Media monitoring in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, 21-25 August, 2023
Friday, August 25, Georgia. The death toll in Chauvy has risen to 31
● Two more bodies have been found in the natural disaster zone in Shovi, the death toll has risen to 31. Two more people are still being searched for.
● A march of Ukrainians and supporters of Ukraine took place in Tbilisi. 24 August, in honour of Ukraine’s Independence Day.
● 8 people were poisoned by Nikora ready meals and the national food agency demanded to stop their production. The victims were diagnosed with salmonellosis. According to the company, the poisoning was caused by Graco chicken fillets supplied by Geo Distribution.
● Mikhail Saakashvili spoke out about the death of the head of Wagner in Russia: “Prigozhin’s murder means that Russia will soon enter an open stage of civil war. With this murder Putin is trying to prolong his existence. But everything will end very soon, not only for Putin, but also for the Russian state.”
● A magnitude 3.8 earthquake struck near Dmanisi in the Kvemo Kartli region.
● The opposition National Movement demands the presence of Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze at today’s extraordinary session of the City Council: “There are acute questions and sharply negative reactions in society to the planned construction of skyscrapers in Tbilisi, and Kaladze must give answers.”
📷 March of Ukrainians and supporters of Ukraine in Tbilisi. Photo by Zurab Tsertsvadze
Friday, August 25, Armenia. Yerevan has handed Baku a new package of proposals on the peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan
● France plans to bring a resolution to the UN Security Council to help the 120,000 residents of Nagorno-Karabakh, said Jean-Christophe Buisson, deputy director of the French magazine Le Figaro. He claimed that Paris and other major French regions will send a humanitarian convoy to Armenia next week.
● Yerevan has handed Baku a new package of proposals on the peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan, according to Nikol Pashinyan.
● Armenia hosted a meeting of the supreme Eurasian Economic Council. At the meeting, Nikol Pashinyan said that despite all the challenges and the difficult international situation, the EAEU is developing well, with the trade turnover within the Union growing steadily.
● The Russian Federation will supply 50 thousand textbooks for Armenian schools by the end of 2023, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said. According to him, there is great interest in Armenia to study at Russian higher education institutions. Currently over 5 thousand Armenian students study in Russian universities, and teachers from Armenia regularly intern in Russia.
● Viktor Krivopuskov, head of the Russian Society for Friendship and Cooperation with Armenia, was prevented from crossing the border at Yerevan’s Zvartnots airport. He was put on the persona non grata list.
● A planned Andro concert was cancelled in Yerevan. Azerbaijani musician Elman Zeynalov founded the Raava Music label which represents the artist. The concert was cancelled after a wave of complaints on Armenian social media. People wrote that their money should not be going to an Azerbaijani producer.
Friday, August 25, Azerbaijan. Aliyev did not receive the Belgian Foreign Minister, claiming her "pro-Armenian stance"
● Forced migrants are returning to the Lachin village of Zabukh. In the first phase, which starts today, 20 families (88 people) will be resettled.
● Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Ceyhun Bayramov has commented on Pashinyan’s statement that Armenia handed new peace treaty proposals to Baku. “Armenia has an interesting tendency – it does not respond for 30-60 days to the proposals put forward by Azerbaijan. “However, as soon as it puts forward proposals itself, it immediately announces it. Today, the Armenian Prime Minister set a new record. Earlier, as a rule, they made such statements 1-2 days later. Today, 40 minutes after the new package was sent to us, they have already announced it. “This shows which side is more serious about the process and who is really interested in it, and who prefers headlines and political statements.”
● The Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Belgium held a meeting in Baku. They discussed the agenda of bilateral and multilateral co-operation, as well as the situation in the region. Azerbaijani President refused to meet with Hajja Labib because of her “pro-Armenian statements” voiced in Yerevan on the eve of her visit to Baku.
● Representatives of Azerbaijan’s ombudsman visited Armenian serviceman Gagik Voskanyan, detained for illegal border crossing.
