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German Investor Tells Tsarukyan to “Come Clean”; Says He’ll Take Him to European Court

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21:10, March 20, 2014

The following was sent by Stefan Laxhuber, CEO of the German company “Eastinvestor”. Laxhuber has accused Gagik Tsarukyan, a prominent Armenian businessman and leader of the Propsoerous Armenia Party of swindling his company out of shares it owned in the “Yerevan Ararat Brandy-Wine-Vodka Factory owned by Tsarukyan. 

Laxhauber had sent the following as a comment to the Hetq March 12 article “Why Armenia’s Gagik Tsarukyan Will Never Be Georgia’s Bidzina Ivanishvili”. Hetq has decided to print it separately as well. 

Dear Mr. Tsarukyan,

You have given quite an interesting speech on February 15, 2014 during the 7th general meeting of the “Prosperous Armenia” party.

 In particular, I would like to quote the following three points from your speech:

For Better Economy: New club aims to strengthen economic community

March 20, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Business No Comments
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In a newly-opened Economy and Business club in Yerevan issues of highest strategic and practical importance in the social-economic sphere will be discussed, opinion platforms will be formed with the participation of political party representatives possessing a respective expertise and analytical skills and think tank center experts.

“At the same time peace has to be ensured among various party members and a liberal platform for professional opinions must be formed. The main goal is to submit to the government and the parliaments of Armenia summarized opinions and suggestions related to businesses and economy, in particular, to spur economy-business ties as well as provide information on the effectiveness of the implemented reforms and/or the demand for new ones,” says Gagik Makaryan heading the Republican Union of Employers of Armenia (RUEA) during the presentation of the new club.

Armenian Government Will No Longer Provide Permits for Fish Farming in Ararat Valley

March 18, 2014 Armenia, Business No Comments
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13:12, March 18, 2014

Permits will no longer be provided for fish farming in the Ararat Valley, said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Territorial Administration of the Republic of Armenia Armen Gevorgyan at a conference today.

Gevorgyan said only the government deals with the issue of underground water aquifers in Ararat Valley and has a strict attitude on this issue. “During this time, I haven’t seen non-governmental organizations, representatives, or other agencies take initiative, come stand beside us and try to help,” he said, adding that apart from criticisms and good wishes, he hasn’t heard any other offers.

Dream v Reality: “. . . You wish you were still part of the culture club . . .”

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Overcoming numerous challenges and guided by the ideology nurtured in him since childhood that this is you motherland, this is your land, Syrian Armenian Byuzand Getenjian remains in Armenia despite challenging circumstances.

“In Aleppo in culture clubs they used to teach about motherland, fidayeens [freedom fighters who formed guerrilla organizations and armed bands in reaction to the oppression and mass murder of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire], Mount Ararat… Then you come here, and the light in you somehow fades making you wish you were still part of the cultural club; the difference between here and there is 180 degrees,” says Byuzand, 35. “But, no matter what, the Armenian in your heart is always there, this is your country, you have to encourage others to come and live here, at the same time it feels as if your deceiving people. You say come, the person comes, the first 15 days are great, but when s/he wants to stay, s/he has to start working. They’ll say, ‘ok let’s run a business, how much money do you need?’ You keep silent not sure how to respond, because running a profitable business here is not an option.”

Fallen Copper Prices in International Market Cause for Alarm for Armenia

March 14, 2014 Armenia, Business No Comments
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13:42, March 14, 2014

The significant drop in the price of copper in the international market will have negative consequences for Armenia.

In recent weeks, the price of copper has been $6,500 per ton, approaching the lowest level of the last 3 years (which was $6,037 in 2010). Last year, the price of a ton of copper was higher than $7,000, but even this figure wasn’t considered advantageous — in 2012, copper cost more than $8,000 a ton.

The mining and processing of copper ensures about 5% of Armenia’s Gross Domestic Product, about 7–8% of state budget revenues, and about 40% of exports. It seems that the mining crisis won’t have a significant impact on the economy, but that’s not so. The 2009 crisis showed that major mining companies are essential for the system — several hundred small- and medium-sized businesses depend on their work.

Ukraine: Investigations Mushroom In Kurchenko’s Wake

March 14, 2014 Armenia, Business, Sports No Comments
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19:52, March 14, 2014

By Anna Babinets (Slidstvo.info)

The young Ukrainian ex-billionaire Serhiy Kurchenko, now widely suspected of being a front man for overthrown President Viktor Yanukovych’s family, clearly liked doing business in offshore tax havens.

Kurchenko’s companies registered offshore are now accused of trading in oil products using a tax evasion scheme that cost Ukraine’s government an estimated US$1 billion in lost revenues.

But he wasn’t just a big-picture, big-money guy, he also understood the importance of generosity and looking good. The offshore companies were also used to buy four US$20,000 Italian suits for a friend, according to documents obtained by journalists from the Slidstvo.info and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).

Ukraine: Billionaire Arrested, Jailed In Vienna On FBI Warrant

March 14, 2014 Armenia, Business No Comments
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15:07, March 14, 2014

One of the richest men in Ukraine was arrested Wednesday in Vienna on a US arrest warrant issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation,the Kyiv Post reportedThursday.

