Saturday, 28 September 2013

What is wrong with modern art, and why is Artour Oshakantsi unique?’

A lay person’s REFLECTIVE THOUGHTS, on  Artour Oshakantsi ‘A Journey from Armenia to London’ as introduced in Professor Pilikian’s meticulously observed Analysis when writing.

...This takes me back to my 'A' level art...Who was it Duchamp? [Correct me if I am wrong] had a moment of enlightenment when sat in a railway carriage looking out at the view when suddenly it was interrupted by a telegraph pole, he noted the frequency and its foreshortening with each interruption. The pole furthest away were smaller than the preceding , this gave depth and distance to the vista. He counted the frequency and found the gaps almost the same in seconds. But his urinal was a political statement.

I do like Pilikian’s opening gambit on His piece, ‘What is wrong with modern art, and why is Artour Oshakantsi unique?’I hope to publish it very soon! 

Now that it is published you too can comment below this post and in your 
own words have your say too! 

Mean while I would like to add:

I agree, abstract is more ambiguous, unclear and one wonders, ponders even, over the work. But then Art 
has a different meaning from one observer to another, as they run their critical eye over each stroke of 
the paint brush, shape and form of every structure. Be it a painting, sculpture or any installation.

I don't know about you but the images from Armenia are far more reminiscent of 
Biblical usage and influence...
It also reminds me of my cousin son's work... Sevan Malikyan.
We Armenian's are, I feel embroiled with iconic works and have this in built imagery 
of stain glass work - where everything we paint has black lines round it... 

At this stage I want to introduce Sevan Malikyan who is also Armenian and a painter his works can be interpreted from scriptures in the Bible and they do remind me of iconic imagery of church  stain glass windows of a more modern space built in less exuberant style, reflecting lives of the area in which the Church was build. These modern mammoths in simple white washed walls and simple seating arrangements are just the right backdrop to hang modern works of Art. Is it a church or a modern Gallery! A place to sit watch and ponder or just to sit and contemplate? You choose!

Below is a reflective comment of Sevan's Work.

I would like to invite you to read the first dialogue held between an Artis of the most high clabber in his work. His name? Sevan Malikian... His CV reads IN the prestigious Art colleges in England and through out his life he keeps true to his work through self explorations, examinations and an in built quest to bring forth the best out of his explorations inTO his teaching!
Here is the first of the selected conversations by email:


Parevner Sevan

I am so happy that you have got in touch, the aim is to profile you by showing your work and anotherArmenian artist who is purportedly well know [see below] in the art circles, but I have not heard of him before, not that it means much! Old masters pass, and new ones need to be supported especially if they are Young, talented and related too.

Here is how it all began, I received an email from Prof Pilikian who wrote the following piece. 

Here is the link to the Artist in question...

Artour Oshakantsi - A Journey From Armenia To London

Do you have a site I can refer to? 

I am taking this step by step, because I want to show you how this has developed......I am continuing this email after you have looked at the link...Let me have your views. S.

sevan malikyan (
Hi Seta pleased find attached my CV there are two shows not added but i will send that to you very soon if needed



Hi Seta 

Please find Attached  some of my drawings  

Ink On Paper

Download photo3.jpg (98.5 KB)
Also Seta 

My first painting i made aged 18 years old before any formal training 

sevan malikyan (

"Self portrait "
Also my latest painting Oil on canvas. " Abstract Landscape" 

Good morning 

Thank you for your support and your wonderful insight in to my work .   The small painting is ineeded an image of the salt lake in Larnaca . 

And indeed the portrait at the age of eighteen does have ghostly elements in my work  . A mental state maybe as a very young man . I wonder even today i still ask those very questions .

I did have a professional platform showing my work in England but i dont have one now . I'm searching for a new website to show my work in Cyprus . 

And will let you know Linda when i have sorted that out. 

Please find enclosed the spiders web attached and other early works of mine 


Mount Ararat. Oil on canvas

I knew you were going to title this one as Mount Ararat! 
It is so symbolic of being Armenian first and foremost! 
But when I was there I was shown mount Ararat, as indeed 
you too have identified it as! But, here is where the confusion 
starts. There are two peaks there and that is the two mountains
switch, when one looks at it from Yerevan to that of the view from 
Turkey. So, it seems depending on which hemisphere one is looking
from East or West... Which view is this ... East or West? Confused? 
So was I! 


No need to be confused, my landscapes are intended as portrayals  of spirit of place and not precise geographical interpretations. Would you like to see more of my work?

With kind regards 


Hi Seta 

Velazquez was a Spanish painter from the royal court of the Spanish golden age 

these type of paintings are called transcriptions where the Artist translate his/her version of the chosen classical painting . 

It`s almost like a homage a tribute.  

The portraits were  actually taken from Egon Schiele  Drawings and later developed in the way i want to take  a image from chance and accident and use of line and paint which then
Develops into something unseen .


Sevan...In that case...I must look it up to educate my eyes in the style, it has a feel of the venetians.
I can see an influence from Egon Schiele in the portraits.   


The large  Yellow  Portrait of the menacing looking man was taken from a photo of Dennis Hopper ,it was more a technical exercise rather then anything deeper .


...You have managed to capture the inanimate origins of the image, 
by the very shiny surface, just like a doll.


 Sevan Your Exhibitions are impressive to say the least! I so look forward to your Exhibition right here in the Midlands. Look up 'THE PUBLIC' IN WEST BROMWICH...IT IS AN INNOVATIVE BUILDING UNLIKE ANYTHING I HAVE EVER SEEN IN ENGLAND, COME TO THINK OF IT - NO WHERE ELSE EITHER. 

2011 Kypriaki Gonia Gallery Cyprus - Solo Show - Oil on Canvas
2009 Aspelia Gallery Cyprus - Solo Show - Oil on Canvas 
2008 Aspelia Gallery Cyprus - Mixed Show - Oil on Canvas 
2007 Fine Art Company Inc London – Group Show Selected Works 
2006 Brick Lane Gallery London – Group Show Figurative paintings 
2005 Fine Art Company Inc London – Group Show Selected Works 
2005 Nicosia, Cyprus - Armenian Cypriot Painters Mixed Show
2005 The Princes Drawing School London Drawing Marathon 
2004 Mall Galleries London - Short Listed Diana Brook Prize 
2004 Mall Galleries London - Mixed Show Landscape Paintings 
2003 Mall Galleries London - Mixed Show Landscape Paintings 
2002 Mall Galleries - Art for Youth - Mixed Show Oil Paintings 
2002 Mall Galleries London - Mixed Show Figurative Paintings 
2001 Riverside Studios - Mixed Show Figurative Paintings 
2001 Kensington Galleries London - Prints and Small Works 
2000 Riverside Studios Radio Interview – “In Conversation: Artists Work”
2000 Riverside Studios Arts Festival London - Solo Show Abstract Paintings 
1994 Barcelona Student Studio Exchange - Mixed Student Work 
1992 Alexandra Palace Art Show – Student Work – Oil Painting

P.S. of course we have the same great grandparents silly me !

Loussapatz - The Dawn - ՇԱԲԱԹ, 28 ՍԵՊՏԵՄԲԵՐ 2013

32-ՐԴ ՏԱՐԻ, ԹԻՒ 1001
All communications Email to:
Yuri Andreevich Osipyan
February 15, 1931 – September 10, 2008 Armenian born physicist, author of fundamental contribution to the physics of movements in solid bodies and inventor of photoplastic effect. Osipyan for many years was the vice-president of the USSR Academy of Sciences.

Armenians in Science

Osipyan was Armenian born in Moscow and graduated from Georgy Kurdyumov's class at Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys in 1955. In late 1950s and 1960s Osipyan worked on the extended effects of interaction of electrons with solid matter and discovered the effect of optical excitation of plastic properties in semiconductors. Also in 1960s Osipyan released his theory of dislocations in semiconductor crystal structure.
In 1962 Osipyan became a co-founder and director of the Institute of Solid State Physics in Chernogolovka and remained at the head of the Institute until his death. Osipyan was elected full member of Russian Academy of Sciences at the age of 37, and vice-president of the Academy in 1988-2001. He chaired the Departments of Solid State Physics at Moscow State University and Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.
In 1980s Osipyan and his Institute conducted microgravity experiments on board of Mir station. In 2000s Osipyan engaged in the studies of fullerenes.
Throughout his lifetime Osipyan chaired numerous academic commissions, conferences and journal boards; in 2005 he was awarded Lomonosov Gold Medal of the Russian Academy. In a 2006 interview, Osipyan summarized his creed in science: "All my life I was mining for experimental data. I am an experimenter, although I was trained in theory. In the Soviet age, creative and (most important) independent work was possible only in science. May I say that my choice was based on a will for freedom and independence?"

