Wednesday, November 28, 2007


[05:02 pm] 26 November, 2007

The dollar has been "rolling back" since last week.

Nevertheless, despite the ongoing revaluation of the dram prices keep on hiking in Armenia. A1+ has conducted a poll to know our citizens' opinion on currency frustrations.

Most of the respondents state they can hardly survive nowadays. They change $100 per 30.000 drams while once $100 was equal to 55-60.000 drams.

"Prices keep increasing day by day. People are in utter despair," Karine Aslamazian says.

Some officials enrich their personal budget with the sums earned by people's honest sweat.

According to Karen Kalantarian the dollar devaluation was planned beforehand. He had asked his son working abroad to send no more money as the dollar is priceless in Armenia. "I had better starve than send to pot the money earned by the sweat of my son's brow."

"This is the least of the evils. Things will still worsen," most of the respondents said.

To note, today the exchange rate was 290 drams per a dollar.


27.11.2007 13:14 GMT+04:00

Azerbaijani Defense Minister Safar Abiyev thinks that conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan is very likely. "While Armenia keeps occupying Azeri lands the possibility of war reaches 100%," Abiyev told a news conference in Astana after a regular session of the CIS Ministers of Defense, RIA Novosti reports.

Since conclusion of armistice on May 12, 1994, hostilities have been stopped and peaceful talks have been held in the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chaired by Russia, United States and France represented by Yuri Merzlyakov, Matthew Bryza and Bernard Fassier respectively.

27.11.2007 10:30

Turkish Akcam reported that the Armenian Diaspora in Hollywood Is completing the preparations for shooting a film based on Franz Werfel's "The Forty Days of Musa Dagh," one of the most remarkable works on the Armenian Genocide.

According to the newspaper the Kurdish authorities that have invited more than 30 most famous Hollywood actors to Northern Iraq, wish to shoot the "Peshmerga" film about the life of Kurdish leader mullah Mustafa Barzani.

According to the same source, the actors involved in the shooting of the films include Mel Gibson, Omar Sheriff, Antonio Banderas and Sylvester Stallone.

The "Foundation for the Struggle Against Baseless Allegations of Genocide" (ASÄ°MED) has begun an e-mail campaign to try and dissuade actor Mel Gibson from playing a role in the film on the Armenian Genocide.


26-11-2007 10:39:48

"The NKR government is dissatisfied with the activities of Artsakh Energy. In 2006 the losses totaled 500 million drams," said Prime Minister Ara Harutiunyan in a consultation with people in charge of the energy network on November 22. Artsakh Energy does not generate profit, it sustains losses. "It is absurd to have such a network and sustain losses," the prime minister says, the Azat Artsakh reports. The prime minister says it is all due to indifference and chaos. He says if there are people who use electricity and do not pay the bills, the wrongdoers will be punished. He also says the government will clamp down on people who were involved in dissipation of money. The prime minister thinks the way out is to organize the water power plant of Sarsang as a separate company and privatize the transmission network. Currently the activities of Artsakh Energy in 2003-2006 is being checked. He said the energy sector should be made attractive for investors. In the closed consultation later the government studied the preliminary results of activities of Artsakh Energy in 2007, the Azat Artsakh reports.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Lragir, Armenia
Nov 24 2007

"And in this situation we need to make a deciding move and name an alternative candidate," the leader of the People's Party Tigran Karapetyan addressed his fellow partisans during the conference on November 26. According to him, this situation is that the struggle involves the former and the present government, and the other candidates have been government at one time, one way or another. Is it progress, Tigran Karapetyan asks?

Tigran Karapetyan's party made the "resolved" decision and nominated their party leader for the president of Armenia. Earlier Tigran Karapetyan had stated that he is against both the former and the present. He thinks the former government planted the present evil.

Tigran Karapetyan asks what money the political forces spend. Do they spend their own money, the leader of the people's party asks? It turns out that it is the greatest evil when they try to bribe their people with others' money. Meanwhile, it turns out that they do not bribe, they work, all the time. In other words, they care about people and Tigran Karapetyan was nominated as one who cares about people.


In today's conference the People's Party nominated its leader and the president of ALM Holding Tigran Karapetyan as president of Armenia.

Addressing the conference, Karapetyan explains his home political vision: we are nominating an alternative candidate which has never been part of government in the past.


