The Region in Brief


Law enforcement have conducted a violent raid of Poligraf, a prominent electronic nightclub in Yerevan. Police stormed into the club in the early hours of Sunday morning and arrested over 40 people, including clubgoers and employees. Footage published by Poligraf shows at least 20 armed police officers rushing into the club and using force against onlookers. Law enforcement authorities say the raid was part of a “criminal investigation” in response to reports of drug use. The raid on Poligraf, one of the few safe public spaces for LGBTQ people in Armenia, has been condemned by civil society groups in Armenia, including Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly and Pink Armenia. “We are all part of a more significant cultural and creative industry under threat,” Poligraf said in a statement. “This is not just about our right to dance and express ourselves but about the core of our society.” 

A new study suggests that people from Armenia report low levels of satisfaction with their lives. The European Values Study compares results from the South Caucasus, Russia and several European countries. One-third of respondents from Armenia said that they are satisfied with their lives, ranking alongside Azerbaijan as the second-lowest response from among 20 countries. The survey also compared what values people believe are desirable to pass on to children. The largest share of Armenians prioritized good manners, hard work and feelings of responsibility—81 percent, 71 percent and 68 percent, respectively. Just 56 percent said tolerance and respect for other people, and 31 percent, independence.


Fifteen political parties in Azerbaijan have disbanded over the last two months. The parties, all of which are pro-government, voluntarily dissolved in response to a new law that’s placing tighter restrictions on political parties. The Azerbaijan Liberal Democrat Party, which has existed since 1999, said that it has no reason to exist following Azerbaijan’s victory in the 2020 Artsakh War. The new law requires that political parties have at least 5,000 members, all of whom must be registered with the government along with their home addresses. The Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights have warned that the law risks a “further chilling effect on pluralism in the country.” 


An Armenian civil activist in Georgia was attacked in Tbilisi three days before Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. Artur Mirzoyan said that three masked people beat him near his home and then ran away. He said that the attackers were trying to prevent him from marching to the Turkish embassy on April 24. “Since 2016, there have been attempts by government officials to prevent this protest near the Turkish embassy,” he told reporters. Mirzoyan is the head of Armenian Community, an organization that defends the rights of Armenians in Georgia. 

Lillian Avedian

Lillian Avedian

Lillian Avedian is the assistant editor of the Armenian Weekly. She reports on international women's rights, South Caucasus politics, and diasporic identity. Her writing has also been published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Democracy in Exile, and Girls on Key Press. She holds master's degrees in journalism and Near Eastern studies from New York University.

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