By John Hughes, Suren Musayelyan and Aris Ghazinyan
ArmeniaNow reporters

Reaction to the European Parliament's call for Genocide recognition came
quickly and with predictable approval yesterday from Yerevan, as well as
abroad from long-time campaigners for acknowledgement of Turkey's crimes
against humanity nearly a century ago.

`I am confident that the discussion of Armenian issues within the context of
the EU-Turkey talks will unequivocally have a positive effect on the process
of improvement of the Armenian-Turkish relations,' said Minister of Foreign
Affairs Vartan Oskanian. `If Turkey wants to enter the European Union, then it
should be like other participants of the EU and settle its relations with its
neighbors. Of course, I regard the adoption of the resolution as a positive
phenomenon. It was supposed to be like this.'

On Wednesday the Strasbourg-based EU legislative body reiterated its long-held
stance that Turkey should admit it committed genocide when a million or more
Armenians were massacred under Ottoman forces between 1915-18. By a vote of
356-181 (with 125 abstentions) Parliament passed a resolution stating that
Turkey's membership in the EU should be considered only if Turkey meets
certain preconditions. The 3 and a half page document has one short paragraph,
but one that holds volumes of thought for Armenia:

Point 5 of Section M of the European Parliament Resolution on the Opening of
Negotiations with Turkey, says that the Parliament: `Calls on Turkey to
recognize the Armenian genocide; considers this recognition to be a
prerequisite for accession to the European Union.'

While the Parliament did not suggest a deadline for recognition (or other
conditions), it did call on the EU's Commission and Council to assess whether
Turkey had met membership protocol by the end of 2006.

Turkey's refusal to call the massacres genocide and Armenia's insistence that
it do so is the primary reason why borders are closed between Armenia and

Wednesday's vote is not the first time that the EU Parliament has favored the
Armenian position on the volatile and divisive issue that has been an
insurmountable obstacle to normal relations in the region. It comes, though,
at a significant time, just five days before negotiations for Turkey's
membership in the EU are scheduled to begin Monday (October 3).

As of today (September 30) the opening discussions are in doubt, as Austria
has said it will participate in the talks, only on condition that Turkey be
considered for an alternative (rather than full) membership -- a condition
that Turkey has said it will have no part of. Membership can be debated only
if all 25 member states agree on the agenda. A special meeting of EU
ambassadors has been called for this weekend to attempt a consensus.

Though the resolution has no binding obligations on the final vote for
membership, the Parliament's characterization of recognition as
a `prerequisite for accession' is seen by some as added weight to the Armenian

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is not among those holding such
a position, however. He called the EU Parliament resolution `not important'.

As preliminary debate on Turkey's suitability for EU membership has focused on
contentious issues such as its relation with Cyprus and on Turkey's
unflattering human rights record, some analysts in Turkey say that the public
and leadership in Ankara are already weary of the process. And, while it may
be that Turkey would be considered for a provisional membership in the EU,
Erdogan has repeatedly said that he will not participate in any talks that
offer anything but full membership.

According to a report in yesterday's International Herald Tribune
(, Erdogan is already at his limit on concessions. (The paper also
quoted a political analyst who said the membership talks are `likely to last
at least 10 years'.)

Yesterday, Armenian President Robert Kocharyan refrained from comment on the
Parliament resolution, when he appeared in public at the opening of a jewelry
trade show.

Others, however, were not as reserved.

Heikki Talvitie, the European Union's special representative for the South
Caucasus, was in Yerevan yesterday and, appearing in a joint press conference
with Oskanian said: `The adoption of this resolution testifies to the fact
that issues of Armenian-Turkish relations will by all means be discussed
during the EU-Turkey talks.'

For his part, Oskanian also added that the opening of borders should be put on
the table when membership discussions begin Monday in Luxembourg (pending this
weekend's emergency session).

In Tbilisi, the Nor Serund Association of Armenians of Georgia sent a message
of gratitude to head of the EU delegation there expressing gratitude to the
European Parliament and all EU citizens.

The politically powerful Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaks) Hay Dat
Committee in Europe Chairperson Hilda Choboyan told ArmeniaNow: `This last
call before the start of entry talks with Turkey should become a guideline for
the European (Union) Council and the European Commission.'

>From the United States, Harut Sassounian, publisher of the `California
Courier' (Armenian weekly) and a loud voice for Genocide recognition told
ArmeniaNow that he is pleased with Wednesday's resolution.

`I just hope that the EU leaders will take the European Parliament's
resolution seriously and include the recognition of the Armenian Genocide as
well as the opening of the border with Armenia, among many other issues
involving the recognition of Cyprus, amending the Turkish Penal Code, and a
major overhaul of Turkey's legal system . . .'

Meanwhile in the UK, the British Armenian All Party Parliamentary Group
(BAAPPG) told ArmeniaNow the resolution is `an excellent step', but added that
it needs to be `taken further' and that `the fight for recognition must be
pursued. In the UK, there is an immediate issue to follow up: the Turkish
Parliament has written formally to the British Parliament asking them to
repudiate the Blue Book (a document in which the massacres are reported as
genocide) as baseless wartime propaganda. BAAPPG will be working against any
such move and against the powerful Turkish lobby.'

But also in the UK (itself an EU member), George Jerjian, author of `The Truth
Will Set Us Free: Armenians and Turks Reconciled', (for whom its Turkish
publisher was prosecuted) voiced pessimism.

`While on the face of it, this sounds brilliant,' Jerjian said, `the European
Parliament deceives itself that it can actually stop Turkey from joining in 10
years time, by using the Armenian Genocide condition. Turkey will have been
integrated into Europe so deeply and vice versa and it would be impossible to
reverse it. That's the reality - all else is illusion and `group think'.'

