Armenpress: Exhibition of unique exhibits from the collection of Yerevan History Museum opens in the Chinese city of Ningbo


YEREVAN, JANUARY 31, ARMENPRESS. An exhibition titled "Noah's Land" has been opened in Ningbo, China. The project was implemented within the framework of the cooperation agreement signed between Yerevan History Museum, "Armenian-Chinese Partnership Center" NGO and Ningbo City of the People's Republic of China.

According to the Yerevan Municipality, 94 unique exhibits from the museum's collection are being presented at the exhibition: traditional costumes-Taraz, carpets, silver jewelry, embroidery, tableware dating back to the 18th-20th centuries.

The exhibition will be open until May 5th.

Turkey warns Armenia to accept ‘hand of peace’

Jan 31 2024

Turkey has warned Armenia that it would suffer ‘serious damages’ if it failed to secure a peace treaty with Azerbaijan. 

The comments came from the chair of the Turkish Parliament’s Defence Committee, Hulusi Akar, during a visit to Baku on Monday. ‘[Armenia] should accept the hand of peace extended by Azerbaijan, otherwise it will suffer serious damages just like in the 2020 war’, he said. Akar previously served as minister of defence and the chief of staff of the Turkish armed forces.

In response, Deputy Foreign Minister Vahan Kostanyan told Armenian Public TV that Turkey could play a more constructive role by implementing an agreement to open the land border between the two countries for citizens of third countries and diplomatic passport holders. 

The comments came as tension between Armenia and Azerbaijan continue to ratchet, with the peace process that began following the end of the 2020 Second Nagorno-Karabakh war dragging on.

On Saturday, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov told local journalists that Azerbaijan had received Armenia’s latest peace proposals at the beginning of January, and was still preparing a response.

On Sunday, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan suggested the countries sign a non-aggression pact ‘if it turns out that signing a peace treaty will take longer than expected’.

He also repeated an offer to create a mutual arms control mechanism, in response to criticism from Azerbaijan of Armenia purchasing weaponry from France and India.


During his visit to Baku, Akar repeated such criticisms, claiming that certain countries were trying to equip Armenia as a ‘proxy state’.

On 29 January, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesperson Aykhan Hajizade dismissed Pashinyan’s latest proposals as a distraction.

‘It is political manipulation to claim that Armenia takes a serious approach to the peace process’, he said, ‘taking into account that his country is pursuing a policy of serious militarisation, several billion-dollar arms supply contracts have been signed in recent years, and it has developed its military industry’. 

‘Azerbaijan, in its turn, will continue its peace and construction efforts and expects Armenia to take adequate steps, not only in words but also in deeds’, he said.

As peace talks have appeared to have stalled, diplomatic spats between the two countries have continued to appear.

On 25 January, Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) announced that Armenia would be transferring eight landmine logbooks to Azerbaijan as a confidence-building measure. They said these were discovered as part of their interviews with former military personnel from Nagorno-Karabakh.

The NSS stated that Armenia had transferred around 972 maps containing the locations of landmines throughout 2021 ‘without preconditions’ and that ‘there are simply no better quality maps at Armenia’s disposal’. 

Later that day, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry stated Armenia’s intention was ‘not a humanitarian one and this step could not be considered a confidence-building measure’.

They added that the maps they had received from Armenia in the past were only 25% accurate and ‘incomplete’.

‘We have frequently pointed out that the provided maps are ineffective, incomplete, and do not accurately portray the reality on the ground’, read the ministry’s statement.

They called on Yerevan to ‘submit accurate maps’ and to provide information on the ‘fate of nearly 4,000 Azerbaijanis who have disappeared over the past 30 years, as well as the places of mass graves where Azerbaijanis are buried’.

In response, Armenia’s Foreign Ministry accused Azerbaijan of ‘continuing to manipulate the topic’, and ‘turning Armenia’s positive move into an occasion for escalation and negative rhetoric’. 

The NSS also said they had previously provided information on Azerbaijanis who remain missing and said they were willing to cooperate on this matter further.

Any violation of Armenia’s territorial integrity will have serious consequences for our relations with Baku: Borrell


YEREVAN, JANUARY 22, ARMENPRESS.  The meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union (EU) has concluded in Brussels.

Among various topics, the meeting also addressed issues related to Armenia-Azerbaijan relations.

