Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Armenian internet community: Armenian politicians endanger existence of Armenian nation

"Any politician or civil servant, no matter what his previous merit to the country is, is traitor of his home country and enemy of his nation if he proposes to surrender Armenian territory," says a statement by Armenian online resources received by REGNUM.

The authors of the text say: "Today, we claim that Armenian leadership and political parties stop any discussions of the readiness to surrender liberated Armenian territories of Artsakh. We also claim that contents of the talks are made public, as we find it inadmissible to conceal information that directly concerns future of the Armenian nation." "Territorial bargaining and an attempt to surrender the liberated territory are in now way capable of resolving the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and are fatal not only for Artsakh future, but for the Armenian statehood in general. Armenian politicians mired in the 'constructive dialog' endanger existence of the Armenian nation. Practically, what is happening today is a new 'Munich agreement,' which pushes us into a strategic deadlock and encouraging a new aggression against the Nagorno Karabakh Republic and the Republic of Armenia," the statement says.

OpenArmenia, Administration, NKR Community, Karabakh Community, Community, staff, Portal.Am, VIP Multilingual Forums, Mitk Analytical Center,,, the city of Dilijan,, KarabakhOpen, Andranik Youth Club "Aliance", Civil Initiative,,,,,,,, Jugend-und Studentenföderation "Nor Serunt", Armenian Knowledge Base photo blogs signed the statement. Colelction of signatures continues.

Permanent news address:
14:41 05/29/2007

Territorial gambling is a mortal threat for future of Armenian statehood

29.05.2007 14:51 GMT+04:00

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ "Any attempts of political gambling or speculations to surrender the liberated territories by no means provide a sensible solution to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. On the contrary, they represent a mortal threat not only to the future of Artsakh but also to the integrity of the Armenian statehood," says the statement of Armenian Internet resources entitled "Against the Surrender of the Liberated Territories". In particular, the document reads as follows, "Trapped in the swamp of "constructive negotiations" Armenian politicians do nothing but endanger the very existence of the Armenian nation and make us involuntarily witnesses to what can be described as a modern "Munich Agreement", which could leave us in a strategic deadlock and most surely contribute to an unleashing of a new aggressions against both the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and the Republic of Armenia.

Today, on May 28th, when Armenians all over the world proudly celebrate the creation of the first Armenian Republic of 1918, we would also like to remind of the disgraceful end of that very same republic in 1920. Because of the "courtesy" of "constructive compromises" and "diplomatic maneuvers" by then Armenian government, Kars, Igdyr, the holy Mount Ararat and the ancient capital Ani were surrendered without firing a single shot. And as a result tens of thousands lives had perished in vain.

We demand and urge the current government and political leaders call an immediate halt to any discussions or negotiations regarding the possible surrender of the liberated regions of Artsakh. We also insist on complete declassification of the information for the ongoing negotiations in view of the fact that concealment of any information vital for the future of the Armenian nation is utterly unacceptable.

Any politician or public officer, regardless of his/her previous honors for serving the nation, who should openly declare or demonstrate a willingness to surrender Armenian lands, will be regarded a national traitor and a blatant enemy of the state."

Monday, May 28, 2007

They Start Taking Drugs in School
[May 28, 2007]

See also: The Armenian Sodom and Gomorrah, 18,000 Armenians in California Prisons

Chaplain Bedros Hajian founded the Armenian American Christian Outreach in 1998. A unique facility, it specializes in the reintegration of prisoners.

When we visited there were fourteen people there. One was Mexican; the rest were Armenian.

“I've been visiting prisons since 1993. It never occurred to me that there were Armenians there. Then on one visit, I heard there was an Armenian inmate. I talked with him and he said there were more Armenians there. In one cell there were nineteen Armenians. I started to visit them regularly. I found that ninety of them were in for drug dealing. They would be released and then get arrested the next week. I knew that there were different rehabilitation programs for drug users, but they are not effective, because their approach turns a person into a slave. I was hoping to dig deeper – find out why a person uses drugs. Some things have happened in his life, he has made some made some mistakes, which have led to drugs. I had the idea of opening a place like this. We try to give people a chance to talk to each other and bring them back by reading the Bible,“ Father Bedros explained.

The residents of the halfway house watch movies about drugs and Jesus Christ, and sometimes there are visits by guest lecturers.

“The most important expert for me is a former drug user; a doctor can heal the body, but he cannot heal the soul,” said 30-year-old Mkrtich Muradyan.

Mkrtich went through three rehab programs, but always went back to drugs. I asked him whether it made sense to participate in this program, and why he was sure that this time he would be able to change.

“In the past I did it for my parents; that's why I wanted to stay clean. After the program I would stay clean for a month, and then I would start again. I couldn't keep it secret. It shows on your face; you getter thinner, it shows in your eyes. I was working but I never had any money. I would ask for money from my parents, and they would realize that I was using drugs again. In the past, I was doing it for my parents; now I'm doing it for myself. Before, after I had been in rehab for four or five months, I would go back home, and my mother wouldn't even give me the keys to the car. But now when I go home she gives me the keys. They can see the change. After you stay here for a month, you can go home. When I went home, my mother said, ‘Son, take the keys and go someplace new.' That in itself was big thing for me, “ Mkrtich Muradyan said.

