Hrant Mikaelian - Erdogan Cabinet | Azerbaijan Postpones Meeting | Economic Developments | MPG Poll on Pashinyan Rating [EP262]

Posted on Tuesday, Jun 13, 2023 | Category: Armenia, Artsakh, Politics, Poll | Series: wir

Guest:

Topics:

  • Erdogan Reshuffles Cabinet, First Visit to Baku
  • Latest Developments in Armenia-Azerbaijan Negotiations, Baku Postpones
  • Economic Developments, More Subsidies to IT Sector
  • MPG Poll: Pashinyan’s Rating is Falling

Episode 252 | Recorded: June 12, 2023

Show Notes

Turkish Cabinet Appointments

The elections in Turkey are over. We’re looking to do a deeper dive into this topic with a turkologist, but Hrant, since it’s fresh on our mind…

Erdogan’s first visit will be to Azerbaijan btw.

  • Turkey
    • Hakan Fidan, former MIT chief, appointed FM
      • Used the Ottoman term for foreign ministry in his speech Harciye versus Dışişleri
      • Is being groomed as replacement for Erdogan
    • Ibrahim Kalin, former Erdogan spox, appointed intel chief
      • I believe his thesis was on relations with Armenia

Question:

  • How do you think Turkish policy will shift during Erdogan’s third term?

Armenia-Azerbaijan Negotiations Cont’d

Azerbaijan Postpones Washington Meetings

This week was marked with continuing tensions on the border and shootings in Artsakh. Azerbaijan postponed a scheduled meeting of the foreign ministers in Washington DC, which was due to take place today, June 12th. Instead Azerbaijani FM Jeyhun Bayramov presented new reasons why Azerbaijan is not signing a peace agreement with Armenia:

  1. Alleged Armenian military presence in Nagorno Karabakh;
  2. Armenia “hindering” talks between Baku and Stepanakert;
  3. Armenia “smearing” Azerbaijan internationally.

Pashinyan aide Arsen Torosyan brushed aside these excuses. The US ambassador to the OSCE, Michael Carpenter, also responded to Bayramov, saying that the US believes that peace can only be achieved through dialog and mutual understanding. He also mentioned that Nagorno Karabakh should be provided with gas and electricity, although he didn’t say who should provide this, and also said that free movement of good and people should resume “including through the Lachin corridor”.

There are also reports today that Azerbaijan may have postponed the meeting at the request of incoming Turkish foreign minister Hakan Fidan. This week Erdogan will visit Azerbaijan, and it is expected that the two countries will realign their coordinated strategies against Armenia, as Erodgan’s third term as president begins.

Questions:

  • What do you think are the reasons for Azerbaijan postponing the meeting in Washington?
  • What can we guess as being the current hurdles in the negotiations, from Bayramov’s excuses?

Border Negotiations

Last week we discussed how Pashinyan was signaling to Azerbaijan that the 1975 Soviet maps are an acceptable basis for border negotiations. We were surprised because these maps are not at all advantageous for Armenia, so we were wondering what Azerbaijan’s position was. Azerbaijan rejected this.

It turns out that the Azeri press is discussing the treaty of Batumi or Alexandropol, or even worse, the ridiculous claims of Baku in 1920 which lay claim to Southern Armenia and even 50% of lake Sevan.

As we know, during these past 3 years, Azerbaijan and Turkey have also officially welcomed irredentist movements like West Azerbaijan, Zangezur - Goycha Republic, etc… to be set up.

Questions:

  • Clearly there’s no agreement on “maps”. Are border negotiations stalled?

Notes:

  • We know that Azerbaijan’s declaration of independence mentions that it is descendant of the 1918 “Azerbaijan Democratic Republic” and not USSR

Economic Developments

Government Subsidies for IT

The Armenian government has decided to reduce the taxes for the IT sector from 20% to just 5%.

Questions:

  • Is this a sound policy?
  • Who is benefiting from this tax policy?

