The Region in Brief


Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has defended charges against a woman accused of kidnapping his son. Pashinyan’s son Ashot encountered a protest organized by an NGO that advocates for the mothers of fallen soldiers. According to Armenia’s Investigative Committee, Gayane Hakobyan, whose son Zhora Martirosyan was killed in the 2020 Artsakh War, tricked Pashinyan into getting into her car and drove toward Yerablur Military Pantheon. Hakobyan said she had “nothing to lose” and would “decide whether to release him or not based on her emotions,” according to Pashinyan’s testimony. Hakobyan has been placed in pre-trial detention and faces time in prison. Parents of fallen soldiers and hundreds of supporters have organized street demonstrations to protest against Hakobyan’s detention.  

Thousands gathered at the “For the sake of Artsakh” rally organized by the Volunteer Movement NGO in the Kornidzor village in the Syunik province of Armenia on May 20. The protesters gathered at the Hakari bridge, where Azerbaijan has installed a military checkpoint and blocked travel along the Berdzor (Lachin) Corridor between Artsakh and Armenia. The purpose of the rally was to oppose “concessions imposed on Armenia,” “reaffirm our decision to own Artsakh and Armenia,” and “show our will to live and fight,” according to the Volunteer Movement. Protesters also held a rally in Stepanakert in solidarity with the Kornidzor march.


A Chechen man is facing extradition to Russia from Armenia. Salman Mukayev was detained in Chechnya in 2020 and tortured on suspicion of homosexuality. He fled to Armenia after he was ordered to contact gay men online and invite them to an apartment monitored by security services. Two weeks later, he was accused of illegal possession and transfer of weapons. Mukayev is said to be in “mortal danger” in Russia. Yerevan’s Administrative Court of Appeal will hold a hearing on his extradition on May 25.


The daughter of Russia’s top diplomat attended a wedding in Georgia, sparking outrage across the country. Yekaterina Vinokurova, daughter of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, was in Georgia for a relative’s wedding. The Georgian government recently authorized regular flights between Russia and Georgia, following Russia’s decision to lift a four-year ban on air travel to Georgia. There were protests at the airport and outside Vinokurova’s resort. Vinokurova and her husband, a Russian businessman, are on Western sanctions lists. Georgian public opinion, which strongly supports Ukraine’s ongoing defense against Russia’s invasion, has opposed the government’s warming of relations with Russia. 


Sinan Ogan, presidential candidate for the far-right ATA Alliance, has endorsed Recep Tayyip Erdogan after coming in third place in the first round of elections. Erdogan received 49.5-percent of the vote on May 14, while the main opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu received 44.9-percent of the vote. Far-right Turkish leader Umit Ozdag, meanwhile, endorsed Kilicdaroglu after they reached an agreement to send millions of migrants back to their home countries. The runoff election will take place on May 28. 

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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