Russian Defense Ministry reports ceasefire violation in Nagorno-Karabakh

Russia –
It is reported that the Russian peacekeeping contingent is processing the incident with Azerbaijani and Armenian sides

MOSCOW, March 16. /TASS/. Russian peacekeepers registered a ceasefire violation in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Russian Defense Ministry said in the bulletin on the peacekeeping contingent in the region Thursday, adding that no one was injured.

"A ceasefire regime violation was registered in the Martuni Region. No one was injured,""the statement says.

According to the Ministry, the Russian peacekeeping contingent is processing the incident with Azerbaijani and Armenian sides.

Armenian PM blames Baku for trying to escalate tensions along Karabakh line of contact

Russia –
According to Nikol Pashinyan, Armenia is launching international mechanisms to prevent Azerbaijan from committing genocide against Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh

YEREVAN, March 16. /TASS/. Azerbaijan is trying to provoke a military escalation along the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Thursday.

"We can see Azerbaijan taking specific steps aimed at a military escalation on the line of contact with Nagorno-Karabakh," he stated at a cabinet meeting.

According to the prime minister, Armenia is launching international mechanisms to prevent Azerbaijan from committing genocide against Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh. "I have ordered the Foreign Ministry to activate these mechanisms through the UN," Pashinyan added.

The Armenian prime minister also noted that Azerbaijan’s state propaganda was trying to use the media to launch a military aggression in Nagorno-Karabakh, "claiming that the Armenian army was present there, which is untrue".

Azerbaijani president accuses Armenia of violating trilateral statement on Karabakh

Russia –
Ilham Aliyev also noted that due to Armenia's occupation of the country's territory, Azerbaijan is among the most mine-infested countries in the world

ANKARA, March 16. /TASS/. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has accused Armenia of grossly violating the trilateral statement signed in November 2020.

"Although Armenia recognized the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan in Prague and in Sochi in 2022, it still has not fully withdrawn its troops from the territories of Azerbaijan. Illegal Armenian units and criminals remain in Karabakh. Armenia also dodges its commitment to open the Zangezur corridor," the Azerbaijani president said at an extraordinary summit of the Organization of Turkic States in Ankara on Thursday.

"Thus, Armenia grossly violates the statement signed on November 10, 2020, and must take responsibility for this," Aliyev added.

He also noted that due to Armenia's occupation of the country's territory, Azerbaijan is among the most mine-infested countries in the world. "Since the second Karabakh war, that is, since November 2020, about 300 Azerbaijanis have been killed or seriously injured by landmines," the president went on to say.

The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh escalated on September 27, 2020. On November 9, 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan signed a joint statement on the full cessation of hostilities.

The sides stopped at their positions at that moment, a number of districts went under Baku’s control, and Russian peacekeepers were deployed at the contact line and at the so-called Lachin Corridor.

Yerevan’s attempts to shift responsibility for Karabakh are on its conscience — diplomat

Russia –
Maria Zakharova underscored that Russia’s main goal is achievement of peace, stability and surmounting of disagreements, but this can only done within one’s area of responsibility
MOSCOW, March 16. /TASS/. Russia will leave Armenia’s attempts to put responsibility for the security of Nagorno-Karabakh on third countries on the conscience of Armenian authorities, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said during a briefing Thursday.

"We view the remarks made by Armenian leadership as a continuation of the course, taken during the October 2022 summit in Prague under the EU aegis. Thus, we leave attempts to put responsibility for the fate of Nagorno-Karabakh on thirds countries on Armenia’s conscience – namely the leadership of Armenia," she said, commenting on the statement made by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan that Russia is a guarantor of security of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Zakharova underscored that Russia’s main goal is achievement of peace, stability and surmounting of disagreements, but this can only done within one’s area of responsibility.

"All obligations of our country are written down clearly. […] They are written down in the November 9, 2020, trilateral statement of leaders Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia. One must simply open this document and see, which obligations our country has, and which it does not. And everything will become rather simple. Russian peacekeepers do everything they can in order to prevent an escalation and to stabilize the situation on the ground, and they also do it within their area of responsibility," the spokeswoman said.