By James Hakobyan

Lragir, Armenia
Nov 24 2007

We may state that the remote villages of Armenia and the region of Martuni of Karabakh will be saved. The annual telethon of Armenia Fund raised over 15 million dollars or dollars of pledges which is an unprecedented sum for the telethons. They will be saved just like the region of Hadrut, the region of Martakert, as well as North-South motorway were saved for which the previous telethons have raised money. As to how Hadrut, Martakert or North-South were saved, those who wish can visit Karabakh and have a look at them. The manifestation of this salvation is not merely the footages which are shown on the responsible TV channels how the Supreme Commander-in-Chief dedicates the fresh section of North-South and a smooth and clean road is shown. In reality, perhaps it would be better to show footages of those sections of the new road which are ruined after only a year. Or the sections which were not built although three or four years ago they stated to have raised the money necessary for the construction of the road. If these sections were televised as well, the picture would be full.

The same is about the reconstruction of Martakert and Hadrut which were launched with considerable delay and at a slow pace. For a Diasporan who donates money for these programs, the questions about what has been done should be as important as the questions about what has not been done. Why are these programs delayed or slowed down?

Isn't the reason that sums are pledged but are not transferred in the course of the year because the goal is not to raise money but to imitate donations to turn this pan-Armenian action into a means of propaganda for the governments of Armenia and Karabakh? Or isn't the reason for delaying or curtailing programs the steep depreciation of the dollar due to which the money becomes less hour by hour before it is spent? For instance, the value of 15 million dollars raised on November 22 decreased by 10-15 percent between November 22 and November 26. Meanwhile, the money is still on the way, it is just about to "leave" the house to serve the homeland. In other words, over this period the skillful money and loan experts of the homeland will manage to convert 15 million to 10 million at best.

It is clear that in this case it is impossible to maintain the schedule of programs because when money raised for Martakert is not enough, it is necessary to wait for the money raised for Hadrut, which means that Hadrut should wait for the money raised for Martuni, and all the three need to wait until North-South is finished.

Certainly, a possible way is that some people in Armenia wait for a while and let the exchange rate of the dollar remain in the state they have left it. They could do this self-sacrifice for the sake of the reconstruction of Karabakh or the remote villages of Armenia.

Especially that it takes them so little - they need to maintain the exchange rate of the money that others give. However, this self-sacrifice seems unlikely, and the more pan-Armenian money is collected, the greater the intra-Armenian appetite becomes.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Monte Melkonian’s 50th year of his birth.

Today is Monte Melkonian’s 50th birthday. For those of you who don’t know who Monte is, most of the people living in Artsakh will tell you that he is the reason we still have a country.

Monte was born in Central California on November 25, 1957. He died on June 12, 1993 in battle.

For those of you interested in learning more about Monte, click here.

Artsakh Television reports on Southern Kashatagh

Friday, November 23, 2007

Children of Armenia Fund Raises $3.5 Million From its Annual Gala Evening

October 31, 2007 07:00 AM Eastern Time

Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) is pleased to announce that it raised a record $3.5 million from the 2007 Save a Generation Awards Dinner, held Friday, October 19, at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York. The money raised will be directed at reversing the ongoing impoverished conditions affecting significant numbers of children in rural Armenia through COAF’s Model Village program.

“Due to the tremendous ongoing commitment from our donors, COAF is able to implement significant projects that dramatically improve the conditions of rural Armenian communities especially in the areas of health, education, infrastructure as well as social and economic development,” said Garo H. Armen, PhD, founder and chairman of COAF. “With the money raised from the gala, COAF can continue executing a broader, sustainable revitalization program that has the potential to impact a combined population of 17,000 – of whom nearly 5,000 are children.”

COAF hosted more than 350 guests for the annual gala event. Sherry Lansing, Oscar-winner of the Humanitarian Award in 2007 and former chairwoman of Paramount Pictures, delivered the keynote address in the context of an interview hosted by Lesley Stahl, a 60 MINUTES correspondent and Charlie Rose, Emmy award winning journalist. Ken Davitian, co-star of the critically acclaimed 2006 blockbuster, BORAT, was master of ceremonies.

The COAF annual awards dinners have raised more than $8.5 million since 2001, placing funding emphasis on the Model Village project, the first such program ever to be undertaken. The project has been recognized by international aid agencies, such as the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank, as an exemplary template of sustainable development throughout the world.

