Dziunik Aghajanian - on Armenian Diplomacy, Foreign Policy, the Pashinyan Agenda, and Mother Armenia
Episode 258 | Recorded on Wednesday, May 31 2023
Can you tell us a little about how you entered the career of a diplomat and where your career has taken you?
Let’s look back to May of 2018, when Nikol Pashinyan was sworn in as Prime Minister of Armenia.
2020 is obviously marked by the 44-day war. The infamous statement by Hitler comes to mind, in 1939, he is quoted as: “When diplomacy ends, war begins.”
Since his defeat in the 44-day way, Pashinyan has at times claimed that Armenia agreed to handing Artsakh to Azerbaijan with the signing of the Alma Ata declaration in 1991. He has also claimed the same about Armenia agreeing to hand over Artsakh by signing the Madrid Principles.
Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian has vehemently rebutted Pashinyan’s assertions, and has said also that he offered to Pashinyan and his administration to discuss and explain the details of the negotiations, but Pashinyan rejected everything prior to 2018 and said that he would start from his own starting point.
Of course, the 44 day war was a pivotal moment for all of us, but please tell us how you experienced it from the inside, as an ambassador in Southeast Asia?
As the war ended, Armenian society was in shock & disbelief. On the night of the signing of the November 2020 trilateral ceasefire statement, people stormed the government building and parliament. For a week, neither Pashinyan nor his Civil Contract parliamentarians could be found.
At one point, when foreign minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan resigned, four of his deputy FMs also resigned en masse. At this time there were a lot of concerns that the ministry no longer had qualified or trained diplomats and staff to carry on its mission.
We are now apparently in the midst of a “great game” for control and influence over Armenia, and the South Caucasus. Immediately after the war, the Pashinyan government made it very difficult to evaluate the direction of Armenia’s geopolitical vector. One day it was praise of Russia and strong pro-Russian sentiments, other days we saw overtures towards the west.
In geopolitics they say that countries don’t have friends, they have interests, or national interests.
We brushed on the topic of Genocide earlier in the show. We should note that …
For over 100 years, the west has made many promises to Armenia which they have mostly not kept. In general, the west can not exert influence in the South Caucasus, except through Turkey, and we know that those relations are blocked.
That concludes this Conversations On Groong episode**. **As always we invite your feedback, Thanks to Laura Osborn for the music on our podcasts. Don’t forget to subscribe to us on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.
Ms. Dziunik Aghajanian has served Armenia through the ranks of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and most recently as a diplomat, as Armenia’s Ambassador to such countries as the Netherlands, Malaysia, and Indonesia. She received her education at Yerevan State University, Columbia University in NY, and Uppsala University in Sweden.
Asbed is founder of the Armenian News Network Groong and co-founder of the ANN/Groong podcast.
Hovik Manucharyan is an information security engineer who moved from Seattle to Armenia in 2022. He co-founded the ANN/Groong podcast in 2020 and has been a contributor to Groong News since the late 1990s.