Earlier on Thursday, Pashinyan noted the merit of Russian peacekeepers in preventing humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh, caused by Azerbaijan’s blockade of the Lachin corridor, from spiraling into a catastrophe. He added that, in 2020, Russia took upon itself the role of a guarantor of security of the people and civilian infrastructure of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Russian, Azerbaijani leaders discuss security measures in South Caucasus — Kremlin

Russia –
The sides also "exchanged opinions about developing transportation, logistical and economic ties in the region"

MOSCOW, March 16. /TASS/. The presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan, Vladimir Putin and Ilkham Aliyev, discussed practical measures for security and stability in the Caucasus during their latest phone conversation, the Kremlin press service said on Thursday.

"Practical measures, aimed at ensuring security and stability in the South Caucasus within the framework of the well-known trilateral agreements of the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, were discussed," the press service said in a statement.

The sides also "exchanged opinions about developing transportation, logistical and economic ties in the region."

Earlier on Thursday, Aliyev accused Armenia of grossly violating the trilateral agreement signed in November 2020. In his words, the country still has not fully withdrawn its troops from the territories of Azerbaijan. In turn, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Thursday that Azerbaijan was trying to provoke a military escalation along the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh. He also said the humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh, caused by Azerbaijan’s blocking of the Lachin corridor road connecting it with Armenia, has not yet escalated into a full-fledged humanitarian disaster thanks to Russian peacekeepers.

The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh escalated on September 27, 2020. On November 9, 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan signed a joint statement on the full cessation of hostilities.

The sides stopped at their positions at that moment, a number of districts went under Baku’s control, and Russian peacekeepers were deployed at the contact line and at the so-called Lachin Corridor.

Asbarez: ARS-WUSA Raises Over $600,000 During Gala with 550 Guests

From l to r: ARS Regional Executive Chairperson Vicky Marashlian, Hagop Koujakian, Siroun Bedirian, Terenik Koujakian, Arda Yemenidjian
ARS Chairperson Vicky Marshlian honors benefactors Jack and Zarig Youredjian

GLENDALE— More than $600,000 was raised during the ARS Gala 2023 held on March 12 at Taglyan Compex in Los Angeles, marking the 40th Anniversary of the establishment of the Armenian Relief Society of Western USA. In a show of support for the many local and international needs that the ARS is spearheading throughout Artsakh, Armenia, Javakhk, Lebanon, and earthquake-ravaged Syria, 550 guests were in attendance, including elected officials, community leaders, representatives of sister and local organizations, ARS members, and generous supporters.

The program began with Mistress of Ceremonies Tatevik Ekezian and Vruir Tadevosian inviting tenor Raffi Kerbabian to sing the America, Armenian and ARS anthems, which was followed by the invocation by Western Prelate Bishop Torkom Donoyan. The Prelate blessed the ARS leadership and chapters, as well as the benefactors, for upholding the unique character and mission of the ARS with unparalleled local and international service delivery to Armenia, Artsakh, Javakhk and the Diaspora.

ARS Regional Executive with Sen. Anthony Portantino ARS Chair Vicky Marashlian with Assemblymember Laura Friedman

The program continued with the observance of a moment of silence for the fallen heroes who defended the homeland and the victims of the earthquake in Syria.

Other guests included, Archbishop Barkev Martirosyan (former Prelate of Artsakh), Very Rev. Armenag Bedrossian representing Bishop Mikael Mouradian of the Armenian Catholic Church; ARS Central Executive Board Chairperson Dr. Nyree Derderian and board members Maral Matossian and Arousyak Melkonian; Central Executive Council member of the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia Rostom Aintablian; Western Prelacy Executive Council member Dzovig Zetlian.

ARS Central and Regional executive members with Western Prelate Bishop Torkom Donoyan

Elected officials, who attended the gala, included California State Senator Anthony Portantino; California State Assemblymember Laura Friedman; Anna Mouradian, Chief Deputy of the Office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger; City of Glendale Mayor Ardy Kassakhian and Councilmember Elen Asatryan; City of Burbank Councilmember Zizette Mullins; and Mary Hovaguimian, representative of the Office of Congressman Adam Schiff.

ARS of Western USA Regional Executive Chairperson, Vicky Marashlian, delivered the board’s message, thanking supporters and dedicated volunteers for enabling the ARS to meet the challenges of individuals and communities in need in Armenia, Artsakh, and Diasporan communities worldwide, including Lebanon and Syria — a sad reminder to the similar circumstances that the ARS encountered when it was founded over a century ago.

