Friday, October 30, 2009

Pashinyan is running for Parliament ...

In a move somewhat reminiscent of Ter-Petrosyan's bid for the Mayoral seat, Pashinyan has announced his candidacy for a vacant MP position.
Not only that, but Suren Sureniants, who was going to run for the same position, is not going to, and is backing Pashinyan.
Beautiful, just Beautiful.

A1plus article
RFE/RL article

The question is, will the banditocracy let it even happen?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Airports, Fruits, Banks and Mail...

Ever since the Dutch head of the Armenian Postal Service (HayPost) was beaten up not once, but twice, and it seems "encouraged" to leave, I've been curious to find out who took over, especially since there were a number of rumors at that time. I checked their website, even, but did not find any useful information regarding my question. Lragir published a piece today about HayPost, so naturally I read it. The first helpful terms I came across were:
“Haypost Trust Management” company director Juan Pablo Gechidjian
so I googled Juan Pabldo Gechidjian. ALL of the information below was found through web research - which we all know is not completely reliable, and in some cases is completely false - I would very much appreciate any corrections, verifications, etc... That being said, it is at the least entertaining to follow the trails.

It turns out Juan Pablo Gechidjian is an Argentian Armenian, and is indeed the Company Director at HayPost. He is also the Executive Director of Armenia International Airport CJSC/Airport Director. He is also a Board Member of Converse Bank. He has also represented Advanced Global Investments LLC to Converse Bank, at least twice (6/29/07 and 6/5/08). According to European Banking Resources online website:
The bank was established in 1993 as a "North Armenian" shareholding bank. In 1997 it was reorganized as "Converse Bank" CJSC. In February 2007 "Advanced Global Investments" LLC, a US based company controlled by Eduardo Ernekian bought 95% of Converse bank shares. Remaining 5% of shares belong to Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin Catholicosate.
But let's go back a minute. HayPost company was taken over by Eurnekian Group in 2006. Eduardo Eurnekian is a very wealthy businessman from Argentina. He owns/directs Corporacion America, which has multiple sub-companies including: Tierras de Armenia (Hayastani Hogher), Fruitfull Armenia, Zvartnots Airport, and DutyFree and Unitec.
Martin Eurnekian (unclear if he is a relation) is the CEO of American International Airport, which is part of Corporacion America.
Matias Gainza Eurnekian, the nephew of Eduardo Eurnekian, is a Board member of Converse Bank (I think as of May 11, 2009). He is also the Director of Unitec (see above) which belongs to Corporacion American.
Continued googling found that Tierras de Armenia (see above) and Max Group ("owned by Harutiun Pambukian, a parliamentarian close to former President Robert Kocharian") were involved in a joint venture. ["The president of Max Group, businessman Harutyun Pambukyan. Pambukyan owns a poultry plant, restaurants, and other businesses. He was responsible for bringing to Armenia the offshore company, Midland Resources, which bought the Armenian electricity network. He is a shareholder in Midland." Hetq]

Why is this interesting to me? I'm not so sure myself. I am not trained or overly interested in international corporate law or business, and I definitely don't know what is considered just cold hard business, and what goes over that line. And I'm not against a successful company or individual owning multiple different businesses in different arenas - that's business. But it all seems pretty circular, somehow. Not to mention that I seem to remember that Eurnekian has been close with both Kocharyan and Sargsyan in the past, with multiple meetings. In fact, Kocharyan gave Eurnekian a medal. He has also been a large donor to the All Armenia Fund - which is great, except that over time concern has arisen that the Fund's accounting has become questionable.

So what's the issue, and what does this have to do with the Dutch? Well, after being beaten up twice (7/10/08 and 10/15/08), General-Director of HayPost CJSC Hans Boon left the country. Mr Boon gave an interview to HayInfo back in December of 2008. In this interview, he explains that a certain plan was laid out before HayPost, and certain criteria of advancement were to be met. Many of them were fulfilled, some above and beyond. Those that were not fulfilled were, he seems to be saying, because the Armenian side did not fulfill/delayed/did not follow up on its portion of some of the criteria, and even posed obstacles. This meant that in the end, some of the required conditions were not met.
The reason of change stems from the requirements from the side of the Eurnekian Group, which were presented at the end of January 2008 as a condition to invest in Postbank.... [] Certain elements have not been fulfilled as the environment (legal, regulatory) posed obstacles..[]. At the request of the Eurnekian Group at the end of August 2008, the role was gradually limited and leading to the complete withdrawal of the Dutch side in December 2008.
He ends the interview by explaining that the path the then current new management was taking raised many questions.

