Armenia to help in Iraq reconstruction

Armenia to help in Iraq reconstruction

United Press International
6/18/2004

WASHINGTON, June 18 (UPI) — Armenia is the latest country to join
President Bush’s “Coalition of the Willing,” in rebuilding Iraq.

In an interview with UPI earlier this week, Armenian Foreign Minister
Vardan Oskanian said his country would contribute, albeit in “a very
symbolic” way.

“We are ready to become engaged in rebuilding Iraq, but our resources
are very modest, so it’s going to be a very modest contribution,
nevertheless, the willingness is there.”

Armenia, Oskanian said, will be contributing doctors, medical personnel
and experts to help clear mines, as well as trucks, drivers and
technicians. The force amounts to about 100 people.

The minister said he believes all neighboring countries in the region
should contribute to the normalization of Iraq. Iraq’s Armenian
community is comprised of roughly 25,000 people.

The skinheads are coming

Agency WPS
What the Papers Say. Part B (Russia)
June 18, 2004, Friday

THE SKINHEADS ARE COMING

SOURCE: Russkii Kurier, June 18, 2004, pp. 12-13

By: Alexander Tarasov

Disastrous economic depression has left millions of Russians out of
work since 1991. The education system collapsed. Between 400 and 450
schools have been shut down nationwide every year the last several
years – for financial reasons only – and most their students found
themselves unable to continue their education. According to the
official data compiled by army enlistment and recruitment offices in
Siberia, between 7% and 11% of conscripts were illiterate in 1997.
Every third offender of high school age lacked even a basic education
in spring 1999. Crime, alcohol abuse, and drugs have inundated Russia –
and particularly its youths.

The new generation was an ideal target group for primitive ideologies
based on violence and individualism – criminal and politically criminal
(xenophobic, racist, anti-Semitic).

Skinheads in Russia did not have a systematic ideology at first. They
were but impromptu racists, xenophobes, macho, militarists, and
anti-intellectuals. Constant propagandistic campaigns mounted
one after another by ultra-right parties, however, are turning
skinheads into conscious fascists, anti-communists, orthodox
fundamentalists, and anti-Semites. In fact, Russian skinheads were not
extremely anti-Semitic at first. Their racism was directed against
representatives of non-Caucasians – Negroes, mulattoes, Mongoloids.
Attacks at Jews were infrequent. Brainwashed by the ultra-right,
however, skinheads learned the major anti-Semitic myths – concerning
the Jid conspiracy, Bolsheviks as agents of the world Zionism, and
the Russian people oppressed by the Jids.

Russism, a fairly exotic ultra-right ideology, is quite popular
with skinheads. Boasting of their Orthodox roots, Russism is
fairly indulgent towards Aryan paganism (in the spirit of national
socialism, that is) because “the race is above faith” and “blood
unites while religions separate.” Russism creates a bridge between
pre-revolutionary Orthodox monarchism and national socialism. According
to this ideology, there were two “great Aryan leaders in the 20th
century” – Tsar Nicholas II and Adolf Hitler. Moreover, Hitler was an
avenger for Nicholas II, “ritually sacrificed by Bolsheviks and Yids”
and tried to bring “the Cross-Swastika into Yid-oppressed Russia.”

It should be noted that there are three major directions of skinhead
movement in the world – neo-Nazis, communist skinheads, and traditional
skinheads. Most Russian skinheads are neo-Nazis, while throughout
the rest of the world the traditional ones prevail.

The first skinheads in Russia were teenagers aged 13 to 19,
students of technical colleges, pupils of secondary schools, or
unemployed. The situation eventually changed. Equipment alone with all
necessary trimmings (boots, the bomber, stripes, tattoos, etc) costs
approximately 15,000 rubles. The poor do not have this sort of money to
throw around. A skinhead nowadays is frequently an owner of a pocket
computer and cell phone. Skinheads form small groups, essentially
gangs of three to ten men. On the average, such gangs last several
years. There are, however, larger and better-organized structures.

