The revolution has begun? Armenians again reveling in self-destructive behavior - November, 2012


This blog entry is in some ways a continuation of the previous commentary on Vartan Oskanian and the dangers the political West poses to the Armenian state, with added emphasis on activities by Armenians that I consider to be dangerous for the security of Armenia.

Before he was more-or-less publicly called out for being a Western agent in Armenia, Vartan Oskanian's Armenia-based but Western-funded and always homo-centric Civilitas "think tank" had announced in an article written by Salpi Ghazarian that the "revolution has begun". Obviously, the "revolution" in question was expected to take place in Armenia and the revolutionaries were expected to be young Armenians yearning for a western lifestyle. If interested, I have posted the inciting article by Civilitas below this commentary.

We must be clearheaded enough to recognize that American interests exploited Oskanian's position in Yerevan by helping him create Civilitas as a way to foment political unrest in Armenia, similar to what they have done in the Arab world in recent years. Civilitas has been engaged in a task to spread political disinformation, homophilia and American political fairytales all under the palatable banners of "civil society" and "human rights". The following are three such examples -
Salpi Ghazarian interviews agent Richard Giragosian: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOjBaU6QVNk&feature=plcp

Ի՞նչ հիմքերով պայթեցրին DIY-ը: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ch0fUlcDcSY&feature=youtube_gdata_player  

On the very holy occasion of the two ring circus also known as the American presidential elections, it was amusing to watch Salpi Ghazarian of Civilitas interview a CIA operative in her Washington-funded office in Yerevan. Although amusing, the infomercial-like nonsense about "American Democracy on Election Day" was also a somewhat nauseating. Can these idiots in Civilitas be any more obvious as to who they are working for? Unfortunately, Vartan Oskanian's Civilitas has not been alone in the task of spreading Western propaganda inside Armenian society. Let's take yet another brief look at some of the more obvious representatives and servants of Washington in Armenia -
Richard Giragosian, Raffi Hovanissian, Zaruhi Postanjian, Nikol Pashinyan, Paruyr Hayrikian, Levon Petrosian, Vartan Oskanian, Andreas Gukasyan, Levon Zurabian, Manvel Sargsian, Babken Der Grigorian, Shant Arutyunian, Ruben Gevorkyants, Avetik Ishkhanyan, Jirayr Libaridian, Yeghia Nersesian, Gayane Abrahamyan, Armen Martirosyan, Salpi Ghazarian, Jirayr Sefilian, Edik Baghtasaryan, Arpine Galfayan, Emil Danielyan, Levon Parseghyan, Artur Sakunts,  Susanna Muradyan, Hranush Kharatyan, Georgy Vanyan, Igor Muratyan, Ara Manoogian, Robert Davidian, Onnik Krikorian, David Grigorian, Arpine Galfayan, Vardges Gaspari, Lara Aharonian, Nanore Barsumian, Larisa Minasyan, Mamikon Hovsepyan, Naira Hayrumyan, Sona Ayvazyan, Ara Papyan,  Yekaterina Poghosyan, Tigran Khzmalyan, Daniel Ioannisyan, Garo Ghazarian, Garegin Chugaszyan, Liana Aghajanian, Arevik SaribekyanAnush Sedrakyan, Arman Babajanyan, Tsovinar Nazaryan, Gevorg Safaryan, Karine Aghajanyan, Angel Khachatryan, Alex Yenikomshyan, Alexander Arzumanyan, Eduard Abrahamyan, Boris Navasardyan, Gayane Mkrtchyan, Maro Matossian, Marianna Grigoryan, Edgar Khachatryan, Karen Hakobian, Tony Halpin, John Hughes, Kirk Wallace, Rick Ney, Blogger Unzipped, Rotary Club of Yerevan, Transparency International Anti-corruption Center, Open Society Foundation Armenia, Pink Armenia, Policy Forum Armenia, Sardarapat, Armenian Renaissance, ACNIS, Civilitas, Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly, Peace Dialogue, Armenian Environmental Network, Rights and Support Foundation, British Council of Armenia, Women’s Support Center, Rights and Support FoundationInstitute for Democracy and Human Rights, Pre-Parliament, Heritage Party, Radio Liberty, Asparez Journalists' Club, Caucasus Center for Peacemaking Initiative, Women’s Resource Center, Arajinlratvakan, ArmeniaNow, Armenia Today, Aravot, Hetq and Lragir
Of course I need to remind the reader once again that the above is only a partial list. Washington has been busy dragging out the dregs of Armenian society in an effort to foment social unrest in the country. Ranging from our self-destructive political opposition to Washingtonian agents to pseudo-rights advocates to militant homosexuals, who-is-who of Armenia's lower cast and foreign cast has been encouraged to rise against the Armenia state. See the sampling of articles below this commentary; it's basically a frightening gallery of Armenia's modern day wannabe revolutionaries and self-destructive peasants in direct and indirect service of Uncle Sam.

I need to mention, however, that President Serj Sargsyan has managed to thwart their assaults by a series of brilliant countermeasures such as putting some of Armenia's Western operatives such as Oskanian on the defensive, causing disarray within the political opposition and by ousting several high profile officials accused of corruption, as in the case of the unpopular mayor of Gyumri. President Sargsyan has proven to be very resilient and an absolute grossmeister at manipulating Armenia's political landscape to his full advantage. There isn't anyone within Armenia today that is capable of defeating him during the next presidential elections as the following survey conducted by Gallup International reveals -

One must me totally blind not to notice that Armenia also has registered a lot of progress in recent years, progress that even Armenia's Western propaganda outlets cannot cast a negative light upon. The following are just five very recent examples of what I am referring to -
Construction Begins on Armenia’s North-South Highway:  http://asbarez.com/105396/construction-begins-on-armenia%E2%80%99s-north-south-highway/
An agency of Russian state reserves to be established in Armenia: http://www.armradio.am/en/2012/11/09/an-agency-of-russian-state-reserves-to-be-established-in-armenia/
Armenia, Iran launch major power plant construction: http://armenianow.com/economy/40950/armenia_iran_hydro_power_plant_construction
Armenia, Russia Plan Joint Arms Production: http://asbarez.com/106439/armenia-russia-plan-joint-arms-production/
 Armenia’s Biggest Resource & Ameria: From Start-Up To Millions: http://asbarez.com/106466/armenia%E2%80%99s-biggest-resource-ameria-from-start-up-to-millions/ 
Despite all odds, and sometimes despite its troublesome sons and daughters, Armenia is moving forward under the capable leadership of President Serj Sargsyan. President Sargsyan will be reelected. But feeling any sense of security at this stage in time is dangerous. We can never make the mistake of underestimating the destructive effectiveness of powerful levers still under Western control. Moreover, Western operatives in Armenia continue being emboldened by events taking place in the Arab world and they continue feeling hopeful because they know that Armenians, generally speaking, tend to be a bunch of @%#$ing idiots when it comes to serious political matters. 

And speaking of @%#$ing idiots, did any of you realize that there is an ARF affiliated organization called "Armenian and the Left"? Don't laugh, it's true, and the following is their website -
Armenians and the Left: http://www.armeniansandtheleft.com/
However, unlike the "left" in the rest of the world, this particular "left" is more-or-less working for the "right" in Washington. Similar to the previous "panel discussion" groups that have unfortunately taken place in the US, this ARF affiliated leftist group has also organized events to present the diaspora's now favorite show - Armenia: the house of horrors!

The Armenian Diaspora is fast becoming a serious liability for the fledgling Armenian state. In fact, Diaspora's constant pessimism and hysteria concerning Armenia has traditionally been the main factor encouraging Armenians to abandon their homeland. Certain aspects of the Armenian Diaspora has had a very negative psychological effect upon the Armenian homeland. For a good example of mental disorders prevailing in the Armenian Diaspora, please read the outrageous article towards the bottom of this page titled "The Armenian Diaspora We Don't Know".
The fanatically anti-Armenian work in question was specifically produced for the Turkish press by a Diasporan whore of course.


Please bare in mind that I'm a Diasporan Armenian myself. Therefore, I reserve the moral and practical right to criticize my own. Like I said, the Armenian Diaspora, the American-Armenian community in particular, has become a depository of dangerous Washington-led activists as a recent US State Department event revealed.

"Global Diaspora Forum"

With slogans such as "going forward by giving back" and "promoting diaspora engagement", the Whore of Babylon's "Global Diaspora Forum" took place in Washington on July 25, 2012. Please refer to the following two links for more details about the event -
The Secretary's Global Diaspora Forum:http://www.google.com/url

2012 Global Diaspora Forum: Moving Forward By Giving Back:http://diasporaalliance.org/featured/global-diaspora-forum/
This US State Department organized second annual gathering of America's newly imported zombies is merely one of the many methods with which imperial interests in Washington taps into the empire's large immigrant population to prepare operatives and insurgents to seed targeted nations with. Naturally, not only were our Armenian political zombies proudly present at the imperial event in question, the news of the gathering was proudly featured by clowns working at the "Armenian Radio Hour of New Jersey" with the following words -
"The Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development hosted the second annual Global Diaspora Forum in Washington DC on July 25-26. The Forum focused on how new technology can empower and increase diaspora philanthropy, social entrepreneurship, volunteerism, and social innovation. The Forum challenged diaspora communities to forge partnerships with the private sector, civil society, and public institutions in order to make their engagements with their countries of origin or ancestry effective, scalable, and sustainable."

On Sunday July 22, Garo Yegnukian and Sassoon Kosian, two political strategists, discussed current Armenian issues on the Armenian Radio Hour of New Jersey, including the Criminal Oligarchy and the proposed Road Map for regime change through alternative elections that has been put forth by the Sardarapat Movement. Garo Yegnukian, businessman and lawyer, was one Armenian who attended the Global Diaspora Forum on behalf of PFA - Policy Forum Armenia, a Washington based think tank. He is a member of an Armenian political party UNSD - Union for National Self-Determination and a supporter of Sardarapat Movement.

Sassoon Kosian, a Business Intelligence professional, spoke about his Facebook group called "Campaign Against Oligarchy". He is a strong advocate of boycotts as a means to pressure the oligarchs and potentially bring changes in the governing regime. Kosian has a Masters in Economics from Central European University, Masters in Political Science from the American University of Armenia, and a degree in Physics from Yerevan State University. He is also an artist."

Armenian Radio Hour (July 29, 2012): http://www.snkcreative.com/arnj/upload2/ainews072912.pdf
It was very fitting that Policy Forum Armenia (PFA) representatives were present at the aforementioned event in Washington. And what did our Captain Americas do at the meeting? Well, here, I'll allow one of the forum participants to explain -
Interview with Garo Yegnukian, Policy forum Armenia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1sNju3_9YQ&feature=em-share_video_user
Incidentally, PFA's silly idea about "alternative elections" in Armenia is actually a little clue as to where they got it from. There are workshops for political activists, of course funded by Western interests, that promote these types of subversives activities as a means of causing political unrest in targeted nations that are not subjugated by the Anglo-American-Zionist global order.

In fact, "alternative elections" is featured in a popular booklet authored by a man called Gene Sharp. The publication "From Dictatorship to Democracy" is basically a how-to instructional for Western-funded revolutionaries operating in targeted countries. The booklet is said to have been translated into thirty-one languages and is currently being used by Arab activists in various Middle Eastern countries. Western institutions basically use publications such as this to exploit the mental and psychological vulnerabilities of disgruntled/ignorant masses of the world who suffer, in one form or another, from ideal illusions.


From Dictatorship to Democracy to Ideal Illusion

Regardless of how beneficial or even necessary they may seem at first glance, any movement that has any form of Western-backing or is spearheaded by Western-led or inspired activists need to be categorically rejected by Armenians. For years I have been sounding the alarm that imperial interests in Washington have co-opted and weaponized sociopolitical issues and are currently exploiting them towards self-serving political gains. For years I have been warning my audience that accepting help, in any form, from Washington comes with dangerous conditions, conditions that Armenia simply put cannot meet. Since Armenians have a genetic disposition against listening to or taking advice from fellow Armenians, I will resort to asking you to refer to the work of an American regarding this topic -

Ideal Illusions: How the U.S. Government Co-opted Human Rights

http://wondersofpakistan.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/storyimages_1300906851_war.jpg
"Devastating and deeply disturbing, this book lays bare any lingering illusions that human rights concerns seriously influence U.S. policy."—Andrew J. Bacevich, author of Washington Rules

The United States has long been hailed as a powerful force for global human rights. Now, drawing on thousands of documents from the CIA, the National Security Council, the Pentagon, and development agencies, James Peck shows in blunt detail how Washington has shaped human rights into a potent ideological weapon for purposes having little to do with rights—and everything to do with furthering America's global reach. Using the words of Washington's leaders when they are speaking among themselves, Peck tracks the rise of human rights from its dismissal in the cold war years as "fuzzy minded" to its calculated adoption, after the Vietnam War, as a rationale for American foreign engagement. He considers such milestones as the fight for Soviet dissidents, Tiananmen Square, and today's war on terror, exposing in the process how the human rights movement has too often failed to challenge Washington's strategies. A gripping and elegant work of analysis, Ideal Illusions argues that the movement must break free from Washington if it is to develop a truly uncompromising critique of power in all its forms.

Yes, many Hollywood-struck Armenians these days are indeed suffering from ideal illusions. These Armenians are the cannon-fodder Washington exploits against Armenia. Now, to place the enlightening book featured above into a better, more complete perspective, juxtaposed its message with the following book titled "From Dictatorship to Democracy". Unlike the previous book's author, this particular book was written by an American with a Western/Globalist political agenda. Unlike the previous book's intent, this work by Gene Sharp is essentially meant to be a step-by-step blueprint for revolution and its primary target (i.e. those it is trying to bait) is the self-destructive peasantry available in abundant numbers in all developing societies these days -
 
From Dictatorship to Democracy

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ejQzJluRL._SL500_SS500_.jpg
From Dictatorship to Democracy was a pamphlet, printed and distributed by Dr Gene Sharp and based on his study, over a period of forty years, on non-violent methods of demonstration. Now in its fourth edition, it was originally handed out by the Albert Einstein Institution, and although never actively promoted, to date it has been translated into thirty-one languages. This astonishing book travelled as a photocopied pamphlet from Burma to Indonesia, Serbia and most recently Egypt, Tunisia and Syria, with dissent in China also reported. Surreptitiously handed out amongst youth uprisings the world over - how the 'how-to' guide came about and its role in the recent Arab uprisings is an extraordinary tale. Once read you'll find yourself urging others to read it and indeed want to gift it.

When Western NGOs gather their diverse operatives to form networks and workshops and make global connections during their annual conventions, these are the types of publications they disseminate and this is the kind of inspiration at work behind their actions. We must for once recognize that virtually every single societal matter today - be it Islamic militancy or gay rights or planned parenthood or nature protection - is ultimately being financed, controlled and/or exploited by Western imperial interests.

As the first book courageously suggests, however, sociopolitical movements of the world today must first break free of Washington's control if they are to be safely embraced by developing societies.


As long as movements are led, financed or inspired by imperial powers, true Armenian patriots will continue supporting even the nastiest of Armenia's oligarchs instead of Armenia's "civil society advocates". In other words, politically responsible Armenians will stick with the devil they know, and they will enthusiastically continue providing Moscow with an unhindered access to the south Caucasus via Armenia. I recognize that by reluctantly supporting the current system of government in Armenia as the lesser of all evils, we may be slowing Armenia's forward momentum. In the big picture, however, it is much better for Armenia to stagnate than to fall victim to the Anglo-American-Zionist global order and their Turkic and Islamic allies.  


Therefore, it could be argued that the political West - and not the "Nemets Rubos" of Armenia - is retarding Armenia's development.

