Sunday, 31 January 2016


These old photographs were taken by Mr. Ernest Chantre, assistant-director of the Museum of Lyon (France) in 1881. During his travels, as seen in the map above,…

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Armenian News ... A Topalian... Quote from Economist article on the fighting between the Turkish army and the Kurds seeking autonomy dated 23 January:

'Historical sites, including a 16th century mosque and a newly 
restored Armenian church, have been damaged, says Ahmet Omen, 
deputy head of the local bar association". 

Vestnik Kavkaza, Russia
Jan 29 2016
Population of Armenia falls below 3 million people

The population of Armenia has fallen below 3 million people for the
first time in 40 years. According to the National Statistical Service,
based on the 2011 census, 2,998,600 people live in the country as 
of January 1st 2016.

During the year the republic's population decreased by 12,000 people.
At the same time, it fell by 35,000 people in five years, and by 634.7
thousand people since independence in 1991.

According to the ministry, 41,815 children were born in the country in
2015, which is 2.8% less than in 2014. The mortality rate increased
0.4% to 27,835 cases. Thus, the population increased by 13,980 people
in the year, a decrease of 8.7%, ARKA reports.

Recall that 2.9 million people lived in the republic in 1977. Its
population exceeded 3 million in 1978. It then significantly increased
in the 1980s. As a result, 3.6 million people lived in the country by
the end of 1992.

The director of the Armenian branch of the Institute of CIS countries,
Alexander Markarov, said in an interview with a correspondent of
Vestnik Kavkaza that "the overall trend, which began in the late 80's
` early 90's, was quite negative in terms of the population of
Armenia." "There are several factors. The first is the migration of
the republic, which was caused by the rather complex social and
economic situation in the country in the early 90's. It was quite
disadvantageous during the siege situation. The beginning of the
conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh and its continuation did not help the
increase of the population of Armenia,'' he said.

"And the second factor that continues to exist is the periodic
seasonal labor migration. It takes place in Armenia. Elements of the
seasonal labor migration affect the whole of the population of Armenia
and they are still systemic development factors which determine the
number of people of the republic,'' the expert added.

The head of the parliamentary faction of the Armenian National
Congress, Aram Manukyan, assesses the situation more categorically.

"If the government cannot keep its citizens at home, citizens cannot
find work and cannot support their families, they will leave the
country. It happens basically due to the politicians in power. This is
the main reason," he stressed.

At the same time, according to the deputy, the government does
absolutely nothing to solve this problem. "They even organized the
migration of their people because they don't need active people. In
fact, a few years ago former Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan asked why
they needed people, adding that they could organize a revolution. This
process is beneficial for our government," Manukyan said. 
160 people seek asylum in Armenia in second half of 2015

YEREVAN. - In the latter half 2015, a total of 160 people sought
asylum in Armenia, and the respective petitions of 32 such individuals
were either denied or terminated.

Head of the Census and Demography Division at the National Statistical
Service of Armenia, Karine Kuyumjyan, said the abovementioned at a
press conference on Friday.

In her words, Armenia granted refugee status to 130 people, whereas
the refugee status of 26 others was terminated in the year past.

In addition, a total of 5,722 foreign nationals received a residence
permit in Armenia, in 2015. 
The number of marriages decline by 7 percent in Armenia
YEREVAN, January 29. Some 17,603 marriages were celebrated
last year in Armenia, by almost 7% less than in 2014, Karine
Kuyumjyan, the head of census and demography division at the National
Statistical Service, told a news conference today.

She said the largest rate of marriages- 7 per  1000 residents- was
reported by Vayots Dzor province, while the lowest rate was in Tavush
region -4.9 per one thousand residents. She added also that 3,669
divorces were granted last year, down from 4, 496 in 2014.

She said the highest divorce rate was recorded in Lori region -2.1 per
one thousand residents and the lowest in Tavush region -0.5% per one
thousand residents 
Divorce rate declines in Armenia
29 January, 2016

YEREVAN, JANUARY 29. 6 marriages and 1 divorce per 1.000
population has been registered in Armenia in 2015. 17 thousand and 603
marriages were registered in 2015, which is a decline of 6.9% against
2014. 3 thousand and 669 divorces were registered in 2015, which is a
decline of 18.4% against 2014.  Karine Kuyumjyan, head of Census and
Demography Division, National Statistical Service of the Republic of
Armenia, introduced the data in a meeting with journalists.
`Armenpress' reports Vayots Dzor Province is the leader in terms of
marriages, where 7 marriages per 1.000 population was registered. `The
marriage index in the capital and a number of provinces is lower than
the average republican index. The lowest index is in Gegharkunik,
Syunik, and Tavush provinces with 4.9 marriages per mil', Karine

Lori Province is the forerunner in terms of divorces, as well as
capital Yerevan, the divorce rate in the rest of provinces is lower
than the average republican rate. The lowest rate is in Tavush with
0.5 per mil.

According to Karine Kuyumjyan average marriage age has increased: 
30.8 for men and 27.3 for women. For the first time the average age 
of marriage of men is 29.4 and 26.3 for women. 
Suicide numbers in Armenia surge by 24 percent last year
YEREVAN, January 29. The number of reported suicides in
Armenia in 2015 skyrocketed by almost 24 percent to shocking 208,
according to police data.

Karine Kuyumjian, head of census and demography division at the
National Statistical Service told a news conference today that overall
722 cases of suicides and suicide attempts were reported last year, by
3.3% more than in 2014. 
Unchanged Status: Human rights organizations see no progress 
in Armenia
Gohar Abrahamyan

Neither Progress, Nor Regression: Armenia making no headway in TI's
corruption perception index

This week three human rights watchdogs, including two international
organizations, have released their annual reports, showing lack of
progress in terms of human rights protection in Armenia.