The opening of membership talks will come in a climate of considerable
scrutiny, skepticism, and out-right disapproval from some stalwart member
countries, as reflected in editorials in European press

Outside Armenia and Diaspora, few raise the genocide question as part of their
concern over Turkery's membership application. Germany, for example,
(according to the `Frankfurter Rundschau') is unhappy over Turkey's refusal to
recognize Cyprus. `The negotiations,' the newspaper writes `are therefore on
the brink of failure even before the first talks have been held.'

In France, `Le Temps' voiced a similar opinion on the general mood surrounding
membership talks.

`Europe,' the Paris daily says `is moving towards the opening of negotiations
with a maximum of mistrust.'

Also of note: The Times (of London) began a two-part series on Turkey today.
The first report takes the view that Turkey should not be admitted to the EU,
which is to be followed by Saturday's report in favor of admission.

>From today's installment ( "Nowhere in Turkey feels
less European than Lake Van, the starkly blue inland body of water on the
country's volcanic eastern edge. At dusk the muezzin calls the faithful to
prayer, barefoot Kurdish children herd ragged sheep, and a pair of women,
ageless and faceless in the all-enveloping burka, trudge through the dust to
their mud-brick home.

" An hour to the east is Iran; to the south is blood-soaked Iraq, and to the
north, beyond Mount Ararat, lie Armenia and Georgia. Ancient, biblical and
Middle Eastern, this is the land of Noah; but if Turkey gains admittance to
the EU, it will mark Europe's eastern border . . . "

By Aris Ghazinyan
ArmeniaNow reporter

Amid protests from Turkish nationalists, a lawsuit by the Union of Lawyers of
Turkey, and even objections by Turkey's Minister of Justice, a conference that
addressed the Armenian Genocide was held last week in Istanbul.
During two days, historians and others debated and discussed the fiery issue
(which two days ago became a focal point of attention by the Parliament of the
European Union. See Admission before Admission).

The conference `Ottoman Armenians in the Period of the Collapse of the Empire:
Issues of Scientific Responsibility and Democracy' was originally planned for
last May, but activists and politicians were successful in having it stopped.

`Turkey's aspiration to become a member of the European Union requires
considerable democratic processes,' said one of the forum organizers, Turkish
historian Murad Begle. `But in Turkey, like in any society, there are forces
who are afraid to lose their strength and power. A front opposing Turkey's
integration into Europe is being formed this way.'

Turkish historians Halil Berktay, Selim Belingir, Begle and others who spoke
at the forum rather freely debated the subject of the Armenian genocide.

`The younger generation in Turkey knows nothing about the events in the early
20th century and the reason is the educational system,' said Begle. `The
Armenian Question is one of the darkest pages of our history, and naturally no
one wants to admit it. People who want to revisit and discuss the problem have
gathered in this university.'

Outside the University of Bilgi, though, several hundred demonstrators led by
representatives of the ultra-rightist Party of Nationalist Revival Kemal
Kerinciz expressed their protest over holding the forum. No specialists from
Armenia participated.

`Originally, Armenian specialists were also to participate,' says Professor of
the Yerevan University, historian Babken Harutyunyan. `However, it was
postponed through the efforts of Turkish Justice Minister Cemil Cicek and
public organizations supporting him. I don't know whether this forum would be
held at all but for the reaction of the European Commission (who voiced
disapproval over May decision to postpone).'

`That Turkey, indeed, has traveled a long and serious path from the Turkish
republic it was in the middle of last century up to the state it is today is
beyond doubt,' said diplomat and specialist in Oriental studies David
Hovhannisyan. `With great effort Turkey is overcoming the incredible internal
resistance connected with the change of special traditions and with great
difficultly gives up even the most insignificant elements of its sovereignty.
But it still happens: several years ago nobody could even think of a
possibility of holding such a conference in Istanbul.'

Other Armenian experts hold a different opinion, as they assert that there is
nothing revolutionary in the holding of the Istanbul conference.

`Still in the late 1990s representatives of the U.S. Department of State
stated that the question of the Armenian Genocide is a subject of research not
for politicians but historians,' political analyst Armen Hakobyan said. `In
April of this year, a scientific forum took place in Yerevan in which Turkish,
Israeli and American experts participated. But scientific groups of other
countries - France, Russia, etc., where there are traditions of research of
the Armenian Genocide were not attending the conference. Obviously, the events
held in Istanbul are part of the same chain. Certainly, it was necessary for
the Turkish side to give a more complex form to this conference to show to the
world through what rigid public scrutiny they have to pass. Actually, Ankara
only benefits from such conferences during which no political tasks are put

By Suren Deheryan
ArmeniaNow reporter

No later than one month from now, Armenia's power grid will have a new owner.
As predicted by analysts and at first denied by authorities, Russian
Interenergo BV company, which gained management rights in June plans to buy
Armenian Electricity Networks.

When it was announced in June that the Russian group had secured 99-year
management rights, it was also speculated that the full intent of Interenergo
was to buy out the vital source of revenue.

The paperwork is now being finalized, but the Government of Armenia has given
its consent to the sale.

During a press conference, Armenia's Minister of Energy Armen Movsisyan denied
accusations that the deal is made according to political bias or that selling
off the energy network weakens the republic's security.

