Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Armenian News... A Topalian... underground Temple...

[just look at the images - amazing!]
The Bobr Times
July 2 2018
In Armenia, the villager manually built an underground temple

Public Radio of Armenia
July 1 2018
Armenian forces destroy one of Azerbaijan’s defense positions

The Armenian side has completely destroyed one of Azerbaijan’s defensive positions.

“Last night and this morning the Azerbaijani armed forces tried to carry out engineering work at some sections of the border in the direction of Azerbaijan,” Spokesman for the Armenian Defense Ministry Artsrn Hovhannisyan said in a Facebook post.

He said the Armenian Armed Forces opened retaliatory fire and prevented the rival rom crying out its task.

One of the Azerbaijani defense position was completely destroyed as a result of Armenian firing.

Armenian serviceman Vahagn Baghdasaryan (born in 1974) was slightly injured in the exchange of fire.
Footage shows Azerbaijani military posts burning
02 Jul 2018
Siranush Ghazanchyan

3 July 2018
Hayastan All Armenian Fund’s Director Arrested for Embezzlement
Director admits to using fund’s credit card for online gambling

YEREVAN—Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) on Tuesday placed Ara Vardanyan, the director Hayastan All Armenian Fund under arrest on charges of embezzlement and misuse of funds.

The NSS said that Vardanyan has confessed to misappropriating the organization’s funds, including using Armenia Fund money for online gambling.

According to the NSS, Vardanyan, who was detained on Monday, has admitted using a Hayastan Fund credit card with a limit of 20 million drams (approximately $41,500) for online gambling. He has then used donated funds to replenish the credit card account. According to his own testimony, Vardanyan has then made a personal cash infusion into the funds' accounts to cover up the missing money.

According to the NSS, during the last week alone, Vardanyan used nearly 14 million drams ($29,000) from the Hayastan Fund credit card for online gambling. From 2016 to 2018 Vardanyan has reportedly misappropriated approximately 130 million drams (around $270,000) for personal use.

Asbarez spoke to officials at Armenia Fund Inc., the Hayastan Fund’s Western Region branch, whose officials said the Fund will issue a statement regarding the latest developments and Vardanyan’s arrest in the coming hours. Follow Asbarez for the latest developments on this story.

The NSS is continuing its investigation while Vardanyan has been remanded into custody.

RFE/RL Report
Another Member Of Former Ruling Party Quits As Mayor
July 02, 2018
Karlen Aslanian

The municipal council Hrazdan, a town in central Armenia, unanimously accepted on Monday the resignation of its longtime mayor affiliated with former President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK).

Aram Danielian, who has run Hrazdan for over 15 years, is the third HHK-affiliated mayor who has stepped down since the recent change of the country’s government. Unlike the mayors of Armavir and Echmiadzin, he has not 
faced street protests by local residents.

Explaining his decision, Danielian said he wants to make sure that “the town doesn’t suffer” as a result of regime change in Yerevan. “A new political force has come to power and it now wields financial resources and administrative levers,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service ( “That is why I found 
it necessary to cede my post to a representative of [Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s Civil Contract] party who could solve the town’s problems.”

Danielian said at the same time that he was “advised” to resign by Romanos Petrosian, the new governor of the Kotayk province of which Hrazdan is the administrative center. Petrosian, who is a Civil Contract member, admitted that he “urged” the mayor to quit.

Under Armenian law, a fresh mayoral election must be held in Hrazdan later this year. The town will be governed by an interim mayor appointed by the central government until then. The government has not yet named Danielian’s temporary replacement.

According to some press reports, a 25-year-old son of Sasun Mikaelian, a prominent Civil Contract member based in Hrazdan, could become its next mayor. 

Mikaelian, who is also a parliament deputy, was Danielian’s main challenger in the last mayoral election held in 2016. He accused the incumbent of buying votes and abusing administrative resources. The HHK denied the allegations.

Danielian was again put on the defensive last year after his teenage son Razmik was charged with running over and killing a man with a car belonging to the Hrazdan municipality. The 16-year-old had no driving license because of his young age. He not only avoided imprisonment but was also among more than 100 
schoolchildren who received medals for academic excellence from Serzh Sarkisian later in 2017.

Sarkisian’s decision to hand the state award to Razmik prompted strong criticism from independent Armenian media outlets. Some commentators portrayed it as further proof of impunity enjoyed by senior government officials, their cronies, and relatives.

ArmenPress, Armenia
June 30 2018
Statue of first Armenian Ambassador to the U.S. unveiled in Washington D.C.

The statue of the first Armenian Ambassador to the U.S. Armen Garo (Karekin Pastermadjian) was erected in the territory of the Armenian Embassy on the sidelines of the celebrations dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the First Republic of Armenia, Voice of America reports.

The event was attended by President of Armenia Armen Sarkissian.

During these days celebrations dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the First Republic of Armenia and the Armenian-American official relations are being held in the United States with the active participation of American-Armenian circles and structures.

“During these days we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the First Republic of Armenia and the Armenian-American relations, and today’s event is the pinnacle of these celebrations”, Armenian Ambassador to the U.S. Grigor Hovhannisyan said.

