Armenian Reporter – 3/31/2007 – front section

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March 31, 2007 — From the front section
All of the articles that appear below are special to the Armenian Reporter
For photographs, visit

1. Prime Minister Andranik Margarian, 55, is dead

2. Armenian-Americans lead grassroots effort to promote U.S. response
to genocide (by Emil Sanamyan)

3. From Washington, in brief (by Emil Sanamyan)
* Prime Minister Margarian remembered in Washington
* Senate Committee approves amended resolution honoring Hrant Dink
* Major U.S.-Turkish military deal suspended (no relation to Genocide
resolution reported)
* Turkish lobby in the U.S. is upbeat on chances of stopping
congressional resolutions
* Business giants deny opposing resolutions
* U.S., United Nations aiding "special populations" displaced from Iraq

4. Interview: Rep. Adam Schiff is staying positive
* He’s upbeat about the Genocide resolution and U.S. support for
Karabakh’s self-determination

5. Just what is being inaugurated in Lake Van? (by Talin Suciyan)
* Catholicos declines to attend

6. In memoriam: Andranik Margarian (by Armen Hakobyan)

7. Letter from Moscow: Seventy Million Armenians? (by Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan)

8. Editorial: The passing of a statesman

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1. Prime Minister Andranik Margarian, 55, is dead

YEREVAN – Andranik Margarian, 55, prime minister and chair of the
Republican Party of Armenia, died on March 25 at 1:20 p.m. The cause
of death was heart failure.

"We have lost a statesman, a colleague, and a friend who for seven
of the fifteen and half years of our independence has headed the
government," said President Robert Kocharian. "And those seven years
have been our country’s best years. He was a man who remained modest,
tolerant, and virtuous in spite of attaining high office. All of us
will remember first and foremost Andranik Margarian’s human

The government tendered its resignation, which the president
accepted. He instructed the ministers to continue in their posts until
further notice. Armenia’s constitution requires the government to
resign whenever the post of prime minister is vacant.

The president asked the Republican Party of Armenia, which leads the
three-party governing coalition, to nominate the next prime minister
within ten days. The chair of the party’s board is Serge Sargsian, the
minister of defense.

Messages of condolence were received from world leaders, including
President Bush, President Putin of Russia, President Chirac of France,
as well as regional leaders – including the prime minister of Turkey,
with which Armenia has no diplomatic relations. Turkey’s ambassador to
Georgia attended the funeral, as did U.S. Assistant Deputy Secretary
of State Matthew Bryza, and Georgia’s prime minister Zourab Nogaideli.

The late prime minister was buried with full honors in the Armenian
Pantheon. The Catholicos of All Armenians performed the requiem

* * *

For more on the late prime minister, see "Washington in brief," "In
memoriam: Andranik Margarian," and "Editorial: The passing of a
statesman" in this issue of the Armenian Reporter.

*************************************** ************************************

2. Armenian-Americans lead grassroots effort to promote U.S. response
to genocide

by Emil Sanamyan

WASHINGTON – More than 100 Armenian-Americans from around the United
States came to the Capitol Hill last week to urge their elected
representatives to clearly affirm the Armenian Genocide and take steps
to end the ongoing outrages in Sudan’s Darfur region.

The "End the Cycle of Genocide" grassroots campaign on March 22-23
was organized by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) and
the Genocide Intervention Network (GI-Net). The grassroots effort came
amid high-level Bush Administration and Turkish government lobbying
against the U.S. congressional affirmation of the Armenian Genocide.

In his talk on March 22, ANCA chair Ken Hachikian recalled that "in
1896, the former U.S. minister to the Ottoman Empire, Oscar Strauss,
convinced then President Grover Cleveland to ignore a House and Senate
resolution calling on the Ottoman Sultan to stop his killing of
Armenians. Even then, in 1896, our State Department was making
apologies for Turkey."

Mr. Hachikian termed the position taken by the Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice against U.S. affirmation "insulting." He said that
"in allowing Turkey to not face up to its history, and allowing the
government of Sudan to go scott-free the U.S. is not doing the right
thing. And it is our obligation collectively to call our government
on the carpet."

In meetings with members and staff from all 535 House and Senate
offices, the activists urged passage of the resolutions affirming the
Armenian Genocide, as introduced in the House and Senate, the Senate
resolution commemorating Hrant Dink, and legislation that would
restrict U.S. commercial relations with Sudan and fund peacekeepers to
stop the Genocide in Darfur.

"I think this [ANCA/GI-Net] partnership is huge in the fact that we
are combining the need to recognize past genocides to help stop
current genocides," GI-Net Executive Director Mark Hannis was cited by
the ANCA press release as saying. "We are trying to raise the
political cost [of inaction] and raise the political benefit to create
the political will needed to prevent and stop genocide."

Activist Greg Arzoumanian came from Rhode Island, whose two Senators
and Congressmen have been strong supporters of Genocide affirmation
and human rights issues in general. "It’s important to let your
elected officials know that you appreciate their support," he told the

Mr. Hachikian of the ANCA told the Reporter that he was satisfied
with the support shown so far for the resolutions introduced in the
House and the Senate (H. Res. 106 and S. Res. 106), backed by 183
members of Congress and 26 Senators respectively.

"We have strong support of significant players on both sides of the
isle – conservatives, liberals. We are of course anxious to have a
vote and we are looking to the Speaker of the House [Nancy Pelosi] to
give us that opportunity and we expect that she will," said Mr.
Hachikian. "We hope that some time in the next two months that we will
see a vote on H. Res. 106."

Asked to comment on Turkish media reports claiming that the House
Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Tom Lantos pledged not to bring H.
Res. 106 to a vote, Mr. Hachikian said "We have no reason to believe
that Congressman Lantos has taken a position on this issue as of yet.
We are waiting for a word from his office."

Contacted previously, Rep. Lantos’ office refused to comment on the issue.

****************************************** *********************************

3. From Washington, in brief

by Emil Sanamyan

* Prime Minister Margarian remembered in Washington

A steady stream of officials from the federal and Washington city
governments, a number of U.S.-accredited ambassadors and diplomats,
and Armenian-Americans came to the Armenian Embassy on March 28 to
honor the memory of Prime Minister Andranik Margarian who died of
heart failure on March 24.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matt Bryza flew to Yerevan to
attend the funeral on March 28 and deliver a letter of condolences
from President George W. Bush. Co-chairs of the Congressional Armenian
Caucus Reps. Frank Pallone (D.-N.J.) and Joe Knollenberg (R.-Mich.)
issued a statement mourning Mr. Margarian’s passing. Heads of several
U.S. federal agencies and non-governmental organizations sent letters
of condolences.

