31 people arrested during peaceful opposition protests in September, most of whom are students, remain in detention. The daily demonstrations, which lasted until the end of September, were spontaneously organized after the fall of Artsakh, holding Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan responsible for not defending Artsakh and calling for his resignation. Hundreds of people were arrested, 48 were charged with participating in “mass disturbances” and assaulting the police and 31 remain in custody pending investigation. Lawyers and human rights activists have denounced the arrests as political suppression.
Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev visited Stepanakert on October 15, the first visit by an Azerbaijani official to the Artsakh capital in 35 years. He delivered a speech and raised the Azerbaijani flag in front of the Artsakh presidential palace. “There was a time when they threatened us that their tanks would enter Baku and they would drink tea there. They were right, and their tanks are now in the Military Trophy Park, and they are drinking tea in prison themselves,” Aliyev said, referring to eight former Artsakh political and military officials who have been arrested by Azerbaijan. “Three clowns who called themselves president were sitting here, threatening and insulting us. This should be a lesson for everyone. For those who wish to take revenge in Armenia today. Let them remember what happened.”
Georgia’s parliament failed to impeach President Salome Zurabishvili on October 16. 86 MPs voted for her impeachment, short of the required 100 out of 150 sitting MPs, while most opposition MPs boycotted the vote. The vote was held after Georgia’s Constitutional Court found Zurabishvili guilty of violating the constitution when she made official visits abroad to meet with senior European officials to advocate for Georgia’s EU membership candidacy without the government’s permission. Zurabishvili insisted that she had not violated the constitution and warned that the impeachment vote would harm Georgia’s prospects for European integration.
PM Pashinyan accused Russia of using the Artsakh conflict to try to unseat him during a speech at the European Parliament on October 17. He blamed Russia for inciting the opposition protests calling for his resignation. “As hundreds of thousands of Armenians were fleeing from Nagorno-Karabakh to the Republic of Armenia, our security allies not only did not help us but also made public calls for regime change in Armenia,” Pashinyan said. In response, an anonymous high-ranking Russian official called the speech “irresponsible and provocative,” accusing Pashinyan of following in the footsteps of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.