Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Armenian News... A Topalian.,, Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute in Yerevan

The Design and Symbolism of Tsitsernakaberd
Dr. Hayk Demoyan, Director of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute in Yerevan 

The Tsitsernakaberd memorial complex in Yerevan is Armenia’s official memorial dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide of 1915. Tens of thousands from all over the world gather at the site every April 24 to remember and pay their respects to all those who perished a century ago. Because of its centrality in the consciousness of Armenians everywhere, the design and symbolism of the memorial complex have become a subject of contemplation and popular interpretation. In this video, Dr. Hayk Demoyan, the director of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute in Yerevan, describes the origins of the Memorial dating back to 1967 and the meaning and symbolism behind its carefully selected location and architectural details. 

Armenia Sings On In Our Hearts (documentary) with English subtitles 

WiRED's Work in Armenia
December 2017
News from WiRED International

Mediamax, Armenia
Nov 30 2017
Emmanuel Macron to visit Armenia in 2018 

Ambassador of France to Armenia Jonathan Lacôte told this during his meeting with Minister of Economic Development and Investments of Armenia Suren Karayan on November 29.

Emmanuel Macron is expected to visit Armenia within the frames of the 17th Summit of La Francophonie to be held on October 11-12 of 2018.

[after the European declaration, another success for Azeri diplomacy at the expends of Armenia] 
TODAY.AZ / Politics
Armenia's protest at PABSEC session brings no results
01 DECEMBER 2017
By Rashid Shirinov 

The protest of the Armenian delegation against the declaration adopted at the 50th session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (PABSEC) in Kiev brought no results.

Azerbaijani MP Aflatun Amashov, who took part in the session, made the remarks in his interview to Trend on November 30.

He noted that on the proposal of the Ukrainian delegation, an amendment on the need to “restore the territorial integrity of the BSEC states, and release the occupied lands within their territorial integrity” was made to the declaration, and this displeased the Armenian delegation. The Armenians demanded to delete this paragraph, but the majority supported the paragraph.

“When the Armenians became convinced that this paragraph would not be deleted, they left the meeting hall,” said Amashov.

The MP added that the Armenians made speeches with various proposals at the session, but none of them was adopted.

“The declaration was adopted for the first time in the history of the organization, and it is quite important for Azerbaijan. In general, such declarations have the character of the legal framework in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” he said.

Amashov added that the Azerbaijani delegation took an active part in the session, and the adoption of this declaration can be considered the success of the country.

The need to restore Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and inviolability of borders has been noted many times in different international documents, and, first of all, in four resolutions on the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict adopted by the UN Security Council.

However, these demands are still on paper as Armenia refuses to fulfill them and instead tries to deceive the international community about the essence of the conflict. These efforts of Armenia, of course, receive no attention of the international society, and the incident in Kiev was another proof of that.

[a better outcome here]
Artsakh Applauds CSTO Position on Karabakh Conflict Resolution
The leadership of Artsakh on Friday praised the position adopted on Thursday by the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which during a summit in Minsk, the Belarus capital, reiterated the organization’s backing of the Karabakh conflict resolution process spearheaded by the OSCE Minsk Group, as well as the CSTO’s support of the three key principles guiding the effort, among them the Artsakh citizens’ right to self-determination

“This is a very important statement given the fact that recently several countries, such as Turkey, are indirectly trying to undermine the OSCE Minsk Group format,” said Artsakh presidential spokesperson David Babayan, who was referring to recent statements made by Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who expressed his support to the Minsk Group co-chairman, while strongly advocating for a resolution to the Karabakh conflict that would only benefit Azerbaijan.

“We see what statements that country [Turkey] makes and its active involvement in the geopolitical processes in the Caucasus, namely the resolution of the Karabakh-Azerbaijani conflict. These are very dangerous steps, which can lead to more complications. The latest statement of the heads of the CSTO member states, I think, is a response to Turkey’s behavior,” added Babayan in an interview with

Babayan said that during a recent meeting between the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office with the Turkish leadership in Ankara, Turkey was “shown the red line that it must not cross.”

