Monday, 30 November 2015

Armenian News... A Topalian... Armenia: Masterpieces from an Enduring Culture

The 25 November lecture that was very informative to a full lecture room.
The questions were of a very high standard (e.g. what is the relationship between the 
Armenian church kmpets, the narrower higher Georgian versions and the Moslem 
cemetery memorial stones in that area?).
It's a discerning,interested audience with a lecturer to match.

Well worth making your visit to the exhibition on a future lecture date. 

Armenia: Masterpieces from an Enduring Culture
23 October 2015 — 28 February 2016 
Venue: ST Lee Gallery, Weston Library (Map


The Bodleian Libraries 2015 winter exhibition celebrates over 2,500 years of Armenia history. Armenia's Enduring Culture can refer to the great antiquity of Armenian culture, spanning more than two and a half millennia, from its first mention, carved into stone, in the reign of King Darius I (c. 550-486 BCE) to the modern Republic of Armenia and the numerous diaspora communities worldwide.
Yet endurance can also refer to the suffering and hardship which has befallen the Armenians. 2015 marks the centenary of the genocide against the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire by the Young Turk government during World War I.
In their honour, we display over one hundred items spanning more than two thousand years of cultural history: from King Tigranes II the Great's coins minted in the first century BCE, through sumptuously and more modestly decorated manuscripts from the Middle Ages, to the treasured objects of survivors of the 1915 genocide.
Opening times:
Monday to Friday 10am-5pm
Saturday 10am-5pm
Sunday 11am-5pm
Please note: Due to unexpected building issues, the main gallery entrance to the Armenia exhibition is temporarily closed; visitors can enter the exhibition through the Transept Corridor to the right of the closed entrance. Please ask a staff member for directions if needed. 
For further enquiries please email:


Admission free

More events in the Armenia series

From the Genocide to Aram Khachaturian, Andy Serkis and Kim Kardashian
28 October 2015 
In 1915, during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, an unprecedented campaign to exterminate the Christian Armenian population of the Empire was launched. Under the…
Splendour and spirituality in Armenian Christianity
25 November 2015 
Armenia adopted Christianity as the state religion in the early fourth century. Ever since the invention of the alphabet around 405, Armenians have produced brilliantly…
Home is where the market is - trade and print culture in the Armenian Diaspora
2 December 2015 
Armenians adopted printing soon after the invention of the printing press, with the first books produced in 1512-13 in Venice. Since there was not a…
Gifts from our grandmothers: domestic culture in a Diaspora family
9 December 2015 
Aspects of Armenian identity have been handed down through many generations in the diaspora. This talk explores needlework and culinary traditions that have been cherished…
Behind the colours of the Armenian artist: the devil is in the detail
13 January 2016 
A wealth of ingredients from precious and poisonous minerals to unassuming plants and miniscule insects were transformed into pigments by the expert hands of Armenian…
Armenian Papers: fact, fiction and translation in the Monastery of San Lazzaro
27 January 2016 
The Armenian Monastery of San Lazzaro, in the lagoon of Venice, has been a centre for translation since the late eighteenth century. It was only…

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Issue 16 of the Armenian Church News of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of Great Britain & Ireland.

Please copy and paste to your URL... Thank you


Saturday, 28 November 2015

Armenian News... A Topalian... Armenian Carpets:

CNN Feature
Armenian carpets: A multi-million dollar industry
25 November 2015

Armenia is among the safest countries in the world in terms of
potential threats of terrorism, according to a 2015 Global Terrorism
Index report published by the Institute for Economics and Peace
in London.

The Christian South Caucasus nation comes 116th in the list of
162 countries where the higher rank means more danger in terms of

The report says that one of the sources of possible threat to Armenia
is the participation of 70 ethnic Armenian fighters in the struggle
with Syrian Kurds against ISIS, a terrorist group seeking to establish
its control over Iraq, Syria and other regions.

Armenia's neighbors Azerbaijan and Georgia are ranked 93rd and 71st
in the list, respectively. Russia is ranked 23rd, while the U.S. came
in at 35th.

The Global Terrorism Index provides a detailed analysis of the
changing trends in terrorism across 162 countries over the last
15 years. It investigates the patterns of terrorism by geographic
activity, methods of attack, organizations involved and national
economic and political contexts.

According to the latest report, the highest terrorist activity is
concentrated in five countries -- Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan
and Syria. These countries accounted for overall 78 percent of the
lives lost in 2014 as a result of terror attacks. India, Somali,
Libya and Thailand also appeared in the top ten.

The report comes days after two major terrorist attacks against
Russia and France that groups affiliated with ISIS have claimed
responsibility for.

A total of 224 people were killed on board a Russian plane brought
down by a planted bomb over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on October 31.

Islamist gunmen also perpetrated a series of coordinated terrorist
attacks in the French capital of Paris on November 13, killing at
least 129 and injuring several hundred people. An ethnic Armenian
teen was among the victims of the Paris attacks.
Armenia's foreign trade shrinks 20.4% to $3 900.9 million 
in Jan-Oct 2015
YEREVAN, November 20. Armenia's foreign trade turnover shrank
20.4% in Jan-Oct 2015, compared with the same period a year 
earlier, to $3 900.9 million, the National Statistical Service of 
Armenia reports.

Exports shrank 2.2% to $1 223.4 million and imports 26.6% to $2
677.5 million.

As a result, negative balance amounted to $ 1 454.1 million in 
Jan-Sept 2015. ($1 - AMD 481.84).

Institute for War and Peace Reporting, UK
Nov 20 2015
By Arshaluis Mghdesyan

Russia's desire to increase its military role in Armenian airspace
may be connected to differences with Turkey on Syria.

Russian president Vladimir Putin has instructed ministers to negotiate
an agreement with Armenia on a shared air defence system.

In late October, the Russian government approved plans for the creation
of the joint air defence mechanism. The idea is to create an aerial
"umbrella" on the southern border of the Collective Security Treaty
Organisation (CSTO), a wider regional defence alliance that includes
Armenia, Russia, Belarus and three Central Asian states.

In the South Caucasus, Georgia and Azerbaijan are not CSTO members,
and unless this changes, their airspace is not part of the proposed

On November 11, Putin told the Russian defence and foreign ministries
to go ahead with negotiations with Yerevan.

Armenia already collaborates with Russia on air defence, and it is not
yet clear how the new system will differ, or whether it will function
within the CSTO framework. But analysts in Armenia believe this will
be the case.

Former defence minister Vagharshak Harutyunyan told IWPR that
the current mechanism consists of a "unified command centre where
information about the situation in the skies over the South Caucasus
is processed and exchanged," he said.

