"Crossroads of Peace" project aligns with India’s vision in the South Caucasus: Expert

 17:59, 5 December 2023

YEREVAN, DECEMBER 5, ARMENPRESS. India has interests in the South Caucasus in terms of trade communications, trade corridors, energy security and geopolitics and the "Crossroads of Peace" project aligns with Delhi’s vision.

Rananjay Anand, Co-Founder and President of the Indo-Armenian Friendship NGO, said  at the forum held Tuesday in Yerevan on the topic of "New Regional Realities and the Crossroads of Peace" with the participation of analysts from Armenian, Iranian, Indian, Georgian and Turkish think tanks.

 Rananjay Anand noted that India hadn't clearly formulated a foreign policy regarding the South Caucasus until recently.

"Armenia is certainly a significant partner for India in this region. Armenia has always supported India, particularly on the issue of Kashmir without any reservations. Armenia has always backed India's permanent membership in the UN Security Council. Such an approach has surely garnered a positive response in India," said Rananjay Anand, who believes that Armenia is the only country in the region with which India has cooperative and friendly relations.

According to him, in geopolitical issues and the fight against terrorism, Armenia and India share common interests. 

"Taking into account Armenia's security concerns, India is making efforts to provide maximum support. I can say that this is a matter of peace and the balance of power," the expert added, emphasizing that India is working to prevent tension in the region and the emergence of aggressors.

AW: Kristina Ayanian named to Forbes 30 Under 30 Class of 2024

Kristina Ayanian featured in Times Square

Kristina Ayanian has achieved the latest milestone in her luminous career in media, finance and pageantry as a member of the Forbes 30 Under 30 Class of 2024.

“It was such a sense of pride for me, my family and the Armenian community. It means the world to me,” Ayanian shared with the Weekly

Ayanian has combined her passions for finance and journalism as the youngest executive producer and host in Nasdaq’s history, the achievement that secured her spot on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. After graduating from college, she started working for Nasdaq in 2019, where she now serves as the host and executive producer of Live from MarketSite, a series where she interviews business leaders about company successes, business trends and new innovations.

With her trademark sense of initiative, she launched the show at the start of 2023. In collaboration with a team at Nasdaq, she oversees every aspect of production, from research and question development to filming, design and editing, a process that takes between 10-12 hours to complete one episode. Through the series, which recently reached its 100 episode milestone, Ayanian has partnered with Deloitte Fast 500, RedPoint Ventures InfraRed 100, CloudNY and more. 

“I’ve learned that no two companies are the same. Each topic is brand new,” Ayanian said. “It’s a storyline show. Rather than focusing heavily on cutting edge finance, we mix in numbers, but it’s about the purpose and the journey.”

Kristina Ayanian hosting Live from MarketSite

Ayanian was inspired by her mother, a former news reporter in Armenia and her greatest role model, to pursue a career in media. “I want to be like my mom. I want that to be me,” she remembers thinking while growing up watching her mom’s tapes on VHS.

She got her first opportunity in journalism in high school, when she was a reporter for ABC’s Teen Kids News. She and her mom traveled by bus to New York City from Massachusetts at 5 a.m. in response to an open casting call for an audition at Madame Tussauds. At first she was rejected, but ever tenacious, she sent the producers letters until they gave her a second chance to audition. She was accepted, and her first interview was with Great Britain’s Prince Edward, which was nominated for an Emmy in 2014.

As an undergraduate at Bentley University, Ayanian earned dual degrees in finance and global studies with a minor in corporate communications, combining her interests in media and mathematics. “I love math and numbers. That’s the Armenianness in me. My grandfather was a mathematician in Armenia. It’s kind of in our blood,” she said with a laugh. 

Ayanian also attributes some of her earliest roots in journalism to the Armenian Weekly, where she has served as a contributing writer since 2019. She has covered community events in the Boston area and shared the activities of EyeSupport, a nonprofit she launched with four of her best friends and fellow alumni from St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School to support global humanitarian initiatives. “Seeing your work in print is an amazing feeling. I’ve framed so many of them, and the ones that don’t fit on my walls, I have them on a dedicated Armenian Weekly table,” Ayanian shared.

