Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Armenian News... A Topalian... 'Planned Assassination'

Report Armenian Group `Planned Assassinations' 
Ruzanna Stepanian 

The ten people arrested by security forces during Wednesday's raid on
their alleged hideout in Yerevan plotted to kill senior Armenian
officials and carry out other terrorist attacks in Armenia, the
National Security Service (NSS) said on Friday.

Mikael Hambardzumian, a senior NSS official, claimed that they and 11
other individuals detained in the following days were part of a
well-organized armed group. It was neutralized by Armenian
law-enforcement authorities just days before committing
"unprecedented" crimes, he said.

"I cannot disclose at this point what crimes they had planned and
against whom," Hambardzumian told a news conference. "I can only say
that the crimes were aimed at citizens, political and state figures,
and certain branches and bodies of government."

"We could see that they had planned murders [that would have been
committed] in a way dangerous to the lives of many people," he said.

Hambardzumian, who is the deputy head of the NSS's investigative
department, compared the alleged conspiracy with the October 1999
attack on the Armenian parliament which left its speaker Karen
Demirchian, Prime Minister Vazgen Sarkisian and six other officials

"I can even draw parallels with what was done by [jailed ringleader]
Nairi Hunanian and his gang," he said. "But while in that [1999] case
we dealt with several persons armed with several automatic rifles, can
you imagine what would have happened if this group had succeeded in
realizing its plans with those explosives and grenades?"

Armenia - Security forces detain a woman in a raid on a house in
Yerevan's Nork district, 25Nov2015.

The NSS and the Armenian police claimed to have found a weapons cache
when their special forces jointly raided a rented house in Yerevan's
northern Nork-Marash district. They said they found, among other
things, 10 Kalashnikov rifles, 60 hand grenades, two rocket-propelled
grenade launchers and a large amount of explosive materials.

The arrested people are presumably members of an obscure nationalist
group led by Artur Vartanian, a 34-year-old Armenian national who is
said to have lived in Spain from 1997 until his return to Armenia in
April this year. The group announced its existence on social media
with a video purportedly shot in Kessab, an Armenian-populated town in
northern Syria that was overrun by Islamist rebels in March 2014.

The footage showed a uniform-clad Vartanian making a statement in
front of nine other armed men also wearing army fatigues. He declared
that they have set up the Armenian Shield Regiment to put up "armed
resistance to terrorists" threatening Armenians.

The video message fueled speculation in Armenian media that Vartanian,
who was also arrested on Wednesday, might be connected with Islamist
militants operating in Syria. According to Hambardzumian, the NSS is
now looking into such a possibility.

"We know that Artur Vartanian was in Syria," he said. "We will work in
that direction to find out what exactly he did there, what connections
he has and whether organizations known to us have anything to do with
this case."

The NSS official added that Armenian security services are also
looking for the sources of "tens of thousands of dollars" in funding
which he said was received by the militant group. "The money was paid
in Armenia but we have yet to establish its origin," he said.

Security in and around key government buildings in Yerevan was visibly
tightened following the high-profile arrests. Hambardzumian said in
this regard that the NSS does not exclude that the group has other
members remaining at large.

RFE/RL Report
Turkish Support For Azerbaijan Reaffirmed
Emil Danielyan

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reaffirmed Turkey's strong
support for Azerbaijan and criticized the U.S., Russian and French
mediators for failing to end the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict during a
visit to Baku on Friday.

Cavusoglu held talks with the leaders of Turkey's closest regional
ally as Ankara and Moscow continued to trade bitter accusations over
this week's downing by a Turkish fighter of a Russian warplane near
the Turkish-Syrian border. It was not clear whether the trip was
connected with the sharp deterioration of Russian-Turkish relations.

News reports from Baku said Cavusoglu discussed the Syrian incident
with President Ilham Aliyev and other senior Azerbaijani
officials. Aliyev told him that he "regrets" the Russian-Turkish
tensions and expressed readiness to help defuse them.

Aliyev's office reported no other details of that discussion. It also
quoted him as saying that "Azerbaijan and Turkey are the closest
countries in the world."

The Karabakh conflict was also on the agenda of the talks. "We support
Azerbaijan on the Karabakh issue and on the issue of return of the
occupied Azerbaijani lands," Cavusoglu told a joint news conference
with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Elmar Mammadyarov.

According to the APA news agency, the Turkish minister said that the
U.S., Russian and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group should come
up with "new proposals" on resolving the dispute. "We are trying to
stimulate the work of the Minsk Group through constructive criticism,"
he said.

Azerbaijani leaders regularly criticize the mediating powers for not
pressing for a peace deal that would restore Azerbaijan's control over
Karabakh and Armenian-controlled territories surrounding it.

The mediators are currently trying to arrange a meeting of Aliyev and
Armenia's President Serzh Sarkisian which they hope will kick-start
the stalled peace process. Mammadyarov said that they are still
"working" on the summit expected in December.

Cavusoglu also announced on Friday that Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet
Davutoglu will visit Baku next week. Davutoglu reportedly said on
Wednesday that the "liberation of the occupied territories of
Azerbaijan" remains a Turkish foreign policy priority.
Blogger: Seta's Armenian Blog - Create post
The fallout from the downing of the Russian Su-24 bomber has raised
fears in Yerevan that Armenia could be drawn into the Russia-Turkey
confrontation if it escalates further. Armenia hosts a Russian
military base deployed along its closed border with Turkey.

The Armenian civil aviation authority accused Turkish military
helicopters of twice violating Armenia's airspace in early October,
just days after Russian warplanes strayed into Turkish territory from
Syria. Yerevan chose not to lodge formal protests with Ankara.

Armenian leaders believe that the Russian military presence precludes
Turkey's direct military intervention in the Karabakh conflict.

Turkish-Azerbaijani military cooperation has intensified in the last
few years, with Ankara helping Baku with weapons and personnel
training and holding joint military exercises on a regular basis. The
chief of the Turkish General Staff, General Hulusi Akar, promised
continued aid to the Azerbaijani military when he visited Baku in
early October.

RFE/RL Report
Baku Again Rejects Karabakh Ceasefire Safeguard
Sisak Gabrielian

Azerbaijan remains opposed to the idea of international investigations
of intensifying ceasefire violations in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
zone, according to Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.

The U.S., Russian and French co-chairs of the Minsk Group have long
been urging the parties to work out a mechanism for such
investigations that would be conducted by representatives of the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

They reiterated the proposal in late September following the most
recent upsurge in fighting along "the line of contact" around Karabakh
and the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. "Armenia has agreed to discuss
the details of the mechanism, and we urged Azerbaijan to do the same,"
the mediators said after hosting talks in New York between Mammadyarov
and his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian.

Speaking to RFE/RL's Armenian service ( in Tbilisi on
Thursday, Mammadyarov made clear that Baku continues to reject the
idea. He said Armenian withdrawal from "occupied Azerbaijani
territories" would be a much better way to end bloodshed.

"One must not reinforce the status quo," Mammadyarov went on. "One
must not reinforce the situation in which soldiers from the two sides
sit and look at each other from a 30-meter distance. One must remove
the [Armenian] troops."

"If you want a mechanism for investigations, then you should pull out
your troops and [in that case] we will set up not one but several
mechanisms. We will even set up a tribunal that will determine who
shoots at whom. But as thing stand now, the presence of Armenian
troops is the biggest threat to security," he said.

