2018 Armenian revolution(Redirected from 2018 Armenian Velvet Revolution)
The 2018 Armenian revolution (most commonly known in Armenia as #MerzhirSerzhin (Armenian: ՄերժիրՍերժին), meaning "#RejectSerzh") was a series of anti-government protests in Armenia from April to May 2018 staged by various political and civil groups led by member of parliament Nikol Pashinyan (head of the Civil Contract party). Protests and marches took place initially in response to Serzh Sargsyan's third consecutive term as the most powerful figure in the government of the Armenia and later against the Republican Party-controlled government in general. Pashinyan declared it a Velvet Revolution (Թավշյա հեղափոխություն).
|2018 Armenian Revolution|
Protesters on 22 April 2018
|Date||31 March 2018 – 8 May 2018|
(1 month, 1 week and 1 day)
Armenia: Yerevan, Gyumri, Vanadzor, Abovyan, Sevan, Gavar, Artashat, Armavir, Ashtarak, Vagharshapat, Kapan, Stepanavan, Spitak, Dilijan
Armenian diaspora: Glendale, California, Moscow, Marseille, Toronto, Montreal, Sochi,Vancouver, Athens, London, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Chicago, Sao Paulo 
|Caused by||Election of Serzh Sargsyan to the post of Prime Minister|
|Methods||Demonstrations, sit-ins, student protest, civil disobedience, online activism, boycotts of business, general strike|
|Parties to the civil conflict|
On 23 April, Sargsyan conceded, saying "I was wrong, while Nikol Pashinyan was right" and resigned. The event is referred to by some as a peaceful revolution akin to revolutions in other post-Soviet states. By the evening of 25 April, the Republican Party’s coalition partner ARF-Dashnaktsutyun had withdrawn from the coalition.
By 28 April, all of the opposition parties in Armenia's parliament had announced they would support Pashiniyan's candidacy. A vote was scheduled in the National Assembly for 1 May; for Pashiniyan to be elected Prime Minister, which required 53 votes, he would have had to win the votes of at least six members of the Republican Party. Pashinyan was the only candidate who was put forward for the vote. However, the Republican Party unanimously voted against Pashinyan – 102 MPs were present, out of which 56 voted against his candidacy and 45 voted for it. One week later, on 8 May, the second vote took place. Pashinyan was elected Prime Minister with 59 votes.
Nomination of Sargsyan for the post of Prime MinisterEdit
Demonstrations and protests began in March 2018, when members of the Republican Party did not exclude the option of nominating Serzh Sargsyan for the prime minister's post. This meant a continuation of Sargsyan's rule (as either Prime Minister or President) since March 2007. He had amended the constitution in 2015 to remove term limits which would have prevented him doing this.
Protesters had vowed to block the party's headquarters on 14 April, where leaders were going to gather to formally nominate Serzh Sargsyan for prime minister. The Republican Party held its meeting outside of capital Yerevan and unanimously voted to formally nominate Serzh Sargsyan for the office of prime minister. The coalition partner Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaksutyun (ARF-D) supported the ruling Republican Party’s decision, as did most of the opposition Prosperous Armenia Party caucus.
On March 31, Nikol Pashinyan began his Im Kayl (my step) protest walk, starting in the city of Gyumri, and walking through cities and towns such as Vanadzor, Dilijan, Hrazdan, and Abovyan, before finally reaching Yerevan on April 13 and holding a small rally.
About 100 protesters stayed overnight on France Square after the first day of protests, and an equal number did the same on Saturday night, some sleeping in tents, others gathered around fires. As of Sunday morning, the Armenian police had made no effort to disrupt the demonstrations.
On Monday 16 April, the "Take a Step, Reject Serzh" campaign began actions of civil disobedience. On 17 April, the day that the prime minister's election was scheduled, the protesters intended to block entrances to the building of the National Assembly in order to prevent the vote from taking place. Lines of riot police stopped them from advancing further towards the National Assembly building.
