Turkey’s Erdogan signs off on Sweden’s NATO membership


YEREVAN, JANUARY 26, ARMENPRESS. Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has approved Sweden's bid to join NATO on Thursday, ending months of delay and leaving only Hungary standing in the way of Stockholm's membership of the military alliance, Reuters reported citing Erdogan’s office.

Erdogan signed off on the Turkish parliament's earlier ratification of the bid, the presidency's official gazette showed, about 20 months after Stockholm first asked to join NATO.

"We welcome Turkey's ratification of Sweden's NATO application. We have now reached a decisive milestone on the road to full membership in NATO,” Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said on social media network X.

"Only Hungary's ratification remains before Sweden can become a member of NATO," Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom added on the same platform.

Erdogan's approval of the Swedish bid comes a day after U.S. President Joe Biden sent a letter to leaders of key Capitol Hill committees, informing them of his intention to begin the formal notification process for the F-16 sale once Ankara completes Sweden's NATO accession process.

I hope the negotiation process will reach full scope after the Azerbaijan presidential elections, says Pashinyan


YEREVAN, JANUARY 26, ARMENPRESS. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan presented the Armenia-Azerbaijan settlement process to Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili, Pashinyan said Friday during his joint news conference with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili in Tbilisi.

"I also briefed my colleague on the efforts made by the Armenian government to normalize relations with Azerbaijan. It was emphasized that belligerent and maximalist ambitions do not contribute to the settlement process.

I hope that after the Azerbaijani presidential elections, the negotiation process will reach its full scope to complete the amendments of the peace treaty based on the already agreed-upon and well-known principles," said the Prime Minister.

Conference on preservation of NK cultural and religious heritage to be held in European Parliament


BRUSSELS, JANUARY 24, ARMENPRESS. A conference will take place in the European Parliament on the preservation of Nagorno-Karabakh’s cultural and religious heritage.

The Conference on Protecting Armenian cultural and religious heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh will be held at the initiative of MEP Miriam Lexmann.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of the event, Lexmann warned that the Armenian heritage in NK is being destroyed and Azerbaijan’s actions are left unpunished. “…yes, today the EU needs gas, for which it signed an agreement with Azerbaijan, but we don’t have the right to question or ignore the EU value system,” she said.

Pierre d’Argent, professor at the University of Louvain and a guest professor at the University of Leiden, Counsel for Armenia before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), in his remarks said that the Azerbaijani government is distorting the reality by denying the existence of the Armenian cultural heritage.

Armenia’s Ambassador to Belgium and Permanent Representative to the EU Tigran Balayan said that the Azeri authorities began the campaign of destroying Armenian cultural heritage back in 2005, when thousands of cross-stones were destroyed in Nakhijevan. “We’ve reached this point because nothing was done to prevent it,” he said.

The conference will take place on January 24.

Fr. Dr. Abraham Malkhasyan Historic Visit to Etchmiadzin, Armenia

Queens Gazette, NY
Jan 10 2024

On December 18, 2023,  in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; received Reverend Fr. Abraham Malkhasyan, Pastor of the Armenian Church of the Holy Martyrs of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America (New York), who received the doctoral degree from Fordham University in the USA.

With the blessings of His Holiness Karekin II, Father Abraham continued his studies at the Department of Religion and Religious Studies of Fordham University, defending his doctoral thesis on the topic “Understanding Disaffiliation in the Armenian Church: A Study of Older and Younger Millennials. Fr. Abraham is also teaches at St. John’s University in New York as a professor of Theology.

Presenting his doctoral work to His Holiness, Father Abraham emphasized that the purpose of the work is to identify the current challenges, as a result of which young families find it difficult to participate in church life, and to find ways to overcome them.

The Catholicos of All Armenians reflected with satisfaction about the academic achievement of Father Abraham, emphasizing that this work is an important contribution in the field of pastoral theology and an opportunity for the clergy to familiarize themselves with the issues related to youth.

