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Live updates: Pashinyan condemns ‘military coup’

25 February 2021
Nikol Pashinyan. Photo: Ani Avetisyan/OC Media.

Armenia’s top military brass have released a statement calling for Nikol Pashinyan’s resignation. Nikol Pashinyan has called the move ‘a military coup’ and has called for supporters to gather on Yerevan’s Republic Square. 

Armenia’s General Staff of the Armed Forces have said that their call for Pashinyan’s resignation was triggered by Pashinyan’s firing of Tigran Khachatryan, first deputy chief of the General Staff. 

Following the announcement, Nikol Pashinyan also ordered the removal of the head of the General Staff, Onnik Gasparyan. Additionally, in a live Facebook address delivered shortly after noon today, Pashinyan called on the military to respect the country’s constitution. ‘It is unacceptable for the army to participate in political processes’, he said.

In a Facebook post, Nagorno-Karabakh President Arayik Harutyunyan has expressed his willingness to act as a mediator to help resolve the crisis. 

‘I call on all parties to show sobriety and common sense, otherwise, our defeat will be much deeper and more fatal’, Harutyunyan said. ‘Being in Yerevan now, I am ready to honourably fulfil my mediation mission in overcoming this political crisis.’

The rest of the day saw twin rallies by Pashinyan supporters and opposition, respectively, with the opposition eventually setting up camp near the Armenian parliament on Baghramyan Avenue. 

 For ease of reading, we choose not to use qualifiers such as ‘de facto’, ‘unrecognised’, or ‘partially recognised’ when discussing institutions or political positions within Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and South Ossetia. This does not imply a position on their status


14 Jun 2024, 09:47

Nikol Pashinyan ends rally 

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has called his supporters to leave the streets. He has called on the opposition to enter into negotiations. The opposition remains camped out on Baghramyan Avenue, outside of the parliament. They have blocked the road.

25 Feb 2021, 18:29

Armenian opposition blocks central Yerevan road

The Armenian opposition has blocked Baghramyan Avenue, a central thoroughfare in Yerevan on which the parliament building is located. They are also erecting tents. Ishkhan Saghatelyan, a leader from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) and a coordinator of the opposition Homeland Salvation Movement, has said that the opposition will only meet with Pashinyan to discuss his resignation.

Photo via telegram.

25 Feb 2021, 17:34

Armenian MOD: All attempts to involve the armed forces in any political process are inadmissible

The Armenian Defence Ministry has released a statement

‘The Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia fully implement the protection of the borders of our Homeland and ensure security. The army is an apolitical structure, all attempts to involve the armed forces in any political process are inadmissible.’

25 Feb 2021, 16:59

Aliyev: ‘We will never allow any threat to us again’

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has commented on events in Armenia at a ceremony to hand over flats to the families of soldiers killed or injured during the war.

‘I heard a few days ago that now their allies want to revive and modernise the Armenian army. Why? Against whom? The war is over.’

‘If someone lives with revanchist views, he will see the fist. The Armenian Army is over, there is not and should not be one. There should be no army in such a fascist state.’

‘We will never allow any threat to us again, or any risk to our citizens who will return to the liberated lands.’

‘As for the post-war period, now everyone sees that Azerbaijan is developing, construction work has begun, and there is a crisis in Armenia, blaming each other, biting each other.’ 

‘Foreign representatives have always told us that Armenian society is united and there is national unity in Armenian society. Now we see where this national unity is.’ 

‘In this defeat, they blame each other, blame each other, there are mass arrests. But for some reason, some non-governmental organisations and some governments that breathe democracy turn a blind eye to this.’ 

‘In Armenia, the opposition is oppressed, dismantled, arrested and killed on a daily basis, but no one reacts to it. What does this mean?’ 

‘As they say, that 30-year history shows once again that we have not won this victory only over Armenia. Powerful circles wanted to unite and keep our land under occupation forever. Armenia, was simply a tool. We destroyed it. We have overthrown this insidious policy and restored justice.’

25 Feb 2021, 16:31

Nikol Pashinyan speaks at Republic Square 

After holding a minute of silence for those who were killed during the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War, Nikol Pashinyan began his speech. He condemned the military, stating that ‘the army cannot be involved in politics’ and that ‘they must obey the electoral will of the people’. 

‘Many generals and officers have signed statements on the orders of their immediate leaders’, he said. ‘But anyone who acts against the people and their legitimate authority acts against the state."

He also stated that the old authorities who were removed from power in the 2018 revolution and ‘enriched themselves at the expense of the army [..] still retain influence in the armed forces’.

‘They call me a traitor. They consider the people gathered here as traitors. I'll tell you what betrayal is: Vazgen Manukyan, even during the war, called on officers to fight against our people, and not against the Turks.’

‘After the war, I thought about resignation, but I did not decide to become prime minister, the people elected me. Therefore, the people must decide on my resignation. And we offered to hold early elections, but the opposition rejected our proposal.’

