Artsakh parliament nominates new president

A session of the Artsakh parliament (Artsakh Republic National Assembly, August 7)

The latest bloodshed in Armenia comes amidst a major political and military shake-up in Artsakh.

Following weeks of swirling speculation about his political future, Arayik Harutyunyan handed in his resignation on September 1, stating that the ongoing blockade suggests there must be a change in Artsakh’s political approach. “In order to achieve that, we must change the main actors in Artsakh, starting with me,” said Harutyunyan.

Prior to his resignation, Harutyunyan endorsed the resignations of State Minister Gurgen Nersisyan and Advisor to the State Minister Artak Beglaryan. Following Nersisyan’s resignation, Samvel Shahramanyan, the Secretary of the Security Council, was appointed as the new State Minister of Artsakh.

Opposition factions ARF, “Ardarutyun” and NDP of the National Assembly of the Republic of Artsakh nominated newly appointed State Minister Samvel Shahramanyan for the position of president. The National Assembly will carry out the election of the president on September 9.

These political changes in Artsakh come amid military escalations along Armenia’s border.

On the morning of September 1, the Azerbaijan armed forces opened fire from different caliber small arms against Armenian combat positions in the vicinity of the Armenian village of Sotk in the Gegharkunik province. The Ministry of Defense of Armenia said that the Azerbaijani armed forces also used mortars in the same direction. Armenian authorities say that Azerbaijan disseminates misinformation that Armenia has launched provocations to lay the foundation for an escalation. 

“The Azerbaijani propaganda is disseminating disinformation that the Armenian Armed Forces are concentrating a large number of weapons, military equipment and personnel in Sotk.

By disseminating such false information, the Azerbaijani side creates an informational basis to continue yet another provocation that began this morning in the direction of Sotk,” the Armenian MoD said. 

Armenia’s biggest gold mine is located in Sotk, where all operations have been suspended indefinitely due to shelling by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces. Seven hundred people who work at the mine have been placed on unpaid leave. 

Around noon the same day, the Azerbaijani armed forces also fired towards the Armenian outposts near Norabak, also in Gegharkunik.

As a result of the Azerbaijani provocation, the Armenian side had three deaths – soldiers Andranik Arshak Antonyan, Arsen Aleksandr Mkrtichyan and Vachagan Saro Vardanyan – and two injuries.

On the night of September 2, the Azerbaijani side opened fire on the Kapan airport in the Syunik province. Three shots were fired, two of which hit the outer walls of the airport’s arrivals hall and control room and damaged furniture. There were no casualties as a result of the shooting. The Syunik Regional Investigation Department has opened a criminal case on the grounds of attempted murder.

Firing on the Syunik airport began on August 18, a day after Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan took the first flight from Yerevan to Kapan and announced the commencement of regular flights to and from Kapan. In the early hours of the day of the PM’s arrival, an unidentified Azerbaijani vehicle approached the airport and fired three shots, causing damage to an airport window and the roof structure.

On September 3, at around 1:40 a.m., Azerbaijani armed forces units fired from firearms towards the Armenian combat outposts near Kutakan in Gegharkunik. 

On the eve of September 5, units of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces opened fire on Armenian positions located in Kut, Gegharkunik.

As provocations continue on the border and on social media with the spread of misinformation, Armenians in over 20 countries commemorated the 32nd anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Artsakh, reaffirming their commitment to a free and independent Artsakh. 

32 years ago, the ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh exercised their right to national autonomy, enshrined in the “Regulation Governing Questions Concerning the Secession of a Union Republic from the USSR,” to decide their legal status independently in the case of a Soviet Republic’s secession from the USSR. 

On December 10, 1991, a few days prior to the official collapse of the Soviet Union, a referendum was held where an overwhelming majority of the population (99.98-percent) of Artsakh voted in favor of full independence from Soviet Azerbaijan. 

32 years later, the anniversary of Artsakh’s independence became the foundation for pan-Armenian mobilization. In more than two dozen countries – Armenia, Artsakh and across the Diaspora – Armenians gathered in large numbers, protested and presented their demands: to end Azerbaijan’s blockade of Artsakh and closure of the Berdzor (Lachin) corridor. 

On the brink of possible continued escalations, Armenians across the globe turned the celebration of Artsakh’s Independence Day into an occasion for protest, rejected the dissolution procedure of the Artsakh issue and conveyed the assurance of their solidarity to the people of Artsakh.

Hoory Minoyan

Hoory Minoyan

Hoory Minoyan was an active member of the Armenian community in Los Angeles until she moved to Armenia prior to the 44-day war. She graduated with a master's in International Affairs from Boston University, where she was also the recipient of the William R. Keylor Travel Grant. The research and interviews she conducted while in Armenia later became the foundation of her Master’s thesis, “Shaping Identity Through Conflict: The Armenian Experience.” Hoory continues to follow her passion for research and writing by contributing to the Armenian Weekly.


  1. Brothers and sisters!
    This isn’t the time for silly new elections. We democratically elected our great and glorious leader Nikol Pashinyan and Araik Harutunyan not once but twice for one purpose – to free Armenia from those oppressive and utterly undemocratic Russians. Russia wants to takeover the whole world and stop all people from being westernized and happy. Putler (i.e. Putin+Hitler=Putler) must be stopped now! Armenia and Artsakh must be freed from Russia now! That is the most important thing in the universe now! Our democratically elected leaders started the process in 2018 with the help of all of us, but the poor men are not done yet. So please brothers and sisters stop thes silly elections and protesting nonsense and just let our duly elected democratic and enlightened leaders finish their sacred work of fighting the bloodthirsty Bear along with our lovely brothers and sisters in Slava Ukraine! You can all protest Armenia’s disappearance from the world map afterwards. People, please, now is simply not the time! Thank you!

