Friday, 17 June 2016

Armenian News... A Topalian 
Armenia needs new weaponry, say 86% of the surveyed
June 14, 2016

Yerevan . According to the research conducted by Gallup
International Association in Armenia, the population’s trust for the
Army grew by 2.7% compared to last year.

Exclusive Representative of Gallup International in Armenia Aram
Navasardyan made this statement at the meeting with journalists today,
presenting the results of the survey on public response to the April

The survey was held on May 13-24, 1106 people participated in it. The
sampling error of the survey is in between +/-3%.

72.5% of the surveyed believe war to be the most significat issue
threatening Armenia.

46.7% believe that Azerbaijan’s attack in April was conditioned and
ordered by external powers.

32.5% of the survey’s participants think that Azerbaijan provoked
hostilities to suppress internal problems. 28.1% believe it was
conditioned by excessive weapons supply to Azerbaijan from Russia and
other countries. Almost the same percent (27.5%) of people think that
Azerbaijan tried to solve the NK issue by force after loosing in
negotiation process. 18.6% believe that Azerbaijan tried to exploit
the internal political situation in Armenia.

1.8% of the surveyed found it hard to answer “How confident are you
that Armenian and NKR Armed Forces will be able to counter-attack the
rival?” question. 0.7% noticed that they are not confident, 4.8% are
rather not confident, 31.3% are rather confident, and 61.4 % are
confident that the armies are capable of a strong counter-attack.

According to 81.3% of the surveyed, Turkey was the country to enkindle
the four-day war, 33% think it was Azerbaijan, 17.2% - Russia, 14.5% -
USA and 1.1% - the European countries.

1.2% of the surveyed found it hard to answer “How do you estimate our
Army’s readiness and competence in resisting large-scale attack?”
question. According to 40.1%, the Army was absolutely ready, 44.3%
believe it was rather ready, 11.1% - rather not ready, and 3.3% - not

86.4% answered “What must be done to increase readiness for such
attacks?” question, stating that new weaponry must be bought. 38.1%
believe the solution is minimization of corruption in the army, 29% -
increase of readiness of soldiers and officers, 20.5% - higher number
of conscripts, and 1.7% - strong economy.
Presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan to meet in Russia on June 20
14 Jun 2016
Siranush Ghazanchyan

Russian President Vladimir Putin will host talks in St Petersburg on
June 20 between the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia about the
conflict in breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh, which flared up earlier this
year, the Kremlin said.

By organising the meeting between Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev
and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, Russia is “continuing its
mission as a mediator” in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Kremlin aide
Yuri Ushakov told reporters.

He emphasized that Russia “will take active steps to assist the sides
in the settlement of the conflict.” Ushakov reminded that Moscow
already played an important role in introducing a ceasefire in the
conflict zone at the start of April 2016.

Putin has already held several telephone conversations with the
leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan, visits of defense ministers and
foreign ministers have took place, and Chiefs of General Staffs of
Armenia and Azerbaijan have been invited to Moscow, the presidential
aide reminded. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has also visited
Yerevan and Baku at the start of April, he added.

“We will now continue our mediatory mission, of course, in full
cooperation with other co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, on the basis
of principles proposed in accordance with the statements of the
presidents of Russia, United States and France from 2009 to 2013. We
will see what results this three-party contact will lead to. Our side
will hold the most interested and active dialogue,” Ushakov concluded.

Sargsyan and Aliyev last met in the Austrian capital, Vienna, on May 16.
1100 kids involved in child labor in Armenia
June 13, 2016 

The number of kids involved in child labor in Armenia amounts 
to 1100 but in the majority of cases their work is not registered
anywhere, head of child protection and education programs at
World Vision Armenia Aida Muradyan said, according to

June 2 is the World Day Against Child Labor.

“Very often, hard labor prevents the kids from getting proper
education,” Muradyan said.

“The teachers are well aware of the reasons behind the children’s
absence from classes, but conceal that fact from law enforcement
authorities who are, as a result, unable to improve the situation.”

