Armenia develops 2023-2033 Diaspora Partnership Strategy ahead of 2nd global summit


YEREVAN, JANUARY 29, ARMENPRESS. The Office of the High Commissioner of Diaspora Affairs has developed the 2023-2033 Armenia-Diaspora Partnership Strategy, High Commissioner Zareh Sinanyan told Armenpress.

He said the strategy is based on a vision of a “state-centered, pro-state” Diaspora. The document has been put into circulation.

“We expect to work with the Diaspora based on principles of respect, based on the objective of further deepening the ideology of statehood-building and state-centeredness. Today, this is very weak in the Diaspora. Understandably, the Diaspora was formed in conditions of absence of statehood,” Sinanyan explained, adding that while Armenians living in Armenia have the sense of nationhood and statehood-building, Diaspora Armenians don’t necessarily have that notion. “The work we want to do with the Diaspora must be exclusively centered on the state. Not because we are egoists or focused on ourselves, but because we see the state as the guarantee of perpetuity of not only the Armenians of Armenia, but of the Armenian nation and the Diaspora. Without a strong state there can be nothing. If the Diaspora was able to exist in the Middle East for many years, then the Diaspora that was formed in the past fifty years cannot exist for long without an anchor, and that anchor is the state,” Sinanyan said.

The High Commissioner said they have already received numerous recommendations and offers regarding the strategy and they are amending the document. Sinanyan’s office is working with the Diaspora regarding the strategy. He said that the strategy’s inception was in 2022 during the First Global Diaspora Summit in Armenia. “We are trying to realistically involve many representatives from the Diaspora,” Sinanyan said.

The 2nd Global Diaspora Summit is planned for mid-September 2024 in Armenia.

The 2023-2033 Armenia-Diaspora Partnership Strategy will be forwarded to the Cabinet for discussions in the coming months.

The agenda of the 2nd summit is currently under development, but it will feature security, economic and cultural issues.

Armenian President congratulates Governor-General of Australia on national day


YEREVAN, JANUARY 26, ARMENPRESS. President of Armenia Vahagn Khachaturyan has congratulated Governor-General of Australia David Hurley on the country’s national day.

“I am convinced that the friendly relations between Armenia and Australia based on mutual respect and trust, and the mutually beneficial cooperation will further deepen and expand for the benefit of our peoples’ welfare,” President Khachaturyan said in a letter to Governor-General Hurley. I wish you robust health and success, and eternal peace and prosperity to the friendly people of Australia.”

Lionel Messi wins ‘The Best FIFA’ men’s player of year award, beating out Mbappe, Haaland

 09:55, 16 January 2024

YEREVAN, JANUARY 16, ARMENPRESS. Lionel Messi has been crowned The Best FIFA Men’s Player 2023, retaining the title he won in 2022.

The Argentina superstar has been bestowed with the honour once again following another qualifying period where he dazzled football fans across the globe. Messi was recognised for his achievements at The Best FIFA Football Awards™ ceremony in London, having come out on top in the voting ahead of finalists Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe, FIFA said in a press release.

Messi topped an incredibly closely-contested poll which was voted for by national team coaches and captains as well as expert journalists and supporters across the globe.

With the 2022 World Cup winner and Norway international Haaland locked together on 48 scoring points, they were separated by the number of first-choice nominations which Messi received in votes from national team captains, as per the Rules of Allocation (article 12). France striker Mbappe finished third with 35 points.

Nicolas Anelka visits forcibly displaced children of Nagorno-Karabakh in Armenia


YEREVAN, JANUARY 18, ARMENPRESS. Nicolas Anelka, the French professional football manager and retired player has visited the Sport and Culture Center in the Armenian city of Abovyan to meet with forcibly displaced children of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Anelka, who arrived in Armenia for a project on opening a football academy, gifted presents to the children.

Armenia National Olympic Committee President Gagik Tsarukyan accompanied Anelka during the visit to Abovyan.

In a statement, Tsarukyan said Anelka had expressed desire to meet the children of Nagorno-Karabakh and gift them presents.

The Sport and Culture Center in Abovyan has been providing shelter to the NK children since September 2023.

