Tuesday, August 23, 2011

ARF-D of West America Against Serzh Sargsyan

Story from Lragir.am News:

Published: 14:19:16 - 20/08/2011

ARF-D Central Committee of West America congratulated the Armenian people on the 20th anniversary of independence

In the statement the ARF-D CC welcomes the efforts of the Armenian Consulate General to Los Angeles which organizes a series of events to mark the holiday. A solemn reception in honor of President Serzh Sargsyan will be organized at the Beverley Hills Hotel. In this connection, the CC noted the presence of Serzh Sargsyan, as well as the reception organized in his honor, may discredit the idea of independence and play down the struggle of our people for justice.

`The Independence Day cannot be a reason to honor a disreputable president `thanks to' whose policy independent Armenia is getting bogged deeper and deeper for the sake of the reproduction of the regime. Gross violations of human rights, lack of justice and independence of the judicial system and an unhealthy climate have annihilated the belief of the Armenian people in justice and independence. The oligarchs who have taken in their hands the economic system based on monopolies and the leverages of the parliament and government continue to oppress people. The level of social injustice and poverty cause the citizens of Armenia to emigrate, seeking their future elsewhere,' the statement runs.

We cannot honor a president who surrendered in the issue of Artsakh and announced ready to hand over the territories set down in the NKR Constitution. We cannot honor a president who has led Armenia along the humiliating and defeatist path for normalization of relations with Turkey, the ARF-D CC of West America announced. Hence, the CC declared to boycott the reception `in honor of Serzh Sargsyan'.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Activist says Defense Ministry unable to control situation in army (video)

23:11 - 29.07.11

A rights activist has slammed the Defense Ministry, accusing it of inaptitude to keep the situation in the army under control.

Speaking to journalists on Friday Arthur Sakunts, the head of the Vanadzor Office of the Helsinki Associations, said that accounts of intentional killings, humiliation and degrading treatment in the army are covered up and the perpetrators are not revealed to be held accountable.

`Our Defense Ministry is unable to take the situation under control,' said Sakunts.

Anahit Mkrtchyan, the mother of a killed conscript Araik Avetisyan, also present at the press conference said that she has already lodged a file at the European Court of Human Rights and will wait for the results as long as necessary.

Mkrtchyan said that her son was killed in the room of Never Stepanyan, the head of staff of the battalion where Araik Avetisyan used to serve.

According to her, the head of staff had arranged for him a leave of absence in return for $100. But when Araik Mkrtchyan had gone back without the money, Stepanyan started yelling at him, then took out his Makarov pistol and hit on his head twice.

A criminal case was lodged, Anahit Mkrtchyan went on to say, and Stepanyan was sentenced for four and half year in prison for unintended murder. But after constant complaints by Mkrtchyan the case was reviewed and the forensic examination found out the traces of beats by a blunt instrument on the skull of Araik Avetisyan.

Following two year of his conviction Stepanyan was released and is now occupying the same position at the same military unit.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011


06:38 pm | July 18, 2011 | Social

Half of the children living in Armenian orphanages are disabled,says Lala Ghazaryan, head of the Family, Women and Children Affairs Department at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.

"In comparison with foreign countries, parents in Armenia have a biased approach to disability and want to adopt a healthy child," said Ghazaryan.

The Ministry official dismisses the information that foreigners adopt children more easily than locals do.

"Interstate adoption is a much more complicated process than you can imagine," she said.

There are seven orphanages in the republic with 800 children. About 120 children were adopted in Armenia in 2010. Another 551 children were placed into foster care.

"However, these children continue to remain orphans and if they are subsequently adopted by their guardians, they are unable form a normal family in the future," she said.

Lala Ghazaryan, who has worked with orphans for many years, says the best way to improve a child's future is to adopt him otherwise the child will appear in the street.