ARS Regional Executive Board and Gala Organizing Committee Members

She extended appreciation to Mr. & Mrs. Jack and Zarig Youredjian, who have become the Banquet Sponsors for two consecutive years. She also thanked the Yemenidjian and Koujakian families, as well as the ARS Las Vegas Shoushi Chapter Verjine Koujakian Saturday School, for their grand contribution in memory of their beloved mother and school’s founder Ungh. Verjine Koujakian. Marashlian stated that “your mother’s legacy remains in our hearts and will make a monumental impact on the lives of so many in our young and future generation. The support we collectively provide inspires hope for a better tomorrow for generations to come. We will continue to advance our mission in serving the educational, humanitarian, cultural, health and welfare needs for the betterment of our society while standing true to our motto: With the People, for the People.”

Marashlian acknowledge the efforts of the event organizing committee, headed by Annie Kechichian, as well as the assistance from the ARS regional office General Manager, Jasik Jarahian, and Director of Operations of the ARS Social Services, Talar Aintablian.

The candle lighting ceremony was a chance to remember those who came before and to reaffirm our commitment to continue their legacy. A video presentation about the history and present programs of the ARS of Western USA, as well as one dedicated to the memory of Ungerouhi Verjine Koujakian were shown.

More than 600 community members attend the ARS Gala

Gala banquet sponsors Mr. & Mrs. Jack and Zarig Youredjian were honored with a plaque presented by Vicky Marashlian for their continued support. This year, the couple donated $50,000 to the ARS. Mr. Youredjian, whose wife is a member of the “Gars” chapter, upon receiving the plaque, thanked all the ARS chapters for the amazing work that they do for the community.

Gala benefactors, the Yemenidjian and Koujakian families, donated $250,000 in memory of Verjine Koujakian, who was an ARS member and a steadfast supporter of Armenian education. During the event, a surprise announcement was made that Alex and Arda Yemenidjian’s son, Mr. & Mrs. Armen and Anoush Yemenidjian, made a $25,000 donation in their grandmother’s memory.

Marashlian handed a plaque in memory of Ungerouhi Verjine Koujakian to Arda Yemenidjian, who passed it on to the ARS Las Vegas “Shoushi” Chapter Executive Chairperson Siroun Bedirian. Bedirian expressed her appreciation to the Regional Executive and the Koujakian family, her fellow-members’ delight that the seeds of education that Ungh. Verjine Koujakian planted 30 years ago in the desert of Las Vegas continues to yield new generations, who ensure that the Armenian language and culture prosper.

On behalf of the Koujakian and Yemenidjian families, Arda Yemenidjian expressed her gratitude to the ARS for the beautiful tribute honoring their mother’s legacy. She recalled that her mother “was ahead of her time, always educating herself, and always making sure we prepare and educate the next generation. ARS was very close to her heart. With her devotion to the ARS cause, our mother stood on the shoulders of thousands of ARS volunteers around the world…Those volunteers are our real heroes of this humanitarian triumph that is the ARS and we are very proud of our mother for having played a small role in the selfless charitable mission of the ARS.”

Marashlian then made an announcement that a second anonymous donation of $25,000 was made, raising the total amount of donations to $600,000.

The entertainment program continued with performers such as 9-year-old Darren Chilingirian, Andre and Ani Ohanyan, Sofi Mkheyan, Aida Sargsyan, and Gevorg Sirekanyan.

As the program ended, guests who had participated in the silent auction with many donated items picked up their winnings.

The Armenian Relief Society of Western USA, split from the ARS of North America to become a separate region in 1984 and with regional headquarters in Glendale, Calif., has 23 chapters with 1,100 members in four western states. The ARS operates a Social Services Division and Child, Youth, and Family Guidance Center, 15 one-day schools, a day-care, and funds numerous youth programs, scholarships, and relief efforts.

Yerevan Accuses Aliyev of Ethnic Cleansing and Undermining Security

Artsakh has been under a blockade since Dec. 12, 2022

Armenia’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday accused President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan of plotting to ethnically cleanse the Armenians of Artsakh and undermining the security of the region.

During a speech at the summit of the Organization Turkic States in Ankara, Aliyev accused Yerevan of not fulfilling its obligations under the November 9, 2020 agreement, saying that the opening of the so-called “Zangezur Corridor” was being delayed deliberately. The November 9, 2020 agreement does not stipulate the creation of such a “corridor.”