Mkrtich took the same route to drug adduction as many others. “At first I was with Armenians, I smoking marijuana for six years, and then I started hanging out with Mexican gangs, and started to use drugs. I was selling drugs at first. I asked myself, what is this that people buy and get addicted to, and I tried it myself. I liked it and started using drugs on weekends, and then every day, and then I became an addict. I was caught, went to prison, they would give me a chance to recover from the addiction, but I would get caught again. Then the judge got tired and sent me to prison for 16 months, “ Mkrtich recounted. Mkrtich's documents weren't in order yet, so he was transferred to the Migration Department, which then sent him back to Armenia. But Armenia did not let Mkrtich in. Mkrtich's parents are US citizens, but he still has to register with the Department of Migration every two months. “Armenia didn't let us in, because we came here in 1990, and then Armenia became independent. My photo had been in my mother's passport, but that passport no longer existed because she is a citizen here. The Migration Department asked the Armenian Embassy, and they replied that they had no citizen by my name.”

Mkrtich was thirteen years old when they moved to the USA. “I started doing drugs when I was thirteen. I stole because of drugs. Say I had three hundred bucks, I bought drugs, and when it ran out I would steal – how else could I get money? I couldn't sell anymore because the police were monitoring me. I would trick different people, lie, do things that no one in a normal state would even think about. On drugs, you can do anything. Girls will do things for drugs-- the girl is not like that, but she'll do anything to get drugs, “ Mkrtich said.

Since 1998 Mkrtich has been jailed four times, spending a total of six-and-a-half years behind bars. I asked him if he'd like to come back to Armenia. “No, but I'd like to go once to see it, and then come back, “ he said.

The reintegration center also has two female patients, G. from Yerevan and N., an Armenian American.

Nineteen-year-old N.'s parents are from Beirut; she was born in the US. When I asked her how long she had been on drugs, she asked, “Which one?” N. started to use hashish in Armenian school. She was thirteen years old. “My girlfriends and I did hashish, and when I was sixteen I started doing crystal meth. Our friends brought it to school. I dropped out of school, and got into different things. My parents found out when I was seventeen years old, I got sick and they took me home. Then I got caught dealing drugs,” N. recounted. Her parents come to visit her here every week. She has decided to go to college after she finishes the program.

I asked her whether she has time to think here, and what she thinks about. “I've done so many bad things that it's better not to think,” she replied.

Edik Baghdasaryan
Los Angeles-Yerevan

Friday, May 25, 2007

Let there be light

Minister of Territorial Administration Armo Tsaturyan is a man of his word

Recently the villages of Haygazyan and Hale in the Southern Kashatagh region had a visit from an engineer sent by the government to survey for electrification.

For those of you new to Martuni or Bust, these are a couple of villages in Kashatagh which have been without electricity for over 9 years and only promises from the government each year that there will soon be power run to their villages.

On Armenian Christmas, we paid these villages a visit followed by a meeting with the Minister of Territorial Administration, who started the meeting out by asking why these people don’t leave and ending the meeting with his promise that they will have electricity this year.

Well according to the engineer, the work will start on June 1st of this year.

The group of people who went to the villages to assisted Father Christmas in January to spread joy to the people of Haygazyan and Hale, have decided that we will pay villages a follow-up visit in mid-June in order to see how the work of electrification is going and share a meal with our friends there. Of course we will also invite the workers from the crew sinking poles and running wire to the village. I think we will also invite Armo and the new Regional Minister Ernest to join us so they can see with their own eyes that their latest plans of developing the region are truly happening.


24 May 07

Yerevan, 24 May:
Armenia's Court of Appeals turned down today [24 May] the appeal of former Armenian Foreign Minister Aleksandr Arzumanyan.

Effectively, Arzumanyan will remain in custody at least by 8 July [2007] according to the 8 May ruling of a Yerevan court of first instance.

Arzumanyan, who was Armenia's foreign minister in the years when the Pan-Armenian National Movement was in power, was arrested and detained earlier in May on money laundering suspicion.

Vahan Shirkhanyan, a former Armenian minister for coordinating industrial infrastructures and a former deputy defence minister, is engaged in the same case as a witness.

"4000 homeless children in Gyumri"


2007-05-24 15:11:00

In his interview with the Armenian "Shant" TV company, Vardan Ghukassyan, Mayor of Gyumri and a member of the Republican Party's Board, said that he knows who made the assassination attempt on him on April 2.

"I'm sure that they wanted to kill me because I've always told the truth and never concealed the fact that there are 4000 homeless children in Gyumri and not 1500 as some power representatives used to say," V.Ghukassyan said. He emphasized that he doesn't hope for disclosing of this crime as there is little concern about it. According to him, if the crime is disclosed, it will turn out to have a political character, otherwise it was evidently a political order. At the same time he stressed that the assassination attempt scarcely had a personal character, as he has no enemies, "he is an honest Christian, a loving family man, who constantly extends a helping hand to the poor, and after all, he has never hurt anyone in his life". He added that he'd like to die like Vardan Mamikonyan who served his nation.

