerevan.
- Why did Pashinyan manage to stay in power, despite the fact that the ratings did not say so unambiguously about his advantage over Kocharyan? How did Pashinyan win?
- These ratings were false, this is the propaganda conducted by the Armenian diaspora in favor of Kocharyan, in Russia it promoted the idea that Kocharian was "Putin's protege." Everywhere they falsified the real sentiments of the Armenian population, which was allegedly suppressed by the defeat in the Second Karabakh War. Why did they make young children sing "Kill the Turk"? It turned out that the diaspora misunderstood the real moods of the Armenian population. The votes of Armenians living in Krasnodar, on Zubovsky Boulevard or on NTV were presented as the votes of Armenian citizens. In reality, the people of Armenia hate the Karabakh clan, which for almost 30 years in power led to the fact that the country lost Azerbaijan and acted as an occupier, justifying this by Tigran the Great and Herodotus. Leaders, smugglers, who plundered Zangilan gold, profited from this, and at that time the people of Armenia lived in poverty, and they still told him "go die for the sacred Armenian lands." They were told this by well-fed rich people who are sitting in Moscow, Barvikha and Peredelkino. Finally, we heard the voices of the inhabitants of Armenia itself: "we do not want war, we are for the observance of civil rights."
- Does Pashinyan guarantee the observance of these rights?
- It is important to understand what Kocharyan guarantees. Kocharian guarantees war. He said: "We will fight." People voted against Kocharyan, chauvinism and the Middle Ages. Armenian citizens will decide for themselves how to live. A peace treaty with Azerbaijan and mutual recognition of borders will lead to the fact that Armenians will be able to live peacefully in Karabakh, Ganja and Baku. I am sure that Azerbaijanis will also be able to return to their homeland in Yerevan. The younger generation does not understand why confrontation is needed? Those who fueled the war earned billions, and the children of poor families died in battles. For Azerbaijan it was a patriotic war, and Armenian citizens were dying because of the greed of the rich.
- Despite his defeat, Kocharyan's bloc managed to enter parliament with 27 deputies. Do you think his presence in the National Assembly and constant criticism from him will put pressure on the peace process?
- I think no. Pashinyan will form a responsible government that will continue his course. Pashinyan's course is largely shaped by Levon Ter-Petrosyan, whose statement, in my opinion, is quite reasonable. Ter-Petrosyan says reasonable things that peace is needed. I am sure that the Armenian people will find themselves as a subject (and not as a representative of the vast Armenian world), as a civil society of a unique state, living not in Marseilles, not in San Francisco, not in Rostov, but in Yerevan, Dilijan and so on. If the Armenians start serving their interests, then the borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey will open, and Armenia will become as beautiful as Switzerland. But for this, Armenia must abandon its territorial claims to Azerbaijan.
- In one of his last interviews, Pashinyan stated that after the war, Nagorno-Karabakh will never become a part of Azerbaijan. After that, can Pashinyan be considered a supporter of the peace process?
- Of course, Pashinyan should not be called a man in white clothes. Unlike Ter-Petrosyan, Pashinyan works in real politics and must speak in such a way that he is not accused of treason. He has the same phenomenon as Zelensky. Zelenskiy won because peace was expected of him. Poroshenko meant war. But unlike Zelensky, Pashinyan was able to become independent. Pashinyan is a symbol of peace, the Karabakh clan is an eternal war. Hope is pinned on him for signing, albeit paid for with the blood of both peoples, a peace agreement, for opening borders and trade with Turkey and Azerbaijan. This will change the life of Armenians for the better.
- They say in Azerbaijan that the issue of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh is closed, in Armenia they assert the opposite. How can this contradiction be resolved?
- I think that the settlement is possible through the platform of six (Russia, Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia - editor's note). It can also solve problems between Georgia and Russia. Platform of Six is a strategic goal that will turn the South Caucasus into a territory of the world. Now there is no need to pedalize the issue of the status of Nagorno Karabakh. Aliyev understands that all issues cannot be resolved at once, now it is necessary to move on to the peace process. Soon Aliyev and Erdogan will fly to Putin, and I think these issues will also be discussed there. I am sure that in Geneva, Biden gave Putin an ultimatum to sever strategic relations with Turkey and China, but it is in Russia's interests otherwise, namely, rapprochement with Turkey and Azerbaijan. In this alliance lies the golden key of our country's sovereignty from the West.