Armenia indirectly ‘responds’ to Lapshin’s extradition to Baku
Armenian Prime Minister, Karen Karapetyan annulled his February 7 decree, under which Deputy Police Chief was supposed to travel to Minsk to participate in the festive events dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Belarusian militia. Under the Premier’s new decree, Yeghiazaryan’s visit to Belarus has been canceled.
As Lragir.am pointed out, this is actually Armenia’s first move again Belarus within the context of a high-profile case of the Russian blogger, Alexander Lapshin.
Alexander Lapshin, a prominent Russian blogger, was arrested in Belarus on the Azerbaijani side’s request, on December 16, 2016. According to Baku, Lapshin illegally visited Karabakh in April 2011 and October 2012, without getting the Azerbaijani side’s official permission. Thus, he violated the provisions of the Law on State Border of Azerbaijan and the Law on Passports.
In addition, on April 6 and June 29, 2016, Alexander Lapshin made the blog posts, calling for recognition of the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Lapshin was extradited to Baku on February 7.
Although Lapshin is a citizen of Russia and Israel, his extradition indirectly concerns Armenia too, since the matter concerns international persecution of individuals who travelled to Karabakh by Azerbaijan. In other words, Armenia’s reaction is not surprising.
Various options of reciprocal moves have been discussed in Armenia these days. Namely, a protest rally, organized by the Yelk opposition alliance, was held outside the Belarusian Embassy in Yerevan on the eve. The rally participants demanded that Belarusian Ambassador to Armenia, Igor Nazaruk, leave the country. Meanwhile, Vahram Baghdasaryan, the head of faction of the ruling Republican Party in Parliament, insisted on Belarus’ expulsion from the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization).
According to Lragir.am, the first move has been made – the visit of the Deputy Chief of Police has been cancelled and it’s quite possible that it wasn’t the Prime Minister’s decision, but rather that of President Sargsyan, who held the National Security Council session this morning.