After the election of the former president Serzh Sargsyan as the new prime minister, the protests continued to grow, despite hundreds of people being detained by police. The prime minister in response asked the government to take back the presidential mansion which it had given him a few weeks earlier. The crowds reached 50,000 on the night of 21 April, with countless sporadic street closures in the capital, which also began to spread across the country.
As the crowds grew, the new prime minister called repeatedly for talks with the leader of the protest movement, Nikol Pashinyan, but Pashinyan said he was only willing to discuss the terms of the Prime Minister's resignation. After Pashinyan's rally was visited by the Armenian President on the evening of 21 April for a brief chat with Pashinyan, Pashinyan agreed to meet the prime minister at 10 am on 22 April, saying he believed the topic would be Serzh Sargsyan's resignation.
The meeting, which lasted for a mere three minutes, failed to achieve anything, with Sargsyan walking out of it and accusing the opposition of "blackmail". During the meeting, Sargsyan asked Pashinyan not to speak on behalf of the people and not to issue ultimatums to the government, given the low level of support for his political alliance (less than 10 percent of the vote). He also warned that Pashinyan had not "learned the lessons of March 1", a reference to the 10 protestors killed by police during protests of his election 10 years earlier, amounting to an open threat of violence.
Immediately after the meeting, Pashinyan led a group of supporters from the site of the meeting by Republic Square on a long march down Tigran Mets and Artsakh streets to the Erebuni district, where they were met by riot police and stun grenades as Pashinyan was detained followed by mass detentions of protestors, including opposition lawmakers Sasun Mikayelyan and Ararat Mirzoyan. Protests continue throughout the city. By the evening 232 protestors had been arrested, and, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, tens of thousands gathered in Republic Square to continue to demand the resignation of Serzh Sargsyan. The police issued a statement saying that Pashinyan, Mikaelyan and Mirzoyan had been detained for 72 hours; however criminal charges could only be brought against them if the Republican-controlled National Assembly stripped them of their parliamentary immunity.
Protests resumed on 23 April, with media outlets reporting that former and current members of the Armenian armed forces, including participants of the 2016 April War, have joined in the rallies for the first time. This information was later confirmed by the Ministry of Defence.
Pashinyan was released at 3pm, and went directly to Republic Square where he spoke briefly, saying he would return at 6:30pm. By 4:30pm, Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan had posted a message on the official website of the prime minister announcing his resignation. Former Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan succeeded Sargsyan as acting Prime Minister.
24 April is the remembrance day of the Armenian Genocide. The protesters gathered in masses and walked to Tsitsernakaberd, the Genocide Memorial. No protest was held on that day.
Pashinyan called for renewed protests on 25 April after talks with the Republican Party were cancelled due to Karapetyan’s refusal to accept preconditions laid down by Pashinyan. Earlier Pashinyan stated that the Republican Party had no right to hold power in Armenia, and that a "people's candidate" should be appointed prime minister prior to holding snap elections. He added that the protest movement should nominate this transitional prime minister, a position that was rejected by the current government as it would violate the law. Protesters took to the streets to block the road to Yerevan’s international airport and the road leading to the border with Georgia. Meanwhile, the Prosperous Armenia Party and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation both declared their support for Pashinyan's movement, with the latter pulling out of the ruling coalition. Pashiniyan vowed to continue the protests until he was appointed prime minister.
Parliament held elections for a new Prime Minister, with the opposition leader Pashinyan the only nominee, as over 100,000 people watched the 9 hour session being broadcast live at Republic Square. However the majority party blocked his nomination by voting against him with one exception. After the election, prominent Armenian singers such as Iveta Mukuchyan and Sona Shahgeldyan performed for the crowd and made inspiring speeches. Pashinyan walked to Republic Square and told the crowd to go on strike the next day, and block all transportation from 8:15 in the morning until 5 in the evening, then gather for another rally at 7pm in Republic Square.