* Senate Committee approves amended resolution honoring Hrant Dink

On March 28, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair, Sen. Joe
Biden (D.-Del.), secured committee passage of S. Res. 65 "Condemning
the murder of Hrant Dink," after amending several passages in the
resolution’s text. Armenian-American organizations, including the
Armenian Assembly, the Armenian National Committee, and USAPAC
welcomed Sen. Biden’s effort.

The original text said, "Mr. Dink was prosecuted under Article 301
of the Turkish Penal Code for speaking out about the Armenian
Genocide." The State Department and the Turkish government opposed
that statement. (See the March 17 edition of the Reporter for the
original resolution’s full text.)

"Ankara fears that a Senate approval of the original text may act as
a precedent for future congressional action," the Turkish Daily News
reported on March 26.

The amended version, which passed the committee and was made
available to the Reporter, said, "Mr. Dink was subjected to legal
action under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code for referring to
the 1915 massacre of Armenians as genocide."

A State Department reaction to the final text was not available at press time.

Another amendment was made to the part of the text that called on
Turkey to normalize relations with Armenia. The text that passed the
committee called on both "the Government of Turkey and the Government
of Armenia to act in the interest of regional security and prosperity
and reestablish full diplomatic, political and economic relations."
Unlike Turkey, Armenia has been ready to establish relations without

At this time it is unclear whether and when S. Res. 65 might come to
the Senate floor.

* Major U.S.-Turkish military deal suspended (no relation to Genocide
resolution reported)

Turkey suspended plans to purchase 30 F-16 fighter jets and associated
equipment from Maryland-based Lockheed Martin. The parties have
apparently not agreed on the price, variously estimated between $1.65
and $2.9 billion. There may be political reasons too.

Defense News on March 19 cited sources in the Undersecretariat for
Defense Industries, Turkey’s procurement agency, as saying that the
reason for suspension is Lockheed Martin’s inability to start
delivering the planes by 2010.

In the period 2014 to 2034, Turkey also plans to spend $10.7 billion
to buy 100 of the U.S.-made F-35 Joint Strike Fighters (JSF), also
co-produced by Lockheed Martin. Defense News’ sources said that Turkey
views the modernized F-16 purchase as a stopgap solution to fill
Turkey’s need for more modern jets before F-35 production begins. It
would be "meaningless" for Turkey to begin taking delivery of the
F-16s in 2014, as has been proposed.

But on March 26, blamed the suspension on a passage
inserted as part of congressional approval of the sale. The passage
specifies that the sale should "not adversely affect either the
military balance in the region or U.S. efforts to encourage a
negotiated settlement of the Cyprus question." It provides no clear
benchmarks or enforcement mechanisms.

This passage is similar to the restrictions on U.S. military aid to
Azerbaijan that it not "be used for offensive purposes against Armenia
or the Armenian communities in the South Caucasus." But Azerbaijani
special forces and air bases modernized by the U.S. are under the
control of a government that is overtly planning to use them for
exactly these "offensive purposes."

Meanwhile Turkey’s Zaman cited a military source as saying, "Rather
than the Armenian genocide bill, the [Kurdish] issue has the potential
to turn upside down Turkish-U.S. strategic relations…. If the U.S.
does not take action against the [Kurds] in northern Iraq or allow the
Turkish military to stage a cross-border operation, [Turkey] may even
[drop plans to buy] 100 JSF fighters from the U.S."

* Turkish lobby in the U.S. is upbeat on chances of stopping
congressional resolutions

Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Philip Morris were "silver sponsors" of
the 26th annual conference of the American-Turkish Council (ATC), held
in Washington March 25-27. Other ATC members include BAE Systems,
Boeing, Chevron, Citigroup, and Sikorsky.

According to the Turkish media, Ankara’s concerns with congressional
affirmation of the Armenian Genocide dominated conversations at the

The ATC conference featured a special message from President George
W. Bush. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was the keynote speaker.
Mr. Gates was quoted by The Associated Press as saying, "Our two
nations should oppose measures and rhetoric that needlessly and
destructively antagonize each other. That includes symbolic
resolutions by the United States Congress as well as the type of
anti-American and extremist rhetoric that sometimes finds a home in
Turkish political discourse."

Turkish NTV cited Economy Minister Ali Babacan of Turkey as saying,
"things looked extremely dark two months ago, but thanks to the
efforts exerted by the Turkish Foreign Ministry and the staff at our
Washington Embassy, as well as our lawmakers and non-governmental
organizations, I see better chances that the resolution would not be
submitted to Congress."

ATC president Jim Holmes, a retired U.S. ambassador, told the
Turkish Daily News on March 22 that following intense lobbying by ATC,
he is "hopeful . . . that the leadership of Congress will not bring
either in the Senate or in the House of Representatives this
legislation to the floor for vote."

Mr. Holmes said in an interview with Roll Call, a congressional news
daily, that ATC member companies (including those listed above) are
working to stop the resolution. Roll Call’s sources in the companies’
Washington lobbies confirmed that such efforts were underway.

"At the end of the day, the U.S. policy will not change regardless
of what Congress does on this," U.S. ambassador to Ankara Ross Wilson
said during the ATC reception, according to the Turkish Daily News.
"We would like to see the resolution not pass."

Mr. Holmes served as deputy chief of mission in Ankara from 1992 to
1995. The ATC board is chaired by Gen. Brent Scowcroft (ret.),
national security advisor to the first President Bush. (For more
information, see )

* Business giants deny opposing resolutions

At the urging of the Turkish government, the American Business Forum
in Turkey (ABFT) – an entity separate from the ATC – sent a letter to
Congress opposing congressional resolutions on behalf of American
companies with business interests in Turkey.

The Armenian National Committee of America inquired with some 70
ABFT members, asking them to clarify their position on the issue.
Three companies that responded so far – Microsoft, Cargill, and
Johnson and Johnson – denied they were involved in Turkey’s efforts to
stop the resolutions.

