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Ruble Collapse Hurts Brandy, Wine Production In Armenia

March 5, 2015 Armenia, Arts, Top News No Comments

After years of growth, production of Armenian brandy and wine, major export items mostly sold in Russia, has decreased considerably in recent months due to the sharp depreciation of the Russian currency, the ruble.

Data from the National Statistical Service (NSS) show that show the production volumes shrinking by just over 8 percent last year. The downward trend seems to be accelerating this year, with output in Armenia’s export-oriented brandy industry plummeting by as much as 32 percent year on year in January 2015.

Industry executives say the Russian ruble, which has depreciated by almost half over the past year, is the main factor behind the production losses. Russia has long been the main market for brandy and wine distilled in Armenia from locally grown grapes.

The Emeksiz Sisters of Istanbul: “The Armenians call us Turks, and the Turks call us Armenians”

March 5, 2015 Armenia, Film No Comments
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19:13, March 4, 2015

The Emeksiz sisters of Istanbul are on a mission to tell people in Armenia about the fate of their Armenian grandfather Khachik and others who shared the same fate due to the 1915 Genocide.

The two sisters, both Emeksiz, are named after their Armenian grandfather Khachik Emeksizian.

Born in the Uzunmahmud village in the Ottoman Kaza of Ordu on the Black Sea, Khachik Emeksizian was seven years old in 1915.  The boy survived the Genocide because he was taken to a nearby village and given to a Turkish family who raised him as a Muslim. The law at the time was that children seven and younger would not be sent on the road to exile but would be distributed to local Turkish families.

Political Farewell: Tsarukyan Steps Down as Prosperous Armenia Party President

March 5, 2015 Armenia, Culture, Sports No Comments
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16:06, March 5, 2015

At a special summit of the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) held today in Yerevan, Gagik Tsarukyan said he pulling out of politics and now longer has anything to do with the party.

Tsarukyan founded the BHK, the second largest in Armenia’s parliament, in 2004 and served as president ever since.

In his speech at the part conclave, Tsarukyan said he never traded the faith of the people for personal gain or position.

“All these years I have followed one simple and human aim, to see smiles and not tears on the faces of my people,” Tsarukyan said, adding that while he would be stepping down as BHK president and quitting active politics he would continue to assist Armenia and its people.

Azerbaijani Fire Kills Armenian Soldier Killed on Artsakh Frontline

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11:02, March 3, 2015

The Artsakh Defense Army (ADA) reports that Azerbaijani gunfire killed one of its frontline soldiers last night.

The dead soldier has been identified as Arsen Karapetyan.

The ADA says that Azerbaijan violated the ceasefire a total of 200 times last night and that 3,000 rounds of various arms were fired. 

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Victims’ Family Appeal: Vardan Petrosyan Should Get Minimum of Six Years

March 3, 2015 Armenia, Culture No Comments
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11:38, March 3, 2015

While Vardan Petrosyan, the performance artist sentenced on January 29 to five years for his complicity in a deadly October 2013 car accident that killed two teenagers will not be appealing the verdict, the family of the victims will.

Yesterday was the deadline for filing an appeal of the January 29 verdict.

Rouben Baloyan, attorney for the Hakobyan family, told Hetq that in their appeal they would be seeking 8 million AMD in compensation for medical treatment regarding one of the injured, Tatevik Hakobyan.

The lower court only sustained the 1.2 million AMD compensation claim made by the ministry of agriculture. The court never even reviewed the monetary claim made by the victims’ family.

Armenia Warns Azerbaijan Over Fresh Karabakh Escalation


Armenia warned Azerbaijan of “severe consequences” on Monday after two Armenian soldiers were killed in Nagorno-Karabakh in what appears to be a renewed upsurge in fighting in the conflict zone.

Karabakh’s Armenian-backed army said that the servicemen, Artak Aghekian and Hayk Baroyan, were shot dead on Saturday in an Azerbaijani armed incursion in northeastern Karabakh. It reported no other details of the incident.

According to the Yerkir.am, a car carrying Aghekian, Baroyan and three other soldiers was ambushed by Azerbaijani special forces on “the line of contact” around the disputed territory. The news website said Aghekian had the military rank of lieutenant-colonel.

Artsakh Soldier Dies After Being Shot: Ministry Investigating Circumstances

February 28, 2015 Armenia, Arts No Comments
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10:08, February 28, 2015

The Artsakh Ministry of Defense reports that a soldier died yesterday at a defensive military outpost from a fatal gunshot wound.

The ministry does not specify how the soldier, identified as Albert Safaryan, was shot. An investigation is underway.

On February 14, the Artsakh Defense Army reported that Junior Sergeant Arman Osipyan died from gunshot wounds. Hours later, the military investigative branch of Armenia’s Investigative Committee reported that Osipyan died as a result of violating sentry duty protocol.

Osipyan’s negligent death followed that of soldier Tigran Simonyan on February 10. Two days later, a senior lieutenant serving at the same military base as Simonyan was arrested for violating sentry duty protocol.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Baghdad-Yerevan-Erbil: A Commercial or Political Route?

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19:52, February 26, 2015

Today marked the inaugural flight linking Yerevan with Erbil, capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Armenia’s General Civil Aviation Department reports that the Iraqi Airways flight, linking Baghdad and Yerevan with a quick stopover in Erbil, will operate every Thursday and Sunday commencing March 5.

As announced, Flight IAW 481 will depart from Baghdad and will land at Yerevan’s Zvartnots International Airport at 1pm. At 2pm, Flight IAW 484 will leave Yerevan for Erbil. At 5pm, Flight IAW 483 will return to Yerevan and will leave for Baghdad at 6pm.

The new route, to be operated by Iraqi Airways, the country’s national carrier established in 1945, will be serviced by planes in the Canadian made Bombadier CRJ900 and American Boeing 737 class. Iraqi Airways now has five CRJ900 and twelve Boeing 737 planes in its fleet.

Sex Ed a Taboo in Armenia: If Taught at All, It’s by Phys Ed Teachers, Some 80 Years Old

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15:45, February 27, 2015

By Karine Aghajanyan 

Sex Ed is the process of educating people about sex, but in Armenia it is not as simple as that.

There is a lack of sex education structure. Both society and government do not think it is an essential part of civilized society. Thus, I wanted to understand where the shame and silence surrounding it comes from.

Traditionally, adolescents in many cultures were not given any information on sexual matters since discussions of these issues have been considered taboo. Given that Armenian culture and society are very conservative, this is a huge taboo surrounded by fear and misconceptions.

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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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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.