(When the management agreement was announced, it raised considerable
opposition in Armenia, including from foreign agencies who said selling off
AEN would sour international relations. See Power Play)
`Ownership of AEN by a Russian company does not mean that the company will
decide how to operate it,' the minister said. `Missions performed within this
system are done according to the laws adopted in Armenia, government decisions
and normative acts confirmed by the executor. And they are stated in a way
that no company's whim can affect the system, be it RAO UES or any other

According to Movsisyan, current manager Midland Resources stated two weeks ago
that it no longer wished to invest in Armenia's energy system and wished to
transfer shares to Interenergo.

Besides taking the major holding of AEN shares, Interenergo also proposed to
assume the construction of the fifth unit of the Hrazdan thermal power plant
(their estimated cost of the project is $250 million), which would supply
electricity to Iran in exchange for natural gas.

According to the energy minister, the construction project for the fifth
energy unit will be implemented by the Iranian MAP company. The project will
cost $150 million and will take two years. The Iranian investment sums will be
returned within 10 years in the form of electricity.

The Ministry of Energy rejected Interenergo's offer, and immediately received
notice from the Russians that they were terminating their management rights.
At the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant three years ahead of schedule, with
explanation that the planned financial projects have been realized.

Movsisyan also confirmed the statement recently made by Inter RAO UES Board of
Directors Chairman Andrey Rappoport, according to which during the latest
consultation of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant's directors a report stated
that the plant is ready for independent functioning.

`We are ready to stop our management at the nuclear power plant despite the
fact that during these years we have ensured and have been financial
guarantors of the supply of nuclear fuel. The fuel necessary for the plant
will be supplied in such a way until the end of this year,' said Rappoport.

The Armenian Nuclear Power Plant consisting of two energy units, with a total
capacity of 815 Megawatts, was halted in 1988. The plant's second unit with a
capacity of 407.5 megawatts was resumed in 1995. And in September 2003, the
Nuclear Power Plant was handed over to the Russian Inter RAO UES company,
which is the subsidiary of the RAO UES company, for financial management until

According to Minister Movsisyan, the Armenian side is not in a hurry to reject
the Russian company. `It is still us who ask RAO UES to continue its
activities at the nuclear power plant.'

By Vahan Ishkhanyan
ArmeniaNow reporter

For the first time since publication began in 1979, the Global Competitiveness
Report has included Armenia in its 2005-2006 edition.
The Armenian portion of the report was prepared by the Economy and Value
Research Center whose president, Manuk Hergnyan, presented the results
yesterday at the Armenia Marriott hotel.

The index, which ranks preconditions for economic growth, places Armenia 79th
of 117 countries. Of other Commonwealth of Independent States, Armenia trails
Kazkahstan (61st) and Azerbaijan (69th). Armenia placed only four positions
behind Russia and is ahead of former Soviet countries Moldova, Ukraine,
Georgia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Finland tops the list, followed by the
United States. Chad is at the bottom.

While preparing the report the countries' technological problems, state public
institutes (implementation of law and productivity of contract relations),
macro and micro economic indices, business competitiveness, level of
development and other issues have been taken into account, each of which has a
separate index table. (Armenia is, for example, 94th in the technological

Participants to the presentation voiced concern that Armenia trails Azerbaijan
in competitiveness (it leads only one category over its foe, corruption).

Hergnyan says it is to be expected that Armenia would trail its neighbor and
enemy in macroeconomics, because the Azeri state budget enjoys oil revenues.
The researcher is troubled, however, that Armenia is behind in business
environment, public institutes and technological development.

`Azerbaijan has provided stability not only by means of oil dollars but has
also created better conditions for business,' Hergnyan said.

The Report is prepared by the World Economic Forum ( non-
profit international organization based in Geneva. The organization is known
also for organizing the annual summit of political and economic leaders in

By Ruzanna Amiraghyan
ArmeniaNow reporter

Armenian students have developed a tolerance toward corruption, according to a
new study released last week in Yerevan. In `Corruption and the Social
Dynamics of Transition Period; Positions and Tendencies of the Yerevan
Studentship on Corruption', author and advisor with `Campaign against
Corruption Friendly Social and Legal Settings in Armenia' Samvel Manukyan says
social tendencies have contributed to students' coming to accept corruption
with less resistance than a generation before them.

The monograph is the third and final installation of studies sponsored by the
European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights programme of the European
Commission. The work is in cooperation with the Center for Counter-Terrorism
Assistance (see To End Corruption).

Manukyan says the aim of the book is to `identify the factors facilitating
corruption among the studentship of Yerevan' that would help better understand
the mentally of future generations concerning this issue.The author mentioned
the importance for defining the factors that influence (facilitate or hinder)
the dynamics of positions towards corruption in the intellectual elites.

According to Transparency International (, an influential
international anti-corruption initiative, in 2004 Armenia was 82nd among 146
states across the world in the leve of corruption, with a 3.1 rating on a
scale of 10, sharing its place with Madagascar and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The survey shows that tolerance toward corruption is higher among those who
own or manage businesses or are active in the business world; or who have
close affiliation with such people.

Particularly, the author concludes, the tolerance towards corruption is higher
among the students with Yerevan descent while the students from the regions
are more actively positioned against this phenomenon. Furthermore, the
tolerance among young women is lower than among young men, which is explained
by the latter's traditionally more active engagement in economic relations.

The study has shown that corruption is understood as necessary and a universal
means for social success. The lower the tolerance, the lower is the
individual's inclusion into social-economic relations. In other words, the
book concludes, intolerance towards corruption increases the risk of
marginalization of an individual and the children from relatively more well-
off families are more tolerant towards corruption.

