Table of Contents
Hello, and welcome to the Armenian News Network, Groong, Week in Review for Sunday November 29, 2020. In this episode we continue to discuss topics after the War in Artsakh. We’ll be talking to our guests about the following major topics:
● Border demarcations between Armenia and Azerbaijan
● The scene in Yerevan
● COVID update
● Armenia Fund support for the post-war economy
To talk about these issues, we have with us:
Dr. 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.
Hrant Mikaelian, a political scientist and multidisciplinary researcher in social sciences based in Yerevan. He is also a senior researcher at the Caucasus Institute.
This episode was recorded on Sunday, November 29.
With the territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh returning to mostly Azerbaijani control, we are witnessing the rise of border demarcation issues between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The most notable issue being the Gold mine in Sotq. Will this be a continuing issue we see in months and years to come?
The Ministries of Defense of both countries are working together to denote each border outpost along the new line of contact and expected borders. How is this work going, are there any issues?
For over two weeks now, the political scene in Armenia has been in turmoil. On the one hand we see a hodge-podge of political parties calling for PM Pashinyan’s resignation and on the other hand we see the government and the ruling party trying to make cosmetic changes by reshuffling the cabinet. Moreover, there have been several resignations from the NA as well as the executive branch (not high ranking). But nothing that would shake the boat.
What is Pashinyan’s end game?
● He has presented a 15-point agenda which he says he should be evaluated upon in 6 months, - June 2021 time frame, - after which decisions will be taken based on that.
● He has made no promises for elections in June, or anything more than his present shuffling of names around.
Is there a viable opposition in Armenia today? The number of the demonstrators, while in the thousands in the days immediately after the cease-fire agreement was signed, is now dwindling.
Given that Putin has given an unmistakable and clear message to the Armenian political scene that the November 10 agreement is not to be questioned:
● Is there a clear message by the opposition, other than demanding Pashinyan’s resignation? Has the opposition presented any platform that could be regarded as a “road map” to the post-war political solution of the current impasse in the country?
President Armen Sarkissian has now called for “snap elections” twice.
● What do we make of Armen Sarkissian’s renewed call for snap elections? He has asked for a “caretaker government” to prioritize new elections “within a year.”
Where is this headed?
Before and through the first half of the war, the Coronavirus pandemic burned through Armenia like Wildfire. The numbers of new infections and deaths soared, while recoveries languished. For the past two weeks this seems to have turned itself around.
What happened? And is Armenia doing something right, now? Or is this all seasonal?
One interesting statistical day was November 19, when there were a reported 8319 recoveries, but there were only 3786 tests. How do they know the number of people recovered without testing them?
A month ago, we talked about potential uses for the funds raised for Armenia Fund. One option we raised was shoring up Armenia’s financial sector in order to support the Armenian Dram and economy. Recently we heard that Armenia Fund had directed more than $100 million to, as the Armenian Finance Ministry said: to finance the government’s “infrastructure, social and healthcare expenditures necessitated by the war.
So what will be happening to the funds collected by Armenia Fund?
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, Artsakh, Azerbaijan, Nagorno Karabakh, Turkey, Armenia Fund
Additional: Hrant Bagratyan, Vazgen Manukyan, Edmon Marukyan, Yerevan, polls, government of unity, opposition, former regime, covid, coronavirus, economy, financial sector, border, outpost, demarcation