According to Muradyan, the children’s involvment in labor is a social
problem with poverty being a key reason.

According to recent studies, Muradyan says, some 215 million minors
are involved in child labor worldwide, with 115 million of them
working in extremely bad conditions. Citing another report by the U.S.
Department of State, Muradyan said the majority of those in Armenia
have seasonal employment.

RFE/RL Report
Armenian Parliament Debates Controversial Tax Rises
Anush Mkrtchian

The Armenian government faced strong criticism from many lawmakers on
Monday as they debated its new draft Tax Code envisaging higher taxes
on relatively well-paid workers.

The government is keen to push the 700-page code through the National
Assembly as part its declared efforts to improve tax collection and
boost state revenue, which has long accounted for a modest share of
Gross Domestic Product.

The International Monetary Fund praised in November the initial
version of the legislation. `The new tax code provides an
opportunity to broaden the tax base by eliminating exemptions and
addressing gaps and thereby to support both consolidation and
increases in growth-enhancing spending,' the IMF's deputy
managing director, Mitsuhiro Furusawa, said at the time.

The code caused controversy in Armenia, however, after it emerged
earlier this year that it would raise the income tax rates for workers
earning 120,000 drams ($250) or more per month. They would increase
the rates from 26 percent to between 28 percent and 33 percent.

By contrast, the government wants to lower the tax rate for those
earning at least 2 million drams from 36 percent to 33 percent. It is
also seeking a modest tax cut -- from 24.4 percent to 23 percent --
for workers paid up to 120,000 drams per month.

Armenia's official monthly wage currently stands at almost 187,000
drams ($390), suggesting that many, if not most, workers and their
employers would have to pay more taxes. Critics say that this would
only encourage tax evasion among them.

`Do you aim to destroy the middle class?' Levon Zurabian, an
opposition deputy, said at the start of parliament debates on the
proposed Tax Code.

The code also prompted criticism from some pro-government
lawmakers. One of them, Hakob Hakobian, said the government failed to
consult with businesspeople before drafting the controversial

`This bill wouldn't benefit us,' said Hakobian. `It would only cause

The government was also criticized for seeking to tax stock
dividends. Hrant Bagratian, an opposition parliamentarian, claimed
that only rich states can afford such a tax. He also said it amounts
to `double taxation.'

Vakhtang Mirumian, a deputy head of the State Revenue Committee who
presented the bill to the National Assembly, rejected Bagratian's

Democracy & Freedom Watch
June 13 2016
Georgian businessman to open McDonald’s in Armenia
by DFWatch staff | Jun 13, 2016

TBILISI – A Georgian businessman may open the first ever
McDonald’s restaurant in rival Armenia, Sputnik Armenia reports.

The news agency reports that the opening of the first of the chain’s
restaurants in Armenia was decided at a meeting of managers in
Orlando, U.S.

“I got agreement from McDonald’s main office to open a fast food
branch in Armenia,” Chkonia told Sputnik. “Now there will be
negotiations with the Armenian government. I am 100% sure that we 
will open a McDonald’s there. It is only a matter of time.”

Chkonia specified that 1,500 square meters is necessary to build one
branch and the plan is to build eight restaurants in Armenia,
employing about 1,000 people.

The two South Caucasus neighbors Georgia and Armenia have a long
history of rivalry. A number of attempts have been made by Armenians
to get a license to build a McDonald’s but it will likely take a
Georgian to do it. The fast foods chains KFC, Gyros and Karas are
already established there.

In February, Sputnik Armenia wrote that the issue of opening a
restaurant in Yerevan was to be discussed at a meeting in Orlando in
April. Chkonia said at the time that he was sure that the answer would
be positive.

“First of all, many people come from Armenia to Tbilisi to go to
McDonald’s. This means that fast food is in high demand among the
Armenian population. Secondly, it is possible to open a restaurant in
cities with less than 150,000 population.” 
British conductor impressed with Armenian culture 
Interview by Lusine Ghazaryan
14 June, 2016 

YEREVAN. The 12th Aram Khachatryan International Contest is 
coming to its end, but before that, one of the juries of the Contest, 
conductor and Managing Director of London “Philharmonia” 
Orchestra David Whelton gave an interview to “Armenpress”.