I reiterate: Any organization and any individual that is in any way connected to Washington needs to be rejected by Armenians because whether these organizations or individuals realize it or not, due to their affiliations with imperial powers in the West, their actions pose a serious long-term security risk to the embattled Armenian state in the much contested and ever volatile Caucasus.

Back in the USSR?

Sociopolitical matters are not the only things being covered by Western activists, geopolitical/geostrategic matters are also being overseen by them. And an example of this is former Armenian ambassador to Canada Ara Papyan.

According to a recent statement attributed to him, apparently former ambassador Ara Papyan thinks that our small, poor, remote, landlocked and blockaded homeland surrounded by hostile nations in the Caucasus does not need to join the Eurasian Union... Why? Because the Moscow-led union in question promises to be, according to him, WORST than the Soviet Union?! What the fxxx?! 

Is this overgrown clown joking, or is he taking his political lessons from agents Richard Giragosian, Raffi Hovanissian and Paruyr Hayrikian?! What Armenia "does not need" is the kind of destructive/suicidal/absurd attitudes expressed by Ara Papyan with regards to crucially important geostrategic matters. It's actually funny how Vladimir Putin's proposed economic block is forcing all of Armenia's Western-oriented vermin to crawl out of their holes and make scary noises. Ever since the economic pact was proposed by Moscow, Armenia's Western operatives have taken turns fearmongering about it - Armenia is going back to the USSR!!! The following blog post is about Putin's brilliant economic plan for the post Soviet space -
I had recently been saying that this Ara Papyan character is one of our many Western activists. It seems that his task is to basically make a living keeping us Armenians psychologically/emotionally attached to the political West by more-or-less preoccupying us with worthless paper documents pertaining to "Wilsonian Armenia". In other words, we are again being coaxed into chasing our tails and to keep hoping that the West will acknowledge our claims.

If this Ara Papyan character is not a charlatan making a comfortable living by misleading Armenians, then he must be just another one of our many politically ignorant/naive compatriots. But knowing the road he traveled to get to where he is today, I highly doubt that he is politically naive. Nevertheless, a word about legal paperwork Armenians continue to obsess over:

International law always takes a backseat to the old adage of "might makes right". International law always takes a backseat to realpolitik and geopolitical interests. International law is created by the strong to control the weak. Once you have the big guns and the big funds, you simply take what is yours and then you use "international law" to excuse your actions.
Once you have the big guns and the big funds, you simply configure international law to meet your needs. Nonetheless, for us Armenians, placing any hope on "international law" is as good as placing hope on the toothfairy. 


I'm sure that Ara Papyan, a grown man with extensive experiences in Russia and the West, realizes all this.

If Western Armenia is to ever be liberated, chances are that it will be a joint Russian-Armenian venture. The keys to Western Armenia is not found in some international law, it's not found in Brussels, it's not found in Washington, it's not found in the Armenian Diaspora... the keys to Western Armenia is found in Moscow and in Yerevan, and to a lesser extent in Tehran. Armenians need to wise-up, stop wasting their time and resources in an anti-Armenian vipers next like Washington and take the "Հայ Դատ" to the highest and most secretive offices of the Kremlin instead.

Back to Ara Papyan. When in a recent appearance in southern California he was addressing the concerns of a well-informed audience member, the shameless liar stated that it was not Russia but America that stopped Turks from invading Armenia back in 1993, according to him "with a single call". The following is the link to the event in question. Watch it from 4:00 min and listen to the political spin -
Ara Papian 3-March-2012 Glendale CA USA P2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhMlpHT8o_s
This big sack-of-shit wants us to believe that it has been the West - not Russia - that has been protecting Armenia from Turkish aggression. I was criticized every time I spoke negatively of Ara Papyan in the past. How could I talk negatively about someone that is trying to "liberate Western Armenia" - with a worthless piece of dilapidated paper nonetheless! Well, now, with the moment of truth getting nearer in Eurasia, I'm very glad Ara finally had to reveal his true face. 

In final analysis, Washington's men in Armenia are terrified that Armenia will join the Eurasian Union and as a result be immune to Western political manipulation and economic blackmail. They are afraid that Armenia will no longer be a staging ground for Western activists. As a result, they are all out in force and trying to scare the Armenian sheeple abut getting too close to Russia.

Incidentally, many of these people want to keep the Turkish-Armenian border closed at all costs (although Turkish goods keep freely pouring into Armenia via Georgia). Although I don't necessarily agree with keeping the Armenian-Turkish border shut, I do nevertheless understand their sentiment regarding this sensitive matter. But now, however, the same people that are working to keep Armenia's borders with Turkey closed also want Armenia closed to Russia!?

Are these people happy that Armenia is stagnating in its mountain prison? 

Do these EUrotic people realize that we don't have a land connection to the EU? Do these people really think that the EU is coming to the Caucasus? Do these people really think that the EU is going to last much longer? Do these people really think the EU is the answer to all of Armenia's problems? Have these people been watching events taking place in Greece and Spain? Do these people really think that Georgia is going to last much longer being a staging center for Western, Israeli and Turkish interests? Do we want Armenia opening up to Turkey or Russia? Isn't Russia our largest trading partner? Don't we have in Russia the largest and the most affluent Armenian diaspora? Isn't Russia our strategic ally? Isn't Russia our ONLY ally? Isn't Russia closer to us - geographically and culturally - than Europe or America? Doesn't Russia have a market that is ideal for Armenian products? Don't Russian officials see Armenia as a strategic asset? Haven't Western powers traditionally been in bed with our enemies?

Instead acting like a bunch of absolute morons, we Armenians need to be actively seeking ways to join Moscow's Eurasian Union.

Another individual making a living in Armenia serving Globalist institutions is a Syrian-Armenian character named Yeghya Nersesia. Yeghya has gotten a lot of press coverage recently by his heroic acts in the defense of Armenia's ecology. That's very nice, but as you shall see, there is a peculiar little problem in Yeghya's ecological priorities.

Besides poisoning the hearts and minds of Armenians with their consumer culture, animalistic pop entertainment and political fairytales about democracy (i.e. mass rule), Washington had also been poisoning Armenians and Armenia's ecology with their demonic bio-engineering. Through "aid" agencies such as USAID, the United States had been introducing genetically modified organisms/foods (GMOs) into Armenia since the 1990s. Yet not a single "environmental activist" in Armenia, including the always smiling, bearded and bald one from Syria, has addressed this very-very-very serious matter. Not a single Western-funded activist in Armenia has raised an issue about the horrific dangers of promoting biologically-engineered-organisms into Armenia via Western conduits. 

I wonder why.

These people are the same ones that have been predicting doom and gloom for Armenia ever since Russia began providing Armenians with employment opportunities in recent years, yet are dead silent about Washington providing tens-of-thousands of Armenian families with green cards since the early 1990s. 


What's going on here folks?

I will tell you wants going on. The so-called activism we have been seeing taking place in Armenia in recent years, regardless of its venue, is primarily geared/designed to undermine the Armenian state and not much else. In other words, it's politically driven. In the big picture, these Western-led vermin careless about genuine reform or progress, they merely want regime change in Yerevan (i.e. replacing Armenia's pro-Russian leadership with one that serves the Anglo-American-Zionist alliance and its Turkic Islamic friends). An Armenian academician actually lightly touched upon this point recently -
Armenia needs reforms, rather than leadership change: http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/news/131461/
As with Armenia's political activists and rights advocates, I'm sad to report that Armenia's nature preservation yahoos are also funded by Western institutions pushing a dangerous Globalist agenda in Armenia. We cannot make the naive mistake of falling victim to their humanitarian and environmentalist facades. Look at where these activists are being funded and organized from and you will discover the true/long term intentions of their activities in Armenia.

The fact remains that the number one danger to Armenia - and its ecology - starts at the US embassy in Yerevan. But I am glad to report that Yerevan has again followed the Bear's footsteps by beginning a process to ban GMOs. Thank you Russia and thank you President Sargsyan -
As you can plainly see, Armenia today is saturated by dangerous operatives, misleading activists and political idiots. I have learned much to my dismay that when it comes to political illiteracy Armenians will never cease to amaze me. One must search the deepest of Africa's jungles or travel to the remotes villages of the Arabian desert to find a tribe as politically ignorant as us Armenians. It must be genetic.

Their rhetoric is transparent

When viewed through the prism of geopolitics, the rhetoric of Washingtonian agents become painfully obvious. Behind their humanitarian speeches and patriotic fervor hides the cruel motives of an evil global hegemon.

Washington's ultimate problem with Yerevan isn't the lack of "democracy" in Armenia, but rather it's the lack of "America" in Armenia.  

Had Armenia's current regime been in-bed with Washington, they would have been the darlings of the south Caucasus alongside the Islamist Erdogan, the tyrant Aliyev and the dictator Saakashvili. Had Yerevan been one of Washington's many stomping grounds, however, Armenia would have been turned into Turkey's eastern most province once again, at least economically.

The politically naive amongst us simply need to understand that Armenia is a nuisance or an obstacle getting in the way of Western wishes in the Caucasus. Armenia has NO geostrategic value in the eyes of Western officials
.
But agent Giragosian of course wants you to believe otherwise -

As long as Armenia attempts to preserve its crucially important strategic alliance with the Russian Federation and in doing so empowers Moscow in the region, thereby hindering the flow of energy from the east to the west, I'm afraid there is nothing Yerevan can do that will be acceptable in the eyes of Washington and its servants throughout Armenian society. As a result, similar to what they have done in the Arab world, Washington will continue conditioning the minds of our self-destructive peasantry with the hopes that it can eventually use them against the Armenian state when the time is right. 

And we do not need to wait long because the next presidential elections in Armenia will be the right time for Washington to attempt to activate its assets throughout Armenian society. Therefore, we can expect Washington's media blitz against Armenia to increase in intensity and frequency as election time nears. Just monitor the rhetoric of their news organizations and the actions of their activists amongst us. Look for them to champion anything and everything under the sun in an effort to cause political unrest in the embattled republic - all in the name of truth, justice and, of course, the America way.

Syrian bloodshed is a blessing in disguise

The bloody carnage in Syria may prove to be a blessing in disguise because that affront against Damascus by Western powers and their Turkic/Islamic allies has served as a serious wake-up call to many Armenians around the world. Washington's destructive aggression is now being felt firsthand by Armenians of the Levant. I remain hopeful that the recent crimes against humanity in places such as Libya and Syria by the forces of "freedom and democracy" will finally awaken our gullible people and help them see the political West for what it really is.
 

For security reasons, Yerevan needs to curtail its ties to Washington.

At the end of the day, the United States is not a trade partner for Armenia. Washington has not invested into Armenia's national infrastructure. Washington does not genuinely care about democracy or human rights in Armenia. More importantly, American officials are comfortably in-bed with Armenia's regional enemies. Moreover, taking money from Washington-based organizations/institutions comes with many strings attached. In this day in age, especially for a vulnerable and dependent nation like Armenia, maintaining close political or financial relations with Washington is a very dangerous game for Armenian officials to play.

In fact, the only thing Washington has been good for in Armenia is gay parades, genetically altered foods, Vagina monologues, Azeri film festivals, Turkish-Armenian reconciliation committees and color revolutions.
And with regards to Turkish-Armenian reconciliation, Washington has recently been pushing for Yerevan to simply be satisfied with an apology from Ankara and to just forget about land or money reparations - 
Ömer Taşpınar talks about Armenian-Turkish reconsiliation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0AN88AtsqMs
With friends like American officials, Armenia does not need enemies. Yet, despite Washington's egregious crimes against humanity and the direct threat its regional policies poses to the health and well-being of the Armenian state, many Armenians today enthusiastically continue carrying-out the empire's commands. Reminiscent of Arabs, some Armenians are reveling in self-destructive behavior once again, some blindly and some treacherously. If not enough of us begin addressing this pressing matter, things will surely get out-of-control.

At this volatile time in history when we Armenians need to be rallying around our newly formed nation-state, at a time when the south Caucasus is facing a major international war, Washington has our nation's many "democracy now" idiots preparing for a war against Armenia instead. 


Speaking of those who are courageously preparing to battle their state, the following is a troubling case of a well known "human rights" advocate exploiting the tragic deaths of Armenian soldiers to carry-out some propaganda work for the West and for Azerbaijan -
Armenian “civil defenders” as weapon of Azeri propaganda: http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/news/84550/
In the big picture, Washington is simply doing what it knows best how to do - manipulate and exploit the rejects, freaks, idiots and traitors of this world. Washington is in the business of not only engineering biology, they also the masters of engineering revolutions. Unfortunately, we Armenians seem to have a surplus of rejects, idiots and traitors for them to exploit. Therefore, when it comes to blaming, I primarily blame our own. Nevertheless, the following is a little insight from Russia's RT about how economic hardships and societal unrest can be exploited by Western intelligence assets -
Revolution Engineering: US know-how and 'colourful' technology: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0xlOeZ8Dr8&feature=plcp
Like I said, the West and their representatives in Yerevan have a fear of forever losing Armenia to Russia. Armenia, having institutionalized its military alliance with Russia may now be in the initial stages of institutionalizing its economic/financial ties with Russia as well. Once this occurs, Western machinations and blackmail wont work against Yerevan anymore. Remember that two of their most powerful levers of global control are finance and economy - that is what they use to reward certain nations and that is what they use to punish certain nations. Once they lose these two levers, all the other levers in their control, as well as their psychological grip over humanity, will eventually lose their effect.  

The problem is not corruption 

Despite its many flaws, real and perceived, the political system currently in place in Armenia needs to be preserved simply because the alternatives we see waiting on the political sidelines in Yerevan would prove disastrous for the fledgling republic. With the geopolitical stakes in the region much higher now, the political dangers Armenia currently faces are also much more severe than in the past. As a major storm gathers near the south Caucasus, Armenia's National Security Service (NSS) needs to keep a very close eye on the country's many Western-funded propaganda outlets and Western-led "rights advocates", "political activists", "environmentalists", "independent journalists" and "opposition politicians". And, equally important, Yerevan needs to keep as close to Moscow as possible.

For many years they have used their propaganda levers to condition our sheeple into believing that all of Armenia's sociopolitical and economic problems today are simply rooted in "corruption". In reality, however, Armenia's core problems are primarily rooted in its geopolitical and geographical situation, and to some extent rooted in Armenian culture/mindset itself. I must also add that the thing called corruption is a very natural human trait and all nations on earth suffer from it in varying degrees. In fact, the Western nations are rife with corruption, but unlike in other countries where law enforcement is weak, corruption in Western nations is strictly reserved for the Western elite.

Nevertheless, the "fight against corruption" or the pursuit of "democracy", "human rights" and "free and fair elections" are all red herrings, cleaver diversions from reality intended to grossly mislead our sheeple and make them perennially chase their tails as the Armenian state continues to stagnate in a very nasty and unforgiving geopolitical environment.  

As I have said in the past, even if Armenia's dreaded "oligarchs" turned into pretty little angels overnight, Armenia will continue suffering from severe socioeconomic and sociopolitical problems as long as Armenia remains small, remote, blockaded, landlocked and in an unstable geopolitical environment like the south Caucasus. 

Armenians seriously need to reprogram their thinking with regards to Armenia. Armenians need to begin looking at Armenia not in the terms of how many families are in need of food or money - but in terms of how to get the embattled nation freed of its mountainous prison.

There is simply no other way to fix Armenia's core problems today and for the foreseeable future. Yes, we must all demand change from Armenian officials with regards to domestic matters but we must also recognize that Armenia's only real long-term salvation lies in gaining a direct access to the Black Sea and/or establishing common borders with the Russian Federation. Joining the Eurasian Union is a very good alternative to the aforementioned

At the very least, however, Armenia needs a south Caucasus under Pax Russicana.