    • Soviet mentality disorder.

      Russia never helped out before Ukraine why would it now? It’s buying up artillery shells from North Korea. Bottom of the barrel Russia is now even stronger! Russia stronk, west weak. I just happen to live in the west but that’s another story.

    • Effendi,

      You better start talking to Greg with more respect. Didn’t like the tone. Ok, effendi?

      Living in the West actually IS the story. Due to family, finance and work considerations, we often don’t have the luxury of choosing where we live. If I had the choice, I’d be living in some homestead in a remote Armenian village or a ranch somewhere in Russia’s Urals. Some of us live in the belly of the beast due to various circumstances – not the least of which is also the fact that Western powers have ruined parts of the world where we used to live. For example: the reason why Central Americans, Ukrainians, Libyans, Syrians, Afghans, etc., are migrating to western Europe or North America is because of Western aggression. Having militarily destroyed or economically ruined much of the world in recent decades, the only place human being can still make a living today is, unfortunately, in Western countries. Now you understand?

      In any case, those of us who live in the West – and have not been dumbed-down or zombified by Western pop-culture and liberalism – know what the West really is. Unlike our compatriots in Armenia – who’s idea of the Western world comes from Western movies, as well as their relatives in LA that tell them can get free money if they can only somehow find their way to the US – Armenians born or raised in the West know the evil empire from the inside. We know the dangers that Western powers pose to not only to Armenia but also to humanity. Our warnings about the toxicity of the West is therefore more valid than your fairytales about the West.

      For the past 100-plus years Turks and their Western allies have been trying to convince us Armenians that Armenia’s does not need Russia. The reason is obvious, even to a child. Without Russian support, a tiny, impoverished and a remote nation squeezed by two much larger and much wealthier Turkic nations has no chance of survival. The ONLY reason why we have had an Armenia during the past 200-plus years is Russia. So, here is the formula that Turks and Westerners know well: No Russia in Armenia = no Armenia in the south Caucasus.

      The mess we are in today is because we Armenians took our eyes of the ball. We thought we can enjoy Russian protection as we go frolicking in Paris, London and New York. It does not work that way, especially for small and poor nations. Political illiteracy has a high cost. We paid it in 2020. However, not all is lost. Sooner or later Nikol Pashinyan will be gone and what remains of Armenia and Artsakh will return back to Russia. So, you and your friend Charlie will be only partially successful.

    • Greg,
      you certainly have the right to your opinion, but this is exactly why we are in our current state of being taken over by the enemy. Glorious leaders???? There unfortunately are none available in any of the political party’s. It isn’t about preferring the West over Russia and Putin. It is about survival, and negotiating smartly. Our options are between two bad actors, and we need to be intelligent enough to play them against each other to our benefit.
      The option Pashinyan choses is to give everything away to the west( AKA Azerbaijan and Turkey who are proxies for the US, European and Israeli) goals.
      Remove Pashinyan and any other alternative is better.

    • The problem is that the Russian bear is not as stronk as it appeared earlier. The invasion of Ukraine seems to have driven the proverbial final nail in the coffin of the so called Russian empire. They failed to capture relatively flat ground in nearly 2 years since the so called special operation.

      Russia is haemorrhaging of its power as well as its demographics big time, the demographic candle 🕯️ is lit at both ends. It is losing nearly 700K of its population each year due to lower birth rates than the death rates all the while the Turkic population in Russia is registering an increase year on year. Russia is sagging at the seams and it’s not unrealistic to expect a dismemberment of mother Russia and the emergence of 12 new Turkic countries in the world

  2. I wonder what would happen if Turkey and Azerbaijan secretely offered Russia 10 Billion dollars for Artsakh and south of Armenia? Do you think Putin would say no?

    • I just asked him. He said he might start thinking about it at around 500 billion dollars. But 10B? No way, he said. And he also added, having a firm foothold in the south Caucasus is more important to his government than money. Smart guy, if you ask me. In any case, this is what he said. So, please, don’t shoot the messenger.

  3. I don’t think Azerbaijan will be satisfied with “just” what remains of Artsakh. They will provoke war until they have removed all Armenians from not only Stepanakert, but also Syunik. The West will not move against gas-rich Azerbaijan. And Azerbaijan’s primary sponsors (Turkey and Israel) have no issue with Armenia’s disappearance, if they do not secretly encourage it.

    Armenia, with a smaller and poorer military than Azerbaijan, should prioritize its relationship with Iran, a specialist on countering conventional military advantage with asymmetric tactics.

    Azerbaijan will start the next war. But with Iran’s help Armenia will finish it.

    • The goal behind this exercise, along with Israeli/US support for Azerbaijan, is to destabilize Iran. Northern part of Iran is populated with ethnic Azeris and there is strong support for Azerbaijan. Armenians are the causality of a larger effort to open the middle corridor from China to Europe through Turkic countries. There will be an escalation coming for sure, result being loss of southern Armenia if Pashinyan continues in this destructive path of engagement with the only country who has boots on the ground. West’s eventual goal is to break-up Iran along ethnic lines.

  4. At Shahram,
    Not long ago, the Iranian leadership warned the neighboring countries,that Iran will not tolerate regional border changes, referencing Turks’and Azeris’ ambition to absorb southern parts of Armenia to make way for passage of Turkmenistan gas pipeline and unification of Turkic nations. What became of it? Did Iran have a change of heart and join the gang?

  5. We write our opinions here while young kids have their limbs blown off. 18-22 year olds. Could care less if he comes from Antarctica. We are all the same, humans.
    End the fighting please.

  6. Judging by recent media reports. The prospect of an Azeri attack on the remaining Armenian held N-K seems increasingly likely watch this space! Other recent events is the conspicuous breakdown between Armenia and Russia again watch this space!

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