It seems to me that the Dutch were basically pushed out, by the Armenian side reneging on their part of the bargain, and quickly someone else came in. And that was Eurnekian. Interestingly enough, he was also one of the names at the bottom of the Who's Who of Diasporans who signed the Open Letter in support of the protocols, as did Charles Aznavour (who now has a museum in Yerevan and is an Ambassador), Hrair Hovnanian (of the Armenian Assembly), Ruben Vardanian (Well known Businessman in Russia) and Artur Chilingarov (polar explorer turned Russian politician), to name a few.

There are many more connections to be made, the more I dig, the more I search and google, the more connections and more questions. Many of those named above have started large non-profit funds and renovated schools, hospitals, roads, homes, etc in Armenia. It really seems they have done some incredible humanitarian work.

Now if someone could just help me understand the rest of it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

MassisWeekly article on Oskanyan...

I was reading today's MassisWeekly, the paper of the Hnchakyan party, and came across this article that sums it all up pretty well re: Oskanyan (see my last post), it's in armenian, Վարդան Օսկանեան՝ երեկ ու այսօր.

Վարդան Օսկանեան՝ երեկ ու այսօր/Vartan Oskanyan: Yesterday and today

Thursday, October 22, 2009

More and more uncomfortable... He just can't imagine

This video of Oskanyan is 4:42 minutes long - if you've only got 2 minutes, start at 2:50...

Oskanyan becomes pretty worked up, and very, very uncomfortable...
Basically he is being asked about the protocols, and says he cannot understand how any government could sign such documents. That no matter how they are interpreted, how they are read, they are unacceptable. He states, in answer to a direct question, that the current protocols are categorically not a continuation of or similar to the approach taken by LTP in the 1990's. And, that despite continued similar approaches being advanced by the Turks during the past ten years, these were rejected by the government. He cannot understand at all why or how the present government is signing these protocols. He is left to think, that the advancement/signing of the protocols is somehow required/forced/made necessary...
We didn't agree to this approach over the past ten years, he says in the end of the video... why they are agreeing to it now I don't understand...

Really, Mr. Oskanyan? You can't imagine? You can't imagine, such an experienced diplomat, head of Civilitas, you can't imagine how the present authorities could be in such a state as to be pushed into signing such a document? You can't imagine why or how Sargsyan's illegitimacy, and continued oppression of human rights and democracy, could possibly be playing a role in what is happening now?

Or do you not want to imagine that, because you played such an active role in the powers that brought him to be...

Stop trying to play all sides, Mr. Oskanyan. Really, its very transparent, and its condescending.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pashinyan's "trial" coming up...

While somewhat different in nature and context, the fact is that Josef K.'s trial had more logic and legitimacy than do Pashinyan's imprisonment and upcoming trial.
The next segment of this absolutely farcical odyssey is on October 20th, starting at noon. Let's see what the banditocracy comes up with next.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

And it was done... What a perfect marionette...

This is another great one, taken off of facebook - I have no idea who did it, but it is excellent, especially in light of the revelation Kommersant on October 12th which was not widely dispersed, if at all, in the English media:

Положение спас глава МИД РФ Сергей Лавров: в последний момент он передал армянскому коллеге записку, текст которой оказался в распоряжении "Ъ". В ней господин Лавров посоветовал молча подписать протоколы и разойтись. Что и было сделано.

Which, roughly translated, says: The situation was saved by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov; at the last minute, he handed a note to his Armenian colleague [Nalbandyan], whose text was made available to Kommersant. In it, he advised [Nalbandyan] to quietly sign the protocol and leave. And it was done.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Well said...

Article from Lragir, October 13:

The Armenian-Turkish protocols would not exist if Armenia was not weak. It is not accidental that the rival started its attack after March 1. Our movement will aim to eliminate not the consequence but the cause, said the representative of Sardarapat movement Jirayr Sefilyan. According to him, the Sardarapat committee is being formed now and 3 offices will work.

