05 Feb 2016
Tensions were high at the line of contact between the armed forces of
Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan last night, the NKR Ministry of
The rival used artillery weapons of different caliber as it fire more
than 1,500 shots in the direction of the Armenian positions.
Private of the NKR Defense Army Simon Chavrshyan was killed as a
result of firing from the Azerbaijani side. Probe into the details of
the incident is under way.
The NKR Defense Ministry offers its condolences to the families and
friends of the soldier.
YEREVAN, February 5. About one third of Armenia's population
are ready to emigrate abroad if they had such a possibility, Aharon
Adibekyan, head of Sociometer polling center in Yerevan, said today.
Speaking at a news conference, he said a survey conducted by his
polling center in 2015 that embraced 3,300 households in all the
regions of the country shows that 31% of the citizens are potential
emigrants and about 75% of them are people aged from 19 to 50.
According to the findings of the survey, 19.3% said would leave for
another country if they had enough financial means, 7.9% said they
would like to leave but could not because of age, and 3.9% were
ready to leave the country if they had interesting job offers.
The reasons behind this desire, according to Adibekyan, are low wages
or no wages, difficult social conditions and lack of hope for a secure
According to him, much fewer people indicated a desire to be reunited
with a family abroad, to continue education abroad or hostility to
the country's leadership. Low salary as a reason to leave the country
was mentioned by 33.9% of respondents, 8.1% mentioned hard social
situation, 6.5% mentioned low pensions and 4.4% problems with the
payment for medical treatment.
Officially Armenia's permanent population as of January 1, 2016 was
less than 3 million, for the first time since 1970s, standing at
2.998.6 million, according to the National Statistical Service (NSS).
The year-on-year contraction was 12,000 people, it said.
Unemployment's Up By 16.9% in Armenia
30 January 2016, 18:32
The number of job seekers and the unemployment rate went up in 2015.
According to the National Statistics Service, as of December 2015,
88,928 were seeking jobs, of which 77,000 were unemployed.
As of the end of 2015, the unemployment rate is up by 16.9%.
The majority of registered unemployed, 53,069, are female.
The highest rate of registered unemployed people was in Yerevan
followed by Shirak and Lori regions. The majority of the unemployed
people are aged 35-44. The majority of the unemployed have secondary
In 2015, 974 people found jobs, which is down by 28.6% compared
Armenian central bank steps in to prevent depreciation of
YEREVAN, February. An Armenian daily `Haykakan Zhamanak'
(Armenian Time) says in an apparent effort to prevent a renewed
depreciation of the national currency, the dram, the Central Bank of
Armenia (CBA) injected on February 4 over $29 million in the local
According to the newspaper, this was the first and `impressive'
currency intervention, made by the Central Bank recently.
"This means a rising demand for hard currency, which may lead to a
significant depreciation of the dram. However, given that the demand
did not cause panic among the population, one can say that the
situation will be controlled by the Central Bank for a long time," the
The average market exchange rate of US dollar against the dram on
February 4 rose by 0.63 points to 492.41 drams. On Feb. 3 the dollar's
rate rose above 490 drams for the first time after a sharp devaluation
of the Armenian dram in late 2014. Armenian dram thus depreciated by
1.5% since the beginning of 2016.
5 February, 2016
YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 5. Historian, writer, social scientist
KazÄ±m GündoÄ?an's book entitled `Grandchildren of the Priest: Dersim
Armenians-1' was published in Turkey, the presentation of which took
`Armenpress' reports, citing Turkish `Evrensel' newspaper, the book is
about the Armenian massacres that took place in Turkey in 1895 and the
Armenian Genocide of 1915. The book illustrates the attempts to
eliminate the Armenian estates, language, religion and culture of
Dersim-Armenians and their deportation from Motherland.
It is mentioned that during the Armenian Genocide a great number of
Dersim-Armenians were forced to abandon their religion, estates and
social position in order to survive.
This is not the first book KazÄ±m GündoÄ?an writes about Armenians. He
also authored a documentary film about the issue.
Diffuse Opposition Sarkissian's Best Weapon
Editorial, 31 January 2016
`Within the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, we have been unable to
shape a culture of free thought, debate, and self-criticism that leads
to renewal...we have been unable to present the essence of the
ARF--its democratic nature, goals, operational style--in a simple
accessible way to a large segment of our people, including the
independence generation, and to draw strength from them as an
The above quote is from a speech by Aghvan Vardanyan, ARF
parliamentary faction secretary, delivered following the party's 125th
anniversary celebrations in Yerevan on Dec. 11, 2015.
The quote goes some ways to explain the failure of Armenia opposition
parties to influence Armenia politics or to unseat the remarkably
successful, yet apparently unpopular, President Serge Sarkissian.
