‘Outcome all but certain’: Azerbaijan’s Aliyev expected to secure fifth term

France 24
Feb 7 2024

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev is expected to secure a fifth consecutive term in presidential elections on February 7. Anita Khachaturova, a specialist in Armenia-Azerbaijan relations, talks to FRANCE 24 about what is at stake. 

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, who has been at the helm of the country for more than 20 years after succeeding his father, is standing for re-election in the February 7 presidential election. The 62-year-old autocrat is hoping to secure a fifth consecutive term as leader of this small, hydrocarbon-rich Caucasus country. It would be his second seven-year term since the country’s 2016 constitutional reform, which extended the presidential term from five to seven years.

President Aliyev secured 86 percent of the vote in the 2018 elections that the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe described as lacking in "genuine competition" and taking place in a "restrictive political environment". 

Aliyev published a decree in December 2023 announcing that he was bringing the 2025 elections forward to February 7, 2024. 

FRANCE 24 takes a look at the stakes of this snap presidential election with Anita Khachaturova, a researcher at the Free University of Brussels specialising in Armenia-Azerbaijan relations. 

FRANCE 24: Has Aliyev become more powerful since the last elections?

Anita Khachaturova: Since the 2018 election, there has been the war in Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan has taken over the entire territory, which had been a source of dispute with Armenia since the late 1980s. Part of the territory had already been taken over in 2020. The rest was taken over a few months ago in September 2023, forcing the Armenians living there to leave in what amounts to ethnic cleansing.

This is a key, symbolic victory for President Aliyev, who touts himself as the man who has restored dignity to the Azerbaijani people and washed away the affront of humiliation and occupation inflicted on Azerbaijan by the Armenians. The victory in Nagorno-Karabakh has given new legitimacy to the president's position in the eyes of the Azerbaijani people, who view him as a providential figure who has restored Azerbaijan's territorial integrity.

However, it is important to understand the particular nature of Azerbaijan's political system when discussing the February elections. Azerbaijan is a highly repressive autocracy. The NGO Freedom House (which works to defend human rights and promote democratic change) ranks Azerbaijan among the worst states in terms of political rights and freedoms. The elections in Azerbaijan are not like those observed in democratic countries, European or otherwise. They are simply a plebiscite in favour of the president giving him a kind of political legitimacy on the international scene, but very little democratic legitimacy.

Aliyev inherited power in 2003 after his father died. The latter had governed the country since 1993 and was head of the KGB in Soviet Azerbaijan in the 1960s. As such, this family has ruled the country almost without interruption since the late 1960s. It operates as a clan system, running the country like a business. All the country's resources are monopolised by this family and those close to it.

Why have the presidential elections been brought forward to February?

On the strength of the victory in Nagorno-Karabakh – a victory that President Aliyev personally claims – these early elections may be perceived, from the outside, as a desire to consolidate his popular support, which he likely does have. (The war in Nagorno-Karabakh is not met with much opposition, even from among the regime's critics, with the exception of a handful of pro-peace activists who are extremely marginalised.) But this popularity is difficult to assess or estimate independently, given the political context in Azerbaijan.

Aliyev has maintained a steady policy of making threats and annexationist statements against Armenia, and his re-election may also serve to support future military campaigns against Armenian sovereignty. It is also accompanied by the extreme repression of the few independent journalists and activists who, by raising societal problems in the country, are seen as tarnishing the victory in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Is there any opposition to the presidential candidate in this election?

There is no opposition, no freedom of the press or even political opponents, as such. The presidential campaign is a dramatisation. We saw this recently, for example, during the debates held on Azerbaijani television, which were mocked by the population, particularly on social media. 

This election has very little credibility. The outcome of the vote is all but certain. We know that Aliyev will be re-elected.

This article has been translated from the original in French. 

The sixth meeting of the State Commissions on the delimitation of the state border between Armenia and Azerbaijan ended


YEREVAN, JANUARY 31, ARMENPRESS. The sixth meeting of the Commission on Delimitation and Border Security of the State Border between the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan and the State Commission on the Delimitation of the State Border between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia has come to an end in the Ijevan-Gazakh sector, Grigoryan’s Office said.