Nonetheless, in the coming months, monitor the rhetoric and actions of Washingtonian propaganda outlets inside Armenia. More importantly, be aware of their psychological operations (psy-ops), their effort to encourage Armenians to either abandon their homeland or to rise up against their leaders.
With the reemergence of a powerful Russia on the international stage, the geostrategic stakes in the Caucasus region have risen significantly in recent years. As a result, the Great Game in the region may intensify. The next few years will either make or break the West's destructive presence the Caucasus. Therefore, we can expect Washington to resort to all kinds measures to undermine Armenia's sovereignty and attempt to drive a wedge between Yerevan and Moscow.

In closing, as Armenia's Western-led parasites conspire against the Armenian state, I hope the Kremlin is reciprocating by planning a nasty counter-surprise of their own. Taking care of a few key individuals in Yerevan may send a clear message to our political peasantry that this is very serious business and that the stakes are very high. I understand that what I'm suggesting here is drastic, but taking a few people out of the political equation in Armenia may be the only way to cleanse the country of its corrosive foreign infection. What is currently happening to Vartan Oskanian is a good first step in this regard, but it cannot end there.

Therefore, if Armenia's politically illiterate peasantry takes the bait from their Western ringleaders and takes to the streets in the manner that they did on March 1, 2008, I expect to see Russian and Armenian counter-terrorism units to react mercilessly. Since I don't have much faith in Armenia's security forces alone to get the job done effectively, I want to see Russia's GRU in particular to perform the task of suppressing Armenia's parasites. Moscow has done it before, I want them to do it again. And when they do, I would hope they do a little more extensive housecleaning this time around. In other words, no more sweeping the dirt under the rug.

If Armenia is to have a shot at maintaining its sovereignty in a nasty neighborhood like the Caucasus, Armenia's many cancerous tumors need to be surgically removed regardless of how bloody the operation in question may be.


And if Armenians continue to constantly flirt with political disaster, I much rather we simply hand the house keys back to Moscow. I rather Armenia once again become a province of the Russian Federation (as Paruyr Hayrikian once put it in an interview "a filthy Russian province") than have her on her knees in front of the Anglo-American-Zionist order and their Turkic/Islamic allies. Until we cleanse our nation of its self-destructive (dare I say Asiatic) gene, I personally do not think the Armenian nation deserves full independence.

Arevordi
November, 2012

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The Revolution Has Begun

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It’s true. The Armenian revolution has begun. And I’m not even talking about the May 6 parliamentary election or its outcome. The revolution is being led by twenty and thirty year olds who are committed to bringing change. Everyone wants change. You’ve heard that before. This particular situation is revolutionary because these young people – the independence generation – has understood that change for change’s sake, is insufficient. It must be legal and institutional to be fair and long-lasting.
 
They demonstrated that they understand this when the President of the Republic appeared at Mashtots Park, just days before the election, and within a quarter of an hour, gave the environmental activists what they wanted. He told the Mayor to remove the structures from the center of the green space that were to become retail stores.
 
That’s when the revolution began. Although the activists considered the outcome good, they distinguished between outcome and process and publicly invited those who govern the country to bring legitimacy and transparency to the decision-making process. I’m sure all those who made the last-minute decision to go ‘put an end to the young people’s demands’ were surprised by the thoughtful, strategic, politically mature response.
 
That’s the revolution. It’s a revolution in thinking. The election on May 6 can be Chapter 2 in the revolution. Will everyone involved – the powers that be as well as those seeking power – will they trust the people to make their decision? Will they let the numbers stand? Will these be the elections that begin to allow trust between voters and their representatives?
 
These are the questions that CivilNet.am staff and guests will be answering throughout the day and evening of May 6 – in Armenian and in English. Watch the reports, post questions, comments, thoughts – we’ll be referring to those as well. And, in the week following the election, on Thursday May 10, Civilitas will hold the fifth weekly election debate. The guests will be representatives of the nine parties running for office. The topic – Assessing the Election. Join us at the Ani Plaza Hotel at 2 pm. Don’t miss the day or the week. This is historic.

Source: info@civilitasfoundation.org

 A Defeatist Nation

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With the Armenian National Assembly elections slated for May 6, I am obliged to reflect upon the political situation of the last four years and contemplate where Armenia is headed. These elections will be the most important in this republic’s brief history as a test for the functioning of democracy, yet most people don’t realize it. Nearly everyone has told me the same thing: The laws don’t work or there are no laws, and the judicial system is corrupted. They are desperate, hopeless, and dwell in a self-imposed realm of defeatism, each playing the role of the eternal victim.

Whenever I meet someone for the first time in Armenia, a minute doesn’t pass before politics comes up. For the last seven or eight years, I have heard countless people express their disgust in the Armenian government and authorities, that the country is not a country, there is no justice, the oligarchs do whatever they want and take advantage, and so forth. Indeed, not once have I met anyone who has told me that they approve of the regime in power—either backed (in Robert Kocharian’s case) or fully controlled by the Republican Party (along with its coalition partner parties).

They expect governmental reform without having to work for it, as if the authorities will one day magically realize that they should no longer lie to and cheat their citizens. They want justice and good governance, but no one can agree on how it will be achieved or who will lead that reform movement. Meanwhile, the Armenian Diaspora remains silent, continuing to turn a blind eye to the lack of democracy and governmental irresponsibility.

Given the negative mindset in the motherland, one should come to the logical conclusion that the Republican Party will win less votes than it has in the past—despite election fraud that is bound to occur—making way for a new National Assembly controlled by a union of parties, albeit fragile, that have been in opposition. This ideal union would likely be comprised of the Armenian National Congress, ARF-Dashnaktsutyun, the Heritage Party, and Free Democrats alliance, and the Prosperous Armenia Party, which has been keen to distance itself from the authorities in recent weeks, although it refuses to officially break away from the pro-government coalition. This fresh National Assembly will also signal a new era in government, one where the demands of the people will conceivably be met and, as Raffi Hovannisian put it in his interview with me, emigration is reversed so that a wave of immigration displaces it. Nevertheless, the Republican Party’s notorious pre-election terror campaign of intimidation and harassment that has already been unleashed is bound to coerce many voters to cast ballots in their favor. The authorities are also counting on disenchanted citizens to sell them their votes for 20 bucks apiece.

The issues plaguing Armenia are too numerous to list. But the most relevant points to tackle, in random order, are the following: a reformed, competent, and properly trained police force; an independent judicial system; a substantial increase in funding for social services, including doubling the minimum wage and pensions (which all contending opposition parties are pushing); the renovation of schools and hospitals nationwide, starting with the most remote areas first; the reconstruction of roads and infrastructure, again with the most remote villages a priority; encouragement for civil society to flourish; the break up of the trade monopolies, especially on staple foodstuffs, to promote competition in the marketplace; incentives for small- and medium-sized business ventures to start up; a four-fold increase in efforts to encourage foreign investment in the thriving Armenian IT sector; additional investments in the tourism industry; and the immediate cancellation of long-term environmentally devastating mining projects that would only benefit foreign investors (the local economy would not be positively affected by any means). The list can go on and on, but tacking the aforementioned issues is a good start to getting things on track in Armenia and reversing the trends of narcissism and greed that have been strangling this country for far too long.

Some argue that it will take decades and several generations to pass before the aforementioned issues even begin to be properly addressed. Unfortunately, we don’t have that long to wait. It’s been nearly 21 years since Armenia declared independence, and most citizens are no better off than they were then. Unofficial population estimates in Armenia are between 2-2.5 million. Entire villages have picked up and moved to remote parts of Russia where they have been provided housing and employment as part of a rural colonization scheme. The talented, technology-savvy youth are leaving for the U.S., Canada, and elsewhere (I personally know five software engineers who have emigrated during the last three years). And Artsakh is continuously being emptied of its populace: Only around 2,700 people are left in Shushi alone.

The new wealth and economic growth that is noticeable to foreigners and Armenians from the Diaspora is concentrated in central Yerevan—it is a mirage, a smokescreen obscuring what things are really like here. The sooner the diaspora comprehends this and puts pressure on the Armenian government to get its act together, the more secure and, yes, entrepreneurial Armenian citizens will become. But that reshaping cannot happen on its own. It needs stimulus. It requires motivation and dedicated hard work. It is dependent upon foresight and ingenuity. And it has to start right now.

Source: http://asbarez.com/102724/a-defeatist-nation/

Breaking the Grip of the Oligarchs

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How a tragic twist of fate is fueling a revolt against Armenia’s overweening tycoons

The public outrage was unprecedented. It isn't uncommon for the employees of business tycoons to engage in violence. But this was the first time that someone like Avetyan -- a married father of two whose job involved caring for Armenia's highly respected armed forces -- had inadvertently felt their wrath, and paid for it with his life.

The death of Avetyan at the hands of bodyguards employed by Hayrapetyan has become a catalyzing event. Shocked Armenians mobilized in large numbers throughout the summer. The frustrations with a culture of bodyguards whose brutish behavior had become notoriously violent over the years spilled onto the streets and social networks. Legislation to regulate the private use of bodyguards has been introduced in parliament: The draft law stipulates that private security personnel will be required to don uniforms, to apply for weapons permits, and to register their weapons with law enforcement.

The ongoing trial of those involved in Avetyan's murder has opened a window onto the excesses of a tiny ruling class that until now has felt largely untouched by the law. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Armenians -- like many other inhabitants of the old USSR -- have watched as the lion's share of the country's wealth has fallen under the control of a privileged elite. The leading Armenian oligarchs, a group numbering around 40, dominate industries ranging from banking to mining, and that economic edge has translated into privileged political status as well. Just as in Russia and Ukraine, tycoons here have parlayed their wealth into public office -- to an extent that it's often hard to tell where business ends and politics begins.

Though political apathy is widespread in Armenia, the Avetyan case has fueled resentment and anger towards the men who have accumulated vast wealth and influence while much of the country's population remains in dire poverty. But now, thanks to the criminal case surrounding the death of the army doctor, something seems to be changing. After months of public pressure, Hayrapetyan finally submitted his resignation from the legislature in early September, ending his foray into politics. Six of his bodyguards have been arrested in connection with the murder.

After two postponements, the trial formally got underway last month. The defendants, who initially faced lesser charges, have been formally accused on three counts of assault that could result in lengthier prison sentences than the five to ten years of imprisonment they previously faced. Hayrapetyan, known by the nickname "Nemets Rubo," has repeatedly denied responsibility for the actions of his employees. Calls for Hayrapetyan to face trial in the case have gone nowhere.

Armenia's search for stability and democracy since the collapse of the Soviet Union has been difficult. The country achieved its independence just three years after a 1988 earthquake that left upwards of 25,000 dead. No sooner had Armenians embarked upon statehood than they found themselves locked in a debilitating war with neighboring Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. That war resulted in the closing of the country's borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey, cutting Armenia off from normal trade. These straitened circumstances brought hardship to most Armenians, but to those sufficiently ruthless and well-connected to take advantage, the war economy meant a path toward instant riches. It was then that many of today's tycoons began to build their fortunes.

The culture of oligarch immunity is certainly nothing new. The Avetyan murder has struck a sensitive chord owing to its chilling resemblance to the 2001 incident in which a bodyguard of then-President Robert Kocharyan attacked and killed a man in a bathroom for making a disrespectful remark to the leader. But even then, most Armenians -- whether too apathetic, too scared, or too willing to emigrate -- refrained from mounting an open challenge to the tycoon establishment.

Now, in dramatic contrast, broad swathes of society have shown the will to stand up and resist. In the months following Avetyan's murder, the anti-oligarch protests began to attract attendance from regular citizens who are rarely seen at demonstrations. A candlelight vigil honoring the late doctor saw over 600 people surround the restaurant, which has come to symbolize the broad web of impunity shared by Armenia's tycoons. Police cordoned off the restaurant and clashed with protestors, breaking up demonstrations by force. "I only had one bruise, but some people were beaten," said Tsovinar Nazaryan, an activist and journalist who attended the rally.

But the demonstrators kept coming back. They marched to the Prosecutor's General Office after Avetyan's funeral, chanting "Nemets is a murderer" and "I am Vahe Avetyan." Then a montage of video clips from two press conferences Hayrapetyan gave last year surfaced on YouTube (with English subtitles), showing the tycoon threatening reporters, claiming responsibility for beatings, and confessing to tampering with ballots in an election. "I wouldn't advise people to try to punish me," he says at one point in the video. "Whoever tried it, something terrible happened to them."

Anti-oligarch activism spread outside the country's borders, where the far-flung Armenian diaspora held protests in front of consulates. Online petitions were organized. Street art around the capital demanded that Hayrapetyan be tried in court.

"Many people are sick and tired of their power," said activist Nazaryan. "You can see how violent they are, in their business, in their everyday actions. They're violent to our journalists. They're really dangerous. They don't care. They know they won't be punished, and this is the problem."

This latest series of events represents the first small challenges to the seemingly impregnable edifice of oligarch power that has dominated this country since the collapse of the USSR. Functioning like early twentieth-century robber barons, Armenia's tycoons prefer to be called "businessmen" (though most Armenians tend to refer to them with cartoonish nicknames). The oligarchs drive fleets of flashy vehicles; their Hummers and Rolls Royce's are fitted with custom license plate numbers to simultaneously identify their families and close associates and deter harassment from traffic police.

Their ostentatious mansions multiply, and their business assets grow as they hold the Armenian economy hostage by eliminating competitive markets for everything from mineral water and asphalt to soft drinks. The economic elite flex their power in the political sphere despite a constitutional ban on members of parliament being involved in owning or running businesses. The political parties that have dominated recent elections in the country are closely associated with leading oligarchs who enjoy parliamentary immunity and remain virtually untouchable. According to a recent report by the International Crisis Group, for example, the ruling Republican Party had two dozen wealthy businessmen elected to the ranks of parliament in 2007. The same report notes that oligarchs routinely use their charitable foundations to sponsor concerts or hand out free potatoes in order to secure voter support, though the businessmen deny using charity for the purposes of political leverage.

Take Samvel "Lfik Samo" Aleksanyan, a millionaire with strong ties to the government. A 2003 U.S. State Department cable referred to him as a "semi-criminal" oligarch who "maintains an army of bodyguards" and controls the import of sugar, wheat, and butter into the country.

Dubbed "the Sugar Baron" in local media, Aleksanyan's domination of the industry and ownership in a chain of supermarkets has created the conditions for a series of sugar crises in which prices unpredictably skyrocket. Aleksanyan recently bought and partially destroyed the famed, almost century-old bazaar-style indoor market and national treasure, "Pak Shuka," amid widespread speculation that he intends to turn it into part of his supermarket empire.

Other oligarchs play prominent roles in the lucrative mining industry. Armenia is rich in molybdenum and gold, and that has led to considerable competition among the oligarchs to grab their shares of the resulting profits. National Assembly Chairman Hovik Abrahamyan and member of parliament Tigran Arzakantsyan are both shareholders in one leading mining company. One of the most prominent tycoons linked with mining is former Minister of Environmental Protection Vardan Ayvazyan, who was in charge of regulating large parts of the industry during his stint in government. In September, a U.S. court ordered Ayvazyan to pay $37.5 million in damages to a U.S. mining company that accuses him of corruption relating to his own business interest in the sector. (Ayvazyan has denied all the allegations and rejects the American court's jurisdiction over him.)

Oligarchs are also accused of tampering with elections. Armenian elections have long been plagued by irregularities, reportedly ranging from intimidation to ballot stuffing. Garo Yegnukian, an executive board member at Policy Forum Armenia, a U.S.-based think tank, says that oligarchs play an outsized role in elections: "They're the ones who distribute election bribes, who intimidate, who break people's knees, if they have to."

A U.S. embassy cable leaked in 2009 described business elites as "deeply intertwined with political power and vice versa," each having an incentive to preserve the status quo out of the fear that a regime change could mean an economic redistribution at the "expense of today's oligarchs."

