Arthur Khachikyan - May 28 | Mother Armenia Movement | Aliyev Threatens, Pashinyan Concedes | Erdogan Reelected | Goodbye CSTO, Hello NATO? | Ep 257 - May 28, 2023 [EP257]

Posted on Monday, May 29, 2023 | Category: Armenia, Politics | Series: wir

Guest:

Topics:

  • Armenia celebrates May 28
    • A new political movement, Mother Armenia, was announced.
  • Aliyev Threatens, Pashinyan Concedes
  • Erdogan Reelected President in Turkey
  • Goodbye CSTO, Hello NATO?

Episode 257 | Recorded: May 30, 2023

Show Notes

Mother Armenia (Mayr Hayastan) Movement

Arthur, two days ago, on May 28th, we saw you you and a number of other activists join forces to announce the founding on a new movement called Mother Armenia - Մայր Հայաստան.

Questions:

  • What is your role in the group and can you give us a brief intro of the organization?
  • The declaration of your movement occurred on the symbolic date of May 28. What does this date mean to you?
  • What are the political goals of Mayr Hayastan?
  • The movement is advertised as above the political spectrum. Have you received any support from existing opposition parties?
  • How is it different from the Homeland Salvation movement?
  • There are a number of other movements, such as the Miasin, Hamakhmbum, etc… Do we need so many movements? What will you do that others haven’t?
  • What will be some of your activities? Will it be in the form of street protests like other movements have attempted? If so, what will guarantee your success?
  • There’s this perception that those demanding Nikol’s resignation are working against a ticking time bomb. Once a deal is signed, no matter who comes, wouldn’t it be hard to undo all of the damage?

Aliyev Threatens, Pashinyan Concedes

Early in May Aliyev demanded that Pashinyan must say “Artsakh is Azerbaijan”.

After a couple of weeks of dancing around the verbiage, to make sure that the Armenian people were asleep at the wheel, as he said things like 86,600 sq.km, or that 86,600 included Artsakh, Pashinyan last week basically said that Artsakh is Azerbaijan.

He also threw in a number of territories in Armenia which Aliyev has been demanding as “enclaves” belonging to Azerbaijan. Some news reports indicate that the Pashinyan government has already agreed to this, but they’re not telling the Armenian people officially.

Response from the Armenian World

Except for the ruling Civil Contract circles, every Armenian organization condemned Pashinyan’s recognition in response to Aliyev. There were reactions from former presidents, the former presidents of Artsakh, both Catholicoses, the parliamentary opposition, as well as many non-parliamentary parties, and movements.

The Parliamentary opposition stated that they have 5-6 months to stop Pashinyan before he signs Artsakh away, and that they’re working on new plans. They expect that Artsakh will essentially be purged of its Armenian population once Pashinyan signs.

Questions:

  • How can the visceral worldwide Armenian reaction to Pashinyan’s capitulant response to Aliyev be harnessed to bring about change to the Armenian government?

Reactions:

  • Third president Serge Sargsyan statement
    • Says it’s confusing (if not insulting) to hear the demands from Artsakh given everything he has done.
    • He says he has always, especially in the last 5 years, said that “Artsakh has not and will never be part of independent Azerbaijan”
  • Second president Robert Kocharyan statement
    • Strong reaction against Artsakh parliament majority (Arayiks party).
    • Says it’s insulting to hear demanding statements from him when the Armenia Alliance (“Hayastan Dashink”) has been at the forefront of protests, especially calls out that Arayik was supporting Nikol in 2021.
  • Artsakh former presidents’ statement
    • From Arkady Ghukasyan (2nd) and Bako Sahakyan (3rd)
    • Artsakh will not accept any status inside Azerbaijan
  • Catholicos Garegin II reaction, continues to think Pashinyan should resign.
  • Catholicos Aram I statement
  • Arayik Harutyuyan statement
    • Bans rallies (except those that are about self-determination of Artsakh)
    • Terminates discussions around elections and calls for his resignation
      • Reiterates that he will resign at an opportune time and will not seek reelection
    • Bans criticism of this or that external player who is critical for Artsakh
      • Is this targeted at growing anti-Russian sentiments, the parliament criticizing Nikol, or or Ruben Vardanyan criticizing Nikol
  • Raffi Hovhannisyan gives press conference on Friday
    • Says Pashinyan must be stopped now
    • There needs to be a struggle
    • Pashinyan also will give “Zangezur” corridor
    • We are at the precipice of the “Last republic”

Pashinyan “Logic”

In the parliament on Wednesday, Pashinyan made further idiotic statements. He said:

“For thousands of years, we haven’t had a deed (cadastre paper) to our house” … “At any point, there are 4-5 countries that can come and tell us to get out”

The Civil Contract party last year wanted to pass a law that would criminalize casting doubt on the territorial integrity of Armenia, yet Pashinyan’s statements have not yet come to the attention of Armenian law.

