Sunday, 25 September 2016

Armenian News... A Topalian... Military parade on 25th Anniversary

Military parade on 25th anniversray of Armenia’s Independence

Fox News
Sept 21 2016
Armenia shows off powerful ballistic missiles at parade

YEREVAN, Armenia –  Armenia has proudly showed off state-of-the-art
Russian ballistic missiles at a military parade marking its
independence day.

The Iskander missiles displayed Wednesday are capable of striking
targets up to 300 kilometers (186 miles) with high precision, adding
muscle to the Armenian military amid tensions over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Nagorno-Karabakh is officially part of Azerbaijan, but since a
separatist war ended in 1994 it has been under the control of forces
that claim to be local ethnic Armenians but that Azerbaijan claims
include regular Armenian military. Efforts to negotiate a settlement
have failed.
President Sargsyan’s address on 25th anniversary of 
Armenia’s Independence
21 Sep 2016 

Today, at the Republic Square President Serzh Sargsyan was present at the Military Parade of the RA Armed Forces dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Armenia’s Independence.

Address by Serzh Sargsyan, President of the Republic of Armenia,
at the Military Parade

Soldiers, Officers, Generals,
My sisters and brothers,

I congratulate all of us on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Armenia.

We have made our choice by casting a ballot on this very day a quarter-century ago, but we are well aware that deep in our hearts and in our collective memory we had made that choice much earlier. We chose freedom at the times of Patriarch Haik. We are faithful to the decision that we had made back at the times of a bow and arrow. Today, at the 21st century weapons have changed, but we have not, and we are determined to defend our liberty. And this parade is a testimony to that.

In the ideal world the right, of course, is the source of might. Nevertheless, the contemporary world and our environment are far from being ideal. There are still circumstances, in which the might is the source of the right. We have got both our right and might to defend our freedom. And this parade is a testimony to that.

Freedom and independence need to be defended not exclusively from external threats. The domestic social and political life is no less important and vital to us. Our citizens should be free since a free individual and a free society function way more effectively. We can and we shall continue building an efficient nation, which will defend a free citizen and a free society. Unfree people theoretically can create a lot but not happiness.

In the course of the past 25 years we have registered irrevocable achievements. Occasionally we have made mistakes, occasionally we have run into the extremes, but at the end of the day we have been moving in the right direction. We are building our happiness with free thoughts and free hands, which means we produce peacefully and creatively. And there is only one obvious prescription as to how we shall move forward: it is to work hard, harder and harder.

Indeed, we highly value our achievements since we have paid a dear price for them. We shall multiply those achievements with our hard work and defend – with the might we have accumulated.

Long live our boys that vigilantly guard borders of Armenia: they are the primary guarantors of our freedom. Glory to the immortal heroes who fought in the Artsakh liberation war, to each and single brave fellow of ours. Glory to the young lions of this April, who wiped out all the hostile planning of our adversary. Some months ago at the grave of scout-machinegunner Sasun Mkrtchyan I promised on behalf of all of us that we would continue the sacred mission of Sasun and his friends, we would always keep lit the light that emanated from the new generation of Artsakh and Armenia, that had united all of us during those April days; united as a fist, ready to crush the head of the adversary that threatened our security. And we will keep our word. And this parade is a testimony to that.

Long live the citizen of the Republic of Armenia, a soil cultivator and construction worker, a physician and teacher, a miner and entrepreneur, a civil servant and artist. Glory to the citizen of Armenia, who establishes new values.

Long live the trilateral unity of Armenia-Artsakh-Diaspora: by joining our forces we are getting much stronger than one could imagine.

Long live our brothers and sisters that represent Armenia’s ethnic minorities, who enjoy equality and share responsibility in the consistent pursuit of the cause for development and defense of our country.

Long live the traditional Armenian family, which in spite of all currents remains the source of warmth that gives birth to heroes and brings up generations thirsting for knowledge.

My fellow compatriots,

I again congratulate all of us and Armenians around the globe with the quarter-century anniversary of the reestablishment of the independent Armenian statehood.

Glory to the Republic of Armenia!
Glory to the Armenian Armed Forces!
25 Years on: Reclaiming Our True Independence
By Rupen Janbazian 
September 21, 2016 in Editorials
Twenty-five years ago, Armenia declared itself independent from Soviet rule, with over 99 percent of eligible voters saying “yes” to statehood. After 70 long years, Armenia was once again a free and independent nation.

Though most believed that prosperity and bliss would come about following Armenia’s second independence, the years immediately following 1991 would prove to be bleak and disappointing. Ongoing war with neighboring Azerbaijan; devastation following the earthquake of 1988; severe economic hardship; unchecked ownership and entrepreneurship; and an illegal blockade were just a few of the countless problems the newly formed republic faced.

The people of Armenia, who had been so optimistic at the ballot boxes, were soon losing faith in the system they had so courageously fought for and, for the first time, felt a sense of disenchantment toward the idea of independence.

Twenty-five years have since passed, and unfortunately not much has changed in Armenia’s geopolitical and socioeconomic situations—a permanent peace has not been established with Azerbaijan and Armenian servicemen continue to be killed on the Nagorno-Karabagh (NKR/Artsakh) Line of Contact; hyper-privatization has paved the way for the prosperity of only a few and a large portion of the population continues to live in poverty; Armenia remains a blockaded, land-locked country, that seems to be the victim of constant bullying by greater powers.

Though these are realities our country is faced with, they are realities we must do our best to change. And by feeling a sense of belonging to Armenia, we must actively do our best to bring about real change.

Because the fact remains that this is a two-way street; Armenia needs us—Diasporan Armenians—just as much as we need Armenia.

So it is our responsibility—the responsibility of all Armenians regardless of where we live—to engage with what is happening in this country, and actively try to be a part of its development and progress. It is the duty of all Armenians—both in the homeland and in the Diaspora—to keep faith in the idea of independence and to actively try to make Armenia a true and rightful democracy.

Only then can we expect real change. Only then can we reclaim our true independence.
Serj Tankian launches new petition for civic changes, reforms in Armenia 

Frontman of the rock band “System of a Down” Serj Tankian and a number of prominent Diaspora-based Armenian cultural and social figures have launched the petition Justice Within Armenia on on the 25th anniversary of Armenia ’s independence .

“We should take the opportunity to celebrate some of the successes of this small but beautiful nation while also tackling the troubling issues at hand,” Tankian said in a Facebook post.

“Independence means little when a large segment of the public are discontent. That is why myself and a group of friends have drafted a statement of support for the people of Armenia and their call to action for positive civic changes and reforms. Please have a look at the below campaign link on and sign on if you agree.”

“Justice Within Armenia is a coalition of concerned Armenians around the world who believe in standing in solidarity with the people of Armenia and being present as eyewitnesses and monitoring free and fair elections while actively engaging with the Armenian populace in contributing to the present and future of our nation. We need to visualize an egalitarian state worthy of the resilience of our people and achieve it. Given our unique values and character, Armenia can and should become a country of opportunity, creativity, democracy and hope in a region rife with turmoil. The alternative is unthinkable,” the petition reads.

Among the initial signatories are Tankian, Vahe Berberian, Atom Egoyan, Arsinee Khanjian, Alexis Ohanian, Ara Oshagan, Carla Garapedian, Chris Bohjalian, Eric Bogosian, Hrant Tokhatyan, Robert Guediguian and many others.

Justice within Armenia 

We, as Armenians, residing in Armenia and throughout the diaspora, are collectively committed to immediate change and justice in Armenia. In the wake of yearly protests and recent upheavals during the spring and summer of 2016 that resulted in gross violations of human and civic rights,

We say
NO to systematic corruption, monopolies, judicial inequality, police brutality, partisan politics, unequal rights, national depopulation, and elections tainted by fraud, all of which have contributed to the ongoing unrest.

We say
YES to the equality of all people, the fundamental preservation and protection of human rights, direct engagement in fair and transparent elections, respect for the rule of law, fair wages, separation of powers, a free press and advocacy for the disenfranchised. We say yes to tangible, democratic change through civic engagement with the citizenry of Armenia.

As a global community of Armenians, we would like Armenia's political leaders to embody integrity, accountability, wisdom, intelligence, diplomacy, compassion, effectiveness and visionary thinking in addressing the pressing needs of the people of Armenia, thereby securing an egalitarian, just and constructive path towards real democracy where every voice matters.

Justice Within Armenia is a coalition of concerned Armenians around the world who believe in standing in solidarity with the people of Armenia and being present as eyewitnesses and monitoring free and fair elections while actively engaging with the Armenian populace in contributing to the present and future of our nation. We need to visualize an egalitarian state worthy of the resilience of our people and achieve it. Given our unique values and character, Armenia can and should become a country of opportunity, creativity, democracy and hope in a region rife with turmoil. The alternative is unthinkable.

Initial Signatories

    • Serj Tankian - USA - (Artist, Activist)
    • Vahe Berberian - USA - (Artist, Writer, Actor, Director)
    • Atom Egoyan - Canada - (Filmmaker, Writer, Producer)
    • Arsinee Khanjian - Canada - (Actor, Director, Activist)
    • Eric Nazarian - USA - (Filmmaker, Writer)
    • Albert Kodagolian - USA - (Director, Cinematographer)
    • Alexis Ohanian - USA - (Reddit Co-Founder)
    • Antranig Kzirian - USA - (Artist and Activist)
    • Ara Dabandjian – USA – (Musician, Composer)
    • Ara Dinkjian - USA - (Musician, Composer)
    • Ara Oshagan - USA - (Artist)
    • Ariane Ascaride - France - (Actress, Screenwriter)
    • Carla Garapedian - USA - (Film Maker)
    • Chris Bohjalian - USA - (Author)
    • David Alpay - Canada - (Actor, Musician)
    • Eric Bogosian - USA - (Actor, Playwright, Novelist)
    • Eric V. Hachikian - USA - (Composer)
    • Hasmik Papian - Armenia - (Soprano)
    • Hrant Tokhatyan - Armenia - (Actor)
    • Jacky Nercessian - France - (Actor)
    • Maria Armoudian - New Zealand - (Writer, Radio Host, Professor at University of Auckland)
    • Nancy Kricorian – USA – (Novelist, Poet)
    • Norayr Kasper – Canada – (Cinematographer, Photographer, Architect)
    • R-Mean – USA - (Artist, OpenWounds1915)
    • Robert Guediguian – France – (Filmmaker, Producer)
    • Sebu Simonian - USA - (Musician)
    • Serge Avedikian – France – (Filmmaker, Actor, Producer)
    • Silvina Der Meguerditchian – Germany – (Visual Artist, Filmmaker)
    • Theodore Bogosian – USA – (Director, Writer, Producer)
    • Vicken Cheterian – Switzerland – (Historian, Journalist)
25 amazing things you probably didn’t know about Armenia
Armenia is a land of epic vistas, crumbling churches and 
many surprises
21 September 2016 

It’s 25 years since Armenia gained independence from the Soviet Union, and to mark the occasion Telegraph Travel has unearthed a few things you probably didn't know about the country. 

1. It’s the oldest wine-producing nation in the world 

At least that’s what the archaeologists claim: in 2011 they unearthed what is believed to be the world’s oldest wine production facility, which was found, of all places, in a cave in the village of Areni.

Archaeologists reckon wine has been quaffed here longer than anywhere else 

2. It was the first nation to adopt Christianity… 

Christianity spread to the now-defunct Kingdom of Armenia soon after the death of Jesus, though it took until the early 4th century for it to be adopted as the state religion. Still, that was earlier than any other country on the planet. 

3. ...And it has the churches to prove it 

From millennia-old monasteries to crumbling cathedrals, Armenia is scattered with Christian places of worship: they don’t call this the “land of churches” for nothing. It’s impossible to identify the best basilica in the land, but one of our favourites is the 9th-century Tatev Monastery; a stunning building in an area of unremitting beauty.

4. Chess is part of the curriculum 

Which explains why Armenians are so good at it. Indeed, since breaking free from the Soviet Union, the country has proven itself to be a world beater at the sport : the men’s team have won the European Team Championships (1999), the World Team Championship (2011) and the Chess Olympiad (2006, 2008, 2012), while the women’s team have scooped the European Championship (2003). 

5. It lost 1.5 million people in the Armenian Genocide 

In 1915 the Ottoman government orchestrated the systematic extermination of 1.5 million Armenians, an act known as the Armenian Genocide. Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, denies it was genocide , but governments of 28 countries – including Britain, Russia and France – recognise the events as an act of genocide.

The Armenian Genocide memorial complex is located in Tsitsernakaberd

6. More Armenians live abroad than in Armenia 

The events of 1915 forced millions of Armenians to flee abroad, where they established strong communities in the US, Russia and France. There are thought to be some 5.6 million people of Armenian descent living abroad, which is greater than the population of Armenia (3 million). 

7. It has celebrity connections 

Armenia is the ancestral homeland of Cher, Andre Agassi and Serj Tankian, the frontman of American metal band, System of a Down, one of the groups at the forefront of publicising the injustices of the Armenian Genocide. Armenia is also partly responsible for the Kardashians - dad Robert was second generation Armenian American.

8. Armenians think they know where Noah’s Ark is 

There’s a widely-held belief in Armenia that Noah’s Ark is embedded in ice atop Mount Ararat. Despite many expeditions, said ark has never been found, but that doesn’t stop it appearing on Armenia’s coat of arms.

9. It's national symbol is in Turkey

Snow-capped Mount Ararat is the principal national symbol of Armenia and is considered by many Armenians to be sacred. The massif has featured prominently in Armenian art and literature and is depicted on the country’s coat of arms, however it is actually located within Turkey. It hasn’t always been that way: the holy mountain has been passed between the Kingdom of Armenia, Persia, Russia and Turkey. 

10. It has one of the world’s oldest capitals… 

The Armenian capital, Yerevan, is one of the world’s oldest inhabited cities, constructed as it was 29 years before Rome. Overlooked by the snow-capped Mount Ararat, the capital has a bewildering number of historic buildings, not to mention a clutch of excellent museums.

11. ...Which is known as the “Pink City” 

Yerevan gets its pretty pink hue (and moniker) from the rosy volcanic rock that was used to construct many of the city’s buildings.
12. Churchill had a taste for Armenian cognac… 

During the Second World War, Joseph Stalin shipped several dozen cases of Armenian cognac to Winston Churchill, which the then-British prime minister consumed with gusto. His love for brandy was no secret: by his own estimate he had drunk enough brandy to fill three railway carriages by the time he was 71.

13. In fact Armenian cognac oiled the wheels of Yalta 

The Yalta Conference – a meeting in the Crimea between Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin and Franklin D Roosevelt to discuss Europe’s post-war reorganisation – is believed to have been largely fuelled by Armenian cognac and wine. One of Churchill's aides at Yalta famously wrote about the then-British prime minister “drinking buckets of Caucasian champagne which would undermine the health of any ordinary man”. 

14. It has a record-breaking cable car 

According to Guinness World Records, the longest non-stop double track cable car is the Tatev Aerial Tramway, which clocks in at 5,752 m (18,871ft) long. The spectacular cable car connects the village of Halizor with the aforementioned Tatev Monastery, offering spectacular views across the Vorotan River Gorge en route.

Tatev Aerial Tramway is best avoided if you suffer from vertigo

15. It’s technically at war 

Relations between Armenia and neighbouring Azerbaijan have been fraught for years and the two countries are technically still at war. The issue centres around Nagorno-Karabakh, an area of south-western Azerbaijan populated largely by ethnic Armenians. Supported by Armenia, it tried to breakaway from Azerbaijan in 1994 sparking a bloody war between the two nations. A Russian brokered ceasefire was signed in 1994, but fresh fighting broke out this year . 

16. You can go skiing there 

The main ski resort in Armenia is Tsakhkadzor, which has some 27km of slopes, plus six lifts to get you up there. Expect to pay around 8500 Armenian dram (about £17) for a day ski pass.

17. It’s big on birds 

Armenia is a twitchers delight, home as it is to 345 of Europe's estimated 530 bird species. Highlights include falcons, swans and eagles, which also feature on the Armenian coat of arms.

Storks abound in Armenia where they are considered a sacred animalI.

18. The people are as hard as nails 

Armenia won one gold and three silver medals at the Rio Olympics, all of which were in wrestling or weightlifting. Enough said. 

19. They like Shakira (sort of) 

Many Armenians were delighted to hear about Shakira’s stunning faux pas at a concert in neighbouring Azerbaijan, whereby the Colombian singer walked on stage carrying her national flag upside down, thus turning it into the Armenian standard. Oops. 

20. Its bread is Unesco-listed 

Dinner tables are rarely without huge piles of lavash, a tasty flat bread that is the cornerstone of Armenian cuisine. So important is this humble dish that it was placed on Unesco’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2014.

21. It boasts the largest lake in the Caucasus 

And what a beauty she is, too. Covering one sixth of Armenia’s territory, Lake Sevan is overlooked by the stunning Sevanavank monastic complex, which is one of the country’s top attractions.

22. Its women are the sexiest in the world 

At least that’s according to a dubious poll of 44,000 US men, who voted Armenian women the world’s sexiest. The results were perhaps skewered by the ubiquity of Kim Kardashian, who famously “broke the internet” with her nude photoshoot for Paper magazine.

23. They don’t have much luck with the footy 

Despite being Armenia’s national sport, football is not something it performs particularly well at – at least not on the international stage. Since gaining independence from the Soviet Union, the country has failed to qualify for either the UEFA European Football Championships or the FIFA World Cup. 

24. It has three Unesco World Heritage Sites 

Which are: the monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin; the cathedral and churches of Echmiatsin and the archaeological site of Zvartnots; and the monastery of Geghard and the Upper Azat Valley.

25. There’s an Armenian alphabet monument 

When the Armenian alphabet celebrated its 1,600th birthday in 2005, the authorities erected 39 stone statues depicting its letters near the final resting place of the man who created it, Mesrop Mashtots. Visitors can visit the giant letters, which stand proud in the town of Aparan.

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