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Armenian Police to Baghramyan Avenue Protesters: ‘Move or We Will Use the All the Forces Legally at Our Disposal’

July 1, 2015 Armenia, Sports No Comments
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21:44, July 1, 2015

What follows is the official RA Police translation of its original Armenian statement regarding the ongoing electricity rate hike protest on Baghramyan Avenue.

From June 19-22, 2015 the citizens protesting against the increase of the price of electricity, organized an assembly and twenty-four-hour sit-down strike on ‘Freedom’Square of Yerevan city violating the procedures envisaged by the RA law on ‘Freedom of Assemblies’.

On June 22 the above mentioned persons carried out an unlawful march towards Baghramyan Avenue completely blocking the movement of transport means and pedestrians, and at 20:00 the march was turned into termless sit-down strike at the same place.

From Mongolia to Antaramej: The Difficult Road to Becoming a Citizen of Armenia

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At first they would say “You’re a Mongolian”. Then, when I started to speak Armenian, they would say, “No, you’re Armenian”, recounts Varsik.
Bayandolgor (Bayina) Oyunchimeg, a woman from Mongolia, and her two children live in the Antaramej village in Armenia’s Gegharkounik Province. Fourteen years ago she married Hrahat Yeritsyan in Mongolia. Hrahat was a construction worker in Ulan Bator. Their two children, Varsik and Arshak, were born there.
Hrahat has a heart ailment and doctors advised him to live at a lower elevation than found in Mongolia. In 2011, the family relocated to Armenia. Hrahat is a native of the village of Martouni, but there was no place to live there. They found a dilapidated house in Antaramej, renovated it, and moved in. Hrahat Yeritsyan died this year from a heart attack.

Karabakh Armenian Athletes To Compete In Baku Games


Two athletes from Nagorno-Karabakh will travel to Baku later this week to participate in the ongoing European Games there as members of Armenia’s national sambo wrestling team.

The wrestlers, Sose Balasanian and Ashot Danielian, are thus poised to become the first Karabakh Armenians to compete in a sporting tournament in Azerbaijan since the outbreak of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in 1988.

Like many other residents of Karabakh, Balasanian and Danielian hold Armenian passports. They are also the reigning sambo champions of Armenia, the reason why they were included in the country’s national team. It is scheduled to depart to Baku via Tbilisi on Saturday.

A total of 25 athletes will represent Armenia in the games that began on June 12 and will end on June 28.

Azerbaijan: Government Silences Human Rights Defenders Ahead of Baku Games

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13:55, June 11, 2015

Azerbaijani authorities have barred Amnesty International (AI) from entering the country to give a briefing ahead of the European Games.

AI was due to present its publication Azerbaijan: the Repression Games in Baku on Wednesday. Buton Tuesday afternoon the Azerbaijani Embassy in London told the campaigning organization that the briefing would be postponed until after the Games, AI reports.

AI’s deputy director for Europe and Central Asia, Denis Krivosheev, said the development was ”deeply ironic” since the briefing would have focused on how the government has arrested and silenced human rights activists, journalists and opposition members throughout the past year.

On the same day AI announced its barring from Azerbaijan, authorities at the airport in Azerbaijani capital Baku detained and red-listed Emma Hughes, a British activist from the London-based human rights organization Platform.

UNICEF Lends Itself to ‘Dictatorship Propaganda’ European Games

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10:45, June 10, 2015

By TT News Agency, Sweden

The goal of the United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is to protect the rights of children. Yet UNICEF is lending its name to the European Games in Azerbaijan, a country accused of torturing young people struggling for their rights.

In the run-up to the games, the regime is also silencing all criticism, Amnesty International reports.

The human rights organization claims that the Azerbaijani authorities have embarked on a systematic effort to dismantle civil society to silence criticism, allowing President Ilham Aliyev to bask in the glory of 6,000 athletes when the games open Friday in the capital Baku.

Russia: National Football Union President Sacked

June 2, 2015 Armenia, Sports No Comments
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14:35, June 2, 2015

The Russian Football Union (RFU) has voted to sack its president Nikolai Tolstykh.

According to the Moscow Times, 235 delegates voted in favour and 196 against Tolstykh’s dismissal at an RFU conference on Sunday. He’d come under fire during his tenure for the RFU’s accumulation of debts worth about US$ 26 million, which put the organization at risk of bankruptcy.

In addition, together with Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, Tolstykh was one of the signatories of a controversial deal made in January 2014 to extend the contract of Italian football coach Fabio Capello.

Capello has been heavily criticized by Russian officials for the poor results of Russia’s national football team, which has been under his guidance since 2012.

OCCRP Reporter Detained in Moscow, Banned from Russia until 2020

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22:35, May 26, 2015

OCCRP journalist Stevan Dojčinović has been detained for 20 hours in a Moscow airport without explanation, deported, and banned from entering Russia until 2020.

Dojčinović was due to give a lecture at the Faculty of Journalism in the Russian city of Voronezh.

But as his passport was scanned at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport on May 13, an alert appeared in the computer system and the border guard told Dojčinović to sit down. After an hour’s wait, police arrived and took him to a room for questioning.

Dojčinović said that in the interrogation room a portrait of President Vladimir Putin bearing the words “Our Commander in Chief” hung alongside a long table. Officers presented Dojčinović with a document in Russian which he was asked to sign, while another police officer filmed the proceedings.

Armenia Names Team For Baku Games


The Armenian National Olympic Committee (ANOC) named on Tuesday 25 athletes who will represent Armenia at the upcoming European Games in Baku despite widespread security concerns that have led some of their teammates to boycott the multi-sport event.

The ANOC’s secretary general, Hrachya Rostomian, said they will compete in six sports, including boxing, shooting and various types of wrestling. “All of these athletes are ready to represent Armenia in Baku with honor just as they do in other countries,” he told a news conference. “We are aiming for a successful participation.”

The first-ever European Games slated for June 12-28 are expected to bring together some 6,000 athletes from around the continent.

Tsarukian Rules Out Political Comeback

Businessman Gagik Tsarukian ruled out the possibility of returning to active politics on Tuesday two months after effectively capitulating in a bitter standoff with President Serzh Sarkisian.

“I’ve turned the page of politics,” Tsarukian said in his first public remarks since his resignation as chairman of the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK). He told reporters that he will now try to be “useful” to Armenia with entrepreneurial and benevolent activities and sponsorship of sports through the Armenian National Olympic Committee headed by him.

As recently as in early February, Tsarukian, his party and its opposition allies threatened to topple Sarkisian with a renewed campaign of street protests if the president went ahead with a controversial reform of the Armenian constitution. Sarkisian responded by harshly criticizing the tycoon and ordering tax audits of his numerous businesses and inquiries into other “crimes” possibly committed by the tycoon.

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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.