Sunday, 3 May 2015


[if anyone has further details of this exhibition, can they please get 

in touch. The web address does not work with me and I want to
publicise when/where it is exhibiting]. 

April 30 2015

Nomad Exhibitions
January 1, 2016 - January 1, 2017

Touring Exhibition
various locations
Edinburgh, United Kingdom

An unprecedented touring exhibition sheds light on the history and
culture of Armenia as the country commemorates the 100 anniversary
of the Armenian Genocide. Nomad Exhibitions, a leading producer of
international touring exhibitions, announced today the creation of
a new major cultural exhibition they will be proposing for hire to
museums worldwide from next year. Developed in collaboration with
the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia, ICOM National
Committee of Armenian Museums and principal Armenian curators
and scientists, this exhibition is the largest touring exhibition
on Armenian cultural heritage ever presented internationally. It
brings together objects from all major Armenian museums and invites
visitors to discover the story of Armenia. A particular focus of media
attention in this year of centenary of the Armenian Genocide, Armenia
is, as well as a nation who has suffered, a fascinating land of art
and heritage. 

An inspiring new touring exhibition entitled ARMENIA:
LEGEND AND REALITY offers the public a rare opportunity to explore
the eventful history and multifaceted beauty of this little known
republic on the edge of Europe and Asia. Armenia is one of the most
ancient centres of civilisation on Earth, where archaeologists have
discovered the first traces of human activity in all Eurasia. Nestled
between East and West, it has been a fundamental crossing path on the
Silk Road for centuries. Subject to centuries of foreign invasion by
competing empires, Armenia is a fascinating nation in which conflict
and intercultural influences have fostered a unique creativity,
spirituality and sense of unity. Becoming the first officially
Christian nation in 301 AD, Armenia is also an important site of
faith and pilgrimage, home to important religious relics. 

ARMENIA:LEGEND AND REALITY unveils the diverse beauty of 
Armenia and invites visitors to discover the story of this country and 
her people, who throughout conquest, holy war, fragmentation and 
displacement have also traded, crafted, sung, prayed, laughed and 

ARMENIA: LEGEND AND REALITY brings the story of Armenia to 
life with a large collection of artefacts and artworks from leading Armenian 
museums, displayed together for the first time. The objects selected 
for the exhibition cover all aspects of the history and life of Armenians 
from their beginnings to modern days. The collections encompass 
archaeological and ethnographic materials, architecture, manuscripts, 
photography, historical maps, fine arts, music, documentary and traditional
costume. Nomad Exhibitions have also been granted privileged access
to the collections of the major state museums of Armenia. 

BGN News, Turkey
April 23 2015

Armenia's president said on Wednesday he was ready to normalize
relations with Turkey, two months after he withdrew peace accords
from parliament, blaming a Turkish lack of political will to end 100
years of hostility.

Speaking ahead of Friday's centenary of the mass killing of Armenians
by Ottoman Turks which is at the heart of the countries' animosity,
Serzh Sarksyan said there should be no preconditions in restarting
the peace process and would not insist the Turks accept they committed

"We shall at the end of the day establish normal relations with
Turkey and establishing those normal relations should be without any
preconditions," Sarksyan told a group of foreign journalists.

Armenia, a country of 3.2 million, signed accords with Turkey
in October 2009 to establish diplomatic relations and open their
land border, but the agreements stalled in the parliaments of both
countries, with each side accusing the other of trying to rewrite
the texts and setting new conditions.

The deal could bring huge economic gains for landlocked Armenia,
burnish Turkey's credentials as an EU candidate and boost its clout
in the strategic South Caucasus.

Turkey accepts many Armenians died in partisan fighting during World
War One but denies the Armenian assertion that up to 1.5 million were
killed and that it amounted to "genocide."

Ahead of the centenary, the pope and the European Parliament angered
Ankara by calling the killings "genocide". On Wednesday, Turkey called
a similar declaration by the Austrian parliament outrageous and said
no one should "lecture others on history".

Sarksyan said the reconciliation process could restart "when
Turkish leadership is ready to establish normal relations without
any preconditions."