United States-based international human rights organization Freedom
House on Wednesday released its annual `Freedom in the World 2016'
survey, which assesses the level of human rights and freedoms in 195
countries and 14 territories around the world, classifying them as
`free', `partly free' and `not free'.

Armenia retained its `partly free' ranking, scoring 5 for `political
rights' and 4 for `civil liberties' on a 7-point scale, with 1
representing the most free and 7 the least free.

Nagorno-Karabakh, presented as a `disputed territory' in the report,
was also ranked as `partly free' unlike Azerbaijan that is included in
the category of `not free' countries.

Armenia's neighbors Turkey and Georgia are `partly free', while Russia
and Iran are `not free'.

Arch Puddington, Vice President for Research at Freedom House, told
VOA that Armenia's unchanging `partly free' status in recent years is
primarily due to the Russian pressure and its negative impact, which
also has made Armenia prefer the Eurasian - and not the European -

`Armenia is in a very difficult region in terms of human rights,' said
the Freedom House representative. He specified that Armenia is
surrounded by countries such as Azerbaijan and Russia, which have a
very rigid authoritarian system, adding that `it is very difficult for
democrats to function in such surroundings.'

Meanwhile, according to the Human Rights Watch organization, the human
rights situation in Armenia in 2015 remained uneven.

In a report released on Wednesday, the HRW raised serious concerns
about the government's interference with freedom of assembly in
Armenia. Besides, the watchdog also presented concerns regarding media
freedom, poor prison conditions, including overcrowding and
mistreatment, as well as discrimination against LGBT people.

Human rights activists also express their concerns over the legality
of the referendum on constitutional amendments, citing allegations of
widespread vote buying, ballot stuffing, as well as intimidation and
violence against observers.
The annual report of the Helsinki Committee of Armenia published on
January 26 also raises the issue of violence, political persecution,
repression of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly as well as

In 2015, according to the report, instances of pressure against media
representatives increased by 24 as compared to the previous year, and
violence continued against a number of civic activists.

Both the Human Rights Watch and the Helsinki Committee of Armenia
singled out in their reports the police break-up of a peaceful protest
against the rise in electricity violence on June 23, 2015. More than
200 demonstrators were detained then, a number of journalists also
suffered police brutality during the events.

Ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) representatives, however,
dismiss the criticism. Senior RPA lawmaker Hovhannes Sahakyan
describes the latest reports of international human rights
organizations as `not objective'. In particular, regarding the Freedom
House assessments, he told RFE/RL's Armenian Service that he didn't
think that `connecting a country's freedom and democracy to one
geopolitical entity or another is right and fair.' 
European Court delivered 8 judgements against Armenia last year
29 Jan 2016
Siranush Ghazanchyan

The 2015 statistics of the European Court of Human Rights has been
published. According to the report, in all countries of the Council of
Europe, there were a total of 823 judgments in 2015, of which 692
(84%) found at least one violation of the convention.

The States with the highest number of judgments finding at least one
violation of the Convention were Russia (109 judgments), Turkey (79),
Romania (72), Ukraine (50), Greece (43) and Hungary (42).

There were 8 judgments on cases brought against Armenia, and in all
cases at least one violation was found. This number of judgments in
2015 is higher than in 2014, when only 4 judgments were delivered.

The highest number of violations found in Armenian cases concerned the
right to a fair trial (5 violations).

By the end of 2015 the total number of pending cases stood at 64,850,
a decrease of 7 % compared with the end of 2014 (69,900 applications
pending) and more than 50% from a highpoint of 151,600 in 2011.

The countries with the highest number of applications pending before
the Court were Ukraine (21.4% of the total), Russia (14.2%), Turkey
(13%), Italy (11.6%) and Hungary (7.1% ` a sharp increase from 2.6% in
2014); between them, these five countries accounted for over
two-thirds of the total number of pending cases. 958 applications
against Armenia are pending before the Court.

In relation to population, the number of Armenian cases allocated to a
judicial formation in 2015 was 0.40 per 10,000 people ` comparable to
Greece, Luxembourg and Russia. The countries with the highest number
of cases allocated to a judicial formation were Ireland (0.04 per
10,000 people), Denmark (0.08) and the UK (0.09). 
Cancer Controversy: Health authorities in Armenia deny world's 
`worst' record
Satenik Tovmasyan

Armenia's healthcare specialists deny the country has the world's
worst cancer mortality record after a similar claim made by a leading
international health publication.

The World Life Expectancy website published data earlier this month,
saying that Armenia had the largest number of cancer-caused deaths,
approx. 230, per 100,000 population in 2014 among 172 countries under

The information was widely cited by Armenian media, making officials
respond to the report.

Alexander Bazarchyan, director of the Armenian Health Ministry's
National Institute of Health, says, however, that according to their
data, Armenia had only 189 cancer deaths among 100,000 people in 2014,
which does not make it the worst country in the world by any standard.

Referring to the explanation by the site's founder that their data
were taken from the World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, the
Armenian healthcare official said: `The WHO has not yet analyzed data
for 2014, it has statistical figures for 2012, by which the cancer
mortality rate [of Armenia] is 188, which is approximately the number
that we have today.

In the article, I saw no reference to a specific report of the WHO.
Some conclusion was made and it is unclear who the author is,' says

The official, who in the past worked as a WHO expert on post-Soviet
countries, says it was also surprising for him to see Zimbabwe in
second place ` next to Armenia ` in the purported rating, considering
that there is no cancer mortality rate data available for this African
country at the WHO.

`I could not find such statistics, since in African countries there is
a high mortality rate from contagious diseases,' he explains.

Bazarchyan adds that they cite the WHO's Health for All Database that
provides indicators to countries of the European region.

