Sarkisian charged that political scientists can now use his country for a case study of populist rule and its “ruinous consequences.”
“Before the coronavirus, many countries of the world, including Armenia, were infected with another extremely dangerous virus, the virus of populism,” he said. “It pains me to say this because my country is now feeling on its skin the ruinous consequences of inept rule by amateur populists.”
Sarkisian went on to again blame Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s administration for Armenia’s defeat in last year’s war with Azerbaijan.
“The army and the diplomatic corps, which were totally wrecked by the populist regime for three years, did not manage to cope with the Azerbaijani aggression. I want to once again reaffirm that this was a defeat of not our people but a bunch of criminally irresponsible demagogues,” he told the online event chaired by former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
Anush Beghloyan, a parliament deputy from Pashinian’s Civil Contract party, rejected the accusations.
“Armenia’s diplomatic corps and parliamentary diplomacy are doing everything to protect Armenia’s sovereignty and national interests,” she told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.
Beghloyan also argued that the ruling political team won snap parliamentary elections held in June.
Echoing statements by other opposition leaders, Sarkisian insisted that the elections did not end a post-war political crisis in Armenia. He claimed that they on the contrary plunged the country into a “new infernal period” marked by Azerbaijani attacks on its internationally recognized territory.
Sarkisian, 67, resigned in April 2018 during Pashinian-led mass protests sparked by his attempt to prolong his decade-long rule. Pashinian had long accused him of corruption and misrule.
The ex-president remains the chairman of the former ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK). The HHK makes up, together with another opposition party, the Pativ Unem alliance represented in the current Armenian parliament.
Sarkisian’s latest scathing attacks on Pashinian came about two weeks after law-enforcement authorities brought fresh bribery charges against him. He rejects them as politically motivated.