Turkish press: Armenia’s opposition resumes protests over Karabakh dispute

Demonstrators shout slogans and hold Armenian flags as they take part in an opposition rally to protest against the Karabakh concession in Yerevan on May 4, 2022. (AFP)

Armenia's opposition parties on Wednesday resumed street protests in the capital Yerevan in a bid to oust Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian over his handling of a territorial dispute with Azerbaijan.

Thousands of opposition supporters have rallied daily since Sunday, briefly blocking streets in central Yerevan in a campaign to force Pashinian to resign.

Opposition leaders have accused him of plotting to cede to Azerbaijan all of the long-contested Karabakh region, previously known as Nagorno-Karabakh, over which the archfoe countries fought two wars, in 2020 and in the 1990s.

On Wednesday, protesters parked cement mixers on bridges in Yerevan, briefly disrupting traffic in the capital while small groups of opposition supporters attempted to block the city's main thoroughfares.

Police detained dozens of people, an Agence France-Presse (AFP) journalist witnessed. Opposition leaders have said that more than 200 people who were detained on Tuesday were released the same day.

Opposition leader and parliament vice-speaker Ishkhan Saghatelyan said, "Protests will mount and last until Pashinian steps down."

He said the opposition is planning to install an "interim government of technocrats" without party affiliation.

The ongoing protests highlight bitterness over Pashinian's leadership since the six-week war in 2020 over Karabakh that claimed more than 6,500 lives before ending with a Russian-brokered cease-fire.

Under the deal, Armenia ceded swathes of territory it had controlled for decades, and Russia deployed some 2,000 peacekeepers to oversee the truce.

The pact was seen in Armenia as a national humiliation and sparked weeks of anti-government protests, leading Pashinian to call snap parliamentary polls which his party, Civil Contract, won last September.

Opposition parties have accused Pashinian of planning to give away to Baku parts of Karabakh that are still under Armenian control – after he told lawmakers last month that the "international community calls on Armenia to scale down demands on Karabakh."

Armenian separatists in Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. The ensuing conflicts claimed around 30,000 lives.

Azerbaijan continues attempts to appropriate Armenian Dadivank Monastery

NEWS.am
Armenia – May 9 2022

The Azerbaijani authorities do not stop trying to appropriate the Armenian Dadivank Monastery in Karvachar.

"Members of the Albanian-Udi religious community visited the Khudavang [(Dadivank)] Monastery in Kalbajar [(Karvachar)]. The members of the religious community performed religious rites in the temple, prayed and lit candles," APA reported.

The visit took place through the Azerbaijan State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations

The Azerbaijani authorities are attempting to present the ancient Armenian Dadivank Monastery as "Albanian;" thus operating under the scheme, "What cannot be destroyed must be appropriated."

Armenia’s Security Council Secretary, Georgian Prime Minister discuss regional security

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 16:25, 4 May, 2022

YEREVAN, MAY 4, ARMENPRESS. Secretary of the Security Council of Armenia Armen Grigoryan met with Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili in Tbilisi on the sidelines of his working visit, Grigoryan’s office said.

Armen Grigoryan conveyed the warm greetings of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to the Georgian PM. Both sides highly valued the warm relations between the Armenian and Georgian PMs, expressing hope that such a positive quality of relations will be transferred to the Armenian-Georgian cooperation in other levels.

The Secretary of the Security Council of Armenia presented the processes of the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and the normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations.

The officials also discussed a number of issues relating to the security situation in the region, during which Armen Grigoryan presented Armenia’s vision on the solution of the security problems in South Caucasus and the maintenance of stability in the region.  

The prospects of Georgia’s mediation to regional economic and humanitarian affairs were discussed. The conversation also focused on the current situation in Ukraine and its impact on the region.

Khachik Galstyan: Thousands of Armenians have heeded opposition wake-up call

Panorama
Armenia – May 7 2022

Khachik Galstyan, a senior member of the opposition Homeland Party, and his family members has joined a car rally from Yerevan to Vanadzor, Armenia’s third largest city, to demand the resignation of Nikol Pashinyan and his cabinet.

