Monday, November 15, 2010

Armenian Army Scrambles To Tackle Abuse After Spate Of Deaths

November 12, 2010

by Irina Hovhannisyan, Suren Musayelyan

Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian this month faced the uneasy task of comforting parents whose sons were found dead after suffering vicious treatment in the army.

The meeting, in which the minister vowed to harshly punish the culprits, was part of his uphill battle to rehabilitate the army's image following a spate of suspicious deaths that have caused nationwide outrage and an online video showing an officer brutalizing young conscripts.

Speaking in a television interview this week, Ohanian declared war on the rampant abuse, corruption, and mismanagement that have plagued the country's army. The armed forces, he acknowledged, will have to work hard to regain the trust of soldiers' parents.

His remarks echoed an earlier pledge made this summer following a shooting rampage that left six soldiers dead.

"As the defense minister of the Republic of Armenia, I am fully aware of our army's problems. I want to assure you that the leadership of the armed forces has done and is doing everything to root out the causes of such incidents and to prevent human losses," Ohanian said.

Ohanian's campaign to make the army more accountable marks a strong departure from the secrecy that shrouded the army under his predecessors.

Military 'Impunity'

Many Armenians, weary of the impunity that the army has enjoyed over the past two decades, have welcomed his humble tone and his determination in punishing abusive officers.

Dozens of servicemen have been suspended or demoted this year on charges of abusing fellow soldiers, and many face stiff prison sentences.

The Defense Ministry has set up a board composed of human rights activists, doctors, and psychologists to scrutinize the treatment of soldiers.

The ministry has also submitted to parliament draft legislation that would allow soldiers to challenge unlawful orders from their superiors.

Gegham Harutiunian, one of Ohanian's aides, says the Defense Ministry's campaign to crack down on army abuse is bearing fruit.

"Today, it seems unimaginable that a case involving someone abusing his position and acting against his subordinate would remain undisclosed and the perpetrator would go unpunished. We clearly see that this policy is being pursued," Harutiunian said.

Ohanian and his ministry nonetheless face lingering public resentment over the recent deaths.

Among the victims is 30-year-old Artak Nazarian, a junior officer who military investigators say shot himself in July following mistreatment at his unit in northeast Armenia.

Hazing Video

Nazarian's relatives, however, believe he was murdered and claim the forensic examination found evidence that he had been physically abused.

Speaking to RFE/RL Nazarian's mother, Hasmik Hovannisian, said, "Who will stop these criminals? How can mothers send their sons to the army now? Who will give us answers? The man I sent to the army was sound and healthy. Bring my son back."

One day after Nazarian's death, six servicemen were found shot dead at a unit deployed in the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. The army says one of the servicemen, a young conscript, went on a shooting spree and killed himself after a bitter dispute with an officer.
Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian

The serviceman's family, too, has challenged this account and accused the military of covering up the truth.

In the latest incident to rock the army, a senior officer assaulted an 18-year-old at his unit near Yerevan in late October.

Erik Grigorian was hospitalized with multiple injuries, including a broken nose. His father, Gagik, said he was brutally beaten up for more than one hour in front of other servicemen.

"He allegedly failed to report for duty in the morning and was brutally beaten for this. He was battered. Erik's fellow soldiers say they were too scared to stop the beating," Grigorian said.

The officer has since been charged over the beating and awaits trial on charges that could send him to prison for up to five years.

The release of a video showing an army officer slapping and humiliating two soldiers has further stoked public anger.

The army tracked down and detained the officer after initially questioning the authenticity of the clip, posted on the Internet in September. He, too, faces up to five years in jail if convicted.

Like many Armenians, many rights campaigners have praised Ohanian's unprecedented efforts to punish abusive servicemen.

But some say the recent violence shows the army is losing its battle against abuse and are calling on Ohanian to step down.

"If the actions ordered by the defense minister produce no results, then he must resign," says Artur Sakunts, the head of Helsinki Citizens Assembly of Armenia rights group. "On the other hand, replacing one person obviously would not have any impact because the problem is systemic."

Claire Bigg contributed to this story

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

President Sarkisian Comments on Abuse in Army

Sat, Nov 6 2010
By:Armenian Weekly

YEREVAN (A.W.) - On. Oct. 23, Armenia's President Serge Sarkisian talked to the press during his visit to the Shirak region, mainly discussing issues related to Armenia's economy and its military.

Sarkisian talking to the press in Shirak. Answering a question about the increasing news reports of abuse in the Armenian army, Sarkisian said:

`Our army has never been void of incidents; there has never been a year without causalities among the soldiers or officers or without tragic accidents because our army is a huge structure and our army is on active duty and, finally, any army is the indivisible part of the society. Army is the mirror of the society and all failings and problems that exist in the society to a greater or lesser degree will always be present in the army - be it in Armenia, the United States, India, or elsewhere.'

He noted, however, that the army is, undoubtedly, becoming stronger by the day:

`Undoubtedly, the army is a much more organized, much more disciplined, much more enhanced structure than any other structures and our demands with regard to the army are much higher than those with regard to other structures. From this point of view, of course I am concerned with all those incidents that are taking place in our armed forces. However I don't for a moment doubt that every day, every hour our army becomes more combat ready, our army continues to improve and I am confident that every Armenian ought to be proud of our army.'

The president said he `salutes' those who criticize the abuse in army because their heart aches for what is happening, but criticized those who are using the army to gain `political dividends.'

`I salute all those persons who view our army as the apple of our eye, our pride, the safeguard of our honor and our dignity. I also salute all those who speak about the existing deficiencies in our army, but speak with heartache, speak to have a better army tomorrow, so that less young people or officers die in the army. I apologize for harsh words, generally I refrain from using harsh words but I despise all those individuals who are trying to get political dividends at the expense of the army and first all those individuals who tried to serve in the army and failed, all those individuals who tried to get engaged in the army building process but only harmed the process.'

Sunday, October 31, 2010

What really happened between Biden and Sargsyan? Is the truth really being told?

The recent YouTube video of Joe Biden telling an Armenian activist to tell his people that Sargsyan told him not to recognize the genocide has taken an interesting turn.

The initial official reaction from Armenia was that Sargsyan has never called Vice President Biden, though Biden had called him twice in April 2009.

I wonder if Biden was on a three-way call when Sargsyan asked the ANC (ARF) not to push  House Resolution 252, which would effectively force the U.S. government to recognize the Genocide. Sargsyan believed that passing such a resolution would hinder negotiations with Turkey. Knowing this, it makes me wonder if Biden was in fact telling the truth and now is stepping down from his statement so Sargsyan will not have fall out that could further damage his already frail hold in office.

And being that I'm really not sure who is telling the truth, I would be interested in hearing that recorded conversation that Armenia has given their approval to have made public.

- - - - - - - - - -

Panorama, Armenia
Oct 29 2010

Biden and Sargsyan agreed no precondition to normalize ties between Armenia and Turkey

The U.S. Embassy to Armenia spread information covering the official of the White House which reads:

`The Vice President and President Sargsian spoke twice in April 2009. In these calls, the Vice President told President Sargsian the United States believes that the normalization of relations with Turkey and the opening of borders would provide a path to a better future for Armenia and expressed the support of the United States for his
leadership. The Vice President expressed the Obama Administration's support for a Swiss proposal for a joint Armenia-Turkish statement on progress made toward normalizing relations. President Sargsian did not raise the issue of the content of President Obama's statement for Armenian Remembrance Day or seek a delay in consideration of House Resolution 252. Instead, the discussions between Vice President Biden and President Sargsian that were recently referenced by the Vice president were about the need to take immediate steps to improve Armenian-Turkish relations. The two leaders agreed that there should be no preconditions to normalizing relations between Armenia and Turkey.'

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Open Letter to Mr. Serzh Sargsyan, Members of the Armenian Government and the National Assembly

Mr. Serzh Sargsyan, members of the Armenian Government and the National Assembly,

The rising death toll and the widespread abuse in the Armenian and Artsakh armies are alarming. Today the cause of the huge wave of public outrage is not only the arithmetic of losses or the fact that more Armenian soldiers are killed by their fellow servicemen than by the enemy, but also the inefficiency of the response from the Ministries of Defense of both Armenia and Artsakh.

Armenians both in Armenia and in Diaspora were shocked by the official statement of the Defense Ministry of Armenia in regards to the video recording of army abuse, condemning “the preparation and pre-meditated dissemination of such materials directed at compromising and defaming the Armenian Armed Forces.” This, of course, would include me among those to be punished for sounding an alarm of the inhuman treatment in the army. Such threats are clearly seen as an attempt to ban crime reporting, which is indispensable for law-enforcement.