“Although Armenia has recognized the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan in Prague and Sochi in 2022, it has not yet completely withdrawn its troops from the territories [i.e., Nagorno-Karabakh] of Azerbaijan. Armenian illegal units and criminal elements remain in Karabakh. Thus, Armenia grossly violates the statement signed on November 10, 2020, and must bear accountability for it,” Aliyev said, referring to Armenia as “Western Azerbaijan.”

“According to the concept of repatriation developed by the community of Western Azerbaijan, a legally binding international agreement with an appropriate mechanism of guarantee and ratification should be reached in order to return the forcibly displaced Azerbaijanis from the territory of current Armenia to their native land. Just as we, the Azerbaijani state, will ensure the individual rights and security of Armenians living in Karabakh, Armenia should also ensure the rights and security of Western Azerbaijanis based on the principle of reciprocity,” Aliyev added.

Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev, speaking at the summit of the Organization of Turkic States in Turkish capital Ankara, has made a cynical proposal to Armenia.

Armenia’s foreign ministry said that “Aliyev is trying to lay a slow-acting ‘minefield’ for future military aggression by Azerbaijan.”

“By Presenting the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia under the fictitious name ‘Western Azerbaijan,’ the President of Azerbaijan is grossly violating the UN Charter, the UN GA Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the UN Charter, the Alma-Ata Declaration, but also his own commitments undertaken by the Prague and Sochi statements to which he is referring in this exact speech,” explained the foreign ministry.

“Azerbaijan continues to obstruct the issue of the return of refugees and internally displaced persons to Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent regions, while at the same time it announced that it is going to resettle the territories that came under its control as a result of the deportation of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh,” argued Yerevan.

“Having violated basically all the points of the trilateral statement of November 9, 2020 and with the narrative about the ‘corridors,’ which he himself admits as fictitious, the President of Azerbaijan is obstructing the process of opening of regional communications,” the foreign ministry said.

“The Azerbaijani leaders’ bellicose rhetoric aims to completely disrupt the efforts to establish stability in the South Caucasus and resort to the use of large-scale force against both the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. Furthermore, the insulting language used against the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is accompanied by actions aimed at creating a humanitarian catastrophe on the ground, demonstrates Azerbaijan’s unconcealed policy of ethnic cleansing at the highest level,” said Armenia’s foreign ministry.

“Voicing such provocative theses in Ankara aims not only to undermine the ongoing peace negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, but also to hinder the positive dynamics in the process of normalization of Armenia-Turkey relations,” added the foreign ministry.

The statement called on Armenia’s allies and other stakeholders that are vested in the region’s stability “to assess the Azerbaijani President’s policy and take active steps to eliminate the violations of international law by Azerbaijan and exclude the manifestations of the use of force.”

Asbarez: CSTO Secretary General Visits Armenia

CSTO Secretary-General Imangali Tasmagambetov (center) visits Jermuk on Mar. 16

The Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization Imangali Tasmagambetov arrived in Armenia on Thursday for a two-day visit.

He visited Jermuk on Thursday to assess the impact of Azerbaijan’s aggression against Armenia in September, the city’s Mayor Vahagn Arsenyan said.

The CSTO Secretary general was briefed on the damage caused to the city’s and the region’s economy, as well as the many social and psychological problems caused by the aggression.

It was noted that at the time of the military operations, there were many tourists in the spas of Jermuk, and that not only military positions, but also civil infrastructures were targeted by the Azerbaijani aggression.

In a Facebook post, Arsenyan expressed gratitude to the CSTO leader “for keeping the military operations against the peaceful city and their consequences in the spotlight, as well as for his compassionate attitude.”

Tasmagambetov also met with Armenia’s Defense Minister Suren Papikyan. A discussion about a number of international and regional security issues, including the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and the military-political situation around Armenia was held, according to Armenia’s defense ministry.

Speaking about the border situation, Papikyan presented the long-standing problems regarding the implementation of CSTO collective defense mechanisms and the Defense Ministry’s expectations.

Relations between Armenia and the Russia-led security bloc have been tense, since Yerevan believes that it was snubbed by the organization when it was asked for assistance during Azerbaijan’s invasion of Armenia in September.