* U.S., United Nations aiding "special populations" displaced from Iraq

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR), several million Iraqis have been displaced since the war in
Iraq began in 2003. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Ellen Sauerbrey
furnished this estimate during the March 26 hearing called by the
House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Middle East.

Discussing U.S. and international assistance efforts, she referred
to "special populations," including "religious minorities such as
Christians" – that in Iraq include Arabs, Assyrians, and Armenians.
"We intend to ensure that these special populations receive the same
consideration and access to the U.S. resettlement program as others
and we are encouraging them to contact UNHCR to make their needs
known," Ms. Sauerbrey said.

On March 24, carried an interview with Baruyr
Hagopian, chair of the Armenian National Committee of Iraq, who
estimated that the number of Armenians in Iraq declined from 18,000 to
15,000 as a result of the war. Of those who left, most are now in
Syria, Armenia, and Jordan.

Since 2003, 28 Iraqi Armenians have died, and as many have been
kidnapped for ransom. Increasingly, Armenians and others from central
Iraq are moving to the relative safety of the Iraqi Kurdistan. (See
our story on page B9 about the new Armenian church is the area.)

Mr. Hagopian was also quoted as saying that "a significant part of
Armenians living in Iraq are not satisfied with their situation and
isolation from their historical motherland" and would like to become
Armenian dual citizens.

*************************************** ************************************

4. Interview: Rep. Adam Schiff is staying positive

* He’s upbeat about the Genocide resolution and U.S. support for
Karabakh’s self-determination

On March 22 and again on March 28, our Washington editor Emil
Sanamyan spoke with Rep. Adam Schiff (D.-Calif.)

Reporter: What is the stumbling block for H. Res. 106 [the proposed
House resolution affirming the Armenian Genocide introduced on January
30] going forward?

Rep. Schiff: I hope there is no stumbling block. Right now we are
still gathering supporters for the resolution. We are stronger than we
have ever been, with more than 180 cosponsors. It’s a very good start
and I like to think positive and I am very hopeful. I think the
biggest challenge is overcoming the power of the Turkish lobby, which
is very considerable.

Reporter: There was hope expressed previously that congressional
action on H. Res. 106 would come before April 24. Now a connection
seems to be made to the upcoming elections in Turkey. Do you see any
such connections in terms of timing?

Rep. Schiff: Right now the only timing consideration is that
Congress is focused first and foremost, as we need to be, on Iraq. So
every foreign policy is going to have to wait until we resolve at
least the immediate issues we are grappling with in Iraq. That’s the
more pressing timetable. Beyond that, I don’t know what the timing is.
I am much more concerned about having [H. Res. 106] taken up and
having it taken up successfully than whether it is on this or that

Reporter: The Iraq issue is likely to stay on top of the agenda for
the foreseeable future. Do you see a possibility that the resolution
may not come up in this Congress (2007-2008)?

Rep. Schiff: I am keeping positive and pushing forward until I have
a reason to believe otherwise and I am going to assume the best.

* Support for Karabakh

Reporter: What do you think of the current U.S. policy on Karabakh?

Rep. Schiff: I think it is enormously important that we maintain
parity funding between Armenia and Azerbaijan. I am concerned that the
administration is making an effort to get away from that. Armenia has
been a steadfast ally [of the United States] and I think that should
be rewarded not penalized. I also don’t think we should be emboldening
Azerbaijan at the time that it is acting increasingly belligerently
vis-à-vis Karabakh.

I was hopeful some time ago when it looked like Armenia and
Azerbaijan and Karabakh were making progress in talks. But
unfortunately the Azerbaijani President [Ilham Aliyev] has not
followed through with his father’s efforts in that direction. I think
that the process has stalemated.

I certainly feel confident that U.S. will continue to support the
right for self-determination for the people of Karabakh. I had a
chance to visit Karabakh some years ago and I was enormously impressed
with the pioneering spirit of the people who live there and who formed
the government there. And I am determined to do all I can to support
their efforts.

Reporter: The U.S., however, does not recognize the Nagorno-Karabakh
Republic and says that Karabakh’s future status would be resolved
through negotiations. Are you satisfied with the status quo in this
U.S. position or do you see the need or room for change in this

Rep. Schiff: Some years ago I worked to free up to $20 million in
funds for Karabakh. And I am determined to continue to advocate for
the right of self-determination for the people of Karabakh. I think
that facts on the ground speak for themselves – today this is largely
an Armenian community that chose to express its self-determination and
I think they should be supported in that. And I will continue to keep
our Administration’s feet to the fire in support of that right for
self-determination and make sure that in our funding decisions
vis-à-vis Armenia and Azerbaijan we are not sending mixed signals in
terms of the rights of the people of Karabakh.

Reporter: Other than supporting funding, do you see any
congressional role in developing closer relations between
Nagorno-Karabakh and the United States?

Rep. Schiff: I would certainly like to see closer relations. There
are many efforts where we can work collaboratively. One of the issues
that I am pursuing now vis-à-vis Armenia, but I think would have
application in Karabakh as well, is efforts to strengthen the rule of
law, democratic process, increase transparency to let people know that
if they invest in Armenia, in Karabakh that those investments are
good, sound investments that would be protected and rewarded.

Reporter: Armenian-American organizations have called for increasing
the overall volume of annual U.S. assistance to Karabakh and expanding
such assistance to include pro-democracy programs as well as economic
development. Is that something you will be championing as a member of
the Foreign Operations Subcommittee?

Rep. Schiff: I will be championing strong economic support to
Armenia and continued support to Karabakh. We are just at the
beginning of the appropriations process for Fiscal Year 2008, but my
top priority is that there is at least parity in funding between
Armenia and Azerbaijan.

I am also working to secure funding for the California trade office
in Armenia, which is an effort that I initiated while I was a state
senator and I hope will continue.

Reporter: In terms of security assistance parity, when that’s
discussed, the issue of a separate multiyear $100 million U.S.
security program [the so-called Caspian Guard initiative] which has
focused on upgrading Azerbaijan’s airbases and training its special
forces is generally not made part of that equation. Should Congress
take a closer look at that program to see how that’s impacting the
balance in Karabakh?

Rep. Schiff: Certainly, Congress has a very important role to play
in making sure that any assistance in whatever form doesn’t negatively
affect the balance of power in a region that is very important to the
United States or disadvantage our ally. There are often competing
goals as to where we need to make investment in the war on terror or
in support of economic development of our allies. So, all of these
things need to be examined and appropriate action taken.