Skinlegion and Blood & Honor – Russian Subsidiary (B&H) were the
first to appear in Moscow. B&H is an international organization of
Nazi skinheads outlawed in some countries as extremist or fascist.
B&H – Russian Subdivision and Skinlegion included between 200
and 250 activists each. There was some sort of discipline in the
organizations, hierarchy, etc. United Brigades 88 (UB 88), the
third large organization, appeared in 1998, when fairly small White
Bulldogs and Lefortovo Front merged. The name of the organization
is quite revealing. The figure 8 stands for H, the eighth letter
in the Latin alphabet – therefore 88 stands for HH or Heil Hitler!
Hammerskin Nation appeared shortly afterwards – calling itself a
subdivision of the namesake international organization.

Skinhead gangs appeared precisely in the largest and best developed
cities – where social split of the population is particularly
noticeable. “The second wave” has inundated small provincial townships
as well.

No one fought the movement. OMON busy tackling residents of the
Caucasus, skinheads “gallantly” chose their own targets – people from
Central Asia or the Third World. Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Nizhny
Novgorod are known as the centers of skinhead movement in Russia. In
Moscow, skinheads concentrate on Africans and Indians. St. Petersburg
skinheads attack Africans, Nepalese, and Chinese. In Nizhny Novgorod,
it is men from Central Asia (mostly Tajik refugees) who are in the
focus of attention.

The police were always unbelievably indulgent. In Nizhny Novgorod,
Tajiks feared going to the police because every such approach
inevitably ended in their own arrests (with traditional references to
“illegitimate presence on the territory of the Russian Federation”)
with the following extortion of bribes or – whenever there was nothing
to be extorted – a beating and deportation. Feeling impunity, skinhead
movement grew up fast. These days, there are 50,000 skinheads in
Russia. Between 5,000 and 5,500 skinheads live and operate in Moscow
and the region, up to 3,000 in St. Petersburg and the environs, over
2,500 in Nizhny Novgorod, more than 1,500 in Rostov-on-Don. There
are over 1,000 skinheads in Pskov, Kaliningrad, Yekaterinburg, and
Krasnodar each, and several hundred in each of the following cities
– Voronezh, Samara, Saratov, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Omsk, Tomsk,
Vladivostok, Ryazan, Petrozavodsk. Back in 1992, there were just a
dozen skinheads in Moscow and five or so in St. Petersburg. Skinhead
gangs exist in approximately 85 Russian cities nowadays.

Ultra-right and nationalist parties and organizations view skinheads
as their potential recruiting pool. In Moscow, the Russian National
Socialist Party (Russian National Union before 1998) was the first
to turn its attention to skinheads.

Liberty Party (Russian National Republican Party before 2000) handles
skinheads in St. Petersburg, and Russian National Unity and the Russian
Guard (a splinter group) in the Trans-Volga region and Krasnodar.

It should be noted as well that most ultra-right parties began
working with skinheads only when advised to do so by their Western
counterparts. Emissaries of neo-fascist groups have been regularly
coming to Russia since 1997 from the United States, Germany, the Czech
Republic, and Austria. They came with recommendations on how skinheads
should be handled, The United States for example was represented
by KKK, Germany by Viking Youth (banned in Germany itself), German
People’s Union, Steel Helmet (also banned), National People’s Front,
Right Union, etc. Fascist emissaries know no visa barriers.

Skinheads feel at home in most Russian cities. The police and the
authorities are clearly on their side. Choi Yun Shik (President of the
Association of South Korean Students studying in Moscow) and Gabriel
Kotchofa (President of the Moscow Association of Foreign Students)
claim that the Moscow police refused to press charges against
skinheads in literally hundreds episodes. Colonel Mikhail Kirilin
of the Public Relations Center of the Federal Security Service and
Vladimir Vershkov of the PR Department of the Moscow Municipal Internal
Affairs Directorate told The Moscow Times that these services do not
regard skinheads as something dangerous. Perhaps, existence of the
skinhead movement is even beneficial to some because they are someone
on whom blame for the crimes committed by others may be pinned. The
raid to the camp of Tajik refugees in the Moscow region in 1997 (when
an infant was murdered) was pinned on skinheads, but it was clear
from the very beginning that the operation was much too professional.

