‘Electric Yerevan’ Leaders Issue Ultimatum

Leaders of the protesters continuing to occupy a central Yerevan avenue on Saturday threatened to advance further towards the presidential palace if the Armenian authorities fail to formally revoke a controversial rise in electricity prices.

They gave the authorities until Monday evening to meet their demands or face a new, “decisive phase” of their “Electric Yerevan” campaign.

“If we don’t get an answer we will start moving the barricade [built on Marshal Bagramian Avenue] one step forward every day,” one of the protest leaders, Davit Sanasarian, told several hundred people rallying on a section of the avenue that has been blocked for almost two weeks.

Russia ‘Negotiating’ On New Missile Supplies To Armenia

Russia is reportedly holding negotiations with Armenia on supplying it with sophisticated Iskander-M missiles that would significantly boost Armenian defense capabilities in the unresolved conflict with Azerbaijan.

“A contract has not been signed yet; negotiations are still going on,” the official TASS news agency quoted an unnamed source in the Russian defense industry as saying late on Thursday.

The source gave no further details, saying that “all information about such contracts is secret.”

The Armenian Defense Ministry refused to comment on the report.

Police Crackdown ‘Investigated’

An Armenian law-enforcement agency launched on Friday a criminal investigation into excessive police use of force against protesters and journalists which was reported during last week’s dispersal of a demonstration in Yerevan.

The police detained more than 230 people early on June 23 as they broke up a protest on the city’s central Marshal Bagramian Avenue against a controversial electricity price hike. All of them were set free several hours later.

More than two dozen protesters were injured in the crackdown. Sixteen of them reportedly filed lawsuits with the European Court of Human Rights in the following days.

4 Arrested Over ‘Shooting Attack’ On Armenian Governor

Four men were arrested on Friday on suspicion of attempting to assassinate Suren Khachatrian, the governor of Armenia’s southeastern Syunik province who has long been notorious for violent conduct.

The National Security Service (NSS) service said the arrests were made in connection with the reported May 20 shooting attack on a car carrying Khachatrian.

Khachatrian, his driver and assistant claimed to have come under fire on the road connecting the provincial capital Kapan to Goris, the governor’s hometown also located in Syunik. None of them was hurt, even though photographs released by law-enforcement authorities showed their car riddled with bullets.

Latest Armenian News:

‘Electric Yerevan’ Leaders Issue Ultimatum

July 4, 2015 Armenia, Top News No Comments
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Leaders of the protesters continuing to occupy a central Yerevan avenue on Saturday threatened to advance further towards the presidential palace if the Armenian authorities fail to formally revoke a controversial rise in electricity prices.

They gave the authorities until Monday evening to meet their demands or face a new, “decisive phase” of their “Electric Yerevan” campaign.

“If we don’t get an answer we will start moving the barricade [built on Marshal Bagramian Avenue] one step forward every day,” one of the protest leaders, Davit Sanasarian, told several hundred people rallying on a section of the avenue that has been blocked for almost two weeks.

Azerbaijan Violates Ceasefire 300 Times Last Week

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[unable to retrieve full-text content]According to the Artsakh Defense Army (ADA), Azerbaijani forces violated the Line of Contact ceasefire
some 300 times from June 28-July 4.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Armenian President Visits U.S. Embassy on Independence Day

July 4, 2015 Armenia No Comments
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12:30, July 4, 2015

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan today visited the U.S. Embassy in Armenia to congratulate Ambassador Richard Mills and, by extension, the people of the United States on the occasion of U.S. Independence Day.

Sargsyan also sent a congratulatory message to U.S. President Barack Obama.

“We place great importance on Armenian-American friendship, which is founded on shared values, mutual respect and trust.  We highly value the role of the U.S. regarding ensuring security and stability in the southern Caucasus and in encouraging reforms now taking place in Armenia. The close and diverse Armenian-American partnership connections continue to pave the way in strengthening economic development, democratic institutions and civil society in Armenia,” Sargsyan wrote Obama. 

Russia: Offshore Companies Banned from State Contracts

July 4, 2015 Armenia No Comments
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13:19, July 4, 2015

A new law passed by Russia’s State Duma will prohibit state procurement from companies registered in offshore jurisdictions, RIA Novosti reports.

The government sponsored bill, which the Duma adopted on its third reading, stipulates that a legal entity registered in a state that provides tax exemptions and does not require disclosure of financial information cannot be involved in state purchases.

In Armenia, there are companies, registered in offshore jurisdictions, which have won state contracts.

On several occasions Hetq has written about how offshore companies have won state contracts. There’s also the case when the founders of Armenian registered companies, that have won state procurement contracts, are offshore concerns with Armenian government officials, or their relatives, as shareholders.

Russia ‘Negotiating’ On New Missile Supplies To Armenia

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Russia is reportedly holding negotiations with Armenia on supplying it with sophisticated Iskander-M missiles that would significantly boost Armenian defense capabilities in the unresolved conflict with Azerbaijan.

“A contract has not been signed yet; negotiations are still going on,” the official TASS news agency quoted an unnamed source in the Russian defense industry as saying late on Thursday.

The source gave no further details, saying that “all information about such contracts is secret.”

The Armenian Defense Ministry refused to comment on the report.

Police Crackdown ‘Investigated’

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An Armenian law-enforcement agency launched on Friday a criminal investigation into excessive police use of force against protesters and journalists which was reported during last week’s dispersal of a demonstration in Yerevan.

The police detained more than 230 people early on June 23 as they broke up a protest on the city’s central Marshal Bagramian Avenue against a controversial electricity price hike. All of them were set free several hours later.

More than two dozen protesters were injured in the crackdown. Sixteen of them reportedly filed lawsuits with the European Court of Human Rights in the following days.

4 Arrested Over ‘Shooting Attack’ On Armenian Governor

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Four men were arrested on Friday on suspicion of attempting to assassinate Suren Khachatrian, the governor of Armenia’s southeastern Syunik province who has long been notorious for violent conduct.

The National Security Service (NSS) service said the arrests were made in connection with the reported May 20 shooting attack on a car carrying Khachatrian.

Khachatrian, his driver and assistant claimed to have come under fire on the road connecting the provincial capital Kapan to Goris, the governor’s hometown also located in Syunik. None of them was hurt, even though photographs released by law-enforcement authorities showed their car riddled with bullets.

Italy: Human Trafficker Who Caused Shipwreck Gets 18 Years

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12:58, July 3, 2015

A court in Italy has sentenced the human trafficker who helped cause the catastrophic 2013 shipwreck near Lampedusa in which 366 migrants lost their lives.

According to Reuters, Khaled Bensalem was handed an 18-year sentence at a court in Agrigento, Sicily, for multiple manslaughter and aiding illegal immigration.

The 36-year-old Tunisian’s sentence was reportedly cut by a third from the maximum penalty since he opted for a fast-track trial that offers reduced sentences for defendants who plead guilty.

On Oct. 3, 2013, Bensalem captained a ship that, according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, departed from Libya carrying 500 people, mostly Eritrean, across the Mediterranean.

When the motor broke down near the Italian coast, passengers set clothing and blankets alight to attract attention.

Hetq Gets Results: New House Purchased for Family of Artsakh War Vet

July 3, 2015 Armenia, Arts No Comments
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13:22, July 3, 2015

Yesterday, the Fuller Housing Center had some great news for Hetq.

After Hetq wrote about the plight of Sergey Stepanyan and his 77 year-old mother Roza, who live in a ramshackle house in the village of Yeraskh, the Center, with the assistance of benefactor Hrant Kenten, has purchased a new house for the family.

Sergey Stepanyan, a 51 year-old Artsakh War vet, has told Hetq that all he wanted was to buy some slate roofing so that his mother wouldn’t sleep exposed to the elements; especially the rain.

Sergey has four children, 3 boys and a daughter. They are all married. The daughter lives in Russia. The rest of the family, including five grandchildren, live in two dilapidated houses.

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Featured Books

Book Reviews

John Balian’s “Novel Approach” Brings the Armenian Saga to the Masses – An interview with John Balian by Lucine Kasbarian

Gray Wolves and White Doves cover art

Armenians often wish for a tale about the Armenian Genocide and its aftermath that would make a blockbuster film and draw attention to their cause. John Balian’s new book, Gray Wolves and White Doves (CreateSpace/Amazon.com), may be that tale.

 Largely autobiographical, this atmospheric novel is presented through the eyes of an innocent young boy trying to make sense of the world as he grows up amid repressive conditions in Western Armenia/Eastern Turkey during the 1960s and 70s.

 This fast-paced, multi-layered narrative takes readers from Hanna Ibelin’s (a.k.a. Jonah Ibelinian’s) close-knit family life in the perilous Asia Minor region of Palu to terror and tragedy while en route to Syria’s Kamishli, to a bleak existence on the mean streets of Istanbul.

New Children’s Picture Book From Armenian Folklore

Teaneck, N.J. and Belmont, Mass. –  An Armenian folktale retold by Armenian-American writer Lucine Kasbarian and illustrated by Moscow-based artist Maria Zaikina debuts with Marshall Cavendish Children’s Publishers in April 2011.

The Greedy Sparrow: An Armenian Tale is from the ancient Armenian oral tradition and culture, which was nearly obliterated during the Turkish genocide of the Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks in 1915. The author learned the tale from her father, editor and columnist C.K. Garabed, who would recite it to her at bedtime. He had learned it from his own grandmother, a celebrated storyteller from the Old Country.  The tale was first put to paper by Armenian poet Hovhannes Toumanian at the turn of the 20th century.

“We Need To Lift The Armenian Taboo”

Turkish writer and publicist Ahmet Insel labels the initiative of the Turkish Nationalist Movement Party to pray namaz on the ruins of Ani as provocation.