He had withdrawn the accords from parliament, he said, to send a
"political message" to Turkey.

"The ratification of the protocols is something that we want, but it
takes two to tango and it does not only depend on us," he said.

Dozens of government delegations, including the presidents of France,
Russia and Serbia are expected to take part in the commemorations
on Friday.

U.S. President Barack Obama is not expected to use the word "genocide"
in a statement to mark the anniversary; something Sarksyan said was
just to avoid angering an important ally.

"We, of course, would want Mr. Obama to use the word 'genocide'
in his statement," Sarksyan said.

"It's not that the United States do not recognize the 'genocide',
they just do not want to use this particular word in order not to
insult their ally Turkey." 

Institute for War and Peace Reporting, UK
April 30 2015

"We live in a constant state of alarm. We're afraid a new war is
going to start."

As Armenian and Azerbaijani soldiers continue to die along the front
lines that separate them, observers are trying to make sense of what
is happening. Should this level of violence be seen as "normal",
or is it a sign of worse to come?

The war over Nagorny Karabakh ended in 1994 in a truce but no peace
agreement, and negotiations to end the dispute over the region's
future have come to nothing over the course of two decades. Karabakh
and adjoining territories have been governed since then by an Armenian
administration that claims independence, but has not been recognised.

Armenia and Azerbaijan are technically still in a state of war, and
their fundamentally different views on Karabakh's future have left
little common ground for discussion.

Since 1994, the ceasefire has held overall, although it has been
broken by frequent gunfire and occasional incursions both on the
"Line of Contact" around Karabakh and along the state border between
Armenia and Azerbaijan.

In recent months, such clashes have become more frequent and fatalities
more common, although things have calmed down since an alarming spike
in violence in January.

Azerbaijan's defence ministry reported that five Armenian soldiers
were killed in a border clash on April 21 in the Terter district,
close to the "Line of Contact". The defence ministry in Karabakh gave
a different account of the incident, saying it was Azerbaijani troops
who suffered casualties.

Sources in Armenia report that around 20 soldiers from the country's
armed forces have died since the start of 2015.

Casualty figures given by the opposing sides are often hard to
reconcile. For example, the Karabakh defence ministry reported that
an entire unit of 15 Azerbaijani soldiers were killed while on a raid
in the Gulistan area on March 19. It said three Armenian soldiers were
also killed in the clash and a fourth died from his injuries later.

Azerbaijan gives a lower figure for its military casualties.

"I can state officially that eight of our servicemen have died at
the front this year," Azerbaijan's defence minister Zakir Hasanov
told the APA news agency on April 2.

The Khazar defence studies institute in Baku gives a slightly higher
figure of 11 army fatalities. Jasur Sumerinli, a researcher at the
institute, told IWPR that since the official figures were often wrong,
"we try to establish fatality numbers from individual press reports
and from our personal contacts on the ground".


The question is whether the ongoing skirmishes are more of the same
or something more serious.

On the ground, Azerbaijanis to whom IWPR spoke seemed worried.

"We live in a constant state of alarm. We're afraid a new war is
going to start," said Himayat Guliyeva, 65, from the village of Bash
Garvand in Aghdam district, east of Karabakh.

Gulieva said exchanges of gunfire had taken place on an almost daily
basis for the last three months.

Mahammad Mammadov, who lives in Alibeyli, a village in Tovuz district
close to the border with Armenia, said the armed forces on both side
had been firing all night, every night since the beginning of March,
although at least civilians were out of the immediate firing line.

"Most of the firing at villages took place at the end of last year,"
he said. "Now they are only shooting at military posts. Judging from
the noise and flames visible at night, they are using large-calibre

Between April 5 and 10, Azerbaijan's military carried out large-scale
night-time manoeuvres close to the front lines. Defence ministry
sources indicated it was a real show of force, with some 15,000
soldiers, 200-plus armoured vehicles, 20 aircraft and more deployed
for the exercises.

The view from Yerevan is that the violence is continuing at a higher
level than before.

On March 27, Defence Minister Seyran Ohanyan accused Azerbaijan of
using heavy weapons - 120 millimetre mortars - in attacks for the
first time since the 1994 ceasefire.