Kristina Ayanian on the Live from MarketSite set

In all of her endeavors, including in finance, Ayanian aspires to elevate Armenia’s name and reputation. She was thrilled to interview Davit Baghdasaryan, an Armenian entrepreneur and the CEO and co-founder of Krisp, for Live from MarketSite and hopes to feature more Armenians on the show. “We need more Armenians in media and finance,” she said. “With every step I climb, not only do I want to lift Armenia’s name, but also bring in other Armenians who are also starting out or have achieved great heights, connect with them and build Armenians as a powerhouse in different industries.”

Ayanian also represents Armenia on one of the largest international stages: Miss Universe. She participated in the 71st Annual Miss Universe Pageant as Miss Universe Armenia in 2022, where she used her title to bring awareness to Armenian causes, including Azerbaijani-Turkish aggression against Artsakh and Armenia. For Ayanian, Forbes 30 Under 30 is another platform to celebrate Armenian resilience and success and share the Armenian story.

“So many people, especially Turks and Azeris, have tried to tear us down for so many years,” Ayanian said. “This is a way for us to say, we’re still here. We’re going to continue to be here and continue thriving, not just fighting but thriving in everything that we do.”

Lillian Avedian is the assistant editor of the Armenian Weekly. She reports on international women's rights, South Caucasus politics, and diasporic identity. Her writing has also been published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Democracy in Exile, and Girls on Key Press. She holds master's degrees in journalism and Near Eastern studies from New York University.

Armenpress: 1 trillion 954,8 billion AMD in tax revenues, state duties collected in January-November

 11:18, 4 December 2023

YEREVAN, DECEMBER 4, ARMENPRESS. The State Revenue Committee of Armenia (SRC) ensured 1 trillion 954,8 billion drams in tax revenues and state duties in January-November 2023. The figure is 242,2 billion or 14,1% more compared to the same period of 2022, the SRC said in a press release.

Approximately 337,2 billion drams were returned (cashback) to corporate taxpayers and individuals in the reporting period (99,5 billion or 41,9% more).

Pashinyan answered the questions of Armenian residents for more than 8 hours. Main theses

Nov 24 2023

  • JAMnews
  • Yerevan

The press conference of the Armenian Prime Minister lasted for more than eight hours with short breaks. This time it was held in a new format – without journalists. Nikol Pashinyan answered citizens’ video questions, which were very different in thematic terms – up to the treatment of specific people, payment of pensions and other social problems. There were also questions concerning the country’s security, the signing of a peace treaty with Azerbaijan, and Armenian-Russian relations.

  • “Take aid to Armenia off the agenda” – Yerevan’s appeal to the CSTO
  • “We are not satisfied with many things” – Armenian Foreign Minister on relations with Russia
  • “Entrust Armenia’s security to an American private company” – political scientist

Has Armenia decided to withdraw from the CSTO military bloc operating under the auspices of Russia? There is no definite and final answer to this question yet. At least, the prime minister, who has repeatedly spoken about the allies’ failure to fulfill their obligations, is still waiting for clarification:

“We want to do everything possible to fully understand the CSTO and make our position clear to the military alliance.”

At the same time, Pashinyan is aware: if all the potential for clarifying relations is considered exhausted, the Armenian society has the right to ask why the government does not leave the organization. As he put it, “a structure that gives nothing to the Republic of Armenia and, on the contrary, creates additional problems for the security system.”

The Prime Minister emphasized that the government has the political will to make decisions that meet the interests of the country:

“If there was no such will, there would be no critical statements from Yerevan regarding the activities of the bloc. The de facto actions or inactions of the CSTO do not correspond to the obligations of the organization towards Armenia and do not correspond to Armenia’s interests.

Moreover, membership in the CSTO is an insurmountable obstacle to support and cooperation with other partners. We have to make decisions that meet our interests. If at the moment we have made a decision or have not made a decision, our reference point is the state interest of Armenia”.