Although billionaire Dmytro Firtash, 48, had bodyguards with him, he was arrested without incident in a Viennese street near his business offices,the Austrian News Agency reported.

This is “an absolutely seismic development on so many different levels,” Timothy Ash, Standard Bank chief economist in London, wrote in anote to Bloomberg News. “It sends a strong message to Russia that the West is willing to go down the financial sanctions route—unless it backtracks over Crimea and over broader policy towards Ukraine.”

Armenian company fined over antitrust breaches

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Armenia’s antitrust commission has fined Vesta company for a breach of fair competition rule.
The commission’s chairman, Artak Shaboyan, said at their session on Friday that the company claimed to be an official representative of the brands it advertises in Armenia.
“The announcements that [a company] is the official representative of different well-known brands are not always true. Especially in the sale of home electronics, companies often say in their advertisements that they are the official representative of a well-known brand in Armenia,” Shaboyan said, noting that advertising a foreign brand does not give a company the right to declare itself its official representative in the respective country.
Vesta, which imports household electronics of such leading firms as Samsung, Philips, Sharp, Panasonic, Masterbook, Zelmer, Ardo, Fujitsu, Fisher, Fagor etc. claims it is the official representative of those brands in Armenia.
The commission had earlier required a corresponding documentation certificates by only a few firms were submitted.
A further study revealed that a certificate can only authorize a certain format of business relations with partners, without making the company an official representative.

Khodorkovsky’s Legacy: The Battle for Yukos Oil Millions in Armenian Courts

March 13, 2014 Armenia, Business No Comments
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17:11, March 12, 2014

The prominent Russian businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s petroleum companyYukos Oil no longer exists.

But Yukos’ sister companies are still battling it out to “save” the monies of Khodorkovsky and his partners.

Khodorkovsky spent ten years in jail and was freed at the end of last year. He subsequently left Russia and is now trying to be granted residency status in Switzerland, where his family now lives.

Recently the Russian newspaper Vedomosti wrote that Khodorkovsky and his partners have insured millions of dollars with the sister companies and through them, have removed “petro dollars” from Russia. Of those companies, Yukos CIS Investment LLC (registered in Armenia) played a major role. It turns out that Yukos CIS Investment has founded other companies.

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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.

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Commentary

Want to Write for Hetq?

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10:24, March 14, 2014

I’m looking for freelancers who can broaden the scope of Hetq’s English edition

Arts & Culture, Commentary, Politics, Civil Society, Interviews…

Anything interesting happening in your local community you’d like to share?

Write to me with your ideas and story suggestions.

Hrant at hg.hetq@gmail.com

Source: HetqOriginial Article

For Better or For Worse: Nature Protection Ministry Proposes Amendments to Water Use Laws

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16:44, February 14, 2014

With the goal of providing a systematic solution to issues of effective use of water resources in Ararat valley, the Ministry of Nature Protection of the Republic of Armenia (RA) is proposing amendments and additions to the RA Water Code, and the RA laws on the Republic of Armenia’s National Water Program, on Licensing, and on State Tax.

The proposed legislative package has been sent to the relevant state agencies for their input.

Head of the Ministry of Nature Protection’s Water Resources Management Agency Volodya Narimanyan told Hetq, said that with this amendment package his ministry is attempting to clarify the ideas and the ambiguous commentary, as well as introduce new requirements. For example, one of the main points of the proposed amendments is if water use permit conditions are not met, the water use permit might be annulled.

2013 in Civil Society: Protests and more protests

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The struggle of civil movements this year has been comprehensive and diverse with limited success in certain fields due to unified efforts and active involvement of the civil society.

Despite the rather passive start of the year in terms of civil movements, the second half of 2013 turned out to be tense with active developments.

Some analysts believe that especially after the February 18 presidential ballot, when current president Serzh Sargsyan won a decisive victory over his opponents and was re-elected for a second term, despite the widespread poverty and atmosphere of injustice in the country, people became even more aware of the fact that is it impossible to achieve changes via elections and started practicing their constitutional rights to civil protest and disobedience more frequently.

Armenian Foreign Policies 2013: Customs Union, U-turn on EU accord, Karabakh, Turkey, regional developments

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2013 became a milestone year for Armenia not only in its foreign, but also domestic politics. After nearly four years of negotiations with the European Union over the signing of an association agreement on September 3 Armenia unexpectedly announced its intention to join the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

This decision has had its influence not only on Armenia proper, but also on the processes elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Inspired by Armenia’s decision, Russia stepped up its pressure on Ukraine, which suspended the process of signing of the Association Agreement with the EU one week before the Vilnius summit of Eastern Partnership. As a result, on November 29 such agreements were initialed only by Moldova and Georgia.

Heritage reshuffle: Postanjyan becomes new leader of parliamentary faction

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Zaruhi Postanjyan has been elected new head of the opposition Heritage faction in parliament. The change comes after Ruben Hakobyan announced his decision to resign as faction leader earlier today.

Talking to media in parliament Hakobyan said Heritage Party leader Raffi Hovannisian had been notified about his move well in advance. He left questions about reasons for his step without commentary, only saying that he had decided to step down as faction leader before the recent scandal around Postanjyan in the wake of her controversial question to President Serzh Sargsyan about his gambling habit at the PACE plenary session in Strasbourg on October 2.