Zareh Sinanyan fiddled his violin during visit to eastern US cities while Armenia, Artsakh burned

Republic of Armenia’s High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs Zareh Sinanyan in Washington, D.C., March 2023

Armenia’s High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs Zareh Sinanyan just concluded a so-called “working visit” to meet Armenian-American representatives in Philadelphia, Boston, Providence, New York City, northern New Jersey and Washington, D.C. The press releases issued by his erstwhile public relations machine back in Yerevan have broadly reported a successful trip detailing meetings and visits to local points of interest, along with photos of the High Commissioner with a handful or fewer of community members in each location smiling for the camera.

It is unclear why and for what purpose Sinanyan parachuted into the US eastern region to take a tour of our communities. The focus of the government of Armenia should be on the current situation in our homeland. Armenia is under red alert as Azerbaijan steadily chips away at Armenian territory along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border and kills Armenian civilians living in those border areas to convey a chilling message of more and worse to come. Meanwhile, the Republic of Artsakh’s 120,000 Armenian men, women and children have been locked in what is left of their country under the Aliyev region’s months-long blockade, which is really a campaign of ethnic cleansing occurring in broad daylight.

It is also unknown why the High Commissioner thought the timing of his visit to eastern region Armenian Diasporan communities would be welcome at a time when our focus has been on advocating and protesting for the safety and security of the people of Artsakh and the survival of Armenia in the face of the current existential crisis facing both nations.

For Sinanyan’s winter 2023 visit to our communities, Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) local representatives decided to be in the rooms where Sinanyan planned to meet with Diasporan representatives. We were curious to know why this Armenian government representative was in town, and we wanted to hear his responses to our pointed questions about the Armenian government’s efforts to address current threats to the very existence of Armenia and Artsakh.

The exchanges that occurred in Sinanyan’s meetings do not resemble the staged press reported by his office. While it was quickly apparent that Sinanyan wanted to promote his office’s repatriation, and especially, youth programs, his answers to questions posed by ARF representatives in the meetings were revealing.

For example, Sinanyan admitted that the Pashinyan government had multiple failures during the 44-day Artsakh war, openly stating that he knew within the first two weeks of the war that Armenia and Artsakh were literally engaged in a losing battle due to Armenian government incompetence. He specifically disparaged the Armenian government’s ability to get critical supplies to the Artsakh frontlines of the war due to strategic and communication gaps. Regarding the recent dismissal of former Artsakh state minister Ruben Vardanyan, Sinanyan claimed that he had no information about Armenian government involvement to have Vardanyan dismissed from office and did not connect Artsakh’s survival to Armenia’s continued existence as a nation.

Sinanyan opined that Russia is no friend to Armenia and has been pushing for the realization of the so-called “Zangezur” corridor desired by Azerbaijan. He also offered that someone from his office should be detailed to each of Armenia’s embassies around the world because diplomats currently devote more attention to Diasporan community matters rather than their diplomatic duties.

In his post-trip press releases, Sinanyan claims he “discussed the need for cooperation among Armenian-American elected officials in order to effectively advocate for the Armenian cause” and “discussed the need for unity and cooperation within the Diaspora in order to effectively utilize the Diaspora’s resources in support of Armenia and Artsakh.”

Thanks for conveying these “revelations,” Zareh Sinanyan. We suggest that you save the Republic of Armenia much-needed dram and stop your junkets to our communities to extend platitudes and orchestrate photo ops. Our informed and engaged Diasporan communities have been working 24/7 to save Armenia and Artsakh. What have you and the government you represent done lately?


  1. This is not a reporting fit for Armenian Weekly to be presented to its readers who are interested to learn about Diaspora and Armenia relations that pertain to education, science, technology, business, immigration and so forth and which transcend well beyond the internal politics of Armenia and are within the realm of Armenia Diaspora Affairs, headed by a high commissioner and not a minister.

    • I totally disagree. Great reporting, and nice work by the weekly staff. Keep up the good work.

    • Who told you what the publication should be or what it is?

      Perhaps you missed the point that there ARE NO RELATIONS between the diaspora and the republic of Armenia. And why would there be when all we see are these also rans in office… like the new Minister of Security who used to hem dresses in a dress shop.

      No wonder we are losing ALL of our lands… the Turks and Azeris are laughing so hard they are getting hernias…

  2. If you want to be taken seriously as a publication, you have to do better with your overall writing and just as importantly, with your editing. You even write with an accent. This is terrible. Do better.

    • I think there are enough people who take the first Armenian American newspapers (1899) seriously. I also love the “accent” and this is a great editorial.

  3. Is this reporting or just someone’s personal opinions? This is not the quality of article expected from a stablished weekly news. Creating a better link between Armenia and its diaspora should be a major effort, and working hand in hand is critical at this time. These type of articles just feed the seed of divid. It is very unpleasant to read.

  4. “He also offered that someone from his office should be detailed to each of Armenia’s embassies around the world because diplomats currently devote more attention to Diasporan community matters rather than their diplomatic duties.” Has anyone seen Lilit Makunts recently?