The new agreement seems likely to integrate this with similar Russian
arrangements with Kazakstan and Belarus.

"Thus, it can be said that a united air defence system for the CSTO,
of which these states are members, is being established," Harutyunyan

Defence expert Sergei Minasyan expects the upcoming treaty to lead
to a more comprehensive regional air defence network. Apart from
interceptor jets and S-300 surface-to-air missiles, it will probably
incorporate detection systems and radars that are deployed in the
Russian North Caucasus.

In practice, says Harutyunyan, Russian and Armenian air defence forces
would work in sync, from the exchange of information to the launch
of missiles and military aircraft, in the event of the threat of
war or large-scale hostilities, for instance if the Nagorny Karabakh
conflict reignited.

"This system includes Russia's ships on the Black Sea, its Caspian
flotilla, detection systems, and aircraft squadrons in the North
Caucasus, as well as the components of Armenia´s air defence," he
said. "If necessary, this system will work as a single unit providing
coverage and reach for the Armenian defence forces in the skies over
the region, from the Caspian to the Black Sea."

The leaders of CSTO states have discussed a common unified air defence
system for several years. Putin first spoke of plans to build and
strengthen the air defence "umbrella" at a 2013 awards ceremony for
senior Russian army officers.

"We also plan to strengthen the unified air defence system with Belarus
and to start forming such regional systems with Armenia and Kazakstan,"
he said.

Some experts see air defence integration as a logical continuation
of the long-term security relation between Armenia and its major ally.

The Russians maintain ground forces and fighter jets in Armenia. A
2010 agreement extending Moscow's use of the Gyumri military base
until 2044 includes a Russian commitment to defend Armenia against
external threats.

Sergei Markedonov, a Caucasus expert in Moscow, says the forthcoming
deal has nothing to do with the Karabakh dispute, which has
been frozen since 1994 and has soured Armenia's relationship with
Azerbaijan. Instead, he argues, it is only the latest in a long line
of joint military initiatives.

"I don't see anything special or extraordinary about this decision on
unified air defences," Markedonov told IWPR. "It would be fundamentally
wrong to look for pitfalls in the expansion of joint air defences in
the context of the Karabakh conflict."

Commentators also acknowledge, however, that Moscow and Yerevan are
each acting in their own interests. Russia will be keen to reinforce
the southern borders in the Caucasus in light of the ongoing civil
war in Syria, and its own military engagement there.

Armenia, meanwhile, benefits from enhanced national security in an
unpredictable region where the risk of renewed war over Karabakh
is ever-present.

Azerbaijan has been using its oil revenues to spend large sums on
weaponry, much of which it buys from Russia, to Armenia's chagrin.

Moscow is thus acting as arms supplier to both protagonists, perhaps
in order to maintain a balance of power in the region, but also to
bind both countries closer to itself. (See Energy, Arms Trade Clouds
Armenia's View of Moscow.)

The importance of an effective air defence system was felt on October
8 when Turkish helicopters twice entered Armenian airspace. Turkey
is an ally of Azerbaijan, and has kept its border with Armenia sealed
for over 20 years.

In Ankara, the incursion was blamed on bad weather conditions. In
Armenia, however, it was seen as an indirect dig at Moscow in response
to an earlier violation of Turkish airspace by Russian fighters
engaged in hostilities in Syria. Russia attributed that incident,
too, to bad weather.

Some analysts view the timing of the joint air defence announcement in
the context of a sharply deteriorating Russian-Turkish relationship,
caused by differences over the Syrian conflict.

Anatoly Tsyganok, head of the Centre for Military Forecasting at
the Moscow Institute of Political and Military Analysis, told the news site recently that the air defence â~@~^umbrella"
project was aboutTurkey, not Azerbaijan.

Talks on common air defence have been going on for more than three
years, and it seems certain that their sudden acceleration is a result
of the fast-evolving situation in the wider region.

Arshaluis Mghdesyan is a freelance journalist in Armenia. 
Royal Academy of Belgium organizes conference dedicated 
to Armenian Genocide
21 November, 2015

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 21. Royal Academy of Belgium (Académie
Royale de Belgique) and the Free University of Brussels (Université
Libre de Bruxelles) organized a conference dedicated to the Armenian
Genocide to be held in Brussels, Belgium on November 24. `Armenpress'
reports the abovesaid citing the official website of Académie royale
de Belgique.

Lecturers and academicians from Brussels, Geneva, Montpellier, Luven
and Amsterdam universities will participate in the conference.

`Condemnation of genocides has become one of the main issues of our
time. The recognition of the Genocide of Armenians and other peoples
committed by the Ottoman Empire in 2015 is still pending, as Turkey
still refuses to acknowledge the fact thus endangering the
establishment of new relations between the peoples,' is said on the
official website of Royal Academy of Belgium.
Nov 21 2015
Moody's: Armenia's weak domestic demand and external 
vulnerabilities to weigh on 2016 growth

London, 20 November 2015 -- Armenia's (Ba3, negative) low economic
diversification, weakened domestic demand, and trade and financial
exposures to Russia will lead to lower growth in 2016, Moody's
Investors Service has said in a report published today.

Moody's report, entitled "Government of Armenia" is available on Moody's subscribers can access this report via the
link provided at the end of this press release. The rating agency's
report is an update to the markets and does not constitute a rating

"Armenia's weak domestic demand holds back consumption and investment,
while Russia's worsening economic climate has led to sharp declines in
remittances. Given that remittances account for around 15% of GDP,
Armenia is significantly exposed to the Russian growth cycle," says
Evan Wohlmann, Assistant Vice President -- Analyst at Moody's.

However, the rating agency also notes Armenia's credit strengths,
which relate to the government's commitment to fiscal prudence, high
debt affordability and macroeconomic stability, together with a
supportive business environment.

Nevertheless, the rating agency forecasts Armenia's GDP growth to slow
to 2.5% in 2015 and 2.2% in 2016. Overall, the country's weak economic
performance reflects the slow emergence of new growth drivers in the
economy, says Moody's. Business sentiment remains weak, while private
sector investment still drags on Armenia's economic performance.
However, the rating agency notes that the economy has performed better
than it had expected in 2015, given robust performances from the
agriculture and mining sectors.

Meanwhile, the agency projects that Armenia's fiscal deficit will
increase markedly to 4.2% of GDP in 2015, as a result of expansionary
fiscal measures and low revenue growth owing to weak domestic demand.
As such, the agency forecasts the general government debt ratio to
rise to around 48% of GDP in 2015. But Moody's expects the fiscal
position to improve slightly in 2016, with the deficit decreasing to
3.6%, as the efforts to improve revenue administration are
complemented by tax policy measures in 2016.