Ohanyan made the allegation at a meeting with Andrzej Kasprzyk,
the OSCE chairperson's envoy on the Karabakh conflict. The OSCE's
"Minsk Group", co-chaired by the United States, Russia and France,
has been the lead mediating group for the last 20 years.

Armenian defence ministry spokesman Artsrun Hovhanisyan believes that
Azerbaijan is sustaining high casualties but that it refrains from
making them public.

"Azerbaijan is waging a hybrid war whose main aim is to break its
opponent.But thus far, the result of the diversionary tacticspursued
to this end has been precisely zero, in that the Azerbaijanis have
failed to capture a single position or to shift the line of the
border," he told IWPR.

Stepan Grigoryan, head of the Centre for Globalisation and Regional
Cooperation in Yerevan, believes the OSCE Minsk Group needs to issue
explicit statements that apportion blame where it is due.

"Until the mediators address more specific remarks to Azerbaijan, that
country will continue to conduct offensive operations," he told IWPR.

There is certainly no meeting of minds on who is most responsible for
firing the first shots in any given incident, or at a political level,
for derailing the talks process.

Speaking on March 19, two weeks before his army went on manoeuvres,
Azerbaijani president IlhamAliyev suggested that the Armenians were
to blame for launching their own military exercises in Karabakh
in December. (See Karabakh Peace Prospects Shot Down Together With

Up until that point, he said, his meetings with Armenian president
SerzhSargsyan had been going rather well.

"Both sides felt that the last meeting in Paris was a success. But
not even a week had gone by when Armenia resorted to another act of
provocation, starting large-scale military exercises... on occupied
land," President Aliyev said. (See Reset in Azerbaijan-Armenia Talks

Amid the talk of the dangers of full-scale war, Azerbaijani commentator
Arastun Orujlu sounded a less alarmist note.

"These acts of sabotage, the night-time exercises, the helicopter that
was shot down have all exacerbated the already difficult relationship
between the sides, but it hasn't led to major military action,"
said Orujlu, who heads the East-West Centre in Baku. "All that is
going on now points to a localised conflict [although] a war could
take place if the Minsk Group wholly ignores the issue, or if Russia
has an interest in such a war happening."

Arevik Sahakyan is a freelance journalist in Armenia. Nurgul Novruz
is the pseudonym of an Azerbaijani journalist. 

Vestnik Kavkaza, Russia
April 30 2015

US congressman Pete Sessions has submitted a resolution urging
President Obama to work toward reconciliation between Turkey and
Armenia, Anadolu agency reports.

The draft states that "the Obama Administration has, since early 2009,
sought to improve Armenian-Turkish relations": "President Barack
Obama had, on April 6, 2009, voiced the United States Government's
expectation that the Armenian-Turkish dialogue would "bear fruit very
quickly," but recent attempts to reestablish diplomatic relations
have been unsuccessful," cited the document.

The project calls on the US to work toward equitable, constructive,
stable, and durable Armenian-Turkish relations in the next hundred
years, based upon the two countries' common interests and the United
States' significant security interests in the region.

The President of the Turkish Institute for Progress, Derya Tashkyn,
commenting on the initiative, said that the project should be supported
by everyone who believes that it will contribute to the development
of relations between Turkey and Armenia.

"This is the first time that a resolution looking to the future
of Turkish-Armenian relations has ever been introduced and I hope
that all of my former colleagues in the House will support this
important measure," an adviser to the Turkish Institute for Progress
and Democratic former member of the Texas House of Representatives,
Solomon Ortiz, said.

A political analyst and a member of the Public Chamber of the Russian
Federation, Sergey Markov, told Vestnik Kavkaza that the United States
today is not the dominant force in the Caucasus, and the Caucasus is
a priority of US foreign policy. "Their priority now is the Pacific
region, South and Central America, the Middle East, that is, the key
points of oil production. Therefore, the resources that Americans put
into work with the Caucasus are small, and there is no possibility
of ensuring its dominance there," Markov noted.

