Sunday, 30 March 2008

Armenian News

“Popular Walk-ins”: Protesters claim restrictions of free movement as police enforce anti-protest measuresBy Marianna Grigoryan
ArmeniaNow reporter
28 March, 2008

The book-reading action planned in downtown Yerevan as part of the continuing “popular walks” on Wednesday fell through. Eyewitnesses say only a few people managed to read out books in a low voice, after which police began to take people to central Yerevan’s police station in cars.

“What was going on yesterday was a disgrace. I cannot describe it otherwise. An absurd disgrace,” Ruzan Khachatryan, the spokeswoman for opposition leader and Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s ally Stepan Demirchyan’s People’s Party of Armenia (PPA), told ArmeniaNow on Thursday. “Without any warning people were being taken to police headquarters for questioning only because they happened to be walking in or around Northern Avenue at that moment.”

Armenia’s first ombudsperson Larisa Alaverdyan, who together with her fellow lawmakers from Heritage Party’s parliamentary faction was at the scene, says more than four dozen people were brought to the police precinct of Yerevan’s Kentron district that night.

“This data was provided to us at the Kentron Police. People who were simply on a stroll though that part of the capital had been rounded up and brought to police. All of them were released later, however that artificially and demonstratively created situation not only infringes on people’s rights, but also stirs up the situation,” Alaverdyan told ArmeniaNow.

The situation, which was “stirred up” still before the bloody events of March 1, took an interesting turn after the silent mourning march of March 21 (the first day after the state of emergency was lifted), as “popular walks” became the name to call such protest actions.

“Popular walks” was a response to the controversial legislative amendment (to the law “On holding meetings, public rallies, marches and demonstrations”) passed overwhelmingly (90 votes to 6) by Armenian lawmakers at a special meeting on March 17, which expanded opportunities for the authorities to refuse to sanction mass events, including public rallies, marches and demonstrations. At the suggestion of one Republican faction member, the amendments came into effect not within ten days as is foreseen by the routine procedure, but already the following day.

The apparent goal of the legislative “amendment” adopted on the threshold of the end of the emergency rule was to silence dissenting voices that could take to street protests and marches again.

“Solutions are not given to problems through pressures, as pressures only bring about new tensions,” says Artur Sakunts, head of the Vanadzor-based regional branch of the Armenian Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly. “These actions are outside the legal, human-rights and political frameworks. As a result, people had to find new options.”

As a “new option”, every day beginning March 22, at 6 pm. groups of people go into the streets in downtown Yerevan as part of the launched “popular walks” – to take a stroll around the place, to have debates, to play chess or, how it was planned, to read a book, be it the Bible or some sci-fi literature.

“The parade of illegalities by the authorities is continuing,” says Ruzan Khachatryan, who says she will bring a complaint to court claiming that her right to walking had been restricted.

The PPA member says otherwise she will also apply to the National Assembly for a new amendment to be moved into the law in order to restrict “a person’s right to walk in the city”.

“They pass amendments that are beyond logic,” Khachatryan says. “I understand that changes have been introduced in the law, but in these same changes I haven’t seen anything outlawing walks, book- reading, for which an individual can be forcibly and without explanations put into a police car and taken to a police station.”

However, police officials say police are simply doing their job.

“We do our job,” Artyom Babayan, Chief of the Yerevan Police’s Criminal Investigations Department, explained to RFE/RL’s Armenian Service. “It is possible that some criminal on our wanted list is in that street, right? Is it possible to check that in those conditions? Impossible. That’s why there are corresponding divisions, places, regulated work.”

According to political analyst Aghasi Yenokyan, such “regulated work” will only fuel tensions instead of easing them.

“Such actions are aimed at creating an atmosphere of fear,” Yenokyan told ArmeniaNow.

He fears an escalation of tensions, since, he says, the daily “solutions” and repressions offered by the authorities to show that everything is under control do not produce a positive result.

“No doubt, the “popular walk” will continue, since it is impossible to change the situation with demonstrative violence,” Yenokyan believes. “And in this situation it is no longer important whether you are at fault or not, whether you break the law or not. I think that even the created absurd situation will not stop people from raising their voice of protest.”

Governing Republican Party of Armenia spokesman and MP Eduard Sharmazanov told ArmeniaNow that “perhaps there is discontent” in the country, but not “an atmosphere of fear”.

“I would advise everyone to be more correct. Only legal evaluations should be given to legal issues. If someone’s rights have been infringed upon, let them turn to court,” Sharmazanov said. “Armenia has one way – towards democracy. And democracy can be developed only in a country where there is law and order.”

Despite the authorities assertions of “establishing law and order”, on March 27, Human Rights Watch, a New York-based watchdog, urged the Armenian government “to lift new restrictions on freedom of assembly and cease detaining opposition supporters participating in peaceful protests,” saying that on March 25-27 police detained at least 80 participants of “popular walk” actions.

The Armenian government should allow peaceful demonstrations, not ban them,” said Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The new restrictions effectively punish peaceful demonstrators for the violence that took place on March 1”

HRW said that the latest restrictions on public assembly are “indefinite” and “violate Armenia’s obligation to respect peaceful assembly.” (Full text of the HRW statement is available at


2008-03-28 01:16:00

ArmInfo. Today, the police repeated its yesterday's action and arrested
25 people walking in Northern Avenue.

ArmInfo's correspondent reports that policemen were approaching small
groups of people walking in the avenue, putting them into police cars
and taking away. The policemen told journalists that they were not
arresting ordinary people.

There was a nervous atmosphere in the avenue from 6:00 PM till 8:00
PM. The representative of the office of Levon Ter-Petrossyan Levon
Zurabyan, the former minister of national security David Shahnazaryan,
the wife of the former foreign minister Alexander Arzumanyan Melisa
Brown and other supporters of the opposition were seen there. But
the policemen did not approach them.

The detainees were taken to the police departments of their communities
and will mostly probably be set free just like the people arrested


Opposition Lists Conditions For Dialogue With Government
By Ruzanna Stepanian and Anna Saghabalian

Former President Levon Ter-Petrosian and his leading political allies on
Friday reaffirmed their stated readiness to engage in `dialogue' with
Armenia's leadership but said it is conditional on an end to the ongoing
government crackdown on the opposition.

The two dozen opposition parties aligned to Ter-Petrosian again urged
the authorities to fully accept the European Union's proposals for
ending Armenia's grave post-election crisis.

In two separate statements issued early this month, the EU's Slovenian
presidency said that in order to defuse the crisis, the Armenian
government should lift the state of emergency, negotiate with the
Ter-Petrosian-led opposition, release all political prisoners and allow
an `independent investigation' into the March 1 clashes in Yerevan.

The administration of outgoing President Robert Kocharian has since
lifted the state of emergency but continued to arrest opposition leaders
and activists. It has also effectively rejected the EU's calls for an
independent inquiry into the unrest.

Citing the continuing arrests and a de facto ban on opposition rallies
in Yerevan, the opposition parties said in a joint statement that
emergency rule essentially remains in force. They also claimed that the
crackdown is only `deepening public hatred and anger' towards Kocharian
and his incoming successor, Serzh Sarkisian.

`The regime can not carry on with these methods,' said Levon Zurabian, a
figure close to Ter-Petrosian. `We are going to prove that.'

`This tough course adopted by the authorities has no prospects,' he told
RFE/RL. `It is coming under both external and internal pressure. I will
fizzle out one day and pave the way for a much more influential
[opposition] movement. That is a matter of days or perhaps months.'

Zurabian said the Ter-Petrosian camp will continue to apply for
government permission to resume its rallies in Yerevan but would not say
what it will do if those continue to be rejected by the authorities. The
statement by the opposition parties also did not specify if the former
Armenian leader is ready to stage unsanctioned street protests.