The nation ground to a halt as countless streets and highways were peacefully blocked throughout the nation, and many workers and businesses went on strike. The main airport access road was cut off, with some workers striking, and even land crossings were blocked. 150,000 people gathered in Republic Square to listen to Pashinyan speak, and were told that he had been informed that due to the strike, the ruling party had decided to support his candidacy in the next round of voting on 8 May. Protests were suspended in the meantime.
On May 8 Parliament again had a vote on a new Prime Minister, and again Nikol Pashinyan was the only candidate. This time the majority Republican party gave Pashinyan enough votes to win with a 59-42 margin. All the votes against Pashinyan still came from the Republican party.
On 4 April Edmon Marukyan, leader of the Bright Armenia party, which cooperates with the Civil Contract party lead by Nikol Pashinyan in the Way Out Alliance published an article in Aravot newspaper, in which he stated his preference for formal means of counteracting the ruling coalition rather than civil disobedience actions.
Many cultural figures had already declared solidarity with the opposition movement. In particular, well-known musician Serj Tankian of System of a Down addressed the activists declaring his solidarity and support, stressing the impermissibility of one-party rule in Armenia. Some organizations of the diaspora, in particular the Congress of Armenians of Europe, also expressed support for the opposition.
- European Union: On 24 April the head of the EU Delegation to Armenia hailed the success in the civic disobedience campaign in the country, promising a more intensive process towards the ratification of Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement.
- Georgia: Mikheil Saakashvili, former president of Georgia, released a video on 23 April congratulating the Armenian people on Sargsyan's resignation. He stated: "Today you have every right to be proud of yourself, to be proud of the fact that you are Armenians, the proud people who could prove to the whole world that they have dignity, that they want to live in normal human conditions, free from corruption. Armenia has a great future; today I was convinced of it again. I support you, we will always be with you. Well done!" He also claimed that the movement is a "rebellion against Russia".
- Russia: Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova praised the peaceful transition, adding that "Armenia, Russia is always with you!" A statement on the Foreign Ministry official web page reads: "We hope that the situation will develop exclusively in the legal and constitutional field, and all political forces will show responsibility and readiness for a constructive dialogue. We are convinced that the prompt return of life in the country to normal and the restoration of public accord meet the fundamental interests of the fraternal Armenia."
- United States: On 23 April US Ambassador Richard Mills praised the Armenian police and anti-government protesters led by Nikol Pashinyan for avoiding bloodshed during their standoff that led to the resignation of Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan. A statement by the US State Department expressed hope that his successor will be chosen in a transparent and constitutional manner. The statement also called on Armenia’s leading political groups to “avoid an escalation of the situation and any violent actions.” Protests were held by Armenians in various communities of the United States, with 5,000 protesters gathering in solidarity with those protesting in Armenia on April 22 and additional protests being held on other days, including May 8.
- 2008 Armenian presidential election protests, especially clashes that occurred 1 March
- 2011 Armenian protests, triggered over Karen Karapetyan's decision to ban street vendors in Yerevan
- Mashtots Park Movement, 2012 protests to save green space in Yerevan
- 2013 Armenian protests, over Serzh Sargsyan's re-election
- 2013 Armenian protests over public transportation fare hikes
- Electric Yerevan, 2015 protests over electricity rate hikes
- 2016 Yerevan hostage crisis demonstrations
- "Armenia contemplates the unlikely: a nonviolent revolution on the cusp of victory". Los Angeles Times. 7 May 2018.
- "Thousands of SoCal Armenians protest election results in their homeland". KABC-TV. 23 April 2018.
- "В Москве у армянской церкви прошла акция в поддержку протестов в Ереване. Митингующих задержали". meduza (in Russian). 22 April 2018.
- Ghukasyan, Seda (18 April 2018). "Yerevan: "Reject Serzh" Rally Kicks-Off in Republic Square; March To Baghramyan Avenue". Hetq.
He claimed that protesters had removed a photo of Serzh Sargsyan hanging in the Armenian Consulate in Marseille and publicly burnt it.
