Armenia's conflict with Turkey over history became an
international issue during the year. In February, Armenia's
parliament decided to give President Serzh Sarkisian the
power to revoke the preliminary peace agreement between the
countries. Turkey had not accepted the Armenian position
that there was Turkish mass murder of Armenians in 1915.
COUNTRYAAH, Armenia was supported by the US House of Representatives
Foreign Affairs Committee, which in March passed a
resolution calling on the US president to recognize the
genocide of the Armenians. Sweden's parliament took after
the elected people in the US, which prompted Turkey to call
its ambassador from Stockholm.
The Washington and Stockholm decisions prompted the
Turkish prime minister to warn that 100,000 Armenians who
lacked citizenship could be expelled from Turkey. The
Armenian Foreign Minister responded that the events leading
up to the Armenian genocide began with such statements. In
April, the Armenian government decided to suspend the
reconciliation process with Turkey for the time being.
In May, parliamentary elections were held in the Armenian
breakaway club Nagorno-Karabach in Azerbaijan. There was
victory for the Armenian Government Coalition, which wants
independence, but Nagorno-Karabach and its government are
not recognized by the EU or the other international
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visited Armenia in
August and signed an agreement that gives the Russian
Federation the right to retain the military base Gjumri
until 2044. Thousands of Russian soldiers are seen in
Armenia as a security in view of the conflict with
neighboring Azerbaijan, which Armenia fought in the war
against of the 1990s.
Shortly after the agreement with the Russian Federation,
minor fighting took place at Armenia's border with
Azerbaijan with killed soldiers on both sides. Later,
Azerbaijan accused Armenia of ethnic cleansing in
Nagorno-Karabakh, while Armenia claimed that Azerbaijan
threatened regional peace.
Opposition editor Nikol Pasjinian was sentenced at the
beginning of the year to seven years in prison accused of
participating in and organizing the violent mass protests
following the presidential election in Armenia in 2008.
Pasjinian denied and later stated that he had been beaten in
prison at night by masked men. Journalists and editors from
a variety of Armenian media joined forces in demanding the
release of Pasjinian.
At the end of the year, some imprisoned opposition
activists were released, but not Pasjinian.