Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Alek Yenikomshian – “We have liberated our historic lands.”
[ 25 November 2008 | 19:14 ] politics |

An interview with Alek Yenikomshian, a friend of Monte Melkonian and a founder of the “Miatsum Initiative”

Alek, today, November 25th, is the birthday of Monte. You, who knew him for almost 30 years and who is familiar with his views better than most, what do you think Monte’s opinion would have been regarding the political settlement of the Karabakh conflict?

Monte answered this question back then, there are statements he made during interviews where he noted that, “the war will only end with our victory.”

This means that any reconciliation will be signed on the basis of our victory. This is something that I have added. Monte made numerous statements that show that he considered the territories as perpetually Armenian. At the liberation of Karvatchar, during an interview he granted with Dadivank as a backdrop, Monte stated that there are Armenian monasteries all over the place, wherever you travel you come across Armenian settlements and that we haven’t stepped a foot over the boundary of our historic lands…Whatever lands we have taken have been our historic lands. These are just recollections of some of Monte’s sayings.

Here are some more specific quotations from his statements: “We have once again become masters of our homes and lands” (Nor Gyank, USA, July 23, 1993); “We have gone into those areas that have historically been ours. We will be turning the last page of Armenian history if we lose this land” (Artsakh TV interview, October 4, 1992); “This question is an historical one. It is extremely important for our people to reconnect this area (Karvatchar) to Armenia. As you see, wherever you go there are Armenian monasteries, this is Armenian land. Enter any village and you see that this is Armenian land. And it is vitally important to connect these 3,000 square kilometers of land. The liberation of this region will also play a decisive role in the history of Artsakh as well…spiritually, politically, strategically, in all ways. It is very important to gain a victory.” (Interview given on March 29-30, in vicinity of Dadivank, during operations to liberate Karvatchar); “My view is that we must return to the historic borders of Artsakh, by drawing a line from the Araks to the Kur. In this way the defense of our positions will be made much easier because we’ll have natural borders as our defenders, the rivers and mountains. For as long as we have our defensive lines looking like a lace patchwork we will be consumed in defending several fronts simultaneously and will be making the task of the Azeris much easier.” (Les Nouvelles D’Armenie, June-July 1993).

Monte proved that these lands were historic Armenian lands and that we didn’t capture the lands of others. In terms of the defense of security this has been the historic way and it remains so today. The present territories must remain because those same territories insure our security. Otherwise, the borders of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region, in terms of insuring defensibility, have much to be desired in any number of ways. In other words, there are principled reasons here to exercise the right to historic justice and also in terms of insuring practical defensibility. In my opinion, this would be Monte’s position.

Today, active negotiations are taking place around the issue of mutual concessions. I know that you are personally opposed to mutual concessions in general. However, don’t you think that something can be conceded in the name of peace and in exchange for the recognition of the independence of Artsakh?

I am not alone in thinking that there can be no talk, and shouldn’t be any talk, of mutual concessions when it comes to the issue of the territories. I have noted principled reasons, i.e., that we have regained our former rights. At a minimum we have been losing land for the past 1,000 years and it has only been in this war that we have liberated our historic lands. This fact has great psychological importance – today or the next day, this great leap forward, the first in over 1,000 years, will be reduced to nothing. I can’t picture what type of psychological state of mind an Armenian will find himself in after such a shameless outrage if those lands are returned. What I want to say is that the Armenian spirit would be broken. Here it’s not only a matter of principle but a question of the future. Beside from a purely military issue of defensibility, from a psychological perspective, it would signify “devastation”. Let me restate, after all this, that there can be no talk of land or territory concessions. There were those 14 years, before the truce of 1994, on the Armenian side who were talking about minimal demands in the context of mutual concessions and for them the border line was the self-government of the region; namely the demand that Azerbaijan accept the right of the people of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region to self-determination. And Azerbaijan didn’t accept this. Azerbaijan didn’t even accept this minimal demand when simultaneously the weak Armenian side was ready to give back almost all the territories. But if Azerbaijan hasn’t accepted this minimal demand for 14 years, there is no such mutual concession that is possible to realize. This is a fact. Azerbaijan has shown that it will not accept the minimal demand. If Azerbaijan is confident that it can regain those lands by military means from the hands of the Armenian forces it wouldn’t hesitate doing so for a moment. Thus, if we signed an agreement or not, with or without mutual concessions, Azerbaijan will take that step and will not accept the minimal demand of the Armenian side. Thus, there’s a bit too much importance being given to the concept of mutual concessions. There is no such mutual concession that Azerbaijan will accept and we will not enter into obligations regarding the territories. It is possible to think along other lines.

