Activist Warned Over Public ‘Terror Threat’

A civil activist campaigning against the rise in utility prices has been summoned to Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) after publicly threatening to carry out an act of terrorism.

Vaghinak Shushanian, one of the citizens who participated in street protests against the decision to raise electricity tariffs by 10 percent, attended the July 1 meeting of the Public Services Regulatory Commission as a delegate of the protesters.

At the meeting he stated that he would not pay for electricity at a higher rate. “I am a student and I have a disabled mother and sister in my care… I won’t pay. If I have to, I will commit an act of terrorism, let everyone hear this,” he said, reacting angrily to the regulatory body’s decision.

Armenia Hopes To Avoid Knock-On Effects Of Western Sanctions Against Russia

Armenia will do everything to avoid the knock-on effects of the sanctions imposed by the West against Russia over the Ukraine crisis, Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian said on Friday.

Speaking to reporters while on a working visit to the northeastern town of Dilijan, the head of the Armenian government emphasized that “the important thing is that we do our work and try to attract foreign investments for the development of our economy.”

Armenia has close political, military and economic ties with Russia and intends to sign a treaty later this year joining the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union that also includes Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Families Of Azerbaijanis Held In Karabakh Seek Putin’s Mediation

Relatives of two Azerbaijanis who have been arrested in Nagorno-Karabakh on charges of espionage and subversive activities want Russia to mediate their release.

According to Azerbaijani news agency APA, members of the families of Dilham Askerov and Shahbaz Quliev whom authorities in Stepanakert accuse of being members of a sabotage group that allegedly infiltrated into the Armenian-controlled district of Kelbajar earlier this month, have submitted letters addressed to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Vladimir Dorokhin asking for their intervention in the case.

Ethnic Armenian prosecutors in the self-proclaimed republic say Askerov, Quliev and another member of the alleged sabotage group illegally crossed into the Nagorno-Karabakh-controlled territory in order to engage in criminal activities, including espionage. Among the charges brought against the two is the kidnapping and killing of a 17-year-old Armenian civilian in Kelbajar.

Ruling Party Member Dismisses Ex-President’s Statements

A senior representative of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) has ridiculed the statements made by opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian, implying that his recent interviews are damaging to his reputation as the country’s first president.

Speaking to the media after the meeting of the HHK’s executive body late on Thursday, Eduard Sharmazanov, a deputy parliament speaker and spokesperson for the party, in particular, dismissed Ter-Petrosian’s claims that the current government uses pressure against its political opponents to secure an unimpeded implementation of a controversial constitutional reform.

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Latest Armenian News:

No Final Date on Armenia’s Accession to Eurasian Union: Head of Ruling Faction Says PM Only Guessing

July 23, 2014 Armenia, Asia No Comments
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14:53, July 23, 2014

Though Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan said yesterday that Armenia will become a member of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) on January 1, 2015, head of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia parliamentary faction Vahram Baghdasaryan, in a conversation with Hetq, urged not to talk about the final deadline for accession and to be patient. 

“There’s no talk of a final deadline — neither January 1 nor October 1. Be patient for a few days, for some time. The presidents will meet in the summer, and there will be a final decision only at that time. All other timelines are speculation,” he told Hetq.

OCCRP And Google Ideas Host Inaugural London “Investigathon”

July 23, 2014 Armenia, Technology No Comments
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18:08, July 23, 2014

The power of technology and journalism were put on display on July 14 in London. OCCRP, in partnership with Google Ideas, brought together nearly one hundred journalists, programmers, researchers and others in a day-long “Investigathon.”  The event was both a seminar in new investigative research tools and a group investigation into UK-based company’s potential involvement in billions of dollars in money laundering activities. Scott Carpenter, deputy director of Google Ideas, opened the event.

Dan Russell, a research scientist at Google, taught attendees how to use Google’s lesser known advanced search tools in investigations. In a simple example, he combined a photo he took of a caterpillar with a text-based search to discover in a matter of moments whether the larva was dangerous.

Montenegro: Alleged Serbian Drug Lord Arrested

July 23, 2014 Armenia, Europe, Turkey No Comments
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18:12, July 23, 2014

A man who the Serbian prime minister has called “the biggest drug lord” in the country was arrested Monday in Montenegro, but he was released Tuesday after interrogation.

