Russian Lawmakers Visit Gyumri After Armenian Family Massacre

A Russian parliamentary delegation on Friday visited Gyumri and laid flowers to on the fresh graves of the seven members of local Armenian family who died in a killing spree blamed on a Russian soldier.

The three pro-Kremlin members of the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, paid their respects to the Avetisian family one week after unprecedented anti-Russian protests attended by scores of local residents. Moscow has since been trying to minimize political fallout from the January 12 massacre that has cast a shadow over its close ties with Yerevan.

The visiting parliamentarians echoed Russian law-enforcement officials’ pledges to solve the brutal crime jointly with their Armenian colleagues. “This is a tragedy not only for the Armenian people but also for the Russian people,” Oleg Lebedev, a senior lawmaker heading the Duma delegation, told reporters at the Gyumri cemetery.

Armenian-Azeri Fighting Continues To Intensify

The Armenian military suffered two more casualties and claimed to have killed at least three Azerbaijani soldiers early on Friday in what appears to be a further escalation of fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone.

The upsurge in truce violations prompted serious concern from James Warlick, the chief U.S. negotiator in Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks. In a Twitter post, Warlick urged the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to “stop the violence along the Line of Contact and commit to negotiations.”

Armenia’s Defense Ministry said the two soldiers, Lieutenant Karen Galstian and Private Artak Sargsian, were shot dead and another serviceman, Hovannes Avanesian, seriously wounded in an Azerbaijani attack on its positions in the northern Tavush province bordering western Azerbaijan. It said that Azerbaijani forces failed to seize any of those outposts and were forced to retreat.

Kocharian Blasts Yerevan’s ‘Humiliating’ Response To Gyumri Killings

In a fresh scathing attack on President Serzh Sarkisian, former President Robert Kocharian has condemned the Armenian authorities for failing to ensure that a Russian soldier accused of murdering seven members of a family in Gyumri is tried in an Armenian court.

In an interview with his unofficial website published on Friday, Kocharian also called for “radical changes” in Armenia which he said are needed to address its socioeconomic problems. He said the country’s recent accession to the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) could aggravate them.

Kocharian told that he was “deeply shocked” by the January 12 tragedy in Gyumri that sparked anti-government and anti-Russian protests. “It was clear that people’s outrage could turn into mass actions with unpredictable consequences,” he said. “In order to prevent that, the authorities had to take immediate emergency actions.

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.

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Police Presence In Gyumri Beefed Up

January 19, 2015 Armenia, Top News No Comments

The Armenian police tightened security around key government buildings and Russian facilities in Gyumri on Monday in an apparent anticipation of fresh protests against the slaughter of a local family blamed on a Russian soldier.

Several dozen busloads of special police entered the northwestern Armenian city shortly before and after the official announcement of the death of the 6-month-old Seryozha Avetisian, the seventh victim of the January 12 bloodbath.

The police reinforcements arrived following a meeting in Gyumri of senior government and security officials. It was chaired by Vladimir Gasparian, the chief of the national police. Colonel Andrey Ruzinsky, the commander of a Russian military base headquartered in the city, was also in attendance. None of the participants made any public statements after the meeting.

Medical Condition of Six Month Old Gyumri Attack Survivor Worsens

January 19, 2015 Armenia No Comments
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11:06, January 19, 2015

The medical condition of six month old Seryozha Avetisyan, who was the sole family survivor of a brutal attack last Monday in Gyumri , has taken a turn for the worse according to Armenia’s Ministry of Health.

Functioning of the baby’s kidneys has decreased and local physicians, in concert with specialists from Russia, have decided to perform peritoneal dialysis.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Azerbaijan Violates Ceasefire 400 Times, Says Artsakh Defense Ministry

January 19, 2015 Armenia, Arts, Azerbaijan No Comments
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11:24, January 19, 2015

Artsakh’s defense ministry reports that Azerbaijan violated the ceasefire a total of 400 times during the past two days, firing more than 4,557 rounds.

The ministry says Azerbaijani military forces have employed mortars, grenade launchers and sniper fire in addition to small armaments in its arsenal.

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.

Top Russian Investigator Arrives in Armenia for Talks on Gyumri Murder Prosecution

January 19, 2015 Armenia No Comments
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13:18, January 19, 2015

Alexandr Bastrikin, President of Russia’s Investigative Committee, will arrive in Armenia today at the invitation of his Armenian counterpart Aghvan Hovsepyan, ostensibly to discuss the issue of which country has legal jurisdiction regarding the prosecution of those responsible for an attack last Monday in Gyumri during which six members of the Avetisyan family were killed.

A Russian soldier, Valery Permyakov, has been  charged with the murder but has remained in the custody of Russian military officials.

Last week, thousands demonstrated in Gyumri and Yerevan demanding that Permyakov be handed over to Armenian law enforcement for prosecution.

Photo: Aghvan Hovsepyan, Alexandr Bastrikin

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Putin Vows Justice In Armenian Family Massacre

January 18, 2015 Armenia, Top News, Turkey No Comments

Signaling concerns over unprecedented anti-Russian protests in Gyumri, President Vladimir Putin reportedly assured his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian on Sunday that Moscow will help to punish those responsible for the killing of six members of a local Armenian family.

According to official Russian and Armenian sources, Putin telephoned Sarkisian to “once again express condolences to the relatives of the victims and the entire Armenian people” in connection with the slaughter allegedly perpetrated by a Russian soldier.

“The president of Russia expressed confidence that all necessary investigative actions will be taken within shortest time frames and that all the guilty will receive punishment envisaged by the law,” read a statement released by the Kremlin.

Translator of Şafak and Pamuk: “There definitely won’t be any miracles come this April 24”

January 17, 2015 Armenia, Culture, Diaspora, Turkey No Comments
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00:05, January 17, 2015

Hetq talks to Arpi Atabekyan, who translated Elif Şafak’s The Bastard of Istanbul and Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red from Turkish to Armenian.

The two Turkish writers, prosecuted for “insulting Turkishness” by raising the issue of the 1915 Armenian Genocide today mainly reside outside of Turkey for safety reasons.

Those Turkish writers who speak and write about the Armenian Genocide are subjected to harsh criticism within Turkey. In your opinion, does the actions of such intellectuals impact on Armenian-Turkish relations, and if so, to what degree?

I’d say that there isn’t much of an impact on politics, but that such actions influence society. Politics for me is a straight line. If a political party has adopted a line and has its own agenda, then the opinions of a writer won’t have much impact on politics.

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.

Police Detain Scores in Yerevan Protest Over Russian Soldier

January 17, 2015 Armenia No Comments
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00:03, January 16, 2015

Yerevan police detained scores of protestors on January 15 in Liberty Square who had gathered to demand that the Russian soldier accused of killing six in Gyumri on Monday be handed over to Armenian law enforcement officials.

Aleks Yenikomshyan, a member of the Founding Parliament initiative was detained.

Other initiative members were detained at a similar protest in Gyumri.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

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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/, 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

Image 58171.jpg

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

Image 57806.jpg

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.