“Such efforts by the international community in the person of the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk group are aimed at putting Turkey in its place to prevent the country from further complicating the situation,” added Babayan.

He further addressed Cavusoglu’s remarks about Ankara’s support for any resolution on the Karabakh conflict, which will satisfy Azerbaijan.

“The Azerbaijani president once again announced that Artsakh is allegedly their historical land, and Armenians were newcomers there. So what? Does Turkey accept that Armenians are newcomers? This is another basis for a new genocide,” Babayan highlighted.

RFE/RL Report
Armenian Government Downplays Impact Of Higher Import Duties
December 01, 2017
Hovannes Movsisian 

The upcoming adoption by Armenia of higher import duties set by the
Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) will not significantly push up the
prices of some key foodstuffs, a senior government official insisted
on Friday.

Membership in the Russian-led trade bloc requires Armenia, which has
traditionally had a liberal foreign trade regime, to enforce the EEU's
uniform tax rates for virtually all goods and commodities imported
from third countries. The Armenian government secured temporary
exemptions for about 900 items when it joined the EEU in January
2015. Customs duties levied from them have to be gradually raised to
EEU levels by 2024.

Around 40 types of imported goods -- notably cooking oil, butter,
poultry and tea -- will be taxed in accordance with EEU rates starting
next month.This has raised fears of price hikes that would hit hard
many Armenians struggling to make ends meet. Butter prices in the
country have already soared by 40 percent this year due to what
government officials call external factors.

Deputy Minister for Economic Development Hovannes Azizian sought to
allay those fears, saying that retail prices of the products in
question could only rise by up to 2 percent on average. He also
claimed that the higher duties will boost Armenian manufacturers and
translate into more jobs.

In an interview with RFE/RL's Armenian service (, Azizian
singled out the Armenian poultry industry which has struggled in
recent years to compete with cheaper fowl imported from non-EEU
countries. "Many think that our local products are better than
imported ones," he said.

Artak Manukian, an independent economist, countered that trade
barriers are a wrong way to boost the Armenian economy. "Domestic
manufacturers should be stimulated but there are quite a few indirect
tools for doing that: flexible loans, more flexible conditions for
loan collaterals and many other things," he said. "The worst thing to
do is to artificially hamper the emergence of competitors in your

Manukian also pointed out that the EEU is planning to increase excise
taxes collected in its member states from fuel, alcohol and tobacco.

According to official Armenian statistics, Russia and other EEU member
states accounted for about 28 percent of Armenia's foreign trade in
January-October 2017. By comparison, the European Union's share in the
total stood at just over 24 percent.

Pan Armenian, Armenia
Dec 2 2017
10 in every 100,000 of Armenia's population infected with HIV: report 

10.1 in every 100,000 of the population were diagnosed with HIV infections in Armenia in 2016, the HIV/AIDS surveillance data, published by ECDC and the WHO Regional Office for Europe, revealed.

The country thus ranks the 10th by the number of HIV-infected persons in the Eurasian region.

According to the report, Russia is in the first spot with 60.6 in every 100,000 infected with HIV, followed by Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova and Georgia.

Azerbaijan has the least number of people diagnosed with the disease, with 5.7 for every 100,000 infected.

No information is available for Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

The HIV/AIDS surveillance data for 2016 show that the proportion of those who are diagnosed late is increasing with age. Early diagnosis is important because it allows people to start HIV treatment sooner, which in turn increases their chances of living a long and healthy life.

With a population of almost 1 billion people and an estimated 4 million people infected with HIV, India is thought to be the country with the largest number of HIV-infected people in the world.

Armenian, Armenia
Nov 30 2017
Armenian GM Levon Aronian named world's second strongest 

Levon Aronian of Armenia retained his standing on FIDE's chess rating, having climbed to the second spot two months ago.

FIDE unveiled the new ratings on Thursday, November 30, with Magnus Carlsen of Norway still leading the list of strongest chess players of the world.