* Millennium Challenge Compact

Reporter: During a recent hearing in the House Foreign Operations
Subcommittee you raised concerns with the administration about the
Millennium Challenge Account funding essentially supplanting the
Freedom Support funds, which are being reduced to Armenia and other
states. Has that issue been addressed to your satisfaction or is that
still is an ongoing process?

Rep. Schiff: Yes, that is still an ongoing concern. When we
initiated the Millennium Challenge assistance we never contemplated
that we would take funds from existing efforts in order to fund that –
to rob Peter to pay Paul, so to speak. So I am concerned that this may
be what the administration is contemplating in Armenia and elsewhere;
that funds that would have ordinarily gone to these countries anyway
are cut back in order to fund Millennium Challenge efforts. I am not
sure that advances the [overall] cause. I have not got a satisfactory
answer yet and we are still going to be pursuing this.

Reporter: What’s your sense of the elections coming up in Armenia,
how that might impact the Millennium Challenge assistance?

Rep. Schiff: The important thing is that the elections are held in a
credible way, that they are transparent to a degree that outside
election monitors are able to come in and verify that the elections
are conducted well. I think this would be a very positive development
for Armenia. A lot of folks will be watching the elections carefully
to make sure they are held appropriately. None of us, of course, are
in the position to say what the result should be; we just think that
the process needs to be sound and people should have an opportunity to
express what their choice is in a free and unfettered way. The world
will be watching and it will be very important for us in Congress that
the rule of law is observed and democratic institutions are given a
chance to prosper.

* Representing Glendale

Reporter: How does it feel being a Congressman from Glendale,
representing such a dynamic Armenian community?

Rep. Schiff: Well, it is wonderful to represent Glendale, Pasadena,
and Burbank, cities with large and vibrant Armenian communities. I
would tease one of the Glendale city council members, Rafi Manoukian,
after he and I went to Yerevan some years ago and had a great many
people stop us in the streets [recognizing and greeting us], that we
developed an international reputation.

Rafi, who was then [Glendale] mayor said: "Don’t let this go to your
head, Congressman. These are our Glendale constituents." Of course,
these were our constituents on vacation in Armenia.

The Armenian community has added so much to the quality of life in
my district. To the arts, to medicine, to law, to humanities, and I
have really benefited from the rich Armenian cultural heritage that my
district has.

* * *

Facts about Rep. Adam Schiff (D.-Calif.)

Constituency: Represents 29th district, located in the northeastern
suburbs of Los Angeles, including Glendale, Pasadena, and Burbank.

Role in the 110th Congress: Member, House Appropriations
Subcommittee on Foreign Operations; original sponsor, House Resolution
106 affirming U.S. record on the Armenian Genocide.

Personal details: Born 1960 in Framingham, Mass.; Jewish; J.D.
Harvard University, 1985; attorney, educator; married to Eve

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5. Just what is being inaugurated in Lake Van?

* Catholicos declines to attend

by Talin Suciyan

Istanbul (March 28) – The inauguration of the newly restored Holy
Cross (Surp Khach) Armenian Church on Aghtamar Island will be held on
Thursday, March 29.

There is no confirmed list of guests as of today.

The head of the Armenian Church in Turkey, Patriarch Mesrob II is
traveling to Aghtamar for the opening. Turkish media reported that
Archbishop Khajag Barsamian of the Eastern Diocese will be there too.
The archbishop’s office says he has no plans to attend, however.

Karekin II, the Catholicos of All Armenians, turned down the Turkish
government’s invitation, considering that the church "will not operate
as a church under the spiritual authority of the Armenian Patriarchate
of Constantinople and instead will be designated as a museum; and that
the opening ceremonies will be conducted solely with a secular program
and not in accord with the canonical rites of the Holy Apostolic
Armenian Church."

Armenia’s deputy minister of culture, Gagik Gurjyan, will lead a
delegation from the Republic of Armenia. The delegation is meant to
include 10 specialists in medieval architecture and five journalists.
It arrived in Turkey over Georgia on March 28.

Over the last few weeks and to this day, the Turkish media have been
discussing two issues related to the church: the absence of a cross
atop the restored edifice, and the name of the monument.

Architect Zakaria Mildanoglu was a consultant on the renovations
from the very beginning. On March 26, he held a presentation at the
Nazar Sirinoglu Hall of Saints Vartanants Church in Ferikoy, Istanbul.
He said the cross was part of the original project. But it was
excluded from the restoration plan. "We informed the Ministry of
Culture, and they told us they will investigate the matter," he said.

But there is no need for an in-depth investigation, Mr. Mildanoglu
said. It is only a matter of intentions and mentality.

Mr. Mildanoglu had noticed that a wrong type of cross base was
constructed and fixed onto the roof of the church. "I called my
colleague Jan Gavrilof to go immediately to Armenia and talk to the
experts, to make the necessary technical drawings, and if possible to
fetch a master for us. He did so, and a new base for a cross,
according to its original shape, was prepared by this master and put
in its place."

Yet a cross never made it onto the base.

* Community appeal

Some members of the Armenian community in Istanbul (Arman Artuc, Murat
Bebir, Rafi Bilal, Aret Cicekeker, Ari Demircioglu, Selin Evrem, Aram
Kalenderoglu, Hosrof Koletavitoglu, Sibil Pektorosoglu, and Nadya
Uygun) wrote a letter to Atilla Koc, Turkey’s minister of culture,
requesting that a cross and a bell be installed, and that the church
be blessed. The authors of the letter added that the name of the
island is not "Akdamar" but "Akhtamar," and the name of the church is
"Akhtamar Surp Khach Church." The Turkish media have been using
"Akdamar" as the name of the church. All press releases from the
Patriarchate mention the "Surp Khach Church on Aghtamar Island"; the
Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos calls it the "Surp Khach Church on
Akhtamar Island."

On March 16, a statement by Patriarch Mesrob II appeared in the
Turkish daily Posta. Patriarch Mutafyan wrote: "If there will not be a
cross upon it, could it be a church? [Apparently] there will not be
any religious ceremony at the inauguration. If I will not have any
role as a clergyman, my participation will be meaningless." On March
21, however, the Patriarch made another statement, this time to Agos
weekly, saying that he had received an official invitation for the
opening and he would be going to Van on March 28.