-Mr. Whelton, this is Your first visit to Armenia, what are your 

-Armenia is a very interesting country, I really enjoy my time here, 
I have brought with me the London rains here. People are very 
friendly. We visited Churches, it was very interesting, but most 
of all I am impressed with art galleries and museums, especially 
with the History and Komitas Museums.

-What did You like most here?

-Frankly, I am very impressed with the state youth orchestra: 
it’s just perfect, and the musicians are playing very nice. Much 
depends on the orchestra at every contest, you are very fortunate 
that your orchestra is so perfect. I think that the building of Yerevan 
Opera Theatre is also very beautiful and impressing. 

-What is Your opinion about Aram Khachatryan Contest participants?

-First of all, I would like to say their professionalism is on a high level. 
I have participated in numerous contests as a jury member and I can 
surely state that Aram Khachatryan Contest is a really high-ranking 
contest. I have also seen a number of conductor contests, and each 
of them was unique since they were taking place in different cities. 
The Orchestras also differ, so I think that this Contest is also a special 
one. In my opinion, the conditions of this Contest are beneficial for
the participants.

-What makes this Contest unique?

-I think the Orchestra. It gives this Contest intensity, depth and 
tremendous enthusiasm. The Orchestra members really enjoy 
their job, and this is one of the most significant factors for the 

-During those days, what did You learn about the Armenian Culture?

-Of course, I have learned many things. I have visited Komitas 
Museum-Institute. Armenia is a very musical country. We have 
many Armenian friends in London: Sergey Smbatyan worked with 
the “Philharmonia” Orchestra in 2011 within the framework of 
two very important concerts. Therefore, we have already known 
how many talented musicians Armenia has. In the morning I 
have listened the performance of the musicians of Conservatory 
of Yerevan and I can say they are perfect. Moreover, I am very 
interested in your national music: it is very difficult in terms of 
rhythm, but in terms of melody it is perfect.

-What do You like to see in Yerevan which You haven’t seen yet?

-I would like to visit more museums and art galleries, also to see 
the Armenian dance. I would like to travel around the country, but, 
unfortunately, I have to return to London on June 15. I have 
promised my wife that we will spend our holidays in Armenia.
I would like also to add the following: the more musical ties you 
will have around the world, the more you will enjoy these perfect 
musical traditions that you have, and we will enjoy them as well. 
We know great composers with Armenian origins who performing 
in different stages across the world transfer your traditions, and 
we are pleased with this. 

Ha'aretz, Israel
June 12 2016
Germany Reportedly Warns Lawmakers With Turkish Roots 
Against Travel to Turkey
Erdogan accuses 11 lawmakers of Turkish origin who voted for the
resolution to declare Armenians' killings as genocide of being
terrorists; lawmakers placed under police protection after receiving
death threats.

Reuters and DPA Jun 12, 2016

Germany's Foreign Ministry has warned lawmakers with Turkish roots
against travelling to the country for now because their safety cannot
be guaranteed, the magazine Der Spiegel reported on Saturday.

A resolution in the German parliament this month declaring the 1915
massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces a genocide has added to
tensions between Berlin and Ankara.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has said that the 11 lawmakers of
Turkish origin who voted for the resolution should be given blood
tests, and has accused them of having "tainted blood" and of being

The leader of Germany's Green party, Cem Oezdemir, who pushed for the
resolution, has also received death threats.

Spiegel said the ministry had come to the conclusion that the
lawmakers' safety could not be guaranteed.

"It's unspeakable to know that it's not possible to fly there for
now," Aydan Oezoguz, Germany's integration commissioner, was quoted by
the magazine as saying.

