17 January 2022: Week to Week by Armenia Media with Shahen Araboghlian

By Shahen Araboghlian – Armenia Media | Monday, 17 January 2022

Week to Week / ՇԱԲԱԹԷ ՇԱԲԱԹ

By Shahen Araboghlian – Exclusively for Armenia Media

Hey there, folks! I hope your weekend was full of health, success, and joy.

From talks with Turkey to Azerbaijani aggression, read along to know what happened this past week.

Azerbaijan Refuses to Shy Away From Their Occasional but Continuous Anti-Armenian Aggression

Image caption: Rudik Gharibyan was among the victims of the Azerbaijani aggression of last week. (Image by COAF)

Combat drones sent by Azerbaijan brutally murdered Vahan Babayan, Artur Mkhitaryan, and Rudik Gharibyan last week during an aggression against the Geghargunik province of Armenia proper. The situation is reportedly stable since.

For this section, I’ll be focusing on Rudik, an active Wikipedia editor just like me. Rudik was the first graduate of the Children of Armenia Fund’s (COAF) SMART curriculum. I contacted one of Rudik’s friends who’s currently serving in Artsakh and asked to remain anonymous. “He [Rudik] was so passionate about everything, wanted to explore and explore more. He was someone full of emotions and energy and dreams. He had this dream to see the Statue of Liberty. [Rudik was] always smiling and making peoples’ days,'' his friend told me. May Rudik’s knowledge-seeking soul rest in peace.

Football Diplomacy Between Armenia and Turkey Kicks off for Its Second Round – Sans Football

Image caption: Football Diplomacy, Resumed (Image from MFA Website)

Football diplomacy – a phrase coined by political analysts – was used to refer to the normalisation process initiated between Armenia and Turkey when both countries were under different administrations more than a decade ago. In 2009, former RA President Sargsyan invited former TR President Gül to a FIFA World Cup qualifier game between the two countries, hosted at the Hrazdan Stadium in Yerevan, Armenia. The normalisation process was formalised into the Zurich Protocols but never ratified by either countries’ parliaments. It now has kicked off for a second run.

Ruben Rubinyan and Serdar Kılıç, both representatives of their respective countries to the normalisation process, have met in Moscow on the 14th of January. Though we don’t know much about what was discussed during the meeting, “parties agreed to continue negotiations without preconditions aiming at full normalisation.” Russian MFA Lavrov praised the meeting, and the EU expressed its full support. A second similar meeting will take place at an unannounced date and location.

French Politicians Outraged Against Azerbaijani Authorities, and For Good Reason

Image caption: MEP Nathalie Louiseau Slams Azerbaijan’s Ambassador to France (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

French Republican MP Dino Cinieri quit and did not sign the French-Azerbaijani Friendship group agreement, stating he will “not endorse hateful practices which clearly reveal a desire to destroy a people, its culture and its faith. 106 years after the genocide that aimed to exterminate the Armenians, history repeats itself. There can be no friendship with torturers.”

On the other side of the French political aisle, former French Minister of European Affairs and current Foreign Affairs’ Security & Defense Sub-Committee President, MEP Nathalie Louiseau was not happy with Azerbaijan this past week. In a tweet, Azerbaijan’s ambassador to France had de-legitimized the role of the OSCE Minsk Group by quoting AZ President Aliyev. MEP Louiseau responded, asking him to respect the country he serves in, reminding him that the conflict is not resolved, that France serves asm co-chair of the Minsk group, and Armenia had 3 victims from Azerbaijani aggressions the day before alone.

News Worth Mentioning:

Image caption: Fly Arna Officially Becomes Armenia’s National Carrier Airline (Image From Fly Arna’s YouTube Channel)

  • Fly Arna is officially Armenia’s national carrier and will start operations in May. Ani Papanyan, Legal Counsel at the Armenian National Interests Fund – a shareholder of Fly Arna – tells me she's hopeful the airline will achieve success and looks forward to see the airline launched soon. Fly Arna is a joint venture with AirArabia.

  • Armenian CSTO servicemen have returned from Kazakhstan after deployment amidst nationwide anti-government protests.

  • The past week marks 32 years since the Baku pogroms. See a testament from the New York Times’ coverage here, chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov’s first-hand testimonies here, and the condemnation of the violence against Armenians expressed by the European Parliament here.

  • The UN Human Rights Council has elected Geneva UN rep Andranik Hovhannisyan as Vice President of the Council.

Multimedia Corner

Image caption: The Armenian-American by Alan Semerdjian, courtesy of Armenian America

Here is some cool content I found this past week that I hope you’ll enjoy too:

  • Read: The Armenian-American Action Network recently launched a new publication called “Armenian America” that tackles identity-centric topics fresh from the Armenian community in the US. Read my favorite piece from their publication (so far) here.

  • Listen: Last Letters by Gor Mkhitarian. Old but gold, this song is a fan favorite from Mkhitarian’s repertoire.

  • Watch: Armenian YouTuber Patil Toutounjian tours around Yerevan and tells us what’s open at 7am in town, something pretty rare. Watch it here.

  • Learn: Xenophon got drunk in Armenia in 401 BC. What?! Find out here.