ASBAREZ Online [06-25-2004]


1. Gorky Family Representative Expounds Family’s Decision
2. House Panel Vote Maintains Parity in US Military Aid to Armenia and
3. Poll Shows Universal Rejection of Karabagh’s Return to Azerbaijan
4. Kocharian Delivers Powerful Message to PACE

1. Gorky Family Representative Expounds Family’s Decision

On behalf of Arshile Gorky’s family, son-in-law Matthew Spender recently
explained to Asbarez that although the chances of transferring Gorky’s remains
to Armenia are small, the Gorky family would review a formal request.
In May of this year, the family was stunned by the announcement of the
Yerevan-based Arshile Gorky Foundation, that efforts were underway to
and bury the remains of the artist in Armenia, so as to carry out Gorky’s
greatest dreams “to return home and to be one with the soil of Armenia.”
Spender had responded saying that neither Gorky’s daughter Maro, her mother,
nor sister had been informed of the plan, and were against the idea. “Gorky’s
resting place in Connecticut is final,” emphasized Spender.
In a June 23 letter, Spender explained that a similar attempt had been made
many years ago by Gorky’s nephew Karlen Mooradian, but was rejected by the
family. “The confidence with which the present group has been raising money
the scheme has also created a bad impression, as you can imagine,” Spender
Asbarez. “But it is only fair to give the proposal a hearing.”
Addressing the point of Gorky’s remains being at one with the soil of
Spender explained that Gorky’s relationship to Armenia is unclear. “Vartoosh
and her husband returned there in 1935 and had a terrible time. It was only
with difficulty that Gorky, through a US relief agency (to which he remained
eternally grateful), was able to bring them back to the United States.”
In fact, Spender says that Gorky never really mentioned the Republic of
Armenia, except in one letter in which he “seemed diffident,” about it.
“Regarding what one might guess to have been his feeling on the subject, it
would make more sense to translate his remains to Van than to Armenia. But
that, of course, is out of the question,” concludes Spender.
Spender is the author of the 1999 Gorky biography, From a High Place: A Life
of Arshile Gorky.

2. House Panel Vote Maintains Parity in US Military Aid to Armenia and

WASHINGTON, DC (ANCA)–A key House Appropriations Subcommittee, voted on June
23 to maintain parity in US foreign military financing (FMF) assistance to
Armenia and Azerbaijan. The decision counters President Bush’s FY 2005 budget
proposal, which would have broken an earlier agreement between the
Administration and Congressional leaders to ensure balanced military
to the two countries.
The House Foreign Operations Subcommittee, chaired by Arizona Republican Jim
Kolbe, voted to allocate $5 million in military assistance to Armenia and
Azerbaijan, respectively, as opposed to President Bush’s request of $8 million
for Azerbaijan and $2 million for Armenia. The Committee also supported a hard
earmark of $65 million in US assistance to Armenia, and $5 million for
Mountainous Karabagh. By contrast, the Bush Administration had requested $62
million for Armenia and had not specified any funds for Mountainous Karabagh.
The Subcommittee’s decision would effectively reduce US assistance to Armenia
by $10 million from FY 2004 levels. The reduction reflects an overall
of US assistance to former Soviet countries.
In the months leading up to the Subcommittee mark up of the foreign aid bill,
Armenian American activists from across the country participated in ANCA
campaigns calling attention to potential repercussions to breaking US military
assistance parity between Armenia and Azerbaijan. In February, activists noted
that the brutal murder in Hungary of 26-year-old Armenian Lieutenant Gurgen
Markarian during a NATO language course underscored the dangers posed by
adopting President Bush’s policy. That tragedy was followed by disturbing
rhetoric by the Azerbaijani leadership threatening to resolve the Mountainous
Karabagh issue militarily. As Armenians and Azerbaijanis were marking the 10th
anniversary of the Mountainous Karabagh ceasefire on May 12th, Azerbaijani
President Ilham Aliyev announced that, “We [Azerbaijan] must increase our
military potential. Our army is able at any moment to free our territory.”
Aliyev went on to note that military expenditures have grown over the past
several years and “it will keep increasing in the future.”
In a briefing paper faxed to House and Senate members earlier this year, the
ANCA noted that “a tilt in military spending toward Azerbaijan would
destabilize the region, emboldening the new Azerbaijani leadership to continue
their threats to impose a military solution to the Mountainous Karabagh
conflict. More broadly, breaching the parity agreement would reward the
leadership of Azerbaijan for walking away from the OSCE’s Key West peace
the most promising opportunity to resolve the Mountainous Karabagh conflict in
nearly a decade.”
Members of Congress concurred with this assessment, with over 30 House
cosigning a February 24th letter to President Bush, initiated by Congressional
Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ), stating that they “strongly
believe that providing unequal military assistance to Azerbaijan and Armenia
will contribute to instability in the region and could unintentionally tip the
military balance.” Earlier that month, on February 11, Representatives
McCotter (R-MI), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Brad Sherman
(D-CA) pressed Secretary of State Colin Powell to explain the Administration’s
reasoning for the proposed break in Armenia-Azerbaijan military parity in
spoken and written statements submitted during his testimony before the House
International Relations Committee.
In April, Rep. Pallone and New York Republican John Sweeney initiated a
to Foreign Operations Subcommittee Chairman Jim Kolbe and Ranking Democrat
Lowey (D-NY) urging that military parity be maintained. Foreign Operations
Subcommittee member and Congressional Armenian Caucus co-Chairman Joe
Knollenberg (R-MI) was outspoken in his efforts to maintain a balance in
military assistance to the two countries. During the ANCA Capitol Hill
Observance of the Armenian Genocide, Rep. Knollenberg stated, “every single
time we have gotten the federal government’s dollar numbers for Armenia, they
have always been down and we’ve always had to bring it up. And we aren’t
to stop fighting to bring it back and to ensure there is parity on the
The foreign aid bill will likely be considered by the House Appropriations
Committee on July 9, followed by a full House vote thereafter. The Senate
version of the bill will follow a similar path.