In response to an inquiry by the Armenian branch of the Institute for
War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), the World Life Expectancy website's
founder Tom Lidak said that they had no interest in pursuing wrong
data presentation and were ready to admit their mistake if other, more
accurate data is available. At the same time, he added that their
publication made the most accurate presentation of the WHO data.

Armenian Institue ... Lost Photographic Studios [Ottoman Empire by Dr David Low


Seta Cox's photo.

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

You will find Issue 4 of the newsletter on this link:

Information Centre
The Primate's Office
Armenian Church of Great Britain and Ireland

‎Shant Tavitian‎ to I am a descendant of a survivor of the Armenian Genocide! 2 hrs · Worth reading-The sick man of Turkey- Erdogan’s larger accomplishment will have been to reverse ­Ataturk’s ....

Westernising policies. Whereas Ataturk and several ­generations of leaders wanted Turkey to be in Europe, Erdogan brought it thunderingly back to the Middle East and to the ­tyranny, corruption, female subjugation and other hallmarks of a region in ­crisis
The Republic of Turkey is undergoing possibly its greatest crisis since the founding of the state nearly a century ago. Present trends suggest worse to come as a long-time Western ally evolves into a hostile dictatorship.

The SpectatorLike Page 28 January at 07:42 · President Erdogan’s increasingly tyrannical regime is suppressing the truth about its war on the Kurds.

Istanbul Turkey is less and less a democracy, more and more a paranoid one-party state. If you don’t believe…

Armenian News...A Topalian...[do read the last article on the Armenian nose!]

Extract from Speech by Kenneth Gibson, Scottish National Party
at the Scottish Parliament on Holocaust Memorial Day 2016 

We should remember that while the Holocaust was unique in terms 
of its industrial nature and in many other aspects, right up to the 
present day we know of many other genocides of the last century: 
the Armenian genocide , the Ukrainian Holodomor, the appalling 
genocide in Cambodia and, of course, we all know about Darfur. 
Darfur, Rwanda and, I believe, much of what is happening today in 
Syria, can be termed genocide —certainly in relation to the Yazidi 

RFE/RL Report 
PACE Rejects One Pro-Azeri Resolution, Approves Another

The Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) on Tuesday 
voted down a draft resolution demanding the unconditional restoration of
Azerbaijan's "full sovereignty" over Nagorno-Karabakh and
Armenian-controlled districts surrounding it.

Still, the Strasbourg-based assembly went on to adopt another
controversial text that deplores "the occupation by Armenia of
Nagorno-Karabakh and other adjacent areas of Azerbaijan."

The two resolutions were approved by the PACE's standing committees
on political and social affairs in November. They were welcomed by
Azerbaijan but strongly condemned by Armenia and Karabakh's
Armenian-backed leadership.

The pro-Azerbaijani documents also prompted serious concern from 
the U.S., Russian and French mediators trying to broker a comprise
solution to the Karabakh conflict. In a statement released late last
week, the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group again warned 
the PACE against "undermining" their peace efforts.

Following a heated debate in Strasbourg, the PACE narrowly 
rejected the more important of the proposed resolutions that 
was drafted by Robert Walter, a recently retired British lawmaker
known for his strong support for the Azerbaijani government.

Walter's text called for a peaceful settlement that would start with
"the withdrawal of Armenian armed forces and other irregular armed
forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and the other occupied territories of
Azerbaijan" and "the establishment of full sovereignty of Azerbaijan
in these territories." It said that the OSCE Minsk Group should
"consider reviewing its approach to the resolution of the conflict"

The three mediating powers have been seeking a very different
Armenian-Azerbaijani peace accord. Their Basic Principles of a
Karabakh settlement envisage an internationally recognised 
referendum in which Karabakh's predominantly Armenian population 
would apparently be able to reaffirm the territory's de facto secession 
from Azerbaijan.

The other resolution, approved by the PACE over strong Armenian
objections, accuses Armenia of "deliberately depriving" Azerbaijani
farmers of water flowing from the Sarsang reservoir in northern
Karabakh. It says that this "environmental aggression" necessitates
"the immediate withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from the region

Several Armenian and other members of the PACE tried unsuccessfully to
have the assembly remove or change these wordings.

Milica Markovic, the Bosnian author of the resolution, did not 
visit Armenia, Sarsang or other parts of Karabakh before drafting
"Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to undertake a
visit to Armenia, owing to the lack of cooperation of the Armenian
delegation," she said during the debate.

In a statement issued later on Tuesday, the Armenian delegation at the
PACE praised the Council of Europe body for blocking Walter's
resolution but criticized it for approving the other "one-sided"
document. Armenia's Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharian
likewise charged that Markovic's resolution "pours water on the mill
of Azerbaijani propaganda aimed at undermining the Nagorno-Karabakh
peace process."

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, for its part, welcomed the passage
of Markovic's resolution, saying that it could help to "eliminate the
consequences of Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan." According to
Azerbaijani news agencies, the ministry spokesman, Hikmet Hajiyev,
also said Baku "regrets" the PACE's failure to approve Walter's

RFE/RL Report
Armenia `Continuing' Military Buildup
Sargis Harutyunyan

Armenia is continuing to acquire "long-range and precision-guided"
weapons for its armed forces thanks to its close military ties with
Russia, Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian said on Tuesday.

"Within the framework of a relevant [Russian-Armenian] agreement
signed in 2013, we are ensuring their development through the
acquisition of modern and compatible weaponry, military hardware and
long-range and precision-guided systems," he told a news
conference. "All that is going according to plan."

Ohanian gave no details of those acquisitions that were apparently
discussed last week in Yerevan at a meeting of a Russian-Armenian
intergovernmental commission on bilateral "military-technical

The four-day meeting was co-chaired by Konstantin Biryulin, the deputy
head of a Russian government agency overseeing arms deals with foreign
states, and Armenian Deputy Defense Minister Alik Mirzabekian.