Zurabian admitted that the opposition is hamstrung by the fact that more
than a hundred of its senior and active members are currently under
arrest on charges mainly stemming from the March 1 violence.

One of them, Hovannes Harutiunian, who was a Ter-Petrosian proxy on
election day, was tried and sentenced on Friday to 18 months in prison
for illegally buying and possessing bullets. A district court in Yerevan
dismissed Harutiunian's arguments that the bullets were purchased for
his hunting rifle registered with the police. His lawyer, Vartan
Zurnachian, dismissed the accusation as unfounded and politically

Another arrested opposition supporter, Seryozha Siradeghian, walked free
in court after being handed a suspended two-year jail term earlier this
week. The 73-year-old resident of a village in northern Armenia is the
elder brother of Vano Siradeghian, Ter-Petrosian's former interior
minister who fled the country in 2000 to avoid prosecution on murder

It also emerged that state prosecutors have formally charged Arshak
Banuchian, the deputy director of the Matenadaran museum of ancient
Armenian manuscripts who actively campaigned for Ter-Petrosian's victory
in the February 19 presidential election. Banuchian is accused of not
only organizing illegal rallies and `mass riots' but also handing out
vote bribes to residents of the southern Vayots Dzor region on election


Freeze On U.S. Aid To Armenia `Very Real'
By Ruben Meloyan

The United States could freeze its multimillion-dollar economic
assistance to Armenia if the authorities in Yerevan continue to crack
down on dissent, restrict civil liberties and roll back democratic
reforms, a senior U.S. diplomat reiterated on Friday.

The Armenian government's unprecedented crackdown on the opposition that
followed last month's disputed presidential election has prompted
serious concern from Washington. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice said on March 12 that the imposition of a state of emergency in
Yerevan `made it necessary' to freeze some of the U.S. aid programs. She
appeared to refer to $235.6 million in aid which Washington has promised
allocate to Armenia under its Millennium Challenge Account (MCA)

In a March 11 letter to President Robert Kocharian, John Danilovich,
chief executive of the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC),
warned that the U.S. government agency managing the scheme could
`suspend or terminate' the five-year aid package. In particular, he
sited the 20-day state of emergency and the resulting government ban on
independent news reporting.

U.S. officials subsequently welcomed the lifting of emergency rule but
said more needs to be done to improve Armenia's democratic credentials.
Daniel Fried, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian
affairs, told RFE/RL last week that the authorities should free
individuals arrested for their participation in post-election opposition
demonstrations and engage in dialogue with opposition leader Levon

Speaking to journalists in Yerevan on Friday, the U.S. charge d'affaires
in Armenia, Joseph Pennington, stressed that the promised assistance has
not been frozen yet. `That decision has not been made,' he said. `We
think it is only fair to give the new administration time to turn the
situation around. So if we see those negative trends turn into a
positive direction, obviously that will have a positive impact on the
decisions of MCC.'

`But if we don't see a commitment on the Armenian side to get back on a
democratic trajectory, then obviously the possibility of suspension is
very real,' he added.

Pennington noted that Armenia's eligibility for MCA funding was `in
trouble' even before the dramatic post-election events in Yerevan. He
pointed to a perceived lack of democratic change, restrictions on press
freedom and the scale of government corruption in the country.

The U.S. aid package is designed to significantly reduce rural poverty
by upgrading Armenia's irrigation networks and about 1,000 kilometers of
rural roads. According to Armenian and U.S. officials, it would benefit
75 percent of the country's million-strong rural population.

Kocharian shrugged off last week the U.S. threats to freeze the aid,
saying that the Armenian government can find other sources of funding
for the rural infrastructure projects. He also scoffed at U.S. President
George W. Bush's failure so far to congratulate Prime Minister Serzh
Sarkisian on his hotly disputed victory in the February 19 presidential

Pennington would not be drawn on whether or not Bush will eventually
send a congratulatory message to Sarkisian. `I don't want to speculate
on what the White House or Washington may or may not do,' he said. `But
what I can say is that the U.S. government is looking forward to working
with the new president and getting Armenia back to a democratic



28.03.2008 18:19 GMT+04:00

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ On March 28, the UN Human Rights Council adopted
a resolution On Prevention of Genocide introduced by Armenia, the RA
MFA press office reported.

The document is the continuation of Armenia-initiated proposals on
genocide early prevention and early warning signs.

Armenia states that crime committed through ethnic, racial and national
hatred are crime against humanity.

Mechanisms for prevention and punishment of genocide perpetrators
should be worked out on the basis of UN Convention.

Armenia proposed discussions of the resolution in UN structures,
countries, non-governmental organizations.

According to RA permanent representative to the UN Zohrab Mnatsakanyan,
prevention of genocides and adoption of the resolution points out to
the international community's moral responsibility before the memory
of genocide victims.

The resolution was approved by 58 states, including all EU member
countries, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Norway and others.

March 27, 2008

YEREVAN, March 27. /ARKA/. The Knesset of Israel decided to discuss the
issue of the Armenian genocide. The motion to put the issue on agenda
has been made by the leader of Socialistic Party "Merets" Haim Oron.

All 11 deputies of the parliament present at the sitting, including
Agriculture Minister Shalom Simkhon, supported the motion.

Simkhon used "tragedy" instead of "genocide", yet confirmed that
"everybody knows the history; hence the issue needs to be put on
he agenda".

"Israel was trying to be an intermediary between Armenia and Turkey,
but the attempts produced no results," the government member said.

After the positive decision of the Knesset it will be decided which
parliament commission is going to consider the issue. Supposedly,
it will be the commission for education. On March 14 2007 Israeli
Parliament turned down discussion of the Armenian issue.

Armenian genocide was the first genocide committed in XX
century. Turkey rejects the accusation of massacres and the killing
of one and a half million Armenians were killed during World War I.

The fact of the Armenian genocide is recognized by many countries,
particularly by Uruguay, Russia, France, Lithuania, most of the
U.S. states, as well as by the parliaments of Greece, Cyprus,
Argentina, Belgium, Wales, National Council of Switzerland, Common
House of Canada, the Seym of Poland and lower house of Italian

Fulya Ozerkan
Turkish Daily News
March 28 2008

Turkey engages in diplomatic efforts with the Israeli government and
the Foreign Ministry to block the genocide initiative, and is assured
that the motion will die in the Israeli panel before reaching the
full parliament floor.

The Israeli parliament, or Knesset, decided Wednesday to hold an
unprecedented debate over the killings of Armenians at the hands of
the Ottoman Empire during World War I, confirmed an Israeli diplomat.

The move was led by Israel's left wing Meretz leader, Haim Oron,
who calls for the Jewish state's recognition of Armenian genocide
allegations. The parliamentary debate will first take place in the
Knesset's education or foreign affairs and defense committee and
later may be forwarded to the General Assembly for a final vote.

"It is not a decision of the Israeli government. The policy and the
attitude of the government and the state of Israel toward this issue
remain as it is: Israel thinks it is the job of historians to determine
exactly what happened in the past between the Turks and Armenians,"
the Israeli diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity told the
Turkish Daily News.

Although the members of the left wing party come up with similar
motions every year ahead of April 24, the day of commemoration of
Armenian deaths, it is the first time that the genocide claims will
be opened to debate in an Israeli parliamentary committee.

"In the committee, the government of Israel is going to use its power
and vote according to its policy," said the diplomat.

The vote will not be on the recognition or non-recognition of the
genocide claims but on whether it will be discussed in the General
Assembly, he noted. "It is all preliminary discussions about a
possible decision."

Turkey assured motion will die

Turkey described the move a "fait accompli" that came at a time when
only 12 lawmakers were present in the 122-seat Knesset. Among them
only one deputy - Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon - was representing
the Israeli government, learnt the TDN.

Simhon explained the Israeli position during the session and said
Israel is not interested in taking a side but he did not oppose the
proposal considering his objection would not change the result given
the other 11 in favor.

Turkey engaged in diplomatic efforts both at the level of the Israeli
government and the Israeli Foreign Ministry to bloc the initiative.

"We were assured [by Israel] that the motion will die in the committee
before reaching the Assembly floor," said a Turkish diplomat. "Israel
is fully aware that relations will be seriously harmed otherwise."

The Israeli diplomat emphasized that Israel understood the sensitivity
of Turkey on the Armenian question and reiterated that the Israeli
government would "walk according to its lines and also convince
members of the Knesset to vote down the motion."

"The Turkish government and the Foreign Ministry know very well the
position of the Israeli government," he said.

There are 5,000 Armenians living in Israel. The Armenian diaspora has
been lobbying for the recognition of genocide claims by the parliaments
of the countries where Armenians reside. A number of parliaments
have so far passed genocide resolutions. Turkey believes it is an
issue that should be decided not by politicians but historians and
calls for a joint committee with Armenia to study the allegations,
a proposal that has not received a response from Yerevan.

28.03.2008 13:21 GMT+04:00

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Israeli-Turkish relations leave much to be
desired in recent times. In this view, Knesset's decision to discuss
the Armenian Genocide issue was quite predictable, Director of the
Institute of Oriental Studies at the RA Academy of Sciences, Dr Ruben
Safrastyan told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter.

"With Islamists coming to power, Turkey is experiencing reconsideration
of the Middle East policy, especially relations with Israel," he said.

"The crack in relations emerged in 2006, during the Israeli-Lebanese
collisions. The initiative of Israeli MPs might be also linked to the
activity of the Jewish organizations in the United States. Even if
Knesset votes the motion down, it will do good. The more people speak
about the necessity to recognize the Armenian Genocide, the better."

On March 26, the Knesset decided that a parliamentary committee
will discuss whether to recognize the World War I-era mass murder of
Armenians by the Ottoman Empire as Genocide.


Saturday, 29 March 2008

Armenian News - Dashnaks, Orinats Yerkir Defend Deal With Sarkisian

By Ruzanna Khachatrian

Two major Armenian parties that challenged Prime Minister Serzh
Sarkisian in the February 19 presidential election defended on Thursday
their decision to join a new coalition government to be formed by the
president-elect next month.

During the election campaign the presidential candidates of the Armenian
Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) and the Orinats Yerkir Party
strongly criticized and blamed the government for socioeconomic and
other problems facing the country. Orinats Yerkir's Artur Baghdasarian
was particularly scathing in attacking the government and Sarkisian in

According to Armen Rustamian, a Dashnaktsutyun leader, his party
eventually agreed to cut a new power-sharing deal with Sarkisian because
the latter committed himself to implementing sweeping political and
economic reforms. Rustamian pointed to ambitious goals which he,
Sarkisian, Baghdasarian and Prosperous Armenia Party leader Gagik
Tsarukian set in a joint declaration signed last week.

The four-party declaration called for the strengthening of the rule of
law, freedom of speech and human rights protection, a `substantial
increase in public trust in electoral processes,' and a `comprehensive
and effective fight against corruption.' Its signatories also pledged to
significantly boost living standards in Armenia through job creation and
improved business competition.

Rustamian also cited the need to meet what he called new security
challenges facing Armenia since the March 1 unrest in Yerevan. `A new
situation has emerged since March 1,' he told RFE/RL. `Security is now
the top priority. There are now threats to both internal and external

Heghine Bisharian, the number two figure in the Orinats Yerkir
leadership, also defended Baghdasarian's decision to return to a
government in which his party was already represented from 2003-2006.
`You have to be in government in order to implement pre-election
programs,' she said.

Bisharian insisted that the vast majority of about 260,000 Armenians
who, according to official election results, voted for Baghdasarian
support the coalition accord. Rustamian was likewise confident that the
deal will not lose Dashnaktsutyun popular support. `Our voters have
reason to be particularly satisfied with our behavior because we have
followed the same line both during the pre-election period and now,' he


Internal Bleeding: Crisis has turned “Armenians” against “Karabakhis”
By Vahan Ishkhanyan
ArmeniaNow reporter
28 March, 2008
“For the first time in my life I did not say I am Karabakhtsi [Karabakh Armenian]. They asked me where I am from, I told from Abovyan,” ArmeniaNow photographer Anahit Hayrapetyan tells about how every photographer and journalist in the neighborhood of the Myaskinyan monument on March 1 was asked about their descent in a fierce search for Karabakhtsis.

Disinformation was spread that the troops that dispersed the sitting strike in the Liberty Square spoke the Karabakh dialect.
But it was not an occasional matter: it was the expression of xenophobia generated by LTP’s movement, whose number one enemy turned to be the Karabakhtsis.

The next day, March 2 a taxi driver crossing the damaged Mashtots avenue was showing me the shops explaining which belongs to whom, trying to justify the looting: ‘this is Lfik’s, this one belongs to a Karabakhtsi.’ Lfik is oligarch Samvel Alexanyan who is from Aparan [town in the North-West to Yerevan]. But what do the Karabakhtsis have to do with this? The driver continued – the Karabakhtsis have to be driven out.

On March 2 morning near the site of the fighting a man surveying the rubble saw soldiers on guard and said to no one in particular, but in their direction: “Karabakhi dogs”.
This is not a single case as it has become a common point of view during the last commotion.

The negative attitude toward the Karabakh Armenians appeared when the politicians from Karabakh who were brought by Ter-Petrosyan to solidify his power against the oppositional forces, overtook it and began using the fruits of the clan system Ter-Petrosyan had created. If the system is based on clans people protest against the clan in power. In former times the target of protests was the All-Armenian Movement and its leader, then those who forced Ter-Petrosyan’s resignation. The system remains the same; if tomorrow the Akhakalaktsi Armenians [Akhalkalak is the provincial center of the Javakhq region in Georgia, populated predominantly with Armenians] overtake the power they will get the use of it.

LTP turned the negative attitude toward the Karabakh Armenians into hatred, declaring the authorities Tatar-Mongols and saying: “Because of these two, 15,000 people have moved from Karabakh to Armenia, mainly Yerevan, within the last ten years. Each of them has been given a position. It did not suffice, and now it’s the sphere of business given to them (it’s unclear who has checked the figures).”
Enmity was the main weapon of the leader for five months, when he stated the only mistake of the years of his rule was bringing the two politicians from Karabakh, the only thing he apologized for (he even defended the clan system he created by saying the 1995 Constitution was better than the amendments adopted in 2005); he declared all the deficiencies in Armenia originated in 1998, he refuted there were election frauds and state robbery before that, presenting the years of his rule as ideal times. For a protesting crowd the words of the charismatic leader were unquestionable and undisputed truth.

Explaining the problems of the state with persons alone and blaming those persons in deadly sins (perpetrating the October 27 assassinations to cede Meghri), he inspired faith in the mass. They believed ‘go till the end’, and also made keeping power a matter of personal security for Sargsyan and Kocharyan.

LTP and his supporters increased the number of their voters by growing the hostile rhetoric of the campaign. LTP stated Serzh and Robert have served the Turks with servility for a long time. On the other side he called traitors and scum all those who did not join him and instead of opening cracks among the authorities, as he said, created deep breach of enmity in the society: if the leader calls somebody a traitor the mass is ready to destroy. (In the newspaper “168 Hours” singer Shushan Petrosyan told with horror she received letters that called her a traitor for supporting Serzh Sargsyan and threatened to kill her children; she said she did not take her son to school for two weeks because in fear of the threats. And the post-election demonstrations that passed by Vazgen Manukyan’s office scanned ‘Vazgen – a traitor!’, because their leader had stated so.)

However, a primary target remained the Karabakis, in a way that drew comparison ethnic fascism in the 20s-30s in Weimar Germany, where corruption, oligarchy, depreciation, monopolization of economy were blamed on the Jews. (The Constitution adopted in the Weimar Republic in 1919 resembled much the 1995 Constitution adopted in Armenia, where the strong centralized presidential system did not allow for society’s participation in decision-making and facilitated to the oligarchy and the monopolized economy that brought the Nazis to power as a solution to the crisis).

The anti-Karabakhi prejudice reached its climax during the post-voting rallies in February, when a professor in Opera Square [the Liberty Square, the Theater Square] underlining their Karabakhi descent publicized the names of those rectors of universities who have to be punished amid the ardent shouts of the mass. And another speaker stated: “The Armenians in this square are thrice more in number that the Karabakh citizens. Long live the Armenians!”
Armenians of non-Karabakhi descent began writing in blogs as a means of protest calling themselves Karabakhis as Turks called themselves Armenians after Dink’s assassination.

The 5 month-long political trainings resulted on March 1 taking the form of the Molotov cocktails and metal bars. The mass attacked the police shouting: ‘Turks, Karabakhis go away!’ They say the spirit of the Armenian people was broken that day; but if something was broken then maybe that was the spirit of xenophobia.

Unlike Germany, where xenophobia was targeted against an external element, the ‘other’ for Levon is his native – xenophobia aimed against part of a mono-ethnic nation. Just like nationalism searches for enemies for crises among other ethnicities, similarly the ‘pragmatists’ radically denying national projects, search for an enemy to blame the crisis on, inside the nation. A poet woman, renowned intellectual inspired by the hatred of hundreds of thousands says Karabakhis are unable to run a state (LTP openly hinted on giving back Karabakh stating Karabakh is not a Kosovo and is unable to reach independence; he told in an interview Armenia has to restitute the damage caused to Azerbaijan). Thus, LTP supporters appearing in the name of liberalism became enemies of self-determination simply because those self-determined belong to their own ethnic group and because helping them ‘makes the country’s conditions hard.’

Unlike in Germany, where the one who created a non-democratic system and the one who appropriated it were different people, LTP was both the creator of the system and the betrayer of those who get use of it; that is, he is two in one, he wants to oust a clan to replace it with another, but never change the system he has authored.

Those who want to take the power are in the list of detained, 80 percent of them belong either to the All-Armenian Movement or are former officials from Republic party. And a wanted businessman Khachik Sukiasyan used to be the favorite oligarch in times of Levon’s rule, who, despite not being deprived of his incomes, had partially ceded his position to Gagik Tsarukyan. Many of the detained and other supporters of Levon have accumulated millions while in power and have not been punished, because they were replaced by people who equally get use of the system.

LTP was a version of the acting authorities ambushed behind the status of opposition, who having stated he is a tool to change the power turned the mob filled with hatred into a tool to provide the comeback of the old clans to power. Having cited the ‘Let there be no other sacrifice but me’, he sacrificed others, safe in his castle himself, with the coming threat hanging in the air ordered the demonstrators to stay and called for arms and resistance through his comrade-in-arms Pashinyan to hang another deadly sin to the authorities – shooting on people.

The system in ambush manifested itself not in words, but in deeds as it distributed bribes to voters and commissions and resorted to violence on election day equally with the authorities (a week ago head of LTP’s Ani headquarters was sentenced to 7 years in prison for beating Serzh’s representative). And LTP who declared himself a president elect in the first run even before the ballot boxes were opened, revealed the fight to follow would not be for justice, confusing the growing mass.

Experiencing the barbarism in history is not the most secure way to understand it, but is more efficient than the history textbooks, when you understand how the image of the enemy is created because of crises and injustice.

The times of slaughtering one’s own people have passed, but the possibility of persecutions and losses still remains and it is predictable, LTP would begin a hunt for ‘traitors’ and thousands of Karabakis would become deprived of homeland and would wonder to the country that would not accept them with pleasure if the region is returned.

And the danger remains: two days ago a neighbor to an acquaintance of mine refused to allow a nurse to give her an injection because the nurse appeared to be of Karabakh descent.
As long as Armenia of the 1995 Constitution (as the Weimar one) has not been reformed, as long as the clan, corrupt and oligarchic system persists, the energy of hatred and zeal to destroy the ‘enemy’ still threatens the country and the threat of war with Azerbaijan grows in parallel.

Human Rights Watch

Armenia: Lift Ban on Peaceful Protest

Opposition Demonstrators Detained Under New Restrictions

(New York, March 27, 2008) – The Armenian government should lift new restrictions on freedom of assembly and cease detaining opposition supporters participating in peaceful protests, Human Rights Watch said today.

On March 25 and 26, 2008 police detained at least 60 opposition supporters in Yerevan who were peacefully demonstrating against restrictions imposed last week on public assemblies following violent clashes on March 1 between police and opposition protesters. All were released after several hours in detention, but on March 27, another 21 opposition supporters were detained and their fate remains unknown.

“The Armenian government should allow peaceful demonstrations, not ban them,” said Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The new restrictions effectively punish peaceful demonstrators for the violence that took place on March 1.”

The Armenian National Assembly passed amendments on March 18 which allow for extensive restrictions on public gatherings following “disturbances leading to the loss of human life.” The wording is a clear reference to the events of March 1, when violence erupted between security forces and protesters after police had earlier used force to disperse demonstrators protesting alleged fraud during the February 19 presidential elections. At least eight people were killed and more than 130 injured. The restrictions on public assembly are indefinite, remaining in place until the completion of an investigation into alleged crimes committed during the disturbance.

Every evening since a three-week state of emergency was lifted on March 21, several hundred opposition activists and supporters have been organizing what they call “public walks” on Northern Avenue, a pedestrian street in the capital’s downtown. They quietly protest against the government’s new restrictions on assembly. At these “public walks,” people walk around, chat with one another, sit on public benches, and play chess or read books. On March 25, police began detaining dozens of those participating in the “public walks.”

The new amendments violate Armenia’s obligation to respect peaceful assembly. The European Convention on Human Rights, to which Armenia is a party, guarantees freedom of assembly, and governments may not place unreasonable restrictions on this right. The European Court of Human Rights has described the right to assemble peacefully as “one of the foundations of a democratic society” and has made clear on a number of occasions that individuals cannot lose their right to peaceful assembly as a result of punishable acts committed by others in the course of a demonstration.

Authorities have used the changes to the law to deny at least six requests from opposition parties to hold demonstrations at Freedom Square in downtown Yerevan. The government justifies the denials by claiming that participants in the March 1 violence may seek to participate in future demonstrations as well.

Human Rights Watch spoke with four opposition supporters detained on March 26. One said: “I was sitting on a bench on Northern Avenue and reading a book, when two uniformed police officers approached me, asking me to go with them. When I asked why, they advised me not to ask questions and to just follow them if I wanted to avoid problems. I obeyed. There were others who did not obey this command, and the police twisted their arms behind their backs and stuffed them into a car.”

Opposition supporters were taken to the Kentron police station, photographed and asked for their names and addresses. Two hours later, they were transferred to Yerevan district police stations near their homes. After several hours, detainees were taken individually to the police department chief for a brief interrogation and then released. No official charges were brought against any of the detainees.

Police officials told Larisa Alaverdian, the former Ombudsperson of Armenia and now an opposition parliamentarian from the opposition Heritage Party, that the detentions of people participating in the “public walks” are done in order to question suspected opposition party activists as part of the criminal investigation into the March 1 events. However, one released detainee told Human Rights Watch that the police chief was trying to talk him out of participating in the “public walks” on Northern Avenue.

28 March, 2008

A number of NGOs have made a statement headlined "Armenia 2008:
Return to Stalinism" which runs:

"Democratic reforms in Armenia resulted in sowing state terror. In the
wake of the lifting of state of emergency the Armenian authorities
unleashed a new wave of violence and intimidations. Having adopted
Soviet KGB methods, the Armenian police and National Security Services
subject unprotected people to organised repressions.

Without any grounding or explanation, citizens are detained in broad
daylight and forcibly taken to police stations, thus any occasional
person passing by may fall a victim to suchlike violence. Only
afterwards in the police station is their identity revealed, their
participation in the March 1 rally clarified. People are subjected
to psychological pressure and intimidation.

The scale of such violence increases day by day. The Armenian
authorities arbitrarily violate constitutional rights and fundamental
freedoms of the people.

We, the undersigned, urge to immediately cease terror against the
people of Armenia

1."Youth for Democracy" NGO

2.Transparency International Anti-corruption Center NGO

3."Asparez" Journalists' Club

4. "Krtutyan Asparez" NGO

5 Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Armenian Committee NGO

6 Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Vanadzor Office

7. "Huys" NGO

8. "We Plus" NGO

9. "Victims of State Needs" NGO

10. "Sksela" Youth Movement.

28.03.2008 15:20

The night of March 30 (the last Sunday of March) at 2 a.m. the pointers
of the clock should be drawn an hour forward, marking the start of
"summer time."

RA Deputy Minister of Trade and Economic Development Garnik Badalyan
told Armenpress that the "summer time" was created artificially to
make more efficient use of the sunny days and ease the overload of
the energy sphere.

The real working time in our republic is the "winter time," which
comes into force on the last Sunday of October.


The Economist - Troubled Armenia, Protests continued‏

Troubled Armenia

Protests continued

Mar 27th 2008 | YEREVAN
From The Economist print edition

Armenia is still teetering, and war clouds are gathering

IN HIS Easter service Karekin II, spiritual leader of Armenian Christians, exhorted his congregation to be “one flock, with one shepherd”. For diplomats present the prelate's words were laced with meaning. Might he be urging Armenians to rally behind the president-elect, Serzh Sarkisian?

Over a month after Mr Sarkisian, the prime minister, declared victory in the February 19th presidential election, his future is uncertain. Trouble began when thousands of protesters led by his rival, Levon Ter-Petrosian, took to the streets, claiming that Mr Sarkisian stole the vote. The protests turned bloody when eight people were killed on March 1st. Emergency rule was imposed, although it was lifted as promised on March 21st. But later that day hundreds of riot police intervened when a largely female crowd tried to hold a vigil in memory of the dead.

Opposition supporters are being arrested in droves. One activist alleged that his car was torched because he backed a pro-opposition news channel, Gala. A hastily crafted law to bar political gatherings has been approved by parliament. Such tactics are calculated to stifle opposition for good. But can they?

Some Western diplomats fret that Armenia's strife might tempt a bellicose Azerbaijan to try and regain control of the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. The Azeris are said to be spooked by Kosovo's successful campaign for independence and fear that Nagorno-Karabakh might win international recognition. Ominously, Azerbaijan threatened to pull out of international peace talks after America, Russia and France voted against a UN resolution calling for the withdrawal of Armenian forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding region. This follows some of the deadliest border skirmishes between Azeri and Armenian forces in years.

Mr Sarkisian is due to be sworn in on April 9th. He “needs to win the confidence of the Armenian people, so that we may unite before this threat [from Azerbaijan],” says one official. The surest way to do that would be to order an independent investigation of the March 1st events, declare an amnesty for recent political detainees, and form a cabinet untainted by graft, suggests Anahit Bakshian, an opposition member of parliament.

The Americans are threatening to freeze millions of dollars in aid. Armenia should “pull itself together and get back on a democratic path,” says Dan Fried, of the State Department. Or Armenia “may go the Belarus way,” says Mrs Bakshian. Yet few believe that this is what Mr Sarkisian would choose. Although a nationalist and no liberal, he has presided over record growth and a sharp reduction in poverty. A chess player and veteran of the Karabakh war in the 1990s, Mr Sarkisian has kept close ties with Russia even as he has courted the West.

Mikhail Baghdassarov, a businessman and ally of Mr Sarkisian, believes he will usher in young Western-trained technocrats and make the market-friendly governor of the central bank, Tigran Sarkisian, prime minister. Mr Ter-Petrosian vows to keep his supporters on the streets until the election is overturned. There is a whiff of revenge about his campaign, but his fiery talk of justice and freedom has inspired Armenians. “Until this election I wasn't interested in politics. Levon gave us the feeling that we can shape our own destiny,” says a young Armenian painter. “No amount of repression can take that feeling away.”


Post-Election Polarisation of Armenian Diaspora‏

Joint Statement of the Armenian Assembly of America, the Armenian General Benevolent Union, the Armenian National Committee of America, the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern/Western) and the Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America (Eastern/ Western) on Recent Events in Armenia

As leading Armenian American organizations, we stand in solidarity with the state and the people of Armenia as the nation confronts the current political crisis.

We are deeply saddened by the violence, divisiveness, and deaths during the post-electoral street unrest in the capital and extend our heartfelt sympathies to all the families of the victims. We condemn all violent acts, including assaults, vandalism, and looting, and expect, consistent with due process of law, that the organizers and perpetrators will be brought to justice.

We urge all parties to work peacefully within Armenia's civic and legal structures to address their outstanding differences and restore Armenia's political environment to a state of normalcy in as timely and responsible a manner as possible. We join with all Armenians in reaffirming our people's common commitment to the security of Armenia and Artsakh in a challenging and often dangerous region, and to cooperate toward our shared aim of strengthening an open and democratic Armenian homeland, based upon the rule of law, social and economic justice, freedom of expression and the media, and equal opportunity for all.

As Armenian Americans, proud and vital partners in the future of the Armenian nation, we are ready to cooperate with the newly-elected President and the government. We remain committed to doing our part to serve our homeland and the Armenian Nation as we have done throughout our long history. Armenia will continue to inspire and sustain generations of Armenians who have lived, as we do today, beyond her borders.


27 March, 2008

We read with interest the joint statement of the Armenian Assembly of
America, The Armenian General Benevolent Union, the Armenian National
Committee of America, the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America
(Eastern/Western) and the Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church
of America (Eastern/Western) regarding the recent events in Armenia.

We join them in expressing our heartfelt sympathies to all families of
the victims, condemn all violent acts and expect that the perpetrators
will be brought to justice.

We reaffirm our commitment to strive "toward our shared aim of
strengthening an open and democratic Armenian homeland, based upon
the rule of law, social and economic justice, freedom of expression
and the media, and equal opportunity for all".

However, we do not understand how these noble principles could be
justly served with simultaneously "cooperating with the newly-elected
President and the government", when we have all witnessed how, for
the past 10 years, the latter have trampled those same principles.

How can we expect "rule of law" from these authorities, when they have
repeatedly violated the constitution by rigging the presidential and
parliamentary elections, falsified the constitutional referendum and
have made a mockery of the Oct. 27 legal proceedings, just to name
a few.

What kind of "social and economic justice" can we expect from these
authorities when they have created a class of oligarchs by usurping
the rights of their citizens, and monopolized the economy.

What kind of "freedom of expression and the media" can we expect from
these authorities, when they have banned independent TV stations from
the airwaves, established a public TV reminiscent of totalitarian

What kind of "equal opportunity for all" can we expect from these
authorities, when they have unjustly exploited the resources of the
country, leading to a deep mistrust between them and ordinary citizens.

A country, where the authorities capriciously violate the law, trample
justice, and usurp the rights and freedom of its people cannot be an
inspiration to its citizens or to the Diaspora. Rather than using empty
rhetoric, we should steadfastly uphold he aforementioned principles
for the sake of an independent, democratic and prosperous Armenia.

Armenian Council of America, March 26, 2008



Below is a letter to the various Armenian newspaper Editors.
Presidential elections in any country represent the only time that a people's voice can have a true meaning or value or importance. If that vote is not respected by a ruling regime, one can not expect dialogue or national unity.
The present dictatorial regime in Armenia operates behind a facade of Democracy. Therefore by accepting the nature of the present regime in Armenia, we are negating the essence of dialogue, national unity and national security.
How can one have dialogue with Serge Sargsyan who on March 7 said: "What I want to speak about is the elimination of the consequences of the disaster."
Why isn't S. Sargsyan trying to find the CAUSES of the disaster and the causes of the hatred first? And one of the major causes is that Sargsyan was NOT elected by the people of Armenia. And the responsiblity for the consequences of that injustice remains solely on the shoulders of the ruling regime in Armenia. How can there be 2.3 million eligible voters when the population of Armenia does not exceed 2 million, or say 2.5 million if you like? The unrest started when, within the same day, Serge Sargsyan was declared the "winner".
Prof. Balakirian, in an article published in Massis Weekly of March 22 (see the web site below), clearly proves that the actual votes that Sargsyan could have gotten would not exceed 314,000 and the actual number of people voted were 1,123,000.
Not only did Serge Sargsyan declare himself the winner the same day of the falsified "elections", but also the Catholicos Karekin II congradulated him soon afterwards, proving that the latter is nothing but a puppet of the regime and not a servant of the people (read article on page 10 of Hayastan attached). How could Levon Ter-Petrossyan welcome the Catholicos in his house?
Armenia's ruling regime should serve the people and not the other way around. Unfortunately we are very far from being civilized to reach that level since a mafia rules the country. Is today's Armenia what our grandparents dreamed of? AZAD ANKAKH HAYASTAN?? IS THIS THE COUNTRY OF OUR GRANDPARENTS DREAMS??
Also read what Sargsyan has said on March 7.
"Firstly I must underscore that most international organizations
haven't responded negatively. There are only one, two cases of similar
proposals, the reason of which is either lack of information or even
disinformation. This also means the activity of some representatives of
international organizations in our country is far from perfect. Our
authorities provide large-scale unbiased information for all the
international organizations acting in Armenia and have expressed
readiness to give additional information in case of necessity,
regarding the materials they are interested in."
What "facts" and "large-scale unbiased information" is he talking about? Until when S. Sargsyan will cover up the truth?
How can one have dialogue with him? What is the premise or requirements for a dialogue? I suggest that intellectuals in Armenia and the Diaspora prepare proposals for dialogue and urge the formation of a national unity government that will organise a truly democratic elections in Armenia.
Peaceful demonstrations can not be a coup attempt or an attempt to instigate civil war. The real coup attempt to keep their power was done, as usual, by the Kocharian/Sargsyan regime against their own people by falsifying the elections.. And I side with the people. Months ago S. Sargsyan was declaring that he will win. In that case why go through all this "election" facade. Oh yes, in order to give him legitimacy and as a show to the world. Vorun vera ge khenta gor??
The joint statement on March 18 by the Armenian Assembly of America, the AGBU, the ANCA (behind which the ARF stands), the Diocese and Prelacy on the recent events in Armenia is disappointing to say the least. Instead of accusing the Kocharian/Sargsyan regime for the vast falsifications of the election results, they concentrated on the events of March 1 blaming the peaceful demonstrators. The joint statement talk about the need for the "rule of law, social and economic justice, freedom of expression and the media, and equal opportunity for all". That is exactly what the people of Armenia were demonstrating about and look what were the results. By taking this position, the signatories of this statement are encouraging the present regime to continue on its path of dictatorship. Instead, these organizations should have refused to accept the "election" results. Only through pressure we could have obtained positive change in Armenia. But it seems that another mafia exists in our midst.
Harut Sassounian's Lincy Foundation was another organization that quickly congradulated Sargsyan as the president elect. One wonders what Sassounian will get in return.
Attached is a picture of a Turkish demonstration in Istanbul on February 25 in front of a Turkish court in support of justice for the murder of Hrant Dink. While Armenian peaceful demonstrators are treated as the enemy by the so called "Armenian" regime, in Turkey, Armenians are being supported by the .............Turks. I can only say that I am glad that Kocharian or Sargsyan or anyone like them are not the President of Turkey or any other country for that matter.
Levon Ter Petrosian also falsified the elections in his 2nd term in 1996 and he made many mistakes. But he had the dignity to resign. If Kocharian was any better, why didn't he correct those mistakes. On the contrary, not only did he continue those mistakes, but he brought them to an even higher level. The October 1999 massacre in the Armenian parliament was the greatest threat to the Armenain national security executed in broad daylight. You all know how well it was covered up. Kocharian and Sargsyan both falsified their "elections" creating huge financial illegal empires. Enough is enough. The people of Armenia are human beings not slaves.
Armenia is being depopulated, what is the present regime doing about it? It is productive people who make a country grow and not a few individuals who suck the blood of the people.
Social justice must prevail in Armenia if we want to survive and prosper socially, economically and politically and be able to confront future obstacles and plan for the future. Otherwise we are doomed.
Azerbaijan has a population of 8.6 million, with a 2007 GDP of $31 billion (see attached). What is the profile for Armenia? Kheghjali vijag. Iraroo mis goodenk yev besdig hashivnerov ge zpaghvink. Instead of bringing together the Armenian people in Armenia and Diaspora and build a strong densely populated country, the present regime has destroyed the country, with emigration rampant in Armenia and Karabagh, and total lack of interest towards Javakhk and the destruction of Armenian cultural and historical monuments in Nakhichevan.
Armenians all over the world should denounce the so called Presidential "elections" in Armenia and stop supporting this illegal regime and ALL their supporters in Armenia and Diaspora. This can be done through continuous political pressure and peaceful civil disobedience.
We have a lot to do for sure.
Harout Bronozian

Ter-Petrossyan's U.S. Supporters Stifle Free Speech Through Violence
Executive Publisher/Managing Editor
On Saturday, March 22, at around 10:30 p.m., during a live broadcast of a round table discussion in Glendale, California, two supporters of Levon Ter-Petrossyan, a failed presidential candidate, attacked the studios of ARTN TV, then they intruded upon the participants of the TV show that was underway, aiming to interrupt their discussion, said a spokesman of the TV station.
This invasion of the TV station caused a wave of complaints by Armenian TV viewers. The spokesman added that "the nature of that incident and the style in which it was carried out is totally compatible with the so-called 'democracy project' that is adopted by 'H.H.Sh.,' also known as the 'Armenian National Movement’ political party (the main backers of Ter-Petrossyan's candidacy)."
The spokesman continued: "By way of direct threats of ‘liquidation’ of TV show participants; threatening their lives; and cursing, the invaders demanded that the show be stopped. This awfully unpleasant attack -- nothing short of an attempt to stifle free speech -- boldly reflects these forces' 'vision' for and attitude toward freedom, democracy and human rights. But in the United States of America, similar acts of sabotage cannot prevail. This incident's investigation has been assigned to law enforcement officials."
On Monday, March 24, during an interview with USA Armenian Life Magazine and Hye Kiank Armenian Weekly, Mr. Robert Oglakhchyan, President and Chief Executive Officer of ARTN-TV Company, told this writer "the management of the studio strongly condemns this very disturbing act that intended to obstruct the work of free media." He said that on Saturday night upon learning of this incident, the City of Glendale Police Dept. rapidly responded and rushed to the scene and began interrogating the victims. A thorough investigation is being conducted. On Tuesday, March 25, it became apparent that the violators of law and order will be held accountable.
This incident reconfirms the fact that in order to undermine free speech, Ter-Petrossyan's supporters are capable of resorting to violence, even in the United States!
As many readers may recall, several Ter-Petrossyan supporters disrespectfully rejected dialogue in the form of free exchange of ideas and opinions via USA Armenian Life online. They have even resorted to foul language directed against this writer.
During the period from March 13 through March 25, the editorial offices of USA Armenian Life received several responses from readers from around the world.
The letter-writers were separated into four groups. The first group consisted of Ter-Petrossyan supporters. The second group consisted of Serge Sargsyan supporters. The third was composed of patriots critical of both Ter-Petrossyan's "anti-Armenia activities" and Sargsyan's "state-level corruption." The fourth group consisted of patriots who were critical of the corruption taking place during the current administration, but because of the imminent danger posed by Ter-Petrossyan, chose to help Armenia fend-off a far more serious danger that threatens its very existence, stability and statehood.

The overwhelming majority of letter-writers belonged to the fourth group. Those who belonged to the first group represented only 15% of the total responses received. Most of the responses received from the first group rejected any dialogue demanding that their e-addresses be removed from the USA Armenian Life online distribution list.
Here are the new responses received to my last week’s column:
Armen Ohanian wrote via e-mail: "Dear Appo, I hope you know Armenian. Like a brother, don't send me your garbage. It's not possible. ... We are in lopsided conditions. You are indulging in America and are philosophizing on what is good, what is bad for us, and here, innocent people have died, thousands of people have been injured and are afraid to go to the hospital because the Police is pursuing them. Hundreds of people are afraid to come out of their homes. Over a hundred are arrested and the real criminals are in the streets. This is not a duel between Levon and Serge. This is a problem between our society and the authorities. The people do not trust the authorities, are afraid of the police, of the tax collectors. ... It's not necessary to divide Armenia between pro-Levon and pro-Serge forces. So, if you cannot help, at least don't sabotage. Dear Appo, if I get one more e-mail from you, I'll be forced to resort to cursing you with the last available words."
Maïté Jardin e-wrote: "It's not my country, I am not Arménian [sic] but French, I leave here since 3 years, and I agree with German Avagyan [who] wrote: '.... Come and live in Armenia, and after that you will have a right to write about MY COUNTRY....' Please be a little bit objective. I don't want to receive new article without objectivity, you don't leave [sic] here. Thanks."
Samvel Teymurazyan wrote: "Dear Mr. Jabarian, I read your article in the Armenian Life magazine and I must tell you that it is no different than the Gorbachev type of news and info we get every day on the Armenian public television. I won't talk about all the disinformation you give in your article but about a couple of key things that not only people like you but what is the most unfortunate, the government of Armenia and the current illeterate [sic] president and prime minister have not been able to understand. ... And let me assure you that now this is not about Levon becoming president, this is about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and the people of Armenia WILL overthrow the totalitarian regime and get rid of illeterate [sic] and nicknamed government members."
Jack A. wrote via e-mail: "Please, don't ever get intimidated by those who, regrettably, lack the political maturity to appreciate the involvement of the anti-Armenian elements in the planning of the disastrous events of the last few days. Armenia has been the real loser and this, undoubtedly, to the great satisfaction of her enemies. In my humble opinion, I would add that if the opposition believes in what it advocates, it should be part of a Coalition Government and debate the problems, which are of great concern to its followers, in the Parliament, rather that in the street, as civilized people. I would suggest that you create your own website which will enable you to reach a much larger readership. Keep on with the good work."
Gary Grigorian wrote: "Please keep me on your email list. By the way, most of the information on Ter-Petrossyan is correct. I have lived in Armenia 5 years under his rule and I believe you are correct about him!"
Maria Cristina Koutoudjian e-wrote: "I liked so much your article about Levon Ter-Petrossyan. You were able to inform us with chronological accuracy, the facts that occurred in the post-election Armenia. The truth must be told, even if it hurts certain prides."

Ara Nahabedian wrote: "Thanks for the responses. Those who are able to contribute but are not doing anything to support the present day Independent Armenia are negligent and shameful. We may hear about the corruption in the present Armenian regime, but that does not give the right to refuse to contribute for the continuation of independent Armenia. Armen Ayvazian's article regarding the consequences of Ter-Petrossyan's request for an independent investigation on the recent events, projects the eventual loss of Armenia. I do not know who started the fighting really. But the fact that they did happen is already a big blow for the country and its people. If a political candidate cannot play the game with the present rules, then he or she should quit, and not look for any foreign country for help. Politics or life is not a football game with a referee. It’s not a fair game. They should put up with the present setup and struggle as best as they can for a better future."
Annie C. wrote via e-mail: "Many thanks for this article. Levon Ter-Petrossyan is truly a straw man and Alexander Arzumanian is the biggest traitor of our times!"
Haig Adomian wrote via e-mail: "People say that it is hard to do the right thing, I disagree. It is not particularly hard to do the right thing, if you are sure it is right. What is hard is to know what exactly is the right thing to do. Obviously there are loyal patriots on different sides of the current electoral controversy in Armenia. Each side deeply believes in doing what is best for Armenia. I therefore deeply appreciate USA Armenian Life and Hye Kiank's elucidation of the issue. I have the greatest respect for several candidates of the opposition. At least a couple of them are clearly better men than the victorious candidate. I nevertheless concur with your acceptance of the election result -- though without celebration. Now let the victors take action and demonstrate their worthiness by reducing corruption, foreign influence, imports, and capital flight. Let them remove casino owners and oligarchs from the ranks of their trusted friends and advisors. Let them stop hobnobbing with CIA stooges and Neocon nincompoops who masquerade as 'advisors.' Let them stop selling trophy industrial assets to Russian corporations, and start offering those assets -- when necessary -- to Diasporan Armenians. And let them create more good-paying jobs for average workers through intelligent protectionism, investment in infrastructure and industry, and economic planning. Let them govern like national leaders with a vision, not ward bosses with a fat wallet, a fat ass and a bottle of vodka. None of us are perfect. But Serge Sargsyan has the job, and it is time for him to step up, and lead. May God be with him and with our Homeland."
Arevig Caprielian, Rare Book Librarian, Assistant Head of Cataloging Department, New York Society Library wrote via e-mail: "Sireli Paron Jabarian, Have I ever told you what a pleasure it is to read your lucid, substantial (and substantiated) and timely articles? Thank you for voicing and wording our utmost concerns."
Levon Thorose wrote via e-mail: "Thank you for publishing the various views of people with respect to your article on Armenia's Post-Election Riots. It is enlightening to listen to our people. I hope it is not a sample of our entire nation. I would like to know if possible at all, how many people think like Mr. Bernard Nazarian. I liked his response the best. I hope people do not confuse Armenia's National Security with many other important issues in Armenia. Sad to say, as shown by people responses to your article, that there are many in our nation who do not understand that Armenia's national security and stability is the utmost important priority. All those who are confused about what constitutes Armenia's national priorities, in their confusion, may be swayed mindlessly to act in favor of Armenia's enemies. Furthermore, any leader that confuses and compromises his country’s security and stability priorities with any other lower level problems we have in Armenia is either a bad leader or has been influenced by external powers as a mouthpiece to influence all those people who are confused in their priorities. Clearly Armenia's stability and security should be on the very top of the list of priorities. Armenia's strength to defend her security and stability is next to that top. And so on the list of priorities goes down to many thousands of very important issues. Of course, we should be focused on solving the highest priorities first to optimize our limited energy and national resources. And we should be focused to resolve many top priority problems in parallel to develop our country. Of course, corruption is an important issue, and we need to eliminate it from our culture. So are many other issues, which are rooted in our culture such as women's rights, as well as many very important issues of unemployment, education, economy, etc. Nobody denies the fact that we have a lot of problems to resolve, and we will. In the past 16 years, Armenia has resolved many problems and there are more to work on, but we need security and stability to continue that work."
Thorose continued: "Levon Ter-Petrossyan clearly compromised Armenia's security and stability with his actions. He took a good issue that we all agree we need to resolve; swayed thousands of confused people and went beyond the threshold of stability. These people's mindless actions hurt our nation in many ways and caused loss of lives. But we will overcome this, I am sure. I hope these people learn the lesson and grow from this experience, so that they do not support another mindless or sold-out opportunist like Ter-Petrossyan."
Artin Avedissian wrote via e-mail: "I think your views are unbiased and you have the right to be concerned with the future of our motherland just like any Armenian living in Armenia regardless where you live! I fully support your views and join the Fourth Group of your correspondents who are 'critical of the corruption taking place during the current administration, but because of the imminent danger posed by Ter-Petrossyan, chose to help Armenia fend-off a far more serious danger that threatens the very existence of Armenia's stability and statehood.’"
Garo Artinian wrote via e-mail: "I agree with Bernard Nazarian. The majority of Armenians are concerned with the national security of our landlocked homeland, its peaceful progress and the unity of the people. In unity we have strength; at least that much we should have learned from our history. I am happy that there has been a coalition government of 4 parties. If the rest want to participate, they need to talk and negotiate and not destroy. Hooliganism has no place in this era. It was definitely non leaderly and non presidential for Levon Ter-Petrossyan to turn His Holiness the Vehapar away who had come to TALK in the spirit of peace and unity. As I've said before, Armenians DO Not Have The Luxury of Colorful Revolutions. The minute we turned our eyes away from the borders, the minute they smelled trouble in the State, they attacked. The changes in the democratic process should develop gradually as the social psyche - the way we think, the conscience and the socio-economic status of our people develop. Armenia's national security has precedence over the process of democratization. Until then the Law and Order should be enforced and applied to all concerned."
Annie Saatjian wrote: "I was shocked to read such reactions from your readers. Sadly most Armenians still have double standards when it comes to Armenia. Being ‘Hayrenaser’ (Patriotic) does not mean to accept anything for the sake of preserving the homeland. Why can we report certain things and must stay quiet about others? The reason why I enjoy reading your columns and newspaper is because you are not afraid to admit and report the truth. Isn't it time that we Armenians unite and work positively for our homeland? Some of your readers, especially that PhD candidate should get an anger management course before expressing himself like an angry kid. Keep up the good journalism. I am really proud of you."
Pedro Zarokian wrote via e-mail: "Good break down of the writers. It's interesting how remedial the thinking level of an average Levon Ter-Petrossyan supporter is, that they can not even comprehend that if one is against Levon, that does not mean they're for Serge!"

It is to be hoped that those who were manipulated by Ter-Petrossyan’s exploitation of their legitimate complaints will not allow him to victimize them again. There is no question that most of the Ter-Petrossyan supporters’ violent tactics -- like the one exhibited in the Greater Los Angeles area -- to stifle free speech even in the USA reconfirms the fact that they are capable of utilizing violence in order to realize their political objectives, no matter how unpopular they are.
It is also to be hoped that the international community will take into consideration the fact that the Ter-Petrossyan segment of the opposition -- however violently it operates -- does not have a monopoly of the opposition. There are other political forces that represent the legitimate opposition that is loyal to Armenia’s stability and statehood.
Armenians have lost their independent statehood for too long -- over six hundred years -- to sit idly by and let the inner or outer destructive forces hijack their centuries-old dream.
At this critical juncture, many Armenians realize that pro-active participation in neutralizing the present and future hurdles is a prerequisite to the continuation of the nation-building process that began during the last few years.


Interview with Harutyun Arakelyan-The current situation in Armenia

ADLP Leader, Armenian Democratic Liberal Party, Harutyan Arkelyan

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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Exhibition by Anita Baghjajian

If you wish to view a larger, readable image of this poster regarding the exhibition, which is being held in Saint Hippolyte, Quebec, Canada, please click here .


Friday, 28 March 2008

ADLP Leaders Meet Armenian Ambassador to Argentina

If you wish to see a larger, readable version of this article, which is in Armenian script, pleasse click here .

28 March, 2008

Dear Subscriber ,
Another week has gone by. If we were to name to it, we would call it a small projects week. With the parallel realization of three initiatives, this is quite an obvious choice, really. Read on our news in brief section to find out more. We will also talk about the village cultural projects and how you can your input in bringing new ideas and opening new horizons for the children in the border communities. In this week’s video section we will ask you to answer one simple question: do they deserve?
· As part of the dairy production development initiative, this week we realized two small projects that saw two farmers in the border communities of Gorayk (Syunik region) and Sizavet (Shirak region) receive automated milking units. The project was realized in cooperation with the dairy producers association of Armenia and is part of a large scale project that aims at boosting dairy production in the border regions. Another component of this initiative is the establishment of a milk collection center in the Khashtarak cluster community of Azatamut.
· Speaking of Azatamut, this community will be the recipient of the third small project realized this week. The project will see the newly renovated library of the village receive a TV, DVD player and a variety of educational and recreational DVDs. We hope that with this project, the library will reclaim its place in the lives of people of Azatamut as a fun and interesting place to be and a viable alternative to their current activities. The initiative was made possible by Ms. Shakeh Havan who also gave us the idea for the article below.

Initiatives aimed at renovating schools, establishing gas lines, repairing roads and reviving defunct drinking water networks are essentials of any development program. These projects are called to address the basic needs of people and, naturally, the infrastructure amendment projects are one of the cornerstones of the Armenia Fund Rural Development Program.

Another cornerstone of the Program is the economic facilitation component that aims at boosting the economic potential of the border villages and helping people earn stable and dependable income. So, on one hand people will have the basic infrastructure and on the other - new financial possibilities. Will this solve the problems of the border communities? Our answer in this case would be – no, it will not, because an important element will be missing from the equation: culture.

The simple truth is that without strong cultural stimuli, without a real cultural connection with the village and finally, without the fun factor of living in the village, the efficiency of all the massive infrastructure amendment and economic facilitation projects will be diminished. There will always be a better road or a higher salary somewhere else and if a person does not feel the cultural bond with his village, nothing will stop him from leaving it.

What can we do? First of all, we cannot import culture. We must appreciate the distinct features of each village and find ways to help surface the potential of people living there. People need this as much as they need a functional drinking water network or a repaired road. For example, the librarian in the village of Khashtarak has organized a student drama club, which, lacking a physical space to practice (the community center is in ruins), gathers in her house. The performances are few and far apart but always gather a large audience.

The village of Azatamut has an art club, where over fifty students gather every day to paint, although the supplies are scarce and hard to find. The children also do not have a qualified teacher who could give them guidance and assist them in developing their skills. We are now talking to a number of artists who have volunteered to conduct classes with the students of Azatamut. We see this initiative as a pilot to a larger endeavor that would reach all the border villages of Armenia .

What can you do? If you are a painter, a sculptor or any other art specialist and would be willing to share your know-how and ideas with the people living in the border communities, if you want to have your input in presenting a new vision and helping people discover and develop their talents, now is your chance to act! Please contact us and make a difference today.

Get involved!: Find out how you can have your input in developing the border villages by adopting a small project or giving as little as 1 cent (yes, one cent!). Find out more.

This report is also available in pdf format as well as in Armenian at Weekly Updates section of our website.

This message was sent from The Armenia Fund Rural Development Program to It was sent from: The Armenia Fund (Armenia), Government Building 3, Yerevan, EVN 0010, Armenia. You can modify/update your subscription via the link below.