The position of the students exposed to the survey regarding the fight against
corruption has been distributed in three directions: those who are not
particularly interested in the subject. These are the students that have the
highest degree of tolerance towards corruption. The second group is
represented by those who have distrust towards the struggle against corruption
and those who substantiate their trust in two major ways - legislative,
economic and institutional reforms and, second, punishment. The third is the
group manifesting the highest level of intolerance towards corruption.

Accomplished by several appendices including tables, questionnaires used
during the survey and other methodological instruments the book hopes to serve
as a manual to those who are interested in the subject matter of the survey as
well as the social and economic tendencies in Armenia.

The book finalizes the three-volume series that includes also `An Anthology of
International Anti-Corruption Experience, Selected Studies', `Analysis of
Corruption Friendly Norms in the Legislation of the RA'.

By Mariam Badalyan
ArmeniaNow reporter

Vardan Jumshudyan has a unique history that none should wish for.

Vardan, 93, is one of the rare witnesses of two genocides: the 1915 Armenian
Genocide and the Jewish Holocaust of the 1940s.

In 1915, at the age of three, Vardan's family was among those sent into exile
from their home in Blur, in the Armenian province of Surmalu.

Igdir, the center of Surmalu is only 40 kilometers away from Yerevan. When
Vardan's family was there, the population was 10,000. Vardan's family left in

`I remember clearly' Varadan says, `My father rushed in and told my
mother, `Mariam, get ready we are running away. The Turks are coming. My
mother was cooking lavash with other women. She left everything and quickly
began packing.'

Mariam had prepared only the most important items for their six children and
hid all the gold they had in her belt. Suddenly, she felt bad, as she was
pregnant. And Vardan's father Smbat decided they could leave later that day
but sent the smallest children - Vardan and Yeranuhi, six years older than
Vardan, with his brother Tigran`s family to Shariar (now Nalbandian village
near the Turkish-Armenian border).

All the members of Smbat`s family - his wife and their 4 elder children,
luckily escaped the Turkish sword and found a shelter in Shariar, a village
near Echmiadzin. There Smbat found Tigran and his family. But Vardan and
Yeranuhi were not with them. Tigran explained that they lost the children on
their way to Shariar. Smbat rushed back to look for the children.

`My father found us in one of the villages. We did not eat for several days
and were very weak,' Vardan remembers, `When we heard father's voice we wanted
to shout back to him, but our voices were very weak. And we hardly recognized
his voice, because it was coarse of shouting through the way from Shariar to
the place we were. He gave us food and took us away...'

Vardan remembers their house in Blur very vaguely. It was a one-storied large
building with a beautiful garden. His father had told him their family had
large gardens in four other nearby villages, a mill and a chrekh (a place for
processing cotton).

In Echmiadzin, the family of 8 made a new home. At first Smbat was selling his
family's valuables to make a living until he found a job on a farm. The father
sent Vardan to Yerevan when he was 12, to give him good education. Vardan
studied to be a veterinarian. After graduating from the college in 1940 Vardan
was sent to Azizbekov (now Vayk), where he worked as a vet for 2 years.

However, a real life trial for Vadan was yet to come...

In 1942 Vardan went to the Soviet Army to fight against the German Fascists.
But he fought in the front line for only six months. On December 27 he was
wounded near the town of Mazdok in the Northern Caucasus and was taken captive
by the Germans.

`When my consciousness came back I heard a German speech. I realized I was
taken captive.'

Vardan, was kept in a Prisoner of War camp until April 15, 1945, when he,
together with other captives from the Soviet Union and Eastern European
countries, was freed by American troops.

`The conditions in the camp were very severe,' Vardan says, `food was scarce,
no warm clothes, no medicine for the sick and hard work from early morning
until late at night.'

The prisoners were being moved from one place to another. His last destination
as a prisoner was near Munich Germany.

`They were putting us in wooden carriages without windows and air to breathe,'
Vardan recalls. `There was hardly room on the floor for us to sit. And in one
of the corners they placed a wooden barrel, which served as a toilet for the
prisoners. Some people could not survive the road and they placed the dead
corpses near that barrel.'

In the camp with Vardan there was another Armenian - Yervand. Vardan remembers
that during one of the trips they managed to put a pot out of the carriage
opening and begged for bread in different languages whenever the train
stopped. They got a little bread and potatoes from the passers-by and ate them
in secret from other prisoners.

`A Russian prisoner noticed us doing this and said `How smart you Armenians,
are!'. He tried to repeat our trick but got nothing. We had a piece of bread
left and shared it with the Russian guy.'

Soon, because of severe conditions and cold weather Vardan got typhoid and was
taken to a special barrack with some other sick people, to die. The sick
stayed close to each other to warm up because the barrack did not have any

`Once I woke up in the morning and it was severely cold. Suddenly, I
understood that the two guys lying next to me had died at night. Soon, I found
out that I was the only one alive in the barrack...'

Vardan was saved by a Russian girl - Lyuba, who worked in the kitchen for the
German soldiers. Luba took care of Vardan, gave him food and medicine she
stole from the Germans.

`We had decided to get married,' Vardan remembers, `but one day we woke up and
our camp moved to another place. I never saw Luba again.'

`Because God wanted you to meet an Armenian woman, isn't it so?' jokes his
wife Parzik, 77.

Parzik and Varadan got married in 1948, when Vardan came back to Azizbekov (
now called Vayk) to retake his position of a vet there. Later the couple moved
to Yerevan. They have three children and 8 grandchildren now. Later their
family moved to Yerevan and Vardan found a work in Yerevan poultry farm, were
he worked for 46 years. When he was 90 years old he was still working, until
he got paralyzed.