Questions:

  • Why does Pashinyan think that Turks must validate our existence on our own homelands, in the form of a so-called “deed” to our sovereign country?
  • Is Pashinyan challenging Armenia’s legitimacy to exist?

Moscow Meeting

On Wednesday, Aliyev and Pashinyan flew to Moscow. We all saw the scenes. An unpleasant back-and-forth between Pashinyan and Aliyev, with Pashinyan in his broken Russian trying to argue with the refined Russian of Aliyev.

At the EAEU summit, Aliyev called Artsakhtsis “citizens of Azerbaijan” and said that Pashinyan has recognized Artsakh as part of Azerbaijan. There was no reaction from Pashinyan.

The only reaction from NP was about the “Zangezur” corridor remarks. He said that the November 2020 trilateral ceasefire agreement only mentioned one corridor, the Lachin corridor.

Putin held bilateral meetings with Pashinyan and Aliyev, then a trilateral meeting between the three happened, lasting only 20 minutes. Kommersant had reported that two new documents were to be signed. A new trilateral statement, and another one about unblocking transport routes.

Nothing was signed!

Regardless, Putin said that the meeting was positive. Deputy prime ministers will meet in a week to solve unresolved issues.

Questions:

  • What was achieved at the Moscow trilateral summit?
  • What’s there to discuss in another week, June 1?

Aliyev Ultimatums

After the summit in Moscow, Aliyev’s rhetoric against Artsakh increased. Last Friday, Aliyev says there won’t be a third invitation to Baku for Artsakh reps. He was referring to the previous 2 demands for Armenians to go to Baku for talks about “integration”.

This got even more troubling this week, when on Monday, Aliyev issued the most public threat against both Armenia and Artsakh.

Among other things, Aliyev said:

  • Everyone now accepts our position
  • Arayik Harutyunyan must surrender
  • Artsakh government must be dissolved
  • All symbols of state must be destroyed
  • Only then will he consider amnesty
  • Said that Armenian villages are visible from Berdzor (or “Lachin” as he said it)

Questions:

  • How would you evaluate this threat? Is Aliyev exaggerating that all powers worldwide accept Azerbaijan’s viewpoint?
  • One scenario is that there would be major fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenians of Artsakh and another would be the need to simply evacuate our brothers and sisters (as difficult it is to think about this scenario). How serious is this danger to Artsakh?

Erdogan Reelected

On May 28, as expected, Erdoğan won the presidential elections with just over 52% of the vote, to Kiliçdaroglu’s just under 48%. Nationalist party leader Sinan Ogan’s endorsement appears to have provided the needed boost for Erdogan to overcome his opponent.

During the campaign, especially in Round 2, the Armenia-Azerbaijan issue became an issue when both sides tried to out-do each other as to who could be more pro-Azerbaijani and anti-Armenian. Their foreign minister Çavusoglu stated that “there will be a Zangezur corridor”, while Kılıçdaroğlu, who in Phase 1 said he didn’t want a corridor through Zangezur now reversed course. So now everyone wants to pave over Syunik and build their panturanic highway.

Questions:

  • What can Armenia expect under a new Erdogan term?
  • Should we expect the Turkish-Armenian “normalization” charade to continue? Will it be on the back-burner, or prioritized?

Goodbye CSTO, Hello NATO?

During the week defense minister Suren Papikyan “opted out” of the CSTO meeting. Instead he sent a low-level official. According to ruling party sources, he did not attend for technical reasons, not having to do anything with politics.

Russian defense minister Shoigu stated that Armenia’s participation is important. Meanwhile, Pashinyan would not rule out Armenia leaving the CSTO.

We also had a flurry of visitors from NATO countries. Some senior NATO reps visited Armenia:

  • US defense official visits Armenia
  • NATO official visits Armenia
    • Title: “Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy and NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia”
    • Meets Aragats Mirzoyan and Nikol Pashinyan
  • Leo Docherty, UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Europe met with FM Mirzoyan in Yerevan, and announced the start of a “strategic dialogue” between Armenia and NATO starting in june.
  • Luis Bono visits Armenia on Friday

Questions:

  • What is the likelihood of an Armenian exit from the CSTO?
  • This all hints to a potential upgrade of relations between Armenia and NATO. What is the likelihood of some form of partnership or outright accession into NATO?
  • What could the west, the US and the EU, be promising Pashinyan, that he’s willing to gamble the existence of the state of Armenia on it?

Topics from the Panelists

  • Arthur: Armenians must wake up from this surreal torpor.
  • Hovik: Why Artsakh is very important for Armenia.

Wrap-up

We hope you found our Week in Review 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.

Guests

Arthur Khachikyan

Arthur Khachikyan

Dr. Arthur Khachikyan, an International Relations expert from Stanford University, specializing in intervention. He currently teaches at the Russian Armenian University in Yerevan.

Hosts

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.

Asbed Bedrossian

Asbed Bedrossian

Asbed is founder of the Armenian News Network Groong and co-founder of the ANN/Groong podcast.

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