RFE/RL Armenian Service – 09/12/2023


Ruling Party Denies Forcing Public Workers To Attend Rallies

        • Narine Ghalechian
        • Karlen Aslanian

Armenia - The ruling Civil Contract parrty's mayoral candidate, Tigran Avinian, 
campaigns in Yerevan's Erebuni district, August 24, 2023.

The ruling Civil Contract party has denied growing reports that it is forcing 
public sector employees in Yerevan to attend election campaign rallies of its 
mayoral candidate Tigran Avinian.

Avinian on Tuesday specifically dismissed a video suggesting that entire staffs 
of schools, kindergartens and local government bodies participated in one such 
rally that was held in the city’s Nor Nork district on Friday.

The video posted on social media shows an activist posing as an Avinian loyalist 
talking to many of the participants and writing down large numbers of attendees 
from their respective entities duly given by them. The activist, Artur 
Chakhoyan, accused the party headed by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian of 
ordering them to rally for Avinian in hopes of boosting his chances in the 
municipal elections scheduled for September 17.

“I’m not sure that the numbers or other facts given [to Chakhoyan] are true,” 
Avinian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service in an interview.

Avinian, who has been widely regarded as Yerevan’s de facto mayor since March, 
said the schoolteachers, kindergarten personnel and other public workers 
interviewed by Chakhoyan may have lied because of a lingering fear of their 
superiors “left over from the past.” He suggested that many of them genuinely 
support him because the current municipal administration is renovating dozens of 
schools and kindergartens in the Armenian capital.

“We categorically reject the use of administrative resources and call on 
law-enforcement bodies receiving such reports to conduct a thorough 
investigation,” said Avinian.

Pashinian also called for such inquiries in an interview with Armenian Public 
Television aired late on Monday. He claimed at the same time that any abuse of 
administrative resources contradicts the “essence” of his party and values 
espoused by it.

Armenia - Daniel ioannisian, 7Sep2023.

Daniel Ioannisian, a leader of a coalition of civic groups monitoring the 
upcoming polls, dismissed Pashinian’s explanation as “not convincing.” The 
Avinian campaign’s recourse to the illegal practice has been “systematic,” he 
said, adding that the Independent Observer coalition has already sent to 
prosecutors two “crime reports” about public workers being forced to go to Civil 
Contract rallies.

“There has been no reaction from the prosecutors yet,” Ioannisian told RFE/RL’s 
Armenian Service. “Our reports are based on both what our observers heard and 
saw and videos posted on the Internet.”

“Most participants of the [Nor Nork] rally work for local or central government 
bodies,” he said. “Why was there such disproportion?”

Russia Again Blames Pashinian For Karabakh Crisis

Russia - Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during an economic forum in 
Vladivostok, .

The humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh is a result of Armenian Prime 
Minister Nikol Pashinian’s decision to recognize the region as part of 
Azerbaijan, Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted on Tuesday.

Echoing statements by the Russian Foreign Ministry, Putin said Yerevan is 
therefore wrong to criticize Moscow for not unblocking the Lachin corridor 
effectively shut down by Baku in December.

“The president of Azerbaijan is now telling me, ‘Well, you know that Armenia has 
admitted that Karabakh is ours, that the issue of Karabakh’s status is closed’ … 
What should we say? There is nothing we can say,” he told an annual economic 
forum in the Russian city of Vladivostok.

“If Armenia recognized that Nagorno-Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan … then what 
are we talking about? This is the key component of the whole problem. The status 
of Karabakh was decided by Armenia itself,” added Putin.

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, made the same point 
on August 30 in response to the Armenian criticism. She cited Pashinian’s and 
Aliyev’s joint statements on mutual recognition of each other’s territorial 
integrity that were issued after their talks organized by the European Union in 
October 2022 and May 2023. The Armenian Foreign Ministry hit back at Zakharova 
in an extensive written response.

Czech Republic - Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijani 
President Ilham Aliyev talk during a European summit in Prague, October 6, 2022.

Tensions between the two longtime allies deepened further in the following days, 
with Pashinian declaring that Armenia’s reliance on Russia for defense and 
security has proved a “strategic mistake.” Moscow condemned Pashinian’s remarks. 
The Russian Foreign Ministry listed them among “a series of unfriendly steps” 
taken by Yerevan, in a note of protest handed to the Armenian ambassador on 
September 8.

Those steps include a joint U.S.-Armenian military exercise that began on 
Monday, a visit to Ukraine by Pashinian’s wife, and Armenia’s plans to accept 
the jurisdiction of an international court that issued an arrest warrant for 
Putin in February. Pashinian insisted in televised remarks aired late on Monday 
that they are not directed at Moscow.

Putin on Tuesday also said that there are “humanitarian issues” in Karabakh 
require urgent solutions. He expressed hope in that regard that Baku is not 
planning any “ethnic cleansing” in the Armenian-populated territory where Russia 
deployed about 2,000 peacekeeping troops following the 2020 Armenian-Azerbaijani 
war. The Armenian government maintains that the Azerbaijani blockade is aimed at 
forcing the Karabakh Armenians to flee their homeland.

Russian Humanitarian Aid Sent To Karabakh

        • Susan Badalian

Azerbaijan - A Russian Red Cross truck carrying humanitarian aid for 
Nagorno-Karabakh is headed to Aghdam, September 9, ,2023.

A truckload of Russian humanitarian aid reached Nagorno-Karabakh on Tuesday in 
what Moscow described as a “first step” towards the restoration of relief 
supplies to the region blocked by Azerbaijan.

A truck carrying 15 tons of food and other essential items provided by the 
Russian Red Cross entered Karabakh from the Azerbaijani town of Aghdam, a supply 
route which Baku has been promoting as an alternative to the Lachin corridor 
connecting Karabakh to Armenia.

The authorities in Stepanakert have opposed that route until now, saying that it 
would legitimize the nine-month Azerbaijan blockade of the Lachin corridor. They 
indicated at the weekend that they agreed to accept the Russian aid through the 
Aghdam road in return for an Azerbaijani pledge to allow Russian peacekeepers 
and the International Committee of the Red Cross (IRCR) to resume humanitarian 
supplies through the corridor.

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that Baku is ready to do that 
“parallel” to the opening of the second, Azerbaijani-controlled supply line.

The Russian Foreign Ministry reported later in the day an agreement on the 
“parallel unblocking of the Lachin and Aghdam routes.” The ministry spokeswoman, 
Maria Zakharova, said Moscow expects that “humanitarian aid will flow to the 
region unhindered in both directions on a regular basis.”

Such a compromise arrangement is also favored by the United States and the 
European Union. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirmed support for it 
in a weekend statement that expressed serious concern at the “rapidly 
deteriorating humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh.”

It is not clear whether Karabakh’s leadership remains adamant in rejecting any 
aid offered by the Azerbaijani government. Scores of Karabakh Armenians have 
been blocking a local road leading to Aghdam to prevent two Azerbaijani trucks 
loaded with 40 tons of flour from entering the region.

Azerbaijan tightened the blockade in mid-June by halting all humanitarian 
traffic through the Lachin corridor. The move seriously aggravated shortages of 
food, medicine and other basic necessities in Karabakh, forcing the authorities 
there to start rationing bread in Stepanakert last week. Each local resident has 
since been able to buy only half a loaf of bread a day.

Reposted on ANN/Armenian News with permission from RFE/RL
Copyright (c) 2023 Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Inc.
1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.


Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS