Media monitoring in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, 9-13 October, 2023
Friday, 13 October, Georgia. Ten documents were signed during Orbán's visit, but he didn't meet with the president or civil society
● During prime minister Viktor Orban’s visit to Tbilisi, ten agreements were signed between Georgia and Hungary, including one related to family strengthening. Notably, the visit did not include customary meetings with Georgia’s president, opposition leaders, or civil sector representatives.
● Irakli Kobakhidze, chairman of the ruling party, expressed optimism regarding Georgia’s chances of receiving candidate status for joining the European Union.
● Salome Samadashvili of the Lelo party denied any discussions or plans for a partnership with former prime minister Giorgi Gakharia, who is now in the opposition.
● The new U.S. Ambassador to Georgia, Robin Dunnigan, presented her credentials to the president.
● Israeli Ambassador to Georgia, Hadas Meitzad, addressed the Georgian parliament, focusing on the situation in Israel following the Hamas attack. The meeting began with a moment of silence to honor the victims.
● The creation of the portal Mona.ge was announced. It aims to expose individuals and groups with past or current ties to Russia, potentially influencing Georgia. The portal’s name translates to “slave,” and it was initiated by two opposition parties: “Girchi – more freedom” and “Droa.”
● Chess grandmaster Nona Gaprindashvili was awarded the Order of Queen Tamar by the President, recognizing her exceptional contributions to raising awareness of Georgia, fostering a positive image of the country, and her remarkable sporting achievements.
● Georgian appliance retail company Elit Electronics acquired Elit Optimal in Azerbaijan and plans to open ten stores in the country. This follows a trend of Georgian businesses expanding into Azerbaijan, including ice cream parlor Luca Polare and cafe Entré.
● Approximately 100 Georgian applicants have expressed interest in studying at Russian universities, with a quota of 200 places available by 2024, funded by the Russian budget.
● The father of a 14-year-old girl, who was killed by her husband, was summoned for questioning as a victim. Murder charges have been filed against the victim’s mother and uncle as well. Read more here
Photo: Nona Gaprindashvili receiving the award from the president
Friday, 13 October, Azerbaijan. In Azerbaijan it is proposed to immortalize the name of President Ilham Aliyev
● President Aliyev will attend the meeting of the CIS Council of Heads of State in Bishkek today. Yesterday, he met with Russian President Putin there to discuss the relations between their countries.
● The ministry of labor and social protection of Azerbaijan has established a shelter for vulnerable groups in Khankendi. Residents receive three daily meals, with police ensuring security, and ICRC representatives visiting the place several times a day.
● Azerbaijan has rejected Armenia’s accusations of “ethnic cleansing” in Karabakh at the UN International Court of Justice and promised to create safe conditions for Karabakh Armenians to return to their homes. “Armenia’s accusations do not reflect the reality of what is happening in Karabakh. Moreover, they do not reflect the observations and conclusions of two UN missions that have visited the region,” said deputy foreign minister and member of the Azerbaijani delegation in the court Elnur Mammadov.
● “Azerbaijan and the countries of the region are working to strengthen peace and security, and Baku’s trust in Paris as an international partner, mediator and permanent member of the UN Security Council is equal to zero,” the Azerbaijani mission to the UN said. The day before, the statement of France and Armenia was presented at the 54th session of the UN Human Rights Council. Armenian media presented the document as a joint statement of 34 countries, but there is no such mention on the official page of the UN Human Rights Council.
● In Azerbaijan it is proposed to immortalize the name of President Ilham Aliyev. The initiator was MP Gudrat Hasanguliyev. On the eve of the meeting dedicated to the 20th anniversary of Ilham Aliyev’s first election as president of the country was held in the Azerbaijani parliament. MP Hasanguliyev, speaking at the meeting, proposed to build a city in Karabakh and name it in honor of the president, as well as to erect a mosque named after Ilham Aliyev in Khankendi.
● The Government Media Organization and the State Service for Special Means of Communication and Information Technologies have addressed the citizens of Azerbaijan in connection with the circulation of a fake address of President Ilham Aliyev to the people in social networks. It is noted that this address is prepared with the help of deepfake technology and has nothing to do with reality. In the “address” Aliyev promises citizens 5000 dollars for contribution to some investment project prepared together with Ilon Musk.
● The checkpoint between Dagestan and Azerbaijan “Yarag-Kazmalyar” will soon open after reconstruction. Recall that Azerbaijan’s land borders have been closed since March 2020. Officially, this is explained by the coronavirus pandemic.
