The Region in Brief


Azerbaijan has detained two Armenian soldiers along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border. Azerbaijan’s State Border Service said that Harut Hovagimyan and Karen Ghazaryan were part of a “sabotage group” found in Azerbaijan’s southwestern district Zangilan. They have been charged with illegal possession and smuggling of weapons, illegal border crossing, and participating in actions aimed at inciting national enmity. Armenian authorities said that the soldiers were transporting food to combat positions along the border and accused Azerbaijan of abducting the soldiers within Armenia’s territory. 

Members of Armenia’s civil society have been targeted with Pegasus spyware, according to the findings of a new investigation. The 12 targets include former Human Rights Defender Kristine Grigoryan, former Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anna Naghdalyan, two Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Armenian Service journalists and a United Nations official. A joint investigation conducted by Access Now, CyberHUB-AM, the Citizen Lab, Amnesty International’s Security Lab and independent researcher Ruben Muradyan found that devices belonging to 12 people were targeted between October 2020 and December 2022. While the investigation did not identify the government responsible for the hacking, it noted that the “targets would have been of intense interest to Azerbaijan.” 


Self-described “eco-activists” who blockaded Artsakh for 138 days are now protesting against the government of Azerbaijan. A group of Azerbaijani NGOs, whose members participated in the blockade, held a demonstration in Baku on May 26 to protest against cuts in state grants to their organizations. The NGOs were largely excluded from a list of winners of a state grant published on that day, or received less funding than expected. The “eco-activists” believed they should have been rewarded for participating in the blockade. “We have been face-to-face with Russians and Armenians for weeks,” one protester told reporters. “Why should these people who are always standing by their state be ignored?” Tahira Mammadova, a woman who went viral on social media after killing a pigeon, called the state funding she received an “insult.” 


Recep Tayyip Erdogan won reelection in Turkey’s presidential race on Sunday. Erdogan secured 52-percent of the vote, defeating his opponent Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the head of an opposition coalition, who earned 48-percent of the vote. Kilicdaroglu campaigned on the promise of reversing authoritarian gains made by Erdogan, who has extended his rule into a third decade. Kilicdaroglu said that Erdogan mobilized state resources to influence the election, particularly state media. “Bye, bye, Kemal,” Erdogan mocked during his victory speech, while his supporters booed.

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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