Thursday, 8 August 2019

Armenian News ... A Topalian ... 10 editorials



Response to article on the meaning of the Armenian "IAN":

It does not mean "son of".
It means "belonging to or related to". It's a suffix attached to nouns and adjectives.
Thus Urfalian means related (born)  to Urfa. Yergatian means related to Yergatakordz (blacksmith) or strong. Torossian means an ancestor of the person was named Toros.
It's roughly a cognate of the English "IAN"  (Canadian, pedestrian, median, mammalian, etc.) whose roots go back to the proto Aryan/Indo-European language.
Jirair


News.am, Armenia
Aug 4 2019
Expert on Armenian Genocide Vahakn Dadrian passes away 

Vahakn N. Dadrian, an Armenian-American sociologist and historian, an expert on the Armenian Genocide, has passed away aged 93.

Dadrian was born in 1926 in Turkey, to a family that lost many members during the Armenian Genocide.

Dadrian was the director of Genocide Research at Zoryan Institute.
Among his numerous achievements is Ellis Island Medal of Honor, U.S. Congress Medal of Esteem for Scholarship, President of the Republic Prize Gold Medal of Armenia.


Jersey Evening Post
Aug 2 2019
Jersey-registered mining company in $2bn dispute
By Ian Heath 

A JERSEY-registered mining company is embroiled in a $2 billion dispute with protesters and campaigners in Armenia who claim its operations are threatening their environment and livelihood.

Concerns were first raised about Lydian International’s Amulsar project in the former Soviet republic in 2013, with nvironmentalists claiming that it could contaminate nearby Lake Sevan, damaging the region’s ecosystem and threatening the entire water supply.

A documentary produced by London-based non-governmental organisation Global Justice Now claims that pollution has already affected water supplies, affecting the local economy including its spa facilities, fish farms and agriculture.

Local protesters have been blocking access to the gold mine for the last year, bringing work to a standstill.

A statement on the website of Lydian, a multinational mining company whose registered office is at Bourne House, Francis Street, St Helier, says: ‘Illegal blockades have prevented access to Amulsar since late June 2018.

‘Amulsar will be a large-scale, low-cost operation with production targeted to average approximately 225,000 ounces annually over an initial ten-year mine life. Open pit mining and conventional heap leach processing contribute to excellent scale and economic potential.

‘Lydian is committed to good international industry practices in all aspects of its operations including production, sustainability and corporate social responsibility.’

Nick Dearden, a director of Global Justice Now, said he believed that that Lydian was threatening to use special ‘investor-state dispute settlement’ clauses in British trade agreements with Armenia to sue its government for $2 billion over the matter.

‘The Lydian case is a great example of how companies use corporate courts or ISDS to bully governments and force them to put profits ahead of their democratic obligations to their people,’ he said.

‘Local communities are clear they don’t want this mine, yet Lydian is threatening to sue the Armenian government for a fortune – far more than they ever invested – for responding to those demands of their citizens and halting this project.

‘The grounds used by Lydian are that the Armenian government has “failed” to remove the protesters.’

He added: ‘We know that Lydian, which has its main office in Colorado, has set up a letterbox in London, and we fear that they are essentially “treaty shopping”, using different jurisdictions to give access to international treaties so they can use this awful ISDS system.

We don’t know the nature of their operations in Jersey, but if they are using the Island, with little or no real presence, simply to sue another country, that’s an outrage.

‘We urge the governments of Jersey and Britain to speak out and say their investment agreements should not be used in this way.’
Last year Jersey was granted greater independence to sign international trade deals by the UK. Mr Dearden said at the time that he was concerned that the move could allow large firms to sue governments of developing or third-world countries using Jersey companies, if ISDS clauses were included in the trade deals.


RFE/RL Report
Mayor Vows Yerevan Cleanup ‘With or Without’ Sanitek
August 02, 2019

Yerevan authorities will go ahead with their efforts to try to solve the current garbage crisis in the city “with or without” the current monopolist waste management operator, mayor of the Armenian capital Hayk Marutian told a local online publication late on Friday.

Marutian thus effectively rejected the terms offered by Sanitek, an 
underperforming Lebanese-run waste management company, for a joint quick fix to the problem.

Sanitek has for months been under fire for its poor work in the Armenian capital, with the city authorities fining the company a total of 90 million drams (about $190,000) since the beginning of this year for falling short of required standards in waste management.