The fifth meeting of the State Commissions on the delimitation of the state border between Armenia and Azerbaijan took place on November 30  under the chairmanship of Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Mher Grigoryan and Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan Shahin Mustafayev.

Cabinet appoints new Governor of Lori

 13:50, 18 January 2024

YEREVAN, JANUARY 18, ARMENPRESS. The Cabinet approved on Thursday the appointment of Yerevan Thermal Power Plant Director Aram Ghazaryan as the new Governor of Lori province.

Ghazaryan is a retired police Colonel who’s been the director at the Yerevan TPP since June 2023.

The most recent position he held in his police career was Police Commissioner of Shirak Province.

Old City of Jerusalem’s Armenian photo shop stands the test of time

Jan 19 2024

The Old City certainly has it charms. Even now, with the distressing paucity of tourists as the local security issues continue to abound, and the gossamer-thin pedestrian traffic along the stepped and winding alleyways of the ancient walled hilltop spot. And there always seems to be something new to explore and discover there.

And so it came to be. While I made my way from the famed Lina hummus eatery a few days ago, back toward Jaffa Gate, I came across a brightly colored storefront which proclaimed that the premises housed Elia Photo – Service. The display window was a merry hodgepodge of large framed monochrome prints depicting scenes from yesteryear Jerusalem. There was also one hefty-looking tome on show which goes by the emotive title of Jerusalem Through My Father’s Eyes. The book contains dozens of prints of shots taken all over the country, primarily from Jerusalem of the 1920s and 1930s.

I got some of the tidbits of the place’s storied history from the current proprietor, Elia Kahvedjian.

“Our family name is interesting,” the genial fortysomething man tells me as I eye some of the seeming myriad prints arranged in old glass-fronted wooden cabinets that line the walls of the diminutive customer area. As I was to discover over the next hour or so, there are lots of interesting things about the business. “When my grandfather came here, he was asked his name. He knew his given name – Elia; I am named after him – but he had no idea of his surname. He remembered that his father used to lug sacks of coffee, so he told the official. That’s how we ended up with Kahvedjian.” Kahweh in Arabic means “coffee.”

I was clearly set for an entertaining hour or two of storytelling, and Kahvedjian did not disappoint.

The shop has been around since 1949. Interestingly, it is located in the Christian Quarter rather than the Armenian sector. Kahvedjian Sr. was an Armenian who hailed from Urfa in southeast Turkey. He was, his grandson assumes, born around 1910. “He was about five years old when he was on a death march, together with his mother, in 1915. His mother sensed something was about to happen and begged a Kurdish man to take her son.”

It was a fateful, timely move. “My grandfather remembered that the Kurd took him, and then he heard the rat-a-tat of gunfire and then silence. Everyone on the march was dead.” That traumatic early childhood experience took place as the crumbling Ottoman Empire engaged in the “ethnic cleansing” of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians.

The youngster’s trying start to life continued with his being promptly sold into slavery “for two gold coins,” followed by several months of wandering through the streets homeless. That must have been a helluva trial for the kid. It is a wonder he survived at all.

“He was eventually rescued by Americans from the Near East Relief Foundation,” says Kahvedjian, who worked in the hi-tech industry before taking the shop over, to keep the now 75-year-old family business going. “They saved a lot of children. They mentioned my grandfather in a book about all the children they saved. I think it came out in 2006.”

That’s how Kahvedjian Sr. came to this part of the world. “They brought him to Nazareth,” Elia recalls.

The recent arrival from Turkey also got a fortuitous start to his photographic road. “When he was at school, one of his teachers used to take photos, and he needed a strong student to carry the heavy glass plates. They were 8×10 inches each. They really weighed something.” Kahvedjian Sr., a strapping lad at the time, got the job and began taking an interest in the craft. “He started asking the teacher questions about photography. Sometimes he got answers,” Kahvedjian chuckles.

By the time he was 16, he was summarily cast adrift. “In Nazareth, they told him he was already a man and had to manage on his own,” says the grandson.

The teenager relocated to Jerusalem and found employment with the Hanania Brothers photography enterprise. “It was just up the road from Jaffa Gate, on IDF Square,” Kahvedjian explains, “where the Fast Hotel was, which is now the Dan Pearl Hotel.” Before the establishment of the State of Israel, the spot was known as Allenby Square.

