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Armenia

Yearbook 2016

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".

2016 Armenia

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.

According to 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 people.

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 angrily.

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 crusading.

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 opposition.

The hostage disaster led to continued unrest with thousands of protesters, fighting with police, stone throwing and several wounded on both sides. Many protesters were arrested.

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 trial.

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.

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