Episode 303 | Recorded: January 22, 2024
How is life in Saint Petersburg, Russia?
For the past couple of years the mainstream Western press has pushed a narrative that Russia is on the verge of collapse due to the ongoing war in Ukraine. But just in the last 6 months this has started shifting, and there are reports that the US and some EU countries are pushing Ukraine to find a negotiated settlement with Russia.
Since you left Yerevan a year and a half ago, you’ve lived in St. Petersburg.
This is an event that’s had immense consequences on Armenia’s geopolitical fate; but it’s not just that, this is a worldwide event with global consequences. Most observers are waiting to see how the war in Ukraine will shake out, because they expect that its outcome will determine the so-called “new world order”.
About 6-7 months ago, people like former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson were visiting Kiev and making sure that Zelensky would not hold any peace talks aimed at ending or even “freezing” the conflict. Since then, a lot has happened. As we noted earlier, tens of billions of dollars later, western support for the war is on the rocks.
In the past year many new world events are developing, some expected and some not. For example, the US elections are upon us, and even though most people would think it’s something for 2024, we’ve been feeling its tremors since the middle of 2023. Meanwhile, the Israel-Gaza war was an unexpected turn of events in October, 2023.
Just in the past couple of weeks Iran has flexed its muscle and escalated its political profile in the Middle East by striking at the US consulate in Iraq, and Sunni militants in Pakistan. Iran and Russia have grown nearly to the point of strategic partnership since the war in Ukraine, and with Iran entering BRICS as of January 1, its economic integration with the non-western world becomes a prominent plus for it.
Let’s tie all these things we’ve been talking about back to how they affect Armenia and its outlook. For example, the war in Ukraine; the war in Gaza and its possible expansion to the entire Middle East; the US elections; the various global trade corridors, like the Northern corridor, the Middle corridor, INSTC, the Belt and Road, etc.
All right, that’s our show, we hope you found it useful. Please find us on Social Media and follow us everywhere you get your Armenian news, the links are in the show notes. Thanks to Laura Osborn for the music on our podcasts. We’ll talk to you soon!
Dr. Pietro Shakarian is a historian of Russia and the Soviet Union and a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Historical Research at the National Research University–Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg, Russia. He is currently completing his book on the major role of Anastas Mikoyan in Soviet nationality policy reform and de-Stalinization during the era of Nikita Khrushchev’s Thaw. Dr. Shakarian’s analyses on Russian and post-Soviet affairs have appeared in The Nation, The Plain Dealer, and various other publications. He was previously a lecturer in history at the American University of Armenia in Yerevan.
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 is founder of the Armenian News Network Groong and co-founder of the ANN/Groong podcast.