CivilNet: Battling Azerbaijan’s armenophobic policies and Armenia’s domestic human rights challenges

CIVILNET.AM

11 May, 2022 07:05

Kristine Grigoryan, Armenia’s Human Rights Defender, discusses her office’s priorities regarding Armenia’s various internal and external human rights challenges. Ms. Grigoryan also talks about whether the Human Rights Defender’s Office has sufficient resources to conduct its activities, and what she and her team are doing with regard to police brutality.

Armenian PM to leave for Moscow on May 16 to participate in CSTO summit

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 15:17,

YEREVAN, MAY 12, ARMENPRESS. The summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) will take place in Moscow on May 16, which will be attended by Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan and CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas, Russian presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said, Interfax reported.

“The summit of the member states of the CSTO will take place in Moscow on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the CSTO. Both the meeting of the leaders and their private conversation in the format of a luncheon are expected. CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia, the current chair in the CSTO, will brief reporters on the results of the event”, Peskov said.

Central Bank of Armenia: exchange rates and prices of precious metals – 12-05-22

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 17:25,

YEREVAN, 12 MAY, ARMENPRESS. The Central Bank of Armenia informs “Armenpress” that today, 12 May, USD exchange rate down by 6.74 drams to 460.13 drams. EUR exchange rate down by 11.98 drams to 480.24 drams. Russian Ruble exchange rate up by 0.16 drams to 7.02 drams. GBP exchange rate down by 13.98 drams to 561.86 drams.

The Central Bank has set the following prices for precious metals.

Gold price down by 482.37 drams to 27396.86 drams. Silver price down by 5.92 drams to 322.28 drams. Platinum price stood at 16414.1 drams.

Merrimack Valley ANC leads Armenian flag raisings

MVANC-sponsored flag raising in Lowell. Attendees pictured with Lowell Mayor Sokhary Chau, a Cambodian Genocide survivor.

To commemorate the 107th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the Merrimack Valley Armenian National Committee (MVANC) held flag raising ceremonies and readings of proclamations in Greater Lowell and Southern New Hampshire.

“This is the second year we have initiated this effort, and we intend to continue adding other towns to the list,” said MVANC co-chair and master of ceremonies Greg Minasian.

Armenian flags were raised in Lowell, Dracut, Westford, Methuen, North Andover and Billerica. The New Hampshire town of Hollis and the cities of Nashua and Manchester also had flag raising ceremonies, all sponsored by the MVANC.

Proclamations were issued by the town of Salem, NH and the Massachusetts towns of Andover and Chelmsford.

Dozens of Armenians participated in the week-long commemoration. Town officials also participated in remembrance and stressed the demand for justice.

“We are pleased that so many cities and towns have given us the opportunity not only to publicly commemorate, but also to provide us with a platform to voice our current and continuing struggles,” said MVANC co-chair Ara Jeknavorian.

MVANC-sponsored flag raising in Dracut, Massachusetts

Muriel “Mimi” Parseghian served as editor of the Armenian Weekly from June 1984 to June 1989. Mimi immigrated to the U.S. from her birthplace, Marseille, France, in 1963. She was educated in the Lowell, Mass. public school system and received her BA in History from Northeastern University in 1976. Prior to her tenure at the Armenian Weekly, Mimi spent nine months in Beirut attending the Nishan Palandjian Jemaran's Armenian Studies Program. Mimi has been an active member of the ARF since 1977 and the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) since 1979. She has previously served on the ARS Eastern U.S. Board of Directors. After leaving the Hairenik Publications, she joined the private sector in the field of sales and marketing.


Asbarez: L.A. City Councilmember O’Farrell Meets With Hollywood Community Leaders

L.A. City Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell (center) meets with leaders of the Hollywood Armenian community on May 10

Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell on Tuesday met with the leaders of Hollywood Armenian community organizations and institutions during a gathering at the ACF Hollywood Youth Center.

The occasion was an annual briefing organized by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Karekin Njdeh chapter where all organizations provide an update on their activities and discuss ways to coordinate service to the community and advance issues of interest.

It was the first time since the pandemic that the gathering was being held and the community leaders welcomed O’Farrell and heard a briefing about the many projects his office has undertaken, especially efforts to ensure safety of residents in Council District 13 during Covid 19 and tackling the homeless crisis.