“Voskanyan expressed satisfaction with the conditions of detention, treatment and medical care,” the ombudsman’s office said.
● The Prosecutor General’s Office of Azerbaijan has put Karen Matevosyan, a resident of Khankendi (Stepanakert), who declared himself in social networks as “head of a militia” against the Azerbaijani authorities, on an international wanted list.
● Azerbaijani servicemen are taking part in the multinational military exercise “Agile Spirit 2023” in Tbilisi. Representatives of 21 countries are participating in the tactical and command-staff exercises. The multinational exercise is being organised in Georgia for the 11th time.
● Two Azerbaijani oil workers died as a result of collapse of concrete slabs in the Caspian Sea. The incident occurred while carrying out routine maintenance work at an oil collection point. The bodies of the victims were recovered from the water.
● The World Chess Cup awards ceremony was held in Baku. Norwegian Magnus Carlsen became the winner of the tournament. Azerbaijani grandmaster Nijat Abasov took fourth place.
Thursday, August 24, Azerbaijan. "We condemn the statements of the Canadian Foreign Minister against the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan"
● Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Ceyhun Bayramov will participate in the 78th High-Level Week of the UN General Assembly. The session starts on 19 September at the UN headquarters in New York.
● “We categorically condemn the statements of Foreign Minister Melanie Joly against the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan,” Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman Aykhan Hajizadeh said. The Ministry representative called on the Canadian authorities to prevent such inflammatory actions, respect the sovereignty of the republic and act within the framework of international law.
● The Presidents of Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan attended the opening of Mirza Ulugbek School No.1 in Fizuli, built on the initiative of Uzbekistan. The school has places for 960 students.
● Azerbaijani grandmaster Nijat Abasov lost to Fabiano Caruana in the return game of the match for the third place of the World Cup in Baku. The total score at the end of two games is 1:1. Today the rivals will play a tie-break.
Thursday, August 24, Armenia. In the crashed plane with Prigozhin was an Armenian Yevgeny Makaryan
● In the crashed plane with Yevgeny Prigozhin was an Armenian Yevgeny Makaryan. His call sign is “Makar”, he is one of the veterans of “Wagner”, formerly a district officer. He fought in Syria.
● “The humanitarian situation in the Lachin corridor is unacceptable”, the French president told Le Point and assured that “Paris is making every effort to resolve the issue”.
● Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin will visit Armenia on 24-25 August to attend the Eurasian Council meeting.
● “We are not preventing the adoption of the UN Security Council resolution on the results of the meeting, it is a lie” – this is how the US Embassy in Armenia responded to Armenpress to media publications that Washington pressurised the process.
● Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan received the personal representative of OSCE Chairman Andrzej Kasprzyk, who arrived in Armenia with the task to visit the Lachin corridor and report on the current situation.
Thursday, August 24, Georgia. "Ukraine has already won a great victory" - the President of Georgia addressed the participants of the "Crimean Platform"
● “Georgian Dream has become a dream of the Kremlin, so I don’t know why its representatives would come here, we are fighting exactly with the Kremlin. Their place is in Moscow” – Ukrainian Rada deputy Oleksiy Goncharenko responded to the journalists’ question why representatives of the ruling party of Georgia do not participate in the international summit “Crimean Platform”.
● “Thanks to its steadfastness Ukraine has already won a great victory and will be the final winner in this barbaric war, will regain its territories and will become the basis for a future safe and prosperous Europe” – Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili addressed the participants of the Crimean Platform summit.
● “Russia continues the policy of occupation of Georgian territories” – said the Georgian Foreign Ministry in response to the publication of an article by Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev, in which he says that Russia may annex Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Read more here
● On 3-4 September flights from Kutaisi airport will be diverted to Tbilisi and Batumi due to reconstruction works at Kutaisi airport.
● Famous writer Archil Kikodze issued a statement of solidarity with the boycott announced by the film-makers to the Ministry of Culture. He stated that he is severing all relations with the Film Centre, where the authorities have replaced the entire management. Read more about the boycott here
● Nick Beresford, permanent representative of the UN Development Programme in Georgia, has passed away.