YEREV AN Armenia cele- brated the 22nd anniversary of Inde- pendence on September 21 with pompous official events and street marches calling for real independence and protesting the decision of Presi- dent Serzh Sarkisian to join the Cus- toms Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
In his congratulatory message on the occasion of Independence Day President Sarkisian said that inde- pendence is an intrinsic value. Yet, he did not say a single word about the decision to join the Russia-led Cus- toms Union. He just said that one should not underestimate or overesti- mate their strength.
Armenia’s national independence is not at risk he insisted. “We live in a free country and can make anything a subject of discussion. But there is one thing that cannot change in any situation: the sovereignty of the Republic of Armenia,” Sarkisian said in a speech at an official reception held on the occasion.
“It’s a dream come true and an obligation that always accompanies us,” he declared. “It’s a holiday that we in- herited with the blood of our heroes and an obligation that we must pass on to our grandchildren.”
The remarks appeared to be an attempt to allay fears raised in Armenian opposition and civic circles by Sarkisian’s September 3 pledge to make Armenia part of the customs union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, which Moscow wants to turn into a more tightly-knit Eurasian Union. Kremlin critics view the idea as an attempt to recreate the former Soviet Union. Hence, accusations in Armenia that Sarkisian put national independence at risk with his last-minute U-turn.
World leaders have sent congratulatory messages on the occasion of the 22nd anniversary of Independence Day; among them were the presidents of Russia, France, Germany, Turkey, Mexico, China, Ukraine, Belarus; Queen Elizabeth II of England, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, in particular, expressed confidence that with the joint efforts the two states will ensure further strengthening of the entire range of bilateral relations, “also in the context of Armenia’s acces- sion to the Customs Union, which reflects the fundamental interests of the two brotherly countries”.
Thousands March to “Reclaim” Armenia’s Independence
A few thousand marchers took to the street in Yerevan in a civic initiative to “reclaim” Armenia’s independ- ence and to voice their opposition to Sarkisian’s recent announcement that the country intends to join the Russian- led Customs Union.
March organizers had released a statement arguing that Sarkisian does not speak in the name of the people and that Armenia should not join any outside union that threatens its sovereignty.
The marchers, from various political affiliations and stripes, assembled in Yerevan’s Liberty Square and then made their way down Northern Boulevard to Republic Square.
As the ranks of the marchers swelled, they took over one half of Amiryan Street despite the best efforts of the police to confine the protestors to the sidewalk.
A number of minor scuffles broke out between the marchers and the cops along the protest route.
More police were called in to confine the marchers along one sidewalk of Mashots Avenue as the throng made its way towards Baghramyan Avenue and the Presidential Palace.
Special Unit Forces were stretched to the limit as the marchers, mainly young people, circumvented police bar- ricades, reaching the intersection at the National Assembly.
There, a cordon of police formed a human chain and held back the protestors from advancing further. In the meantime, a convoy of black SUV’s was seen leaving the Presidential Palace. Once the convoy had fled the scene, the police opened the barricade, allowing protestors to assemble opposite
the now empty Presidential Palace.
On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I extend my warmest wishes to the people of Arme- nia as you celebrate your Independence Day on September 21.
The United States and Armenia have a strong relationship based on historic ties and mutual respect. I am proud and grateful for the enduring friendship of many in the Armenian community. As someone who for three decades represented Massachusetts, which boasts one of the largest populations of Armenians outside of Armenia, I have special firsthand knowledge of the contributions that you have made to America’s culture, democracy and economic vitality.
Today our two countries are working together on a dynamic bilateral and regional agenda. Through forums such as the U.S.-Armenia Economic Task Force, we look forward to further strengthening the economic and com- mercial bonds between our peoples.
I wish all Armenians a joyful and prosperous Independence Day, with peace and happiness in the coming year. John Kerry, Secretary of State Washington, DC, September 19, 2013
GAZIANTEP, Turkey — The stream of U.S. weapons head- ing to moderate rebel groups in Syria is being offset by a fresh torrent of cash for Islamist extremists, much of it from small net- works of Arab donors who see the Syrian conflict as a step to- ward a broader Islamist uprising across the region, U.S. and Mid- dle Eastern officials say.
The private donors, who use Twitter and other social media to collect millions of dollars from sympathetic Muslims, are providing crucial backing for Islamist militias that appear to be gaining ground in northern and eastern Syria, even as fighting stalls elsewhere, the officials said.
Two years after the first anti-government protests, conflict in Syria rages on. See the major events in the country's tumultuous uprising.
Dollars raised over the Internet are wired between private banking accounts and hand-delivered by courier, often in border towns like this city of 1.4 million, about 20 miles from the Syrian frontier, according to Middle Eastern intelligence officials who monitor the activity. Some fundraising pitches ask for specific
pledges to cover the cost of a weapon, for example, or to finance an operation. For $2,400, a donor can pay for the travel, training and arming of a single non-Syrian fighter.
Reuters - Free Syrian Army fighters carry a fellow fighter after he was wounded in Aleppo's Sheikh Saeed neighborhood on Sept. 21, 2013.
“You can even get a video afterward showing what it was you paid for,” said one senior intelligence official based in the region. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss his country’s intelligence collec- tion.
While radical groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham have long relied on charitable giving from Persian Gulf states, the flow of private cash has enabled the extremists to re- tain their battlefield edge despite the loss of support from key Arab backers such as Qatar, which cut off aid to the most radical groups under pressure from the United States and Saudi Arabia, U.S. and Middle Eastern officials said.
The donations also have undermined Western efforts to strengthen the relative position of moderate and secu- larist rebel factions that are the intended recipients of U.S. weapons that began flowing into Syria last month, the officials said.
Obama administration officials say that they were working with gulf allies to shut off private cash flows but that the efforts have been complicated by the fundraisers’ under-the-radar tactics. The organizers also take ad- vantage of lax regulations in some gulf states that allow fundraisers to set up small religious charities and canvass in mosques and other public venues, U.S. officials say.
“Much of this funding comes from private citizens in the gulf, particularly in Kuwait,” said David S. Cohen, the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. The country, a source of finan- cial aid for extremist groups during the Afghan and Iraq wars, “unfortunately continues to be a permissive envi- ronment for terrorist fundraising,” he said.
What is more worrisome, officials say, is a new tendency among fundraisers to seek influence over the Syrian paramilitary groups they support. Some have adopted their own rebel militias and sought to dictate everything from ideology to tactics. Officials at one gulf-based organization, which calls itself the Ummah Conference, have helped promote a campaign to recruit thousands of Muslim volunteers for Syria while openly calling for a broader struggle against secular Arab governments and what one of its leaders terms “American terrorism.”
BEIRUT – THE DAILY STAR: Jihadist fighters linked to Al-Qaeda set fire to statues and crosses inside churches in northern Syria Thursday and destroyed a cross atop the clock tower of one of them, a watchdog said.
Fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) entered the Greek Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Annunciation in the northern city of Raqa and torched the religious furnishings inside, the Syria Observatory for Human Rights said.
They did the same thing at the Armenian Catholic Church of the Martyrs, and also de- stroyed a cross atop its clock tower, replacing it with the ISIL flag, the Observatory said.
Most of Raqa, located on the banks of the Euphrates River and capital of the province of the same name, fell to rebels in March. Where it dominates in the city, ISIL imposes a strict ver- sion of sharia (Islamic law) on the populace.
The London-based Observatory denounced these attacks "against the freedom of religion, which are an assault on the Syrian revolution."
Syrian Christian, Michael Oberi prays in the chapel of Mar
Elias House, a church hostel for the indigent in the old City of Aleppo, on September 16, 2013.(AFP PHOTO JM LOPEZ)􏰁
A young man, once jailed for smug- gling weapons for the Toronto 18 terror plot to attack Canada's Parliament, has been killed in Syria according to a report by AFP.