Western Sanctions on Russia Affecting Armenia

As we know, Russia has been heavily sanctioned by the west since the war in Ukraine. Armenia has remained largely unscathed by these sanctions until recently. The US called out a number of countries for evading sanctions; mentioned were: Turkey, Kazakhstan, Georgia, the United Arab Emirates, and Armenia. Not mentioned: Azerbaijan, which is diverting Russian oil products and gas to Europe! We’re not talking a few millions here, like for Armenia, but rather billions with a B, in the case of Azerbaijan.

This is the type of selective and arbitrary favoritism which undermines the west’s credibility with Armenians.

Anyway, so far two Armenian companies have been affected, The government has tightened control on re-exporting of dozens of types of electronics products to Russia. And this week, Armenian banks began to block transactions with certain Russian companies that import material from Armenia.

Questions:

  • How serious is the US pressure, especially (in absence of pressure on Azerbaijan?
  • What effect will this have on Russia-Armenia trade?

New ANPP Discussions

One topic that may have been discussed in Sochi, when Pashinyan met with Russian PM Mikhail Mishustin, was the Russian proposals for building a new Nuclear Power Plant for Armenia (ANPP). Russia is proposing a 1200 MW reactor, while the US has proposed modular-reactors for Armenia, on the scale of 465 MW.

Questions:

  • One of the major considerations in deciding what type of NPP to acquire is the economic one. Can Armenia find a big enough distribution market? for the electricity it might generate?

New MPG Poll

Results of a new poll were released by MPG.

Conducted between 27.05.2023-31.05.2023.

Sample size: 1100

Margin: +- 3%

As a summary, this poll again indicates a deep divide between the policy of the Nikol Pashinyan regime and sentiments of the Armenian public.

But let’s dive into the details, maybe not everything is so apparent.

Policies on Status of Artsakh

The first two questions tease out the public sentiment towards the policy of the Pashinyan regime on the status of Artsakh.

Question1: Nikol Pashinyan declared he recognizes Azerbaijan/s 86600 sq km., how would you react to this:

Policies on Status of Artsakh

  • Very positive: 3.8%
  • Somewhat positive: 5.4%
  • Somewhat negative: 18.5%
  • Very negative: 63.4%
  • Difficult to answer: 8.9%
  • Summary: 9.2% Positive, 72.3% Negative

Question2: On Artsakh’s status in Azerbaijan.

On Artsakh’s status in Azerbaijan

  • Armenian: Նիկոլ Փաշինյանի հայտարարությունից հետո պարզ դարձավ, որ Լեռնային Ղարաբաղի որեւէ կարգավիճակ բացառվում է Ադրբեջանի կազմում: Առավելագույնը կարելի է խոսել Ադրբեջանում բնակվող հայերի իրավունքների եւ անվտանգության մասին: Ըստ Ձեզ հնարավո՞ր է Լեռնային Ղարաբաղի հայության գոյատեւումը Ադրբեջանի կազմում որպես ազգային փոքրամասնություն
  • English: After Nikol Pashinyan’s statement, it became clear that any status of Nagorno Karabakh as a part of Azerbaijan is excluded. At most, one can talk about the rights and security of Armenians living in Azerbaijan. In your opinion, is it possible for the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh to survive as a national minority in Azerbaijan?
  • Answers:
    • Definitely possible: 2.8%
    • Somewhat possible: 5.6%
    • Somewhat impossible: 8.7
    • Definitely impossible: 77.7
    • Difficult to answer: 5.1
    • Summary: 8.4% Possible, 86.4% Impossible

Questions:

  • So with nearly 90% of Armenians saying that it is impossible for Artsakh to be part of Azerbaijan, how is this regime planning on implementing its policy which has been expressed unequivocally by Pashinyan, Simonyan, and others?