In your estimation, what issues are the negotiations revolving around? Is there a question about the return of those territories in the negotiations?

From the first days of negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan there was mention made of the territories and that was scandalous. Now they say that the Madrid Principles aren’t known but we all know that in that framework there is mandatory talk about 5, 6 or 7 regions of the territories. No one can say that the first point of the negotiations process isn’t about the return of those territories. I believe this is to be rejected out of hand. Thus, for all this time the negotiations have been revolving around the principle of territorial concessions. Sadly, the official Armenian side has always been ready to go the way of concessions, with the condition that the self-determination of the people of MK (Mountainous Karabakh) be recognized. But aren’t we aware that after the lands are returned Armenians now residing there will leave especially since they won’t feel protected. The same can happen in Zangezour and Syunik and down the line. Any weakness on our part will just lead to larger loses, both territorially and in issues of existence.

Holding on to those territories isn’t an aim in itself. Those lands must be settled by our people and it is just not our just historic right to once again live there. The resettlement of those lands can solve a myriad of other issues. Those territories are some of the best agricultural lands around and we know of the problems faced by our agricultural sector even since Soviet days. These lands could help with managing the size of our agricultural imports. I haven’t yet touched on a very important matter that these territories might solve, the problem of emigration. Where once people moved overseas from our cities, now this trend has reached the villages as well. If there was a serious policy to redirect those people who feel that they can no longer make a living in the villages to these territories in an organized fashion, we could resolve these issues from a demographic viewpoint.

Why hasn’t the problem of resettling the territories yet been resolved?

I am certain it has two main reasons. There is no political will. Those making decisions have yet to do so regarding the resettlement of these territories. They pass decisions to the contrary because they believe that sooner or later these lands will be returned. The other reason is the lack of adequate policy of socio-economic assistance. In other words, those lands are only being employed to ensure the profits of various clans and not for resettlement of people or to ensure those people with a decent lifestyle. Thousands of hectares of land are under the control of a handful of people, they are the master of the land’s fruits. No assistance is given to the people living there and trying to eke out an existence.

And the non-democratic ways continue

There are many reasons not to join Yerevan State Medical University in Armenia.

1) It all starts with a lie of high standard education, while there are no proper arrangements for any sort of practicals, no training, no nothing. You won't get any chance to even feel as a medical student while you are in and not feel a doctor when you graduate.

2) Once you have paid the university expenses, after spending so much to come here, you'll be treated as a dog, yelled upon by dean, higher authorities and nobody to complain too.

3) You will be asked to sign a contract, which is of no use, you are not given any copy of that. And if you oppose in anyway, you will be expelled out showing the contract you signed.

4) The University won't tell you anything about the currency crisis here, you're told to pay in Dollars for the first years, and in Armenian Drams from further years, which is so unstable that you'll be finding yourself to pay double and triple as the years pass on.

5) You will be forced to stay in University hostels which are highly expensive 900 USD approximately in Armenian Drams, per person, and three of the persons will be stuffed in a small room, with your stuff and one of you three sleeps down even after paying!!!

6) You cannot even take a single leave from the classes, even if you are sick, even if you get an accident, your leg brakes, whatever happens. No leave allowed, or you will be expelled. This does not happen in any instituition.

7) Anytime the University administration wants they can make a rule without consultation with any students and always against the students.

8) The exams are so bad here, which teachers themselves can't solve, sometimes mis-translated from Armenian or Russian so that you don't even understand the question and administration doesn't care about it.