Referring to the sadistic officer captured in the scandalous video, Mikayel Harutiunyan, the RA President’s Chief Military Adviser, was quoted by RFE/RL as saying that “such officers have no place in the army.” I absolutely agree with that statement as do most, including the U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, Marie L. Yovanovitch who went on the record as stating on October 12 in Los Angeles that she stood by this contention. However, in that context, it’s puzzling that the current Ministers of Defense of both Armenia and Artsakh, Colonel-General Seyran Ohanyan and Lieutenant-General Movses Hakobyan respectively, still “have a place in the army” after a more heinous incident on June 19, 2005, when, together with a number of high-ranking servicemen, they severely beat Pavel Manukyan who was afterward hospitalized unconscious.

Neither Seyran Ohanyan, nor Samvel Karapetyan, nor Vardan Balayan, nor Artur Harutiunyan, nor Vladik Khachatryan, nor Movses Hakobyan, the current Defense Minister of Artsakh, who participated in the gang beating of Pavel Manukyan have been held liable for the group violence. Isn’t this a green light for those officers who commit violence against soldiers without fear of punishment? Moreover, they can be promoted, just like Colonel-General Seyran Ohanyan and Lieutenant-General Movses Hakobyan were.
Unless the culprits are punished by the letter and the spirit of the law, our strong Armenian army will eventually be defeated from within. In order to avert this outcome, the atmosphere of impunity has to be eradicated in the Armenian army. The fastest way to achieve this would be:
  • Dismissing Colonel-General Seyran Ohanyan from his post of the Defense Minister of Armenia;
  • Entrusting the office of Defense Minister with someone who not only stands out for his contribution to the victory in the Artsakh war but also for being a law-abiding citizen;
  • Launching criminal probes into Pavel Manukyan’s gang beating on June 19, 2005, as well as into army abuses in general and punish those who have committed crimes;
  • Carrying out more scrupulous and more frequent monitoring of the military bases;
  • Encouraging crime reporting with safety guarantees;
  • Releasing those who recorded the video of the sadistic conduct and ensuring their safety.
I’m looking forward to your response and speedy action. I am always ready to serve our nation now and in the future regardless of the outcome of my request to you.

Sincerely yours,
Ara K. Manoogian
Artsakh Representative
Shahan Natalie Family Foundation, Inc.

For more information about the above mentioned army abuses, please visit:

Friday, October 15, 2010

Welcome to EJ Nick's Official Website!

Welcome to EJ Nick's Official Website!

Armenian Foreign Ministry: Armenian agencies ready to assist Medical fraud investigation

News from Armenia -
October 14, 2010 | 17:42

Armenian Foreign Ministry expresses regret over Armenian citizens’ involvement in the crimes in the U.S. health care system.

"We may only express regret that Armenian citizens have been involved in medical fraud crimes, according to the published information,” Press Secretary of Armenian Foreign Ministry Tigran Balayan informed

“If necessary, Armenian corresponding agencies will be ready to cooperate with U.S. agencies to assist with investigation,” Balayan stressed.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Armenians in America make history again!

And their ring leader and godfather according to the story below, "vor," which in Armenian means "butt."

"Vor" is not a mafia name. They have rendered it wrong. It's a Russian phrase "vor v zakone," a preatigious title in the Soviet/post-Soviet criminal world, which translates into Armenian as "Orenkov gogh." In English it sounds as absurd as a legal criminal. it's a Soviet relic. It's the Soviet version of a criminal Godfather.

But if you ask me, "vor" should be the ring leaders jailhouse name.

Shame on you criminals. I denounce you and those who are receiving your stolen money in Armenia. I hope they uncover who those who are receiving the money in Armenia are and they are punished somehow also.  If the FBI can provide us with who in Armenia is involved, I will be among those to actively go after them and expose who they are so that the people in Armenia can do what the justice system can not.

As for those who are feeling shame for the criminals in this story as being Armenian, yes, it is a blow to our nationality, but at the same time they are not like us and are most probably influenced by their upbringing of seeing how soviet-mafia rings worked.

Dozens charged with largest Medicare scam ever

NEW YORK – A vast network of Armenian gangsters and their associates used phantom health care clinics and other means to try to cheat Medicare out of $163 million, the largest fraud by one criminal enterprise in the program's history, U.S. authorities said Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors in New York and elsewhere charged 73 people. Most of the defendants were captured during raids Wednesday morning in New York City and Los Angeles, but there also were arrests in New Mexico, Georgia and Ohio.

The scheme's scope and sophistication "puts the traditional Mafia to shame," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said at a Manhattan news conference. "They ran a veritable fraud franchise."

Unlike other cases involving crooked medical clinics bribing people to sign up for unneeded treatments, the operation was "completely notional," Janice Fedarcyk, head of the FBI's New York office, said in a statement. "The whole doctor-patient interaction was a mirage."

The operation was under the protection of an Armenian crime boss, known in the former Soviet Union as a "vor," prosecutors said. The reputed boss, Armen Kazarian, was in custody in Los Angeles.

Bharara said it was the first time a vor — "the rough equivalent of a traditional godfather" — had been charged in a U.S. racketeering case.

Kazarian, 46, of Glendale, Calif., and two alleged ringleaders — Davit Mirzoyan, 34, also of Glendale, and Robert Terdjanian, 35, of Brooklyn — were named in an indictment charging racketeering conspiracy, bank fraud, money laundering and identity theft.

The indictment accused Terdjanian and others of hatching other schemes involving stolen credit cards, untaxed cigarettes and counterfeit Viagra. It also alleges that during a meeting last year at a Brighton Beach restaurant, Terdjanian pulled a knife on someone who owed him money "and threatened to disembowel the individual if the debt was not paid."

A judge jailed Terdjanian without bail on Wednesday at a brief hearing. Afterward, his attorney said his client denies the charges.

Kazarian and Mirzoyan were scheduled to appear in court Wednesday in Los Angeles.

Authorities began the New York-based investigation after information on 2,900 Medicare patients in upstate New York — including Social Security numbers and dates of birth — were reported stolen.

The defendants in the New York case also had stolen the identities of doctors and set up 118 phantom clinics in 25 states, authorities said. The names were used to submit fake bills for care that was never given, they said.

Some of the phony paperwork was a giveaway: It showed eye doctors doing bladder tests; ear, nose and throat specialists performing pregnancy ultrasounds; obstetricians testing for skin allergies; and dermatologists billing for heart exams.

In the New York portion of the case, more $100 million in fraudulent bills were submitted and Medicare paid out at least $35 million, sometimes by wiring it to the clinics' banks accounts, investigators said.

Most of the defendants "were Armenian nationals or immigrants and many maintained substantial ties to Armenia" and criminals there, the indictment said. Couriers would often carry cash proceeds from the fraud back to Armenia, it added.

Prosecutors were seeking forfeiture of real estate in Las Vegas; Palm Springs, Calif.; and elsewhere, and of a 2007 Maserati and a 2006 Jaguar.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tuesday,October 12, 2010

A video was placed on the web on October 11 featuring a history teacher beating and using offensive words to a student in Pushkin school N 8, Yerevan. According to the Ministry of Education and Science, the teacher has been dismissed today.

"The Ministry of Education and Science reiterates that protection of children's rights is a key provision in reforming the sector, and every case of school violence is unacceptable and condemnable," Ministry reported.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Gagik Tsarukyan highly critical of the situation in Armenian army

October 07, 2010 | 14:50

I am highly critical of the situation in the Armenian army, Leader of “Prosperous Armenia Party” (PAP) Gagik Tsarukyan told the reporters on Thursday.

According to him, a special committee should be set up to study the situation in the army. “Today the army is one of the most important and pivotical state institutions. Law and order should dominate the army for our children to serve safely. An investigation should be conducted and those guilty be punished,” Tsarukyan emphasized.

As reported previously, commenting on violations of law in the army, Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan stressed incidents in the army occurred before as well. According to him, however, mass media have launched a campaign against the Ministry of Defense.

Aram Ter-Sahakyan appointed Acting Chief of Armenian Military Police

October 07, 2010 | 14:28

Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan signed a decree appointing Colonel Aram Ter-Sahakyan Acting Chief of Armenian Military Police.

He was the Vice-Chief for investigation and search operations at RA Military Police and former Chief of Military Police of Nagorno-Karabakh, the Armenian Defense Ministry informed

Officer to be strictly punished for harassment against soldier, Armenian Minster

Thu 07 October 2010 05:30 GMT | -2:30 Local Time

An officer who humiliated a soldier in a scandalous video on YouTube will be punished very strictly, Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan said.

A video in which young people in the uniform of the armed forces of Armenia are subjected to pressure, humiliation and abuse appeared on YouTube on September 11. The operative measures made it clear that mayor of N military unit being at a drunken state abused and mocked at two soldiers. Galstyan was arrested and he was charged over abuse of powers.

