Hello, and welcome to the Armenian News Network, Groong, Week in Review. This week we’re going to talk about the following major topics:
● Nikol Pashinyan’s Roadmap
● The Visit to Syunik
● Biden Recognizes the Armenian Genocide, Now What?
● Update from Stepanakert
● Are we Going to Mars?
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.
Emil Sanamyan, a senior research fellow at USC’s Institute of Armenian Studies specializing in politics in the Caucasus, with a special focus on Azerbaijan.
Nikol Pashinyan announced his resignation today, April 25. Pashinyan said he intends to remain acting Prime Minister while making this procedural step in order to force early parliamentary elections. What needs to happen next is for the parliament to not appoint a new PM twice, and only after failure of these two steps will the parliament be considered disbanded and new elections scheduled.
Roughly a week after the capitulation agreement in mid-November 2020, Pashinyan published what he called a “roadmap” for overcoming the situation in the country following the war. He asked for 6 months to implement it and promised to hold elections afterwards.
Karen Vrtanesyan had an informative Facebook post analyzing the roadmap point-by-point.
The 15 points of the roadmap:
○ We talked about this in our podcast last week. So far, there doesn’t seem to be any urgency in getting the population vaccinated.
○ The Economy has not recovered according to Vache Gabrielyan.
What’s the state of this roadmap?
This week, Pashinyan made a surprise visit to Syunik. The PM’s motorcade, consisting of 40 busloads of police, departed towards Syunik the prior night, April 20 and continued on the day of April 21.
Despite seemingly being planned to draw less attention, Pashinyan was met on the streets of Syunik cities by angry mobs calling him a traitor, a capitulator, and it got worse from there. At least those were the main scenes that everyone saw in the media.
It has been more than 6 months since the ceasefire and 5 months since Armenia drew back from strategic positions on the Syunik border, even ceding parts of some villages to Azerbaijani forces as part of what Pashinyhan called a “verbal understanding”. Meanwhile, Turkey is publishing various maps of “corridors” through Armenia and Azerbaijan’s dictator Aliyev is publicly threatening to annex Syunik (or what he calls Zangezur) by force if Armenia doesn’t agree to provide a “corridor” peacefully.
What is the situation in Syunik like in this environment? What happened to those who lost their homes?
A new political party, Վերածնվող Հայաստան, has sprung up in Syunik that is rumored to be slated as one of the main constituents of the pro-Kocharyan electoral coalition in the upcoming elections. Pro-government media blamed the forces behind this party for organizing the mob attacks on Pashinyan’s convoy.
Who is behind this party, and what role might they plan in the upcoming pre-term elections?
The visit coincided with former President Sarkissian’s visit to Syunik; and US ambassador Lynn Tracy was there as well.
Coincidence? And why was this visit necessary at this point in time?
After the mob attacks, Pashinyan called in leaders of the police and National Security Service to Syunik. There he gave publicly televised instructions urging law enforcement bodies to deal with the “atmosphere of impunity”. Pro-government MPs such as Hrach Hakobyan went on TV to urge that the orchestrators of the events should be demonstrably humiliated by the police while being arrested.
And sure enough that same day dozens of arrests were made in a public manner. The mayor of Shurnukh, who lost his home, was dragged on his knees and in handcuffs to the police station, despite claiming to have pneumonia and not being able to breathe.
How should we view these events?
As was widely telegraphed by the White House, this year Biden called the Armenian Genocide by its name during his annual April 24th address. So now the White House has joined the US Senate, and House of Representatives in full recognition of the The Genocide.
We welcome any step that will further the cause of international recognition of our just cause, but it feels bittersweet coming at the heels of the horrific losses of 2020.
Some see the recognition within the context of US-Turkish relations, in that the US is retaliating for Turkey’s relations with Russia particularly in the sphere of defense, with Turkey, a NATO member, purchasing Russian S-400 missile defense shields instead of Western alternatives like the American Patriot system.
Some international media, while welcoming the recognition, have painted this as an opportunity for Armenia and Turkey to reconcile and put this event behind them. Are there invisible strings attached to this Recognition?
Hayk Demoyan, former director of the Armenian Genocide museum in Tsisternakaberd, said that the issue of the Armenian Genocide is a matter of national security for Armenia, and it must not stop with just recognition.
What should Armenia’s agenda now be? Is US recognition sufficient or should Armenia keep this as a priority in its foreign policy agenda, maybe even including reparations and justice?
Emil, as someone who in the past (on this very show) has been critical of the Recognition-dominated agenda of US-Armenian advocacy, what do you think should be the priority now that recognition has been “achieved”?
Tevan, today you are joining us from Stepanakert. Can you tell us how life is there?
After the latest success in Artsakh, prime minister Pashinyan signed an order related to regulating Armenian activities in space! This seems to be a great use of time and resources!
Are we going to colonize Mars?
Well, we can’t go to Hadrut, but we intend to go to Mars.
Such was the absurdity of Armenian politics this week.
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.
Armenia, Early Elections, Snap Elections, Hrant Mikaelian, Nikol Pashinyan, Robert Kocharyan, Vladimir Putin, POW, Prisoners of War, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Pandemic, Economy, Russia, Moscow, Artsakh, Karabakh,
Additional: Asbed Kotchikian, Rustam Muradov, Nuclear Power Plant, ANPP, Energy Production, Vaccine, Astra-Zeneca, Sputnik V, Anahit Avanesyan, Ministry of Health,