Armenia. The conflict with Azerbaijan over the Armenian
breakaway republic of Nagorno-Karabakh led to the worst
fighting since the end of the war in 1994. Heavy artillery
and helicopters were used. On both sides, casualties were
claimed, and Armenia claimed to have lost 90 soldiers and a
number of civilians in the fighting. The Russian Federation,
which supports Armenia, as the OSCE, the EU and the US do,
called for a ceasefire, while Turkey promised to support its
ally Azerbaijan "to the end".
In April, a ceasefire agreement was reached, but the
stoppage was broken and the Turkish president blamed Armenia
and accused Moscow of involvement in the conflict.
After the fighting, President Serzh Sarkisian criticized
his ally the Russian Federation for selling arms to
Azerbaijan as well, and in Yerevan demonstrations were held
against the Russian Federation. Moscow described arms
deliveries to both enemies as a way to maintain a balance of
power and keep US and NATO forces away from the region.
countryaah, the negative sentiments against the Russian Federation
were reinforced by last year's massacres of an Armenian
family, where a Russian soldier stationed in Armenia
acknowledged the deed. During the year, the soldier was
sentenced to life imprisonment for the seven murders.
The conflict between Armenia and Turkey came to light in
Sweden during the spring, when a representative of the
Turkish National Federation gave a hateful speech at a
demonstration in Stockholm, where he shouted "Dead to the
Armenian dogs!" He was reported to the police and a
preliminary investigation was launched into anger against
In Germany, the Bundestag voted for a symbolic resolution
that labeled the Ottoman forces' mass murder of Armenians
during the First World War as genocide. The Armenian
government praised the German position, while Turkey reacted
In June, the Catholic Pope visited Franciscus Armenia,
which is considered one of the world's first Christian
countries. In a meeting with President Sarkisian, the Pope
used the concept of genocide about the historical tragedy,
which prompted the Turkish government to accuse the Pope of
In July, supporters of imprisoned opposition activists in
the capital Yerevan demonstrated and demanded their release.
The peaceful protest was followed by an armed attack on a
police station, when some 30 men took nine police hostages.
A police officer was killed.
The attackers demanded the release of opposition activist
Jirair Sefilian, who has been arrested on charges of arms
crime and for wanting to overthrow the government after
demanding a tougher line in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Sefilian is a well-known war veteran of the Nagorno-Karabakh
war, and the armed group belongs to a radical branch of the
The hostage disaster led to continued unrest with
thousands of protesters, fighting with police, stone
throwing and several wounded on both sides. Many protesters
After about a week, the hostage was released but the
armed group demanding the president's resignation did not
give up until the police opened fire and some of the
opponents were injured in an extended gunfire. In total, two
police officers were killed and about 75 people were
injured. About 20 people were arrested and labeled by the
authorities as terrorists. Human rights activists accused
civilian-dressed police officers of going to violent attacks
against journalists who watched the drama.
Three opposition politicians were arrested accused of
organizing mass riots, but were released on bail pending
President Sarkisian declared that the country needed a
unifying government, and in September Prime Minister Hovik
Abrahamyan resigned. Karen Karapetyan, former mayor of
Yerevan and then vice president of the Russian gas giant
Gazprom, was appointed as new Prime Minister. Armenia's gas
and electricity supply is owned by Gazprom.