Pashinian stressed the importance of national security and normalizing relations with Azerbaijan and Turkey as he congratulated Armenians on the 32nd anniversary of a declaration of independence adopted by their country’s first post-Communist parliament.
The 1990 declaration stopped short of announcing Armenia’s immediate secession from the Soviet Union. It announced instead “the start of a process of establishing independent statehood.”
“De facto, that process has not ended until today, not because we don't have independence but because independence is like health, which even if you have it, you have to take care of it every day,” Pashinian said in a statement issued on the occasion.
“The Government is fighting for the independence of the Republic of Armenia every day,” he said. “For us, independence is security. The international structures that provide it are cracking in front of all of us, and one of the first cracks unfortunately manifested itself in Nagorno-Karabakh.
“Independence is normalized relations with neighbors. Although we have excellent relations with some of our neighbors, there is no significant progress in our relations with others because they demand too much from us or they think that we are demanding too much from them.”
“For us, independence is strong allied relations, but allies are not always only allies to you but also to those who ally against you,” Pashinian added in an apparent reference to Russia.
Pashinian’s and political opponents and other critics regularly claim that he has put Armenia’s independence at serious risk by mishandling the 2020 war with Azerbaijan, weakening the Armenian armed forces and undermining relations with Russia. They say that he must therefore resign.
Pashinian did not allude to security issues or improving relations with Azerbaijan and Turkey in his previous statements on the 1990 declaration. In August 2021, for example, he put the emphasis on internal political and economic challenges facing Armenia.