Fashion: Do you have a Talar Nina?

Khaleej Times, UAE
Nov 22 2017
Do you have a Talar Nina?
Filed on

(Supplied)

Dubai-based fashion designer Talar Nina's latest collection 'Eastern Promises', influenced by the region, has an urban twist! City Times talks to her about her journey and what her biggest fashion pet peeve is!

One of the best things about being in Dubai is that we're spoiled for choice when it comes to up and coming designers and brands. Dubai fashionistas have managed to hone their skills at spotting which designer is really worth our attention and our money. Talar Nina is proving to be one such designer.

Her self-named brand is all about aesthetic fun – wearable and versatile pieces that feel and look good no matter your style. Despite being worn by mainly women, Talar Nina's jackets have found their way into men's closets as well!

Born in Los Angeles, Talar moved to London to pursue her education in the arts, where she became infatuated with the city's history. After relocating to Dubai, the Armenian designer started to build her platform and brand Talar Nina.

And it seems to be going more than well with Talar launching her third collection, Eastern Promise. Inspired by her love of the Middle East, Eastern Promise has a mix of delicately embroidered bomber jackets, ornamental track pants, and skirts, all of which are both elegant and comfortable.

The sequined collection consists of four bomber jackets, track pants, joggers, a long sleeveless vest, and mid-length skirt. Two of the bomber jackets will also be available for men.

The bomber jackets are one of our favourite pieces.  Unique, comfortable, they easily transition your look from day to night. And guess what – they look great on guys as well!

One of the best parts about owning a piece from Talar Nina is knowing that the philanthropic designer also donates a percentage of profits to the 'Moving Forward' Centre for children in Armenia's second largest city of Gyumri.

We had the chance to chat with Talar about her latest collection, her inspirations, and her creative process.

When did you start designing? When did you know that you wanted to be a designer?
My first exposure to fashion design started while doing my A levels in Textiles, Art History and Fine Art. I enjoyed the Textile class the most and started designing pieces around specific fabrications for fun. It was my Fine Art teacher in London, Mrs. Skinner, who ultimately encouraged me to pursue a career in fashion and the rest is history.

Who do you design for?
My brand is worn by women of all ages but I have a growing male client base and am exploring a more unisex range of jackets and trousers that can be worn in different ways.  There are no age limits with our clothes, we have clients from 17 years old to 80!

What would you say are your major aesthetic or cultural influences?
My frequent trips to Armenia are a source of inspiration – the architecture, art, embroidery and needle lace. Spending summers with my extended family in Amman, Jordan has also given me opportunities to travel throughout the Arab world and visit cities like Beirut, Aleppo and Damascus and experience the history and diversity of the region.

What's your creative process like? Does your initial vision change as you start working?
My creative process usually starts with a variety of images on a mood board. I will sketch out silhouettes and then focus on sourcing unique fabrications, trimmings and embroidery motifs.

What are your strengths as a designer?
Fit and function are important elements in my design ethos. It's easy to overlook these with so much choice these days but I believe if a piece is well designed and versatile and made from quality fabrics … chances are you will keep it for years to come and that piece will become a cherished favourite in your closet.

What have been the biggest issues you've faced from a business perspective here in Dubai?
My brand was launched in 2016 and the most challenging aspect was finding a professional workshop willing to work with us as we started off with small production runs. It took us a few tries but the tailors we are working with now are amazing and we couldn't be happier. One thing I have learned is that it's vital to live close to your production facility. Monitoring every step of the production process allows for better quality control and trouble shooting.

In a highly competitive market how do you stay relevant?
In this highly competitive market, my brand hopes to introduce new pieces every 2-3 months, our aim is to launch four collections a year, and add holiday and Ramadan collections to provide options for our clientele. We also will be taking part in pop-ups around the region, along with a constant stream of new content on social media platforms.

Fashion is a sector where one needs to combine creativity and commerce – how do you do this? Is one part stronger than the other for you?
For me, I think creativity and commerce go hand in hand. Without one there wouldn't be the other. Ultimately, I want people to enjoy wearing my brand and become repeat customers! Although I do prefer the creative side of the business, I had to learn the commerce side very quickly or I would not have been able to adapt.