* The Patriarch is "astonished"

Writing on March 9 in the Turkish daily Vatan, columnist Mehmet Z.
Ozturk asked whether the church should not be under the authority of
the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, the Armenian Patriarch
in Jerusalem, or the Catholicos of All Armenians. The Armenian
Patriarch of Turkey touched upon this question in his statement to
Agos, saying, "Should the church be under the authority of any
patriarchate, why would this authority be out of Turkey and not the
one established by the Fatih Sultan Mehmet in 1461 in Istanbul? I am

On March 23 the daily Zaman reported that the Armenian Patriarch of
Turkey had written a letter to the Ministry of Culture, requesting
that a cross be put on the church to protect the original form of the
church. According to the news item, the ministry could not decide what
to do and forwarded the request to Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This
raises interesting questions: Isn’t this renovation being done under
the authority of the Ministry of Culture? What is the role of the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs?

In the same letter, the Patriarch had offered to organize an
"Aghtamar festival" in September, with the participation of choirs
from Istanbul and folklore groups from Van, and to hold a religious
ceremony at the church. Mr. Koc responded to the offer during a show
on CNN Turk on March 28. He said, "It would be inappropriate for me to
comment on this. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of
Interior will deliver their opinion on the matter."

* The border issue

Turkish officials openly discussed opening the border with Armenia for
this extraordinary occasion. Another option on the table was a direct
flight from Yerevan to Van. The daily Milleyet reported on March 24,
however, that the General Staff of the Turkish armed forces decided
not to open the border, arguing that the area is a military one.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not confirm the
possibility of a direct flight from Yerevan to Van. Consequently, the
Armenian delegation arrived in Turkey through Georgia.

**************************************** ***********************************

6. In memoriam: Andranik Margarian

by Armen Hakobyan

"I envy the man who can live forever through his work." – Hovhannes Tumanian

One of the police officers maintaining order at the demonstration of
young people in favor of protecting the environment and historical
monuments asked the demonstrators to stop the march.

"Why? We have a permit."

"The prime minister has died," the officer said. "Please end the
march; you’ll continue it another day."

I did not believe the officer, though it was obvious he was telling
the cruel and sad truth. I called the prime minister’s press
secretary, Mary Harutiunian. Her voice left no doubt as to the truth
of the matter. Andranik Margarian’s heart had betrayed him. It was
2:30 p.m. on March 25.

Later I would learn that Andranik Margarian’s heart had stopped
beating less than an hour earlier. Later, a day later, a commission of
respected physicians would declare the cause of death: "Prime Minister
Andranik Margarian, 56, suffered from ischemic heart disease with
arteriosclerosis . . . with postinfarctal cardiosclerosis, hypertonic
sickness, pronounced enlargement of the heart muscle, for which an
aorta-coronary shunt had been installed in the past, with two stents.
Death was as a result of the blood not reaching the heart, and the
heart suddenly stopping."

Later, too, would it become widely known that Andranik Margarian had
not been feeling well for the last few days. But he continued to work
on his normal schedule, from morning through late night, although the
physicians had advised him to take some rest. He was supposed to leave
on March 27 for France for a routine heart examination and, if
necessary, surgery. He didn’t make it.

As a journalist, I had many opportunities to meet Andranik Margarian
and ask him questions. In different situations, in different places, I
did so, especially since he was one of the rare political figures who
never avoided questions – reporters’ questions, citizens’ questions –
even when he was busy or in a hurry. He answered friendly questions
and hostile ones with the same willingness. So there’s a lot to
remember about him.

He accepted the position of prime minister on May 12, 2000, at a
difficult and tense time for Armenia. After calming the situation
somewhat, he made his first official visit abroad as prime minister.
He went to Belarus. The reporters accredited to join him had already
filed their stories with their editors and looked forward to some
rest. At 10 p.m., a colleague told us all to go down to the prime
minister’s quarters for an interview. Once we got there, we figured
out what had transpired. Andranik Margarian had asked whether the
reporters had been taken care of. He had learned that no one on his
staff had dealt with that. After reprimanding one of his aides, he
asked the aide to reserve a table at a restaurant in Minsk for the
group. Belarus’ security service had not wanted the prime minister to
go back into the city, however. So Andranik Margarian arranged for the
food and the reporters to come to his quarters. And when we all sat
down together, he wanted to know what we thought, what we suggested
for the country, and he listened carefully.

* The young patriot

The people, the government, the Republican Party of Armenia, and the
Margarian family are receiving letters of condolence from all over the
world. The one from the National Self-Determination Union and its
leader, Paruir Hairikian, caught my eye:

"Personally and on behalf of the members of the National Unity Party
and the National Self-Determination Union, I express deep condolences
to Andranik Margarian’s relatives and friends on the occasion of his
untimely death.

"As his comrade in his teenage years and his youth, I can testify
that in 1967, he dedicated himself to the task of our people’s
liberation, and became one of the most important figures in that stage
of our history. At age 17 he was the leader of one of the 4
constituent branches of the Yerkunk organization, and on February 18,
1969, by the eternal flame at Tzitzernakaberd, he took his oath as a
sworn member of the National Unity Party.

"Thanks to lessons in patriotism he received from his worthy
forebears, his high level of consciousness, and his practical and
unstinting dedication to his homeland, Andranik Margarian in 1973
became the leader of one of the five constituent branches of the NUP
and a member of the NUP Council. It was this council that adopted the
‘Independence through referendum’ strategy for the Armenian people.

"We have had many prime ministers and may God grant that we will
have many more. But it is the fact that Andranik Margarian was one of
the leaders of 1973 that makes him eternal. It is hard to imagine that
Andranik Margarian is no longer with us. Patience to his family."

For the generation that has grown with an independent Armenia, it
must be hard to imagine what it meant not only to think about but also
to struggle for the independence of one’s country in the dictatorship
called the USSR. Patriotism was a precondition for enlisting in that
struggle, but hardly enough. What great force of character was
required of those 16-17 or 18-20 year-old youth who had to continue
the independence struggle of the 1960s and 1970s when the leaders of
the underground National Unity Party were rounded up by the Soviet

"In 1967, I was the leader of the Shant organization of the NUP,"
Mr. Hairikian recounted to me. "Shant’s purpose was to prepare young
people to join the party in the future. We knew Andranik Margarian had
a group, ‘Teenage Students’ Union," which had not organized any
activities yet. I asked Karapet Chghlian, one of the boys from the
Erebuni district, to join us, and he said he had a friend, Andranik,
and we invited him to join us too. What made Andranik remarkable was
his patriotism."