Somalia-born Canadian Ali Mo- hamed Dirie was released from prison in 2011, at which point he went to Syria to assist rebels involved in an ongoing con- flict with Syrian President Bashar al- Assad’s regime. The conflict has already claimed over 110,000 lives with over a 100 believed to be of Canadian origin.
Dirie was among the so called “To- ronto 18” suspects, who had planned to attack Canada’s Parliament, stock ex- change and other targets using fertilizer explosives in 2006. Canadian undercover police officers had foiled the plot who switched the ammonium nitrate in the fer- tilizer with an inert substance.
At his parole hearing, Dirie had railed against the involvement of Canada’s troops in Afghanistan, which he called an “unjust war.”
YEREVAN -- The Armenian community of Egypt is safe and secure, Egyptian journalists as- sured their Armenian counterparts at a press con- ference today. What’s happening in Egypt today is a revolution, not a coup, they said.
Although the relations between Armenia and Egypt are historic and friendly, many Egyptians are unaware of the Armenian Genocide.
“The Genocide issue was first raised after June 30, when tension escalated in the relations between Turkey and Egypt and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan started to interfere in Egypt's internal affairs,” journalist Mohammed Mansur said.
According to him, after this many reporters in Egypt believe it’s necessary to reinforce the ties with Armenia and provide more information about the Armenian Genocide.
“Before the government of Egypt will recognize the Armenian Genocide, the public should be informed about this tragedy,” Mansur noted. He informed that many lawyers in Egypt have already applied to the authorities with a request to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
Alaa El Din said, in turn, that Turkey is terrified that Egypt could recognize the Armenian Genocide. Accord- ing to him, “when Erdogan exceeded all limits, Egypt hinted it might recognize the Genocide. The authorities real-
A once-convicted jihadist of Canadian origin has been killed in Syria. (Image for illustrative purposes - Credit: Getty)􏰁
ize that the Genocide should be officially acknowledged in response to Erdogan’s policy,” the Egyptian journalist said.
Hazem el Mallah noted that Armenia and Egypt have enjoyed high-level diplomatic relations since 1991 and added that the Egyptian people are getting to know more about the Armenian Genocide. He stressed that pressures have increased on the government to acknowledge the Genocide.
Touching upon the Karabakh issue, Hazem el Mallah said Egypt will address the issue after domestic stability is restored. He added, however, that the official position of Egypt is that the conflict should be solved exceptionally in a peaceful way on the basis of international law.
The international studies expert did not agree with the opinion of a journalist that the Muslim states mainly as- sist Azerbaijan in the NKR conflict issue, "the Karabakh issue is not a religious one, and wrong is the opinion that the Muslim countries have an anti-Armenian position on this" he stated.
The Armenians have settled in Egypt since the ancient times and have actively participated in the social and political life of the country. About 9000 Armenians currently live in Egypt, mainly inhabiting in Alexandria and Cairo. The first Armenian school in Cairo was established in 1828 and in Alexandria – in 1851. In 1917 the number of the Armenian schools reached 11, where about 1600 pupils learnt. From the mid 19th century periodicals have been published and publishing houses have been established there. Egypt’s first Foreign Minister and Prime Minis- ter were Armenians.
OPPOSITION PARTY LEADER PLEDGES TO MAKE SURE TURKEY’S SOLE ARMENIAN VILLAGE MAINTAIN ITS STATUS -- Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kilicdaroglu promised to do everything he can so that the country’s sole remaining Armenian village will continue its exist- ence even after the new legislative changes with respect to cities.
Kilicdaroglu, who visited Armenian populated Vakiflikoy (Vakif) vil- lage in Turkey’s Hatay Province, spoke with the locals and listened to their concerns regarding the new law on cities, Milliyet daily of Turkey re- ports.
The Armenian villagers noted that, pursuant to the new law, the City of Hatay will become a metropolitan and their village will become a dis- trict of this metropolitan and, as a result, the Armenian culture in the vil- lage will disappear.
The CHP leader informed that they will introduce a new law proposal to the Turkish parliament, to preserve the self-government of the village.
To note, pursuant to the new law which was recently passed, Turkey’s villages with a population of less than 500 will lose their status as a village and be attached to an inhabitation, thereby losing the right to elect a village prefect.
Only 135 people live in Vakiflikoy (Vakif) village, which is Turkey’s sole remaining Armenian village.
YEREVAN, SEPTEMBER 20, ARMENPRESS: Artsakh overcomes all its difficulties due to unity of Arme- nia, Artsakh and Diaspora: It is an undeniable and undisputable reality. With such words began his speech President of Artsakh Republic Bako Sahakyan during meeting with representatives of awareness structures on Armenian is- sues. “When we speak about security of our country I note that together with Armenian army it is done by our pop- ulation. We are forced to secure it by the whole nation and from the other hand to implement works directed to de- velopment of our economy. In direction of security during these years we implemented several works, founded multilayer defensive system which is always updated, is made corresponding to demands of time. We are forces to
apply new ways to keep the level of security high as the rival not only implements provocative actions but also is distinguished by its obscene policy,” stressed Bako Sahakyan.
He highlighted that Artsakh has its characteristic features which are taken into consideration today and will be taken into consideration in future. “On of characteristic features of our country are the efforts to build Artsakh based on democratic principles and values. But I have to mention that past years experience show that when we copy the values of other countries not always favorable conditions for us are created,” he mentioned.
In Bako Sahakyan’s words at this moment by several authoritative organizations Artsakh has been considered as one of most secure countries of the world in sense of public security despite the fact that it is located in conflict area and in that region are accumulated large amount of weapons and ammunition. “We are proud of that achieve- ment and when I am asked what the reason of it is I mention that is the result of patriotism by our citizens, activities of judicial and force keeping bodies. There is an indicator by which is calculated the level of public security: they take the crimes per 10 000 people which is 250 in several developed countries in Europe and in Artsakh has been decreased and reached 25. We are interested in implementing works in this direction which is in line with our dream: To build a country where it will be a pleasure to live not only for people of Artsakh abut also foreigners,” mentioned Artsakh Republic President.
Reverberating to Artsakh’s economy President Sahakyan stressed the fact that in part of water resources Artsakh is one of the richest countries of the world. “We have the aim to use effectively those resources and from a country which imports electricity become a self-sufficient country and later export it,” highlighted Sahakyan adding that the next direction of right and efficient using of water resources is agriculture. “We managed to have irrigation system,” he added.
Speaking about tourism Bako Sahakyan stressed the importance of the issue of making Artsakh more cogniza- ble for people in Armenia. “Artsakh is a holy land for Armenians, like Jerusalem for Jews and Mecca for Muslim,” he said.
PUTIN AGAIN HAILS ARMENIAN ENTRY INTO RUSSIAN-LED BLOC -- Russian President Vladimir Putin again welcomed Armenia’s plans to join a Russian-led customs union on Saturday as he congratulated the country on the 22nd anniversary of its declaration of independence from the Soviet Union.
“Russian-Armenian relations, which have deep historical roots, have now reached the level of allied partnership and are continuing to develop intensively,” Putin said in a letter to President Serzh Sarkisian. “This was confirmed in particular by the results of your recent [September 3] visit to Moscow.”
“I am confident that with joint efforts we will ensure a further strengthening of the entire scope of bilateral ties and expansion of construction interaction in different multilateral formats, including in
the context of Armenia’s accession to the Customs Union. This undoubtedly corresponds to the fundamental inter- ests of our brotherly peoples,” read the letter publicized by Sarkisian’s press office.
Sarkisian unexpectedly announced his decision to join the union comprising Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan following his September 3 talks with Putin. A joint statement issued by them also commits Armenia to “participate in the formation of the Eurasian Economic Union” of ex-Soviet states. The Eurasian project aggressively promoted by Putin is widely regarded as an effort to ensure long-term Russian influence in much of the ex-USSR.
The Armenian government has been under pressure from Moscow to seek membership of the Russian-led un- ions over the past year. The Russian pressure intensified this summer as Yerevan inched closer to concluding an Association Agreement with the European Union. Russian diplomats and pro-Kremlin pundits warned that the planned deal with the EU would severely harm Russian-Armenian ties.