“The video posted on YouTube was released at the order of the Defense Minister with the efforts of the military police and commanders of this military unit. Then I said that those responsible will be arrested and held accountable and we saw that it happened”, Ohanyan said.

He called this case an unpleasant and a negative event for the Armenian armed forces, especially for officers.

The minister said that this is a very negative event for the officer “however, the command staff reported me that this officer is a war participant and he is quite responsible in fulfilling his duties when not drunken”.

Commenting on his own statement that those who spread this information will also be punished, Ohanyan said that those who recorded this incident and spread the video, will also be revealed. If law enforcement bodies make it clear that they should be punished, they will be held accountable”, he said.

Armenian defense minister on Murphy’s law

October 06, 2010 | 20:36

“I have the impression that mass media have launched a campaign against the Ministry of Defense,” Armenian Minister of Defense Seyran Ohanyan told reporters.

According to Ohanyan, Armenian mass media have lately been too attentive to relations in the ministry in his charge. “The ex-chief of the military police Vladimir Gasparyan has been appointed deputy minister at my suggestion. I think he has sufficient experience for this work. Promotion is encouraging for any official,” the Minister said.

Commenting on violations of law in the army, Ohanyan stressed incidents occurred before as well. “More victims may have been this year, but there were incidents before as well. However, they were not so widely discussed by the media before,” the Minister complained. He stressed that the command staff are concerned with preventing army incidents.

“Murphy’s law is working – the more you try the worse it is. Media reports create the impression that all the agencies are holy, but the defense office is the only vicious one,” Ohanyan said with indignation. He claimed most media reports do not correspond to the facts so he ignores them.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

September 28, 2010 | 12:30

Beating, homicides and suicides exist in each army. However, recent tragic cases in the Armenian army indicate that the Defense Ministry should not exclude itself with investigation of single cases, the head of ARFD parliamentary group Vahan Hovhannisyan told the reporters.

According to him, even in cases when the guilty assume responsibility to the fullest extent of law, the problems are not solved.

"Are our officers educated? Do they have moral values to solve the problems they face? If certain units lack order, one should not expect them to be combat ready. Such military unit needs serious treatment, even a "surgery"," the ARFD leader said.

Hovhannisyan stressed that it is unacceptable to turn army into a target of political insinuations, adding that it is also inadmissible to make the army a participant of the political processes.

When Seyran Ohanyan Gave Green Light To Army Violence

By Ara K. Manoogian

The tradition for not punishing military personnel for violence has been set by none other than Colonel-General Seyran Ohanyan, Defense Minister of Armenia, on June 19, 2005. That day Seyran Ohanyan, then the Defense Minister of Artsakh, together with a number of high-ranking military officials—Samvel Karapetyan, Vardan Balayan, Artur Harutiunyan, Vladik Khachatryan, as well as current Defense Minister of Artsakh, Movses Hakobyan—subjected Artsakh war veteran Pavel Manukyan to a severe gang beating within the walls of the Defense Ministry. The incident became a scandal both on TV, and in media, however, it didn’t get as much public attention as it would today thanks to the social networks. Numerous articles were written about the violence committed by High-Ranking Generals, the Armenian authorities call on the their counterparts in Artsakh to conduct impartial investigation of the matter, former Arkady Ghukasyan promised to guarantee unbiased administration of justice. Read more...

Monday, September 27, 2010



By Ara K. Manoogian

About two weeks ago a scandalous YouTube video of sadism in the Armenian army sent an alarm to thousands of people. Today it’s their reaction to the 4 minute and 42 second video that is more alarming. The question seems to have remained unanswered: is the footage a threat to Armenia’s national security or its content? Shortly after its online debut, the scandalous video disappeared, but I had managed to download it and immediately secured its availability online. I think I know why the other postings disappeared—a few days after I posted my copy of the video I was contacted by the 6th Department of the Armenian Police and the Defense Minister of Artsakh, Major-General Movses Hakopyan.

The short video documenting an officer—later identified as Major Sasun Galstyan—hitting and humiliating two Armenian soldiers in the Armenian army has crowded the web with numerous articles, blog entries, Facebook discussions and, importantly, comments, which have effectively become a talking mirror of Armenian society. Read more…

Sunday, September 26, 2010

What punishment will receive authors of Youtube scandalous video?

Chorrord Ishkhanutyun
September 24, 2010

The Chorrord Ishkhanutyun weekly discloses new details on the soldier harassment scandalous video on Youtube.

According to the source, the drunken mayor's revelries were made public due to Artak and Ashot Manasyans.

The video was made by a private soldier Manasyan, who worked as a driver in the emergency room. The officers of the Armenian Military Police investigated the soldier's brother and father Ara Manasyan to clarify how the video was made, brought to Yerevan and posted on Youtube. Manasyans were also in the room of the Armenian Chief of the Armenian Military Police Vova Gasparyan.

As to a reporter's question what punishment will be imposed on the serviceman and his family members and taking into account that Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan had promised to severely punish those guilty, the officers of the military police said: `Nothing will happen to them. They will go on living and giving evidence.'

Source: News from Armenia -

Armenian army hazing video gets results
September 24, 2010 - 4:26pm, by Joshua Kucera

Hazing in post-Soviet militaries is unfortunately common. What's less common is someone getting punished for it, but that's what's happening in Armenia, where an officer was arrested and faces a sentence of up to five years for beating a young soldier. And that's at least in part thanks to the efforts of Armenian activist bloggers, who kept pushing the story until the Defense Ministry was forced to act:

The Armenian Defense Ministry officially confirmed on Wednesday the identity of an army officer who was arrested last week for abusing his soldiers and is now facing up to five years in prison.

The arrest followed the circulation of an amateur Youtube video that shows a uniform-clad man hitting and humiliating two army conscripts during what looks like a picnic. The footage caused public outrage, prompting the Armenian military to order an inquiry.

The Defense Ministry initially questioned its veracity and said those who posted it on the Internet are keen to `discredit' the Armed Forces. Subsequent media reports said military investigators tracked down the officer shown in the clip.

As EurasiaNet reported just earlier this month, the Armenian MoD had been taking stronger action against hazing even before this video came out. But the existence of video makes it much harder for those who are inclined to reflexively defend the army to deny that hazing is a problem. (The same thing happened in Azerbaijan a couple of years ago.) While the promise of cyberactivism can often be exaggerated, this is one case where there's room for optimism.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Armenian General Defends Army Abuse Leak

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian’s chief military adviser effectively defended on Thursday individuals who filmed and publicized abusive treatment of two soldiers by their commander, which has caused public outrage in Armenia.

The official, Colonel-General Mikael Harutiunian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service that the scandal could actually help the Armenian military combat chronic hazing and other abuses within its ranks.

The amateur video posted on Youtube earlier this month shows a uniform-clad man hitting and humiliating the conscripts during what looks like a picnic. The Armenian Defense Ministry subsequently identified him as Major Sasun Grigorian. Grigorian was last week arrested and charged with abuse of power, a crime punishable by between two and five years in prison.

The ministry initially questioned the veracity of the footage and said those who posted it on the Internet are keen to “discredit” the Armed Forces. A ministry statement issued on Wednesday said that military investigators are currently interrogating another serviceman who shot it on a mobile phone camera in the presence of his father and brother.

“Of course, it would be better if they immediately reported the incident to their commanders so that they could take action,” said Harutiunian. “But I see nothing wrong in the spread of that video. Maybe that will help the army command do a better job.”

Harutiunian, who previously served as defense minister and chief of the Armenian army’s General Staff, denounced the violent scene as “unacceptable.” “Such officers have no place in the army,” he said, expressing confidence that the army will be “cleansed” of them in the near future.

The head of the Defense Ministry’s Investigative Service conducting the inquiry would not say on Thursday whether the investigators want to prosecute the video shooter as well as the still unknown persons who publicized the embarrassing footage. Armen Harutiunian (no relation) said only that the inquiry will be “complete and comprehensive.”

Seyran Ohanyan Offers Media To Submit Cooperation Program
[ 2010/09/23 | 17:13 ]

At an unofficial meeting with a number of media leaders on September 22, Seyran Ohanyan, Armenian Defense Minister of Armenia, has proposed to create a program of future cooperation and joint activities with the Defense Ministry.

The Press and PR Department of the Ministry of Defense has released a statement that suggestions and considerations regarding the program should be submitted to the mentioned department at

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Armenian mass media identifies `the hero' of Youtube scandalous video, Armenia
Sept 18 2010

Sasun Galstyan is the officer who humiliated and abused Armenian soldiers in the Youtube scandalous video. According to the Zhamanak daily, Galstyan served as deputy commander in the `Yeghnikner' military unit.