The Armenian Defense Ministry said that the meeting discussed, among
other things, Russian arms supplies. But it reported no concrete
agreements to that effect.

In June 2015, the Russian government provided Yerevan with a $200
million loan that will be spent on the purchase of more Russian-made
weapons for the Armenian army. Shortly afterwards, a Russian official
revealed that the two sides are negotiating on the delivery of
advanced Russian Iskander-M missiles to the Armenian army.

With a firing range of up to 500 kilometers, the Iskander-M systems
would have significant implications for the military balance in the
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. They would make Azerbaijan's vital oil and
gas infrastructure even more vulnerable to Armenian missile strikes in
the event of a renewed war for Karabakh.

Russia has not exported such missiles to any foreign state so
far. Ohanian and other Armenian military officials have been reluctant
comment on the possible Iskander-M deal.

Ohanian on Tuesday did not deny media claims that the Russian-Armenian
commission also discussed the possibility of supplying Armenia with
advanced Russian Su-30 fighter jets. But he declined to elaborate.

Armenia's modest Air Force currently consists of more than a dozen
older and less sophisticated Su-25 jets that are designed for
air-to-ground missions.

Ohanian reportedly thanked Russia for its "huge" military assistance
to Armenia when he met with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu in
Moscow late last month. The two men signed an agreed nt on the
creation of a new Russian-Armenian air defense system. 
27 Jan 2016
Siranush Ghazanchyan

The Freedom House ranks Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh as "partly free"
in its Freedom in the World 2016 report.

Armenia's neighbors Georgia and Turkey are also 'partly free,' while
Azerbaijan and Iran are ranked as 'not free.'

Armenia's partners in the Eurasian Economic Union Russia, Belarus
and Kazakhstan are listed among 'not free' countries. Kyrgyzstan is
ranked as 'partly free.'

Freedom in the World is an annual global report on political rights
and civil liberties, composed of numerical ratings and descriptive
texts for each country and a select group of related and disputed
territories. The 2016 edition covers developments in 195 countries
and 15 territories from January 1, 2015, through December 31, 2015.

Freedom in the World assesses the real-world rights and freedoms
enjoyed by individuals, rather than governments or government
performance per se. Political rights and civil liberties can be
affected by both state and nonstate actors, including insurgents and
other armed groups.
Alina Nikoghosya

Armenia has placed 95 among 168 countries by Corruption Perceptions
Index (CPI) 2015, falling by one position over its standing in 2014,
Varuzhan Hoktanyan, the Executive Director of the Transparency
International Anticorruption Center, said on Wednesday.

Armenia's Corruption Perception Index 2015 on a scale from 0 to 100
was rated at 35. Last year it was 37.

According to Hoktanyan, this year the World Bank was not among the
six sources, which were used to determine Armenia's CPI. That is why
Armenia has not registered regression by two points.

"We can conclude that since 2003 neither progress nor regression
has been registered in Armenia [in terms of the CPI]. Among former
Communist countries Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have a better
result. Comparing to us, our neighboring countries, Turkey and
Georgia, are in better condition, while Azerbaijan and Iran are in
worse positions," Hoktanyan said.

Georgia is 48th in the rankings, Turkey - 66th, Azerbaijan and Russia
share the 119th rank, and Iran is 130th. The least corrupt countries
are Denmark, Finland and Sweden. The most corrupt are Somalia, North
Korea and Afghanistan.

According to Hoktanyan, compared to previous years, in 2015, more
and more countries have made progress rather than retreat.

The CPI is based on expert assessments and data from surveys
by independent institutions, covering issues such as access to
information, bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public
procurement, and the application of anti-corruption laws. 

The Calvert Journal
Jan 25 2016
Emil Babayan
Adorning the face of many an Armenian celebrity and, some say,
a measure of worth, the sizeable schnozz is at once a source of
national pride and shame. Emil Babayan noses around Armenia's most
distinctive trait

The Armenians, like all other nations, must have their own "shtick"
-- but what is it? Some think it could be the famous Armenian brandy
so beloved of Winston Churchill, but this, after all, is really a
cultural borrowing from France. Other Armenians argue for the duduk,
an ancient musical instrument firmly rooted in Armenian folklore. But
then, variants of the duduk can be found throughout the Caucasus,
Middle East and the Balkans. So it doesn't quite make the grade --
and nor, similarly, do Mount Ararat, apricots, and many other things
Armenians regard as national symbols. Is it really possible that a
people with more than two thousand years of history has no calling
card of its own? Of course not -- the answer is right under our nose.

The Armenian nose is a unique phenomenon. Anthropologists have
ascertained that its mean length is 58mm -- second worldwide only to
the Kurds. But it isn't just the length that's boast-worthy. Large,
meaty, expressive, the Armenian schnozz takes up fully half the
Armenian face. When an Armenian with a truly Armenian nose is angry,
the lightning rod of his nose conducts electric wrath down from
the storm-clouds of his eyebrows. But if that Armenian's in a good
mood -- and even more so if he's in the throes of laughter -- his
grinning nose will sprawl across his entire face, exuding positivity
and friendliness. The Armenian nose is no less capable of expressing
astonishment, admiration, expectancy, fear, resolve -- and any other

What's more, the nose is a staple of all kinds of jokes --
corrosive or otherwise -- in Armenian society. Armenians endowed with
particularly impressive noses are often nicknamed Nose as children --
an uncomplicated yet meaningful sobriquet that usually remains theirs
for life. In a word, the Armenian nose is a multifunctional tool for
communicating with the outside world, and its uses are myriad.

Fact is, Armenians love their noses. It's what helps them nose
out their compatriots when abroad, be it face-to-face or in the
flash-flicker of a TV image. "Look, wifey, that's an Armenian!" my
granddad would often exclaim, jabbing a finger at the television.

"Come off it!" Granny would reply. "Can't you see? His nose isn't
Armenian at all... That's a Georgian right there!" Thus would my
grandfather and grandmother start an animated conversation of an
evening, with other family members, guests and even neighbours quick
to join in.

"Even among Armenians themselves, a genuine Armenian nose isn't
something you encounter very often. But it's a nose you'd never see
gracing the face of a Georgian, a Greek, an Arab, a Jew, or anyone
else." So writes Amayak Ter-Abramyants of the Armenian nose. "It's
monumental. It's unique: just like, say, Altai deer or coelacanth
fish. It's a genuine national treasure, and a direct legacy of
ancient Urartu: aquiline, shovel-shaped, expansive as a flag, with
black hairs bristling from the nostrils," he continues.

In Armenia, you can pick up Armenian-nose-shaped souvenirs.

So important are noses to Armenians that a Nose Monument has even
been erected in the centre of Yerevan. "Let's meet by the Nose
Monument and take a stroll," you might say. The sculpture's become
a tourist favourite. Admittedly, it's not a monument to the facial
feature per se, but a bronze humoresque dedicated to Arno Babajanian,
the celebrated Soviet-era Armenian composer and owner of a nose that
was great in every sense. Unveiled 12 years ago, the "Nose Monument"
moniker, invented by Yerevanians for the sake of convenience, has
stuck. By emphasising a certain aspect of Babajanian's facial anatomy,
sculptor David Bejanyan simultaneously pointed up his nationality ,
something that was downplayed by any means possible in the Soviet
period. He achieved this with the help of the Armenian nose.

Armenia boasts not one, but dozens of Nose Monuments. They tell us
stories about actor Frunzik Mkrtchyan, chess grandmaster Tigran
Petrosian, poet Yeghishe Charents, composer Arno Babajanyan, and
many other worthy Armenian sons. They tell us the story of the nation
itself, allowing us to peruse the light as well as the dark pages of
its soul. The Armenian nose is more than merely a nose.

The Armenian nose is generally a Good Thing, but it's not for
everyone. On one hand, this facial feature has become an integral
element of the Armenian national character, an idiosyncratic marker of
Armenia. As Amayak Ter-Abramyants notes, "It's brandished with pride
and importance, the way all smaller nations brandish their national
banners. And it often juts out from under dense canopies of eyebrows,
interlocking at its bridge and sitting atop sad black eyes awash with
the pain of the Genocide, with longing for a lost Ararat, and with
awareness of an irresolvable historico-geographical impasse." At the
same time, it would seem to be consistent with today's global fashion
trends, which favour all things "outsize" and "maxi". But the fashion
industry has got bogged down somewhere in the middle stretches of the
human body, and is yet to scale nose-level heights. This is a problem,
because the Armenian nose begets many a complex, especially among
the fairer half of the nation. Eager to comply with contemporary
standards of beauty, Armenian women (predominantly young ones) are
resorting ever more frequently to rhinoplasty. Demand, of course,
begets supply, which is why Yerevan and other towns are witnessing
a proliferation of clinics where professional nasal plastic surgeons
offer specialised services to potential clients.

To popularise rhinoplasty in Armenia, a competition entitled The
Most Armenian Nose was devised and launched in the early 2000s by
the plastic surgery department of the Kanaker-Zeytun Medical Centre
in the north of Yerevan. Held eight times between 2004 and 2011,
the winner got a free nose job and the silver and bronze medallists
serious discounts. The competition is no more: these days, takers
are a dime a dozen without it.

The result is a multiplier effect: strong domestic demand stimulates
the rapid development of the industry, and this, in turn, attracts
people from beyond the country's borders. Today anyone can visit
Armenia and get themselves a new nose. Foreign clients must fork out
in the region of $1300-$1500 for the procedure, more than Armenian
citizens, but compared to European and North American markets, these
are very affordable prices. This fully-fledged medical tourism has
been made possible by the power of the Armenian nose.

"Armenia is an up-and-coming regional centre for rhinoplasty, and
indeed for facial aesthetic surgery in general," says plastic surgeon
Karen Danielyan, founder of The Most Armenian Nose competition. "The
country's leading clinics, based predominantly in Yerevan, serve up to
500 clients monthly, a third of them women. I can name ten to twelve
of these institutions off the top of my head -- they're springing up
like mushrooms after the rain." The number of operations, Danielyan
says, is growing by 10-15% annually. "500 people a month is close to
the official number, but things aren't as clear-cut as that. Nasal
surgery is a very personal matter, and many clients don't want to
"spell out" the fact that they've had a nose job. Sometimes nasal
operations are performed under the guise of other, unrelated services.

You might never have even gone to the doctor, in fact, and yet you've
somehow got yourself a new nose." Danielyan's own private practice is
patronised by people from all over the world, from as far afield as
Argentina and South Africa. No less than 80% of his clients are from
abroad, of which around a third are ethnic Armenians. The majority
of this clientele hails from Russia and the United States, followed
by Ukraine, various EU countries, and others.

Culture, fashion, tourism, surgery, show business, journalism,
everyday conversations -- in Armenia, all of these are linked, in
one way or another, to the Armenian nose. Not only has it become
a routine component of existence, it has integrated itself into the
national identity of the people. Sometimes it's an anecdote, sometimes
a joke, sometimes a story, sometimes a topic for an article -- but
it's invariably something intimate and sincere, something that's in
plain view of everyone and seldom goes unnoticed.

Makes countless thousands mourn!”

Thursday, 28 January 2016

** FATHER FRANK’S RANTS Rant Number 664 27 January 16 AUSCHWITZ


I possess eight shiny Auschwitz camp postcards. One shows a crematorium. Another displays electrified barbed wire. One has the ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ main gate inscription. Another, a pitted execution wall. And so on.

I bought my postcards from the Auschwitz souvenir shop during a visit to Poland. Items so bad taste that I could not resist it. Today, holocaust memorial day, memories of the trip flood back.

Holocaust is a peculiarly troubling word. Because it signifies the extermination of millions of innocent Jews and others. Jewish film maker Claude Lanzmann spoke of its ‘unbearable’ echoes of religious sacrifice. He was right. A holocaust in the Old Testament means a whole sacrificial offering performed by priests in the Jerusalem Temple. To whom? To God, of course. But what kind of deity would demand millions of innocent human victims? Not a righteous, holy God, surely, but a satanic chimera, a monstrous Moloch. An intolerable, blasphemous thought. Still, the word has stuck.

Auschwitz was liberated by Soviet troops on 27 January 1945. A bit of a paradox. As we were guided around the camp, my nice Bielorussian friend Valery muttered: ‘Fancy the bloody Russians freeing the inmates! Because that swine of their chief, Stalin, had committed as many genocides as Hitler. Murdered millions. As the Communists entered this place, there existed plenty of Soviet concentration camps in which the prisoners were starved, tortured and done to death. Camps that kept going for years after the war was over. And Stalin’s troops raped and pillaged wherever they went. Some liberators!’ I could hardly contradict him, could I?

Another bitter irony is that remembrance of the Jewish holocaust is sometimes cynically used to justify the expropriation and oppressions of Palestinians in the Holy Land. But how can two wrongs make a right? The descendants of those who have suffered and been persecuted should have learnt the lesson. Have the roles been inverted? Even PM David Cameron, not quite an ‘extremist’, described the beleaguered Palestinian enclave of Gaza as ‘a prison camp’. All right, Israeli crimes lack the magnitude of Nazi crimes. (Is it because the world is watching?) Still, to paraphrase Jewish writer Gertrude Stein, a crime is a crime is a crime.

The Hebrew people of the Bible were a holy nation. Sanctified by their awesome covenant with their Lord, the God of Israel. A faithful God who saw them through thick and thin. From slavery in Egypt to flight into the wilderness, to a new life in the Promised Land. But the fullness of redemption could only be attained through the coming of the awaited Messiah, Jesus Christ. Another paradox: many of his own people rejected Jesus. So…what of Judaism now? St Paul’s in Romans provides the perfect answer: ‘In the end, Israel will be saved.’

The grimness of Auschwitz was overwhelming. However, for me that darkness was transfixed by a ray of celestial light. When I saw the cell, and heard the story, of Father Maximilian Kolbe. A Franciscan priest, a writer and journalist, Fr Kolbe was imprisoned in Auschwitz for scathingly condemning the German occupation, as well as saving Jews’ lives. Undaunted, in the camp Kolbe continued his ministry by secretly hearing confessions and also by smuggling in the bread and wine necessary for the Eucharist. In July 1941, following the escape of a prisoner, ten men were picked in retaliation. They were to suffer slow death by starvation. One of them broke down, wept and lamented his fate. He begged the SS to spare his life but to no avail. Fr Maximilian heard him and offered to take his place. ‘He is young and has wife and children. I am old, Take me. I will die for him’. In fact, he was only 47.

SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Karl Fritzsch, Auschwitz deputy commander, agreed. So Fr Kolbe was taken to the death chamber of cell 18, along with the others. There he prepared his fellow sufferers with prayers, psalms and readings. Two weeks later only four men were still alive – Kolbe fully conscious. Two days later his jailers injected the priest with a lethal dose of carbolic acid and he died. His sacrifice was not forgotten. Pope John Paul II proclaimed him a ‘martyr of love’ and made him a saint in 1982. And the man whose life Fr Kolbe had saved was present at the ceremony in St Peter’s.

Liberal-minded writers have rhetorically claimed that theology after Auschwitz has become difficult, almost impossible. A lazy argument and of course the priest disagrees. Theology means the science or knowledge of God and neither atheism nor ignorance is an option. Indeed, the Hebrew people suffered exterminations and massacred many times in history but God never allowed them to perish as a race…

In my parish I once organised a debate with some atheists. The hoary problem of evil raised its ugly head. A godless woman tried to score a point by asking me: ‘How can you worship a God who allows the murder of six million Jews?’
‘Ask the victims’, I replied. ‘Have the Jews given up their faith in God? They have not. The Nazis are kaput but the Jewish people and faith live on and prosper. The God you don’t believe in is trying to tell something, lady.’

Revd Frank Julian Gelli


** follow on Twitter (Twitter Account not yet Authorized)
| ** friend on Facebook (#)
| ** forward to a friend (

Copyright © Fr Frank Gelli
Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp
** unsubscribe from this list (
| ** update subscription preferences (


Correction email to a previous news item received from Nurhan: 

I am a fluent Turkish speaker (being born in Istanbul).

I listened to this video three times and they don’t mention anything
about killing Kurds or Armenians. What they scream about is the
glory of the Turkish army etc.

It is happening in Silopi (they scream that name a few times).

Incidentally there are some other videos where they insult the Kurds
by mentioning Armenians, but not in this particular one. This video
is nothing but a poor attempt by some Kurds as propaganda
(the item was attributed to

Therefore I would suggest that you might want to inform your mail
group about this.

A number of young people held a protest in front of the Embassy of
the United Kingdom in Armenia.

They protested against two anti-Armenian reports on the agenda of the
January session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

They handed a letter of demand to the vice-ambassador.

Young members of the For Law organization offered two glass jars of
caviar as a symbolic bribe to the vice-ambassador thus alluding to
Azerbaijan caviar diplomacy at PACE.

Activist Arman Ghukasyan told that the reports on the agenda
of the PACE session pose threat to the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.

"We are well aware of the reasons for the biased reports. We have
numerous precedents, particularly in 2003-2004, when Azerbaijan
was able to bribe PACE members, and we have decided to express our
indignation, hand over our letter of demand and offer a symbolic
bribe - two glass jars of red and black caviar. If British officials
love caviar very much, we have brought caviar for them to reject the
reports," she said.

The report entitled "Inhabitants of frontier regions of Azerbaijan are
deliberately deprived of water" by PACE Rapporteur Milica Markovic, as
well as the one entitled "Escalation of Violence in Nagorno-Karabakh
and Other Occupied Territories of Azerbaijan" by Robert Walter, is
on the agenda of the PACE session this January. The anti-Armenian
resolutions are to be put to the vote on January 26.

Tsovinar Kostanyan, another member of the NGO, said she evaluates
the reports as "encroachment upon the Armenian nation and statehood
and the native lands."

"We now have a generation which will never allow such a disgraceful
encroachment. We are ready to defend our motherland, and its

The activists were at the protests site with banners bearing English

At the end, they agreed with the deputy ambassador to have a meeting
with him in his office to in case the reports receive approval.


Armenia's former president Levon Ter-Petrosyan has undergone a surgery
for intestinal cancer, his office said in a statement on Sunday.

According to the press release, the surgery took place at Glendale
Memorial Hospital in California, USA, on January 15.

It is reported that after post-surgery treatment Ter-Petrosyan was
discharged from hospital on January 24 and now continues to recover
at his relatives' in the United States.

Ter-Petrosyan, who turned 71 earlier this month, was post-Soviet
Armenia's first president in 1991-1998. He ran for president again
as an opposition leader in 2008 but lost to current head of state
Serzh Sargsyan in a disputed election.

Since then Ter-Petrosyan has led the opposition Armenian National
Congress (ANC). In 2013, he officially explained his decision not to
run for president again by his age. The ANC eventually did not field
a candidate in that election that was again officially won by Sargsyan.
25 Jan 2016
Siranush Ghazanchyan

British Standards Institution (BSI) has given Zvartnots Terminal,
located in Yerevan, Armenia Energy Management System ISO 50001
certification emphasizing the company's firm commitment to continuous
improvements in energy efficiency.

The program was launched in 2015 and is intended to provide the energy
team with a recognized framework for integrating energy performance
into their management practices. It specifies requirements applicable
to energy use, measurement, documentation and reporting, design and
procurement practices for equipment, systems, that contribute to energy
performance. Full commitment from all levels and functions of the
organization assured the successful implementation and timely results.

Marcelo Wende, General Manager of AIA said: "We are committed to
minimize our energy consumption by maximizing energy efficiency in
a continual improvement cycle and to provide a safe and comfortable
environment to our passengers and employees".

"We cannot control energy prices, but we can control how we manage
energy. Since the launch of the program we reduced waste, increased
efficiency and more importantly were able to develop the culture of
continuous improvement within the organization at all levels. I hope
that similar efforts are initiated by other organization not only in
Armenia but in the region."
Seda Hergnyan
January 25, 2016

Four or five new hotels are set to open In Armenia this year according
to the tourism department at the ministry of economics.

Four hotels opened for business last year: Opera Suite (Yerevan),
Hyatt Place (Jermouk), Double Tree by Hilton (Yerevan), Gayane
(Haghpat). Eight hotels opened in 2014.

This signifies that there is a demand for hotel beds in Armenia and
that investors are cashing on the opportunity. Simply put, there are
profits to be made in the sector.

Currently, there are 337 hotels operating in Armenia: 122 (36%)
in Yerevan and the rest throughout the country. (The term hotel
encompasses a variety of establishments - hotels, motels, guesthouses,
pensions, hostels, vacation camps, etc.) In total, these establishments
provide 20,235 sleeping accommodations.

In 2000, a year when tourism data started to be collected, there were
just 3-4 hotels; all in Yerevan.

In addition to the above-mentioned establishments there are over 200
bed and breakfasts (B&B) operating, mostly outside Yerevan.

Today, there are 42 hotels operating in Sevan, 37 in Tzaghkadzor,
17 in Jermouk, 15 in Dilijan, and 9 in Aghveran.

Despite the increase in hotel numbers, most tourists visiting Armenia
continue staying with relatives and in rented apartments. Apartment
owners make more money by renting their apartments on a daily basis
to tourists when compared to renting to locals on a monthly basis.

According to the latest data from the National Statistical Service
(NSS), more than 443,000 tourists visited Armenia in the 3rd quarter of
2015. Only 55,400 (12%) of them are said to have stayed at hotel-like
establishments. The rest stayed with relatives or rented apartments.

The NSS reports that in the 3rd quarter of 2015 19% of tourists came
from CIS countries, 28.8% from EU member states, and 52% from other

A majority of those staying at hotels in Armenia are in fact domestic
tourists; residents of Armenia.

According to the NSS, 781,714 residents of Armenia stayed at local
hotels from January-September of 2015. 69.2% were on vacation, 17.6%
travelled for business/practical reasons, 7.8% for medical matters,
and 5.4% for other reasons. 

The Strad, UK
Jan 25 2016

Rhapsody. Khachaturian: Poem-Song; Two Dances from Gayaneh. Komitas:
The Apricot Tree; The Crane; It Is Spring; Seven Folk Dances.