- International, Radio Canada (23 April 2018). "Canada 'applauds' courage of Armenian protesters". rcinet.ca.
- International (20 April 2018). "Yerevan's 'Velvet Revolution' Rally: Pashinyan Calls Sargsyan a "Political Corpse"". rcinet.ca.
- "Armenian PM Sarkisian Resigns After Protest Leader Pashinian Released". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- "Thousands Celebrate As Armenia's Longtime Ruler Sarkisian Steps Down". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty.
- "Пашинян потребовал "единогласной капитуляции" правящей партии Армении". РБК.
- "Pashinian Claims Armenian Ruling Party Defections, Warns PM". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty.
- "Пашинян пообещал не прекращать протесты до назначения премьером Армении". РБК.
- "Armenia's Pashinian Optimistic As Yerevan Protests Continue". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty.
- Roth, Andrew (2018-05-08). "'He's not a populist, he's popular': Nikol Pashinyan becomes Armenian PM". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
- "Opposition MP Nikol Pashinyan discharged from hospital, joins protesters".
- http://himnadir.am/%D5%AA%D5%AB%D6%80%D5%A1%D5%B5%D6%80-%D5%BD%D5%A7%D6%86%D5%AB%D5%AC%D5%B5%D5%A1%D5%B6%D5%AB-%D6%87-%D5%BD%D5%A1%D5%BD%D5%B6%D5%A1-%D5%AE%D5%BC%D5%A5%D6%80%D5%AB-%D5%B0%D5%A1%D5%B5%D5%BF%D5%A1%D6%80-2/. Missing or empty
- "Khachatur Kokobelyan and Party Members Join Nikol Pashinyan's Fight - Aravot newspaper".
- "Unarmed soldiers join anti-government protests in Armenia". Reuters. 23 April 2018.
- "Huge Crowds Keep Up Pressure On Armenian PM". «Ազատ Եվրոպա/Ազատություն» ռադիոկայան. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
- "Armenian Police Statement: Those Detaining Citizens in Civilian Dress Are Police Officers". Hetq. 20 April 2018.
- "Pashinyan to Negotiate with Authorities 'on Behalf of People' (Live Thread)". epress.am. 21 April 2018.
Samvel Aleksanyan, a local oligarch close to Serzh Sargsyan, is personally fighting demonstrators in Malatia district. In a video published on Facebook, Aleksanyan is seen kicking a protester who is then forcibly put into a car.
- Atanesian, Grigor (16 April 2018). "Thousands of protesters shut down Armenia's capital, dozens injured in clashes". eurasianet.
- "Nikol Pashinyan Called on Oligarchs Not to Involve Their Bodyguards". lragir.am. 16 April 2018.
- "PanARMENIAN.Net - Mobile". panarmenian.net. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- "Armenia's revolution continues, as its opposition leader nears power". The Economist. 3 May 2018.
- Weiss, Clara (25 April 2018). "Armenian prime minister resigns after mass protests". World Socialist Web Site.
- Ferris-Rotman, Amie (2018-05-02). "Armenia's pro-democracy leader tells his jubilant followers they can ease up". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-05-05.
- Kucera, Joshua (22 April 2018). "Armenian opposition leader arrested, but protesters rally". eurasianet.
- "Armenian Ruling Party Won't Nominate PM Candidate; Pashinian Rallies Support". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty.
- about, Melissa MacBride, bio, (23 April 2018). "SoCal Armenians protest election results in their homeland". ABC7 Los Angeles. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- "Հոսպիտալացվել է 46 քաղաքացի, այդ թվում՝ 6 ոստիկան" (in Armenian). Retrieved 16 April 2018.
- "Armenia: Negotiations Fail, Opposition Leaders Detained, Protesters Increase in Numbers". Armenian Weekly. 22 April 2018.
- ""Velvet Revolution" Takes Armenia into the Unknown". Crisis Group. 26 April 2018.