As for the recent skirmish in Gyumri where the Mayor's son Spartak Ghukassyan also was involved, V.Ghukassyan said: "My son is as honest as I am. He has never hurt anyone and always helped the poor. And if I learn that someone in my family behaves indecently, I myself will kill them and give them up for lost". As for the opinion that there was an animosity between the Mayor of Gyumri and Artashes Sargsyan, the head of the Prosperous Armenia party's office in Gyumri, who was the other participant in the skirmish, V.Ghukassyan noted: "A.Sargsyan is a friend of our family, he always takes part in our family events and there is no animosity between us". Concerning the second skirmish near the Karot filling station, the Mayor of Gyumri sees nothing special in it. "All the statements that Gyumri has turned into a criminal city are groundless. Our city is the calmest and most peaceful city in the world", he said, appealing to the powers that be to leave him and his city alone for two years at least. "Then you'll see what Gyumri will turn into," he added. V.Ghukassyan said that at the moment he is getting ready for the second operation.

To note, as a result of the April 2 assassination attempt, V.Ghukassyan was seriously injured and operated on, afterwards stayed in hospital for two weeks. His three bodyguards died on the spot, and the driver died in hospital.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


[07:08 pm] 21 May, 2007

"May 21 made history. We have assembled here to recall the glorious events of May 21 and our heroes' struggle for the liberation of Shushi and Lachin. They sacrificed their lives to connect Artsakh with Mother Armenia. No one is going to return Kashatagh to Azerbaijan. The rumors are fabricated. Do not believe them! We did not liberate the territories to return later on. We must reconstruct and develop Kashatagh.

Armenian and Karabakh officialdom should attach great importance to Kashatagh. We are to restore all the liberated territories," Arkadi Ghukasyan, the President of Nagorno-Karabakh said during the 15th anniversary of the Lachin corridor opening.

Under a decree of the NKR President, some residents were awarded prizes during the ceremony.

It is noteworthy that Lachin corridor is the only bridge between the NKR and Armenia.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Armenian Sodom and Gomorrah
[May 21, 2007]

“I'm here temporarily,” said a fairly well known director when he saw me. Almost every Armenia from Armenia in Los Angeles lives in a state of confusion. Many of them I met said that they were waiting for changes to happen in the homeland before they could go back. Saying that, they seemed to know they weren't going back, and they knew I knew, too. But they kept trying to persuade me that they would go home one day. When I asked them, “Who's going to make the changes happen, if not you?” they didn't answer.

While I was in Los Angeles, there were news reports about the extradition from Great Britain of an Armenian journalist named Gina Khachatryan. When they asked me about her I said there was no journalist in Armenia with that name who had come under pressure and sought asylum from the British. I sensed that some of them were sorry that there was no such journalist, and that the reports had been false, and the reason they were sorry was that almost every Armenian from Armenia in Los Angeles is there under a false identity.

Each of them has made up a story to earn the right to live in this country. One was sought by the police, another came under pressure during an election, another was prosecuted for his beliefs, and so on.

As I silently listened to all the different stories that the Armenians told, I sensed that they were trying to expiate their own guilt. They felt guilty, and I didn't know why. I never had any desire to blame any of them until they launched into patriotic monologues and began to curse their former country. The country I live in, that they left voluntarily. On my third day in Los Angeles I decided not to meet with these Armenians anymore. I was tired of hearing them complain about all the bills they have to pay, and I didn't feel like answering any more questions about Armenia, about various officials and politicians.

Some people had changed their last names and had asked for asylum posing as refugees from Persia, Iraq, or Azerbaijan.

Here in the towns of California I saw once again the Armenian with a refugee's walking stick in his hand, wandering throughout the centuries.

They stand on the street corners of Hollywood and Glendale, dressed in black T-shirts and pants, smoking cigarette or eating sunflower seeds. Here every self-respecting Armenian has to drive a BMW or Mercedes. It's quite possible that he lives in a tiny apartment with ten other people, but he'll never buy a cheap car.

When they drive they honk furiously and turn abruptly– you might think you're in downtown Yerevan.

Levon Habeshyan, an entrepreneur living in Los Angeles, has decided to return to Armenia. “I can't take it here. I visit Armenia three times a year. As soon as I get here, I start thinking about going back to Armenia,” Levon said. He has already started a business in Yerevan, bought an apartment, and decided to move. “My children want to come, too. But my wife doesn't agree. Maybe you can persuade her,“ Levon joked.

When he asked what I thought of the Armenian community of Los Angeles, I was unable to describe it. I could easily describe the Armenian communities of Boston or Washington, but couldn't see the Los Angeles Armenian community in terms of any unifying form or notion. Generations of Genocide survivors, Persian Armenians who emigrated after the revolution, Armenians from Beirut, Iraqi Armenians, Armenians from Armenia. The last group has brought disarray to the community, which had to a certain degree established an identity. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians from Armenia. Young men evading military service, actors, journalists, doctors, scientists. Some of them have become taxi drivers—you can have long conversations with them and hear all kinds of stories about Armenians.