As reported previously, RA Defense Minister stated he does not believe in authenticity of the video. Nevertheless, commenting on the soldier harassment video, in the Armenian army, he stated that experts are now studying the video and promised to severely punish the one guilty, if such a thing really happened. He also stressed that those who put the video on Youtube will be punished as well.

An investigation is underway.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


September 15, 2010 - 18:55 AMT 13:55 GMT

Armenian Minister of Defense Seyran Ohanyan said that unfortunately they have not managed to identify the person, who treats soldiers with such sadism.

Commenting on the video, which was placed on YouTube and showed how young people in uniform of the RA Armed Forces are beaten and humiliated, Ohanyan told journalists that currently professionals study it.

He added that they have not managed to identify the participants of the video in such short terms, as their faces are not seen.

"I strongly believe that it is a disinformation. I can't believe that a similar incident could take place and be recorded," concluded Seyran Ohanyan.

Minister Seyran Ohanyan man of principle, MP says, Armenia
Sept 17 2010

All those guilty of the recent incidents in the Armenian army must and will be punished, Hrayr Karapetyan, the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Defense, National Security and Internal Affairs, MP of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), told a press conference.

`I am so confident because I know Minister of Defense Seyran Ohanyan very well. He is a man of principle. After each incident we met or talked over the phone,' Karapetyan said. The army incidents are deplorable, but Minister Ohanyan is doing his best to eradicate all the negative occurrences, which stem up from the Soviet times and the Karabakh war. Corruption is among the deplorable experience existing in the army. `However, relevant work is under way, Educative booklets form officers have been published. Commanders must learn to respect soldiers as they respect their children,' Karapetyan said. He pointed out that the draft disciplinary code of the RA Armed Forces has been submitted to the CE Venice Commission.

In his turn, Galust Sahakyan, Chairman of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) parliamentary faction, said that he is more concerned over the moral and psychological atmosphere in society rather than in the army - this, in fact, affects the Armed Forces. More serious problems existed in the Armenia army, but, because of a strained political situation, they were in the background. `At present, however, the political situation is calm, and some are trying to berate the incumbent authorities by discrediting the army. Well, we are ready for that too. But let them leave the army alone - it is one of the greatest achievements in Armenia's modern history,' Sahakyan said. On the other hand, he stressed that even a minor army incident is blameworthy.


by Hovhannes Kiramijian

Chorrord Inknishkhanutiun
#186 (Internet Issue #965), (internet article #11235)
September 17, 2010, Friday

The latest YouTube video remains the number one topic for discussions in social and political circles. It's still a hot topic for debates in various social networks.

Here's a recap: a half-naked male, most likely a serviceman, beats up conscripts alternately by inflicting blows on their ears. The copy of the video at alone had over 8000 viewers as of yesterday, and the number of comments had grown beyond 400. Curses are dominant in the comments. The 4 minutes and 42 seconds long footage is most likely only a chunk of all that has happened in reality since it begins when the soldiers are already being hit, and it ends when the other conscript comes to get his share of the beating.

On the 2nd second of the footage one can hear "come close and take a seat"; 00:12—a cuss in Armenian; 1:49—"Pour me some beer"; 2:01—"That one is Bakur, right?", an old man's coarse voice "Now what is he doing?"; 3:20—"Run!" After that the soldier who was being hit goes away to fetch water. "Come a little forward" is heard at 3:26—it is the offender saying it to the soldier who is squatting a little farther from him. After that the soldier comes near and gets a beating. There's a 3-liter plastic bottle of natural juice made in Armenia in the video recording. On the right side of the screen, there's a rool of toilet paper—judging by its cover it's sold at numerous stores throughout Armenia. The conscripts and the offender wear military uniforms used in the Armenian army. The video was recorded on a cell-phone—the videographer can be seen hiding the cell-phone behind some cloth, probably his uniform. Considering all this, it can be concluded that the people in the video recording are citizens of the Republic of Armenia and serve in the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia. Below is a list of comments left by YouTube viewers regarding the incident (

-razmik88: Whoever has uploaded the video is a traitor and must be shot dead against a wall. Anyone can make such a video, the uniform is sold in Vernisazh.

-snver: The murdered soldiers' blood, young men's blood has been lately up for sale in Vernisazh. Think a little, then write. Treason is to concealing such facts and tolerate them. The behavior of people like yours lowers the military efficiency of our army.

-torgom91: I don't understand why you feel about—if this is authentic Armenian footage, then that is our face. Let them see. Why not? He has done a good job by posting it—we show what we are.

-snver: Nothing surprises in this country anymore. The President, Prime Minister and the Ministers talk big and are capable of pretending to be even more catholic than the Pope himself. That's why people leave the country (at all cost), young men avoid serving for the country (the recent incidents in the army are an evidence), people with high scientific/scholarly potential leave the country.

-StepanGor: Bro, let's say the minister is not in his position. But the servicemen and officers are who make the army what it is, right? What minister are you talking about? How can that fat pig torture those kids. Or those beasts who silently relish the situation behind the scene or simply do nothing. Let's speak about a regular Armenian not being in his position. There will never be "kind tzars" or kings in life. There's no such thing. People themselves have to be stand up for their rights. You, myself and the rest.

-ArmenAntonyan: Shame on you, Armenians, take this video out of here. Are you the enemy of the nation or what?

-snver: Not the video ought to be removed but the Defense Minister of the Republic of Armenia because such things are taking place in the army. This is an order? How about the recent murders?... Those have been orders, as well. The shame is concealing it and refusing to struggle against it.

-serobo100: I'm already fed up—they are azeris, not Azeris, they are Kyrgyz, Turks… We see what we see: a thick neck whose face is clearly visible humiliates other persons and tortures them. Those people who express doubts on the authenticity of the footage in their comments are either women or guys who have been exempt from the army due to lunacy.

A struggle is necessary to make sure such immoral people are tried, and not to find out who uploaded the video: Everybody's faces are clearly visible. It just requires some work.

-arturo3312: Dear people, send this video to your friends, let everyone watch it, someone may recognize either the soldiers or that son of beast commander. That's the only way to find and punish him.

-tikooo1: Well, after all this go ahead and have your son join the army. this scum should be publicly disgraced so that it becomes a lesson for the others.

P.S. Judging by the discussions it becomes clear that a lot of people don't understand the part of the statement made Armenia's Ministry of Defense, where the military leadership condemns not the offender but the one who has dared disseminate the video recording. In a normal country, the Defense Minister would offer a reward for any information about the video recording, whereas in Armenia everything is done so that even someone who knows something keeps silent, forever. It is a pity but a fact that having won the war, we're losing in the times of peace. We won the Artsakh war because people who fought there loved their country, their homeland. We won because if we didn't, we would lose Artsakh, a part of Armenia. We gained victory because our freedom fighters knew what they were dying for; we won because we were fighting not for the hatred toward the enemy, rather for the love of our homeland; the homeland whose soldiers are being humiliated in the army and "commit suicide"; the homeland whose policemen stood up against the people, as a result of which 10 people died; the homeland where Levon Gulyan and Vahan Khalafyan died while giving testimony to the policemen; and, finally, the homeland whose heroes were sent to jail.

Those who posted that footage on YouTube with a "pass" from certain activitists within the ruling elite

Chorrord Inknishkhanutiun Daily
11:01 • 18.09.10

The well-known video recording about pulling of soldiers' ears uploaded on the web remains the hottest topic for discussions. Naturally, young people lingering on the margins of the authorities' circles couldn't help trying to grab the chance for self-realization through these interesting topics.

Thus, the news is Menua Harutiunyan who carries the badge of the Republican Party of Armenia has uploaded the video recording in question on YouTube following a "pass" received from activists within the ruling elite. However, when interrogated, Menua said that he had taken the video from a former Haylur employee Aram Harutiunyan's website. As a matter of fact, the footage of Hrant Tokhatyan's and Albert Azaryan's "nice expressions," which appeared at the same website not too long ago were ascribed to this very Aram Harutiunyan. And considering the previous experience, A. Harutiunyan was immediately taken to the 6th Division of the Armenian Police, where someone called and said to set Aram free. Yesterday, Aram Harutiunyan told us that he had no connection with that video recording. As a reminder, Seyran Ohanyan has threatened to severely punish those who have disseminated the video material.

Chorrord Inknishkhanutiun as quoted by

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Humiliation in Armenian Army is Commonplace... Defense Ministry has Nothing to Say at This Time (
Sept. 15, 2010

Nothing has yet been clarified about the video making waves online recently, RA Ministry of Defense press spokesperson Mushegh Aghekyan told yesterday.

In the approx. 4-minute video, a man, perhaps about 40 years old and naked from the waist up, wearing fatigue army pants, appears to be hitting a younger man in army fatigues who is kneeling with his head bowed. This is then followed with a similar act on another younger boy, also in army fatigues.