[see video]

Azerbaijan revives demand for corridor through Armenia

Jan 17 2024
Ani Avetisyan Jan 17, 2024

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has called Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's latest remarks about border delimitation/demarcation and transit links "totally unacceptable" and a "blow" to the peace process. 

"I promise a financial reward to anyone who finds the term 'Zangezur corridor' in the November 9 agreement," Pashinyan told a group of MPs on January 13. 

It was an ironic reference to the Azerbaijani side's contention, reiterated recently by Aliyev, that the provision on opening transit links in the Russian-brokered peace accord that ended the 2020 Second Karabakh War stipulates a seamless corridor through Armenia connecting mainland Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan exclave, without Armenian border or customs checks. 

That idea is referred to in Azerbaijan as the "Zangezur corridor" and Baku has pushed for it with varying degrees of intensity since the 2020 ceasefire. Early last year it seemed to back down on the demand in the context of the peace talks. 

In early October, shortly after Azerbaijan's lightning offensive to seize the whole of Nagorno-Karabakh, the corridor project seemed to be off the table after ground was broken on an alternate route through Iran.  (Tehran, like Armenia, is vociferously opposed to the Zangezur corridor idea.)

The issue, which has long inspired Armenian fears of an Azerbaijani invasion, is now back on the agenda, as Aliyev said in a January 10 interview that if the corridor was not opened, "Armenia will remain in an eternal deadlock. … If the route I mentioned is not opened, we will not open our border with Armenia anywhere else. So they will do themselves more harm than good."

In October last year, the Armenian prime minister introduced an initiative called "Crossroads of Peace" aimed at regional cooperation. That proposal includes linkages between mainland Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan with Armenian border and customs checks. Azerbaijan has dismissed it out of hand as "PR." (According to the 9 November 2020 agreement that ended the Second Karabakh War, the route linking mainland Azerbaijan Nakhchivan is to be monitored by Russian border troops.)

Exclaves and villages

Elsewhere in his January 10 interview, Aliyev demanded the return of enclaves and border villages that have been under Armenian control since the First Karabakh War three decades ago. 

Pashinyan seemed to back the idea of an exchange of enclaves, with a "mutually agreed map" as part of the process, but said that if Azerbaijan demanded the return of eight villages, Armenia would "raise the issue of 32." 

That was a reference to several bits of former Soviet Armenian territory that have similarly been controlled by Azerbaijan since the first war, as well as to the territory inside Armenia, estimated to total about 215 square kilometers, that Azerbaijani troops have occupied following several incursions between May 2021 and September 2022. 

Armenia and several Western states have demanded the withdrawal of Azerbaijani troops from Armenian lands. But Baku has refused, citing the lack of demarcation of the borders as justification. 

And Aliyev said explicitly he had no intention of withdrawing them in his January 10 remarks. "We are not taking a step back because that border must be defined. However, our location, which is currently disputed by Armenia, does not include any settlement."

The delimitation and demarcation of state borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as the opening of transport links, remain the most contested issues between the two countries following Azerbaijan's takeover of Karabakh in September. The border commission working on the delimitation and demarcation issues held its latest meeting late last year and the next one, according to Aliyev, is to be held this month, with the question of the border villages in the Gazakh region of Azerbaijan being on the agenda.

Although the principles of a peace deal were said to be agreed upon in November, the sides seem to have dismissed each other's draft proposals for the peace agreement. 

Additionally, the sides disagree on who should mediate the talks. Yerevan opposes Moscow's mediation, while Baku has turned down EU or US-initiated talks in recent months. 

In December, the two countries managed to issue a joint statement and agree on a prisoner exchange, but they do not have a clear plan to continue the bilateral talks.

Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi meets Archbishop of Armenia

Jan 16 2024
Yerevan [Armenia], January 16 (ANI/WAM): Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the Defence, Interior and Foreign Affairs Committee in the Federal National Council (FNC), who is currently heading the FNC delegation visiting the Republic of Armenia, has met with Archbishop Nathan Hovhannisyan, Director of the External Relations and Protocol Department of the Mother See. During his meeting with Archbishop Hovhannisyan, Al Nuaimi, accompanied by several members of the FNC delegation, emphasised the UAE's unwavering commitment to fostering balanced partnerships and promoting values of tolerance and human coexistence on a global scale. He expressed the country's strong belief in the power of cultural and religious dialogue to bridge differences and bring diverse viewpoints closer.