According to the Armenpress Brussels correspondent, at the end of the session, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, stated at the press conference that EU member states agree with the idea that Azerbaijan should engage in substantive peace and relationship settlement negotiations with Armenia.

“President Aliyev's recent territorial demands are very concerning. Any violation of Armenia's territorial integrity will be unacceptable and will have serious consequences for our relations with Azerbaijan," Josep Borrell said.

Lilit Gasparyan

Davos 2024: Armenian President, UN High Commissioner for Refugees discuss Nagorno- Karabakh


YEREVAN, JANUARY 17, ARMENPRESS. President of Armenia Vahagn Khachaturyan has met with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Both sides praised the effective cooperation of over 30 years between Armenia and the UNHCR, Khachaturyan’s Office said in a readout.

Khachaturyan and Grandi discussed the humanitarian and social problems facing the forcibly displaced persons of Nagorno-Karabakh and the steps aimed at resolving the issues.

Grandi inquired about the social protection and accommodation conditions, as well as other humanitarian issues, of more than 100,000 forcibly displaced persons of Nagorno-Karabakh. In this context the President presented in detail the Armenian government’s rapid response programs and actions aimed at resolving both the primary and complex problems of the forcibly displaced persons.

An agreement was reached to continue close cooperation to resolve the existing issues.

Armenian Prime Minister’s spouse visits Hematology Center named after Prof. R.H. Yeolyan


YEREVAN, DECEMBER 28, ARMENPRESS. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's  spouse Anna Hakobyan on December 28 visited Hematology Center named after Prof. R. H. Yeolyan.

Accompanied by Minister of Health Anahit Avanesyan and deputy director of the center, Hayk Grigoryan, Anna Hakobyan  had a meeting with the children receiving treatment, Hakobyan’s Office said.

“Deputy director Hayk Grigoryan  noted that 22 patients are receiving inpatient treatment at the center. About 90 new patients have been diagnosed this year. The center's management emphasized the acquisition of new diagnostic devices and the introduction of the latest technologies for more detailed research. Patients under the age of 25 are treated free of charge at the hematology center,” reads the statement.

According to the source, the  deputy director Hayk Grigoryan noted that the number of people traveling abroad for treatment has decreased, as many of them prefer receiving treatment in Armenia.

The deputy director said that last year, cases were also recorded where foreigners had chosen Armenia and the Hematology Center as their place of treatment.

Anna Hakobyan visited all the children, distributed New Year's gifts and talked with them. The Prime Minister's wife asked family members and doctors about the children's health condition and the dynamics of treatment.

Anna Hakobyan encouraged both the children and parents to stay strong wishing them health and patience.

Inclusion of maps under discussion for providing predictability in demarcation process, says Mirzoyan


YEREVAN, DECEMBER 27, ARMENPRESS. The three principles put forward by Armenia regarding the peace process are in line with the norms of international law and even they are principles popularized as a result of the discussion with the participation of the President of Azerbaijan.

Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ararat Mirzoyan expressed such an opinion during Wednesday’s joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart.

"The three principles pertain to the sovereignty of countries, mutual recognition of territorial integrity and inviolability of borders. When talking about transport and communication infrastructures, we once again address the jurisdiction within the context of these three principles. They are principles accepted by the international community and their legitimacy is recognized worldwide.

 President of the European Council Charles Michel has also announced about this after the regular meeting," said FM Mirzoyan.

According to Mirzoyan, one should be guided by public announcements and established agreements. The Foreign Minister said that there is a real possibility of reaching lasting peace, but it depends on a number of factors, including Azerbaijan's constructive approach.

Regarding the maps to be used in the demarcation and delimitation process, the Armenian Foreign Minister emphasized the importance for the Armenian side that the process is highly predictable, and its principles and foundations are documented in the peace treaty. At this stage, the inclusion of maps is being discussed as a manifestation of fixing the principle of demarcation, providing predictability for demarcation.

Iran's Minister of Foreign Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, in turn, noted that Armenia is committed to achieving peace and is taking concrete steps in that direction.

"The day before yesterday, I had a telephone conversation with Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov and noted that official Baku also welcomes the possibility of achieving stable peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan. We are optimistic; positive sentiments can help solve the existing problems without external interventions, through the '3+3' format," said the Iranian Foreign Minister.

Armenia and Cyprus intensify business ties


YEREVAN, DECEMBER 22, ARMENPRESS. Chief Executive Officer of the M. Target Group (Cyprus) Odysseas Melikides is visiting Armenia to explore opportunities to enhance Armenia-Cyprus business ties.