However, Moody's notes that economic headwinds owing to external
vulnerabilities could continue, which would negatively affect the
government's plans to increase tax revenues over the next two years.
In addition, Armenia's debt profile remains particularly susceptible
to negative growth shocks, and if spill over risks from Russia were to
worsen, further debt could accumulate, says Moody's.
14:42, 23 Nov 2015
Siranush Ghazanchyan

The annual Pan-European Phoneathon of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund,
headed by the Fund's French affiliate and held during November 18-22,
raised over 1.3 million euros in donations and pledges.

The large-scale fundraising campaign mobilized the Armenian communities
of France (1,205,569 euros), Germany (76,050 euros) and Switzerland
(24,554 euros). Proceeds form the Phoneathon will be used for the
construction of community centers in Artsakh, expansion of agricultural
projects in Armenia's Tavush Region and assistance to the Armenian
communities of Syria and Iraq.

The Greek community traditionally joined the Phoneathon with their
fundraising held in Greece on November 22. The phoneathon raised around
29,000 euros, which will be used for the construction of a kindergarten
in Karin Tak, a village in Nagorno Karabakh's Shushi region.

Contributions are still being made.

YEREVAN, November 23. Poverty level in Armenia in 2014
dropped by 2 percentage points from 2013 to 30%, Diana Martirosyan,
the head of a department at the National Statistical Service (NSS)
surveying households, said today when presenting the findings of a
study on living conditions of Armenian households in 2014.

She said the study conducted by the NSS in 2014, revealed that three
out of 10 citizens were below the poverty line with a monthly income
below 40.264 drams. She said the overall number of poor in 2014
stood at 900,000 people, of whom 330,000 were very poor and 70,000
extremely poor.

The poverty level in rural communities was 29.9%, while in urban
communities it was 30%. Only in the capital city Yerevan the poverty
rate was 25.2%.

"In 2008-2014 poverty rate growth in urban and rural communities was
equal. The poverty rate in the capital was 1.4 times lower than in
other cities," she added. She also noted that the extreme poverty
rate in 2014 exceeded the same indicator of 2008 by 0.7 percentage
points and the general poverty level by 2.4 percentage points

At the same time, she said, only 17% of respondents identified
themselves as poor. The National Statistical Service study embraced
5,184 households across the country.

The report "Poverty and Social Panorama of Armenia," prepared by the
NSS with the support of the World Bank is meant to assess the social
situation and changes in the level of life in Armenia in 2008-2014 -0-

RFE/RL Report 
Armenian Government Claims Further Drop In Poverty
Sargis Harutyunyan

Poverty in Armenia decreased in 2014 for the fourth consecutive year,
the National Statistical Service (NSS) said on Monday, presenting the
findings of its latest nationwide household income survey.

The survey conducted last year found that 30 percent of Armenians
lived below the official poverty line set at just over 42,600 drams
($84) per person. The NSS registered a poverty rate of 32 percent in

"Three in ten residents of the country did not surpass the monthly
income level of 40,264 drams," Diana Martirosova, a senior NSS
official in charge of the survey, told a news conference. She
attributed the decreased rate to the fact that the Armenian economy
grew by 3.5 percent in 2014.

Poverty in Armenia fell more rapidly during an almost a decade of
double-digit economic growth that came to an end with the onset of a
global financial crisis in late 2008. The Armenian poverty rate stood
at 27.6 percent at that time. It soared to almost 36 percent in 2010,
one year after the country's Gross Domestic Product shrunk by over 14

The Armenian economy is still reeling from that severe recession,
growing much more slowly than before 2009. Economic growth is expected
to remain sluggish this year and in 2016 due to knock-on effects of an
ongoing recession in Russia.

This is why the Armenian government's draft 2016 budget envisages
virtually no rises in public sector salaries, pensions and poverty
benefits. Opposition politicians and other critics of the government
say that with inflation averaging roughly 4 percent annually, this
means that many Armenians will be worse off in real terms next year.

The critics are bound to question the latest poverty figures by saying
that the official poverty line is set too low given the cost of living
in the country.

Stepan Mnatsakanian, the NSS head also present at the news conference,
insisted that his agency used objective criteria for measuring the
scale of poverty. He admitted, though, that his family spends each
month over 50,000 drams on utility fees alone.

According to the NSS, the official monthly wage in Armenia stood at
almost 185,000 drams ($385) as of September, up by 7 percent from the
same period in 2014.

Focus on Near East Foundation 


In 1915, the Near East Foundation (NEF) was founded in urgent response to the Armenian Genocide. During a historic relief effort in the years that followed, NEF saved the lives of over 1,000,000 refugees, and in the process established the tradition of “citizen philanthropy” – a model used today by a majority of non-profit organizations around the world.

Nearly 100 years later, peace and prosperity in Armenia remain at the heart of NEF’s mission. Long ago forced by the Soviet regime to leave our partner communities, NEF returned to Armenia after a 75-year hiatus. A new era of development work began in 2004 with a focus on improving the lives and future opportunities of street children. NEF efforts have since transitioned into helping revitalize communities to improve livelihoods among vulnerable groups, and to build a stronger economy that will create a brighter future for all Armenians.

Creating Businesses and Jobs

In 2007, NEF undertook an exploratory mission to identify opportunities to support rural economic development. Those initial efforts led to a strategic alliance with Business Pareta, the leading Armenian firm specializing in rural economic development, and Armenia Fund USA, one of the primary channels for philanthropic action among the Armenian Diaspora in the U.S. In 2009, this consortium initiated a collaborative effort to develop a model for local economic development combining micro-enterprise, micro-finance, and micro-franchising. This initiative draws on complementary areas of expertise and a common understanding of the importance and challenges of grassroots economic development for poverty reduction in rural Armenia.

In 2013, NEF extended its focus to include the economic empowerment of vulnerable women. A new project is helping survivors of domestic violence to start their own businesses and secure employment.

NEF-UK Launches Women’s Economic Development Programs in Armenia 

NOV 19, 2015

Yerevan—In January 2015, the Near East Foundation UK (NEF-UK) and the Gegharkunik Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (CGGI) launched a project—financed by the European Union—to advance gender equality and the rights of survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) in Armenia. Now, in only the tenth month of the project, there is an opportunity to share some of its successes.

Last month, NEF-UK, GCCI, and their partner and beneficiary civil society organizations (CSOs) set up and furnished four safe spaces in the Yerevan, Lori, and Syunik regions in Armenia to welcome women for meetings, workshops, networking opportunities, and business development trainings. Over ninety women survivors participated in these trainings and workshops aimed at improving economic agency, equality, and economic independence for women survivors of GBV.