He stressed that Russia is able to fulfill such commitments to
reconciliation in the region with much greater efficiency. "Russia in
the framework of improving its relations with Azerbaijan, Armenia and
Turkey can play an important role, but not by imposing a rigid policy,
but through mediation and compromise," he said.

The Director of the Armenian branch of the CIS Institute, Alexander
Makarov, in his turn, said that "it is no secret that the American
foreign policy department periodically participated as one of
the mediators in the process of normalization of Armenian-Turkish
relations. However, the question is how far the Turkish side is ready
to go on this road. Therefore, this document is only a declarative
statement," the expert said.

A docent of the Faculty of International Relations of the TOBB
University of Economics and Technology (Ankara), Togrul Ismail, said
that Turkey wants to have good-neighborly relations with Armenia
without any intermediaries, but Armenia has territorial claims,
not recognizing the Kars and Moscow agreements of 1921 and 1922. "In
addition, you know that the diplomatic relations between Turkey and
Armenia were marred after Armenia occupied the Kelbajar district
of Azerbaijan. Based on the fact that the Republic of Armenia today
has such an aggressive foreign policy, it will be very difficult to
establish bilateral relations," the expert said.

He also agreed that Russia would play the role of mediator in this
process much better. 

232,583 tourists visited Armenia in January-March 2015, down by 4
percent compared to the same period in 2014, a representative of the
National Statistical Service told

214,757 people left the country as tourists in the first three months
of this year. That marks a 4.1 percent decrease compared to last year.

The Arts Desk
by Jenny Gilbert
April 30 2015

Lest we forget: pub theatre gives a voice to the Armenian Genocide

Agitprop is a term that seems to have dropped out of use. It has too
many negative connotations; it smacks of political rant. Yet artistic
director Neil McPherson, whose small and feisty Finborough Theatre at
Earls Court receives no public funding whatsoever, has never pandered
to delicate West London sensibilities, and I Wish to Die Singing:
Voices from the Armenian Genocide, scripted by him, certainly doesn't
flinch from its task. This is, no less, to fill a gaping hole in the
official history of the 20th century. Propaganda? You decide.

McPherson's bold project sprang from a perceived need to right a
global wrong. Our more thoughtful news media may have run items on the
Armenian Genocide in the run-up to its centenary on Friday 24 April
but, shockingly, the UK Government, along with the US administration
and the State of Israel, as well as the Turkish government, still
refuse to concede that the deaths in 1915 of one and half million
Armenian men, women and children at the hands of the Ottoman Empire
amounted to planned mass murder
. I Wish to Die Singing sets out to
say why it unarguably was so, and why we should demand that our own
government, at least, should use the G-word - not just for the sake
of truth and integrity, but to show that we are not completely cowed
by the Islamic worldview. (It remains a punishable offence to voice
the words "Armenian Genocide" in Turkey today.)

It's important to state from the outset that this is not a play. But
perhaps it was wise of McPherson not to let on in advance that it was
to be an illustrated lecture. Actor Jilly Bond, brisk in a trouser
suit, is our lecturer (she even uses slide projections) and her
opening spiel is pitched to engage any dozing students at the back.

You think you don't know any Armenians? Up on the screen flash smiling
images of Kim Kardashian, Cher, Alain Prost and other global celebs.

Even Princess Di was one 64th Armenian, we learn.

But the facts from thereon in are a lot less fun. Three characters in
turn introduce themselves. "My name is Fethiye/Anahit/whatever ... I'm
six/11/16 years old and I live with my family in a village ..." Through
these opening monologues we build up a picture of a Christian minority
living peaceably enough alongside the Muslim Turks. Yet soon enough
comparisons with the Jewish experience in Europe are inevitable. An
entire stratum of Ottoman professional life - medicine, law, academia,
classical music - was dominated by Armenian talent, and increasingly

What then happened to the Armenians began to follow a now horribly
familiar pattern, beginning with their land and property being
seized by the state, continuing with the dismantling of 3,500 years
of culture, and culminating with the massacre of entire populations
of villages and towns. Those Armenians remaining were forced by the
Turkish militia to march without food or water, or shoes, into the
desert. It's to the writer's (and director Tommo Fowler's) credit
that we submit to listen to these horrors, and worse: the text metes
them out via the mouths of the two little girls (Tamar Karabetyan,
pictured above with Kate Binchy, and below with Siu-see Hung) and
a teenage boy (all played by adults). The childish voices grate
somewhat, but as a script device, it works. Children are able to
describe atrocities unencumbered by the rage and despair an adult
would bring to the telling. It's also true that the few survivors
of the genocide were mostly very young. As an old man (excellent Tom
Marshall) recalls bitterly and with typical guilt: "You cannot be a
true witness if you survived".