Tell us about your new collection Eastern Promise.
The latest collection, Eastern Promise, was inspired from my many trips to the Levant, mainly Lebanon and Jordan. This part of the world has always been considered a cross roads between East and West. The 'Weaver' bomber jacket and track pants are inspired by the intricate art of carpet weaving. The 'Gigi' bomber and 'Gigi' vest are made from an all over embroidered fabric of crème cotton thread on a black base with a delicate sprinkling of sequins for a touch of sparkle. The 'Blossom' jackets are embellished with gold thread and mirrors and tiny pearls and stones designed to create a beautiful and exotic floral motif.

How do you combine Middle Eastern inspirations into pieces that are modern and contemporary?
Middle Eastern art, architecture, and music are grounded in ancient traditions that somehow remain timeless. I enjoy curating and combining these old elements with new ideas to produce clothes that are wearable and timeless yet still offering fresh looks every season.

In your opinion, what is the difference between style and fashion?
In my opinion fashion and style are two different things. Style is how you express yourself, how you interpret what is in fashion at that moment … It is about your taste and personal preference. Fashion is driven by market forces, trends, influencers and is evolving all the time. It is my hope that my designs will always be more about style and less about fashion.

Who are your constant muses? Or do you have a different inspiration per collection?
At the moment my muse for the Eastern Promise collection is Queen Rania of Jordan. She was definitely someone I had in mind when designing the new pieces, especially the 'Gigi' vest.

Who were some of the designers that have influenced your style?
A few designers that have influenced my personal style would have to be Alexander Wang -  he started the luxury streetwear aesthetic,  – Yves Saint Laurent and Valentino -  both legends in the history of 20th century fashion and they were dedicated to making women look elegant, beautiful and timeless.

Where would you like to see Talar Nina in the next five years?
In five years time I hope to see it become a staple brand where clients go for their fix of embroidered, elegant and easy to wear pieces! I would also love to see the brand stocked in a few more stores around the Middle East and Los Angeles.

What is one of your biggest fashion pet peeves?
One of my biggest fashion pet peeves are people who become slaves to the latest trends and when leggings are worn outside of the gym – they are not trousers!

Film: Armenian director’s Karabakh movie named best at Pomegranate fest

Pan Armenian, Armenia
Nov 22 2017
– 18:12 AMT
Armenian director's Karabakh movie named best at Pomegranate fest

The feature film "The Last Inhabitant" by Armenian filmmaker Jivan Avetisyan about the ongoing conflict in Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh) was named the best feature film in Pomegranate Film Festival in Toronto, Canada.

The movie was among the 40 other films submitted for consideration, with Canadian-Armenian filmmaker Atom Egoyan, Arsinee Khanjian, actor/producer Dean Cain, Montel Williams and many others in attendance.

Avetisyan's eighth feature film, "The Last Inhabitant" centers around Abgar, the only Armenian of Christian faith left in the village of Gyurjevan, now devastated and in near ruins, after everyone else has been deported. Because of his skills as a stonemason, he is assigned to help build a mosque by the Azeri occupants. He also has to take care of his daughter Yurga, traumatized after witnessing her husband’s murder. As the situation deteriorates around them with increasing enemy danger and lack of food, they find solace in their memories of an idealized past, when peace and happiness still prevailed. The last resort for those who have not much to hope for. With its often elegiac and poetic approach the film is able to achieve a touching portrait of survival and at the same time humanizing the protagonists and their fate, how tragic it may be.

Earlier, the film was named the best feature film by the Scandinavian International Film Festival, while actor Aleksandr Khachatryan, meanwhile, won the best actor award in Finland.

Film: COAF students from Armenia take part in virtual chat with Terry George

Pan Armenian, Armenia
Nov 22 2017
COAF students from Armenia take part in virtual chat with Terry George

Youth from the COAF beneficiary villages of Hatsik and Aragatsavan had the opportunity to take part in a virtual reality experience with screenwriter/director Terry George ("The Promise", "Hotel Rwanda", "In the Name of the Father"), producer Dr. Eric Esrailian, and Armenian youth from Los Angeles and Amman.