The leaders of the NUP, including founder Haikaz Khachatrian, were
arrested in 1968. That left the young members entirely on their own.
They established two organizations, each with youth and teenage
suborganizations, Mr. Hairikian recalls. One organization, Yerkunk,
had 4 member branches; the other, Tsasum, had 6. Yerkunk published a
paper – also called Yerkunk – with the lead article, "Independence as
a vital demand," and the motto, "Death or Free Armenia." They printed
5,000 copies, which was amazing in those days, and they distributed
the papers in the three main cities of Armenia, Yerevan, Leninakan
(now Gyumri), and Kirovakan (now Vanadzor), by leaving batches of them
in colleges, cinemas, and apartment complexes. Andranik Margarian was
the leader of one of the branches of Yerkunk. Mr. Hairikian says that
Yerkunk and Tsasum were both uncovered in 1969, but Yerkunk had
accomplished much by then.

"They arrested me and four others in 1969," Mr. Hairkian continued.
"Among the five of us was Ashot Navasardian," who went on to become
the founder and leader of the Republican Party of Armenia. "Andranik
Margarian was made to testify, and he kept himself well, as did the
others. At about the same time, he was expelled from the Communist
Youth Organization," Mr. Hairikian added.

"From prison, until Ashot Navasardian was freed, I communicated
primarily with Andranik Margarian and Vazgen Karakhanian, sending them
materials and instructions," Mr. Hairikian said.

In 1973, the underground party adopted its strategy of promoting a
referendum on independence. Mr. Hairikian said he convened a council
comprising those leaders who had autonomous, underground groups.
Andranik Margarian was one of the five members of the council.

The council held its first session on August 11, 1974. Later that
year, Andranik Margarian was arrested. He was sentenced to three years
imprisonment. He served closer to two years, but none of the prisoners
who had worked for Armenia’s independence had requested a pardon, Mr.
Hairikian stressed.

Years later, on the eve of the movement that began in 1988 and the
achievement of independence – by referendum – in 1991, these men
parted ways politically. But, Mr. Hairikian says, Andranik Margarian
was "a good comrade, a good man, from a good family."

* Torosian: People remember his love

A sad coincidence: Andranik Margarian’s funeral took place on the
birthday of his senior comrade, Ashot Navasadrian, who died ten years
ago – leaving Andranik Margarian at the helm of the Republican party.

The Speaker of Armenia’s National Assembly, Tigran Torosian,
delivered a eulogy for Andranik Margarian. Mr. Torosian, who is the
vice-chair of the Republican party, said: "To understand Andranik
Margarian’s being and his political work, it is not enough to know his
political history. You must go to Moush [in Western Armenia], to his
ancestral village and his family home, and hear outsiders who now live
there recount worshipful stories about his grandparents’ love of the

It was the patriotism he inherited that drew Andranik Margarian into
underground political struggle for the freedom, independence, and
territorial integrity of the homeland, Mr. Torosian said. A struggle
that "seemed like madness to some in the days of the cruel repression
of the Soviet machine, but for Andranik Margarian and his comrades in
arms, it was the only way. And the reestablishment of the Armenian
state, and Andranik Margarian’s high position and successes in the
young state are testimony to the rightness of that path and a monument
to his memory."

The ten years in which Andranik Margarian led the Republican Party
of Armenia, Mr. Torosian said, were years of transformation and
success for the party. "The foundation was Andranik Margarian’s hard
work, day in and day out, his faith in success, and the patriotism
inherited from his forebears.

"It was that patriotism that led him to dedicate himself, from the
first days of Karabakh’s war for survival, to meeting the needs of
that endangered part of the homeland and to participating in the

"It was that love that helped him avoid the biggest pitfall of
political life, that is to allow hatred of political rivals and evil
to take root in one’s heart and in one’s party.

"It was that love that made him accept political responsibility for
the fate of the country in a tragic and fateful time.

"It was that love that suggested the next step, accepting the post
of prime minister when the economy was still weak and seemed destined
to collapse. Not only was that danger overcome, but thanks to his
outstanding humanity and his undeniable management skills, the
governments he led saw seven years of unprecedented economic success.

"He knew that the results of his work might not be seen for years,
and he worked quietly and consistently to help everyone: the cultural
worker, the scientist, the farm worker, the teacher, and the freedom
fighter, because he could see people’s concerns and the road that had
to be traveled to reach the Armenia of his dreams. He sometimes
quipped, ‘All the same, they’ll remember what I didn’t do.’

"But the people have remembered his love for them and are returning
it copiously.

* To be worthy of his legacy

Of course, Andranik Margarian’s political legacy, built over 40 years,
will be the subject of analysis for years. The verdicts may vary.

It is impossible to avoid the obvious, however: the polarized
political atmosphere of Armenia, steeped in mutual intolerance, had in
the person of Andranik Margarian a leader who offered balance, held no
grudges, and exuded tolerance. These are qualities Armenia will
continue to need.

It is sufficient, perhaps, to recall the terrible assassinations of
October 27, 1999, and the days that followed. As leader of the largest
party in parliament, Andranik Margarian had an enormous role in
reestablishing the stability that had been undermined. With the same
sense of responsibility, some six months later, he took on the job of
prime minister, when the economy was going downhill, and the budget
deficit was in the billions of drams.

After seven years, Andranik Margarian leaves his successor an
economy that is in incomparably better shape, seven years of growth
indicators all pointing up, and a state budget that is expected to
surpass $1.5 billion in expenditures in 2007, up from $360 million
when he took over.

The warm words being said these days about the late prime minister
are genuine and heartfelt.

He was truly good, caring, and attuned to his compatriots’, his
neighbors’, his fellow citizens’ concerns, and he did what he could to
address them. We don’t have many people who reach high office and
continue to live in ordinary apartment complexes. With Andranik
Margarian’s death, we have even fewer.

We are grateful for his contributions over the course of 40 years
and hopeful, indeed confident, that others will continue his legacy.