About COAF

Founded in 2000, the Children of Armenia Fund is an independent, nonprofit, nongovernmental organization (501(c)(3). COAF seeks to reverse the impoverished conditions affecting significant numbers of Armenia’s children by revitalizing Armenia’s villages and implementing projects that provide immediate and sustainable benefits to children and youth.


22.11.2007 17:43 GMT+04:00

Armenian people should know and exercise their rights, especially as because there are all essential mechanisms for that, historian Rafael Hambartsumyan said during an international conference titled "Foundations and ways of implementation of Woodrow Wilson's arbitration award."

Problems existing between Turkey and Armenia can be transferred from political to juridical level, according to him.

"Woodrow Wilson's award has juridical power since it has no period of limitation. We should press for affirmation of the arbitration award status and then for restoration of our rights in Western Armenia. It's quite real," said ARF Bureau's Hay Dat and Political Affairs Office Director Kiro Manoyan. In his opinion, implementation of Woodrow Wilson's arbitration award will become a precondition for establishment of normal relations with Turkey. "Syndrome of Sevres is already observed in Turkey. It means that confidence in legitimacy of current borders wanes. Armenian and Kurdish territories will come off Turkey sooner or later," he said adding that Armenians should be ready to take back what belongs to them, Novosti Armenia reports.

November 22, 1920 President Woodrow Wilson signed the Arbitration Award marking the Armenian-Turkish border.

Besides, the Treaty of Sevres divided the Ottoman Empire in mandated territories. Palestine and northern Iraq with Mosul and Kirkuk areas went over to UK, Cilicia was passed to France. The mandate on Western Armenia was offered to the U.S., however, Congress refused to ratify it. Meanwhile, the Arbitration Award has no period of limitation and can't be appealed in international courts.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Nov 16, 2007

The government approved Thursday (November 15) a new procedure for approval and registration of invitations extended by Armenian citizens to friends and relatives abroad for visiting Armenia.

The new procedure stems from a new Law on Foreigners approved by parliament last February.

Head of passports and visas department of the police, Ms. Alvina Zakarian, said after the government session that every Armenian citizen and foreigners with residence permit have the right to send invitations to any person to visit Armenia.

The application is to be submitted to the appropriate police station. Police in turn asks by electronic mail the National Security Service to approve or deny the application. Alvina Zakarian said only persons regarded non grata are banned from visiting the country.

Under the new procedure, the amount of state due paid for invitation's registration has been cut from 12,000 Drams to 5,000. The new procedure has prolonged also the term of staying in the country from previous 21 days to 120 days.

A foreigner must apply for prolongation of his or her visa two days prior to its expiration, otherwise they will face administrative penalties. They will have to pay 500 Drams for every extra day of staying in Armenia.

Alvina Zakarian said the changes were made to facilitate the arrival of foreigners in Armenia and help boost tourism.


Noyan Tapan
Nov 16, 2007

22m 830 thousand drams (nearly 71.3 thousand USD) has been already raised by the results of the phonethon held between November 14 to 16 by the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund in Armenia and Artsakh. As Noyan Tapan correspondent was informed by the Fund's Public Relations Department, their employees and volunteers phoned to nearly 2000 enterprises.

It was also mentioned that the European phonethon is still underway. It will finish on November 18.

Friday, November 16, 2007


By Ruzanna Stepanian and Karine Kalantarian

Radio Liberty, Czech Rep.
Nov 16 2007

Opposition leaders allied to former President Levon Ter-Petrosian on Friday stood by their allegations that Thursday's severe beating of one of their youth activists was the work of the Armenian authorities and police in particular.

President Robert Kocharian dismissed the allegations and ruled out any political motives behind the beating.

Narek Galstian, the 20-year-old leader of the youth wing of a Diaspora-linked pro-Ter-Petrosian party, was hospitalized with serious injuries after being assaulted by unknown individuals in the northern outskirts of Yerevan. The attack two place two days after Galstian and another young activist of the Social Democrat Hnchakian Party (SDHK) were detained by police while posting anti-government leaflets in the city center.

"Haykakan Zhamanak," a daily newspaper staunchly supportive of Ter-Petrosian, wrote on Friday that the chief of the Yerevan police, Major General Nerses Nazarian, personally hit and bullied the two men at a police station in the capital. The claim was echoed by Lyudmila Sargsian, the SDHK chairwoman, and Ter-Petrosian.

