Hello, and welcome to the Armenian News Network, Groong, Week in Review. This Week we’re going to talk about the following major topics:
● Constitutional Court Decisions on Election Results
● New Pashinyan Appointments
● More Threats from Azerbaijan
● Russian Generals in Yerevan Again
To talk about these issues, we have with us:
Suren Sargsyan, who is the founder and President at the Armenian Center for American Studies, a research center based in Yerevan.
As we were expecting, on Saturday evening, the Constitutional Court ruled to leave the results of the June 20 snap parliamentary elections unchanged. This essentially means that the soon-to-be-sworn-in national assembly will have a makeup that gives the ruling party, Civil Contract, a comfortable majority with Armenia Alliance and I Have Honor Alliance alliance being the two minority factions.
How do you assess the political developments inside the country since November 10? Was this outcome for the elections expected?
It seems that the new National Assembly may deal with numerous issues related to the issue of Artsakh and regional developments. There are rumors about everything from demarcation and delimitation (which may possibly include dealing with former Azerbaijani SSR enclaves), a potential peace treaty with Azerbaijan and even establishing relations with Turkey.
What types of issues will the new parliament deal with?
Do you think that the concerns raised by the two opposition factions, especially concerning regional developments, are justified? And if so what tools will they have at their disposal?
Pashinyan’s administration has made several appointments over the last week over the past week.
● Armen Grigoryan, formerly the head of the National Security Council, was appointed as first deputy foreign minister.
● Lilit Makunts, as we widely expected, was appointed as Ambassador to the United States (meanwhile the current ambassador to the US, Nersesyan, was appointed ambassador to the the United Kingdom)
Let’s focus on the more controversial appointment, that of Armen Grigoryan. Many see this as an interim step to promoting Grigoryan to the foreign minister position in the near future, probably when the new government is formalized. If this prediction is true, then Grigoryan will be the first foreign minister to come from outside the ministry; he essentially has no prior diplomatic experience.
What is the reasoning for this? How will Grigoryan’s appointment affect our foreign policy?
Over the past week we’ve heard multiple and continuing threats from Ilham Aliyev towards Armenia. He has claimed that Syunik, Sevan, and even Yerevan are ancestral Azeri territory and that they shall return to these lands. He has threatened that Armenia should not make another mistake and immediately follow through with a peace agreement, border demarcation, etc.
We haven’t seen Prime Minister Pashinyan reacting to these in a commensurate response. Except for pointing out these threats to international players and organizations, we don’t see much readiness to confront these threats.
Suren: Why do you think this is? Is there nothing to worry about? Are these threats real, or does Pashinyan think they’re for Aliyev’s domestic consumption, or do we have a problem here?
During the week, Russian General Sergei Istrakov and others were in Yerevan to continue discussions started in January, aiming to deepen cooperation between the Armenian and Russian militaries.
Suren: what’s the aim of these discussions? Are they remedial, on the heels of Armenia's humiliation in the 44-day war, or is there a qualitative upgrade in engagement between the two countries, in terms of their bilateral alliance?
That concludes our program for This Week in Review episode. We hope it has helped your understanding of some of the issues from the previous week. We look forward to your feedback, and your suggestions for issues to cover in greater depth. Contact us on our website, at groong.org, or on our Facebook Page “ANN - Groong”, or in our Facebook Group “Groong - Armenian News Network”.
Special thanks to Laura Osborn for providing the music for our podcast. On behalf of everyone in this episode, we wish you a good week. Don’t forget to subscribe to our channels, Like our pages and follow us on social media. Thanks for listening and we’ll talk to you next week.
Suren Sargsyan, Armenia, Yerevan, Nikol Pashinyan, Ilham Aliyev, Baku. Azerbaijan, Armenian Genocide, Recognition, EU, Armen Grigoryan, Lilit Makunts, European Union, Borders, Peace Treaty, November Agreement, Artsakh, Karabakh Negotiations, Turkey, Erdogan, Foreign Policy, Russia, Putin, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Taliban, Armenian Ambassador, Varuzhan Nersessian