ARMENIAN PM TIGHT-LIPPED ON RUSSIAN-LED UNION -- Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian said late on Thursday that he has not changed his views about the customs union of Rus- sia, Belarus and Kazakhstan after President Serzh Sarkisian’s surprise decision to make Armenia part of the Russian-led bloc.
“No, my position is clear,” the premier told journalists while heading to a meeting of the leader- ship of the ruling Republican Party. He said Presi- dent Sarkisian’s September 3 decision did not take him by surprise but refused to comment further.
Tigran Sarkisian repeatedly voiced serious mis- givings about Armenian entry into the customs un- ion in his earlier public statements on the issue. In particular, he argued that Armenia has no common border with
any of the union’s three member states. Sarkisian came up with another argument in a February interview with the liberal Russian daily “Moskovskie
Novosti.” He said Armenia has a more liberal trade regime and lacks vast natural resources. “The structure of the Armenian economy is very different from that of the economies of the customs union’s countries that have substantial deposits of energy resources and pursue a policy of supporting domestic manufactur- ers through quite high customs duties,” the prime minister said at the time. “On the whole, the level of such duties
in the Customs Union is twice higher than those levied in Armenia.” Armenia will now have to adjust its customs legislation accordingly. Economists warn that this will signifi-
cantly push up the cost of some imported foodstuffs and other products in the domestic market. Tigran Sarkisian has not yet publicly commented on this and other economic aspects of joining the customs union.
President Sarkisian, who faced strong pressure from Moscow, has likewise not addressed the nation after his September 3 talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
HOVANNISIAN AGAIN CONDEMNS DEAL WITH RUSSIA -- Prime Opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian described membership in the customs union of Rus- sia, Belarus and Kazakhstan as a grave threat to Armenia’s inde- pendence as he again rallied supporters in Yerevan on Friday.
Hovannisian added the Armenian government’s pledge to join the union to a list of reasons why he believes President Serzh Sarkisian should step down. He said Sarkisian “single-handedly decided to subordinate Armenia’s sovereignty to others in a hu- miliating manner.”
“A government that steals elections, attacks citizens, ruins cultural values, fails to solve crimes in the army and elsewhere ... and takes a step in Moscow that is not anti-American or anti- European but anti-Armenian,” he told several hundred people in
the city’s Liberty Square. The Zharangutyun (Heritage) party leader, who was Sarkisian’s main challenger in the February 2013 presi-
dential election, called for the creation of a broad-based “national renewal front” that would campaign for regime change. “If we don’t come out of our corners and create that powerful fist nobody will forgive us for the loss of statehood,” he said.
“Armenia’s independence is jeopardized,” Zaruhi Postanjian, an outspoken Zharangutyun parliamentarian, said in a speech at the rally.
Hovannisian launched what he described as a new campaign of anti-government protests late last month, short-
ly before Sarkisian announced his decision on the customs union in Moscow. He has failed to pull large crowds so far.
The U.S.-born oppositionist called on other opposition and civic groups to join in the campaign ahead of the latest rally. Only a handful of small groups and individual figures heeded the appeal, however. Among them was Paruyr Hayrikian, another former presidential candidate who spent more than a decade in Soviet prisons for cam- paigning for Armenia’s independence.
Of all opposition represented in the Armenian parliament, only Zharangutyun and the Free Democrats party have explicitly rejected Armenia’s accession to the customs union.
PanARMENIAN.Net -- Yerevan and Moscow are planning to ratify an important agreement, envisaging direct purchases from Russian military plants, in the near future, Hraparak daily said citing sources at parliament.
According to the daily, the deal will provide Armenia with exclusive rights. “There’s a similar agreement with Belarus, yet it contains some reservations, which the deal with Armenia does not,” the daily said.
In June 2013, during the visit of the Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev to Armenia, a mili- tary and technical cooperation agreement was signed with Russia. The agreement stipulates for each side to supply military products with the same specifications as for one’s own armed forces. The agreement also enables the sup- plier to exert control over the presence of products and their compliance with the intended use to be described in an additional treaty.
According to another deal, Armenia and Russia will form a joint defense enterprise as well as the border guards and emergency situation experts training centers. With Russia’s assistance, Armenia’s defense industry will launch production of ammunition, armory, as well as form a repair base for land, air and air defense forces.
YEREVAN, SEPTEMBER 23, ARMENPRESS: President of the Re- public of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan on September 23 sent a congratulatory address to Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel on occasion of Christian Democratic Union victory in Bundestag elections. “Armenpress” was in- formed from press service of President’s office.
“The third consecutive victory of Christian Democratic Union was ex- pected: under your wise leadership in this period of global challenges Ger- many not only did not retreat and continued to develop but also helped sev- eral neighboring and friendly countries raising its authority in international level.
At the same time the noticeable progress in result of these elections stated that you due to your high professional abilities, persistent and pur-
poseful work and human qualities continue enjoying the confidence of German people. I am sure that Federal Government will continue being committed to continuous development of Armenian-
German relations based on mutual confidence and respect in which Armenia is deeply interested. As the leader of Republican Party of Armenia I greatly appreciate the cooperation between our parties and fur-
ther deepening of ties especially in framework of EPP. I cordially wish to health, new successes in your state activates and friendly German nation stable progress and
welfare, is said in the address. . Please accept, Distinguished Mrs. Merkel, the assurances of my highest consideration,” the President of Ar-
menia said in his congratulatory letter.
NEW ARMENIAN LAW-ENFORCEMENT BODY PLANNED -- President Serzh Sarkisian has moved to set up a new and powerful law-enforcement agency that will be tasked with conducting criminal in- vestigations.
Sarkisian’s press office indicated on Wednesday that the “united investigative body” will bring together corre- sponding divisions of Armenia’s police, Defense Minis- try and State Revenue Committee (SRC). It said in a statement that this structural change is aimed at increas- ing the effectiveness of inquiries into various crimes and the independence of officers conducting them.
The statement made no reference to the investigating arms of the National Security Service (NSS), the former Armenian branch of the Soviet KGB, as well as the Spe- cial Investigative Service (SIS), suggesting that they will
not be incorporated into the new agency. The SIS is subordinate to prosecutors and charged with investigating crimes committed by state officials and electoral violations.
The statement also announced that Sarkisian has formed an ad hoc commission that will draft new laws and legal amendments required for the creation of the new security agency. The commission is headed by former Prose- cutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian.
Galust Sahakian, a deputy chairman of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), said that Hovsepian, who resigned as chief prosecutor less than two weeks ago, is also likely to be appointed as head of the new body. Sahakian pointed to Hovsepian’s “valuable experience” in law enforcement.
Zaruhi Postanjian, a former trial attorney who is now a parliament deputy representing the opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage), brushed aside the official rationale for restructuring the Armenian security apparatus. “All of Serzh Sarkisian’s initiative are aimed at prolonging and strengthening his rule,” she told RFE/RL’s Armeni- an service (
SOCHI — President Serzh Sarkisian on Monday publicly criticized Central Asian states nominally allied to Armenia through a Russian-led defense pact for endorsing Azerbaijan’s position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Sarkisian appeared to point the finger at Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan during a summit of the Collective Securi-
ty Treaty Organization (CSTO) held in the Russian Black Sea city of Sochi. “In recent years there have been official documents, including at the presidential level, which at the behest of
the Azerbaijani side selectively single out the principle of territorial integrity to the detriment of other principles,” he told the fellow heads of state from the two Central Asian states as well as Russia, Belarus and Tajikistan.
He argued that the United States, Russia and France — the three mediating powers — believe that the Karabakh conflict must be resolved also on the basis of the principles of people’s self-determination and non-use of force.