Reports have linked oligarchs to assaults and murders. But their activities have other pernicious effects as well. The International Crisis Group report pinpointed oligarch benefits from tax and customs advantages as a reason why the government collects only about 19.3 percent of GDP in taxes, compared to a 40 percent average in the European Union. A 2007 International Monetary Fund study reflected this, arguing that despite double digit growth since the beginning of the millennium, Armenia's tax to GDP ratio remains very low.

Prime Minister Tigran Sarsgyan who has previously criticized several ministries within the government for corruption, recently announced that he will head an anti-corruption council, and extended a rare invitation to opposition parties to participate.

"We are not satisfied with the state of the fight against corruption," Sargsyan said, according to local press reports. But graft in Armenia doesn't seem to have seen any significant decline. Over the last five years, Armenia has sharply fallen on Transparency International's Corruption Index for Armenia by 30 places, from a ranking of 99 in 2007 to 129 in 2011.

Analysts predict that the path to economic success in Armenia means eliminating monopolies and minimizing the interference of oligarchs in policymaking; poverty and a high emigration rate (some 70,000 people leave the country every year) compound the problem. As the fallout from the death of an innocent army doctor continues, the Armenian government faces critical choices when it comes to its future and how it chooses to act, if at all, toward those enjoying immunity from the law. But it's clear that, even in the best of cases, reducing the power of the country's tycoons will be a long and arduous process.

Source: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/11/05/breaking_the_grip_of_the_oligarchs?page=full

Winds of Change

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Many thought this could never happen. Yet we all WANTED this to happen. The winds of change are finally blowing in Armenia. The pre-independence years and the initial following years saw an Armenian people energized by statehood, excited by independence, and full of hope for a better future. And a lot was achieved, including winning a war against all odds. Anyone who had the opportunity of visiting Armenia in those early days of independence will remember that despite very dire economic conditions, there was “something” in the air, there was energy, hope, and excitement. Unfortunately, the picture has changed since. The colors have faded. Despair has replaced hope. 

Our record in recent years is less than satisfactory when it comes to governance, transparency, democracy, environment, equal opportunity, and civic rights. These concerns, along with an exponential growth of corruption, and the lack of hope for change are the main causes for an unprecedented number of Armenians leaving their ancestral land, emigrating mainly to Russia, the Americas and Western Europe for a better life. If it continues at this rate, this hemorrhage will potentially pose an existential question for Armenia because demographics are such a fundamental sine qua non factor of statehood. 

Even Azerbaijan president Ilham Aliyev alluded recently to this catastrophe, as reported by Naira Hayrumian in Lragir.am.  Armenia is losing its citizens to emigration to the tune of over 100,000/year! However, alongside this bleak picture, there seems to emerge a new glimmer of hope. We are witnessing the birth of a call for a “New Order”. A significant number of Armenian citizens from all walks of life are starting to voice their refusal of the status quo.  

Several grass-root movements are emerging to reclaim their hope, their dignity, and their national and individual aspirations. Ecological, cultural, heritage, political reform (e.g. the Sardarapat Movement), civic rights, several groups are getting organized at the grass-root level with the stated objective of creating a more equitable, more harmonious, and more transparent society. These various groups, also known as “activists”, or “civic rights movements” have been registering small victories, one small battle at a time. Their most recent success stories include the salvaging of the Trchkan waterfall from the construction of a power plant at that site, the preservation of green space in downtown Yerevan known as Mashtots purak, and the resignation of Member of Parliament Ruben Hairapetyan following the murder of an innocent man, Vahe Avetyan, in Hairapetyan's Harsnakar restaurant. 

Likewise, their sustained efforts have succeeded in creating a high-profile media exposure for the plight of the Teghout wild forest and surrounding villages facing extinction because of a proposed mega copper-mining project. The audience of these "civic movements “ is growing steadily, and their voices are getting louder. Their collective actions have the potential of initiating a real metamorphosis of the Armenian psyche, and possibly nothing short of a real Renaissance of the Armenian society. These collective concerns, as well as the emerging new voices with their accompanying hopes and demands of a civil society, belong to the whole Armenian Nation, in the Diaspora as well as in Armenia and Artsakh. 

If we truly believe in the “One Nation” concept, we cannot stay on the sidelines of these proposed reforms. While it is true that change can occur only from within (Armenia), it is also true that the Diaspora can play a crucial role in the search for more transparency, justice, and accountability. This is the time for the Diaspora to stand-up with our people, this is the time for the Diaspora to reflect and return to the very fundamentals that guided the creation of all our political parties, churches, benevolent groups, and other institutions. 

This is the time to refrain from political manoeuvering, influence-peddling and power struggles that have misdirected our Diaspora’s actions in recent years, thus becoming part of the problem. This is the time to think of new and more principled strategies to try and become part of the solution. This is the time to stop playing “small p” politics and to defend the principles for which all our institutions were created. As much as these civic movements need the Diaspora, the Diaspora equally needs this metamorphosis. It is a symbiotic relationship. 

The Diaspora can only benefit. It will be re-energized and will become stronger, and certainly more credible as it embraces more transparency, more accountability, and more principle-guided policies. The alternative to this path can only lead to dire consequences for the Armenian Nation, within Armenia, and in the Diaspora. This is the time to heed the call of the People. This is the time to stand on the right side of history. The winds of change may not blow again soon if we miss this opportunity.

Source: http://www.lragir.am/index.php/eng/0/society/view/27964

Lists of Agents

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From time to time our media raise the issue of lustration of the Soviet KGB agents. A lot of former socialist republics, the Baltic states have resolved this issue. Let us say nothing about Russia where the government has been invaded by the KGB but in Armenia, Azerbaijan and other countries the proposal to disclose those lists has been consistently refused. Lustration has not led to disasters in any country where it was carried out but the fact did not affect us either. November 5 is the Intelligence Day. In a TV report Armen Martirosyan of the Heritage Party was for lustration, Gurgen Yeghiazaryan of the ANC, the deputy head of the National Security Service in the 1990s, was against.

The opponents of disclosure of agents usually refer to two things: a. Lustration will split the society, a lot of people will be disappointed with their ancestors, b. The network of agents is one of the pillars of the state security and intelligence.

First, let us introduce a correction – let us avoid misinterpretation. Lustration is not meant for the COUNTERintelligence, the network of the Soviet agents abroad but those who cooperated with the KGB (State Security Committee). In the USSR the KGB was something like a political police and the agents reported what negative things their neighbors, colleagues, FRIENDS said about the government, what kinds of JOKES they told. For this they received money, positions, goods which were to be given to others by the defined rules of fair distribution of those times. Now tell me why the names of those people should not be declassified.

Why should their heirs not know how their ancestors ensured their wellbeing? Why should they not know that it is bad, it is not advisable to do, it is condemned by the society and the state? The most realistic scenario is that the “agents” taught their children and grandchildren act as they acted, isn’t it? 

As to state or national security, they only did harm because they betrayed independent people with an independent, critical mind who are the pillars of the civil society, the system of values of the civilization. By the way, the victory in Artsakh war has been successfully privatized, and the boasting mob that evokes it from time to time should also evoke that the first volunteers and commanders of squads were targeted by the KGB. Tolerance to informers is one of the causes of today’s plight. Electoral fraud, vote buying, corruption has affected all the spheres, taxes which somehow get to the state budget are later robbed through kickbacks.

In the meantime, the number of members of ruling parties keeps growing. People who join parties know what is happening but they nevertheless join because THEY WILL GET MONEY, POSITIONS, GOODS for that or at least guarantees for their personal security. Those who are greedier than others attack people with an independent, critical mind, who are the pillars of the civil society, the system of values of the civilization, and will be at the front line… And God forbid war starts tomorrow. 

Finally, what is the reason for not publishing the names of agents of the Soviet years if the lists of agents are known? Those are the lists of the ruling party (parties). The number of members of the Republican Party is several hundreds of thousands, to say nothing of the Rule of Law Party which adds another one hundred thousand. And the other parties which formed government when it was clear that the system is fully contaminated – hundreds of thousands. This is not a comforting picture but over one million has not “joined” despite pressure. From the Soviet years through our days everyone undergoes the trial of becoming an “agent”, of being recruited. There is nobody or there are extremely few people who have ever recoiled before the threat or temptation (including me). It is important not to justify but condemn oneself for what happened. 

In our country fight is going on between the government and the society. And everyone must remember and understand what an “agent” means. And refuse participation. And refuse this institution.

Source: http://www.lragir.am/index.php/eng/0/society/view/27973

Was Armenia’s Parliamentary Election A Step Backward?

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Over the past year, Armenia’s President Serzh Sarkisian repeatedly affirmed that he was intent on ensuring that the May 6 parliamentary ballot would be the most democratic in Armenia’s post-Soviet history. Armenia’s foreign partners wholeheartedly supported that intention. U.S. Ambassador John Heffern told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service last fall that Washington was working with Yerevan to ensure that the 2012 parliamentary ballot and the presidential election in 2013 would be "the best elections ever and fully consistent with international standards."

The May 6 parliamentary ballot failed, however, to measure up to those expectations. Indeed, in two key respects it appears to have been more seriously flawed than the previous parliamentary election in 2007. True, all eight parties and one bloc that sought to register succeeded in doing so, and were able to campaign freely. But, as the International Election Observation Mission (IEOM) noted in a press release on May 7, pressure on voters by local officials from Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) and election commissions’ dismissal of many appeals and complaints "created an unequal playing field."

There were numerous reports of vote-buying by the HHK. Purportedly charitable activities by its coalition partner Prosperous Armenia (BH), including the distribution of some 500 tractors in rural areas by a company owned by BH chairman Gagik Tsarukian, were seen by international election monitors as incompatible with the new electoral code.

Inaccurate Electoral Rolls

In addition, continued problems arising from inaccurate electoral rolls compounded voters' lack of trust in the fairness of the election process. On behalf of the Inter-Party Center for Public Oversight of the Elections established by BH, the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (HHD), 28 members of the outgoing parliament appealed late last month to Armenia’s Constitutional Court to lift the ban on publishing lists after the elections of those voters who cast ballots.
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Numerous procedural violations and glitches were reported on polling-day, including overcrowding at polling stations and what one international monitor described as "less than productive" attempts by domestic observers or proxies from the various opposition parties to assume duties that are the prerogative of precinct commission personnel.

At one polling station in Kotayk province, a precinct official invalidated ballot papers filled out by persons he suspected of voting for a party other than the HHK by placing them in the wrong ballot box. (Each voter was required to complete one ballot paper for the majoritarian candidate in his constituency and one for the nationwide party-list vote. They were to be deposited in separate ballot boxes.)

Disappearing Ink

The most publicized and potentially the most damaging glitch was the use of ink that faded within minutes to mark voters' passports to preclude multiple voting; it was supposed to disappear only after 12 hours. (Polling stations were open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.). Central Election Commission Chairman Tigran Mukuchian's explanation that the ink faded only because the bottle had not been shaken vigorously before use was immediately shown to be spurious.

These problems with marking passports led the Inter-Party Center for Public Oversight of the Elections to release a statement while voting was still going on; saying that the legality of the poll was under threat. The preliminary assessment by the IEOM was equivocal. It acknowledged the "open and peaceful campaign," but added that "several stakeholders" failed to comply with the revamped election law. Specifically, it noted "organizational problems, undue interference in the process and cases of significant violations … in a significant number of polling stations visited."

Observers from the IEOM visited almost 1,000 polling stations in the course of the day, and gave a negative assessment of the voting that took place at 10 percent of them. By contrast, in 2007, the IEOM described voting as "good or very good" at 94 percent of polling stations visited. The vote count too was also assessed negatively this time in "almost one fifth" of the 102 polling stations where observers were present, compared with 17 percent in 2007.

Positive Spin

HHK spokesman Eduard Sharmazanov sought to put a positive spin on the observers' evaluation. He told RFE/RL's Armenian Service that the negative assessment of the voting in 10 percent of the polling stations visited means that the vote was "flawless" in 90 percent of the 1,982 polling stations. Preliminary results of the vote suggest that the HHK has increased its share of the parliament mandates, even though the three coalition members had signed a formal pledge in February 2011 not to seek to do so at each others' expense.

The HHK had 62 of the 131 mandates in the outgoing parliament. It has reportedly won in 32 of the 41 single-mandate constituencies, in addition to garnering 44.05 percent of the proportional vote. That translates into at least 40 of the 90 mandates allocated under the party-list system, giving a total of at least 72. BH, which has 22 mandates in the outgoing parliament, is in second place with 30 percent of the proportional vote plus seven single-mandate constituencies.

The opposition HAK polled 7.07 percent of the proportional vote, winning parliamentary representation for the first time. The opposition Heritage party garnered 5.75 percent; the HHD received 5.69 percent; and the Law-Based State part, the third member of the ruling coalition, got 5.49 percent. All three were represented in the outgoing parliament. The Communist Party of Armenia, the Democratic Party of Armenia and the United Armenians Party failed to get the minimum 5 percent of the proportional vote to qualify for parliamentary representation.

Voter turnout was measured at 62.2 percent, 10 percent higher than in 2007. The Inter-Party Center for Public Oversight of the Elections has still not commented on the election outcome, possibly because the Central Election Commission has not yet made public the final results. But senior HAK member Levon Zurabian branded the ballot "disgraceful," accusing the authorities of "resorting to the full range of falsifications" to remain in power.

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/armenia_elections_step_backward/24574517.html

After May 6, is a presidential election redundant?

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The Republican Party of Armenia has walked away with the country after yesterday, apparently gaining 69 seats in the next National Assembly. RPA 69. Everybody Else 62. It is a stunning development, coming about per a turnout of 62 percent of voters. The conclusion defies real-world pattern. Following five years of economic decline, the Armenian public turned out en masse to re-elect leadership that didn’t manage to progress beyond survival, while from Britain’s Gordon Brown to France’s Nicolas Sarkozy, heads are being lopped in other elections on the world-economic-crisis landscape.

Why? What makes Armenia different? The effectiveness of widespread vote-buying may be one answer. The absence of believable alternatives to the current regime may be another. How this happened will be dissected by scientists in coming May 6 postmortems. The effect of what has happened will become clear in the gestation period for next winter’s presidential campaign, which begins now.RPA no longer needs a coalition. Not even, as a former Minister of Foreign Affairs and current sidekick to Prosperous Armenia Party boss Gagik Tsurakyan says is “one of a formal nature”.

If RPA was obliged to play well with others in the tinder-box aftermath of Armenia’s 2008 election, the party now owns the playground, the toys and the lock to the gates. The party of President Serzh Sargsyan owns the portfolio on every ministerial position, and with what is likely to be a 3-over-majority grip on the National Assembly, why would other parties even bother to show up to vote on any act of legislature the Prime Minister would bring to the floor?If what existed before Sunday of anti-RPA sentiment could have been called “opposition” it can now simply and finally be defined as irrelevant. Its leader, Levon Ter-Petrosyan, went from being the voice crying in the wilderness, to being the tree that fell in the forest and nobody heard it. Ter-Petrosyan’s 14-party bloc, the ANC, barely made it onto the upcoming parliament roster. It gained seven percent of the vote. Half a percent per party – 10 times per party weaker than Heritage, whose leader Ter-Petrosyan dissed as being mis-directed a year ago.

Going into Sunday, it was widely believed that this would be a vote in which PAP would cut into RPA's dominance. Rather, just the opposite has happened and now, what do you do if you are Tsarukyan? Even the strongest man in Armenia – figuratively and, once, literally – has to know his place against a political machine that cannot be arm-wrestled into submission.And what of Tsarukyan’s political godfather, former president Robert Kocharyan? He emerged in a rare interview a few days before the election, to tantalize analysts’ palates. Will he run for office in 2013? What place would Vartan Oskanian have on a Kocharyan ticket? Whatever decisions might have gone into answering those questions, probably became more gnarly when the Central Election Commission shut the doors and opened the boxes Sunday night.

