The Regional Studies Center (RSC) held its latest in a series of closed monthly briefings on Thursday, 26 January, with presentations by RSC Director Richard Giragosian and Senior Analyst David Shahnazaryan focusing on three main areas:

In a special program for the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) Armenian Service, RSC Director Richard Giragosian joined three other leading analysts in an assessment of major developments in Armenia throughout 2016. The 90-minute show aired on 1 January 2017. Giragosian joined Aleksandr Iskandaryan, the Director of the Caucasus Institute, journalist and commentator Hakob Badalyan and sociologist Armen Badalyan.


In an interview for the “Azeri Today” news agency website, RSC Director Richard Giragosian assessed the impact of the election of President Trump on U.S. policy on the region, with an added analysis of both Armenian-Russian relations and Russian “power and influence” in the South Caucasus. The interview was conducted in English but translated into Russian.

Commenting on the telephone call from U.S. Vice-President-Elect Mike Pence to Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) Armenian Service, RSC Director Richard Giragosian explained that unlike the usual protocol of conversations between the U.S. presidents and heads of state, such as those between President-Elect Donald Trump and the presidents of Azerbaijan and Ukraine among others, the fact that the incoming U.S. Vice President called the Armenian president was a “breach of protocol that represents an unusual situation.” However, Giragosian downplayed the significance of that breach, saying that it “does not reflect any diplomatic insult.” Rather, he interpreted the call from Pence as a way to repair the damage from recent calls from Trump to other world leaders that were largely criticized, most notably including the Trump conversation with the Pakistani premier. Giragosian concluded by stressing that “therefore, I think that Washington apparently decided to place the call to the Armenian president and rely on the professional and experienced Vice President instead, which is probably better for Armenia.”

In an interview the Azerbaijani Meydan TV, RSC Director Richard Giragosian commented on his participation in an “Expert Panel” on the South Caucasus, held on 28-29 November and organized by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (Foundation). The closed workshop focused on “current developments in Azerbaijan and the South Caucasus in light of internal transformations in Azerbaijan and Turkey.” The two-day workshop ended with a public session that featured a discussion between experts, scientists, political analysts, journalists and civil society representatives from a number of countries.