Aliyev and Pashinyan hold first talks, agree on tension-reducing measures

Joshua Kucera Oct 1, 2018
CIS Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan (second and third from left, respectively) at a summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States in Dushanbe on September 28. (photo: Armenian prime minister's office)

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan spoke for the first time and agreed on several steps to reduce tension between the Armenian and Azerbaijani armed forces.

Report: Pentagon contracts aided airline with ties to Azerbaijani ruling family

Joshua Kucera Aug 23, 2018
747 A Silk Way Airlines 747-8 cargo plane lands in Japan. The airline is the focus of a new investigative report which details its Pentagon contracts and links to Azerbaijan's ruling family. (photo: i Hokuriku/Wikimedia Commons)

An Azerbaijani airline with close ties to the ruling family was the beneficiary of a large Pentagon contract and an attractive loan by a U.S. government bank, a new investigation has found. The revelations are yet another chapter in what has proven to be a long saga of the U.S. partnering with corrupt governments in the Caucasus and Central Asia for the sake of the war effort in Afghanistan.

Russian press portrays Armenia's Pashinyan as "carbon copy" of Poroshenko

Joshua Kucera Jul 23, 2018
gazeta A story on popular Russian portal, headlined "Keepsake photo: why Pashinyan is following Porosheko's example"

Russia appears to have stepped up its information war against the new government in Armenia, with a pair of analytical essays on prominent websites painting newly elected Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan as a unfaithful ally of Moscow. The two pieces have been seen in Yerevan as a black PR campaign and a not-very-veiled threat from the Kremlin to quit flirting with the West.

Unannounced Russian military exercises in Armenia panic residents

Joshua Kucera Jul 18, 2018
Ruslan Tsalikov First Deputy Defense Minister Ruslan Tsalikov First Deputy Defense Minister

A Russian military official has apologized after Russian soldiers carried out unannounced exercises in an Armenian village, panicking the population and reopening the sensitive issue of Russian-Armenian military ties.

The exercises took place on July 17, with about 30 Russian soldiers blocking off the roads in the village of Panik, after which a column of military vehicles passed through accompanied by loud gunfire, as documented by local residents.

Pashinyan in Brussels: “We expect more assistance”

Joshua Kucera Jul 13, 2018
Pashinyan Trump Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, right, in an exchange in Brussels with U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania. (photo:

Armenia's newly elected prime minister Nikol Pashinyan visited Brussels and had a clear message for European Union and NATO officials: We're democratic now, so we deserve your support.

Pashinyan's visit to the NATO summit, held in Brussels on July 11 and 12, was being closely watched due to his geopolitically delicate balancing act: dependent on support from Russia but clearly more sympathetic to the West.

Russia transfers five warships out of Caspian Sea

Joshua Kucera Jun 25, 2018
Veliky Ustyug The Russian corvette Veliky Ustyug, erstwhile of the Caspian Flotilla, passes through the Bosphorus in Istanbul en route to the Mediterranean. (photo: Yörük Işık)

Russia has transferred at least five warships out of the Caspian Sea into European waters in response to threats in that theater, at least temporarily leaving Russia without a substantial portion of its Caspian firepower.

Azerbaijani military advances on tense Nakhchivan-Armenia border

Joshua Kucera May 30, 2018
Tonoyan Armenian Defense Minister David Tonoyan inspects military positions near the border with Azerbaijan's exclave of Nakhchivan on May 19. (photo:

Azerbaijan's military has advanced further into a no man's land on the border with Armenia, causing panic in the nearby Armenian areas, local media have reported. Armenia's military leadership has tried to downplay the advance, while Azerbaijan has been silent.