Compounding the tensions was the refusal by CSTO member-states to properly condemn Azerbaijan and hold it accountable for violating Armenia’s sovereignty.

During a press briefing on Thursday, Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in response to a reporter’s question that on September 13 and October 28, 2022, extraordinary sessions of the CSTO Collective Security Council were held, following which the Secretary General of the organization at the time, Stanislav Zas, and a mission led by Chief of the CSTO Joint Staff Colonel-General Anatoly Sidorov visited Armenia.

Zakharova said that a plan to deploy a CSTO observation mission in Armenia was prepared, and 
“the development of the relevant decision was practically completed at the meeting of the organization’s statutory bodies held in Yerevan.”

“At the same time, due to certain demands by our Armenian partners, which were problematic for other CSTO members, it was not possible to take this decision,” said Zakharova.

Press Release: AUA Signs Agreement with ServiceTitan

For Immediate Release  

YEREVAN, Armenia — On March 14, the American University of Armenia (AUA) signed a research collaboration agreement with ServiceTitan, the world’s leading and fastest-growing software technology company and the first Armenian-founded tech unicorn. 

Within the scope of the agreement, AUA’s engineering students from the Akian College of Science and Engineering will conduct research for the company. The goal of the research is to develop novel algorithms based on machine learning and artificial intelligence to solve problems that are highly relevant in the industry.

In his opening remarks, AUA Interim President Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian underscored the importance of such collaborations, stating, “I cannot overstress the importance of having means to engage our students in doing work that is related to their studies and also relevant for the industry. It is very gratifying to have this kind of opportunity, and we are thankful to ServiceTitan for providing this opportunity to our students as well as our faculty.” Dr. Der Kiureghian also mentioned that President and Co-Founder of ServiceTitan Vahe Kuzoyan and his wife Ruzan Kuzoyan are among the 200 AUA Changemakers. Together with his co-founder Ara Mahdessian, Kuzoyan has also established the ServiceTitan Endowed Scholarship Fund at AUA to support the “Yes, Armenian Women Can” campaign. The scholarship currently has two recipients. The Kuzoyans are also supporters of the “Build a Better Future with AUA” capital campaign, and so are Mahdessian and his wife Katherine. 

In his turn, the Managing Director of ServiceTitan Armenia Ashot Tonoyan expressed his enthusiasm for the project, remarking that the company is committed to supporting education and science in Armenia. “One of the gaps that stands out in Armenia is the availability of actual data and work on real industry problems. That is why we decided to partner with AUA to give youth the opportunity to work with real data and solve actual industry problems,” he remarked.

Then the floor was given to Arman Zakaryan (MSCIS ‘20; BSCS ‘18), AUA alumnus and data science engineering manager at ServiceTitan, who briefly introduced the project. AUA Data Science Program Chair Dr. Habet Madoyan introduced the project team which includes data science students Gagik Khalafyan (MSCIS ‘23), Hermine Grigoryan (MSCIS ‘23), and Celine Hovannesian (MSCIS ‘23) led by AUA adjunct lecturer Aram Butavyan. 

The official part of the event was followed by an informal reception during which the attendees had a chance to network with one another and share ideas.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.

Bella Karapetyan | Communications Manager

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RFE/RL Armenian Report – 03/16/2023


CSTO Head Visits Armenia

        • Gayane Saribekian
        • Nane Sahakian

Armenia - CSTO Secretary General Imangali Tasmagambetov at a meeting with 
Armenian Defense Minister Suren Papikian, Yerevan, .

The new secretary general of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) 
visited Armenia on Thursday amid Yerevan’s growing estrangement from the 
Russian-led military alliance of six ex-Soviet states.

Imangali Tasmagambetov met with Defense Minister Suren Papikian before touring 
the Armenian resort town of Jermuk which was shelled by the Azerbaijani army 
during last September’s border clashes. He inspected the damage caused to the 
local civilian infrastructure.

The Armenian government appealed to the CSTO for support following the two-day 
hostilities which left at least 224 Armenian soldiers dead. It accused the 
alliance of ignoring the appeal in breach of its statutes.

In a statement, the Armenian Defense Ministry said Papikian discussed with 
Tasmagambetov regional security and, in particular, the situation on Armenia’s 
volatile border with Azerbaijan. It said Papikian presented his government’s 
“expectations” regarding “long-standing problems with the activation of the 
CSTO’s collective defense mechanisms.”