The Armenian Pontiff noted with joy that the clergymen are engaged in scientific activities in parallel with the pastoral service, enriching their knowledge for the benefit of the spiritual service.

At the meeting, His Holiness, as a token of appreciation, granted a beautiful Pectoral Cross.

At the conclusion, the Reverend Father presented His Holiness his thesis work and the doctoral diploma.

A wonderful Christmas program was presented Sunday, January 7th in the church hall. For information, contact Lara Ciamcian on Facebook.

“THE CURRENT STAGE OF THE DEMOGRAPHIC TRANSITION IN THE REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA” is a book co-authored by  sociologist Armen Khachikyan, historian Mikayel Malkhasyan, and Fr. Dr. Abraham Malkhasyan. The publication highlights the Republic of Armenia’s demographic policy, historical demographic trends, the impact of the 2020 Artsakh War, the coronavirus pandemic, and other factors on demographic processes. The trend of birth and death rates is analyzed, as well as the impact of migration and population distribution system on the demographic situation. Visit Fr. Dr. Abraham Malkhasyan on Facebook.

Why should Greek Americans learn about the Armenian contribution to their history? The nation played a  unique contribution to Eastern Orthodoxy and Hellenism. Few people know that they carried a lantern of light in the Byzantine Empire throughout its history.

The Byzantine Empire was multi-cultural. Nations and races were united under the Greek language, civilization, and Orthodox faith, calling themselves ROMANS. “Due to centuries of foreign domination, much of Armenian history has been neglected and surpressed,” according to” peopleofar.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/armenians-of-byzantium-part-1/.

“As such much of the influence Armenians had on the Byzantine Empire has been swept under the rug by the Ottomans and later the Soviets. Nevertheless, the contributions of Armenian people to the Byzantine Empire have been more than significant. As the historian P. Charanis (1959) says: “The important role played in the history of Byzantium by that talented minority, the Armenians, has been generally unrecognized.” Even though Armenia was only in part a vassel of Byzantium, many Armenians became successful in the Byzantine Empire. From bishops, architects, important military figures and even Emperors, Armenians were represented in all walks of Byzantine life. In fact, one out of five Byzantine emperors and empresses were ethnically full or in part Armenian.”

“The best example of this is Emperor Heraclius, whose father was Armenian and Mother Cappadocian. Emperor Heraclius began the Heraclean dynasty (610-717 A.D.).,” according toen.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_Armenia .The Akathistos Hymn sung during Orthodox Lent commemorates his victory and saving of Constantinople with the help of Our Lady, Virgin Mary.

Basil, “The Bulgar Slayer “became one of the strongest Byzantine emperors, winning territory in the Balkans, Mesopotamia, Armenia, and Georgia,” according to encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Basil+II+The+Bulgar-Slayer.  “He was noted for his victory (1014) in the war with Bulgaria, which ended with his blinding all the soldiers in the defeated Bulgarian army. He increased his domestic authority by attacking the landed interests of the military aristocracy and of the church.” He was of Armenian descent.

The Armenian military power, to some scholars, was the basis of the stability and longevity of Byzantium. A strong army was needed. Armenia was the source. “From the 5th century forwards, the Armenians were regarded as the main constituent of the Byzantine army,” states en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_Armenia.

In the article, “Armenia, Byzantium, and the Byzantine Armenians” (www.looys.net/byz_arm.html), “another example of the impact of Armenians within the Byzantine Empire is the Great Church known as Hagia Sophia. As  Rummel explains, ‘After 
the great earthquake of October 25, A.D. 989, which ruined the great dome of Hagia Sophia, the Byzantine emperor Basil II asked for the Armenian architect Trdat (or Tiridates), creator of the great churches of Ani and Agine, to repair the dome. The magnitude of the destruction in the church caused reconstruction to last six years. The church was re-opened on May 
13, 994.’ The magnificent, reconstructed dome designed by Trdat in the tenth century remains aloft the “Great Church” to this day.” We must not only remember the 100 year genocide, but the unique contribution of Armenians as carriers of the Greek language, civilization, and Eastern Orthodoxy.

