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Garni-Geghard: Armenia’s Legal and Illegal Garbage Dumps

September 3, 2015 Armenia, Business No Comments
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Garni-Geghard: Unregulated and unapproved garbage dumps increase alongside tourism-related services

The four hectare landfill in the village of Garni now is shared by six villages in the Garni area of Armenia’s Kotayk Province. (Garni, Goght, Geghard, Hatsavan, Geghadir and Voghjaberd)

According to Government Decision N-1575 (2008), the mayors of these communities were ordered to begin garbage collection across a wide swath. The objective was to keep the main roadway to ‘Garni-Geghard, a major tourist attraction, ‘garbage free’.

Confronting Challenges: To Be an Armenian Feminist in Turkey

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18:30, September 2, 2015

An Interview with Lerna Ekmekcioglu

Lerna Ekmekcioglu is McMillan-Stewart Associate Professor of History and Women and Gender Studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She earned her bachelor’s degree at Boğaziçi University in Turkey and master’s and PhD degrees from New York University. Lerna has authored a range of articles about ethnic and religious minorities, genocide, Armenian community in post-genocide Turkey, concentrating on the gendered perspective. In 2006, she co-edited “A Cry for Justice: Five Armenian Feminist Writers from the Ottoman Empire to the Turkish Republic (1862-1933)” in Turkish, with Melissa Bilal. At the end of this year her second book, “Recovering Armenia: Limits of Belonging in Post-Genocide Turkey” will be published.

Armenian Constitutional Referendum ‘Due In 2015’

September 2, 2015 Armenia No Comments
Armenian News

President Serzh Sarkisian plans to hold the referendum on his far-reaching amendments to Armenia’s constitution before the end of this year, a leading member of his governing Republican Party (HHK) said on Wednesday.

“If not in November, then in the beginning of December,” Vahram Baghdasarian, the leader of the HHK faction in parliament, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) when asked about the likely date of the referendum.

Baghdasarian spoke ahead of parliamentary debates on a long list of constitutional amendments that have been drafted by an ad hoc presidential commission. The National Assembly controlled by the HHK is expected to start debating them next week. Observers anticipate that its pro-government majority will ensure a formal parliamentary approval of the proposed changes by the end of this month.

Baku Blasts ‘Pro-Armenian’ Reports Of Soldier Deaths


Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry condemned on Wednesday domestic media reports that more Azerbaijani soldiers have died in recent days, saying that they play into Armenia’s hands.

“Some local online media outlets are spreading from unknown sources incredible information amounting to rumors about casualties sustained by our Armed Forces,” the ministry said in a statement cited by the APA news agency.

It said that information “serves Armenia’s interests” and is aimed at “casting a shadow on Azerbaijan’s military achievements.”

“The [ethnic] origin of some persons, who serve the Armenian interests by circulating officially unconfirmed, exaggerated and often untrue news reports, is starting to cause suspicions,” the ministry added, apparently threatening to accuse them of being of Armenian descent.

‘Electric Yerevan’ Leaders Issue New Ultimatum To Government

September 2, 2015 Armenia No Comments
Armenian News

Armenian youth activists campaigning against a controversial electricity price hike on Wednesday gave the Armenian government until September 11 to formally scrap the unpopular measure or face fresh nonstop demonstrations in Yerevan.

“On September 11 we will take to the streets and stay there because if we don’t stay they [the authorities] won’t give a damn,” said Artush Chibukhchian, one of the leaders of the No To Plunder pressure group.

“Deceiving people is a normal thing for them,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “The person occupying the post of the president can easily fool the people.”

“We have had a chance to see that they say one thing and do another,” said another leader of the group, Artur Kocharian.

Bodyguard Fired From School Administration

September 2, 2015 Armenia, Top News No Comments

The Armenian government hastily dismissed on Wednesday a reputedly violent bodyguard of Suren Khachatrian, the controversial governor of the Syunik province, after it emerged that he also works as deputy director of a local public school.

Zarzand Nikoghosian’s hitherto unknown position at the Secondary School No. 6 of the provincial capital Kapan was revealed by Armenian media earlier in the day. The revelation caused shock among political commentators and on social media, with many pointing to Nikoghosian’s history of violent conduct directly or indirectly connected with his boss.

In particular, Nikoghosian was arrested, along with Khachatrian’s notorious son Tigran, two years ago after shooting to death one man and wounding another outside the governor’s villa in Goris, another Syunik town. They both were charged with murder and illegal arms possession only to be freed two months later. Law-enforcement authorities said their actions constituted legitimate self-defense.

Azerbaijan: Aliyev Family, Friends Cruise Aboard SOCAR Super Yachts

September 2, 2015 Armenia, Azerbaijan, Business No Comments
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09:59, September 2, 2015


Friends and family of President Ilham Aliyev make free use of two luxury yachts worth US$ 59 million that are owned by the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR), the organization charged with managing the country’s oil wealth for its citizens.

That means the yachts deprive Azerbaijani citizens of about US$ 12 million per year in oil profits—the amount experts say such yachts typically cost to run. That’s in addition to the US$ 2,000 worth of fuel per hour that the yachts consume.

It’s not the first time SOCAR has been so accommodating to the Aliyevs. The First Family previously used SOCAR to register their US$ 25 million London mansion.

Artsakh President Issues Congratulatory Message on Independence Day

September 2, 2015 Armenia, Arts No Comments
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11:18, September 2, 2015

Artsakh President Bako Sahakyan issued a congratulatory message today on the occasion of the republic’s Independence Day.

In his message, President Sahakyan congratulated citizens of Artsakh for realizing their long held dream, despite numerous hardships, of creating a state in which they are the masters of their destiny.

“By assembling our forces, we defended our national dignity and the future of our people on the battlefield. Today, we are building a democratic state and presenting our stake to become a full fledged member of the international community,” Sahakyan wrote in his statement.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Riot Police Confront ‘Electric Yerevan’ Activists

September 1, 2015 Armenia, Business, Top News No Comments

About a hundred youth activists scuffled with riot police in Yerevan on Tuesday as they tried unsuccessfully to block a central city avenue during renewed protests against a recent increase in electricity prices in Armenia.

The activists mostly affiliated with the youth movement No To Plunder briefly blocked traffic through a section of Marshal Bagramian Avenue opposite President Serzh Sarkisian’s official residence after rallying in a nearby public park.

The group, which provoked a two-week nonstop demonstration in Yerevan in June, decided to resume its campaign of “civil disobedience” after the Armenian government made clear that it will subsidize the electricity price only for households and some small businesses.

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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.


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.