In protests held during the Russian Foreign Minister's meeting with his Armenian counterpart, opposition leaders insisted any agreement with the current authorities was ‘null and void’.
Protesters rallied in front of the Armenian Foreign Ministry during meetings between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov began and Ararat Mirzoyan, his Armenian counterpart, on Thursday and Friday.
Lavrov had arrived in Yerevan on Thursday for a meeting of the CSTO, the Russia-led security bloc.
While riot police were deployed to defend the building, the protests proceeded peacefully, with organisers making several speeches addressed directly to the Russian Foreign Minister.
Ishkhan Saghatelyan, a prominent protest leader and the head of the opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation party said that the demonstrations were not in opposition to Lavrov’s visit, but rather meant to make the statement that the current government with which Russia is in negotiations has ‘nothing to do with the will and position of the Armenian people’.
‘Any agreement reached with them is null and void’, he told the gathered demonstrators on Thursday.
Opposition leaders blame the Armenian government for not properly applying to the CSTO during Azerbaijan's incursion across the Armenian border in May of last year and for inappropriately ‘criticising’ Russia and the CSTO after coming to power.
[Read more: Six Armenian soldiers captured by Azerbaijani forces]
In comments delivered during a CSTO summit in Moscow on 16 May, Pashinyan criticised the CSTO response during the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War and its aftermath, stating that it was not ‘encouraging’ for the Armenian people.
Most recently, the comments were echoed by Ararat Mirzoyan in a Friday joint press conference with CSTO Secretary Stanyslav Zas. Mirzoyan said that the CSTO responded to the events in Kazakhstan in a 'timely manner' in January, yet the issue of the 'incursion of Azerbaijani troops into the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia', in May 2021 'remains open'.
The Armenian opposition has repeatedly hammered Pashinyan on what they frame as an ongoing antagonism with Russia and themselves consist of mostly pro-Russian, repeatedly stating that Armenia should seek deeper integration with the Russian Federation.