Hrant Mikaelian - Situation in Artsakh | Yerevan Elections Heating Up | MPG Poll Outtakes | MPG Poll on Yerevan Elections [EP273]

Posted on Wednesday, Aug 16, 2023 | Category: Armenia, Artsakh, Politics, Poll | Series: wir



  • Situation in Artsakh
  • Yerevan Elections Heating Up
  • July MPG Survey Outtakes
  • August MPG Survey Outtakes
  • Baku Poll
  • Thoughts on the Economy

Episode 273 | Recorded: August 15, 2023

Show Notes

Topics This Week

Situation in Artsakh

Let’s put this bluntly. A poll in Azerbaijan shows that 67% of Azeris believe that the Artsakh situation will be resolved by the killing of Artsakh Armenians or their displacement. It’s no surprise therefore that over 94% of Armenians polled in July say that Artsakh can not be left as part of Azerbaijan! We will talk more about the polls later in our show.

Former ICC Judge Says It’s Genocide

Last week a founding ICC prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, issued an expert opinion in response to Artsakh president Arayik Harutyunyan’s request and concluded that the Azerbaijani blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh does in fact constitute Genocide.

Of course Azerbaijan has rejected the opinion, with non-sequitur arguments. Still, over the weekend Armenia requested an emergency meeting of the UNSC, to address the catastrophic situation in Artsakh, where there are now reports of people dying from starvation.


  • Do you think such a legal stance can support Artsakh’s bid for self-determination even at this current stage?
  • Can Ocampo’s expert opinion lead to the UNSC to form a unified position around the issue of Artsakh?
  • What can we expect from the UNSC, which is itself a somewhat dysfunctional body at this moment, because of the war in Ukraine.

Armenia Azerbaijan Negotiations Continue

Meanwhile, Armenia Azerbaijan negotiations continue. According to Kommersant, we learned that one option proposed by Lavrov was to open the Aghdam road first, followed by the Lachin Berdzor corridor 24 hours later. Reportedly that was rejected by Artsakh , because it would only legitimize the blockade

Moscow had also reportedly proposed for Baku and Stepanakert to hold their direct dialogue in Yevlakh, a city in Azerbaijan. Needless to say, Artsakh rejected that idea as well due to security concerns as well as the insistence of Azerbaijan to have “integration” as the topic.

Over the past few days Turkey has started pressuring Armenia and Armenians to agree to Azerbaijan’s terms, by agreeing to supply Artsakh through Aghdam. This would amount to force-subjugating Artsakh’s food and energy supply to Azerbaijan’s whims, at the same time cutting it completely off from Armenia.


  • Is Pashinyan registering some modicum of diplomatic success with his truck convoy stuck at the border? Is this why Turkey is speaking up in support of Azerbaijan?

Yerevan Elections

As Artsakh starves, the appetite for control of Yerevan is simmering. The Yerevan mayoral elections will be held on September 17. Campaigning will start on August 23 and the deadline to submit for candidacy was 2 days ago, this past Sunday.

July MPG Poll - Բադրիջանի հաջորդ կանգառը

As our guest last week, Sergei Melkonian, mentioned, the July MPG poll indicates a further slide in public confidence in Pashinyan’s party and Artsakh policies.


MPG Q.6: Is it acceptable to leave Artsakh as a national minority in Azerbaijan?

Question 6 shows over 94% of Armenians polled do not agree with policies to leave Artsakh in Azerbaijan. The public is diametrically opposed to Pashinyan’s policy of willingness to recognize Artsakh as a part of Azerbaijan.


  • Is this not a referendum on Pashinyan’s Artsakh and other security policies?


MPG Q.7: If parliamentary elections were to be held this Sunday, which political force would you vote for?

Question 7 shows that Civil Contract remains the top vote getting political force in the country, but with a mere 13% of the vote! Two thirds of the population is disconnected from the current political discourse.


  • What is your read on this huge voter bloc that is either disenchanted, doesn’t care, or is disgusted with the political climate in the country?
  • How will such a large, disaffected bloc affect the Yerevan elections?

August MPG Poll on Yerevan Elections

A new poll was released by MPG/Gallup Intl last week on Yerevan elections.

What is the most important problem facing Yerevan?

Top 10 responses:

  • Trash collection 33.4% in Aug 2023 (25.1% in 2022)
  • Public transport problems 29.0% (37.1%)
  • Environmental issues/Ecology 17.9% (10.9%)
  • Inflation 13.0% (13.3%)
  • Bad condition of roads, traffic jams 10.5% (3.9%)
  • Unemployment 6.8% (11.1%)
  • Poor state of the education system 6.6% (5.9%)
  • Construction of new buildings instead of emergency buildings 5.8% (4.5%)

Yerevan problems

Is the position of Mayor of Yerevan for you a political position or administrative/managerial?

  • Երեւանի կառավարիչ է / Manager of Yerevan 48.5% - July’23 (58.3% - Apr’23)
  • Քաղաքական պաշտոն է / Political position 41.5% (37.2%)
  • Դժվարանում եմ պատասխանել / Difficulty to response 10.0% (4.6%)

Political or Managerial?

