Arthur Khachikyan - Yerevan Elections | Artsakh Domestic Developments | Negotiations and Geopolitics | Ep 277 - Sep 3, 2023 [EP277]

Posted on Sunday, Sep 3, 2023 | Category: Armenia, Politics, Poll | Series: wir



  • Yerevan Mayoral Elections
  • Artsakh Domestic Developments
  • Developments in Geopolitics and Negotiations

Episode 277 | Recorded: Sep 3, 2023

Show Notes

Topics This Week

Yerevan Mayoral Elections

On our podcast episode 258 on May 28, we covered the founding of a new movement called “Mayr Hayastan” (Mother Armenia), spearheaded by Andranik Tevanyan. Many well-known and respected names backed the movement, including yourself.


  • Why did you decide to support the movement?

The parliamentary opposition finally decided to support former MP Adranik Tevanyan’s run for Yerevan mayor. Tevanyan left the Hayastan Dashinq (Alliance) and formed his own party, or coalition, Mayr Hayastan (Mother Armenia) to run in the elections, because neither Hayastan Dashinq nor Pativ Unem had decided to run or support any candidates at the time.


  • How is Tevanyan doing?
  • What is Tevanyan’s campaign strategy?

Tevanyan has said that a win in Yerevan will set the stage for removing the current government from power. Polls indicate that for most people these elections are about their day-to-day municipal concerns, like garbage collection, transportation issues, metro, water, elevators, etc.


  • Should Tevanyan not be out there trying to convince voters that he’s the most qualified candidate, concerned with their issues and committed to finding their solutions?
  • Is it not a concern that by making this municipal campaign about removing the ruling government, then if the ruling party wins, Pashinyan will be able to boast that by the opposition’s own admission, his policies of handing Artsakh to Azerbaijan have been effectively validated by this referendum?

Other major candidates running for mayor are the ruling party’s Tigran Avinyan, former Yerevan mayor Hayk Marutyan, and Abrelu Yerkir’s Mane Tandilyan.


  • What are your thoughts about these candidates?

MPG Survey on Yerevan Elections

Here we reproduce the survey which we referenced in our discussion:












Artsakh Domestic Developments

First of all, let’s wish everyone a happy Artsakh Independence Day today, Sep 2, 2023.

There have been a lot of developments and internal issues in and around Artsakh in the past week and so we’d be remiss if we didn’t touch on them at least a little bit.

Most obviously Arayik Harutyunyan, the president of Artsakh, submitted his resignation yesterday. As one of his last acts, he dismissed state minister Gurgen Nersesyan, whom he had appointed, and replaced him with Samvel Shahramanyan, who had been the chair of the Artsakh security council.

  • The resignation had been a long time coming, as the rumors were all over the place for most of 2023. Most recently Ruben Vardanyan put out a video that accused Harutyunyan of reneging on his promises to resign, and it seems like that precipitated events.


  • According to Artsakh law, the parliament has 3 days to accept or ratify his resignation. Is there a possibility for surprise, since Arayik’s party controls a significant number of votes in the Artsakh national assembly?
  • What can we expect from all these changes, assuming Arayik’s resignation is approved by parliament?
  • Who was interested in this change of leadership in Artsakh, and who was opposed to it?
  • Samvel Shahramanyan is said to be an old friend and trusted person of former Artskah president Bako Sahakyan. What can we expect from a Sharamanyan administration, coupled with ARF’s Davit Ishkhanyan as the speak of the parliament?

Geopolitical Developments

New Escalations, New Fronts?

This week Azerbaijan resorted to another deadly escalation on the border with Armenia, resulting in the deaths of 3 Armenian servicemen and 2 injuries (one critical). This just goes to highlight that Aliyev and Erdogan don’t seem to be content in stopping or stabilizing the situation.


  • What’s the reason for escalations? Do you see this as an attempt to spark a wider battle, potentially opening the much talked about “new fronts” against Russia?

Charles Michel Statement & Aghdam

On the day after the fighting in Sotq, Charles Michel made a statement. Was it to condemn Azerbaijan for instigating one of the deadliest instances of fighting? Nope. Was it to present the reports about the incident from the EU Monitoring Missions who’s supposed to be monitoring Armenia’s borders? Nope. Was it even to express some “deep concern” about the human lives being destroyed by dictators the EU is doing business with? Nope.

Instead, Charles Michel talked about the deteriorating situation in Artsakh and the need to make “courageous compromises” in light of the escalation on the border.


  • Arthur, your favorite pet peeve.. What do Armenians want from Europe?
  • How would you analyze this statement from Michel?

Armenia vs. Russia

Meanwhile, this week, Armenia and Russia continued their downhill spiral in relations. The week started with Armenian and Russian Foreign Ministries squaring off. Later in the week, it seems Armenia is going ahead with ratifying the Rome Statute.

Pashinyan, in an interview to Italian La Repubblica, basically said the oft-repeated statement that: “Russia, itself is leaving the region due to the steps taken or not taken by it.”


  • Is Russia leaving?

Erdogan-Putin meeting

OK, coming back to the global conflict, Erdogan and Putin are due to meet soon.

Obviously the Ukrainian grain deal will occupy the top of the list but apparently, South Caucasus is on the agenda as well.


  • What to expect from the meeting?

Topics from the Panelists

  • Hovik: How many Snoop Doggs is a drone worth?
  • Arthur: Armenian apathy towards their own fate.


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.


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.


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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