Hello, and welcome to the Armenian News Network, Groong, Week in Review. This Week we’re going to talk about the following major topics:
● Escalation in Yeraskh
● "Peace treaty” at Gunpoint
● Emigration out of Armenia
● A trip report from Hrant & Varuzhan
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.
Hrant Mikaelian, who is a political scientist and multidisciplinary researcher in social sciences at the Caucasus Institute, based in Yerevan.
This episode was recorded on Monday, July 26, 2021.
Last week when the border instability around Yeraskh started and were heating up, Aliyev went to Moscow for a one on one meeting with Putin. The message that we read right before, during and after that meeting from the three OSCE Minsk group co-chairs was that “a lasting and comprehensive” peace needs to be hammered out. Aliyev returned to Baku and said that he had already solved the Artsakh issue, that other paths to peace would be “wrong and risky”. The news reported that Putin had told Aliyev to seek a compromise solution. Pashinyan has rejected that the Artsakh issue is resolved.
A quick note: the border shootings stopped soon after Aliyev’s trip to Moscow.
It appears that the west, the US and the EU, were waiting to see the outcome of Armenia’s June election results, because since then their diplomacy has activated. The European Commission has not pledged somewhere between 1.6 and 3.1 Billion Euros for Armenia in the coming 5 years. The US and the EU - particularly France, have pledged to find a lasting and sustainable peace in the region. Frankly, Russia is a bit of an odd man out right now.
● Have the Russians been caught off-guard and a little weak at present in the South Caucasus?
● What are the calculations that are leading the West to bet on Armenia, and enabling additional communications paths to those mentioned in the November Agreement?
The Armenia-Azerbaijan narrative has shifted from the Armenian POWs to the roaming border instabilities, most recently the shelling around the village of Yeraskh, just north of the Nakhijevan border, 68 km south of Yerevan.
This seems to be Azerbaijan’s strategy to keep Armenia under state-sponsored terror on the borders and keep the fear of the war restarting alive, in order to force Armenia into a peace treaty at gunpoint.
But as we discussed above, regional diplomacy is aligning against a premature so-called “peace treaty” that forces countries into winner and loser slots, and specifically, pre-determine the status of Artsakh.
● What are Aliyev’s options?
● Is Ankara fully aligned with Azerbaijan on this?
In a recent interview our guest today, Hrant said:
There are most probably 1,800,000-1,900,000 Armenians living in Russia. This is what political scientist Hrant Mikayelyan said in an interview with Armenian News-NEWS.am.
Moreover, according to him, based on the data of the 2010 census, there were 1,182,000 Armenians living in Russia.
“In addition, 600-650,000 of them are citizens of Armenia. At the same time, during this period, tens of thousands of Armenians have acquired Russian citizenship. So, it’s safe to say that there are almost 2,000,000 Armenians living in Russia,” Mikayelyan clarified, noting that, according to the accepted evaluation, there are more Armenians living in Russia than in Armenia, even though this isn’t the case.
The political scientist went on to say that 138,000 people have left Armenia in the first half of this year and that this is a rather serious figure for the country.
“This is a rather serious indicator for Armenia. Out of those people, 80,000 will most probably never return to Armenia. This is an extremely large indicator for six months,” Mikayelyan said.
According to the political scientist, most of the citizens who left Armenia have gone to Russia since the easiest route to take is the route to Russia during the coronavirus pandemic. “However, it should be mentioned that the Armenians don’t have a major position in Russia due to the decline in the level of relations between Russia and Armenia. There are simply Armenians who don’t want to see this,” Mikayelyan said, adding that the reputation of Armenians and Armenia has seriously decreased in not only Russia, but also other parts of the world due to the defeat in the recent war.
Varuzhan and Hrant discuss their recent trip through Russia, visiting many major cities, and meeting Armenian community leaders. They also held meetings with Russia’s political analyst and academic community.
Hrant shares his impressions of his recent visit through Artsakh.
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.
Hrant Mikaelian, Varuzhan Geghamyan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Putin, Aliyev, Yeraskh, Border Shooting, Border Instability, Peace Treaty, EU, European Council, USA, United States, France, OSCE, OSCE Minsk Group, OSCE MG, Gunpoint Diplomacy,