The company has blamed its difficulties in organizing proper garbage disposal in Yerevan on poor infrastructure and excessive damage to its equipment. The company has also claimed that the Yerevan municipality is not willing to cooperate with it on acceptable terms.

At a press conference in Yerevan on Friday, speaking via Skype, Sanitek’s director Nicholas El Tawil offered his vision of short-term and long-term solutions to the garbage crisis in Yerevan. In particular, he said that the company is ready to immediately invest $4 million for the purchase of new garbage trucks and containers and keep annually investing in the purchase of 500 containers and upgrading the available fleet of trucks.

Sanitek’s director, however, called on the municipality to improve the infrastructure at the landfill near Yerevan, revise the existing contract price and repay the already applied “unlawful deductions.”

“As we say, one hand doesn’t clap. We need two hands to clap,” concluded El Tawil.

Speaking live on 1in TV, Mayor Marutian again criticized Sanitek for its poor performance and insisted that they are not up to the job. He stressed that Yerevan’s municipality has been providing full financing to Sanitek without any delays and spoke against raising the contract price with the company, which would inevitable entail the rise of tariffs for the population.

“Yerevan must be cleaned,” Marutian emphasized. “We will clean up Yerevan with or without Sanitek. We are embarking on this process, following a very concrete and straightforward path.”

Marutian said that efforts in this direction are underway and until the end of September almost the entire required quantity of garbage trucks will be available for Yerevan. According to the mayor, Yerevan’s authorities will be able to deduct waste management expenses from the price of the contract they have with Sanitek if the company continues to underperform.

Sanitek Armenia, which is a branch of the Lebanese-headquartered Sanitek International Group, has a 12-year contract with Yerevan as a monopolistic waste management operator. It began its work in Yerevan in December 2014.

The company has threatened to apply for international arbitration to resolve its dispute with the Yerevan municipality.

In a press release today Sanitek said that on Monday it will start 
“pre-arbitration” contacts with the Armenian government, thus showing that it “does not shut the door for continued negotiations with the municipality in order to find a mutually acceptable and optimal solution that will also be the best for the population.”


Armenpress.am
2 August, 2019
Yerevan airport introduces self-service check-in kiosks

The Zvartnots International Airport of Yerevan has introduced self-service check-in kiosks for passengers departing from the Armenian capital.

The airport’s administration said the kiosks are currently only available for passengers of Aeroflot who are traveling only with a hand luggage.

The operator didn’t mention when the machines will be available for passengers flying other airlines too.

Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan


Armenpress.am
 2 August, 2019
Armenian community of Istanbul opts out from 2019 Pan-Armenian Games

The Armenian community of Istanbul has chosen not to participate in the upcoming 2019 Pan-Armenian Games.

The 7th Pan-Armenian Games will be co-hosted this year by Armenia and Artsakh.

Member of the Pan-Armenian Games regulatory commission for Istanbul Haykaram Karasu revealed at a press briefing that the community has decided to opt out due to the NK conflict-related potential risk of tensions regarding the travel of athletes to the country in terms of the Turkish official stance regarding the matter. 

“Karasu informed that the main reason for not-participating is the fact that the games will be organized in Artsakh, a circumstance that has put the Istanbul-Armenian group of athletes in a difficult situation”, the Istanbul-based Zhamanak newspaper reported.

The Armenian community of Istanbul is comprised of ethnic Armenians who are citizens of Turkey.

Being well-aware of Turkey’s stance regarding regional issues, namely the Artsakh issue, the commission said they didn’t want to cause problems for the athletes. Karasu noted however, that in the past the Istanbul group was taking part in the sports event, however then it was organized solely in Armenia.

The grand opening of the 7th Pan-Armenian Games will take place in Artsakh, while the closing ceremony will be held in Armenia.
 
Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan


Birmingham Live, UK
Aug 2 2019
Where is Armenia? Everything Wolves fans need to know ahead of Europa League tie with Pyunik
 
Wolves face off against the Armenian side in the third round of the Europa League qualifiers
 
By Jamie KembleJosh ChalliesTrainee Sports Wire Writer
 
‘Where is Armenia?’ That’s the question Wolverhampton Wanderers fans are punching into their search engines.
 
Victory over Northern Irish club Crusaders in Belfast on Thursday night means Wolves’ second European adventure will be in Armenia next week.
 
Nuno Espirito Santo and his players will go toe-to-toe with FC Pyunik after they overcame the odds to defeat the Czech Republic’s Jablonec 2-1 over two legs.
 