The rally organized by the opposition forces was to start on Saturday morning.

Speaking to reporters, Galstyan expressed conviction that many people would take part in it.

He says thousands of people have heeded the wake-up call made by the opposition a few weeks ago.

“Hundreds of thousands of citizens are going through an awakening process. They are all inspired by the ideas of national liberation movement," the oppositionist said.

Galstyan attached importance to acts of civil disobedience also in the country’s regions.

"I believe that our citizens will join us, we, united as a single fist, will drive out the external enemy and the adventurers in Armenia, who are torpedoing its development and the development of Artsakh, and will build the Armenia of our dreams," he said.

An opposition rally is expected to kick off in Vanadzor at 1pm.

Over 20 Australian politicians call on Government to recognize the Armenian Genocide

Public Radio of Armenia
May 5 2022

Over 20 federal and state political leaders have demonstrated the growing disparity between the elected parliamentarians of Australia and the country’s Government with 107th Anniversary statements accurately characterizing the Armenian Genocide and calling on their colleagues in the executive branch to do the same, reported the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU).

Video statements from political leaders across Australia and all represented major parties were broadcast during Australia’s National Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, which was viewed by thousands on Facebook Live and YouTube on 26 April 2022.

These calls for Australia’s recognition of the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Genocides followed statements from Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese referring to the Armenian Genocide as “massacres”, “expulsion”. “deportation”, “dispossession” and “deaths”.

Prime Minister Morrison, who in 2011 called on Federal recognition of the Armenian Genocide, acknowledged the outpouring of Australian support for victims of the Armenian Genocide and through the country’s first humanitarian relief effort and went as far as referring to the events of 1915 as “one of the greatest crimes in modern history”.

Opposition Leader Albanese used his statement to call for the Ottoman Empire’s successor state. Turkey to “come to terms with its history”.

Both stopped short of calling these crimes by their name – genocide.

In contrast, the condolence messages from both federal and New South Wales state political leaders in light of the 107th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide went one step further, accurately characterizing the crimes and genocide and calling on the Australian Government to do the same.

Messages were received from Hon. Paul Fletcher MP – Minister Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and Art, Shadow Home Affairs Minister Senator Hon. Kristina Keneally, as well as their Federal parliamentary colleagues, including Leader of The Australian Greens Adam Bandt MP, Co-Chair of the Australia-Armenia Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Union Trent Zimmerman MP, Tim Wilson MP, Julian Leeser MP, Senator Janet Rice, Senator Eric Abetz, Steve Georganas MP, Mike Freelander MP and Jason Falinski MP and Josh Burns MP.

Minister Fletcher conveyed: “I’m proud on this 107th anniversary to repeat my call to again express my strong belief that the Armenian Genocide must be recognised, it must be accurately described for what it was, and that Australia as part of the community of nations must maintain efforts to ensure there is full awareness of what happened,”

Senator Keneally also referred to the Armenian Genocide accurately, and revealed: “(The Australian) Labor (Party) believes the (U.S. President Joe) Biden administration’s decision (to recognise the Armenian Genocide) is an opportunity for the Australian Government to engage in dialogue with diaspora communities in Australia and our international partners on this issue.”

The Australian Greens is the largest cross-bench party in the Australian Parliament with a formal policy supportive of Australian recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Their leader, Adam Bandt said: “The Greens have consistently called on the Australian government to recognise the Armenian Genocide. We must not remain on the wrong side of history along with Turkey and other nations that refuse to acknowledge this horrific tragedy.”

On the 107th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, these sentiments were echoed by nine other federal parliamentarians, while New South Wales Premier Hon. Dominic Perrottet added his name to the long list of the state’s leaders who have addressed the Armenian-Australian community marking the occasion by recalling the “great crime of the Armenian Genocide”.