An Armenian resident asked how the government intends to solve the issue of undelivered weapons from Russia, for which the country paid millions of dollars. Pashinyan replied that the discussion of mechanisms for solving this problem is still ongoing:

“For example, one of the options could be to deduct the amount paid from the Republic of Armenia’s debt to Russia. And this is not the only option. The Russian Federation itself needs arms. The Armenian side is determined to solve the issue in a businesslike manner and hopes that the negotiations will bring concrete results”.

A question was raised whether the government plans to deprive Russian TV channels of airtime in connection with the recent scandalous incidents and the airing of programs containing anti-Armenian propaganda.

Pashinyan replied that the airing of Russian TV channels in Armenia is agreed upon by interstate agreement. And in recent months, Armenian state structures have been recording violations of the clauses of this agreement.

“There is a clear regulation that [in the content of TV channels] there cannot be interference in the internal affairs of the country, attempts to destabilize the internal political situation,” he stressed.

However, given its friendly relations with Russia, the Ministry of High-Tech Industry has officially invited Russian colleagues for consultations “to find solutions.”

“I hope that these consultations will take place as soon as possible so that we can resolve this issue in a normal, working, friendly atmosphere.”

The Prime Minister was asked this question from the town of Meghri in Syunik region – in the south of Armenia. Pashinyan replied that the government does not single out Syunik as a vulnerable zone in terms of security.

“There are also security problems in Tavush, Gegharkunik, Ararat, Vayots Dzor. These problems are obvious, they should be neither underestimated nor overestimated.”

According to the PM, Syunik is one of the most economically active regions of the country. Over the past 5 years, the government has invested more than 100 billion drams [$250 million] in the region and is implementing numerous projects, including with the financial support of the European Union.

“All this is done in order to give a clear political signal: all our plans related to Syunik are related to strategic development, welfare and economic activity.”

He emphasized that Meghri city itself is included in the concept of developing Armenia’s transportation system, unblocking regional communications under the government’s “Crossroads of the World” project.

The reason, according to the Prime Minister, is that “Azerbaijan’s policy of ethnic cleansing has not changed.”

“In conditions when IDPs have no opportunity to return to the places where they were born and lived, the government’s policy is the following: to do everything so that they stay in Armenia and do not leave,” he said.

Pashinyan said that immediately after their arrival in Armenia, the impression was that many would leave. There was a large flow of Karabakh Armenians who left for other countries. However, according to the Prime Minister, statistics shows that then they returned. Assumes that perhaps they traveled to their relatives.

“In order to solve the security problem, the Armenian government is pursuing a peace agenda. We have also ensured rather strong international consolidation on the issues of defense of territorial integrity, sovereignty, independence and democracy of the Republic of Armenia,” the Prime Minister said.

He believes that there is no absolute security in the current situation in the world. And it is necessary to form reliable security mechanisms in these new conditions. He is convinced that only “de jure enshrined and binding peace” can provide 100 percent security, which he seeks.

According to the Prime Minister, it is not clear at the moment whether Azerbaijan is ready to sign a peace agreement with Armenia based on the three principles agreed upon during the talks in the Brussels format:

“We cannot say with certainty that Azerbaijan refuses to sign an agreement based on these principles, but neither can we say that Baku reaffirms its commitment to these three principles.”

Earlier, Pashinyan said the following three principles were agreed upon with Azerbaijan during trilateral meetings held in Brussels on May 14 and July 15, 2023:

  • “Armenia and Azerbaijan recognize each other’s territorial integrity with the understanding that Armenia’s territory is 29,800 square kilometers and Azerbaijan’s territory is 86,600 square kilometers.
  • The 1991 Alma-Ata Declaration is the political basis for the delimitation of the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. In fact, there is also an understanding that the delimitation should utilize the 1974-1990 maps of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union. It is also agreed that Armenia and Azerbaijan have no territorial claims against each other and undertake not to make such claims in the future.
  • Regional communications should be unblocked on the basis of sovereignty, jurisdiction, reciprocity and equality of countries”.

During the upcoming talks, the Prime Minister intends to clarify these issues and make conclusions:

“Although there was a statement from Baku that Azerbaijan recognizes the territorial integrity of the Republic of Armenia, we need specifics on what they mean by that.”