- "Премьер-министр Армении Саргсян подал в отставку". РБК. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- Hairenik (23 April 2018). "Breaking: Serge Sarkisian Resigns as Prime Minister". The Armenian Weekly. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- "Armenia's Peaceful Revolution Is a Lesson for Putin". Bloomberg.com. 23 April 2018. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
- "Armenian Revolution: Russian influence to remain amid power shift". Retrieved 24 April 2018.
- "A 'Color Revolution' In Armenia? Mass Protests Echo Previous Post-Soviet Upheavals". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
- "Кандидатуру Пашиняна решили поддержать три партии из парламента Армении". РБК.
- "Armenian Opposition Leader Pashinian Nominated As PM Candidate". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
- Armenian Protest Leader Pashinian Only Candidate For Premier, rferl.org; accessed 30 April 2018.
- "Парламент проголосовал против Пашиняна на выборах премьера Армении". РБК. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
- "PanARMENIAN.Net - Mobile". panarmenian.net. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
- "Revolution sweeps Armenian opposition leader into power". 8 May 2018. Retrieved 10 December 2018 – via www.reuters.com.
- ""Հնարավոր է Սերժ Սարգսյանը դառնա վարչապետ". Շարմազանով". «Ազատ Եվրոպա/Ազատություն» ռադիոկայան (in Armenian). Retrieved 8 April 2018.
- "Համոզված եմ, որ Սերժ Սարգսյանը կլինի վարչապետ. Գալուստ Սահակյան". news.am (in Armenian). Retrieved 8 April 2018.
- "Ես կհամոզեմ Սերժ Սարգսյանին. գեներալ (տեսանյութ)". 1in.am. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
- ""Պատրաստ եմ վարչապետի պաշտոնում առաջադրել Սերժ Սարգսյանի թեկնածությունը". Արմեն Աշոտյան". «Ազատ Եվրոպա/Ազատություն» ռադիոկայան (in Armenian). Retrieved 8 April 2018.
- Who needs parliamentary republic in Armenia? Vestnik Kavkaza, 5 October 2015
- "Sargsyan officially nominated for office amid continuing protests". Retrieved 16 April 2018.
- "ARF-D backs decision to nominate Serzh Sargsyan for prime minister". tert.am. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
- "Serzh Sargsyan elected prime minister of Armenia among clashes in Yerevan". EurAsia Daily. 17 April 2018. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
- "Armenia crisis: Protesters bring cities to standstill after vote". BBC. 2 May 2018. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
- "Arminfo: Armenian opposition continues protests against Serzh Sargsyan`s premiership". Retrieved 16 April 2018.
- "More Streets In Yerevan Blocked By Hundreds Opposition Protesters". aravot-en.am. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
- "Armenian Police Struggle To Contain Continuing Protests". «Ազատ Եվրոպա/Ազատություն» ռադիոկայան (in Armenian). Retrieved 22 April 2018.
- "More People Detained In Anti-Sarkisian Protests". «Ազատ Եվրոպա/Ազատություն» ռադիոկայան (in Armenian). Retrieved 22 April 2018.
- "Sarkisian Gives Up Ownership Of Official Residence". «Ազատ Եվրոպա/Ազատություն» ռադիոկայան (in Armenian). Retrieved 22 April 2018.
- Press, Associated (21 April 2018). "Armenia protests: 70 arrested, including 2 suspected bombers". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
- "Armenia: Protesters Shut Down Noyemberyan-Bagratashen Highway - Hetq - News, Articles, Investigations". Retrieved 22 April 2018.
- "Armenian PM Wants Urgent Talks With Protest Leader". «Ազատ Եվրոպա/Ազատություն» ռադիոկայան (in Armenian). Retrieved 22 April 2018.
- "Armenian President Visits Main Protest Site (UPDATED)". «Ազատ Եվրոպա/Ազատություն» ռադիոկայան (in Armenian). Retrieved 22 April 2018.