Perrottet said: “Our commemoration is about more than just remembering, it’s about commitment. Commitment to learn from such atrocities, commitment to making sure these crimes against humanity are never repeated again.”

“25 years ago, the New South Wales parliament became the first in Australia to formally recognise any condemn the Armenian Genocide. I am proud to be part of that parliament because we cannot forget,” he added.

The Premier was joined by fellow state parliamentarians, including Hon. Jonathon O’Dea MP, Hon. Mark Coure MP, Hon. Victor Dominello MP, Hon. Damien Tudehope MLC, Hon. Walt Secord MLC, Hugh McDermott MP, Tim James MP and Tanya Davies MP, who similarly characterised the massacres against Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks accurately.

ANC-AU Executive Director Haig Kayserian welcomed the support from the legislators for their “principled stance”.

“What we saw in November 2021 was the exhibition of Australia’s will on this issue, when the Australian Parliament’s House of Representatives unanimously debated in favour of a motion calling for Federal recognition of the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Genocides,” said Kayserian.

“These statements from over 20 representatives we’ve elected to parliament echoes those sentiments and represent a further manifestation of when the everyday Australian stands on this issue, and for this we are eternally grateful.”

Kayserian added: “It is now time for the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader of Australia to stand with their constituents and their elected representatives and take one final step by recognising the Armenian Genocide accurately, and stop bowing to empty threats from a foreign dictatorship, whose century-long campaign of denial has been defeated.”

‘Shady and corrupt deal’: Pashinyan responds to criticism over ZCMC transaction

Panorama
Armenia – May 5 2022

At a cabinet meeting on Thursday, Nikol Pashinyan hit back at criticism over the suspicious transfer of 15% shares of the Zangezur Copper-Molybdenum Combine (ZCMC) to the government by Industrial Company JSC, a subsidiary of Russian billionaire Roman Trotsenko's GeoProMining.

"From time to time this topic comes up: they say that the state refuses to reveal how it became the owner of ZCMC shares. Some even suggest that it is part of a shady and corrupt deal," he said.

"If an official or one of his relatives had acquired the stake through an offshore company, no one would have cared, as it has always been the case. But the fact that the state acquired the property somehow seems doubtful," Pashinyan noted.

"What's suspicious about it? An investor who acquired a stake from previous shareholders decided to make a donation to the Republic of Armenia and the latter gladly accepted it. Why did the investor decide to make a donation? Simply because we said in the past that this was not one transaction. It’s about a $4 billion investment program which simply can't be implemented without state participation," Pashinyan said, adding it refers to the construction of a copper smelter and a new nuclear power plant.

Thus, Nikol Pashinyan, in fact, confessed that he had snatched a share from the Zangezur Copper-Molybdenum Combine.

Red Berets provoked peaceful protesters, claims opposition MP

ARMINFO
Armenia – May 5 2022
Marianna Mkrtchyan

ArmInfo.Police are trying to unblock the roadway in Yerevan's Khanjyan street. Hundreds SWAT police are using force to detain the protesters.

"The Red Berets must be waiting for incentive payment and provoked  peaceful protesters. And the most awful thing is that the first to be  detained was retired police colonel Sayat Shirinyan, who was only  taking part in a peaceful march," the opposition MP Gegham Manukyan  told reporters.  

As regards the "secret" Armenia's Premier Nikol Pashinyan mentioned  in Parliament, Mr Manukyan said:  "Another manipulation! We came to  Parliament to state our demands and leave. A liar is impossible to  talk to. We witnessed that person telling us one thing behind closed  doors and saying entirely different things in public. He is a  habitual liar," Manukyan said. 

Activists of the Resistance Movement have blocked roadways in  different parts of Yerevan since early morning. They are clashing  with law-enforcers, who are trying to unblock the roadways.

The protesters are chanting "Struggle!", "Armenia without Turks!",  "Armenian without Nikol!", "We are masters of our country!". 

