Thursday, 19 January 2017

Armenian News ... A Topalian... Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Genocide will be remembered again this year 

in Derby during the holocaust memorial day.

This is all due to the hard work of Mr Russell Pollard, who knows 
Armenia and Artsakh very well.

It is near impossibility to get The Armenian genocide mentioned 
during the HMD.
But this is the 3rd year in a row its happening!

In order to show your appreciation. please try to attend if you can.

If you would like to book your free place, please contact 
the Quad Theatre with the link below.
--- --- ----

HMD this year is on the 26th January, and will be at the QUAD centre 
at 7:45pm. I will be speaking again at that event.

If you are able to make it then please book as per previous years, 
Other details of the programme can be found on our website 

Hope you can make it.
Russell Pollard

RFE/RL Report
Intense Mortar Fire Reported In Karabakh
January 16, 2017
Sisak Gabrielian 

The Armenian and Azerbaijani militaries on Monday accused each other
of using mortars to intensify ceasefire violations around
Nagorno-Karabakh overnight.

The two warring sides reported intense gunfire along the Karabakh
"line of contact" the day after the death of an Azerbaijani soldier
serving there.

Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry said the 26-year-old contract soldier,
Fikret Bashirov, was shot dead by enemy fire. Nagorno-Karabakh's
Armenian-backed Defense Army denied responsibility for Bashirov's
death, however, claiming that he was killed by other Azerbaijani

The Defense Army also reported on Monday that one of its soldiers,
Arayik Sargsian, was found shot dead early in the afternoon at one of
its frontline positions "in still unclear circumstances." Military
authorities in Stepanakert are investigating the incident, it said.

It was also announced that another Armenian soldier, Garik Vartanian,
died in a military hospital late on Sunday from gunshot wounds
sustained in Karabakh on December 30. Vartanian, 20, was reportedly
shot by an Azerbaijani sniper.

In another statement issued earlier in the day, the Karabakh Armenian
army said Azerbaijani troops "intensively" violated the ceasefire
regime on the night from Sunday to Monday. It said they fired over 50
mortar shells at its troops stationed east of Karabakh.

An army statement added that Karabakh Armenian forces returned fire
"at some sections" of the frontline. "If the enemy continues such
behavior, the Defense Army will take tougher actions," it warned.

The Defense Ministry in Baku, claimed the opposite, saying that its
frontline troops came under intense Armenian mortar fire. "The armed
forces of Azerbaijan took adequate retaliatory measures to prevent
enemy activity," it said.

Both sides said that they suffered no casualties in the overnight
exchange of gunfire.

The latest escalation came one week after the U.S., Russian and French
co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group again urged the conflicting parties
to avoid truce violations. They said the parties should also "strictly
observe" confidence-building agreements that were reached by Armenia's
and Azerbaijan's presidents at their last two meetings held in May and

The agreements call for concrete measures designed to prevent armed
incidents in on "the line of contact" and the Armenian-Azerbaijani
border. Those include international investigations of truce violations
and deployment of more OSCE observers in the conflict zone.

Davit Babayan, a senior Karabakh official, on Monday reaffirmed the
Armenian side's unconditional support for the truce safeguards sought
by the U.S., Russian and French mediators. "The sooner the
confidence-building measures are taken, the fewer casualties and the
more stability in the region there will be," he told RFE/RL's Armenian
service (

Armenia's leaders have repeatedly accused Baku of dragging its feet
over the agreed measures.

Agence France Presse
Turkey suspends pro-Kurdish lawmaker for 'genocide' comment
Istanbul, Jan 14 2017 

A pro-Kurdish lawmaker has been temporarily suspended from the Turkish
parliament for saying the word "genocide" during heated discussions on
changes to the constitution, state media said on Friday.

Member of parliament for the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Garo
Paylan said four communities had been lost and "driven from these
lands in large massacres (and) genocides," referring to Armenians,
Assyrians, Greeks and Jews, according to Anadolu Agency.

Videos showed lawmakers from the pro-government Justice and
Development Party (AKP) angrily interrupting Paylan's speech.

He has been banned from attending three sessions in the parliament,
which is currently voting on provisions in a controversial bill to
change the constitution and increase presidential powers under Turkish
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Paylan made the comments during a speech in which he criticised the
draft constitution for giving one man extensive executive powers.

Turkey vehemently denies a genocide against Armenians took place. AKP
lawmaker Naci Bostan slammed Paylan's comments as "provocative" and
"unfair", Anadolu said.

But Armenians, backed by many historians, a growing number of foreign
parliaments and the European parliament, say up to 1.5 million of
their kin were systematically killed in the dying days of the Ottoman

Turkey admits large-scale massacres took place, but says they were
perpetrated in self-defence against what it describes as a
Russian-inspired uprising by Armenians. It says 500,000 Armenians 
died in fighting and of starvation.