Friday, 13 October, Armenia. Approximately 2,500 displaced people from Nagorno-Karabakh have left Armenia and are relocating to third countries
● PACE reported that Baku attempted to monitor Armenian officials using the Pegasus spy program. Similarly, Azerbaijani authorities sought to control journalists, independent media owners, opposition figures, and civil activists within their country, according to a PACE resolution.
● PACE adopted a resolution addressing the humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. It condemned Baku’s military actions on September 19, 2023, and called for measures to ensure the immediate safe return of Armenians to Nagorno-Karabakh, along with the protection of their rights. The resolution also demanded the release of all individuals detained in Karabakh, including prisoners of war. Establishing communication between Azerbaijan and its autonomous region of Nakhichevan through Armenian territory was deemed “impossible without Armenia’s consent and to the detriment of its national interests.”
● Former state minister of the unrecognized NKR, Ruben Vardanyan, who was arrested in Azerbaijan, had a phone conversation with his son. He reported being in normal condition and requested care for all the victims, as reported by News.am.
● The Armenian Embassy in Israel facilitated the return of three students from the EMIS International School (Tel Aviv) to Armenia.
● A qualifying game for Euro 2024 against Latvia took place, ending with a 2:0 victory in favor of Latvia.
● The Investigative Committee of Armenia uncovered an illegal drug laboratory, resulting in the detention of 5 individuals, including 2 Russians.
● Armenia ranked 9th in the World Population Review’s list of countries with low crime rates.
● Approximately 2,500 displaced people from Nagorno-Karabakh have left Armenia and are relocating to third countries. The government’s objective is to support their return and provide conditions for living and working in Armenia, as stated by Nikol Pashinyan during a Cabinet of Ministers meeting.
● Russia has reported attempts to advance the interests of the United States, the European Union, and NATO in the South Caucasus region through Armenia, according to Sergey Lavrov.
Thursday, 12 October, Armenia. France will demand a resolution within the UN Security Council on creating conditions for the return of Armenians to Nagorno-Karabakh
● France will demand a resolution within the UN Security Council on creating conditions for the return of Armenians to Nagorno-Karabakh, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said.
● “The reason for the exodus of Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians is Azerbaijan’s military actions and the blockade of the Lachin corridor.” This was stated by 34 member states of the UN Human Rights Council.
● Russia will continue contacts with Armenia – Putin and Pashinyan have stuff to discuss, – said Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov. He noted that there were “some substantive moments” during the recent talks between the two leaders.
● A poster about Armenian-Russian friendship and a banner depicting the flags of Armenia and the Russia were damaged in Ararat region.
● Representatives of the Hayakve initiative submitted a bill to the Armenian parliament, according to which “denial of the right of the Karabakh people to self-determination, as well as ignoring the fact of the Armenian Genocide” should be punishable by law.
● If the parliament does not accept the amendments, they say will start collecting signatures to hold a “referendum on the future of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.”
● Armen Ashotyan, deputy chairman of the opposition Republican Party, will remain in custody for another 3 months. He has been in custody since June 16. He is accused of abuse of office and money laundering during his tenure as the country’s education minister.
● An aeronautics festival is kicking off in Armenia. 20 balloon crews from 10 countries will take part in it. The first flight is scheduled for October 14.
Thursday, 12 October, Azerbaijan. "There are still groups of Armenian armed formations in Karabakh" - Ilham Aliyev
● There are still groups of Armenian armed formations in Karabakh, says Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev. Read more here
● Putin said he would meet with Aliyev at the summit of CIS heads of state in Bishkek.
● “After taking no steps to towards implementation of four UN Security Council resolutions, France now hypocritically calls for a resolution against Azerbaijan”: Azerbaijani foreign ministry.
● Earlier, French foreign minister Colonna said France would demand the adoption of a resolution that would create conditions for the return of Armenians to Karabakh.
● “Armenia’s statements that Azerbaijan is preparing for a new war are completely groundless,” said Elchin Amirbekov, the Azerbaijani president’s representative for special assignments. “We respect the territorial integrity of Armenia as well as all other countries of the world”
● Another 88 people (21 families) have returned to the town of Fizuli. Thus, 208 families (749 people) have now permanently settled in this town.
● Five people were killed and two others were injured in a fire in a dormitory in Hajigabul district last night.