Peace proposals made by the mediating powers over the past decade do
envisage the restoration of Azerbaijani control over virtually all
seven districts around Karabakh that were fully or partly occupied by
Karabakh Armenian forces during the 1991-1994 war. But that would have
to be followed by a future referendum in which Karabakh's
predominantly Armenian population would determine the territory's
Lola Uzunyan's parents made announcement for the first time
28 November, 2015

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 28. Father of Lola Uzunyan, killed in
Paris terrorism, Erik Uzunyan published an article in Huffington Post
newspaper considering French government responsible for the incident.
`France led catastrophic policy in the Middle East for long years.
Nicolas Sarkozy, violating UN Security Council's resolutions, which
prohibits any ground actions in other country, France sent troops to
Libya contributing to the fall of Gaddafi regime,' Uzunyan mentioned
as `Armenpress' reports, emphasizing that Gaddafi was not considered
even an enemy for France.

Lola's father stated that later French government was involved in the
coalition against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the case when
Syria is not the enemy of France as well.

`Such policy became tragic for our country. Two last Presidents of
France acted shortsighted and with unparalleled ease,' Erik Uzunyan

`France is not able to secure a future for Youngsters. Europe cannot
overcome the blockade which exists in Liberalism. The officials that
we elected cannot propose us a new policy. I am frightened of my
country and over my daughter's death,' Erik Uzunyan concluded.

At least 130 people were killed in the Paris and Saint-Denis shootings
and bombings in the evening of November 13. On a night when thousands
of Paris residents and tourists were reveling and fans were enjoying a
soccer match between France and world champion Germany, horror struck
in an unprecedented manner. Terrorists-some with AK-47s, some
reportedly with bombs strapped to them -- attacked sites throughout
the French capital and at the stadium where the soccer match was
underway. The worst carnage occurred at Bataclan, with at least 112
left dead. France has declared a state of emergency and tightened
national borders. Hollande called the size of the terror

Armenian Lola Uzunyan was in the list of victims whose parents
announced about it publicly for the first time. 

EurActiv, EU
Armenia shows Europe how to welcome refugees
European Friends of Armenia
Eduardo Lorenzo Ochoa,
27 Nov 2015 

Armenia, a small country that is relatively poor compared with the
rest of Europe, has welcomed the influx of refugees crossing its
borders, giving help to those who need it, writes Eduardo Lorenzo

Eduardo Lorenzo Ochoa is director of European Friends of Armenia.

Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, 17,000 Syrians have come
to Armenia. Though many of them are of Armenian descent, other
persecuted communities, such as the Yazidis and the Assyrians, have
also been able to make Armenia their home, albeit temporarily. Armenia
has the third most war refugees from Syria in Europe.

With a GDP ten times lower than the EU average, and roughly 3 million
inhabitants, the current refugee crisis has demanded many efforts from
the South Caucasus republic. Unlike Lebanon, Turkey or Jordan, Armenia
has not received any substantial financial assistance from the EU.
Nevertheless, the Armenian Ministry of Diaspora publicly insisted that
`if refugees decide to come to Armenia, our state must do its best by
means of joint efforts with international structures and different
Armenian organisations to receive them'.

>From an administrative point of view, those reaching the Armenian
borders, depending on their situation and background, can apply for
citizenship, residence permit, or else request an accelerated asylum

Having no prescribed `welcome centres' as such, Armenia has launched
several initiatives to help newcomers feel at home together with the
UN and civil society. The `adopt-a-family' project matches them with
Armenian host families who provide emotional and psychological
support. To overcome cultural and linguistic barriers free education
and language classes are also offered. Legal advice was also given to
over 6,000 newcomers as of 2014. Subsidy schemes were made available
for rent, food and healthcare.

Despite the 17% unemployment rate, most locals see this exodus as an
opportunity for their country. Migrants bring new skills to the
Armenian economy and also a different business culture. They are good
entrepreneurs and very quickly re-open their businesses. So far, 245
businesses have been opened by migrants who have arrived from Syria.

The massacres perpetrated by ISIS in Syria and Iraq have reminded
Armenians of their own history. Many Syrians who came to Armenia are
actually descendants of survivors of the Armenian Genocide and
numerous Armenians feel a moral obligation to provide them with a safe
haven. This also explains why the Yazidis, who are facing
extermination in their ancestral lands, are welcomed with open arms.

Back in Brussels, the refugee crisis has put the notion of `united in
diversity' under pressure. EU members states are showing anything but
unity as some are appealing to the Court of Justice to overturn a
decision made on how war refugees should be spread. As for
`diversity', we can all draw our own conclusions.

In theory, the member states agree on the defence and promotion of
European principles and values, but unfortunately they differ widely
in their understanding of what should be put into practice.  This has
been evident throughout the current war refugee crisis. The level of
solidarity shown by Germany and Sweden diverges drastically with the
approach of some other countries.

On a more positive note, this humanitarian crisis has also shown that
there is a European community of values which stretches from the South
Caucasus to the Atlantic. This community is not defined by membership
to a particular customs union, but by common principles which
countries and their people hold dear.

Throughout the refugee crisis, Armenia is quietly reminding the world
what European values really are. History shows that Europe has been at
its best when it has provided shelter for those seeking safety from
persecution and destruction. The Armenian approach to the current
crisis is a direct continuation of this praiseworthy tradition, and
proves that Armenia is fully and undeniably part of the European
community of values.

The tragic events in Paris are a direct attack on these very same
European values. This explains why Armenians were quick to gather all
across the country to mourn the victims and express solidarity with
the people of France. Among them was also Armenian President Serzh
Sargsyan, who took part in a candlelight vigil held at the Embassy of
France in Yerevan.

For various reasons, it remains highly unlikely that Armenia will
participate actively in any military operation taking place in Syria.
Russia and France have already started intensifying their air raids on
ISIS targets, which will increase the flow of refugees at least in the
mid and short term. Just as it has done in the past, Armenia will
continue to be a safe haven for those fleeing war and persecution.

Charles Aznavour, whose own parents fled to Europe after the Armenian
Genocide, said he `will always take the side of those who knock on
doors, not the ones who shut them.' I believe that these words reflect
the feeling shared by countless Armenians and other Europeans when
they are confronted with images of people fleeing war in an attempt to
save their lives. These are the European values which unite us, from
the cliffs of Ireland all the way to the mountains of Armenia. 

Thousands of refugees from Syria being welcomed to Canada under the
federal expedited plan will land in Montreal or Toronto.

The Globe and Mail daily of the country informed that about two
thirds of those arriving in Montreal are Syrian Armenians, and the
local Armenian community has assumed their sponsorship.

"We don't see much of them," said Stephan Reichhold, the director of
an umbrella group of 100 agencies serving newcomers to Quebec. "They
arrive, they're picked up by their sponsor group from the airport
and then they disappear from our radar."

According to the document obtained by the daily, only 311 of the
people slated to arrive in Canada by the end of this year are sponsored
solely by the Canadian government. 
Armenia to modernize S-125 surface-to-air missile systems
November 27, 2015 

Armenia will modernize its S-125 surface-to-airmissile systems, 
enhancing their level to that ofS-125 Neva/Pechora in

As reports citing Russia's Centre for Analysis of World Arms
Trade (CAWAT), the missile systems will be upgraded with Moscow's
assistance, with Armenia set to pay $60 million under a deal inked in

The fact that Armenia has S-125 missile systems emerged in a TV story
about a machine tools factory that accidentally revealed one of the
system's missile launchers, suggesting that he modernization will be
fully or partially implemented in Armenia.