Paylan's comments came after a vicious fight broke out in parliament
on Thursday as lawmakers voted on parts of the 18-article constitution
bill which -- if passed -- will be put to a referendum at the end of
March or early April.

RFE/RL Report
Karapetian Admits Potential Election Hurdle
January 13, 2017
Sargis Harutyunyan
Ruzanna Stepanian 

Prime Minister Karen Karapetian admitted on Friday that he may not be
eligible to stand as a candidate of the governing Republican Party
(HHK) in Armenia's forthcoming parliamentary elections.

The Armenian constitution stipulates that only those citizens who have
permanently resided in the country for the past four years can run for
the National Assembly. Karapetian worked in Russia from 2011 until
President Serzh Sarkisian appointed him as prime minister in September

Karapetian commented on the issue at a news conference held in his
office. "For the past five years I have been a citizen of the Republic
of Armenia and lived outside Yerevan," he said. "Does the
[constitutional] restriction cover the period of my residency? Can I
be on the Republican Party's [electoral] list? I don't know the answer
to this question."

"If it covers, then I won't be on the list," added Karapetian.

Armen Ashotian, the ruling party's deputy chairman, also acknowledged
on Wednesday that the prime minister may not be legally allowed to run
for parliament. But he made clear that Karapetian will retain his post
if the HHK wins the elections scheduled for April 2.

Naira Zohrabian, the chairwoman of the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK),
the second largest in the current parliament, claimed on Friday that
Karapetian has already decided not to participate in the
elections. She said that the HHK was ready to break the law and
register him as a candidate but that the premier rejected this option.

"It is certainly Karen Karapetian's personal decision not to allow the
Republican Party to commit yet another act of fraud," Zohrabian told
RFE/RL's Armenians service (

Speaking to journalists, Karapetian again indicated that he would like
to stay on as prime minister after the end of President Sarkisian's
tenure in April 2018 if his government succeeds in improving the
economic situation in Armenia.

"Am I inclined to be [prime minister after April 2018?] Yes, if we
work productively and if the Republican Party wins the April
elections," he said.

Sarkisian has yet to clarify what he will do after completing his
final presidential term in time for Armenia's transition to the
parliamentary system of government. He has declined to rule out the
possibility of becoming prime minister.

RFE/RL Report
Government Committed To Major Reforms, Insists PM
January 13, 2017 

Prime Minister Karen Karapetian assured on Friday senior foreign
diplomats based in Yerevan that Armenia's government is committed to
holding democratic elections, combatting corruption and implementing
far-reaching economic reforms.

Echoing statements by President Serzh Sarkisian, Karapetian said the
Armenian parliamentary elections slated for April 2 should have a
"fundamentally new quality." "We stand ready to do everything to
ensure that these elections are transparent," he told the heads of
foreign diplomatic missions in Armenia.

Late last year, the Armenian authorities enacted a set of
opposition-backed legal amendments aimed at minimizing serious
electoral fraud. The United States and the European Union welcomed
those anti-fraud measures, promising millions of dollars in funding
needed for their enforcement. The Western powers cautioned at the same
time that the proper conduct of the vote primarily hinges of the
political will of the Armenian authorities.

Karapetian also told the Yerevan-based Western, Russian and other
foreign ambassadors that his cabinet formed in October will follow
through on economic reforms promised by it. "The main economic
objective is to create maximally equal, open and fair conditions for
business," he said. "In this regard, we have declared that we are
going to make many changes and we ourselves must change first and

As part of its plans to improve the domestic business climate, the
premier said, the government will "simplify" tax and customs
administration. He went on to promise "consistent steps" to reduce the
scale of government corruption in Armenia.

"Without fighting against tax evasion and corruption # and creating a
fair and transparent environment for business we will fail to achieve
progress," added Karapetian.

In its policy program approved by parliament in October, Karapetian's
cabinet likewise promised a tougher fight against corruption, better
tax administration and "equal conditions" for all businesses.

Armenian opposition politicians have dismissed this reform
agenda. They say that the government reshuffle is only aimed at
mitigating public discontent with the authorities ahead of the

Karapetian said on Thursday that international assistance is important
to the success of the promised reforms and that the government is
"open to advice, criticism and proposals" from Armenia's foreign

The prime minister answered questions from the foreign envoys after
his opening remarks. A government statement on the meeting gave no
details of the question-and-answer session.

Armenian Institute ... An evening of food, wine and fundraising!...

170211Tastes of Armenia-flyer-C_33.jpeg

** FATHER FRANK’S RANTS Rant Number 790 17 January 17 JFK & TRUMP: SAME DESTINY?


President John Kennedy’s assassination at Dallas stunned America and the world. JFK was young, handsome and liberal. Progressive America’s darling. As different from aging, maverick Trump as the sky is from the earth. Yet…could the Donald suffer the same fate?