Al Nuaimi praised the bilateral relations between the UAE and the Republic of Armenia, which are witnessing notable and growing development at various levels and fields, noting that these visits strengthen relations among peoples at a time when human societies face many challenges, the most prominent of which are the spread of hate speech and extremist and racist ideas. He also emphasised the importance of uniting the efforts of various organisations, international institutions and civil society institutions to achieve security, peace and prosperity for the people of the world.

Hovhannisyan praised the UAE's attention to preserving cultural heritage, pointing in this regard to the restoration of the Armenian Haghartsin Monastery Complex under the directives of Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, in addition to the UAE's support for a number of Armenian secondary schools in the capital, Yerevan. He also lauded the UAE's approach and its keenness on enhancing international peace and security, and its role in establishing the principle of harmony and coexistence among followers of different religions, promoting dialogue, tolerance and openness policy, and confronting extremist ideas, hate speech and racism. (ANI/WAM)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

L.A. County Board of Supervisors Unanimously Calls for Release of Armenian POWs

ANCA-WR staff and activists with LA County Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Holly Mitchell

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a motion introduced by ANCA Western Region-endorsed candidate for re-election, Supervisor Kathryn Barger, and seconded by Supervisor Holly Mitchell on Tuesday.

The motion calls for a letter signed by the full Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to the Biden Administration urging for concrete action to address Azerbaijan’s ongoing illegal detention of Armenian hostages.

The motion also calls on the Biden Administration to impose sanctions against Azerbaijani leadership pursuant to the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act on the grounds of Azerbaijan’s illegal detention, torture, and extrajudicial killing of Armenian POWs and hostages, as well as suspending all United States military and economic assistance to Azerbaijan.

Additionally, the motion urges thee leadership of the House Foreign Affairs Committee to move forward on the passage of H. Res. 861 (introduced by Rep. Adam Schiff and supported by Reps. Valadao and Bilirakis), which calls on Azerbaijan to immediately release all prisoners of war and captured civilians. ANCA Western Region staff and other Armenian community organizations attended the hearing to speak in support of the motion, urging for its passage.

This motion was introduced in light of growing concerns about inhumane treatment and conditions for the Armenian hostages held in Azerbaijani detention.

Azerbaijani authorities most recently have arrested and detained three of Artsakh’s former presidents, Artsakh’s former foreign minister David Babayn and former State Minister Ruben Vardanyan, along with Artsakh Parliament Speaker Davit Ishkhanyan.

The ANCA-WR honored Babayan with its Freedom Award in 2022 and hosted a downhill forum with Vardanyan at the start of Azerbaijan’s blockade of Artsakh.

Azerbaijan has also illegally detained civilians, among them the 68-year-old Vagif Khatchatryan, who was arrested at an unlawfully implemented Azerbaijani checkpoint as he was being transported for urgent medical care by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

“This is about accountability,” said Supervisor Barger. “We need to hold Azerbaijan accountable for violations of humanitarian law. As leaders of a country that is home to the greatest number of Armenians outside of Armenia itself, we must do what is within our power and use our voice to condemn Azerbaijan’s violations of human rights and urge the return of all Armenian hostages and prisoners of war. We have a moral obligation to do so. I am proud to stand in solidarity with the Armenian community.”

“The conflict between Azerbaijan and the people of Armenia impacts our Armenian community in Los Angeles County,” said Supervisor Mitchell. “ We must make it clear that these crimes against humanity will not be tolerated by our government. We support the Biden administration in urging the Azerbaijan government to immediately return all Armenian prisoners of war and work toward a solution for lasting peace in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.”  

“The ANCA Western Region welcomes this motion, which brings further attention to the suffering and hardships endured by the people of Artsakh, and Azerbaijan’s Armenian hostages,” said Nora Hovsepian, Esq., Chair of the ANCA Western Region Board of Directors. “Now, more than ever, it is vital that policymakers and community advocates work tirelessly to secure their release, and ensure accountability for Azerbaijan’s numerous violations of humanitarian and international law.”