In Sefilyan’s opinion, the ARF activities are not honest. If they wanted to prevent Serge Sargsyan’s betraying actions, they had to initiate a signature gathering action and put it on the table of the president. Sefilyan does not understand either how a force in authoritarian country may be oppositional and have a television station at the same time.

As to the Armenian National Congress, according to Sefilyan, the HAK was unable to reach its final goal. Congress is an honest movement which is why he is not going to leave it.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

How not to run a race...

The table where the document was signed (via GoldenTent's Twitter).

I remember back when I was a kid, we'd have sports competitions; We'd divide up into two teams, and compete in a bunch of events. And when it came down to the one on one events, like a sprint race, we'd look around our teams and decide who should run the race - who would be best at that race, who was the fastest, who would be most likely to win for our team. And that's who we would send to run that final race for our team. Not the guy who sprained his ankle yesterday, or was getting bullied by a bigger guy on the other team, or who's overly competitive girlfriend is on the other team. We all looked around and chose the fastest guy there was- And we definitely never picked the guy the other team wanted us to pick.

It's not that I don't want to run in the race, or play the game.
It's that the guy running the race for Armenia just sprained his ankle, is desperate, is the other's teams choice, and easy to bully.
Who chose this guy???... Oh, yeah...

Friday, October 9, 2009

ARF stance on the protocols is for sale...

And... the ARF supplies me with yet another chapter in my apparently ongoing list of proofs that their despite all of their caterwauling about Genocide and borders and such, they're really after, well, power.... and whatever else comes with it...

The same day that the ARF-organized anti-protocol protest happens in Yerevan, Manoyan gives an interview (my translations are rough and paraphrased) - these are all from the same article from

ՀՅԴ-ն առաջարկելու է իշխանություններին՝ համագործակցել ստորագրված արձանագրությունների վնասը նվազեցնելու ուղղությամբ, եւ եթե համապատասխան արձագանք չստանան, կգնան մինչեւ վերջ։
The ARF is going to propose to the government of Armenia that, in order to decrease potential harm, the ARF become part of the process of the protocols... and if they don't get an appropriate response, then they will take it to the end.

...դեռեւս չենք հասել այն վերջնագծին, երբ պետք է պահանջել նախագահի հրաժարականը:
The ARF is still not at the point where it needs to call for Sargsyan's resignation.

Ինչ վերաբերում է արձանագրությունների վավերացմանը, դաշնակցական գործիչն ասաց, որ Հայաստանը չպետք է այն առաջինը վավերացնի։
Regarding the signing of the protocols, Manoyan said that Armenia should not sign the protocols.

Okay, what does that mean???
We want in - if you don't let us in, we'll be pissed off, and maybe then we'll take our 'opposition' to the endpoint (whatever that is for the ARF)
Once we're in, we'll work together (because that's how the ARF wants to make things better for Armenia).
If working together is an option, that means that the ARF either a)thinks it can change the minds of the present ruling gang or b)it wants what it can get out of the deal, and therefore, as a corollary, the anti-protocol stance is up for sale...

Therefore, moving onto the next step in this logic, the ARF has put up their stance for sale, their Hye-Tad is for sale.... for what?

For more of this...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Some pics and an article...

The Armenian Weekly recently published a piece by Henry Theriault which I think is a tad different than their usual, though I have to admit I don't read the Weekly consistently - here are some excerpts:

Sarkisian’s actions in the early part of his presidency demonstrate clearly that he has no regard for Armenian human rights and will violate them any time he desires. His actions were little different from those of Turkish political leaders and institutions that today suppress the basic human rights—freedom of speech, freedom of religion, right to property, and even right to life—of Armenians within Turkey...

Serge Sarkisian’s complicity with genocide deniers and in the genocidal expropriation of Armenian land and movable wealth could have been prevented if enough people inside and outside Armenia had stood up against his initial human rights abuses... The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) should have understood the lessons of history above—that there is no way to work with human rights abusers to protect human rights—instead of wishfully thinking that it could temper and even change the nature of Sarkisian’s abusive rule by participating in the government. This approach never works. And, one has to ask, where were the Swiss then, when they could actually have helped Armenians and promoted democracy and human rights? Instead, they have piled onto the Armenian population around the world to help Turkey push them into accepting the violation of their rights and memory represented by the protocols....