The monologues alternate between the children and two rheumy-eyed
elders, reaching into 80- or even 90-year-old memories. The lecturer
also chips in to push the story forward. We are thankfully spared
too many projected images of starved and naked bodies. The anecdotes
suffice: the women who hid their last remaining trinkets in their
sanitary towels - it was the only place the Muslim soldiers wouldn't
look; or the grandmother who, arriving at a river after months of
forced marching, drowned her two small grandchildren to relieve their
suffering. There is a hateful exchange between a sneering local
commander and an American visitor who dares to challenge him. He
prefers the word "cleansing" to "killing". On the whole, though,
there is little dialogue. The characters talk at the audience, not
to one another, which gives the whole evening a stiltedness that
is perhaps appropriate. How do you dramatise the dismantling of a
nation's body and spirit?

In place of the usual programme notes (in a sense, the entire
evening is one giant programme note), the Finborough reproduces a
briefing paper originally presented at the US State Department in
1996. It identifies "the eight stages of genocide". These include
"dehumanisation" - in light of these stories we know what that entails
- and the final stage is "denial". If this strange, stark lecture cum
verbatim-theatre hybrid achieves nothing else, it will have added a
few hundred more signatures to the petition at

I Wish to Die Singing: Voices from the Armenian Genocide at the
Finborough Theatre until 16 May

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates,
will discontinue services to Yerevan in Armenia, as part of its
network and schedule adjustments for the summer 2015 season.

Flights between Abu Dhabi and Yerevan will continue to operate
as normal under the current four-times-per-week frequency until 1
September 2015, allowing passengers with existing bookings over the
summer season to complete their journey with Etihad Airways.

An Etihad Airways spokesperson said: "The service has been well
received by the community in Armenia following the launch last year,
and customer feedback remains very positive, with travellers welcoming
Etihad Airways' award-winning products and services.

"We regularly review our operating schedules to ensure we are utilizing
our aircraft to capitalize on traffic flows and to meet market
demands. We will continue to evaluate opportunities in the future.

"We will also be working with our local staff impacted by this
decision, to explore alternative employment opportunities with
our local partners in Yerevan, or across the Etihad Airways global

Etihad Airways regrets any inconvenience this network adjustment may
cause. Along with our travel agency partners, we will notify affected
guests of the changes to their itineraries and re-accommodate them
on other flights that meet their travel needs.

Customers who wish to reach us directly may contact Etihad Airways'
global contact centre on +971 (0) 2 599 0000 or local contact centre
in Yerevan on +374 60 400263

For more information contact: Duty Media Officer Corporate
Communications Etihad Airways Tel: +971 50 818 9596 Email:
April 29, 2015

On April 28 the kick-off meeting on establishing "Tatev" National Park
and Biodiversity Preservation Community Models was held: the main
aim of the project is to establish a national park in Tatev region,
which will ensure the preservation of ecosystems and rich biodiversity
in the area.

Nature Protection Minister Aram Grigoryan made a welcome speech
followed by Initiatives for Development of Armenia Director Armen
Gevorgyan, Syunik Regional Head Surik Khachatryan, and Deputy
Ambassador of Germany to Armenia Nadia Lichtenberger.

"The idea is that the tourism projects implemented in Syunik Region,
particularly in Tatev area, shall be accompanied with environmental
programs so as to create a national park in the adjacent communities
and to make nature more attractive for foreigners and tourists to
Armenia," said IDeA Director Armen Gevorgyan.

