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Groong: Week in Review



December 26, 2021



     Tevan Poghosyan


     Hovik Manucharyan

     Asbed Bedrossian



Hello, and welcome to the Armenian News Network, Groong, Week in Review. This is the last show we’re recording this year, and today is Monday, December 27, 2021.

This week we’re covering the following major topics:

      Nikol Pashinyan holds a press conference

      Robert Kocharyan holds a press conference

      The Yerevan Mayor Saga


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.


Topics This Week

Pashinyan Press Conference

On Friday, Nikol Pashinyan held a press conference lasting more than 2 hours, answering pre-selected questions from the media. Pashinyan touched on many topics, including Turkish-Armenian relations and ongoing negotiations around Artsakh.

One statement he made caused a major political reaction in Armenia and Artsakh, leading to the parliament of Artsakh to issue a rare statement condemning a sitting leader in Armenia.


Status of Artsakh

When asked about his stance on the future of Artsakh, Pashinyan provided an answer that was in line consistent with his previous stance, mostly blaming his predecessors. He said that in 2016, there was a “catastrophe” in the negotiations process, where an explicit “interim status” for Artsakh was missing from proposals by OSCE MG mediators starting from 2016.

He also accused Serzh Sargsyan of agreeing to allow the UN Security Council to determine the final status of Artsakh because that would constrain any final solution to the conflict with Artsakh being “within the borders of Azerbaijan”. He claimed that this was due to the UNSC previously recognizing Artsakh as part of Azerbaijan due to a 1993 resolution.

How should we assess the Pashinyan interview? How close is Pashinyan’s interpretation of the UNSC stance on Artsakh to reality?



Another question concerned the status of the occupied territories of the former Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO), which includes Shushi and Hadrut.

To this question, Pashinyan said that:

           NKAO has never, under any negotiation, been viewed as exclusively an Armenian “bloc” (43:45)

           Even if Armenians of NKAO got to do a referendum for cessation, and assuming that Armenians got to secede, do the Azerbaijanis who live in NKAO also get a right to secede. (48:10)

In 1989, the population of Shushi was predominantly Azerbaijani, due to the anti-Armenian massacres that took place there in 1918.

Is Pashinyan sending a signal that his government won’t pursue the de-occupation of at least Shushi?

Kocharyan Press Conference

Today, Monday, Robert Kocharyan, leader of the Hayastan Alliance in the Armenian parliament, also held a press conference summarizing the year.

Let’s discuss some of the major points he made in his assessment:

  1. This year was a complete failure for security. We have lost control not over 40-45 km, but also over ten times larger areas.
  2. Nothing was done during the year to increase the army's combat readiness. Having more than 30 prisoners of war in combat operations for two or three positions speaks of serious problems in the army.
  3. The number of war victims has not been published yet․ A notebook with all their details had to be compiled. This would be the attitude of the state towards the victims and their families.
  4. The 2018 magic wand works in reverse apparently! The state debt now exceeds $9 Billion. Most of the 4% economic growth forecast for 2022 is due to debt growth.
  5. The most valuable possession of the state, its citizens, are running away from the country. 103 thousand people have already left the country, nearly the population of an entire city.
  6. Armenia has ceased to be a democratic state because it has ceased to be a state governed by the rule of law. From the supposed bastion of democracy, the country has become a bastion of ignorance and lawlessness.
  7. Armenia washed its hands of Artsakh․ The leader of the republic questioned the NKR declaration of independence, on which the NKR was based. The first person of Armenia says that he does not see any status of Artsakh outside Azerbaijan.
  8. The Key West agreement envisaged the annexation of Artsakh to Armenia, and there would be a 42 km wide corridor with the same status as Artsakh.
  9. The alternative to delimitation is simply not to go through that process․ They do not start delimitation without bilateral diplomatic relations. This is a diplomatic perversion.
  10. Armenia has fulfilled all the preconditions of Turkey, with a bonus․ We gave Shushi and Hadrut, and now they are discussing the issue of the corridor. When the Armenian authorities say that they are ready to establish relations with Turkey without preconditions, it is difficult to invent a bigger hypocrisy.
  11. We should strive to restore at least the territorial integrity of the NKAO․ The worst thing is not to try. I believe that by taking a step every day, putting a stone on a stone every day, it is impossible not to succeed somewhere, to some extent.
  12. The last substantive discussion within the framework of the Minsk Group with the participation of Nagorno Karabakh was in October 1996. In January 1997, the Minsk Group Co-Chairs decided to convene a meeting, on the last day of which they announced that they were switching to shuttle diplomacy.
  13. If there are new elections to the Yerevan Council of Elders, we will definitely participate. The authorities did not go to the polls because they realize that they will have serious problems here, and they will not be able to apply the same model as in Vanadzor or elsewhere.
  14. These people are looking around with a big backpack with the accusations of the Criminal Code. Maybe this has become an end in itself to keep power. They are afraid and they are doing the right thing. You cannot bring this disaster upon your country, and expect that people will not be afraid, that is impossible.
  15. I am in favor of a semi-presidential model of government, but I am against entering into constitutional reforms in this way. There are serious suspicions that this has a different purpose, to create an opportunity to fit somewhere.

The Yerevan Mayor Saga

Throughout 2021 there have been on and off reports in the media that My Step and Yerevan mayor Hayk Marutyan parted ways after the war. These were consistently denied by pro-government media and representatives, but recent media statements by My Steppers have confirmed this to be true.

Marutyan himself was a staunch ally of Pashinyan and participated actively in the 2018 “Velvet revolution”. But since the 44-day war, disaster Marutyan increasingly distanced himself from the ruling party and in the past 3 months had not supported its candidates in local elections, where the ruling party achieved spotted success in many towns, and outright losses in most major towns around the country.

Starting 3 weeks ago, Pashinyan’s Civil Contract party, which dominates the Yerevan City Council, started calling for Marutyan’s resignation, and this past week impeached him “for not running the city efficiently.” Marutyan was voted out on Friday.


Let’s first get through the facts. What is Hayk Marutyan’s record as mayor of Yerevan?

Hayk Marutyan used to be a die-hard velvet man. What happened to bring about these divisions inside the ruling party?

The new mayor is Hrachya Sargsyan, who used to be Marutyan’s deputy. Who is he?



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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Tevan Poghosyan, Armenia, Artsakh, Nagorno Karabakh Azerbaijan, Karabakh, NKAO, Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, Turkey, Normalization, Turkish-Armenian Normalization, Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation, TARC, Yerevan, Hayk Marutyan, Hrachya Sargsyan,