All photos by permission of Fr. Dr. Abraham Malkhasyan.

Photo exhibition in Place de la Bastille of Paris raises awareness about Nagorno- Karabakh’s at-risk Armenian heritage


YEREVAN, JANUARY 11, ARMENPRESS. Paris has opened a photo exhibition in the Place de la Bastille on the endangered Armenian heritage of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The exhibition, titled Nagorno-Karabakh: Endangered Armenian Heritage has been organized by Paris City Hall and L’Œuvre d'Orient, a French, Catholic association, and will be open until January 15.

Armenian Ambassador to France Hasmik Tolmajian attended the opening ceremony and thanked Paris City Hall and L’Œuvre d'Orient for supporting Armenia and the Armenian people.

In her remarks, Ambassador Tolmajian warned that after perpetrating ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan now wants to erase the traces of Armenian presence there, which span thousands of years and are attested by the pictures displayed at the exhibition. The Ambassador attached importance to international efforts to preserve the at-risk Armenian historical-cultural heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Deputy Mayors of Paris Carine Rolland and Arnaud Ngatcha, L’Œuvre d'Orient President Jean-Yves Tolot and others attended the opening ceremony. 


New Ambassador of Japan presents credentials to Armenian President


YEREVAN, JANUARY 11, ARMENPRESS. The new Ambassador of Japan Yutaka Aoki has presented his credentials to President of Armenia Vahagn Khachaturyan.

“I am sure that the friendship between Armenia and Japan will become stronger with your personal activities and efforts,” the Armenian President said, congratulating Ambassador Aoki on taking office.

“Our diplomatic relations, ever since they were established, have become special, they’ve been sincere, truly friendly, and we’ve had productive partnership in all directions, such as political, economic and cultural. All programs that were implemented in Armenia with support of the Japanese government have been important for our economic development, and I am sure that the programs will have their continuation. We also value the role that Japan has in the world and in our region, which is aimed at strengthening peace and democratic values,” President Khachaturyan said.

Ambassador Aoki thanked for the warm reception and said, “Prior to arriving in Armenia, and also already here, I noticed that many people want the relations of our countries to further develop. Everyone says that we have commonalities and many common values. I won’t spare efforts to strengthen the friendship and cooperation between our countries.”

Issues concerning the development of cooperation in various directions were discussed.

The sides underscored the big potential for cooperation in high technologies and IT and the importance to utilize it.

The President and the Ambassador also discussed the opportunities to intensify political dialogue between the two countries, and the need to intensify high-level mutual visits and parliamentary diplomacy was highlighted.

President Khachaturyan said that political mutual visits, as well as diplomatic and cultural contacts contribute to the two people getting to know one another better, and partnership between the two countries becoming stronger.

The Japanese Ambassador, speaking about the continuous strengthening of Armenian-Japanese ties, said that people in Japan have become more interested about Armenia in the recent years, particularly because of its path of democracy and democratic reforms. In this context, the importance of democratic reforms and development of democratic institutions and their role in the development of the country was highlighted.

Prime Minister gets acquainted with the progress of the programs implemented by the Government in Lori Province

 20:20, 3 January 2024

YEREVAN, JANUARY 3, ARMENPRESS. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan visited Lori Province and got acquainted with the progress of the projects implemented in communities funded by the Government, the PM's Office said.

Nikol Pashinyan's first stop was at Vardablur secondary school, where a new gymnasium was built. The Government allocated more than 237 million AMD for the project. The construction works started in May 2022.

Next, the Prime Minister got acquainted with the construction works of the new gymnasium of Stepanavan N1 school, for which more than 173 million AMD were allocated. During the tour, the Prime Minister recorded various problems and instructed the officials to rectify them in a short period of time.

The Head of the Government visited the Medovka settlement, where during the tour he got acquainted with the works carried out in the newly built modular primary school. Here too, Nikol Pashinyan recorded numerous problems. The Prime Minister made a speech here, in which he specifically stated:

"Dear students,

I'm glad to see you, but I don't congratulate you on the occasion of the new school yet, because I see quality problems.