Vardan thinks that God put a special mission on him by not letting him die
after having so many life trials. An Armenian exile, who has gone through
another nightmare in a Fascist concentration camp, can explain better to the
world why the Armenian genocide should be a matter of concern not only for the
Armenians, but for the whole world.

`During my captivity I was thinking why the Germans were so cruel towards
other nationalities, why they wanted to annihilate a whole nation - the Jews.
I could not find the answer then. Later, I learned Adolph Hitler's words `Who
now remembers the Armenian genocide?'...' Vardan took a long breath, `No state
can call itself a democracy until it puts politics above the truth...'

By Gayane Lazarian
ArmeniaNow reporter

Some 50 enterprises and individual businessmen gathered in Goris last weekend
for `Syunikprodexpo 2005', an exposition organized to promote the Syunik
region's agricultural potential.

Outside the Lianna dried fruit booth, for example, expo visitors queued for a
taste of fig, peach blood orange, offered by the firm's representative Vanik
Karamyan. Customers bought the fruit, some simply took the free samples, and
some asked how they were prepared.

`The traditional secret of preserving the fresh taste and quality of ripe
fruit was handed down in our family from generation to generation,' Karamyan
told the curious. `We dry fruit in the sun, in a natural way.'

And the fruit grower-turned-pitchman was careful to add that, in Meghri, where
Lianna fruit comes from, the produce `taste different'.

Karamyan has participated in similar exhibitions since 2001 (around Armenia)
and has made many contacts over the years. After a similar exposition last
year his sales increased by 10-15 percent.

Next to him is the Elola firm, which presents five types of cheese. The firm's
business manager Narine Arakelyan says that the event is good for raising the
company's profile. After last year's exhibition the firm got business from
Kapan and today the territory of Kapan, Meghri, Agarak is Elola's best market,
where they sell up to 40 tons of cheese a month, an increase over previous

Syunikprodexpo 2005 was organized by the Goris Business Assistance Center with
Syunik's Governor's Office and Goris' Mayor's Office, jointly with DAI Armenia
Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Markets Development Project. The project's
executive director Harry Din Kilmer says: `The exposition gives energy to
businesspeople and companies. We began at a very low level, but already have
amazing results.'

According to Kilmer, Armenia's businessmen are developing fast. And their goal
is to show to the local entrepreneurs how to reach international standards,
which many have already achieved. Many enterprises export their products
abroad and especially to CIS countries. Syunik's main export items included
bottled water, canned food, knitted wear, cheese, dried fruits.

The exposition was also a chance for Syunik Governor Suren Khachatryan to
become better acquainted with the assortment of products. He promises to
assist businessmen.

`The event proves that life in the region is getting more active day by day,
there is progress. And it also reassures the people of Syunik to stand firm on
their land. We are ready to help any entrepreneur, to stand by his side. All
he [entrepreneur] should do is to submit a good project.'

According to the governor, unemployment in Syunik is 60 percent, but due to
entrepreneurs it being reduced. However, the most painful side of the region
remains the town of Kapan.

`Thirteen powerful plants of Kapan closed down. There is no agriculture, while
it is developing in Goris, Sisian, Meghri. We should develop farms, stone
production, and create jobs especially for women, extending textile
production,' he says.

Armenia's SME Market Development Project business advisor Samvel Shahbazyan
notes that entrepreneurship in Syunik is rather underdeveloped, however the
region has a great potential and will gradually appear in the center of

`The regions situated close to Yerevan benefit from everything to a certain
degree, and the remote regions are more isolated; there are not contacts.
Roads were very important for Syunik, and they are repaired today, which is a
great opportunity for further development of entrepreneurship,' he says.

Lyova Mejlumyan from Goris represents `Goris Alco', `Goris Group Ltd.',
and `Goris Food Group of Enterprises' OJSCs. It is a few months since he began
manufacturing `Akner' drinking water and has already received great
cooperation proposals.

`Consultations received from SME give the shortest way towards success. We had
thought we knew a lot, but then we understood that we knew nothing,' Mejlumyan

Goris Business Assistance Center Director Nairi Shalunts attaches importance
to the circumstance that the exposition strengthens and deepens the ties
existing between the business centers of the region, raises their prestige and
earns them recognition, as people begin to turn to them.

`The region of Syunik surely needed this expo, and it could have been
organized on a larger scale, which we will do next year,' says Shalunts.

By Gayane Abrahamyan
ArmeniaNow reporter

A joint Armenian-American-British archeological expedition has found another
example of the destruction of ancient Armenian monuments. This time, though,
it is neither in Georgia nor in Azerbaijan (where monuments and churches have
been destroyed), but in the Syunik marz of Armenia.

In the village of Shaghat, 22 kilometers from the town of Sisian, the
archeologists from the Institute for Archeology and Ethnography of the
National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, University of Michigan and the
Sheffield University in England discovered a rich archeological material while
at a test excavation in 2004. The detailed examination of the finding was
planned for 2005.

But when the expedition returned to the village it found the 1 hectare
territory totally ruined by bulldozers.

`The smallest piece of clay or stone of archeological interest is very
important to us, so can you imagine what it means turning a hectare of
territory upside down,' says archeologist, Professor Susan Alcock, regretfully
pointing out to the pieces of decorated vase of Bronze Age that has narrowly
escaped the bulldozer.

Numerous monuments with cultural layers typical of different ages were found
during the excavations on a territory of approximately 5 square kilometers in
Shaghat and neighboring Balak.