Speaking at a rally in Yerevan later in the day, Ter-Petrosian demanded Nazarian's immediate sacking. He said failure to fire him would mean that Kocharian and Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian were "behind the beating."

Galstian has not publicly claimed to have been ill-treated in police custody, saying only that police officers only told him to stop disseminating leaflets slamming Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian. He says he was also warned against publicizing the very fact of his detention.

"We did not want to name these names," Sargsian told a news conference. "But remaining silent about that would now be a crime."

"The fact that a police general does not shy away from beating 19- and 20-year-old young men and even trying to stuff a leaflet into their mouths and force them to eat it ... shows that this is a police state," she said.

The SDHK leader again alleged that Galstian's beating was ordered by the government. "Nowadays police will not take any action without orders from above," she said. "I link [the beating] to the highest echelons of power." "They thereby tried to scare the youth," she added.

Similar allegations have been made by other influential opposition forces not aligned with Ter-Petrosian. Parliament deputies from the opposition Zharangutyun party on Thursday demonstratively walked out of a parliament session in protest against what they described as an "act of political terror." "This act of terror is a direct continuation of other repressions against political figures in Armenia and vivid proof of the fact that violence against political opponents is an integral part of the Armenian authorities' work style," Zharangutyun said in a statement.

Kocharian, however, asserted that the authorities had no hand in Thursday's assault because Galstian is too young and little-known to pose a threat to his and Sarkisian's rule. "As always, whatever happens to anyone in the run-up to elections is linked with politics," he told reporters after inaugurating a newly built boulevard in downtown Yerevan. "I personally never heard about that lad. I didn't know that there is such a political figure."

"I don't think he was of interest to anyone [in government,]" added Kocharian.

The Armenian police, meanwhile, likewise denied any involved in Galstian's beating which Ter-Petrosian allies say is part of broader "repressions" unleashed by the authorities against their supporters.

They point, among other things, to the ongoing government crackdowns on a wealthy businessman close to Ter-Petrosian and a regional TV station that broke ranks to air a September 21 speech by the ex-president. The latter is expected to be Sarkisian's main challenger in a presidential election scheduled for February 19.

Monday, November 12, 2007


YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 8, ARMENPRESS: Head of an agricultural ministry department, Garnik Petrosian, said today although late spring frosts `decreased' the overall amount of expected apricot, plums and cherries by 36,000 tons, late ripening fruits-apples, peach, pears and others- are abundant.

He said overall 235,000 tons of fruits have been gathered, more than in 2006. Wine-growers have gathered over 220,000 tons of grape, by 20,000 more from a year ago.

He said some 70,000 tons of grape will have been procured by 23 big and small local wineries. Some was sold and the rest is being stored for winter sales.

According to him, a total of 700,000 tons of vegetables have been gathered so far. Some 800,000 tons are supposed to be gathered overall.

Armenians sold this year 900 tons of apricot, 500 tons of cherry, 2000 tons of grape and 500 tons of peach to Georgia and Russia.

Petrosian said Armenian framers have gathered also 437,000 tons of grain crops and 570,000 tons of potato.


You bet it was a good year. That is for the people selling the harvest for a price that is more than twice as much as last years prices. You would think that if there was a increase in production, then the prices would go down.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Shooting near the Gomidas open-air market?

Tonight while writing an e-mail to Garbis and Onnik, I heard what sounded like multiple shots from a shot-gun between our house and the Gomidas open-air market.

It seems that there have been quite a few of these shootings in the area that we live when in Armenia, one recent shooting resulting in the death of the chairman of the Union of Hunters of Armenia, who was a big time Mafia leader that I had once investigated for selling U.S. tourist visas with the help of one of his hunting buddies, the U.S. Ambassador (prior to John Evans).


Noyan Tapan
Nov 8, 2007

. The chairman of the Union of Hunters of Armenia Sayat Davtian was shot by some unknown persons at Yerevan's Arabkir market at about 7 p.m. on November 8. Law enforcers are examining the scene of the crime at the moment.

So, I added to my e-mail to Onnik and Garbis: “Hey, as I was writing this, there was a bunch of shooting going on in the direction of the restaurant we were at yesterday. Could this be the continuation of the killing from yesterday?”