There are numerous reports that Nazi skinheads are encouraged,
organized, and used by ruling circles of Russia. There were the
reports in the past that the Nazis had the protection of the regional
authorities (Krasnodar and Stavropol territories, Pskov region)
and law enforcement agencies (Saratov, Voronezh, Nizhny Novgorod,
Volgograd, Samara). It was established in 2002 that Nazi skinheads
were trained at the camp of the Moscow OMON. It would have been
impossible without permission from the upper echelons of the federal
Interior Ministry. In fact, close contacts between the Moscow police,
Russian National Unity, and skinheads were exposed in November 2001
when racist policemen Adanjaev and Yevdokimov were facing trial.

Dismissed by the authorities and ignored by the media, skinheads
progressed to pogroms. The first pogrom took place at the Vietnamese
hostel near Sokol metro station in Moscow on October 21, 2000. The
authorities and the media kept the matter under the lid, and
skinheads smashed up the Armenian school on March 15, 2001. The
police – when they came – merely dispersed skinheads. Not a single
arrest was made. Ignoring protests of the Moscow Armenian community
and official structures of the Republic of Armenia, city fathers did
not lift a finger to do anything about it.

A pogrom at the marketplace in Yasenevo was next. It was too serious
an incident to keep under the lid. Six skinheads were eventually
brought to trial.

The following pogrom began at the marketplace near Tsaritsyno metro
station and ended by the Hotel Sevastopol where Afghans reside. At
least 300 skinheads participated. Over 80 people were injured, 22 ended
up hospitalized, 4 were killed (a Moscow Armenian, citizen of India,
citizen of Tajikistan, and a refugee from Afghanistan). A public outcry
followed. Moscow authorities were forced to set up a special division
to fight youth extremism. The Federal Security Service (FSB) claimed
a lack of any information on the problem and was very uncooperative
when approached for help.

Only five skinheads faced trial.

Yasenevo and Tsaritsyno pogroms set the example. A wave of pogroms
swept the country.

Before “the second wave,” skinheads in Russia numbered between 35,000
and 40,000. When the wave is finally over, they will number between
75,000 and 80,000. And since youth subcultures never disappear in
Russia completely (not like in the West), it is reasonable to assume
that skinheads are here to stay.

Putin to attend back-to-back summits of former Soviet republics

Associated Press Worldstream
June 17, 2004 Thursday

Putin to attend back-to-back summits of former Soviet republics to
step up security, economic cooperation

by BAGILA BUKHARBAYEVA; Associated Press Writer

ASTANA, Kazakhstan

Russian Vladimir Putin and leaders of several other former Soviet
republics plan to boost security and economic ties at back-to-back
summits in the Kazakh capital, wrapping up a week of intense regional
diplomacy in strategic Central Asia.

The meetings Friday of presidents from member states of the
Russia-dominated Collective Security Treaty and Eurasian Economic
Community come after the summit in the Uzbek capital Tashkent a
day ago of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a security group
including China, Russia and four Central Asian nations.

As members of the Collective Security Treaty, the leaders of Armenia,
Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan are expected
to discuss regional security and plans to beef up their collective
rapid reaction forces.

The alliance has nine battalions based in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan,
Kazakhstan and Russia and plans by 2010 to form a mobile force intended
to quickly respond to security threats to its members.

Kyrgyzstan’s Foreign Ministry said treaty members will sign an
agreement on joint use of one another’s military facilities.

Russia has been recently seeking closer military and security
ties with former Soviet Central Asia, apparently trying to counter
increased U.S. influence here. The United States set up military
bases in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan to back its anti-terror campaign
in neighboring Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 attacks nearly three
years ago.

Last year, Russia opened a military base in Kyrgyzstan under
the Collective Security Treaty to provide air support for future
anti-terrorist operations.

Russia’s moves have also been prompted by security concerns because
of the spread of radical Islam in Central Asia after the 1991 Soviet
collapse.

After the security summit, leaders of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan will on Friday sign agreements on adopting
unified laws and circulation of securities among the Eurasian Economic
Community.

The group was created in 2000 to restore lost economic ties after the
1991 Soviet collapse. Russia has 40 percent of the voting rights in
the organization and covers 40 percent of its budget.

In February, the countries agreed to form a customs union by 2006.
They are also working on creating a transport union and coordinated
migration policies, and are discussing unified energy and agricultural
markets.

At Thursday’s summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, China
offered US$900 million in credit to other treaty countries, which also
include Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The
group also inaugurated an anti-terrorism center in Tashkent.

