RFE/RL Armenian Report – 05/11/2022


Yerevan Mayor’s Office Blocked By Opposition Protesters

        • Narine Ghalechian

Armenia - Opposition supporters block the main entrance to the Yerevan mayor's 
office, .

Armenian opposition leaders and their supporters blocked the building of the 
Yerevan mayor’s office on Wednesday as they continued their daily rallies 
demanding Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s resignation.

The building’s four entrances remained blocked for more than an hour, preventing 
municipal administration staff from leaving it. Riot police repeatedly warned 
the protesters that the blockade is illegal but did not try to disperse them.

Ishkhan Saghatelian, the main speaker at the more than weeklong protests, 
dismissed the warnings, saying Pashinian used the same tactic when he swept to 
power in 2018. He accused the municipal administration of intimidating its 
employees sympathizing with the Armenian opposition.

Saghatelian promised more such blockades after the crowd marched to the city’s 
France Square, the scene of an opposition tent camp set up on May 1. Speaking at 
a late-night rally held there, he said the opposition will disrupt the work of 
central and local government bodies in a bid to create “diarchy” in the country.

Saghatelian said the organizers of the “civil disobedience” campaign also hope 
to attract bigger crowds in the coming days. “We must increase the number of our 
actions and their participants,” he told the crowd.

Earlier in day, the opposition organized several simultaneous processions of 
cars that drove slowly through various parts of Yerevan to try to drum up 
greater popular support for the campaign.

Pashinian, who is accused by Armenia’s leading opposition forces of planning to 
make sweeping concessions to Azerbaijan, has rejected demands for his 

Armenian Airline Banned From Turkish Airspace

        • Sargis Harutyunyan
        • Tatevik Sargsian

Armenia - A FlyOne Armenia plane takes off from Yerevan's Zvartnots airport, 
March 17, 2022.

Turkey has banned an Armenian airline from flying to and from Europe through its 

The private carrier, FlyOne Armenia, reported the ban earlier this week. It said 
it has cancelled its regular flights to Paris and another French city, Lyon, as 
a result.

The Turkish civil aviation authority gave no reason for the ban. It has yet to 
respond to a request for comment filed by RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.

Stepan Payaslian, a senior official from the Armenian government’s Civil 
Aviation Committee, said on Wednesday that FlyOne Armenia appealed to it for 

He said the committee could not directly contact the authorities in Ankara 
because of the absence of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey. It 
therefore forwarded the airline’s request to the Armenian ministries of foreign 
affairs and infrastructures as well as the International Civil Aviation 
Organization (ICAO), added Payaslian.

“We have not yet received a reply,” Payaslian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.

The official said that the Turkish ban is “incomprehensible” given the fact that 
FlyOne Armenia is still allowed to fly to Istanbul.

FlyOne Armenia and a private Turkish carrier launched Yerevan-Istanbul flights 
in February following the start of Turkish-Armenian negotiations on normalizing 
relations between the two neighboring states. Turkish officials touted that as a 
major step towards the normalization.

Turkey had banned all Armenian aircraft from its airspace in September 2020 
three weeks before the outbreak of the Armenian-Azerbaijani war over 
Nagorno-Karabakh. Although Armenia did not retaliate against the move, Turkish 
planes reportedly stopped flying over Armenia during the six-week war.

FlyOne Armenia was set up last year by Armenian and Moldovan investors. 
According to Armenian media reports, it is controlled by individuals linked to 
Khachatur Sukiasian, a wealthy businessman and lawmaker representing Armenia’s 
ruling Civil Contract party.

Sukiasian has been a vocal advocate of Armenia’s rapprochement with Turkey and 

Pashinian Touts Armenia’s ‘Balanced’ Foreign Policy

Netherlands - Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian speaks at Clingendael 
Institute in The Hague, .

Armenia will continue to seek simultaneously good relations with Russia and the 
West despite their intensifying standoff over Ukraine, Prime Minister Nikol 
Pashinian indicated during an official visit to the Netherlands on Wednesday.

Speaking at a Dutch think-tank, Clingendael Institute, Pashinian said Russia 
remains Armenia’s “strategic ally.” He stressed at the same time that his 
government is deepening ties with the European Union because “the EU is 
Armenia’s main partner in the sphere of democratic reforms.”

“The world order is changing before our eyes, and nobody knows what it will look 
like in the end,” Pashinian said, clearly alluding to the war in Ukraine. “For 
countries like Armenia, these are the most dangerous times. This must be noted 
and understood.”

“It is not easy for us to pursue a balanced [foreign] policy but we are doing 
everything to succeed in that endeavor,” he added, according to the Armenpress 
news agency.

Armenia, which is a member of Russian-led military and trade blocs and hosts 
Russian troops on its soil, has refrained from condemning Russia’s invasion of 
Ukraine, let alone joining Western sanctions imposed on Moscow.

Pashinian and Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to strengthen political, 
economic and security ties between their countries when they met outside Moscow 
last month. Pashinian spoke of “common challenges” facing Armenia and Russia at 
a separate meeting with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.

Armenia Scraps COVID-19 Health Pass

Armenia -- Customers at a cafe in Yerevan, May 4, 2020.

Amid record-low coronavirus cases in Armenia, health authorities in Yerevan have 
formally abolished a mandatory health pass for entry to cultural and leisure 
venues which has been barely enforced in recent months.

The Armenian government introduced the measure on January 22 during an 
Omicron-driven wave of coronavirus infections. Only those people who have been 
vaccinated against COVID-19 or have had a recent negative test were supposedly 
allowed to visit bars, restaurants, museums, theaters or other public venues.

The measure proved ineffectual, however, as most restaurants, bars and other 
private entities stopped requiring visitors to produce evidence of their 
vaccination or a negative test result one or two weeks after its introduction. 
Very few of them were fined for their non-compliance.

Nevertheless, the country’s COVID-19 infection rate has steadily and 
significantly declined in the last three months. The Armenian Ministry of Health 
has reported an average of several cases a day this month, sharply down from a 
record high of 4,500 cases registered on February 2.

The ministry announced on Wednesday that the health pass will no longer be in 
force starting from Thursday because of the “relatively stable epidemiological 

The ministry earlier scrapped a mandatory testing requirement for travellers 
entering Armenia.

The Armenian authorities have recorded more than 10,300 coronavirus-related 
deaths since the start of the pandemic. Less than half of the country’s 
population has been vaccinated against the disease.

Reprinted on ANN/Armenian News with permission from RFE/RL
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