Will Echmiadzin go all the way and claim secular power in the Republic of Armenia?

22.05.24 10:33

Armenian revanchists have a new idea - to combine secular power in the country with spiritual power. In principle, they do not have to look far for examples - such a theocracy exists in the Islamic Republic of Iran, and France, so beloved by Armenian nationalists, helped to establish it in that country.


The idea of a theocracy is beginning to gain popularity in the Republic of Armenia, first of all among those who are not satisfied with the policy of Nikol Pashinyan's government on the peaceful settlement with Azerbaijan, in particular with the de-occupation of Azerbaijani villages and the demarcation of the border. All the more so as the opposition to the peace process was actually led by Echmiadzin in the person of Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan, the leader of the "Tavush in the Name of the Motherland" protest movement.


And recently Bagrat Galstanyan said that he would not rule out running for prime minister of Armenia if the opposition successfully forced the resignation or impeachment of the current head of government, Nikol Pashinyan.


"If the people want it, it is God's will and I have the blessing of the Armenian Patriarch, who am I to oppose it? I repeat, I do not want this, I am a spiritual leader, this mission is many times higher than the Prime Minister's chair," he answered journalists' questions during a procession in the centre of Yerevan.


Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan is a dual citizen of Armenia and Canada, and according to the country's constitution, only a person with Armenian citizenship can become prime minister. Well, firstly, Galstanyan can formally renounce his Canadian citizenship, and secondly, Galstanyan himself, commenting on this fact, noted that "the people can change the constitution".


Suppose we hypothetically assume that Bagrat Galstanyan will still become Prime Minister. In that case, it will be the second precedent in modern history of a man with the dignity of a bishop leading a historic state. The first, as is well known, was Archbishop Makarios III, Primate of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus and the first President of the Republic of Cyprus.


However, if we remember what Makarios' presidency led to, we have to admit that it ended sadly. Unlike Bagrat Galstanyan, who is today the idol of the most radical Armenian nationalists and terrorists, the same radical Greek nationalists were not satisfied with Makarios. So they organised a coup in 1974, overthrew Makarios and proclaimed "enosis" - the Cypriot version of " Miatsum".


The Turkish Cypriot community was threatened with genocide, forcing Turkey to take the island's Turkish population under its protection. Eventually, the Greeks of Cyprus "came to their senses", turned their backs on the rebels and elected Makarios as their president, but only in the south of the island. In the north, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was organised under Turkish protection. It became clear that it was impossible to make the fate of the island's Turkish community dependent on the "wishes" of the Greek nationalists, who could stage a coup and ethnic cleansing at any moment.


Suppose the Armenian nationalists do not like the fact that the internationally recognised territory of their state is 29,000 square kilometres, well. In that case, they can adopt the "Cyprus experience" and "experiment" with bringing a cleric to power and then overthrowing him. There is no doubt that in the end the territory of the Armenian state will shrink even more.


There are strong reasons to believe that by appointing Bagrat Galstanyan as the leader of the revanchist movement and introducing the idea of "uniting" the spiritual and secular power in his person in the Armenian society, Echmiadzin is "going all out". Moreover, he has secured "external support". And not only from Moscow, although the revanchists supporting Galstanyan are positioned as "pro-Russian".


The support of the Vatican, an absolutist theocratic state with considerable influence in the world, can be more significant. This is particularly the case given that the "Armenian project" with the omnipotence of Echmiadzin is, in many respects, the "merit" of the Roman papal throne. Consequently, the emergence of a revanchist-theocratic regime headed by Galstanyan or another creator of Echmiadzin could pose a significant threat to the security of the region.


For Georgia, the threat is particularly evident given that Echmiadzin has not only appropriated all Georgian churches within the territory of the Republic of Armenia, but also makes official claims to 442 Georgian churches within the territory of Georgia (and consequently the lands on which they are located). Furthermore, it supports the separatist movement in Javakh.


George Mazniashvili

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