Monday round-up of headlines from the Caucasus
• “Everyone [involved] has admitted that the [Karabakh truce] signed on November 9 by the heads of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan is the only available way to resolve the situation,” Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said while visiting Yerevan and Baku last week. Also, he warned that all attempts to revoke or reconsider any points of the agreement were doomed to fail.
• The truce is at the heart of continuing unrest in Yerevan. The organizers of the protests – 17 opposition parties – are no longer calling for the agreement to be denounced, however. Their only demand now is the resignation of prime minister Nikol Pashinyan who signed the document: “He must step down as soon as possible, since his remaining in power is a threat to our national security.”
• Pashinyan, in turn, has set about reshuffling his cabinet, a change that he says is necessary for the effective implementation of his ‘roadmap’ for leading the country out of its present crisis. As part of the plan, the ministers of defense and labour have been relieved of their posts, as has the head of the emergency response service.
• Meanwhile, the deployment of Russian peacekeepers in the Karabakh conflict zone (one of the conditions of the tripartite agreement) has been finalized. Turkish military forces will be joining the monitoring operation in the region one of these days. Who is deployed where and what will happen next? – a short explainer (complete with maps) from JAMnews.
• The EU delegation to Georgia has called on opposition MPs to end their boycott and start working in the new parliament, which was elected in the October 31, 2020 elections.
“One should not hope that the Turkish army will oust the Russian army from the Caucasus, and that something will radically change in this region.
Yes, there is competition between the two powers, their interests in this region collide, but both leaders are pragmatic politicians who perfectly understand when to stop and give way to the other,” Azerbaijani political analyst Shahin Jafarli reflects on Russian-Turkish relations, their role in the recent war in Karabakh and possible place in the future of the region.
Only candidates of the ruling Georgian Dream party took part in the second round of the parliamentary election in Georgia on November 21, after their counterparts from the opposition had withdrawn their candidacies in protest against the results of the 31 October election which they say were falsified by the government. The Dream ended up bagging all the 17 single-seat constituencies that were up for grabs
“Even if you were to organize a state-owned company selling cocaine, the enterprise will still be unprofitable. That’s how things work here,” JAMnews’ Inal Khashig weighs in on the severe energy crisis in Abkhazia and on why the local political elite may be to blame for it.
Armenia: 126,224 confirmed cases, including 1,952 fatalities, and 94,090 recoveries
Georgia: 104,732 confirmed cases, including 976 deaths and 85,639 recoveries
Azerbaijan: 93,094 cases. 1,131 people have died, 63,841 others recovered