  5. I have an open mind and ties to all Armenian political factions in my local community, so I’m not seeking to attack anyone with this comment but offer critique of it. For full disclosure, while I did not know Sinanyan, I was given the opportunity to meet with him to discuss the interesting Armenian history of his city and thus had an up-close vantage of the trip. While the editorial describes his trip as “pointless”, a characterization I of course would dispute, from what I saw local members of the ANC and ARF tried to sabotage it every step of the way. They created a tempest in the teapot, trying to get his visits to local schools and churches canceled, while inflaming community members that Sinanyan is a dangerous character. While the trips did go on as planned, in some cases they were forcibly scaled down due to the controversy. It feels disingenuous to criticize a trip for not being effective enough after the fact after playing a role in trying to get it cancelled or ruined as much as possible.

    Furthermore, I find this sentence particular strange: “Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) local representatives decided to be in the rooms where Sinanyan planned to meet with Diasporan representatives.”
    What does this mean? It feels like an attempt to distance oneself from any involvement in the trip, using this very passive phrasing, when at least in my city ARF and AYF representatives were invited to be present. As the article says, AYF members asked Sinanyan tough questions, AS THEY SHOULD, but the phrasing makes it sound like they were guerilla journalists showing up unwelcomed to do so, when in actuality they accepted Sinanyan’s invitation to be there. His trip to my city at least ended up being a success, all things considered, and I’m glad he came.

    As I said, this is not a defense of Sinanyan, anything he’s said or his position in the Armenian government, but I think it is vital Armenia and the diaspora keep in contact and that we have forums like this to demand better from them. I do not feel from what I expected Sinanyan was given that courtesy by certain community members affiliated with the ARF, so I feel it my duty to call out what I feel is a rather disingenuous article, speaking my behalf of myself and no one else, for no other reason than I saw this and felt moved to reply from my own perception of the trip in my local community. I applaud the ARF, AYF, and all other groups for their passion and involvement in making Armenia better. I truly believe all of us have the same goals, just different ideas of how to get there.

    Also, perhaps a pedantic point but it sounds like whoever wrote it used big words to sound imposing and important without fully grasping what the word meant. Calling the his PR team “erstwhile” doesn’t make sense, as erstwhile means former. I assume the writer thought it meant something else.

  6. Funny how they ask for unity when they’re weak and they’re failing. As soon as they feel confident they’re all divide and conquer, persecute well known diasporans like the French guy…the call for unity vanishes.

  7. What’s pointless was an editorial like this that reads more like a Facebook rant of an unhinged person and totally beneath the value of a publication of the Armenian Weekly. The Diaspora High Commissioner does not need the permission of the ARF to meet with various segments of the Armenian Communities. His job requires such meetings and finding opportunities of collaboration between Armenia and the Diaspora. Those who want to participate are free to do so, those who don’t are welcome to stay away. He works on behalf of the government elected by the citizens of Armenia and the continual harassment he endures is an embarrassment to all of us.

  8. This seems to me a very biased form of reporting; the style and manner of writing which is very opinionated. Points could have been made diplomatically but this is an attack mission. I whole-heartedly dislike these sorts of articles as it puts to question the accuser rather than the accused.

  9. I believe the Editorial Board of the Armenian Weekly made a mistake in publishing this for the simple reason that articles like this make the Turks and Azeris happy. It also encourages the Turkish and Azeri scoundrels to continue doing their heinous ethnic cleansing campaign of our Armenian brothers and sisters who are struggling to survive in their ancestral homeland.
    I don’t know Zareh Sinanyan but it appears his job is to build bridges between the Armenian Government and the Armenian Diaspora. So he was here trying to do his job.

  10. Finally someone to have the guts to say this Sinanyan is useless. Firstly the MInistry of the Diaspora is useless except for sucking the money of the diaspora!I am a diaspora living in Armenia for over 16 years now and I have yet to see the Ministry of Diaspora help a diaspora in need of help because of the problems they have faced concerning the corruption of all of Armenia’s government which they are involved as well. So diaspora we aware do not give your money to anyone or any organization! You come to Armenia, do your planning and give your money to where you see fit. The rest is already in the history books on how the diaspora funded Artsakh and ALL the money was handed over to the azeri/turks in one shot!Diaspora has to unite and ask for answers or we will lose our country once and for all. We the people of Armenia deserve much better. The people of Armenia live in Armenia in awful means, hold on to this land, and we are outside of Armenia contributing to the white genocide which is taking our kids and white washing them into whatever they are environmentally exposed to. We need to move fast and unite and move to Armenia and demand for answers and take over before it is too late. COME BACK SAVE ARMENIA!

  11. The ARF certainly does not represent the entire diaspora. “Our informed and engaged Diasporan communities,” as you write, and many individuals welcomed Mr. Sinanyan and learned a lot from his comments and explanations, regarding the situation in Armenia and what we can learn from the past mistakes.

    Today, the Armenian Government is doing the impossible to have enough security for itself, since its strategic partner, Russia, is not honoring its obligations and is playing a pro-Azerbaijani policy, something that is causing so many difficulties to Armenia, and yet, for some mysterious reasons, the ARF continues its stupid and anti-Western political positions, although it divided the diaspora with its anti-soviet (which is basically anti-Russian. Someone has to read Ruben Darbinyan’s “The Russian Danger”) propaganda and work.

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