***************************************** **********************************

7. Letter from Moscow: Seventy Million Armenians?

by Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan

"’A thousand Mozarts would be horrible,’ said Saint-Exupery – and in
so saying, he became one more." –Hrant Matevossyan, Hangover

MOSCOW – Former President Ter-Petrossian used to complain about the
shortage of people to fill civil service roles in the new national
government: "Mard chka!" ("There are no people") he would say.

Hundreds of thousands were leaving Armenia to survive. Then-prime
minister Vazgen Manukian justified the exodus in economic terms:
Armenia could not feed so many people; those leaving the country were
taking a burden off the shoulders of those who stayed, giving them,
one might cautiously say, lebensraum ("living space").

Indeed, those who left became a major source of income for those who stayed.

Armenians ventured to Russia from Armenia, Karabakh, Azerbaijan,
Georgia, and Central Asia. From Georgia alone, the migrating
population included Tbilisi Armenians (especially educated
intellectuals), a substantial part of the Javakhk population, and
Armenians from Abkhazia. If we add to that the number of Armenians who
were already living in Russia prior to the great migration that began
in 1988, we have in Russia arguably the largest Armenian community in
the world.

The Russian census of 2004 is unreliable: on a single Statistical
Ministry website, one page gives a figure of under 800,000 Armenians
in Russia, and another gives a number well over 1.1 million (see
). Precise numbers are not available. The head of the Union
of Armenians of Russia, multimillionaire Ara Abrahamyan, claimed in an
interview last year with Ekho Moskvy Radio that there are between 2
and 2.5 million Armenians in Russia.

No one knows for certain, but it’s likely that there are between 1.5
and 2 million Armenians in Russia. The pre-1988 community was
estimated at about 400,000. About half a million more came from
Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Central Asia. Up to a million may have come
from Armenia – although many subsequently went back. As usual,
families proliferate – not in huge numbers, but two children is a
standard. They have settled mostly in the three southern regions of
Russia and in the capitals, where there are established Armenian
communities. But Armenians are also thinly spread over the entire
Russian Federation. Some of them are here for good; others come and
go, or may leave entirely at some point.

What all this means is that Armenians now constitute the
sixth-largest national minority in Russia. Armenians are more-or-less
well placed, and can make ends meet; they do not feel terribly
threatened, and therefore have no motivation to suppress their ethnic
identity by absorbing themselves into the larger Russian nationality.
They have difficulties in the southern regions of Russia, in Krasnodar
and Stavropol Kray, which include the biggest Armenian communities
after Moscow and St. Petesrburg. In the south of Krasnodar Kray, there
is an entire town and several small townships and villages where
Armenians comprise an overwhelming majority; in the north, they have
been threatened several times over the last years. The causes have
been the nationalist policies of the region’s governors, or clashes
with ethnic Russians or other minorities living in Russia.

* Dual citizens, if not de jure, then de facto

While the Armenian government slowly legalized dual citizenship (the
law passed a month ago), the Armenians of Russia went ahead and
received their Russian passports while keeping their Armenian ones.
This is reminiscent of the Karabakh issue: the world argues, the years
pass, and the issue is resolved in a practical, de facto way for the
people actually involved. The dual citizenship of many Armenians in
Russia is publicly acknowledged, and does not affect their standing.
Even those who don’t have passports feel themselves as de facto
citizens of both countries.

The Armenians who have relocated from Armenia itself do not rely on
the help of their embassy. Official events like last year’s "Year of
Armenia in Russia." are mostly attended by the "traditional"
(pre-1988) community.

Migrants do have a genuine interest in the way Russians regard
Armenian culture: the controversial "Blabr," an interpretation of the
legend of Hayk and Bel by Russian writer Anna Rulevskaya (available on
the Internet), is hotly debated.

The migrants cooperate with each other and help each other out.
Successful businesses ventures are often based on ethnic partnerships
and ethnic trust.

* "Everybody is Armenian"

Recent years have seen a decrease and stabilization in the number of
Armenians migrating to Russia; and the number of returnees, though
still relatively small, is increasing.

Among the latter are rare instances of people who were not
originally from Armenia, but have now chosen to live there. One such
person is Alexander Iskandaryan, a political scientist from Moscow,
originally from Baku (but not a refugee). He went to Yerevan with his
family and became the director of the European-funded Caucasus Media

Alexander says half-seriously that there are 50 million Armenians in
the world, and about 15 million of them in Russia. According to him,
Armenians are shrewd and careful, many have mixed ethnicity, and
therefore do not show up in the census in their full numbers.

Professor David Hovhannisyan agrees with Alexander and tells me
about his visit to an Armenian restaurant in Kaliningrad (the former
Königsberg, on the westernmost edge of Russia).

Gagik Avagyan, an NGO leader and former Karabakh fighter, tells a
story about an impressive Armenian restaurant in Vladivostok, on
Russia’s easternmost edge.

We are sitting at David’s place in Yerevan. I comment that if you
walk down the streets of Adler (you might call it the Glendale of
Russia) in Krasnodar Kray, or if you watch Russian television,
Alexander’s words ring true.

Restaurants in Moscow serve Armenian meals. The chain similar to
Starbucks in Russia is called "Coffee-Tun" (that’s the Eastern
Armenian pronunciation of doon, as in the Armenian word for "house").
Lavash and tan (sometimes called ayran) are sold in every store. The
only product lacking is thyme (urts). But one can find tea with thyme
in an Armenian restaurant.

In almost every notary office the service of translating Armenian
passports is readily available. In South-West, an upper-middle class
neighborhood in Moscow, Armenians inhabit several buildings.

Television is full of Armenian names. A notorious doctor who cruelly
cut the hand of a newborn baby in the Rostov region – yet another
cluster of the Russian-Armenian diaspora – had an Armenian last name.
Many other medical doctors and scientists (of greater competence,
certainly) have Armenian names.

Tina Kandelaki, a TV and tabloid star, belongs to a plentiful but
rather secluded group with a complex identity: Tbilisi natives of
half-Georgian, half-Armenian stock. She was recently involved in a car
accident alongside Suleiman Kerimov, a multimillionaire parliament
member of Dagestani extraction, in Nice, France: his newly bought
Ferrari was speeding and turned upside down. They both survived, but
Tina, who hosts a TV show about talented kids and enjoyed the image of
a good wife and mother, found her reputation ruined. She turned that
to her advantage, using it as a PR opportunity. People probably do not
realize that she is half-Armenian, but she speaks Armenian when she
interviews her compatriots on her daily radio broadcast – thereby
forcing her audience of millions of Russian car drivers to listen to
an Armenian conversation without translation. Such realities of
Russian popular culture give a new meaning to the oft-repeated and
irritating joke that "everybody is Armenian."