About two thirds of the participants have chosen an enterprise development stream, while the rest have chosen an employment development stream. At the workshops, a selection committee was set up to assess business plans presented by enterprise development program participants and to determine which plans were at an appropriate stage to receive funding. Of the fifty women, twenty-five in the Yerevan group were selected to receive funding for their microbusinesses.

“I had no hope that I could receive funding for my small business that I was dreaming about for many years. My family never supported me to earn money, now I have proved that I am able to do something.’’ said one of the participants in the training who recently received funds to purchase a modern knitting machine to make clothes. She already has made arrangements with nearby fashion centers to sell the clothes she is making.

The business ideas presented to the committee were diverse and spanned from traditional business ideas, such as baking, hairdressing, nail art, and cosmetology to less traditional ambitions like shoe production, pottery, and opening and running a bistro.

Another woman who is improving her cosmetology skills also received a grant, and afterward said: “My trainings are going very well. This profession is perfect for me, I like it so much! I have purchased all the necessary items through the grant and I am looking forward to starting my small business now. Thank you very much, this is the start of my future career and success which was made possible with your support.”

In addition to those who have developed plans for their micro-businesses, a second group of participants are supported with trainings to improve their CVs and employment status so they can earn an income to increase their economic independence. Since the project launched in January, thirty-three women from the Lori region and Yerevan have attended job skills development training sessions and were presented with job opportunities available for them to pursue.

After receiving vocational training in hairdressing, one of the women plans to start a home based business. She told us: “First of all, you made a change in my family’s approach in that women are not created only for sitting at home, but also for working and earning. My husband never allowed me to work. Now, when I receive vocational training and have plans to start my small hairdressing business at home, my husband has become more interested in what I am learning and my success. Thank you very much not only for the grant and for funding my vocational training, but most of all for making a positive change in my families life.”

Since July, six participants of the job component have found and sustained jobs, which include the following sectors: accounting, cleaning, baking, gardening, health care, and secretarial work. Seven women have made arrangements with potential employers to get jobs after receiving vocational training, and three of the employers have promised to promote women to positions with more responsibility after they attend the vocational training sessions.

The job skills development training sessions have improved participant’s communication and negotiation skills, as well as increased their self-confidence and capacity for self-reliance. One of the workshop’s trainers said that they have seen an ‘’increase in the project participants’ self-confidence during a very short time. We see positive changes in their behavior every day.’’

Along with helping survivors of GBV, the project helps to strengthen CSOs internal capacities and technical skills in protection strategies linked to economic empowerment activities for survivors of GBV. Since the project launched, seventy people from a number of state and non-state agencies have participated in round tables conducted in Goris, Spitak, and Yerevan. The purpose of the round tables was to increase the ability of the community and state agencies to facilitate inclusive civil society and community dialogue, private-public-civil-society collaborative activities, and learning and awareness initiatives linked to GBV prevention and gender equality. Ten more round tables are planned for January 2016.

Despite being in its early stages, the project has already seen tremendous success in the communities in which it works. The project team and beneficiaries are looking forward to the next phases and future achievements with the hope that a positive and lasting impact will be made for gender equality and prevention of GBV in Armenia.

This project is funded by the European Union and implemented by the Near East Foundation-UK in partner with the Gegharkunik Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Armenian News ... Armenag Topalian ... Criminal Group Arrested

A poem in memory of Lola 

who lost her life in the Bataclan Club, Paris. 

A feature on Armenian Calligraphy

YEREVAN, November 25. The activity of the criminal group that
was arrested yesterday by Armenian law enforcement officers might
have a political component, Alexander Iskandaryan, the head of the
Caucasus Institute, is quoted by Novosti-Armenia as saying.

It became known on Wednesday that Armenian National Security Service
has disclosed a criminal group that was preparing major crimes
in Yerevan.

Ten members of the criminal group were caught Tuesday in a raid on
a private house in Yerevan's Nork-Marash district. The police found
there guns and explosives.

Of the ten detainees, mostly foreigners, three are women. The group
was headed by Arthur Vardanyan, an Armenian citizen who now resides
abroad, but came to Armenia.

"It is not clear so far whether the group activity contains a political
component or not, but the scale, the number of its members and armament
give grounds for thinking that it is quite probable," Iskandaryan said.

He stressed that Armenia is considered among relatively safe countries
in terms of terrorist threats.

"It should be taken into account that there is a foreign component,
and Syrian trace is being considered now," Iskandaryan said.

He also pointed out the professionalism of the National Security
Service and the police's joint raid.

RFE/RL Report
Armenians `Divided' Over Constitutional Reform
Nane Sahakian

Only one in three Armenians intend to vote for President Serzh
Sarkisian's controversial constitutional amendments in next month's
referendum, a non-governmental polling organization said on Tuesday.

The pollster, APR Group, cited the findings of a nationwide opinion
poll conducted by it in mid-November. It said 35 percent of some 1,300
respondents expressed readiness to back the proposed amendments,
compared with 32 percent who said they are opposed to the country's
transition to the parliamentary system of government sought by

According to APR Group, just over one-fifth of those polls were
undecided, while another 10 refused to reveal their intentions
regarding the December 6 referendum. Ruben Sargsian, the head of the
group, which is not known have to government connections, suggested
that the latter category of voters tends to oppose the government and
its major initiatives.

"The undecided voters will likely stay at home [on referendum day] or
vote `Yes,'" he told RFE/RL's Armenian service ( They
therefore hold the key to the outcome of the referendum, he said.

To pass, the amendments will have to be approved by the majority of
referendum participants making up at least one-quarter of Armenia's
2.5 million or so eligible voters. Sarkisian and his political allies
will thus need to garner at least 620,000 "Yes" votes.

Senior members of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) have
expressed confidence that the sweeping amendments will be
overwhelmingly backed by voters. They say most Armenians are already
convinced that the proposed switch to the parliamentary system would
make their country more democratic.

Opposition forces campaigning against the constitutional reform claim
the opposite, however. They allege that the Yes camp plans to rig the
referendum by capitalizing on its government levers and control of
election commissions that will hold the vote. The No Front coalition
of reform opponents has called for a high voter turnout in the
referendum, saying that would seriously complicate fraud.

The opposition maintains that the sole purpose of the reform is to
enable Sarkisian to retain power in a different capacity after he
completes his second and final presidential term in 2018.
November 23, 2015

On November 22 in the forest area of Stepanavan, Lori region, the
volunteers of the Pan-Armenian Environmental Front detected more than
1030 illegally cut trees, 870 of which were newly cut. The diameters
of the cut trees were 10-130 cm.