That summit was preceded by official visits here by Chinese President
Hu Jintao and Putin, who signed separate bilateral cooperation
agreements with Central Asia’s most populous country.

Former Soviet republics put finishing touches on Eurasian integratio

Former Soviet republics put finishing touches on Eurasian integration deal
by BAGILA BUKHARBAYEVA; Associated Press Writer

Associated Press Worldstream
June 17, 2004 Thursday

ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Senior officials from five former Soviet
republics put the final touches Thursday on draft agreements aimed
at pushing forward their economic integration.

The agreements on adoption of unified laws and circulation of
securities among the Russia-dominated Eurasian Economic Community
will be signed by the nations’ leaders Friday in the Kazakh capital
Astana. The group also includes Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan
and Tajikistan.

Gregori Rapota, the group’s secretary-general, said Thursday the
agreement on common laws would be a “first step toward handing
over some (lawmaking) functions to a supranational parliament.” The
securities agreement would help ensure free capital flow between the
countries, he said.

The nations’ deputy prime ministers also discussed plans to
introduce favorable railway tariffs and create a joint water and
energy consortium to end regional disputes over sharing resources,
said Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister Sauat Mynbayev.

The Eurasian Economic Community was founded in 2000 to restore lost
economic ties after the 1991 Soviet collapse. Russia has 40 percent
of the voting rights in the organization and covers 40 percent of
its budget.

In February, the countries agreed to form a customs union by 2006.
The nations have a total population of more than 180 million.

The five countries are also working on creating a transport union and
coordinated migration policies, and are discussing unified energy and
agricultural markets. They also plan to move toward a single currency.

Three other former Soviet republics – Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine –
have observer status in the group.

The group’s summit Friday will be followed by a meeting of leaders
of the Collective Security Treaty, a security alliance including the
five economic community members and Armenia.

Friday’s meetings in Astana come after a summit Thursday of a security
grouping of China, Russia and four former Soviet republics in Central
Asia in the Uzbek capital Tashkent.

Putin speaks at forum in Eurasian University in Astana

Putin speaks at forum in Eurasian University in Astana

ITAR-TASS News Agency
June 18, 2004 Friday 12:22 AM Eastern Time

ASTANA, June 18 — Russian President Vladimir Putin is participating
in the work of the international forum on “Eurasian Integration:
Current Development Trends and Globalization Challenges,” which has
opened in Astana.

The forum takes place in Eurasian National University. It was founded
in 1996 at the site of Akmola University.

Under the Kazakh presidential decree, the institution of higher
learning has a special status.

Graduates from the university have state diplomas recognised in
CIS countries.

Education in several fields of specialization is given here to students
from Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Turkmenistan, China,
Mongolia, Yemen, Lebanon and Turkey.

The Kazakh branch of Moscow Lomonosov State University was founded
at Eurasian University in 2001.

Foreign leaders and heads of international organisations visited
Eurasian University more than once.

CIS presidents Vladimir Putin, Askar Akayev, Saparmurat Niyazov,
Alexander Lukashenko, Leonid Kuchma and Ilkham Aliyev addressed
students here.

NATO secretary general George Robertson, Spanish King Juan Carlos,
Pope John Paul II and Polish President Alexander Kwasniewski visited
the university.

CSTO countries discuss collective security in Kazakh capital

CSTO countries discuss collective security in Kazakh capital

ITAR-TASS News Agency
June 18, 2004 Friday 12:22 AM Eastern Time

ASTANA, June 18 — Leaders of the Collective Security Treaty
Organisation (CSTO) member states at their summit here on Friday
discussed collective measures of security building and CSTO
strengthening.

Presidents of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and
Tajikistan, as well as the CSTO Secretary General, Nikolai Bordyuzha
began a round-table discussion in a narrow format.

Journalists attended only the summit’s opening ceremony and after
that the session was continued behind closed doors.

Russian president’s aide Sergei Prikhodko said earlier that the leaders
of the six countries would discuss in greater detail the situation
in the Middle East, including, possibly, the U.S. Greater Middle
East initiative, proposed at the recent Group of Eight (G8) summit,
the situation in Afghanistan, interaction in fighting terrorism,
and in combating drugs trafficking.

In this connection, Putin will inform the other presidents of the
results of the G8 summit. The Heads of State will touch upon matters
concerning the CSTO cooperation with other organisations, the United
Nations and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe,
in particular.