Held on International Day for Tolerance, the Siroun VR Project was organized by Global Nomads Group to foster dialogue and understanding about various injustices occurring around the world. A group of students from both villages gathered at the local school renovated by COAF in the community of Hatsik.

Siroun is an educational resource that supplements the central theme to the film The Promise- “injustice is enabled by silence.” As a virtual reality experience, it gives viewers an opportunity to immerse themselves in a rural Ottoman village at a critical moment in history, creating a foundation of empathy to consider the choices and experiences of everyday people caught at the crossroads of conflict, civil war and genocide.

Students exchanged their viewpoints on why they believe the Armenian Genocide remains unrecognized, how to prevent bullying at school for kids who are perceived as different, and why intolerance has led to so many atrocities around the world.

“We were very happy to see our kids embracing more tolerant and open mindsets as opposed to retaining anger and resentment rooted in historic memory,” said Ester Hakobyan, COAF Programs Director.

Sports: Three young Armenian wrestlers to begin competing at World Championships today

Pan Armenian, Armenia
Nov 22 2017
Sport 14:30 22/11/2017 Armenia

Young Armenian wrestlers are taking part in the U23 World Championships hosted by Poland from 21 to 26 November.

According to the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs, five Greco-Roman wrestlers represent Armenia in the championship – Taron Dumoyan (59 kg), Karen Aslanyan (66 kg), Armen Hakobyan (71 kg), Sargis Kocharyan (80 kg) and Gegham Torgomyan (85 kg).

Armen Hakobyan and Gegham Torgomyan have already finished their performances, while   Taron Dumoyan, Karen Aslanyan and Sargis Kocharyan are set to begin competing today.

The Armenian U23 Greco-Roman wrestling team is led by coach Edward Sahakyan.

Armenian freestyle wrestlers Gevorg Tadevosyan (57 kg), Ghazar Hambardzumyan (61 kg), Khachatur Papikyan and Hrayr Alikhanyan (74 kg) will begin competing tomorrow. The team is led by head coach Habetnak Kurghinyan.

Sports: Have a Khit Kat: Henrikh Mkhitaryan looks lonely in training as he fights for Manchester United career

The Sun, UK
 Tuesday 1:31 PM GMT


HAVE A KHIT-KAT Henrikh Mkhitaryan looks lonely in training as he
fights for Manchester United career

Armenian was dropped for Man Utd's 4-1 win over Newcastle but has
clearly missed Paul Pogba - who is now fit and firing again

By Alex Terrell


HENRIKH MKHITARYAN has seemed cut off in the last couple of months -
largely thanks to Paul Pogba's absence.

But the Armenian star looked a forlorn figure at Carrington today as
he sat on his own before joining in Manchester United training.Jose
Mourinho rested the former Borussia Dortmund man for their 4-1 home
win over Newcastle on Saturday evening.

But it hasn't stopped reports that the Portuguese is growing fed up
with the 28-year-old's performances, just 16 months after joining Old
Trafford.

To be fair to Mkhitaryan, he has been involved in all of United's
matches in the league and Europe this season, as well as both of
Armenia's friendlies last week, before missing Saturday.

And he has clearly missed the midfield presence of Pogba, classily
knitting together United's midfield play, as he did in the win over
the Toon.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan performs training drills ahead of Antonio Valencia
at Carrington before Manchester United's game at Basel[/caption]

Elsewhere Pogba and pal Romelu Lukaku could be seen enjoying a joke together.

The Red Devils are due to fly out to Switzerland to face FC Basel in
their Champions League fixture, knowing a draw will see them win Group
A outright.UNSTOPPAPLE?

Can anyone stop the Man City juggernaut walking the Premier League title?

Basel are in a scrap for second place though, with CSKA Moscow
breathing down their necks.

In fact, if CSKA fail to beat Benfica at home, United seal
qualification before even kicking a ball tomorrow night.