Los Angeles is the Armenian Sodom and Gomorrah. Tata wrote a song about the city that Armenians can sing at parties. There are Armenian TV channels with familiar faces with their crude humor and advertisements. And there is a philosophy that this crowd has developed aimed at justifying their presence here.

After I visited two prisons in Los Angeles and one reintegration facility it became clear to me that Armenians here have far bigger problems than in Armenia.

When you walk down the corridors of California's biggest jail you can hear Armenian being spoken all around. Armenians have opened a new road, from Armenia straight to American prisons.

Chaplain Bedros Hajian helped expedite our prison visits. According to his calculations, there are 17,000 Armenians in Californian jails, but for some reason that number didn't sound convincing to me.

Twenty-year-old Gevorg is from Echmiadzin. His father had a business in Armenia, but according to his son, he came under pressure and left Armenia ten years ago. Gevorg is in jail for stealing credit cards. He says that they live well, and the money flows.

“Couldn't you get a good job here? Why did you get mixed up in credit cards?” I asked him.

“Brother, here that is a good job,” Gevorg said.

(to be continued)
Edik Baghdasaryan
Los Angeles – Yerevan

18,000 Armenians in California Prisons
[May 21, 2007]

In the common room of a California prison, a toilet and a man urinating could be seen through the bars. The toilet had no door, just like the one I had seen in the Nubarashen detention center a few years ago in Yerevan. People were gathered in different parts of the prison cell. There were three Armenians here - all three former residents of Yerevan. They had moved to America in the early 1990s. Two them had been convicted of assault. They had imposed “taxes” on Armenian businessmen, and would visit shops and restaurants from time to time to collect.

“Are Armenians discriminated against here?” I asked.

“No, brother, the Armenians who were here before us set the rules long ago, so we have no problem,” said one of the pair convicted of assault.

The third, S. from Komitas Street, had been convicted of theft. “I used to make $15,000 a day, stealing things and transporting them. But we got caught.” He said that he would steal items and then sell them in his shop. “You lost everything, didn't you? Why did you steal, didn't you make enough off your shop?” I asked, expecting to hear words of remorse. S. smiled and said, “No, brother, I was running the shop but it wasn't registered in my name, so I haven't lost anything.” S. has been sentenced to six years in prison.

There were two Armenians in the next cell. V. has been arrested 19 times and spent 16 years in prison, mainly for theft. He stole cash from a restaurant the last time and returned to dine at the same restaurant two days later. The staff recognized him and called the police. He was also from Yerevan and had been here since 1992.

Chaplain Bedros Hajian told us about the Armenian convicts in various detention centers. He then took us to his office in the largest prison complex in California. The representatives of different religious communities have separate rooms in American prisons, where they meet members of their congregation. Bedros Hajian is not from the Armenian Apostolic Church, he simply preaches the Bible in prisons and works mainly with Armenians.

When I asked Bedros how many Armenians there were in this prison, he looked at his computer screen, opened the prison website and told me, “Name a letter.” I said, “K.” He entered the letter K in the search box for first and last names. A list of prisoners came up matching the search criteria. Within a few minutes, we managed to count dozens of Armenian last names. You can find out about the criminal history and prior convictions of each prisoner by clicking on his last name. The main crimes committed by Armenian convicts include drug sale, prostitution (male), theft and credit card fraud. There are an especially large number of young people in the prison. Starting out as drug users (Armenians here also use the English word drug ), they are soon forced to turn to crime to support their habit.

“There is a drug user in every family, but usually the parents don't know,” Bedros Hajian maintained. He believes drug abuse is the biggest problem in the Armenian community. “There is one way to solve this problem, which is by having Armenian leaders, party heads, the Church and other organizations take the lead. The political parties say that they are political structures and don't deal in social issues. I say, ‘Fine, suppose we free Western Armenia, who's going to live there – drugs users?' The youth here are put on drugs at school on purpose, so that they can be controlled. All the Armenian organizations must unite to fight against this problem. The only way is for everyone to admit that such a problem exists and to work against it. They don't even want to admit that this problem exists,” said Hajian.

I asked Armenian convicts in various prison whether representatives of our church visited them and they said no. The Armenian Apostolic Church in California, where there are around one million Armenians, deals mainly in baptisms, birthdays and memorial services here as well. Our talk with the Prelate of the Western Diocese in the USA, Father Hovnan Terteryan, revealed that the Church is truly disconnected from the Armenians serving time in the state's prisons. “Those numbers are exaggerated, I think there are around 300-500 Armenians in prison here,” said Father Hovnan. When we said that that was not the case, and that we were ready to present the names of thousands of Armenian prisoners, he gave in somewhat and said that they used to have someone visiting convicts, but could no longer afford it with the current number of priests. He then also said that they were training someone, who would then be sent to prisons.

The Los Angeles Times mentioned in a 1998 article that there were 8,000 Armenians in California prisons. Over the past nine years, that number has grown. Bedros Hajian said, “There are 18,000 Armenians in California's prisons today. These are not my figures, they come from the US FBI data.”