As of now, we have been to three places and we have quality issues in all three. I can't imagine compromising on quality. And these objects also cannot be accepted and paid for until they meet our standard. Besides, what do we do? We visit a place for just 10-15 minutes, look, if something is visible at the first visual glance, it means that there are bigger problems deep down.

Mr. Ghularyan, here I see a problem related to the management of our programs. Wherever I look, there is a problem. We cannot stand in front of the children, look them in the eyes, and say: we built the school, congratulations, and leave. We have not built the school. This is a half-done job. And I don't see any reason to say anything else at this point. The quality issue should be resolved.

Is there no one from the government, no one from the governor's office, no one from the Urban Development Committee, no one supervises the works? Let's assume we didn't come, we weren't consistent, in what condition this school would be handed over to the children? Wherever I look, it seems that the builder wanted to steal 1000 drams from everywhere. You can't work like that. This is not an attitude. Do we want a kickback from the builder, does he give us money? Why are these people not doing their job? I am dissatisfied. And this is the responsibility of the Urban Development Committee, the responsibility of the construction inspector."

The school has more than 50 students, but it is designed for 144 students. Construction works started in November 2020. In Tashir, the Prime Minister got acquainted with the construction process of the medical center. The government allocated 1 billion 697 million AMD for the construction of a medical center with a capacity of 30 beds. Construction works started in October 2022, scheduled for completion in 2025.

Nikol Pashinyan also visited Hagvi settlement, where the modular building of the primary school was built. The cost of building the school designed for 144 students was more than 780 million AMD. The construction works started in November 2020. The school has a furnished playground, a solar photovoltaic station. Improvement and fencing works were also carried out.

The Prime Minister congratulated the students and teachers on the occasion of the new school. Nikol Pashinyan noted that the students will attend the newly built school from Monday, but the Government will not consider that the work has been completed.

"I think that in our lives in general, and especially in schools, we need to tone down the pathos a little and focus on the task and the work, because sometimes we don't even notice that the pathos is used to cover up the work that has not been done. And we need to focus on work and get out of this half-done mode, because half-doing seems to be our main mode of operation. This building is built for children and teachers, and everything should be adapted to them. It matters what happens in the classrooms. This building is still unfinished, has defects, the property is on the way, we still have to give it a life. We just gave you the cultivated or semi-cultivated land, you must sow, you must cultivate, you must harvest, and of course, the country and the state must also harvest the product.

Compared to the Medovka school, the impression from here is a little better, but there are many shortcomings. Are we underfunded? If we fund less, let's know we fund less. 780 million AMD have been allocated for this school. We must leave this mode of half-doing, this pathos must be overcome. The New Year ended yesterday, the toasts are over, now we need to get down to business," the Prime Minister emphasized.

According to Nikol Pashinyan, inspections are being carried out now and it is visible that the conditions of learning in schools is not so good. Of course, it also has to do with building conditions. "We should give our children the right message. First of all, the child should feel respect for himself. When we put the right architecture in terms of urban development, content, and education, the child will learn well whether he wants it or not. An appropriate environment must be formed.

I really want to address our teachers as well. The role of the teacher is fundamental. In other words, if the teacher is not within this logic, we will have problems."

The Prime Minister demanded from those in charge to be consistent and to provide appropriate solutions to all problems.

The Head of the Government got acquainted with the conditions of the new gymnasiums of primary schools named after Ghevond Alishan No. 27 and Admiral Isakov No. 23 of Vanadzor. The construction works were started in June 2022. The cost of construction of the gymnasium of school No. 27 was 83 million AMD, and for the gymnasium of school no. 23, 251 million 802 thousand AMD, which were allocated from the state budget.

The Prime Minister laid flowers in Vanadzor at the monument dedicated to the memory of the heroes who sacrificed their lives for the motherland.

Kyrgyz president signs law on changing national flag design


YEREVAN, DECEMBER 22, ARMENPRESS. Kyrgyzstan will partially change the design on the country's national flag, with a corresponding law signed by President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov, said his press service on Friday.

