Table of Contents
This Week in Review we’re only doing the Week in Headlines.
● The government’s nominee to one of the Constitutional Court seats, Vahram Avetisian, has withdrawn his candidacy. His nomination had been criticized by relatives of the victims of the March 1, 2008 unrest, and Ter-Petrosyan led ANC oppositionists.
● For the second time in two weeks Armenia has locked diplomatic horns with Turkey, this time over Turkey’s aggressive policies against Greece and Cyprus. Last week Armenia tweaked Turkey’s nerves when it commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Sèvres treaty and declared it a valid document that is not superseded by others.
● Minister of Education, Arayik Harutyunyan, has declared that universities will open in September, and they will decide their mode of instruction, whether online, hybrid, or other.
● The unrest across Belarus continued over the weekend over the August 9 presidential elections. The controversy over Prime Minister Pashinyan’s hasty congratulations to Alexander Lukashenko have also not subsided. Meanwhile the European Council has announced that it will convene a meeting of its members to discuss the situation in Belarus. Yervand Bozoyan analyzes the dangers of the developments there, and the absence of a policy in Yerevan visa-à-vis Russia.
● Aliyev has formally sacked his ambassador to Serbia, Eldar Hasanov, after he was arrested in Baku on charges of embezzlement and corruption.
● In a continuing purge of his foreign service, Aliyev has also sacked his ambassador to Georgia. Faik Guliyev will replace Dursun Hasanov. Aliyev had said that some of his envoys are unable to properly defend Azerbaijani interests abroad.
● Michigan State Rep. Mari Manoogian is giving the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, August 18. She is one of 17 of the “new generation of Democractic leaders” who will address the DNC.
● Tourism is down 60% year-over-year (YoY) in the first half of 2020. In H1/19 it was 770K, and in 2020 it is 311K, down 459K visitors.
● Foreign trade decreased by 11.7% compared to the same period last year.
● The construction sector experienced the largest economic downturn, down nearly 77% YoY in H1/20.
● Iranian FM Mohammad Javad Zarif has highlighted the need for developing economic relations with neighboring countries, naming 15 of them. Armenia has about $175 million annual trade turnover, and friendly relations with Iran.
● PM Pashinyan and Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure Suren Papikyan toured the Kotayk region.
● Armenia students advised to self-quarantine ahead of reopening of schools
● 6-year-old Mher from the town of Sevan has won the Culinary Competition held recently in Goris, Armenia. He wowed the jury with his salad and stuffed fish.
● Armenia Environment Minister Romanos Petrosyan vowed to save Lake Sevan fauna, calling it a pan-Armenian priority and responsibility.
● Turkish professional climbers have been littering on Mount Ararat at an altitude of 4200 meters. Certain areas along the way look like a landfill.
● Some analysts are seeing Armenia’s 2018 “Velvet Revolution” as a better model for what’s going on in Belarus today, than the more common comparisons to Ukraine’s Orange (2004-2005) or Maidan (2014) revolutions.
● Christina Maranci, the author of The Art of Armenia, has managed to unearth some long-hidden frescos with the help of Adobe Photoshop. The result is not only fresh evidence of Armenian art long thought lost, but also a method to find even more hidden treasures from the ancient world.
● Armenia will participate in the International Army Games 2020, to be held in Russia and Belarus from Aug. 23 to Sep. 5.
● Yervand Khundkaryan, who is nominated to the Constitutional Court by the General Assembly of Judges, was questioned by the deputies of the My Step faction who also asked him about holding the position of President of the Constitutional Court.
● The Documentary film 100 Years From Home will air on PBS SoCal on Sept. 1.
● Erkin Gadirli, a member of the Azerbaijani parliament from the opposition ReAL party, believes that the simultaneous recall of the ambassadors in Serbia and Georgia is connected with the supply of Serbian weapons to Armenia through Georgia. Georgia has denied this.
● The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a grant-financed $750,000 Knowledge and Support Technical Assistance project to help Armenia develop and operationalize a distance education platform.
● Former Defense minister Vagharshak Harutyunyan has been appointed Chief Adviser to Prime Minister Pashinyan.
● Kirk Kerkorian’s estate has given an additional $2 million to the MGM Resorts company’s Employee Emergency Grant Fund to support workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
● A new outbreak of coronavirus infection has been detected in Artsakh Republic.
● Armenia's foreign debt reached $8 billion according to the leader of the "One Armenia" party Arthur Ghazinyan.
● Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan rejected the offer to meet with former NSS Director Arthur Vanetsyan because official meetings with political forces that question the policy pursued by Nikol Pashinyan are not acceptable for him.
● The NSS has opened a criminal case into large-scale money laundering allegedly involving former Yerevan mayor Gagik Beglarian.
● A new statement by the ECtHR on state responsibility for the right to life: the pardoning of an ethnically-motivated killing. This is regarding the case of Azeri officer Ramil Safavor ax-murdering Armenian army officer Gurgen Margaryan.
● The Asian Development Bank will grant $2 million to Armenia for fighting against COVID-19.
● Former President Serge Sargsyan gave a press briefing during which he discussed his views on the April 2016 war. He also said If there is a large-scale war, Armenia must recognize Artsakh's independence. A report on war’s skirmishes is also given by Edgar Elbakyan.
● Iran considers the Meghri border crossing point with Armenia as a very important ‘gateway to Eurasian market’.
