Several assaults against Armenians in Turkey over the past month have raised concerns and stirred a wave of outrage not only among Armenians, but also Turkish human rights advocates, who held an act of protest Sunday calling for “consistency in investigating the assaults and murders on ethnic grounds”.
Political analysts describe the first week of campaigning in Armenia’s presidential election as “quiet and uninteresting,” which is unlikely to break the indifference and distrust towards the electoral processes rooted in the public.
A delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), which was on a two-day visit to Armenia to assess the pre-election situation in the country, has concerns mainly about the “continuing substantial inaccuracies in the voter lists”.
Georgia’s new Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili’s first official visit to Armenia is accompanied with a certain degree of tension in Armenian-Georgian relations.
During the last month two senior figures in Georgia, in particular Foreign Minister of Georgia Maya Panjikidze and Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II, reportedly made controversial comments regarding the Karabakh conflict, mainly expressing support for Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity in its dispute with Armenia. The statements were met critically by some media and pundits in Armenia.
A nine-year-old boy’s escape from a boarding school at the end of last year that he later explained as the only means of getting rid of regular beating again raised the issue of violence and indifference that exist in Armenian child care centers and orphanages.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who first was expected to pay a visit to Armenia last September, was again said to contemplate his trip to the allied South Caucasus countries in mid-January. But judging by the panic that has started in the Russian elite because of the frozen accounts at Swiss banks, his visit is likely to be postponed again.
An online petition asking President Barrack Obama to call upon Turkish authorities to open the border with Armenia in order to provide ethnic Armenians fleeing from the conflict in Syria a shorter and more convenient way for repatriation has been launched on the official website of the White House.
The departing 2012, full of pre- and post-election developments, promises and disappointments started and ended with futile hope of possible formation of new authorities. If domestic politics has developed a new trend of imitation struggle, the role of civil society this year has increased significantly, yielding tangible results.
The nomination of John Kerry, chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as the Secretary of State has stirred discussion in the South Caucasus. Azeri political analysts predict that the assumption of such a high post by the senator known for his pro-Armenian activities would increase “anti-Azeri” sentiments, while in Armenia hopes aren’t high for such developments.