Was Sunday’s election a referendum on public approval for Serzh Sargsyan? With a government in his pocket, apathy on his side, and party members willing to persuade voters $25 at a time, does approval matter? 




‘Armenians and Progressive Politics’ Conference Returns

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Panel discussions on Sept. 29 will include the 21-year trajectory of Armenia’s statehood, economy, and society; rule of law, corruption, and elections; development of civil society; Armenian-Turkish relations; foreign policy; and natural resources policy. Speakers for this year’s gathering, co-sponsored by the Armenian Society of Columbia University and the ARF Western Region, will be announced shortly. Past conferences have featured Noam Chomsky, Robert Fisk, and Tariq Ali. “The Armenians and Progressive Politics” conference is not simply an academic forum,” said Dikran Kaligian, chairman of the organizing committee. “Our goal is to bring together like-minded activists, intellectuals, and community members to foster critical engagement with Armenian issues and society.” The conference will travel to Los Angeles on Oct. 6 and 7. Details about both the East and West Coast sessions will follow. For information on past “Armenians and Progressive Politics” conferences, visit www.armenianprogressive.com.

Source: http://www.armenianweekly.com/2012/04/19/armenians-and-progressive-politics-conference-returns/

Payaslian to Speak on ‘Political Economy of Human Rights in Armenia’

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On Thurs., May 10, Prof. Simon Payaslian, the Charles K. and Elisabeth M. Kenosian Chair in Modern Armenian History and Literature at Boston University, will give a lecture entitled “The Political Economy of Human Rights in Armenia” at the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) Center in Belmont. The lecture is co-sponsored by the Zoryan Institute for Contemporary Armenian Research and Documentation and NAASR. Since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Armenia has experienced a reversal from its earlier efforts to establish a democratic system to an authoritarian regime, continuing the repressive Soviet approaches to human rights. Payaslian will juxtapose Armenian history with the evolution of international human rights standards and survey Armenian history from the 19th century under Ottoman and Russian rule to the current situation in the post-Soviet republic. He will examine political, civil, social, and economic rights while highlighting the clash between sovereignty and human rights.

Source: http://www.armenianweekly.com/2012/04/21/payaslian-to-speak-on-political-economy-of-human-rights-in-armenia/

Elections in Armenia: An Interview with Antranig Kasbarian

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The Armenian Weekly and the Hairenik Weekly conducted an interview with the chairman of the ARF Central Committee of the Eastern US on the upcoming elections in Armenia this weekend. Below is the English translation of the interview.

What can be expected from the May 6 elections in Armenia? Do you anticipate any differences from previous elections?

There will, of course, be differences between these elections and previous ones, but unfortunately they will not be profound ones. For example, bribes are rampant and the ruling elites are “buying” votes in this pre-election period. There will also be irregularities on Election Day, but over the years, vote rigging on Election Day has decreased, giving the not-so-accurate impression that the political situation in the country is improving. There are also other differences compared to previous years. This time, the most heated battle is between the two ruling parties, the Republican Party and the Prosperous Armenia Party, while the opposition forces, even the Armenian National Congress, appear weak and vulnerable.

What can you say in this context about the specific case of the ARF

There are certain differences here too. When the ARF was still part of the government—when it had ministers and local governors—means to impact the overall election process were available. Also, the ARF received some support from the ruling elite—such support is almost certainly precluded today. Therefore, more than ever, the ARF has to now rely on its own abilities, continuing to strengthen its ties with citizens from all walks of life. This requires relentless efforts in the spheres of communications, outreach, finances, etc.

The ARF has prepared an election platform that stands out. Do you think it will attract a significant number of voters?

Yes, the ARF has prepared a truly comprehensive pre-election program that reflects our broad platform. It covers the important bases—the political, economic, social, and foreign policy dimensions—objectively presenting the current state of affairs and suggesting possible solutions. The ARF leadership in Armenia has invested a significant amount of time on this effort, and has been presenting its election platform at campaign events and rallies across the country.

Unfortunately, the pre-election atmosphere and culture in the country has deteriorated in recent years. Election platforms and programs, which should have a profound impact on the voter, fail to do so. Instead, finances have the greatest impact on the voter. Unfortunately, election money speaks louder and more convincingly than comprehensive election platforms. I cannot blame the people entirely, though, because many are under profound financial duress and are looking for means to improve their lot. Regardless, the ARF is steadfast on the conviction that the people deserve fair, transparent elections, based on political debate and a healthy discourse. We are hopeful that this will be realized in the coming days.

The platform itself is a very extensive document, which includes all the reforms that we consider to be imperative. In the economic sphere, for examples, it envisions laws that secure a competitive economy, and one which encourages exports. In the social sphere, it proposes laws to guarantee freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Laws are also proposed to secure the independence of the judiciary, to reform the electoral system, etc. For more details, go to www.arf2012.am.

We often hear that the ARF has not succeeded in galvanizing a broad base, why is this the case? Moving ahead, do you see this changing?

It is difficult to give a definitive answer to this question. On the one hand, it is a fact that the current ruling elite—the Republicans and Prosperous Armenia in particular—are doing their utmost to maintain the status quo. Against this onslaught, the task of the opposition parties has become considerably difficult. The ARF, the Heritage Party, and the Armenian National Congress and others are all trying to secure a broad base of support. While the people closely follow the political developments, the press conferences, and election campaigns, it is important to note that to follow developments is one thing, to go out and vote is another. I have often witnessed certain political leaders and candidates receiving enthusiastic support in villages and towns during election campaigns, but the election results have not reflected this enthusiasm.

The ruling elite continuously stresses that the election will be free and transparent. Do you share that optimism?

To be fair, in recent years, Election Day in Armenia has been much more peaceful and calm than before. The means of the past—beatings, threats, switching ballot boxes, etc.—are still employed, but much less frequently than before. The reasons for this improvement are many: the influence of foreign observers, international pressure, etc. But the general state of affairs, in essence, remains the same. Now the means are different; Armenia’s oligarchs secure their positions through bribes, maneuvers, and “legal” means. Thus the process is increasingly becoming more comparable to the kinds of corruption that we encounter in “civilized” countries. Of course the majority of the people notices this, which is why they have become so cynical.

What are the chances of the ARF in these elections?

I think the ARF can clear the five percent mark required for political parties to secure seats in parliament. I believe that the ARF will gain the confidence of the people, especially for the seats allocated through proportional representation. The party also has a core constituency of loyal voters, who vote for the ARF because they admire its stance on national issues. But today, due to the dire circumstances in the country, social and economic issues take precedence over national issues for the voters.

Source: http://www.armenianweekly.com/2012/05/04/the-elections-in-armenia-an-interview-with-antranig-kasbarian/

Giragosian to Diaspora - Stop Regarding Armenia as Disneyland

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Richard Giragosian, who heads the Regional Studies Center think-tank in Yerevan, declared it was high time for the diaspora to stop viewing Armenia as a “Disneyland”. Giragosian, a transplanted diaspora Armenian, stated Armenia must become the center of the universe for Armenian worldwide, where issues of human rights, democracy and economic development assume equal importance with genocide recognition. The analyst said that the Armenian government should be doing much more to facilitate conditions leading to more from the diapora moving to Armenia. Giragosian has been living in Armenia for the past seven years. He stated that both for those living in Armenia and diaspora-Armenians, there are two basic challenges – a lack of possibilities and the oligarch dominated economy.

Free and fair elections, Giragosian argued, would not only create an opportunity to improve the life of Armenian citizens, but would also improve the lot of diasporans residing in Armenia. The analyst pointed to the near total absence of any talk regarding Armenia-Turkish relations and the Genocide issue in the parliamentary campaign as indicative of the very low level of political discourse in Armenia. He labelled this politics of individuals and not serious debate. Issues of prime importance – Armenian-Turkish relations, Armenian-Russian relations, Artsakh – are infrequently discussed. He said there must be more debate on these issues so that the public gets a better grasp of the positions of the various parties.

Giragosian argued that the Armenian Genocide shouldn’t be the only issue on the diaspora’s agenda, arguing that battling the oligarchy in Armenia is also very vital given that it poses a huge threat to the state itself. The oligarchs, said Giragosian, thwart both democratic and economic development. He found it appalling that many are to be re-elected to the country’s parliament.


Azerbaijani Film Festival With A Political Tinge

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Expected response

At the beginning of April, director of the Caucasus Center of Peacemaking Initiatives Georgi Vanyan announced on his Facebook profile that the Azerbaijani Film Festival ”STOP” would be held on 12 April in Gyumri. However, the citizens of the city, including the Mayor Vartan Ghukasyan (a member of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia) organised numerous protests against the event. The festival could not be held in any of the local screening rooms. ”Asparez” club, where the festival was to take place, was closed. The citizens picketed the club, holding banners “No to the Azerbaijani Film Festival!”

In the afternoon of 12 April, Vanyan announced that the Festival had been cancelled and he left Gyumri. On his Facebook profile, he wrote: “Attention! Azerbaijani Film Festival in Armenia has been disrupted once again. I would like to apologise to our audience and assure you that we are consistent in holding the festival and creating the space of freedom of speech and direct communication in Armenia, despite the propaganda and terror, which grow in strength because of deterioration of humanistic ideas and rejection of reason.”

Such a response was expected, for it was already in 2010 that Vanyan failed to organise the festival in Yerevan. As it turned out, the owners of 10 screening rooms in Yerevan refused him renting them for the festival, even though the Ambassadors of the United States of America and the United Kingdom were to attend it. However, in 2010 there was no report of the authorities’ contribution to the situation. The activity of the local authorities of Gyumri is a litmus test of the pre-election atmosphere in Armenia.

Festival on the road

Despite the pressure and unfavourable conditions, the festival was held in a roadside tavern on the way between Gyumri and Yerevan. Four films were screened – one documentary and three feature films, all shot in Azerbaijan between 2007 and 2008. There were 26 viewers, 24 of whom are to determine the winner of the Audience Award. Another screening will be held on 17 April in Vanadzor, in the Helsinki Assembly office. The festival is funded by the embassies of the United States of America and the United Kingdom. In 2010, when the event was cancelled for the first time, no one interfered or even suggested a room for the screenings, though the embassies had suitable room capabilities.

Are Turkish films better than Azerbaijani films?

It is no news that the main cause of Armenian aversion to Azerbaijani films is the mutual hostility of both nations and the unsettled Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. But Armenia has another enemy – Turkey, which in solidarity with Azerbaijan closed the border crossing with Armenia in 1993. Yerevan has demanded for years that Ankara acknowledges the Turkish genocide of Armenians during the World War I. Turkey denies this claim and speaks only of deportation. However, for years the screenings of Turkish films during the “Golden Apricot” Festival have been held in Armenia. Besides, in 2010, when the Azerbaijani Film Festival was cancelled, Georgi Vanyan organised the Turkish Film Festival funded by the Embassy of Great Britain. No one interfered with the event at that time. It is worth mentioning that, in contrast to Azerbaijan, there have been attempts at normalising the relations with Turkey.

Political issues?

Taking into consideration the situation, one can say that the taste of Armenians depends not only on the trends in film and culture but also the political stand of the authorities. It is possible that in case of introducing policy of improvement the Azerbaijan-Armenia relations, Armenians will no longer be against the Azerbaijani Film Festival and local authorities will not become the leaders of demonstrations against the festival.

Source: http://eastbook.eu/en/2012/04/material-en/news-en/armenia-azerbaijani-film-festival-with-a-political-tinge/

Armenia: Diversity Marchers Attacked by Ultranationalists

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A march to mark tolerance and diversity held in Yerevan on Monday was severely disrupted by ultra nationalists who attacked activists, tore posters and hurled insults at the crowd, while they marched through downtown with police escorts. Signs that read “No to Perversion” were held by around a 100 counter protesters, mostly young men, many of whom equated themselves as protecting Armenian values and the marchers with corrupting them. “Shame” and “Gays go to Baku” were chants regularly employed in an effort to intimidate the activists.

Organized by Public in Need of Information and Knowledge and the Womens’ Resource Center, the Diversity March was planned to mark the United Nation’s World Day of Cultural Diversity. The march and its counter protest came at a time when the socially conservative South Caucasus country is locked in a national debate after the firebombing of alternative and gay-friendly bar, DIY and subsequent support of the arsonist’s actions by elected officials, who praised the two men, Iranian-Armenian brothers, for protecting Armenia from homosexuality, which they considered a moral ill.

The counter protesters enveloped and outnumbered the organizers and activists, pushing into them and grabbing at signs as the crowd made its way Northern Avenue, according to a source who was present at the march and spoke to ianyanmag via email on the condition of anonymity. Once both crowds arrived at Northern Avenue, the situation became elevated as police quelled scuffles that erupted while the march moved on and ended up in the lobby of the Golden Tulip hotel.

“It took the forcible removal by the police to clear the way for our entrance,” the source said. “We were literally walking through a gauntlet of screaming angry young men, escorted by police into the building. As soon as I entered my fear again escalated.”

The men, who called the diversity marchers “Turks,” also exhibited Hitler-like salutes and told them to go back to “Baku,” a dig at Armenia’s longstanding “frozen conflict” with neighboring Azerbaijan stemming from the Nagorno-Karabakh war. Nora Kayserian, a ianyan contributor who was at the march said she felt disgusted and uneasy about the confrontation.

“This was the first march I’ve ever attended in Yerevan and the first march I’ve been to where there was a counter protest,” she said. “The hatred and anger in the eyes of the ultra nationalists was frightening. I could see it growing worse.”

Maro Matosian from the Women’s Support Center was also at the march and said the inexperience of the police in dealing with opposite view points and mobs was apparent. “There was no barrier between us and them,” she said in an email interview with ianyanmag from Armenia. “Finally I asked the police to separate us and we walked ahead…Thank God the police cordoned us as there were several attempts to attack the peaceful protesters.”
Our anonymous source agreed.

“The police saved lives,” he said. “There is not a single doubt in my mind that left without police protection, there would have been death at the hands of the angry young men. The police were professional in every way. These were the same guys I would see out at Mashtots Park.”

Many marchers, frightening by the counter attack, abandoned and left the crowd. After the dispersal of both groups, there were reports that many of the men left to go to DIY  to vandalize it once again. Messages specifically directed to the bar’s owner, Tsomak Oganesova were written on the walls, including one that said “Tsomak, we won’t let you breathe.”

The attacks on the bar have been tied to organized ultranationalist, neo- nazi groups, including one named “Dark Ravens Armenia,” said to be responsible behind the bombing and subsequent vandalisms. The preparation of the counter protesters was a clue that the attack at the march was from more than a group of rowdy men, said Matosian.

“All their signs were uniform thus the thought that were were not random people, but an organized, backed up mass and financed as well.”

The diversity’s marchers signs were hand written, she said, adding that in one instance when she arrived at a police station after three young people were caught vandalizing DIY after the initial attack, the parents of the attackers attested that their sons belonged to neo-fascists groups.

“We got very worried because we understood that there is a force and groups behind this vandalism.”

While the young men perceived the march as a ‘gay parade,’ activists insist it was to celebrate diversity and tolerance. “It was not a gay parade. It was not a march for homosexual rights,” Matosian said. Yelena Osipova, who blogs at Global Chaos was also at the march and posted a full account, including video, of what she saw in a post titled, “Diversity March in Yerevan Hijacked by Ultranationalists.”

“The Armenian Constitution does ensure human rights and equality before law of all its citizens (Articles 14 and 14.1),” she wrote. “Despite that, however, it is clear that the majority of the public does not care about the law and still believes in the superiority of the its conservative and rigid social values in this case.”

Priests also showed up at the march, praising “patriotic youth” “who had gathered there to demonstrate their devotion to God and their nation,” she continued. Nareg Seferian, writing in the Armenian Weekly in an article titled, “A Good Day for Homophobia in Yerevan,” noted a young man who exclaimed his disdain for rule of law by saying he “spit on the constitution.”

