Thursday, 06 May 2021

W Weekly Update

27 March - 3 April

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3 April
In honor of Armenian History Month, the Ventura County Library along with the Southern California Library Cooperative are continuing their “Be The Change” series with two events, Santa Barbara News Press reports. In line with on Thursday, political consultant and commentator Eric Hacopian will have a conversation with Salpi Ghazarian, the director of the USC Institute of Armenian Studies, in a pre-recorded video called “Armenia, Artsakh, Diaspora – Memory, Identity and Responsibility.” Then on April 10, author and lecturer Khatchig Mouradian will discuss his book, “The Resistance Network,” with filmmaker and screenwriter Eric Nazarian.  “The Resistance Network” is the history of an underground network of humanitarians, missionaries, and diplomats in Ottoman Syria who helped save the lives of thousands during the Armenian Genocide. Khatchig Mouradian challenges depictions of Armenians as passive victims of violence and subjects of humanitarianism, demonstrating the key role they played in organizing a humanitarian resistance against the destruction of their people.


2 April
The format of the Co-Chairmanship of the OSCE Minsk Group exists and is active, but there are several problems, reported For instance, the Co-Chairs have trouble visiting Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) since the sides set different conditions. This is what leader of the opposition Bright Armenia faction of the National Assembly Edmon Marukyan told reporters at Yerablur Military Pantheon in Yerevan. “In the past, they would visit through the Lachin corridor, now they can’t because Azerbaijan sets preconditions and tells them to visit via Aghdam. The activities of the Co-Chairmanship depend on Armenia’s proactive foreign policy. Armenia doesn’t have such a foreign policy today,” Marukyan said. Marukyan said it’s absurd to rely on the Minsk Group to solve all the issues, including the reduction of brigades in Syunik Province or the reduction of the number of soldiers of the Armed Forces. Asked about the territories of Artsakh, Marukyan said the following: “Artsakh is occupied, but before de-occupation, there are many other issues to solve. For instance, prisoners of war aren’t being returned since there are preconditions, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia is unable to serve our national interests.”


1 April
Hraparak daily of Armenia writes: Although there is still no clarity in the political field whether they will go to the snap [parliamentary] elections under the old or the new [electoral] code, some parties are busy with the hard work of compiling the electoral lists. reports that the toughest casting is being held at [second President] Robert Kocharyan; he has decided to come up with a powerful list to ‘win’ in the elections. Names are given of authoritative people from all walks of life—from businessmen to generals—who may be on Kocharyan’s list. The name of [businessman] Ralph Yirikian, of one of the former directors of the NSS [National Security Service], is circulating. The press also wrote about [ex-defense minister] Seyran Ohanyan and [former CSTO Secretary General] Yuri Khachaturov. Deputy Prime Minister Armen Gevorgyan, one of the referents of Kocharyan during his presidency, other high-ranking officials will be [on this electoral list]. Negotiations are underway with former Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan. Although, according to some rumors, Karapetyan has said that he would support with everything, but has declined from taking a spot on the list.


31 March
According to Armrnpress, 31.7% of the respondents of a survey conducted in Armenia said they will vote in favor of the My Step alliance if the parliamentary elections take place next Sunday, Aram Navasardyan, Director of MPG LLC, a full member of Gallup International Association in Armenia, said during a press conference. The citizens were asked which political force they would vote in favor if parliamentary elections take place next Sunday. “31.7% said they would vote in favor of the My Step alliance, 5.9% in favor of 2nd President Robert Kocharyan, 4.4% - Prosperous Armenia party, 2.7% - Bright Armenia party, 2.4% - the Republican Party of Armenia, 2.1% - the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, 1% in favor of the Fatherland’s Salvation Movement’s candidate for prime minister Vazgen Manukyan, 0.5% for Sasna Tsrer party, 0.4% for the Homeland party, 0.4% for the Republic party and 0.1% for the Citizen’s Decision party. 24.6% of the respondents chose the option “No one”, and 20% couldn’t answer. 3.9% mentioned other parties”, Aram Navasardyan said.


30 March
Despite a nudge from a senior State Department official, Azerbaijan has so far refused to return Armenian prisoners who were captured during the recent war in Nagorno Karabakh, Columnist David Ignatius said in an opinion published at The Washington Post. According to Armenpress, “U.S. officials say that 52 Armenians are still held by Azerbaijan, despite earlier exchanges of prisoners”, the columnist says, adding that Baku claims that these are not participants of the war, but came there after the ceasefire, in late November, and are terrorism suspects, an allegation that Armenia denies. “Philip Reeker, acting Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, raised the issue of the captives with Azerbaijan’s foreign minister, Jeyhun Bayramov, during a telephone call in February and requested that the International Committee of the Red Cross be allowed to visit the prisoners. The ICRC was promptly granted access. U.S. officials continued in the following weeks to advocate the release of detainees”, David Ignatius says and quoted the remarks of a senior Biden administration official who said: “We hope to see more detainees released. We’re not negotiating, but we’re urging them to exercise goodwill”. “Observers had hoped that Azerbaijan might release the Armenian captives as a goodwill gesture at the time of the Nowruz holiday on March 20. But the Armenian detainees remained in custody”, he said.


29 March
Armenia and Azerbaijan are not engaged in the formal delimitation of their borders, while border guards are being temporarily deployed according to 1975-1976 military maps, Armenia’s Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan said. According to the need for specifying borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan arose after the two countries signed a Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement last November putting an end to a six-week war in which more than 6,000 people were killed. Under the terms of the document called a trilateral statement, a chunk of Nagorno-Karabakh and all seven districts around it were placed under Azerbaijani administration after almost 30 years of control by ethnic Armenian forces. The agreement also led to the deployment of around 2,000 Russian peacekeepers along frontline areas and a land corridor connecting the disputed territory with Armenia.As Armenians withdrew from several districts it created an additional border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The matter, in particular, concerns Armenia’s southern Syunik province and eastern Gegharkunik province.


28 March
Armenia’s embattled Prime Minister on Sunday confirmed that he will step down from the post in April in order to allow for an early parliamentary election. According to Nikol Pashinyan has faced weeks of protests calling for his ouster in the wake of Armenia’s defeat in last year’s war with Azerbaijan. In a move to defuse the political crisis, Pashinyan two weeks ago announced that an early election would be held on June 20. Under Armenian law, such elections can be held after a premier resigns and the parliament fails twice to choose a new one. “I will resign in April — not to leave power, but to hold early parliamentary elections. I will continue to act as prime minister” as head of the Cabinet, Pashinyan said Sunday in a meeting with residents of the village of Aragats. He didn’t give a specific date for stepping down.


27 March
Just like most societies around the world, the Armenian diaspora is transforming in ways not seen for a century and in some ways unimaginable only a few years ago, reported These transformations have just been exasperated by the defeat of Armenia in the 2020 Artsakh war.  As unpleasant as divisions might be, we must accept them as a sign of a healthy society challenging its basic assumptions and the birth pains of a new conception and understanding of what it means to be an Armenian in the 21st century. While many will argue that the divisions outlined are simply political in nature, they are in fact indicative of a far wider cultural divide regarding the acceptance or the rejection of a new conception of what it means to be an Armenian in the diaspora. These cultural divisions are also the lens by which the current Armenian political struggle is seen by the diaspora. The most consistent worldwide trend today is that all forms of authority are being challenged. This includes religious institutions, political parties, cultural organizations, the military, big business, and “traditional” family structures.



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29 March 2021
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