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Ter-Petrosian Allies In ‘Productive’ Talks With Tsarukian


Close associates of opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian held what they called “productive” talks with Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) leader Gagik Tsarukian on Tuesday, saying that it will lead to closer cooperation between their parties.

Tsarukian gave a far more cautious assessment of the meeting, however. He said through a spokeswoman that there are still “visible differences” between the BHK and Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK).

“We consider the meeting very productive because we reached agreement on very important issues,” the HAK’s parliamentary leader, Levon Zurabian, told reporters after the meeting held at the BHK headquarters.

“It is evident to both of us that this meeting laid the groundwork for deepening our cooperation. I don’t exclude that there will be much more meetings in the future,” said Zurabian. He did not rule out the possibility of Ter-Petrosian meeting with Tsarukian soon.

Illegally formed capital must become completely legal – Ruben Hakobyan

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In an interview with Tert.am, Head of the Heritage parliamentary group Ruben Hakobyan commented on Armenian ex-president Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s appeal to Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP) leader Gagik Tsarukyan’s political ambitions.According to him, it was a message to Armenian businessmen.“The present situation shows that one does not need to run $2bn shady businesses to put an end to the monopolies that crushed small and medium businesses. Rather, it is necessary to combine the political and business potential to carry out radical reforms,” he said.“I believe that it was a message to the business community. History shows that after changes of economic formations initial capital is formed by not quite legal means. History also shows that this stage must come to its end at one moment, and economy, with clear political bias, must become completely legal. For example, this process lasted for about 40 years in the USA, 25 years in Europe, ten years in the Baltic States after the USSR’s collapse. Regrettably, we cannot end this stage. We have to improve our economy and politics now. Both the business community and the political elite must be able to ensure legal operation of economy. In this context, I consider this statement a message to the business community. This system affects businessmen as well.” 

Armenia’s Electricity Grid Up for Sale? The Financial Odyssey of ENA

March 10, 2014 Armenia, Business, Europe No Comments
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15:24, March 10, 2014

On March 7, the Yerkir am news site in Armenia wrote that it had received information regarding the possible sale of Electric Networks of Armenia (ENA), the utility company that serves 935,000 customers in Armenia.

Earlier, Yerkir.am had written that ENA would soon be declaring bankruptcy. The news outlet pointed to GazProm, the Russian energy giant, as the potential buyer.

So let’s take a look at how ENA was founded and how it arrived at the financial situation it’s in today.

Electric Networks of Armenia was founded in May of 2002, resulting from a merger of four state regional companies – Yerevan Electric Networks, North Electric Networks, South Electric Networks and Central Electric Networks.

Armenian National Congress leader seeks involve PAP leader in politics not as oligarch – Ashot Manucharyan

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Opposition political figure Ashot Manucharyan cannot explain the reasons for Armenian National Congress (ANC) party leader Levon Ter-Petrosyan drawing parallels between Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP) Chairman Gagik Tsarukyan and former Georgian Premier Bidzina Ivanishvili.Manucharyan objects to any wealthy person’s involvement in the government.Manucharyan believes that Ter-Petrosyan appeals to Tsarukyan as leader of an influential political force.“My stance is that any wealthy person, a businessman has no right to hold a government post. Otherwise, it results in oligarchic rule. In fact, such a system has been formed in Armenia,” Manucharyan said.However, Ter-Petrosyan is speaking in the context of reality: there is a political force that must be involved in political processes.“Tsarukyan is now viewed as leader of an influential political force rather than an oligarch,” Manucharyan said.As to the fact that most political forces see Armenia’s ex-president Robert Kocharyan behind the PAP, Manucharyan said:“I think that Tsarukyan may be the one feeling the most intense hatred for Kocharyan because being so strongly dependent is a heavy burden for a person.” 

Stitching Together a Life: Syrian-Armenian sets example for business success


Women’s blue jeans on mannequins are skillfully worked with sand paper to get the partly worn-out effect of almost white faded-blue. Young Syrian Armenians Aram and Shant work in silence, instead their hands run quickly, and soon mannequins dress into their next pair of jeans.

Harout Papazian

“We import the raw jeans fabric, but the rest is done here, be it designing, sewing, washing, working with sand paper, etc…” explains textile worker Harout Papazian who has moved from Aleppo to Yerevan. Here, in the suburb of Nubarashen, for a year now he has been running a small workshop. Since early this year the workshop has been producing the first made-in-Armenia Max brand jeans.

Romania: Eight Top Football Officials Jailed For Corruption

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12:11, March 7, 2014

The Bucharest Court of Appeal Tuesday handed down jail sentences for eight executives and management officials, who were found guilty of tax evasion, and money laundering involving the transfer of football players between international football clubs.

Gica Popescu, the former captain of Football Club (FC) Barcelona, was sentenced to three years and one month in prison. The sentence came just a day before the election of the next president of the Romanian Football Association, which Popescu was expected to win.

Others sentenced include:

Serbian FM to visit in Armenia

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Serbia’s foreign minister will carry out a trip to Yerevan next week upon the invitation of his Armenian counterpart.
President Serzh Sargsyan is going to receive Ivan Mrkic, reports the Foreign Ministry’s press office.
In the course of the official visit, that will last from March 9 to 11, the Serbian official will meet with President of the National Assembly Hovik Abrahamyan, PM Tigran Sargsyan and Catholicos of All Armenians Garegin II.
He will also attend an Armenian-Serbian business forum in Yerevan.
Talks with Armenian FM Edward Nalbandian are scheduled for Tuesday. The two officials will later hold a joint news conference.
Also on Tuesday, Mr Mrkic will visit the Armenian Genocide Memorial to pay tribute to the victims of the big tragedy. 

Man on a Mission: Preserving the Art of Armenian Hand-Woven Carpets

March 7, 2014 Armenia, Business No Comments
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10:27, March 6, 2014

Arshak Vardanyan is a man on a mission to save the art of rug making in Armenia.

The 42 year-old native from the Shirak village of Basen says his love of carpets dates back to his childhood, filled with memories of homemade carpets.

“It’s in my blood,” says Arshak. “If the Hay Gorg (Armenian Carpet) factory no longer exists that doesn’t mean that the art of rug weaving should also die.”

Basen was a center of carpet making in the Soviet period and 90% of local residents were employed at the Hay Gorg factory. Many of the workers, including Arshak’s relatives, would also accept private orders and weave carpets at home.

IT news: First commercial launch of 4G network in Armenia

March 7, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Business No Comments

A leading mobile phone operator in Armenia has for the first time commercially launched its 4G/LTE network in most parts of Yerevan, as well as Gyumri, Vanadzor, Dilijan and Tsakhadzor.

VivaCell-MTS says that the network has a theoretical capacity of downlink peak data rates of up to 150 Mbps, and uplink data rates of up to 50 Mbps and that its 4G/LTE can provide speeds of up to 60 Mbps in the downlink, and 20 Mbps in the uplink, as showcased via the speed tests using the end-user equipment sold at VivaCell-MTS service centers.

“These speeds are significantly faster than most advanced 3G network speeds currently available in Armenia,” the operator said in a press release.

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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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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…

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Write to me with your ideas and story suggestions.

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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


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


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


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.