“Naturally, many countries have their own interests connected with Azerbaijan,” continued Sarkisian. “But we cannot agree when those relations lead to the adoption of documents directed against the interests of CSTO member states and the image of the organization as a whole.”
“This issue is especially pressing against the background of the Armenophobic rhetoric of Azerbaijan’s presi- dent and constant threats to use force against Nagorno-Karabakh’s civilian population,” he said in televised re- marks.
As recently as on August 16, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and his Kyrgyz counterpart Almazbek
Armenia - President Serzh Sarkisian (R) meets with outgoing Prosecutor General Aghvan Hovsepian, Yerevan,12 Sep 2013.
Atambayev backed a Karabakh settlement “within Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized borders” in a joint dec- laration adopted at a summit of Turkic-speaking states in the Azerbaijani city of Gabala.
The two Central Asian states as well as Tajikistan previously signed even more pro-Azerbaijani statements by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The grouping of more than 50 predominantly Muslim states has repeatedly condemned Armenian “aggression” against Azerbaijan.
The foreign ministers of OIC member states issued one such declaration at a meeting held in New York in September 2012. The meeting chaired by Kazakh Foreign Minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov said the Karabakh dispute should be settled “on the basis of respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of the internation- ally recognized borders of Azerbaijan.”
Armenian leaders protested against the CSTO member states’ endorsement of such statements even before the CSTO summit in Sochi. Sarkisian said on Monday that they are acting against “the spirit of decisions” made by the Russian-led military alliance.
He cited a December 2012 declaration by the CSTO heads of state that backed application of the principles of both territorial integrity and self-determination to the unresolved conflict.
YEREVAN -- On September 25, the USAID-funded Enterprise Development and Market Competitiveness (EDMC) Project and Small Enterprise Assistance Funds (SEAF) Armenia launched a conference entitled “Easing Access to Affordable Capital for Competitive Private Businesses.” The conference focused on private equity fi- nance and investment opportunities in Armenia, bringing together representatives of international investment insti- tutions and the Armenian business community to discuss opportunities and obstacles of investing into the Armenian economy.
Board Member of the Central Bank of Armenia Armenak Darbinyan, USAID Armenia Economic Growth Of- fice Director Naren Chanmugam, and SEAF Executive Chairman and Co-Founder Hubertus van der Vaart deliv- ered remarks, encouraging businesses to take advantage of the conference to learn more about equity finance and application procedures. Conference participants included representatives of major financial institutions in Armenia, consulting companies, and small and medium enterprises.
The conference enabled key players in the field of equity finance to coordinate efforts and facilitated a dia- logue between companies and financial institutions to help raise awareness about equity finance and spur future investments.
NEWS.AM, YEREVAN -- The Central Bank of Armenia (CBA) purchased $7 million from the country’s fi- nancial market last week, the CBA official website reports.
Nonetheless, the American dollar continued to “weaken” against the Armenian dram (AMD). The US national currency devalued in Armenia by about AMD 4 in one week, and this is quite a high pace for the Armenian mar- ket.
The active purveyance of grapes and other autumn crops in the country is contributing to the present-day in- crease in the exchange rate of the dram.
Since the CBA reduced the quantity of the dram during the last week, there is a certain deficit of dram in Ar- menia’s financial market; this in turn results in a temporary rise in the exchange rate of the Armenian national cur- rency.
PanARMENIAN.Net -- The operation of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) has been suspended for scheduled annual repair, refueling and safety boosting measures.
According to the press office of the Ministry of Energy and natural Resources, the works will be carried out during 54 days, after which the NPP will be re-launched on Nov 16.
Earlier this month, Energy Minister Armen Movsisyan announced that the operation term of Armenian Nucle- ar Power Plant will be extended till 2026 despite objections voiced by the EU.
The agreement to implement the project on extension of the NPP operation term was reached following the Sept 3 talks between Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, with Rosatom and Armenian experts to be involved in the project.
Besides, Armenian and Belgian experts, who became mandatory after the Japan’s Fukushima disaster, are working on the stress tests to be performed at the NPP.
Also, the government of Armenia decreed to provide a license to Armenian Nuclear Power Plant CJSC for nu- clear agents’ export to Russia.
Armenian Nuclear Power Plant has already singed a nuke agents’ export deal with Russia’s TVEL Ltd. The NPP, currently operative, was launched in 1976. The plant was shut down over political reasons in 1989, with a 404-megawatt NPP unit re-launched in 1995.
Armenia is planning to build a new 1000-megawatt unit, with an estimated implementation cost of $5 billion.
TVEL Ltd. is a Russian manufacturer of nuclear fuel, with 100% of company’s stocks owned by Atomenergoprom OJSC; the company unites Russian civil nuclear industry.
SEISMOLOGIST: STRONG EARTHQUAKE UNLIKELY TO OCCUR IN NEAR FUTURE -- There is seismic activity in the region, which cannot but pose a threat to Armenia, deputy head of Seismic Protection National Service of the Emergency Situations Ministry, Ashkhen Tovmasyan, told a news conference in Yerevan.
According to the seismologist, 5 is a moderate earthquake and on the one hand, it is positive that such earth- quakes occur because they result in discharge.
“But there is also an opposite side. Such earthquakes can be viewed as positive if only they are not a sign of a stronger earthquake,” she said.
“A strong earthquake is unlikely to occur in Armenia in the near future. I would not want my words to cause panic but I must say that a strong earthquake has occurred in Armenia, so it can occur again,” Ms Tovmasyan said. “We must not fear that a strong earthquake can occur. We must just prepare for it properly.” The official also said that Armenia’s seismic studies network is being improved at present.
A man has bled to death without being able to get medical assistance as Azeri forces kept shooting along a border section in northeastern Armenia.
A 26-year-old resident of Aygedzor, so far identified by his first name Edik, was reportedly wounded as a re- sult of a mine explosion near the Armenia-Azerbaijan border on Tuesday. Attempts to get medical aid to him were futile under enemy fire that lasted for several hours, said local officials as quoted by media.
This is not the first time that civilians are caught in the middle of cross-border shooting in the Tavush section of the heavily militarized border. Two villagers from nearby Chinari were killed by Azeri snipers in 2008; Armeni- an civilians, including kids in the kindergarten, also became targets for Azeris during the 2012 Armenian- Azerbaijani border clashes.
YEREVAN, September 25. /ARKA/. Resident of Aygedzor village of Armenia’s Tavush region was killed in a mine explosion Tuesday, the press office of Armenian police reported.
According to the report received by the Tavush police department, 26-year-old Edvard Dallakyan was blown up by a mine, left his leg and died Wednesday night.
“It turned out that around 15:30 on the same day Dallakyan led pigs from pasture to the village and found him- self on a mined area between Armenian and Azeri positions and was blown up by a mine. He died when being transported to the villages”, says the report.
Investigation is under way and a forensic examination is arranged.
ARMENIAN EX-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE IS SENTENCED TO 14 YEARS IN PRISON, YEREVAN -- Armenian capital city Ye- revan’s Kentron and Nork-Marash General Jurisdiction Court on Monday sentenced ex-presidential candidate and epic poetry specialist Vardan Sedrakyan to fourteen years in prison.
In addition, Samvel Harutyunyan and Khachatur Poghosyan were sentenced to twelve and fourteen years, respectively.
To note, on July 29, the state prosecutor had motioned for a twelve-year prison sentence for Sedrakyan, a thirteen- year sentence for Harutyunyan, and a fourteen-year prison term for Poghosyan,
As Armenian informed earlier, op- position National Self-Determination Union Chairman, ex-presidential candidate Paruyr Hayrikyan was wounded as a result of an assassination attempt that was staged against him on January 31 at around 11:20pm in downtown Yerevan, in front of his home, and during the campaign season for the presidential election that was held on Febru- ary 18. First, he was transferred to capital city Yerevan’s Surb Grigor Lusavorich (Saint Gregory the Illuminator) Medical Center, where he was operated on. Subsequently, he was taken to the rehabilitation center of the Armenian
Red Cross Society. Next, Hayrikyan headed to Belgium for treatment, and he underwent a surgery there. In the criminal case that was launched into this assassination attempt, ex-presidential candidate, non-party af- filiate, and epic poetry specialist Vardan Sedrakyan was charged with ordering the attempted murder of a state, po- litical, or a public figure. Also, Khachatur Poghosyan was charged with attempted murder of a state, political, or a public figure; and Samvel Harutyunyan was charged with orchestrating the attempted murder of a state, political, or
