A Conversation with
Episode 4 | Recorded on July 26, 2020
This week we saw the fighting in the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan simmer down and take a backseat to the political statements flowing in from around the world. In general except for Turkey and a few other countries, we’ve seen balanced statements from major countries and organizations such as the US, the EU, the UN, Russia and the CSTO.
Major journalists such as David Ignatius called on the US and Russia to seize this moment as a rare opportunity to collaborate towards peace in the Caucasus.
Meanwhile, Azerbaijan has called in Israel and Turkey to analyze the failures of its UAV/Drone arsenal, and also to upgrade to a fleet of Turkish drones which were highly effective against the Kurds and Russia in Syria. We’ve also had a full week of Jeyhun Bairamov in his new role as Azerbaijan’s foreign minister, following Mammadyarov’s humiliating dismissal by Aliyev.
We discuss the state of affairs since the cessation of fighting, and what the replacement of Azerbaijan’s long-time foreign minister portends for the future of negotiations with Armenia. Also, the drone wars and what that means for the future of warfare in the region.
We also spend some time into why, as the border quieted down, clashes have broken out in cities around the world between Armenian diaspora communities protesting against Azeri aggression against Armenia, and Azeri or Azerbaijan-supported protesters. In cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Moscow, Kiev, London, violence broke out between angry demonstrators. In San Francisco an Armenian school was vandalized with hate graffiti, while in Berlin a car belonging to the Armenian embassy was set on fire.
Armenia’s Security Council introduced a new National Security Strategy (NS Strategy) on July 10, 2020. The previous strategy document was adopted in 2007, in the final year of second president Robert Kocharian’s final term in office. Last week we had a conversation with Dr. Karena Avedissian on this topic. Her research focuses on social movements, new media/communications, civil society and governance in the former Soviet Union, with an area focus on Russia and the Caucasus. Here is that conversation.
The publication of the NSD came just before the border flare up and at a time when Armenia has been articulating a more assertive military doctrine known as a deterrence doctrine or in some circles “Tonoyan doctrine”. Azerbaijan may have been surprised at what appears to have been an aggressive counter response by Armenia.
One salient point we’ve noticed is that it seems that Armenia is making a deliberate effort to not use the term “Artsakh Republic” or “Nagorno Karabakh Republic” in the strategic document, which is a marked difference from the 2007 version. In explaining this change, Armen Grigoryan simply pointed to Pashinyan’s speech in Artsakh on August 5, 2019. That was the speech where Pashinyan said “Artsakh is Armenia, and that’s that”. Meanwhile, critics argue that this move de-emphasizes the right of self-determination, one of the key positions held by the Armenian sides throughout the last 30 years in negotiations.
Dr. Nora Arisian was elected to Syria’s parliament on July 19.
Mr. Jirair Reisian was elected to Syria’s parliament on July 19.
Lucy Esgenian Esq. was elected to Syria’s parliament on July 19.
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.
Asbed Kotchikian, is an Associate Professor of political science and international relations at the American University of Armenia.
Emil Sanamyan, a senior research fellow at USC’s Institute of Armenian Studies specializing in politics in the Caucasus.
Alen Zamanyan was a software engineer in Los Angeles. He moved to Yerevan, Armenia, in 2020. He has followed and analyzed Armenian affairs for over a decade.
Dr. Karena Avedissian’s research focuses on social movements, new media/communications, civil society and governance in the former Soviet Union, with an area focus on Russia and the Caucasus.
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 Groong and co-founder of the ANN/Groong podcast.