Aghekyan assured that if it turns out that the video has been fabricated, the filmmaker and those who have disseminated the video will be punished; if the opposite is true, the video's "star" (the older man) will be the one who is punished.

Asked what has been done so far in this matter and whether the Defense Ministry's technical and professional expertise allows the video to be properly scrutinized, Aghekyan said that currently, he has no information for the media.

Employee at Armenia's Human Rights Defender office Nora Alaverdyan informed that the ombudsman's office is not currently engaged in this issue. The Human Rights Defender's office will defer the case to the Defense Ministry if it turns out that the video is evidence of a violation of human rights, added Alaverdyan.

Employee at the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Vanadzor office, human rights lawyer Arthur Sakunts is not directly involved in the work addressing this video, because at the moment he is preoccupied with the case of the six soldiers killed in Martuni.

At the same time, Sakunts is keeping his eye on developments related to this video. "Officers humiliating soldiers is a very common phenomenon in the Armenian army, but these issues are raised after soldiers are tortured to death," Sakunts told

Commenting on the Defense Ministry's response, in which the governing body of the RA Armed Forces doubts the authenticity of the video and promises to punish those who are disseminating it, Sakunts said that the military office has created an atmosphere in which the complaints of those subject to torture in the army are ignored, while the guilty remain unpunished.

The army's leadership, according to the human rights lawyer, is not preoccupied with revealing criminals, but rather tries to conceal the facts at any cost and to take revenge on those who share information and those who disseminate it.

"People in such a situation prefer not to complain, and this video is the last cry to raise this issue. The issue isn't the video, it's the phenomenon, which is widespread in the armed forces and has become commonplace in the army," said Sakunts.

He also considered claims that Azerbaijan produced the video to be absurd.

"When videos about indiscipline in the Azerbaijani army are uncovered, the Armenian side immediately makes statements saying see what's happening in their army. And no one says that the video could've be produced in Armenia," added Sakunts.

The video can be found by clicking on the link below. Note that the video is periodically taken down; however, YouTube users upload it again (and thus, it can be found through other links as well).

Trouble in Service: Armenian army problems stir more public debate

By Naira Hayrumyan
ArmeniaNow correspondent
Human rights | 16.09.10 | 16:17

Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan faced tough questions as he spoke during a question-answer session in parliament on Tuesday following a string of events that rocked the Armenian military lately.

Ohanyan stressed he considered attacks against the ministry unjustifiable.

Responding to a question posed by MP Stepan Safaryan from the opposition Heritage party faction, Ohanyan said that in quantitative terms there have been fewer incidents in 2010 than in comparable periods of previous years. Simply, he said, this year’s incidents have received greater publicity, eliciting a broader public response.

The army and related issues have always been considered to be a tabooed subject in Armenia, because of the closed nature of the system, lack of access to information for nongovernmental organizations and self-censorship, which has not allowed talk about shortcomings in the military “not to play into the enemy’s hands.”

However, recent deadly events in the ranks have been given publicity in recent months and have elicited a broad response among the public at large.

Artak Nazaryan, a contractual servicemen, was found dead, with a fatal wound in his mouth, in his military unit in Armenia’s Tavush province two months ago.

The army leadership said it was suicide, but Nazaryan’s family claimed murder, pointing at the presence of traces of violence on the serviceman’s body.

Last week video appeared on internet websites showing scenes of beating and humiliation of young people dressed in the Armenian army uniform by those who appeared to be their officers. The video caused a boom in online social networks and media, fueling the continuing debate about the state of human rights in the army.

Discussions about the state of the Armenian army began after the June 17-18 incident near the village of Chailu in Karabakh when an Azerbaijani commando managed to infiltrate into an Armenian-held position and shot sleeping soldiers. Four people were killed and as many wounded in that assault. A month later, a soldier went on a shooting rampage in another military unit, killing five fellow soldiers before committing suicide. Another case of one serviceman killing another was reported in August.

The underlying theme of the public debate has been a demand for Minister Ohanyan’s resignation. However, the top military brass chose to conduct internal investigations (the results of which are not yet disclosed), dismiss some of the local officers and declare that the army is under reform. Even a draft law on changing the military code that regulates relations between soldiers and officers has been submitted to parliament.

Nevertheless, it is already obvious that the topic of hazing in the army has ceased to be the army’s internal matter.

The Defense Ministry has condemned the “deliberate spread of such materials”, which it said was “aimed at discrediting the Armed Forces of Armenia” (in reference to internet videos). But it also pledged to take measures “to verify the authenticity of the material, identify the people shown in it, find the author, and punish those who used violence.”

The main opposition Armenian National Congress also slammed the vicious practices in the army, saying that “any reasonable person subjected to such brutal treatment, especially 18-19-year-olds, would easily resort to committing suicide or killings, and even would prefer to escape to the enemy.”


By Gayane Abrahamyan
ArmeniaNow /armenian_army_hazing_youtube_video
15.09.10 | 12:17

Human rights

A recent footage showing ostensibly an army officer humiliating two young soldiers dressed in uniforms of the Republic of Armenia armed forces has added a new dimension to the continuing debate in Armenia about the state of human rights in the military after several cases of shootings and suicides in the ranks in recent months.

The video originally posted on YouTube quickly spread throughout other video sharing websites and online social networks.

It shows a scene in which a man stripped to the waist and wearing camouflage only from his waist down repeatedly hits two young soldiers on the head and drags their ears. The man, alleged to be an officer of the Armenian army, is shown from the back and his face cannot be seen.

The low quality of the video does not allow a viewer to clearly see faces or hear what is being said in Armenian. It is clear, though, that the soldiers wear Armenian army uniforms.

Those suspecting a fake video made by Azeri propaganda say getting an Armenian army uniform is not difficult.

Reacting to the video, Armenia's Ministry of Defense said it "strongly condemns the preparation and deliberate dissemination of similar materials which is aimed at discrediting and damaging the prestige of the Republic of Armenia armed forces."

According to the Ministry's statement, appropriate measures are being taken "to verify the authenticity of the video, identify those shown on it, finding the authors, punishing those using violence."

Armenia's main opposition Armenian National Congress (ANC) describes what is shown on the video as "high treason."

"Any man of reason, especially young people aged 18-19 who are subjected to such inhuman humiliation can resort to suicide and murder and prefer running to the enemy," said the ANC.

The opposition expresses concern that such a soldier subjected to humiliation "will not fight against the enemy if need be".

"This is how the army is being destroyed and Karabakh is being given up," the opposition bloc stressed.

Against the backdrop of tensions along the line of contact with Azerbaijani armed forces when ceasefire violations happen on a daily basis in Karabakh, many think that public sentiments against the army are "dangerous" in view of the approaching autumn conscription period.

"These are simply special operations incited from outside, which can indeed have a serious impact, as parents are terrified, the atmosphere of distrust is getting deeper, and it only plays into Azerbaijan's hands. We have problems with demography and similar things only further aggravate this problem," former Deputy Defense Minister Vahan Shirkhanyan tells ArmeniaNow.

As many as nine servicemen died in Armenian armed forces in non-combat conditions in the past two months.

The deadliest incident in the 18 years of the Armenian army's history took place on July 28, when a conscript went on a shooting spree, killing five of his fellow servicemen, including one lieutenant, one sergeant and three soldiers, and after that killing himself.

Only a day before that incident, in another military unit 30-year-old lieutenant Artak Nazaryan committed suicide, according to an official version of the events. But Nazaryan's relatives are convinced that he was killed as a forensic examination found traces of violence on his body.

And on August 17, 26-year-old junior sergeant Harutyun Vardanyan, serving in the army on a contractual basis, shot dead the same unit's contract-based serviceman, 44-year-old junior sergeant Arsen Chobanyan.

After these incidents human rights activists in Armenia called for drastic reforms in the army.

The main reasons for the situation in the army, according to the Helsinki Committee Chairman, human rights activist Avetik Ishkhanyan is corruption, cruel attitude of officers and impunity.

"Those responsible for victims in the army in peaceful conditions mainly go unpunished, often weaker circles become scapegoats, the innocent are convicted, cases are covered up, and this begets new crimes," says Ishkhanyan.

Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan promises to implement reforms, giving assurances that many problems will be solved by the reform program for 2008-2015.

While 100-170 soldiers died annually in peace conditions in 1998-2005, then in 2006-2009 this number is 40-70.

Member of the Public Council affiliated with the Ministry of Defense, Chairman of the "Soldier's Mother" NGO Greta Mirzoyan believes the situation in the army has improved, but it is only in comparison to more "terrible" years.

"It's true that the number of deaths is decreasing, but every soldier's life is valuable for us and the latest events are so terrible that very serious steps should be taken. It is no longer possible to wait and keep silent," Mirzoyan told ArmeniaNow.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Armenian Defense Ministery Use Scare Tactics To Hide The Truth

It seems that a statement which I guess I missed caused many posting of the famous Armenian Army beating video to be deleted. It looks like from the story that I made a list of people who would be punished for posting a video that allegedly discredits and dishonors the Armenian military.