Montenegrin police detained Dragoslav Kosmajac in the town of Kotor, Balkan Insight reports. Police said Tuesday he would have to leave the country immediately. Other media reported he would be extradited to Serbia, according to Balkan Insight.

Kosmajac fled Serbia last month after Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić held a press conference in which he fired the chiefs of five police departments, including Rodoljub Milović, the chief of the criminal police, for interfering in politics and being in contact with “Kosmajac, the biggest drug dealer.”

UN warns of Gaza war crimes

July 23, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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The UN’s top human rights official has condemned Israel’s military actions in the Gaza Strip, saying that war crimes may have been committed, BBC News reports.
Navi Pillay told an emergency debate at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that Israel’s military offensive had not done enough to protect civilians.She also condemned Hamas for “indiscriminate attacks” on Israel.Israel launched its offensive on 8 July with the declared objective of stopping rocket fire from Gaza.”There seems to be a strong possibility that international law has been violated, in a manner that could amount to war crimes,” Ms Pillay said.At least 649 Palestinians and 31 Israelis have been killed in the past 15 days of fighting, officials say.A foreign worker in southern Israel was also killed by a rocket fired from Gaza on Wednesday, police said.The UN says about 74% of those killed in Gaza are civilians, with medical clinics among the facilities hit by air strikes.”Civilians in Gaza have no safe place to go as 44% of the land has been declared a ‘no-go zone’ by the Israeli army,” the assistant secretary-general at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.”Families are taking the heart-wrenching decision to split to different locations – mother and son to one; father and daughter to another – hoping to maximise the chance one part of the family survives.”

Taiwan plane crash ‘kills dozens’

July 23, 2014 Armenia, Asia No Comments
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A plane has crashed after a failed emergency landing in Taiwan, killing more than 40 people, local officials say.The domestic TransAsia Airways flight crashed near Magong airport on the outlying Penghu island, reports said.There were a total of 54 passengers and four crew on board, Taiwan’s CNA news agency reported.Aviation officials said flight GE222 aborted its initial landing and then crashed, local media reported. 

Source: TertOriginial Article

Minsk Group has realized Azerbaijan is real threat – Richard Giragosian

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In an interview with Tert.am, Richard Giragosian, Founding Director of the Regional Studies Center (RSC), commented on the mediators’ statements on the need for an Armenian-Azerbaijani presidential meeting in Paris.With respect to the new deadline for Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union (EaEU), January 1, 2015, and whether it is a realistic deadline, Mr Giragosian said:“The latest delay in Armenia’s accession to the EaEU show the process is being derailed. The reason is the opposition by Kazakhstan and Belarus. And it is beyond Armenia’s jurisdiction irrespective of what Armenia’s premier and other officials say.”As regards one of the preconditions for Armenia’s accession to the EaEU, namely, a customs station between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, Mr Giragosian said:“This is not actually a precondition, and I do not think Armenia will ever join the EaEU. The point is that Kazakhstan and Belarus are speaking out against the 800 product items Armenia is producing. However, Russia and the Customs Union could theoretically demand a customs station between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. And if such a demand is made Armenia will reject it. This is evidence that joining neither the EaEU nor the Customs Union meets Armenia’s interests.”As to Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan’s statement in Argentine that Armenia is concerned over the Russian-Azerbaijani arms deals, which evoked varied responses, including criticism against Russia by Armenian public and political figures, Mr Giragosian said:“I welcome the president’s stance, but I should voice my criticism over two points. First, that statement should have been made in Armenia rather than in Latin America. Secondly, the Armenian president’s statement was rather late, and Serzh Sargsyan realized too late that Russia’s arms supplies to Azerbaijan posed a threat to Armenia. I am more critical of Russia because it does not behave like Armenia’s ally.”As to whether Russia will try to involve Azerbaijan in the EaEU, Mr Giragosian said:“No, it is not a serious problem. During my visit to Baku it became clear that Azerbaijan would never consider this fact. It is as unrealistic as to speak of the possibility of Turkey joining the Customs Union.”According to him, international experts’ discussions of Turkey’s accession to the Customs Union are not serious.As regards the previous discussions on the ‘neither…nor’ option, and the possibility of developments in Armenia’s favor in the center of clashes of geopolitical interests, Mr Giragosian said:“The real threat is that the September 3 decision was a strategic blunder. The graver problem is Armenia’s continuous isolation and its diminishing role as a state. I object to Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Union. I think that Armenia not joining it will not in any way affect its relations with Russia and with the neighboring states. Under the circumstances Armenia still has strong positions as compared with Turkey and Iran, despite some positive developments there.”French Ambassador to Armenia Henri Reynaud and, later, US Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group James Warlick called for an Armenian-Azerbaijani presidential meeting in Paris. Official Yerevan is, however, silent, and some analysts believe President Serzh Sargsyan is unwilling to go because, according to one comment, “the Paris meeting is supposed to sum up the years of the Minsk Group’s work – either the Madrid principles will be signed or the sides will consent to place the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process under the jurisdiction of the UN Security Council.”“The Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents will meet. But I do not think their meeting will take place in Paris. And it is most unlikely to take place before the end of summer. And it is Azerbaijan’s conduct rather than the Madrid principles that is the real problem. The Minsk Group has finally come to realize that it is Azerbaijan rather than Armenia that is the real threat. And the latest developments on the Line of Contact, as well as Azerbaijan’s attacks, have actually been aimed at the Minsk Group. And one more concern involving Nagorno-Karabakh is Russia’s new policy following the Crimea-related developments. The question is whether Russia will continue working with the United States and France within the Minsk Group,” Mr Giragosian said. 