So, without wanting to sound flippant, here’s the answer to that question and the lowdown on Wolves’ next Europa League opponents.
 
Where is Armenia?
 Armenia is located to the south of the picturesque Caucasus mountains, and it’s bordered by Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey. Armenia is around a quarter of England’s size and has a population of three million people.
 
It’s almost in Asia, which makes it a nightmare to get to. It’s certainly not as simple as hopping on a 60-minute flight from Birmingham Airport to Belfast.
 
Who are FC Pyunik?
FC Pyunik are an Armenian Premier League outfit, based in Yerevan, and are regarded as one of the most popular teams in Armenia.

Pyunik are managed by ultra-experienced Kazakh boss Aleksandr Tarkhanov, who is a former president of CSKA Moscow and Russia national team assistant.

They play at the Armenia national team stadium - a 14,403-capacity venue named Vazgen Sargsyan Republican Stadium.
How did they reach this stage?

It all began when Pyunik finished second in the Armenian Premier League last season, missing out on the title by just one point.
They started their Europa League campaign against Macedonan club Shkupi in the first qualifying round, winning 5-4 on aggregate.

They defeated Jablonec 2-1 in the first leg of their second round qualifier thanks to a brace from Artur Miranyan before seeing out a goalless draw in the Czech Republic to advance.

Who is their star man?
Erik Vardanyan is Pyunik’s star man, scoring eight goals in 14 games from midfield last season.

His ability from the penalty spot helps, though, and he scored a spot-kick in the first round of qualifying.

How about getting there?
From Birmingham, you can get a flight with a long stop-over for just under £800 (total flight time of around 13 hours), while London offers the best route with a short stop-over (total flight time ranging from six-to-eight hours) at almost half the price, around £400-450 return at the cheapest, depending on booking time and date.

How costly is Yerevan?
Armenia is a very cheap place for Brits.
Pints of local beer are around £1 and imported bottled beer is around £1.50.
An average meal comes in at under £5.


The Irish Times
August 2, 2019 Friday
A family divided: ‘We didn’t say a proper goodbye that morning’
 
A Galway-based woman whose husband was deported wants him to be allowed to return
 
Marese McDonagh

Vahram Harutyunyan missed his daughter’s fourth birthday party in Galway on Thursday because they have been separated for almost a year.

On August 15th last year the Armenian-born barber, who has lived in Irelandfor almost 13 years, was deported, leaving his wife, Viktoria Gagkaeva, and their Irish-born daughter, Alina, behind .
He had gone to Dublin for a regular appointment at the offices of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service but shortly after arrival was arrested and within 24 hours was on a flight to Armenia.

Gagkaeva says apart from a five-minute phone call when he was surrounded by gardaĆ­, he never got a chance to say goodbye to his family. After being detained, his phone was taken from him, he was put in prison and then put on a flight in the early hours of the following morning, she says. “I got a voicemail at 4am saying he was on the flight. There were four gardaĆ­ with him, sitting alongside him in the back of the plane. He said he felt like a murderer.”

She breaks down when she recalls how she tried to make sense of that five-minute call when her world fell apart as her husband apologised for having to leave her alone with their child.

“We didn’t say a proper goodbye that morning as he was late and ran out the door, saying ‘My God I will miss the bus’ ”, she recalls. 

Her husband had for three years regularly signed on at the immigration service office on Burgh Quay in Dublin, having sought legal advice about how to regularise his situation.

Vahram had spent a short while in direct provision after arriving in Ireland in 2006, but hated it because he wanted to work and help his family, so he just left. “He always worked. He never applied for social welfare here. He was shamed by it.”

Deportation order
Gagkaeva acknowledges a deportation order was issued against her husband before she met him. After they became a family he wanted to sort out his situation and so made contact with the authorities, she says.

“He was hoping that the Government would understand we are a family. We have done nothing bad for this country. We always worked,” she says. The couple got married in Salthill in 2015.
Gagkaeva was born in Russia and spent eight years in direct provision here, from the age of 14. She and her family have been granted leave to remain and will be eligible to apply for Irish citizenship next year. Her parents live in Cork, and she says since her husband’s deportation she feels alone.