The young man made good progress in the profession, imbibing the technical and technological nuances, and honing his own hands-on skills in the process. “He was really enthused with photography,” Kahvedjian notes.

By the end of his teens, he was primed to take the next incremental step. “He worked for Hanania Bros. until 1930 when the owners suddenly decided to move to Britain. I think they sensed which way the political wind was blowing. Their young charge grabbed the opportunity to strike out on his own with both powerful and eminently capable hands. The current proprietor says his then twentysomething granddad was an ambitious resourceful character. “He decided to buy the business in Jerusalem. There was only one problem. He didn’t have the cash,” Kahvedjian laughs. It was time for a leap of faith. “He offered them three times their asking price, which he would pay in installments. He was really determined. Not everyone would offer such a high price.”

The deal was struck, and the new owner made great strides – that is, until the local geopolitical tectonic plates shifted once more.

Mind you, he did get some substantial help to weather the storm from unexpected quarters. “He paid off all his debts within three years. He did well, but war was brewing. Two days before they left, British soldiers he knew well came to him and warned him that there was trouble on the way.” They didn’t just tip him off; they provided Kahvedjian Sr. with the means for getting his precious equipment, stock, negatives, and prints out of harm’s way. “They sent a couple of army trucks to transport the equipment and other things to a place in the Armenian Quarter [of the Old City]. It was an underground basement.” That was as good a repository as any. “Fortunately, the basement was cold, dark, and dry, which was perfect for preserving negatives.”

The building with the photography went up in flames a short while later.

And there they sat until 1987, when the founder’s son decided to dig into the stash which his father had always said was “a load of old garbage.” In fact, it was anything but trash. The photographic treasure chest comprised over 3,500 works snapped all over the country, the prints of which now reside at the store on Al-Khanka Street in the Christian Quarter. A selection of the photos now make up Jerusalem Through My Father’s Eyes, which was compiled by Kahvedjian Sr.’s son, the current owner’s dad.

“My grandfather opened the shop in 1949,” Kahvedjian relates. “People said he was crazy but, like always, he did well.” The founder duly prospered, first under Jordanian rule and then under Israeli rule following the Six Day War. “He really did well after 1967,” says Kahvedjian.

AS I peruse the hundreds of A4-size black-and-white prints dotted around the septuagenarian display cabinets, I catch a glimpse of a group shot with a difference. The gents in the 1930s photograph, lined up in two rows, all convey a serious, if not stern, demeanor. But there is a palpable sense of a left-field element to the snap. They are all sporting a banner-like garment which seems a little otherworldly.

“What do you think that is?” Kahvedjian asks me teasingly.

I take a stab in the dark. “The only thing I can think of is the Freemasons,” I proffer.

The proprietor’s smile tells me I’d hit the secretive nail on the head. “We found that in 2001, two years after my grandfather died. He must have been a member of the local Freemasons, and that’s probably why the British soldiers helped him.”

Elementary, my dear Watson.

Kahvedjian Sr. was not only adept at snapping; he also had a keen eye for the intriguing human element. “He liked to take pictures of people,” says Kahvedjian. “That’s what really interested him.”

You get that from the prints in Jerusalem Through My Father’s Eyes. “Jerusalem dancing gypsies, 1927,” for example, not only freezes the traditional hoofing action – no mean feat with the film quality and technology available to Kahvedjian Sr. almost a century ago – but also captures the spirit and emotion the performers exude. “Arab fortune teller reads for Jewish customer, 1936” and “Jerusalem, eating hummus, 1935” also document the human zeitgeist and street-level action to a tee.

We can be thankful for the Freemason protective connection and the fact that Elia Photo Service – Photographic Dealers continues to thrive, serving people with an interest in local history, three quarters of a century after it first opened its doors.

“We get diplomats and all sorts coming here,” says Kahvedjian. “Former [US] presidents [Bill] Clinton and George W. Bush have copies of my father’s book. And diplomats and wealthy people come here to buy something for people who have everything.”

A rare find, indeed. ■


Archbishop of America visited Bishop Mesrop during the season of Armenian Christmas

Jan 12 2024

On Thursday, , Archbishop Elpidophoros of America paid a special visit to Bishop Mesrop Parsamyan, the primate of the Eastern Diocese of America of the Armenian Church, to extend his warmest greetings on the joyous occasion of Armenian Christmas celebrated on January 6.

The visit was marked by heartfelt exchanges of warm wishes for peace, prosperity, and harmony among their respective communities. This momentous occasion not only strengthens the spiritual bonds between the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and the Armenian Church, but also exemplifies the spirit of reconciliation and the quest towards unity that transcends confessional boundaries.

Archbishop Elpidophoros was joined during this visit by His Grace Bishop Athenagoras of Nazianzos, Protopresbyter Nicolas Kazarian and Deacon Petros Gomez.


Armenian Public TV snubs Church leader’s New Year address amid political rift

Jan 3 2024
Lilit Shahverdyan Jan 3, 2024

The annual address by the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church was not broadcast this New Year's by Armenia's public broadcaster, a first in the history of the country's independence.

It's the latest episode in the deepening row between the clerical establishment and the government of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, which enjoys the support of Public TV. 

The Church's governing body, the Mother See of the Holy Etchmiadzin, reported late on New Year's Eve that "at the last minute, the Public Television Company informed us, without giving a reason, that His Holiness' New Year's message will not be broadcast before midnight." 

Traditionally, the Patriarch of All Armenians' recorded annual message has been aired on Public TV, and other channels,  immediately before the address of the country's top political leader. This year, the broadcaster instead offered to show the Patriarch's message during the evening news bulletin several hours earlier. The Mother See declined.

Patriarch Karekin II's message was therefore conspicuously absent from state-funded broadcaster's airwaves and YouTube page.

As the rumors about the exclusion of the Patriarch's address started to circulate on New Year's Eve, several news platforms affiliated with family members of senior officials, including the Armenian Times, owned by Pashinyan's wife Anna Hakobyan, accused the Church of stoking controversy. 

"Karekin II  gave an ultimatum to TV channels that his speech must be broadcast at 12 o'clock, otherwise it should not be aired. Naturally, this ultimatum sparked unwarranted controversies, and many TV channels have no choice but to exclude Karekin II's address," pro-government blogger Roman Baghdasaryan wrote in a remark widely reported by pro-Pashinyan online media. 

In fact, the address was shown at the usual time by the country's private TV channels.

The Church's relationship with the Pashinyan government has been uncomfortable from the start. It had enjoyed friendly ties with the previous regime that was swept out of power by the Pashinyan-led "velvet revolution" in 2018. Shortly afterward clerical elites faced an internal uprising of their own which was ultimately not successful.  

Church-state tensions were at a low boil until Armenia's defeat against Azerbaijan in the Second Karabakh War in late 2020. The Church boldly struck out against Pashinyan's government, accusing it of compromising national interests by recognizing Azerbaijani rule over Karabakh and presented a series of political demands, including the PM's resignation.

The Church stepped up its criticism following Azerbaijan's lightning offensive to capture all of Nagorno Karabakh on September 19-20 that resulted in the forced displacement of the region's 100,000-some Armenian population. 

Late last year, the Church objected to what it called inaccuracies in narrating key events related to Christianity in a new 7th-grade history textbook for public schools and to a map in the book that places Nagorno-Karabakh inside Azerbaijan. 

On December 26, the Holy See disclosed a letter it had addressed to the Minister of Education, Sciences, Culture, and Sports in late November that asked for a review of the alleged "omissions and errors" in the textbooks.

During a professional conference on the revision of textbooks last week, Minister Zhanna Andreasyan told the Church to stay out of it. "The ministry respects the position of the church, but the state organizes education," she said.

This episode followed the government's decision last April to remove the History of the Armenian Church as a separate subject from the public school curriculum, a move criticized by Patriarch Karekin II as "short-sighted."

It's not clear what led the government-friendly broadcaster's decision not to air the top cleric's address at the usual time this year. It contained no direct criticism of the Pashinyan administration  – or indeed any political statement – over the painful issue of Karabakh. 

"Let us surround our sisters and brothers forcibly displaced from Artsakh [Nagorno-Karabakh] with caring love; let us increase hope in them so that the vision of returning to native Artsakh never fades and faith in God remains strong. Let us support the needy and distressed and seek the help of the Most High for our missing and captured ones and their families," Karekin II said in the address, according to an English translation posted on the Church's website. 

Public TV's refusal to carry the address as normal was seized on by critics of the incumbent authorities.

Arman Tatoyan, who served as human rights ombudsman during the previous government, denounced the decision as "[An] encroachment against the values of the Armenian people and our national identity, undermining the moral foundations of Armenian statehood. It is an insult to our history."

Shortly after the Church's announcement, members of a student group affiliated with the opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) hung banners outside the entrance of Public TV headquarters reading "SHAME" and "TRT1," the latter being the name of the first channel of the state broadcaster of Armenia's historical rival Turkey.

In a Facebook post featuring images of the banners, the union stated, "SHAME on the management of the Public Television Company for serving the regime that handed over Artsakh to Azerbaijan instead of upholding the public interest."

Lilit Shahverdyan is a journalist based in Stepanakert. 


Azerbaijan Announces Expulsion of Two French Diplomats

Voice of America
Dec 26 2023
AFP - Azerbaijan's foreign ministry said Tuesday that two French diplomats had been ordered to leave over actions "incompatible with their diplomatic status."

The ministry said in a statement it had summoned French ambassador Anne Boillon to express a "strong protest over the actions of two employees of the French Embassy."

Without providing further details, it said the two had been declared personae non gratae and ordered to leave the country within 48 hours.

The move came amid tense relations between the countries as Baku has accused France of being biased towards Armenia during European-mediated peace talks with its arch-foe.

In November, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev accused France of inciting conflicts in the Caucasus by arming Armenia.

Azerbaijan and Armenia have fought two wars over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Baku reclaimed the enclave in September after a lightning offensive against Armenian separatists who had controlled it for three decades.

Armenia and Azerbaijan had said a comprehensive peace agreement could be signed by the end of the year, but internationally mediated negotiations between the ex-Soviet republics have made little progress.

Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan have met on several occasions for talks under the mediation of the European Union.

But in October, Aliyev refused to attend negotiations with Pashinyan in Spain, over what he said was France's "biased position".

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had been set to mediate the talks along with European Council President Charles Michel.

Home to a large Armenian diaspora, France has been routinely accused by Azerbaijan of pro-Armenian bias over the Caucasus countries' territorial conflict.

Armenian Film ‘Amerikatsi’ Shortlisted for the Oscars, Marks a Milestone

Dec 22 2023

In an unprecedented achievement, an Armenian film, ‘Amerikatsi’, has reached the Oscars shortlist, marking a significant milestone for the Armenian film industry. Directed by Michael Gurbanian, the film is among the 15 international feature films selected for the shortlist, as announced by the National Cinema Center of Armenia.

This is the first instance an Armenian film has been shortlisted for an Oscar, creating a historic moment for Armenian film production. ‘Amerikatsi’, produced by Arman Nshanyan and directed by Michael Gurbanian, competes in the Best International Feature Film category. The producer, Arman Nshanyan, exuded confidence in the film’s universal narrative and expressed his expectation of success. Today, he considers this achievement a victory.

The shortlist for the Best International Feature Film Oscar nomination includes 15 films from diverse countries. This year, the list features unexpected entries and a few surprises, including debut inclusions from Armenia and Ukraine. Other countries on the shortlist comprise Bhutan, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia, and the United Kingdom.

The Academy has announced shortlists in 10 categories for the 96th Oscars scheduled for March 2024. The International Feature Film category sees ‘Amerikatsi’ as Armenia’s maiden entry. The category features 15 films, with 167 eligible films in total. The nominations are voted for by the members of the documentary branch, determining both the shortlist and the nominees. Nominations will be announced on January 23, 2024, with the Oscars taking place on March 10, 2024, at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood. The other categories include Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Film, Makeup and Hairstyling, Music Original Score, Music Original Song, Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film, Sound, and Visual Effects.