The ANCA-WR urges the community to take action by urging members of Congress to take urgent and tangible action to end Azerbaijan’s illegal detention of Armenian hostages, and demand accountability for Azerbaijan’s crimes against humanity.

The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian-American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.

Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan on two-day visit Russia

UAE – Dec 25 2023

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan will pay a two-day visit to Russia, the RIA Novosti news agency quoted the Armenian government’s press service as saying on Monday.

Pashinyan will take part in a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council on December 25, and the next day will participate in an informal meeting of CIS heads of state, RIA Novosti reported.

Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Caucasus neighbors have been locked in a decades-long conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which Azerbaijan reclaimed after a lightning offensive against Armenian separatists in September.

Both countries have said a peace agreement could be signed by the end of the year, but peace talks — mediated separately by the European Union, the United States, and Russia — have seen little progress.

Armenian Film ‘Amerikatsi’ Makes History by Entering Oscars’ Shortlist

Hong Kong – Dec 25 2023

The Armenian film industry has reached a significant milestone with the inclusion of the film Amerikatsi in the Oscars’ shortlist, for the first time in the country’s history. The film, directed by Michael Gurdjian, is one of the top 15 international feature films being considered for the esteemed award. This breakthrough comes as a result of a concerted effort to elevate the presence of Armenian cinema on the global stage.

Armenian films have seen a surge in their participation in international competitions and festivals by 74 percent in 2022, earning 28 international awards. This uptick indicates a shift in the global perception of Armenian cinema, with the industry gaining wider recognition for its creative offerings.

Amendments to the Law on Cinematography have been instrumental in this progress. The law has been restructured to be more comprehensive and accessible for international colleagues. Furthermore, the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture, and Sports of Armenia has signed memorandums of cooperation with international organizations, laying the groundwork for future collaborations on global platforms such as Netflix.

Efforts are also being made to bolster the film industry within Armenia’s provinces. Programs have been initiated to host events in these regions, fostering a nationwide culture of cinematic appreciation and production.

The official Oscar nominees will be announced on January 23, 2024, with the final ceremony scheduled for March 10, 2024. The inclusion of Amerikatsi in the Oscar shortlist marks a turning point for Armenian cinema, placing it in the limelight on one of the world’s most prestigious cinematic stages.

RFE/RL Armenian Service – 12/25/2023


Armenia-Azerbaijan Peace Deal No Panacea, Insists Baku

Azerbaijan - Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov attends a joint news 
conference with French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna in Baku, April 27, 

An Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty would not end all disputes between the two 
South Caucasus states, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov said over 
the weekend.

“It cannot be said that the peace treaty will ensure a 100 percent solution to 
all issues but it can lay the groundwork for the development of relations 
between Azerbaijan and Armenia,” Bayramov told Azerbaijani state television.

He did not say which issues will remain unresolved if Baku and Yerevan succeed 
in negotiating such a treaty.

One of the remaining sticking points in their discussions is how to delimit and 
demarcate the long Armenian-Azerbaijani border. Yerevan has insisted until now 
on including in the peace accord a clear delimitation mechanism that would 
commit Baku to recognizing Armenia’s international borders.

The Azerbaijani side has been reluctant to do that. It is also against using 
late Soviet-era maps for the delimitation process, an idea advanced by Armenia 
and backed by the European Union.

Hikmet Hajiyev, a top foreign policy adviser to Azerbaijani President Ilham 
Aliyev, said last week that Baku believes "the border delimitation issue should 
be kept separate from peace treaty discussions." Alen Simonian, the Armenian 
parliament speaker and a leading member of the ruling Civil Contract party, said 
that Yerevan does not object to this in principle.

Armenian opposition leaders expressed serious concern over such an arrangement, 
saying that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s government is ready to make more 
concessions to Azerbaijan without securing anything in return.

Pashinian and other Armenian officials themselves suggested this summer that 
Aliyev wants to leave the door open for future territorial claims to Armenia. 
Some Armenian analysts believe this is the reason why Aliyev keeps delaying 
further negotiations mediated by the United States and the European Union.

The Azerbaijani leader said earlier this month that the peace treaty would not 
be enough to preclude another Armenian-Azerbaijani war. He demanded concrete 
safeguards against Armenian “revanchism.”