More than 100 captives have returned home, the prime minister recalled. But he is dissatisfied with the fact that it was not possible to achieve positive results on the remaining captive compatriots.

“Baku is using the humanitarian issue for political purposes, which is illogical. We express our willingness to be flexible and work with Azerbaijan so that the captives return. We are even ready to exchange Azerbaijanis convicted [for crimes committed on Armenian territory, including murder], on the principle of all for all. We continue our work,” he said.

He reminded that in parallel with the negotiations, Armenia is appealing to the ECHR and other instances on the issue of prisoners.

Pashinyan did not answer the question about what Armenia is doing to free the leaders of the unrecognized NKR who are in Azerbaijani captivity.


Germany to provide Armenia with nearly 85 mln euros in grants, loans

Nov 22 2023

YEREVAN. Nov 22 (Interfax) – The German government will provide 84.6 million euros to Armenia in grants and loans, Armenia's state news agency Armenpress quoted Economy Minister Vahan Kerobyan and Parliamentary State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development Niels Annen as saying at a press conference in Yerevan following two-day intergovernmental negotiations.

"The additional support provided by Germany will be used to implement new programs in vocational education and training and in the renewable energy sector," Kerobyan said.

The Armenian and German governments have signed a protocol on intergovernmental negotiations. These have been the first official negotiations between the two countries since 2014.

"I think this is a very clear message to the entire world that Germany and Armenia are opening a new path of cooperation. Armenia has proven yet again that it is committed to democracy and a democratic society," Annen said.

"Special support is planned for the Armenian government to accommodate and integrate the people who have come to Armenia from Nagorno-Karabakh," he said.

Germany will also attach more significance to bolstering Armenia's energy independence, he said.


The New York Public Library dedicates Center for Research in the Humanities to former President Vartan Gregorian

Dr. Vartan Gregorian (Photo by Bernard Gotfryd, Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division)

NEW YORK—The New York Public Library (NYPL) announced on November 16 that it has officially dedicated its Center for Research in the Humanities in honor of former NYPL President Vartan Gregorian, whose extraordinary leadership revitalized the Library and helped solidify its position as an indispensable civic and educational institution. 

The new Vartan Gregorian Center for Research in the Humanities is dedicated to furthering the Library’s mission to engage, inspire, support and connect a growing community of scholars worldwide—all of which were priorities of Gregorian during his tenure as NYPL president from 1981-89. 

Located in the heart of the Library’s flagship Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the Gregorian Center is both an homage to its namesake’s enduring legacy and a physical manifestation of all of the progress and growth in the Research Library over the last decade. That progress includes substantial investments in collections, programs and access to public space, highlights of which are outlined below.  

Lead support for the Gregorian Center is provided by Carnegie Corporation of New York, where Gregorian served as president from 1997 until his death in 2021. The Library is also grateful for the generosity of Gregorian’s many friends and colleagues: Bloomberg Philanthropies, Agnes Gund, Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos and Adam Bartos, Annette de la Renta, Fiona and Stanley Druckenmiller, Barbara G. Fleischman, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Harold W. McGraw III Foundation, Abby and Howard Milstein, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, The Rockefeller Foundation and The Edward John and Patricia Rosenwald Foundation.

The 8,000 square feet space, which was part of the Schwarzman building’s recent $200 million renovation project, provides a vibrant work environment for up to 400 researchers, including 40 scholars on paid fellowships. Additional highlights of the Gregorian Center include: 

  • Dedicated spaces to support researchers and fellows by offering long-term access to collections and staff expertise in quiet workspaces, while simultaneously building meaningful and sustained connections between researchers and the Library. 
    • This includes four study rooms (Scholars Reading Room, Shoichi Noma Reading Room, Frederick Lewis Allen Room and Wertheim Study), which scholars can apply to use. 
    • The rooms will also hold books from Gregorian’s personal library.
  • Public events, programs and classes for researchers and visitors to learn more about the collections. Programs include:
    • Friday Afternoon Lecture Series: A new public lecture series, offering insights into books written with NYPL support and topics related to the library’s collections and exhibitions. Programs are held on Fridays at 2 p.m.
    • Research 101 Series: Tailored for both experienced and novice researchers, this series of classes, lectures and workshops offers comprehensive resources to advance research and fulfill information needs effectively.
    • Class Visits: Staff work with educators to design class visits that use the Library’s remarkable collections to foster creative inquiry, build critical thinking and information literacy skills, and inspire wonder and excitement around the process of research.

