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Analysis / Armenia

Before and After Kazan...

Analysis / Armenia
The meeting of Armenia's and Azerbaijan's presidents, in Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia, on June 24, did not produce the hoped-for signed document on the basic principles that are to lead to a fuller document leading to a peaceful resolution of what is now a two-decades long conflict. The Armenian side, which won the military battles, continues to insist that there is no alternative to a negotiated solution. The Azerbaijani side talks about its increased military budget. In this context, the Kazan meeting was both a source of hope and cynicism. The Civilitas Foundation hosted two roundtable discussions with Caucasus analysts on the expectations and the realities. The six -- three from within Armenia, Alexander Iskandaryan of the Caucasus Institute, Historian Vahram Ter-Matevosyan and Tevan Poghosyan of the International Center for Human Development, and three from international organizations, Liz Fuller of Radio Free Europe, Laurence Broers of Conciliation Resources and Lawrence Sheets of the International Crisis Group -- presented their thoughts as did former Minsk Group American co-Chair Carey Cavanaugh. This pilot program is one of the types of programs being planned for the soon-to-be launched news and research-based live internet channel.

Oskanian Reacts to President's Strasbourg Statement

Analysis / Armenia
coeIn the President’s speech in Strasbourg at the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, and especially in the questions and answers that followed, there were many misrepresentations, but three in particular must be disowned by the administration.   

First, to claim that Armenia has not recognized the independence of Karabakh because Armenia accepts the principle of territorial integrity is to misrepresent Armenia’s position of the last 20 years, including his own years.

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Pawning in order to survive

Analysis / Armenia
inflationThe Armenian Statistical Service March report on Armenia’s economic activity is evidence that Armenia is not out of the woods of the economic crisis. Following 2009’s 14.3 percent decline – the second biggest drop in the world – it could have been expected that two years on, when the world has already come out of the crisis, our own economy would be growing at least 5 to 6 percent, year to year.  Instead, it appears that Armenia’s economy in March 2011 grew not at all compared to the same period last year.

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Oskanian: Call for Action on Hunger Strike

Analysis / Armenia
VOToday, I once again visited Raffi Hovannisian, former Foreign Minister of the Republic of Armenia and founder of the Heritage Party, who has been on a hunger strike for the past eight days. In speaking with him, it becomes clear that the leader of one segment of the opposition is determined to continue this political protest as an expression of his disagreement with current policies. Nevertheless, with every passing day, the hunger strike is affecting his health – the effects of which are visibly apparent.

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Vartan Oskanian on the Coalition's Statement

Analysis / Armenia

MHM15642_copyThe ruling coalition’s announcement highlights the authorities’ disregard of democracy, elections and the public will.  The ruling coalition has openly declared that in the upcoming parliamentary elections they are not prepared to do what political forces are fundamentally meant to do: that is, to enter into open competition


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Who Boycotts NATO?

Analysis / Armenia

IMG_7774_copyPresident Serzh Sargsyan’s failure to go to Lisbon was an additional foreign policy blunder and an involuntary sign that Armenia’s diplomacy has accepted defeat. Acting upset and boycotting the NATO summit will not bring Armenia any diplomatic dividends. The practitioners of Armenia’s foreign policy should have done their best to avoid an unacceptable statement on Nagorno-Karabakh.

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The Athens proposals: Armenia faces a difficult choice

Analysis / Armenia

Azerbaijan’s minister of foreign affairs has found generally acceptable the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs’ new version of the principles for the settlement of the Karabakh conflict, proposed last December in Greece. This is the first occasion since 1997 that Baku has found the mediators’ proposal acceptable.

Now, it is Armenia’s turn and it will be difficult for Armenia to say "Yes" to the version that took shape first in Krakow in July 2009, then in Athens at the end of 2009 and then in Sochi on January 25, 2010, because in contrast to the 2007 Madrid proposals, not only is the right of the people of Nagorno Karabakh to self-determination very vague, but in terms of removing the consequences of the conflict, Azerbaijan is at an advantage.

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Back to Basics

Analysis / Armenia

Armenia’s double-digit economic decline continues, and is approaching 20 percent. The question in everyone’s mind is how long this drop will continue and whether the government’s policies are effective or sufficient to stop and eventually reverse it.

Today there are two substantial problems with the government’s response to this economic situation. The first is that the government’s guiding document, the budget adopted for 2009, is obsolete. The document is based on 9 percent economic growth while today we are experiencing 18 percent decline. There is a 27 percent discrepancy in the budget. Such a distorted document cannot serve as a blueprint or even a simple guideline for the government’s economic programs.

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Agenda For National Mobilization

Analysis / Armenia

The topic of national mobilization is urgent today. Of course, given our size – small territory, small population – and given Turkey’s and Azerbaijan’s enormous capabilities and sophisticated machinery, we have always used all national and international resources albeit with varying intensity, scope, depth and effectiveness, but nevertheless we have used them.

Today, the changing circumstances around us, and the new challenges emerging before us, make the need for this kind of new mobilization more timely and necessary.

Let me cite four major reasons for this kind of mobilization at this time.

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Vulgarity Versus Political Debate

Analysis / Armenia
The political debate that should have taken place over whether and how Armenia’s delegation to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly can and should interact with the delegations of Azerbaijan and Turkey has not taken place. Instead, we have been witness to inappropriate – that’s a polite way of saying vulgar and insulting – assessments of the Armenian parliamentarian involved.

One wonders if a male parliamentarian had sought the support of Turkish and Azerbaijani parliamentarians on a resolution regarding Armenia’s domestic issues,  how would the political elite have reacted? Parliamentarian Zaruhi Postanjian is a woman, a member of the Zharangutyun (Heritage) party and a vocal, committed human rights advocate. Her political steps can be debated. Her personal life, patriotism and gender ought not.

It is at our peril that Armenia avoids political debate, sidesteps real discussion about the ever-tightening political situation in our region, especially vis-à-vis Armenia’s neighbors.  Offending those whose domestic policies are different, drawing fezzes on the heads of those whose policies towards our neighbors is perceived as too tolerant -- all this means foregoing political consensus in favor of imposed policy. There are social implications, too. Striking at the dignity of half of Armenia's population means women and girls will be even less willing and prepared to help build a country.

All because we refuse to get involved in the hard work of debating policy and articulating our vision of our future.
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Civilitas Spotlight


What can be expected of or for Syria in the immediate future? Can there be justice without peace? Can there be peace without an accounting and without justice? What do Syrians want? What does the international community want?

The guests are

Nicholas Koumjian

International Criminal Law Attorney

Vartan Oskanian

Member of Parliament

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs


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Facts for Thought
Number of theater performances (1) and attendance (2) in Armenia
(1) (2)
2008 2,364 409,500
2009 2,443 367,800
2010 2,331 394,800
2011 2,707 458,900
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