O’Farrell met with the Board of Trustees of the St. Garabed Armenian Church and Archpriest Vicken Vassilian; the Armenian Relief Society Mayr chapter executive; the Los Angeles Homenetmen chapter executive; the ARF-D Karekin Njdeh chapter board; the chairman and members of the Armenian National Committee of America Hollywood chapter; Maral Tavitian, Principal of the Rose and Alex Pillbos Armenian School, the chairman of whose board Vahe Tashjian was also present, Christine Movsesian, the Director of the ARS Postoyan Pre-School; and the Editor of Asbarez, Ara Khachatourian, who interviewed the councilmember last week. O’Farrell was accompanied by his Field Deputy, George Hakopiants.

These organizations constitute the core of community activities in Little Armenia and function in the school-church-community center compound between Alexandria and Kenmore streets, with Asbarez operating from its headquarters on Vermont Avenue.

After meeting each participant individually, O’Farrell made remarks, briefing the community leaders about his office’s efforts to address the Covid 19 pandemic and some of the services his office and the city council continue to provide as relief measures for the public.

He also announced that the long-awaited and much-anticipated Gateway to Little Armenia is in its final stages of construction, with completion slated before the end of the calendar year. He said that once this structure, which is partially constructed from Tufa stone imported from Armenia, a large unveiling event will be held at its site, located at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and the 101 Freeway exit.

O’Farrell also spoke about the importance of the upcoming June 7 Primary Elections and his campaign for re-election, emphasizing that the stakes in the city are high and residents and constituents need the experience that he brings having served as a member of the L.A. City Council for the past nine years. The ANCA-Western Region has endorsed O’Farrell in his re-election bid.

During a brief question and answer session, O’Farrell heard concerns from Principal Tavitian and Director Movsesian about the ongoing homeless crisis around the school campus and called on the city councilmember to address this issue, which has become an impediment, especially when the school was closed during the pandemic.

“It was very important for the leaders of the Hollywood community to be able to address their concerns directly to Councilmember O’Farrell. We thank him for visiting our center and continuing to be an advocate for the issues important to our community in the LA City Council,” said Suren Seropian, the chair of the ANCA Hollywood chapter.

During the community briefing session, Zohrab Mahdesian, the chairman of the ARF-D Karekin Njdeh chapter informed all participants, who use the ACF Youth Center facilities, about the steps his executive board has taken to enhance security in and around the compound.

Each organizational representative provided a briefing of their respective activities. It was Archpriest Vassilian, who in his remarks, praised each organization and their members for coming together to confront the challenges facing the community and rallied together to provide assistance to Armenia, Artsakh, Lebanon and the local community. He emphasized the need to continue working as one large family to leverage the capabilities of each organization and institution in service of the community and the Armenian Nation.

Armenian FM meets with President of National Democratic Institute in Washington D.C.

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 13:23, 4 May, 2022

YEREVAN, MAY 4, ARMENPRESS. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan met with President of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) of the United States Derek Mitchell in Washington D.C., the foreign ministry said in a news release.  

The sides highly appreciated the efficiency of the joint programs implemented within the framework of the cooperation established since 1994.

Ararat Mirzoyan attached importance to the re-opening of the NDI Office in Armenia after the Velvet Revolution of 2018. He reaffirmed Armenia’s commitment to promotion of democracy, strengthening of the rule of law, fight against corruption, stating that the reforms being carried out by the Armenian authorities aim at raising the transparency and accountability of the activity of state bodies.

The sides also exchanged ideas about the programs being implemented by the NDI in Armenia, which are aimed at raising women’s and youth’s political participation and institutionally developing the political parties.

Turkey’s Endgame in the Normalization Process with Armenia

Serdar Kılıç and Ruben Rubinyan

The ArmeniaTurkey normalization process was officially launched on January 14, 2022 when special representatives – the Deputy Speaker of the Armenian Parliament Ruben Rubinyan and Ambassador Serdar Kılıç – met in Moscow. The groundwork for this meeting began in mid-2021, when the Armenian government proposed the idea of peace in the South Caucasus and normalizing relations with Azerbaijan and Turkey. Armenia’s catastrophic defeat in the 2020 Karabakh war seemed to put aside one of the main obstacles to launching the ArmeniaTurkey normalization process. The 2008-2009 “football diplomacy” failed mainly due to Turkey’s precondition to Armenia to return “occupied lands” to Azerbaijan. By signing the November 10, 2020 statement, the Armenian government accepted the loss of seven regions outside the former Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Region (NKAR), as well as 30-percent of territories of NKAR itself.