Other lawmakers with Turkish roots have also cancelled business trips
to the country, Der Spiegel said.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine reported in its Sunday edition that the 11
lawmakers have been placed under police protection after receiving
death threats.

The decision to extend their police escort was made after a meeting
late Saturday with Berlin and German federal police.

A police spokeswoman declined to provide details of the threats, but
said the measures were appropriate to guarantee the lawmakers' safety.

"The threats against Turkish-origin delegates are unacceptable,"
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere was quoted as saying.
"Security measures will be taken accordingly." 

Deutsche Welle, Germany
June 12 2016
German MP calls for a travel ban on Erdogan

Sevim Dagdelen has urged action after receiving death threats over the
Armenian genocide vote in Germany's parliament. She said she wants
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to be prevented from entering

Sevim Dagdelen, a member of the Bundestag, demanded that "anyone in
Turkey who calls for violence against members of the German parliament
should get an entry ban" to Germany. "This includes President
Erdogan," she told the German newspaper "Bild am Sonntag."

The Duisburg-born politician has a 100,000 euro ($112,000) bounty on
her head, the paper reported, following a resolution adopted by the
German parliament on June 2 calling the massacre of Armenians

German lawmakers voted to join 29 other countries in interpreting the
killings of 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915 as
genocide. Turkey, which was formed out of the Ottoman Empire, insists
the killings were a collective tragedy in which equal numbers of Turks
and Armenians died but denies it meets legal requirements to be termed
a genocide.

Erdogan, personally, reacted furiously to the decision, taking ties
between the Berlin and Ankara governments to new lows.

Personal threats

Since the vote, Dagdelen and 10 other German MPs of Turkish origin
have faced the ire of Turkish nationalists, receiving death threats
and even having their personal details published in newspapers and in

Dagdelen, who is the Left party's migration policy spokesperson, told
the paper that German Chancellor Angela Merkel should respond more
forcefully to Erdogan's attacks.

The politicians are now under 24-hour police protection after Erdogan
compared them to terrorists and demanded they have blood tests to
prove their Turkish origins.

The lawmakers have also been warned not to make trips to Turkey for
the time being, as their safety cannot be guaranteed.

Tolerance urged

Aydan Özoguz of the Social Democrats (SPD) called on Turkish groups in
Germany to unequivocally denounce the Turkish response. Özoguz, who is
the government's integration commissioner, has also received death

"I expect Turkish associations in Germany to clearly condemn the
threats against MPs," she told the "Bild am Sonntag" weekly paper,
adding that Turks can remain committed to their origins without being
an extension of Turkey.

Her comments were backed up by Green Party leader Cem Özdemir, who was
one of the initiators of the Bundestag's Armenian resolution.

"You may not agree with the resolution, but Turkish organizations must
issue unqualified denouncements of the death threats," he told the
"Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung."

Earlier, Özdemir had told the paper that Erdogan's response to the
issue was "unworthy of a head of state," adding that he was worried:
"What if someone goes crazy?" Özdemir asked, referring to threats
against him and his family.

Germany's Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB)
supported German politicians and called the threats made against
lawmakers inacceptable.

"No one should be dehumanized or threatened," DITIB national
spokesperson Murat Kayman said. "This is not up for discussion and
there is no justification for it. That's the basic agreement of
civilized societies." 
Soon London's Behavior in April War Will Become Known
Igor Muradyan, Political Analyst
14 June 2016, 01:00

The leading European countries France and Germany have certain
ambitions relating to the South Caucasus. However, France hopes for
significant influence only in Armenia, whereas Germany which bids for
alternative ways in Central Asia which would successfully replace the
Russian ones has not achieved much success. These goals did not become
a basis for a large-scale actual policy.

Certain attempts of France and Germany are localized and do not get a
development. On the whole, the interests of France and Germany remain
local. Of the European countries, in fact, only the UK pursues global
goals related to oil and gas projects.

One cannot claim that the UK possesses an operation system for
managing the political and social processes but, relying on the
support of the United States, the British policy is trying to resolve
certain objectives which would allow ensuring the necessary level of
security in the region, proceeding from the existing interests.