Ashley Young wonders if he has found his target after booting the ball[/caption]

Jose Mourinho has a chat with Nemanja Matic and Zlatan Ibrahimovic[/caption]

Mourinho's side have won all their four games so far and conceded just
one goal in the competition, away in Moscow.

They should be home and dry in Europe, but Chris Smalling, Phil Jones,
Ashley Young and David De Gea will remind their team-mates that the
last time they went to St-Jakob Park, they were beaten 2-1 in an
electric atmosphere.

Jones actually scored that night in Switzerland, but it was only to be
a consolation as United crashed out of the Champions League in a group
stage humiliation, just months after playing in the previous season's
final.

And Mourinho will hope they can keep another clean sheet against the
Swiss champions.

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The Red Devils face Brighton in the Premier League on Saturday at 3pm,
suggesting Mourinho could rotate some of his squad with the busiest
period of the season approaching.

United then travel to Watford on Tuesday and then Arsenal the weekend
after, for a late Saturday kick-off before a clash against CSKA Moscow
at Old Trafford in their final Champions League group game.

After that is the small matter of the Manchester derby at the Theatre
of Dreams on December 12.



PwC Canada appoints Diane Kazarian as the Greater Toronto Area’s New Managing Partner

Business Insider
Nov 21 2017
 
 

PRESS RELEASE PR Newswire

Nov. 21, 2017, 12:02 PM

TORONTO, Nov. 21, 2017 /CNW/ – PwC Canada is pleased to announce the appointment of Diane Kazarian as the Greater Toronto Area's (GTA) new Managing Partner, as of January 1, 2018.

For more than 25 years, Diane has been serving a broad base of public and private clients at PwC. Since 2012 in her role as National Financial Services Leader, Diane has built a robust practice, leading teams in the banking and capital markets, asset management, insurance, real estate, and private equity sectors. She is also very active speaking in conference and media on topics of innovation, notably FinTech, Blockchain, and emerging technologies impacting the financial services sector.

"We're excited to announce Diane Kazarian as head of PwC Canada's GTA Practice. Diane has a successful track record of strong leadership and delivering value and success to our clients. Her focus on innovation and working with clients to solve important problems is invaluable in today's rapidly changing world," said Nicolas Marcoux, National Managing Partner, Montréal office and Major Cities. "In this role, Diane will continue with her great efforts to support our clients and stakeholders, as well as support our people and communities across the GTA."

Diane, a champion for diversity and inclusion and co-sponsor of PwC Canada's Women in Leadership program, was a recipient of the Women's Executive Network's (WXN) Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Awards. She is also a board member of Bryant University and Kingsway College School.

Diane will continue in her role as National Financial Services Leader.

For more information on Diane Kazarian and her background, click here for her LinkedIn profile and here for her Twitter account.

For more information on PwC Canada, click here

Follow PwC on Twitter at @PwC_Canada and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pwccanada.

About PwC Canada
At PwC, our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. More than 6,700 partners and staff in offices across the country are committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax, consulting and deals services. PwC Canada is a member of the PwC network of firms, which comprises more than 236,235 people in 158 countries. Find out more by visiting us at www.pwc.com/ca.

© 2017 PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, an Ontario limited liability partnership. All rights reserved.

PwC refers to the Canadian member firm, and may sometimes refer to the PwC network. Each member firm is a separate legal entity. Please see http://www.pwc.com/structure for further details.

SOURCE PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers)

Prime Minister Karapetyan becomes grandpa

Category
Society

Armenia’s Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan has become a grandfather of twins – his daughter gave birth to a boy and a girl.

Hayk Harutyunyan, deputy minister of energy infrastructures and natural resources, who is the son-in-law of the Prime Minister, said on Facebook that his twins have been born.

“My boy and girl were born”, he said.

17% increase in defense allocations to be directed for ensuring peace and investments

Category
Politics

The increase of allocations to the defense field in the 2018 state budget is aimed at ensuring people’s security and increase of investments, Gagik Minasyan, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on financial-credit and budgetary affairs, told reporters.

