The conflict between Pashinyan and Echmiadzin has resulted in the nullification of peace agreements

24.05.24 18:15

The peace process between Armenia and Azerbaijan coincided with a sharp aggravation of contradictions within Armenia itself and a conflict between the government of Nikol Pashinyan and the Armenian Apostolic Church, Echmiadzin.  This is set against the backdrop of the continued activities of the revanchist movement "Tavush in the Name of Motherland", led by Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan, the head of the Tavush diocese. The conflict has already led to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan labelling the Echmiadzin-centred Armenian Apostolic Church an "agent of foreign influence" and threatening to "solve the issue" with it.


Pashinyan observed that the Armenian people had previously experienced an anointing ceremony in Caesarea (a city in the Roman or "Byzantine" Empire) and subsequently became agents of influence in Armenia. He suggested that this pattern of events had remained unchanged until the present day. However, he asserted that the issue would be resolved within a two-to-three-month timeframe.


Prior to this, Alen Simonyan, the Speaker of the National Assembly of Armenia, asserted that the AAC should be taxed due to the protests led by Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan. He argued that it is unacceptable for divine services to be transformed into rallies. Furthermore, the Armenian authorities threatened to seize the property of the Armenian Apostolic Church "for the needs of the state". This was articulated by Artur Hovhannisyan, Secretary of the Civil Pact faction of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's ruling party, during a briefing in parliament.


The Armenian Apostolic Church enjoys a unique status within Armenian society. However, in light of the ongoing democratic and fiscal reforms currently underway in Armenia, the financial resources currently in circulation within our country must be brought out of the shadows. While the church does possess several privileges, numerous territories remain unused. These could be of significant benefit to the state, and could be utilized for a variety of state-related purposes. It is therefore essential that the church works in collaboration with the state and comes out of the shadows.


In fact, Echmiadzin was directly threatened with confiscation of its property. This was the same confiscation that the Tsarist government of the Russian Empire did in 1903. This, it should be recalled, later provoked a wave of Armenian terrorism.


Echmiadzin was declared a "foreign agent" by those who are themselves foreign agents of French and Vatican influence. The influence of France on Echmiadzin is greater than that of the Vatican.


It is important to note that the Armenian project, which is backed by forces far beyond the South Caucasus and the Middle East, is a unique phenomenon. This project, which is initially backed by the Vatican and France, has the objective of artificially creating a "nation" on the basis of an ethnically diverse religious community of monophysite Christians. Consequently, the religious community underwent a transformation into an aggressive ethno-nationalist community with a completely fabricated and falsified history. Over time, the religiosity of this Armenian community declined, but the Armenian Apostolic Church (AAC), with its centre in Echmiadzin, remained one of the main core structures of the Armenian nation and continues to be so. Furthermore, external control persists, as does the current pro-Western government of the Republic of Armenia.


The question thus arises: what is the necessity of this "struggle of agents among themselves"? What is this "spectacle" and what is its ultimate goal?


The ongoing conflict between Echmiadzin and the Armenian government poses a significant risk to the viability of existing peace agreements between Armenia and Azerbaijan. This is particularly concerning given the possibility of a future clerical revanchist power emerging in Armenia.


The peace process was the primary catalyst for the deterioration in relations between the Pashinyan government and Echmiadzin. This process reached its most significant point with the de-occupation of four non-enclave villages in the Gazakh region of Azerbaijan and the commencement of the delimitation and demarcation of the border in the area of these villages. The revanchist protests demanding the non-cession of lands were immediately led by Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan of Tavush, who has become the most popular figure among the revanchists and is already discussing the possibility of becoming Prime Minister instead of Pashinyan. Other revanchists were deliberately positioned in a less prominent role than Galstanyan.


It seems inevitable that the resumption of the peace process will result in a further intensification of the hatred directed towards the current government by the revanchists. This government, in comparison to the representatives of Echmiadzin, has one significant vulnerability: they must be re-elected. It is possible, however, that they may be overthrown by force as a result of a "Christian" revolution organised by the special services, similar to the "Islamic Revolution" in Iran in 1979. As is well known, the French special services played a role in this "revolution," which has resulted in the current government of Armenia being "taken over" by the French.


It may appear that if the current government of Pashinyan is also "under the French and the West," it is not threatened by any external forces. However, the Shah's regime in Iran was historically pro-Western until 1979. From this perspective, it would appear that France would have been similarly positioned. The regime had concluded agreements with the United States and other Western countries, which the Islamic Revolution promptly nullified.


By analogy, in the contemporary Armenian context, the ongoing confrontation between the Pashinyan administration, which has become increasingly anti-clerical, and Echmiadzin may well give rise to a "Christian revolution".


The figurehead of such a "revolution" is already in place. The conditions for a Christian revolution against the Pashinyan regime have already been created. This is being led by Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan, who is gradually becoming an analogue of the Armenian Khomeini. However, in Iran, there was a significant number of people dissatisfied with the Shah's regime, including communists and Turkic patriots. Moreover, Galstanyan is not compelled to seek exile in Paris in order to participate in the unfolding events. He is already engaged in the escalation of the situation on the ground.


It is possible that following the change of power in Armenia (and Pashinyan's tenure is not guaranteed to be permanent), all existing peace agreements may be revoked. Furthermore, from the perspective of the "real Armenia," which Pashinyan proposes to construct on 29,000 square kilometers of internationally recognized territories, those who seek to regain power will move on to the struggle for a "great Armenia." This will be achieved through a bloody war for the creation of this "greatness" on foreign lands. The external curators, namely France, have not been reticent in expressing their intention to "throw petrol on the fire".


It is also pertinent to recall that the ascension of Ayatollah Khomeini to power in Iran led to an eight-year conflict with Iraq that resulted in the deaths of over one million people on both sides.


George Mazniashvili

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