The Region in Brief

Armenia

Four lawmakers from the Armenia Alliance have resigned from their posts in protest of the parliamentary opposition bloc’s decision to end its boycott of the National Assembly. The four deputies are from the Resurgent Armenia party representing leaders from Armenia’s southernmost province Syunik. Two other deputies from Resurgent Armenia have kept their seats yet resigned from the party. The Armenia Alliance, which consists of members of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, and the I Have Honor Alliance launched a seven-month boycott of parliament in April in order to demand the resignation of PM Pashinyan. The boycott was accompanied by protests in response to what they saw as Pashinyan’s readiness to cede Artsakh to Azerbaijan. 

Azerbaijan

Senior Nakhichevan official Mansur Asgarov was arrested by Azerbaijan’s State Security Service on November 24 on charges of embezzlement. Asgarov, who is the head of the Customs Tariff Regulation and Payments Department of the State Customs Committee of Nakhichevan, has been accused of embezzling more than $59 million using fraudulent accounting. Other senior officials in the Customs Committee and other departments may be implicated in the charges as well. The arrest has sparked speculation that Nakhichevan, which has traditionally enjoyed a degree of autonomy from Azerbaijan, may be subject to heightened Azerbaijani control. 

Shahin Gadirov, a member of the Muslim Unity Movement, has been detained on four months pre-trial detention. Gadirov was arrested by plainclothes officers on November 23 and charged with drug trafficking this week. Nine members of the Muslim Unity Movement, a Shia activist organization, are currently in prison, including its chair Taleh Baghirzade. Baghirzade went on hunger strike earlier this year to protest the alleged mistreatment and torture of other members of his organization in jail. Azerbaijani human rights activists say the detainees are political prisoners targeted for their religious affiliation. 

Georgia

A new feminist, queer environmentalist party has launched in Georgia. The Georgian Greens party, which hosted its launch party on November 27, said it has already signed up around 400 members. “Our goal is to bring important issues to the fore in two directions. Green issues—ecology, the climate, environmental protection—and also equality issues, including the rights of queer people, women, people with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, and the rights of people from marginalized categories,” party co-founder Tamar Jakeli told reporters. There are about 200 political parties and independent politicians in Georgia. Georgia’s next parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place in 2024. 

Lillian Avedian

Lillian Avedian

Lillian Avedian is a staff writer for the Armenian Weekly. Her writing has also been published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Hetq and the Daily Californian. She is pursuing master’s degrees in journalism and Near Eastern Studies at New York University. A human rights journalist and feminist poet, Lillian's first poetry collection Journey to Tatev was released with Girls on Key Press in spring of 2021.
Lillian Avedian

@LillianAvedian

Graduate student @GloJo_NYU and @nyukevo. Staff writer @armenianweekly.
It's been over six weeks since #Azerbaijan closed the #LachinCorridor and blockaded #Artsakh. Gas and electricity s… https://t.co/vibVON7bSU - 5 days ago
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