Bryza and RA MFA exchange contradicting statements on March 1 violence in Armenia

Having returned to U.S. afte a visit to Armenia, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza, has sharply condemned a government crackdown on protests following last month’s presidential election.

“The violence really was deplorable,” Bryza said Monday.”It seems clear that the reaction by the government was harsh and brutal.”

Tigran Balayan, Head of the RA MFA Press Division, has said, in response to a question by ‘Mediamax’ News Agency:

We’re astonished that even after his visit to Yerevan, after meeting with and hearing from various official and unofficial sources, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matt Bryza could make such arbitrary statements.Assigning such one-sided blame is unfounded and not helpful. The number of wounded law enforcement officers (108) — 43 of them wounded by firearms and hand-grenades — clearly demonstrates that rioters were in posession of firearms and explosives. That coincides with the operative information of law enforcement agencies which had informed the public about all this, days before the events of March 1. In that case, labeling the reaction of the government as “a crackdown on opposition protests”, or qualifying it as “harsh and brutal” is incorrect. This was not at all an attack by policemen on civilians.Armenia’s challenge, now, 10 days after that disastrous day, is to fully explore and understand what happened and find ways to move forward together.The international community’s focus should be to encourage all involved to take responsibility for the damage to the fabric of our society and to look for inclusive ways to move forward.Ill-informed statements can and do contribute to an escalation of political tension.

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant


  1. MFA has lately become a laughing stock.

  2. Right, since they’re now ministry of defense/police spokesmen:)

  3. I wonder what Bryza thinks of the Waco incident for example:
    Was it a government crackdown on a peaceful sect? It’s a pitty the U.S. is somehow (and I realy don’t find any logical reason for this) skipping all the criticizm they deserve. Rigged U.S. elections in 2000 and what was the OSCE reaction on this? Oh, sorry, if there was a reaction from OSCE on U.S. elections, their headquarters would have been bombed back to the 10th century BC.
    And even if they use some self-criticism (like e.g. CNN saying “Yeah, yeah, Waco was probably organised by the government”), NO ONE cares because the majority of populations is fat and happy and prefers sex to politics.
    The moral? You become rich and wealthy AND ONLY THEN you become a democracy, and not the other way round. Because otherwise there will always be countries TEACHING you how painfull it is be a truly independent democracy.

  4. For anyone who didn’t know, Matthew Bryza’s wife is a Turk named Zeyno Baran. Here’s some information about her from Wikipedia:
    Zeyno Baran (born January 31, 1972 ) is a prominent Turkish American scholar on issues ranging from US-Turkey relations to Islamist ideology to energy security in Europe and Asia. She is the Director of the Center for Eurasian Policy and a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, a think tank located in Washington D.C.. From January 2003 until joining the Hudson Institute in April 2006, she worked as the Director of International Security and Energy Programs for the The Nixon Center. Baran also worked as the Director of the Caucasus Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies from 1999 until December 2002. She is married to Matthew Bryza, current Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.

  5. If it is true that Bryza is married to a Turk, I am not sure that anything he says or does regarding the Armenians should be trusted. he should be removed from the OSCE Minsk group negotiations on Artsakh on the grounds that he is NOT a neutral party.

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