Married couples cannot adopt a child unless they have a permanent place of residence and steady work. Besides, they should be devoid of aberrations and must not be deprived of parental rights. You cannot adopt a child if you are not married.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Wednesday, July 13, 14:18

The dialogue between the authorities and the opposition implies involvement of not only Armenian National Congress, but also all the concerned political forces, including the coalition parties. The atmosphere of confidence is very important, and here the efforts of the authorities are not enough. In order to consolidate the atmosphere of confidence, the desire of all political forces is needed, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan said in his interview with Golos Armenii (Voice of Armenia) newspaper.

When touching on the elections, the head of the state pointed out that a big role here belongs to the evil tradition, according to which it is almost impossible to suppose that after the elections in Armenia someone will acknowledge the opponent's victory. "There were several presidential elections in Armenia, who of the candidates has ever congratulated his opponent on the latter's victory? The problem is that elections are like backgammon, where it is for the dies, not the voters' confidence to decide. This feature is the main obstacle to formation and consolidation of the atmosphere of confidence. If the presidential candidates conduct their pre-election fight honestly, acknowledge the voting results and congratulate the winner, the people will never say that the elections were rigged", he said. If this becomes a tradition, it will allow forming an atmosphere of confidence in the society.

The Armenian authorities set up a working group of 6 people to conduct a dialogue with the Armenian National Congress, Press Secretary of Armenian President Armen Arzumanyan said on July 9. According to him, the members of the coalition and the Armenian National Congress will meet within the next few days.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


June 24 2011

"Since 2006 the project for unloading the institutions that protect and care of children has been developed and implemented in order to unload the institutions and to prevent the children's access to those institutions; since 2008 until now the "Foster family "program is being implemented. Since 2008 35 children received care in foster families." This is an excerpt from a letter that was signed by Minister of Labor and Social Affairs of the Republic of Armenia Arthur Grigoryan. The letter contains a number of questions and answers that refer to the activities of orphanages and other fostering institutions. The questions were posed by the member of the
"Heritage" Faction Anahit Bakhshyan.

It is pretty easy to say why particularly this part was selected from the letter of the Minister. We had noticed some discrepancies in the numbers presented.

Thus, it was just one month ago, on May 16, that Panorama.am presented an interview with Ms. Lala Ghazaryan, the Head of family, women and children issues department within the Armenian Ministry of Labor and Social Issues. Ms. Ghazaryan presented in details the role of the foster family and mentioned that, "Today, for example, we have 23 such families, where 25 children live.

Note that before this program entered under the full control of the state in 2008, it was being implemented by the United Nations Children's Fund / UNICEF /, since the mentioned period not a single child was given to a foster family. In the same time it should be noted that the state has adopted the policy of unloading the orphanages and ther foster institutions, however this particular version, which is considered one of the effective ways of the above mentioned policy,
does not work.

Continuing to quote the Minister's answers addressed to A. Bakhshyan, let's focus our attention to the fact that, as A. Grigoryan says, "according to the statistics, as a result of the implementation of the project the number of children in orphanages has decreased in recent years due to state policy."

Mrs. Bakhshyan, citing in the letter addressed to the Minister the results of the research presented by the UNICEF recently, mentioned:

"The transportation and placement of children in foster family can be savings for the budget. For example, by the data of 2009, in 8 orphanages of the republic the annual expenses of one child in average makes U.S. $ 5 176; for 905 children 4 .684.017$ from the budget were
provided. While presenting that research was also pointed at the fact that only 25 children were placed in the foster families. And this in case when using the new funding guidelines more children may be directed to the foster families."

In response to this Minister Grigoryan wrote: "The foster family is one of the ways of replacement of children who are left without parental care; however the experience shows that problems arise between foster and biological parents of the children that are given to the foster parent families from the orphanages, and that is not within the child's interests."