Since the collapse of the British empire this country has not
identified its way in the world and is still considering itself as a
global actor in the world and an important participant of political
projects in the regions. However, this role is becoming more limited,
and London is not hiding this, trying to concentrate on geo-economic
projects rather.

The Englishmen consider themselves a trade nation and choose 
in global politics only what generates profit. For the sake of this, 
this nation is capable of mobilizing all its resources, including 
the intelligentsia and people of art.

The UK prefers acting in part with the United States in politics,
including in the South Caucasus which became a classic example of
cooperation with the Americans and where the geopolitical and economic
problems went together.

In fact, the UK practically always ignores regional problems in
reviewing its European politics. In Europe, London is trying not to
allow prevalence of other powers
, neither France, nor Germany and
Russia. the British are trying to keep Eastern Europe under control,
realizing that by way of dominating in Eastern Europe Germany or
Russia will have every possibility to not only dominate in Europe but
also join their efforts which will be objectively aimed against the
Anglo-Saxon countries.

This was a success for a long time, including in current developments
in Ukraine. However, recently it has become known that Germany’s
economy has strengthened so much that it produces a strong 
impact on the UK. As a result, London has realized that it is time 
to revise the British positions in the European Union.
A sacramental idea of leaving the European Union has occurred. In
addition, it has been decided to do via a referendum. In the previous
referendum about 67% of the British voted for staying in the European

One should take into account that any referendum in the United 
Kingdom is the task of the political and financial elite, including 
the royal family. The UK is trying to change through this step not 
only its position in the European Union but also change radically the
arrangement of forces and the political priorities in the Union.

Only economic issues, not political decisions are put forth on the
arena of political discussions.
 It is beyond doubt that the UK is
trying to not only save its foreign political “autonomy” in the
European Union but also lead the Europeans, despite the interests of
other countries.

In the first place, the UK should follow the goal of restraining
Russia’s expansion in Europe
, which means to the British not only
containing Russia within certain limits but also establishing control
over Russia’s markets and resources.

Another compatible issue is the regional policy, including in the
South Caucasus. The British capital prevails in this region and has a
lot of advantages. Despite its interests in the South Caucasus,
Germany is not pretending to raw materials, oil and gas, pipelines in
the region. France did everything it could. Russia cannot and is not
interested in managing operational resources and could manage only
minor business.

Now the UK would love to cede the oil company and oil pipeline to
Russia or Arab oil exporting countries. Thereby it is trying to win a
lot amid change of the global energy situation. However, this does 
not mean a wish to leave the region.

Gas and all the rest remains where the British capital could work,
such as gold or other metal resources. It is beyond doubt that the
South Caucasus will remain the sphere of interests and influence 
of the United Kingdom.
Now the British are interested in preserving peace in the South
Caucasus because it will be impossible to run its oil complex at 
war or political tension.

In the period of the April war the British made intelligence efforts
in the Karabakh province to understand what is awaiting the region,
how long the war will last. By the way, analogical efforts were twice
made in Georgia during the armed conflicts in South Ossetia. The
British did everything to prevent intervention of troops in the North
Caucasus in these military actions. Soon it will become known how the
British acted in April 2016.

Not having formal levers of influence on the process of 
Karabakh settlement because the UK is not a Minsk Group 
co-chair, it has practically succeeded in monopolizing the 
process of consulting and strategy. In fact, all consultancies 
dealing with settlement proposals are British, are based in 
the British territory, are closely integrated with the government 
of the UK.

A consortium has been set up in the UK to deal with the Karabakh issue
which includes Conciliation Resources, LINKS, the London Information
Network on Conflicts and State Building, International Alert, with the
participation of some specialists of the International Institute for
Strategic Studies and the Institute of War and Peace.

The employees of the Caucasian and Eurasian programs of 
these institutions receive certain funds from the UK government
(approximately 2 million pounds) and is actively cooperating 
with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The representative of the prime minister for the South Caucasus and
Ambassador Brian Fall, a stiff and non-flexible person, was called to
coordinate and guide the Caucasian policy of the UK. Now there are
other people in the Foreign Office after a reshuffle.

