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Armenia’s Potato Trade: Import from Holland, Export to Georgia

January 29, 2015 Armenia, Georgia No Comments
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00:10, January 29, 2015

Over the last two years, Armenia’s potato exports have risen considerably.

According to figures provided by the National Statistical Service, 2013 saw the largest amount of potato exports since 2007.

That year the country exported 23,500 tons of spuds at a value of US$6.6 million.

Figures for 2014 haven’t changes all that much. From January to November 21,000 tons were exported ($4.6 million)

How many potatoes has Armenia exported? (tons)

Prior to 2010, Armenia exported potatoes only to Georgia and Russia. Afterwards, the export market expanded to Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. In 2013, Iraq was the largest importer of Armenian potatoes at 5,000 tons. Nevertheless, Georgia remains the main market for Armenian potatoes.

Police Seize $2.5 Million In Cocaine at Armenia-Georgia Border

January 27, 2015 Armenia, Georgia No Comments
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17:14, January 27, 2015

Three citizens of Bulgaria have been detained after Georgia’s regional police department made a significant drug bust, reports Georgian www.agenda.ge.

Police officers of the Samtskhe-Javakheti region seized more than 8kg of drugs, containing 6.295 kilos of cocaine with an estimated value of US$ 2.5 million, at the Ninotsminda/Bavra border crossing.

As a result of their investigation, three citizens of Bulgaria were arrested as they attempted to transport illegal drugs through Georgia from Armenia.

Those detained tried to cross the Armenia-Georgia border with 10 packages of cocaine attached to their bodies with adhesive tape.

The investigation is ongoing under Article 2629 (illegal drug trafficking) under the Criminal Code of Georgia.

Challenges for Art in Armenia: View from Three Contemporary Artists and an Art Curator

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11:16, January 27, 2015

By Karine Aghajanyan 

“Art can have both aesthetical meaning as well as the potential for social impact”, according to Misha Badasyan, Manan Torosyan and Petra Hultman; the three artists I talked to regarding the contemporary art scene in Armenia.

I recently sat down with them to discuss their thoughts on the challenges they face regarding art in the Armenian context as well as the impact they believe art can have on Armenian society.

They all noted the lack of gallery space, divisions among different artists, as well as a shortage of finances and attention from the government as complex challenges for art in Armenia. This lack of space and resources to grow and become more visible as an artist contributes to a situation where artists often feel stuck, both creatively as well as physically.

Georgian Driver Sentenced to 17 Years for Involvement in Armenia’s Largest Drug Bust Goes on Hunger Strike

January 26, 2015 Armenia, Georgia No Comments
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13:00, January 26, 2015

Avtandil Martiashvili, a Georgian citizen sentenced to 17 years on smuggling charges in Armenia’s largest drug bust, has been on hunger strike since according to his lawyer.

Martiashvili was found guilty on January 20, 2015 for driving a truck that was found to contain 850 kilos of heroin when inspected seized at the Meghri customs house on January 17, 2014.

The Georgian has always maintained his innocence.

His defense attorney, Teymouraz Maytiashvili, also told Hetq that when he visited his client in prison, he was told that there are 18 inmates in his cell and only 12 cots. The inmates sleep in turns, the attorney was told by Martiashvili.

Turk Sentenced In Armenia’s Biggest Drug Trafficking Case


In the largest drug trafficking case in Armenia’s history, a Turkish man arrested in Yerevan a year ago has been convicted of smuggling 850 kilograms of heroin into the country and sentenced to 19 years in prison.

A court in the southeastern Armenian town of Goris also gave this week a 17-year prison sentence to the Georgian driver of a heavy truck in which Armenian customs officers deployed on the Iranian border found the Class A drug.

Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) announced the separate arrests of the driver, Avtandil Martiashvili, and Turkish citizen Osman Ugurlu in January 2014. The NSS described Ugurlu, 41, as “one of the organizers” of the unprecedented drug trafficking operation. It said the drug was hidden in the truck’s “specially-fitted cache” installed in Turkey.

Court Issues Lengthy Sentences to Two Charged in Armenia’s Largest Drug Bust

January 21, 2015 Armenia, Georgia No Comments
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22:55, January 20, 2015

Armenia’s Syunik Provincial Court today sentenced two men accused in Armenia’s biggest drug bust to lengthy prison terms.  

Avtandil Martiashvili, a Georgian citizen who was driving the truck when 850 kilos of heroin were seized on January 17, 2014 at the Meghri customs house was sentenced to 17 years.

Turkish citizen Osman Oğurlu, who ran the company that had leased the truck in question, got 19 years.

Both men had protested their innocence since the trail got underway in the summer of 2014.

Photo: Avtandil Martiashvili, Osman Oğurlu

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Tbilisi Armenian Church Holds Requiem Service for Avetisyan Family

January 19, 2015 Armenia, Georgia No Comments
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13:09, January 19, 2015

Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan celebrated a Hogehangist (Repose of Souls Service) at the St. Etchmiadzin Armenian Church in Tbilisi yesterday in memory of the six Avetisyan family members killed last Monday in their Gyumri home.

Bishop Mirzakhanyan, Primate of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Georgia, called on the faithful to collectively pray for the departed children of the Armenian people and to display the strength and resolve to overcome the terrible loss.

The primate also emphasized the importance of the friendship between Armenians, Georgians and Russians.

The faithful prayed for the speedy recovery of six month old Seryozha Avetisyan, the only family member who survived the attack and is now being treated at a Yerevan hospital.

US: "Carder" Pleads Not Guilty

January 13, 2015 Armenia, Georgia No Comments
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23:34, January 13, 2015

A Macedonian national accused of belonging to a global identity theft and cyber crime syndicate responsible for US$50 million in financial losses worldwide has pleaded not guilty in a Las Vegas court.

Prosecutors allege that Jordan Georgievski was part of the criminal organization Carder.su, which traded in the large-scale trafficking of stolen credit card information and counterfeit cards, money laundering, and drug trafficking until it was shut down by US law enforcement in 2010, according to the BBC.

Georgievski, 41, was indicted in the US in January 2012. Prosecutors claim that, using the screen name “Devica”, Georgievski  sold counterfeit credit cards in collaboration with associates from the website. Last February, Interpol placed him on their “Red Notice” most wanted list, enabling any police force that detained Georgievski to extradite him to the US. He was arrested by Albanian authorities crossing into Albania from Kosovo in July, and on Jan. 9 he was handed overto the US.

Gyumri Painter: “People don’t have money so they buy those Chinese imports”

January 8, 2015 Armenia, Arts, Georgia No Comments
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13:48, January 8, 2015

Natural landscapes and Armenian churches dominate the oil paintings hanging from the walls of the Gyumri living room of 82 year-old Aleksandr (Shoura) Zhamakochyan.

The room reminds a visitor of a small art gallery.

Mr. Zhamakochyan confesses that like many others the 1988 Spitak earthquake has divided his life into pre and post-earthquake concepts and that the disaster has also influenced his artistic works.

The atheist communist saw the light and became a devout Christian while cowering under the panels of a building that collapsed around him. He was baptized at the age of 56 and made it his life’s mission to eternalize all Armenian churches by painting them.

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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.