While activists in the country attempt to make headway, the support of arson attacks by authority figures and distortion in local media, many of whom focused on the counter protesters and mislabeled the event as a gay parade,  makes their work difficult.

“One thing must be done at government level and professional level –dispell the ignorance and condemn prejudice, discrimination, punish hate crimes,” Matosian said. “We should not here or read commentary from sexologists and other so called experts that homosexuality is a disease that can be spread, and people get contaminated just b y listening to the topic. Or that gays can influence the sexual orientation of young people, and that gays do propaganda to recruit people.”

Kayserian said she hopes the confrontation does not deter activists from their goals. “We cannot afford to lose progressives in this country,” she said. “We have to think of more strategies of dealing with these issues and we have to be patient.” Our anonymous source echoed the sentiments.

“I continue to believe that the fascists are in the minority in this country, or I would leave Armenia,” he said. “Like the U.S., Armenia has its share of fanatics. I have many friends here that do not like homosexuality but would never resort to violence or intimidation to oppose it.”

Today, Armenia’s Human Rights Defender Karen Andreasyan condemned [in Armenian] the violence against the country’s LGBT community as well as the public statements from officials in support of the attack.  The Gay and Lesbian Armenian Society of Los Angeles also released a statement condemning the attacks, calling them “clear examples of discrimination and oppression based solely on a person’s sexual orientation.”

They also called on the reprimanding and dismissal of the supporting officials.”Let not those who have faced the reality of intolerance and hatred inflict it upon others, no matter what the ‘context of our societal and national ideals,’” they said.

Source: http://www.ianyanmag.com/2012/05/23/armenia-diversity-marchers-attacked-by-ultranationalists

Representatives of the Armenian and Turkish civil society to come together at a conference in Istanbul


On October 22-23, 2012, more than 50 representatives of the Armenian and Turkish civil society and expert communities will come together at a conference in Istanbul to discuss the role of non-state actors in promoting Armenia-Turkey relations. The conference is organized as part of the “Support to Armenia-Turkey Rapprochement” (SATR) project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and implemented by the Eurasia Partnership Foundation, Yerevan Press Club, International Center for Human Development, and Union of Manufacturers and Businessmen (Employers) of Armenia.

Key Turkish partners for the project include the Global Political Trends Center, the Turkish-Armenian the Business Development Council, Anadolu Kültür, the GAYA Research Institute, the Media and Communications Department of Izmir University of Economics, Toplum Gönüllüleri Vakfi, the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation, and the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey.

The conference will summarize the outputs, achievements, and lessons learned during the two years of the Support to Armenia-Turkey Rapprochement Project implementation, as well as present an opportunity to discuss strategies for the road ahead for non-state actors in promoting Armenia-Turkey relations.

USAID and its partner organizations support Armenia-Turkey rapprochement by facilitating engagement between civil society groups, establishment and development of business partnerships and regional professional networks, and enhanced understanding between the people, for peace and economic integration in the region.

Source: http://www.armradio.am/en/2012/10/19/representatives-of-the-armenian-and-turkish-civil-society-to-come-together-at-a-conference-in-istanbul/

‘Vagina Monologues’ to Debut in Armenia 
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“My Vagina Speaks Many Languages”—a title so shocking that it is bound to echo throughout the tiny former Soviet states of Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. That’s precisely what some women’s rights organizations are aiming for by dubbing their cross-border project—featuring the powerful play, “The Vagina Monologues”—just that. Their aim is to stop violence against girls and women and to propel regional and domestic discussions on the issue, a topic that’s often deemed too taboo for public acknowledgement.

The Women’s Resource Center in Yerevan has been spearheading the national debate on domestic and sexual violence in Armenia. This year, they will launch the first ever Armenian performance of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues.”

For those unfamiliar with it, the play tells the stories of various women, covering topics such as sexual violence—battery, rape, incest, female genital mutilation, and trafficking of women—and love, sex, menstruation, childbirth, and masturbation. It has been performed in over 140 countries, and in over 48 languages.

“I first thought, years ago, to translate it into Armenian—just to distribute—so women here can read it and get inspired. Then, one of our partner organizations in Tbilisi, Georgia, suggested translating it to their language. We had a discussion with them to do it regionally, and [to] also include Azerbaijan—[through] another partner organization we knew there,” said Lara Aharonian, the founder and director of the Women’s Resource Center, in her statements to the Armenian Weekly.

To support anti-violence organizations across the globe, Ensler founded the V-Day organization. In an effort to raise awareness about injustices against women, and to impact women’s lives in a positive way, V-Day allows local groups to produce a select number of monologues, under strict guidelines and as a fundraising and advocacy tool for organizations fighting violence against women.

Audiences in Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan will soon have the opportunity to absorb the play in their native tongues, and even dialects. “‘The Vagina Monologues’ is being translated into three languages,” noted Aharonian. “Until now, we [have] translated five monologues into Eastern Armenian and one into Western Armenian. We will do one in a Barskahay [Armenian-Iranian] dialect, and will try to find other accents also (Gyumri, Kapan…).”
The organizers are hoping to hold the opening of the play in Tbilisi by the end of February, under the headline, “My Vagina Speaks Many Languages.” From Tbilisi, the production will travel to Yerevan and a few regional cities in Armenia, where it will be performed solely in Armenian. “If everything goes well, we will do it every year as a tradition, and [will] also include local monologues,” said Aharonian, who hopes to reach larger audiences in the future.

In order to produce the play, an organization must be a registered member of V-Day. Although there are over 200 monologues, the production must last about 90 minutes, limiting the number of featured monologues. “The monologues are already chosen by the official V-Day organizers in the US. We officially registered with them and they are very excited with helping us, since it is the first time for the region and in Armenian. We will also send them the Armenian version for their archive,” she explained.

Aharonian ‘s encounter with Ensler’s work goes back to her college years. “I was first introduced to ‘The Vagina Monologues’ performance by Rada Rovic, who is a professor of women’s studies in Zagreb, Croatia,” said Aharonian. “[I] learned from her how they used [the play] as a way of voicing women’s life, hard topics like sexual violence and other related issues in a very artistic and direct way… This way, they could touch many women’s lives and get them to speak about things that they would find very hard to do so otherwise.”

Years later, as the director of the Women’s Resource Center, Aharonian decided the play would be an effective tool in discussing topics that are often avoided or suppressed. “I found that this is a good way for the women in Armenia as well to voice their issues, talk about things that are very difficult to talk about, the body, the violence, [and] women’s lives,” she said.

Chilling, powerful, and often graphic, the monologues can draw strong emotional responses from audience members. “My Vagina Was My Village,” for instance, draws from the testimonies of Bosnian women who survived the rape camps, and is a harrowing rendition of their accounts. The center held a casting session on Jan. 20 and now has a group of six women ready to work on the production. Maral Bakavan, the project coordinator, will supervise the performance.

“The performers are regular women from different ages and backgrounds. [They] will practice with Maral for the next weeks,” said Aharonian. “For the Yerevan opening, we are thinking to do it somewhere at the end of March—during women’s month in Armenia—in a small theater, and donate the raised amount to the sexual assault crisis center.”

V-Day requires that profits be donated to an organization fighting to end violence against women and girls. Ten percent of that must be donated to the organization’s yearly project spotlight. This year, the focus is on Haiti, where violence against women and girls is high—at 74 percent prior to the January 2010 earthquake, according to V-Day, and increasing ever since. On Feb. 4, the organization is opening its all-female village in the Congo, a country devastated by war and where rape is systematically used to destroy communities. The village, called “The City of Joy,” will be a place for rape victims to recover from their psychological and physical traumas.

Each year a new monologue is added to the list. Ensler wrote this year’s monologue in memory of Myriam Merlet, a woman’s rights activist and writer, who died in the Haiti earthquake. In Armenia, reactions to the play have been varied. Given its title, some are expecting a much different, R-rated production. “The media is very interested to know more here—but more for sensational reasons. They never heard about this, and they think it is an erotic show that we will be doing, so they call us, inquire,” said Aharonian.

Others have voiced criticism or disapproval. “Of course, some nationalist youth are starting to criticize, mock, and demean us on their blogs, but we are getting used to this kind of reaction,” said Aharonian. “We are taking our precautions. That is why for the first year we will aim more at a smaller audience and build it up gradually.”

In a Dec. 2010 op-ed published in the Guardian, Ensler wrote, “Vagina is the most terrifying word, the most threatening word, in any language of any country I have ever been to. Even when the vagina is worshipped in theory, as the yoni is in India, it is denigrated in practice. It is more reviled and feared than words like plutonium, genocide, and starvation. In many countries the word for female genitalia is so derogative or disgusting, it cannot be spoken of in public. In a few places, there is no word in the language for vagina at all.”

Misunderstandings or fears aside, awareness of women’s issues is rising in Armenia. In recent months, the Coalition to Stop Violence against Women in Armenia was formed, and planned and executed the “16 Days of Activism to Stop Violence against Women” dedicated to the memory of a 20-year-old mother—Zaruhi Petrosyan—whose brutal murder sent shockwaves throughout Armenia. The Women’s Resource Center has been at the forefront of these efforts, pushing the envelope. And like it or not, “The Vagina Monologues” will encourage an undaunted discussion of women’s concerns and rights in Armenia.

Source: http://www.armenianweekly.com/2011/01/29/vagina-monologues-to-debut-in-armenia/

The Armenian Diaspora We Don’t Know

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Approximately 90,000 Armenians migrated from a number of other countries to Armenia during what we could call a “second wave,” between 1946 and 1948. What happened during this great wave, the way Armenia treated these people, the failure for many years to consider them as equals of the local Armenians, discriminating against them and mistreating them, have been major factors in the relations between the diaspora and Armenia. Subsequent to the independence of Armenia, “openings” were initiated for the diaspora. In 1988, a specialized unit for relations with the diaspora was established at the Foreign Ministry; the Committee on Relations with the Diaspora, founded in April 2008, was renamed the Diaspora Ministry in October 2008. Before analyzing the diaspora policy of Armenia and the institutions and projects devised to implement this policy, for a better understanding of the subject matter and of the meaning of Armenia for the diaspora, it is necessary to understand the initial contact between the diaspora and the homeland, how the diaspora Armenians were treated and the relevant phases; only this perspective would help us understand the diaspora better.

Re-emerging dream for homeland

People who were once expelled from their homes, whose families were shattered and their assets gone, became hopeful again that they could go back to their homeland. The Armenians, dispersed all around the world, were influenced by the Soviet propaganda and took a journey to the unknown, changing everything in the countries where they were settled; they were convinced that in their new home, they would have great opportunities for housing, employment and social benefits. With the exception of the newspapers and magazines affiliated with the Dashnak Party, almost the entire media of the Armenian diaspora did their best to call the Armenians back to their homeland; conferences were held to accelerate the process. Back then, the most popular discussion among Armenians was migration to Armenia. Disapproving of the migration was treated as treason within the Armenian community.

But even before arrival in Soviet Armenia, the migrants realized that something was wrong with this dream. Upon the arrival of the ships and trains carrying the Armenians to Baku, Batumi and other border cities, they were asked whether they had previously served in the military or had ties with a political party (particularly the Dashnak Party), and what sort of publications they had with them. The Armenians who did not understand the point of this practice were hoping that things would change once they arrived at their homes, but this did not happen. Life was not as depicted by the Soviet diplomats. There was a shortage in stores of bread after the war; food scarcity was a big problem. There were no clothing stores or chocolate stores in Armenia like the Armenians were used to in their previous homes. There were also limited housing opportunities; with few exceptions, no one was given a house. The people were given empty lands and told to build their own houses. Some loans were provided; however, it was impossible for the newly arrived Armenians to create a new homeland. The promises of employment also failed. The immigrants had to do something to make a living.

Diaspora fooled

They were fooled. It did not take long for them to realize this. A few of them remained calm vis-à-vis what had happened; they were aware that it was a post-war period and for this reason, they would do their best to contribute to their country. But they changed their minds after they realized they were being treated as second-class citizens; when they noticed that no matter what they did, they would remain apart from the locals and suspect in their eyes, a visible schism emerged between the diaspora Armenians and Armenia. The nationalist Armenians were flagged as anti-regime and opponents of the system, and were exiled to Siberia; in addition, the Armenians who were members of the Communist Party in their previous countries were not treated as true communists in Armenia. The newcomers were treated as newly admitted members to the party. According to the Soviets, it was not wise to trust the party members coming from capitalist countries; however, the primary reason these people migrated to Soviet Armenia was to live under the type of government they had been fighting for in their previous states for many years.

Alexan Kirakosyan, who had held top positions in Soviet Armenia, including deputy prime minister, also served as the head of the “migration and issues department” for many years; for this reason, he was someone who best knew what the Armenians from abroad had to deal with. In his book, “Before Sunset,” which he refers to as a memoir, painful as it was to write, he says: “These people had dexterity; they were great masters, and for this reason, they became famous within a short period of time. The Armenian people learned a lot from them in terms of craftsmanship. We failed to settle them, and we failed to ensure that they blended in with the local people; they were excluded. They built their own houses in the empty lands they were given, and they named these places after the homelands they had lost: Arapgir, Zeytun, Maraş… Once, I had a letter penned by one of these people; his son, a student in high school, participated in a school trip to a factory. His son was told that he could not be admitted into the facility because it was part of a defense industrial zone, and he was the son of a family from abroad. I got angry; that much discrimination was just unacceptable. First thing in the morning, I went to talk to the manager of the factory; he was also upset. But he told me that he was complying with orders from outside Armenia.”

Being treated differently, being suspected, humiliated and condescended to was no longer bearable for the people from abroad who were dubbed “newcomers.” There was a huge difference of perception between them and the local people. For the “newcomers,” trade was a major tool with which to make a living, and they did not understand why it was seen by the Soviet people as an embarrassment. Trade was an offense akin to thievery in this system. The language barrier between the “newcomers,” who were accused of spreading bourgeois ways, and the local people was a whole different problem. These people spoke Western Armenian, only a few of them went to college, they were unaware of Marxism and Leninism and they were not like the Soviet peoples. They called each other “akhbar,” a popular reference to “yeghbayr” (brother). The locals started calling them by this name after awhile; they became akhbars, but nobody liked this word because of the condescending meaning it bore.

Akhbars who made coffee, baloney and kadayıf popular

Avik Isahakyan, a local writer from Yerevan, in an article titled “Our Akhbars,” where he praises the diaspora Armenians, says: “Men shaved all the time. They were elegantly dressed. The women were like ladies and the men like gentlemen. They wore sunglasses in summer. They did not eat anything on the streets like we did, and they did not drink consecutive tanks of beer. They were polite. We learned from them of baklava, imam bayıldı, kadayıf and Turkish delight. And most importantly, when you went to their homes as guests, they served coffee in small cups. And how about the baloney that the İstanbulites made, that was on the black market, and only those who had good connections could purchase it. We offended them; we called them akhbars, and we belittled them. However, they were the best shoemakers, the best tailors, cooks and mechanics. They introduced many things to our lives.” The diaspora Armenians tried to adapt; they learned how to hide their religious orientation and Christian objects, how to get married without a religious ceremony and how to bury their loved ones without reciting a prayer. They were compelled to learn how to pay bribes in order to sell their products on the black markets, and they partly succeeded, but most of them failed to feel like they belonged to Armenia. They looked for any way to escape; some of them did actually find out how to leave the country.
 