(to be continued)
Edik Baghdasaryan
Los Angeles – Yerevan

Nagorno-Karabakh President: Don't believe the tales that Kashatagh

20-05-2007 21:49:47 - KarabakhOpen

Don't believe the tales that Kashatagh (Lachin) will be returned to Azerbaijan, it will never happen. We liberated this territory not to return. We must reconstruct and develop Kashatagh. The government of Artsakh and Armenia will always focus on Kashatagh. It is our duty to reconstruct all the territories that we liberated,' said NKR President Arkady Ghukasyan in his address to the celebration of 15 years of liberation of the corridor of Lachin in Kashatagh on May 18. On this day a number of events were held to mark the 15th anniversary of liberation of Kashatagh.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


By H. Chaqrian

AZG Armenian Daily

On May 14 "Global Hay" news agency sent to "Azg" the copy of a message, received by "Surb Levon Vardukhian" Armenian school in Istanbul.

On the very first page of the message the following inscription could be found: "This was sent to all institutions concerned with the matter. This movement was started for the sake of Turkey's future and its unity. Regards".

The next pages featured a long text, entitled "The Last Warning and Ultimatum", and accusing Armenians in separatism and efforts to ruin the Turkish statehood.

The message also told of the Murder of Hrant Dink.

"...exclamations "We are all Armenians, we are all Hrunt Dink" are examples of extreme chauvinism and summons for revolution. Do not forget that except Armenian citizens of Turkey, there are also Armenians from Armenia on our land, and they count over 100 thousand.

Both their addresses and their workplaces are well known. Henceforth we hope to see our Armenian citizens as advocates of truth, concerning the Armenian Genocide or any other matter, and as defenders of the Turkish statehood. We shall keep an eye on how the Armenians are playing this role. Otherwise the Armenians shall be those to lie in the grave and count how many Armenians and how many Turks there were in the 'ages long past'. This land has never pardoned treachery and shall not. Who does not stand for our paradise-homeland is against us and shall be vanquished", says the message.

The text ends with the following words. "There is no defense line. That line is the entire territory.

Anything else is just trifles when the fate of the homeland is the matter. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk". "This is the last ultimatum. It is not to be repeated" - say the last words of the message.

This latest expression of Turkish violent nationalism is unsigned. Nevertheless the quote from Ataturk must remind us of the Kemalist chauvinistic movement. This movement is called to protect the statehood of Turkey, an that statehood is supervised by the Special Forces Department of the army, which was the initiator of political crisis during the presidential elections in Turkey. Thus, the spiteful message should be ascribed to the armed forces of Turkey and linked with the political events about the presidential elections.

Monday, May 14, 2007


YEREVAN, MAY 13, NOYAN TAPAN. By results of a post-electoral SMS survey conducted by the Radio Hay radiocompany among mobile phone subscribers, 127 out of 584 participants, who sent SMS messages, voted for the "Zharangutyun" ("Heritage") party. Director of the radiocompany Aram Mkrtchain stated this at the press conference at 8:30 pm on May 12.

According to him, "Heritage" is followed by "Impeachment" alliance - 99, Republican Party of Armenia - 66, People's Party of Armenia - 57, ARF - 56, "Orinats Yerkir" party - 42, "Prosperous Armenia" party - 29, "Republic" party - 27, National Democratic Party - 18, United Labor Party - 17, "New Times" party - 11, Communist Party of Armenia - 8, "Alliance" party - 6, Youth Party of Armenia - 6, People's Party - 4, Marxist Party of Armenia - 3, United Liberal National Party - 3, "National Unity" party - 2, "Christian People's Rebirth" party - 1, "National Concord" party - 1, "Democratic Way" party - 1, Democratic Party of Armenia - 0, Social-Democratic Hnchak Party - 0.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Polls Close Amid Opposition Allegations Of Vote Buying

RFE/RL Armenia Report - 05/12/2007 (update)
By Astghik Bedevian, Ruzanna Stepanian, Ruben Meloyan, Irina
Hovannisian, and Emil Danielyan

Voting in Armenia's tense parliamentary elections ended on Saturday evening amid opposition allegations of massive vote buying by the governing Republican Party (HHK) and the pro-presidential Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK).

The allegations were made throughout the day by opposition leaders, proxies of opposition parties, and non-governmental organizations monitoring the elections. There were numerous reports of busloads of people transported to polling stations across the country by members of the two main pro-establishment parties. RFE/RL correspondents witnessed two such instances in Yerevan.

`Vote bribes are being distributed on a terrible scale. We keep receiving reports about widespread vote buying,' Stepan Demirchian, the leader of the opposition People's Party of Armenia, told RFE/RL shortly before the closure of the polls.

The claims were echoed by Aram Karapetian, the leader of another, more radical opposition party, Nor Zhamanakner. `According to our information, the Prosperous Armenia Party is handing out 25,000-dram bribes in some places, while the Republican Party is handing out 15,000 drams ($42) all over the country,' claimed Karapetian.

The HHK brushed aside the allegations. `The Republican Party does not need to resort to falsifications or give vote bribes,' the party spokesman, Eduard Sharmazanov, said. `We are the force which is making sure that the elections are free, fair and transparent.'

There was no immediate reaction to the accusations from the BHK.