After the affirmation of this position in the foreign office, there
were intentions to bring something new, new initiatives, new
approaches and objectives into the UK policy under the changing
conditions. However, in 2005 the UK tried to lobby the interests of
Azerbaijan in the European Union, and it turned out that this is a
difficult objective, and the advice of BP turned out to be lip service
and incompetent.

However, despite the attempts to diversify the development of
proposals and projects on the South Caucasus, using different
consultancies, decision making takes place according to the regular
procedure in the hierarchy of the foreign political agency.

The British have realized that the influence of the Russians on the
South Caucasus has weakened considerably, and the Russians 
cannot manage the processes of operational character. Now, 
according to the British, they are facing the need to prevent 
the return of the Russians to the operation role in the South 

However, this is not easy, and there are several ways of solving 
this issue. First of all, the British are trying to be leaders in
integration of Armenia with NATO and the European Union
They are trying to receive information on these problems.

The British have collected and analyzed information on the Russian
agents in government, political and military circles in Armenia and
share this information with NATO and the European Union.

At the same time, the British are interested in not only economic
issues. They consider the South Caucasus in the light of their and
American interests from the point of view of the Near East, Turkey and
Iran. In other words, this is a “clear” geopolitical issue.

A rather big circle of think tanks are dealing with the Caucasian
issues, including the topic of regional conflicts. Most of them are
leading institutions and think tanks. However, all this proved void,
and London has realized that the Americans owe them a lot and 
will do without political lobby.

At the same time, the Azerbaijanis cannot ignore London’s position
because this country is the “rookery” of the family ruling in
Azerbaijan, their assets and immovable property are taken into

On the whole, the British have realized that such major investments in
Azerbaijan have made this country uncontrollable, and now they are
considering new opportunities for setting up new controllable factors
in regard to Azerbaijan.

What can be more effective than external threats? Iran and Russia
could be a threat to Azerbaijan in the upcoming 5-7 years. Armenia can
be such, and this has become highly important for the British.

Although, the British do not need a new war, at least a big war. It is
in the interests of the UK to strengthen the defense capability of
Armenia, keep it under control
. London does not have organizations
that develop strategic goals outside the foreign office or general
staff that makes the UK distinct from the United States. Separate
semi-militarized organizations do political-military design and are
ready to use the data of intelligence structures.

What is the actual British plan on the South Caucasus? It should be
noted that there were more or less earlier plans but the situation has
changed considerably. Earlier, a lot was easier because Turkey was a
reliable partner to NATO in the 1990s. Now the relations between
Russia and Turkey are tense but the Americans and the British cannot
shed such possibility in the future.

Besides, Turkey has demonstrated that it may effectively develop
relations with Russia and thereby pose indirect threat to the western
community and the interests of the countries of the regions in the
Black Sea and the South Caucasus. Now the relations between Russia and
Turkey are tense but the Americans and the British cannot miss such
possibility in the future.

This factor is considered as highly important in the UK plans in the
region. Acting as a leader of layout of gas streams from Asia to
Europe, the UK pays much attention to the Azerbaijani gas which must
appear in Europe through Anatolian routes. At the same time, the
British do not pay big attention to Azerbaijan’s political interests
because they could always ignore them provided the existence of major
oil projects.

However, not even this is the interests and main goals of the UK in
the South Caucasus. The UK is setting up a fort in the South Caucasus
with the help of the EU and NATO which would protect Europe from
different external threats.

In this regard, it is time to understand that as a major operational
state in the South Caucasus the UK is trying to create a levee or a
fort rather than a transportation corridor.

Now the UK is directing immense resources at this though these
resources are increasingly insufficient, and the British are
increasingly trying to involve the United States in these plans.

We could think on what country in the South Caucasus could be a leader
in the implementation of this plan. Georgia? Azerbaijan?

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