Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 126

On June 24, the unrecognized Karabakh republic’s president Arkady Gukasian dismissed prime minister Jirair Poghosian, provisorily took over that post and announced his intention to appoint a new government. Gukasian cited flaws in the Poghosian government’s performance as the grounds for changing it. This is the second government crisis in Karabakh in the space of a year, or possibly a follow-up stage in a slow-motion crisis which began in June 1998 when Poghosian succeeded Leonard Petrosian as prime minister.

Karabakh’s politically powerful defense minister, General Samvel Babaian, is the primary factor behind these changes. Babaian seeks the prime ministership, also proposing economic policies based on more state intervention and social mobilization.

Babaian is a rival of his Yerevan counterpart, Vazgen Sarkisian, the long-serving defense minister and now prime minister of Armenia. Petrosian, ousted from Karabakh, is now a minister in Sarkisian’s government in Yerevan. Babaian sponsored an anti-Sarkisian party, Right and Accord, in Armenia’s recent parliamentary elections. That party won seven seats and has accused the Armenian authorities of having undercounted its votes (see the Monitor, June 9).

Gukasian’s relationship with Babaian is murky. Both seem to eye the prime ministership. In Yerevan Sarkisian may well end up using Gukasian as part of a stop-Babaian strategy (Noyan-Tapan, Snark, Azg, Respublika Armeniia, June 24-29).

The Monitor is a publication of the Jamestown Foundation. It is researched and written under the direction of senior analysts Jonas Bernstein, Vladimir Socor, Stephen Foye, and analysts Ilya Malyakin, Oleg Varfolomeyev and Ilias Bogatyrev. If you have any questions regarding the content of the Monitor, please contact the foundation. If you would like information on subscribing to the Monitor, or have any comments, suggestions or questions, please contact us by e-mail at, by fax at 301-562-8021, or by postal mail at The Jamestown Foundation, 4516 43rd Street NW, Washington DC 20016. Unauthorized reproduction or redistribution of the Monitor is strictly prohibited by law. Copyright (c) 1983-2002 The Jamestown Foundation Site Maintenance by Johnny Flash Productions