Last November, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s government turned down other 
CSTO member states’ offer to deploy monitors along the Armenian-Azerbaijani 
border, citing their reluctance to acknowledge and condemn the “Azerbaijani 

Armenia - Armenian Prime Minister Pashinian attends a CSTO summit in Yerevan, 
November 23, 2022.

In January, Yerevan called off a CSTO military exercise that was scheduled to 
take place in Armenia this year. It also refused last week to appoint one of 
Tasmagambetov’s three deputies.

Pashinian said on Tuesday that the appointment would not contribute to Armenia’s 
security in the current circumstances. He dismissed suggestions that he is 
intent on terminating his country’s membership in the CSTO. He claimed that it 
is the CSTO that could “leave Armenia.”

Seyran Ohanian, the parliamentary leader of the main opposition Hayastan 
alliance, denounced that stance, accusing Pashinian’s administration of 
dangerously mishandling relations with Russia and the CSTO as a whole.

Ohanian, who had served as defense minister from 2008-2016, said that Armenia 
should not have appealed to the alliance for military intervention in the first 
place because it is capable of defending itself against Azerbaijan. The CSTO 
helps to neutralize a potentially more serious security threat to Armenia 
emanating from Turkey, he told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.

Armine Margarian, a political and military expert, was skeptical about the 
recently appointed CSTO head’s ability to address Yerevan’s grievances.

“The CSTO’s attitude towards Armenia’s problems has a profound and systemic 
nature,” she said. “A change of its secretary general and a single visit by him 
cannot change anything.”

Prominent Armenian General Arrested Again

        • Naira Bulghadarian

Armenia - Grigori Khachaturov attends an award ceremony in the presidential 
palace in Yerevan, September 20, 2019.

Armenia’s Court of Appeals on Thursday allowed law-enforcement authorities to 
arrest a prominent general who demanded Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s 
resignation in 2021.

Major-General Grigori Khachaturov was already detained last month on charges of 
money laundering strongly denied by him. A court of first instance freed him 
hours later.

A Court of Appeals judge overturned that decision following an appeal filed by a 
prosecutor overseeing the high-profile case.

Khachaturov is the former commander of the Armenian army’s Third Corps mostly 
stationed in northern Tavush province bordering Azerbaijan. He received a major 
military award and was promoted to the rank of major-general after leading a 
successful military operation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border in July 2020, 
less than three months before the outbreak of the six-week war in 

Khachaturov was among four dozen high-ranking military officers who accused 
Pashinian’s government of incompetence and misrule and demanded its resignation 
in February 2021. The unprecedented demand was welcomed by the Armenian 
opposition but condemned as a coup attempt by Pashinian.

In a separate statement issued in March 2021, Khachaturov said “every day and 
hour” of Pashinian’s rule “erodes” Armenia’s national security. He was fired a 
few months later.

The charges leveled against the general stem from a controversial criminal case 
opened against Seyran Ohanian, a former defense minister who now leads the 
parliamentary group of the main opposition Hayastan alliance.

Ohanian was charged earlier in February with illegally allowing the 
privatization of properties that belonged to the Armenian Defense Ministry. He 
rejects the accusations as politically motivated.

The National Security Service (NSS) says that Khachaturov “de facto” acquired 
one of those properties at a knockdown price and used it for obtaining a bank 
loan worth 18 million drams ($45,000). One of his lawyers has described the 
money laundering charge as “laughable.”

Khachaturov’s father Yuri was the chief of the Armenian army’s General Staff 
from 2008-2016. He served as secretary general of the Russian-led Collective 
Security Treaty Organization when the current authorities indicted him as well 
as Ohanian and former President Robert Kocharian in 2018 over their alleged role 
in a 2008 post-election unrest in Yerevan. Armenia’s Constitutional Court 
declared coup charges brought against them unconstitutional in 2021.

Yuri Khachaturov and his second son actively participated in last year’s 
antigovernment protests staged by the country’s main opposition forces.

Karabakh Leader’s Political Future In Doubt

        • Ruzanna Stepanian

Nagorno-Karabakh - Arayik Harutiunian , the Karabakh president, delivers a video 

Nagorno-Karabakh lawmakers approved a major constitutional amendment late on 
Wednesday, stoking speculation about the impending resignation of Arayik 
Harutiunian, the Karabakh president.

