Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Downturn In Agriculture Slows Armenian Growth
A slump in agricultural production slowed Armenia's economic growth
last month, but it still came in at a solid 6.7 percent in the first
half of this year, according to government statistics released on
The reported growth rate was down from 8.8 percent registered by the
National Statistical Service (NSS) in the first five months of the
year. The country's economic recovery had progressively accelerated
since January when its Gross Domestic Product was rose by 2.2 percent
year on year.
The NSS data show that the first-half growth was dragged down by a 13
percent drop in agricultural output, which generated almost 10 percent
of GDP during the six-month period. Much of the loss was recorded in
June as a result of an early March cold snap and an unusually rainy
spring that followed it.
Heavy rain and hailstorms caused serious damage to farmers across
Armenia, dramatically pushing up the cost of fruits and
vegetables. Some fruits such as apricots and cherries have cost
several times more than they did in summer 2009.
The agricultural crisis was more than offset by a 12.3 percent rise in
industrial output, the single largest contributor to first-half
GDP. That was in turn driven by rallying international prices of
copper and other non-ferrous metals, Armenia's most important export
item. Armenian exports were up by as much as 56 percent during the
Growth in other major sectors of the Armenian economy, notably
services and construction, was more modest. The construction sector,
for example, expanded by 4.1 percent after more than a year of sharp
decline, which was the main reason why the economy contracted by 14.2
percent in 2009.
`We can now state for certain that economic growth is a stable trend,
and we have serious expectations of a much faster-than-expected growth
by the end of the year,' Finance Minister Tigran Davtian told
journalists last month. Davtian forecast a full-year growth rate of at
least 7 percent.
Vartan Bostanjian, a deputy chairman of the Armenian parliament
committee on economic issues, sounded a more cautious note on
Tuesday. `There is a positive trend showing that we are not in a
situation where were last year,' Bostanjian told a news
conference. `Let this growth not seem a stunning thing to you,' he
Hrant Bagratian, a former prime minister and a senior member of the
opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), was even more skeptical,
again questioning the credibility of the official macroeconomic
figures. `The economy remains in a serious crisis,' Bagratian insisted
in an interview with RFE/RL's Armenian service. `The crisis is
THE KEY FINDINGS OF THE 2009 CORRUPTION SURVEYS OF
HOUSEHOLDS AND ENTERPRISES PRESENTED TO THE MEDIA
Caucasus Research Resource Centers-Armenia, a program of the Eurasia
Partnership Foundation in Armenia, presented to the media today the key
findings of the 2009 Corruption Surveys of Households and Enterprises;
the surveys are part of the USAID Mobilizing Action Against Corruption
(MAAC) Activity survey program.
The presentation took place in "Golden Tulip" hotel, Yerevan, Armenia;
the main presenters were Heghine Manasyan and Yevgenya Paturyan. The
findings suggest that corruption is considered to be a major problem,
and the situation has not improved during the last year. On the other
hand, most survey respondents said they would abstain from taking
A vast majority of the household survey respondents (84%) considers
corruption to be a major problem facing Armenia. The enterprise survey
respondents are even more concerned about corruption than the general
public, with fully 90% naming corruption as either a "somewhat" or a
"very" serious problem. Armenians consider corruption as "a fact of
life": 59% of the 2009 household survey respondents agree with this
statement, compared with 73% of the enterprise survey respondents.
Thus, both the assessment of the seriousness of corruption as a problem
and its entrenchment in daily life are starker among business leaders
than among the public.
In both surveys, the majority of respondents said that they would
pay a bribe if asked to do so. The main reason for paying the bribe,
according to the respondents, is that there is no other way to
obtain the service required or to "get things done". However, if
offered a bribe, most respondents (72% for both the household and
enterprise surveys) claim they would not take it because the idea is
"unacceptable" to them.
A clear majority of the respondents think that corruption can be
reduced only to a certain degree or not at all, a result that gives a
somewhat discouraging outlook on the future. They do not see themselves
as contributors to anti-corruption efforts, as many (60% and 49%
of the household and enterprise survey respondents, respectively)
say there is nothing they can do to reduce corruption in Armenia.
