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EIB Lends 10 Million Euros to Construct High Voltage Connection Between Armenia and Georgia

March 16, 2015 Armenia, Asia, Europe, Georgia No Comments
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17:34, March 16, 2015

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending EUR 10 million to finance the construction of an electricity transmission line and a high voltage direct current station to develop a link between Armenia and Georgia. The new electricity infrastructure will deepen regional integration by facilitating energy trade between the two countries and provide Armenia and Georgia with better access to European electricity markets. 

The project consists of the construction of a new back-to-back station in Ayrum (Armenia) close to the Georgian border and a power transmission line linking the two countries. It is designed to providesecure and economically efficient coverage of the growing electricity demand. 

German Party Leader Urges Turkey To Normalize Ties With Armenia


An ethnic Turk leading a major German political party urged Turkey to unconditionally establish diplomatic relations and open its border with Armenia as he ended a visit to Yerevan on Monday.

Cem Ozdemir, the co-chairman of the Alliance ‘90/The Greens party, also predicted that Ankara will eventually recognize the 1915 Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire.

“I think Turkey will do that sooner or later,” Ozdemir told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) in an interview. “It’s a matter of time. I don’t know when it will happen. But I’m sure one day it will happen.”

“I don’t see a reason why Turkish leaders could not show that courage,” he said. “It’s not about the past. It’s about the future. Addressing the past opens the path towards the future.”

Lithuania Still ‘Very Supportive’ Of Closer EU-Armenia Ties


Lithuania supports the idea of a new accord that would deepen Armenia’s relations the European Union after the South Caucasus state’s recent accession to a Russian-led alliance, according to a senior Lithuanian official.

Deputy Foreign Minister Rolandas Krisciunas said his country is ready, in principle, to back an Armenian proposal to incorporate some political and economic provisions of an abandoned Association Agreement between the EU and Armenia into such a deal.

“Lithuania will be very supportive of any positive steps towards a deeper and broader [EU-Armenia] relationship, and of course we are looking at that,” Krisciunas told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) in Lithuania’s capital Vilnius. “We know that there was an incentive to have certain elements which were in the Association Agreement in a possible new type of agreement with Armenia. So we are open to these ideas and are discussing them.”

Armenian President OKs Constitutional Reform Concept

March 13, 2015 Armenia, Europe, Top News No Comments

President Serzh Sarkisian has given his general political endorsement to a constitutional reform that seeks to turn Armenia into a parliamentary republic despite having certain concerns about “the country’s

Most Parliamentary Parties Agree To Discuss Constitutional Reform

March 13, 2015 Armenia, Europe, Top News No Comments
Armenian News

Most political parties in Armenia opposed to the current government have agreed to participate in discussions of a controversial constitutional reform that will turn the country into a parliamentary republic.

This became clear after a series of meetings that President Serzh Sarkisian held with top members of the parties on Thursday.

Of the major Armenian parties only representatives of the Armenian National Congress (HAK) effectively refused to engage in any dialogue on changing the Constitution, as this opposition party led by former president Levon Ter-Petrosian appears to be strongly in favor of a presidential form of government.

Under the draft concept of constitutional amendments unveiled by a committee of experts last year Armenia will become a parliamentary republic with a powerful prime minister and a largely ceremonial president.

EU Member States Urged To Recognize Armenian Genocide


The European Parliament on Thursday approved its Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World, in which it urged all European Union member countries to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

“Ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, [the European Parliament calls] on all the Member States legally to acknowledge it, and encourages the Member States and the EU institutions to contribute further to its recognition,” paragraph 77 of the report states.

Last week, the Political Assembly of the European People’s Party (EPP), the largest political group in the European Parliament, adopted a resolution condemning the Armenian Genocide and calling on Turkey to recognize it.

Sarkisian Confers With Political Leaders On Constitutional Reform

March 12, 2015 Armenia, Europe, Top News No Comments

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian on Thursday held a series of meetings with representatives of the country’s political parties to discuss plans for a controversial constitutional reform initiated by his administration.

Under the draft concept of constitutional amendments unveiled by a committee of experts last year Armenia will become a parliamentary republic with a powerful prime minister and a largely ceremonial president. Most opposition parties in Armenia fear lest Sarkisian, whose second and final presidential term ends in 2018, should use this circumstance to remain in a senior government position after leaving his current post. Sarkisian has pledged not to seek such a post if the reform is carried out, but as leader of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) he is certain to remain influential in Armenian politics even without a formal government position.

Russians Moving to Latvia: Dream or Nightmare?

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17:29, March 12, 2015


Vitaly Mansky, a Russian documentary director,  knows exactly when he decided to establish a sanctuary outside of the Russian Federation. It was the spring of 2014, and Mansky was in Spain for a film festival, watching the news in his hotel room.

An anchor at one of the Kremlin-controlled news stations reported that Russia’s parliament had allowed President Vladimir Putin to use the army to protect his compatriots in other countries . In other words, they had legalized the annexation of Crimea and allowed Putin to provide support for pro-Russian combatants in Eastern Ukraine.

Armenia Again Blames Azerbaijan For Karabakh Escalation


Armenia has again accused Azerbaijan of the recent escalation of violence in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, condemning Baku’s “targeting civilian areas, including with the use of heavy weaponry.”

Addressing the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) during its special meeting in Vienna, Austria, on Wednesday, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian drew the attention of the delegates to the “unprecedented high number of casualties” among all parties to the conflict in 2014, the year that marked the 20th anniversary of the signing of the ceasefire agreement that put an end to hostilities in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. 

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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.