Karen Vrtanesyan: Artsakh Under Blockade - Day 19 [EP196]

Posted on Friday, Dec 30, 2022 | Category: Artsakh, Politics, 168am | Series: cog, video


  • Karen Vrtanesyan, expert on military and warfare strategies with a focus on Armenia and its neighboring region. Co-founder of the website razm.info.

“This is not a humanitarian crisis. This is a political crisis, a crisis of statehood. -Karen Vrtanesyan


This interview is a continuation of the collaboration between Groong and 168 Hours aiming to bring you more English-language coverage on the developments of this very serious humanitarian crisis in progress.


Episode 196 | Recorded: December 30, 2022

Show Notes


How did we get here?

Karen, we are now on Day 19 of the blockade. There are continuing reports of shortages and depleted supplies.


  • How do you think we got here?

Armenia’s Defense Readiness

Some politicians and analysts, such as Avetik Chalabyan, say that without engaging the military, Armenia will not be able to unblock the corridor.

  • Does Armenia have the capacity to engage in military operations to unblock the corridor? Are there other means, for instance flying airlifts to Stepanakert?

How about Syunik specifically? For nearly 30 years, the Syunetsi had lived in peace, the nearest enemy soldier being hundreds of kilometers away. After the 44-day war, this situation changed drastically. During the September 13 attacks, your hometown of Kapan, along with Goris, Jermuk, Vardenis, and others were targets of heavy shelling.

As a result of the fighting, Armenia’s brittle border security situation has become even worse.


  • As a military expert, can you tell us how prepared is Armenia to withstand an Azerbaijani-Turkish attack whose goal would be to capture Syunik?

We’ve read a lot of finger pointing about what our traditional allies are refusing to furnish weapons to Armenia; we’ve also read about Armenia’s purchase of Indian weaponry.

  • What has been done to rearm the army?

Relations with Russia

Two days ago Armen Grigoryan, Armenia’s NSC head made some bombshell announcements on Armenian Public TV, including that Russia is pressuring Armenia to join the Union State with Russia and Belarus. He further said that Armenia’s democracy and desire to stay sovereign has brought war closer to Armenia. Spokesperson for Putin, Dmitry Peskov, has denied this and called the statement provocative.

Of course, during the same interview where Grigoryan made that bombshell statement, he also told a small fib, that EU monitors have not left Armenia. Go figure!


  • Some say that this type of behavior, especially doing it in such a public forum as Armenian Public TV, is meant to discredit the Russians. What is your reaction to all of this?


We hope you found our Conversations on Groong helpful, we invite your feedback and your suggestions. You can find us on most social media and podcast platforms. Thanks to Laura Osborn for the music on our podcasts.


Karen Vrtanesyan

Karen Vrtanesyan

Karen Vrtanesyan is an expert on military and warfare strategies with a focus on Armenia and its neighboring region. He is also co-founder of the website razm.info.


Hovik Manucharyan

Hovik Manucharyan

Hovik Manucharyan is an information security engineer who moved from Seattle to Armenia in 2022. He co-founded the ANN/Groong podcast in 2020 and has been a contributor to Groong News since the late 1990s.