S-125 Pechora's tactical-technical specifications surpass those of
S-125, featuring improved missile range, maximum height, target
destruction probability and interference protection. 
20.4% TO $3.900.9 BILLION
YEREVAN, November 30. Armenia's foreign trade in the first ten
months of 2015 slashed by 20.4% from the year before to $3.900.9
billion, the National Statistical Service (NSS) said today.

According to official data, exports in January-October fell by 2.2%
to about $1.223.4 billion, while imports plunged by 26.6% to about
$2.677.5 billion. The resulting trade deficit amounted to $1.454
billion. The negative trade balance in FOB prices stood at $1.041.8

Armenia's foreign trade turnover with the Commonwealth of Independent
States (CIS) declined by 17.3% to $1.149.8 billion (29.5% of the total
trade), while trade with Russia fell by 14.8% to $989.7 million. The
trade with Ukraine dropped by 37.1% to $106.1 million and trade with
Belarus declined by 19.5% to about $26.1 million.

The trade with EU countries in January-October 2015 amounted to
approximately $998.6 million, a decline of 24.3% from the year before
(25.6% of the total trade), and trade with other countries fell by
19.9% to $1.752.5 billion.

According to the statistics, the largest exports were represented by
mining industry products that grew by 23% to about $387.3 million,
finished food products that declined by 10.7% to $244 million and
non-precious metals and products that also declined by 24.2% to about
$192.8 million.

At the same time, imports of mining industry products dropped by
19.1% to about $ 561.3 million, imports of machinery, equipment and
mechanisms fell by 31.7% to $321.7 million, imports of f finished food
products dropped by 12.4% to $263.2 million and imports of chemical
products slashed by 16.3% to $243.6 million. ($ 1 - 481.92 drams).

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

FATHER FRANK’S RANTS Rant 658 30/11/15 LOVE AND DEATH: Letter to President Hollande


Monsieur le President,

‘ISIS has the cult of death…we have the love of life’, you piously intoned, commemorating the Paris victims of terrorism. True or false?

The jihadists have killed 130 innocent people. A crime that makes them into vile assassins but… into a death cult? Gallic love of logic, of Cartesian ‘clear and distinct ideas’ and of linguistic precision demand your rhetoric should be scrutinised.

ISIS’ declared aim is to establish an Islamic state, a caliphate. A polity ruled by a caliph, a political and religious statesman. A successor of the Prophet Muhammad. Unlike Plato’s Republic, the caliphate concept is no celestial utopia. Its many historical embodiments include the last caliphate, the Ottoman Empire. It lasted over 600 years. A tad longer than your glorious French republic.

A caliphate is a living, organised and fully functioning community. Its law is sharia, the holy code of Islam - a universal religion followed by over a billion people. A caliphate is a vast social multitude engaged in buying and selling, eating and drinking, sleeping and waking, reading and studying, praying and playing, making war and peace, getting married, having children, , going on pilgrimages, holidaying…and so on. You have to be alive to do any of those things. How then can you say caliphate advocates are a death cult?

You mean perhaps ISIS’ nasty way to go about its political-theological goal? Murderous and despicable. Terrorism pure and simple, like in the Paris attack. Yes, terrorism…wait a minute. Terrorisme... Isn’t that originally a French creation? Harking back to the radical Jacobins who during the French revolution terrorised and murdered innocent Frenchmen not enamoured of lofty republican slogans such as ‘liberty, equality and fraternity’? Makes you think…

Regardless, means and ends are distinct ideas. ISIS’ end, however atrocious its means, is not death but victory. Nor are jihadis irrational or nihilistic, despite bonehead Western commentators. Their hideous massacres and beheadings serve a clear, rational purpose. They wish to provoke Western nations to intervene directly into the Middle East. Not just by bombing but by a full ground offensive. By putting boots on the ground. So that they can appeal to the whole Arab and Islamic world: ‘O Muslims! See? The crusaders are back! To Jihad!’ A very intelligible and clever plan, no?

Love of death you contrast with the ‘love of life’. Alas, the jihadis love life, too. A stern, grim and unlovely type of life, to be sure, but still life. Moreover, they believe in a life beyond this life. In another world. A supernatural existence beyond this merely earthly one. A belief they share with all their fellow Muslims. Indeed, also with two billions Christians - though of course I hold that their crimes will doom them to post-mortem chastisement. Now, as a self-confessed atheist you do not believe in an afterlife. Only in this life. It follows that death is your ultimate destination, the final and absolute story’s end, the extinction of human life for good. It would be unfair to say that you practice a death cult but…isn’t that a bottom what atheism logically imply? That being so, aren’t the Jihadis, however ‘meprisables’, more life-loving than you?

In your secular oration, you lyrically praised French bonheur de vivre, relish of living, love of songs, music, concerts and shows. Other nations love them, and so do I. (Certainly not the cacophonous Eagles of Death Metal rock band. Jinxes by any definition!) But you also rejected any reference to ‘eternal France’. Why? Do you hate the ancient history of your country so much? The France of Clovis, the Frankish monarch who first accepted baptism, the France of Martyr King St Louis…France, the first Christian kingdom of Europe, the France of wonderful saints like Joan of Arc, Vincent de Paul, Francis de Sales, Bernadette Soubirous, Therese de Lisieux and a whole luminous cloud of witnesses…but how naive of me! You are an atheist. All those stupendous Christian men and women loved life beyond the grave. Eternal life. You don’t. For you there is only the grave. Natural you should dislike them.

ISIS has slaughtered and maimed and wounded in the name of ‘a betrayed God’, you said. What?! That really pulled me up. An elliptic reference to Allah, presumably. The jihadis have played false to him, you claim. But how do you know? Who gives you the authority to say that? You understand about Islam as much as I understand about entomology, I bet. The jihadis can quote chapter and verse of the Qur’an, plus cite prophetic hadiths to justify their deeds. As well as the theological reasons for the many wars undertaken to spread their faith. Can you? Hence you have no right to speak of a betrayed Allah.

It was worse than ignorance. It was also a cheek. Because it is you, Monsieur le President, who is guilty of betrayal. You have betrayed God. The God of your ancestors, the God of ‘la France eternelle’. The God for whom so many brave Frenchmen lived and died in centuries past. You in your boasted atheism have forsaken and betrayed Jesus Christ. To blame jihadis for betrayal is like ‘le moque de la charite noir’. A case of the pot calling the kettle black. How pathetic!

‘Long live the Republic! Long live France!’ you proclaimed at the speech’s end. I love your country, so am happy to boom out ‘Vive la France’! But, with an inept President like you, I will NOT say ‘Vive la Republic’.