“It is impossible to overstate the impact of Vartan Gregorian. He is known as the savior of the Library, but I would argue his work to guarantee free access to knowledge for all at a time of enormous challenges also saved New York City. This naming honors that important legacy and underscores the significance of the Library’s mission, especially on behalf of a growing community of scholars worldwide. More and more it feels like we find ourselves in a moment not dissimilar from the one in which Vartan led the Library. At a time when once again people are counting New York City out, we will take inspiration in what he was able to achieve and navigate these choppy waters together,” said NYPL President Anthony W. Marx.

Dedication plaque at the entrance to the Vartan Gregorian Center for Research in the Humanities (Photo Ara Arakelian)

“The Vartan Gregorian Center for Research in the Humanities has a mission to inspire, engage and connect a growing community of researchers from all over the world, all while providing access to the Library’s remarkable collections,” said Brent Reidy, the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the Research Libraries. “It is an amazing resource for all, aptly named after our legendary former president who dedicated his life to providing free access to knowledge. I am excited to see the scholarship this site will support in the years to come.”

“The headline over the beautiful New York Times obituary of our father referred to him as the ‘Savior of the New York Public Library.’ He was so many things to so many people, but those words spoke eloquently to his journey and essence, the spirit of hope and enlightenment that defined his life and the central role that libraries played in it,” said Vahe, Raffi and Dareh Gregorian. “We are deeply grateful that this center will perpetuate his legacy of humanism, with Patience and Fortitude standing watch over our beloved Literary Lion.”

“If you knew Vartan, you know that he loved libraries, as Andrew Carnegie did before him. Vartan referred to them as an oasis for renewal of one’s imagination and the development of one’s mind—a necessity for every community,” said Dame Louise Richardson, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York. “We are delighted to honor his legacy as one of the NYPL’s great champions by supporting the Vartan Gregorian Center for Research in the Humanities. I cannot think of a more fitting tribute than a space for scholars to allow their imaginations to take flight amidst the extraordinary resources of this great library.”  

The renaming of the Gregorian Center is just the latest example of the Library’s ongoing commitment to scholarship and access to its collections. 

Notable developments in recent years under NYPL President Anthony W. Marx include:

  • Global Studies Curators: Over the past five years, the Library has appointed three global studies curators, each working across general and special collections, fostering a more collaborative approach to collection development and research support.
    • Hired in 2022, Hiba Abid is the first curator of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at the Library. 
    • Hired in 2018, Paloma Celis Carbajal is the first curator of Latin American, Iberian and Latino Studies at the Library.
    • Hired in 2018, Bogdan Horbal is the curator in Slavic and East European Collections at the Library.
  • Increased Fellowships: The Library has seen a remarkable increase in the number of fellowships, with a growth of over 50-percent in the past three years, rising from 18 in 2020 to 28 today. This expansion also includes diversifying review panels, which has resulted in more diverse applicants.
  • Milstein Research Stacks: The Library has transformed an additional 55,700 square feet of raw space beneath Bryant Park into a second floor of the cutting-edge storage facility that can safely preserve and store over four million books and archival materials on-site, representing a historic milestone for the Library.
  • Shared Research Collection: Launched in 2017 in collaboration with Columbia, Princeton and Harvard, this initiative has made the Library’s volumes accessible to patrons through a shared catalog, more than doubling the research catalog from 10 million volumes to an impressive 24 million volumes.
  • Expanding Digital Access: Over 120,000 items have been digitized and made available through Digital Collections in the last five years, bringing the total number of items digitized to 865,983.

