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Public Transport Strike Widens In Yerevan

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

Dozens more minibus drivers in Yerevan refused to work Thursday on the second day of a strike action organized by their colleagues in protest against a sharp rise in the price of liquefied gas used by their vehicles.

The price went up by over 20 percent late last week following a sizable depreciation of the national currency, the dram. The fuel sold by liquefied gas stations is imported from Russia at a price set in U.S. dollars. The national distribution network, Gazprom Armenia, has not raised its retail prices so far.

The strike began in Yerevan’s Malatia-Sebastia district on Wednesday and spread to minibus routes operating from at least two other parts of the capital the following day. In the Nor Nork suburb, about 100 empty minibuses were parked along a street as their drivers rallied to demand a price cut.

Armenia’s Human Rights Defender Concerned About Recent Spate of Attacks Against Political Opponents

December 12, 2014 Armenia, Arts No Comments
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11:11, December 12, 2014

Armenia’s Human Rights Defender Karen Andreasyan today raised concerns regarding the recent spate of assaults against citizens viewed as opponents of the government and the setting on fire of their vehicles.

In his statement, Andreasyan said that his office was closely following the case of Souren Sargsyan, an Artsakh War veteran, who was attacked and beaten by masked men on December 10.

The human rights defender said that his office was ready to launch judicial proceedings on the assault immediately after receiving a complaint from Sargsyan.

Andreasyan stressed that it was vital that the public be convinced that those behind such attacks would not go unpunished.

Two Chinese Citizens Arrested in Yerevan for Organizing Sex Trafficking Scheme

December 11, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Georgia No Comments
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16:16, December 11, 2014

Armenia’s Investigative Committee (IC) has launched criminal case regarding four citizens of China who were brought to Armenia under false pretense and made to work in the sex trade.

The IC reports that the four were lured to Yerevan and Georgia with the promise of high salaries working as masseurs in October of this year and held at a hotel in Yerevan where they were forced to engage in sexual acts until December 9.

Two Chinese citizens were detained on December 10 for masterminding the scheme.

The criminal case was launched yesterday based on Article 132, Parts 1 & 2 of the RA Criminal Code:


Artsakh Brandy Headed for Havana After Winning CUBAEXPO 2014 Competition

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12:55, December 10, 2014

Brandy produced in Artsakh and made from local grapes will soon be sold on Cuban store shelves afterwinning a slew of international medals.

Ten and fifteen year-old ‘Madatov’ brandies, produced by the Stepanakert Cognac Factory CJSC, won gold medals at the 18th Wine and Alcohol Beverage Competition recently held in Moscow.

The company’s ‘Berdashen Khdoghni’ one year aged wine won a silver medal.

The ‘Madatov’ brandy also won a “best brand” medal at the CUBAEXPO 2014 held last month in Havana.

To find out more, Hetq spoke with Stepanakert Cognac Factory Director Rouslan Israyelyan.

What beverages do you produce and with whom do you collaborate?


Masked Men Assault Artsakh War Vet in Yerevan

December 10, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Video No Comments
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16:38, December 10, 2014

Armenia’s opposition Pre-Parliament organization reports that four masked men attacked and severely beat Artsakh War veteran Sourik Sargsyan earlier this morning in Yerevan.

In the following video statement released by the organization, Mr. Sargsyan says that only President Serzh Sargsyan is capable of creating criminal gangs that do his bidding.

Mr. Sargsyan also argues that his attackers should have killed him because now he will search them out for reprisal. The war vet says that none of this will be taken lying down.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Russian Parliament OKs Armenian Entry Into Eurasian Union


The lower house of Russia’s government-controlled parliament on Wednesday unanimously ratified a recently signed treaty on Armenia’s accession to the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).

The State Duma voted on the treaty one week after it was overwhelmingly approved by the Armenian parliament. “I want to bring your attention to the fact that in the last several years no legislation has been adopted by Armenia’s parliament with such an overwhelming majority,” Oleg Lebedev, a parliamentary leader of President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia Party, told fellow deputies during a brief debate on the issue.

Representatives of the three other parties represented in the Russian parliament also voiced support for the treaty which Putin and his Armenian, Belarusian and Kazakh counterparts signed in Minsk in October.

German Loan To Boost Armenian-Georgian Energy Ties


The Armenian government secured on Tuesday an 85.2 million-euro ($105.6 million) German loan which it said will be used for synchronizing the national power grids of Armenia and Georgia through a new transmission line.

The state-run German development bank KfW disbursed the loan with an agreement which one of its senior executives signed in Yerevan with Finance Minister Gagik Khachatrian and the head of Armenia’s national electricity transmission network, Aram Ananian.

A statement released by the Armenian Ministry of Finance said the loan will finance the construction of the high-voltage line and a substation on Armenia’s border with Georgia. It said that Yerevan will also receive 20 million euros in grants and loans from the European Union for the same purpose.

Artsakh Farmer: ‘Here you can either serve in the army or work in agriculture’

December 5, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Culture, Karabakh No Comments
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17:55, December 5, 2014

After Sourik Zargaryan, a resident of Berdashen village in Artsakh’s Martouni region was discharged from the army, he decided to try his hand at raising livestock.

He started with five cows and has increased the herd to seventy.  It’s become his livelihood.

“If you live in Karabakh you have two options; either serve in the army or get into agricultural. Otherwise, you’ll go hungry,” says Zargaryan, adding that while he may not be rich he can provide for his family.

Zargaryan is like many others who got into agriculture after the collapse of the Soviet Union when all the collective farms shut down.

Franck Muller CEO Vartan Sirmakes to Finance "Hin Yerevan" Construction Project

December 4, 2014 Armenia, Arts No Comments
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13:45, December 4, 2014

Vartan Sirmakes, chairman and co-owner of luxury watch brand Franck Muller, will be financing the “Hin Yerevan” (Old Yerevan) construction project slated for downtown Yerevan that is estimated to cost between US$120-130 million.

Swiss resident Sirmakes, who was born in Istanbul, also serves as Armenia’s consul general in France (Marseille). Sirmakes is a large shareholder in ArtsakhBank and founded as is the sole shareholder of ArmSwissBank.

Armenia’s Minister of Urban Construction yesterday signed a deal with MultiContinental Distribution, the company that will assume financing for the Hin Yerevan project to begin next year.

MultiContinental Distribution LLC, registered in London, is fully owned by Chrono Star International Participations Groupe Franck Muller S.A. according to a document filed at the Great Britain Corporate Register and located by Hetq.

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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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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.

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