Revd Frank Julian Gelli

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November 29, 2015
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The Progressive Turk Oxymoron  Editorial
Սփիւռքի Վերակազմակերպում, Ազատագրում Օլիգարխ Ռեժիմէն
  Մեթր Գասպար Տէրտէրեան
Executioner Supreme Staff
Սահմանադրական Բարեփոխումներ՝ Կարծիքներ Լիբանանէն
   Համօ Մոսկոֆեան
Mehmet Becomes “The Man from D.I.M” Jirair Tutunjian
Three Better Ways for Sargsyan to Become Dictator  Raffi Elliott-ian
"What's it All About?" Asks the Poet  Vahe H. Apelian
A Versatile Language is One Key to Survival  Nareg Seferian
The Myth of the Caliphate  Nick Danforth
Armenia Irredenta: Annexation of Western Armenia
  Z. S. Andrew DemirdjianPh.D.
Music Keeps the Hovsepians a Family  Tom Vartabedian
Heroes and Villains of 2015  Editor
Special Book Offer  Staff


Movie soundtracks—from “The Crow” and “Dead Man Walking” to “Gladiator”—use the duduk, an Armenian wooden flute, for a taste of the exotic. Pop stars from Gloria Estefan to Colombian singer Shakira give Joe Zeytoonian a call when they want some oud on their records. Read More
The poll question is located in the right column of

Is the conflict between Russia and Turkey good for Armenia?
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Dr. Dikran Abrahamian · 15 Bridle Rd. · Penetanguishene, On L9M 1J5 · Canada

Armenian News... A Topalian... More than $10.3 million was raised during the annual Thanksgiving Day Theleton of Hayastan All-Armenian Fund.
27 Nov 2015
Siranush Ghazanchyan

This year's flagship ground-breaking project is the construction
of single family homes for families in Artsakh who have 5 children
or more and lack adequate housing. There are already 466 families
identified in Artsakh who fit the criteria and 211 are known to live
in unacceptable housing conditions.

The homes that Armenia Fund constructs will have land plots of 10,000
sq. ft. each, where the families can grow fruits and vegetables.

Armenia Fund will provide furniture for every room in the house
as well as provide household appliances, including water heaters,
refrigerators, washers, stoves and vacuum cleaners.

According to the program, priority will be given to low income
families, as well as the families of active duty officers of the
armed forces, families of veterans of the Artsakh Liberation War and
to the survivors of soldiers who lost their lives defending Artsakh.

27 November 2015

The Russian press and blogs are starting to ask questions about why
the allies of Russia do not respond to the incident of the Russian
SU 24 warplane above Syria. A few days ago the Turkish plane hit the
Russian warplane, explaining that it had trespassed its air border.

After that incident the issue of the Armenian genocide and the
Kurdish issue started being used in Russia. A bill on criminalizing
the denial of the Armenian genocide was introduced to the Russian
Duma. The famous Russian politician Vladimir Zhironovsky suggested
using Armenia as a tool in the fight on Turkey. has published an article entitled "Friendly Silence" accusing
the allies of Russia in CSTO for not expressing a stance.

"The minister of defense of Armenia Seyran Ohanyan is also cautious.

In answer to the question of the reporters what Armenia should
undertake in case of tension between Russia and Turkey, he suggested
waiting to understand what course the developments will take," the
author of the article writes.

The majority of the Armenian part of the social network sympathizes
with Russia regarding this Russian-Turkish escalation. Many people
believe that the Turkish president Recep Tayip Erdogan will not get
away with this, and Vladimir Putin will punish Turkey.

As to the role of the Armenians in the Russian-Turkish conflict, people
are recalling the Russian-Turkish wars and the achievement of goals in
detriment to the Armenians. The majority thinks that there is no need
to cheer the Russian-Turkish tension and we should keep a low profile.

In answer to the accusations coming from the Russian side why Armenia
and the Armenians are not reacting to the incident, the Armenian
Facebook users recall the downing of the Armenian helicopters by the
Azerbaijani forces in Artsakh a year ago and the lack of a reaction
from Russia's side.

On the whole, these responses of the Armenian users of social networks
are a new level of quality, extending hope that a lot of stereotyped
outlooks will be revised.
YEREVAN, November 27. /ARKA/. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's
statement is nothing more than a PR move, and Armenia shouldn't worry,
Alexander Iskandaryan, the director of the South Caucasus Institute,
is quoted by Novosti-Armenia as saying.

According to Kommersant, a Russian newspaper, Davutoglu, in fact, has
opened a new front of fighting against Russia and its ally Armenia and
has vowed to do whatever is possible to liberate occupied Azerbaijani

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is now in Baku for
negotiations with the Azerbaijani authorities.

Â"A multidirectional PR campaign is being run in Turkey,Â" Iskandaryan
said. Â"As for Davutoglu, his statements contradict each other. They
are intended for domestic consumption.Â"

Speaking about fears that Turkey may increase its military assistance
for Azerbaijan or induce it to stronger actions in the Karabakh
conflict zone, the political analyst voiced doubt that Turkey has
instruments for doing this.

"It is impossible to worsen Armenian-Turkish relations, since they
are missing, and relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan follow
other logic," he said.

The conflict that sparked between Russia and Turkey after the latter
downed a Russian fighter jet continued escalating on Thursday. The
two countries' leaders exchanged claims.

Turkish President Recep Erdogan said Ankara has no intention to
apologize for the downing the warplane.

Karabakh conflict broke out in 1988 when Karabakh, mainly populated
by Armenians, declared its independence from Azerbaijan.

On December 10, 1991, a few days after the collapse of the Soviet
Union, a referendum took place in Nagorno-Karabakh, and the majority
of the population (99.89%) voted for secession from Azerbaijan.

Afterwards, large-scale military operations began. As a result,
Azerbaijan lost control over Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven regions
adjacent to it.

Some 30,000 people were killed in this war and about one million
people fled their homes.

On May 12, 1994, the Bishkek cease-fire agreement put an end to the
military operations.

Тalks brokered by OSCE Minsk Group are being held over peaceful
settlement of the conflict. The group is co-chaired by USA, Russia
and France. 
27 Nov 2015
Siranush Ghazanchyan

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, Elmar Mammadyarov made
has said in Tbilisi that Sergey Lavrov presented a proposal on the
Nagorno-Karabakh settlement during his recent visit to Armenia.

According to Mammadyarov, this implies that "one should focus on
the withdrawal of the Armenian military forces, return of internally
displaced persons and establishment of contacts between the Armenian
and Azerbaijani communities of Nagorno Karabakh."

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian responded to the claims
at the Eastern Partnership Informal Ministerial Dialogue in Tbilisi,
Spokesman for Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Tigran Balayan
said in comments to Radio Liberty. Minister Nalbandian said, in part:

"All of us, gathered here, can only express bewilderment, as we did
at the Riga Summit, when Azerbaijan rejected the wording proposed
by everyone, including the EU member-states and EaP states in the
Summit's Final Declaration on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement, which
was based on the well-known statements by the Heads of Co-Chair
states. It is known that they reflect the principles and elements
of the settlement as an integrated whole. The joint approach of the
Co-Chair states - Russia, United States and France, is well-known,
that selective approach to those principles and elements will make
the settlement of the conflict impossible.

Azerbaijan's approaches should not be presented as a position of
the Co-Chairs, especially given the fact that those principles and
elements are published in the five well-known statements.

Regarding to what Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister presents and how he
attempts to ascribe it to Sergey Lavrov, such an approach has not
been proposed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia to the
Armenian side, and I do not think that he would have proposed such
an approach to the Azerbaijani side.

One should not turn the reality upside-down."