Garbis responded: “The sounds you heard were the fireworks that are launched from the roof of Cafe Planet when you pay $200. Pretty cool, huh? ;)”

And I was thinking that this was a possible revenge shooting in response to Sayat’s murder.

Only in Armenia can you pay $200 to scare the daylights out of the people in the neighborhood, who didn’t have a clue as to the wonderful entertainment the Café Planet offers their clients.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Kocharyan’s answer to LTP

Yesterday on television, President Kocharyan rebutted Levon Ter Pedrosyan’s recent statements when he announced his candidacy for president of Armenia.

Kocharyan in his usual manipulative way to twist reality and talked about how he received a country that was in a demolished state, which was brought to its low point by LTP.

Kocharyan talked about how the country has had noticeable growth and things in Armenia today are prospering, this he credited himself for. He also made mention of the growth of the national budget and the increase in money that is flowing in Armenia.

The reality Mr. President is that most people in Armenia are living as a result of money that is coming from those who have left Armenia to find work abroad in order to support their family and very few are able to live a dignified life from income generated in the country.

A reality stated by LTP is that over a million people (those sending the lion share of money to their families so they can survive) have left the country since Kocharyan and his criminal clan has come to power.

All I can say is that LTP is not the answer to fixing the problems we are facing today, nor is Serj Sarkisyan the answer. The big question that should be on our minds is will it be Serj or Levon and what are we going to do to make sure we sustain the lest damage from their criminal activities?

Traffic and Bridges

I’m really not understanding why we are building bridges in Yerevan? Take a good look at what they are building on Gasyan Street.

I’m not sure how this bridge will help alleviate traffic problems, but will say that it looks to me like the bridge they are building is going handle one lane of traffic in each direction, which might increase traffic problems rather than alleviate it.

Knowing that it is the Kocharan government that has decided on the construction of bridges in Armenia, I will guess that some people including Kocharyan are making millions on these projects.

What makes things worse is that due to the construction and lack of traffic control, Armenia is plagued with almost constant traffic jams.

Tonight as we were taking a taxi ride home, traffic slowed at Papazian Street and came to a grinding halt near the tax office, where they had closed off the street to traffic that was going in the direction of he open market.

To add insult to injury, the other street that goes passed the street closure is Kochar and according to the taxi driver, it too was closed (though knowing taxi drivers in Armenia, who I’ve noticed are a little bit less than honest, could have been just trying to get the minimal fare of 600 Dram for driving 1 kilometer). A bit frustrated and not wanting to drive all the way back to the center of the city and then up Monument, we paid the 600 Drams, walked a block and then sat in another taxi that took us to our destination in the tune of another 600 Drams.

These very unorganized closers, which there should have at very least been a detour posted somewhere is just another indicator of the lack of competence of those leading us today. Incompetence has and is evermore common place in leadership in Armenia and Artsakh today. As long as we continue to tolerate it, illogical and unnecessary projects will continue in our nation for the decades to come.

The price of life in Armenia on the rise

What currency is increasing in value, but in the open market is loosing value?

Today in Armenia the price of a loaf of bread is 120 Dram. Last week is was 110 Dram and a month ago was 100 Dram.

Yes, the price of wheat has increased, but you have to ask yourself why it has shot up and is on the rise? I’m not sure, but I’m sure our leaders and the mafia who controls the price of wheat can give you a clever answer to justify the increase.

The woman that sells bread at the Gomidas open air market told me that she or the people that bake the bread are not to blame for the price increase and said that it is our leaders who are doing everything to make life unbearable so we will all leave. They are the ones to blame. She went on to say that she left once and went to Russia, but life for Armenians like her is not better there and she does not feel that she has any other place to go and will stick around to see how things work out.

The price of Georgian Khachaburigs also went from 100 Dram to 120 Dram. That one I don’t get since the amount of flour used is nothing close to what goes in a loaf of bread. Anyway, that’s the new price and we will just have to live with it and hope that when the price of flour goes down, the price of Khachaburigs will also decrease, though I will bet you with 10 to 1 odds that it will stay where it is and only continue to rise since that’s a very common Armenian business practice.

This year most fruits and vegetables are more expensive than last year. The price of fish is also up from last year.

All these increases don’t make sense being that the Dram is more powerful, supposedly.