He said in 2016 225 billion AMD has been allocated to the defense field, in 2017 this number was 209 billion AMD, but in 2018 246.8 billion AMD investment is expected. This will be an increase of 17% compared to 2017. “The increase is linked with two factors: if we try to ensure investments, which will be the main driving force for our economic growth, the investor should be secured by the possible negative developments, but the poor condition in the defense field is strictly dangerous for investors. At the same time we have an unsettled conflict, and through these allocations we are going to ensure our people’s peaceful living, as well as the peaceful military service of our soldiers”, Gagik Minasyan said.

Compared to 2017, the increase of the 2018 state budget is 100 billion AMD, which, in addition to the defense field, will be directed to the economic field, in particular, the agriculture, construction of roads and irrigation system.

The lawmaker said during the December 5 parliament’s four-day sitting the amended version of the 2018 state budget based on the MPs’ proposals will be discussed.

Under the 2018 state budget draft the revenue will comprise 1 trillion 307 billion AMD, the expenditure – 1 trillion 464 billion AMD, and the deficit – 156 billion AMD. It is expected to ensure 4.5% economic growth, the deficit against the GDP will be 2.7%.

Russia to continue supporting creation of conditions for settlement of NK conflict, says FM Lavrov

Categories
Artsakh
Politics
Region
World

The foreign ministers of Armenia and Russia discussed prospects of settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict at a meeting in Yerevan, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said during a press conference in the Armenian capital.

“We briefed our Armenian friends on the content of the talks on this topic, which our delegation held in Baku two days ago”, Lavrov said.

He added that as a OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing country, Russia, along with USA and France, will continue supporting the sides in creating conditions which would contribute to the settlement of the issue.

RFE/RL Armenian Report – 11/20/2017

                                        Monday, 

Armenian Foreign Ministry Says Ukrainian Journalists Had No
Accreditation


Armenia - Tigran Balayan, a spokesperson for the Armenian Foreign
Ministry

The Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stresses that the group of
journalists from Ukraine that was reportedly banned from entering
Armenia last week had no accreditation.

Earlier, producer of the Ukrainian television company, ICTV, Oksana
Dykhnich claimed that their crew was not allowed to enter Armenia
despite "all arrangements made as required". She further claimed that
the entry ban was imposed at the request of Russia.

In a Facebook post Dykhnich said the company's crew went on a business
trip to Armenia, but upon arrival were denied entry because they were
blacklisted in Russia for their work in the east of Ukraine where
government forces are fighting Russian-backed separatists.

"This ban is valid for all countries of the [Russian-led] customs
union," Dykhnich claimed, recommending that her colleagues in Ukraine
consider this circumstance in planning their trips to countries of the
Eurasian Economic Union that besides Russia includes Belarus,
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia.

"The Ukrainian TV company did not apply for any accreditation to the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and this fact was publicly admitted by
the producer of the TV station who made an appropriate post on
Facebook," Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman Tigran Balayan told
RFE/RL's Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am). "Our employee left a comment
to that post and the woman admitted that they did not apply for
accreditation," he added.

Balayan insisted that Armenia has no "black list" of journalists. At
the same time, the Foreign Ministry spokesman did not wish to answer
the question on why the Ukrainian television crew was not allowed to
enter Armenia. "Answering this question is not within my competence,"
he said.

Meanwhile, in a comment to Dykhnich's Facebook post a user named
Hovhannes Igityan (the name of an opposition politician in Armenia)
insists that the lack of accreditation cannot become a reason for
banning a Ukrainian citizen with a valid passport from entering
Armenia, since Armenia and Ukraine have a visa-free regime.



Lavrov Arrives In Yerevan After Talks In Baku


 . Aza Babayan
 . Gevorg Stamboltsian


Armenia - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visits the Armenian
Genocide Memorial in Yerevan, 20 Nov 2017

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in the Armenian capital
of Yerevan on Monday afternoon as part of his regional tour that
included talks in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Lavrov's two-day visit to Yerevan officially marks the 25th
anniversary of the establishment of Russia's diplomatic relations with
the South Caucasus nation. In Yerevan the Russian foreign minister is
expected to meet with President Serzh Sarkisian and Foreign Minister
Edward Nalandian, with their talks likely to focus on long-standing
efforts to settle the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over
Nagorno-Karabakh.