- "Serzh Sarkisian, Pashinian Agree To Meet". «Ազատ Եվրոպա/Ազատություն» ռադիոկայան (in Armenian). Retrieved 22 April 2018.
- "Премьер-министр Армении встретился с лидером протестов. Их переговоры продлились три минуты". Meduza (in Russian). Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- "Tens Of Thousands Fill Yerevan Square As Protest Leader Pashinian Detained". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- Agencies (22 April 2018). "Armenian opposition leader detained amid political unrest". the Guardian. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- "Власти Армении пошли на силовую акцию против шествия оппозиции в Ереване". РБК. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- "Tens Of Thousands Fill Yerevan Square As Protest Leader Pashinian Detained". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- "Число задержанных полицией активистов в Ереване возросло до 232 человек". РБК. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- "Huge Crowds Keep Up Pressure On Armenian PM". «Ազատ Եվրոպա/Ազատություն» ռադիոկայան (in Armenian). Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- "Yerevan Bracing For Fresh Protests After Detention Of Leader". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- "Live Stream: Fresh Protests In Armenia". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- "Group of soldiers joins anti-government protests in Armenia". Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- "Armenian soldiers join anti-government protests in Yerevan". DailySabah. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- "К протестам в Ереване присоединились военные". РБК. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- LLC, ZOOM GRAPHICS. "ՀՀ ՊԱՇՏՊԱՆՈՒԹՅԱՆ ՆԱԽԱՐԱՐՈՒԹՅՈՒՆ | Հայտարարություն". mil.am. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- "Վարչապետ Սերժ Սարգսյանի հայտարարությունը - Մամլո հաղորդագրություններ - Լրատվություն - Հայաստանի Հանրապետության վարչապետ". primeminister.am (in Armenian). Retrieved 24 April 2018.
- "Armenian PM resigns after protests". BBC News. 23 April 2018. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- Fieke Snijder and, Mahir Zeynalov (26 April 2018). "Alexander Iskandaryan: Early to Say if Armenia Will Change for Better". The Globe Post. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
- "Оппозиция вновь вышла на улицы Еревана. Переговоры Пашиняна с премьером сорваны". Meduza (in Russian). Retrieved 25 April 2018.
- https://www.rbc.ru/rbcfreenews/5ae046e89a79471c04280ebe Протестующие в Ереване перекрыли дорогу в аэропорт Звартноц
- "Dashnaktsutyun Quits Armenian Government". «Ազատ Եվրոպա/Ազատություն» ռադիոկայան (in Armenian). Retrieved 25 April 2018.
- "Pashinian Elected Armenian PM (UPDATED)". «Ազատ Եվրոպա/Ազատություն» ռադիոկայան. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
- "Dilemma of quick defeat and long-term but inevitable victory | http://www.aravot-en.am". External link in
- "Serj Tankian on Yerevan protests: Civil disobedience works like a charm when enough people participate". news.am. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- "Arminfo: In Yerevan, the initiative Take a step, turn down Serzhu began the action of civil disobedience". Retrieved 16 April 2018.
- "EU envoy pledges to step up ratification of CEPA". tert.am. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
- "Saakashvili: Armenia has a great future". news.am.
- Georgia, Civil. "Civil.Ge - Georgia: Mixed Reactions over Armenia Protests". civil.ge.
- "'I Was Wrong': Armenian Leader Quits Amid Protests". New York Times. 23 April 2018.
- "Russian foreign ministry emphasizes restoration of public accord in Armenia". arka.am. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
- "U.S. Envoy Hails 'Spirit Of Democracy' In Armenia". «Ազատ Եվրոպա/Ազատություն» ռադիոկայան (in Armenian). Retrieved 26 April 2018.
- MacBride, Melissa (23 April 2018). "SoCal Armenians protest election results in their homeland". ABC7 Los Angeles. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
- bio, veronica miracle bio,veronica miracle, veronica abc7 (8 May 2018). "Armenians gather in Glendale to rally for upcoming election". ABC7 Los Angeles. Retrieved 10 December 2018.