‘Let the people decide that I am to leave, let the people shoot me right in this square.’

Regarding President Armen Sarkissian not signing the order to fire General Staff Chief Onnik Gasparyan: ‘I said that he must sign the decision on dismissal of Onik Gasparyan. If he did not, does that mean that he is joining the opposition?’

Pashinyan has called on General Staff head Onnik Gasparyan to resign and for the rest of the military 'to return to service'.

Pashinyan also threatened opposition leaders with arrest: 'There is a line. If you cross it, you will be arrested.'

‘An end to velvet!’ 

Pashinyan proclaims that the ‘velvet’ (i.e. softness) of the 2018 revolution is over.

Photo: Ani Avetisyan/OC Media.

25 Feb 2021, 16:00

Opposition rally underway

Around 2,000 people have gathered for the opposition rally on Yerevan’s Freedom Square. 

Chants at the rally include ‘Armenia without the Turk’, referring to Pashinyan.

Ishkan Saghatelyan, a prominent member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, told the crowds they may stay overnight.

Other speakers included Yuri Khachaturov, a former chief of the general staff and former Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CTSTO).

Photo: Ani Avetisyan/OC Media.
Photo: Ani Avetisyan/OC Media.

25 Feb 2021, 15:28

Fighter jets in skies above Yerevan 

Fighter jets have been spotted flying low over Yerevan.

25 Feb 2021, 15:21

Army General Staff release new statement

A new statement by the General Staff of the Armenian Military has been published

‘The statement issued on February 25 of the Republic of Armenia’s Armed Forces Chief of Staff was not directed by anyone or made under the pressure of anyone. This is the clear conviction and position of the generals and officers to serve the salvation of the homeland at this crucial moment. Once again we confirm our clear position.’

25 Feb 2021, 15:08

Pashinyan has led supporters back to Republic Square 

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has led supporters back to Republic Square, where he is due to deliver an address at 16:00. An opposition rally at Freedom Square, roughly 1 kilometre away began at 15:00. 

Previous reports that Pashinyan was heading toward Freedom Square, appear to have been incorrect.

14 Jun 2024, 09:47

Armenia Church Head calls for negotiations

Catholicos Karekin II, the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, has expressed concern at the ongoing situation and called for the crisis to be resolved ‘at the negotiation table’.

25 Feb 2021, 14:44

Kocharyan: ‘the government must leave’

Former President Robert Kocharyan has released a statement supporting the Army’s General Staff and calling for the government to resign. 

‘At this crucial moment, we call on you to be the owner of our state, to stand by our Armed Forces, the Armenian Army. The government that lost the war and handed over land must leave. That is the first necessary guarantee of our national revival, that is the imperative of today.’

Head of opposition party Bright Armenia, Edmon Marukyan, has called for his supporters to stay off the streets and to join neither pro-Pashinyan nor anti-Pashinyan protesters.

14 Jun 2024, 09:47

Pashinyan leading supporters through Yerevan streets 

Nikol Pashinyan is leading thousands of supporters through the streets of central Yerevan, their destination is Freedom Square, where opposition protesters have already gathered.

25 Feb 2021, 14:09

Nikol Pashinyan has arrived at Republic Square 

The Armenian Prime Minister has said that the situation ‘is under control’. He has called for ‘negotiations’ to ensure that the situation does not escalate into violence. 

‘Even those who I have fired, they are my brothers, our brothers, the soldiers of our homeland’, he said. 

The crowd at the square has swelled to over one thousand, and continues to grow rapidly.

25 Feb 2021, 13:56

Edmon Marukyan: This is not an attempted coup

Head of opposition Bright Armenia head Edmon Marukyan has said that the statement released by Armenia’s General Staff of the Armed forces is ‘not an attempt at a military coup’ as it is not against ‘the constitutional order’. 

He also reiterated his call for Pashinyan to resign.

25 Feb 2021, 13:48

Both Pashinyan supporters and supporters of the opposition are gathering at Yerevan’s Republic Square

Hundreds of people are gathering in Yerevan’s Republic Square, the crowd appears to be primarily composed of supporters of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, but members of the opposition are also present. Pashinyan has promised to address the public at the square at 16:00 today. There is a very heavy police presence. 

The Armenian opposition is also gathering at the nearby Freedom Square.

Photo: Ani Avetisyan/OC Media.

25 Feb 2021, 13:39

Russia: Events in Armenia ‘an internal matter’

RIA reports that the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Kremlin have stated that the ongoing crisis in Armenia is ‘an internal matter’ of the Republic of Armenia. 

25 Feb 2021, 13:13

Armenian president has not signed order for removal of General Staff head 

Armenian President Armen Sarkissian has reportedly received the order from Pashinyan to remove Onnik Gasparyan as head of the Army’s General Staff. He has not signed the document. 

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