● Georgia will ban blood donations for payment.
● A rally was held in Tbilisi in honour of Ukraine’s State Flag Day. On the Peace Bridge in the old part of the city, participants unfurled a 32-metre Ukrainian flag (pictured).
Wednesday, August 23, Azerbaijan. The largest investor, Norway's Equinor is studying the possibility of selling its assets in Azerbaijan
● An earthquake with magnitude 4.9 occurred last night in Jalilabad district. The tremors were felt in the neighbouring settlements with a magnitude of 4 points. There were no casualties and destruction.
● Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev paid an official visit to Baku. The two countries signed an agreement on the establishment of the Supreme Interstate Council.
● Azerbaijani Defence Minister and head of the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces discussed the situation in the region and security issues. During the telephone conversation Zakir Hasanov and Mohammad Bagheri also exchanged views on the prospects of military cooperation.
● Norwegian oil company Equinor (former Statoil) is studying the possibility of selling its assets in Azerbaijan. It is about, among other things, a share in the largest oil project “Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli”, Bloomberg writes. According to the sources of the publication, the interest of buyers to the assets, which can be estimated at about $1bn, is being assessed. Equinor has been operating in Azerbaijan since 1992 and is one of the largest foreign investors in the country’s economy.
● Azerbaijani chess player Nijat Abasov defeated American Fabiano Caruana in the first game of the match for third place at the World Chess Cup in Baku. The return game will be held today.
Wednesday, August 23, Armenia. "The rights and security of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh must be respected, I will remind my Azerbaijani colleague of this" - Belgian Foreign Minister
● Today the pre-election campaign for the elections to the Council of Elders of Yerevan starts. 13 parties and 1 alliance will participate in the elections to the Council of Elders. The elections will be held on 17 September.
● At a briefing in Yerevan the Belgian Foreign Minister said, the rights and security of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh must be respected, I will remind my Azerbaijani colleague of this.
● Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly will visit Armenia in September to participate in the opening ceremony of the embassy in Yerevan.
● A monument to Karen Demirchyan – former Prime Minister of Armenia, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Armenian SSR – is being erected in front of the Sports and Concert Complex named in his honour.
● Yerevan Zoo was has 10 new animals. Among them are two zebras, a white tiger, a bear, European deer and bezoar goats, listed in the Red Book. Currently, the capital’s zoo has about 150 species: 900 animals in total.
Wednesday, August 23, Georgia. 29 municipalities spent $800,000 worth of fuel in two years
● Belgian Foreign Minister Hajja Labib will arrive in Georgia after visiting Armenia. “I will be travelling to Yerevan, Tbilisi and Baku on a four-day visit which is packed with important meetings,” the minister wrote on her Twitter.
● The international exercise of NATO and partner countries Agile Spirit 2023 has begun.
● “For 2020-2023, 29 municipalities in Georgia spent a total of GEL 2 million 274,897 GEL (about $800 thousand) on fuel. In 2019-2020, instead of the recommended 10 cars, Zugdidi City Hall was served by 191 cars. Similar city administrations of Tallinn, Vilnius and Bucharest are not serviced by a single car,” reports the results of the investigation by the NGO Waste Detector.
● In the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone near the village of Akhalubani, the Russian military illegally detained two Georgian citizens, the SGB said.
● Mikheil Saakashvili: “I am in Putin’s captivity, but my goal is unchanged – to be a faithful servant of the people.”
● In Batumi, three people were injured by gunfire. Preliminarily, a father and two children were wounded. They were taken to the clinic. The incident took place on Asatiani Street.
● According to monitoring results of 5-9 August, water quality in the Black Sea is normal – reports the National Environmental Protection Agency.