Gregorian led the Library during a time of extraordinary financial and social insecurity in New York City. He is widely credited with restoring the Library after years of neglect and building the foundation that enabled it to become the preeminent civic and educational institution it is known as today. Following a decade of fiscal crisis in New York City and disinvestment in the Library, he forged strong relationships within city government and in the philanthropic sector. The hard work paid off: he restored hours of service across branches, renovated many historic locations, and significantly grew the Library’s endowment. Gregorian also strengthened the circulating collections with a focus on multilingual and multicultural materials, grew the education and literacy programs, invested in curators and expert staff in our research libraries and increased the capacity to process and preserve the Library’s collections. 

About The New York Public Library

For over 125 years, The New York Public Library has been a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With over 90 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars. The New York Public Library receives approximately 16 million visits through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at www.nypl.org. To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at nypl.org/support.

Forbes Russia names FLYONE ARMENIA as one of the best airlines

 16:05, 16 November 2023

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 16, ARMENPRESS. FLYONE ARMENIA, the leading Armenian airline, has been named by Forbes Russia as one of the best airlines carrying out flights from Russia.

FLYONE ARMENIA is ranked 19th in the Forbes list, surpassing Turkish Airlines, the flag carrier of Turkey and one of the biggest airlines in the world.

A total of 38 airlines (14 Russian and the rest from abroad) were evaluated in the ranking. Aeroflot is ranked 1st, while S7 and Azimuth airlines are 2nd and 3rd respectively.

FLYONE Armenia, founded in 2021, operates a fleet of Airbus A320 and Airbus A319 planes and flies to around 20 destinations. The airline is the 79th biggest corporate taxpayer in Armenia per the most recent tax data.

Armenia signed the Framework Agreement on the Establishment of the International Solar Alliance


YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 16, ARMENPRESS. On November 16, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia the official signing ceremony of the Framework Agreement on the Establishment of the International Solar Alliance by Armenia was held, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

According to the source, the signing ceremony was attended by Gnel Sanosyan, Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure of the Republic of Armenia and the Ambassadors of co-founding countries of the International Solar Alliance – Ambassador of France Olivier Decottignies and Ambassador of India Nilakshi Saha Sinha.

The Agreement was signed by Deputy Foreign Minister Mnatsakan Safaryan, and the signed original copies were officially handed over to Nilakshi Saha Sinha, Ambassador of India – the Depositary State of the Agreement.

''The Agreement will then undergo an internal ratification process and enter into force on the thirtieth day following the handover of the instrument of ratification by Armenia to the Depositary.

Armenia's accession to the International Solar Alliance is an important step towards combating climate change, developing renewable and green energy resources, ensuring energy access and energy security,'' reads the statement.

The International Solar Alliance was established through the joint efforts of India and France towards working together to combat climate change and harness solar energy resources. The concept of the Alliance was developed in 2015 within the framework of the 21st Conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) held in Paris. In 2020 The Alliance made changes to the Framework Agreement, according to which all UN member states have the opportunity to join the Alliance. Currently, 116 states have signed the Framework Agreement of the Alliance, 94 of which have submitted the necessary ratification documents to become full members of the Alliance. The decision-making body of the Alliance is the Assembly, convened once a year at the level of relevant ministers from the member states. The Alliance is headquartered in India.

Renewable energy is one of the most important directions of the development of the energy system in Armenia, where solar energy has developed particularly well during recent years. Today, more than 5 percent of the total electricity produced comes from solar plants; the strategic program on energy development foresees by 2030 to increase the share of solar energy in the total to 15 percent.

French foreign policy breaks with its Western allies

Nov 16 2023

The problem of bias in French foreign policy towards South Caucasus is not a new phenomenon. France, alongside the US and Russia, was a member of the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Minsk Group since its foundation in 1992 with the goal of seeking a negotiated resolution to the war that had take place between Armenia and Azerbaijan, writes Taras Kuzio.

The Minsk Group failed to achieve any breakthroughs during its three-decade existence and went into stagnation from 2010 when France and the US lost interest. With France and the US absent, Russia was able to capitalise on the vacuum during the Second Karabakh War as the main international negotiator and supplier of so-called ‘peacekeeping’ troops.