Alina spent weeks waiting every evening at the door of their apartment in Renmore, thinking her father would return , according to her mother. “I said, ‘He is not coming’. It was so tough. Nobody knows how much she misses him. I think she sees him in her dreams and when she wakes and he is not there, she cries and says ‘Why is he not here?’ ” Gagkaeva says Alina was so traumatised she was forced to give up work.

Gagkaeva worked as a beautician in Galway city and Harutyunyan usually picked their daughter up at the creche. “Her eyes used to light up when she saw him ,” recalls Tracy Lee, who looked after Alina there. “She was obviously Daddy’s girl and she was very bright and bubbly, but when he left she seemed sad and lost". Remzi Ozdiner, who employed Harutyunyan for more than five years at his Turks Barbers in Renmore, says he was “a good guy who always worked hard”.

Birthday wishes
Gagkaeva and Alina went to visit Harutyunyan some weeks ago but she says Ireland is their home and she is pleading for her husband to be allowed return. “He is sleeping on a couch in his parents’ kitchen. When we got back I was very sad but I was also relieved because I was always worried Alina got sick in Armenia.”

Yesterday on Facebook, Harutyunyan sent birthday greetings to “my sweet princess Alina”, and the mother and daughter made a birthday cake and wished for him to come home.

In a statement the Department of Justice said for reasons of confidentiality neither the Minister nor his officials in the immigration service could comment on individual cases.
It said decisions to repatriate were not taken lightly and were open to judicial review. Enforced repatriation was only carried out as a last resort, it added, and it was open to anyone with a deportation order to make a request to have that revoked. “A request for revocation needs to be based on new information or changed circumstances, which were not part of the original application when the order was made,” the statement said.


The Guardian(London), UK
August 2, 2019
'A window to the past': how old photos brought my parents' empty house back to life

For Aram Balakjian, clearing the family home after his father's death led to a ghostly photographic project
 
by Paula Cocozza
 
After his father died, Aram Balakjian began the long job of clearing the family home. The house was large, with seven bedrooms and a cellar, and had belonged to the Balakjians for 27 years. The scale of the task overwhelmed him; both parents were artists and printmakers, with busy studios full of objects he had never been allowed to touch. His mother's death from cancer four years earlier had already triggered a career change: in the year that followed, Aram wound down his web design business to develop his passion for writing and photography, and now, as he started clearing it, he began to take pictures of the house.
 
"I thought, 'I'll never really see this again,'" he says. "I wanted to capture how the house was. I wanted to get those things in my head." He knew that the process of dismantling nearly three decades of family life would be laborious and painful. He was six when the family moved into the house in north London, and the photographs were a way of securing the memories for him, his sister Tamar and any future children.
 
But it was hard to know where to start. The house was awash with loss. His father, Marc Balakjian, had died in the living room, the same room in which his mother, Dorothea Wight, had passed away four years earlier. Together, his parents had built up the business of Studio Prints, printers to Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach and Paula Rego among others, and it took Balakjian a week, "intermittently breaking down", just to sort through the papers in the room they called "the computer room". He thought, "How can we ever let go of this house? How can this ever not be our house?"

Daily he was floored by "emotional grenades": a diary his father kept after his mother died, his grief-stricken poems, the sheer volume of stuff, or as Balakjian puts it, "all these things that meant so much to someone who meant so much to you". Each one required an emotional valuation. "You're dismantling their lives. It's the end of their story. You really have this sense of what's left after we die. Just a bunch of things, really." And, of course, hundreds of family snapshots.
 
When Balakjian had finished, he reached for his camera again, this time to photograph the empty rooms. "It wasn't the house I was struggling to let go of. It was the memory of our parents, that whole life, growing up, our youthful innocence."
 
He had the idea of juxtaposing or conflating these empty images with the ones he had taken of the house immediately after his father's death when it was still full of his parents' things, "to show this weird contrast of what I experienced as I was clearing the house... this slow hacking away of emotions, and separation of them from the physical space". He held up a printed photograph of a room full of family paraphernalia, and reshot it in exactly the same place, now empty. The image, showing both the before and after in a single frame, excited him. He tried the same with one of the hundreds of family snapshots he had unearthed. "That's interesting," he thought. "I can make the two images line up. It feels like looking through a window of the past."
 
Here was the warmth of a family moment - each one raising the spectre of a lifetime of similar moments - suspended within a bright, empty room. Sometimes the inset pictures overlap with their host image; others butt up against them starkly. Still others show family moments appearing to hover in thin air. It is hard to tell which image feels more ghostly, the occupied or the unoccupied room. They haunt each other.
 
