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Armenia’s positions in Nagorno-Karabakh peace process remain strong – opinions

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Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan’s remarks on Armenian-Turkish protocols have evoked varied responses among Armenian politicians and political scientists.Tert.am interviewed Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies Ruben Safrastyan, expert in Turkic studies Artak Shakaryan and Vice-Chairman of the Heritage party Armen Martirosyan about their opinions of the president’s remarks having to do with the political situation in Armenia.Ruben Safrastyan does not think the Armenian president’s remarks have to do with domestic political processes.“It may have something in common with foreign political developments in the future, but I do not think it stems from the domestic political situation,” he said.Mr Safrastyan agrees with the president’s remark that Armenia’s positions in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process remain strong.“If we see that our positions in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process remain strong, and Azerbaijan is more and more often resorting to militant rhetoric, heightening border tensions, it means our positions are really strong, and this is the reason for Azerbaijan seeking to torpedo the negotiations as it sees the process is not in its interests,” the expert said.Turkey’s efforts to get the role of mediator are failing. Many nations clearly see that Turkey cannot act as mediator because it is supporting Azerbaijan.Heritage party Vice-Chairman Armen Martirosyan believes that the Armenian president’s statement has to do with domestic political relations, apart from external signals.In some respects he agrees with the president’s statement, while in others he does not.“Indeed, the border tensions are increasing, and the fact is that, Armenia’s relatively balanced foreign policy has ensures an alignment of forces on the foreign policy front so that we are not faced with a problem of lost territories. Well aware of that, Azerbaijan is resorting to blackmail and heightening tensions,” he said.According to Mr Martirosyan, balance is regularly disturbed.“I mean the Turkey-Azerbaijan alliance. They are even speaking of creating joined armed forces. Regrettably, Armenia’s foreign policy, particularly the Armenian-Turkish protocols, legalized Turkey’s actions,” he said.With respect to the points he does not agree with, Mr Martirosyan said that it is common knowledge that Turkey is ready to re-open its border with Armenia if the Armenian side cedes two regions to Azerbaijan.“Therefore, the Armenian-Turkish protocols immediately involve Artsakh [Nagorno-Karabakh]. Some of the points could be applied to Artsakh’s detriment,” he said.According to Mr Martirosyan, the Armenian-Turkish protocols will cause damage to the process of recognition of the Armenian Genocide.“I do not think that our struggle is only for the US Senate to recognize the Armenian Genocide.”According to him, the Armenian authorities are well aware that it is not in Armenia’s interests. So they did not ratify the protocols.Expert in Turkic studies Artak Shakaryan noted that nothing can be said for certain. In any case, he agrees that the protocols were a solution back in 2008-2009.“Official Yerevan made a step back thus placing the responsibility for the failure of the protocols on Ankara,” he said.Mr Shakaryan agrees with the Armenian president’s opinion that Armenia did not let the world think that official Ankara is not responsible for the absence of Armenian-Turkish relations.Despite Turkey pretending to be neutral in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, it will support Azerbaijan when necessary, the expert said. 

Bako Sahakyan hosts Armenian philantropist

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President of the Nagorno-Karabakh (NKR) Republic Bako Sahakyan received on Saturday Michael Haroutyunyan, an Armenian philanthropist and public figure.
According to a press release by the NKR Presidential Office, issues related to the implementation of different projects in the country were discussed at the meeting.
The president praised the philanthropist’s contribution to the development of Artsakh, highlighting its significance from economic, political and moral viewpoints. 

Source: TertOriginial Article

Yerevan Silent After Russian ‘Threat’

April 18, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Europe, Top News No Comments


Armenia – Russian Ambassador to Armenia Ivan Volynkin.

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The Armenian government has pointedly refused to add its voice to domestic concerns about Russia’s recent pledge to counter any “aggressive” foreign interference in Armenia’s internal affairs.

No Iranian Sheep in Syunik: Focus is on Developing Domestic Stocks

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14:50, April 18, 2014

In the fall of 2012, reports began appearing in the Armenian news media about a plan to lease pasture land in the country’s southern Syunik Province to Iran for sheep grazing.

Under the plan, as reported by the IRNA (Islamic Republic News Agency) some 50,000 head of sheep from Iran would be brought to Syunik. In exchange, Iran promised to provide technical equipment and establish a meat processing plant in Armenia.

Many in Armenia, especially environmentalists, were aghast when the read the news. Opponents, noting that the Iranian shepherds would be coming from the country’s East Azerbaijan Province, labeled the plan an environmental as well as national security threat to Armenia.