9) The people are also becoming aggressive to foreigners here, sometimes some people are looted on streets, kidnapped and beaten up, stabbed with knives and not only this even in everyday life any Armenian will be verbally abusing you calling you by 'names'. Racism is increasing in Armenia.

10) You can be even asked to pay huge amounts of money as visa fee (as in 2008 students were asked to pay around 200 US Dollars stating that they are late to submit documents even though everybody submitted before given date by University...this was shear OPEN DAY ROBBERY), or late fee or some blunder whenever University wants without any warning, etc. Laws are in the hands these people and they exploit them well to harrass and suck money from students.

11) On top of that after spending so many years, spending so much time, money, frustration, students can be denied Degree on the basis on ruthless decisions by authorities.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Friends Visit Grave of Monte Melkonian on 51st Anniversary of his Birthday
[ 25 November 2008 | 14:34 ] society |

Earlier today, a line of friends and acquaintances of Monte Melkonian paid hommage at his grave site located in the Yeraplur Cemetary for fallen national heroes. Those visiting the cemetary included founding members of the Monte Melkonian Fund, students of the military academy and school bearing his name, and those who fought alongside his side. Alek Yenikomshian, one of the founders of the Monte Melkonian Fund and who knew the fallen hero for thirty years reconted that, “It is often said on these occasions that he has not perished. Such words may have an artificial ring to them but this is the case who intimately knew him. He is always with us, always struggling, and it is our obligation to present heroes not only as individuals but to present the essence, the soul of those heroes as well.”

Vahe Shakhmuradyan, a fellow combattant of Monte’s, stated that he thought it was necessary to present the multi-dimensional aspects of the man. Vahe Shakhmuradyan stated that Monte was a sensitive and penchant individual and noted that while he always had high praise for the soldier, he himself found a bit of fault with that and commented, “In my opinion the leader doesn’t belong to him if he is a leader of the people. Monte should have protected himeself as well. We are also guilty that he isn’t here today. We feel his absence today since his demise was a sort of crime.”

Anahit, a pupil of Public School #11 that bears his name, recited the following words of Monte Melkonian, “I am here today because I don’t have the right to be anywhere else. I have taken an oath and I belong to only one man, the free soldier of the homeland. He is the most exemplary of individuals for me since he has resolved to do everything for the homeland.”

Monday, November 24, 2008


We Demand Justice

On November 17, 2008, Mr. Edik Baghdasaryan, a highly respected journalist, Chief Editor of the Armenian daily Hetq (Track) and the President of Investigative Journalists’ Association of Armenia, sustained severe head injuries after being attacked by three assailants as he was leaving his workplace; the attackers also stole Mr. Baghdasaryan's camera. This incident occurred following epeated “warnings” and "threats" received by the Hetq staff.

This assault on Mr. Baghdasaryan highlights a disturbing trend of physical and other violence on Journalists since the February 2008 presidential elections. On August 11, 2008, Ms. Lusineh Barseghian, the correspondent of the Armenian daily Haikakan Zhamanak (Armenian Times), was assaulted and also sustained head injuries outside her home. A week later, Mr. Hrach Melkumian, Acting Head of the Yerevan Office of the Armenian Service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, was also attacked. None of the culprits has been brought to justice. The police is unperturbed at best and appear to be intent on harassing the journalists and their staff. The circumstances related to Mr. Gagik Hovakimian, Ms. Anna Zakharian, Mr. Gagik Shamshian, and Ms. Gohar Vezirian, are all examples of police intimidation, harassment, arbitrary arrest and unlawful detention. Violence against Armenian journalists and their staff seem to be a common-place occurence these days.

We strongly condemn these acts of violence and intimidation, and call upon the authorities to investigate these crimes and persecute the culprits. The international community has also taken note of the frequent violations of basic freedoms of the press. For example, the Paris-based organization, Reporters Without Borders (RWB), has dropped Armenia from 77th to 102nd position on a list of 173 countries ranked by their press freedom. The perception of foreign observers following the beating of Edik Baghdasaryan was succinctly captured in a letter addressed to Mr. Edward Nalbandian, the Foreign Minister of Armenia, by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Mr. Miklos Haraszti, who wrote: "Violence against journalists is not 'crime as usual', because it undermines a basic institution of democracy - the free press".