I'm not sure how serious this threat really was or is now. From my telephone conversation with the Minister of Defense yesterday, he was a bit upset, but didn't dare tell me I was in trouble, nor did he ask me to remove the video.

Well I'm guessing this is now a moot point now that the authenticity of the video has been confirmed with the discovery of the Deputy Commander in the Northern part of Artsakh, who was secretly videoed beating two conscripts.

11:42 • 13.09.10

Press office of Armenia's Defense Ministry has issued a statement which says those responsible for the preparation and dissemination of a video on Youtube will be punished.

Earlier on September a video was posted on Youtube depicting how soldiers, allegedly from Armenia's armed forces as they wore Armenian uniform, are being beaten and mocked of.

"The low quality of the video makes it impossible to clearly see faces, hear Armenian speech or expressions.

But in so far as those featured in the video wear the uniform of the Armenian army, it has sparked a lot of resentment in the Armenian society," reads the statement.

Further it says Armenia's Defense Ministry strongly condemns the preparation and premeditated dissemination of such materials aimed at discrediting and dishonoring the Armenian army.

"The Defense Ministry of the Republic of Armenia has taken relevant measures to find out the authenticity of that video, the identity of those featured in it, the authors [of the video] and to punish those who exercised violation," reads the statement.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The true face of the Armenian Army of today....

Do people and organizations in the Diaspora care enough to raise the issue of abuse and mismanagement in the army with the representatives of the regime in Yerevan? Would they demand the sadistic officer shown in the video to be court marshaled for humiliating those young... Armenian soldiers? After all, considering that this is happening on a very wide scale across country, this is as close to jeopardizing national security as you are ever going to get. Wake up, people! Tomorrow it might be too late.

Monday, June 07, 2010

RAW RADIO: Be The Change

 Activist and journalist, Ara Manoogian speaks of vigilance and action. Is it better to be in the know or is ignorance bliss?


Friday, June 04, 2010

Armenian Government Sells National Assets to China

Once again, the Armenian Government makes a deal with another country for "loans" for "technical-economic programs" that is aimed to benefit the Armenian people.

In the past we have seen deals in the form of "loans" that have been settled in exchange for government controlled assets of strategic importance. And these were "loans" that for the most part went to the pockets of government officials.

In the case of the "loan" from China in the form of 88 ambulances (probably used), I would guess that these ambulances which are valued according to the deal at $33,272.73 each, will be in no time decommissioned and sold off the the highest bidder (who will be someone in government or persons with connections, for pennies on the dollar) and turned around and sold for a hefty profit. I've seen this happen before with an ambulance which was sent from America as aid and it was sold for $2,000 to some guy in Stepanagert, who gutted it out and installed containers so that he could transport fish in it.

At some point, the loan will be due and to the detriment of country, the Armenian government will cover the "loan" by handing over to China a factory or power plant, just like they have done in the past with Russia.

As always, I hope I am wrong with what I have written above, but know that in time this is exactly what will happen.


02.06.2010 13:07

Yerevan (Yerkir) - An agreement on technical-economic cooperation was signed today between the governments of Armenia and China. The governments of the two countries also signed a letter and an address on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Armenia and a letter and address on behalf of the Government of the People's Republic of China.

As the press and information department of the RA Government informed, from the Armenian side the documents were signed by Deputy Foreign Minister Karine Ghazinyan. China's Deputy Minister for Commerce Fu Ziying signed the documents on behalf of the Chinese Government.

According to the agreement the Government of China will provide 20 million Chinese Yuans to the Armenian Government for implementation of technical-economic programs. According to the agreement reached by the letter and the address, the Chinese Government has provided 88 ambulance cars to the Armenian Government.


June 1, 2010 Tuesday 3:11 PM EET


Russian-Armenian gas pipeline operator ArmRosgazprom plans to borrow U.S. $60 million from Russia's Gazprom to complete the construction of the fifth power unit of the Razdanskaya TES thermal power plant in Armenia, Gazprom's Deputy CEO Valery Golubev was quoted as saying by ArmRosgazprom Tuesday.

As a result, Gazprom's total contribution in the construction of the unit is expected to amount to $460 million.

The fifth power unit is expected to be launched by the end of 2010.

Russian natural gas giant Gazprom owns 80% of ArmRosgazprom and the Armenian government owns 20%.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Passing On The Torch

It seems that the old boys are just passing the torch to their sons to carry on their work. In Azerbaijan it's the Aliev's and in NKR it seems to be include the Yesayan's.

I know Karen Yesayan and also his father Oleg, who if you ask me are both quite corrupt. Karen's uncle Seroshik is a history teacher and one of the nicest most humble people I know in Martuni.

I would say it is safe to say that with Karen as the Minister of Economic Development, we will probably not see much develop in NKR during his time occupying this very important post.

The only positive thing I would hope will come from his appointment is that he finally opens up the only hotel in Martuni which he privatized and closed for remodeling almost 10 years ago, leaving Martuni without a place for visitors to stay at when visiting Martuni. I'm not even sure why he would have privatized the hotel when he did, as I and another Diaspora Armenian were in the processing of doing the same and we were ready to invest a large sum of money to modernize it.

Anyway, I really hope that the President made the right choice with this appointment, though like I said, this looks to be more like the torch being passed on to another member of the establishment.

Karen Yesayan appointed NKR Minister of Economic Development

On June 2, President of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic Bako Sahakyan signed a decree on releasing Benik Babayan from the post of Minister of Economic Development upon his own request.

By another presidential decree, Karen Yesayan was appointed Minister of Economic Development.

The latter is the son of former NKR Prime Minister, Armenian Ambassador to Russia Oleg Yesayan.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Two Get Life Sentences for Murder of Nazaret Berberian
[ 2010/04/28 | 17:54 ]

Today, the Kentron and Nork-Marash District Court sentenced Petros Temiryan and Karen Dallakyan to life imprisonment for the murder of American-Armenian businessman Nazaret Berberian.

Nazaret Berberian went missing on April 25, 2009, after leaving his house in Yerevan. His body was found in a gully on a stretch of the Yerevan-Sevan highway. Police forensic experts say he had been drugged and strangled to death.

Petros Temiryan, it turns out, was a friend of the murdered Berberian, while Dallakyan, arrested in Moscow, was an acquaintance of Temiryan. The RoA Police state that a third person implicated in the murder is still on the loose but that law enforcement has prevented his leaving the country.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

20 April, 2010, 10:56 pm

Relatives of Vahan Khalafyan, 24, who died last Tuesday under questionable circumstances in the Charentsavan Police Department, are sure that the police ruling of suicide is a cover-up for his death at the hands of police.

Khalafyan along with three others was held on suspicion of burglary.

As the Police statement says, "being present at the office of the prevention department chief of Charentsavan police, Khalafyan took a kitchen knife from the shelf and stabbed himself in the abdomen.

Khalafyan was taken to the Charentsavan Medical Center by ambulance, where he died."

However, Khalafyan's mother stated that there were cross-shaped cuts on his chest, as well as two holes on his abdomen, and the whole body was covered with bruises. Yet on Saturday, April 17, RA Police Chief Alik Sargsyan stated that Khalafyan was questioned calmly in the Police department, and that no violence was committed against him.

Sargsyan also stated that Khalafyan had been stabbed only once.

In spite of the Police Chief's allegations, a criminal case on Khalafyan has been filed.

Human rights defender Arthur Sakunts, Head of Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Vanadzor Office, says he has learned that Khalafyan and others was abused by police.

"This is evidently a murder case, it is also obvious that physical violence has been committed against other people taken to the Police department, too," Sakunts told ArmeniaNow.

He also reported that they are going to follow up the developments of the case, and currently they are waiting for the conclusion of forensic examination.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ted Bogosian And His Untruths About Monte Melkonian

By Ara Manoogian
April 17, 2010

17 years following his martyrdom in Artsakh, Armenian national hero Monte Melkonian is once again a victim of defamation. I came across a very interesting interview on Radio Open Source with an Armenian decorated filmmaker and documentarian Ted Bogosian. The subject of the interview was Ted's vocation - seeking the truth and telling it. Open Source host Christopher Lydon introduced Ted Bogosian as a truth hound and put the 'what is truth' question to him (see: What I heard in response less than halfway through the interview led me to think that Ted may have misheard Christopher, thinking he had been asked 'what is a lie' or, for that matter, how to present a lie as truth.