Mirzoyan: Introduction and Perpetuum mobile

Leading Armenian players lovingly perform the music of their country

January 25, 2016


Musicians Sergey Khachatryan (violin) Lusine Khachatryan (piano)
Composer Babadjanian; Bagdasarian; Khachaturian; Komitas; Mirzoyan
Catalogue number: NAÃ~OVE V 5414

This recording, 'dedicated to the 100th commemoration of the Armenian
Genocide', is presented by violinist Sergey Khachatryan, winner
of the Queen Elisabeth and Sibelius competitions and the leading
Armenian musician of his generation. Performing with his sister,
pianist Lusine, who also plays a number of solo works on this disc,
Khachatryan brings his glorious tone to the music of his homeland.

There is a school of Armenian composition, informed by folk and
religious music, that stretches back to the mid-19th century, although
its founder Komitas Vardapet, who suffered during the events of 1915,
is the only composer here to have written in that century. His Krunk
('The Crane'), a national song, opens the recording and sets the
tone with its lushly melodic, distinctly Eastern violin lines. Of the
music that follows, Khachaturian's Sabre Dance - spikily dispatched
by Khachatryan - is by far the most famous, but there is much else on
the disc to enjoy: a second, sotto voce miniature from Khachaturian's
ballet Gayaneh, Edvard Mirzoyan's driving work Perpetuum mobile and
a brooding Rhapsody by Eduard Ivanovich Bagdasarian.

Sergey Khachatryan's playing is flawless throughout, while the
recording is both well balanced and resonant, and together the
siblings' love for this music shines through. Only the poorly written
(or possibly translated) notes are a disappointment here.

Tim Woodall
IN 2016
YEREVAN, January 25. Fitch Rating said in a statement
that its estimates Armenian GDP growth was 2.7% in 2015, revised up
from its forecast of 1.5% in July. It estimates domestic demand fell
by 4.9%, but net trade underpinned growth. Imports dropped 26% YoY
(in USD terms) in the first three quarters of 2015, while exports
fell only 1%, supported by the opening of the Teghut copper mine and
strong growth of agriculture output.

Fitch forecasts also GDP growth at 2% in 2016, before picking up to
2.8% in 2017, but the outlook depends on external conditions. The
remarkable rebalancing of the economy and access to funding has eased
pressures on Armenia's external finances.

Fitch estimates the current account deficit narrowed to 4.3% of GDP
in 2015, from 7.3% in 2014, despite the drop in remittances. Foreign
exchange reserves recovered to USD1,771m in December 2015 from
USD1,261m in February 2015, helped by the issue of a USD500m eurobond
in March (USD300m net of the buyback of the eurobond due in 2020),
USD100m from the Eurasian Fund for Stabilisation and Development
as well as funding from the IMF and World Bank. Nevertheless, net
external debt is high, at an estimated 46.5% of GDP at end-2015,
compared with the 'B' category median of 21.5%. -0-
25 Jan 2016
Siranush Ghazanchyan

The Australian newspaper's Weekend edition has reported on Azerbaijan's
efforts to gain a "diplomatic edge" over Armenia and the Armenian
National Committee of Australia by treating "Federal politicians and
their wives ... to expenses-paid, business-class trips to Azerbaijan."

Furthermore, in the article titled 'War of words over shuttle
diplomacy in Azerbaijan', Azerbaijan's Ambassador to Australia,
Rovshan Jamshidov has admitted that gaining Australia's firm backing
in the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute was "one of the main reasons" for
opening a Canberra Embassy in 2013.

The article also quotes recent visitors to Azerbaijan as part of its
government's 'shuttle diplomacy', Federal MPs Luke Simpkins and Alan
Griffin - the Chair and Vice-Chair of the recently-formed Australia
Azerbaijan Parliamentary Friendship Group.

Simpkins came under fire by the Armenian National Committee of
Australia (ANC Australia) recently, when he rose in Australia's
Parliament to condemn the self-determined Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh
as "illegally seized" territory belonging to the Aliyev dictatorship
of Azerbaijan. This statement was delivered as a Constituency
Statement, when The Australian confirms there are only four Azeri-born
constituents in Simpkins's electorate of Cowan.

The Australian quotes ANC Australia Executive Administrator, Arin
Markarian on this point: "Simpkins ... is wined and dined in Baku, and
all of a sudden develops an intimate knowledge of Caucasus geopolitics
-- intimate enough to take a hardline anti-Armenian view ... without
once visiting Nagorno-Karabakh or Armenia to talk to the other side."

Markarian added: "You can forgive Armenian-Australians for thinking
something smells fishy about Simpkins."

In MP fiduciary reports obtained by ANC Australia, it is confirmed all
entertainment and accommodation expenses on these trips are covered by
"the government of Azerbaijan".

Markarian commended The Australian on shining a light on this
"questionable" form of diplomacy exercised by Azerbaijan.

"We have tried to ask these questions to Mr. Simpkins, but he has
avoided us. He couldn't avoid The Australian, but yet, he still
wasn't able to answer the questions raised by its reporters and the
Australian public," said Markarian.

Markarian added: "A Parliamentarian from Western Australia, which
hardly has any Azeri population, is invited to Azerbaijan. His
fiduciary report of the trip reveals his on-ground expenses, including
accommodation and meals, were all paid for by the 'Parliament of
Azerbaijan', which in itself is a funny concept in a dictatorship
ruled by the same family since Soviet time."

"Then Simpkins returns to Australia and speaks in Parliament about the
'illegal occupation' by 'aggressor Armenians' of Nagorno-Karabakh."

"The Armenian National Committee of Australia and the Armenian
community of Australia finds it preposterous that the native people
of a land, who have exercised their rights to self-determination
after years of abuse faced by a foreign dictatorship, are now called
'illegal occupants' of their native land... by an Australian politician
who is only interested in meeting representatives of the Azerbaijani
side of this conflict after a sojourn to Baku."