In other words, except for this quote, Minister A. Grigoryan doesn't refer to the question of the deputy whether the displacement and placement of the children into foster families may serve savings for the budget.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

All-Armenia Fund once again reconstructs Stepanagert retirement home

At the beginning of the Millennium, the Stepanagert retirement home had the good fortune of receiving the leftovers of a $1 million gift from Louise Simone Manoogian, via the AGBU, from the construction of Alex Manoogian Street. Due to the AGBU closely monitoring and reviewing of work that had been done, the Artsakh government informed the donor that the street cost considerably less than what they had estimated. They asked the donor if they could use the remainder (from what I member Louise telling me, it was $400k) for the renovation of the Stepanakert house for elderly people (see: http://www.agbu.am/index.php?p=agbuarm), to which the donor agreed. 

Now we fast-forward to today where we find that once again, reconstruction work is being done to the Stepanakert retirement home. This time, it's a $400k gift via the All-Armenia Fund, from a Moscow-based industrialist and co-financing by the government of Artsakh. 

My question is, why is there a need to once again reconstruct/renovate the Stepanakert retirement home? Clearly back in the day, $400k, which would equate to at least $1 million today was enough to replace the restrooms, plumbing system, and cafeteria. Was the work not done correctly 10 years ago by the Artsakh government that it is now in disrepair? 

One other thing that caught my attention in the recent story is that they claim that two wings of the home were last upgraded in 1988. I have to ask, were these wings not worked on in 2001, when the AGBU gifted $400k for the renovation of the facility?

Anyway you look at it, someone needs to answer these questions and look into what was done then and what is being done now, since something does not seem to add up.

Reconstruction of Stepanakert Retirement Home Underway

12:14, June 20, 2011
The Hayastan All-Armenian Fund has launched extensive renovations of a landmark Artsakh institution, the Stepanakert Retirement Home. Currently the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund is carrying out the preliminary stage of renovations at the Stepanakert Retirement Home.
The large-scale project was initiated by a benefactor of the fund, Moscow-based industrialist, a vice-president of the National Olympic Committee of Armenia Armen Shakhazizyan, who has donated U.S. $400,000 for its realization, and is co-financed by the government of Artsakh.

The two wings of the Stepanakert Retirement Home were last upgraded in 1988. Commenting on the critical need for a total overhaul, Irina Sargsyan, the home's director, said: "The restrooms, plumbing system, and cafeteria are in a particularly bad shape. We do our best to compensate for the lack of creature comforts, providing our seniors with attentive care and treating them with utmost affection and respect. I am confident that, once the renovations are complete, the Stepanakert Retirement Home will become for our seniors not a so-called last stage, but a wonderful environment where they will enjoy a well-deserved retirement."

"In addition to contributing $300,000 toward Artsakh water-infrastructure initiatives at our Moscow Gala, Mr. Shakhazizyan, founder and CEO of the Luding group of companies, has gone on to make a project-specific donation, seeking to help elderly individuals in Artsakh live a more dignified life," said Ara Vardanyan, executive director of the fund.

The only one of its kind in Artsakh, the Stepanakert Retirement Home accommodates 100 seniors, many of whom have physical disabilities. In addition, it provides supportive services to some 150 seniors at their residences.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Remembering Nazareth

Nazareth Berberian's grave - Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills
Today marks the 2nd aniversary of the brutal murder of my friend Nazareth Berberian. Though the murder was clearly covered up by the Armenian athorities, one thing is clear, Nazareth had his life cut short and many of his valuble projects in Armenia died with him. I hope that for the sake of Nazareth's family and friends, the ture motive and those behind his murder will be made public.

Monday, April 18, 2011

CALL TO ACTION: Help Introduce the Treasures of Armenia to the World

Dear Friends,

The Shahan Natalie Family Foundation, Inc. (SNFF), a California-based non-profit 501(c)(3) organization is embarking upon a new program of cultural outreach. The objective of the program is to introduce the treasures of Armenia to the world by bringing artists, experts, scholars, scientists and other professionals to the United States to share their knowledge with the Armenian and non-Armenian communities. The lectures they present will be recorded and made available on DVD and also via the Internet in order to reach local, national, and international audiences.

