Armenian News Network / Groong


Groong: Week in Review



February 27, 2022



     Pietro Shakarian

     Yeghia Tashjian


     Hovik Manucharyan

     Asbed Bedrossian



Hello, and welcome to the Armenian News Network, Groong, Week in Review. This show was recorded on Sunday, February 27, 2022.


This week we have these topics on deck:

      Developments in the Ukraine Crisis

      Donetsk, Luhansk. Artsakh?

      Aliyev in Moscow

      Euronest in Yerevan


To talk about these issues, we have with us:


Dr. Pietro Shakarian, who is a Lecturer in History at the American University of Armenia in Yerevan. His research focuses on the history of Russia, Armenia, and the Caucasus.


Yeghia Tashjian, who is a regional analyst and researcher based in Beirut, with expertise in China, Iran and the Persian Gulf. Tashjian is Associate Fellow at the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut and hosts a monthly radio program called “Turkey Today”.


Topics This Week

Developments in the Ukraine Crisis

On this show we’re supposed to be all about Armenia, yet Ukraine has stolen the center of our attention for many weeks now. This was a particularly packed week full of new developments. Most notably, Putin gave a long and angry speech on Monday and recognized Donetsk and Luhansk as independent republics. He then launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

What happens from here?

Putin said his goal was to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine. Ukraine’s president Zelensky is Jewish (and under pressure from the country’s far right)! Putin called his team a band of drug addicts and neo-Nazis. Where does this narrative come from?

Zelensky called on Turkey to help with defense, with blocking the Black Sea; thanked countries for not recognizing the new republics; called for an “anti-war coalition” to help defend Ukraine; called on the Bucharest Nine for defense aid; etc.

China was mostly quiet, but yesterday laid out its fundamentals for resolving the crisis.

Putin invaded, but left the door open to discussing a resolution.

Russians expect Zelensky’s government to go.

Turkey confirmed closure of the Dardanelles to Ukrainian and Russian Navies.

Putin had a lot of contact with both Aliyev and Pashinyan this week. He met Aliyev in Moscow and has talked with Pashinyan twice. Why?

From fanpop.

Regions of Ukraine

Donetsk, Luhansk, Artsakh?

Within 24 hours of Putin’s announcement of recognition of the new People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, South Ossetia, Abkhaza, and Artsakh expressed support and congratulations to the new republics.

      Are there valid parallels between Donetsk and Luhansk, and Arsakh’s quests for independence?

Armenia’s MFA on Wednesday said that following Russia’s suit in recognizing Donetsk and Luhansk is “not on the agenda”. Ukraine, which has always sided with Azerbaijan in the case of Artsakh’s cause, welcomed the stance.

      Should Armenia recognize? Should it not?

      Could Armenia quid pro quo recognition of Donetsk & Luhansk with a Russian recognition of Artsakh?

      Especially considering the “territorial integrity” clause in Putin & Aliyev’s declaration of allied relations?

Armenia did not recognize the Artsakh Republic, even during the 44-Day war. This is a fact that Putin noted about, saying essentially that if we thought Nagorno-Karabakh should be an independent country, why didn’t we recognize it?

      What value is there in recognizing Artsakh’s independence at this point in time? Either by Armenia, or by anyone, in fact?

Aliyev in Moscow

Putin and Aliyev signed a “Declaration on Allied Cooperation”. Putin was quoted in Tass as saying: "The current situation in Nagorno-Karabakh is quite satisfactory, but certain problems still exist…”, and called the document to be of “strategic character”.

Parliamentary Opposition Pativ Unem slammed the Armenian government for its failed policies and mismanagement of relations with strategic partner Russia.

      How should we interpret this?

      Why did Russia need such an alliance with Azerbaijan at this point in time?

      What message is Russia sending to Turkey? to Armenia? How should we interpret them?

Euronest in Yerevan

The Euronest Assembly platform allows the EU parliament to meet with its Eastern partnership members, former Soviet states Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. The meetings rotate between these countries and this year it was held in Yerevan.

      What value does Euronest present for Armenia?

Unfortunately our main takeaway from this meeting is about the two Azerbaijani MP’s who came to Yerevan, and almost literally recited all of Aliyev’s propaganda points since the war, for example:

      All POWs have been returned.

      The conflict is settled, there is no Karabakh.

      The conquered lands are a “Hiroshima of the Caucasus”.

      Armenia destroying Azerbaijan’s culture.

Then these MPs visited the Iranian Blue Mosque (Gök Jami) in Yerevan, took pictures and tweeted that the Mosque is Azeri and not Iranian, and set off a fiery response from the Iranian embassy. They also hinted that Yerevan is Azeri land, by saying that “the real masters of the Blue Mosque will soon pray there”. All in all, the Azerbaijani MPs made international fools of themselves in public.

There were Armenian demonstrators in front of the Euronest meeting, with veteran’s families protesting the presence of such disgusting propagandist hatemongers being allowed in Yerevan.

European Values - Not Covered

On February 4 Prime Minister Pashinyan and President Aliyev had a teleconference summit facilitated by French President Macron and European Council President Charles Michel. Following this, Azerbaijan released 8 Armenian POWs, and then the EU announced a 2 billion financial aid package for Azerbaijan, as part of an economic investment plan. Throughout 2021, Aliyev has been badgering  the EU about the lack of financial aid parity with Armenia. So he finally got it.

      What sense does it make, that the EU pretends to create an illusion of parity between a sinister dictatorship in Azerbaijan, and what it routinely acknowledges as a democracy in Armenia?

      What interests is the EU protecting with such a hypocritical action?

      How can Armenia protest the EU’s inconsistency of values with its actions?

Topics from the Panelists

1.   Hovik - Hypocrisy of western leaders in peddling their values according to their blatant self-interests.

2.   Pietro - The hypocrisy of the world order in judging nationalisms

3.   Yeghia - You love Ukraine, but where was your sympathy for Artsakh during the 44-Day War?




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


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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Pietro Shakarian, Yeghia Tashjian, Armenia, Ukraine, Donbas, Donetsk, Luhansk, Artsakh, Nagorno Karabakh, 44-day war, Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, Turkey, Russia, Georgia, EU, Euronest, European Parliamentary Assembly, Gas, Pipelines, EU, European Union, USA, NATO,