We, the undersigned, deplore any undertaking that hampers the growth of democracy. The world will be watching and expecting concrete and prompt action from the authorities in Armenia.

Ani Boghossian BA, Toronto, Canada
Antranig Bedrossian BA, B. Comm. CMA, Montreal, Canada
Aram Adamyan MSc, MBA ACCA, Toronto, Canada
Ardavast Avakian, Boca Raton, Florida, USA
Arsine Attarian, Activist, Montreal, Canada
Artin Boghossian PhD, Toronto, Canada
Artur Gevorgyan MSc MD, Toronto, Canada
Avo Bedrossian MASc., P. Eng., Ottawa, Canada
Berge Minassian MD, FRCP(C), Toronto, Canada
Prof. Davit Zargarian, Ottawa, Canada
Prof. Dennis R. Papazian, USA
Dikran Abrahamian BA, MD, Penetanguishene, Canada
Edgar Manukian PhD, Toronto, Canada
Haig Baltadjian DDS MScD, Montreal, Canada
Haig Misakyan P. Eng., Toronto, Canada
Hagop Sevakian, Management Consultant, Toronto, Canada
Hasmig Kurdian MEd, Toronto, Canada
Kevin McGill, Activist, Canada
Koko Yerevanian P. Eng., California, USA
Nader Rastegar MBA, London, United Kingdom
Ohannes Hagopian PhD, Ridgewood NJ, USA
Raffi Chitilian B. Eng., Montreal, Canada
Rita Charchyan, Toronto, Canada
Ruth Cooper BSW (Hons.) RSW, Waubaushene, Canada
Shirley Fersch RPN, Penetanguishene, Canada
Unus Ali BA, Midland, Canada
Vigen Ghazarian CFA, Toronto, Canada
Viken L. Attarian P. Eng. MSc MBA, Montreal, Canada
Virginia Misakyan B. Comm., Toronto, Canada

Copies of this document will be forwarded to the Catholicosates in Etchmiadzin and Antelias, Honourable Edward Nalbandian (Foreign Minister of Armenia), Honourable Hranush Hacobyan (Minister of Diaspora), Mr. Armen Harutyunyan (the Ombudsman and Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Armenia), PEN Canada, PEN International, Journalists for Human Rights, and other Human Rights organizations. The initiators would appreciate your endorsement if you are agreeable with the content of the text. Please submit your details at We Demand Justice.

Serzh Sargsyan scared the people of Artsakh [Karabakh]?

Aravot, Armenia
Nov 20 2008

During his recent visit to Karabakh [Armenian President] Serzh Sargsyan surprised the local population, particularly by the unprecedented security measures. Quoting his sources in Karabakh, Aleksandr Kananyan, a member of the Miatsum National Initiative [which calls for Nagornyy Karabakh's unification with Armenia], said this yesterday [19 November] in the Urbat [Friday] discussion club.

He said that the life in Stepanakert [the capital of Karabakh] was paralysed on those days, and citizens, who could not get to their workplaces [due to the security measures], were surprised, saying: "Why is Serzh Sargsyan so afraid? He is among his compatriots."

According to Mr Kananyan's reliable information, Serzh Sargsyan had "a secret meeting behind the closed doors with the Nagornyy Karabakh leadership and top brass, during which he said in an unquestioning tone that he had decided to resolve the Karabakh issue. The settlement will be according to the Madrid principles; the Armenian troops will leave five territories [Azerbaijani districts adjacent to Karabakh], then a referendum will be held on the status [of Karabakh] two years later, and afterwards Kalbacar) [an Armenian-controlled Azerbaijani district in between Armenia and Nagornyy Karabakh] will also be ceded to Azerbaijan. This is a new idea."

According to the speaker [Kananyan], attempts are already being made to disseminate this approach among the population of Karabakh via police and village leaders, "impressing them that in case they do not agree to this, they will again turn out to be at war." Kananyan hopes that the people of Karabakh will not fall into this delusion, because they realize very well that the probability of a war would be high if such a settlement plan [is approved]. As a result of this plan, in fact, Azerbaijan would get a positional strategic advantage. Kananyan is sure that there is no foreign pressure upon the Armenian government and the Armenian government goes for the existing settlement option voluntarily - being guided not by national but by its own business interests.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


By Lena Nazarian

Institute for War and Peace Reporting
Nov 20 2008

Seventh attack on independent journalist in Armenia this year sparks freedom of speech fears.