As Levon Galstyan, a member of the Pan-Armenian Environmental Front,
said during the interview with EcoLur they didn't see any seals on
the cut trees. They only noticed several green unintelligible notes.

According to Levon Galstyan the volunteers of the "Public Monitoring
of Forests" project detected about 2500 illegally cut trees in Lori,
Tavush and Syunik regions in 2015. While according to the official
data 1273 trees were cut illegally in 2015.

According to the budget project of 2016 no funds are planned for
afforestation in Armenia. 

Armenian households living in poverty totaled 30% in 2014, according
to the findings of a study conducted by Armenia's National Statistical
Service (NSS).

The report, Social Snapshot and Poverty in Armenia, published by
officials on Monday stated that every three Armenians from ten
lived below the upper poverty line of 40,264 drams (less than $84)
per month. Compared to the same period in 2013, poverty rate fell 2
percentage points in 2014; however, the total poverty rate was still
2.4 percentage points higher than in 2008, the NSS said.

In 2014, upper, lower, and extreme poverty lines per adult equivalent
per month were estimated to be AMD 40,264 ($ 83.3), AMD 33,101 ($
68.5) and AMD 23,384 ($ 48.4) respectively. Those with per adult
consumption equivalent below the upper total poverty line were defined
as poor; those with per adult consumption equivalent below the lower
general poverty line - as very poor, whereas the extremely poor are
defined as those with per adult consumption equivalent below the food
poverty line.

Thus, the study has found that the number of the poor in Armenia
in 2014 was around 900 thousand. The number of the very poor - 330
thousand, and that of the extremely poor - around 70 thousand.

"In 2014, poverty rate did not significantly differ between urban
(30.0%) and rural (29.9%) locations. Over 2008-2014, poverty growth
rate both in urban and rural communities totaled 2.4 percentage
points," the report said.

Officials added that Armenia's capital city Yerevan had the lowest
poverty rate in the country - 25.2%, which was 1.4 times lower compared
to other urban communities. 
by Karina Manukyan
November 24, 18:27

75% of Armenian women undergo violence, Head of the Sociometer Center
Aharon Adibekyan said at a press conference on November 24. So,
three out of four women in Armenia come across violence.

"5% of the women in Armenia undergo physical violence. The number of
those subject to psychological violence and threats is even higher,"
he said. Adibekyan thinks the problem is rooted in the Armenian
traditional family relationships, where wives constantly think they
are guilty for certain things.

"Armenian women do not like to wash their dirty linen in public. They
prefer keeping silence," he said.

It is noteworthy that women do not perceive psychological violence
or intimidation as violence.

"Ignorant women or women from poor families are most vulnerable to
violence," the sociologist says.

In the meantime, there are also families where, quite the opposite,
wives beat their husbands, he said.

For her part, psychologist Lilit Khachatryan noted that those who
were ignored in their childhood or saw violence in their family most
often become victims of violence.

To note, November 25 marks the International Day for the Elimination of
Violence against Women. In 2014 domestic violence in Armenia claimed
lives of 11 women. 

Daily Sabah, Turkey
Nov 25 2015

Russian lawmaker Sergei Mironov said on Wednesday his party had
submitted a bill to parliament on holding to account anyone who denies
that the 1915 killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces was

"We have just submitted a bill on responsibility for failure to
acknowledge the fact of a genocide of Armenians by Turkey in 1915,"
Mironov, the leader of the opposition Just Russia party, said on
his Twitter account, a day after Turkish Air Forces shot down a
Russian jet.

It's not the first time Russia used the word "genocide" regarding
the 1915 events in World War I, but now it has now taken a step in
terms of punishing those who do not describe the events as "genocide."

Turkey and Armenia disagree on what happened during the events
between 1915 and 1923, with Armenia saying that 1.5 million people
were deliberately killed and Turkey saying the deaths were a result
of deportations and civil strife.

The 1915 events took place during World War I when a portion of
the Armenian population living in the Ottoman Empire sided with the
invading Russians and revolted against the empire.

The Ottoman Empire relocated Armenians in eastern Anatolia following
the revolts and there were Armenian casualties during the relocation

Armenia has demanded an apology and compensation, while Turkey has
officially refuted Armenian allegations over the incidents saying that,
although Armenians died during the relocations, many Turks also lost
their lives in attacks carried out by Armenian gangs in Anatolia.
November 24, 2015 

PanARMENIAN.Net - Turkey suspended bilateral relations with Paraguay
and threatened to boycott trade with the country after the Senate
unanimously approved on October 29 an official recognition (Statement
N° 101/15) of theArmenian Genocide, Prensa Armenia reports.

Turkey's ambassador in Argentina, Taner Karakas, concurring in
Paraguay and Uruguay, met with Senator Victor Bogado of the ruling
Colorado Party, who is Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and
International Affairs. According to local reports, Karakas expressed
"disagreement and concern over the declaration."

After that meeting, Bogado said on Thursday, November 19 that he
would present "an alternative project as a way of rectifying the
position of the Senate." "Turkey was deeply concerned about the term
"genocide," given that this happened before the creation of the same
Turkish state," said Bogado.

Bogado also said that "the Senate declaration is nonbinding with the
government's position."

Alfonso Tabakian, director of the Armenian National Committee of South
America, emphatically said to Agencia Prensa Armenia that "the Turkish
state, through its Ambassador to Paraguay, exerted unprecedented
pressure on Paraguay, brutally exposing the authoritarianism of the
government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan."

On November 24, politician Rafael Filizzola Serra published on ABC
newspaper an article titled "The Armenian Genocide and our dignity
as a sovereign country," in which he stressed that the decision of
the Senate of Paraguay was "a sovereign decision consistent with the
history of our country."

"The unfortunate thing is that our diplomacy, rather than defending
the sovereign authority of the Senate to speak, has taken steps to
reverse the parliamentary statement," he added. "Our diplomacy shows a
supine ignorance of the current international position on the Armenian
Genocide and historical facts found by the intellectual community."

"The dignity of a country that suffered the extermination and that has
a moral obligation to speak out against acts like this and many others,
to ever happen again. And for justice, because crimes against humanity
must not only be reported but also repaired. Armenia deserves a fair
compensation for everything it suffered, as well as our country."

"I sincerely hope that Paraguay will not kneel once again to pressure
and blackmail, and that our diplomacy is worthy of a sovereign
country," concluded Serra.

Paraguay's Senate unanimously passed a resolution on October 29,
recognizing and condemning the Armenian Genocide.