Making the two photographs line up seamlessly, as Balakjian first intended, proved impossible. As a result, the viewer sees both the continuities and discontinuities between the spaces the two cameras captured, the parquet kinks and the wood panelling warps where the past and present meet.
 
Bookshelves burst with books then terminate in emptiness. Flames flicker in one half of a fireplace while the neighbouring coals lie cold. The leaves of a copper beech glow burgundy, then abruptly wither. Random and bizarre episodes from years of family life are held to the light: a child (Balakjian himself) larks around the kitchen holding an orange, with a silly hairdo; his father carries a packet of flour; teenage girls, one of them Balakjian's sister, rock face masks in a stupendously carpeted bathroom. All families know their lived space by heart, but every image here ends with the same heart-wrenching dispossession.

Yet for Balakjian, the process felt constructive. "The only way I could do the project was to detach myself from what I was looking at," he says. "Most of the time, I didn't look at the snapshot I was holding. I wouldn't allow myself to 'go there' and to be in that room. I was thinking from a very technical point of view."
 
Over two months, he took nearly 3,000 photos. Each time, he had to place himself in the footprints of the person who had taken the original image - usually his father. Marc, the son of Armenian genocide survivors, was "not emotionally open at all", says his son. Presumably, trying to see long-forgotten family moments from his perspective must have created its own challenges.
 
"By the end, it wasn't emotional," Balakjian says. The process of clearing, sharpened by the practise of photography, led to a sort of disinvestment. "I was actually really happy to hand the house over to a new family," he says. "I felt we'd borrowed this space for 30 years. We built these amazing things, and now it was time for someone else to come in."
 
Go to arambalakjian.com/work/the-house to see more images from Aram's project

Armenian News ... A Topalian... 10 editorials


Why do Armenian Names end with “IAN” ?


BBC News
The boat-shaped ravioli of the Armenian diaspora
By Bridget Gleeson & Ignacio de Barrio 
1 August 2019 

For thousands of Armenians who resettled in Argentina, comfort food and community were key to keeping cultural traditions alive.



Armenpress.am
 31 July, 2019
ANCA hopes US will provide 85 mln USD support to Armenia this year

 Armenia has received 2 billion USD support from the United States since independence, Chairperson of the Armenian National Committee of America Western Region (ANCA-WR) Nora Hovsepian told a press conference in Armenpress, stating that the Committee played a key role in this process. She informed that during these years Artsakh as well received 45 million USD support from the US.

“Artsakh is the only country that is non-recognized and receives a direct support from the US”, Hovsepian said.

Asked what is the reason that the US government cuts funding for Armenia, but plans to provide 100 million USD to Azerbaijan to implement a program on the border with Iran, the ANCA-WR Chairperson said it’s fake news, the US is not going to provide 100 million USD to Azerbaijan.

“Of course, there will be a funding, but not that much. These sums are expected to be provided for implementing a program on the Azerbaijan-Iran border. The US views Azerbaijan a key partner against Iran. As for the funding to Armenia and Artsakh, I would like to state that this is Trump’s policy, he is cutting the funding at all directions. ANCA continues working on this direction. 40 million USD will be provided for Armenia, there has also been a proposal to add another 45 million USD. We have a hope of 5 million USD for Artsakh and a 85 million USD for Armenia”, she said.

Nora Hovsepian said they are actively working to develop the Armenia-US ties.

Edited and translated by Aneta Harutyunyan

Trump Administration Attacks U.S. Aid Program to Artsakh
1 Augut 2019

The ANCA has issued a nationwide call to action to encourage Members of Congress to cosign the Sherman-Cox Letter in support of continued Artsakh aid

WASHINGTON—The Trump Administration—caving in to pressure from Azerbaijan’s authoritarian Aliyev regime—is targeting the humanitarian aid program in Artsakh, attempting to shut down the HALO Trust’s de-mining program that has saved countless lives across the Republic, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.

U.S. Representatives Brad Sherman (D-CA) and TJ Cox (D-CA) are leading a Congressional campaign—backed by the ANCA—encouraging USAID Administrator Mark Green to reverse course and preserve the Nagorno-Karabakh de-mining program. Administrator Green testified before the Foreign Affairs Committee on April 9 of this year that USAID was committed to completing the clearance of landmines and unexploded ordnances within the traditional boundaries of Nagorno-Karabakh.

