Armenia. According to
Countryaah official website, the Armenian nation was shocked this fall by the
assassination of Prime Minister Vazgen Sarkisian, Parliament
Speaker Karen Demirtjian and six other leading politicians.
On October 27, five armed men stormed into Parliament in the
capital Yerevan and opened fire while the Prime Minister
spoke. The assailants took the hostage, but gave up after
President Robert Kotjarjan promised that their leaders would
speak through television. He said at his appearance that he
and the other assailants wanted to wake the nation and to
make the residents react to the economic mismanagement in
However, there were speculations that the attack was a
reaction to the fact that Armenia seemed close to a
compromise with neighboring Azerbaijan over the Armenian
enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan. Armenia was said
to be prepared to give up some land occupied in the war
against Azerbaijan in the early 1990s if Armenians in the
enclave could exchange security guarantees. At the end of
the year, one of President Kotjarjan's chief advisers was
arrested on suspicion of involvement in the act.
The murdered Prime Minister's brother Aram Sarkisian was
appointed by the president in November as new head of
government. Vazgen Sarkisian had held his post for almost
five months after the parliamentary elections held in May.
The election was won by the newly formed center-left
alliance Mjasnutiun (Unity) with just over 41% of the vote.
The alliance included the Armenian Republican Party, for
which Sarkisian was leader, and the Armenian People's Party.
In second place came the Armenian Communist Party and then
Nationalist Dashnak. According to international observers,
there were irregularities in the elections.
In November, President Kotjarjan announced a new foreign
policy line by proposing, together with Azerbaijan, a
security pact in the southern Caucasus comprising Armenia,
Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, the Russian Federation and the
United States. The pact would include involve withdrawal of
all foreign troops, including the Russian, from the area. So
far, Armenia has been an ally of the Russian Federation in
the region, and over 4,000 Russian soldiers are in Armenia.
The proposal also brought about a historical re-thinking by
the pact linking Armenia with the traditional enemies Turkey
and Azerbaijan. Due to the conflict around Nagorno-Karabakh,
these two neighboring countries are carrying out a trade
boycott against Armenia, which has had severe consequences
for the Armenian economy.