Armenia's leading investigative journalist Edik Baghdasarian is in hospital after an unprovoked assault in the street that has caused alarm over the safety of independent reporters in the country.

At around 8 pm on the evening of November 17 in the centre of Yerevan, three assailants attacked Baghdasarian, who is head of Armenia's Association of Investigative Journalists and the editor-in-chief of, a weekly Internet bulletin. While two of them struggled with him, the third beat him on the head. They tore his clothes and snatched his camera.

An ambulance and one policeman arrived on the scene. Baghdasarian was taken to hospital where he was diagnosed with severe concussion.

Baghdasarian is well-known in Armenia and has been awarded international prizes for ceaselessly investigating official abuses of power and corruption. His most recent article on is about an iron-ore mine in the town of Hrazdan, although there has been no suggestion that this report, rather than any other, was the reason
for the assault.

Observers of the Armenian media say his beating is part of a worrying trend this year in which seven reporters have been attacked but none of the assailants have so far been brought to justice.

Gagik Shamshian, a photo-correspondent with the opposition newspaper Fourth Estate, is one of them and blames the authorities for not investigating the attack on him properly. "If they wanted to they could have identified the culprits long ago," he said.

Shamshian said he was attacked and had his mobile phone and dictaphone stolen when a Mercedes blocked his path and he was forced to the ground. He escaped by running out into the traffic.

Shamshian said that he identified amongst his attackers three men about whom he had written an article in his newspaper but, despite his testimony to the police, no one has so far been charged with the assault on him.

In October, the editor-in-chief of the opposition newspaper Haikakan Zhamanak, Lusine Barseghian, was beaten on the head by two men.

Passers-by rushed to get her to hospital.

Barseghian said that she had recognised one of her attackers and had given the police such detailed information that it should be easy to locate the men responsible but no one had been arrested so far.

In the summer, the acting head of the local office of Radio Liberty's Armenian service, Hratch Melkumian, was also punched, kicked and abused in the middle of Yerevan by unknown assailants. Again no arrests have been made.

"These incidents just don't get solved in Armenia," said Astghik Bedevian, a Radio Liberty correspondent in Yerevan. "If just one of them had been punished, the initiators of these beatings wouldn't be so brazen and arrogant."

The Yerevan police and prosecutor's office defend their record on the journalists' beatings, saying they are still actively investigating the crimes.

The deputy police chief of Yerevan, Ashot Mirijanian, told reporters his police force attached great importance to finding Baghdasarian's assailants. Asked by one journalist why violent attacks against policemen nearly always resulted in successful prosecutions, while attacks on journalists did not, Mirijanian replied, "Because a policeman fights to the end and journalists usually run away."

Sona Truzian, press secretary for the prosecutor's office conceded, "Possibly the public concerns in this regard are partially justified. We want to believe that soon there will be more discernible results."

Top Armenian officials have strongly condemned the attack on Baghdasarian.

On November 18, Armenian president Serzh Sarkisian gave instructions for the crime to be solved as quickly as possible. Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian visited the journalist in hospital. He told reporters, "We are worried by this turn of events."

However, human rights ombudsman Armen Harutiunian said he was worried about the lack of progress in these cases.

"For years we have been witnesses to violence against journalists as a result of which I have frequently called on the law enforcement agencies to be more consistent in identifying the culprits, but these crimes have not yet been solved," said Harutiunian. "These incidents are part of a very dangerous trend and are a serious threat to freedom of speech in our country.

"I am sure that if there is the political will, all other problems can be solved."

A group of journalistic organisations signed a joint letter condemning the attack on Baghdasarian, warning that those responsible for attacking journalists appear to immune from prosecution. "This impunity unties the hands of those who want to suppress freedom of speech," said the letter.