3. Poll Shows Universal Rejection of Karabagh’s Return to Azerbaijan

YEREVAN (ACNIS/RFE/RL)An opinion poll publicized by the Yerevan-based think
tank on Friday shows that less than only one percent of Armenians support
Mountainous Karabagh’s return to Azeri rule as part of a possible peaceful
The Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) said
60 percent of some 2,000 people around the country recently interviewed by its
researchers want Karabagh to formally become a part of Armenia, while 39
percent of them would agree to its independence. The pollsters said only about
a third of those surveyed are against the return of the Armenian-controlled
territories in Azerbaijan proper under any circumstances, the others being
ready to trade them for Karabagh’s independence or a lasting peace.
According to the poll, thirty percent of ordinary Armenians view Russia as
most trustworthy of international mediators and only three percent believe the
United States tends to have a pro-Armenian stance on the issue.
This perception contrasts sharply with the findings of a separate poll
conducted by the ACNIS among 50 political and public policy analysts. Eighteen
percent of them said US interests in the region are good for a pro-Armenian
solution to the Karabagh dispute. Only ten percent mentioned Russia in that
The ACNIS survey confirms the strong Armenian opposition to any deal that
would restore Baku’s control of Karabagh. It comes amid a fresh international
push to end the conflict.
Since the raising of the Karabagh question (1988-2004), 82% of respondent
experts consider the greatest achievement to be independence and sovereignty,
8% guarantees of physical security, 4% confidence in our own abilities, and 4%
enhancement of territory. As for the public survey, 49.7% think that the most
important accomplishment is independence, 6% guarantees of physical security,
10% confidence in one’s own abilities, and 12.8% enhancement of territory. 54%
of responding specialists see the status of Mountainous Karabagh as a part of
Armenia, 32% as an independent and sovereign republic, while 10% find it
acceptable for Karabagh to be an autonomous part of Azerbaijan. Among the
broader public, these figures are 59.7%, 38.6%, and 1.1%, respectively.
All 50 professionals who took part in the focus poll are from Yerevan. 90% of
them are male, and 10% female; 8% are 30 years of age or below, 40% 31-40, 42%
41-50, and 10% 50 or above. All of the experts surveyed have received higher
education: 20% are candidates of science (PhD), 76% hold a Master’s degree,
while 4% have earned solely a Bachelor’s degree. As for the 1,950 citizens
polled, 50% of them are male and 50% female; 30.5% are 30 years of age or
below, 45.2% 31-50, 20.6% 51-70, 3.7% 71 or above. 45.7% of the responding
citizens have received higher education, whereas 11.2% incomplete higher,
specialized secondary, 21.6% secondary, and 2.4% incomplete secondary
Urban residents constitute 60.7% of the citizens surveyed, and rural residents
make up 39.3%. 34.3% are from Yerevan, and 65.7% from all of Armenia’s

