RFE/RL Armenian Report – 05/16/2022


Armenian Police Stop Opposition Motorcade Rallies

        • Artak Khulian

Armenia - Police arrest a participant of a motorcade rally held by the Armenian 
opposition in Yerevan, .

Police detained more than 90 people on Monday to break up fresh motorcade 
rallies organized by the Armenian opposition as part of its ongoing civil 
disobedience campaign against the government.

Dozens of vehicles driven by opposition activists were stopped by security 
forces as they slowly traveled to the center of Yerevan from the city’s 
outskirts in several simultaneous processions that began early in the morning.

The drivers were forcibly removed from the cars that were subsequently towed 
away by the police amid traffic jams.

Opposition leaders condemned the police actions, saying that the drivers did not 
violate traffic rules and simply exercised their legal right to peaceful 

“The policemen that you are seeing are a minority in the [law-enforcement] 
system, and let this police minority bear in mind that it will be held 
accountable,” one of them, Aram Vartevanian, told reporters.

Vartevanian accused the police of seriously damaging some of the impounded cars.

Armenia - A car belonging to an opposition protester is towed away in Yerevan, 

A police statement released later in the day defended the arrests and the 
dispersal of the motorcades, saying that they disrupted traffic in the city. It 
urged opposition supporters not to “restrict other citizens’ freedom of movement 
by interfering with traffic.”

The police did not halt similar processions organized by the country’s leading 
opposition forces last week.

They broke up the latest motorcade rallies as the daily anti-government protests 
entered their third week. The opposition Hayastan and Pativ Unem alliances 
pledged to step up the pressure on Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian as thousands 
of their supporters again marched through central Yerevan on Sunday.

Pashinian has rejected opposition demands for his resignation sparked by his 
recent statements on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Pashinian Again Criticizes Russian-Led Military Bloc

        • Aza Babayan

Russia -- Russian President Vladimir Putin and the leaders of other CSTO member 
states arrive for a summit in Moscow, .

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian again criticized the Russian-led Collective 
Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) on Monday for not openly siding with Armenia 
in its border dispute with Azerbaijan.

“As you know, one year ago Azerbaijani troops invaded Armenia’s sovereign 
territory,” Pashinian told a CSTO summit in Moscow. “Armenia appealed to the 
CSTO to activate its mechanisms for crisis situations. Unfortunately, we cannot 
say that the organization reacted in a way that was expected by Armenia.”

Armenia appealed to the CSTO for help shortly after Azerbaijani troops 
reportedly crossed several sections of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and 
advanced a few kilometers into Armenian territory in May 2021. It asked the 
alliance of six ex-Soviet states to invoke Article 2 of its founding treaty 
which requires them to discuss a collective response to grave security threats 
facing one of them.

Russia and other CSTO member states expressed concern over the border tensions 
but did not issue joint statements in support of Armenia. The bloc’s secretary 
general, Stanislav Zas, said last July that the Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute is 
not serious enough to warrant a CSTO military intervention.

In an apparent jibe at Russia, Pashinian also criticized his country’s unnamed 
ex-Soviet allies for selling weapons to Azerbaijan, which he said were used 
against “Armenia and the Armenian people” during the 2020 war in 

Tajikistan - CSTO holds a military exercise in 2021.

At the same time, Pashinian again acknowledged Russian President Vladimir 
Putin’s “special role” in stopping the six-war through a ceasefire brokered by 
Moscow in November 2020. He further declared that Yerevan remains committed to 
the CSTO because it regards the bloc as a “key factor of stability and security” 
for Armenia and the entire “Eurasian region.”

In his opening remarks at the summit, timed to coincide with the 30th 
anniversary of the CSTO’s creation, Putin focused on the continuing war in 
Ukraine. He briefed the leaders of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and 
Tajikistan on Russia’s “special military operation” there during an ensuing 
discussion held behind the closed doors.

Belarus is the only non-Russian CSTO country to have publicly backed the Russian 
invasion. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko chided the other member 
states for adopting a more cautious stance and not acting in a united front 
against NATO’s eastward expansion.

“If there is no unity in our ranks we may not exist tomorrow,” warned Lukashenko.

A joint statement released by the CSTO leaders after the summit makes no 
explicit mention of the conflict in Ukraine.

Armenian Government Under Fresh Fire Over Peace Treaty With Azerbaijan

        • Astghik Bedevian

Armenia -‘Opposition leader Ishkhan Saghatelian speaks at a rally in Yerevan, 
May15, 2022

Armenia’s political leadership has come under fresh fire after trying to dispel 
opposition concerns about its position on an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty 
sought by Azerbaijan.

In March, Baku presented Yerevan with five elements which it wants to be at the 
heart of the treaty. They include a mutual recognition of each other’s 
territorial integrity. The Armenian government said they are acceptable to it in 
principle, setting the stage for official negotiations on the issue.

Armenian official revealed earlier this month that they came up with six other 
issues that should also be included on the agenda of the talks. They said the 
proposals relate to the future of status of Karabakh and the security of its 
ethnic Armenian population.

Edmon Marukian, a recently appointed ambassador-at-large, shed more light on 
them in an interview with Armenian Public Television aired on Friday.

In particular, he said, Yerevan made clear to Baku that “the issues of 
guaranteeing the security of Nagorno-Karabakh’s Armenians, respecting their 
rights and freedoms and determining the final status of Nagorno-Karabakh are 
fundamental to the Armenian side.” Marukian said this disproves opposition 
allegations that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian is ready to accept all 
Azerbaijani terms of the deal.

Armenia - Edmon Marukian, the leader of the Bright Armenia Party, speaks at an 
election campaign meeting in Yerevan, June 18, 2021.

Pashinian triggered anti-government street protests after declaring last month 
that the international community is pressing Armenia to “lower the bar” on the 
status issue and signaling his readiness to do that.

Reacting to Marukian’s remarks, leaders of the country’s two main opposition 
alliances staging the protests said they are now even more convinced that 
Pashinian wants to help Azerbaijan regain full control over Karabakh.

“Can Nikol Pashinian explicitly state that Artsakh can never be a part of 
Azerbaijan and that they see no solution along these lines?” one of them, 
Ishkhan Saghatelian, told a weekend news conference. “Everything else is 

Pashinian’s stance was also denounced by Levon Zurabian, a top aide to former 
President Levon Ter-Petrosian who has long advocated a compromise solution to 
the Karabakh conflict.

Armenia - Opposition supporters rally in Yerevan, .

Zurabian said Pashinian’s administration did not specify the status of Karabakh 
and mechanisms for determining it acceptable to the Armenian side. Nor did it 
make clear that the issue must be on the agenda of peace talks with Baku, he 
said in a Facebook post.

“It once again became clear to us that today Armenia has a government that does 
not understand anything about diplomacy and is literally insane,” he wrote.

“It turned out that Armenia has no idea what it wants to include in the peace 
treaty or what it wants to change in Azerbaijan's proposals,” added Zurabian.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov said on May 10 that the document 
presented by Yerevan “can’t be called proposals.” Pashinian complained 
afterwards that Baku wants the planned talks on the peace accord to focus only 
on its own ideas.

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