Nutty conspiracy theory? Pray, consider CIA Director John Brennan’s explicit, sinister- sounding warning: Trump ‘needs to be very, very careful…’ Wallahi! It puts me in mind of the standard Mafia words to those in line for elimination: ‘Stai attento!’ Exactly the same trope Brennan used: ‘Be careful!’ A disturbing parallel. What’s going on?

Brennan was gunning for Trump’s approach towards Russia. It ‘worried’ the chief spook. Because, he said, it absolved Russia from ‘various actions’ in past years. Did he mean, perhaps, like Russia heroically standing up to Adolf Hitler in WWII? Sacrificing millions of her young men on battlefields while America was still twiddling her thumbs safely across the ocean? And continuing to fight on until Yanks and Brits risked landing in Normandy? Maybe Brennan should own up…

The master spook was angry because Trump had fingered him as a probable leaker of the fake news meant to discredit him. A Buzzfeed job. Attributed to a former British MI6 officer. (Christ! Why is it you always find a Brit when mischief is at hand? The shocking answer is in my ‘The Dark Side of England’, available on Amazon.) Someone told the industrious, well-paid 007 that a Russian had told someone else something about prostitutes piddling over a bed the Obama couple had slept in – while Trump looked gleefully on, filmed by Roussky spies. A preposterous, absurd and uncorroborated muck-racking that no media with an ounce of seriousness would have touched. You might as well ‘reveal’ that someone told you that someone told someone else that Obumble was filmed interfering with a Syrian child refugee. Which explains why he didn’t bomb President Assad. We are back to Dr Goebbels’s barefaced Nazi propaganda: lie and lie and lie again. Something will stick.

These three infamous letters – CIA - have been long part of liberal and left wing demonology. From the 1954 overthrow of President Arbenz in Guatemala to the 1961 failed Cuban Bay of Pigs invasion, the attempted murder of Fidel Castro, the successful one of Allende during the Chile coup… Plus Ecuador, Brazil, Greece, Congo, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Cambodia, Haiti, Afghanistan, the Gulf War…the CIA’ maleficent tentacles extended far and wide. Lefties claimed the Agency should be abolished and its leaders and henchmen prosecuted as war criminals. However, you can bet your boots the spooks will find plenty of friends amongst liberal bleeding hearts – because the target is their favourite bogy: the Donald.

Mr Brennan accused Trump of undermining ‘national security’ with his criticism of CIA dark arts. But just look at the record of misdeeds above: who is undermining whom? Is America’ security and honour really upheld when crimes galore are perpetrated against foreign peoples? He also resented the analogy between his agents determined to blacken Trump’s name with Nazi Germany. Again, the above list – only a selection! – suggests a CIA catalogue of horrors not unworthy of comparison with the Third Reich. As it happens, I possess a copy of Walter Schellenberg’s Memoirs. A top SS spymaster. The various Nazi operations he describes – quite fun, really - were largely botched-up affairs. It seems the blond spooks of the millenarian Reich fell short of Aryan superhuman efficiency. In general, the democratic, racially diverse CIA performs a tad more lethally well…

Who killed JFK? Only an omniscient mind could answer that one. (Or my nice friend Alex, perhaps…) I well recall the day. Coming home from the cinema – a movie about espionage, funny that! – I found my beloved mum watching TV: ‘They shot Kennedy!’ she announced. ‘Who did it?’ I asked her. ‘Oh, the fascists…oh, no the communists…’ She seemed rather in doubt about it. We are not much clearer today. Shady Lee Harvey Oswald, the putative shooter, was a US Navy Intelligence spy who had deserted to Russia on superior orders. Who manipulated him into killing JFK? Oliver Stone’s tedious film, JFK, despite pretences was a left-wing whitewash – it claimed the culprit was a minor New Orleans gay businessman. Huh! Bigger fish was swimming in that murky pond…

An US President feuding with his own spies is dangerous. Not so much for that sacred cow – ‘national security’ – as for his own safety. Because the bastards really know how to plot, to confuse and how to kill. It must have happened behind the scene before – now it is right in the open – on twitter. Doubly dangerous for all and sundry. Especially those of us who don’t want to succumb to hysterical Russia-phobia. Or don’t fancy another world war. Or any war, for that matter.

Taking on the CIA is indeed very risky. ‘They could deal with the President before the end of the year’, a bright Muslim journalist friend of mine quipped last night. ‘Murdered’ is what he meant, I suppose.