a public figure.
HUNDREDS OF TONS OF APRICOTS ROTTED ON BORDER – ARMENIAN ECONOMIST, YEREVAN -- Serious problems have emerged on the border in terms of apricot exports, econo- mist Tatul Manaseryan stated during a press conference on Wednesday.
He informed that hundreds of tons of apricots were dumped as a result of being held for too long, and subse- quently rotting, at Armenia’s customs checkpoint.
As per Manaseryan, the Armenian Ministry of Agriculture has not done enough work to explain to exporters as to which accompanying documents are needed.
To note, the Agriculture Ministry had released a statement, according to which Armenia’s apricot exports had broken a new record in 2013, with approximately 24,000 tons.
PanARMENIAN.Net -- Armenia is ranked 3rd among the ex-Soviet countries for the consumer price growth in January-August 2013.
According to the National Statistical Service, a 3,5% inflation (annual inflation of 5,3%),was posted in the country’s consumer market in January- August 2013; the August inflation reached 0,3%.
Belarus is leading the list for the growth in consumer prices with 8,2% inflation rate followed by Russia (4,5%) and Kazakhstan (3,1%.)
Tajikistan and Estonia reported an upsurge of 2,5%, Kyrgyzstan and Moldavia 1,1% each, Azerbaijan and Lithuania - 0,2% and 0,1% respective- ly. Latvia and Ukraine posted a price drop of 0,6%, similarly to Georgia and Turkmenistan - 0,9% and 1,7% respec-
YEREVAN, September 23. / ARKA /. Illegal logging in Arme- nia has shrank dramatically in the last years, according to Martun Matevosyan, director of state non-profit company ArmForest.
Speaking at a news conference Monday he said thanks to a string of measures taken by the company illegal logging had declined from 454,233 trees in 1994 to 32,766 trees in 2004. In 2012 some 1,320 trees were cut in violation of the law, he said.
According to him, the downward trend stems from the fact that the overwhelming majority of rural communities are connected to the natural gas network and the households use gas to heat homes in winter months.
Matevosian also reported that new trees were planted on 3,400 hectares and overall 31,000 hectares had been restored from 2004 to 2012.
In this context, he stressed the need for development of small and medium-sized businesses in the communi- ties located near forests, because they will have a positive impact on the social situation of the population.
"Today, many valuable forest resources - medicinal herbs, berries, mushrooms and others are not used proper- ly. If SME’s develop in nearby communities, then all of these forest gifts will be sold, and the social situation of the population will improve significantly," Matevosian said.
According to a study conducted by the German Organization for International Cooperation (GIZ) in 2011, ap- proximately 11.2 % of Armenia’s territory or 332, 400 hectares are forests.
BAKU -- Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev has strongly defended his controversial decision to free, pro- mote and reward an Azerbaijani army officer who hacked to death a sleeping Armenian colleague in Hungary in 2004.
In a speech delivered on Wednesday and reported by Azerbaijani news agencies the following day, Aliyev also alleged that “fascism” has been the dominant Armenian national ideology over the past century.
“I remember how many unfounded accusations and attacks I faced from hypocritical foreign politicians after
the liberation and return to the homeland of the Azerbaijani officer Ramil Safarov,” he said. “The European Parlia- ment even adopted a resolution on this issue and condemned my steps.”
“But I will repeat with the same determination that Azerbaijan freed its officer, returned him to the homeland and restored justice,” he declared.
Safarov was sentenced by a Hungarian court to life imprisonment for axe-murdering Armenian Lieutenant Gurgen Markarian during a NATO course in Budapest. Aliyev pardoned Safarov immediately after the Hungarian authorities unexpectedly extradited him to Azerbaijan in August last year. The officer was also promoted to the rank of army major, granted a free apartment and paid eight years’ worth of back pay.
Safarov’s glorification provoked a furious reaction from Armenia and strong Western criticism.
Aliyev, who will almost certainly secure a third term in office in an upcoming presidential election, made the remarks as he inaugurated a memorial to the victims to what his regime says was genocide committed by Armeni- ans in northern Azerbaijan in 1918. He said the atrocity was a vivid manifestation of “Armenian fascism.”
“Armenian fascism once again showed its face in the late 1980s and the early 1990s,” Aliyev said, referring to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“The ideology of the modern Armenian state is also based on fascism,” he charged. “I believe that Armenian fascism should be researched by Azerbaijani scholars more thoroughly.”
In his speech Aliyev also pledged that, " Azerbaijan will restore its territorial integrity. All the factors- com- parison of powers, international and economic-military factors indicate it. Just it takes time and we want to achieve it soon. Azerbaijan’s state flag should be waved in Shusha, Khankendi and Azerbaijanis should live in their histori- cal lands in the future. Our historical lands are Yerevan khanate, Goyce and Zangazur regions. There will be times; we will live in these lands. I believe it, I am sure. Everyone should put their efforts in order to achieve it. Everyone should bring this sacred day nearer via their activities”.
The chief of the foreign relations department of the Azerbaijani Presidency urges Ankara not to repeat the 2009 ‘mistake’ of attempting to open borders with Armenia. -- A senior Azeri official has urged Turkey not to repeat the 2009 “mistake” of attempting to open borders with Armenia, underlining that they are suspicious of similar efforts to revive the stalled process be- tween Ankara and Yerevan.
“There are such attempts [for the revival of the Ankara-Yerevan process] these days. I am hopeful and sure that the Turkish leadership will not take steps contrary to the will of Azerbaijanand the Azerbaijani people,” Novroz Mammadov, chief of the foreign relations department of the Azerbaijani Presidency, told the Hürriyet Daily News in an interview.
Without further elaborating on what these attempts were, Mammadov said he was talking about “possibilities” rather than concrete moves.
Approached by the Daily News, Turkish diplomatic sources said there were no intentions for the revival of the reconciliation process and that Turkey’s position vis-à-vis the Nagorno-Karabkh issue had not changed.
“A step was taken in 2009. An agreement was signed between Turkey and Armenia under the monitoring of six foreign ministers. It was not possible to implement this agreement because it was unfair,” Mammadov said. “We do not want it to occur a second time.”
“We are grateful for Turkey’s support to Azerbaijan with regard to the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. We are regretful because of the failure of the international community’s efforts to resolve the problem since the early 1990s,” he said.
President İlham Aliyev’s adviser underlined that Baku was not in fact against Turkey opening its borders with Armenia but that such a move should follow a step taken by Yerevan with regard to Nagorno-Karabakh.
PRESS TV -- Thousands of anti-government demon- strators have held a protest rally in the Azerbaijani capital Baku, calling on President Ilham Aliyev to leave office.
On Sunday, some 2,000 to 4,000 of Azeri protesters staged a gathering in Baku, demanding the incumbent president’s resignation ahead of the country’s presidential election.
The protesters also called for free and democratic elections, political reforms and an end to the government’s clampdown on dissents.
The demonstration was organized by Azerbaijan’s main opposition coalition, National Council of Democratic Forces.
Camil Hasanli, 61, has been nominated by the opposi- tion group and is set to challenge Aliyev in the upcoming presidential poll scheduled for October 9. The group’s
initial nominee, Rustam Ibrahimbayov, was disqualified from running in the election. “There is a war being fought in Azerbaijan between good and evil,” Hasanli told the gathering, adding, “This
is a war between justice and injustice, between national and anti-national forces. We will win.” On May 27, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks called on Baku to free all
detainees jailed for criticizing Aliyev’s government. “Journalists, bloggers, activists and other independent thinkers continue to experience severe limitations to
their freedom of expression in Azerbaijan,” Muiznieks also said after a three-day visit to the country. Scores of opposition activists and critics were arrested in Azerbaijan earlier this year following the govern-
ment’s suppression of a spate of demonstrations. On September 2, Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused the Azerbaijani government of adopting a “deliberate,
abusive strategy” to clamp down on freedom of expression in the Caspian Sea country.
TURKEY WILL PROBABLY NEVER BE EU MEMBER, MINISTER BAĞIŞ SAYS -- Turkish Minister of EU Affairs Egemen Bağış has said Turkey will probably never become a member of the European Union because of stiff opposition and “prejudiced” attitudes from the bloc’s current members, The Telegraph newspaper has reported.
