Author: Raffi K. Hovannisian

Don’t Tread on Me: Little Armenia’s Bottom Line at 20

YEREVAN – Armenia’s president Serzh Sargsyan might be a nice guy, but he came to power by force of failed elections. He should step down and finally oversee the conduct of post-Soviet Armenia’s first free polls since 1991, the year it declared independence. The nation he aspires to represent deserves no less. Democracy must become an Armenian benchmark, not a motto thrown about to Western “partners” and other interlocutors who toast that best of systems, but then kill it with their duplicitous policies. Sargsyan’s Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul is also a nice man, but he continues to represent a denialist regime that sponsors the killing of journalists such as Hrant Dink, strangles its minorities, and is the legal heir of the Ottoman Empire, which committed genocide against the Armenian people and dispossessed it of its ancestral homeland.  Gul’s and his just-too-sly foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s recent addresses at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg—and the outlandish bluster of EU Affairs Minister Egemen Bagis at Auschwitz—beg the point. Modern-day Turkey must face history and itself, recognize the great genocide, and cease its unlawful and inhuman occupation of Western Armenia. Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliev is not so nice, but he is more honest in his authoritarian and occupationist demeanor.  Mountainous Karabagh, or Artsakh, is Armenian land, his predecessors lost what they never had in a war of aggression...

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Whither CSTO: Russian Power, Armenian Sovereignty, and a Region at Risk

Yerevan — The second anniversary of blitzkrieg between Russia and Georgia underscores the unresolved geopolitical undercurrents in this region among the seas.  Landlocked by the forces of history from the Caspian, the Black and the Mediterranean, Armenia’s pivotal position remains encircled by a neighborhood in strategic turmoil. The inherent jeopardy flowing from Turkey’s now obviously disingenuous engagement of Armenia, the challenges posed by Azerbaijan’s graduation from its threatening language of war to its launch of a deadly attack in June, and the general escalation of tension across the Caucasus have combined to define the greater region as one at immediate risk of deepening instability. Against this backdrop of system-wide insecurity, Armenia is now facing a dangerous alignment of outside interests and internal shortcomings. While Yerevan’s “strategic” relationship with Moscow continues to serve as the bedrock for regional peace and security, the nature of the Armenian-Russian embrace is unduly lopsided. The asymmetry of the Russian-Armenian relationship is most manifest in the fundamental lack of equal and mutually respectful cooperation. After all, Armenia’s hosting of the only Russian military base in the area is no simple act of kindness, and must be anchored in a shared regard for each other’s interests. What is more, the Russian base is the only such facility outside of the Russian Federation where the host country receives neither rent nor reimbursement.  Armenia pays for the totality...

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Armenia’s Stand: Justice At Home, Justice Abroad

We are at the brink of a pair of wars, civil and regional, and it is better to speak now. Armenia, that ancient civilization deprived by the tragedies of yore of its capacity for contemporary statecraft, needs immediately to put its house in democratic order. Finally responsible for its own record, it also has legitimate expectations of the international partnership.

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Turkey, Armenia, and the Terrible Truth

Turkey has always had its share of decent folks. One close example is the righteous family who, during the great genocide and national dispossession of 1915, risked its own to save my grandmother Khengeni from certain death in the coastal town of Ordu. The stories of thousands like them have not been told because of the Turkish state’s official dialectic of denial.

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