Saturday, 12 August 2017

Armenian News... A Topalian... Rescued from ISIS in Syria

Asbarez Armenian News
Aug 9 2017
2 Armenian Families Rescued from ISIS in Syria 

RAQQA, Syria—The Syrian Democratic Forces, affiliated with Kurdish fighters in the region, announced that they saved seven Christian families, among them two Armenian families, from the Islamic State in the besieged northeastern province in Syria, reported the ARA news agency. 

“Our forces have saved two Armenian families today,” said Mustafa Bali, Director of the Information Office of the SDF about the operation that saved the families from the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh. 

Saws Karabidian, a Christian woman who was among those rescued by the SDF, said: “They [ISIS] forced us to wear the headscarf and allowed us to reveal our faces to distinguish us from Muslims. We had to hide our faces to avoid insults,” reported the news agency. 

“We were forced to pay tribute by hand and we were humiliated and insulted, what a homeland that makes you pay an additional tax because you are different,” Karadij Karadjian, another Christian civilian who was rescued on Tuesday, told SDF fighters. “Today is a new birth for us.” 

A small number of Christians lives in Raqqa city, however the majority of them fled when ISIS took over the city and moved to the Kurdish-held Hasakah province. 

Armenia Public Radio of Armenia
Aug 9 2017
Blessing of Grapes to be celebrated this Sunday 

Every year the Feast of the Assumption of St. Mary, the Holy Mother of God is celebrated by the Armenian Church on the Sunday closest to August 15. This year, the Feast will be celebrated on August 13. 

During the Feast of the Assumption of St. Mary, the Ceremony of the Blessing of the Grapes is conducted, and the harvest for the entire year is blessed. For Armenian Apostolic Church grapes are the symbol of harvest. August 8, 2017 Tuesday

Armenpress News Agency, Armenia
August 8, 2017 Tuesday
More than 2600 jobs created in Armenia this year

Anna Gziryan
More than 2600 jobs have been created in Armenia during 2017, 
Armen Yeganyan – Head of Sectoral Economic Policy Department 
at the Ministry of Economic Development and Investments, told Armenpress.

He said this year Tavush Textile, which is engaged in production of
workmen's gloves, opened its branch in Artsvaberd, expanded the
Choratan branch, the company also has its branch in the Movses
village. As a result 200-250 new jobs have been created.

He informed that this year Alex Textile opened a new production unit
with over 300 jobs. In September the company will launch two more
branches as a result of which 500-600 jobs will be created.

“We had news in the beverage production field. In particular, beer
factory was launched in Dilijan. In future a cannery factory will be
opened in Syunik province which will provide with new jobs. Overall,
based on the programs coordinated by us, nearly 7000 jobs will be
created. At the moment more than 2600 jobs have been created”, Armen
Yeganyan said.

The new companies or those expanding their production sale their
products both in the domestic market and abroad. Commenting on the
view that among the EAEU member states the major trade turnover is
with Russia, and is less with the remaining member states, Armen
Yeganyan said works are being done to boost the other directions.

“Look, the state forms a certain environment which enables the
business to produce competitive product and export it. The state sets
regimes for entering other countries, as well as applies certain
assistance tools. Thus, if Armenia is a member of the EAEU, it defines
certain tools for other countries outside this Union, the business
should be flexible, must respond and conduct an aggressive policy for
entering this or that market”, Yeganyan said. According to him, in the
conditions of such tools, opportunities, the business decides what
country’s market to enter. In any case, according to Yeganyan,
business works towards the directions of the EAEU states. It tries to
cooperate with the Kazakh side in jewelry market.

“The business needs to be flexible, it should organize, respond and
voice issues. Perhaps some are not sufficiently informed about the
opportunities, but we work on this path”, he said, adding that the
diplomatic corps is also actively engaged in exporting goods and
attracting investments.

ARMINFO News Agency, Armenia
August 8, 2017 Tuesday
Armenia exported 27.8 thousand tons of apricots
Naira Badalyan.

ding to the Ministry of Agriculture of Armenia, compared with the
same period in 2016, apricot exports increased by 8,5 thousand tons.

Earlier - on July 27 at a press conference the Deputy Minister of
Agriculture of Armenia Robert Makaryan said that 26 thousand tons of
apricots were exported. "Over the past 7 years, we have not fixed such
indicators in this period," Makarian noted.

According to the National Statistical Service of Armenia, in
January-June of 2017 the volume of gross agricultural production in
Armenia showed a decline of 1.4% to 247.1 billion. The Ministry of
Agriculture explained the decline in the indicators of the start of
the agricultural year with some delay (in 10-15 days) and damage to
the agricultural lands by hail. 