Prikhodko mentioned the following three most important items on the
agenda of the CSTO summit: a real coordination of foreign policies
within the framework of international organisations, the establishment
of real functioning of the structures of the CSTO itself and joint
actions of air defence systems.

Heads of six CIS countries – Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia,
Tajikistan and Uzbekistan signed the Collective Security Treaty in
Tashkent in 1992. Azerbaijan, Georgia and Belarus joined the treaty
in 1993.

The treaty came into force for all nine countries in April 1994. But
in April 1999 Azerbaijan, Georgia and Uzbekistan decided not to sign
a protocol on the treaty’s prolongation.

In 2002, the treaty was transformed into a valid international
organisation-CSTO.

The CSTO regulation said the member-countries take joint actions to
form an efficient collective security system within the framework of
the Organisation, create regional military groupings and coordinate
their efforts in fighting international terrorism, drug and arms
trafficking, organised crime, illegal migration and other threats.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Nazarbayev notes growing threat to CSTO stability, security

Nazarbayev notes growing threat to CSTO stability, security
By Mikhail Petrov

ITAR-TASS News Agency
June 18, 2004 Friday 12:22 AM Eastern Time

ASTANA, June 18 – President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev
has pointed to the “increased threat to stability and security” to
member-countries of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO).

Speaking at an enlarged meeting of the CSTO summit in the Kazakh
capital Astana on Friday he urged to “reduce to minimum the doubling
of functions within the framework of the organisation, concentrate
on the military-political component and intensify cooperation against
challenges and threats of today.”

Addressing the presidents of Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Russia
and Tajikistan the Kazakh leader noted that the CSTO member states
have considerable prospects for military-technical cooperation.

“At today’s meeting we should consider priorities of our activities
for the near-term prospect,” Nazarbayev said.

The Astana summit opened with a discussion in private held behind
closed doors. Russian president’s aide Sergei Prikhodko said
earlier that the main subjects for discussion could be divided into
three parts: the actual coordination of the foreign policy within
international organisations framework, set-up of real functioning of
structures of the CSTO itself and joint operations of its anti-aircraft
defence systems.

The Collective security Treaty (CST) was signed in Tashkent in 1992
by heads of six CIS countries – Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Azerbaijan, Georgia and Belarus
joined the treaty in 1993.

The treaty came into force for all the nine countries in April 1994
for a term of five years. However, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Uzbekistan
decided not to sign a protocol on the treaty’s prolongation in
April 1999.

In 2002 the CST was reorganized into a full-fledged international
organisation – the CSTO.

Under the CSTO charter, its member states take joint measures to
form within the framework of the organisation a viable system of
collective security and create regional groups of troops, coordinate
their efforts in the fight against international terrorism, drug
trafficking, weapons smuggling, organised crime, illegal migration
and other menaces to their security.

CSTO rapid deployment forces to hold joint exercises

CSTO rapid deployment forces to hold joint exercises (adds)
By Mikhail Peterov

ITAR-TASS News Agency
June 18, 2004 Friday 12:22 AM Eastern Time

ASTANA, June 18 — Rapid deployment forces of the Collective Security
Treaty Organisation (CSTO) will hold joint exercises in Central Asia
in late July-early August, Russian Defence Minister Sergey Ivanov
told a briefing at the outcome of the CSTO summit here on Friday.

He said the first phase of the war games will take place in Kazakhstan
and the second, in Kyrgyzstan.

“In the exercises, Russia will be represented by combat units and
commando forces, which will be airlifted to the scene of the exercises,
as well as combat planes and helicopters,” the minister said. “The
aircraft will carry out real bomb-droppings and simulate actions in
an unfamiliar theatre of operations,” Ivanov said.

According to Ivanov, “these war games will demonstrate the CSTO rapid
deployment forces’ resolve to rebuff any attempts to destabilize
the situation.”

Ivanov also said the summit had mapped out the main directions of
the coalition military cooperation up to 2010.

According to the minister, Russia and Uzbekistan in 2005 intend to
hold joint exercises “with the use of warplanes, helicopter gun ships
and commando forces.”

“The war games will be held in a mountainous test range near
Samarkand,” he indicated.