Lavrov discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh issue with Azerbaijani officials
when he visited Baku on November 19-20. During his meeting with
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on Sunday the top Russian diplomat
reportedly reiterated Russia's interest in helping "find a solution
and ensure progress toward the settlement" of the Nagorno-Karabakh
conflict.


AZERBAIJAN -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) meets with
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev (R) in Baku, 

Along with the United States and France Russia co-heads the Minsk
Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
(OSCE), which is the existing international mediation format
pertaining to the conflict.

While in Baku, Lavrov stressed that in the Karabakh settlement issue
Moscow has the same position as Washington and Paris and that the
rather serious differences in the U.S-Russian relations have not
affected the joint mediation efforts in the Armenian-Azerbaijani
conflict.

"The co-chairs meet with the ministers, regularly visit the region. I
hope that the meeting of the presidents [of Armenia and Azerbaijan]
that took place last month will contribute to progress in the
settlement of the conflict," Lavrov said.

Speaking at a joint press conference with his Azerbaijani counterpart
Elmar Mammadyarov following their talks, Lavrov said that a continued
conflict around Nagorno-Karabakh is not in the interest of anyone. "It
is necessary to deal with the resolution of the Karabakh conflict,
especially that the main directions in which it is necessary to
register progress have already been outlined," Lavrov said. He also
said that no enlargement of the OSCE Minsk Group format is on the
cards. "All the states that could contribute to the resolution of the
problem are represented in the Minsk Group," he said.

The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan met separately with
the Russian, American and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group in
Moscow last week after which the international mediators said that
Nalbandian and Mammadyarov agreed to hold a meeting on the sidelines
of an OSCE Ministerial Meeting in Vienna, Austria, next month.

Prior to his regional tour Lavrov told Russian state-run TASS news
agency that while in Yerevan and Baku "we will try to understand at
what stage our efforts on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement are after
the meeting of the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Geneva."

During their talks in the Swiss city on October 16, Armenian President
Sarkisian and his Azerbaijani counterpart Aliyev pledged to intensify
the peace process and bolster the cease-fire regime in the region's
conflict zone.



Parents In Armenian Village Block Road, Demand School Repairs


 . Marine Khachatrian


Armenia- Rally in the village of Jrarbi, 20 Nov, 2017

Angry parents in a village in western Armenia briefly blocked a road
passing through their community on Monday morning in protest against
what they described as the lack of elementary conditions at a local
school attended by their children.

Scores of protesters in Jrarbi, a village situated some 30 kilometers
to the west of capital Yerevan, demanded a meeting with Armavir
Governor Ashot Ghahramanian to discuss the matter.

The demonstrators complained that the school attended by more than 260
students lacks a proper heating system and badly needs repairing. In
particular, they said that the windows of the school building are
broken, the walls have large cracks and there are no functioning
toilets. According to the parents, in cold classrooms heated with
kerosene burners children quickly get cold and frequently get sick in
winter.

"We want the government to do something to repair this school," one of
the angry parents told RFE/RL's Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am). "We
don't want land or anything from them, we just want them to replace
the old windows and install a proper heating system, that's not
something big for them."

Most of the students did not attend school today. Their parents say
they won't let them attend classes until proper conditions are ensured
in the school building.

Armavir Governor Ghahramanian arrived in Jrarbi to meet with the
protesters later on Monday. He promised that "changes will be noticed
in the school within 10 days." "We will try to install a heating
system that will heat both the corridors and the classrooms," the
official said.

The newly appointed headmaster of the school, ruling Republican Party
member Narek Zakarian, meanwhile, said he still had no idea about how
the problems of the school will be solved. "We need to do it so as not
to interfere with the classes. I don't know what we are going to do
and how. I have no idea," he confessed.