In late 2021, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan started to hint that Nagorno Karabakh had no chance to be outside Azerbaijan. This rhetoric accelerated in 2022 and culminated in a speech he delivered in the National Assembly on April 13. Thus, Armenia effectively accepted one of the main Turkish preconditions of the “football diplomacy” era. 

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Turkey’s policy in the South Caucasus has been to increase its influence in the region. Turkey was quite successful in reaching this goal in its relations with Azerbaijan and Georgia, but the absence of relations with Armenia prevented Turkey from influencing the entire region. Russia, the main rival of Turkey in the South Caucasus, simultaneously exerted a strong influence over Armenia through the deployment of a military base and border troops and the establishment of bilateral and multilateral defense and security cooperation. Meanwhile, Turkey’s full support to Azerbaijan in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and economic blockade of Armenia did not leave much room for Armenia–Turkey normalization prospects. The West, particularly the US, was constantly pushing for normalization between Armenia and Turkey. They hoped it would reduce Armenia’s fear of Turkey and decrease the necessity for Armenia to keep its military and security alliance with Russia. It would pave the way for the eventual withdrawal of the Russian military base from Armenia and a significant decrease in Russian influence in the South Caucasus.

As the Nagorno Karabakh issue ceases to be a serious obstacle for the Armenia–Turkey normalization process and the current Armenian government expresses its willingness to normalize relations with Azerbaijan and Turkey, conventional wisdom says that Turkey should do its best to use this window of opportunity to normalize relations with Armenia. It will open a new horizon for Turkey to increase its influence in the region and better compete with Russia. Meanwhile, the recent protest movement in Armenia should bother Turkey. Protesters are demanding Pashinyan’s resignation mainly for his administration’s willingness to recognize Nagorno Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan if Baku provides relevant security guarantees. However, relations with Turkey are also part of the equilibrium. If a new government forms in Armenia, it will be less enthusiastic about normalizing relations with Turkey by accepting Turkey’s preconditions.

For Turkey, the window of opportunity to normalize relations with Armenia and decrease Russian influence in the South Caucasus may close soon. This implies that the Turkish government should make efforts to conclude the process by signing documents on establishing diplomatic relations and opening borders. However, the pace of the Armenia–Turkey process creates a perception that Ankara is not in a hurry to reach any concrete results and is interested more in the process than in the outcome. 

Rubinyan and Kılıç have already met three times, the last one in Vienna on May 3. After the May 3 meeting, the sides issued identical statements, with almost the same wording as the outcome of the first and second meeting. The statement emphasized that the special representatives reaffirmed the declared goal of achieving full normalization between countries and discussed possible steps that can be undertaken for tangible progress in this direction, reiterating their agreement to continue the process without preconditions. However, even the period between meetings showed a lack of progress. If the second meeting happened only 40 days after the initial one, the sides waited 70 days before holding the third meeting. 

The apparent lack of progress in the negotiations raises questions about Turkey’s real motives. One reason could be the change of Turkey’s strategic objective to use normalization with Armenia as a tool to weaken Russian positions in Armenia. It could result from Russia–Turkey understanding of managing their competition in the South Caucasus. Thus, if Ankara reaches some agreement with Moscow on the limits of their regional rivalry, the normalization of relations with Armenia may lose its significance for Turkey as a way to counter Russia. In this context, Turkey may believe that a potential change of government in Armenia will not create obstacles in the negotiation process. Thus, the window of opportunity will remain open for an extended period. 

Suppose Turkey does not see the normalization of its relations with Armenia as an urgent necessity to push forward its vital interests in the region while still believing that the US views this as a necessary step in the global US–Russia confrontation. In that case, it may wait for some gestures from the US to move forward. It may be some advancement in the US–Turkey negotiations on the sale of F-16 jets to Turkey or the cancellation of US sanctions on the Turkish defense industry. Regardless of the real motives of Turkey’s apparent lack of enthusiasm in making any progress in the normalization process with Armenia, Armenia should consider it while dealing with Ankara.

Dr. Benyamin Poghosyan is the founder and chairman of the Center for Political and Economic Strategic Studies. He was the former vice president for research – head of the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense Research University in Armenia. In March 2009, he joined the Institute for National Strategic Studies as a research Fellow and was appointed as INSS Deputy Director for research in November 2010. Dr. Poghosyan has prepared and managed the elaboration of more than 100 policy papers which were presented to the political-military leadership of Armenia, including the president, the prime minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Dr. Poghosyan has participated in more than 50 international conferences and workshops on regional and international security dynamics. His research focuses on the geopolitics of the South Caucasus and the Middle East, US – Russian relations and their implications for the region, as well as the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative. He is the author of more than 200 academic papers and articles in different leading Armenian and international journals. In 2013, Dr. Poghosyan was a Distinguished Research Fellow at the US National Defense University College of International Security Affairs. He is a graduate from the US State Department Study of the US Institutes for Scholars 2012 Program on US National Security Policy Making. He holds a PhD in history and is a graduate from the 2006 Tavitian Program on International Relations at Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.


Ambassador Mkrtchyan, Deputy PM Pikrammenos reaffirm readiness to further deepen Armenia-Greece ties

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 17:15, 4 May, 2022

YEREVAN, MAY 4, ARMENPRESS. Ambassador of Armenia to Greece Tigran Mkrtchyan met on May 4 with Deputy Prime Minister of Greece Panagiotis Pikrammenos, the Armenian Embassy reported.

During the meeting the readiness to further deepen the Armenia-Greece friendly relations was reaffirmed.

Ambassador Mkrtchyan expressed his deep gratitude to the government of Greece, the Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis for keeping alive the memory of the innocent victims of the Armenian Genocide and commemorating it on April 24.

The prospective steps on developing the bilateral commercial relations, including the upcoming plans to present Armenian products in different cities of Greece were discussed.

The Armenian Ambassador presented the latest regional developments in the context of tendencies threatening global security.

Turkey’s weightlifters displace Armenia at top of Junior World Championships medals table

May 8 2022
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  •  Sunday, 8 May 2022

Armenia led the medals table at the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Junior World Championships in Heraklion in Crete – but only for a few hours as Turkey claimed a second title of the week.

Garik Karapetyan made a six-from-six 170-200-370 to win the men’s 96 kilograms for Armenia for a second straight year, improving his winning total from 2021 by 15kg.

That was too good for last year’s 89kg champion Tudor Bratu, from Moldova, who failed with his second clean and jerk but made his five other lifts to finish with 163-201-364.

Karapetyan, who will be 19 next month, has never finished out of the first two in his five international appearances since 2019.

That result put Armenia ahead of Indonesia in the medals table, but they are back in second place after Turkey won the women’s 81kg to go top with two days to go, having won two golds, three silvers and one bronze on total.

The numbers were not high, and would not have won gold two categories lower at 71kg, but Dilara Narin’s 99-131-230 was enough to take the title.

That was a career-best total for the 20-year-old, who was youth world champion at 76kg in 2019 and holds the youth world record, at 130kg, in the clean and jerk.

She was also the Youth Olympic Games gold medallist at 63kg in 2018, and has competed at four different weights.

The Mexican Emmy Gonzalez took silver on her international debut with 100-127-227.

Egyptian teenagers took bronze in both events, Yasser Usama with 157-202-359 in the 96kg and Fatma Ahmed on 99-122-221 in the 81kg.

Protesters in Armenia up pressure for PM Pashinyan’s resignation. Video


May 5 2022


  • JAMnews
  • Yerevan

A wave of protests of Armenian opposition and its supporters began on May 1. The movement is led by two opposition parliamentary factions – Hayastan (Armenia) and I Have the Honor. Oppositionists are demanding the resignation of the prime minister. They believe that Nikol Pashinyan is pursuing a flawed policy of surrendering the territories of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh”. They claim that the change of power is the only way out of this situation. However, so far the opposition leaders have not communicated their plans on “saving Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.”

Protesters block the streets, hold marches and rallies, but so far there is no critical number of protesters on the streets. Experts believe that the problem of the opposition is that they repeat the methods of street fighting used by the leader of the Velvet Revolution Nikol Pashinyan in 2018. In addition, according to political scientists, a new, alternative content of the movement is needed, which is not yet available.

Another factor that, according to experts, does not allow the opposition to gather more supporters is the unwillingness of the inhabitants of Armenia to return to the past, that is, to allow the return of the “former” authorities. The fact is that behind both parliamentary factions, which call on the people to take to the streets, are politicians from the former governments. These are the ex-presidents of Armenia Robert Kocharyan and Serzh Sargsyan, who are considered by society as politicians with a pro-Russian orientation.

Watch the video at