Among the top 100 are also included two more Armenians - Vladimir Akopian on the 78th, as well as Gabriel Sargissian in the 72nd positions.

Aronian won the Stavanger-hosted Norway Chess tournament in June 2017, the Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz tournament two months later, and snatched the World Chess Cup victory in Georgia in late September. Also, the Armenian grandmaster won the fourth leg of the FIDE World Cup in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. 

Levon Aronian to participate in London Chess Classic 

The London Chess Classic Tournament will be held in London, on December 1-11 (10 participants, round-the-clock), which is the fifth and last round of the Grand Chess Tour. This reports the Armenian National Olympic Committee (ANOC).

The composition of the participants: Magnus Carlsen (Norway), Levon Aronian (Armenia), Maxim Vachier-Lagrave (France), Fabiano Caruana (USA), Wesley So (USA), Viswanathan Anand (India), Hikaru Nakamura (USA), Sergey Karjakin(Russia), Ian Nepomnyashchy (Russia), Michael Adams (England).

Manchester United to sell Henrikh Mkhitaryan
November 30, 2017 

Manchester United head coach Jose Mourinho is dissatisfied with Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s play, so he wants to sell the football player during the upcoming winter transfer window.
This reports BBC Sport.

According to the source, “Manchester United” is going to sell the Armenian player in the winter. Rumors have been circulating that Henrikh Mkhitaryan wants to get his former club, Dortmund Borussia. The English club hopes to earn at least 20 million pound sterling from the player’s transfer .

Bedkhem Church's intricate decoration makes it one of the jewels of Isfahan.


The Bedkhem (Bethlehem) Church is an Armenian Apostolic church in the Julfa quarter in Isfahan, Iran. The city itself, Isfahan, is nicknamed Nesf-e Jahān, “Half of the World,” so that puts this church “in the center of the world.”

Armenians have had a presence in what is modern-day Iran for thousands of years, interacting with the ancient Persian empire and, later on, with Shia Muslim rulers. In the early 1600s, the ruler Shah Abbas I forced Armenians out of what had been considered their ancestral lands and relocated them to the Julfa quarter of Isfahan. Armenians merchants and traders quickly became integrated into the economy and society of Iran, and in many ways adopted elements of Persian culture. They retained their Christian faith, however.
One successful Armenian tradesman, Khaje Petros, undertook the building of the Bedkhem Church in the late 17th century. He hired architects and artisans of Armenian descent, but the design of the church is highly influenced by Islamic mosque design, too — especially its gilded dome. Inside, the church features a more Christian style of iconography: 72 delicate paintings depicting the life of Christ as told in the Gospels surround the interior in two rows of panels.
The walls of the Bedkhem Church are covered with inscriptions written in Armenian, some dating to the 1600s, honoring those who gave of their charity to the building and beautification of the church.
At the time of the Iranian revolution, many Armenians fled the country, building new lives elsewhere. But Armenian Apostolic Christians remain the largest non-Muslim community in Iran today, and they continue to worship and function in society, even having representation in government. A quarter of them still live in Isfahan.
Scroll through the slideshow below to enjoy the beauty of the unique Bedkhem Church.
Aletelia ^ | April 18, 2017 | Daniel Esparza
Bedkhem Church's intricate decoration makes it one of the jewels of Isfahan. The Bedkhem (Bethlehem) Church is an Armenian Apostolic church in the Julfa quarter in Isfahan, Iran. The city itself, Isfahan, is nicknamed Nesf-e JahÄn, “Half of the World,” so that puts this church “in the center of the world.”Armenians have had a presence in what is modern-day Iran for thousands of years, interacting with the ancient Persian empire and, later on, with Shia Muslim rulers. In the early 1600s, the ruler Shah Abbas I forced Armenians out of what had been considered their ancestral lands and relocated them...