Speaking at a press conference in Yerevan, Melikides mentioned that there’s little information about Armenia in Cyprus. “Many in Cyprus are unaware of the business opportunities in Armenia and Armenian products,” he said. “We are here to study the conditions on spot and establish new contacts. We’ve already met with local businessmen from various sectors, beverage production, textile, IT. We’ve discussed the main issues regarding access to foreign markets. This is my first time in Armenia and I am very impressed. For 2024, we have the goal to help Armenian businessmen enter not only the European market, but also to make businessmen in Cyprus get to know the Armenian market. There’s big potential to intensify the cooperation and we must work,” Odysseas Melikides said.

The visit is organized by the Council of the International Business Relations Support.

Mariam Manukyan, the President of the Council of the International Business Relations Support, said that she visited Cyprus together with a business delegation earlier this year. She said that her partners in Cyprus are engaged in serious work to intensify economic ties and raise awareness about customs and tax regulations. The most various sectors are being considered : tourism, textile, beverage production and IT.

The experts said that Cyprus could be a window for Armenian businessmen towards Europe, in addition to being a good market itself.

A business forum and expo will soon take place in Cyprus.

In addition to Cyprus, the Council of the International Business Relations Support will also work in other directions, such as the Czech Republic and the U.S.

Armenia Suspends License of Russian Broadcaster Sputnik

Dec 21 2023

Russia's Embassy in Yerevan denounced Thursday the temporary suspension of Russian broadcaster Sputnik's local branch over "offensive" comments a presenter made about Armenia on air.

The commission responsible for television and radio announced late Wednesday that the license of Tospa, the broadcaster of Sputnik Armenia, was being suspended for 30 days after remarks by the Russian TV personality Tigran Keosayan in November.

His opinions do not befit what a "political commentator, presenter and citizen of another country" has the "moral right" to say, it said.

Keosayan also encouraged "illegal acts," the commission said without elaborating.

The pro-Kremlin presenter is married to Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of the RT broadcaster and a loyal supporter of President Vladimir Putin.

The Russian Embassy in Yerevan criticized the decision, saying the measure was being taken to push Armenia further from Russia.


"This step cannot but look like a concession to those who are increasingly vociferous in favor of severing the long-standing, mutually beneficial and respectful allied relations between Russia and Armenia," the embassy said in a statement.

Sputnik is a state-run Russian media organization operating in several countries through radio channels or websites, and has been accused of spreading Kremlin "disinformation."

The European Union, Britain and Canada banned it shortly after Russia sent troops to Ukraine in February 2022.

In a separate case, the commission inflicted a fine of $1,200 on the channel for comments that "did not correspond to reality" and were likely "to cause panic" in Armenia.

The Caucasus country is a traditional Russian ally but relations have soured since its historic enemy Azerbaijan seized the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh in September.

Yerevan says Moscow did not do enough to stop the lightning Azerbaijani offensive, where Baku seized territory it had not controlled for decades from Armenian separatists.

We are passionate about education, it is an investment in the future of Armenia: David Amaryan


YEREVAN, DECEMBER 18, ARMENPRESS. Armenian entrepreneur, investor and founder and CEO of Balchug Capital, David Amaryan, together with his brother, Vardan Amaryan, founder of the Armenian investment company Apricot Capital, have established the Amaryan Charitable Foundation, which is dedicated to education and humanitarian relief projects in Armenia.

We had an insightful conversation with David Amaryan about the Foundation's establishment and first projects, his personal journey, interests and running a business in Armenia.

Mr. Amaryan, after the tragic events in Artsakh you and your brother, Vardan Amaryan, announced the establishment of a foundation focusing on relief projects, starting with initiatives in Syunik province. Could you please provide details on the plans for creating the Amaryan Charitable Foundation? What prompted the decision to commence operations in Syunik?

I hail from Syunik; it's my homeland. My father's and grandfather's village, Verishen in Syunik, is where I spent my childhood. Although born and raised in Yerevan due to my parents' work —my father is a scientist, and my mother is a teacher— my happiest and carefree childhood years were spent in the village, surrounded by the love and care of my grandparents. So, it is a place that is very dear to me and one that I know very well, and was a good place to start our charitable activities, but of course we will build our activities around the country.