“President Trump is wrong to bow to Azerbaijani dictator Ilham Aliyev’s reckless demand that America end U.S. humanitarian aid to Artsakh,” stated ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “A modest expenditure that represents a major investment in peace, this aid program has, since Fiscal Year 1998, delivered desperately needed maternal health care, provided families with clean drinking water, and cleared farms and villages of deadly mines. We thank each and every U.S. legislator who is seeking to advance U.S. interests and American values by continuing U.S. humanitarian aid to Artsakh in the face of foreign attempts to meddle in American decision-making.”

The ANCA has mounted a nationwide grassroots Congressional calling campaign in support of continued Artsakh aid. To participate, visit the website.

Armenpress.am
31 July, 2019
Armenia’s foreign policy is strictly Armenia-centered – FM

Armenia is not pro one direction or another in its foreign policy, Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan said in an interview to German Marshall Fund Senior Fellow Jonathan Katz, commenting on the question relating to the impact of the 2018 Velvet Revolution on Armenia’s foreign policy agenda.

“I think the most important challenge before us, the most important priority, was to make it very clear that Armenia’s Velvet Revolution was strictly about Armenia and it was a strictly a domestic affair; that this was a very important development in Armenia for Armenians; for consolidating public institutions, democratic institutions to serve the nation and economy better, to serve our national security agenda better, to serve the purposes of stability through democratic institutions”, the FM said.

According to the minister, Armenia’s foreign policy has been built in a very careful way to consolidate the national security architecture through engagements with its major partners Russia, the European Union, and the United States. 

“We were not adventurous to risk rocking the boat to an extent that we could undermine the purposes of the Velvet Revolution and undermine the security of the nation. We are not pro one direction or another. We are strictly pro-Armenia and our foreign policy is strictly Armenia-centered. And within this, through a strategic approach, we have carefully built a national security architecture, of which foreign policy is an important part, and within which strong relations with each our partners have an important part to contribute to our national security, in their own way”, FM Mnatsakanyan said.

Edited and translated by Aneta Harutyunyan


Panorama, Armenia
Aug 1 2019
Moscow concerned about recent escalation on Armenian-Azerbaijani border

Moscow on Thursday voiced concern about the latest flare-ups on the border of Armenian and Azerbaijan and urged the parties involved to refrain from using force and take steps towards stabilising the situation in the region.

"Russia is concerned about the escalation of the situation on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border, that resulted in killing of an Armenian serviceman and reported I juries from both sides," Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters at a press briefing on Thursday.

“Further escalation of the situation is unacceptable. We call on the sides to exercise restraint, refrain from the use of force and take steps towards stabilizing the,” Zakharova added.


Arminfo, Armenia
Aug 2 2019
Armenian Embassy in Russia made a statement in connection with the  situation around Sochi airport
ArmInfo.The Armenian Embassy in Russia made a statement in connection with the situation around the Sochi airport.
Marianna Mkrtchyan

"The Armenian Embassy in the Russian Federation contacted various  parties in connection with the situation around the Sochi airport to  clarify information and get clarifications. The conversations were  held with the relevant structures of Sochi, the airport management,  citizens involved in the situation and representatives of the  Armenian community. The embassy received explanations of the sides,  including from groups of citizens, the local Armenian community and  relevant structures. The above issue is in the focus of the embassy's  attention, "the Armenian Ambassador's press service informed ArmInfo. 

As ArmInfo wrote earlier, for several months now real ethnic  cleansing has been taking place among employees at the Sochi  airport,- for various reasons, employees with Armenian surnames have  been dismissed. Internet resource infoteka24.ru was the first one to  voice this problem. According to the report, the staff of JSC "Sochi  International Airport" made the following statement. ''We, the staff  of , appeal to you for help. For the  second year in our enterprise, there has been a harsh cleansing of  personnel on a national basis, namely, by all possible means,  employees with Armenian surnames are being dismissed.

Everything started in 2018. The first was carried out in two  services (Transportation Service, Aviation Security Service). They  used the method of intimidation and coercion, then, the rest who  refused to quit themselves, were banally dismissed by changing the  structure of the service, although the size and functionality did not  change and the recruitment did not stop and continues to this day.  But, during the recruitment of candidates people with the Armenian  names are  not considered at all or denied without any reason. As a  result, more than 70 people were left without work in these two  services, including single mothers, the only wet breadwinners in the  family, war veterans, staff members who have disabled dependents and  others.