The awe-inspiring beauty of Armenian Christianity in Iran
Images from the interior of the Bedkhem Church in the Julfa quarter in Isfahan, Iran.
Images from the exterior of the Bedkhem Church in the Julfa quarter in Isfahan, Iran.
Images from the interior of the Bedkhem Church in the Julfa quarter in Isfahan, Iran.
Images from the interior of the Bedkhem Church in the Julfa quarter in Isfahan, Iran.
Images from the interior of the Bedkhem Church in the Julfa quarter in Isfahan, Iran.
Images from the interior of the Bedkhem Church in the Julfa quarter in Isfahan, Iran.
Images from the interior of the Bedkhem Church in the Julfa quarter in Isfahan, Iran.
Images from the interior of the Bedkhem Church in the Julfa quarter in Isfahan, Iran.
Images from the interior of the Bedkhem Church in the Julfa quarter in Isfahan, Iran.
Images from the interior of the Bedkhem Church in the Julfa quarter in Isfahan, Iran.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Armenian Churches in Cyprus (Nicosia, Larnaca, Limassol)


HYPERLINK ""Armenian Evangelical Church
Mahmoud Pasha Street, Nicosia, 1150
*** Turkish-occupied since 1974 *** Nicosia's Armenian Evangelicals originally shared their services with the Reformed Presbyterians and Greek Evangelicals, opposite the old Electricity Authority building. On 23/07/1946 they opened their own church to ...

HYPERLINK ""Sourp Amenapergitch Chapel
28 Corinth Street, Strovolos, Nicosia, 2008
In 1995, brothers Aram and Bedros Kalaydjian erected the chapel of Sourp Amenapergitch on the premises of the Kalaydjian Rest Home for the Elderly, to address the spiritual needs of its residents. It was consecrated on 16/02/1997 by Catholicos Aram I. Mas ...

HYPERLINK ""Sourp Asdvadzadzin Church
47 Armenia Street, Strovolos, 2003 
Having lost the namesake medieval church in the walled city of Nicosia during the 1963-1964 troubles, the community gradually felt the need to build a new church. After the continuous efforts of Representative Dr. Antranik L. Ashdjian, on 25/09/1976 the f ...

HYPERLINK ""Sourp Asdvadzadzin Church (Old)
Victoria Street, Nicosia, 1150
*** Turkish-occupied since 1964 *** Originally a Benedictine/Carthusian nunnery led by princess Fimie, daughter of the Armenian King Hayton II, this 1308 Gothic church near Paphos Gate passed into the hands of the Armenians sometime before 1504. On the ...

HYPERLINK ""Sourp Boghos Chapel
Shakespeare Street, Nicosia, 1102
This chapel was built to serve the old Armenian cemetery in Nicosia in 1892, in memory of the cemetery's benefactor, Constantinopolitan Boghos Odadjian. After the 1963-1964 troubles it was abandoned, as it was adjacent to the UN Buffer Zone. In 2005 part ...

HYPERLINK ""Sourp Haroutiun Chapel
Gregoris Afxentiou Avenue, Ayios Dhometios, 2365
This chapel was built to serve the second Armenian cemetery in Nicosia in 1938, in memory of the cemetery’s benefactor Haroutiun Bohdjalian. It was consecrated in 1949. After the Turkish invasion of 1974, it fell within the UN Buffer Zone. Until 2007, vis ...

HYPERLINK ""Sourp Kevork Church
16 Vassilis Michaelides Street, Limassol, 3026 
In 1939, Mrs. Satenig Soultanian purchased land near the Greek-Orthodox church of Ayia Zoni in the town centre, and donated it to the Armenian Prelature for a church to be built. The church, dedicated to Sourp Kevork-in memory of Mrs Soultanian's father, ...

HYPERLINK ""Sourp Magar Monastery
Plataniotissa Forest, Halevga, 9570
*** Turkish-occupied since 1974 ***Founded circa the year 1000 by Copts, sometime before 1425 it passed into the hands of the Armenians. Until 1947 a large number of beautiful and invaluable manuscripts (dated 1202-1740) and vestments were housed there. I ...

HYPERLINK ""Sourp Mariam Ganchvor Church
Kishla Street, Famagusta, 5000
*** Turkish-occupied since 1974 *** This fortress-like building at the north-western end of the old city, was built in 1346 in typical Armenian fashion but with Cypriot masonry. It is thought to be part of an important monastic and cultural centre, where ...

HYPERLINK ""Sourp Stepanos Church
21 Armenian Church Street, Larnaca, 6022 
A little after the Adana massacre in 1909, its community leaders sent money to Larnaca for a church to be built, provided it was named after Sourp Stepanos, the patron Saint of Adana, whose church there was burnt down by Turkish mobs. It was originally bu ...


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Thursday, 30 November 2017

Armenian News... A Topalian... Hrant Dink - Chirac Prize!
November 24 2017 16:37:00
Hrant Dink Foundation receives Chirac Prize for Conflict Prevention

The Chirac Foundation has awarded the Chirac Prize for Conflict Prevention to the Hrant Dink Foundation in a ceremony held at the Quai Branly Museum with the participation of French President Emmanuel Macron. 

Rakel Dink, the wife of slain Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, received the award with Hasrof Dink, the journalist’s brother, on Nov. 23. 

“On behalf of myself and our foundation, I would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude for this prize, which we hope will give further strength to everyone striving for democracy and going through challenging times in Turkey. Being with you today has made us stronger,” Dink said in her speech. 

Hrant Dink was shot dead with two bullets to the head in broad daylight outside the offices of the Turkish-Armenian weekly newspaper Agos in 2007 in central Istanbul. The foundation was founded by Dink’s wife after his assassination. 

“When we decided to establish this foundation with our friends after the tragedy that our family suffered in 2007, we had just one intention: to continue Hrant’s efforts with this institution, and try to fill the huge emptiness created in our lives with his struggle for human rights,” Dink said after accepting the prize. The prize is given to “women and men committed to fighting on a daily basis, out on the field, so that tensions do not escalate into serious conflicts.” 

“The racist mentality that made him a target and enemy, and that killed him, is not only trying to get its share of power in Turkey today, but this mentality is rising in the world too, creating new others and enemies and putting up new walls. This world has seen so much pain, isn’t it enough now? So much blood and tears have been shed, isn’t it enough?” she also said. 

Saying that the Hrant Dink Foundation aims to “fight against discrimination,” their goal is also “to overcome the borders in people’s minds,” Dink noted. 

The Chirac Foundation was established in 2008 by the former French President Jacques Chirac, with the mission to “support efforts for prevention of conflicts, dialogue between cultures and increasing quality of access to health services.” 

The Chirac Foundation also presented its Culture for Peace Prize to the Zoukak Theater Company, which “has been contributing, through theater, to the rehabilitation efforts of refugees living in Lebanon camps.” 

Panorama, Armenia
Nov 28 2017
Armenia named among world's top 20 fastest-growing travel destinations 

Armenia ranks 17th in the list of the 20 fastest-growing travel destinations in the world recently announced by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

The organization tracks international visitors and presents information about which countries are spiking interest, Travel and Leisure reported. And over the past year, Armenia also welcomed an increased number of tourists.

“Throughout its long history (over 3,000 years), Armenia has been plagued with conflict. However now, in more stable times, the country had an 18 percent growth in tourism over the past year. Because it was the world’s first Christian country, many of the most popular tourist attractions are monasteries that date back thousands of years,” the organization noted.

The UNWTO also added that despite long-standing conflict in the Middle East, more visitors are venturing to countries like Palestine, Egypt and Tunisia.

Armenia is re-elected as UNESCO Member of the Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property in case of Armed Conflict
November 28,2017

On November 27, at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, launched the 7th meeting of the Second Protocol Member States for “Protection of Cultural Property in case of Armed Conflict 1954.”

In the framework of the meeting, the elections of members of the Committee for Protection of Cultural Property in case of armed conflict took place. Ten candidates were nominated for 6 vacancies. The following members were selected: Italy (48 votes), Armenia (44), Cambodia (43), Japan (42), El Salvador (39), Egypt (32). Hence, Armenia was re-elected for the period 2017-2021.

L.A. Weekly
Nov 29 2017
The Complicated History of Armenian Women's Genocide-Era Tattoos
Liz Ohanesian  

Inside the Natural History Museum's new exhibit "Tattoo," ink on flesh takes myriad forms. A touring exhibition that originated at Musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac in Paris, "Tattoo" explores millennia of markings, from the ancient tribal patterns that adorned the skin of indigenous people to the colorful sailor-style tattoos still popular in modern day L.A. There are examples of tattoos that are symbols self-_expression_, group identity and punishment. And then there's the 1919 photo of a woman in Aleppo. Tattoos run down her face and onto her chest, which is exposed by her partially open shirt.

The woman is not named, but the caption accompanying the photo gives a piece of her story. She was Armenian and had been able to escape a brothel thanks to the YWCA. The placard notes that during the course of the Armenian Genocide, women who had been captured and made slaves or prostitutes had been tattooed as a means of identification. It's a profoundly disturbing image and snippet of a story that points to an obscure facet of a genocide committed within the Ottoman Empire that is, to this day, denied by Turkey.

Even when your heritage is Armenian, when you are a descendant of genocide survivors, the sight of the tattoos can come as a shock. You grew up hearing about death marches and other atrocities. But the tattoos aren't included in many of these narratives. In 2011, filmmaker Suzanne Khardalian covered the subject in Grandma's Tattoos , a documentary that later aired as part of Al-Jazeera's Witness series. That film, though, was a personal story that delved more into the impact of trauma brought about by the Genocide. The question of why women were tattooed remained unanswered. That, perhaps, is because there isn't one clear-cut reason.

"Every woman's story is different," says Elyse Semerdjian by phone. Semerdjian is a historian who studies the Ottoman Empire and is a professor at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. She's currently working on a book about the Armenian Genocide and gender-related issues. Part of her research for the book includes a look into the history of Armenian women who were tattooed during the Genocide. A page from the Sept. 5, 1920 issue of the Washington Times

Semerdjian explains that the tattoos were used by multiple ethnic groups in rural parts of the Ottoman Empire, particularly Kurds and Arabs. She adds that, while some women may have been taken into a household as a slave, others were adopted by families. "They were traditional forms of tattooing that were worn by women in those communities," she says. "They were marks of inclusion in a tribe in many cases. It meant that those women had the same tattoos as other women in those communities. The Armenian women were not the only ones to receive those tattoos."

That's where deciphering the stories behind the tattooed Armenian women gets difficult. There's a gut reaction to look at them as a means of punishment. There's a long history of that in various parts of the world, according to Lars Krutak, an anthropologist and photographer who studies tattoos and was a consultant on "Tattoo: An Exhibition," citing examples from ancient Chinese and European history. For modern folks, though, the closest comparison might be the numbers tattooed on Jewish people's forearms during the Holocaust.

There's a problem with that kind of comparison, however. At Auschwitz , the tattoos were applied by SS authorities to mark prisoners at the concentration camp. During the Genocide, tattoos don't appear to have been a tool used by the Ottoman Turks, who orchestrated the campaign against Armenians, Semerdjian notes. In some instances, those tattoos may have actually helped women escape death. Semerdjian has found instances of that in her research.

Tattoos have long been used to identify people as being part of a specific ethnic group. Answering generally on the use of tattoos in this regard, Krutak notes, "Tattoo designs spoke about a collective identity because everyone wore ancestral patterns that were handed down from generation to generation. And once you carried the ancestral mark on your body, you were expected to be a responsible family and community member."

In that respect, the tattoos that Armenian women received would mark them as members of a group that was not being persecuted, but they also covered the women's true identities.

"For me, the interesting thing is that the tattoos are working on different levels," says Semerdjian. "It tells us that being tattooed could in some cases camouflage you in a period in which Armenians were supposed to be exterminated and not survive."

She adds, "It does give you a strong sense that the tattoos are about identity at [their] core. I think it produces a strong emotional reaction for Armenians because it's about the erasure of the Armenian identity and this new identity that's being placed on the face."

When World War I ended and some of the Armenian women were able to reconnect with their communities, their tattoos remained. Semerdjian notes that some women tried to hide these permanent reminders of life during the Genocide by using makeup or undergoing procedures to try and remove the tattoos. "They weren't excluded from society," says Semerdjian. "They may have felt stigmatized and ostracized because they were wearing those marks, but they had families and there was no separating them from other Armenians. Yet, psychologically, it does a kind of work that was difficult to undo."

Semerdjian has been poring over archives, including those of the League of Nations at the United Nations, to find photographic documentation of the tattoos, and there isn't much to find. Overall, she says, tattooing Armenian women wasn't an extremely common practice during the Genocide, but the images and stories that do exist illustrate one of the tragedies associated with genocide. "It's a minority of women who ended up rescued during World War I who actually bore the tattoos," she says. "But, the ones who were tattooed, they capture our imagination because it's come to mean so much about that forced assimilation, that moment of forced assimilation."

RFE/RL Report 
European Body Encouraged By Yerevan's Anti-Graft Efforts
November 27, 2017
Naira Bulghadarian

The Armenian authorities have made some progress in their declared
fight against widespread corruption among the country's judges, an
anti-graft arm of the Council of Europe said on Monday.

In a February 2016 report, the Strasbourg-based Group of States
Against Corruption (GRECO) described corruption as an "important
problem for Armenian society." "The judiciary is perceived as being
particularly prone to corruption," it said, also noting an
"unsatisfactory" degree of judicial independence in Armenia.

The 60-page report, based on an April 2015 fact-finding trip to
Yerevan by a GRECO delegation, listed 18 policy recommendations to the
Armenian authorities. In particular, it called for more powers for a
state body that scrutinizes income declarations filed by judges and
other senior state officials as well as their family members.

"Since our report a number of steps have been taken to address issues
raised by us," the GRECO secretary general, Gianluca Esposito, said
after a meeting of the Council of Europe watchdog held in Yerevan.

Esposito insisted that the authorities are moving "in the right
direction." But he also said: "I think that the glass is half full."

In that regard, the GRECO chief mentioned a new Judicial Code which
the Armenian authorities are planning to enact soon. He said it will
be essential for making further progress towards the greater integrity
and independence of Armenian courts.

Justice Minister Davit Harutiunian, who attended the GRECO meeting,
also stressed the importance of the planned code. He further argued
that the authorities have recently widened the circle of individuals
obliged to submit income and asset declarations to a new
anti-corruption commission that will start functioning in
April. Harutiunian claimed that the commission will have sufficient
powers to check the veracity of those disclosures and sanction
officials hiding their revenues.

Despite having undergone frequent structural changes over the past two
decades, Armenia's judicial system is still regarded by many people as
corrupt and dependent on the government. Armenia's former human rights
ombudsman, Karen Andreasian, highlighted the problem in a 2013 report
that accused judges of routinely taking bribes.

At least four Armenian judges are known to have been arrested and
prosecuted on charges of bribery over the past year. 

RFE/RL Report 
Watchdog Skeptical About Sarkisian's Anti-Graft Move
November 29, 2017
Karlen Aslanian

Armenia's leading anti-graft watchdog reacted with skepticism on
Wednesday to a tougher fight against bribery and other corrupt
practices ordered by President Serzh Sarkisian.

Sarkisian issued the order on Tuesday when he met with the leadership
of the Special Investigative Service (SIS), a law-enforcement body
tasked with combatting abuse of power by various state official. "For
us, the fight against corruption is a matter of national security
which simply has no alternative," he said in a speech.

"It's not the first time that I'm hearing that," said Varuzhan
Hoktanian, the director of programs at the Anti-Corruption Center
(ACC), the Armenian affiliate of Transparency International. "That has
been said periodically and is repeated now. Serzh Sarkisian has
repeatedly said such things since [taking office in] 2008."

"So I don't see a fundamentally new anti-corruption policy here,"
Hoktanian told RFE/RL's Armenian service (

Armenia ranked, together with Bolivia and Vietnam, 113th out of 176
countries evaluated in Transparency International's most recent
Corruption Perceptions Index released in January.

Prime Minister Karen Karapetian has repeatedly pledged to tackle
corruption and boost the rule of law in the country since he was named
by Sarkisian to run the Armenian government in September last year. He
has periodically discussed his reform agenda with Western diplomats in
Yerevan. Karapetian's most recent meeting with the U.S. Ambassador
Richard Mills held on October 20 reportedly focused on his
government's anti-corruption efforts.

In a February speech, Mills urged the authorities in Yerevan to send a
"clear message from on high that corruption will not be tolerated and
that no one is above the law." 

RFE/RL Report
EU Envoy Upbeat On Closer Ties With Armenia
November 27, 2017
Ruzanna Stepanian
The head of the European Union Delegation in Yerevan, Piotr Switalski,
expressed confidence on Monday that the EU and Armenia will
successfully implement a newly signed agreement to deepen their
political and economic relations.

Switalski refused to be drawn on the EU's response to the Armenian
government's possible failure to honor its new commitments stemming
from the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA)
signed in Brussels on Friday.

"I don't find it appropriate to speak of sanctions or failures because
I am quite optimistic that this agreement will give new impetus to our
cooperation," he told a news conference. "I am always optimistic. I
was optimistic months ago that this agreement will be signed this
year, and I am equally optimistic about its implementation."

"We will succeed. I am confident," added the diplomat.

Citing "common values" shared by the two sides, the CEPA commits the
Armenian government to implementing political reforms and
"approximating" national economic laws and regulations to those of the
EU. Yerevan will regularly report to Brussels on "the progress made
with regard to approximation" specified by several annexes to the
agreement. This "regulatory harmonization" will cover business
regulation, agriculture, transport, environment, consumer protection
and even energy.

The 350-page document does not contain far-reaching free trade-related
provisions, unlike an Association Agreement that was negotiated by
Armenian and EU officials in the summer of 2013. That deal fell
through after the Armenian leadership opted to join a Russian-led
trade bloc.

Switalski also announced that the EU plans to provide Armenia with up
to 170 million euros ($200 million) in fresh economic aid by
2020. "But this does not include those opportunities that have been
opened up by this agreement," he said. "I hope that we will be able to
use those funds very efficiently."

Speaking at Friday's signing ceremony in Brussels, the EU's foreign
policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said the CEPA "will broaden the
scope of our relations." "It will now be important to implement it in
full, so it can deliver its full benefits," she said. "We will work
together on implementation and on monitoring the implementation we
will bring forward." 

A passionate response to Mkhitarian's treatment at Manchester United


I follow Mkhitaryan and football.

His game went down...
1. Because of maltreatment, even abuse, by obtuse Mourinho. 
2. Mourinho is not interested in exciting football and creative players. He his happy with boring games as long as he wins. 
3. Mourinho also played psychological games (hot and cold, good cop and bad cop treatment) with Mkhitaryan. From day one there was a coldness, if not hostility, toward Mkhitaryan.
4. I watched so many times when Mkhitaryan was substituted mid-game Mourinho wouldn't acknowledge his presence when the athlete left the pitch. Mourinho's behavior is different when he substitutes other players: he smiles at them, pats their back, even shakes their hands in encouragement. This was a repeated public insult to Mkhitaryan.
5. When Mkhitaryan scored or assisted he barely got recognition from mismanager Mourinho. However, Mourinho was eager with his criticism when Mkhitaryan didn't play well.
6. As you know, most of the key players of MU are black. They, too, have been less than impressive. However, Mourinho is careful not to criticize them. But he is free with his criticism of the Armenian Mkhitaryan. I guess snide Mourinho has no fear of being called 'racist' by Armenians or by the remote and small country called Armenia.

The above behavior of Mourinho psychologically hurt Mkhitaryan. He became a ghost on the pitch, his expression downright depressed. I hope he leaves scorpion Mourinho post haste and either returns to his former German club or finds a niche with a British team which appreciates his talents.