`We are especially interested in the discovered settlements of Middle Bronze
Age,' says senior scientist Mkrtych Zardaryan from the Institute for
Archeology and Ethnography of the NAS. `There are many tombs that have been
preserved from those times, but this is the only settlement until now
discovered in the Middle East,'

But rather than a fertile ground from which scientists might embellish history
of the region, the site is being turned into a cemetery.

Shaghat village head Hovik Mkhitaryan turned the tractors loose on the
property to clear it for a graveyard, because the land in shifting in the
village's old one. (Some charge, too, that the sudden interest in creating a
new cemetery comes suspiciously close to election time, when the village head
might need to curry favor among voters.)

`I addressed the government for allotting land under the new cemetery. I have
not done anything illegal. Moreover, I have suffered damages myself - who
should pay for the fuel for my car?' says Mkhitaryan.

According to Mkhitaryan he has proper permission by the government of RA. But
the map, reduced several times on the submitted document, does not show the
ruined territory at all.

According to Hrahat Hakobjanyan, representative of the Syunik regional Service
for Preservation of Historical Monuments, the Shaghat case happened due to a
lack of proper mapping of monuments.

Karen Tunyan, head of the Sisian regional branch of State Cadastre said new
maps have been received only two weeks ago including `territories under state
protection' highlighted with green.

`But the lack of indication on the map also has no justification, for the head
of the village is responsible for being aware of each stone in his community;
besides the head of the village himself used to dig here and there with a
spade in his hand in search of treasures, like all the rest of the village.
That is to say, they knew clearly there were old settlements in the
territory,' says Hakobjanyan.

Syunik has long been known as a region rich in ancient historical remains,
including a citadels settlement from the time of fifth-century Prince Andovk

`The northern slope and the foot of Shaghat are constantly destroyed by the
residents; time after time people decide to find the treasures of Prince
Andovk Syuni. People must understand that these old settlements and the castle
are more precious than the imaginary treasures,' says Mkrtych Zardaryan.

According to him the Shaghat case is one among hundreds.

An Armenian-French archeological expedition making excavations in the Inner
Godedzor ancient settlement in the village of Angeghakot 13 kilometers from
Sisian also has problems since part of the ancient settlement territory is a
stone mining area.

`We learnt about the ancient settlement in 2003 when the cultural layers were
destroyed during mining. Fortunately, our expedition was working in the
neighborhood. The test excavations showed that we deal with an interesting
settlement of late Copper and Stone Age,' says senior scientist of the
Institute for Archeology and Ethnography of the RA NAS Pavel Avetisyan.

Archeologists from the Maison de l'Orient at Lyon University and the Institute
for Archeology and Ethnography of the RA NAS found ceramics belonging to the
Obeyid culture of the 5th millennium here.

According to Avetisyan the close ties between historic Armenia and Mesopotamia
and Syria are proved for the first time by material facts, although it has
been mentioned in historical documents for many times.

The upper layer of the ancient settlement has disclosed for the first a
settlement of late Eneolithic era that has served as grounds for the creation
and the development of Kura-Arax culture in these territories.

`The Kura-Arax culture is a huge cultural phenomenon of early Bronze Age of 4-
3 millennia BC typical to northern and sout Caucasus. Until today its origins
and hotbed of formation were not found,' says Avetisyan.

Archeologists are concerned that these and other important archeology sites
are being carelessly destroyed.

`We have appealed to all proper bodies, the case is in the marz prosecutor's
office, but the stone mine works day and night,' says Avetisyan. `This is a
state crime before everybody's eyes."

Michigan University professor John Cherry who has worked in Greece, Turkey,
Italy and other countries, says it is too bad that the Armenians show such
disregard for the riches of their own past.

`As far as I know, they try to develop the tourism industry here and such
monuments are the best means to do that. Syunik is almost not studied and is
very rich in historical monuments,' Cherry says. `If it continues this way
many ancient settlements may be destroyed without being studied.'

By Arpi Harutyunyan
ArmeniaNow reporter

On September 21, Armenia's Independence Day, four Arabs became residents of
Armenia: Al Badih, Bint El Heluah, Faridah and Surhan.
Horses of Egyptian and Spanish heritage, they are the gift of sheikh Sultan
Ben Muhammad al Kasimi, who visited Armenia last week. The sheik said he hopes
his gift will contribute to the growth of equestrian sport in Armenia.

And these are no scrubs the sheik merely unloaded from his stable of 60. Among
the horses, ranging in age from 1 to 4, are champions. Al Badih is a double
world champion, while Faridah is a 2003 champion in Egypt.

The horses are valued at several hundred thousand dollars each. And, the
little herd will soon grow, as two are pregnant.

`Of course, I am confident the horses will be carefully treated by the
relevant bodies in Armenia, especially the Ministry of Culture; I hope they
will develop here and will serve grounds for the development of equestrian
sport,' said the Sultan.

The horses were trucked to their new home at the Hovik Hayrapetyan Equestrian

The center itself is hardly a desired residence for equine royalty. Built in
the 1950s, it went through the hard times of all such places in Armenia. It
has been repaired in the last several years, however, and is now home to about
70 horses of English, Arabic and Akhalteke breeds.

The center promises the sheik, though, that the horses (worth more than the
center itself), will be given proper care.

`I am simply shocked with the present,' says Hayrapet Hayrapetyan, president
of the center. `We have never had horses of Egyptian or Spanish breed. I can
say these are the most expensive horses in our center and we will be proud of
them for sure.'

Local specialists, Hayrapetyan says, will go to the United Arab Emirates to
learn the latest methods of horse care. Meanwhile Arab specialists of horse
breeding have come with the sheik's gift and have spent several days teaching
the Armenian horsemen the peculiarities of their new residents.