Growing up during the First Nagorno-Karabakh War and subsequent crises had a significant impact on me, my sense of self and my view of the world. I saw how war could devastate people’s lives and I realized the fragility of the peaceful and prosperous existence that many countries take for granted.

So, what happened in Artsakh in September 2023 is a personal tragedy for me. Our compatriots were deprived of everything: their home, homeland, and sometimes even relatives. The challenges faced by the people of Artsakh are extraordinary. That's one of the reasons why we established the Amaryan Charitable Foundation so that we could help.

But we also wanted to really focus on education. Education was the starting point for Vardan and me which gave us the ability to advance our careers both in Armenia and internationally, and ultimately to build our very successful businesses. We want to give other Armenians the opportunities that we had. We are passionate about education; it is an investment in the future of Armenia.

In doing so Vardan and I wanted to use the experience and expertise that we have built up in the financial world internationally in order to make a real contribution to our own country. We recognize the very important work done by the government, local authorities, international organizations and agencies, but we think the private sector can play a critical and complementary role too.

In fact, if you look at the US or many European countries, charitable organizations created by people in business or finance do many incredibly valuable things for society. We think that is a good model to follow and a good precedent to set. It is already happening in Armenia, but we want to help it develop further.

Mr. Amaryan, you've had quite an interesting journey, from studying in the USA to working on Wall Street. Could you share more about your background and experiences?

Living abroad for many years was driven by study and work. However, my brother and I never forgot our homeland, we have been doing many things to improve and develop the country.

At school I excelled both in mathematics and humanities, language, and literature. Yet, my interest in finance and calculations dates back to my childhood. My brother and I even created a game envisioning the "Amaryan Corporation" with multi-storey offices, cars, and many employees: it turns out we visualized our future (laughs). My brother and I share a strong bond; I can't imagine my life without him.

I attended both school and university in the United States, relying solely on educational grants. My first opportunity to study in the USA arose in 1995. At that time, I was a 13-year-old eighth-grade public school student when I came across an article in the local newspaper mentioning that Robert Tembeckjian was in Armenia.  Robert was teaching ethics and political science courses in Yerevan at the American University of Armenia (AUA), instructing graduate degree candidates during the day and adult/extension-program enrollees at night. Motivated by the chance to enhance my language skills and engage with a native speaker, I approached Robert and requested to attend his evening courses. Having excelled in English at school, my parents supported this endeavor as an opportunity for both acquiring new knowledge and fostering communication skills.

Throughout the spring semester, four nights a week, I traveled over an hour each way from home on the outskirts of town to the centrally located AUA. I consistently occupied the front row in a large auditorium filled with adults and very often waited for Robert after classes. His office was on the way and we had various discussions covering a wide range of topics, including our Armenian family histories, sports, politics, weather, and the economic and social consequences of the then-ongoing blockade of Armenia's western and eastern borders by Turkey and its ally Azerbaijan. These conversations, interactions, and the friendship with Robert, now recognized as mentorship, played a crucial role in shaping my aspirations and helping me to set ambitious goals.

A year later, I was selected by the U.S. Embassy in Armenia and, having received a full scholarship, went to the USA as a high school exchange student at one of the most prestigious schools in New York, Trinity School in the upper west side of Manhattan. Robert's family hosted me in New York. I was able to juggle my classes with sports, engage in various after-school activities and have fun with my friends. Almost 30 years have passed since those days, and we are as close with Robert as ever. We are one family.

Upon completion of the program, I returned to Armenia and then opted to pursue a full scholarship at Miami University in Ohio. Subsequently, I got a job on Wall Street. I started my career at the investment management firm Sanford C. Bernstein (now AllianceBernstein) as an associate portfolio manager, overseeing investments for New York based clients of about $4 billion. I worked a lot, without breaks or holidays, but those years were invaluable in terms of gaining expertise. 

While I greatly enjoyed my work, my priority was maintaining a strong connection with my parents. Consequently, I made the decision to return to Armenia. After a while, again due to work obligations, I moved to Russia, this time with my family. I held positions in various leading financial and investment companies, including Troika-Dialog and Citigroup. However, I had the conviction that one day we would establish our own company, and it would undoubtedly be in Armenia.

And how did you establish Balchug Capital?

In 2010, my brother and I founded our own investment business. This decision was a direct response to the lessons and insights we gained from the 2008 global economic crisis. Learning from both our successes and failures, we understood the significance of adapting and evolving in the face of challenges.