4. Kocharian Delivers Powerful Message to PACE

STRASBOURG (PACE)–In his speech to the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary
Assembly (PACE) on Wednesday, President Robert Kocharian addressed the
opposition’s efforts against his administration, the Mountainous Karabagh
conflict and Armenia’s relations with Turkey. The 20-minute speech was
by a question-and-answer session. The two PACE parliamentarians representing
the Armenian opposition boycotted the speech and were not on hand to pose
questions. Azeri and Turkish lawmakers, however, attempted to grill the
president. Asked by one of the Azeri parliamentarian whether he had any
role in
the war over Mountainous Karabagh, Kocharian replied, “Yes, I took part in the
war. My children were hiding in a basement for three years and had no
childhood. I am proud of my participation in the war.”
The following are excerpts from the speech:

Mr President, members of the Parliamentary Assembly and ladies and gentlemen,
it is an honor and pleasure to address you. The last time that I addressed the
Assembly was on a very significant day for Armeniathe day of our accession to
the Council of Europe.
There have been three demanding years of reforms since then that have touched
upon all domains of life in our country and necessitated the full-time
employment of all our efforts. Today I am here to announce proudly that
has fulfilled the vast majority of its accession commitments. For the few
outstanding ones, there is a timetable agreed, with a deadline for conclusion
fixed at the end of this year. If I were asked what the single greatest
achievement was, I would definitely point to the perception Armenian society
has about its own future. The people of Armenia are now more involved in the
everyday life of the country. There is more attachment to the values of
and democracy and the formation of the civil society is burgeoning.
Does this mean Armenia has achieved the desirable level of democratic
freedoms? The obvious answer is no. Democracy has a long way to go in any
country that has a high poverty rate. To assure the peoples’ full
in the democratic process, it is essential to have at least minimal social
guarantees. This is precisely why we strived to synchronize reforms in the
economy, political system, the judiciary and the social field. In essence,
Armenia has completed the process of dismantling the former centralized system
of power and economy, which allowed for total control over the society.
The Armenian economy has undergone radical transformation both in terms of
diversifying areas of economic activity and of liberalizing property law and
regulations. The scope and depth of the reforms allowed for a full-scale
enactment of the market economy. At present over 85% of Armenia’s GDP is
produced in the private sector and over 38% of it in small and medium
enterprises. Annual GDP growth has averaged 12% for the last three consecutive
years, despite the blockade implemented by two fellow members of this very
Our biggest problem is the unacceptable difference in levels of income in our
society. Our dynamic economic growth has allowed us to develop a long-term
poverty elimination strategy. For the first time in Armenia, this governmental
program was developed in close co-operation with international financial
institutions and the wide involvement of society. That strategy now guides us
in political decision-making and in choosing our budget priorities.
Fighting corruption is yet another important step towards effective
The Government of Armenia sees corruption as a systemic evil, which cannot be
eradicated merely through rhetoric or model prosecutions. We concentrate on
systemic change aimed at ruling out the sources of corruption. That is exactly
why we have joined the Greco groupthe Group of States Against Corruptionwhere
we can learn from the experience of other states on combating corruption.
Through a wide discussion including the Organization for Security and
Co-operation in Europe, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, we
have developed a comprehensive anti-corruption strategy. A few weeks ago I
established an Anti-Corruption Council. We count on the international
to help us combat this scourge.
Ladies and gentlemen, I know many of you wonder: what was happening in
last spring? What fostered the activity of the opposition to replace
parliamentary work with revolutionary rallies? You are right to wonder, since
you have been all informed by the monitoring group of rapporteurs, who had
visited Armenia only very recentlyin Januarythat there have been significant
advances in fulfilling the commitments accepted at our accession. Most of
dealt with advancing democracy. Recently, Resolution 1361 of the Assembly was
adopted, setting out the extent to which Armenia has fulfilled its
Expert evaluations of Armenia by international financial institutions are more
than optimistic. Double-digit economic growth figures and budgetary surpluses
are not fertile ground for revolution. Moreover, there are three full years
before the next parliamentary elections. Therefore, there were no internal
factors that would explain the increase in political activity. So what
The answer is easy. The opposition, encouraged by the results of the `rose
revolution’ in neighboring Georgia, decided to duplicate it in the Armenian
reality, which, however, had nothing in common with the Georgian one. They
disregarded the fact that Armenia’s economy, as opposed to Georgia’s, is
undergoing dynamic advance. Our government is efficient and our democratic
achievements are safeguarded by institutional structures, including a law
enforcement system capable of protecting public order.
History has often demonstrated that inspiration from foreign revolutions
results in positive outcomes. Unfortunately, learning often comes only from
people’s own mistakes. That also happened in our case. The opposition left the
parliament and organized rallies in the streets. They openly declared their