If I were the Donald I would be ‘very, very careful’…

Revd Frank Julian Gelli


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Read the January 2017 issue by clicking here:
► In Aleppo
► Cyprus talks continue in Geneva
► Garo Paylan suspended from Turkish Parliament
► Christmas in Cyprus
► Turkey pays for Erdogan's overreach into Syria
► News in Brief
► Gibrahay Sports
► Turkish Flags Spark Controversy in Baskeball Game
► Melkonian Brothers' Memorial
► A message from AYF Cyprus
► Hamazkayin Timag's "Super Boeing" by Harout Tahmazian
► I remember that which matters most ... we are still here
► Kim Bu Ermeniler hits Turkish Cypriot media
► Simon Aynedjian's New Year's message for Yerkir Media TV
► A calendar by Alexander-Michael Hadjilyra
► Order your Michougov Keofte
► Celebrity Diplomacy
Click here for the latest updates from Armenia, Artsakh, the Diaspora and Cyprus
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Armenian News... A Topalian... New agreement...

RFE/RL Report
EU, Armenia Inching Closer To New Accord
January 17, 2017
Artak Hambardzumian

The European Union and Armenia are close to concluding negotiations on 
a new agreement to deepen their political and economic ties, a senior 
EU diplomat said on Tuesday. 

Piotr Switalski, the head of the EU Delegation in Armenia, told 
RFE/RL's Armenian service ( that the two sides will hold 
another round of talks in Yerevan later this week. "These are the 
final moments of the negotiations," he said. 

The planned accord will serve as a substitute for an Association 
Agreement negotiated by Armenian and EU officials in the summer of 
2013. President Serzh Sarkisian precluded its signing with his 
unexpected decision in September 2013 to seek Armenia's accession a 
Russian-led alliance of ex-Soviet states. 

The framework deal is expected to contain the main political and some 
economic provisions of the cancelled Association Agreement. But it 
will have no free trade-related component due to Armenia's membership 
in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). 

Switalski would not be drawn on possible dates for the signing of the 
new deal reflecting Yerevan's desire to forge closer links with the 
West even after the 2013 U-turn. The diplomat did note, though, that 
an Armenian deputy foreign minister "was not far from the truth" when 
he said recently that it will likely be signed in the first quarter of 
this year. 

Switalski said the two sides only need to agree on "several issues" 
relating to the Armenia-EU cooperation framework. He declined to 
disclose those issues, saying only that some of them will require a 
"political decision." 

Asked which side needs to make such a decision, he said: "It's a 
process of mutual give and take. Nobody is talking about unilateral 

Sarkisian reaffirmed his government's commitment to deepen ties with 
the EU when he met with the EU's commissioner for European 
neighborhood policy, Johannes Hahn, in Yerevan in November. 

According to Armenian government data, the EU accounted for almost 24 
percent of Armenia's foreign trade in January-November 2016, making 
the 28-nation bloc the country's second most important trading partner 
after Russia.
Report reveals Azerbaijani deliberate assault on civilian population in Chinari village of Armenia

Report reveals Azerbaijani deliberate assault on civilian population in Chinari village of Armenia 

The Azerbaijani forces intended to deliberately target civilian population in Chinari village of Armenia’s Tavush region on the morning of December 29, 2016, while carrying out a sabotage infiltration attempt, Armenian Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan told reporters on Wednesday, presenting the results of the fact-finding mission conducted in the area after the assault. 

“I want to specifically underline that no military base or object is deployed in the vicinity of the village that could be recalled by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces. Exclusively peaceful and civilian population reside in the area which unveils the adversary’s intention to deliberately harm the people’s lives and health,” Tatoyan stated. 

The Ombudsman informed that the representatives of his office have conversed with Chinari residents, the village mayor, members of the village council, RA Armed Forces representatives as well as visited the sites were cases of human rights violations had been recorded. 

Based on the fact-finding mission, an English-language report have been developed with geographic locations, mapped roads and schemes, depicting the details of the sabotage infiltration, particularly, when and how the two servicemen and the officer of the RA Armed Forces were killed. The report will be submitted to international structures. The ombudsman announced his upcoming visit to Strasburg next week where he plans to discuss the findings of the report with CoE high-ranking representatives, then in Brussels to raise the issue. 

In the words of the Armenian Human Rights Defender the mission members recorded also shelling on January 3 and 8 toward the school and the houses of the village. “Our observations revealed that deliberate targeted attacks have taken place toward the civilian population by the adversary with an ultimate intention to harm people’s lives and health,” Tatoyan maintained. 

At the press conference Tatoyan demonstrated footages taken at Chinari school and kindergarten, saying the facilities were under the target of Azerbaijani forces during the holidays, demonstrating the multiple bullet holes in the walls of those buildings as an evidence. 

“On January 8 the adversary shelled the village at night - at a time when civilian population is especially exposed to vulnerability,” Tatoyan explained. 

To remind, on the morning of December 29, 2016, Azerbaijani troops carried out a sabotage infiltration attempt from the Chinari village of the Tavush region of Armenia, towards the south-eastern portion of the state border. 

