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Hetq Gets Results: New House Purchased for Family of Artsakh War Vet

July 3, 2015 Armenia, Arts No Comments
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13:22, July 3, 2015

Yesterday, the Fuller Housing Center had some great news for Hetq.

After Hetq wrote about the plight of Sergey Stepanyan and his 77 year-old mother Roza, who live in a ramshackle house in the village of Yeraskh, the Center, with the assistance of benefactor Hrant Kenten, has purchased a new house for the family.

Sergey Stepanyan, a 51 year-old Artsakh War vet, has told Hetq that all he wanted was to buy some slate roofing so that his mother wouldn’t sleep exposed to the elements; especially the rain.

Sergey has four children, 3 boys and a daughter. They are all married. The daughter lives in Russia. The rest of the family, including five grandchildren, live in two dilapidated houses.

Deathbed Ramblings of Islamized Armenian Orphan to Granddaughter: ‘We ran from the Kurds and soldiers’

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14:35, July 3, 2015

In a weird twist of fate, it was the onset of Alzheimer’s that got Mrs. Ogyut, well past ninety, to recount fragments of her Armenian childhood; something she never mentioned to her family.

Slipping in and out of consciousness, Mrs. Ogyut repeatedly recounted one particular image from her lost childhood.

“They were in a tunnel and fleeing from the Kurds and soldiers who were firing at them. They were killing the parents,” Evrim Hikmet, the granddaughter of Mrs. Ogyut tells Hetq. “The she cries and the soldiers, hearing her cries, come and take her.”

This is the story that Mrs. Ogyut recounted before she died. She would also wake up and say that she saw her mother’s silhouette on the window.

Mother’s Raises Alarm About Soghomon Kocharyan’s Worsening Medical Conditon

July 1, 2015 Armenia, Arts No Comments
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14:32, July 1, 2015

Zina Kocharyan, mother of Soghomon Kocharyan, who has already served 20 years of a life sentence in Armenia’s prisons, has told Hetq that her son’s medical condition is grave and he should be immediately taken to the “Prisoners’ Hospital” for examination.

Mrs. Kocharyan has told Hetq that she is calling on the Minster of Justice and the Chief Warden of the Nubarashen Penitentiary to transfer her son to the penal hospital.

“At least once in these past twenty years take him and examine him to see what’s going on, to at least save his life,” she told Hetq.

Planned Rise In Yerevan Water Price Abandoned

July 1, 2015 Armenia, Arts, Top News No Comments

A French-run company managing Yerevan’s water distribution network has abandoned attempts to slightly raise the price of its drinking water following a much sharper rise in energy tariffs that sparked angry protests in the Armenian capital.

Earlier this year, the Yerevan Jur operator asked Armenia’s Public Services Regulatory Commission (PSRC) to approve a 1.4 percent rise in the cost of water supplied to households. It cited consumer price inflation and a sizable depreciation late last year of the Armenian dram.

A PSRC spokeswoman, Mariam Stepanian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) on Wednesday that the company withdrew the request two days ago. She said its director, Gor Grigorian, informed the regulators in a letter that the Yerevan Jur has increased the efficiency of its operations by significantly cutting back on the use of electricity in water distribution.

Russian Energy Firm Blames Yerevan For Armenian Subsidiary’s Troubles

July 1, 2015 Armenia, Arts, Top News No Comments

The Russian owner of Armenia’s power distribution network has blamed Armenian state regulators for its massive financial losses, saying that electricity prices in the country should have risen faster over the past decade.

“The long-running losses incurred by the Electric Networks of Armenia (ENA) closed joint-stock company result from the existing system of [energy] tariff regulation and rules for the functioning of the energy market in the Republic of Armenia,” Boris Kovalchuk, the chairman of the Inter RAO group, told the Tass news agency late on Tuesday.

Kovalchuk claimed that the ENA has paid Armenian power plants more for their electricity than it was supposed to without receiving a corresponding “compensation from consumers.” He said the “insufficient increase in tariffs in the past 11 years” was compounded by last year’s longer-than-anticipated stoppage of the Metsamor nuclear plant and decreased output by Armenian hydroelectric facilities.

The City of Socialist Man

July 1, 2015 Armenia, Arts, Culture No Comments
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15:41, July 1, 2015

By Vrej Haroutounian

(Article 3)

“Our cities became socialist from the very moment of the October Revolution, when we expropriated the bourgeoisie and socialized the means of production”

Lazar Kaganovich

Older Yerevan residents have a way of remembering city life in the good old days of the Soviet Union.

$3.175 Million in Precious Metals and Gems in Armenia’s Treasury

June 30, 2015 Armenia, Culture No Comments
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11:19, June 30, 2015

The total value of precious metals and gems, and items produced from them, in Armenia’s treasury as of January 1, 2015 amounts to 1.502 billion AMD (US$3.175 million) according to Armenia’s Ministry of Finance.

Metallic gold   261.6 million drams (14,288 kilograms)
Metallic silver  4.8 million drams (26,895 kilograms)
Platinum           56.1 million drams (3,024 kilograms)
Palladium          13.2 million drams (1,275 kilograms)

The remainder is comprised of precious and semi-precious stones: diamonds, emeralds, cultured pearls, and gold and silver items.

As of January 1, 2014, the total value of these items in the treasury amounted to 1.405 billion AMD and 1.739 billion in 2013.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Gyumri Electricity Rate Hike Protesters Seek Other Options, Even Civil Disobedience

June 29, 2015 Armenia, Music No Comments
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19:00, June 29, 2015

Residents of Gyumri protesting the recent electricity rate hike, while not large in numbers are searching for other ways to express their opposition other than the traditional sit-in.

A public forum was announced for June 27 to discuss their options. Yesterday they gathered at Theater Square, listened to music and danced, and waited to see what developed in Yerevan, the focal point of the movement.

Karen Petrosyan, one Gyumri activist, announced that if force was used to disperse the demonstration in Yerevan they would resort to civil disobedience.

Aliyev Family Owns Some of the Best Hotels in Baku

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10:55, June 29, 2015


Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev has spent billions on capturing the world’s attention to the European Games in his Caspian seaside capital of Baku. He has spared no expense, including slapping plastic facades on tired buildings, building new roads and booking megastar Lady Gaga for the Opening Ceremonies. The best hotels are booked solid.

In its two-week run, the first-ever competition played host to and showcased 6,000 athletes and 3,000 officials and support staff from 50 countries.

While taxpayers ultimately foot the bill for this, two privileged citizens have been massively enriched by the games: the president’s daughters.

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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.