As someone committed to truth seeking, I was at first thrilled to learn about an alternative experience from a prominent Armenian until I heard the following statements made by him:

"In Armenian Journey there is a very important sequence which didn’t make the cut.  And that is that I started to pursue an interview with a young man of my age and background named Monte Melkonian. And Monte was born in about the same year, in the central valley of California. And while I was at Duke, he was at Berkley, and when I went to graduate school, he went to graduate school in Beirut. And he was pursuing the truth about the Genocide in his own way and he became radicalized and he went underground and started selling arms and started selling drugs and started an Armenian terrorist movement. And so while I was making Armenian Journey, he was in jail in France, for having masterminded several bombings in Europe, at Orly Airport and at Turkish embassies and other businesses, where many innocent people were killed. And so, I went to see Monte in prison, and it was quite a moment, because he thought that I was there to kill him since he didn’t know who I was and wasn’t expecting a visitor that day. But I came to start corresponding with him and came to understand his manifesto, and I realized that what he was doing was similar to what I was doing except in a different theater. And so, my battle was against the media to try to tell the story one way, and his battle was more traditional. So, that didn’t make the cut because I wouldn’t have been able to get the film on television had I presented that manifesto. But I mention it because I want to say that I think this sort of thing is in the blood not only of Armenians but of people who want to tell the truth and, that is, they’re willing to go there no matter where it leads." (The audio fragment is at 09:16-11:36).

Having devoted over a decade of my life researching Monte Melkonian's brief and thorny path, it was especially saddening for me to hear such irresponsible and defaming statements coming out of a fellow truth seeker's mouth. These statements manifest shoddiness of research, sweeping generalizations and a self-indulgent distortion of recent Armenian history. I would like to see one single piece of evidence that supports Mr. Ted Bogosian’s claim that Monte Melkonian was a drug dealer, arms dealer and a founder of a terrorist movement, who masterminded the Orly operation. These are the three major things against which Melkonian had been struggling with all his essence, endangering his life in the process. It was the Orly operation that catalyzed the split of Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA). To be more specific, below I have singled out each of Ted Bogosian's inaccurate claims. Let's start from the most innocent inaccuracies.

Ted Bogosian's claim #1: “And Monte was born in about the same year.”

Ted Bogosian was born in 1951, whereas Monte Melkonian was born in 1957.

Ted Bogosian's claim #2: “…and when I went to graduate school, he [Monte Melkonian] went to graduate school in Beirut.”

Monte Melkonian was admitted to a graduate school at Oxford, but chose to give up his academic career in favor of a trip to Beirut at the onset of the second phase of the civil war and joined the defense of Bourj Hammoud, the Armenian quarter of the city.

Ted Bogosian’s claim #3: “…and [Monte Melkonian] started selling arms and started selling drugs…”

All the accounts of people who knew him, whether interviewed by me or other researchers, including those who spoke up at their own initiative, indicate that Monte was adamantly opposed to drugs, be it for use or for sale. Throughout my research, I haven't come across any evidence of Monte being involved in arms or drug dealing. According to one of Monte's brothers-in-arms, once Monte, already a Commander of Martuni Defense Region, refused Samvel Babayan, Commander of the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army, to promote an officer only because he smoked marijuana. He had even banned his soldiers from using alcohol, which was common practice in other detachments. More importantly, Monte earned himself highly influential enemies after burning lucrative cannabis fields in a noble attempt to shut down the local drug trade. This deed was followed by a few attempts on his life. One might assume that Monte could use the proceeds from supposed drug sales to feed and equip the poorly armed fighters under his command. All evidence indicates that he had ignored any such compromise.

Ted Bogosian’s claim #4: “…he [Monte Melkonian] started a terrorist movement.”

This is an outright false statement. ASALA, to which Ted Bogosian refers, was founded in 1975 in Beirut, Lebanon during the first phase of the Lebanese Civil War by Harutiun Takoshian, alias Hagop Hagopian. This was 3 years before Monte arrived in Lebanon for the first time. Monte was recruited by ASALA in 1980 after serving in an Armenian militia group in the Beirut suburb of Bourj Hammoud helping defend the Armenian population during the civil war. Furthermore, based on the accounts of both supporters and opponents of ASALA, Monte played a pivotal role in the violent split of the organization in 1983 into those who supported the despotic leader Hagop Hagopian and those who disapproved his methods of struggle exactly because it took innocent lives, as well as distracted the attention from the cause the attacks were supposed to raise awareness of.

Ted Bogosian’s claim #5: “…he [Monte Melkonian] was in jail in France, for having masterminded several bombings in Europe, at Orly Airport and at Turkish embassies and other businesses, where many innocent people were killed.”

A sweeping generalization. Monte Melkonian was arrested for possession of a falsified passport and an illegal handgun in Paris on November 28, 1985. He was sentenced to six years but served only three and a half. The Orly airport attack, which took place on July 15, 1983, and did kill and wound many innocent people, was masterminded by his already archenemy Hagop Hagopian and carried out by the latter's supporters in Paris. The only people tried for the Orly airport attack were Varadjian Garbidjian (also spelled as Varoujan Garabedian life sentence, released 17 years later), Soner Nayir (15 years), Ohannes Semerci (10 years). Parallel to the preparation of the Orly operation, inner turmoil was in progress within ASALA due to the widening gap between the members of the organization over the despotic leadership of Hagopian, the methods of struggle and, specifically, the implementation of the Orly attack. Monte was in the opposition wing. But despite his efforts to cancel the Orly operation, it was implemented, accelerating the final split of ASALA.

Who knows, the Karabagh war could have been a lost cause, had Monte Melkonian been the mastermind of the Orly airport attack and therefore gotten a life sentence? Melkonian was arrested twice. In his court documents there was neither evidence, nor allegations supporting Mr. Bogosian’s announcement regarding his participation in the attack in any form, as well as arms and/or drug dealing. It would have been convenient for the French authorities and to Monte’s enemies to find such evidence, but there was none. To support my claim, I suggest that interested individuals read The Right to Struggle, My Brother’s Road, Reality, A Self Criticism and a dozen other books.

Ted Bogosian's claim #6: “I went to see Monte in prison, and it was quite a moment, because he thought that I was there to kill him…”

Okay, let me try to get this straight. Monte thought that Mr. Bogosian came to the prison to kill him? So, Mr. Bogosian is saying that Monte thought an Armenian-American filmmaker was going to walk into a high security prison, formerly a concentration camp, armed guards watching his every move, and kill him? What about checking for weapons before entering the highly guarded visiting room? Ted Bogosian makes it sound like Monte was in a health spa in the South of France.

I provided my arguments as accurately as I could and am willing to embrace supporting evidence that proves Mr. Bogosian's claims. Otherwise, as a friend of mine put it, Mr. Bogosian's interview is more like "Ted talking about Ted - not the truth." I welcome facts, as they will enrich our knowledge about who Monte really was. With that said, I invite Ted Bogosian to set the record straight by exchanging his recollections with evidence and facts. Otherwise a public apology from Ted Bogosian is in order.

Ara Manoogian is a human rights activist representing the Shahan Natalie Family Foundation in Artsakh and Armenia, as well as a member of the Washington-based Policy Forum Armenia (PFA)

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Turkish Attorney Asks Ankara Court to Recognize Armenian Genocide

By Asbarez Staff on Mar 31st, 2010

ANKARA (Combined Sources)—A Turkish lawyer has submitted a claim to an Ankara court, demanding recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

The claim filed by attorney Bendal Celil Ezman calls on the Turkish state to recognize the crime against humanity committed by the Ottoman Turkish government during World War I, to condemn its mastermind, Talat Pasha, and rename all the streets that have been named in his honor.

This court case, which also calls for the removal of every Talat Pasha statue erected in Turkey, is the first of its kind, said Ezman, “Turkey must settle its history and past.”

Ezman is one of thousands of Turks who signed the “I Apologize” online petition launched in Turkey last year. With that campaign, Turks were apologizing to Armenians for the genocide their ancestors committed in the early 20th century.

Asked whether he feared possible counteractions he might face for filing the case, Ezman said: “If anything happens to me, it’ll be God’s will.”

The date of Ezman’s case has yet to be determined.

Friday, March 19, 2010

100,000 Armenians working illegally in Turkey could be expelled

It seems that with all the recent activity around the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, the Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stated that some 100,000 Armenian working illegally in his country (some are decedents of the same Armenians that his country stole the land they are found on from) could be expelled “if necessary.”

Okay, let me get this straight. Turkey has 100,000 Armenians working illegally, that they know about and do nothing to deport for the simple fact that they are there illegally? This does not sound right or I should say that this fact in itself does not make Turkey look above board and honest. Now that the truth is coming out about the Genocide and Ergodan and his government are going to have to come to terms with this issue, they are pissed off at the Armenians and in the Turkish tradition, will once again expel them if need be? I’m sure that if the world was not watching, they would march the "illegal" Armenians to their death, into the same desert as they did back in 1915.