Armenian Armed Forces neutralized the activities of the Azerbaijani troops and repelled the opponent. Unfortunately, the Armenian side also suffered losses during the combat operations. During the battle for the defense of the state border of the Republic of Armenia, senior Lieutenant Shavarsh Meliqseti Meliqyan, private Edgar Grigori Narayan, and private Erik Gariki Abovyan passed away. The Ministry of Defense stated to be in possession of proof of illegal violation of the state border of the Republic of Armenia by the Azerbaijani side.
Armenians begin Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem
18 Jan 2017 

The Orthodox Armenian patriarch of Jerusalem, Nourhan Manougian, arrived Wednesday at Manager Square in Bethlehem, marking the start of Armenian Christmas and the Feast of the Epiphany, WAFA reports. 

Manougian’s procession started from the Armenian Patriarchate, located within the Monastery of St. James in the Old City of Jerusalem, and made its way to Manger Square via Jaffa Gate. It stopped at Mar Elias Monastery on the way to Bethlehem where he was greeted by the mayors of Beit Jala and Beit Sahour before proceeding to Bethlehem via a metal gate in the wall that separates Bethlehem from Jerusalem. 

Israel opens the gate for the Christmas processions to allow them quick access to Bethlehem, surrounded by a wall and Israeli settlements. 

After reaching Bethlehem, Manougian was greeted by Bethlehem Governor Jebrin al-Bakri, Bethlehem Mayor Vera Baboun. 

The Patriarch was also greeted upon his arrival by the Armenian community notables before making a solemn entry into the Basilica of the Nativity and St. Catherine’s Church. 

President Mahmoud Abbas has already arrived in Bethlehem and is anticipated to attend the midnight mass. 

Orthodox Armenian Christians in Palestine celebrate Christmas nearly two weeks after the majority of the Greek Orthodox Church and other Eastern Orthodox denominations, who marked the feast on January 7, and more than three weeks after Roman Catholic Christians, who celebrated it on December 25. 

The differences in dates of Christmas feast are due to the use of different calendars. Roman Catholic Christians and other western denominations mark the feast using the Gregorian calendar, Orthodox Christians and most Armenian denominations celebrate the feast using the Julian calendar, while the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem marks Christmas and Epiphany together on January 19. 

Manchester Evening News, UK
Henrikh Mkhitaryan settling at Manchester United with help of Armenian restaurant
Jan 16 2017 

By Samuel Luckhurst 

Man Utd playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan has made his mark in recent fixtures and has found some home comforts in Manchester.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan has settled into life in Manchester with the help of an Armenian restaurant in the city centre.

After a difficult couple of months in the autumn, Mkhitaryan has established himself as a first-teamer in Jose Mourinho's United side and is residing in The Lowry Hotel - where Mourinho is also still holed up.

Mkhitaryan has been house-hunting in the north-west since he moved from Borussia Dortmund for £26.3million but he has located some home comforts just off Albert Square.

The Armenian Taverna, based on Princess Street, has hosted Mkhitaryan on numerous occasions since he moved over from Germany.

"Yeah, I have been there and I've been quite a lot," Mkhitaryan told Carling competition winners after he received his Goal of the Month award for December.

"He said he didn't really know much about the city itself before he came here," competition winner Paul told the M.E.N. "But he is starting to really like it, enjoys going out and says there's lots to explore and see here."

Mkhitaryan has started four of United's last six matches since he returned from an ankle injury, but earned his own chant as early as August and admitted he even sings along to it.

"Yeah, I've heard the song and I'm thankful to them that they create a song about me," he added. "Sometimes I do sing, yes. Sometimes it brings me pleasure as well."
Poll: Kim Kardashian and Cher top the list of most recognized Armenian celebrities
18 Jan 2017 

Aurora Humanitarian Initiative’s 2016 Opinion Audit is concluded and results reveal the degree to which a global audience is aware of Armenia, Armenians and the Aurora Prize.

The research, conducted by London-based New Place Consultancy with consultations by Brussels-based TNS Opinion, Kantar Group, shows that attitude towards the Aurora Prize is overwhelmingly favorable among those who have heard of it. Among reasons cited for the favorable attitude is that the prize recognizes people whose work wouldn’t be recognized otherwise, and, in the process, it promotes a positive image of Armenians.

The Opinion Audit explores global awareness and knowledge of Armenia and Armenians, as well. Responses show that the general public mostly knows about Armenian communities, Armenian food and history.

The survey also tracks similar metrics – knowledge, awareness, familiarity, engagement — within the global Armenian Diaspora. Responses show that there are certain similarities between how Armenians see themselves and how the general public perceives Armenians. The most frequently mentioned positive attributes are “proud, friendly and respectful.”

Interestingly, while almost a third of respondents think Armenian communities are important in their countries – whether at the national or local level – most respondents find that Armenian communities play little role in the life of their country. Rather, Armenian communities are seen to have the biggest impact in the intellectual, cultural, social and economic spheres. Kim Kardashian and Cher top the list of most recognized celebrities, and celebrities who are most recognized as Armenians, both among the general public and among Armenian respondents.