This year, there was a new wave of recognitions from various congresses
and international bodies in South America: the province of Misiones,
Argentina, the Latin American Parliament, the State of Rio de Janeiro,
the Federal Senate of Brazil, the Chamber of Deputies of Chile and
also the Argentine Pope Francis.

Other South American states, including Bolivia, Venezuela, Uruguay
and other countries, regions and cities have recognized the Armenian

Armenian Institute... Bromige ... Armenian Byzantium - Postponed to 28th Jan 2016

Please copy and paste to your URL...Thank you


Armenian Institute - Toby Bromige



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Thursday, 26 November 2015

Gibrahayer E-Magazine...Get direct input from

read the NOVEMBER 2015 issue by clicking here:
►Turkey shoots down Russian fighter jet escalating the Syrian conflict
►Haig Utidjian and CSO complete centennial events
►ARF Dashnaktsioutiun celebrations in Cyprus
►Next event: “Rediscovering Ancestral Roots” by Talar Kouyoumdjian-Torossian on Friday
►14th century Gospel returned to Armenian Church of Cyprus after legal battle
►KOHAR reborn in Beirut
►Conan O’Brian takes his assistance Sona Movsisian to Armenia
►Turkish Armed forces General promises "liberation of occupied territories"
►News in Brief
►Gibrahayer calendar
►Hay Tad Cyprus continue dialogue with Greek Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot political parties
►Europa Nostra Award in Turkish occupied Nicosia
►Cyprus Centennial Committee receives award from President Sargsyan
►Remembering AYF 2015 Camp (new images)
►Hay Tad briefing in Nicosia from the President of EAFJD
►Armenian National Committee of Cyprus condemns recent violence against Turkish-Cypriots
►President Sargsyan and Catholicos Karekin attend charity concert in Buckingham Palace
►Kardashians appear in November issue of Cosmopolitan
►AYF Cyprus video of Camp 2015 is a hit
►Roupen Nahabedian presents a unique exhibition of Edgar Chahine in Nicosia
►206 previously unpublished images of April 24 March in Nicosia
►Homenetmen - AYMA Bowling team successes
►Koko Keleshian takes over “Sipan” and “Nanor” Dance Ensembles
►Support the Artsakh State Lottery
Click here to get the latest updates:

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

FATHER FRANK’S RANTS Rant Number 657 24 November 15 CANT & HYPOCRISY


Time for Britain to act like ‘Churchill not Chamberlain’, blustered PM David Cameron. Bombing Islamic State would be Churchill-like, geddit?

George Orwell wrote that England ‘has a reputation abroad of being the land of hypocrisy and cant’. Unfair? Yet Cameron exemplifies that. To be a ‘good ally’ of France and a friend of Gulf nations, the UK must bomb beastly ISIS, he claims. Beyond the rhetoric, what’s the truth?

First, compared with current, awesome US, Russia and French air attacks, Britain’s contribution to bombing would be piffling. Sir Nick Harvey, a former defence minister, says so. Make little difference. The PM craves air war because he does not want the UK to be left out of the eventual Peace Conference on Syria. And, horribile dictu, to be eclipsed by President Putin, his pet hatred. Cameron’s logic: ‘I bomb therefore I am’. Existentialist politics? Realpolitik motivates him. Old-fashioned, dirty power politics. Not the cant of loving France. A country England has fought, on and off, for over 600 years.

Second, the Gulf nations. Cant again. Nations like Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Oil barrels, regional strategies, intelligence links. Things making unpleasant autocracies valued ‘allies’ of Britain. Shame the ‘Gulfies’ also stock Syrian rebels with oodles of weapons and cash. Rebels like the notorious, al-Qaeda affiliated Nusrah Front. Or Jaysh al-Islam, the Army of Islam. So sanguinary that they publicly behead rival ISIS captives in internecine warfare. The nice, ‘democratic’ Syrian fighters courted by the liberal West are few and far between. Reality check: the freedom-loving opponents of Assad are a patchwork of murderous jihadi groups. As bad as ISIS. Fine allies Britain’s got!

Third, Cameron’s fixation, shared by sissy President Obumble, with overthrowing President Assad’s regime. Ostensibly because the man kills ‘his own people’. Would it be better if he killed other nations’ people? Like Britain and the US have done in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya since 2011? Were those slaughters and dreadful aftermaths for the unhappy countries OK because they were not ‘our own people’? Rank hypocrisy. Assad is no angel but is the Saudi monarchy any better, apart from being precious to the West because of all that unholy oil? The same Saudis who chop off heads, kill gays, imprison and flog human rights critics, forbid women to drive a car, outlaw the building of churches, even the simple possession of a Bible. Reasonable, cute and cuddly fellows, eh?

‘Sunnis are oppressed in Assad’s Syria, they must be empowered’, Cameron’s official narrative runs. Of course, Saudi Arabia oppresses and discriminates its Shia minority but, that aside, hypocrisy lurks here too. The menacing shadow of a ‘Shia’ Crescent’ conjured up years ago by King Abdullah of Jordan – a faithful Western poodle – serves Western purposes. The main Shia’ nation being Iran, paranoidly feared by Israel and Gulf monarchies alike, it provides the ideal bogey. Never mind the West gave not a damn about Sunni Muslims in Afghanistan and Libya. Never mind that the Kurds are Sunnis but deadly foes of the Caliphate. And never mind that ISIS ideology incarnates a sectarian, extremist version of Sunni Islam. Syria must be bombed so that Sunnis may be free. Mega-cant!

Fourth, the Christians of Syria. Odd, isn’t it, how the PM studiously keeps mum about them. They don’t figure in the Downing St equation at all. Of course ISIS and other Jihadi groups do pay attention to Christians. By slaughtering them, kidnapping bishops and priests, raping women, burning down churches, profaning sacred books and so on. Their peculiar idea of ‘interfaith relations’, I suppose. President Assad, a secularist, always protected Christians and indeed many serve amongst government troops. Can you blame them? Choosing between the Islamist butchers and a State that shelters you is no brainer. The truth is that pig-loving Cameron, allegedly a kind of Christian, does not give a damn about Christianity in Syria. Or perhaps it makes sense. If you are happily in bed with Wahhabi Saudis and Zionist Israelis, what do you need the wretched, defenceless Nazarenes for? Admittedly, this is not cant - just shameful, uncaring silence.

Fifth, the Syrian refugees. Heart-rending tale. Millions uprooted by the civil war, forced to flee. ISIS must be air bombed so that the refugees may return to their homes, the phoney narrative goes. Meanwhile they need help, sure. Germany has proved generous – 800.000 of them offered asylum this year, Chancellor Merkel decided, rightly or wrongly. What is Cameron’s response? Britain will take 40.000 over a period of five years. Huh! A measly, paltry 40.000! Moreover, Cameron sent Royal Navy ships to rescue migrants in danger of drowning in the Mediterranean. But where do the ships take them safely to? Britain? No way. Italy! Just a whiff of hypocrisy, perhaps? Or a gust, a squall, a tornado of it?