To date, the wave of layoffs on a national basis applies to all  airport services. At the general service meetings with all the staff,  it is announced that workers with Armenian roots (even with Russian  surnames) must voluntarily resign before September 1, 2019, in case  of disagreement they are intimidated with disciplinary actions and  dismissal under the article, some are even offered from one to two  salaries for agreeing to resign.  Within a few months, the airport's  employees were introduced as many disciplinary sanctions as have  never been made since the first day of the airport's operation!!! All  employees are simply shocked by the arbitrariness and oppression of  citizens of the Russian Federation of Armenian origin. 

And this is  all happening in the multinational city of Sochi, where more than a  hundred nationalities have lived in peace  and mutual understanding  for centuries.  Even brother of Vladimir Nikolayevich Begiyan, who  tragically died on September 1, 2018, while rescuing the passengers  of the burning UTair airline that rolled out of the strip, was fired.  Begiyan V.N. was posthumously awarded the , which  was presented to the Begiyan family personally by the Minister of  Transport of the Russian Federation>. The statement posted on the  site was signed by 29 people.


Armenpress.am
31 July, 2019
PM Pashinyan surprised at development pace of Kalavan community, Gegharkunik Province 

Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, who is still on vacation, visited Kalavan community in Gegharkunik Province and got acquainted with its development process and strategies. ARMENPRESS reports the PM toured in the village accompanied by resident of the village Robert Ghukasyan who presented the works done during the last years and future plans.

Robert Ghukasyan informed that during the last years the flow of tourists to their village has increased so much that at the moment there are not enough guesthouses. He explained that the reason of the success is that the members of the community have preserved the nature and offer ecologically clean food.
In addition to eco-torisim, cattle breeding also develops in the village. Ghukasyan said that in the village that has population less than 200 people 3 farms are being constructed at the moment.

''Now we are in Kalavan community of Gegharkunik Province. Today we decided to visit Kalavan because I think that it's one of the villages that has some ideological sense for new Armenia. I always speak about individual efforts and here we can say that individual effort leads to success'', Pashinyan said, hoping thatthe success of the village will be examplery for many other villages of Armenia. 

Pashinyan also expressed conviction that the community will have solved all its problems in a period of 5 years by its own efforts, including the condition of the roads roads. 

Robert Ghukasyan ephasized that each village of Armenia has some economic potential that has not been used yet, calling on people to rely on their own ideas and love towards the country and their community.
 
Edited and translated by Tigran Sirekanyan

Panorama, Armenia
Aug 1 2019
Resident of Armenia's Kalavan village to be appointed Pashinyan’s advisor

A resident of Kalavan village in Armenia’s Gegharkunik Province, Robert Ghukasyan will be appointed Advisor to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, the PM himself revealed on Facebook.

“Kalavan’s resident Robert Ghukasyan and I agreed that he will end his current activities within one or two months and will be appointed Advisor to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia with a mission to share the experience of Kalavan village in other Armenian villages,” Pashinyan said.

The PM, who is currently on vacation, visited the village on Wednesday, presenting the successes achieved through Ghukasyan's personal efforts.
In a Facebook live video, the villager talked about the development of rural communities, expressing conviction there is no village which lacks resources for development.

In 2017 then Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan was also inspired by Ghukasyan's rural development program and tasked the government to assist its implementation.

Armenpress.am
1 August, 2019
Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople wants to elect new leader in December

Nearly five months since the passing of Mesrob II, the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople (Istanbul) has launched its organizational work to hold an election of a new patriarch.

A new patriarch will be elected by spiritual and secular delegates, who themselves are yet to be elected. The election of these delegates will take place on December 7 and 8. The patriarchate seeks to hold the election of a patriarch on December 11, and it has applied to the Ministry of Interior of Turkey through the Government of Istanbul Province with a request to confirm the dates, the patriarchate said on its social media account.

Mesrob II Mutafyan of Constantinople was the 84th Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople. He was elected patriarch in 1998, but ten years later was incapacitated due to Alzheimer’s disease. However, officially he remained patriarch.

He died in a comatose condition on March 8, 2019 in hospital at the age of 62.

Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan


The Independent (United Kingdom)
July 31, 2019 
If a no-deal Brexit happens, mega corporations could sue the government for billions in secret courts
by Jean Blaylock

The Armenian government is currently being sued by a corporation for two thirds of its entire government budget. If the UK crashes out on 31 October, it could suffer a similar fate

Imagine a world where transnational corporations don't have to follow the same laws as everyone else, but instead have their own corporate courts, where the law is tailored to their interests. Not courts where the companies are put on trial, but where corporations sue governments for huge sums of money and bully countries to get their own way.

