The week started with a series of geopolitical activities focused on the West featuring meetings, discussions, and statements.
On January 8, Armen Grigoryan, the Secretary of the Security Council of the RA, held a meeting with Louis Bono, the advisor of the US Secretary of State for Caucasus negotiations and the American co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group. Their discussions centered around the process of regulating Armenian-Azerbaijani relations and referred to the recent negotiations, including the implementation of the agreements. Additionally, the deputy chairman of the RA National Assembly, Ruben Rubinyan, also engaged in discussions with Bono, focusing on the “normalization” process of Armenia-Turkey relations.
Moving forward to January 9, Greek MFA Yorghos Gerapetritis arrived in Yerevan.Ararat Mirzoyan, the MFA of RA, greeted the minister, and discussions were held, culminating in a press conference. During the conference, the Greek minister emphasized Greece’s acceptance of regional sovereignty, advocating for a peace agenda based on fundamental principles.
During the press conference, the Greek minister stated: “Greece accepts regional sovereignty, and the peace agenda should be advanced on the basis of cornerstone principles. Greece monitors the actions of the Caucasus region. From the very first moment, we expressed our solidarity with the Armenian people and sent humanitarian aid to the people who were in need after these massive atrocity actions.”
In response to developments in Armenian-Azerbaijani relations, the Foreign Ministry of RA stated, “In the latest proposals presented by the Azerbaijani side regarding the peace treaty, the Armenian side sees both a certain regression in a number of articles and a certain progress in several other directions.” They highlighted the receipt of new proposals from Azerbaijan and stressed the potential for tangible progress if both parties adopt a constructive approach.
However, Azerbaijan’s President maintained a confrontational stance, avoiding the term “peace” and openly threatening Armenia with war, emphasizing demands such as the opening of the “Zangezur Corridor.” The lack of intent to recognize Armenia’s sovereign territory and persistent demands create a challenging dynamic in the region.
In a positive development though, Azerbaijan’s expansionist statements did receive some responses from Yerevan. Iran’s Ambassador to Armenia, Mehdi Sobhani voiced opposition to anything violating Armenia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The Northern frontline remains active, marked by controversial statements from the Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, denying ethnic cleansing in Artsakh and deflecting responsibility regarding Russian peacekeepers’ effectiveness.
As an answer to concerns regarding Russian peacekeepers and their failure in Artsakh, she answered: “Armenia’s statements that the Russian peacekeepers did not protect the population of Karabakh are attempts to manipulate the facts in order to remove responsibility from them.It was under the auspices of the European Union that the Armenian side in Brussels recognized Nagorno-Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan, forgetting about the rights and security of the Armenian population. You all know how this ended.”
Meanwhile, tragedy struck the Armenian Army with the deaths of two soldiers, Karen Karapetyan and Senior Lieutenant Mikael Danielyan. Unfortunately, unlike in the case of bad quality hangers, which resulted in the removal of two governors, their deaths did not prompt accountability within the Ministry of Defense. Both were found with gunshot wounds the same day. Meanwhile, tragedy struck the Armenian Army with the deaths of two soldiers, Karen Karapetyan and Senior Lieutenant Mikael Danielyan. Unfortunately, unlike in the case of bad quality hangers, which resulted in the removal of two governors, their deaths did not prompt accountability within the Ministry of Defense. Both were found with gunshot wounds the same day. Days later,the body of serviceman Beniamin Manucharyan, born in 2003, was discovered under an avalanche, as reported by the Rescue Service. This tragic incident followed the Ministry of Defense of Armenia’s announcement on January 13, revealing that during the transition from a combat position to the permanent deployment location, Beniamin Manucharyan lost contact with his unit.
Nepotism persisted, evident in the appointment of Alexander Manucharyan, a peer of Defense Minister Suren Papikyan, as the acting director of the Monte Melkonyan Military Sports Academy. Additionally, Davit Khudatyan, Pashinyan’s godson, assumed the position of governor of Armavir.
Disturbing reports of a mayor attempting violence on a citizen in Stepanavan raised concerns. According to attorney Alexander Kochubaev, the delay in investigation and lack of action were linked to the mayor’s association with Defense Minister Suren Papikyan.
The week concluded with a peculiar turn of events as the Prime Minister’s decree saw Armen Abazyan, the director of the National Security Service, being released from and reappointed to the same position, the second time by the decree of the Prime Minister, within a span of 24 hours. Within that 24 hours, the ruling party deputies had changed the law, allowing the position of the director of the NSS to no longer hold a military position.
The change in law further granted the Prime Minister exclusive authority over the appointment and dismissal of the director of the National Security Service.