Questions about the Republic of Armenia generated a fair amount of interest in Armenia as a country and as a travel destination. However, among the general public, that interest does not translate into interest in the country as a place to do business. Armenians, on the other hand, are quite eager to learn more about Armenia as a place to do business. One in seven general public respondents, and one in two Armenians say they are likely to visit Armenia in the future.

The survey was carried out in two waves in March, 2016 and June-July, 2016, in 10 countries — the US, Canada, Australia, France, Argentina, Denmark, Norway, Greece, Germany and Russia.

This animated infographic highlights a few of the main findings. 

Saving Armenia from Armenians
Mirror Spectator
Editorial 1-21 Jan 2017 
Edmond Y. Azadian 

Armenians have lived in captivity for six centuries, with the next-door neighbor always an enemy. Similarly, on two historic occasions, when independence arrived in the 20th century, Armenia remained in a state of siege, always surrounded by enemies. That mindset has contributed to the development of a defensive mentality, always on the lookout for any potential existential threats.

But little heed has been paid to the enemy within because more often than not, the internal threat has been as destructive as the ones outside the borders, rendering Armenia helpless. Before delving into history, one can see many such examples in today’s Armenia when Armenians have caused more damage than a foreign enemy.

The country has been independent for a quarter century. We may boast as much as we wish that the Armenian people have struggled for that independence. But the truth is that independence was thrust on Armenia as a consequence of the collapse of the Soviet Empire. Understandably, people in Armenia were not ready to embrace independence and manage a free country.

When it was part of the Soviet Union, Armenia’s economy was based on a command system and was integrated into a huge economy, where raw materials were shipped from one end of the empire to the other, as did manufactured products. Therefore, being severed form a large economic unit did not allow Armenia to create or sustain its own manufacturing base. A case in point was the rubber factory and the complex of the chemical plants associated with it.

Therefore, upon independence, the new planners adopted a simplistic economic formula, where one size fits all, and they privatized the manufacturing base of the country without any further stipulations to preserve and operate medium- or small-sized manufacturing plants. In that scheme, being in the right place at the right time meant that overnight, factory managers became owners. Instead of running those operations well, they began dismantling the factories and selling them as scrap metal in Iran and Turkey and pocketing the revenue, after which they abandoned the country. Today’s economic woes are the direct outcome of that mentality. If Armenia is struggling with a poor economy, we should not look beyond the borders to find the culprits.

Once a country’s economy begins on this type of wrong footing, it is extremely difficult to course correct unless there is a real intention or appetite to remedy the situation. Sadly, this has not happened yet.

It is a shame that in 25 years, the country has not been able to develop a middle class to sustain the economy and to bring some stability in society. Small or medium business owners are the victims of the tax collector, whose duty is to tax businesses exorbitantly, extort bribes, and share them with their superiors on the upper levels of the government.

It is rumored that in a poor country like Armenia, the net worth of one of the sons of former President Robert Kocharian is $10 billion. The figure may not be accurate but the system is there for the government people to exploit and rob the country, and enjoy obnoxiously opulent lifestyles despite 60 percent of the population living below the poverty line.

Unemployment is rampant in Armenia. But why don’t we witness any revolt by the ranks of the unemployed? Because they leave. The unemployed people move to Russia, Kazakhstan or a European country and thus the crisis of unemployment is solved magically, at the expense of the depopulation of the country. And a member of parliament from the ruling Republican Party justifies this outcome by saying, “Of course, people will gravitate to wherever there are employment opportunities.” Rather than trying to correct the situation and stopping the hemorrhage, the ruling party comfortably watches the country’s population dwindle.

The diaspora minister calls for foreign investments, especially from overseas Armenians, while so many investors have been robbed, beaten or killed. That prospect is not much of an incentive for any potential investors.

A scandal also broke during the brief war with Azerbaijan, where Armenian soldiers faced the enemy with inferior weapons without bullets and tanks without fuel; the procurements had been diverted to fatten the pockets of the army brass. As a result, the minister of defense was sacked.

The death of every Armenian soldier killed by Azeri fire is met with a sense of fury and revenge. But what is there to say when Armenian soldiers are beaten or killed by their superiors? Or else, their families are extorted for bribes to ensure their safety in the barracks? What motivation would be there for a young soldier to defend a country which promises only misery for him?

In a country where the earthquake zone still needs investments to save 3,000 families from spending another bitterly cold winter in domiks, the oligarchs enjoy a lavish lifestyle without suffering from pangs of a guilty conscience.

History is replete with cases where Armenians have caused more damage to the country and their countrymen than their enemies.

The first and last Armenian Empire of Tigranes II collapsed because his son colluded with the invading Roman army. In 1375 the Cilician Armenian Kingdom was overrun by Mamluks and King Leo Lousignan V was taken prisoner by Egypt because his kingdom was weakened by internecine struggles of the princes and principalities.

