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Russian Soldier To Stand Trial In Armenia, Says Yerevan

January 14, 2015 Armenia, Top News, Turkey No Comments
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The Russian soldier who has confessed to the deadly shooting spree in Gyumri will go on trial in Armenia, Prosecutor-General Gevorg Kostanian insisted late on Wednesday after angry protests against the Armenian authorities’ failure to have custody of the suspect.

“I can assure you that the criminal will be prosecuted in the territory of the Republic of Armenia and we all will be able to monitor the entire process of justice,” Kostanian told reporters after an emergency meeting with President Serzh Sarkisian.

“You will witness tomorrow robust actions in that direction by Armenia’s law-enforcement bodies, which I think will make it clear to everyone that Armenia will steadfastly administer the entire process of holding accountable any individual who has committed a crime against a citizen of Armenia,” he said.

Soldier Suspected of Gyumri Killing Spree Now in Russian Hands, Says Shirak Prosecutor

January 13, 2015 Armenia, Turkey No Comments
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01:41, January 13, 2015

Valery Permyakov, a soldier from the 102nd Russian military base in Gyumri suspected of killing six members of the Avetisyan family in Gyumri early yesterday, was detained an hour ago while attempting to cross the border into Turkey near the Armenian border village of Bayantour.

Gala TV reports that according to Shirak Provincial prosecutor Raffi Aslanyan, Permyakov is now in the custody of Russian military personnel. 

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Russian Soldier Murder Suspect: ‘I entered Avetisyan house at random’,

January 13, 2015 Armenia, Turkey No Comments
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14:11, January 13, 2015

Hounan Poghosyan, First Deputy Head of Armenia’s Police, reports that the Russian suspected of killing six members of a Gyumri family early yesterday, told Russian military officials after being captured that he entered the Avetisyan home randomly and that he didn’t even know if anyone was inside.

The suspect, Valery Permyakov, a soldier stationed at the Russian 102nd military base in Gyumri, was captured in the wee hours of this morning some 2,000 meters from the Armenian border with Turkey.

Poghosyan also reports that Permyakov told Russian military investigators that he hadn’t planned on crossing the border and that he was merely hiding in the area.

Russian Soldier ‘Confesses’ To Slaughtering Armenian Family

January 13, 2015 Armenia, Top News, Turkey No Comments
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A runaway Russian soldier admitted murdering six members of an Armenian family in Gyumri after being detained overnight, a senior Armenian police official said on Tuesday.

Hunan Poghosian, a deputy chief of the national police, shed little light on Valery Permyakov’s possible motives and gave few other details of his questioning by Armenian and Russian investigators.

Armenian prosecutors announced, meanwhile, that Russia will have custody of Permyakov at least until the end of a criminal investigation into the gruesome crime. It remained unclear, however, whether the pre-trial probe will be conducted by Armenian or Russian security bodies.

Yerevan Condemns Shelling Of Armenian Church In Syria

January 11, 2015 Armenia, Arts, Top News, Turkey No Comments
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An Armenian Catholic church in Syria’s largest city of Aleppo has been partly destroyed by shelling widely blamed on Islamist rebels, drawing strong condemnation from Armenia’s government.

The Saint Rita church was reportedly hit by mortar rounds on Friday. Syrian pro-government media as well as local ethnic Armenians said they were fired by one of the Islamist militias fighting Syrian army units loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad. Nobody was hurt in the shelling, according to them.

Photographs posted by AlMasdarnews.com showed gaping holes on the church’s roof and walls and rubble strewn around its altar. The Arab news service claimed that the rebels also shelled surrounding neighborhoods.

One Nation, How Many Aspects of Culture? Armenian Diversity

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13:38, January 9, 2015

By Nareg Seferian

Not too long ago, I had an “e-mail fight” with someone I don’t know. To call it a “fight” would be an exaggeration. Rather, we had a heated discussion back and forth via e-mail, having found each other through a mutual acquaintance who wisely slipped out of the conversation.

The issue was Eastern Armenian and Western Armenian – specifically, whether or not there are two separate Armenian languages, or whether they are both versions of one language. There are other possibilities, and it could be the case that one may characterise Eastern and Western Armenian in more than one way at the same time. My correspondent was very confident toinsist that there is only one Armenian language. My own position is to refer to the two as “sister languages”.

Journalist Tatul Hakobyan to Head Newly Formed ANI Foundation for Armenian Studies

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18:04, January 2, 2015

Tatul Hakobyan, who is a journalist and a specialist on the conflicts in the Caucasus, will co-ordinate the activities of the newly-established ANI Foundation for Armenian Studies.

“ANI is being set up at a time when a gap is being felt in objective and comprehensive publications on the domestic political life, demographics, the economy, border communities, the region, and Homeland-Diaspora affairs in Armenia and Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh). We aim to fill that gap with our work,” Hakobyan said.

ANI will prepare reports on current issues pertaining to Armenia’s domestic and foreign policy, economy, agriculture, as well as the Diaspora – including communities in the former Soviet Union – Armenia-Turkey relations, and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The centre will organize conferences, round tables, releases of relevant books, and various other projects related to Armenian Studies.

Prominent Armenian Politician Dies

December 29, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Top News, Turkey No Comments
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Vahan Hovannisian, a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) and one of the country’s most prominent post-Soviet politicians, died at the age of 58 early on Sunday.

Hovannisian, who has also served as Armenia’s ambassador to Germany over the past year, was pronounced dead at a hospital in Berlin where he received treatment for cancer.

The Armenian government was quick to set up a special commission tasked with organizing his state funeral. The commission headed by Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian said on Monday that Hovannisian will be laid to rest on January 3.

Defense Attorneys in Armenia’s Largest ‘Drug Bust’ Trial Demand Not-Guilty Verdict

December 24, 2014 Armenia, Georgia, Turkey No Comments
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01:20, December 24, 2014

Avtandil Martiashvili, one the two men charged with involvement in Armenia’s largest drug bust made a motion at yesterday’s trial for the state prosecutor to recuse himself.

Martiashvili, a Georgian citizen who was driving a truck when 850 kilos of heroin were seized on January 17, 2014 at the Meghri customs house, argued that Prosecutor A. Panosyan had preconceived beliefs about the case and that he should resign.

The defendant, one of whose attorneys never showed up at the Goris branch of the Syunik Court of Jurisdiction, also demanded that the court appointed interpreter be dismissed as well due to a lack of quality work. Martiashvili claimed that the translations from Armenian to Georgian are so poor that he can’t understand what the prosecutor is saying.

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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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Commentary

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.