Confidence in Government

Question 6: Need for elections

Need for elections

  • Armenian: Հաշվի առնելով Հայաստանի Հանրապետության ներքաղաքական եւ արտաքին մարտահրավերները, արդյո՞ք անհրաժեշտ է իրականացնել արտահերթ խորհրդարանական ընտրություններ եւ ձեւավորել նոր կառավարություն
  • English: Considering the internal political and external challenges of the Republic of Armenia, is it necessary to hold early parliamentary elections and form a new government?
  • Answers:
    • Very necessary: 41.0%
    • Somewhat necessary: 18.9%
    • Somewhat unnecessary: 12.2%
    • Completely unnecessary: 19.5%
    • Difficult to answer: 8.5%
    • Summary: Necessary: 59.9%, Unnecessary: 31.7%

Question 12: Rating of the Prime Minister

Rating of the Prime Minister

  • Armenian: Գնահատեք ՀՀ վարչապետ Նիկոլ Փաշինյանի գործելաոճը
  • English: Evaluate the working style of RA Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan
  • Answers:
    • Completely positive: 5.4% (2021: 9.5%, 2019: 29.9%, 2018: 45.4%)
    • Somewhat positive: 13.4% (2021: 28.6%, 2019: 54.3%, 2018: 46.2%)
    • Somewhat negative: 24.2% (2021: 14.9%, 2019: 8.2%, 2018: 3.9%)
    • Completely negative: 47.1% (2021: 31.3%, 2019: 5.1%, 2018: 2.4%)
    • Difficult to answer: 10.0% (2021: 15.8%, 2019: 2.4%, 2018: 2.1%)
    • Summary: Positive: 18.8%, Negative: 71.3%

East vs. West

Question 3: EU Mission

EU Mission

  • Armenian: Ինչպե՞ս եք գնահատում ԵՄ դիտորդական առաքելության առկայությունը ՀՀ-ում
  • English: How do you assess the presence of the EU observation mission in Armenia?
  • Answers:
    • Very positive: 14.8% (down from 36.8 in Jan’ 23)
    • Somewhat positive: 29.4% (31.6)
    • Somewhat negative: 18.5% (13.7)
    • Very negative: 29.9% (14.0)
    • Difficult to answer: 7.5% (3.8)
    • Summary: Positive: 44.2% (68.4%), Negative: 48.4% (27.7%)

Question 5: Pashinyan’s relations with external powers

Pashinyan’s relations with external powers

  • Armenian: Հետեւյալ դատողություններից ո՞րի հետ եք Դուք համաձայն
  • English: Which of the following statements do you agree with?
  • Answers:
    • Nikol Pashinyan is trying to maintain balance politics with the West and Russia 32.8%
    • Nikol Pashinyan is trying to integrate Armenia European, Western and NATO frameworks 20.5%
    • Nikol Pashinyan aims to bring Armenia closer to Azerbaijan and Turkey 14.7%
    • Nikol Pashinyan’s actions are directed outward to push Russia’s presence out of Armenia 12.9%
    • Difficult to Answer 19.0%

Questions:

  • We see a significant drop in trust in EU monitors, but also a significant number of people, 32.8%, still think that Pashinyan is trying to balance relations between West and Russia? Only 12.9% of people think that Pashinyan’s actions are intended to push Russia out of the region. Are these two answers contradicting each other?

Others Questions

Question 4: Gayane Hakobyan

Gayane Hakobyan

  • Armenian: Մայիսի 17-ին միջադեպ գրանցվեց զոհված զինծառայող Ժորա Մարտիրոսյանի մոր՝ Գայանե Հակոբյանի եւ Նիկոլ Փաշինյանի որդու միջեւ: Արդյունքում տիկին Գայանեն կալանավորվել է 1 ամսով: Ըստ Ձեզ, որքանո՞վ է այդ որոշում արդարացի
  • English: On May 17, an incident was registered between Gayane Hakobyan, the mother of the fallen soldier Zhora Martirosyan, and Nikol Pashinyan’s son. As a result, Ms. Gayane was detained for 1 month. In your opinion, how fair is that decision?
  • Answers:
    • Completely justified: 8.7
    • Somewhat justified: 9.2
    • More or less unjustified: 18.5
    • Completely unjustified: 54.0
    • Difficult to answer: 9.6