● President Armen Sarkissian congratulated Deep Purple’s Iran Gillan for his birthday and thanked him for being a friend of Armenia. (Then we all went down to Montreux…)
● Azerbaijan has become Turkey’s top gas supplier and reduced its dependence on Russian gas. This could have major geopolitical ramifications for the region, such as Turkey’s vocal support for Azerbaijan in its war against Armenia.
● After visiting Artsakh, leader of Homeland party Artur Vanetsyan stated that Artsakh right to self-determination is not negotiable, and that resettling the lands is more urgent than ever.
● The Minister of Nature Protection said that a program to restore fish stocks in Lake Sevan will start on August 20. If the Homeland bloc wins the next elections in Armenia, Vanetsyan will become Prime Minister.
● Turkey may have discovered gas reserves under the Black Sea.
● A Russian General was killed in Syria by 'Explosive Device'.
● Turkey is helping build the new Libyan Army and transferring to them some of the experience of the Azerbaijan army against Nagorno-Karabakh.
● The Armenian parliament has turned to the Constitutional Court disputing the constitutionality of the process of Annuling the changes to it.
● The US has said it will not deliver assistance to Lebanese government in the aftermath of the deadly Beirut blast. It will continue assistance directly to the people.
● Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny 'poisoned', is in a coma.
● $50 million will be spent for Ajapnyak metro station, according to Yerevan’s office of the Mayor.
● Pres. Armen Sarkissian will launch a “Small and Successful States Club”, with a goal to unite small countries for exchange of experience and ideas, developing visions for the future and helping each other.
● Eurasian Economic Union delegates will convene a forum in Iranian Aras FEZ at the border with Armenia.
● Iran unveiled a new ballistic surface-to-surface missile on August 20. The missile is called Shahid Qasem Soleimani, named after the Iranian top general who was assassinated in a US airstrike earlier in 2020.
● Armenian Ambassador to Brazil Arman Hakobyan presented his credentials to President Jair Bolsonaro.
● A New police patrol service will be launched 2021 Q1 in Yerevan.
● Karabakh plans to build up to 1,000 apartments a year through a 5-year plan.
● Michael Gunter is the new Stanford Shaw or Justin McCarthy.
● Armenia and Russia discuss cooperation in the Middle East.
● Residents of Jermuk fighting against Amulsar gold mining held a large car rally on August 20 toward capital Yerevan. Residents and activists say that the government has not kept its promise to protect their environment and interests.
● Armenia will be the first country to purchase locally made AK-12 assault rifles
● China plans to invest up to $15bn to build a “smart city” in Armenia.
● Vice-Speaker Of Parliament Alen Simonyan is In hot water over Soros comment.
● Stepanakert Slams Baku’s Threats to Shell Artsakh.
● The Constitutional reforms commission is considering multiple scenarios of manipulating the voting age in Armenia.
● PM Pashinyan slams Turkey for “destabilizing and destructive” actions in region and globally.
● Artsakh MFA responded to Azerbaijani speculations on economic activities.
● GovTech Launchpad program for Armenian and Diaspora start-ups kicks off aimed at co-creating innovative solutions for public sector challenges through cooperation between startups and the public sector,
● Artsakh’s Government provides 25 million AMD to Lebanese-Armenian community.
● Mortality rate soars in Azerbaijan, authorities refuse to point finger at coronavirus despite statistics.
● An Azeri crime boss of the post-Soviet underworld was shot dead in Turkey.
● Armenia beat Turkey, Romania in the 44th World Chess Olympiad held online.
● Montebello City Councilman Jack Hadjinian’s resignation from the LA County Sheriff’s Youth Foundation Board of Directors over a decision to hold a town hall meeting for the “Azerbaijani American” community — which was later cancelled — has shown how Azeris in the US are centrally managed all the way from Baku.
● FIDE Online Olympiad: Armenia defeated by Bulgaria.
● Armenia is not going to participate in the Tank Biathlon competition of International Army Games 2020.
● PM Pashinyan had made drastic personnel changes in his and his wife's security services.
● Ankara is discussing establishing a Turkish military base in Azerbaijan, specifically in Nakhichevan.
● Business magnate Mikhail Baghdasarov has died at 61.
● 300 needy Syrian-Armenian families in Damascus have received financial support from the Armenian Government.
● Constitutional Reforms Concept to include creation of a Supreme Court.
● ‘100 Years From Home,’ Airing Sept. 1 on PBS SoCal.
● Edgar Shatirian, a former member of an anti-corruption body may be named as the government candidate for a Constitutional Court judge soon.
● The AEF Announced 2020-2021 Richard R. Tufenkian Scholarship Recipients.
● There are reports that Turkey has been flooding Lebanon with weapons, through the northern border with Syria. This has increased fears over a security incident in the country.
● President Armen Sarkissian has helped restore fresco at St. Mesrop Mashtots Church.
● Turkey has hired lobbyists to break Congress’s de facto arms embargo.
● Artsakh Pres. Arayik Harutyunyan attended an event dedicated to the 95th anniversary of the foundation of Martuni city.
● Officer Gurgen Alaverdyan got lost due to weather conditions. Azerbaijani diversion message is misinformation. Defense speaker.
Army captain Ruben Sanamyan displayed exclusive bravery, selflessness and courage in defending the country and ensuring its security, the Ministry of Defense said in the officer the National Hero of Armenia.
That concludes our program for This week’s Groong Week in Review. We hope it has helped your catch up with some of the news 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”.