The law on amendments to a law "On State Symbols of the Kyrgyz Republic" was adopted in order to improve one of the main state symbols of Kyrgyzstan: the country's flag, according to the service.

The adopted law changed the shape of the sun's rays on the flag of Kyrgyzstan from wavy to straight.

New Museum in Armenia Will Tell Story of Charles Aznavour’s Love for Jews

Dec 22 2023

Larry Luxner

His haunting French rendition of “La Yiddishe Mama” is legendary, as is his spirited performance of “Hava Nagila” in a duet with Algerian Jewish singer Enrico Macias. In 1967, he recorded the song “Yerushalayim” as a tribute to Israel’s Six-Day War victory.

Yet Charles Aznavour, a diminutive singer and songwriter later nicknamed the “Frank Sinatra of France,” wasn’t Jewish. Born in Paris into a Christian Armenian family that prized culture, the young tenor learned basic Yiddish while growing up in the city’s Jewish quarter. And when the Nazis occupied Paris in 1940, the Aznavourians (their original surname, before Charles shortened it) risked their lives to save Jews from deportation.

Aznavour died in October 2018 at the age of 94. During his nearly 80-year career, he recorded over 1,400 songs in seven languages, sold around 200 million records and appeared in more than 90 films. His duets with other stars, including “Une vie d’amour” with Mirelle Mathieu, and his witty multilingual lyrics — the 1963 hit “Formidable” is a prime example — thrilled audiences worldwide. In 1998, Aznavour was voted Time magazine’s entertainer of the 20th century.

May 22, 2024, will mark the 100th anniversary of Aznavour’s birth, and many events are planned next year to celebrate that milestone. A violent conflict in September between Armenia and neighboring Azerbaijan has made the rollout more difficult, but eventually, his admirers hope to inaugurate a large museum and cultural center in Yerevan to honor the various facets of Aznavour’s life — including the warm ties he cultivated with
Israel and Jews.

“We started to work on this idea while my father was still among us,” said Nicolas Aznavour, 46, son of the famous chansonniere and co-founder of the nonprofit Aznavour Foundation. “He recorded the audio guide, so he’s the narrator of his own story.”

The foundation occupies a large building overlooking the Cascades, a series of giant limestone stairways that form one of Yerevan’s most prominent landmarks. A forerunner of the charity, the Aznavour for Armenia Association, was established in 1988 following the massive earthquake that struck Armenia — then a Soviet republic — killing 25,000 people, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless and propelling Aznavour’s philanthropic work.
Since then, the family has raised money for humanitarian projects throughout Armenia, while also funding cancer and Alzheimer’s research and aiding victims of Haiti’s 2010 earthquake.

After Armenia’s bruising 44-day war in 2020 with Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, the foundation delivered 175 tons of food, clothing, medical supplies and other aid to more than 42,000 ethnic Armenians displaced by the fighting.

Upon completion, one room of the future museum will contain the nearly 300 prizes Aznavour received from around the world during his lifetime. That includes the Raoul Wallenberg Award, presented to Aznavour in 2017 by Israel’s former president, Reuven Rivlin, in Jerusalem, in recognition of his family’s efforts to protect Jews and others in Paris during World War II.

Aznavour’s son was present when his father, then 93, received the medal from Rivlin on behalf of the singer’s parents and his older sister Aida, who is now 100.

“It’ll be an important part of the exhibit,” he said. “My grandparents, who had fled the Armenian genocide in Turkey, settled in France but ultimately wanted to go to the U.S. And when they saw what was happening to the Jews, they could not stay idle.”

That compassion is what led the family to shelter Jewish acquaintances in their small, three-room apartment at 22 rue de Navarin, in the 9th arrondissement of Paris. The eventual museum will consist of 10 rooms, taking visitors on a journey that begins with the Armenian genocide and continues with Aznavour’s early life in Paris.