Question 7: Nemesis sculpture

Nemesis Sculpture

  • Armenian: Թուրքիան իր դժգոհությունը հայտնեց Երեւանում Նեմեսիսի արձանի տեղադրման կապակցությամբ եւ որպես առաջին քայլ սահմանափակեց հայկական ինքնաթիռների թռիչքը իր տարածքի վրայով: Ի՞նչ եք կարծում, պետք է արդյոք ՀՀ կամ քաղաքային իշխանությունները տուրք տան Թուրքիայի ճնշումներին եւ ապամոնտաժեն Նեմեսիսի հերոսներին նվիրված հուշարձանը
  • English: Turkey expressed its dissatisfaction with the installation of the Nemesis statue in Yerevan and as a first step restricted the flight of Armenian planes over its territory. What do you think, should RA or the city authorities pay tribute to Turkey’s pressure oppression and dismantle the monument dedicated to the heroes of Nemesis?
  • Answers:
    • Definitely no: 82.5%
    • Somewhat no: 8.7%
    • Somewhat yes: 3.5%
    • Definitely yes: 2.6%
    • Difficult to answer: 3.5%

Question 8: Participation in “revolution”

![Participation in “revoluion”](/img/episode/262/mpg-question08.webp “Particpation in ‘revolution’”

  • Armenian: Ասացեք խնդրեմ, մասնակցե՞լ եք արդյոք 2018թ.-ի հեղափոխությանը
  • English: Tell me, please, did you participate in the revolution of 2018?
  • Answers:
    • Yes: 37.4% (down from 91% in 2018)
    • No: 62.6% (up from 9% in 2018)

Question 9: What kind of participation in revolution

What kind of participation in revolution?

  • Armenian: Ի՞նչ կերպ եք մասնակցել հեղափոխությանը (Մի քանի պատասխան)
  • English: How did you participate in the revolution (Multiple answers)
  • Answers:
    • I participated in rallies in Yerevan 46.5%
    • I followed/am following on Facebook 42.1%
    • I participated in rallies in my city… 32.8%
    • I closed roads and intersections 28.2%
    • I went on strike 13.6%
    • I honked in the car horn 12.4%
    • I went on strike 12.2%
    • I participated in the action of ladles 4.4%
    • I watched in on TV 2.9%
    • Other: 1.0%
    • I find it difficult to answer 0.2%

Question 11: Expectations from Velvet Revolution

![Expectations from “Velvet Revolution”](/img/episode/262/mpg-question05.webp “Expectations from ;Velvet Revolution’”]

  • Armenian: Թավշյա հեղափոխությունից անցել է 5 տարի: Այս ընթացքում որքանո՞վ արդարացան անձամբ Ձեր սպասումները
  • English: 5 years have passed since the Velvet Revolution. To what extent were your expectations met during this period?
  • Answers:
    • Completely met: 3.8% (2021: 3.2%, 2019: 6.6%, 2018: 14.4%)
    • Somewhat met: 21.5% (2021: 33.7%, 2019: 61.4%, 2018: 64.2%)
    • Somewhat unmet: 18.0% (2021: 10.2%, 2019: 11.4%, 2018: 7.6%)
    • Completely unmet: 52.1% (2021: 46.0%, 2019: 18.3%, 2018: 10.9%)
    • Difficult to Answer: 4.6% (2021: 7.0%, 2019: 2..3%, 2018: 3.0%)

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

Hrant Mikaelian

Hrant Mikaelian

Hrant Mikaelian, a political scientist and multidisciplinary researcher in social sciences based in Yerevan. He is also a senior researcher at the Caucasus Institute.

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.