The first program that SNFF is committed to implement is the international presentation of “Komitas: the Life and Works,” a multimedia DVD, comprising of a digitized collection of songs, photographs, texts and videos related to Komitas. The multimedia DVD will be presented by Garegin Chugaszyan, co-founder and president of ITE CJSC, specializing in the development of multimedia products for education in Yerevan,  Armenia. One of the products of the company, “Aram Khachaturian: The Life and Works” has been selected by the World Summit Award 2005 Grand Jury as the world’s best cultural CD/DVD multimedia product of 2005.  “Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923,” another interactive multimedia DVD, received recognition by the World Summit Award 2005 Grand Jury as one of the top 10 products in e-learning category and was given special mention. Both products were winner in the All-Armenian 2005 National e-content contest “Mashtots 1600.”

Our goal is to present the cultural treasures of the Armenian people to the world. We believe this will reflect a positive image of Armenian values and outstanding achievements, which have earned the nation international respect and admiration. We hope that programs such as this will also act as a powerful counterbalance to a negative stereotype of the Armenian people, which has been mushrooming through the news media lately. The presentations will be recorded and made available on DVD and online.

In order to bring Garegin Chugaszyan to the U.S. for the inaugural outreach program, “Komitas: The Life and Works,” we need your financial support. Be it $1 or $1,000, your tax-deductible contribution will help to fly Mr. Chugaszyan to the U.S. from Armenia and provide housing, meals, a modest stipend, travel expenses inside the U.S., and the cost of advertising (newspaper, television, and other news media). We are offering a few great promotional gifts as a thank you for your donations. For a donation in the amount between $100 and $249, we will give you a copy of “Aram Khachaturian: The Life and Works” multimedia CD-ROM; a donation ranging between $250 and $499 will reward you with two multimedia DVDs: a copy of “Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923” and “Aram Khachaturian: The Life and Works” multimedia  CD-ROMs. A donation of $500 and more will be thanked with three multimedia DVDs: a copy of “Paruir Sevak. These are my words…”, “Aram Khachaturian: The Life and Works” and “Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923” multimedia  CD-ROM s. Regardless of the donated amount, your name will be listed on our sponsor page at www.snff.org, unless anonymity is requested.

The project will have two phases. The first visit will be at the end of April, beginning of May when Garegin Chugaszyan will speak at colleges and universities in California and Massachusetts, including: USC, UCLA, Cal State Northridge, Glendale Community College, Fresno State University, UC Berkeley, Stanford, Harvard, MIT. The visits will take place during regular academic sessions, to reach as many students as possible.

The second phase of the program will take place near the end of May, beginning of June  and will be focused on the public at large in Los Angeles, Glendale and the surrounding areas; Fresno, Silicon Valley, San Francisco. Event venues may include: Los Angeles, Glendale and Pasadena Public Libraries; and Ararat-Eskijian Museum. Publicity will include television interviews, newspaper articles, flyer distribution through local community organizations and business channels.

Any funds exceeding the goal set for this project will be directed to the next outreach program organized by the SNFF.

Please help us spread the word by involving your colleagues, friends, family, as well as your online social network, and encouraging them to contribute to and support this inaugural Armenian outreach effort. Let’s bring out the best in us!

To make a tax-deductible contribution for this project, please visit www.indiegogo.com/komitas

Thank you in advance for any help you can offer.

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

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The reason why Armenian National Congress will never be able to change anything in Armenia

Aram Sarkisian, a leading member of the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), tells `Aravot' that the opposition alliance did not tell supporters to march to the presidential palace in Yerevan last week because `the Congress is not an adventurer.' `The Congress wants to take calculated and correct steps,' he says. `The Congress will get into a real process of regime change when it is 100 percent confident in its victory, when it has clear support not only from the public but the international community.'

What this equates to is that since HAK is not at all respected by the international community or the majority of the public, they will never be able to take steps to change the regime. In fact I believe that they are not interested in regime change, since they in fact are a part of that regime and to change it would be like self-amputation.