`These horses are a marvelous gift to our republic since we can already
register success in the development of pedigree horse breeding. We also
promise these horses will not be mixed, their blood will not be spoiled and
the pure blood horses will have success in Armenia,' said the Minister of
Culture and Youth Hovik Hoveyan.

Foreign specialists also speak of prospects for equestrian sport development
in Armenia.

`I have met Armenian specialists of equestrian sport, got acquainted with the
breeds of the horses and I am sure the traditions of this sports in Armenia
will allow it to develop; there is just a need to work more,' says Susanne
Macken, horse breeding specialist of the International Equestrian Sport
Federation. `All the seasons of the year are available in this country, there
is a favorable weather, water and grass. That is, the climate conditions are
also favorable for the development of equestrian sport.'

By Suren Musayelyan
ArmeniaNow reporter

Jubilation reigned in the yard of the Yerevan State University's Artashes
Shahinyan Special Physics & Mathematics School on Monday, to mark the school's
40th year.

Staff, pupils, graduates and former teachers joined other guests, an orchestra
and a dance group, to congratulate each other on four decades of scientific

The school's headmaster Haykaz Navasardyan says the Physics and Mathematics
School was and remains a unique school in the republic by its history and
activities as well as achievements.

Known as `PhysMath', the school has turned out about 4,000 graduates (it has
550 students today), many of whom are now in leadership roles in various
scientific fields.

`Physmath graduates today continue to build up the country's future and
contribute their efforts for the nation as far as possible for the prosperity
of science, culture and any sphere,' says Navasardyan.

The proud headmaster (since 2002) says the school has earned its reputation
for high scholarship and its alumni feel obliged to carry the standards into
their professional lives.

School administrator Susanna Avetisyan says the school has succeeded in a near-
100 percent placement of its graduates into different institutions of higher
education in Armenia, Russia and other countries.

`A nice-looking corner, an oasis of knowledge, emerged in the country's
educational system in 1965, which attracted those children who wanted to
satisfy their urge for physics and mathematics,' says Avetisyan. `During these
40 years the school has been an auspicious environment for many of its
graduates to become well-known scientists, politicians and outstanding
specialists of different spheres of public economy.'

Among graduates who had come to congratulate his alma mater, was Manuk
Lazarian. After graduating from school he worked for many years in the
education system of Russia where, according to him, people know and respect
Yerevan's PhysMath school.

`I consider myself lucky because I had the honor of studying at PhysMath
during the period of its first pupils and first teachers. I felt especially
proud when different world-famous mathematicians asked me about the school,'
says Lazarian. `The school developed us in different important directions,
but the most important of them is the development of thinking and the system
of value.'

Some of the school's graduates today contribute their knowledge to foster a
new generation of physicists and mathematicians for the country.

The school's teacher Nairi Sedrakyan graduated from PhysMath in 1978.
Sedrakyan, who is considered to be one of the best mathematicians in the
republic, says that he grew fond of mathematics while attending this school.

`And now we will do everything for the school's reputation and activities to
continue for as long as possible,' says Sedrakyan.

The ceremonies marking the school's 40th anniversary continued at the YSU
sitting hall where the school accepted congratulations from the state.

Minister of Education and Science Sergo Yeritsyan said in his speech of
welcome: `During its 40 years of activities this educational establishment has
trained specialists, individuals and activists. This school remains the best
in Armenia, educating not only specialists but also individuals. PhysMath
proves that Armenian education does exist, it was and will be one of the best
education systems in the world, at least on the example of one school.'

Yerevan State University Rector Radik Martirosyan also hailed the school,
calling it the `motive power' of the country's physics and mathematics.

By Mariam Badalyan
ArmeniaNow reporter

On a stage in Gyumri two children in clown costume perform a scene that leaves
its audience in laughter and hearty applause.

Among the gaiety, Mariam Kazhoyan, 43, has tears of happiness. Her son, 13-
year old Levon played one of the clown roles, and the mother is not so much
pleased with the performance as with what it represents.

`A year ago my Levon would not even dance with other children during school
parties, because he was a very shy child,' Mariam says, `Now he yells and
jumps on the stage openly.'

Mariam is happy, because openness is not the only achievement that Levon got
attending rehearsals by Likidon, a Non Governmental Organization that uses
theater for childhood development.

`Levon has become very sociable and outgoing,` Mariam says excited,' He has
started to do well at school and became more responsible and mature. We are
very lucky to have found Likidon.'

Likidon (Latin for `face') was founded last summer by 6 actors of Stepan
Alikhanyan Puppet Theater in Gyumri. Later a volunteer psychologist joined
them. The aim of the initiative was to make art serve esthetical, moral-
psychological, educational and humanitarian causes of the children in Gyumri.
Currently, 25 children aged 5-14, all from needy families, are involved in the

`We invented new roles in performances in order not to refuse any of the
children,' the head of the organization Amalya Amirkhanyan says. `Children
were not selected according to their talents, because every child is talented.
We simply helped them open their abilities. For some it was easy, for others
more time was required. But when you see a child who hardly would speak to a
stranger a few days ago, dancing and playing before a public, you feel you
have just had a victory.'

As an actor in the Gyumri Puppet Theater, Amirkhanyan has entertained children
for 26 years. But she felt it was not enough.

`In regions people do not have jobs and means to live,' Amirkhanyan
says, `Hopeless to find a job, many men have left and women stay with
children, with scarce means to survive. In such families children grow up with
psychological problems - their even petty wishes remain unrealized, their ego
is depressed.'