The only way that its citizens can act to save their own society is if Sarkisian’s illegitimate abuse of human rights and suppression of their political dissent stops. However great Sarkisian’s moral violation against Armenians for complicity in the final consolidation of the Armenian Genocide, it is not a prosecutable crime. Sarkisian’s use of state violence against Armenian citizens and the jailing of opposition, however, would seem to be....

To save Armenia and Armenians from the continued rule of a leader so cavalier about violations of their rights, Armenians and Armenian organizations inside and outside of Armenia, as well as international human rights organizations and foreign governments, should begin pressing for a credible investigation into the allegations of Sarkisian’s use of violence against protesters and violations of the rights of those jailed for political reasons under his presidency. If sufficient evidence is found that he has violated human rights, he should be indicted and stand trial for his violations. If he is found guilty, he should be punished in accord with the law, including with jail time if warranted by law.

And for some more visual points of view:

The cartoon is being circulated on the web And the photo, from what I'm told, was of a poster presented at the "No Protocols" protest taking place in front of the Permanent Mission of Armenia to the United Nations in New York on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2009.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

ARF yelling "Serjik Heratsir"... Just Imagine!!!

This is the huge banner at the anti-Sargsyan protest in LA. The AYF YouTube channel has posted some videos - this is my 'favorite' one so far...

One ARF member on facebook wrote that Sargsyan must not be used to anyone standing up to him. How ridiculous. Someone beat me to commenting on that ridiculous statement, saying basically, no, he just can't open fire on these protesters.

Holding banners, saying Serjik Heratsir, standing on trucks, sending snippets of videos from the demonstration... this is all very familiar... And while I think at this point that the reasons for disagreeing with the protocols are different for most Diasporan Armenians than they are for those in Armenia (Genocide and Borders Recognition issues vs a basic mistrust of SS - with both groups thinking he'll give away NK), the ARF does seem to be serving a purpose right now...

But I did not hear their voices in March, 2008; I do not hear their call for Sargsyan's resignation; and they are not yet Opposition...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

What's stopping the ARF from acting like Opposition???

Let's do a semi-controlled analysis here... I'll try to keep my sarcasm to a minimum... ARF Issues Statement After Meeting with Sarkisian in New York

In 1991 and the rest of the early 1990's, the ARF does not support independence initially, and is not friendly with LTP's government. In fact, during that time, with so little light, heat, and even grain, the ARF worked actively AGAINST the government. Of course, back then the ARF was still based outside of Armenia, and some in Armenia end up in prison. The Central Committee is forced to move to Armenia from the Diaspora. They're furious (but really, what country allows a political party based outside of its borders to function within its borders the way the ARF intended to??).

With Kocharyan's reign, the ARF is granted reprieve, literally, and gains power. Kocharyan can do very little wrong in the eyes of the ARF. Corruption, and politics that will cause destabilization in the longterm go unnoticed by the ARF.

The Kocharyan to Sargsyan transfer of power - February-March-April 2008. 11 killed, hundreds beaten, imprisoned. Including the elderly, women and children..No freedom of press, no freedom of speech or congregation. The country is shut down. The ARF backs Sargsyan. Citizens of Armenia draw parallels between the planned execution of Armenians in 1915 to the planned execution of Armenians March 1, 2008. The ARF still backs Sargsyan. Batallion leaders and Fedayis from the NK war are imprisoned and at times abused by Sargsyan's regime - the ARF still back Sargsyan.

2008/2009 - Sargsyan starts to move forward significantly with plans for Turkish Armenian relations. The ARF finally pulls out of the coalition. ARF calls for Nalbandyan's resignation, but not Sargsyan's. Sargsyan's plans begin to truly jeopardize, in the eyes of the ARF, in their own words, the security of the Armenian Nation by proceeding with protocols which the ARF ITSELF state are unacceptable, vis a vis border recognition, Genocide recognition, and NK... And still, the ARF cannot bring itself to call for Sargsyan's resignation.

What is the common factor, the common denominator? When years and regimes change, what is the variable which seems to draw in the ARF???

My answer: Power. and Money.
Any thoughts???