Finally, Churchill or Chamberlain? Churchill, Britain’s saviour in WWII but also the politician who averred ‘I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes’. Consistently in 1920 when Secretary for War Churchill had the RAF spray Kurdish Iraqi tribesmen with poisoned gas. (‘It saves money’, he said.) Too plain to be hypocritical, perhaps. However, Sven Lindqvist in his History of Bombing documents how Chamberlain when PM refused to start bombing innocent German civilians. Instead, Churchill decided to bomb German cities first, so to provoke German reprisals and prevent any separate peace. He cunningly pretended Hitler had started it...

Long live Churchill! Long live cant and hypocrisy!

Revd Frank Julian Gelli

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Monday, 23 November 2015

Armenian News ... A Topalian... O'Brien and Movsesian

15 Minute film on Yerevan

that shows Armenian becoming a modern country 

November 19, 2015
An average of 1.04M viewers caught TBS' unveiling of Conan
In Armenia at 11 PM ET Tuesday, 666K of whom fell into the 18-49 age
bracket -- both about double what Conan's been averaging recently.

Another 317K viewers of all ages watched a replay immediately after
the premiere, at 12:30 AM ET, 226K of them in the demo,

When TBS unveiled Conan O'Brien's historic trip to Cuba in March,
it logged 1.3 million viewers in its 11 PM ET premiere on Wednesday,
after which the network immediately ran it again, posting another
510,000 viewers. That crowd grew to 3.7 million viewers who checked
out O'Brien becoming the first American late-night host to do a show
in Cuba in more than 50 years. Conan in Armenia likewise is expected
to grow.

In the video he has all sorts of merrymaking on his trip to the South
Caucasus country where in the streets and marketplaces he tries to
use some of the spoken Armenian phrases that he has learned from a
language instructor back in Los Angeles.

Besides the usual "Barev" (hello) and "Inchpes es" (how are you?)
phrases, those include expressions literally translated as "I eat
your liver" and "I die on your body", a way Armenians express their
sympathy towards close friends and family.

While in Armenia, O'Brien and Movsesian herded sheep and sampled the
local alcoholic beverages, and O'Brien took Movsesian to an Armenia
matchmaker -- all fodder for O'Brien's trademark sardonic humor.

O'Brien also appeared in an Armenian soap opera. 

18 Nov 2015

The Irish Times - It was described by US President Theodore Roosevelt
as "the greatest crime of the war" and now the Armenian genocide
which began in 1915 has been commemorated with a special exhibition
of photographs at Cork City Library.

"The Iconic Images of the Armenian Genocide" - officially opened by
Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Chris O'Leary - features a series of old
photographs which depict the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians living
in what is now present day Turkey.

One of the organisers, Jimmy Lynch explained that the exhibition has
been put together by the Armenian community in Ireland to mark the
centenary of the genocide and it is based on an original project by
the Armenian National Institute and Armenian organisations in the US.

"In Ireland we rightly remember what happened in World War I in
places such as Gallipoli and Suvla Bay where many Irish suffered
and died but we should also be aware of what happened in Armenia -
this is an important and emotional year for the Armenian community
in Ireland and worldwide.

"They will be remembering and commemorating what happened to their
family antecedents in those dark times from 1915 to 1918 and the
people of Cork can share in that remembrance by visiting and viewing
the exhibition in Cork City Library," he said.

According to Mr Lynch, the panels of photographs depict the various
aspects of the genocide, known in Armenian as Medz Yeghem, including
executions, massacres, deportations and starvation of Armenians within
the Ottoman Empire by the Young Turk movement.

"Together these photographs recreate a sense of the terror exercised
by the Young Turk regime and reveal the extent of the dispossession
and decimation of the Armenian people in their historic homeland,"
said Mr Lynch.

"With panels displaying photographs of survivors, rescued women,
homeless children and refugees, the scale and depth of the uprooting
of the Armenian people is revealed," said Mr Lynch.

Many of the images were taken in the teeth of a strictly enforced ban
on photography by the Ottoman authorities and the collection represents
photographs that survived and were scattered across several continents
before being brought together, he added.
November 18, 2015

ISTANBUL -- Human skulls and bones were found during ongoing
excavations at Taksim Square in central Istanbul, Zaman newspaper
reports. The bones reportedly belong to Armenians, since an Armenian
cemetery was situated in the area till 1939.

Suleiman the Magnificent ordered construction of the cemetery when
his imperial chef Manuk Karaseferian denounced a group of people
trying to poison the Sultan. For almost four hundred years the site
formed part of the largest Christian burial ground in Constantinople:
the Pangalti Armenian Cemetery.

In 1865, the raging cholera infected not only the general public,
but also some courtiers in Istanbul. Armenians were thus banned from
burying their dead in the cemetery situated close to the winter palace,
an area in Sisli district of Istanbul allocated to the Armenians and
Greeks instead.

Sultan Abdulaziz ordered the confiscation of a part of Taksim Armenian
cemetery in 1870, with the whole area alienated in 1939.

Governor and Mayor of Istanbul Lutfi Kirdar confirmed the construction
of modern-day's Gezi Park and several buildings in 1940.

Armenian POW Freed By Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan set free and repatriated on Wednesday a Karabakh Armenian
soldier who was taken prisoner in March after crossing the
Armenian-Azerbaijani "line of contact" around Nagorno-Karabakh in
still unclear circumstances.

The 24-year-old contract soldier, Andranik Grigorian, crossed a
frontline section east of the disputed territory without his weapons
and ammunition. Shortly afterwards, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry
released a short video that showed Grigorian saying that he deserted
his unit because of being ill-treated by his comrades.

Karabakh's Defense Army was quick to dismiss the videotaped confession
as a fraud. It said that Grigorian was forced to make such claims.

Grigorian was sent back to Karabakh through "the line of contact" in a
handover facilitated by the International Committee of the Red Cross
(ICRC). ICRC representatives have repeatedly visited him in
Azerbaijani custody.

"The prisoner of war had previously confirmed to ICRC staff that he
was returning of his own free will," the Red Cross said in a
statement. likewise reported that Grigorian expressed a desire to
return home in his letters delivered by the ICRC to his elderly
parents living in a Karabakh village. "Forgive me for my mistakes," he
wrote, according to the Azerbaijani media outlet. "I just didn't
understand what to do and where to go."

