Dziunik Aghajanian - Srbazan Movement Pause, EU Right Shift, Renewed Azerbaijan War Threats, Did Pashinyan Get Marching Orders From Erdogan | Ep 339 - June 23, 2024 [EP339]

Posted on Tuesday, Jun 25, 2024 | Category: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Borders | Series: wir



  • Srbazan Movement: Pause & Regroup?
  • EU Parliamentary Shift to the Right
    • Armenia and EU Membership
  • Renewed Azerbaijani Threats of War
    • Armenia Reports CAESAR Artillery Acquisition
  • Did Pashinyan Get Marching Orders from Erdogan?

Episode 339 | Recorded: June 23, 2024

Show Notes

Srbazan Movement: Pause and Regroup?

After the brutal use of police violence on the protesters on June 12 and the quorum-busting move from Civil Contract on June 17, which prevented the opposition from holding a hearing on the topic of demanding Pashinyan’s resignation, the protest movement led by Bagrat Srbazan has announced that it will change tactics and use the tool of rallies and protests sparingly and tactically. Furthermore, the movement will be re-grouped and expanded, according to Srbazan.


  • What is your assessment of the movement so far?
  • What are the missing elements of success?

On June 12, one of the people associated with Bagrat Srbazan, a hitherto de-facto leader of the movement, Suren Petrosyan, was nowhere to be found. The Srbazan later announced that Petrosyan had been kidnapped. Then, there were conflicting reports that he was not kidnapped, and that he had participated in a “very long” discussion.

A discussion with whom? Why during the peak of the protests? And about what?

These questions were left unanswered by protest leaders and the Srbazan said that Petrosyan was out of the country for personal reasons and when he comes back, he should answer these questions himself. He seemed to remain committed to his initial news about “kidnapping”.

Afterwards, Suren Petrosyan gave an interview to 24 News, which lasted almost 90 minutes and raised more questions than answers.


  • What is your assessment of the role Petrosyan has played in the movement so far?

EU Parliamentary Shift to the Right

Earlier in June the EU held parliamentary elections, which clearly indicated a significant shift to the right. In France, Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party was defeated by a far right party called the National Rally. Macron has called for snap elections, to deal with what amounts to a vote of no confidence in his administration. In Germany chancellor Olaf Scholtz’s Social Democrats sank to 14% support, behind extreme far-right parties in his country. Meanwhile, Victor Orban’s nationalist party in Hungary underperformed, yet still managed to win.

We know that Macron has been a steady supporter of Armenia and Pashinyan; and Scholtz has become more involved in the mediation process between Azerbaijan and Armenia. We also know that Orban is a steadfast friend of Erdogan and Aliyev, and scuttles every pro-Armenian initiative inside the EU.


  • What’s your read of these political-tectonic shifts within the EU?
  • How does it shift the relationship of the EU towards Russia, Ukraine, and the whole “Eastern Front”?

Armenia and EU Membership

Last week, a fringe group of one-man political parties, almost all of them loyal to Pashinyan, held a discussion in a committee of the Armenian National Assembly. The topic was that Armenia should join the EU and the participants were urging the ruling party to organize a referendum, in September, on this topic.

Joining the EU was not in the program of Civil Contract in the last elections. None of these fringe political parties have any seats in the parliament.


  • What do these shifts to the right in Europe mean for Armenia, and the South Caucasus in general?
  • What are the true motivations for having these discussions now?

Renewed Azerbaijan Threats of War

Over the past few weeks, Azerbaijani propaganda has again started spreading news that Armenia is violating the ceasefire regime almost on a daily basis. This is a telltale sign that Azerbaijan is planning its next diversion. The EU Monitoring Mission responded that there were no observed violations by Armenia in the locations alleged by Azerbaijan. But Armenia’s mellow response to these allegations was to simply propose joint mechanisms to investigate the violations, for the manieth time.

Then, after the announcement of the purchase of the French CAESAR self-propelled Howitzer systems, Azerbaijan stepped up its aggressive rhetoric., a site associated with the Azerbaijani defense ministry ran a report with the headline: “Third Karabakh War becomes inevitable”

Armenia meanwhile dismissed Azerbaijan’s claims and said that the latter was looking for reasons to derail the negotiations and not sign a so-called “peace treaty” in 2024. Furthermore, it accused Azerbaijan of seeking to begin a new war after COP29 in Baku, in November.


  • One week Armenia’s officials are reporting that peace is extremely close, another week there’s talk about war. What is the status of the Armenian Azerbaijani talks?
  • There are expectations that COP29 is a significant date for the signing of some form of an Armenian-Azeri agreement. Can you discuss why that is?
  • Is there some sort of non-public agreement behind the scenes that they’re not telling the Armenian public about?

Announcement of CAESAR Artillery Acquisition

On Tuesday it was reported that Armenia will purchase an unspecified number of CAESAR self-propelled howitzer artillery from France. France will also conduct “mountain combat training courses” for Armenian forces.


  • How serious of an acquisition are these French systems?
  • Will Georgia pass through these military acquisitions, when all of its other neighbors (Turkey, Russia, Azerbaijan) have reacted negatively to it?
  • What will Armenia do about the NATO standard artillery shells, which are in deficit?

Did Pashinyan Get Marching Orders from Erdogan?

On Tuesday Pashinyan talked with Erdogan and discussed “recent developments of the regional and international agenda”. No details were provided, in fact there were no statements from Erodgan’s side at all.

On Friday, Armenia recognized the state of Palestine, and Turkey was the first country to commend Armenia for doing so.

There were other questionable moves throughout the week, such as:

  • On Wednesday Pashinyan initiated the drafting of a new Armenian constitution.
    • Both Turkey and Azerbaijan have threatened that Armenia must change its constitution, and Pashinyan has tried to socialize their demands to the Armenian public.
  • On Friday, Pashinyan had a meeting with the iGorts program, where he said that the Diaspora as an institution should have no formal role in Armenia’s affairs and vice versa.
    • Both Turkey and Azerbaijan have repeatedly painted the Armenian diaspora as their #1 enemy and have asked Pashinyan to break away from the “captivity” of the Diaspora.


  • Are these events related? Is Pashinyan consulting, or coordinating his moves with Turkey? Or is he simply getting his marching orders there?
  • Does Armenia’s recognition of a state of Palestine at this moment in time provide any diplomatic or other gains?
    • Note: I fully believe such a recognition is the right thing, I’m more interested to understand the timing, and its significance right now.
  • Israel warned of unspecified “long-term consequences” to relations, following Armenia’s recognition. What could those be?

Thoughts from the Participants

  • Dziunik: Daghestan and sleeping cells inside Russia being activated by the west.
  • Hovik: Pashinyan’s damaging message to the youth of Armenia in their schools.


That’s our Week in Review, we hope you found it 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.


Dziunik Aghajanian

Dziunik Aghajanian

Ms. Dziunik Aghajanian has served Armenia through the ranks of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and most recently as a diplomat, as Armenia’s Ambassador to such countries as the Netherlands, Malaysia, and Indonesia. She received her education at Yerevan State University, Columbia University in NY, and Uppsala University in Sweden.


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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