Russia-West conflict fight between evil and good – debate

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A round-table debate devoted to the Ukrainian crisis was held in Yerevan on Friday to address the geopolitical and ideological tools’ impact on the situation in the country.
The public and political figures and experts attending the event focused particularly on the Russian positions which they said are indirectly linked to Armenia’s interests. They characterized the Russia-West conflict as a fight between the good and evil, considering Russia’s victory (in the referendum to make Crimea part of its country) an inevitable success in the turmoil.
Arman Boshyan, the Yerevan Geopolitical Club’s president who organized the debate, said he feels Russia is facing a war pole, the processes against the country being similar to those in Syria.
The club’s vice president, Ruben Barents, described the developments as the international mafia’s attempt to celebrate an eventual victory against Russia.
Addressing the situation in Ukraine, Vagharshak Harutyunyan, a former minister of defense, said the expects the outcome of the Crimea-Ukraine crisis to be decisive for Armenia. He stressed the importance of remembering the Turkish factor’s role in the Ukraine crisis, noting that the country’s Tatar population will be most likely involved in future fights for returning Crimea to Ukraine. Harutyunyan said he already knows who will eventually win Ukraine’s former autonomous region. “Turkey’s role is the strongest there,” he said, adding that the Turkish navy is more powerful than the Russian.
The former minister noted that Ukraine never backed Armenia’s position in international tribunals, always voting in favor of Azerbaijan in debates on resolutions on Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh).
Speaking further, the Democratic Party’s leader, Aram Sargsyan, said he doesn’t agree that the tension in Ukraine is a neo-Nazi movement. “Ukraine is an unaccomplished state at the movement, so Armenia has to guide itself by its political and geopolitical interests,” the politician noted.
Vardan Khachatryan, a theologist also attending the meeting, said he thinks Armenia’s future largely depends on Russia’s potentials of job-creation in the country. “It is important to produce human resources who will not be forced to leave the country to be exploited in the West,” he noted. 

Is Putin’s Next Move to Take Over Odessa? – The Daily Beast

April 18, 2014 Arts, Diaspora No Comments
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By Josh Rogi n & Eli Lake
There are increasing signs that the unrest in eastern Ukraine is spreading, and Odessa, the country’s third-largest city, could be the next to fall.
Crimea is in Moscow’s hands. Deadly fighting has broken out in parts of Eastern Ukraine. And now there are signs that Russian President Vladimir Putin may have picked his next targets: First a small breakaway state in Moldova, west of Ukraine, where thousands of Moscow’s troops are already stationed; then its close neighbor Odessa, Ukraine’s third-largest city and its largest remaining port, where pro-Russian and pro-government groups are tangling. If forces loyal to Putin can successfully disrupt Odessa, it could effectively cut the county of Ukraine in two.A firefight between pro-Russian forces and Ukrainian troops left three dead and 13 wounded in the Black Sea port of Mariupol late on Wednesday. Officials and experts inside Ukraine are also becoming more and more concerned that weeks of unrest, likely spurred on by the Russian government, are increasing in frequency and scale in Transnistria, the autonomous region on the Ukraine-Moldova border where as many as 2,500 Russian peacekeepers are stationed. Protests and counter-protests have also spread to Odessa—a city of over 1 million that’s less than 50 miles from Transnistria. And that’s stoking fears of a new front opening in the raging battle between the Ukrainian government in Kiev and pro-Russian forces operating all over eastern and now southern Ukraine. If Transnistria moves into Putin’s camp, Odessa could well follow.Rep Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told The Daily Beast he has seen “a level of activity by the Russians” in Moldovan Transnistria that he said was similar to Russian military and paramilitary movements before Russia’s annexation of Crimea. He said the Russian troop movements “fit the profile for the pre-deployment of additional special forces and intelligence units that engage in provocation and sabotage.””The Moldovans are always nervous,” he said. “But they are even more nervous these days.”Transnistria has long been an area of concern for Western intelligence agencies. The largely autonomous region is the location of one of the largest conventional weapons stockpiles in the world. For more than a decade, U.S. diplomats have observed signs that Putin has encouraged Transnistria to embrace more independence from Moldova. Read more here.

Armenia’s Customs Union Accord In Doubt

April 18, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Asia, Top News No Comments

Russia — Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (C) meets with his Belarusian and Kazakh counterparts Mikhail Myasnikovich (L) and Karim Masimov in Moscow, April 15, 2013

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Choking Embrace: ‘Mother’ Russia says won’t tolerate ‘outside interference’ in friendly countries

April 18, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Asia, Georgia, Sports No Comments
Armenian News

Russia will prevent any aggressive intervention in the internal affairs of friendly countries made “under the pretext of planting ideas alien to our minds and hearts”. This was stated by Russian Ambassador to Armenia Ivan Volynkin during the Seventh Forum of Russian compatriots in Armenia on April 12.

Armenia has still not officially protested against this statement by the Russian diplomat. But in the media there have been some articles describing it as “diplomatic nonsense” and a bid for total control of “hearts and minds” in Armenia.

The relations between Armenia and Russia increasingly appear to be contradictory: on the official level the two sides state about their fraternal friendship, loyalty for all times to come, about Armenia’s intentions to integrate into the pro-Russian Eurasian space. And on the “second level” the entire spectrum of conflict of interests and intentions of Armenia and Russia is manifested.

Twenty Years of Suffering: “Ceasefire” Not a Guarantee Against Grief


“My husband was a fidayi (‘freedom fighter’), our three children and I would wait days and nights for him to return: My son would ask if dad would ever come back, and dad did come back, but he didn’t…, remembers Varditer Mirzoyan, the mother of 19-year old Eduard Mirzoyan shot by an Azerbaijani sniper on June 12, 2007. “My husband came back with shining eyes, hugged us and said that war was over, but it wasn’t… we hadn’t known yet that the most cruel war was still going to continue keeping our eyes wet and craving for peace.”

Sirush Mirzoyan, Alvina Petrosyan, the widow and daughter of Levon Petrosyan, who was killed on June 18, 2008

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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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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.