The Karabakh Armenian military did not clarify on Wednesday whether
Grigorian will be prosecuted on desertion charges or will resume his
military service. 

RFE/RL Report
U.S. Vows Continued Aid To Karabakh
Sargis Harutyunyan

The United States will continue to finance humanitarian projects in
Nagorno-Karabakh as part of annual economic assistance allocated by
the U.S. Congress, a senior State Department official said on

Armenian-American lobby groups have been instrumental in at least
$44.5 million in direct aid to Karabakh which has been approved by
Congress since 1998 over strong objections from Azerbaijan. It has
been mostly channeled into humanitarian demining operations and the
reconstruction of the region's water distribution network.

Speaking in Yerevan, Alina Romanowski, the State Department
coordinator for U.S. assistance to the former Soviet Union, said the
U.S. aid to Karabakh will remain focused on these areas. "We will be
continuing our support for demining activities in that region," she
said, adding that the safety of Karabakh's population is particularly
important to the U.S.

President Serzh Sarkisian, a former wartime leader of Karabakh,
thanked Congress for the aid allocations when he visited Washington in
September. "That assistance has had a not only humanitarian but, first
and foremost, moral significance for the people of Artsakh
(Karabakh)," Sarkisian said at a reception held in his honor on
Capitol Hill.
November 18 2015

YEREVAN. Armenia's expectations from its membership
in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) did not materialize,
however, it is still early to draw final conclusions, ex-president
Robert Kocharyan said in an interview with Germany's state-run
international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle.

"The stated purpose and the motivation were that Armenia was entering
a large customs area, and that it would open up great opportunities
for Armenian businesses and exporters. Almost a year has passed, the
exports did not grow. Quite the contrary, they have decreased. The
trade with Russia has also declined," Kocharyan said.

According to Kocharyan, the decline resulted from a string of
events that radically changed the situation. In particular, the
sharp depreciation of the Russian ruble against the US dollar
led the process in the direction opposite to the expectations of
the Armenian authorities. It was added by Western sanctioned on
Russia and its authorities' efforts to substitute the imports by
domestically-produced goods.

"Therefore, the promised feast for the Armenian business apparently did
not take place. At the same time, it is too short a time for the final
evaluation. The signals suggest that our government should be extremely
active and creative in handling this situation," Kocharyan said.

According to Armenia's National Statistical, the country's exports in
the first 9 months of 2015 decreased by 0.9% year-on-year to $1.095.6
billion, while exports to the Russian Federation slashed by 265 to
$158.5 million. 
Naira Hayrumyan, Political Commentator
19 November 2015, 13:27

The discussion of the 2016 draft budget in the parliament reminds
of political strip dance revealing how obsolete the political system
of Armenia is and how incapable of coming up with rational decisions
it is.

The independent Member of Parliament Edmond Marukyan asked the
minister of finance Gagik Khachatryan what the membership of Armenia
to the Eurasian Economic Union will bring to Armenia. The minister
answered frankly that the EEU is not exactly what everyone expected
upon membership. The revenues have gone down significantly, and it
is going to be even worse in 2016.

The Deputy Prime Minister Vache Gabrielyan has announced that the
situation is complicated but we are not kneeling yet. In addition,
he said that of the borrowed 1.5 billion dollars only 10% has been
invested in economic development. Ostensibly, the rest flew to the
treasury. In other words, the membership of Armenia to the EEU has
left Armenia facing a threat of collapse and is surviving on loans.

The minister of finance Gagik Khachatryan says that this cannot last
long. In fact, one cannot borrow money all the time but without that
money a country will not be able to pay its debts and it can lead to
a disaster.

Gagik Khachatryan did not mention the period that Armenia can stand
but apparently the deadlines are tight. It is possible that December
is meant when the constitutional referendum will be held, and the
government will get some guarantees to be able to make a political

But what decision can the government make after the referendum? First
of all, they could opt for the resignation of the government and snap
elections to begin from a blank page.

Obviously, however, the government is expecting other proposals from
the political leadership and parliament which may reverse the movement
towards a disaster. Everyone is waiting for someone to be the first to
suggest leaving the Eurasian Union and changing the foreign political
vector. It will hardly be possible before the referendum but this
decision is a necessity if the Armenian leadership is not leading
Armenia towards a disaster intentionally.

There is a strange consensus in the Armenian parliament. Everyone
knows what to do and who is to blame but nobody is speaking about it
loudly. The ruling and opposition parties are unified to the point of
envy, bypassing all the main issues. Everyone is standing in front
of a closed door, not daring to push it open and is borrowing money
from neighbors through the window instead. Although the door is not
locked and it is enough to push it.

The Administrative Court of Armenia is authorized to examine appeals
challenging decisions of state agencies; however, local Zhoghovurd
newspaper notes, the majority of the Court's judges are relatives or
children of government officials, which means "the independence of
the Administrative Court is out of the question."

Judge Ani Harutyunyan, for example, is the daughter of former deputy
chief of Armenia's National Security Service Grigor Harutyunyan. The
33O~Jyear-old lawyer was appointed Administrative Court judge in 2013;
however, she's managed to generate "very considerable wealth for
herself." According to Harutyunyan's annual asset declaration filed
with the state Commission on the Ethics of High-Ranking Officials, the
judge's financial assets amounted to AMD 62 million (about $128,400),
$350 thousand and EUR 200 thousand at the end of 2014.


Air Defense

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 20 November 2015
The standoff between Russia and the West is once again heating up, but this time tensions are centered on the Caucasus. On Nov. 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed his government to sign an agreement with Armenia to create a joint missile air defense system in the region. Not long after, the Armenian government confirmed that Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev is expected to visit Armenia in late November to officially sign the air defense system deal.
The move, though reminiscent of Moscow's actions in Central Asia and Belarus in previous years, comes at a time when Russia is being forced to respond to a wider array of challenges than ever before. Threats are rising from the Near East, while the West is ramping up its military activities in Georgia and Nagorno-Karabakh moves closer to changing its political status. And as Russia increases its military presence in Armenia, its competition with major regional powers for influence in the South Caucasus will intensify, adding to the growing list of issues Russia must contend with outside its borders. ....Read more >>
19th century Romanian painter Theodor Aman (1831-1891) was of Armenian descent. His style is considered to be a predecessor of Impressionism. He was one of the most important Romanian artists. His work blended Romanticism and Academicism. His workshop was the most popular place for high society. He helped establish the first Fine Arts School in Bucharest in 1864 where he was the first teacher and director.
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Will Erdogan launch a harsher policy against the Kurds
following his November 1 election victory?
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