Thursday, 12 October, Georgia. The mother and uncle of a 14-year-old girl who was killed by her husband have been accused of involvement in the murder
Wednesday, 11 October, Armenia. “There is a consensus in the EU to deepen relations with Yerevan” - Pashinyan
Wednesday, 11 October, Azerbaijan. “Historic conditions have been created for the normalization of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations” - Ilham Aliyev
● President Ilham Aliyev, met with Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Security council of the Russian Federation, during his visit to Baku. Discussions revolved around global and regional issues, as well as cooperation within international organizations. Aliyev underscored the significance of resolving regional matters through the “3+3” format, involving regional countries.
● Speaking at the Council of Ministers meeting of the ECO countries in Shusha, president Ilham Aliyev stated, “Historic conditions have emerged for normalizing Armenian-Azerbaijani relations, signing a peace treaty, and transforming the South Caucasus region into a zone of peace and cooperation.”
● Azerbaijani foreign minister Jeyhun Bayramov expressed Baku’s commitment to advancing the normalization of relations with Yerevan and the reintegration of Armenian residents in Karabakh.
● Turkish foreign minister Hakan Fidan, at the Council of Foreign Ministers meeting of the ECO countries in Shusha, emphasized, “The time has come to utilize all opportunities for sustainable peace, stability, and security in the South Caucasus.”
● Russian peacekeepers have closed another observation post in Karabakh, according to the Russian ministry of defense. The Russian foreign ministry’s official spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, mentioned that the activities of Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh would be adjusted to new conditions, and fundamental issues would be discussed with Baku.
● The Russian missile ship “Tatarstan” has arrived at the port of Baku, with a ceremonial reception held at the Baku International Marine Station. This visit is part of the Russian flotilla’s annual exercises in the central and southern areas of the Caspian Sea.
● Azerbaijan’s strategic foreign exchange reserves, as reported by the country’s Central Bank, have reached $67.5 billion, reflecting a 14.9% increase in January-September 2023.
● The Central Bank of Azerbaijan anticipates annual inflation to remain around 6%. In 2022, annual food inflation was recorded at 12.7%.
Wednesday, 11 October, Georgia. Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban arrived in Georgia
Tuesday, 10 October, Armenia. More than 50,000 Armenian citizens are subscribed to TG channels selling drugs
● Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan will not take part in the CIS Ministerial Council meeting in Bishkek. His deputy will, according to the ministry’s press spokesperson.
● “The exodus of Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh was forced, the region was and remains Armenian,” said Shahriyar Heydari, deputy head of the Iranian parliament’s Foreign Policy and National Security Committee.
● The PACE will urgently discuss the humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh on October 12, member of the Armenian delegation Vladimir Vardanyan said on social media.
● The Armenian Embassy in Israel calls on Armenian citizens in close proximity to the Gaza Strip to follow the instructions of the Home Front Service and stay put where they are.
● More than 50,000 Armenian citizens have subscribed to TG channels selling drugs, head of Armenia’s Investigative Committee Argishti Kyaramyan said. 49 Internet sites for drug trade have been identified so far, as well as 6 makeshift labs producing banned substances.
Tuesday, 10 October, Azerbaijan. Out of the 25 Russian peacekeeping posts in Karabakh, 14 are operated jointly with Azerbaijani forces
Tuesday, 10 October, Georgia. Strong winds have caused trees to topple and left several areas in Tbilisi without electricity
● Strong winds have caused trees to topple and left several areas in Tbilisi without electricity. Additionally, a wall collapsed on one of the streets, damaging several cars. The central districts of Vake and Saburtalo were the hardest hit, according to the mayor’s office in the Georgian capital.
● The Venice Commission has released a critical assessment of the Law on General Courts, submitted by the ruling party as part of the implementation of 12 European Union recommendations. While the assessment acknowledges the adoption of several amendments in June and September of this year, it points out that crucial earlier recommendations remain unaddressed.
● Former Georgian Foreign Minister Eka Tkeshelashvili was involved in a traffic accident in Lviv, as reported by Ukrainian media. She is currently hospitalized, and the accident, which occurred on October 8, resulted in the death of another individual.
● Starting in 2024, children who turn six years old before December 1 will be eligible to enroll in the first grade in Georgia.
Monday, 9 October, Georgia. A policeman and an officer of Georgian origin were killed in the confrontation with Hamas in Israel
Monday, 9 October, Azerbaijan. Russian peacekeepers have closed two additional observation posts in Karabakh
Monday, 9 October, Armenia. The Kremlin anticipates Pashinyan's participation in the CIS summit in Bishkek via video link
Media monitoring in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, 2-6 October, 2023