Table of Contents
Hello, and welcome to the Armenian News Network, Groong, Week in Review for Sunday December 6, 2020. I’m Hovik Manucharyan and together with Asbed Bedrossian, we’ll be talking to our guests about the following major topics:
● Turkey and Azerbaijan Connecting
● Armenia’s Political Opposition Uniting
● Support from Russia
● Robert Kocharyan Interview
To talk about these issues, we have with us:
Varuzhan Geghamyan, who is an assistant professor at Yerevan State University and teaches on Turkey’s modern history and the history of Azerbaijan.
Asbed Kotchikian, a senior lecturer of political science and international relations at Bentley University in Massachusetts where he teaches courses on the Middle East and former Soviet space.
This episode was recorded on Sunday, December 6.
In The Statement of November 10, it looked like Point 9 was a late addition which Turkey and Azerbaijan decided that, in a moment when Armenia was at a gunpoint and out of options, they would throw in everything and the kitchen sink in the agreement. It reads:
● All economic activity and transport links in the region are to be unrestricted. The Republic of Armenia guarantees the safety of transport links between western regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic in order to organize the unimpeded movement of citizens, vehicles and cargo in both directions. Transport control is carried out by the bodies of the Border Service of the FSB of Russia. By agreement of the Parties, the construction of new infrastructure linking the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic with regions of Azerbaijan is to take place.
What are the goals of this point?
Since the signing of The Statement which ended
hostilities in Artsakh on November 9, the political environment in Yerevan has
been in turmoil.
A hodge-podge of 17+ political parties, calling itself “The Salvation of Motherland Movement”, has called for PM Pashinyan’s resignation and has put forward the veteran politician Vazgen Manukyan as its candidate for interim PM. On Saturday, December 5, this alliance held its largest protest yet in 4 weeks numbering about 20 thousand people.
Meanwhile Edmond Marukyan of the Bright Armenia party also announced his own candidacy for the same position.
The position however is not vacant. Pashinyan has refused to comply with the calls for resignation and the government has only made cosmetic changes by reshuffling the cabinet, and advisors.
Where do we see these developments heading? What are some of the key points in the statements made by the opposition representatives including Vazgen Manukyan
On December 2, Russian president Putin chaired a virtual summit of the CSTO. Announcing that Armenia’s leader had to make “painful but necessary concessions” Putin said that it was up to CSTO leaders to “support the prime minister as well as his team in their efforts to establish peace, achieve the implementation of all of the decisions made, and assist people who found themselves in very difficult life situations."
At the same time there were reports of wealthy Russian diasporans calling for his resignation, including Ruben Vardanyan and Samvel Karapetyan.
Can this statement be viewed as an endorsement of Pashinyan by Moscow? What are the implications of such an announcement on Armenia’s internal political scene and the continuation of Pashinyan as PM?
Meanwhile former President Robert Kocharyan gave an expensive interview on Friday. What are some of the key points that stood out in that interview?
Some points from the interview:
● SU-30 purchase decision explicitly made by PM, despite counter-recommendations from the military. The PM thought they were “more impressive” than the TOR systems. Also, the SU-30’s did not come with the required missiles for engagement because the missiles were not exportable by Russia.
● There were multiple occasions during the war - from the 4th day on until the end - when Putin said there was an opportunity to end the war, and the PM missed it.
● Vitaly Balasanyan requested to take over the leadership of the southern front, but was denied.
● Mentioning Saddam Hussein as the only modern leader who hung on to power after losing a war, and then going on to being hung after his capture.
● Mentioned deeper integration with Russia, particularly in the area of defense.
● Mentioned that the July fighting was provoked by Armenia.
● In the context of Armenian-Russian relations, RK mentioned that several months before the war a new head of national security was appointed whose task was to flush out the pro-Russian elements from Armenia’s government. (He was most likely referring to Argishti Kyaramyan, who was appointed to that position in June 2020. --Groong note)
● He promised to be involved in rebuilding of Armenia saying: «անմաս չեմ մնալու անկասկած». What do you think this means?
That concludes our program for This week’s Groong Week in Review. We hope it has helped you understand some of the current issues. We look forward to your feedback, and even 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. I’m Hovik Manucharyan, and on behalf of everyone in this episode, I wish you a good week. Thank you for listening and we’ll talk to you next week.
Armenia, Karabakh, Artsakh, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Putin, Varuzhan Geghamyan
Additional: Asbed Kotchikian, Russia, Ceasefire,
Aliyev, Pashinyan, Robert Kocharyan, Goble Plan,
SU-30, Artsakh War, Karabakh War, Transportation Corridors, Meghri,
Syunik, Sotk, Berdzor,
Stepanakert, Salvation of Motherland Movement, Edmon Marukyan, Bright Armenia, Vazgen
Manukyan, Resignation, Martial Law,