"The communities in this area have an opportunity to deal with
comprehensive agriculture...We have prerequisites to have a processing
plant in the area," Nature Protection Minister Aramayis Grigoryan
said in his speech.

"Tatev" National Park will occupy an area of 15000 ha. The works
will be conducted in two stages. The first planning is before the
governmental resolution, while the second stage is connected with
establishing infrastructures. The first stage will cost around 200,000
Euros together with community investments, while the second stage will
cost around 1 million Euro," said WWF Armenia Director Karen Manvelyan.

Under him, the area will be a good habitat for a number of species,
as well as rich vegetation and unique relict forests. 
April 29, 2015

Mine casts dark clouds over Motkor

A pristine corner of Armenia, 16,000 hectares of forest in the
north-central section of Armenia, may be the next victim of commercial
mining spearheaded by government officials.

An outfit called Victoria Silver Ltd. has been conducting
geological surveys at the site since 2014. The area, in the
Marts-Prvashen-Boudaghidzor triangle, is a gold and metals site slated
for development.

If the survey results are promising, the mine will start operating,
and the entire region near the town of Toumanyan in Lori Province
will be affected.

On October 24, 2014, Armenia's Ministry of Nature Protection
granted Victoria Silver a green light to proceed after concluding
that the company's activities would not negatively impact the local
environment. Residents of Lorout and Marts, two communities in the
impact area, were never consulted.

In the company's environmental impact assessment, which the ministry
approved, it states that public hearing were held on July17 in Lorout
and Marts and on October 3 at the Lori Governor's Office and that
mining company's plans were welcomed.

"No, no. There weren't any public hearings. No one from Victoria
Silver came to the village. Public hearings were held twice at the
Lori Governor's Office. Present were the community leader of Karindj,
staff from the province's department of nature protection, and a
representative from the company," says Marts Mayor Robert Galstyan.

Galstyan adds that after discussions took place at the governor's
office, he informed a group of 5-6 village residents who had come to
see him on unrelated matters about the possible launch of the mine.

After Teghout, the forest of Motkor?

The mining site in question lies in a sub-district of the Lori town
of Toumanyan; along the right bank of the Marts River. It covers an
area of 830 hectares. The center of the development site lies five
kilometers from the village of Marts and 2.5 kilometers from Lorout.

Most of the area is forested. The mountain slopes are covered with
beech and oak trees. The lower climes are mostly meadowland.

Endangered flora and fauna inhabit the area.

Lorout, Marts, Marts-Pravashen-Boudaghidzor Development Site; Green
denotes forests

The map above shows that the area to be surveyed and tested is mostly
forest. And this is just the extent of the site according to the
company's preliminary plan.

The company's preliminary plan says nothing about the possible
environmental risks to the Marts River. Nevertheless, at the public
hearings held at the Lori Governor's Office ,Victoria Silver Director
Gagik Khojayan claimed that the mine would not affect the river at
all given that the stretch of the river in question already flows
through pipes for use by mini hydro plants.

Marts Mayor Galstyan argues that whether the mine operates or not,
the forest will be cleared.

"OK, I agree. We believe that the forest must be removed. No? So
won't the forest be cleared without the mine? Legally or not, it's
being cut down."

>From our conversations with Marts residents it became clear that
many weren't as optimistic as the mayor.

"They still haven't come to work the mine so we aren't concerned. When
the whole village stood up, were we able to stop the mini hydro
plants?" said Marts resident Artash Zavaryan. "What can we do? The
people are leaving for Russia. They are forcing them to go."

Rafik Afitseryan, another Marts resident, chimed in that no one in
government listens to them.

"Operating a mine will damage the environment. Isn't that clear? There
are those in the village who say the mine will create jobs. But can
a mine be beneficial? I don't care if it's gold or something else,"
Afitseryan said, adding that he doesn't believe villagers opposed to
the mine could stop it.

"It's like this. On the one hand villagers say it will hurt the
environment. But on the other, they are people with no work, so they
hope that jobs might be created," explained Marts resident A.


According to Marts Mayor Galstyan, the village has 940 head of cattle
and 300 head of smaller livestock. Lorout Mayor Hrachik Sahakyan says
his community has 2,300 head of cattle and 600 smaller livestock.

