SpecialEurasia’s Official Visit to Armenia: A Summary

National Assembly of Armenia
The National Assembly of Armenia (Credits: SpecialEurasia)

From June 8th to June 16th, 2024, SpecialEurasia conducted an official visit to Armenia as part of the research and editorial project, Kavkaz Files ISSN 2975-0474.

This visit followed a previous one in October 2022, allowing the team to assess the substantial changes in Armenia’s foreign policy, economy, and societal dynamics.

Since the pivotal event in September 2023, where Azerbaijan completed its conquest of Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh, the regional dynamics have shifted dramatically.

Foreign Policy Dynamics

In the realm of foreign policy, SpecialEurasia met with Paruyir Hovhannisyan, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. This was the second meeting with Mr Hovhannisyan, after that of October 2022, who elaborated on Armenia’s current strategy to ensure national security. Central to this strategy is the “Crossroads of Peace” project, which envisions the possibility of normalising relations with Turkey.

Concurrently, the U.S. delegation was in Armenia to enhance cooperation between Washington and Yerevan concerning the peace process and defence. Discussions with Mr Hovhannisyan underscored Armenia’s shift towards diversifying its strategic partnerships, marking a significant departure from its historical reliance on the Russian Federation. This diversification aims to bolster Armenia’s security and economic stability amid a volatile regional landscape.

Silvia Boltuc and Paruyir Hovhannisyan SpecialEurasia
Silvia Boltuc and Paruyir Hovhannisyan_SpecialEurasia

Economic Assessment and Investment Climate

The economic dimension of Armenia’s development was a focal point of SpecialEurasia’s visit. A significant meeting with Levon Ohanesyan, the CEO of Enterprise Armenia, provided valuable insights into the country’s economic policies and investment climate.

Enterprise Armenia, a government agency, dedicates itself to creating a supportive environment for both foreign and domestic investors, positioning Armenia as a premier investment destination globally. Discussions covered various facets of Armenia’s economy, investment opportunities, and the agency’s programmes to attract and support entrepreneurs.

This meeting built upon the insights gained from previous interviews in October 2022 with Vahan Kerobyan, the Minister of Economy, and representatives from the Armenia National Interest Fund (ANIF). These earlier discussions offered a comprehensive overview of the economic environment, which SpecialEurasia used to evaluate current conditions.

Ongoing efforts to attract investment and foster economic growth has shaped the economic landscape in Armenia, despite the challenges posed by regional tensions and internal political issues.

Silvia Boltuc and Giuliano Bifolchi with Levon Ohanesyan_SpecialEurasia
Silvia Boltuc, SpecialEurasia Managing Director, and Giuliano Bifolchi, SpecialEurasia Resaerch Manager, with Levon Ohanesyan, CEO of Enterprise Armenia (Credits: SpecialEurasia)

Domestic Politics and Social Movements

Significant social unrest and political mobilisation marked the domestic political scene in Armenia during SpecialEurasia’s visit. A notable development was the rise of the “Tavush for the Homeland” movement, led by Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan, the Primate of the Diocese of Tavush.

This movement, acquiring traction among parts of Armenian society and refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh, has been vocal in its demand for the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and the call for new elections.

SpecialEurasia witnessed several rallies organised by this movement in Yerevan, particularly in front of the National Assembly of Armenia. The protest in front of the Parliament, involving men, women, children, and elderly individuals, resulted in clashes with the local police, leading to injuries and arrests among the demonstrators.

The team’s observations aimed to determine whether “Tavush for the Homeland” could emerge as a significant political force in Armenia’s future domestic politics.

Police forces in Armenia
Police forces in Armenia near the building of the Government (Credits: SpecialEurasia)

Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan_SpecialEurasia
The Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan during the rally in front of the Armenian Parliament (Credits: SpecialEurasia)

In domestic politics, SpecialEurasia also met with Maria Karapetyan, a member of the Civil Contract and a representative of the National Assembly of Armenia. This discussion delved into recent political events and assessed the social dynamics within Armenia. Despite hopes for regional peace, the country faces internal challenges such as the growing influence of the “Tavush for the Homeland” movement.

The insights from these meetings highlighted the complex interplay between Armenia’s desire for peace and stability and the internal pressures that could shape its political future.

Silvia Boltuc and Maria Karapetyan 2_SpecialEurasia
SpecialEurasia Managing Director, Silvia Boltuc, and Maria Karapetyan, member of the National Assembly of Armenia (Credits: SpecialEurasia)

In conclusion, SpecialEurasia’s visit to Armenia provided a comprehensive understanding of the country’s developing foreign policy, economic environment, and domestic political landscape. The significant changes since the last visit in 2022 underscore the dynamic nature of Armenia’s regional and internal affairs, reflecting both challenges and opportunities in its path forward.

SpecialEurasia will publish soon the interviews and the conversations of the meetings with Armenian representatives. For further information and risk assessment about Armenia, feel free to contact our team at info@specialeurasia.com.

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