Armenians lost the city of Kars in 1918 despite having received huge amounts of ammunition, food supplies and material and despite General Andranik’s pleas, because Eastern Armenians, caught in a sense of regional patriotism, refused to fight for a piece of land in Western Armenia.

All is not lost yet in Armenia; there is still a saving grace. Avetis Aharonian pondering in front of the statue of Moses in Italy, said that Moses saved the Jewish people in spite of the will of the people. It may sound ironic, but that is one of the riddles of history.

While the ruling party is entrenched in Armenia and plans to control it for the foreseeable future, many global thinkers have been helping Armenia to survive and thrive: Eduardo Eurnekian has built in Yerevan one of the most modern airports in the region, with the proviso that he should run the airport. Ruben Vardanyan has built an international, global magnet school in Dilijan, at a cost of $115 million, and the school is run without government interference. The Cafesjian Family Foundation has converted the Cascade in Yerevan into a world-class art showcase with a sculpture garden and museums without government participation. Sam Simonian’s Tumo Center is a cyber paradise for future computer designers and it is run without the participation or control of the government.

By contrast, government-run enterprises are hotbeds of bribery and corruption, without any regard for the outcome, if the public suffers at the end.

Armenians demonstrating global thinking have shown that there is a way to save Armenia from Armenians and shine a path of hope for the future.

Insightful News Letter from the Armenian Institute...


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Monday, 16 January 2017

Armenian News... A Topalian... Sport, Genocide, Covent Garden, Artsakh...Etc...

The Mail on Sunday
15 January 2017 

The sport pages have a two page spread (12-13) on Henrikh Mkhitaryan 
including a panel on 'Land of Noah's Ark and World Cup Stars’ headlines: 

He lit up the league with THAT scorpion kick goal, but here's the

Sting in the Tale

Henrikh Mkhitaryan on who it wa today's rival Klopp who made him a star,
Jose's hugs and his emotional journey from Armenia to Old Trafford...via Sao Paulo
Garo Paylan: Genocide perpetrator is the fascist mindset

Garo Paylan, Istanbul-Armenian MP of the opposition pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) of Turkey, made an entry on his Twitter account, and with respect to the incident that occurred Friday in the Turkish parliament. 

“The perpetrator of the [Armenian] Genocide is not the Turkish people; it is the fascist mindset that always commits a crime, [but] never gives an account [for it]. 

“My saying genocide in parliament was unlawfully penalized. 

“The AKP [i.e. the ruling Justice and Development Party] was [allegedly] demolishing taboos [in Turkey]. 

“It’s a pity. 

“At the parliament rostrum, I repeatedly called the calamity that befell my people as genocide. 

“When the AKP played into the hands of the MHP [i.e. the Nationalist Movement Party], the demolished taboos arose again,” Paylan tweeted, in particular. 

As reported earlier, Garo Paylan was barred from attending three parliamentary sessions, for speaking about Armenian Genocide, in parliament. 

[his speech was also deleted from the minutes of the parliament]
Covent Garden brings famous Armenian opera singers together
Sat, 14 Jan 2017 

Covent Garden brings famous Armenian opera singers together Armenian tenor Liparit Avetisyan, sopranos Anush Hovhannisyan, Hrachuhi Bassents and Liana Harutyunyan will perform at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London. news website reports, that former students of the Yerevan State Conservatory, living and performing today on the world’s most prestigious stages, will come together from January 21 to March 2 to perform at Covent Garden.

Tenor Liparit Avetisyan will act "Aria of Alfred" from opera "La Traviata" by Giuseppe Verdi, following the prize received by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa foundation. Soprano Anush Hovhannisyan will sing the soprano solo of Woold Works modern ballet to be choreographed by award winning and internationally renowned British Wayne McGregor.

The concerts are scheduled on January 21, February 2, 4, and 8. Soprano Hrachuhi Bassents, Prima of the German Nurnberg Opera Theatre will act the aria of Adriana from the Adriana Lecouvreur Opera by Francesco Cilea along with opera star Angela Gheorghiu of Romania. The performances are on February 21 and March 2. Soprano Liana Harutyuyan is back with the aria of Leonora of the Troubadour Opera by Giuseppe Verdi. Liana Harutyunyan’s performances are scheduled on January 26, 28, 31, February 3, 6, 9.
“Armath” engineering laboratory opened in Kashatagh region of Artsakh 

“Armath” engineering laboratory was opened in Vurgavan community of Kashatagh region in Artsakh. As the Union of Information Technology Enterprises (UITE) says in a released statement, school students from both Vurgavan community and the nearby settlements are enrolled in classes to learn programming, robotics and 3D-modeling.

To note, “Armath” engineering club-labs are operating in 194 schools of Armenia and the Nagorno Karabakh Republic with some 5, 000 students receiving technological education.