Turkey will never change and the same Turkish way of dealing with problems back in 1915 is still with them in 2010. The proof of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, though extensive and indisputable, is also living within the leaders of Turkey today. Welcome to the Turkish reality and another reason why the international community needs to recognize the Armenian Genocide. Turkey at any moment could repeat the history they are unwilling to recognize.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A devastating document is met with silence in Turkey

By Sabrina Tavernise
March 9, 2010

— For Turkey, the number should have been a bombshell.

According to a long-hidden document that belonged to the interior minister of the Ottoman Empire, 972,000 Ottoman Armenians disappeared from official population records from 1915 through 1916.

In Turkey, any discussion of what happened to the Ottoman Armenians can bring a storm of public outrage. But since its publication in a book in January, the number - and its Ottoman source - has gone virtually unmentioned. Newspapers hardly wrote about it. Television shows have not discussed it.

"Nothing," said Murat Bardakci, the Turkish author and columnist who compiled the book.

The silence can mean only one thing, he said: "My numbers are too high for ordinary people. Maybe people aren't ready to talk about it yet."

For generations, most Turks knew nothing of the details of the Armenian genocide from 1915 to 1918, when more than a million Armenians were killed as the Ottoman Turk government purged the population.

Turkey locked the ugliest parts of its past out of sight, Soviet-style, keeping any mention of the events out of schoolbooks and official narratives in an aggressive campaign of forgetting.

But in the past 10 years, as civil society has flourished here, some parts of Turkish society are now openly questioning the state's version of events. In December, a group of intellectuals circulated a petition that apologized for the denial of the massacres. Some 29,000 people have signed it.

With his book, "The Remaining Documents of Talat Pasha," Bardakci (pronounced bard-AK-chuh) has become, rather unwillingly, part of this ferment. The book is a collection of documents and records that once belonged to Mehmed Talat, known as Talat Pasha, the primary architect of the Armenian deportations.

The documents, given to Bardakci by Talat's widow, Hayriye, before she died in 1983, include lists of population figures. Before 1915, 1,256,000 Armenians lived in the Ottoman Empire, according to the documents. The number plunged to 284,157 two years later, Bardakci said.

To the untrained ear, it is simply a sad statistic. But anyone familiar with the issue knows the numbers are in fierce dispute.

Turkey has never acknowledged a specific number of deportees or deaths. On Sunday, the Turkish foreign minister, Ali Babacan, warned that President Barack Obama might set back relations if he recognized the massacre of Armenians as genocide ahead of his visit to Turkey next month.

The collapse of the Ottoman Empire was bloody, the Turkish argument goes, and those who died were victims of that chaos.

Bardakci subscribes to that view. The figures, he said, do not indicate the number of dead, only the result of the decline in the Armenian population after deportation. He strongly disagrees that the massacres amounted to a genocide, and says that Turkey was obliged to take action against Armenians because they were openly supporting Russia in its war against the Ottoman Empire.

"It was not a Nazi policy or a Holocaust," he said. "These were very dark times. It was a very difficult decision. But deportation was the outcome of some very bloody events. It was necessary for the government to deport the Armenian population."

This argument is rejected by most scholars, who believe that the small number of Armenian rebels were not a serious threat to the Ottoman Empire, and that the policy was more the product of the perception that the Armenians, non-Muslims and therefore considered untrustworthy, were a problem population.

Hilmar Kaiser, a historian and expert on the Armenian genocide, said the records published in the book were conclusive proof from the Ottoman authority itself that it had pursued a calculated policy to eliminate the Armenians. "You have suddenly on one page confirmation of the numbers," he said. "It was like someone hit you over the head with a club."

Kaiser said the before-and-after figures amounted to "a death record."

"There is no other way of viewing this document," he said. "You can't just hide a million people."

Other scholars said that the number is a useful addition to the historical record but that it does not introduce a new version of events.

"This corroborates what we already knew," said Donald Bloxham, the author of "The Great Game of Genocide: Imperialism, Nationalism and the Destruction of the Ottoman Armenians."

Bardakci is a history buff who learned to read and write Ottoman script from his grandmother, allowing him to navigate Turkey's written past, something that most Turks are unable to do. He plays the tanbur, a traditional string instrument. His grandfather was a member of the same political party as Talat, and his family knew many of the important political figures in Turkey's founding.

"We had a huge library at home," he said. "They were always talking about history and the past." Though Bardacki clearly wanted the numbers to be known, he stubbornly refuses to interpret them. He offers no analysis in the book, and aside from an interview with Talat's widow, there is virtually no text beside the original documents.

"I didn't want to interpret," he said. "I want the reader to decide."

The best way to do that, he argues, is by using cold, hard facts, which can cut through the layers of emotional rhetoric that have clouded the issue for years.

"I believe we need documents in Turkey," he said. "This is the most important."

But some of the keenest observers of Turkish society said the silence was a sign of just how taboo the topic still is. "The importance of the book is obvious from the fact that no paper except Milliyet has written a single line about it," wrote Murat Belge, a Turkish academic, in a January column in the liberal daily newspaper Taraf.

Still, it is a measure of Turkey's democratic maturity that the book was published here at all. Bardakci said he had held the documents for so long - 27 years - because he was waiting for Turkey to reach the point when their publication would not cause a frenzy.

Even now, the state feels the need to defend itself. Last summer, a propaganda film about the Armenians made by the Turkish military was distributed to primary schools. After a public outcry, it was stopped.

"I could never have published this book 10 years ago," Bardakci said. "I would have been called a traitor."

He added, "The mentality has changed."

Monday, March 08, 2010

How many more time will the U.S. block the truth of the Armenian Genocide?

It has become clear that the U.S. government and those who were elected with the promise of recognizing the 1915 Genocide of the Armenian people at the hands of the Turks were not being forthright.

The recent maneuvers of the Obama administration and particularly Hillary Clinton, are unacceptable actions that oppose the findings of a State Department sponsored initiative called the Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Committee (TARC) and the January 2003 findings of a third-party study commissioned by TARC regarding the validity of the 1915 Armenian Genocide. The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), a New York-based human rights organization, ruled that the slaughter of some 1.5 million Armenians fits into the internationally accepted definition of genocide.  The reports conclusion reads as follows:

"The crucial issue of genocidal intent is contested, and this legal memorandum is not intended to definitively resolve particular factual disputes. Nonetheless, we believe that the most reasonable conclusion to draw from the various accounts referred to above of the Events is that, notwithstanding the efforts of large numbers of "righteous Turks"59 who intervened on behalf of the Armenians, at least some of the perpetrators of the Events knew that the consequence of their actions would be the destruction, in whole or in part, of the Armenians of eastern Anatolia, as such, or acted purposively towards this goal, and, therefore, possessed the requisite genocidal intent. Because the other three elements identified above have been definitively established, the Events, viewed collectively, can thus be said to include all of the elements of the crime of genocide as defined in the Convention, and legal scholars as well as historians, politicians, journalists and other people would be justified in continuing to so describe them."

(59 Paul Glastris, Armenia's History, Turkey's Dilemma, Wash. Post, March 11, 2001, at B01; Zoryan Institute, Turks Who Saved Armenians: An Introduction (rev. ed.), available at

Taking into what I've stated above, I ask the question of Hillary Clinton and the people at the Department of State of if a third-party study which was commission by funds from the U.S. government and particularly the State Department found that the crimes committed in 1915 against the Armenian people fits into the internationally accepted definition of genocide and you yourself said you would recognize it if elected, then why on earth would you stand in the way of the initiative to be put to a vote in Congress?

I fully understand the possible negative economics behind the U.S. officially recognizing the Armenian Genocide and the many defense jobs that could possibly be lost in the U.S. which are for the express purpose of creating weapons for present and future wars and I also understand the strategic importance of Turkey, but all those are temporary possible setbacks which will in time be smoothed over.

Hillary my dear, do the right thing and don’t stand in the way of justice for the Armenian people who were victims of the first genocide of the 20th century.

H.Res.252 Won't Make It to Full Congress Agenda: Hillary Clinton

10:33 - 06.03.10

Barack Obama's administration is going to do everything possible so that House Resolution 252 on the Armenian Genocide doesn't make it to the full Congress for a vote, said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

`We're going to work hard so that the resolution doesn't make it into the Congress agenda,' said Clinton.

Following Thursday's dramatic House Foreign Affairs Committee vote approving H.Res.252 affirming the Armenian Genocide, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the resolution should go no further.

While on a tour of Latin America, Clinton said from Costa Rica that the Obama administration has made its intentions clear:

`We do not believe that the full Congress will or should vote on that resolution and we have made that clear to all the parties involved,' Clinton said.

Three times since 2000 - while both Democrats and Republicans were in office - similar resolutions never got off the Floor.