While some of the president's critics believe he has a choke-hold on
power because of his party's expertise in staging fraudulent
elections, the fact is there's more to Sarkissian's success than
A crucial reason for the regime's unchallenged dominance is its access
to financial and human resources as well as the Republican Party's
organizational skills. Being the incumbent, Sarkissian also enjoys
predictable advantages. Meanwhile, the opposition is diffuse and weak.
The regime's strategy is simple: to stay in power. The opposition
story is complicated: it has to go through loops, compromises, and
The shortcomings of the opposition are many.
During the two terms of the Sarkissian presidency, the opposition
failed to produce a single charismatic leader who could inspire the
populace and embody the drive for democracy. The politician who came
closest to be considered a credible alternative to Sarkissian was
Raffi Hovanissian of the Heritage Party, but following the disputed
results of the last elections, rather than lead his followers to force
a reversal of the results, he crumbled and rushed to Moscow presumably
to tell the Russians that he had been robbed. He returned
empty-handed. And when he met Sarkissian, his language and manners
were that of an apologetic teenager approaching the school principal.
He gravely disappointed his followers.
The opposition has relied too often on mass rallies as spark plugs for
regime change. At these public gatherings, usually in front of the
opera building, party leaders seemed to be inspired by the arias
reverberating from the interior of the building: they indulged in ad
hominem and in interminable coloratura orations for cheap applause.
The spectators--mostly senior citizens nostalgic for the Soviet
days--wanted change which would improve their standard of living. As
people who pine for the `good old days' of the Soviet system they are
not agents of change. After listening'for several hours--to harangues
and virtuoso demagoguery, they melted away to go home disappointed.
As in past occasions'in parliament or in public `the verbose
politicians at the opera rallies had failed to offer comprehensive
programs (social, economic, political and organizational) that could
have captured the imagination of the voters, particularly the
activists, intellectuals, students, labor, and progressive thinkers.
The rallies had become the aim rather than the means for change.
Other chinks in the opposition's armour: some `opposition' politicians
are oligarchs who have become pols so as to maintain their business
network and to protect their privileges. Versed in the accepted lingo,
they talk the talk but don't walk the talk. Raised under communism,
they have a notional familiarity with democracy. As well they see
themselves as entitled elite, like the Soviet nomenclatura, while the
citizenry is perceived as hoi polloi. That the politician is elected
to serve the public can be a bizarre idea in such an authoritarian
Yet another opposition weakness: the opportunists among them are only
too eager to become silent partners to the regime so as to benefit
from Sarkissian's largess. The electorate, aware of the farce, is
distrustful of the rent-a-politician mob.
Some observers believe Echmiadzin's alliance with the ruling party and
the oligarchs has hurt the opposition. But that argument has an
opposite mirror image: while some people have voted for Sarkissian
because of his close ties to Echmiadzin, others could have voted for
the opposition for the same reason. Catholicos Karekin II's lifestyle
and management are no secret to the citizens of Armenia.
A glaring weakness of the opposition is that it's under-resourced and
has no depth. The only time an opposition leader (Gagik Dzaroukian)
dared to challenge Sarkissian the rebel oligarch's wealth was
threatened by unknown elements. Seeing he could lose his mini-empire,
Dzaroukian asked for peace with the obvious promise that he would not
Twenty-five years after independence, the opposition parties remain
amateurish when it comes to organization matters. For example, there
has never been an election where the opposition was represented in all
or almost all polling stations. In the recent constitution referendum,
the anti-Sarkissian faction was represented in only 1,200 of the 2,000
The opposition is also hamstrung by the electorate's relative lack of
political sophistication. As well, far too many citizens believe
regime change could translate to revolution/chaos at a time when the
Azeris are making almost daily incursions into Armenian territory.
A political party requires an engaged electorate. The economic and
social hardships have demoralized the populace, driving away promising
people who could have contributed to the formation of a progressive
Diaspora's indifference to the opposition has hurt the anti-Sarkissian
factions. There has been an absence of support from the Diaspora for
the opposition. As long as Armenia is safe and some progress is being
made, the Diaspora seems to forgive the regime's trespasses.
Finally, the elephant'or the bear'in the room: the road to Armenia's
presidency goes through the Kremlin. The opposition needs President
Putin's nod but as long as Sarkissian doesn't make rash overtures to
the West, Putin will not try to replace him.
Related to the above is Russia's dominance of Armenia and Armenia's
need for Russian protection against Azerbaijan and Turkey. The
electorate is cognizant of the fact that some opposition leaders are
anti-Russian. With storms swirling around the Transcaucasus and the
Middle East, the Armenian citizenry is in no mood for the so-called
color revolutions or an opposition takeover which could pit Russia