The project aims to assist schoolchildren in their early interest emergence in modern high technology, to promote the development of engineering mindset from early ages and to prepare competent students in all schools of the Armenian and Artsakh communities.

Since its establishment “Armath” engineering laboratories have been awarded number of prizes for promoting school students’ interest in high technology and enhance engineering thinking, including the sustainable growth prize received during the WITSA Global Excellence Award Ceremony.

“Armath” engineering club-lab in Vurgavan was established through the joint financing of “Hayrenaser” (Patriot) NGO and the UITE through the donations collected at a fundraiser organized at DigiTec technological exhibition as well as funds donated by the UITE member organizations at the new year’s event.
Armenian PM downplays fears triggered by possible sale of 25% in Georgia’s gas pipeline to Azerbaijan
January 13.

Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan downplayed today fears that the sale of 25% of Georgia’s state Oil and Gas Corporation (GOGC) to Armenia’s rival Azerbaijan may endanger the country’s energy system.

Georgia’s finance minister Dimitri Kumsishvili said earlier that the corporation’s 25 percent stake will be placed on one of the exchanges abroad, in London or Shanghai.

The GOGC, which operates the North-South gas pipeline transporting Russia gas to Armenia via Georgia, issued $250 million of its first five-year Eurobonds in 2012 and the same amount again in April 2016, according to Georgian news reports.

Speaking at a news conference today Karapetyan said even if Azerbaijani acquires 25% of GOGC, it will not have the controlling stake and secondly it would hardly refuse the profit from the pipeline’s operation because it will have to invest into its maintenance and development.

According to him, the sale of 25% of GOGC will not become "a sword of Damocles" for Armenia. He also said he does not think that Armenia must buy the 25% stake. Karapetyan said the Georgian side will not be able to stop the transit of gas to Armenia, as it is governed by international law.

Karapetyan said Armenia has an alternative pipeline (from Iran) and in terms of energy independence Armenia is far superior to many European countries.

Gazprom Armenia, a 100% subsidiary of Russian Gazprom, deals with transportation, storage, distribution and sale of natural gas in Armenia.

RFE/RL Report
Armenia-Iran Rail Link In Greater Doubt
January 12, 2017
Sargis Harutyunyan 

The Armenian government decided on Thursday to dissolve a state-owned
company that was supposed to oversee the planned construction of a
railway connecting Armenia to neighboring Iran.

Transport and Communications Minister Vahan Martirosian insisted that
the move does not mean the government is abandoning the extremely
ambitious and expensive project. The government simply wants to save
35 million drams ($73,000) in annual budgetary spending on the company
called the Railway Construction Directorate, he said.

"Our ministry has a department on railway which can take over [the
company's] functions," Martirosian told reporters after a weekly
cabinet meeting in Yerevan.

The company employing 13 people has absorbed 185 million drams in
government funding during its five-year existence, according to the

The Armenian and Iranian governments have discussed the railway
project for more than a decade. Shortly after taking office in 2008,
President Serzh Sarkisian announced that work on the rail link will
get underway in the next few years.

However, Yerevan has so far failed to attract an estimated $3.2
billion needed for building the 305-kilometer-long Armenian section of
the railway that would mainly pass through the mountainous Syunik

Sarkisian and Iran's President Hassan Rouhani signaled no progress
towards the project's implementation after their December 21 talks in

Martirosian, who was appointed as transport minister in October,
declined to speak of any time frames for the railway construction,
admitting that its huge cost exceeding Armenia's entire state budget
remains the key obstacle. "But the project remains under government
control," he said.

Hayk Gevorgian, an economic writer for the Yerevan daily "Haykakan
Zhamanak," suggested that the project will not be implemented anytime
soon. "The cargo and passenger traffic through that railway would be
too small to convince investors to invest huge sums," he said.

Gevorgian questioned government claims that the investments can be
recouped within 22 years.
National Geographic: Yerevan – a city for food lovers
13 Jan 2017 

The National Geographic has listed Armenia’s capital Yerevan among the six “surprising food destinations.”

“Yerevan is blooming. The capital of Armenia—a tiny country whose natural beauty, culture, and burgeoning tourism industry landed it on our recent list of 10 places that deserve more travelers—has charm in spades and enough places to eat to keep your belly happily filled,” the article reads.

For a day of good eating, the NationalGeographc advises to choose Charles Aznavour Square as the center point and fan out from there. The author offers to start with a breakfast of waffles or French toast, try Georgian khinkali and dolma after a morning of sightseeing.

Armenia is known for khorovats, meat grilled on a skewer, and the place to get the best khorovats in Yerevan is Proshyan Street (which becomes Paronyan Street). Barbecue Street, as it’s known, is lined with khorovats restaurants and roadside grills.

Along with Yerevan, the list includes Budapest (Hungary), Detroit (USA), Santiago (Chile), Dakar (Senegal) and Wellington (New Zealand).

For the full article click here :