I was a 28-year-old individual who had experienced success and witnessed ongoing development in an expanding and ever-growing market. However, in 2008, the world seemed to unravel, leaving one uncertain about what steps to take and what to anticipate.

During these periods, I learned the importance of discerning when to pause and refrain from action and when to make decisive moves. We learned to make the right decisions. Reflecting on these experiences today, I have no regrets. Each challenge, despite its difficulties, brought about positive results, and our successes were the outcomes of relentless hard work. Adopting a balanced approach – philosophical and pragmatic – with clear-headed judgment is essential. Importantly, regardless of the circumstances, one must not give up, no matter what.

How do you anticipate the future expansion of Balchug Capital, and where do you envision it?

We have the vision of evolving into a widely recognized, Armenia-based, global leading holding company. The goal is to contribute significantly to the development and dissemination of investment culture in Armenia.

The headquarters of Balchug Capital will always be in Armenia. There is so much we can do in the investment management space here, and that means a dedicated strategy, professional specialists, and collaboration with our partners. But we have already had a lot of visible success and made substantial progress, and I am sure we can continue to grow in the future.

Armenia continues to face many challenges and we will always do everything we can to help it to develop. Regardless of Balchug Capital's development or where we will expand to, its roots and activities will always be anchored in Armenia.

Currently, Balchug manages assets with vast developmental potential and opportunities. We are already planning approximately 3-5 transactions for the next year. Our team is continually expanding, comprising professionals who share the same values that form the bedrock of our company: honesty and kindness. In general, one of the critical factors contributing to success is surrounding oneself with individuals who are highly experienced and accomplished, from whom there is always something new to learn. The energy of the people you collaborate with holds significant importance.

Returning to your personal interests, you have quite fascinating hobbies: sports and music. At first glance, one might find the combination of these hobbies and your profession incompatible.

I often hear that (smiles). One could argue that sports and music are no longer mere hobbies; they have become integral parts of my daily life, defining how I live. I have been playing music since the age of 17. I recall the first time I entered a club and realized that electronic music was a departure from the familiar tunes we were used to listening to. Since that moment, I delved deeper into it, using the money I had saved to acquire musical instruments and explore electronic music. I can't envision my life without music: I have been playing for 26 years.

Certainly, there are instances when individuals who primarily know me from the business world are surprised to learn about my involvement in music. This reaction is a consequence of prevailing stereotypes, there seems to be a widespread notion that professionals in the financial sector should conform to a classic suit-and-tie image!

Sports also play an integral role in the lives of all members of our family. The main sport activities of our family are Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and horse riding. My two daughters and my son all practice Jiu Jitsu. My 6-year-old son, Alex is a two-time world champion and Armenia champion. My 16-year-old daughter has been horse riding since she was 3 years old. She has won numerous competitions in jumping and she is a member of the Armenian National Team.

Have you been a role model only in that sense? Do they aspire to continue your work?

My eldest daughter, Anna, is 16 years old and already shows an interest in finance and the economy. We spend significant time together discussing various topics and challenges. I consistently encourage her, emphasizing that with diligent studies and becoming a proficient professional, she could embark on her career within our company. On the other hand, my 6-year-old son isn't as enthused by this prospect. Some time ago, when he had reluctantly agreed to sit down to do his homework, my wife tried to inspire him saying that in order to be able to work in his daddy’s company, he needed to become a good professional. In response, he indignantly remarked, "Daddy has already promised his company to Anna (my daughter)" (laughs).

My three children are growing up with core family values, but they undoubtedly have their own autonomy and opportunities. Above all, ensuring they receive a quality education is of utmost importance.

As an individual with many years of experience and operating in many countries, what is your vision for the future of Armenia? How can we address the modern challenges and demands of an ever-changing and developing world?

That is one of the challenging questions I believe every Armenian confronts at some stage in their life.

Achieving economic independence is exceptionally difficult for small countries like ours. However, it is crucial to understand the strengths and opportunities inherent in our country and harness them for development.

Foremost, a high-quality educational system is essential; indeed, much depends on education. Other critical components include a well-established economy and defense system.

A country should also be attractive, policies should be clear and consistent both in terms of investment and tourism, and foster a welcoming environment. Time and experience proved that internal resources and potential alone are not enough to achieve significant success. Thus, we must create an environment that effectively attracts and uses external resources. We need to focus on generating global value.