Armenia says Azerbaijan's selective approach to principles hampers
Karabakh conflict settlement

YEREVAN, November 27. Armenia's (Ba3, negative) low economic
diversification, weakened domestic demand, and trade and financial
exposures to Russia will lead to lower growth in 2016, Moody's
Investors Service has said in a report published earlier this week.

"Armenia's weak domestic demand holds back consumption and investment,
while Russia's worsening economic climate has led to sharp declines
in remittances. Given that remittances account for around 15% of GDP,
Armenia is significantly exposed to the Russian growth cycle," says
Evan Wohlmann, Assistant Vice President -- Analyst at Moody's.

However, the rating agency also notes Armenia's credit strengths,
which relate to the government's commitment to fiscal prudence,
high debt affordability and macroeconomic stability, together with
a supportive business environment.

Nevertheless, the rating agency forecasts Armenia's GDP growth to slow
to 2.5% in 2015 and 2.2% in 2016. Overall, the country's weak economic
performance reflects the slow emergence of new growth drivers in the
economy, says Moody's. Business sentiment remains weak, while private
sector investment still drags on Armenia's economic performance.

However, the rating agency notes that the economy has performed
better than it had expected in 2015, given robust performances from
the agriculture and mining sectors.

Meanwhile, the agency projects that Armenia's fiscal deficit will
increase markedly to 4.2% of GDP in 2015, as a result of expansionary
fiscal measures and low revenue growth owing to weak domestic demand.

As such, the agency forecasts the general government debt ratio to
rise to around 48% of GDP in 2015.

But Moody's expects the fiscal position to improve slightly in 2016,
with the deficit decreasing to 3.6%, as the efforts to improve revenue
administration are complemented by tax policy measures in 2016.

However, Moody's notes those economic headwinds owing to external
vulnerabilities could continue, which would negatively affect the
government's plans to increase tax revenues over the next two years.

In addition, Armenia's debt profile remains particularly susceptible
to negative growth shocks, and if spill over risks from Russia were
to worsen, further debt could accumulate, says Moody's.

The Armenian government's projection of 2015 GDP growth is 4.1%.

Inflation is forecast to be 4% (±1.5%). The GDP projection for 2016
is 2.2%. -0-
27.11.15 | 14:34
By Sara Khojoyan

The government has decided to borrow a loan of 75 million Euros from
the French Development Agency to construct a reservoir in Vedi. It
is another step to get closer to the dangerous level of Armenia's
foreign debt.

The Vedi reservoir, the construction of which is very important for
providing the Ararat Plain with irrigation water for agricultural
purposes, will have a capacity of 29 billion cubic meters. Documents
related to design and estimates, feasibility reports are in the final
phase. Construction is expected to last five years.

Although the loan will be granted on preferential terms (for 20 years,
with a variable interest rate of 0.25 to 6.25 per cent, 0.5 per cent
annual payment obligation), it will also increase Armenia's foreign
debt, which has significantly gone up since 2009.

According to economist Vilen Khachatryan's definition, the Armenian
government is like a family, which lives very inefficiently doing
all its purchases on credit. Its revenues are not increasing, while
it is unclear how effectively those loans are used.

According to the economist, it is also disturbing that the executive
is deviating from its established figures and takes more loans than
it has planned. Earlier this year the government announced about
taking a $288-million loan. However, in the first nine months, it
has already taken more than $360 million worth of new loans. "Perhaps
now Armenia is able to repay these loans, but we are approaching the
threshold of becoming an unreliable credit partner," warns Khachatryan.

"It is an absurd situation: economic growth of 2.5 percent is equal
to $250-300 million. We have taken a lot more debt than our economic
growth figure. So it is the same like if you take a loan of $10,000
and boast that you have an income of $1,000," the economist told
media earlier this week.

Economist Artak Manukyan said that Khachatryan's concerns are
appropriate, because, according to Manukyan, the annual increase
of Armenia's foreign debt amounted to about 7 percent since 2011,
which, in case of the absence of the real growth of the country's GDP,
is dangerous. If the country's economic growth keeps at low rates,
it is likely that the government will have problems in terms of
external debt service, Manukyan told media.

And if, by October, the government added the state's financial
obligations by $360 million, then during the last three weeks,
it increased by $597.8 million. In November, the executive took
$128.5 million loan by two credit agreements. Before that it took $300
million from the Eurasian Development Bank, $153 million from the Asian
Development Bank, $16.3 million from the International Monetary Fund.

By the end of the year, according to the government's forecast,
the country's external debt will amount to 48.3 percent of GDP,
and the debt burden will increase to 49.4 percent next year. In
the executive, however, in contrast to economists, they do not see
danger. In particular, during the budget debate in the National
Assembly, Finance Minister Gagik Khachatryan said that according to
the analysis of the World Trade Organization, the country's external
debt will be very risky from the point of view of its management if
it exceeds 60 percent of GDP.
27 Nov 2015
Siranush Ghazanchyan

Jurgen Klopp holds no doubts that Dortmund midfielder Henrikh
Mkhitaryan is one of the biggest talents in the world, the Daily
Mail reports.

The Liverpool manager, who arrived at Anfield early on Thursday with
his squad ahead of the Europa League clash with Bordeaux, plucked the
Armenian from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013 and remains a confirmed admirer.

Liverpool have been linked with a move for the 26-year-old, given
his links with Klopp, and Juventus have monitored his situation.

Mkhitaryan came in for severe criticism last season - Dortmund
struggled for much of it and were in danger of suffering relegation -
but, talking in a new ebook Reading The Game centred on the 2014-15
campaign, Klopp leapt to his defence.

Mkhitaryan's agent claimed he wanted to leave the club in February
and - while new boss Thomas Tuchel wants to extend his contract beyond
2017 - there remains questions as to whether he will remain in Germany.

When it comes down to it, 99 per cent of people would be happy to
have Mkhitaryan's problems,' he said. 'There is no doubt in my mind
that he is one of the most talented players in the world.'

'He possesses an incredible combination of speed and technique.

There's very, very few you can say that about.'

'There's a reason why the world's best chess players come from Armenia
like Mkhitaryan. Yes, other countries product chess players, but
Armenia produces far more than could reasonably expect,' Klopp said.

Jurgen Klopp's new ebook 'Reading The Game: A Year in Black and Yellow'
is now on sale and can be bought from Amazon.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Armenian News... A Topalian... Armenia: Masterpieces from an Enduring Culture

The 25 November lecture that was very informative to a full lecture room.
The questions were of a very high standard (e.g. what is the relationship between the 
Armenian church kmpets, the narrower higher Georgian versions and the Moslem 
cemetery memorial stones in that area?).
It's a discerning,interested audience with a lecturer to match.

Well worth making your visit to the exhibition on a future lecture date. 

