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Groong: Week in Review



June 20, 2021



     Asbed Kotchikian

     Emil Sanamyan


     Hovik Manucharyan

     Asbed Bedrossian



Hello, and welcome to the Armenian News Network, Groong, Week in Review. This Week we’re going to talk about the following major topics:

      Armenia’s Election

      Behind the Scenes with Armenia and Azerbaijan

      Erdogan in Azerbaijan

      Biden meets Erdogan, then Putin


To talk about these issues, we have with us:


Asbed Kotchikian, who is an Associate Professor of political science and international relations at the American University of Armenia.


Emil Sanamyan, a senior research fellow at USC’s Institute of Armenian Studies specializing in politics in the Caucasus.


Topics This Week

Armenia Elections

The Polls in Armenia just closed, as we begin recording this Week in Review episode.

      Voting participation was slightly higher than expected:

      At 17:00 around 990,00 voters

      Highest turnout seems to be in Syuniq, Vayots Dzor, Tavush and Yerevan.

      CEC has 24 hours to present preliminary results.


We discuss.

What are our impressions so far?


Throughout this campaign, MPG (part of Gallup International) provided updates at a regular weekly cadence that indicated a close race. The last update they provided showed the Hayastan Dashinq enjoying a 3 point lead over Civil Contract. The MPG poll also indicated that the Pativ Unem Dashinq would clear its threshold of 7% and potentially the 2 opposition forces could form a coalition government.

However, last week we had another poll, this time from EVN Report, that showed a drastically different result. According to this poll, Civil Contract had 24% while Hayastan had 12%, while all the other parties in the low single digits.

What impressions do we have about the poll results from MPG vs. EVN Report? How can we explain the differences?

Iran’s Presidential Elections

On Friday, voters in the Islamic Republic of Iran  went to the polls to elect their 8th president. Not surprisingly the establishment favorite Ebrahime Raisi, the country’s chief justice, was elected with a majority of the votes. This was the expected outcome since an interview with foreign minister Zarifi was prematurely leaked to western media and essentially damaged his chances to be elected. We had actually talked about this outcome with Robert Markarian on our show a couple of weeks back.

The new administration will take over in August and there are concerns that the new president’s ultra-convservative policies could have an unclear impact on the country's foreign and domestic policies.

What are the electoral dynamics in Iran and what can we expect from Raisi’s pesidency?

Behind the Scenes with Armenia and Azerbaijan

Since the start of the 44-day war, PM Pashinyan has been trying to drag Russia into the conflict. When on May 12 Azerbaijan penetrated into Armenia-proper taking positions around Sev Lake, a few kilometers into Armenian territory, Pashinyan called on Russia and the CSTO to help.

But Russia has been very circumspect about its involvement in the conflict.  It has strong ties and interests in Azerbaijan as well as Armenia, and does not want to give its neighbor further reasons to go into Turkey’s fold.

Additionally, it’s highly likely that Armenia and Azerbaijan are talking behind the scenes. What are they negotiating?

Erdogan in Azerbaijan

This week, as was previously announced, Erdogan was in Shushi. With all the focus on elections, many Armenians (including myself) haven’t been paying close attention.

What are the major outcomes of this visit? What are the major components of the “Shusha declaration”?

Biden meets Erdogan, then Putin

At the start of this week Biden met with Turkish president Erdogan. After that meeting, Erdogan went to Azerbaijan and signed an important document with Ilham Aliyev in Shushi. We just talked about that. Meanwhile Biden went to Geneva and met with Russian president Putin.

What was the meeting with Erdogan about?

Did anything important come out of Biden meeting with Putin about the South Caucasus?

Expanding the scope a little, what came out of the two presidents meeting on the global scale? Was this an important meeting, why and for what  processes? What are the topics for the two superpowers globally?




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, or on our Facebook PageANN - 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, #ArmVote21, Armenia Elections, Parliamentary Elections, Nikol Pashinyan, Robert Kocharyan, Armenia Alliance, Civil Contract, Ebrahim Raisi, Iran, Iran Elections, Khamenei, Khomeini, Russia, Putin, Biden, Erdogan, Aliyev, Emil Sanamyan, Asbed Kotchikian,