Many other famous people have a partly Armenian identity – such as
Garry Kasparov, the chess champion who has abandoned chess to become
an opposition politician. From the perspective of the governing
powers, he is considered an outcast and his name is censored from
television and many print media outlets.

Then there is Sergey Kurginyan, a leading political theorist with
extreme right, pro-imperial views, who is often seen on TV. Another
personality, Andranik Migranyan, who in the Boris Yeltsin’s day was
the author of the so-called Monroe Doctrine for Russia – the idea that
Russia should make the former Soviet states into its satellites – does
not show up as frequently.

As in the story of Pandora’s Box, lift the lid on any public
personality in Russia and "Armenianness" is liable to fly out
unexpectedly. Recently, the singer Irina Allegrova suffered a nervous
breakdown, and in an interview revealed that she was from Baku, and
that her father was Armenian. Allegrova’s revelation may be as
irrelevant as the Armenian and Ossetian origins of the talented
theatrical director Valeriy Mirzoev, who emphasizes his Zoroastrian
rather than his Armenian roots. Nevertheless, Armenians hungrily
(though not without a touch of irony) play the game of digging up
Armenian roots for everybody.

Another showman with a skyrocketing career in Russian TV was Garik
Martirosyan, the host of Yerevan’s "Club for the Fun and Smart" (KVN),
a Soviet-era cabaret show-competition, which survived the collapse of
the USSR and is still thriving. Garry became the host of "Comedy
Club," the major alternative comic show on TV. Its rival, more
"mainstream" show is likewise in the hands of an Armenian: Baku-born
Yevgeni Petrosyan, from a famous troupe of satirists of the Soviet
era. He is currently reviled for having established a monopoly on
humor on the state-run channels. By contrast, Garry’s show may be
crude, but there is still a touch of freedom in it. When Garry
recently became a candidate in the Armenian parliamentary elections,
it turned out that this icon of Russian TV wasn’t even a Russian

* Ideas without consequences

What might be called the "cultural strength" of the Armenians in
Russia could be a huge asset; but it is not utilized in a serious way
to advance the interests of Armenia. In 2005, a strategic "creative
conference" was organized in Armenia, involving the participation of
Russian Armenians, including this writer. Issues of the nation, the
region, and the country were discussed. As we envisioned the apparent
destiny of the Armenian nation, one of the ideas that emerged was to
move towards a "virtual state" (tsantsapetutyun), in which statehood
would no longer be defined solely in terms of territory.

But we Armenians are famous for having great, imaginative ideas,
which have little consequence in the real world.

In Moscow, the richest Armenians govern banks, mutual funds, and
trusts. They do mergers and hostile acquisitions. The only lucrative
arena in which they are conspicuously absent is the notorious Russian
oil and gas business. Some say that’s because these industries are
monopolized by other nationalities. But given the past and present
troubles of some of the country’s oil and gas extraction tycoons, it
may be that Armenians were simply smart to steer clear of this
strategic Russian asset. Or alternatively, perhaps Armenians are more
environmentally conscious.

************************************** *************************************

8. Editorial: The passing of a statesman

Andranik Margarian, 55, a Soviet-era pro-independence activist who
went to prison for his beliefs and went on to become independent
Armenia’s longest-serving prime minister, was a political leader who
had earned the affection and respect of the Armenian people.

He is remembered for his humanity, for his role in maintaining
stability during difficult times, and for his contribution to
Armenia’s economic progress during his term as prime minister.

As a young man in the Soviet Union, he went with his secret comrades
in arms to the Armenian Genocide Memorial at Tzitzernakaberd, and by
the eternal flame took an oath to struggle for Armenian independence.
He upheld his promise through the 1970s and 1980s.

When Azerbaijan started a war to crush Nagorno-Karabakh’s
independence, Mr. Margarian helped organize volunteer units in
Armenia, worked to coordinate aid, and, on several occasions,
participated in the actual fighting.

His fellow veteran of the Soviet-era independence movement, Ashot
Navasardian, formed the opposition Republican Party of Armenia in
1992. By the time Mr. Margarian took over as leader, on Mr.
Navasardian’s death in late 1997, the party was part of the
government’s majority coalition.

Finding that there was ideological affinity between the Republicans
and the Karabakh veterans that had organized themselves under the
Yerkrapah (Protectors of the Land) banner, he formed an electoral
alliance with that group, led by Vazken Sargsian. To bring the group
under the banner of his party, Mr. Margarian ceded the party’s top
post to Mr. Sargsian, who went on to become prime minister. This move
helped maintain long-term stability in the country.

On October 27, 1999, gunmen entered the chamber of the National
Assembly and assassinated Mr. Sargsian, Speaker Karen Demirchian, and
others. The tragic event had the potential to lead to further
violence, as recriminations began. Mr. Margarian is credited with
being a calming force, insisting on patience and dialogue.

Several months later, President Robert Kocharian invited Mr.
Margarian to become prime minister. He inherited a multibillion dram
deficit, teachers and other government employees who had not been paid
in months, and a dejected country.

A soft-spoken man, he did not change the mood by lofty rhetoric. But
under his management, surpluses and robust economic growth accompanied
a return to normalcy.

Mr. Margarian’s background was in computer systems. He insisted on
long-term planning with benchmarks along the way. On his watch, the
Armenian government adopted various long-term plans, including a
poverty reduction strategy and a strategy to develop the
information-technology sector.

Till his death, Mr. Margarian lived in his apartment in a multistory
building in the working-class district of Avan. He was often seen
playing backgammon with his neighbors. A hard worker, he was also fond
of feasting, drinking, and good company. His death is mourned by his
wife, their three children, five grandchildren, his friends, his
rivals, the people of Armenia, and Armenians around the world.

A young patriotic man who became an activist, Andranik Margarian
carried his passion forward and developed into a statesman who helped
build the independent Armenia for which he fought all his life. He is
an inspiration to all of us to work harder to forge a brighter future
for free and independent Armenia.

**************************************** ***********************************

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