Answering a question on a possible return of Uzbekistan to the
Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) Ivanov said, “Russia
builds its relations with Uzbekistan so that the partner could feel
welcome and convenient. If Uzbekistan shows no wish to join the CSTO,
Russia doesn’t intend to persuade it,” the minister said.

“We are ready to hold talks and do not plan to run away and hide head
in the sand.”

Heads of six CIS countries – Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia,
Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – signed the Collective Security Treaty in
Tashkent in 1992. Azerbaijan, Georgia and Belarus joined the treaty
in 1993.

The treaty came into force in all nine countries in April 1994. But
in April 1999 Azerbaijan, Georgia and Uzbekistan decided not to sign
a protocol on its prolongation.

In 2002, the Collective Security Treaty format was transformed into
a valid international organisation-CSTO.

The CSTO rules say the member-countries take joint actions to form
an efficient collective security system within the framework of
the Organisation, create regional military groupings and coordinate
their efforts in fighting with international terrorism, drug and arms
trafficking, organised crime, illegal migration and other threats.

Boxing: Harrison vs Abelyan: Cometh the hour cometh the man?

Harrison vs Abelyan: Cometh the hour cometh the man?

EastsideBoxing.com
June 18 2004

18.06.04 – Gavin Macleod: The true greats in every sport are the select
few, who in the face of their toughest challenge, can rise to the
occasion and produce their finest performance. Michael Jordan could
always find something special when playing in NBA Finals, Zinedine
Zidane finds his best form when playing in soccer’s biggest games
and Muhammad Ali dug deep into his bag of tricks to outfox George
Foreman in Kinshasa Zaire all that time ago.

To men like the aforementioned winning is everything, and they have
that special talent that can see them come through situations that
they are not expected to. This Saturday WBO featherweight champion
Scott Harrison is hoping to prove that against William “The Conqueror”
Abelyan, in the potentially toughest contest of his career, he can
rise to the occasion and produce a performance to elevate him into the
division’s upper echelons alongside men such as Juan Manuel Marquez
and Manny Pacquiao.

Hometown hero Harrison will be making the second defence of his second
reign as champion in front the adoring Scottish supporters at Glasgow’s
Braehead Arena, who as always will provide the strident support that
has become as much a feature of Harrison’s performance’s as his
relentless pressure and supreme strength. But this is no ordinary
fight for Harrison.

Having being delayed since last March, once due to Abelyan injuring a
shoulder and once due to Harrison damaging ligaments in his right arm
whilst doing pull-ups in the gym, this fight has had time to build
up into what has now become a must see contest between two fighters
that have spent the past three months having their respective digs at
one another. Not only that but the representative’s from both camps,
namely Harrison’s manager Frank Maloney and Abelyan’s manager Gary
Shaw. have also engaged in a war of words that has helped build up
the tension in the media on both side’s of the pond.

This is not usually a feature of Harrison’s make-up as he generally
makes comments to the effect of his fists doing the talking but on
this particular occasion it would seem that his opponent has genuinely
got under his skin. Now you couple that with the assault charge that
Harrison has just been cleared of and you have a champion with a score
to settle with his opponent and also with a renewed focus and drive,
having seen the threat of his title being revoked squashed by Sheriff
Rae Small’s not guilty verdict clearing him of any wrong doing.

American based Armenian Ableyan will be no soft touch however,
and has what many people believe to be the wrong style for the
champion being a southpaw and a “mover”. He has a slate of 23-4-1
(12) that could be misleading as three of these defeats came in
his first nine fights and one of them was a ten round points loss
against the former IBF featherweight champion Hector Lizarraga which
represents no shame at all. The fourth loss though does give cause
for concern. Back in January of 2000 Abelyan faced up to the always
tough and rugged Columbian Victor Polo, and was a step up for “The
Conqueror” but nobody would have expected him to be blown away inside
a round against an opponent who was never regarded as a big hitter.

Conversely, Abelyan’s form since that defeat has been something
to take note of as he has rattled of thirteen successive victories
against some well respected opponents. He outpointed the six time
world title challenger Jesus Salud over ten rounds in 2002 and also
stopped another hardened former world title challenger when stopping
Orlando Soto in the tenth round, four months later.