goal was to destabilize the situation in the country, attract the maximum
possible number of participants to street action, surround the building of the
Presidency and force me to resign.
Once the opposition witnessed the lack of public interest in their action,
they decided to increase the tension, most probably to attract attention. They
blocked the busiest boulevard of the city of Yerevan. That resulted in
disruption of traffic and prevented the normal functioning of the National
Assembly, of the Administration of the President and of the Constitutional
Court. In the area they blocked off, there are four embassies, the National
Academy of Science and one of the biggest schools. The organizers called on
public to undertake civil disobedience. The police were left with no choice;
public order was restored quickly, without any significant damage to the
of the participants.
Calling on the police for such operations is always regrettable. Still,
authorities have to protect the society from political extremists. That is
particularly important in young democracies, which still lack the advanced
traditions of the political and legal culture, and even more so when part of
the population lives in poverty and can be easily manipulated by populist
I would particularly like to mention that the parties comprising the ruling
coalition have many times offered co-operation to the opposition.
Unfortunately, those offers were rejected. The opposition probably thinks that
co-operation would undermine the revolutionary temper of their supporters. Our
proposals were announced in the press and on television and were made in
writing and orally but they were rejected.
Our country is at an important stage of its advancement, and I am confident
that there are many things that need to be done jointly. We have offered to
work together with the opposition on the most important issues: constitutional
reform and the new electoral code. The offer is still valid; however the
discussions must be held in parliament, not in the street.
I would not refer to all this but for the last Parliamentary Assembly
resolution on Armenia. I regret that the Assembly was dragged into the
discussion. I am convinced that the Council of Europe is not the best forum in
which to clarify relations between the domestic authorities and the
that should be done in one’s own parliament. I regret that, and I felt
duty-bound to comment on what has been happening in Armenia.
Let me now turn to one of the priority interest issues for Armenia. At the
time of accession Armenia undertook to take steps towards peaceful settlement
of the Mountainous Karabagh conflict. We have done so because we greatly
appreciate the necessity of friendly relations among neighboring states.
However, the ability to secure a long-lasting solution requires a deep
understanding of the essence of the conflict. I would like to outline two
important characteristics of the Karabagh conflict.
First, Karabagh has never been part of independent Azerbaijan. At the time of
the collapse of the Soviet Union two states were formed: the Azerbaijani
Republic on the territory of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, and the
Republic of Mountainous Karabagh on the territory of the Mountainous Karabagh
autonomous region. Establishment of both these states has similar legal
grounds. The territorial integrity of Azerbaijan henceforth has nothing to do
with the Republic of Mountainous Karabagh. We are ready to discuss the
issue of
settling that conflict in the legal domain.
Secondly, the war of 1992-94 was launched by the aggression of the Azeri
authorities, which attempted to implement ethnic cleansing of the territory of
Mountainous-Karabagh with the purpose of its annexation. The situation in
today is the result of a selfless fight of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh
for survival on their own land. It is a classic example of both the
implementation of the right to self-determination and misuse of the
`territorial integrity’ concept as a justification for ethnic cleansings.
The people of Karabagh have prevailed in their striving for independent life
in an egalitarian society. Independence of Karabagh today has sixteen years of
history. An entire generation grew up there that can think of no other status
for the country. The Mountainous Karabagh Republic today is an established
state, in essence meeting all the Council of Europe’s membership criteria. It
is the reality which cannot be ignored. That is exactly why we insist on
participation by Mountainous Karabakh in the negotiations, in which Armenia
actively participates.
The solution will emerge from the substance of the conflict, not from the
perception of the possible strengthening of Azerbaijan through future `oil
money.” The `oil money’ approach is the formula of confrontation and not of
compromise. Armenia is ready to continue and advance the ceasefire regime. We
are ready for serious negotiations on a full-scale solution for the conflict.
That is exactly why we have accepted two last formulas of solution offered by
the international mediators, which, unfortunately, were rejected by
I want to comment on Armenian-Turkish relations, or rather on its absence.
Those relations are shaded by the memories of the past: the Genocide, its
consequences and the lack of repentance. Nowadays the situation is worsened by
the blockade of Armenia by Turkey. I would like to outline two principles
in my view are crucial to finding the way out of this impasse.
First, the development of practical ties and deliberations over the inherited
problems must take place in different dimensions, and one must not influence
the other. Secondly, Armenian-Turkish relations must not be conditioned by our
relations with a third country. No prizes for guessing that I am referring to
Azerbaijan. Any precondition terminates all positive expectations.

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