Hello, and welcome to the Armenian News Network, Groong, Week in Review. This is the last show we’re recording this year, and today is Monday, December 27, 2021.
This week we’re covering the following major topics:
● Nikol Pashinyan holds a press conference
● Robert Kocharyan holds a press conference
● The Yerevan Mayor Saga
To talk about these issues, we have with us:
Tevan Poghosyan, who is president of the International Center for Human Development. Mr. Poghosyan was an MP in the National Assembly between 2012 and 2017 from the Heritage party. From 1997 to 1999 he served as the Nagorno-Karabakh Public Affairs Office Director in Washington, D.C.
On Friday, Nikol Pashinyan held a press conference lasting more than 2 hours, answering pre-selected questions from the media. Pashinyan touched on many topics, including Turkish-Armenian relations and ongoing negotiations around Artsakh.
One statement he made caused a major political reaction in Armenia and Artsakh, leading to the parliament of Artsakh to issue a rare statement condemning a sitting leader in Armenia.
When asked about his stance on the future of Artsakh, Pashinyan provided an answer that was in line consistent with his previous stance, mostly blaming his predecessors. He said that in 2016, there was a “catastrophe” in the negotiations process, where an explicit “interim status” for Artsakh was missing from proposals by OSCE MG mediators starting from 2016.
He also accused Serzh Sargsyan of agreeing to allow the UN Security Council to determine the final status of Artsakh because that would constrain any final solution to the conflict with Artsakh being “within the borders of Azerbaijan”. He claimed that this was due to the UNSC previously recognizing Artsakh as part of Azerbaijan due to a 1993 resolution.
How should we assess the Pashinyan interview? How close is Pashinyan’s interpretation of the UNSC stance on Artsakh to reality?
Another question concerned the status of the occupied territories of the former Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO), which includes Shushi and Hadrut.
To this question, Pashinyan said that:
● NKAO has never, under any negotiation, been viewed as exclusively an Armenian “bloc” (43:45)
● Even if Armenians of NKAO got to do a referendum for cessation, and assuming that Armenians got to secede, do the Azerbaijanis who live in NKAO also get a right to secede. (48:10)
In 1989, the population of Shushi was predominantly Azerbaijani, due to the anti-Armenian massacres that took place there in 1918.
Is Pashinyan sending a signal that his government won’t pursue the de-occupation of at least Shushi?
Today, Monday, Robert Kocharyan, leader of the Hayastan Alliance in the Armenian parliament, also held a press conference summarizing the year.
Let’s discuss some of the major points he made in his assessment:
Throughout 2021 there have been on and off reports in the media that My Step and Yerevan mayor Hayk Marutyan parted ways after the war. These were consistently denied by pro-government media and representatives, but recent media statements by My Steppers have confirmed this to be true.
Marutyan himself was a staunch ally of Pashinyan and participated actively in the 2018 “Velvet revolution”. But since the 44-day war, disaster Marutyan increasingly distanced himself from the ruling party and in the past 3 months had not supported its candidates in local elections, where the ruling party achieved spotted success in many towns, and outright losses in most major towns around the country.
Starting 3 weeks ago, Pashinyan’s Civil Contract party, which dominates the Yerevan City Council, started calling for Marutyan’s resignation, and this past week impeached him “for not running the city efficiently.” Marutyan was voted out on Friday.
Let’s first get through the facts. What is Hayk Marutyan’s record as mayor of Yerevan?
Hayk Marutyan used to be a die-hard velvet man. What happened to bring about these divisions inside the ruling party?
The new mayor is Hrachya Sargsyan, who used to be Marutyan’s deputy. Who is he?
That was our Week in Review show, and we hope it helped you catch up with some of the issues in and around Armenia from this past week. As always, we invite your feedback and your suggestions. You can find us on most social media and podcast platforms, or our website Groong.org.
Thanks to Laura Osborn for the music on our podcasts. Don’t forget to subscribe to our channel on YouTube, Like our pages and follow us on social media. On behalf of everyone in this episode, we wish you a good week, thanks for listening and we’ll talk to you next week.
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Tevan Poghosyan, Armenia, Artsakh, Nagorno Karabakh Azerbaijan, Karabakh, NKAO, Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, Turkey, Normalization, Turkish-Armenian Normalization, Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation, TARC, Yerevan, Hayk Marutyan, Hrachya Sargsyan,