Armenia: Masterpieces from an Enduring Culture
23 October 2015 — 28 February 2016 
Venue: ST Lee Gallery, Weston Library (Map


The Bodleian Libraries 2015 winter exhibition celebrates over 2,500 years of Armenia history. Armenia's Enduring Culture can refer to the great antiquity of Armenian culture, spanning more than two and a half millennia, from its first mention, carved into stone, in the reign of King Darius I (c. 550-486 BCE) to the modern Republic of Armenia and the numerous diaspora communities worldwide.
Yet endurance can also refer to the suffering and hardship which has befallen the Armenians. 2015 marks the centenary of the genocide against the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire by the Young Turk government during World War I.
In their honour, we display over one hundred items spanning more than two thousand years of cultural history: from King Tigranes II the Great's coins minted in the first century BCE, through sumptuously and more modestly decorated manuscripts from the Middle Ages, to the treasured objects of survivors of the 1915 genocide.
Opening times:
Monday to Friday 10am-5pm
Saturday 10am-5pm
Sunday 11am-5pm
Please note: Due to unexpected building issues, the main gallery entrance to the Armenia exhibition is temporarily closed; visitors can enter the exhibition through the Transept Corridor to the right of the closed entrance. Please ask a staff member for directions if needed. 
For further enquiries please email:


Admission free

More events in the Armenia series

From the Genocide to Aram Khachaturian, Andy Serkis and Kim Kardashian
28 October 2015 
In 1915, during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, an unprecedented campaign to exterminate the Christian Armenian population of the Empire was launched. Under the…
Splendour and spirituality in Armenian Christianity
25 November 2015 
Armenia adopted Christianity as the state religion in the early fourth century. Ever since the invention of the alphabet around 405, Armenians have produced brilliantly…
Home is where the market is - trade and print culture in the Armenian Diaspora
2 December 2015 
Armenians adopted printing soon after the invention of the printing press, with the first books produced in 1512-13 in Venice. Since there was not a…
Gifts from our grandmothers: domestic culture in a Diaspora family
9 December 2015 
Aspects of Armenian identity have been handed down through many generations in the diaspora. This talk explores needlework and culinary traditions that have been cherished…
Behind the colours of the Armenian artist: the devil is in the detail
13 January 2016 
A wealth of ingredients from precious and poisonous minerals to unassuming plants and miniscule insects were transformed into pigments by the expert hands of Armenian…
Armenian Papers: fact, fiction and translation in the Monastery of San Lazzaro
27 January 2016 
The Armenian Monastery of San Lazzaro, in the lagoon of Venice, has been a centre for translation since the late eighteenth century. It was only…

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Issue 16 of the Armenian Church News of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of Great Britain & Ireland.

Please copy and paste to your URL... Thank you


Saturday, 28 November 2015

Armenian News... A Topalian... Armenian Carpets:

CNN Feature
Armenian carpets: A multi-million dollar industry
25 November 2015

Armenia is among the safest countries in the world in terms of
potential threats of terrorism, according to a 2015 Global Terrorism
Index report published by the Institute for Economics and Peace
in London.

The Christian South Caucasus nation comes 116th in the list of
162 countries where the higher rank means more danger in terms of

The report says that one of the sources of possible threat to Armenia
is the participation of 70 ethnic Armenian fighters in the struggle
with Syrian Kurds against ISIS, a terrorist group seeking to establish
its control over Iraq, Syria and other regions.

Armenia's neighbors Azerbaijan and Georgia are ranked 93rd and 71st
in the list, respectively. Russia is ranked 23rd, while the U.S. came
in at 35th.

The Global Terrorism Index provides a detailed analysis of the
changing trends in terrorism across 162 countries over the last
15 years. It investigates the patterns of terrorism by geographic
activity, methods of attack, organizations involved and national
economic and political contexts.

According to the latest report, the highest terrorist activity is
concentrated in five countries -- Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan
and Syria. These countries accounted for overall 78 percent of the
lives lost in 2014 as a result of terror attacks. India, Somali,
Libya and Thailand also appeared in the top ten.

The report comes days after two major terrorist attacks against
Russia and France that groups affiliated with ISIS have claimed
responsibility for.

A total of 224 people were killed on board a Russian plane brought
down by a planted bomb over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on October 31.

Islamist gunmen also perpetrated a series of coordinated terrorist
attacks in the French capital of Paris on November 13, killing at
least 129 and injuring several hundred people. An ethnic Armenian
teen was among the victims of the Paris attacks.
Armenia's foreign trade shrinks 20.4% to $3 900.9 million 
in Jan-Oct 2015
YEREVAN, November 20. Armenia's foreign trade turnover shrank
20.4% in Jan-Oct 2015, compared with the same period a year 
earlier, to $3 900.9 million, the National Statistical Service of 
Armenia reports.

Exports shrank 2.2% to $1 223.4 million and imports 26.6% to $2
677.5 million.

As a result, negative balance amounted to $ 1 454.1 million in 
Jan-Sept 2015. ($1 - AMD 481.84).

Institute for War and Peace Reporting, UK
Nov 20 2015
By Arshaluis Mghdesyan

Russia's desire to increase its military role in Armenian airspace
may be connected to differences with Turkey on Syria.

Russian president Vladimir Putin has instructed ministers to negotiate
an agreement with Armenia on a shared air defence system.

In late October, the Russian government approved plans for the creation
of the joint air defence mechanism. The idea is to create an aerial
"umbrella" on the southern border of the Collective Security Treaty
Organisation (CSTO), a wider regional defence alliance that includes
Armenia, Russia, Belarus and three Central Asian states.

In the South Caucasus, Georgia and Azerbaijan are not CSTO members,
and unless this changes, their airspace is not part of the proposed

On November 11, Putin told the Russian defence and foreign ministries
to go ahead with negotiations with Yerevan.

Armenia already collaborates with Russia on air defence, and it is not
yet clear how the new system will differ, or whether it will function
within the CSTO framework. But analysts in Armenia believe this will
be the case.

Former defence minister Vagharshak Harutyunyan told IWPR that
the current mechanism consists of a "unified command centre where
information about the situation in the skies over the South Caucasus
is processed and exchanged," he said.

The new agreement seems likely to integrate this with similar Russian
arrangements with Kazakstan and Belarus.

"Thus, it can be said that a united air defence system for the CSTO,
of which these states are members, is being established," Harutyunyan

Defence expert Sergei Minasyan expects the upcoming treaty to lead
to a more comprehensive regional air defence network. Apart from
interceptor jets and S-300 surface-to-air missiles, it will probably
incorporate detection systems and radars that are deployed in the
Russian North Caucasus.

In practice, says Harutyunyan, Russian and Armenian air defence forces
would work in sync, from the exchange of information to the launch
of missiles and military aircraft, in the event of the threat of
war or large-scale hostilities, for instance if the Nagorny Karabakh
conflict reignited.

"This system includes Russia's ships on the Black Sea, its Caspian
flotilla, detection systems, and aircraft squadrons in the North
Caucasus, as well as the components of Armenia´s air defence," he
said. "If necessary, this system will work as a single unit providing
coverage and reach for the Armenian defence forces in the skies over
the region, from the Caspian to the Black Sea."

The leaders of CSTO states have discussed a common unified air defence
system for several years. Putin first spoke of plans to build and
strengthen the air defence "umbrella" at a 2013 awards ceremony for
senior Russian army officers.

"We also plan to strengthen the unified air defence system with Belarus
and to start forming such regional systems with Armenia and Kazakstan,"
he said.

Some experts see air defence integration as a logical continuation
of the long-term security relation between Armenia and its major ally.

The Russians maintain ground forces and fighter jets in Armenia. A
2010 agreement extending Moscow's use of the Gyumri military base
until 2044 includes a Russian commitment to defend Armenia against
external threats.

Sergei Markedonov, a Caucasus expert in Moscow, says the forthcoming
deal has nothing to do with the Karabakh dispute, which has
been frozen since 1994 and has soured Armenia's relationship with
Azerbaijan. Instead, he argues, it is only the latest in a long line
of joint military initiatives.

"I don't see anything special or extraordinary about this decision on
unified air defences," Markedonov told IWPR. "It would be fundamentally
wrong to look for pitfalls in the expansion of joint air defences in
the context of the Karabakh conflict."

Commentators also acknowledge, however, that Moscow and Yerevan are
each acting in their own interests. Russia will be keen to reinforce
the southern borders in the Caucasus in light of the ongoing civil
war in Syria, and its own military engagement there.

Armenia, meanwhile, benefits from enhanced national security in an
unpredictable region where the risk of renewed war over Karabakh
is ever-present.

Azerbaijan has been using its oil revenues to spend large sums on
weaponry, much of which it buys from Russia, to Armenia's chagrin.

Moscow is thus acting as arms supplier to both protagonists, perhaps
in order to maintain a balance of power in the region, but also to
bind both countries closer to itself. (See Energy, Arms Trade Clouds
Armenia's View of Moscow.)

The importance of an effective air defence system was felt on October
8 when Turkish helicopters twice entered Armenian airspace. Turkey
is an ally of Azerbaijan, and has kept its border with Armenia sealed
for over 20 years.

In Ankara, the incursion was blamed on bad weather conditions. In
Armenia, however, it was seen as an indirect dig at Moscow in response
to an earlier violation of Turkish airspace by Russian fighters
engaged in hostilities in Syria. Russia attributed that incident,
too, to bad weather.

Some analysts view the timing of the joint air defence announcement in
the context of a sharply deteriorating Russian-Turkish relationship,
caused by differences over the Syrian conflict.

Anatoly Tsyganok, head of the Centre for Military Forecasting at
the Moscow Institute of Political and Military Analysis, told the news site recently that the air defence â~@~^umbrella"
project was aboutTurkey, not Azerbaijan.

Talks on common air defence have been going on for more than three
years, and it seems certain that their sudden acceleration is a result
of the fast-evolving situation in the wider region.

Arshaluis Mghdesyan is a freelance journalist in Armenia. 
Royal Academy of Belgium organizes conference dedicated 
to Armenian Genocide
21 November, 2015

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 21. Royal Academy of Belgium (Académie
Royale de Belgique) and the Free University of Brussels (Université
Libre de Bruxelles) organized a conference dedicated to the Armenian
Genocide to be held in Brussels, Belgium on November 24. `Armenpress'
reports the abovesaid citing the official website of Académie royale
de Belgique.

Lecturers and academicians from Brussels, Geneva, Montpellier, Luven
and Amsterdam universities will participate in the conference.

`Condemnation of genocides has become one of the main issues of our
time. The recognition of the Genocide of Armenians and other peoples
committed by the Ottoman Empire in 2015 is still pending, as Turkey
still refuses to acknowledge the fact thus endangering the
establishment of new relations between the peoples,' is said on the
official website of Royal Academy of Belgium.
Nov 21 2015
Moody's: Armenia's weak domestic demand and external 
vulnerabilities to weigh on 2016 growth

London, 20 November 2015 -- Armenia's (Ba3, negative) low economic
diversification, weakened domestic demand, and trade and financial
exposures to Russia will lead to lower growth in 2016, Moody's
Investors Service has said in a report published today.

Moody's report, entitled "Government of Armenia" is available on Moody's subscribers can access this report via the
link provided at the end of this press release. The rating agency's
report is an update to the markets and does not constitute a rating

"Armenia's weak domestic demand holds back consumption and investment,
while Russia's worsening economic climate has led to sharp declines in
remittances. Given that remittances account for around 15% of GDP,
Armenia is significantly exposed to the Russian growth cycle," says
Evan Wohlmann, Assistant Vice President -- Analyst at Moody's.

However, the rating agency also notes Armenia's credit strengths,
which relate to the government's commitment to fiscal prudence, high
debt affordability and macroeconomic stability, together with a
supportive business environment.

Nevertheless, the rating agency forecasts Armenia's GDP growth to slow
to 2.5% in 2015 and 2.2% in 2016. Overall, the country's weak economic
performance reflects the slow emergence of new growth drivers in the
economy, says Moody's. Business sentiment remains weak, while private
sector investment still drags on Armenia's economic performance.
However, the rating agency notes that the economy has performed better
than it had expected in 2015, given robust performances from the
agriculture and mining sectors.

Meanwhile, the agency projects that Armenia's fiscal deficit will
increase markedly to 4.2% of GDP in 2015, as a result of expansionary
fiscal measures and low revenue growth owing to weak domestic demand.
As such, the agency forecasts the general government debt ratio to
rise to around 48% of GDP in 2015. But Moody's expects the fiscal
position to improve slightly in 2016, with the deficit decreasing to
3.6%, as the efforts to improve revenue administration are
complemented by tax policy measures in 2016.

However, Moody's notes that economic headwinds owing to external
vulnerabilities could continue, which would negatively affect the
government's plans to increase tax revenues over the next two years.
In addition, Armenia's debt profile remains particularly susceptible
to negative growth shocks, and if spill over risks from Russia were to
worsen, further debt could accumulate, says Moody's.
14:42, 23 Nov 2015
Siranush Ghazanchyan

The annual Pan-European Phoneathon of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund,
headed by the Fund's French affiliate and held during November 18-22,
raised over 1.3 million euros in donations and pledges.

The large-scale fundraising campaign mobilized the Armenian communities
of France (1,205,569 euros), Germany (76,050 euros) and Switzerland
(24,554 euros). Proceeds form the Phoneathon will be used for the
construction of community centers in Artsakh, expansion of agricultural
projects in Armenia's Tavush Region and assistance to the Armenian
communities of Syria and Iraq.

The Greek community traditionally joined the Phoneathon with their
fundraising held in Greece on November 22. The phoneathon raised around
29,000 euros, which will be used for the construction of a kindergarten
in Karin Tak, a village in Nagorno Karabakh's Shushi region.

Contributions are still being made.

YEREVAN, November 23. Poverty level in Armenia in 2014
dropped by 2 percentage points from 2013 to 30%, Diana Martirosyan,
the head of a department at the National Statistical Service (NSS)
surveying households, said today when presenting the findings of a
study on living conditions of Armenian households in 2014.

She said the study conducted by the NSS in 2014, revealed that three
out of 10 citizens were below the poverty line with a monthly income
below 40.264 drams. She said the overall number of poor in 2014
stood at 900,000 people, of whom 330,000 were very poor and 70,000
extremely poor.

The poverty level in rural communities was 29.9%, while in urban
communities it was 30%. Only in the capital city Yerevan the poverty
rate was 25.2%.

"In 2008-2014 poverty rate growth in urban and rural communities was
equal. The poverty rate in the capital was 1.4 times lower than in
other cities," she added. She also noted that the extreme poverty
rate in 2014 exceeded the same indicator of 2008 by 0.7 percentage
points and the general poverty level by 2.4 percentage points

At the same time, she said, only 17% of respondents identified
themselves as poor. The National Statistical Service study embraced
5,184 households across the country.

The report "Poverty and Social Panorama of Armenia," prepared by the
NSS with the support of the World Bank is meant to assess the social
situation and changes in the level of life in Armenia in 2008-2014 -0-

RFE/RL Report 
Armenian Government Claims Further Drop In Poverty
Sargis Harutyunyan

Poverty in Armenia decreased in 2014 for the fourth consecutive year,
the National Statistical Service (NSS) said on Monday, presenting the
findings of its latest nationwide household income survey.