Throughout the decade prior to the Second Karabakh War, Baku became increasingly frustrated at France’s open bias in favour of Armenia. The reasons for this were two-fold. Firstly, France and the US have the largest Armenian diasporas outside the Russian Federation. Secondly, French foreign policy has supported Greece over Turkey and Armenia over Azerbaijan.

The US was little better as Washington had long punished Azerbaijan by denying it military assistance. US policy created a false impression that Azerbaijan was the guilty party in the conflict when in fact, Armenia was illegally occupying a fifth of internationally recognised Azerbaijani territory. Poor relations between Washington and Ankara reinforced lobbying by the Armenian diaspora.

France’s inability to adopt a balanced approach to the South Caucasus became evident after the Second Karabakh War when both houses of the French parliament voted to support Armenian separatism in Karabakh. In November 2020, 295 French Senators (with only one voting against) adopted a resolution to recognise Karabakh as an ‘independent’ republic. The next month, 188 deputies in the National Assembly voted (with only three opposed) to also recognise Karabakh as an independent ‘republic.’

France’s National Assembly also called upon the EU to end negotiations with Turkey on the accession process. Azerbaijan is collateral damage of widespread Turkophobia in France.

Support for Armenia is probably the only policy that has support across the entire French political spectrum. French President Emanuel Macron has never hidden his support for Armenia, saying, ‘France reconfirms its future friendship with the Armenian people in view of our close human, cultural and historic ties. We are on Armenia’s side in this dramatic context.’

Recently, France sold an air defence system to Armenia, a military ally and economic partner of Russia. Earlier this year, Paris supplied the same Thales GM 200 system to Ukraine. As Russia operates Armenia’s air defence, it is highly likely this technology will end up being scrutinised by the Russian military and even transferred to Russia.

France’s support for Armenia away from Ukraine was re-confirmed by the delivery of the first batch of 24 Bastion armoured vehicles from the French defence company Arquus to Armenia. Negotiations on the sending of these armoured personnel carriers to Ukraine had been taking place since October of last year ago.

Ukraine is fighting an existential war for survival; Armenia is not at war or under threat. Armenian claims that it is threatened by Azerbaijani territorial revanchism have no basis.

Armenia is a founding member of the Russian-led CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organisation). Although Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan did not attend the November 8 CSTO summit in Moscow this does not mean Armenia is considering an ‘Armexit’ from the organisation, despite his protestations of its ineffectiveness. Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Vahan Kostanyan told journalists on November 9 that Armenia is currently not discussing the legal process of leaving the CSTO.

France’s security relationship with Armenia conflicts with NATO and the EU’s policies towards Russia and Iran with whom Armenia has long-term embedded security relationships. Armenia has yet to publicly state which side of the anti-Western axis of evil fence it is sitting. Indeed, if Yerevan is siding with the West, Yerevan must cut its security relationships with Russia and Iran.

France, like many EU members, would welcome Armenia’s integration into Europe but this should be grounded in the real world and not in the realm of fantasy. Deep Armenian-Russian relations are a product of three decades of integration that cannot be changed overnight. Armenia’s economy is heavily reliant on Russia through transfers from migrant workers, trade, and membership of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Armenia is reliant on Russia and Iran for its energy.

France is jumping the gun in militarily supporting Armenia. Although the Kremlin supported the UK’s Brexit from the EU, there is no evidence Putin would permit Armenia’s ‘Armexit’ from the CSTO and EEU.

France’s bias towards Armenia and support for separatism in Azerbaijan sends a signal it’s sincerity cannot be trusted on the question of restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Meanwhile, France’s supply of military equipment to Armenia has compromised Ukraine’s air defence and security at a critical point in the war with Russia.

France pursues contradictory goals of restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity and encouraging Armenian separatism. Meanwhile, France’s supply of military equipment indirectly provides Russia and Iran with access to Western military equipment that constitutes a threat to both Ukrainian and Israeli security.

Taras Kuzio is a professor of political science at the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy and an associate research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society. He is the winner of the 2022 Peterson Literary Prize for the book “Russian Nationalism and the Russian-Ukrainian War: Autocracy-Orthodoxy-Nationality.”