Environment Minister Tours Lori; Promises to Get Tough on Violators

July 23, 2014 Armenia, Technology No Comments
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10:38, July 23, 2014

Yesterday, Armenian Minister of Nature Environment Aramayis Grigoryan toured Lori Province on a fact-finding mission. He visited the Tchotchkan tailings dam owned by Metal Prince Ltd. Hetq caught up with the minister and asked him some questions.

The recirculation system at the Tchotchkan tailings dam has been out of service for several years. Thus, toxic wastes are periodically flowing into the Debed River. What will your ministry do to resolve this matter?

We have conversed with management and they will be fulfilling their obligations in full in the future. Such problems will not occur. Toxic wastes will no longer flow into the river. We will apply tough penalties to remove any such risks. That’s the reason for us being here today; to see for ourselves and understand the situation. Area residents and environmentalists have expressed their concerns and the problem must be fixed.

OSCE Rep Concerned About Armenia Court Decision Forcing Media Outlets to Disclose Sources

July 23, 2014 Armenia No Comments
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13:46, July 23, 2014

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović yesterday expressed concern about a court ruling in Armenia that forces media outlets to disclose their sources of information.

On 26 June the Administrative Court of the Kentron and Nork-Marash districts in Yerevan ruled that two media outlets, the Hraparak newspaper and Ilur.am news portal, should disclose their sources as part of the criminal investigation involving a high-level police official of the Shirak region. 

“I am concerned that this ruling might have a chilling effect on media as it could thwart reporting on issues of public interest,” Mijatović said. “The need for journalists’ professional confidentiality with public and private sources of information must be acknowledged.”

Prosperous Armenia MP Doesn’t Rule Out Hand of Azerbaijan in Hayrapetyan’s Arrest

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15:16, July 23, 2014

Regarding the July 15 arrest of Artsakh native businessman Levon Hayrapetyan in Moscow, Prosperous Armenia MP Grigori Margaryan told Hetq that while he saw no political undertones in the matter, he could not rule out the hand of Baku.

“I do not rule out the possibility of Azerbaijani complicity in the matter, even though I don’t see evidence of it,” Margaryan told Hetq.

Russian law enforcement arrested Hayrapetyan at a Moscow airport on suspicion that he is linked to a Russian organized crime syndicate.

Margaryan, a member of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on European Integration said he based this opinion on his experience as a member of the Armenian delegation to PACE where he witnessed the “underhanded and dirty” working practices of Azerbaijani delegates.

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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

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.

Want to Write for Hetq?

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10:24, March 14, 2014

I’m looking for freelancers who can broaden the scope of Hetq’s English edition

Arts & Culture, Commentary, Politics, Civil Society, Interviews…

Anything interesting happening in your local community you’d like to share?

Write to me with your ideas and story suggestions.

Hrant at hg.hetq@gmail.com

Source: HetqOriginial Article

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

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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

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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.