A number of journalists, students and non-governmental activists also staged an act of protest, marching with placards from the general prosecutor's office to the presidential residence.

Miklos Haraszti, representative for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, wrote a public letter to Armenian foreign minister Eduard Nalbandian about the attack on Baghdasarian, reminding him of other assaults on journalists in Armenia.

"Violence against a journalist is not a 'normal' crime because it is a blow against a basic institution of democracy, freedom of speech," said Haraszti's letter.

Lena Nazaryan is a correspondent with and a participant in IWPR's Armenian-Azerbajiani Neighbours project. IWPR Armenia editor Seda Muradian also contributed to this article.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Investigative Journalist Attacked in Yerevan

November 18, 2008

By Astghik Bedevian

A prominent Armenian investigative journalist known for his stories exposing government corruption became the target of a violent attack, which he believes is connected with his reporting.

Edik Baghdasarian, who heads the Armenian Association of Investigative Journalists and runs a Yerevan-based online magazine, Hetq, left his office in downtown Yerevan at about 8 p.m. Monday and shortly was ambushed and beaten by three unknown assailants as he was going to get into his car parked in the street, according to his own account.

Baghdasarian said the attack was an unprovoked one and the assailants did not demand anything particular from him.

`Right near the car two people attacked me and began to land heavy blows. I retaliated and we were exchanging blows. I punched one of them and since I was holding a mobile phone in my hand at that moment, the phone now has blood stains on it, presumably the blood of one of the attackers,' Baghdasarian told RFE/RL.

Then, according to Baghdasarian, a third person hit him on the head from behind, presumably with a rock or some other solid object, after which, the journalist says, he fainted.

Eventually, the three of the attackers took to flight after a security worker from a nearby construction site alerted by the squabble fired a shot into the air.

An ambulance service then administered first aid to Baghdasarian on the spot and the journalist was hospitalized with a head injury. Doctors later said the injuries were not life threatening.

Baghdasarian also says he lost a computer disc with several investigative stories that he planned for publication online. The journalist says he saw the face of at least one assailant and could recognize that person if he saw him again.

A criminal case has been initiated in connection with the incident under article 113 of the Criminal Code (inflicting bodily harm of medium gravity by a group of persons). An inquiry was ongoing, police officials said.

Baghdasarian, 49, is an award-winning independent journalist known for his in-depth investigative reporting on topics ranging from politics to crime and corruption. In his latest series of investigative reports, Baghdasarian exposed cases of abuse and corruption in Armenia's mining industry.

The latest attack became the seventh case of violence used against a media representative in Armenia this year. In August, the then acting chief of RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau Hrach Melkumian also became a victim of an apparently politically motivated attack.

The rise in violence against media in 2008 has been slammed by local and international media watchdogs and human rights groups throughout the year.

However, none of the crimes have been revealed and no one has been punished for either organizing or committing those attacks against journalists.

The attack against Baghdasarian was condemned by Armenia's main opposition alliance.

In a statement the Armenian National Congress led by former President Levon Ter-Petrosian, in particular, said: `This outrageous attack is more proof that the criminal regime has declared war on free speech.'

President Serzh Sarkisian's spokesman also described the violence against the journalist as `unacceptable' and `condemnable'.

`The president of the republic has given strict instructions to law-enforcement bodies to reveal the circumstances of the case and find those responsible for the attack,' Samvel Farmanian said in a statement.

Later in the day, Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian visited Baghdasarian at the hospital.

He expressed his concern over the attack against a journalist.

`The investigation is on and we are convinced that those responsible will be found within a short period of time,' Tigran Sarkisian told reporters.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Statement of RA Ombudsman Armen Harutyunyan

“On November 17 at around 8 p.m. three anonymous people attacked head of “Investigative Journalists” NGO and chief editor of “Hetq” online Edik Baghdasaryan. We have been witnessing attacks on journalists for years and I have called on the police several times to be consistent with revealing the guilty, but they have not been revealed to date. These incidents present an extreme danger and a serious threat to development of freedom of speech in the country. I call on the police once again to take all necessary measures to reveal the criminals and bring them to justice; otherwise, I believe that it would be right for the high-ranking policemen to discuss the competence of the officials holding posts in the bodies implementing operative investigations.”