Paris, our home
 

Amid growing poverty, discrimination and other inhumane treatment, it was necessary to escape. The “newcomers” who gathered at the park where the Shahumyan statue is erected today in Yerevan chatted there about their issues. All of them were affiliated with a committee, and when they were done with their meetings, they came to the park to discuss their issues. They named the park “Garden of Wailing” because this is where they told each other their stories about what they were experiencing and how they were suffering from discrimination. The image they had had in mind in respect to the homeland was completely undermined, particularly when they were exiled to Siberia as political prisoners. Even though this was not a practice peculiar to the newcomers, it hurt them. They were unable to understand where their homeland was. They were aliens in Europe, but how about in Armenia? What were they now? And they got confused; in the early 1960s, they started discussing whether leaving was the best option. Initially, some of them migrated to France; diaspora members raised their voices during an official trip by the French foreign minister in 1962 to Yerevan and said they would like to go home, to Paris; Christian Pineau realized the gravity of the issue and subsequently, he contacted Moscow to ask for the relocation of 7,000 Armenians to France between 1962 and 1964. These relocations, which commenced with France, continued with the United States. An Armenian who applied to migrate to the US explains this in his memoirs: “The officer said: ‘You want to go to the US -- do you have any relatives over there?’ I replied calmly, ‘Did you ask whether I had relatives when you sent me to Siberia in 1949 in exile?’”
 

As of the 1970s, the akhbars started to leave Armenia; the diaspora Armenians have had to deal with difficulties and hardships in other countries. This time, the Armenians -- who were not welcomed in Armenia -- were treated by the diaspora Armenians as Armenians from Armenia; they were once again discriminated against. It should be acknowledged that the project of returning to the homeland, a plan devised by Stalin, did not pave the way for the reunion of Armenians and construction of a new homeland for them; on the contrary, this wave of migration moved Armenians, who did not know one another, away from their homelands. Bad memories created fears, and the fears generated prejudices. Even after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the children of those who left the country failed to internalize the independence of Armenia. They could not get rid of this prejudice held against them in Armenia, where they visited as tourists; and in return, like they were once treated, they began to belittle the people of Armenia, trying to teach them rather than understand them. Even as late as the 1990s and 2000s, the diaspora and the Armenian people were unable to get rid of the stereotypes they had developed regarding each other.

Source: http://www.sundayszaman.com/sunday/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?newsId=276686

US should work to strengthen relations with Azerbaijan

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The violence plaguing the Arab world should move U.S. policy makers, decision makers and experts to consider how and why the U.S. should strengthen stable, pro-American governments in Muslim countries against internal or external threats.  Azerbaijan exemplifies such states. Though it is still an emerging democracy, born from the shadows of the Soviet Union, it has stood squarely with the U.S. against terrorism in Afghanistan, Iraq, Central Asia and throughout the world, all at considerable risk to itself.
It has also fended off constant Russian and Iranian threats due to its pro-American, pro-Western and pro-Israeli policies and confronts serious problems and local threats. Not the least of these threats is the possibility of a renewed war in Nagorno-Karabakh, one of the world's most implacable and dangerous frozen conflicts.

If war resumed between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Armenia’s recent military and diplomatic exercises have served notice that no doubt with Moscow’s and Tehran’s encouragement and help, that it would attack Azeri pipelines that carry much-needed oil and gas to America’s European allies. Azerbaijan’s domestic policies, while not perfect, are also under attack from Iran. In 2012 alone, three separate Iranian plots involving incitement through religious agitation to terrorism, gun running and plots to assassinate Israelis in Azerbaijan were uncovered and thwarted. Iran also regularly calls Azerbaijan’s religious policies anti-Islamic and regularly threatens to attack Azerbaijan if it hosted a U.S. base. Thus, Iran presents Azerbaijan with a constant and genuine threat.

Moreover, Syria’s civil war and Iran’s deteriorating situation will probably increase Azerbaijan’s strategic importance to the West. Also, Syria’s civil war is putting enormous pressure on Turkey to intervene. Numerous incidents between Turkey and Syria have already occurred while this war has also spurred the deterioration of Turkey’s partnership with Russia. Should Turkey intervene, Russia could conceivably block gas sales to Turkey since Turkey receives 2/3 of its gas from Russia. Azerbaijan, thanks to its recently improved ties with Turkey and the 2011 bilateral decision to build a gas pipeline from Azerbaijan through Turkey to Europe (the Trans-Anatolian or TANAP pipeine), could offer Turkey and Europe alternative gas sources to resist Russian threats and blackmail.

Since 2010, if not earlier, Russia has steadily deployed large numbers of combined forces in the Caucasus, allegedly to defend against a projected Iranian counter offensive against the Caucasus should the U.S. or Israel attack  Iran due to its nuclear program. This argument sounds illogical, for why should Iran add to its enemies if it is attacked? But it represents a plausible pretext for threatening both Azerbaijan and Georgia while entrenching Russia’s military there as Russia strives to resubordinate the Caucasus to its dictates. Meanwhile, Russia arms Armenia and continually pressures Azerbaijan to deflect it from its pro-Western trajectory.

Under these circumstances, what should be done?  In general, the U.S. should make clear to Azerbaijan that it has its back. First, in the domestic sphere, we should encourage Baku to undertake the necessary liberalizing political, social, and economic reforms that would strengthen its internal defenses against subversion under the guise of religious agitation and increase the government’s legitimacy and U.S. support for it. 

Second, we must make clear to Moscow and Tehran that if they launch a new aggressive  conflict in the Caucasus, the costs they incur thereby will be much more tangible and greater than in 2008. Since Russian President Putin has admitted that the 2008 war with Georgia, widely billed as an act of self-defense, was actually a preplanned war of aggression from 2006 on, mere verbal warnings to Russia do not suffice to deter further mischief here.

Third, the U.S. must inspire the EU to intensify its quest for a dedicated pipeline to bring gas from the Caspian basin and Central Asia to Europe and counter Moscow’s widely documented efforts to use the gas weapon to subvert European unity, democracy, and the independence of post-Soviet states. Whether it is the EU’s projected Nabucco pipeline, the TANAP, or another worthwhile alternative there is no time to lose. 

Fourth, Washington should simultaneously give unstinting support to the Azeri-Turkish rapprochement, both for its own sake and because of its implications for the Middle East and the Caucasus. This support must, as a fifth point, coincides with a new, coordinated, and truly vigorous effort to bring Armenia and Azerbaijan into a genuine negotiation leading to an acceptable resolution of all the issues growing out of the Nagorno-Karabakh war. All the interested parties could guarantee this accord to reinforce regional stability. This process,  if successful, would stabilize the Caucasus, defuse Iranian intrigues and Russian threats, open up Armenia to theworld and give it an option beyond Russia, while preventing hotheads from inadvertently or deliberately inciting a war to impose their vision of a resolution of Nagorno-Karabakah’s many issues. 

The administration has hitherto treated the South Caucasus as an afterthought or as an overflight issue on the road to Afghanistan. Such neglect is dangerous and misconceived. The mounting threats in the Middle East, Iran, and the Caucasus show how vital it is that the U.S. strengthen pro-Western regimes like Azerbaijan. For if we continue to neglect the Caucasus, this neglect will quickly become malign. And malign neglect invariably generates not only instability but also protracted violence.

Blank is a professor and head of the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute at the Carlisle Barracks, PA

Source:http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/265427-us-should-work-to-strengthen-relations-with-azerbaija

Will the US punish Armenia?

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The warped State Department-hatched Turkey-Armenia Protocols did not yield the necessary results for the US, nor have efforts to strong-arm Armenia into making dangerous concessions on the Karabakh front, so the US has renewed an old “concern” by alleging that Iran is using Armenia to for financial transactions that might violate international sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear program.

An exclusive report by Reuters Tuesday, citing a nebulous “Western intelligence report” and quoting anonymous diplomatic sources, claimed that Iran is seeking financial alternatives “in countries that do not work according to the dictates of the West” is looking to expand its banking foothold in Armenia to allegedly deceive Western governments that have been attempting to curtail Iranian banking activities worldwide to thwart Iran’s nuclear program.

The so-called “Western intelligence report,” according to Reuters, has singled out the Yerevan-based ACBA Credit Agricole Bank, one of the largest in Armenia, as one of Iran’s principal targets. Reuters also spoke to an anonymous Western UN diplomat who confirmed that ACBA was “a bank that has come up in connection with Iran.” He declined to provide details of any potentially illicit ACBA transactions linked to Iran, said Reuters.

This fracas has prompted the Armenian Central Bank to issue a blunt denial, echoing earlier statements by ACBA officials, who in the Reuters report, vehemently denied the allegations that the financial institution is being used by Iran for illicit activities.

“The Central Bank of Armenia obligates all banks and financial institutions in the Republic of Armenia to scrutinize their transactions, in order to avoid any possible involvement in transactions considered unacceptable by the international community,” said a statement issued by the CBA.

“We don’t have any relationship with Iran,” The ACBA chief executive Stepan Gishian told Reuters. “We never have, we don’t now and furthermore we don’t plan on becoming a channel for financing Iran. What you’re saying is complete nonsense.”

Furthermore, recent news reports indicate that Armenia has been following the mandates set forth by the sanctions imposed both on Iran and Syria, since Syrian and Iranian nationals of Armenian descent have experienced difficulty opening bank accounts in Armenia, because of their citizenship. This is especially disheartening to Armenians who are leaving Syria due to the crisis there and are experiencing hurdles in establishing themselves in Armenia.

The Reuters reports does state that Turkey and the United Arab Emirates remain Iran’s largest banking connections, but claims that due to US pressure, especially the government of Turkey has become more vigilant in its business with Iran. Reportedly, President Serzh Sarkisian was cautioned by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her visit in June to Armenia about US concerns over the Iran’s interests in Armenia.

Iran remains one of Armenia’s largest trading partners with a reported $1 billion in trade. Asbarez has extensively reported about the intense desire by Armenia and Iran to strengthen their strategic partnership through varied projects, including the construction of an oil pipeline and a highway that would connect Iran’s port of Bandar Abbas with Batumi in Georgia, thus providing a direct link for Armenia to a seaport.

Evidently, this organic neighborly and centuries-old relationship between Armenia and Iran does not sit well with the US and its Western allies, who are keen on tightening the noose around Iran’s neck because of concerns over its nuclear program and be damned whatever stands in their way.

However justified those concerns might be, Armenia should not be penalized by the US, which in its efforts to police the world, is bullying nations to conform to its standards. If the US scrutinized its own domestic financial system as meticulously as it does other nations’ perhaps the loopholes that allowed for the collapse of the banking system and wide-spread corruption in this country would have been avoided.

Moreover, if the US went as far as to caution Armenia, it has not lifted a finger to force Turkey and Azerbaijan to lift their blockade of Armenia, which has been in place since 1993 and in international legal circles is considered an act of aggression or war. Instead the US has concocted convoluted schemes—the Protocols and policy on Karabakh—that abets Turkey to continue its denial of the Genocide and face history and diminishes the sacred principle of self-determination.

The Reuter report is a harbinger of things to come. The failed approaches by the US to address concerns in the South Caucasus have now taken on a worrisome tone. How far will the US go to force its misplaced policies on other nations, especially Armenia?

Source: asbarez.com/104894/will-the-us-punish-armenia/

Armenian “civil defenders” as weapon of Azeri propaganda


Over the last week, 2 more Armenian soldiers were killed at contact line over Azeri ceasefire violation. Tragic incidents prove the war is not over, with the enemy waiting for a chance to strike. As it turns out, some of our compatriots are waging their own “war”, ready to sacrifice their motherland in pursuit of their own ambitions. Yesterday, Nov 21, as reported by Armenian TV, a certain Armenian human rights advocate accused official Yerevan of “violating the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE)” at Brussels-hosted NATO session. As PanARMENIAN.Net discovered, the person in question was identified as Helsinki Citizens' Assembly - Vanadzor Office NGO president Artur Sakunts. Even the fact that Azeri propaganda already excelled in vilifying Armenia, conveniently forgetting of Baku-initiated “arms race” and provocations at contact line was unable to stop Mr. Sakunts’ unfounded accusations. So far, no international mission was able to accuse Armenia of CFE violation for one clear reason: the country does not violate the Treaty. Sakunts, however, wasn’t in the least perturbed by an indignant response of other members of Armenian delegation, who were clearly unaware of “good intentions” of the human rights advocate. One might ask himself, how is such a “defender of human rights”, the rights of Armenians, better that the threesome recently charged with state treason over spying for Azerbaijan?

Source: http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/news/84550/

18 comments:

  1. I'm glad that the Armenian ultranationalists have the actual decency to attack "rights activists" and "gay rights promoters", since I'm pretty sure that they are the only ones who are actually aware of what is going on in their country. Come to think of it, when I looked up the 'net on Greater Azerbaijan, I was shocked to find that the entire Armenian state is considered a "Greater Azerbaijani" territory and thought to myself, would this actually be the result if Armenia's politically illiterate buffons continue with their idiotic plans?

    Curious Observer

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  2. It is sickening but not surprising that US-Sponsered news agencies such as ArmeniaNow, Hetq (who proclaims to do "investigative journalism", but the only thing they do is find anti-Armenian articles to publish on their website), etc. are quoting Azeri diplomats, politicians and nationalists, and even SPREADING!!! their messages on their own websites (it's not an analytical article, nor a response on their propaganda). These bastards will do anything do discredit the government of Armenia, and I will not be surprised if they stand side by side with Azeris in discrediting our country, just for their own (and U.S.) personal benefits; this in fact they have been doing many times in PACE sessions.

    Source: http://hetq.am/eng/news/20133/azerbaijani-commander-“armenians-will-run-away-in-new-karabakh-war”.html

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  3. Absolutely sickening, and unfortunately nothing new. I have often heard the false excuse that these "Armenian" media rely on turkish and azerbaijani sources because the Armenian government is allegedly non-transparent and fails to comment on military developments and therefore the only available sources are the turks. Obvious bullshit. Their anti-Armenian agenda is abundantly clear. 2-3 years ago armenianow.com went on a spree publishing front-page articles on "antisemetism" in Armenia. Hetq's favorite pastime is writing gleefully about Armenian women whoring themselves in turkey for a few lira or shekels. Openly inciting criminal mob violence and civil disobedience is their specialty.

    I sincerely hope that by bringing that traitor vartan oskanstein to justice, the Armenian government is heralding a much needed policy of removing the danger posed by these vermin. As for the azerbaijani commander's claims, thankfully from what I can tell the average Armenian holds the Armenian Army in high regard despite the black PR campaign we have seen (from politicizing non-combat deaths to disparaging portrays of our soldiers in the American move "Here" (http://herefilm.info/).

    BTW, the Armenian-American media such as the Dashnak Asbarez (http://www. asbarez.com/) and Armenian Weekly (http://www.armenianweekly.com/) quote almost all of their stories about domestic affairs in Armenia from the CIA's azatutyun.am English service. It is sadly amusing to read the same articles on asbarz and azatutyun because azatutyun DOES NOT use the words Armenian Genocide, they employ qualified euphemisms like "the mass killings of up to a million Armenians during the Ottoman Empire in WW1 which Armenians and some western historians consider genocide". The ARF media copy these articles verbatim, and then the editor of the ARF media edits out the euphemisms to make the article appear less anti-Armenian. The editor of both, by the way, is an admitted and open homosexual degenerate named Ara Khatchadourian.

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  4. Curious observer, you shouldn't be shocked. The azerbaijanis laughably claim they "gifted" Yerevan to the Armenians in 1918, and that it was an "ancient azeri" settlement originally called "Irevan". They also claim Lake Sevan as "Lake Gokce", and a few of their higher ranking warlords have described their fantasies of washing their filthy tatar feet in our lake (presumably after they finish drowning the local Armenians in it). And they claim Syunik marz as a natural part of their territory between "Nakhchivan" (Nakhichevan) and "Daghliq Qarabagh" (Artsakh). Those are just a few specific case, they generally claim the territory of the Republic of Armenia as "Western Azerbaijan". And if that wasn't enough, they claim a much larger chunk of Iranian territory as "Southern Azerbaijan"; they quarrel with their turkic brothers in Turkmenistan over Caspian oil rights; and if Russia was a weak state they would openly claim the North Caucasus up to Astrakhan Oblast.
    And you are correct, if the imbeciles Arevordi described ever managed to bring down the Armenian state internally, the turks would sweep right in and that would be the end. It is an ever present danger facing Armenia. That's why the information in this blog needs to be decimated as far and wide in the Armenian community as possible.

