On 19 February 2016, The Regional Studies Center (RSC) convened a special “Focus Group” to discuss democratization and political change in Armenia. With two dozen participants, the Focus Group was also joined by representatives from the European Union Delegation to Armenia and the UK Embassy, serving as observers.
RSC Project Director Satenik Baghdasaryan participated in a meeting of the EU Alumni Network on 18 February convened by Ambassador Piotr Switalski, the head of the European Union Delegation to Armenia. The informal meeting brought together a small group of young professionals and civil society representatives who received scholarships or grants from the European Union.
RSC Director Richard Giragosian and RSC Researcher Arpi Grigoryan attended a session of the Yerevan School of Political Studies (YSPS) on 13 February in the Armenian resort of Tsakhadzor. Giragosian presented an assessment of the Armenia-Turkey “normalization” process, focusing on the wider implications of the recent Russian-Turkish crisis, the war in Syria and the Western-brokered nuclear deal with Iran. Much of the discussion also addressed the Azerbaijan factor in the normalization process.
RSC Director Richard Giragosian met with visiting Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström on 9 February, during her first visit to the South Caucasus. In a meeting with four other Armenian civil society representatives, Foreign Minister Margot Wallström and her delegation participated in an active, hour-long discussion that covered a wide range of issues, from domestic politics to regional developments, including the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and gender-related issues. Reporting on the visit, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) Armenian Service also interviewed Giragosian, citing his comments on the domestic political situation within Armenia.
The Regional Studies Center (RSC) held its latest closed monthly briefing on 20 January, with presentations by RSC Director Richard Giragosian and Senior Analyst David Shahnazaryan. This month’s briefing featured a comprehensive analysis consisting of three main areas: (1) assessing recent political developments in Armenia, related to the implications of the December passage of the constitutional referendum, and a review of the negative economic impact on Armenia from the Russian crisis; (2) an overview of regional developments, including the recent Russian military buildup in Armenia, the deepening economic crisis in Azerbaijan, and the outlook for Armenia-Turkey “normalization,” especially given the recent Turkish-Russian crisis; (3) an assessment of the broader military situation, in light of the recent escalation of clashes over Nagorno-Karabakh and with an added focus on the outlook for the diplomatic mediation of the Karabakh conflict following the December meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents in Switzerland.