Soviet-Era Dissident On Hunger Strike In Armenia Over Constitutional
Provision


 . Sisak Gabrielian


Armenia - Politician Paruyr Hayrikian on huger strike in front of the
Central Electoral Commision building in Yerevan, 20Nov, 2017

Armenia's prominent Soviet-era dissident Paruyr Hayrikian, who
currently heads an extra-parliamentary political party, has gone on an
open-ended hunger strike in front of the Central Election Commission
(CEC) building in Yerevan over what he described as
"anti-constitutional" behavior of the body.

Hayrikian, the chairman of the Union for National Self-Determination
and a former presidential candidate, claims the CEC acted against the
amended Constitution by refusing to provide him with the necessary
documents for the start of a signature collection campaign for a
constitutional reform.

Article 202 of Armenia's new Constitution adopted in a 2015
referendum, in particular, entitles at least 200,000 citizens that are
eligible voters to initiate the adoption of a new or amendments to the
existing Constitution.

"We received a strange reply, which shows that they either do not
recognize the 2015 Constitutional referendum and therefore do not
accept the new Constitution or challenge the legality of the new
Constitution," Hayrikian claimed.

Not all of the chapters and articles of the amended Constitution have
been enforced yet. The article in question, according to transitional
provisions, is due to take legal force when the newly elected
president of Armenia assumes office next spring.

Still, Hayrikian insists on his right to start the collection of
signatures based on the mentioned article of the Constitution even in
the absence of proper legislation.

CEC Chairman Tigran Mukuchian explained to RFE/RL's Armenian Service
(Azatutyun.am) over the weekend that they did not provide Hayrikian
with the documents necessary for the collection of signatures because
the current law on referendums does not provide for such a procedure.

Hayrikian, who spent about 18 years in Soviet prison and was shot and
wounded during his bid for the presidency in 2013, has for years
sought changes in Armenia's Constitution that he says will enable the
country to switch to "absolute democracy" in which "no vote of a
citizen will be lost because of a faulty electoral system."

This is not the first time Hayrikian goes on hunger strike as a means
to support his political demands. The last time he resorted to this
form of protest was in 2014 when after Armenia's decision to join a
Russian-led trade bloc Hayrikian went on a weeklong hunger strike
demanding President Serzh Sarkisian's resignation and the transition
of power to pro-European forces.



Press Review



In the context of the recent student movement against the restriction
of the right to draft deferments "Hraparak" notes that while not all
of the youth civil initiatives in Armenia have been successful, the
authorities have tended to make some concessions and draw conclusions
from them. "As a result of these movements new civil leaders, people
of new quality and mentally have been born, people who may tomorrow
lead also the political struggle," the paper writes, adding that, in
the meantime, "politicians of the older generation have always tried
to spoil and discredit these young people, to turn them into what they
are themselves."

"Zhoghovurd" notes Armenia's high degree of militarization that has
given it the third rank in the Global Militarization Index for the
sixth consecutive year. "There is an opinion that as a result of the
steps proceeding from the implementation of the recently introduced
Nation-Army model Armenia can mount a serious challenge to Israel,
which is the leader according to this international report. Meanwhile,
according to the 2017 report on Armenia's national competitiveness, a
high degree of militarization limits economic development, draining
scarce resources. It turns out that the Karabakh issue, because of
which Armenia is forced to raise the level of its militarization,
hampers the country's development."

The editor of "Aravot" singles out the "large-scale offensive" of the
Tsarukian Alliance against the prime minister, the government and
especially the chairman of the State Revenue Committee during the
latest four-day session of parliament. He assumes the faction was
given such an assignment by its leader, wealthy businessman Gagik
Tsarukian. Yet, the paper's editor sees some healthy element in this
struggle, which, in his opinion, generally corresponds to the spirit
of parliamentarianism "when different groups in parliament represent
competing businesses." "It would be strange and unnatural if all the
lawmakers in all matters were unanimous. This would mean that there is
no competition in our economy," he concludes.

(Tatev Danielian)


Reprinted on ANN/Armenian News with permission from RFE/RL
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