Although voting appeared to have proceeded peacefully in most of about 2,000 polling stations across Armenia, tension was palpable in some of the precincts visited by RFE/RL correspondents.

`On the whole, the elections are going well. I don't think anybody here lacks trust in the process,' said Sarkis Alaverdian, chairman of a precinct commission in Yerevan's northern Arabkir district who is affiliated with another governing party, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.

But Seda Melikian, a proxy for the opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage) party, disagreed. `Elections are normal only on surface,' she said. `They are transporting selected voters here. They are mostly disabled and old people who claim to be unable to vote on their own and are `helped' by the people who have brought them here.'

Melikian pointed to several minibuses parked outside the polling station. Also, groups of young men could be seen standing there in violation of a legal ban on the presence of unauthorized persons within a 50-meter radius of polling stations. HHK and BHK representatives there denied any wrongdoing, however.

An opposition proxy in another Arabkir precinct was forced by police officers to leave the polling station after an argument with the local commission chairwoman, Alvard Tadevosian. The latter claimed that the proxy `created tension' and interfered with the commission's work.

Tension ran high in Byurakan, a big village in the central Aragatsotn district which is part of Armenia's electoral district No. 14. Masis Malkhasian, the brother and proxy of a jailed opposition activist running for parliament there, publicly argued with village Mayor Hrach Avagian, accusing him of buying votes for the HHK en masse.

`He is personally handing out cash to support the Republicans, while local `good fellows' work for Prosperous Armenia,' Malkhasian complained to RFE/RL. `Please report that.'

`I just distributed aid to the people,' replied Avagian.

Polling in Byurakan turned chaotic at one point as the local polling station became overcrowded and the secrecy of the ballot was breached, with people openly voting in groups. An RFE/RL correspondent was forced by the precinct commission chairman, Avetik Soghomonian, to leave the station after wondering why he is not stepping in.

`You are interfering with our work,' said Soghomonian. `People cluster around you and disrupt the process.'

Also crying foul was Grisha Virabian, a maverick opposition candidate in another electoral district encompassing the southern town of Artashat and more than 20 nearby villages. He was running against Henrik `Jonik' Abrahamian, an incumbent wealthy parliamentarian and a brother of the influential Minister for Local Government Hovik Abrahamian. The area is known as the Abrahamian brothers' exclusive zone of influence.

`The elections are over,' Virabian told RFE/RL in the afternoon, accusing his rival of bribing and intimidating local people. He alleged that two of his proxies were briefly `taken hostage' by Abrahamian supporters after trying to prevent ballot box stuffing in the local village of Mkhchian. They were set free after surrendering most of the `intercepted' ballots, Virabian added, showing two crumpled ballots marked for Abrahamian.

However, the chairman of the Mkhchian election commission, denied the allegations, saying that there was only one `minor incident' in his polling station. `One person tried to vote in place of his wife, but we prevented him doing that,' he said.

`Henrik Abrahamian is very respected in the village,' added Taroyan. `He helps all villagers. There is no way even one or two people will vote against him. The whole village is voting for him.'

Taroyan also played down the clearly unlawful presence of dozens of Abrahamian supporters in his polling station. `They are just sitting here,' he said. `What can we do? If necessary, we can order them away.'

Abrahamian, for his part, denied handing out vote bribes, saying that he has only `helped' many people in the Artashat area. Speaking to RFE/RL in his Artashat office, the businessman affiliated with the HHK proudly showed dozens of requests for financial and humanitarian sent to him by local residents recent in recent weeks. Each of those letters contained an inscription by Abrahamian ordering aides to pay applicants between 5,000 and 50,000 drams ($140).

`The elections are proceeding honestly,' concluded Abrahamian.

Friday, May 11, 2007


DeFacto Agency, Armenia
May 11 2007

Today, by the decree of the Nagorno-Karabagh Republic President Arkady Ghoukassian, Lt. General Seyran Ohanian has been dismissed from the post of the NKR Defense Minister, Commander of the NKR Defense Army.

According to the information DE FACTO received at the NKR President's Press Office, by the NKR President's another decree Major General Movses Hakopian, who had been dismissed from the post of the NKR Defense Army Chief of Staff, first deputy Defense Minister, was appointed as NKR Defense Minister, Commander of the NKR Defense Army.

The Nagorno-Karabagh Republic President has also signed a decree, according to which Leva Mnatsakanian was dismissed from the post of the NKR Defense Army Deputy Commander and appointed as Chief of the NKR Defense Army General Headquarters, first Deputy Defense Minister.
May 2 Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian told journalists he had been
proposed to hold office of Chief of RA Armed Forces General
Headquarters and granted consent.

19:21 10/05/2007

The first instance Court of Kentron and Nork-Marash communities met the NSS claim on two-month imprisonment of former Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Arzumanyan. NSS press secretary, Artsvik Baghramyan, informed about this. It should be noted that as of today A. Arzumanyan's arrest lasts already 72 hours.