Pashinian Allies Lash Out At Karabakh Leader

        • Ruzanna Stepanian

Armenia - Samvel Shahramanian addresses protesters outside the Karabakh mission 
in Yerevan, October 20, 2023.

Armenia’s ruling party lashed out at Nagorno-Karabakh’s exiled president at the 
weekend after it emerged that he declared null and void his September 28 decree 
liquidating the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

Samvel Shahramanian’s decree came just over a week after Azerbaijan’s military 
offensive that forced Karabakh’s small army to lay down weapons and restored 
Azerbaijani control over the region. Shahramanian said afterwards that he had to 
sign the decree in order to stop the hostilities and enable the Karabakh 
Armenians to safely flee to Armenia.

Shahramanian’s adviser Vladimir Grigorian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service Friday 
that the Karabakh leader invalidated the controversial decree on October 19 and 
that that all senior Karabakh officials will keep performing their duties after 
January 1 without getting paid.

Shahramanian met with those officials later on Friday. He was reported to tell 
them that “there is no document in the legal framework of the Republic of 
Artsakh that mandates the dissolution of state institutions.”

Armenia’s political leadership reacted furiously to the development through 
senior lawmakers representing Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s Civil Contract 

“Who is Samvel Shahramanian to sign a decree in Yerevan?” one of them, Artur 
Hovannisian, wrote on Facebook. “There is only one government in Armenia. Any 
attempt to challenge this will be seen as anti-state activity, outlawed and 
prompt the toughest measures from the state.”

Armenia - Deputies from the ruling Civil Contract party talk on the parliament 
floor, Yerevan, March 1, 2023.

Hovannisian went on to accuse Karabakh’s Yerevan-based leadership of “trying to 
involve Armenia in a new military provocation.”

“Those who signed Karabakh’s capitulation must be aware that any document signed 
in Yerevan regarding Karabakh has no legal force,” warned another pro-government 
lawmaker, Lilit Minasian.

Gevorg Papoyan, a deputy chairman of Pashinian’s party, labeled Shahramanian as 
a “forcibly displaced person” who is no different from the more than 100,000 
other Karabakh Armenians who took refuge in Armenia following Azerbaijan’s 
recapture of the region.

Armenian opposition representatives as well as some Karabakh figures rejected 
the harsh criticism and warnings voiced by Pashinian’s political team. Artak 
Beglarian, Karabakh’s former human rights ombudsman, dismissed the Armenian 
authorities’ implicit claims that Azerbaijan could use continued activities of 
Karabakh bodies as a pretext to attack Armenia as well.

“If you do not allow Artsakh’s state institutions and officials to represent the 
rights and interests of their people on various issues while you yourselves are 
not going to do it in terms of collective rights, then who should deal with 
those issues?” he wrote.

Armenia - Samvel Shahramanian meets other Karabakh officials in Yerevan, 
December 22, 2023.

Beglarian also clarified that contrary to what Grigorian said, Shahramanian did 
not specifically sign the October 19 decree to scrap his September 28 decision. 
He suggested that the Karabakh leader simply made clear that he had no legal 
authority to disband the unrecognized republic and its government bodies.

The Shahramanian aide resigned shortly after his interview with RFE/RL’s 
Armenian Service. He gave no clear reason for the decision, saying only that his 
comments “do not reflect any official position at this point.”

Even before those comments, Pashinian’s allies said that Karabakh government 
bodies should be dissolved. Parliament speaker Alen Simonian claimed on November 
16 that they would pose a “direct threat to Armenia’s security.”

In its December 10 statement, the Karabakh legislature balked at attempts to 
“finally close the Artsakh issue” while signaling its desire to discuss them 
with Pashinian’s government.

Pashinian Ends Boycott Of Ex-Soviet Summits

        • Shoghik Galstian

Russia - Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian arrives in St. Petersburg, 

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian flew to Saint Petersburg on Monday to meet with 
the leaders of Russia and other ex-Soviet states after boycotting their previous 
summits amid Yerevan’s rising tensions with Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted later in the day a meeting of the 
leaders of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) member states. He is due to chair 
on Tuesday a separate summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), a 
larger and looser grouping of ex-Soviet republics.

Pashinian skipped EEU and CIS gatherings held in Kyrgyzstan in early October. He 
went on to boycott a Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) summit held 
in Belarus’s capital Minsk in late November.

Other Armenian officials have also boycotted high-level CSTO meetings held in 
recent months. One of them, parliament speaker Alen Simonian, has not ruled out 
the possibility of Armenia’s exit from Russian-led military alliance accused by 
Yerevan of not honoring its security commitments. Pashinian’s government has 
said, though, that it is not yet considering such an option.

Kyrgyzstan - The leaders of Russia and other Commonwealth of Independent States 
(CIS) countries pose for a group photo at a summit in Bishkek, October 13, 2023.

Speaking during a December 14 news conference, Putin suggested that Armenia is 
not planning to quit the CSTO and attributed Yerevan’s boycott of the 
organization to internal “processes” taking place in the South Caucasus country. 
And he again blamed Pashinian’s government for the recent Azerbaijani takeover 
of Nagorno-Karabakh and the exodus of its ethnic Armenian population. Pashinian 
hit back at Putin a few days later.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov indicated on Monday that the two leaders will 
meet on the sidelines of the Saint Petersburg summits. The Armenian government 
did not comment on Pashinian’s decision to attend them.

Simonian said on December 15 that Armenia should not leave the EEU or the CIS. 
He pointed to its economic dependence on Russia and described the CIS as a 
“platform for cooperation that benefits our country.”

Armen Baghdasarian, a veteran political analyst, believes that Yerevan’s current 
foreign policy is contradictory and not realistic even if Pashinian has reason 
to be unhappy with Russia and other ex-Soviet allies.

“You can’t be part of one bloc for economic reasons but see solutions to your 
security problems in another security system,” Baghdasarian told RFE/RL’s 
Armenian Service. “That’s not possible. You can’t simultaneously sit on two 

“Armenia has previously made such attempts and their results were disastrous,” 
he said.

Yerevan Decries ‘Attempts To Politicize’ Russian-Led Trade Bloc

Russia - President Vladimir Putin greets Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian 
during an EEU summit, St. Petersburg, .

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian spoke out against what he called attempts to use 
the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) for “geopolitical” purposes when he addressed 
a summit of the leaders of the Russian-led trade bloc in Saint Petersburg on 
Citing its founding treaty signed by Russia, Armenia and three other ex-Soviet 
states in 2013, Pashinian said that the EEU must not have a “political and 
especially geopolitical agenda.”

“We continue to regard [the EEU] as such and to develop partnership within the 
framework of our economic cooperation in this context, seeking to thwart all 
attempts to politicize Eurasian integration,” he said. “The EEU and its economic 
principles must not correlate with political ambitions.”

“The basic freedoms of trade and integration cannot and must not be limited due 
to political considerations. This would definitely lead to an erosion of the 
fundamental principles of the union,” he added during the summit hosted by 
Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Pashinian did not elaborate on his trade-related concerns voiced amid 
unprecedented tensions between his government and Moscow that have deepened 
further since beginning of September. The two sides have repeated traded 
accusations, raising questions about the future of Armenia’s traditionally close 
relationship with Russia. In the meantime, Yerevan has sought closer ties with 
the United States and the European Union.

Citing food safety concerns, a Russian government agency blocked last month the 
import of many food products from Armenia for more than a week. The 
Rosselkhoznadzor agricultural watchdog alleged a sharp increase in the presence 
of “harmful quarantined organisms” in them.

Observers believe that Moscow thus underlined its strong economic leverage 
against Armenia to warn Pashinian against further reorienting the country 
towards the West.

Russia has long been the main export market for Armenian agricultural products, 
prepared foodstuffs and alcoholic drinks. Their exports totaled roughly $960 
million in January-October 2023.

Armenia’s overall trade with Russia has skyrocketed since the Russian invasion 
of Ukraine and the resulting barrage of Western sanctions against Moscow. 
Armenian entrepreneurs have taken advantage of those sanctions, re-exporting 
various goods manufactured in Western countries to Russia. This is the main 
reason why Armenian exports to Russia tripled in 2022 and nearly doubled to $2.6 
billion in January-September 2023

Reposted on ANN/Armenian News with permission from RFE/RL
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