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  5. They seem to be organized. we need to get organized too. Time to come forward Arevordi and get your blog followers together to plan and act. You are doing a great job by exposing and educating. Why not take this into a meeting and coordinate actions to counteract. We can do more.

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  6. I don't know why but I get the feeling that in case of an uprising, they will fail in Armenia, because Russian/FSB presence is very high and have control of almost everything in Armenia. However after such a failed uprising, once again the migration rate will increase since most of the Armenians are still shortsighted/emotional/defeatist all at once. What do you think(Curious Observer, Sarkis86)?

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  7. @ Arevordi Tigran

    Foremost, thank you for reading and thank you for commenting.

    They are organized and confidant because the have the empire behind them. When it comes to organization or propaganda, no one on earth can compete with Western institutions. They have unlimited resources; they control information; they control the entertainment; they control commodities; they have fine-tuned their psy-ops for decades; and they have the added advantage of having the Western "mystique" on their side. When people want to live in Western nations, trade in their currency, speak their language, sing their songs, watch their movies, attend their universities, etc., it makes it much easier for them to manipulate and exploit.

    Therefore, please don't compare my anthill to their massive mountain.

    Having said that, I don't think the American-Armenian community is ready for this kind of political thinking simply because intellectual and spiritual decay is rampant in the United States and we Armenians are not immune to it. Simply put, Americans are too complacent, too materialistic, too distracted and very-very incapable of critical thinking. Moreover, Armenia is not ready for this kind of political thinking because a vast majority of Armenians there are too busy trying to figure out how to make a living. Armenians also tend to be too negative, too apolitical, too arrogant, too emotional and too stubborn, making them less receptive to alternative political views and ideas than what they have been exposed to for many years.

    Sadly, I don't think we have the people on our side, yet.

    Very few people are ready or capable of understanding the spirit of this blog. Very few people have critical thinking abilities. Very few people have clear vision. Very few people are humble. Very few people are objective or rational. Very few people understand realpolitik. Very few people understand geopolitics. Very few people truly understand history. Very few Armenians understand nationalism or nation-building.

    Therefore, bringing my political thinking (as well as my harsh criticisms of Armenians) out into public will only serve to make me a convenient target for attack. I have had enough bad experiences in the past, I don't need any more.

    Having said that, I should also tell you that a few of us have been seriously discussing the issue you brought up and we have also been developing some kind of an action plan. I cannot talk about at this time.

    In my opinion, for now, the best way to educate Armenians is by first educating the people around us. Target those near you and those capable of understanding you. This will have a domino effect. Information technology is a very useful tool in this regard.

    This blog, as well as email commentaries I periodically send out is meant to expose people to an alternative take on politics and history that they are not accustomed to. I send it to many people, hoping to find just a few that happen to agree with me. Overall, I seek quality rather than quantity. Nevertheless, I think my work has had some positive effect. Educating the people, however, will be a slow/daunting task because the quality of humans today is lower and because we don't have the resources or mystique working in our favor.

    However, we truth and light on our side.

    Please read as much as you can of this blog, contents found on these pages go back several years. And if you truly appreciate my work please introduce it to receptive/like minded individuals around you. You can also post links to pages in this blog you happen to like in various different forums. In short, if you support what I am doing, please spread the message. This is the first step in enlightening our people.

    Again, thank you for reading.

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  8. The Armenians will need their own Putin figure in order for a genuine, pro-Russian Armenian movement to succeed. Barring that, how politically active is the Armenian Diaspora? That would be like a double edged sword since the Armenian community in the USA is pretty useless.

    On the other hand, why can't the Armenian government simply execute the puppets? That should put a blow to the USA's hopes of controlling Armenia like a puppet, and if that results in America denouncing Armenia as it would be a lot easier for Armenia to side with Russia.

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  9. I forgot to put my own signature on the post above, but I was going to ask what would Iran gain from the conflict in the Nagorno-Karbakh region, other than preventing Azerbaijan from getting northern Iran.

    Curious Observer

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  10. @ Anonymous who posed a question for Curious Observer or Sarkis86

    You touched upon a sensitive topic. I'd like to say a few words about it.

    There have been two important developments during the last four years: We have seen the Bear roar back into the south Caucasus and we have seen the institutionalization of Armenia's strategic alliance with Russia. Therefore, as you alluded, there is no longer the threat of Western interests taking over control in Yerevan. Although Yerevan continues to flirt with Western institutions (although I'm against it I do nevertheless understand why they do this), Armenia today is firmly in the Russian camp. Let us also not forget that Russia controls much of Armenia's national infrastructure, its military, its interior ministry and many of its political players.

    However, none of this means that Armenia's political opposition and Western interests will not try to cause unrest. Although I'm not afraid of color revolutions in Armenia anymore, I am concerned about bad repercussions their actions will bring with regards to Armenia's stability and progress. Although most Armenians are blind to it, Armenia has been slowly progressing. My concern is, how far back will they set Armenia with their actions?

    We are already suffering terribly from an exodus that I primarily blame on the constant predictions of doom and virulent negativity preached by Armenia's opposition activists and by Western propaganda outlets. Most nations on earth today are in fact in a worst situation than Armenia, yet Armenians seem to be the first ones to spit on their homeland and leave for good. Something doesn't make sense here, no?

    Like I said, I personally put the blame for this on the constant/relentless negativity we hear about Armenia by Armenia's opposition garbage. I have covered this topic extensively in my previous commentaries. In short, Armenia's political opposition and Western propagandists both in and out of the homeland have turned "Armenia" into bad word inside the minds of many Armenian. They have managed to convinced the Armenian sheeple that Armenia is the worst place to live and that there is no hope or future there. Therefore, as far as the average Armenian is concerned, if Armenia is hell-on-earth than anywhere else must be heaven.

    Western propaganda, Armenia's worthless Diaspora and Armenia's self-destructive political opposition is the main reason why Armenians today want to leave their homeland for good.

    God save Armenia from Armenians and from Democracy.

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  11. Thankfully the Armenian State and administration is strong enough to withstand any attempts at an uprising, and it would be able to rely on the very capable and well-entrenched Russian Intelligence Services in Armenia. Also the opposition is fragmented and discredited. Unfortunately, civil unrest would have a poisonous effect on Armenian society in all spheres. The economy would be further strained, foreign investors might pull back, tourists might decide to go elsewhere, and the azeris might be tempted to launch some small scale attacks against Armenia, just like they did in 2008 in Mardakert, which would increase the risk of injury or death to our servicemen as we repel the azeris. Basically any combination of the above would cause a slowdown in the progress and development we've seen in Armenia in the last few years, which would naturally convince a few more Armenians that their futures might look brighter in other countries (although any rational Armenian should also consider that at this point in time the EU and the US aren't doing too well, and that both are facing catastrophic collapses in the near future).
    Apart from the self-hating peasantry Arevordi mentioned, emigration for a large part of Armenians has been an economic issue. There is a strong correlation between the chaotic economic decline of the 1990s, and the emigration of 800,000 to a million Armenians. By the mid-Kocharyan era the economy was recovering with several years of double-digit growth and statistical trends showed that population growth might return to Armenia in 2010 at the rate things were going. The recession of 2008 (caused by American greed, corruption and decadence) set things back again. But as long as a majority of Armenians aren't starving and the economy is recovering, we probably won't see emigration like in the early 1990s. Any unrest in Armenia might cause a temporary spike in numbers, but nothing lethal.
    Of course there is a certain segment of society that wants out no matter what, but I consider them a lost cause in any case, and it might be better that those politically illiterate people, who resemble anarchists and duped globalists, pack up and move out rather than join the next "opposition march". Perhaps the reality of life in a collapsing America or austerity-imposed Europe will knock some sense into them.
    We can look to the Soviet past for precedent, when Armenia's population peaked around 3.8 million without any major emigration or departing seasonal workers. The ability to import and export with the other Soviet Republics created a decent economic situation, reinforced by direct support from Moscow. I firmly believe that Vladimir Putin's Eurasian Union is Armenia's only hope for rapid economic development, as it builds partially on the old Soviet infrastructure and is based on the tried, tested and institutionalized Russian-Armenian partnership. There is no alternative, the idea of joining the ailing Marxist entity known as the European Union would result in debt-slavery and complete loss of sovereignty and identity. A glimpse of what the EU "troika" is doing to Greece and Italy (two peoples I consider culturally and genetically similar to Armenians) should make that clear. It is ironic how in reality the Eurasian Union offers a chance to develop and preserve the nation-state while the European Union would pretty much be a return to stateless communist/marxism/bolshevism.

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  12. Additionally, I'd like to state that along with the turks, azeris, and western agents and whores in Armenia, low population numbers is a MAJOR long-term threat to Armenia. The quicker and higher we can increase the number of children young Armenian families are having, the better. It's frustrating to see the turks reproduce like rats while our numbers remain stagnant or in perpetual decline. As a solution, I believe increasing our population will require encouragement and exponentially increasing benefits per child from the government, and an improved economy to allow the average Armenian to support more children. The "protesters" for faggots and cults in Armenia are merely serving anti-Armenian interests and wasting Armenia's time and resources.

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  13. As a Persian-Armenian living in the US I would like to thank you for this great work. I agree with most of what you have pointed out. I also want to thank you for introducing me to the two books you featured in your commentary.

    Gurgen

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  14. To Curious Observer:

    Iran would gain from a new war in Artsakh (Karabakh) only in the case that Armenia won. I believe official Tehran would covertly help Armenia in this direction. First reason being the tense relations that currently exists between azerbaijan and Iran, the 2nd and more important being that Iran has just as much to gain from defeating pan-turkism as Armenia or Russia does. Whereas Russia is reletively new to the pan-turkist and ottoman/turkish threat, Armenia and Iran have had to deal with it and struggle against it for a millennium. Moreover, Iran helping Armenia is a simple calculation of Balance of Power theory, i.e. Iran can not let turkey and azerbaijan control the Caucasus, therefore Armenia must win for Tehran to have any sway over the region.

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  15. to Arevordi and Sarkis86,

    Thank you for the answers, it was me who posted the question, but I somehow posted it as "anonymous" being the name of my "blog" which doesn't exist, because at that moment my email was signed in.

    @Arevordi
    As long as Russia controls Armenia's main infrastructure like you said, then any leadership will be forced to bow down to Moscow, which gives me a personal relief.

    Regarding the exodus, sadly always Armenians have migrated out of their homeland, I fear that this also has some cultural/traits in our nation(Polish-Armenian Community during the Bagratunis numbering around 800 000 which now doesn't exist, Cilicians, towards India...). But yes it is mainly psychological warfare being played on the majority of Armenians.

    @Sarkis86
    I understand what you mean about the Armenian economy. The first time I visited Armenia with my family was in 2001. Though I was a child, I remember there were many beggars around the country, and today's situation tells a lot about how people's lives have improved. Armenia is not a country where one would die from hunger, but many would still have some economic hardships during the coming years. I have no doubt on the Eurasian Union. It truly will revive the economy in many ways.

    This Armenian "joining the EU" thing makes me tell you the following funny/ridiculous situation: Many Armenians in Beirut believe with all their heart that Armenia will "soon be joining the great EU, and thanks to the dual-citizenship rule, we shall finally get our Schengen visa and go to the "richer" part of the world". And these are the "nationalist" ones who always shoot their AK-s in the sky on New Year's Eve under the tune of Armenian Revolutionary Songs... :)

    About population growth: There are 2 other practical ways to increase the population:
    1. If the oligarchs would be rational a bit, they could organize weddings like how Karabakh-born Russian-Armenian Levon Hayrapetyan is doing in Artsakh, by promising money for every new child, as well as other aids. Thankfully, positive news comes out of Artsakh more than from Armenia.

    2. The church can play a major role in this. Instead of preaching about God and Christianism all the time, it could preach to the people about nationalism, the importance of bringing multiple children etc. Sadly though, like you said, the problem is still economic mostly.

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  16. I was last in Armenia in 2004, the number of beggars I encountered was in the single digits over a two week period. Walking through any American or European metropolis usually results in encountering a few beggars, and is usually much more dangerous that walking the streets of Yerevan, Gyumri or Stepanakert. In the end it is up to every Armenian, from the big shots to the little guys, to do all they can and give the needs of the nation priority. If all of the "oligarchs" and philanthropists were as generous as Levon Hayrapetyan, we'd get some great results. Keep in mind though that you won’t find too many countries where a majority of the wealthy elites feel that they owe a duty to their disadvantaged countrymen. As for the Church, I think it does a fairly good job of providing national unity and identity. Remember the Church's experience in serving the needs of an independent Armenian nation-state is only 20 years, they are struggling to meet the challenges they face in today's complicated reality. If they don't focus on serving theological needs, they risk losing members to the cults, Catholicism or Protestantism. You may be secular, but there is a good chunk of society that is deeply religious and traditional. And keep in mind I'm saying this and I'm not at all religious. Interesting note, Arevordi's "Rediscovering Christianity" blog is about 10 entries, and very insightful in understanding the origins of Christianity.

    Our diasporan political party leadership, whether in Beirut or California, seem to have a serious disability in recognizing the Republic of Armenia (as it exists for the moment with all of its flaws and all of its good points) as their one true homeland. Relegating oneself to permanent exile in the Schengen-area can only lead to assimilation, or worse, being used as tools by the west to attack Armenia.

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  17. Arevordi and Sarkis86:

    I also believe that if the Armenian population can put in their efforts in improving their country's welfare, they can accomplish a lot. However, they still have to face the issue of brain drain, as many intelligent Armenians would naturally want to emigrate overseas. As a non-Armenian myself, I know that most of my people work overseas and their remittances are a great contribution to the country's national budget. The Eurasian Union can not only serve as a place where the Armenian Diaspora can earn money from their work in Eurasian Union member states, but can also use their remittances to help generate the Armenian economy.

    Armenia's leaders should look to the Belarusian model of economic growth, as they did not embrace free market principles during the 1990s. Rather, they rebuilt their economy on what they know well, instead of experimenting with the economic model they don't know. Moreover, Armenians should count themselves as lucky that they were the first nation in the entire world to adopt Christianity, long before Rome even made Christianity official.

    Curious Observer

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  18. Sarkis jan, I agree with what you say. It was only that I made a few suggestions to the Armenian Church, without disregarding what it's doing already.

    In the meanwhile, did you hear about RepatArmenia? It is a recently founded non-profit organization which has as goal "to share the experiences of recent repatriates with those considering repatriation, to encourage and to inform potential repatriates of the “situation on the ground” in Armenia". http://repatarmenia.org/eng/repatriation-promotion-programs/

    http://repatarmenia.org/eng/demystifying-the-move/

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOQ8tmnKpIs&feature=player_embedded

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Dear reader,

Arevordi will be taking a sabbatical to tend to personal matters. New blog commentaries will therefore be posted on an irregular basis. The comments board however will continue to be moderated on a regular basis. To limit clutter in the comments section, I kindly ask all participants of this blog to please keep comments coherent and strictly relevant to the featured topic of discussion. Moreover, please realize that when there are several anonymous visitors posting comments simultaneously, it becomes very confusing (not to mention extremely annoying) trying to figure out who is who and who said what. If you are here to engage in conversation, make an observation, express an idea or just attack me, I ask you to at least use a moniker to identify yourself... or else, I will not post your comments, especially if they are, in my opinion, nonsense. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.