Asbarez: Baku’s Rejection to Withdraw Troops from Border is ‘Baseless,’ Yerevan Says

A military post along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border

Azerbaijan said it will not withdraw its troops from the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, once again rejecting Yerevan’s proposal to simultaneously withdraw troops as talks to delimit and demarcate the border between the two countries are continuing.

“The Armenian-Azerbaijani border is not delimited, which is a rather difficult problem. If the troops are withdrawn without reaching a full agreement, who can guarantee that one of the sides will not take positions again?,” Azerbaijan’s foreign minister Jeyhum Bayramov said Thursday during a press conference in Baku.

“Today, the Azerbaijani army protects the borders of Azerbaijan, which is logical. The Azerbaijani army did not come, stand on these borders by anyone’s good will or invitation. The Azerbaijani army has liberated its lands after 30 years of bloodshed and is standing at the borders today. Our principle approach is that only Azerbaijani soldiers can protect the border of Azerbaijan, it cannot be trusted to a third party; it is the sovereign right of Azerbaijan,” added Bayramov.

“We advise Armenia to pay attention to our constructive proposals. In this case, matters can proceed positively,” Bayramov added.

Ruling Party lawmaker Arsen Torosyan called Bayramov’s approach “baseless” and accused Azerbaijan of rejecting Armenia’s proposal as a way to strengthen Baku’s position during negotiations.

“If Baku’s true intention is to achieve peace, then they should agree to this and other already announced principles,” Torosyan said.

“They [Azerbaijani officials] are advancing a strange notion that there are no maps and there is no delimitation, where in reality all those elements exist. With the 1991 Alma Ata Declaration, both republics became independence with their Soviet administrative borders,” Torosyan pointed out.

According to official Yerevan, since the 2020 War, Azerbaijan has occupied some 150 square kilometers of territory in Armenia’s Syunik, Vayots Dzor and Gegharkunik provinces. Torosyan said that if the two countries recognize each other’s borders based on the Alma Ata Declaration, then territorial integrity will be reaffirmed with the borders.

“The issue is the delimitation and demarcation of the entire border, not only with Azerbaijan but also Nakhichevan. During the conflict, both the recent encroachments and clashes in the 1990’s, the violated borders must be reinstated,” added Torosyan.

Russian military base police detain fugitive Russian contract soldier in Armenia

yahoo! news
Dec 10 2023

Reports have emerged in Armenia indicating that police officers at the Russian military base in the city of Gyumri have detained a Russian army contract soldier who fled Russia after it had launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Source: human rights activist Artur Sakunts, as reported by European Pravda, citing Radio Liberty

Details: Dmitry Setrakov, 20, had been detained on 6 or 7 December by police officers of the 102nd Russian military base, based in Gyumri. He was placed under 27-day arrest there.

Russian military investigators initiated a criminal case against Setrakov on charges of leaving his place of service for longer than one month during mobilisation or hostilities. He faces 5-10 years in prison.

Armenian human rights activists learned about the situation from their Russian colleagues, whom Setrakov's wife contacted. She got a call from the 102nd military base and was informed that her husband had been detained.

Sakunts said Setrakov was a contract soldier, but in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, he refused to serve in the Russian Armed Forces and moved to Armenia, like thousands of his compatriots.

The Russian 519th Military Investigation Department, located in Armenia, leads the investigation of his criminal case. Representatives of the Russian military base in Gyumri told Artur Sakunts that should Setrakov be found guilty, he would serve his sentence in Russia.

Artur Sakunts emphasises that the Russian military police have no right to detain a Russian citizen on the territory of Armenia as only local law enforcement agencies can do so.

Pursuant to the procedure, Russia must first contact Armenian representatives to search for the wanted citizen.

The human rights activist believes the actions of the Russian military base in this matter are illegal.

Armenian human rights activists are asking the authorities of their country not only to prevent the extradition of Dmitry Setrakov to Russia but also to initiate a criminal case "on charges of illegal actions committed by Russian military police officers on the territory of Armenia".

The 102nd Russian military base operates in the Armenian city of Gyumri.

Background: Recently, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated that he sees no advantage in the protracted presence of Russian military bases in the country, as Russia has not fulfilled its alliance commitments.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has publicly criticised recent remarks by