Earlier the NSS press service informed that as a result of NSS investigation activities it became clear that during the period from April 24, 2007 to April 26, 2007 initiators of "Civil disobedience movement" former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alexander Arzumanyan, and former Deputy Minister of Defense Vahan Shirkhanyan, being in Moscow city of RF came to agreement with Levon Grigor Markos, RF citizen, being under investigation by the criminal case N 62205103 of the Prosecutor's Office for financial frauds and pursuing special aim in Armenian pre-election period, regarding organization of transference and legalization of money of suspicious origin. It was fixed particularly that on April 27, 2007 USD 180,000 was transferred from Moscow by name of 9 placemen, which in fact was envisaged for them. Criminal proceeding was instituted due to the fact according to the features of the 3rd part of article 190 of RA Criminal Code. Within the framework of the criminal case as a result of investigations conducted in the mentioned persons' apartments great sum of money was found in foreign currency.

The case is in the proceedings of NSS Investigation Department.


If you ask me the 3rd part of article 190 should be applied to Robert Kocharyan and Prime Minister Sarkissyan who have large sums of cash in foreign currency in their homes which are from questionalble origin. If this is the kind of thing that can land one in jail, then the whole lot of the government should be behind bars.

All this is is the present day criminal Armenian government at work to prevent what will happen very soon and that is their END.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Statement Regarding The Arrest Of Alexander Arzumanian
May 10, 2007

We are shocked and alarmed by the arrest of Alexander Arzumanian, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, and leader of the Civil Disobedience Movement.

This development validates our deepest concerns for the measure of lawlessness, impunity and arbitrariness in Armenia -- phenomena that, despite having existed in our society for decades, have taken unprecedented proportions since 1998, and are now threatening to undermine the values and the course of Armenia's independence.

We call upon the President of the Republic, and the Prime Minister to demonstrate adherence to the principles of the Constitution of Armenia, and heed the voice of morality and reason, by reverting from a path that leads to the establishment of a medieval dictatorship in Armenia.

We urge an immediate end to repressions and intimidation of the opposition and the citizenry, and call for a return to norms of conduct befitting a civilized society.

We also express our admiration for Alexander Arzumanian and his family, for their restraint and civil courage at this difficult time.

Former Head of Political Military Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Armenia
Former Deputy Chief of Mission, Armenian Embassy to the United States

Former Spokesperson
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Armenia

Visiting Professor of Government, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA
Former Foreign Service Officer, Armenia

Former Foreign Service Officer, Armenia

And dozens of other former career officers of the Armenian government service

May 9, 2007


09.05.2007 - Yerevan. On May 5, 2007, the office of Civil Disobedience Movement, as well as the apartments of one of its leaders - former Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Arzumanyan- and former Deputy Minister of Defense Vahan Shirkhanyan were searched. They have been accused of money laundering. Arrested on May 7 midnight, Alexander Arzumanyan is currently placed in a jail cell in the building of National Security Service (NSS).

Yet again during a period of civic and political activism the Armenian authorities are attempting to intimidate and silence political dissidence through applying KGB methods such as wiretapping and arbitrary arrests accompanied by demonstration of force.

The groundless harsh sentencing of the editor of Zhamanak Yerevan newspaper Arman Babajanyan and the arbitrary detention of Zhirair Sefilyan and Vardan Malkhasyan are manifestations of the logical continuation of the political developments in Armenia in the recent years.

Alexander Arzumanyan, the motives of whose arrest are obvious, and these other detainees have been subjected to criminal prosecution for their civic and political activities and ideas.

Concerned about continuation of political repressions in Armenia, the undersigned consider these four people to be political prisoners and announce the establishment of a group to protect political prisoners.

The group will work to protect the rights of Alexander Arzumanyan, Zhirair Sefilyan, Vardan Malkhasyan and Arman Babajanyan, to eliminate the causes and consequences of any and all political dissidence.

“Group to Protect the Four”

Avetik Ishkhanyan
Gayane Markosyan
Amalia Kostanyan
Vardan Harutiunyan
Arthur Sakunts
Edik Baghdasaryan

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Alexander Arzoumanian Arrested
May 8, 2007

Shortly before midnight on May 7, 2007, former Foreign Minister of Armenia Alexander Arzoumanian was taken into custody by the National Security Service (NSS) on charges of money laundering as he entered his apartment building in central Yerevan. The arrest, which took place days before Armenia's parliamentary election scheduled for May 12, is perceived by many to be part of the Armenian government's continuing efforts to silence political opposition and intimidate voters. Arzoumanian, who is not running for office, is a founder of the Civil Disobedience Movement and outspoken critic of the government.

The arrest followed searches of his office and apartment on Saturday, May 5. When the NSS officers, led by Mikail Hambardzumyan, arrived at his apartment on Saturday, Arzoumanian's ten-year-old son was home alone. Following the order of the officers gathered on the landing, he closed the family dog in another room and opened the door. The officers telephoned Arzoumanian's wife, US citizen Melissa Brown, and waited outside until she arrived, forbidding the boy to close the door. When Brown arrived some fifteen minutes later, they escorted her through the open door and entered the house, presenting badges and a warrant to search for documents, weapons, money, and “valuable objects”. When she asked them to wait outside until her husband arrived, they refused.

Arzoumanian, who office was being searched at the time, arrived some two hours later. The NSS searched the house, leaving at about 5:30 with two computers, several documents, and $55,400 in cash. Arzoumanian was taken in for questioning as a witness and released.