The survey conducted last year found that 30 percent of Armenians
lived below the official poverty line set at just over 42,600 drams
($84) per person. The NSS registered a poverty rate of 32 percent in

"Three in ten residents of the country did not surpass the monthly
income level of 40,264 drams," Diana Martirosova, a senior NSS
official in charge of the survey, told a news conference. She
attributed the decreased rate to the fact that the Armenian economy
grew by 3.5 percent in 2014.

Poverty in Armenia fell more rapidly during an almost a decade of
double-digit economic growth that came to an end with the onset of a
global financial crisis in late 2008. The Armenian poverty rate stood
at 27.6 percent at that time. It soared to almost 36 percent in 2010,
one year after the country's Gross Domestic Product shrunk by over 14

The Armenian economy is still reeling from that severe recession,
growing much more slowly than before 2009. Economic growth is expected
to remain sluggish this year and in 2016 due to knock-on effects of an
ongoing recession in Russia.

This is why the Armenian government's draft 2016 budget envisages
virtually no rises in public sector salaries, pensions and poverty
benefits. Opposition politicians and other critics of the government
say that with inflation averaging roughly 4 percent annually, this
means that many Armenians will be worse off in real terms next year.

The critics are bound to question the latest poverty figures by saying
that the official poverty line is set too low given the cost of living
in the country.

Stepan Mnatsakanian, the NSS head also present at the news conference,
insisted that his agency used objective criteria for measuring the
scale of poverty. He admitted, though, that his family spends each
month over 50,000 drams on utility fees alone.

According to the NSS, the official monthly wage in Armenia stood at
almost 185,000 drams ($385) as of September, up by 7 percent from the
same period in 2014.

Focus on Near East Foundation 


In 1915, the Near East Foundation (NEF) was founded in urgent response to the Armenian Genocide. During a historic relief effort in the years that followed, NEF saved the lives of over 1,000,000 refugees, and in the process established the tradition of “citizen philanthropy” – a model used today by a majority of non-profit organizations around the world.

Nearly 100 years later, peace and prosperity in Armenia remain at the heart of NEF’s mission. Long ago forced by the Soviet regime to leave our partner communities, NEF returned to Armenia after a 75-year hiatus. A new era of development work began in 2004 with a focus on improving the lives and future opportunities of street children. NEF efforts have since transitioned into helping revitalize communities to improve livelihoods among vulnerable groups, and to build a stronger economy that will create a brighter future for all Armenians.

Creating Businesses and Jobs

In 2007, NEF undertook an exploratory mission to identify opportunities to support rural economic development. Those initial efforts led to a strategic alliance with Business Pareta, the leading Armenian firm specializing in rural economic development, and Armenia Fund USA, one of the primary channels for philanthropic action among the Armenian Diaspora in the U.S. In 2009, this consortium initiated a collaborative effort to develop a model for local economic development combining micro-enterprise, micro-finance, and micro-franchising. This initiative draws on complementary areas of expertise and a common understanding of the importance and challenges of grassroots economic development for poverty reduction in rural Armenia.

In 2013, NEF extended its focus to include the economic empowerment of vulnerable women. A new project is helping survivors of domestic violence to start their own businesses and secure employment.

NEF-UK Launches Women’s Economic Development Programs in Armenia 

NOV 19, 2015

Yerevan—In January 2015, the Near East Foundation UK (NEF-UK) and the Gegharkunik Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (CGGI) launched a project—financed by the European Union—to advance gender equality and the rights of survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) in Armenia. Now, in only the tenth month of the project, there is an opportunity to share some of its successes.

Last month, NEF-UK, GCCI, and their partner and beneficiary civil society organizations (CSOs) set up and furnished four safe spaces in the Yerevan, Lori, and Syunik regions in Armenia to welcome women for meetings, workshops, networking opportunities, and business development trainings. Over ninety women survivors participated in these trainings and workshops aimed at improving economic agency, equality, and economic independence for women survivors of GBV.

About two thirds of the participants have chosen an enterprise development stream, while the rest have chosen an employment development stream. At the workshops, a selection committee was set up to assess business plans presented by enterprise development program participants and to determine which plans were at an appropriate stage to receive funding. Of the fifty women, twenty-five in the Yerevan group were selected to receive funding for their microbusinesses.

“I had no hope that I could receive funding for my small business that I was dreaming about for many years. My family never supported me to earn money, now I have proved that I am able to do something.’’ said one of the participants in the training who recently received funds to purchase a modern knitting machine to make clothes. She already has made arrangements with nearby fashion centers to sell the clothes she is making.

The business ideas presented to the committee were diverse and spanned from traditional business ideas, such as baking, hairdressing, nail art, and cosmetology to less traditional ambitions like shoe production, pottery, and opening and running a bistro.

Another woman who is improving her cosmetology skills also received a grant, and afterward said: “My trainings are going very well. This profession is perfect for me, I like it so much! I have purchased all the necessary items through the grant and I am looking forward to starting my small business now. Thank you very much, this is the start of my future career and success which was made possible with your support.”

In addition to those who have developed plans for their micro-businesses, a second group of participants are supported with trainings to improve their CVs and employment status so they can earn an income to increase their economic independence. Since the project launched in January, thirty-three women from the Lori region and Yerevan have attended job skills development training sessions and were presented with job opportunities available for them to pursue.

After receiving vocational training in hairdressing, one of the women plans to start a home based business. She told us: “First of all, you made a change in my family’s approach in that women are not created only for sitting at home, but also for working and earning. My husband never allowed me to work. Now, when I receive vocational training and have plans to start my small hairdressing business at home, my husband has become more interested in what I am learning and my success. Thank you very much not only for the grant and for funding my vocational training, but most of all for making a positive change in my families life.”

Since July, six participants of the job component have found and sustained jobs, which include the following sectors: accounting, cleaning, baking, gardening, health care, and secretarial work. Seven women have made arrangements with potential employers to get jobs after receiving vocational training, and three of the employers have promised to promote women to positions with more responsibility after they attend the vocational training sessions.

The job skills development training sessions have improved participant’s communication and negotiation skills, as well as increased their self-confidence and capacity for self-reliance. One of the workshop’s trainers said that they have seen an ‘’increase in the project participants’ self-confidence during a very short time. We see positive changes in their behavior every day.’’

Along with helping survivors of GBV, the project helps to strengthen CSOs internal capacities and technical skills in protection strategies linked to economic empowerment activities for survivors of GBV. Since the project launched, seventy people from a number of state and non-state agencies have participated in round tables conducted in Goris, Spitak, and Yerevan. The purpose of the round tables was to increase the ability of the community and state agencies to facilitate inclusive civil society and community dialogue, private-public-civil-society collaborative activities, and learning and awareness initiatives linked to GBV prevention and gender equality. Ten more round tables are planned for January 2016.

Despite being in its early stages, the project has already seen tremendous success in the communities in which it works. The project team and beneficiaries are looking forward to the next phases and future achievements with the hope that a positive and lasting impact will be made for gender equality and prevention of GBV in Armenia.

This project is funded by the European Union and implemented by the Near East Foundation-UK in partner with the Gegharkunik Chamber of Commerce and Industry.