In an interview with “A1+,” the publicist said the initiative was supported only by a small percentage of Turks.

“They offered namaz in Ani in protest against Christian rites carried out in Trabzon and Akhtamar. The leader of the Nationalist Movement Party, Devlet Bahceli said if Christians are allowed to pray inside museums, similarly he can pray namaz in Armenian churches,” said Ahmet Insel.

The Turkish writer arrived in Armenia to participate in a book festival. Presentation of Armenian version of Dialogue sur le tabou arménien (Dialogue about the Armenian Tabou) co-authored by Ahmet Insel and Michel Marian was held during the festival.

US Media Discusses The Armenian Genocide

BURBANK, CALIFORNIA –  KFI 640, a popular news/talk radio station hosted by Bill Handel on September 23 aired a live interview with Michael Bobelian, the writer of a new book titled  Children of Armenia: A Forgotten Genocide and the Century-long Struggle for Justice

The book chronicles the aftermath of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, and recounts a people’s struggle for justice in the face of a century of silence and denial.

During the interview, which was aired during the prime morning time slot, Bill Handel addressed both the efforts within the United States to ensure that the US government appropriately acknowledges the Armenian Genocide and Turkey’s ongoing denial.

Handel, a well known and nationally syndicated radio talk show host, has discussed the Armenian Genocide during past shows.

Commentary

Capitalism Run Amok Is Just Plain Capitalism

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16:37, January 17, 2015

By Markar Melkonian

The source of Armenia’s misery and humiliation, we often hear, is not capitalism per se, but rather “gangster capitalism,” “a broken system,” “capitalism run amok.”

The goal for the future, then, is to “fix the system,” to reform capitalism, to make it more like regular, pure, genuine Free Enterprise, the kind of capitalism that works. But what if Armenia’s actually existing capitalism already is genuine capitalism?

An economist once observed that the only existential meaning of “enterprise” in the term free enterprise is “whatever capitalists happen to be doing at the time”–and “free” is the accompanying demand that they be allowed to do it.

Ukraine: Cops Go After Casinos, Suggest Yanukovych Connection

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21:45, December 15, 2014

Ukraine’s ministry of internal affairs has launched a campaign against illegal casinos amid fears that a large network of underground gambling dens could be providing an income source for the son of the country’s disgraced former president Viktor Yanukovych.

The new crackdown on unlawful casinos – an ongoing scourge for law enforcement agencies in Ukraine since regulation was made stiffer with a 2009 law – was launched on Dec. 8 after an announcement on Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov’s official Facebook page.

Avakov, who keeps a lively and occasionally angry Facebook commentary on current affairs, pledged to put a complete stop to the establishments within ten days; first in the capital of Kyiv, then the rest of the nation.

Yerevan Calling: A Weekly Roundup of Random Musings from Armenia

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13:05, October 3, 2014

Here it is dear readers, the debut of a weekly column I hope to maintain on a regular basis.

It’s sort of a catch-all of news snippets, irreverent commentary, and personal observations on what’s happened during the week here in Yerevan, and throughout Armenia.. Hopefully, you’ll find it interesting, if not slightly diverting.

Your comments and suggestions are welcomed.

Regards – Hrant

Oct. 2 – Protests Throughout Armenia: A Game of Numbers & Solidarity

Three separate protest rallies took place in Armenia today.

As Hetq reported earlier, business owners in the town of Sevan kept their stores and factories shut to protest changes to the so-called volume (sales) tax. Local residents flocked to the bread factory to wait on line for a loaf or two.

China: President Takes Action Against High Ranking Corrupt Officials

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21:31, July 30, 2014

Zhou Yongkang, one of China’s most powerful former leaders, is under investigation in the highest-level corruption inquiry since the Communist Party came into power in 1949.

Under current president Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, the party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection is investigating Zhou for “serious disciplinary violations,” as the officialXinhua news agency reports. Media has not yet, however, specified the allegations against him.

The probe is an attempt to show the length to which Xi and the party will go in order to combat abuse of power reportsThe Wall Street Journal. 

A commentary published in the officialPeoples Daily makes the point that regardless of  an official’s rank or supporters, punishment will result for violating laws or the party’s discipline. 

Armenian Gangs: Caught between an Archetype and a Cliché

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19:15, July 12, 2014

By Marineh Khachadour

“The whole thing started with a scene straight out of a mobster movie. It was around 6 p.m. when more than a dozen men from two organized crime groups opened fire on each other in a North Hollywood parking lot. Witnesses say nearly everyone was armed, and the shootout quickly went mobile. The men took off in cars, exchanging fire as they weaved through the Whitsett Avenue traffic.”

Stories such as this are not unique to Armenians in the American press, but this investigative report recently published in the LA Weekly is about Armenian Power, the Los Angeles based Armenian gang that operates in the heavily Armenian populated communities of Glendale, Burbank, and North Hollywood.