In addition, monopolies are thought to be the biggest hindrance for
business development, as 75% of the enterprise survey respondents
describe it as either a "serious" or a "very serious" obstacle.
Corruption and the financial crisis come next in the list of
impediments, with nearly 70% of respondents mentioning these as either
serious or very serious.
Corruption Surveys of Households and Enterprises are part of MAAC
Survey program; Household Surveys are conducted annually, and
Enterprises Surveys are conducted bi-annually. The Household Survey
sample in 2009 included 1 515 adults from all over the country,
and the Enterprises Survey sample included 400 enterprises from all
regions and representing a wide range of sectors. The Survey findings
are available on-line to all for further research and analysis.
Corruption - the abuse of public power for private gain - is a
major problem in many countries, and Armenia is no exception. The
corruption surveys provide valuable insight into the corruption-related
perceptions and personal experiences of the Armenian society. They
also empower public deliberation and informed action, and shed light
on the trends, patterns and changes compared with 2008, when a similar
household survey was conducted.
Contact Person: Yevgenya Paturyan CRRC-Armenia Program Manager f
or Data Initiative and Methodological Trainings Tel.: (374 10) 58 13 30
Mobile:(374 77) 45 54 91 E-mail: email@example.com
TURKISH COURT REJECTS DEMAND TO STOP SHOWING
GENOCIDE DENIAL FILM IN SCHOOLS
Tuesday, July 20th, 2010
The demand of the International Hrant Dink Foundation to stop the
presentation of a controversial documentary movie about the events
which took place in 1915 Turkish in schools was rejected by a local
administrative court last month.
The movie, titled "Blonde Bride-The Inner Face of the Armenian Problem
Documentary," known as Sari Gelin, prepared by the Turkish General
Staff, was distributed to education institutions as a supplementary
educational material to schools on June 19, 2008. It depicts Armenian
gangs killing and torturing people and setting fires after raiding
Turkish villages in 1915, according to the daily Radikal.
The International Hrant Dink Foundation sued the Istanbul Provincial
Directorate of Education, saying the DVD's content did not comply with
the goals of education, which are fostering a culture of democracy,
tolerance and responsibility.
The foundation also said the scenes could negatively affect the
psychological and intellectual development of primary school students.
Later, the foundation made a request to the Istanbul Administrative
Court for the process's cancellation.
"When the content of the documentary is examined, it can be seen that
it possesses a content which ratchets up hostility instead of peace,"
said Fethiye Cetin, lawyer for the foundation.
"Armenians are especially demonstrated as negative figures and the
content of the documentary creates a grudge and hatred toward them.
Moreover, the pictures illustrating skulls, sliced heads, and corpses
could influence the physical and mental development of children,"
"We opened a case, stating that we do not find the utilization of
such materials that ratchet up hostility instead of contributing to
peace and democracy within educational institutions to be correct,"
With the decision it made on June 25, the 9th Istanbul Administrative
Court rejected the demand, ruling that there was no definite process
that needed to be conducted on the matter.
Shot by director Ismail Umac, the documentary was prepared after
conducting a detailed study in 15 national research centers and
research in the archives of 11 countries abroad, as well as the
acquisition of 10 thousand archival documents, according to the
official website of the Blonde Bride Documentary.
FILM BY ARMENIAN DIRECTOR TO BE SHOWN AT BRISTOL
13:23:41 - 19/07/2010
During Golden Apricot 7th international festival, "Lernavan" film by an
Armenian director from Lithuania Marat Sargsyan got two awards. The
jury was touched by the destiny of heroes, who decided to return
to their homeland, and awarded the director of Hrant Matevosyan and
British Council prizes.
With the assistance of the British Council, Marat Sargsyan will
present his film at Encounters International festival. This prestigious
festival of short films will be held on November 16-21 in Bristol, UK.
Marat Sargsyan graduated from Lithuanian Music and Theatre Academy
Saturday, 24 July 2010