The Region in Brief

Armenia

The Artsakh mayors of Stepanakert and Martakert, David Sargsyan and Misha Gyurgyan, respectively, were arrested and indicted in Yerevan following their support for ongoing street protests against PM Nikol Pashinyan. Armenia’s Investigative Committee has charged them with fraud and forgery. Both mayors were remanded in custody by Yerevan courts on Sunday and Monday, respectively. Hayk Shamiryam, the former mayor of Askeran, has also been charged and placed under house arrest. All three mayors deny the accusations, which former Artsakh Ombudsman Artak Beglaryan has dismissed as politically motivated. Beglaryan accused Pashinyan’s government of attempting to intimidate and punish Artsakh Armenians supporting “Tavush for the Homeland.” 

Severe flooding has struck Armenia’s northern Lori province after a torrential rainstorm caused the Debed River to overflow, resulting in extensive damage. The latest reports confirm four fatalities. The Tavush region has also been heavily impacted, with the collapse of two bridges and three residential houses. Additionally, 45 houses, two hotels and 18 public buildings have been flooded. In Lori, a 50-meter section of the M6 highway collapsed, along with damage to three bridges and 70 buildings. The Armenian government has declared the flood-affected settlements in Lori and Tavush regions as a disaster zone. Rescue operations have successfully evacuated 429 individuals from the affected areas, including 387 from Lori and 42 from Tavush.

Georgia

Georgia’s parliament has overridden President Salome Zurabishvili’s veto of the contentious “foreign agents” law, often criticized as a replica of Russian legislation. The bill was approved with 84 votes in favor and four MPs opposed. In protest, nearly the entire opposition walked out of the session, abstaining from the vote, and joined a rally on Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi. The law, which designates organizations receiving more than 20% of their funding from abroad as “foreign agents,” was initially passed by parliament on May 14. With the veto overridden, the law will return to President Zurabishvili’s desk. If she refuses to sign it again, parliament speaker Shalva Papuashvili, will likely sign the law, bringing it into effect.

Russia

Grigoriy Karasin, a Russian senator and head of the Russian Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee, has suggested that Moscow intends to open a consulate general in Stepanakert this year. Karasin said this during a meeting with Samad Seyidov, chair of the Azerbaijani Parliament’s International and Interparliamentary Relations. Political analyst Rauf Mirkadirov dismissed the idea as absurd, noting the absence of Russian residents in Stepanakert. He speculated about a potential secret agreement between Azerbaijan and Russia concerning a Russian presence in Artsakh, possibly alongside Turkey.

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.

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