Amirkhanyan says that child exploitation is widespread in Gyumri. Because of
hard economic conditions many families send their minors to work. You can see
10-16 year olds dragging wagons for customers in the city market for some 50
drams, opening doors of marshrutkas for some 1000 drams (about $2) a day, or
working as retailers or car-washers in the streets. Some of them work for 10-
12 hours a day. Two members of Likidon, Hovhanness, 12, and Tsolak, 14, are
engaged in such work. They attend the rehearsals occasionally, because they
are the bread-winners for their families. Amirkhanyan hopes, though, Likidon
will help those children feel happy as only children can be.

`Children, do not let grown-ups steal your childhood,' says the hero of `Lost
Laughter', a performance staged by Likidon. The 12-year-old hero of the play
sells his laughter to an old woman for a candy-bar and after understanding its
value gets it back with difficulties. The young actors know there are such
children in Gyumri and wish they could regain their childhood back one day.

In another performance, in order to save their grandchild Hopik-Klorik from
Snake-the-Long-Tail, who exploits the child, the grandpa and grandma have to
learn provisions from the UN Convention for the protection of children.

`Along with developing esthetical taste in children, these plays teach the
children their rights,' Amirkhanyan says, `During the rehearsals we discuss
with the children the meaning of each performance and provisions from the UN
convention. Now, even the smallest child in the group, six year old Phillip,
knows them by heart.'

The idea of the team was also to organize a `Theater of A Small Actor' with
the participation of the children who show greater interest in theatrical art.
For this purpose the children were given an opportunity to stage a performance
under the supervision of puppet actor Arshaluys Petrosyan, 56.

The children chose `The Red Cap' (`Red Riding Hood') and suggested their
version of the story. The director of the performance is Hayk Amirkhanyan, 14,
and the musical director is Levon Kazhoyan.

`It was the children's idea that nobody must be punished in the play,' says
Petrosyan, who has worked as a puppet theater actor for 36 years, `Instead
every personage, even the wolf, who understands it is bad eating grannies,
gets a candy.'

Petrosyan, who makes puppets for sale, volunteers her time with the children.
She made most of the puppets and costumes for the four Likidon performances.

Often the actors contribute from their own pockets, although their salaries
are not high (13,000 to 20,000 drams, about $30-46). The theater provided its
small hall for rehearsals and staging free of charge. However, the building
and equipment of the theater is worn out and the stage is poorly decorated.

`We collected nothing from the parents. We know many of them would be unable
to give anything,' says Amirkhanyan, `There are children from families with of
6000 drams (less than $12) income a month. How can we require anything from

Recently, Likidon received a $1,000 grant from the Armenian Human Rights
Center within its `Civil Society Initiatives' small grants program. Likidon
bought a computer, a printer and hired a dance tutor, to teach children fluid
movements for its four performances. However, the three-month project was
finished last week.

`Because of lack of means we are not able to stage new performances with
richer stage decorations, or involve more children in the group or perform at
schools in order for other children learn their rights,' says
Amirkhanyan, `Sometimes, children stay for hours, and it would be good to be
able to give them some snacks, since they hardly get any good feeding at

Despite the lack of means the Likidon team is determined not to stop showing
their performances and holding rehearsals even without any financial aid.

The once-shy Levon says he loves the theater and dreams of becoming an actor.
When he finishes school he will apply to the Gyumri Theatrical Institute and
says he will make good enough grades to get a free education, since his family
will not be able to pay for his studies.

By Suren Musayelyan
ArmeniaNow reporter


Armenia's 18-year-old striker Edgar Manucharyan has made his debut in the
Champions' League for Ajax on Wednesday to become only the second Armenian
footballer in the post-independence period (after Yervand Sukiasyan played 45
minutes in the Champions League for Dinamo Kiev in 1992) to play in this
number one European club tournament's group stage.

In Wednesday's match against London's Arsenal at the Amsterdam Arena
Manucharyan was a 69 minutes' substitute for his teammate Buchari. Ajax lost 1-
2, but still preserve good chances to qualify from their group.

After the match specialists and the media highly evaluated the Armenian
footballer's performance in the match. According to the Dutch press,
Manucharyan is considered to be one of the most promising young footballers in
the Ajax stable.


A European championship among juniors in which 23 Armenian chess-players took
part ended in Serbia & Montenegro recently. The most successful among the
young Armenian chess-players was 16-year-old Zaven Andreasyan, who won the
European title in contest with his coevals, gaining 7 out of 9 possible

Another medal for Armenia was won in the competition among 12-year-olds, where
Hayk Tamazyan finished third, winning the bronze. Samvel Ter-Sahakyan,
representing Armenia in the same age group, occupied the 7th spot.
Expectations were high from 18-year-old international master Arman Pashikyan,
but his failures in the last few rounds allowed him to place only 7th.

In the girls' competition Armenia's representatives did not distinguish
themselves with successful performances. The best result was shown by Susanna
Aboyan who occupied the 10th spot in the competition among 10-year-olds.

Meanwhile, Armenian chess-player Andranik Matikozyan (international master)
made a successful performance in Los Angeles, in the 27th Open Championship of
California. Matikozyan gained 6 out of 7 possible points and finished 2nd in
the tournament. A total of 145 players participated in the tournament. (A1
Plus, Armenpress)


The world freestyle wrestling championships ended in Budapest, Hungary,
recently, with only one athlete representing Armenia - Martin Berberyan, 60
kg - managing to win the bronze.

Greco-Roman wrestlers will begin their competition in the Hungarian capital
today (Friday). Seven athletes representing Armenia will engage in the

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress