High Treason Against the Homeland

Prof. Z. S. Andrew Demirdjian, Los Angeles, 5 August 2022

“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within.” Marcus Tullius Cicero

Like most observers, I was expecting an Armenian victory over Azerbaijan in the 44-Day War in 2020. The rout devastated many people and my mind kept searching for a reason (s) for the death, destruction, and the loss of large swathes of territory to Azerbaijan.

The combined forces of Azerbaijan, Turkey, Pakistan, terrorist jihadist, Syrian and Libyan mercenaries, and the Israeli UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) remote pilots fought against the fledgling Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) assisted only by Armenia.

In addition to allied forces, Azerbaijan used illegal weapons against the unsuspecting Artsakh Defense Forces and the civilians of a number of towns and cities in contravention of international rules of engagement.

For a tiny republic with a small population, a war casualty of 3,822 soldiers and civilians is a shuddering national loss.

Hopes for victory were based on the fact that the Armenian generals had for many years assured the public of the well preparedness of the Armenian forces against Azerbaijan. One general had even claimed a few years earlier that if war were to break out with Azerbaijan, the Armenian army would chase the enemy all the way to Baku.

What factors contributed to defeat?

  1. The Armenian Defense Forces used vintage Russian weapons, hardly functional.
  2. Azerbaijan deployed invincible Israeli and Turkish suicide drones.
  3. Azerbaijan used illegal weapons.
  4. Insufficiently trained Armenian volunteers were sent to the front line.
  5. The Armenian generals were “businessmen” and not true military leaders to serve out of love of country. Instead, they pursued personal gains.

Following the war, there were frequent media reports about the arrests of Armenian military officers for high treason, often betraying their country for money. It was expected for a country at war to have some traitors. However, the frequency of treason headlines, indicated an epidemic of treason in Armenia and Artsakh.

Continuing my research, I discovered another reason as to why Armenia/Artsakh had lost the war so miserably. Below is a list of recent headlines to give you an idea about the endemic of treasonous activities in the Armenian Armed Forces.

The California Courier:

“Armenian soldier accused of espionage, high treason,” June 2, 2022
“Artsakh Soldier Arrested for Treason,” June 23, 2022
“Two Armenian Soldiers Arrested After Spying for Enemy,” June 23, 2022
“Armenian NSS detains former head of missile troops and artillery,” June 23, 2022
“Armenian army officer charged with treason,” July 7, 2022
“Another Armenian army officer arrested on charges of treason,” July 21, 2022
“16 Armenians Arrested as Members of a Second spy Network,” March 17, 2022
“The Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said last week during an online press conference that more than 50 Armenian servicemen faced treasons charges,” July 7, 2022
“Armenians accused of treason gave geographical coordinates to foreign special services,” August 11, 2022
“Colonel arrested for violating rules of combat duty during Artsakh war,” August 11, 2022.
“High treason by Armenia citizens, espionage by foreign nationals exposed,” August 18, 2022.

The above list of headlines for treason arrests in a single newspaper in a span of two-and-a-half months is just the tip of the iceberg. If you were to search on Google “Armenian Army Officer Charged with Treason,” you would be inundated with further news reports on National Security Service (NSS) arrests and indictments. There is no question about it: treason, and espionage, selling out one’s country to the enemy for money, has been an epidemic in Armenia and to a lesser degree in Artsakh.

Treason or high treason is defined as the committing of a crime that seriously threatens the safety and security of one’s country. Treason and high treason are used interchangeably nowadays. In the past, high treason was against a monarch, while treason was against an official or a government. In both cases, the act is a serious crime subject to capital punishment in most countries.

The arrest and the indictment of the traitors by NSS had the same story and procedure. Let us take “Armenian army officer charged with treason” (The California Courier, July 7, 2022) for an example:

“NSS has accused the above career army officer, who possessed information on the command staff, size of the armament, kind and quantity of military equipment, the manpower as well as the location of some of the military units, had been recruited by foreign intelligence service through the social network such as “ok.ru.” For example, the army officer was promised $4,000 in exchange for sending photos via Whats.App.

How can Armenian soldiers in the front line fight with confidence if they know that traitors have betrayed them by providing vital military information to the enemy?

What should be the ultimate penalty for those found guilty of high treason?  Usually, the conspirators are hanged for selling out their country. I say let us banish them to Azerbaijan or to Turkey where they will be treated as dirty rats for betraying their own country.

Is treason in Armenia/Artsakh a widespread character defect? If it is, then we have an army of traitors. What can be done? Ideas have changed the world; ideas may also help the homeland provided minds are kept open:

  1. NSS should primarily operate on proactive basis in finding subversive activities going on with those officers who may betray the country before the damage is done.
  2. NSS should prosecute for high capital punishment any treasonous activity to discourage anyone from engaging in treason, in the betrayal of the homeland.
  3. Teach children at an early age in school, like playing chess is done in primary schools, through the carrot approach –the rewards, the honors to be gained by being a patriotic citizen of the homeland. Psychologically speaking, since sometimes negative incentives work as well (the stick approach). Teachers should expose children at an early age to the dire consequences of selling out one’s country to the enemy.  Parents also have the critical role to play in bringing up their children    to be patriotic, self-sacrificing, to advance the homeland for the benefit of all.
  4. Military training should emphasize the temptation to sell out one’s country to the adversary as being strong. Giving lip service to treason will not do.

A search for Azerbaijan’s reports of treason on the Internet produced not even one case. Most, if not all, of the cases pertained to the treason of Armenian officers even when the search specified “Azerbaijani treason cases.” This anomaly is perhaps due to Azerbaijan’s clampdown on the press reporting cases of treason for a show of solidarity of the Azerbaijani people and army with their leader, President Ilham Aliyev.

In view of the plethora of treason cases reported in the aftermath of the Second Artsakh War, it’s obvious that one of the critical reasons Armenians lost the war was treason by their own servicemen, officers and retired army brass.

When the incidence of treason is so frequent, it sags our spirits. It also indicates that some of the above listed agents are not doing a sufficient work in raising patriotic children to become loyal citizens. The Spartans knew quite well that it was not numbers, but the quality of soldiers that brought home victory. We should always remember: Nature hates vacuum and wherever patriotism is absent, treason thrives

  1. The author unfortunately has no idea of what is going on in Armenia or Artsakh. Judging just by the headlines rendered by the state propaganda machinery is a self-defeating enterprise. A true expert, or someone who aspires to be one, has to dig deeper and see whether the accusations, for example, brought against the army servicemen and other personnel/civilians have a pattern or not; whether the indictments are approved by the prosecutor’s office or not, whether the charges are later being dropped or not… Instead, we have a collection of headlines, which apparently impressed the author so much that he/she could not resist but write this libelous oped. I would strongly suggest to follow what experts have to say, for example, about the reasons of defeat and devastation…. the “poor nikol” and ‘treasonous officers’ saga has to be put aside.

  2. All I know and see is Kocharian, Sarkissian are billionaires, and their corrupt families, not to mention the ministers and generals who were busy with their private businesses. They forgot about the business of governing the country and making it stronger. For Serj Nikol became the perfect candidate to carry the problem of the country. And Nikol fell for it.
    Russia gave the green light to Azerbaijan and Turkey to attack.
    Russia is supposed to protect Armenia from foreign invaders. Azerbaijan is occupying Armenian lands. Russia till today didn’t lift a finger to help Armenia.

  3. It is sort of complicated for Russia and perhaps anyone who wants to side with Armenia.
    The UN, in 1991 or so, decided that those territories belong to Azerbaijan.
    It is a mystery to me how the UN came to that decision. Maybe they decided that the Soviet Union has legally the right to decide what the borders should be.
    They didn’t factor into their equation that Armenia had gone through a genocide, that they have been invaded by foreigners for a couple of thousands years or so.
    In other words, Armenia never decided to join the Soviet Union. It was forced into it.
    They didn’t factor in the fact that large territories had already been stolen by Turkey.