Panorama, Armenia
Aug 10 2017
Sanctions against Russia to negatively affect Armenia – deputy minister 

“All negative trends in Russian economy have apparently negative impact on all neighboring states to Russia,” Deputy Foreign Minister of Armenia Shavarsh Kocharyan told reporters at a briefing with reporters on Thursday.
In Kocharyan’s words, the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) member state Armenia, Azerbaijan which is not a party to the economic bloc as well as Georgia with its EU aspirations are not exception to that rule.

“It is evident that countries that are dependent the most on Russia in different forms, including through labour force, economic relations, purchase and sale of goods, transfers are subsequently influenced by changes in Russian economy,” Kocharyan explained.

In this regard, the deputy minister pointed to Armenia’s foreign economic policy, which is based on deepening ties, creating new links with targeted states.

Reacting to the recent proposal by “Yelk” opposition alliance to initiate a debate over Armenia’s exit from the EAEU, Kocharyan said Armenia had always valued the economic component in its relations with other countries.

“It is an issue of national security. Our country looks to develop relations out of its own interests. In this regard, it is important to strengthen what we have and expand that through new ties,” the deputy minister added.

Asbarez Armenian News
Aug 9 2017
Pallone Meets Armenian Patriarch on visit to Jerusalem 

LONG BRANCH, NJ – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), Co-Chair of the Armenian Caucus, visited the Armenian quarter of Jerusalem during the first week of August and met with the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, Nurhan Manougian. The two discussed the United States’ support for Armenia and Artsakh. Congressman Pallone was on a week-long trip to Israel sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation.

“The Armenian presence in Jerusalem continues to be important for both religious and economic purposes, and the Patriarch plays a major role in support of both,” Pallone said.

The Congressman said that the Patriarch is very concerned about the continued Civil War in Syria and the impact on the Armenian community in that country.

“He said that many Armenians want to return to their homes and businesses in Aleppo and others areas despite the ravages of war. Support for Armenian refugees by the United States and the Republic of Armenia is very important to the Patriarch,” Pallone continued.

“I explained that the Armenian Caucus in Congress continues its efforts to bring the United States and Armenia closer together and to encourage the peace process with regard to Artsakh. I also mentioned that I plan to travel to Armenia and Artsakh in September in conjunction with Armenia’s Independence Day celebration, and that this would be an opportunity for the House Members to build on these goals.”

Before meeting the Patriarch, Congressman Pallone visited the Cathedral of St. James, including its rare manuscript room, the Gulbenkian library, and other locations within the Armenian quarter associated with Jesus Christ. The Congressman also visited the Armenian section of the Church of Holy Sepulchre, and several Armenian ceramic shops within the Old City.

RFE/RL Report
Yerevan Mayor Open To Street Renaming
August 09, 2017
Hovannes Movsisian

Yerevan's Mayor Taron Markarian said on Wednesday that he is ready to
consider an opposition demand to rename streets and public schools in
the Armenian capital still bearing the names of controversial
Soviet-era figures.

The opposition Yelk alliance announced earlier this week plans to
submit a corresponding bill to the city council in which it has the
second largest faction. The faction leader, Arayik Harutiunian, said
it will target Yerevan streets and schools named after ethnic Armenian
Communist leaders who were involved in Joseph Stalin's mass
repressions in Soviet Armenia and other parts of the Soviet Union.

Harutiunian singled out Anastas Mikoyan, Stalin's Armenian-born
associate who for decades held top leadership positions in
Moscow. "Having a street named after Mikoyan means recognizing that
person's negative contribution to our history," he said. "As you know,
thousands of Armenians were executed or exiled on orders signed by

Markarian told reporters that his office has received no formal
proposals from Yelk yet. "We will look into the proposals and
definitely express our view after that," he said without commenting

The Armenian government sparked vehement protests from human rights
groups and civil society representatives when it attempted to erect
Mikoyan's statue in downtown Yerevan in 2014. The outcry forced it to
give up the initiative.

Armenia was one of the first Soviet republics to remove the statue of
Vladimir Lenin, the Soviet Union's founder, from the central square of
its capital in 1991. Most Yerevan streets with Bolshevik-related names
were renamed in the following years.

Vahagn Khachatrian, who served as Yerevan mayor from 1992-1996, said
his administration did not have sufficient time to change other
controversial street names as well. Khachatrian emphasized the fact
that those decisions were recommended by a special commission that
thoroughly examined relevant particular Bolshevik leaders' role in
Soviet Armenian history.

Khachatrian, who is now affiliated with another opposition party,
believes that the current municipal administration should tread just
as carefully on the Yelk proposal. "There is no need to rush," he told
RFE/RL's Armenian service (

Public Radio of Armenia
Aug 9 2017
Azerbaijan’s atrocities against Armenians in Nakhichevan must be revealed, says Baroness Cox 

Member of the British House of Lords, Caroline Cox, said Tuesday that the world must recognize Azerbaijan’s depopulation of Armenians from Nakhichevan and the destruction of Armenian cultural monuments there, reported the press service of the Armenian National Assembly, as reports Asbarez .

Baroness Cox was meeting with Armenia’s Parliament Speaker Ara Babloyan about Azerbaijan’s aggressive policies against Armenia and Artsakh when she made the comments about Nakhichevan.

“Azerbaijan continues its aggressive policies toward Armenia and Artsakh. The world must also recognize the complete Armenian depopulation of Nakhichevan by Azerbaijan and its destruction of Armenian cultural monuments,” Baroness Cox told Babloyan.

Baroness Cox is no stranger to Armenia or Artsakh, as she has been a staunch advocate of Artsakh’s right to self-determination since the early days of Karabakh movement, and raised the alarm about destruction of Armenian monuments in Julfa back in 2006 soon after reports emerged from Jufa in Nakhichevan of Azerbaijani armed forces desecrating Armenian Khatchkars and historic monuments. She has witnessed, first hand, the atrocities committed against the people of Artsakh by Azerbaijan and has presented testimony and reports in the British House of Lords and other international forums.

She also said that she would like to report to the world about the progress she has seen in Armenia and Artsakh.

“I have adopted one principle in my life: to have open eyes, ears and mind. I want to tell the world what I have seen,” added Baroness Cox.

She is in Armenia for her annual trip and pilgrimage to Artsakh and met with Babloyan, who welcomed her and spoke highly of her efforts to advance Armenian issues within the British House of Lords.

Her eponymous charity runs a rehabilitation center in Artsakh for those injured in the war, as well as physically handicapped children.

While in Yerevan, Baroness Cox also met with Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan, who applauded her for her positive and active approaches to the Karabakh issue, as well as her advocacy for Artsakh.

The two discussed prospects for developing economic relations between Armenia and the United Kingdom and noted that progress on this front is being made.

Modern Tokyo Times, Japan
Aug 8 2017
Armenia and Azerbaijan’s Evolving Implicit Rivalry Over Nakhchivan
By: Eduard Abrahamyan 

The unprecedented escalation of violence, in April 2016, on the Line of Contact in the breakaway region of Karabakh had, in part, kick-started a new round of military preparations between Armenia and Azerbaijan (see EDM, April 6 , May 5 , 2016). But as bloody incidents along the Armenia-Azerbaijan state border and in Karabakh have intensified, another historically contested region—Nakhchivan—may yet re-emerge as an additional sore point between Yerevan and Baku. With everyday stresses there significantly less intense compared to Karabakh, the Nakhchivan dimension of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict is often downplayed by many security experts.

Nakhchivan once had a mixed population of about 60 percent and 40 percent Azerbaijanis and Armenians, respectively. Thus, together with Karabakh, Nakhchivan has been the subject of Armenian-Azerbaijani contestation dating back to the second decade of the 20 th century. And in recent months, politico-military activities in and surrounding the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic are steadily triggering a resurgence of the nearly hundred-year-old contest over this 2,100-square-mile landlocked exclave, sandwiched almost entirely between Armenia and Iran.

On June 12, Azerbaijan and Turkey launched a joint, large-scale military tactical exercise in Nakhchivan ( Anadolu , June 12). These exercises—aimed at developing bilateral interoperability—featured both offensive and defensive combat operations and involved about 5,000 personnel, 250 armed vehicles, as well as 500 other military vehicles and combat helicopters ( , June 16). This is the third such joint exercise in Nakhchivan since 2012.

Azerbaijan’s most steadfast security partner, Turkey, is linked to Nakhchivan via a roughly 12-kilometer-long borderline. The two countries’ strategic relationship in the security sector is regulated by the Agreement on Strategic Cooperation and Mutual Support, adopted in 2010. Because of this treaty, Azerbaijan relies heavily on Turkey’s firm willingness to assist in cementing Nakhchivan’s defensibility and resilience ( , June 19). But for Yerevan, any such activities pertaining to the Azerbaijani exclave represent a growing security threat evolving in Armenia’s strategic rear. Therefore, politico-military developments in Nakhchivan, like last June’s joint military maneuvers, have been particularly irritating to Yerevan, whose security outlook is strongly shaped by historical experience.

The Ankara-Baku alliance presumes that the Turkish military can be deployed to Azerbaijan in a crisis. However, Armenian diplomats have repeatedly asserted that this is not legally applicable to the Nakhchivan exclave, invoking stipulations found in the October 1921 Treaty of Kars ( , April 18). Yerevan argues that this Russo-Turkish accord, along with the earlier Treaty of Moscow (March 1921, also between Soviet Russia and Turkey), in fact illegally drew the borders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia without the consent of the three newly Bolshevik-occupied nations. So although Nakhchivan is today internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, Armenian society continues to view this region as an inherent part of Armenian cultural and historical heritage—much like Karabakh. This sense prevails despite repeated cases of destruction of Armenian cultural heritage sites in Nakhchivan since 2001 ( PanArmenian , March 3, 2014).

Armenian diplomat Arman Navasardyan has been urging Yerevan to take a much more hardline stance when it comes to Nakhchivan. In particular, he has suggested trying to draw the United States’ attention to the growing Turkish-Azerbaijani military activities at Armenia’s backdoor. According to Navasardyan, “Armenia ought to recalibrate its military-strategic posture vis-à-vis Nakhchivan’s current role” in the regional security environment ( , April 28). More recently, in a conversation with this author, former Armenian ambassador to Canada Ara Papyan stressed the importance of “fostering a foreign policy agenda in an effort to attain certain recognition of Armenia’s legitimate political rights regarding Nakhchivan.” In a bid to question the legitimacy of the two aforementioned early 20 th century Russo-Turkish treaties, some Armenian politicians and diplomats assert that “prior to the illegal Russo-Turkish accords, the British, while evacuating [their forces] from the Caucasus in 1919 [following the end of World War I], ceded Nakhchivan to Armenia—an Entente ally” (Author’s interview, July 17).

While military clashes between Yerevan and Baku have tended to cluster mainly around Karabakh, the Nakhchivan segment of the Armenia-Azerbaijan state border has remained unpredictable and fraught with explosive potential. Periodic skirmishes around Nakhchivan are nothing new. Notably, clashes erupted there in 2014–2015, leaving at least four Armenian soldiers dead ( RFE/RL , June 6, 2014; , June 27, 2015). In retaliation, the Armenian side reportedly succeeded in entrenching itself in nearby high ground, thereby attaining strategic positional advantage overlooking Nakhchivan City. As a result, Armenian Armed Forces gained the ability to directly observe as much 50 percent of the autonomous republic’s territory ( Horizon Weekly , July 27, 2015).

A distance of only 50 km separates Yerevan’s suburbs from Nakhchivan, enabling Azerbaijani rocket artillery stationed there to reach the Armenian capital. Further concern for Armenia stems from the fact that a strategic highway that connects the north of the country with its southern provinces in some parts passes particularly close to the border with Nakhchivan. A military encroachment on this important but vulnerable artery by Azerbaijani forces could seriously interrupt Armenia’s physical connection with its amicable southern neighbor—Iran. Moreover, this would leave exposed the western flank of the de facto “Republic of Artsakh” (the self-proclaimed official name of the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh Republic).

Since the ceasefire regime established in Karabakh in 1994–1995, the Nakhchivan region has undergone a strategic transformation—from a defensive stronghold to a formidable bridgehead from which locally stationed, self-sufficient military forces could conduct a variety of combat operations. In late 2013, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev established the Nakhchivan Separate Army on the basis of the Fifth Army Corps ( Trend , December 20, 2013). Azerbaijan further massed its forces in the region by adding two newly formed infantry units and boosting the rocket artillery arsenal. The newly formed artillery brigade service is equipped with Turkish-manufactured T-300 Kasirga (180 km range), T-122 Sakarya (40 km range) and Russian-supplied 9K58 Smerch (50–60 km range) multiple rocket launchers. To counter this threat, Armenia retains two Army Corps with two rocket artillery brigades, tank units and up to five Motorized Infantry Regiments stationed all along the perimeter of the Azerbaijani exclave ( Regnum , January 14).

Nakhchivan represents an “Achilles Heel” for both Armenia and Azerbaijan. And the dynamic security environment around this exclave turns the region into a potential “powder keg” where a new stage of fighting could erupt. Therefore, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Minsk Group—charged with resolving Armenia and Azerbaijan’s standoff over Karabakh—should not lose sight of the two countries’ mounting tensions over the frequently overlooked Nakhchivan.

The Jamestown Foundation kindly allows Modern Tokyo Times to publish their highly esteemed articles.

Armenpress News Agency , Armenia
August 9, 2017 Wednesday
10 best places to make your trip to Artsakh memorable

Artsakh has numerous places for tourists to visit: those places offer 
unique impressions both to those interested in archeological excavations, 
to those appreciating the unique architectural style and interesting 
solutions, as well as to
adventure tourism lovers.

ARMENPRESS has identified the 10 best places in Artsakh that are worth
visiting and observing.

Jdrduz – Canyon of Hunot

If you want to see the whole magic of the Artsakh nature, you need to
definitely visit Jdrduz, the same Katarot, which is located on the
edge of the Shushi city, on the top of the rocks. Rocky curves, ruins
of ancient mills, challenging bridges, funny wooden people, resting
benches and finally tourists – this is what you can see on the road to
the Canyon of Hunot just below Jdrduz.


One of the ornaments of Artsakh is the Tnjri – a giant plain tree. The
tree is situated nearby the Skhtorashen village. It is already 2035
years old. The hollow of the tree is 44 sq.m thanks to which 100
people can stand there. The circumference of the tree is 27 m and the
height is more than 54 m. In the vicinity of Tnjri you can see
numerous historical-cultural monuments. The Tnjri for the Artsakh
people is not just a tree, rather it is a pilgrimage place.

St. Ghazanchetsots Church in Shushi

Shushi is one of the cultural cities of Artsakh. In addition to
ancient historical buildings, museums, the tourists can be attracted
by the Holy Savior Ghazanchetsotschurch which has been built in the
19th century in the center of Shushi. As an architectural structure,
the church attracts not only by its color, but also by its unique dome
and engravings. The bell tower is built in front of the cathedral. The
church has a part where acoustic qualities change the human voice.


The city of Tigranakert, named after Tigran the Great, is located in
the Martuni region of Artsakh. The city was built in the 1st century
BC. In 2008 state historical-cultural reserve has been created at the
city’s excavation site where visitors can get information on the
city’s centuries-old history. Numerous excavations have been carried
out in the territory of Tigranakert. The excavations of 2005 revealed
that Tigranakert had a bulwark fortified district like the medieval
classical cities, a commercial or central district, large agricultural


Gandzasar monastery located in the Martakert region as a unique
architectural structure attracts tourists to a great extent especially
for those who choose Artsakh as a tourism destination during summer.
The 13-century monastery is nearby the Vank village: the monastery’s
restoration works launched in 2000. The book about the history of
Gandzasar translated into 11 languages, makes the tourists’ visit more
accessible and easier to the monastery. The Gandzasar matenadaran
named after Mesrop Mashtots, is nearby the Vank village.


Kachaghakaberd is a mountain-top fortress located between Pteretsk and
Kolatak villages of Artsakh. The peak of the mountain on which the
fortress is standing is especially visible on the way from Stepanakert
to Gandzasar. It is located at a height of more than 1700 meters,
surrounded by vertical limestone cliffs with the heights of 50–60
meters, has a hard-to-reach entrance from the southern side of the

Azokh cave

The Azokh cave is an important archaeological site which is nearby the
Azokh village of Artsakh’s Hadrut region. During the excavations in
1968 the Neanderthal man's jaw was discovered, 300.000 years old. The
Azokh cave is a state natural reserve which is in the spotlight of not
only Armenian, but also foreign archeologists. ‘Azokh cave and the
Transcaucasian corridor’ book was published in 2016 which presents the
results of archeological works that lasted for over 10 years.


Dadivank monastery, 9-13th centuries, is another historical site of
Artsakh located in the Dadivank village of Shahumyan region. The
monastery includes also the St. Mary Cathedral the frescoes of which
were cleaned and renovated by foreign specialists. According to the
document signed by 16 members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the
Council of Europe (PACE) on October 8, 2001, the demolition of
Dadivank in Artsakh is one of the shocking facts of the Azerbaijani
policy. The Armenian troops liberated Dadivank on March 31, 1993.

Dizapayt mountain

The mountain is located in the Hadrut region. The second name of the
mountain is Ziarat. The peak of the mountain is one of the historical
holy sites of Artsakh.

Janapar Trail hiking route

The Janapar Trail is a 500km (311 mile) hiking trail taking you past
high mountains, over hills and through valleys and canyons,
discovering many ancient monasteries.It starches from Vardenis to
Hadrut region.

Syuzi Muradyan

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