It sounds like dystopian science fiction, but corporate courts are real. Formally known as investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), this shadowy legal system for transnational companies is written into the rules of many trade and investment deals.

Hardly surprising then that parliament's Trade Committee has just described these corporate courts as "highly controversial". They always have been. They have been used to challenge everything from a moratorium on fracking to the introduction of plain packaging on cigarettes to a land grab being blocked. People around the world can tell many stories about the damage corporate courts can cause.

The UK though, has perhaps been able to be a bit complacent. The UK has many investment deals with corporate court arrangements, but mainly with countries in the global south where the economic power - and the transnational corporations - have been on the UK's side. UK companies have been happy to use ISDS. Anglian Water, for instance, sued Argentina when it set a cap on consumer prices for water during a financial crisis. But on the whole, the UK has not faced corporate courts itself. That could be about to change with Brexit.

Before getting into that, it's good to look at a particular example, to understand how harmful corporate courts can be. A case that is just getting underway at the moment involves a mining company, Lydian, and a planned gold mine in Armenia.
Lydian has its main office in Colorado in the US, but it is nominally headquartered in Jersey, offshore from the UK. It wants to set up an open-cast gold mine on Amulsar mountain, in the south of Armenia, next to the spa town of Jermuk. There were longstanding concerns about the mine, and its effect on water sources in the region, but it was given the go ahead by the previous Armenian government. This government had a track record of police violence and repression of public protest. Once construction started, in addition to the environmental concerns, local people became urgently aware of the stark threats that a large open cast mine posed to existing jobs in tourism and agriculture.

Then in 2018, Armenia had a "velvet revolution" and a new democratic government came to power - one with a less repressive attitude to policing. Locals felt they had a chance to be heard, and started protesting. 

For over a year now locals have blockaded the mine, with construction on the site brought to a halt.
Not long after the protests started, Lydian set up a "letterbox" subsidiary in the UK. Then a few months back, it started the process to bring a corporate court case through that subsidiary against the Armenian government, using a UK investment deal. Its grounds are that the Armenian government has "failed" to remove the protesters, and it says that whether it pursues the case or not depends on the "conduct" of the government. In effect, it is suing to bully the government into taking a more repressive attitude to public protest.

It is an effective threat, because corporate courts allow companies to sue not just for money they have already invested, but also for profit they think they could have made in future. Lydian is reportedly asking for a payout of $2bn - an amount equal to two thirds of the Armenian government budget, and many times in excess of what it has spent.

Brexit itself opens many possibilities for corporate court cases. When major changes to policies and regulations happen, that is fertile ground for ISDS. If those changes happen suddenly, by crashing out of the EU with a no-deal Brexit, even more so. The example of financial services companies suing because their base in the UK no longer provides access to the EU market is one likely area.

Lawyers disagree on whether the cases will succeed, but with such sums at stake, lawyers are one group that can make a lot of money finding out. While government decisions can be challenged in national courts, corporate courts offer much higher payouts and will consider cases on a much narrower basis, looking only at the perspective of the investor.
Post-Brexit trade deals that the current government desperately wants to do with countries like the US could be easy routes for many of the world's most powerful transnationals. Canada is one of the countries most sued by ISDS purely because it has corporate court arrangements with the US through NAFTA, the US-Canada-Mexico trade deal.

Canada's experience has led it to negotiate the removal of corporate courts from the US-Canada side of Trump's renegotiated version of NAFTA, the USMCA (US-Mexico-Canada Agreement). It is not alone. Around the world, countries have been rejecting corporate courts: South Africa, India, Ecuador, Tanzania, Indonesia and New Zealand have all taken steps to review, limit or terminate existing ISDS deals and refuse to sign new ones.

The UK has an opportunity to do the same, as it sets out its new post-Brexit trade and investment policy. Yet so far it is not taking that opportunity. MPs in the Trade Committee denounced the government's failure to set out "even basic lines of policy" over investment deals, including corporate courts.
Corporate courts are fundamentally unjust and should have no place in modern trade and investment policy. Which is why we need to push the government to show vision and rule them out for good.

Jean Blaylock is a senior campaigns officer at War on Want