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CrisisWatch Armenia

Unchanged Situation

Amid ongoing standoff between govt and army, PM Pashinyan announced intention to resign and snap elections for June to pave way out of political crisis. Amid widespread popular anger over govt’s handling of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in Sept-Nov 2020, handful of anti-govt protesters 1 March stormed govt building in capital Yerevan demanding that Pashinyan step down as PM; group left shortly thereafter. Tensions subsequently remained high between Pashinyan and army. Following PM’s request in Feb to dismiss Chief of General Staff Onik Gasparyan for alleged attempted military coup, govt 10 March announced dismissal legally valid as President Armen Sarkissian failed to officially approve request within allotted time; in response, Gasparyan called dismissal “unconstitutional”, confirmed he had appealed to administrative court. Yerevan administrative court 19 March declared that Gasparyan had right to stay in current position; in response Pashinyan 23 March said ruling was unlawful and proposed new candidate for chief of general staff position. Pashinyan’s continued assertion that Gasparyan’s dismissal was effective despite Sarkissian’s refusal to approve it prompted dozens of senior military commanders to join calls for PM to step down. Pashinyan 18 March announced snap elections scheduled for 20 June – subject to parliamentary confirmation – and 28 March said he will resign as PM in April but stay in office as acting PM; Pashinyan 18 March added “snap parliamentary elections are the best way out of the current internal political situation”. Opposition 23 March ceased street protests and removed tents in front of parliament. Constitutional Court 26 March ruled that article 300.1 of Criminal Code is illegal, effectively ending court investigation into former President Robert Kocharyan launched by Pashinyan’s govt in 2018 to investigate Kocharyan’s order to disperse street protests in 2008.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

13 Jul 2020
Many people would be very surprised if clashes at the Armenia-Azerbaijan border spiral out into war, but that doesn’t mean something cannot happen, say, in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. OC Media

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus
2 Aug 2018
The general public sees Mr. Kocharian as a person responsible for accelerating the political stagnation that led to economic decline and social problems in [Armenia]. Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus
15 Nov 2017
The [Armenian] government generally supports a deeper militarization of society. The reforms discussed plan to merge everyday life with military service – the so-called 'army-society' model. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus

Latest Updates

De-escalating the New Nagorno-Karabakh War

Azerbaijan and Armenia are again at war over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region. Russia and France may be best-positioned to broker a ceasefire, but would need to offer parties prospects of attaining goals through talks. It will be a hard sell.

Video: Preventing a Bloody Harvest on the Armenia-Azerbaijan State Border

The fresh violence in the Armenia-Azerbaijan state border now threatens the livelihoods of many facing the impossible choice of leaving their crops to rot or risking their lives gathering their produce for market.

Preventing a Bloody Harvest on the Armenia-Azerbaijan State Border

Fighting in July interrupted what had been a stretch of relative quiet on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border. The incidents underscored how quickly and unexpectedly this front can erupt. The two countries should take better advantage of a hotline created in 2018 to avoid dangerous misunderstandings.  

Also available in Русский

Qaralar: the Fears of an Azerbaijani Village on the Border with Armenia

Settlements in proximity to the trenches on the Armenia-Azerbaijan state border render civilians on both sides equally vulnerable.

Armenia and Azerbaijan: The Waters of Joghaz Reservoir

Water was once abundant in the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, thanks to a network of reservoirs and irrigation pipes, but today shortages are chronic.