Marts Mayor Robert GalstyanLorout Mayor Hrachik Sahakyan

"There were no public hearings in Lorout either. One day we announced
in the village center that somebody from them [the company] had
visited. I don't know his name," said Mayor Sahakyan.

The mayors of Marts and Lorout spoke up at the hearings in the Regional
Governor's Office. They said that residents weren't opposed to the
mine and would be in support if they could be guaranteed jobs.

Lorout School Principal Davit Sargsyan takes a slightly different
take regarding public hearings.

"The idea of public hearings is more based on emotions than facts.

They're based on facts that haven't yet occurred. You say that
so many hectares of forest will be cleared. So isn't there a need
for hearings? They should ask residents of Moktor if they want to
be polluted. No? Naturally, the answer would be we don't want it
[the mine]"

On July 18, 2014, the Lori Municipal Council passed a decision that
would allow for the rezoning of the agricultural area and drawing
up a leasing contract with Victoria Silver once surveys confirmed
that the mineral reserves of the mine. Mayor Galstyan begrudgingly
confessed that the Marts Municipal Council also approved geological
exploration of the site, but noted that no contract with Victoria
Silver had been signed.

HayAntar Director Martoun Matevosyan told Hetq that Victoria Silver
had filed a petition with the Ministry of Agriculture for permission
to conduct surveys of the area. HayAntar (Armenian Forests) did not
oppose conducting surveys.

"HayAntar discussed the matter with the Lori Governor and the
communities of Lorout and Marts. Taking into account that the governor
and these communities placed importance on the fact that no trees
would be cut during the work, HayAntar has no objection to geological
exploratory activities," HayAntar responded.

HayAntar Director Matevosyan says he's opposed to any threat to the
Motkor forests if the mine starts operating. He believes it's a bit
premature to consider such possibilities given that a preliminary
plan for operating the mine as yet doesn't exist and that other
factors, whether the mine will be an open or closed pit, have still
to be decided.

"As the director of HayAntar and a native of Lori, I'd oppose the
clearing of the forests. But since we are still in the exploratory
phase and receiving an operating license is such a complicated process,
in which the opinion of the HayAntar director will not, I think,
be decisive, nevertheless we will voice our view."

According to the plan presented to the Ministry of Nature Protection,
exploratory work at the site will continue until 2017.

Despite the fact that surveys conducted prior to the 1970s did not
reveal significant gold reserves, exploratory teams started to survey
the Marts River field starting in 1976. This resulted in uncovering
several deposits of ore containing gold and copper.

Estimates of ore reserves total 2,700 tons. Gold reserves are
estimated at 11,610 kilograms; 29.7 tons of silver; 9,180 tons of
copper; 18,900 tons of lead; 48,600 tons of zinc.

Who is eying the gold and copper of Motkor?

Victoria Silver Ltd. was registered in Armenia in May of 2014. The
company stock is equally divided among the following individuals -
Armen Gevorgyan, Yervand Hovhannisyan, Ruzanna Beglaryan.

Yervand Hovhannisyan headed the Underground Resources and Surveyor
Management Division at the Ministry of Nature Protection when Vardan
Ayvazyan served as minister from 2001-2007. (Ayvazyan is now a member
of the National Assembly and chairs the Standing Committee on Economic

Hovhannisyan was involved in Ayvazyan's mining projects. More to the
point, Hovhannisyan represents Ayvazyan's interests.

Another interesting fact to note is that Hasmik Harutyunyan (Yervand
Hovhannisyan's wife) owns 33% of the shares of Grejd Redmet, a company
seeking to operate a gold mine in the vicinity ofFioletovo, Armenia.

Ruzanna Beglaryan turns out to be the wife of Vache Ghazaryan, who
heads the president's security staff.

It's not by coincidence that renowned Armenian writer Hrant Matevosyan,
a native of Lori, once declared that issues as the loss of land,
the aggression of manufacturing, and the clash of man and nature were
too important to be overlooked.

"Such matters must be discussed by the whole country altogether or
not at all. Half measures are worse than silence. Reserved speech
drains and numbs

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