The amendment proposed by Harutiunian last month will empower the Karabakh 
parliament to elect an interim president in case of his resignation. The 
president would serve for the rest of Harutiunian’s five-year term in office 
which ends in 2025.

The proposed change was unanimously passed in the first reading. It could take 
effect before the end of this month.

The unrecognized republic’s constitution has stipulated until now that 
Harutiunian’s resignation would lead to the automatic dissolution of the 
parliament and the conduct of fresh presidential and parliamentary elections. 
Most local political actors agree that Azerbaijan, which has been blocking 
Karabakh’s land link with Armenia for the last three months, could thwart such 

A spokeswoman for Harutiunian last month attributed the draft amendment to 
“geopolitical regional developments” and “external and internal political 
challenges” facing Karabakh. She insisted that the Karabakh leader has no plans 
to resign.

However, a lawmaker affiliated with Harutiunian’s Free Fatherland party did not 
rule out such a possibility when he spoke to RFE/RL’s Armenian Service on 

“I have no such information. Events are developing at lightning speed,” said 
Aramayis Aghabekian.

Tigran Abrahamian, an Armenian opposition parliament and a former adviser to 
Harutiunian’s predecessor Bako Sahakian, claimed that Harutiunian could step 
down right after the change comes into force. He said he is concerned that 
Harutiunian’s party could strike a deal with another political group to install 
a new president who “does not inspire public trust.”

Harutiunian first fuelled talk of his resignation in January when he signaled 
his desire to force snap elections in Karabakh despite the Azerbaijani blockade.

Armenian YouTube Channel Hacked Ahead Of Corruption Report

        • Susan Badalian

Armenia - A screenshot from an report on expensive property 
acquisitions by senior Armenian officials, .

Hackers hijacked the YouTube channel of a leading Armenian newspaper this week 
as it was about to post a video report on personal enrichment of key members of 
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s political team.

The Aravot daily, which also has a major news website, had informed readers that 
the investigative report will be posted on YouTube at 9 p.m. on Tuesday. It 
promised to reveal “how and how much the revolutionary officials got rich in a 
warring country” in 2020, which saw a disastrous war with Azerbaijan.

According to Anna Israelian, the paper’s online news editor, the account was 
hacked less than two hours before the planned publication time. The unknown 
hackers also deleted its entire video content published for the last 12 years.

Israelian said cyber security experts are now trying to restore the paper’s 
access to its YouTube channel. Aravot has also appealed to YouTube and its 
parent company, Google, for help, she said.

Israelian did not exclude that the Armenian government was behind the cyber 
attack. She noted that shortly after Pashinian swept to power in 2018 some of 
his loyalists publicized instructions on how to disable online media outlets 
critical of his administration.

“Those individuals were later given high-ranking positions. Some of them are now 
parliament deputies,” the prominent journalist told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.

Armenia - A screenshot from an report on expensive property 
acquisitions by senior Armenian officials, .

Armenia’s leading press freedom groups on Thursday condemned the “cyber crime” 
and demanded that law-enforcement authorities identify and punish its 

“This is not the first time when, by a worrying coincidence, criticism of the 
authorities is followed by hacking attacks on online platforms,” they said in a 
joint statement.

Vahagn Aleksanian, a deputy chairman of Pashinian’s Civil Contract party, 
categorically denied any government involvement in the hack. He downplayed the 
significance of the Aravot exposé, saying that its prior announcement attracted 
little interest on social media.

Aravot published the 9-minute report on its Facebook page on Wednesday evening. 
It details acquisitions by several senior government officials and 
pro-government lawmakers of expensive apartments and other real estate mostly 
carried out in 2020.

The authors of the video emphasized the fact these individuals had far more 
modest assets before the 2018 “velvet revolution,” which was driven in large 
measure by public anger at widespread government corruption.

Other Armenian media outlets have also accused members of Pashinian’s entourage 
of enriching themselves or their cronies in recent years.

Last month, Pashinian publicly urged senior officials to sue publications 
“falsely” accusing them of illicit enrichment. He said that such reports 
contributed to a drop in Armenia’s position in an annual corruption survey 
conducted by Transparency International.

Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, Pashinian again claimed to have 
eliminated “systemic corruption” in the country. Some civic activists disputed 
the claim.

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