Ruling Republican Party Spokesperson Condemns Free Speech Infringements
[ 18 November 2008 | 15:40 ]

At an event held at the “Ourbat Club” today, Mr. Edward Sharmazanov, the press spokesperson of Armenia’s Republican Party stated that, “Those infringements directed against freedom of speech, freedom of the press and democratic values must be punished.” The Republican Party is the dominant force in the present coalition government in Armenia. Mr. Sharmazanov’s statement alluded to yesterday’s assault on Edik Baghdasaryan a leading investigative journalist in Armenia and Chief Editor of “Hetq Online”. The Republican Party spokesperson refrained from commenting on possible motives for the attack but noted that if was because of the professional work carried out by Mr. Baghdasaryan it must be condemned.

Hetq Editor Edik Baghdasaryan to Remain Hospitalized for 2 Days
[ 18 November 2008 | 13:31 ]

Minutes ago the Saint Grigor Lusavoritch Hospital informed Hetq that the on-line paper’s Chief Editor, Edik Baghdasaryan, has been diagnosed as having received a head concussion during yesterday evening’s assault. Doctors at the hospital have decided to transfer him from the emergency unit to the patients’ ward for an additional two days of observation.

While in the hospital Mr. Baghdasaryan has already been paid visits by Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan, Healthcare Minister Harutyun Kushkyan and Khosrov Harutyunyan, President of the Christian-Democrat Party.

Award Winning Investigative Journalist Edik Baghdasaryan Hospitalized After Being Attacked

My longtime friend Edik Baghdasaryan was attacked a few hours ago by four assailants in front the HETQ office in Yerevan.

Edik has been hospitalized and is receiving treatment. His overall condition remains stable.

There is yet no information as to who the assailants were, but I can tell you that we will find them and make sure that they attack no more.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Bush Tours America To Survey Damage Caused By His Disastrous Presidency

Bush Tours America To Survey Damage Caused By His Disastrous Presidency


[08:05 pm] 03 November, 2008

Foreign partners of SIL Concern have responded to the latest scandal over the Sukiasian-owned businesses, in particular the crackdown on Bjni Company.

“I cannot believe that the authorities deny any political motives behind the crackdown on this successful company of mineral waters. The loss of this national brand will directly inflict great losses on Armenia’s shaky economy. Imagine the French government closes Evian or Perrier or the U.S. government closes Coca Cola or Pepsi,” says President of Harwal Group Harut Ohanessian.

“Reasonable people will condemn the regime’s steps which obviously intend to dissolve the successful business of their political opponents to deprive them of their property. Unfortunately, this valuable national resource is destroyed for political reasons, he says.

Remind that the SIL Concern issued a statement according to which an Armenian business group owned by a fugitive opposition-linked businessman Khacahtur Sukiasyan claimed to be heading for financial ruin because of what it described as a “political vendetta” waged by the government. The SIL Concern group, which comprises a major commercial bank and a dozen other companies (Bjni, Pares Armenia, Pizza de Roma, Sports Time, Yerevan’s Mill and Nor Shin), fell foul of the authorities after its main owner, parliament deputy Khachatur Sukiasian, publicly welcomed former President Levon Ter-Petrosian’s September 2007 return to active politics. The companies have sustained great losses.

Another Sukiasian-owned company, the exclusive distributor of Phillip Morris cigarettes in Armenia, went out of business earlier this year, saying that customs officials are refusing to process its imports on government orders. According to SIL, Phillip Morris now sells its cigarettes in the Armenian market through another firm allegedly controlled by President Serzh Sarkisian’s influential son-in-law.

Three of those companies were inspected by tax authorities and charged with evading millions of dollars in taxes late last year. Two of them, a pizza restaurant chain and a printing house, saw their chief executives arrested on corresponding charges. In a written statement, SIL accused the authorities of seeking to “destroy” the companies owned by Sukiasian and his extended family. “With this approach, the current authorities have proved one thing: that those entrepreneurs who will dare not to follow their rules of the game will be strictly and arbitrarily punished,” the statement said.