Undoubtedly his biggest win came in what was his biggest fight against
former WBC world champion Guty Espadas Jnr. Southpaw Abelyan came
in at four days notice and dropped his opponent in the sixth and
eighth round, which all went to bringing him a unanimous ten round
decision. More impressive was that it was not long after Espadas had
just lost a very close twelve rounder against the exceptional Mexican,
Erik Morales.

Harrison has never admitted his distaste for southpaws but it is a
common feature in all orthodox fighters to not enjoy fighting against
the games “lefty’s”. However, the five tough rounds he got in against
Abelyan’s March date replacement, Walter Estrada, will have aided
the champion’s preparations considerably. The Columbian seemed to
have come to fight and his power and shots from the southpaw stance
gave Harrison problems early on, as at times Harrison seemed to be
momentarily stunned by his opponents stinging shots through the middle.

Harrison, 21-2-1 (11) is a true warrior though and eventually got
out of his slow start to crank up a few gears, using his strength to
bully his opponent back and attack his body. This worked wonders as
in round five Estrada seemed to have lost interest in a fight that had
now swung firmly out of his favour. He did give the champion food for
thought and gave him invaluable experience against a tough southpaw
for five rounds and it will be experience that Team Harrison will be
hoping to utilise for the impending contest with the Armenian.

Abelyan in essence has the ability to give Harrison problems and has
shown against Espadas that he has a lot of ability and could well
be on his way to making strides in this division. His quick hands
and good jab will surely be used with an aim to stick and move on
Harrison as standing toe-to-toe with the Scot could prove suicidal
when thinking back to the Polo fight. Indeed I wouldn’t expect the
fight to go very far should the challenger follow through with is
claim of “going to war” with Harrison.

There are other negative sides to Abelyan. The Espadas victory
however should not be the sole focus Abelyan’s achievements as it
is not improbable that Espadas took the fight very lightly against
the then unknown Armenian. Abelyan won a majority ten round decision
against the tough Armando Cordoba but this is over-shadowed by latest
Harrison victim Estrada, who knocked Cordoba cold in three rounds.
Alarmingly in his second last outing, against Jose Luis Tula, Abelyan
was in major trouble and taking some hard shots in the final round
of a fight he won via a unanimous twelve round decision.

Harrison is a relentless come forward fighter, hence leading to
Abelyan’s labelling him “a robot” but his sheer size and strength
could see him be too much for Abelyan who is also hindered in this
fight by a one year absence from the ring. While Abelyan’s speed
and southpaw stance could be the key to unlock the Cambuslang mans
title belt from around his waist, there are question marks around
his punch resistance and stamina, both of which can not be doubted
when talking about Harrison. After taking his usual residence in the
Scottish mountains and rehabilitating his injured ligaments with some
underwater therapy in the Hampden Sports complex Harrison should be
in the best condition of his career as he now reaches his peak years.

The key to this fight will be Harrison’s ability to cut off his
opponent, trap him in a corner or on the ropes and then unloading
with his two handed, high volume punch combinations. I would expect to
see Abelyan pick off Harrison for the first four rounds, but holding
off Harrison is like using a sponge bat to fend off a wild bull and
hence I believe Harrison will begin to catch up with his man before
taking a firm grip on the contest and halting his man in or around
the tenth round.

One thing is certain though, that for Harrison to get the unification
mega fights that he has his sights set on, he needs to prove that like
the greats in every sport, he is capable of producing his finest when
the time comes.

Ethnic Armenian MPs gather in Yerevan to discuss national problems

Ethnic Armenian MPs gather in Yerevan to discuss national problems

Noyan Tapan news agency, Yerevan
18 Jun 04

Seventy deputies of Armenian origin from 25 countries have arrived
in Yerevan to attend the first session of the Armenian Parliamentary
Assembly of Friendship, Noyan Tapan news agency said on 18 June.

The session whose sole aim is to “join the efforts of the Armenian
National Assembly and MPs of Armenian origin from abroad” is discussing
“ways of resolving all-Armenian problems and expanding relations
between parliaments”, the agency said.

Armenian Speaker Artur Bagdasaryan, Prime Minister Andranik Markaryan,
the chairman of the Karabakh parliament, Oleg Yesayan, and Armenian
Prime Minister Vardan Oskanyan addressed the session and noted the
need to “maintain the assembly’s effective work” and regularly to
gather to discuss national issues.