In his remarks, the Ambassador highlighted the unique importance of the First Republic for the restoration of the Armenian statehood. He also touched upon the idea to erect the statue of Armen Garo in the territory of the Embassy.

“During our annual discussions in January the idea to erect the bust of the first diplomat representing Armenia in Washington D.C. was born”, Ambassador Hovhannisyan said.

The event was also attended by ARF Bureau member Hakob Ter-Khachatryan, who in his remarks highlighted Armen Garo’s contribution and role in the history of the First Republic of Armenia.

“Armen Garo is one of the best representatives of our nation, a national-liberation figure and diplomat”, Ter-Khachatryan said.

Historian Hayk Demoyan talked about the history of the establishment of the first Armenian diplomatic mission in the U.S., stating that the diplomatic mission was established thanks to the 50.000 USD collected by the American-Armenian community. 

In his remarks Armenian President Armen Sarkissian emphasized the historical role and significance of the First Republic of Armenia, stating that it is reborn during each important achievement.

“We celebrate the victory of the foundation of the First Republic. The First Republic has never stopped. Maybe it was called by another name. For instance, 70 years ago we called it the Soviet Republic of Armenia, but most of us believed that the real republic is the independent and democratic Armenia. And what was in our hearts in 1991 became a reality, and the First Republic was reborn”, President Sarkissian said.

He also highly valued the heritage left by Armen Garo as a national and diplomatic figure.

During the ceremony, President Sarkissian handed over a certificate of gratitude to American-Armenian philanthropist Savey Tufenkian for the assistance provided to the Armenian diplomatic mission and contributing to the development of the Armenian-American relations. The contribution of Tufenkian-Shirvanian families on these matters was emphasized.

Edited and translated by Aneta Harutyunyan

ARKA, Armenia
July 2 2018
Azerbaijan opening the second front against Armenia in Nakhichevan

An Armenian political analyst Levon Shirinyan said today that Azerbaijan’s military buildup in its exclave Nakhichevan means opening a new front against Armenia. 

On June 30 and July 1 a skirmish between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops on the border between Nakhichevan and Armenia were reported. According to Armenian sources,  Azerbaijani troops attempted to build new engineering structures to strengthen their positions. The Armenian troops fired back destroying and burning one of the enemy's positions. An Armenian contract serviceman Vahagn Baghdasaryan (born in 1974) was slightly wounded in the skirmish.

According to Shirinyan, in addition to the Karabakh front, there is now a second one opening in Nakhichevan. Shirinyan said  the reaction of the Armenian side, which destroyed the Azerbaijani military position, is correct and the official Yerevan should continue this ‘model of behavior.’

"After the velvet revolution in Armenia, I see changes in matters concerning relations with Azerbaijan. Our strategy should be based on preventive strikes, and the destruction of the Azerbaijani military position in this regard should be greeted," the political scientist said.

According to Shirinyan, if Azerbaijan tries to commit new provocations, it must be punished. 

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict erupted into armed clashes after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s as the predominantly Armenian-populated enclave of Azerbaijan sought to secede from Azerbaijan and declared its independence backed by a successful referendum. 

On May 12, 1994, the Bishkek cease-fire agreement put an end to the military operations. A truce was brokered by Russia in 1994, although no permanent peace agreement has been signed. Since then, Nagorno-Karabakh and several adjacent regions have been under the control of Armenian forces of Karabakh. 

Nagorno-Karabakh is the longest-running post-Soviet era conflict and has continued to simmer despite the relative peace of the past two decades, with snipers causing tens of deaths a year. On April 2, 2016, Azerbaijan launched military assaults along the entire perimeter of its contact line with Nagorno-Karabakh. Four days later a cease-fire was reached. 

ArmenPress, Armenia
June 30 2018
Armenian Embassy expresses concern over the use of "Armenian mafia" term by Spanish interior ministry

The Armenian Embassy in Spain issued a statement expressing concern over the term “Armenian mafia” used by the Spanish interior ministry and media outlets in the reports about more than 100 people, including Armenians, who were detained last week as a result of the operations of the law enforcement agencies in the country.

The Embassy said this formulation significantly damages the reputation of several tens of thousands of law-abiding and exemplary Armenians living in Spain.

Armenpress presents the full statement:
“The Armenian Embassy in Spain always keeps in its spotlight all the developments relating to our citizens. 

Over the past week more than 100 persons have been detained as a result of the operations of the law enforcement agencies in different parts of Spain: according to available information, there are persons of Armenian descent and Armenian citizens among the detained.

The statement released by the Spanish interior ministry on June 26 used the term “Armenian mafia”, which has also been used in Spanish media reports.

The Embassy expresses its concern over such formulations. They significantly damage the reputation of several tens of thousands of law-abiding and exemplary Armenians living in Spain.

The Embassy considers important to refrain from such unacceptable formulations, especially when not all of the detainees are Armenians, their being members of one criminal organization has not been proved yet and there is no court verdict that has entered into force against them.
Being confident in the skillfulness of legal operations of the Spanish law enforcement agencies, at the same time we consider ineffective the emphasis on ethnic origin in the fight against criminal groups, which doesn’t contribute to the formation of multinational society and deepening tolerance in Spain, which is one of the priorities of the Spanish government and is being successfully carried out for years”.

Edited and translated by Aneta Harutyunyan

Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso, Italy
2 July 2018
Armenia and Azerbaijan: Garden of Peace between the opponents
Cultivating the land in villages on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border is very dangerous. Nevertheless, there are those who go on, dreaming of peace
Armine AvetisyanYerevan 

The Republic of Armenia does not have water boundaries with neighboring states. In this regard, the village Berkaber of Tavush region, in the frontier of Azerbaijan, is unique: the Armenian-Azerbaijani border is drawn with water here. The Joghaz reservoir, built in Soviet times, is located on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border of Berkaber. Berkaber is on one side of the reservoir and on the other is the Azeri village Mezem. Joghaz is in the target today.

The life on the border
The construction of Joghaz reservoir began in the Soviet times - in the 1970s. The authorities of that time decided to use the space between the Armenian Berkaber and the Azerbaijani Mazam villages to solve the irrigation problems of the region and to build an artificial reservoir. The Armenians and Azeris started building the reservoir together and established gardens together. In translation, Berkaber means giving an abundant harvest. The village has always been famous for its fruit trees.

“In 1988, my parents set up an orchard garden of persimmon on a 3-hectare land lot. We have more than 800 trees and it's already 25 years we get a harvest. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, however, my parents' dreams fell apart, and the dream to do agricultural work became an extreme struggle”, says Ara Khudaverdyan.

In the early 1990's, Berkaber was one of the hottest spots in the Armenian-Azerbaijani war. Many buildings were almost completely damaged by gunfire in the village. About 900 hectares of orchards are currently under the control of the enemy. In the Armenian villages, just 500-800 meters from the Azerbaijani positions, there has been an undeclared war for over two decades. Although Armenia and Azerbaijan officially are not in a fight, there is no single day in Berkaber without shots heard from the Azerbaijani side. During these years, many houses, cars have been damaged, peaceful civilians were injured and there were even victims.

“Our garden is adjacent to the border. The distance is just 300 meters. Whenever I work in the garden, with the naked eye I can see the residents of Azerbaijani Mezem village who work in the field. We are so close that I can extend my hand and greet my "neighbors", but I do not say hello”, says Ara, smiling.

Ara is 32 years old. He says there was a time when he intended to leave the village. He didn't see any future in his village. He lived and worked in neighboring Georgia for some time. In 2016, during the April war, he returned to Armenia and from that day decided that he won't leave his homeland and will help his family to upgrade the garden.
Dreaming of Peace

Ara dreams that there will be a time when there will be no formal rest in their village, but the war will really be over between the sides. Having dreamed about peace, two years ago the garden was rebuilt with the help of a philanthropist, again the active development of the garden went on and it was called “Garden of Peace”.

“We often work in the garden at night so that we are not seen by the adversary. My father and I cultivate it; we are used to the night work. When I work in the garden, my phone is mostly in silent mode, but I always switch on the “vibration” and keep it in my pocket. We have an agreement with our family that if the enemy suddenly starts firing or attacks, they will call me immediately”, says Ara.

During these years the Khudaverdyans have already lost 2 cars. They were damaged by shots from Azerbaijan; fortunately, the family had no victims.

“Sometimes people ask us if we intend to use the modern agricultural technologies, hail-protection networks for protection against hail. I always point out that the hail falling from the sky, is not a danger for us, an iron hail from Azerbaijan is falling on us, of which no technology can protect”, says the young farmer.

According to Ara, beyond the border the villagers are cautious. They also do their work, especially during the evening hours.

“We not only cultivate the garden at night but also catch fish. There are good fishes in the reservoir - the borderline, which both we and the Azerbaijanis hunt. Especially during the night hours, otherwise, you will not go home safe and sound. There are people in our village, who got injured during the fish hunting”, says Ara and adds that he doesn't go to catch a fish; it doesn't mean that he is afraid to be injured; simply his job is to cultivate a garden.

The garden, cultivated at the cost of living, is profitable
Months after rebuilding the garden, with the aim to sell the harvest, with the help of “Border” NGO and the “Support of Organic Farming Initiative” program, Ara Khudaverdyan has set up an organic dried fruit plant. In this way, the product is now sold not only in the local market but also is going to be exported. Ara has already participated in two international exhibitions; the organic dried persimmon was presented at international exhibitions in Dubai and London.

“Due to its taste properties, it has attracted the interest and demand among participants from different countries. Even the Turks liked our dried fruits; it's a pity there were no participants from Azerbaijan to feel the taste of «peace»”, says Ara, adding that there are already arrangements with the United States, Russia, and Bulgaria to export dried fruits.

The Khudaverdyan family intends to expand its activities, wanting to enter the international markets, confidently noting that whatever happens, the garden will never remain uncultivated.

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