    I also hear that past Armenian presidents never talked about this situation in front of the UN. I don’t know if this is real or just nonsense being said on Youtube.
    Apparently, not even Nikol (Nigol) Pashinian has talked about it except recently.

  4. The Importance of Assumptions

    Without assumptions the world of science and technology would stagnate and there won’t be any advancement in our knowledge. The world would remain in darkness.

    For example, somebody makes an assumption that the world is not flat, but that it is round; and another person will take this assumption as a hypothesis to test the reality of the assumption.

    Without stooping to the level of the person who is attaching a writer’s personality by saying he does not know this and that, I propose that he learn about the research process.

    In the High Treason … article, the frequency of military servicemen being indicted for treason is staggering, which leads one to assume that there is something basically wrong. Then, we should all be alerted to do something about it for the sake of our homeland.

    As a result, a hypothesis is born to be tested. Assumptions guide argumentation, serve as evidence generation, and help the drawing of inclusions. One reason, why assumptions are important, is that they frame and guide, directly or indirectly, the processes of argumentation, evidence generation, and conclusions.

    Besides, there is freedom of expression in a free society without being criticized for his or her ideas. Unlike this gentleman’s negative comments, the author “does know about Armenia and Artsakh,” for he has been researching, writing and publishing about them for over fifty years. Where is your solidarity, Mr. …?

    Best Wishes,


  5. To all skeptics out there, the author is right. These news are on different news media everyday. The propaganda IS against Armenia, not the other way round. The same propaganda that invaded the social media, immediately after the 2018 revolution, that turned the Armenian diaspora against the homeland. It is called media war against the Armenian people.

    Some of these lies that were spread out like fire: – “Nikol came to hand in the lands”, “Nikol sold the lands”, “These Sorosagans” – while it is a known fact that Soros offices opened in Armenia in 1997, when Kocharian was president!

    There is information that there are around 300,000 agents in Armenia, planted everywhere; government offices, army and internal forces, embassies, etc. I am almost certain that the 44 day war was being guided from outside. It was the punishment of the Armenian people, for daring to revolt. I am also certain that the revolution was real.

    One army general, recently seized, was said to be partying a day before the war, invited many others to that party, knowing that the situation was dire. He ran away from position, causing the death of many soldiers and losing two towns in Artsakh.
    Then there is the case of mysterious killings or “suicides'” within the army !!! This was the case before the revolution, and still continuing to this day!

    1. I concur with Houry. Will add: In any war, specially the lost conflicts, there are subjective (internal) and external factors. The very knowledgeable professor, who has many decades of experience in dealing with conflicts, has described in detail part of the internal factors that led to the tragic loss. Exposing them is as crucial as telling about the external geopolitical, military and economic components. One set of issues does not negate the presence of the others, i.e. the external environment.

  6. Unfortunately, the author did not mention Russia which gave the green light to Turkey/Azerbaijan to attack. Even the Russian defense minister stated that they cooperated brilliantly with Turkey during this operation. I believe the first president is to blame for not declaring the Republic as the continuation of the First Armenian Republic. Azerbaijan has no claim on Artsakh under the First Armenian Republic recognized by the League of Nations on February 24, 1920.

  7. The article is deficient in two important areas. It does not explain the causes of the unprecedented and widespread treason. If you will, what kind of society/country produces such an abundance of traitors from a cross-section, including the military, of society. There are many countries which are poorer than Armenia and yet they have not vomited this many traitors.
    While Prof. Demirdjian’s advice on teaching patriotism to children is well intentioned, it’s of little use because we don’t have time. Azerbaijan could attack us tomorrow: we need solutions to the treachery debacle now. We can’t wait for the children to grow up and show us their patriotic mettle.

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