Numerous policemen are on duty in the streets. Traffic police are  searching trucks in Yerevan streets, inquiring about the reason for  their going downtown.


Levon Ter-Petrosyan assures that in current situation, nothing depends on personality of leader of Armenia

ARMINFO
Armenia – May 5 2022
Naira Badalian

ArmInfo.First President of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosyan ssures that the current internal political confrontation weakens Armenia's position in the upcoming difficult  negotiations and calls on Nikol Pashinyan, Robert Kocharyan and Serzh  Sargsyan to dialogue. This is stated in the article of the former  president, published on the iLur.am.

"It is not clear what the main goal of today's opposition is. With  the light hand of Serzh Sargsyan, Nikol Pashinyan was labeled a  "surrender", which, although aptly, does not fully reflect the truth.  In fact, it was not Pashinyan who capitulated, but Armenia. Pashinyan  only signed an act on capitulation of Armenia.  Therefore, whoever is  instead of Pashinyan – Robert Kocharyan, Serzh Sargsyan, or at least  Ishkhan Saghatelyan, they will dutifully accept the decision that  will be imposed on Armenia. Thus, the problem does not depend on the  personality of the leader of Armenia," Ter-Petrosyan said .  The  former head of state assures that if this simple truth is not  understood, and internal political upheavals continue, then the  decisions imposed tothe RA will be much more painful, regardless of  who signs the final document – Pashinyan or others.

"The question is, do the current leaders of the opposition not  realize this? If they do not realize this, then they do not  understand anything in politics. The harsh actions of the current  government in relation to demonstrations, marches and rallies  organized by the opposition have nothing to do with national  interests," Ter-Petrosyan said.

In his words, being a hopeless optimist, he still hopes that the  conflicting parties will finally realize the danger of their  positions, will make efforts to reach some kind of agreement, so as  not to complicate the situation even more, in order to avoid new  dangers. "If our intelligentsia really wants to do something  patriotic, let them force Nikol Pashinyan, Robert Kocharyan, Serzh  Sargsyan to sit at the same table and find a way out of the internal  political crisis," the first president of Armenia concluded.

Newspaper: Artsakh President says we would not have had so many casualties if war had started half year later

NEWS.am
Armenia – May 5 2022

YEREVAN. – Hraparak daily of Armenia writes: Artsakh [(Nagorno-Karabakh)] President Arayik Harutyunyan told the intellectuals who arrived in Artsakh from Armenia that even before the [44-day] war [in the fall of 2020] they had decided to start building underground fortifications—bunkers—as they knew that war was inevitable.

They were planning to build 100 such fortifications, which would provide strong defense in the event of an enemy attack. He said construction had already begun on 17 of them, one of which was even nearing completion, which was used during the war, and they had no casualties in that position for 44 days as the army sheltered there safely.

He noted with regret that if the war had started half a year later, those fortifications would have been built and we would not have had so many casualties, as on September 28 [2020] [i.e., the next day of the start of this war] they had already decided to stop a lot of construction work and spend all resources on building those fortifications.

Newspaper: Artsakh President says we would not have had so many casualties if war had started half year later

NEWS.am
Armenia – May 5 2022

YEREVAN. – Hraparak daily of Armenia writes: Artsakh [(Nagorno-Karabakh)] President Arayik Harutyunyan told the intellectuals who arrived in Artsakh from Armenia that even before the [44-day] war [in the fall of 2020] they had decided to start building underground fortifications—bunkers—as they knew that war was inevitable.

They were planning to build 100 such fortifications, which would provide strong defense in the event of an enemy attack. He said construction had already begun on 17 of them, one of which was even nearing completion, which was used during the war, and they had no casualties in that position for 44 days as the army sheltered there safely.

He noted with regret that if the war had started half a year later, those fortifications would have been built and we would not have had so many casualties, as on September 28 [2020] [i.e., the next day of the start of this war] they had already decided to stop a lot of construction work and spend all resources on building those fortifications.