“We want to tell the story of their resistance, how they helped not only Jews but also Armenian soldiers who were recruited by the Germans against their will,” said Tatev Sargsyan, chief operating officer of the Aznavour Foundation.

According to a 2016 book by Israeli researcher Yair Auron, “Righteous Saviors and Fighters,” Aznavour and his sister would help burn the Nazi uniforms of Armenian deserters and dispose of the ashes. They also hid members of a French underground resistance movement who were being pursued by the Gestapo — something the modest Aznavour rarely talked about.

“It’ll be more of an immersive experience — something that you feel rather than just see,” Nicolas Aznavour said of the planned 32,000-square-foot museum. Hundreds of artifacts besides the medals and awards will be displayed, including Aznavour’s clothing, his favorite sunglasses and dozens of posters advertising movies in which he starred. (Among them:

“The Tin Drum,” a 1979 German thriller in which Aznavour plays a kind Jewish toy vendor who kills himself after the Nazis vandalize his store and burn down the local synagogue.)
The foundation has formed a partnership with the French government to establish a French Institute within the future center, which will offer a wide range of cultural and educational activities. Among other things, there will be music lessons with hands-on experience in a recording studio. Artists will have the opportunity to perform live on stage.

In addition, experts will teach courses in film, theater and production. These classes will include film screening, featuring some of the 90 movies in which Aznavour himself starred.
Last April, the Tel Aviv suburb of Petah Tikva renamed a municipal park after Aznavour, in the presence of Mayor Rami Greenberg and Arman Hakobian — Armenia’s ambassador to Israel — as well as officials of the French Embassy and the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

“During World War II, the Aznavourian family saved numerous Jewish lives,” said community leader Artiom Chernamorian, founder of a nonprofit group called Nairi Union of Armenians in Petah Tikva. The suburb is home to a sizable Armenian ethnic community. “This gesture symbolizes the unbreakable bond between the Armenian and Jewish people, two nations that have endured unspeakable tragedy.”

Yet the influential singer wasn’t shy about calling out his Jewish friends over Israel’s refusal to officially recognize the Ottoman Turkish genocide of 1.5 million Armenians during World War I. Nor did he hold back criticism of Israel’s growing friendship with energy-rich Azerbaijan, which since 1993 has been ruled by the Aliyev family dynasty and is home to some 15,000 Jews.

“I think it’s a complex situation,” Nicholas Aznavour said. “We have friends who totally support recognition of the Armenian genocide. But more than the Turkish reaction, there’s a political reality, and the reality is that the interests of Israel align with those of Azerbaijan.”

Politics aside, that’s a “dangerous compromise,” he warned. “In the long term, it’s a bad strategy, because when you align yourself with dictatorships, it’s like putting one foot in the grave.”


A Russian ally’s purchase of French and Indian weapons is another sign Moscow is losing influence in its neighborhood

Business Insider
Dec 21 2023
  • Armenia has been ordering more weapons, turning to France and India for air-defense systems.
  • Armenia is a longtime ally of Russia, but it has leaned away from Moscow in recent years.
  • With its focus on Ukraine, Russia has offered Armenia little help in its conflicts with Azerbaijan.

In recent weeks, Armenia has ordered air-defense systems and radars from France and was reported to have ordered anti-drone systems from India.

Those orders come amid heightened tensions with neighboring Azerbaijan, with which Armenia has fought several conflicts, including a short clash in September that ended with Azerbaijan conquering the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, causing its 120,000 ethnic-Armenian residents to flee.

The acquisitions are notable not only for their timing but also because they show Armenia is taking tangible steps to lessen its dependency on military hardware from Russia, a longtime ally that has offered Yerevan little support against mounting pressure from Azerbaijan.

Armenia's six-week war with Azerbaijan in 2020 captured worldwide attention for Azerbaijan's use of aerial drones. At a press conference to announce the sale in October, France's defense minister said air defenses were "absolutely key" and that Paris was aiding Yerevan with sales of three Thales GM 200 radars and an agreement on the future delivery of short-range Mistral air-defense missiles.