Turkey’s status is likely to be similar to that of Norway, with access to the single market through free trade agreements but no membership, Bağış said.
"In the long run I think Turkey will end up like Norway. We will be at European standards, very closely aligned but not as a member,” he said. This prediction would only change if European attitudes change toward his country, which would be the first Muslim
nation to join the bloc, Bağış added. Turkey is still the victim of “prejudice” despite its modernizing and its growing economy, he added, citing the
defeat of Istanbul’s Olympic bid as evidence.
THE BISHOPS’ SYNOD OF THE HOLY ARMENIAN APOSTOLIC CHURCH COMMENCES AT THE MOTHER SEE OF HOLY ETCHMIADZIN -- On September 24, in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; and His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, pre- sided over the opening of the Bishop’s Synod of the Armenian Church. Present at the meet- ing were 62 Archbishops and Bishops from the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and the Great House of Cilicia.
Attending the opening ceremony was Mr. Serzh Sargsyan, President of the Republic of Armenia. Following the recitation of Lord’s Prayer, the clergymen then extended their prayers to God, exhorting repose for the recently departed souls of Archbishop Shahan Svajian, Archbishop Artvazd Trtryan and for the souls of all the deceased clergymen. The Catholicos of All Armenians then welcomed the clergymen and invited Mr. Serzh Sargsyan to address the participants of the Synod.
Following the President’s speech, His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians; His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of Cilicia; and His Eminence Archbishop Aram Ateshyan, Patriarchal Vicar of Constantinople, gave their opening remarks.
By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
I just returned from a three-day conference in Yerevan where 40 Armenian activists, journalists, and repre-
sentatives of political, religious and cultural organizations from 18 countries (Argentina, Armenia, Artsakh, Bel-
gium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Netherlands, Russia, Syria, United
States, and Uruguay) attended closed-door briefings from senior government officials.
The attendees met with the Vice Speaker and chairs of all parliamentary committees, President’s Chief of Staff
Vigen Sargsyan, Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian, Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan, Diaspora Minister
Hranush Hakobyan, National Security Council Secretary Artur Baghdasaryan, Constitutional Court Chairman
Gagik Harutunyan, and President of Artsakh Bako Sahakyan
Since the briefings dealt with sensitive political and national security issues and were off-the-record, I can on-
ly disclose the general topics without attribution to a specific speaker or participant:
-- Armenia’s decision to join the CIS Customs Union instead of signing the European Association Agreement;
-- Threats to Armenia’s national security and efforts to neutralize them;
-- Preparations for possible international legal action against Turkey to secure restitution for the Armenian
-- Plans for the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide;
-- Status of signed but not ratified Armenia-Turkey Protocols;
-- Superior morale of victorious Armenian soldiers -- an advantage over Azeris in a renewed war with Azer-
-- Diaspora’s participation in the economic development of Armenia and Artsakh.
The conference, organized by the Diaspora Ministry, provided the participants the rare opportunity to offer
their critical assessment of the situation in the homeland and to openly question Armenia’s and Artsakh’s highest
officials. The political leaders and their diasporan guests emphasized the urgent need for a framework or structure
that would coordinate the efforts of Armenians in Armenia, Artsakh and Diaspora. During the conference and me-
dia interviews, I proposed the creation of a pan-Armenian committee which would include representatives from
Armenia, Artsakh, and Diaspora, to deal expressly with the critical needs of Artsakh, similar to the Centennial
Committee for the Armenian Genocide, except that the Artsakh committee would be of a permanent nature.
On September 21, the conference participants were invited to attend the special presidential reception in cele-
bration of Armenia’s Independence Day. The evening ended with an impressive concert and fireworks show in Re-
public Square.
Prior to arriving in Yerevan, I attended the spiritually uplifting consecration of Moscow’s Armenian Cathe-
dral, which reportedly cost tens of millions of dollars contributed by generous Russian-Armenian businessmen. The
magnificent church structure and the nearby community center are expected to play a critical role in preserving the
Armenian language and Christian faith for the two-million Armenians living in Russia. The September 17 conse-
cration ceremony was attended by the Presidents of Armenia and Artsakh, Catholicos Karekin II, high-ranking Ar-
menian clergymen from around the world, and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill. Pres. Putin did not attend due to
his absence from Moscow.
On this august occasion, a series of concerts, receptions and banquets were held in Moscow hosted by the
Armenian Diocese of Russia for the large number of guests from throughout the world. In appreciation, Catholicos
Karekin II recognized the two dozen benefactors of the Cathedral by bestowing upon them the highest honorific
medals of the Armenian Church.
While in Moscow, I attended several jewelry-related events, organized by prominent Armenian jewelers in
Russia. For the first time in a hundred years, an Armenian, Gagik Gevorkyan, President of Estet Jewelry House,
was elected head of the prestigious Russian Jewelers Guild. Mr. Gevorkyan sponsored the lavish annual Jewelry
Charity Ball at his company’s headquarters in Moscow, attended by over a thousand jewelers and their families,
including well-known Armenian jewelers from France, Canada, and the United States.
With a sense of great pride, I watched members of the Armenian Jewelers Association from Russia and North
America address the distinguished guests at the International Jewelry Economic Forum and display their precious
handiwork at JUNWEX, the XII International Jewelry and Watch Exhibition.
Before departing Moscow, I gave several TV interviews and participated in a panel discussion on Hayk
Demoyan’s new book, “Turkey’s Foreign Policy and the Karabagh Conflict.”
Despite the hectic schedule, my journey to Moscow and Yerevan opened up important networking opportuni-
ties for closer collaboration between Armenia and the two largest diaspora communities of Russia and the United
ARCHBISHOP SHAHAN SIVACIYAN PASSES AWAY IN ISTANBUL -- Archbishop of the Constantinople patriarchate of the Arme- nian Apostolic Church Shahan Sivaciyan passed away in Istanbul at the age of 87.
He is one of the prominent clerics of the Armenian patriarchate of Con- stantinople, Agos newspaper writes.
“Sivaciyan was a prominent representative of the patriarchate, and his death is a big loss for the Armenian community of Istanbul.”
The funeral of archbishop will take place on September 30 at the ceme- tery of the Surb Khach church.
YEREVAN -- The Pan-Armenian Forum of Representatives of Organizations Raising Awareness about Ar- menian Issues entitled “Ahead of the 100th Anniversary of the Ar- menian Genocide” kicked off in Yerevan on September 19th. The forum is organized by the RA Min- istry of Diaspora.
During the forum, the partici- pants discussed the activities of the regional committees established in the Diaspora ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Geno- cide and the representatives of or- ganizations raising awareness about Armenian issues, as well as the cur- rent objectives of Armenia’s for- eign policy.
Members of the Foreign Af- fairs Committee of the RA National Assembly and leaders of parliamen- tary delegations within international organizations participated in a discussion on “Key Issues of Popular Diploma- cy” moderated by Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan.
The discussions continued at the RA Ministry of Defense where the participants discussed issues related to Armenia’s defense with Minister Seyran Ohanyan and the high-ranking commanders of the ministry.
The first day of the forum ended with a discussion on the development of Armenia-Diaspora partnership at the RA Ministry of Diaspora.
The forum participants held a special meeting with RA Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian.
The forum was held in Yerevan on 19-21 September with the participation of nearly 50 representatives of or- ganizations raising awareness about Armenian issues from Armenia, Artsakh and the Diaspora.
More than 170,000 photos were uploaded to Wikimedia Commons in the first 22 days of the international photo contest Wiki Loves Monuments. Roughly 10,000 of these images are photos of Armenian monuments, which makes Armenia 6th in the race of 53 countries by number of photo- graphs. Poland is leading with roughly 27,000 photos, Germany is second with 22,000 photos. The contest will continue until 30 September.
Up to now Armenia had 130 participants who photographed monu- ments and uploaded them to Wikimedia Commons. Arpine Andreasyan, one of the participants, says, it is such a pity that only a very little part of Armenian heritage can be found in the internet. “This is a great opportunity to improve that, to centre all these monuments in a place which gets a lot of attention”. Most of the photographs Arpine uploaded to Wikimedia Com- mons were from her photo archive. Arman Musikyan, another participant of the contest, started to travel all around the country especially for Wiki
Loves Monuments. “I found that photographing monuments is like practicing a sport,” he says, “to get to a monu- ment you often have to walk for hours, sometimes you need to climb a rock, like for instance the fortress Kayan in Haghpat”.
According to Arman, the contest is also like a sport because of the competition between the countries: each one of them tries to get more photos than the others. Arman himself already uploaded roughly 3,000 photos and he still makes trips all around Armenia and makes photos.
Armenian coordinators of Wiki Loves Monuments have organized photowalks in Yerevan, Goris, Shushi and Vanadzor to encourage and help everyone who would like to contribute to the contest. Participants of these events walk around their cities, make photos of monuments and upload to Wikimedia Commons. The last photowalk will take place on 29 September in Gyumri.
Only one week is left till the end of the contest. After that, in October, the winners of each country will be se- lected by a local jury. Then an international jury will select international winners of Wiki Loves Monuments. Vachagan Gratian, one of the Armenian organizers, informed that they have a budget of 1.7 million AMD for the awards, although they didn’t decide yet what prices are exactly going to be. The award for the international winner is on the other hand already known: a trip to the Wikimania conference in London.
“Wiki Loves Monuments” is the largest photo contest in the world. It takes place every year on 1-30 Septem- ber. Armenia joined the contest for the first time this year. Organizer of the contest in Armenia is Wikimedia Ar- menia. General sponspor is “Ucom”. The awards funds is provided by Wikimedia Foundation.
Call for Papers
Armenian Studies Program April 4-5, 2014 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Deadline for submission of abstracts: December 16, 2013
The proliferation of studies in international migration, transnationalism and diasporas over the past three decades has raised a number of questions, prompting scholars to significantly reconsider former es- sentialist approaches to communities and identities. If earlier scholars of Armenian studies have often treated the Armenian diaspora as a collection of independent, self-sufficient communities, limiting their studies to mostly descriptive observations, a new generation of scholars has focused on the diversity, flex- ibility and context-dependence of diasporic communities, individual lives and identities, as well as on in- vestigating the changing roles and impacts of homelands and homeland-diaspora relations on the ways in which diasporas function.
The 1915 genocide of the Armenian subjects of the Ottoman Empire resulted in an outflow of refu- gees and survivors; this, combined with the independence acquired on a small piece of the Armenian homeland in 1918, the Sovietization of Armenia in 1920, and the founding of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, created the conditions in which modern and contemporary Armenian diasporas have functioned, embedded in a new era in the history of Armenians. The nature of Armenian diasporic communities, the agendas of diasporic institutions, varying perceptions of the Armenian homeland and the republics of Ar- menia, intracommunal identities, conflicts and cooperation, and other elements of Armenian diasporic life took shape after the post-Lausanne disappointment, under the influence of changing conditions in host countries and a complex international political context. Conceptions of what diasporas and diasporic iden- tities are, and how they should function, developed heterogeneously in specific diasporic communities, in the homeland, and, more recently, in diaspora studies. This workshop will be dedicated to exploring the competing and sometimes conflicting conceptions of how the Armenian diaspora, with its various com-
munities and identities, has functioned and is functioning in the challenging transnational environment of modernity and globalization as well as in relation to the transformations of the homeland.
This workshop on Armenia and Diaspora 1918-2013 is sponsored by the University of Michigan’s Armenian Studies Program and is organized by Vahe Sahakyan, a graduate student in that Program with faculty advisors, Professors Kevork Bardakjian (University of Michigan) and Khachig Tölölyan (Wesley- an University), and seeks to bring together younger scholars (graduate students engaged in research or those who defended their dissertations in the last three years) who work on diasporas within a variety of disciplines. Emphasizing an interdisciplinary and connected approach, among other themes, we invite submissions that address the following issues (along with others of equal relevance):
Perceptions and representations of the lost homeland, the three post-1918 Republics of Armenia in post-genocide diasporic discourse. Perceptions and representations of the Armenian diaspora in Soviet Armenia (under Stalin and in the post-Stalinist period) and in the Republic of Armenia;
Diasporic institutions and organizations and their relations with Soviet Armenia under Stalin, during WWII and the years of the Cold War;
The 1948 Genocide Convention and its impact on Armenian diasporic institutions and their policies;
Host country conditions, institutions- and community-building in the diaspora (the role of churches, whether Apostolic, Evangelical, Catholic, political parties, charitable organizations, compatriotic unions and comparable organizations);
Host countries, transnational migrations, and the Armenian diaspora; the ‘locals’ and the ‘newcom- ers’ within the Armenian diaspora;
Education, diasporic identities and identity politics in the Armenian diaspora: agents of diasporic identity formation.
Successful applicants will need to submit a paper of no more than 20 double-spaced pages by March 3, 2014 to be circulated among workshop participants. Please send an Abstract (250 words /single spaced) along with a CV to by December 16, 2013.
Some funds are available to cover travel expenses. Per donor guidelines, preference will be given to those traveling from the Republic of Armenia.
Armenian Studies Program, University of Michigan 1080 South University Ave., Suite 3633 Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106 USA
LOS ANGELES — Famous director Richard Sarafian died Wednesday night at age 83 in Southern California.
Sarafian was best known for his film Vanishing Point, a story about an auto pursuit through the Nevada desert involving a Vietnam veteran and his drug dealer.
He directed numerous films and, earlier in his career, TV shows that in- cluded episodes of “Gunsmoke,” “The Twilight Zone” and “Batman.” He also acted, appearing as hitman Vinnie in the Warren Beatty satire “Bulworth” and gangster Jack Dragna in Beatty’s “Bugsy.”
In “Dr. Doolittle 2,” he did a comic turn as the voice of the God Beaver, a don of the dam who ran the forest like a Corleone with buck teeth.
The Associated Press reports that Sarafian died at a Santa Monica hospi- tal on Wednesday after suffering from pneumonia. He contracted it while re- covering from a fall.
“I had absolutely no idea that this thing would survive all these years,” Sarafian said about the 1971 hit film. Born April 28, 1930, in New York City, Richard Caspar Sarafian was the son of Armenian immigrants. He at-
tended New York University but “was a rotten student, drinking and carousing,” he told the Armenian Reporter in 2008. “To make life easier, I took a two-point course in writing and directing pictures. I got an A!”
Sarafian was married to Helen Joan Altman who died two years ago, after divorcing Sarafian and later remar- rying him.
Sarafian is survived by five children, sons Deren, Damon, Richard Jr., Tedi, and his daughter Catherine, all of whom work in the film industry.
Sarafian was an iconic influence on film and was remembered by directors like Quentin Tarantino.
YEREVAN -- November 22 will mark the 20th anniversary of the Armenian dram. The Central Bank of Armenia organizes a number of events on this occasion.
“The history of the Armenian currency: Finances for Everyone” exhibition was launched in the city of Hrazdan today and will continue through September 29. Victors will have an opportunity to watch the items on display and learn about the history of Armeni- an coin-cutting.
The oldest known Armenian coins were cut in the second half of the 3rd century B.C by the Armenian kings of Tsopk. This is where the history of Armenian money starts from.
Gevorg Mughalyan, numismatist at the Central Bank of Armenia, draws special attention to the coins cut dur- ing the rule of Tigran the Great. Those were the unique coins picturing the Armenian crown.
“We had no Armenian currency in the Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia. However, there is an interesting fact. King Kiurike II (second half of the 11th century) of the Lori branch of Bagratuni/Bagratid Dynasty issued a unique coin, only one copy of which has been preserved. This is the first coin with Armenian inscriptions,” he said.
The inscriptions on almost all the coins cut in the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia were in the Armenian alpha- bet, although there were coins with Latin and Arab inscriptions, as well, the expert said.
Specialists say contemporary Armenians banknotes are no worse than the best banknotes in Europe with their quality and level of protection.
The oldest banknote displayed at the Hrazdan exhibition dates back to 1899. Besides, the expo presents 36 an- cient coins, more than 100 banknotes used at different periods of time, 175 memorial coins cut in the recent years.
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