For the next several days he continued to speak openly, characterizing the search as part of the government's ongoing campaign to stir up fear and stifle dissent. He was arrested late Monday, after holding a roundtable discussion and various meetings with friends and associates. He is currently being held in the NSS jail for an unspecified period of time. Despite assurances from lawyer Hovik Arsenian that there are insufficient grounds for a criminal case against her husband, Brown is concerned that he will be held beyond the prescribed 72 hours, given the political nature of his arrest. She expressed her concerns prior to Arzoumanian's arrest to David McFarland at the United States Consulate, and he promised to be in touch with the political division of the US Embassy on her behalf. They have not yet contacted her.

Alexander Arzoumanian became involved in the Armenian independence movement in the late 1980s, running the information center of the Armenian National Movement until the collapse of the USSR in 1991. He then served as Armenia's first ambassador to the United States (1992-1993) and to the United Nations (1992-1996). He served as minister of foreign affairs from 1996 until his resignation in 1998. Since then, he has been active in politics, most recently as co-founder of the Civil Disobedince Movement. He was also a member of the Turkish-Armenian Reconcilition Commission, which in 2002 commissioned a legal analysis regarding the applicability of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide to the Armenian Genocide from the International Center for Transitional Justice.

Armen Karapetyan

Sunday, May 06, 2007

HETQ English Translations Confiscated by Armenian KGB

On Saturday May 5, 2007 the Armenian National Security Service conducted a search of the apartment of our English translations editor, Melissa Brown, and her husband, Alexander Arzoumanian, taking their computer and other personal effects. Among the files on the computer were the articles that had been translated for this week's English version of Hetq, and so we are unable to publish them today. We apologize to our readers and ask for their patience until we are able to resume publishing Hetq in English.

Saturday, May 05, 2007


DeFacto Agency, Armenia
May 4 2007

The Nagorno-Karabagh Republic Ministry for Social Security and Karabakh Telecom Company jointly realize humanitarian programs.

According to the information DE FACTO got at the NKR Ministry for Social Security, in part, the families having 4 and more under age children are granted material assistance in Stepanakert and the Republic regional centers.

In January-April, 2007 lump sum monetary assistance was granted to 166 families at a rate of 10, 000 drams per each child at the expense of Karabakh Telecom Company's means within the frames of the program.


DeFacto Agency, Armenia
May 4 2007

The NKR government is implementing a program on rendering monthly financial assistance to children under 16 to lend social aid to migrants in the Nagorno-Karabagh Republic Kashatag and Shahumian regions.

According to the information DE FACTO received at the NKR Ministry for Social Security, since January 1, 2007, the children will receive allowance in the amount of 2, 000 drams.

For today total sum of monetary assistance is about 16, 5 million drams.


The Associated Press
Published: May 4, 2007

RAMANI, Azerbaijan:
Azerbaijan's president on Friday laid out what he said were basic principles for the resolution of his country's dispute with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, angering Armenian leaders who disputed his suggestion that they have assented to the terms he described.

Aliev's remarks appeared more likely to deepen distrust between the nations than to bring them closer to resolving the dispute over the territory, which is inside Azerbaijan but has been controlled by Armenian and local ethnic Armenian forces since a six-year war that ended in 1994.

Tensions remain high between Armenia and Azerbaijan, former Soviet republics in the Caucasus, and more than a decade of coaxing from international media tors led by the United States, Russia and France has yet to bring an agreement on the status of the territory.

Aliev said the basic principles of a settlement were the unconditional return of seven districts surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh that are also under ethnic Armenian control and he return of refugees to Nagornko-Karabakh, followed by the determination of its political status.

Aliev, speaking to refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh in the settlement of Ramani, outside Azerbaijan's capital Baku, said there was general agreement on the principles, which he suggested were the basis for settlement talks shepherded by the international monitors.

Today in Europe Sarkozy increases his lead in France; Royal warns of unrestLabour set back in Scottish votingTurkish ruling offers possible solution The details of settlement talks are usually kept under wraps out of the concern that revealing them could hurt delicate efforts to resolve the dispute, which raises strong emotions in
both countries. Aliev said he was discussing them publicly because the Armenian side had broken confidentiality and made misleading statements.

His words drew a swift and angry response from Armenian officials, particularly sensitive about the issue ahead of parliamentary elections later this month, with parliament vice-speaker Vaan Ovannisian calling accusing him of "obvious lies."

"There is no such agreement," Ovannisian said.

Prime Minister Serge Sarkisian cast doubt on Aliev's statement that there was agreement on the unconditional return of all seven surrounding districts. In the past there have indications that Armenia would agree to the return of five of the districts on condition of independence for Nagorno-Karabakh.

"Let him say what he wants, we have already announce our position," Sarkisian said.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir Karapetian said that Armenia's position has been and remains "based on the recognition of the principle self-determination for Nagorno-Karabakh," according to a ministry statement. "Other questions that are on the negotiating table, that are under discussion, are secondary and will follow from
recognition of the basic principle," he said.


Associated Press Writer Avet Demourian contributed to this report from Yerevan, Armenia.