Will the elections to the Council of Elders of Yerevan on September 17 will be fair, according to you

  • Միանշանակ այո / Definitely yes 16.1%
  • Ավելի շուտ այո / Somewhat yes 28.9%
  • Ավելի շուտ ոչ / Somewhat no 19.5%
  • Միանշանակ ոչ / Definitely no 32.1%
  • Դժվարանում եմ պատասխանել / Difficult to respond 3.3%

Election Fairness

Which party do you plan to vote for in the 2023 September 17 elections for Yerevan Council of Elders (top 10)

  • Քաղաքացիական պայմանագիր / Տիգրան Ավինյան / Civil Contract (Tigran Avinyan) 9.3%
  • Հայկ Մարության / Hayk Marutyan 3.7%
  • Հայաստան Դաշինք / Armenia Alliance 2.8%
  • Հայաստանի Եվրոպական կուսակցություն / European Party of Armenia 2.2%
  • Ապրելու երկիր / Մանե Թանդիլյան / Aprelu Yerkir / Mane Tandilyan 2.2%
  • Լուսավոր Հայաստան /Դավիթ Խաժակյան / Bright Armenia / David Khajakyan 2.0%
  • Հանրային Ձայն կուսակցություն /Արտակ Գալստյան / Public Voice party / Artak Galstyan 1.4%
  • Հայաստանի Հանրապետական կուսակցություն / Republican Party of Armenia 1.2%
  • Հաղթանակ կուսակցություն /Վիկտոր Մնացականյան / Victory Party / Victor Mnatsakanyan 1.1%
  • Հանրապետություն կուսակցություն /Արտակ Զեյնալյան/ Republic Party / Artak Zeynalyan 0.9%

Yerevan Election Candidates

Election Developments

So now a week before the start of campaigns, around 14 political forces are vying for the mayorship of Yerevan.

  • Hayk Marutyan has announced officially that he’ll run in Yerevan elections. He’s a former mayor with the Civil Contract party, but he fell out with Pashinyan who canned him.
    • He will lead the ticket of the “National Progress Party”, which was formed shortly after the 2018 regime change
    • The members of NPP are known for their previous participation in Dem Enq, Electric Yerevan, Menk Enk Ter@ Mer Yerkri, Sasna Tsrer rebellion and other opposition movements
  • Andranik Tevanyan has also announced that the Mother Armenia movement will participate in Yerevan elections
    • Tevanyan has recently resigned his position as an MP from Hayastan Dashink, to focus on the election.
  • Tigran Avinyan, Civil Contract, who started his campaign at the site of the Surmalu explosion (one year anniversary this week), is the guy that Pashinyan is trying to push as mayor.
  • Artak Zeynalian from the Republic Party which is led by Aram Z. Sargsyan, a pro-Nikol force.
  • Victor Mnatsakanyan, who was head of the Kentron district in Yerevan during Pashinyan’s rule, will lead the Victory party team.
  • Mane Tandilyan, Aprelu Yerkir.
    • She left Bright Armenia for “health” reasons and resurfaced as president of Aprelu Yerkir, which they don’t hide is affiliated with Ruben Vardanyan.
  • Davit Khazhakyan, Bright Armenia.
  • Nelly Harutyunyan, Uzhn Hayrenyants.
    • Backed by oligarch Tigran Arzakantsyan.
    • Previously they had announced that Arzakantsyan’s wife, Natalia would be running
  • Arthur Vanetsyan from Hayreniq Party
  • For Social Justice party also has expressed interest

The Parliamentary opposition probably won’t have a unified candidate. Andranik Tevanyan is probably the closest to an opposition figure in the running, but neither Hayastan Dashinq, nor Pativ Unem have indicated their support for Tevanyan at this point.


  • Are you optimistic that this election will be free and fair?
    • Since 2018, opposition figures who have been successfully elected have mostly ended up in jail, while Civil Contract and Pashinyan have campaigned around the country with very heavy security detail (in the thousands), hammers in hand and claiming to smash the heads of opposition candidates.
  • A third of the country’s registered voters are in Yerevan. Are these elections going to be viewed as a referendum on Pashinyan?
    • Will this election that is nearly 100% about municipal and domestic issues, - trash collection, street vendor regulations, food safety, traffic safety, policing, etc., - reflect positively upon Pashinyan’s failed Artsakh and foreign policies, if Tigran Avinyan and Civil Contract are elected or forced on people again?

The Baku “Let’s Genocide Em” Poll

Let’s talk about a telephone poll conducted in Baku recently by FAEAS Focus.

Do you believe in peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan?


  • Yes: 13.2%
  • No: 71.7%
  • Difficult to Answer: 15.1%

Can the situation in Karabakh be called a blockade?


  • Yes: 61.7%
  • No: 29.4%
  • Difficult to Answer: 8.9%


What will be the fate of Karabakh?


  • Residents will voluntarily integrate into Azerbaijani community: 18.2%
  • It’s residents will leave to Armenia: 32.3%
  • Karabakh will be conquered by military power: 26.3%
  • Karabakh will preserve its independence: 4.7%


What do you believe will be the true outcome, if the task comes to integration?


  • We will kill Armenians in Karabakh: 42.2%
  • We will depopulate Armenians from Karabakh: 24%
  • We will help Armenians integrate into our society: 18%
  • We will live side-by-side with Armenians: 16.3%
  • None of the above: 5.7%


Who helps Azerbaijan the most in the struggle for Karabakh?


  • Erdogan: 92.6%
  • Charles Michel: 76.1%
  • Biden: 72.3%
  • Netanyahu: 70%
  • Pashinyan: 67.4%
  • Zelensky: 57.7%
  • Putin: 48.5%
  • Macron: 24.8%
  • Garibashvili: 12.5%
  • Raisi: 10.7%



  • How legitimate is the pollster?


  • What are your impressions from the current cooling down we’re seeing in the economic growth numbers?

Topics from the Panelists

  • Hovik: Surmalu - one year later


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.


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.


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.

Disclaimer: The views expressed by Hovik Manucharyan on the ANN/Groong podcast are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of his employer or any other organization.

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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