"Armenia's choice to order air-defense systems from France is a significant one," James Rogers, an expert on drones and precision warfare, told Business Insider. "Not only does it highlight to Russia that Armenia has options when it comes to defense cooperation, but it marks a major leap forward in Armenia's attempts to modernize its military."

Reports in early November indicated Yerevan was also buying more weaponry from India, including Zen anti-drone systems, which are designed to detect and bring down enemy drones. Armenia previously bought four Indian-made Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launchers in 2022, the first foreign order of that system.

Nicholas Heras, the senior director of strategy and innovation at the New Lines Institute, told Business Insider that Armenia was advancing its foreign and national security policies on two tracks.

"One track is to build defense alliances with more powerful outside actors in Eurasia, and the second track is to improve the Armenian military's ability to defend against Azeri airpower in tactical engagements," Heras said. "India, in particular, is a prized defense partner with Armenia because India has a large defense industry that can also arm and improve Russian weapons platforms which Armenia deploys."

Armenia's military arsenal has long been predominantly Russian, but Yerevan has attempted to change that as its relations with Moscow have soured, especially after its devastating defeat in the 2020 war, during which Azerbaijan used Israeli- and Turkish-made weapons.

Russia has failed to aid Armenia despite Yereven's membership in the Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organization. In addition to being tied down by the war in Ukraine, Russia is most likely irked by Armenia moving closer to Washington and the West under Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who has long questioned the value of CSTO membership.

"Armenia's partnership with Russia is at a low ebb, and Pashinyan is pushing forward, slowly but surely, to bring Armenia closer to NATO, including the prospect of normalizing Armenia's relations with Turkey," Heras said.

Heras added that over the past two years, the US had been sending "a strong signal" that it "would like to test out the prospect for a more strategic US-Armenian security relationship."

Washington and Yerevan seemed to demonstrate mutual interest in closer defense relations in September when Armenia hosted a bilateral exercise focused on training for peacekeeping operations.

Eighty-five US troops trained alongside 175 Armenia personnel during the drill, which was "a testament to our longstanding partnership with Armenia and builds upon decades of successful peacekeeping and security cooperation," the US Embassy in Armenia said in a statement.

Russia, predictably, opposed the exercise, and Yerevan has kept its distance since then. Pashinyan skipped the organization's summit in mid-November, a move Russia accused the West of orchestrating.

Armenia under Pashinyan has tried to move away from Russia "by building a web of strategic partnerships," Heras said. "Fundamentally, Pashinyan does not want to depend on Russia to ensure Armenia's territorial integrity and security, and his effort to build the relationship with the United States works toward this goal."

Acquiring weaponry from other countries serves a similar purpose, but Armenia's recent purchases also reflect the sensitivity of its international position.

The Mistral missile has a relatively short range of 4 miles, suggesting the sale is meant to bolster Armenia's arsenal but was made with potential political backlash in mind. Turkey has criticized French arms sales to Yerevan. (Azerbaijan has also criticized the recent French and Indian arms sales to Armenia.)

Rogers said that "range is important in war" and that it enabled strikes on a wider set of targets. "In order not to destabilize the region or risk an outbreak of hostilities, therefore, Armenia and France have agreed to these short-range yet effective air-defense systems."

Heras said that the main quandary facing Armenian foreign policy was it could not afford to sever ties with Russia despite recent tensions, but it also could not trust Russia to intervene on its side if there's another war with Azerbaijan. The need to strike a balance between Russia and new partners while bolstering its small military with limited resources complicates Armenia's task.

"Armenia needs to purchase weapons that improve its ability to pursue a 'porcupine strategy,'" making itself a more threatening target for Azerbaijan if the two countries go to war again, Heras said.

Buying French and Indian short-range air-defense weapons that could be used by small infantry units is "a potentially cost-effective way to impose higher costs on Azerbaijan's drone airpower," Heras added.

Paul Iddon is a freelance journalist and columnist who writes about Middle East developments, military affairs, politics, and history. His articles have appeared in a variety of publications focused on the region.