Tuesday, August 22, Georgia. New anti-Western statements and accusations against the US ambassador
● “Harmful element” – this is how the deputy of the ruling Georgian Dream Irakli Zarkua called US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan: “You are harmful, Madam former Ambassador, I want to tell you this directly. You have not understood your mission, you do not take into account that you are a representative not of a party but of a state.”
● “Georgian Dream is a puppet party of Russia” – this is how American ex-Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger reacted to Irakli Zarkua’s words.
● US Ambassador Kelly Degnan believes that Georgia should “be careful when making political commitments in relations with China”. This is how the ambassador reacted to the conclusion of a strategic partnership agreement between Georgia and China. Here is an analysis of “Georgia and China: benefits and risks of friendship between them”
● Another anti-Western statement was made by the group “Power of the People”, which separated from the ruling party some time ago, but is considered to be its project. Members of the group call the accusations against Donald Trump “absurd” and continue, “If we follow [the rules applied against Trump], then all opposition activists, heads of all opposition TV channels and all chairmen of rich NGOs in Georgia should be detained.” Trump’s indictment alleges that “for more than two months after Election Day, the defendant spread lies that the election was rigged and he actually won.” Here is an analytical dissection of “The Power of the People: an anti-Western movement in the service of Georgia’s ruling party”
● Sopho Japaridze of the opposition United National Movement is launching a nationwide political campaign on behalf of jailed ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili. Dzhaparidze said she will submit citizens’ views to him in writing.
● In Batumi, a drunken passenger threatened the driver with a gun on public transport. Other passengers called the police. No one was injured as a result of the incident.
Tuesday, August 22, Armenia. A case against an Armenian resident who threw an umbrella at a prime minister has been referred to court
● Yerevan has submitted to the UN International Court of Justice written responses to Baku’s objections to Armenia’s lawsuit filed in September 2021. It stated that “Azerbaijan has been subjecting Armenians to racial discrimination for decades”, read more about the lawsuit here
● A case against an Armenian resident who threw an umbrella at a prime minister has been referred to court. The incident took place on 10 April, when Nikol Pashinyan arrived in the village of Malishka. The umbrella did not hit him and did not cause any harm. Immediately after the incident, criminal proceedings were initiated. The woman faces 2 to 5 years in prison.
● Armenian Foreign Ministry comments on why no document was adopted after the emergency UN Security Council meeting on Nagorno-Karabakh. “The UN Security Council meeting does not envisage this, it only envisages discussion,” the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman responded to journalists’ queries. View from Yerevan on the outcome of the UN Security Council meeting here, assessments from Baku here.
Tuesday, August 22, Azerbaijan. "Radio jamming (from the Armenian side) against GPS passenger aircraft travelling through Azerbaijani airspace"
● “Armenia’s illogical steps failed and did not lead to any result, and the Armenian side is trying to justify its destructive activities with false allegations,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ayhan Hajizadeh said.
● “Illegal Armenian armed formations use radio interference against the GPS satellite navigation systems of passenger aircrafts travelling through Azerbaijani airspace. As a result, there was a malfunction in the flight of AZAL passenger aircraft flying on the Fizuli-Baku route,” the defence ministry said.
● Export of goods from Azerbaijan to Russia has grown 1.6 times. At the end of the first half of the year it reached $621 million. Azerbaijan became one of the three largest suppliers to Russia among the post-Soviet countries.
● The price of infant formula has sharply risen in Baku. The price of goat milk-based formula has risen from AZN 83 [about $50] to AZN 111 [about $65]. Sellers of the capital’s large supermarkets say distributors, not they, determine the prices.
● Baku presents a postage stamp on the occasion of the World Chess Cup in the capital (pictured).
Monday, August 21, Azerbaijan. "Disgusting form of propaganda," commented a presidential aide in reference to France24
Monday, August 21, Armenia. A transgender man died in a fire in the center of Yerevan; reportedly, he was killed
Monday, August 21, Georgia. The leader of the pro-Russian "Alt-info" predicts turmoil and casualties in Georgia
Media monitoring in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, 14-18 August, 2023