World Press Freedom Committee Urges Release of Pashinyan

[See the Letter in PDF here]

Oct. 2, 2009

His Excellency Serzh Sargsyan
President of the Republic of Armenia
26 Marshal Baghramian Ave.
Yerevan 0077
Republic of Armenia

Your Excellency:

The World Press Freedom Committee —an organization representing 44 press freedom groups from throughout the world— expresses its profound concern about the fate of Nicol Pashinyan, editor-in-chief of the country’s leading newspaper, Haykakan Zhamanak (Armenian Times), who was arrested on July 1 after he voluntarily came out of hiding.

Mr. Pashinyan, whose trial will start soon, is accused of very serious crimes, including inciting mass disorder and assaulting a public official. But the truth is he was just exercising his right to free expression during a peaceful political rally on March 1, 2008, which ended up being brutally repressed by riot police. The bloody incident left ten people dead.

A 2008 US State Department report on human rights concluded that, “some of the deaths may have occurred from purposeful arbitrary killing, misuse of crowd control equipment […] or some combination of these factors.” The report goes on to conclude that no investigations were conducted into the behavior of the security forces during the incident.

Mr. Pashinyan, whose writings had been very critical of the government, went into hiding after that fateful day and continued writing for his newspaper. After the Armenian Parliament passed a resolution of amnesty for all those implicated in the March 1 incident, he decided to come of out of hiding only to be immediately arrested and taken to a former KGB prison.

The arrest took place in blatant defiance of the amnesty resolution and of a resolution by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), which reminded the Armenian authorities that “the amnesty will also apply to those persons charged in relation to the events of 1 and 2 March 2008.” The PACE resolution also urges the Armenian authorities to allow those charged in relation with that incident to remain free during the duration of their legal proceedings.

Arresting a journalist because of his professional activity is a serious attack not only on his fundamental human rights, including press freedom, but also on his audience, who thus is deprived of important information about issues of public interest. By keeping him in prison, you also hold his audience hostage to an arbitrary decision that attempts against fundamental democratic principles.

The harassment and illegal detention of members of the media represent grave violations of fundamental human rights postulates enshrined not only in the Armenian Constitution but also in international covenants, such as the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which your country is signatory.

Article 19 of the Declaration states:

Everyone has the right to freedom of expression and opinion; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers
Your Excellency, we urge you to exercise your presidential power and influence to grant the immediate release of Mr. Pashinyan from prison thus showing the international community your government does respect freedom of the press and due process.

Richard Winfield
World Press Freedom Committee

Javier Sierra
Projects Director
World Press Freedom Committee

CC:Viviane Reding, European Union Commissioner for Information Society and Media
H.E. Tatoul Markarian, Armenia’s Ambassador to the United States of America
Top officials of the Armenian government
Members of Armenia’s independent media
The members of the Coordinating Committee of Press Freedom Organizations:
· Committee to Protect Journalists

· Inter American Press Association

· International Association of Broadcasting

· International Federation of the Periodical Press

· International Press Institute

· North American Broadcasters Association

· World Association of Newspapers

· World Press Freedom Committee

Friday, October 2, 2009

"Go Away" is a slur and offensive

Looks like there were about 200 or more French Armenians protesting against Sargsyan - if he were actually looking for an answer as to what Diasporan Armenians feel about his plans, he might have gotten it. But he's not really looking for an answer, we all know that.

Back on the home front, looks like the brilliant Yerevan police are trying to find a way to keep protesters from saying or chanting anything at all. Or rather, they're finding an excuse to break up any protests, and arrest anyone who dares voice an opinion not in line with that of the banditocracy.

Yerevan Police Ban Anti-Government ‘Slurs’
“They go as far as to make offensive comments about our leaders,” Major-General Nerses Nazarian, chief of Yerevan’s police department, complained about opposition demonstrators chanting anti-government slogans.

“That is not normal,” he said. “I declare that at my instructions, that will not tolerated by my services.”

And it looks like they are trying to target, especially, the statement "Serjik Heratsir" (Serjik Go Away/Resign).

Awww... their feelings got hurt. But don't worry... Major-General Nazaryan is going to stand up for Armenia's helpless little government, and Armenia, and make sure no meanies say anything else to hurt SS's feelings. Those mean protesters. This Nazaryan is a real humanitarian, human rights type of guy, it seems. He's also standing up for the police force, defending the charges against Arakelyan.