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Two Armenian IT Entrepreneurs Want to Set Their Own Parameters

December 27, 2014 Armenia, Business No Comments
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14:42, December 27, 2014

Davit Khachatryan moved back to Armenia from Israel, where he was working as a business analyst, in 2012.

While he enjoyed the lifestyle there, Davit Khachatryan (top photo) confesses that he feels at home in Armenia.

The young man says there are a number of IT ideas in his head that he’d like to launch here.

“The time has come when I’ve set my own parameters, rather than working within those set by others. It’s not just about making money but about helping others. I gained experience but later wantedfreedom, to create something of my own. I’ve been experimenting since,” says Davit.

Judge Arrested On Bribery Charges

December 27, 2014 Armenia, Business, Top News No Comments

The National Security Service (NSS) confirmed on Friday the arrest of an Armenian judge accused of bribery.

The NSS said that Khachatur Khachatrian of a court of first instance in the northern Lori province was caught red-handed on Thursday while taking $20,000 from a local businessman involved in a civil case. A spokesman for the feared security agency claimed that Khachatrian demanded the kickback in return for ruling in favor of the unnamed businessman.

Khachatrian defense lawyer, Karen Tumanian, commented ambiguously on the allegation. “I don’t deny or confirm it,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “But he did not actually receive the officially specified amount of money.”

Arrested Businessman Levon Hayrapetyan’s Health Worsens, Says Doctor

December 24, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Business No Comments
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10:18, December 24, 2014

The doctor of Levon Hayrapetyan, the 65 year-old native Artsakh businessman arrested in Moscow on July 15, 2014 on embezzlement and money laundering charges, says the man is seriously ill and in need of ling-term care.

Artsakh Today reports that according to Dr. Henry Bakounts, Hayrapetyan has been diagnosed with cancer, diabetes, and suffers from cardio issues.  

Source: HetqOriginial Article

China Allocates More Aid To Armenia

December 23, 2014 Armenia, Business, Top News No Comments

China will provide$9.6 million in fresh economic assistance to Armenia next year, the Foreign Ministry in Yerevan said on Tuesday.

A ministry statement said that the Chinese ambassador to Armenia, Tian Erlong, formalized the “technical aid” allocation with an agreement signed with Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Manasarian. It gave no details of the aid, saying only that it will be provided in Chinese yuans.

“The two sides are holding negotiations towards agreeing on a number of other programs,” the statement added without elaborating.

According to the Armenian Foreign Ministry, the Chinese government has supported Armenia financially on an annual basis ever since 1999. The Chinese aid totaled $37 million between 2012 and 2014. That included an $11 million grant provided by Beijing in early 2013 for the construction of a Chinese school in Yerevan and the purchase of equipment for the Armenian customs service.

New Armenian Mining Giant Inaugurated


Overcoming fierce resistance from environmentalists, a private mining company has officially launched production operations at Armenia’s second largest copper deposit that will significantly increase output in the main export-oriented sector of the Armenian economy. 

Vallex Group inaugurated at the weekend an ore-processing plant which it has built at the Teghut forest in the northern Lori province as part of a $380 million project to mine copper and molybdenum there.

President Serzh Sarkisian underlined the Armenian government’s strong support for the controversial project with his presence at the opening ceremony. It took place just three weeks after the government gave the final green light to a British company planning to develop untapped gold reserves of Armenia.


Offshore Labyrinth: Former Armenian PM and Church Primate Have Yet to be Questioned

December 22, 2014 Armenia, Business No Comments
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12:25, December 22, 2014

Here’s a photo taken awhile back of Ararat Diocesan Primate Navasard (Samvel) Kjoyan proudly standing next to his famous Bentley.

Archbishop Kjoyan always claimed that the car was a gift, but never revealed from whom. The primate says he’s now sold the car.

We know that the Bentley was a gift from businessman Ashot Sukiasyan who, in turn, purchased it with loans received from Ameria Bank for which another businessman, Paylak Hayrapetyan put up his assets as collateral.

The case looking into the offshore labyrinth involving the primate and the former prime minister of Armenian exposed by Hetq isn’t getting anywhere.

Ashot Sukiasyan, the third player in the multi-million dollar drama, remains under arrest.

United States Issuing 10 Year Tourist & Business Visas to Qualified Armenians Starting Today

December 22, 2014 Armenia, Business No Comments
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14:48, December 22, 2014

The U.S. Embassy in Yerevan, Armenia is pleased to announce that the United States will begin issuing 10-year tourist and business visas to qualified Armenians starting today.

The Embassy previously announced that the United States would begin issuing visas in accordance with a new reciprocal arrangement beginning January 1, 2015.

Instead, effective today, Dec. 22, 2014, the United States will begin issuing visas in accordance with the new reciprocal arrangement.  Armenian applicants who qualify for a B-category nonimmigrant visa may be issued multiple entry visas for up to 10 years for business and tourist travel. 

Qualified Armenian students and exchange visitors and their dependents who qualify for F, M, or J-category visas are now eligible for multiple-entry visas valid for up to five years.  Visa application fees remain unchanged.

Montenegro: US Indicts 3 For Selling Guns To Colombian Rebels

December 20, 2014 Africa, Armenia, Business No Comments
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18:32, December 20, 2014

Two Romanians and a former Italian member of Parliament living in Greece have been arrested on charges that they conspired to sell machine guns and anti-aircraft weapons to Colombian rebels for use against American law enforcement agents battling the drug trade.

Massimo Romagnoli, 43, a Sicilian politician who served in the lower house of Parliament for the political party Forza Italia, was arrested in the Montenegrin capital of Podgorica on Dec. 16. The previous day, Romanians Cristian Vintila, 44, and Virgil Flaviu Georgescu, 42, were arrested in Podgorica in the same case, according to Preet Bhahara, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

PM Vows Action Against ‘Baseless’ Price Hikes

December 18, 2014 Armenia, Business, Top News No Comments

Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian on Thursday ordered Armenia’s anti-monopoly regulators to crack down on businesses that he said have disproportionately raised the prices of key goods to cash in on sharp exchange rate fluctuations.

“In particular, yesterday there were sizable increases in the prices of sugar, flour and a number of other basic consumer products [imported to Armenia,]” Abrahamian said at a cabinet meeting which was attended by Artak Shaboyan, the head of the State Commission on the Protection of Economic Competition (SCPEC).

“I am calling on you to treat these abuses with utmost strictness. The government will not tolerate baseless price hikes,” he told Shaboyan. He said the PSRC should submit its findings to the government on a daily basis.

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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.