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Yerevan Protest Birthday Boy: "I am ready, with these young people, to build a flourishing country"

June 25, 2015 Armenia, Diaspora No Comments
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08:51, June 25, 2015

The friends of Michael Sarukhanyan, who is participating in the Yerevan street protest against an electricity rate hike, had a surprise for him last night.

It was his birthday. They brought a birthday cake to the protest and celebrated.

After the photo went viral, Michael posted the following on Facebook:

ODIHR Director Calls on Armenian Authorities to Respect Right to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly of Yerevan Protestors

June 25, 2015 Armenia No Comments
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12:16, June 25, 2015

WARSAW, 24 June 2015 – Michael Georg Link, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), today called on the Armenian authorities to respect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly of those taking part in a peaceful protest in central Yerevan.

“Armenia, like all OSCE participating States, has committed itself to protect and promote the fundamental freedom of peaceful assembly, and must fully respect the rights of the protesters in Yerevan to exercise this freedom,” the ODIHR Director said. “The reports of the actions of law enforcement agencies yesterday morning, including the use of water cannons against and the arrest of hundreds of peaceful protesters, raise serious concerns.”

France Latest to Investigate the Magnitsky Affair

June 25, 2015 Armenia, Europe No Comments
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12:47, June 25, 2015

French authorities have launched an investigation into money laundering and organized crime activities in France, Monaco and Luxembourg connected to the Magnitsky Affair, the largest tax fraud in Russian history.

Law enforcement officials have made no public comment on the case, but a source close to the investigation told OCCRP that assets owned by persons in those countries have been frozen.

The theft of US$ 230 million from the Russian Treasury was discovered in 2007 by Russian lawyer Sergey Magnitsky who, at the time, was working for Hermitage Capital Management, then the biggest foreign investor in Russia.

Armenian Leader Off To Brussels Amid Growing Protests At Home

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President Serzh Sarkisian flew to Brussels on Wednesday evening to attend a meeting of European politicians, continuing to avoid public statements on nonstop street protests in Yerevan against a rise in electricity prices in Armenia.

The protests seemed to be gaining momentum one day after the Armenian authorities tried to quell them by dispersing and arresting young activists camped out on a major street in the city center, just a few hundred meters from the presidential palace. All of them were set free by Tuesday evening.

Gyumri: Electricity Rate Hike Protest Continues

June 24, 2015 Armenia No Comments
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[unable to retrieve full-text content]Rain hasn’t dampened the spirit of activists in Gyumri who continue to protest the electricity rate hike.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Electricity Hike Rate Protester: "I want to live in a positive city where people smile and are happy"

June 24, 2015 Armenia No Comments
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19:23, June 24, 2015

A conversation with “No to Plunder” movement member Maxim Sargsyan, who is participating in the Baghramyan Avenue electricity rate hike protest.

Maxim, what’s your professional background?

I graduated with a degree in historical jurisprudence, but not at the college level.

What do you think about Armenia’s current situation?

Seeing the activism exhibited by citizens of Armenia these past few days, I view Armenia’s future as very bright. I see that homeland that I imagined and want.

And what kind of homeland do you want to see?

A homeland where there is equality, the rule of law, and where the rulers do not threaten citizens. A homeland where citizens realize their role and impact in unfolding processes. A country where all feel good, both on a human level and legally.

Azerbaijan: Prosecutors Complete Investigation Into Case of Jailed Journalist Khadija Ismayilova

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23:01, June 24, 2015

The criminal investigation into the case of jailed investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova has been completed by Azerbaijani prosecutors.

 

Ismayilova has been held in pre-trial detention since her arrest last December when a court ruled to hold her for two months pending inquiries by the authorities.

Her detention has since been extended a number of times. According to Azerbaijani press, the Sabail District Prosecutor’s office has finally completed its probe into the allegation that Ismayilova incited an acquaintance to attempt suicide.

The development means that her lawyers will now have access to the authorities’ evidence against her.

Russia ‘Very Closely Monitoring’ Events In Yerevan

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Russia has called for a “legal” solution to the continuing standoff over electricity prices in Armenia and warned against a destabilization of the political situation in the South Caucasus country allied to it.

“Armenia is our closest partner,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters late on Tuesday. “We are bound by historic links with Armenia and the Armenian people.”

“We are very closely monitoring what is going on there and hope the situation will be settled in the near future in strict accordance with the law and that there will be no violations of the law,” Peskov said, according to the RIA Novosti agency.

Azeri Soldiers Missing ‘On Armenian Border’

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The Armenian army has expressed readiness to help military authorities in Baku locate and evacuate two Azerbaijani soldiers who reportedly went missing on Azerbaijan’s border with Armenia earlier this week.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that the two sergeants, Musa Musayev and Tural Yolchuyev, may have accidentally strayed into Armenia’s northern Tavush province from the Gazakh district in western Azerbaijan. It said it is investigating precise circumstances of their disappearance.

The Defense Ministry in Yerevan insisted afterwards, however, that no Azerbaijani soldiers crossed the heavily militarized Armenian border in the area.

“I can’t confirm or deny that there was an attempt to cross the border because that is possible and there are such precedents,” the ministry spokesman, Artsrun Hovannisian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “But I can state for certain that we are holding no Azerbaijani servicemen.”

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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.