New Museum in Armenia Will Tell Story of Charles Aznavour’s Love for Jews

Dec 22 2023

Larry Luxner

His haunting French rendition of “La Yiddishe Mama” is legendary, as is his spirited performance of “Hava Nagila” in a duet with Algerian Jewish singer Enrico Macias. In 1967, he recorded the song “Yerushalayim” as a tribute to Israel’s Six-Day War victory.

Yet Charles Aznavour, a diminutive singer and songwriter later nicknamed the “Frank Sinatra of France,” wasn’t Jewish. Born in Paris into a Christian Armenian family that prized culture, the young tenor learned basic Yiddish while growing up in the city’s Jewish quarter. And when the Nazis occupied Paris in 1940, the Aznavourians (their original surname, before Charles shortened it) risked their lives to save Jews from deportation.

Aznavour died in October 2018 at the age of 94. During his nearly 80-year career, he recorded over 1,400 songs in seven languages, sold around 200 million records and appeared in more than 90 films. His duets with other stars, including “Une vie d’amour” with Mirelle Mathieu, and his witty multilingual lyrics — the 1963 hit “Formidable” is a prime example — thrilled audiences worldwide. In 1998, Aznavour was voted Time magazine’s entertainer of the 20th century.

May 22, 2024, will mark the 100th anniversary of Aznavour’s birth, and many events are planned next year to celebrate that milestone. A violent conflict in September between Armenia and neighboring Azerbaijan has made the rollout more difficult, but eventually, his admirers hope to inaugurate a large museum and cultural center in Yerevan to honor the various facets of Aznavour’s life — including the warm ties he cultivated with
Israel and Jews.

“We started to work on this idea while my father was still among us,” said Nicolas Aznavour, 46, son of the famous chansonniere and co-founder of the nonprofit Aznavour Foundation. “He recorded the audio guide, so he’s the narrator of his own story.”

The foundation occupies a large building overlooking the Cascades, a series of giant limestone stairways that form one of Yerevan’s most prominent landmarks. A forerunner of the charity, the Aznavour for Armenia Association, was established in 1988 following the massive earthquake that struck Armenia — then a Soviet republic — killing 25,000 people, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless and propelling Aznavour’s philanthropic work.
Since then, the family has raised money for humanitarian projects throughout Armenia, while also funding cancer and Alzheimer’s research and aiding victims of Haiti’s 2010 earthquake.

After Armenia’s bruising 44-day war in 2020 with Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, the foundation delivered 175 tons of food, clothing, medical supplies and other aid to more than 42,000 ethnic Armenians displaced by the fighting.

Upon completion, one room of the future museum will contain the nearly 300 prizes Aznavour received from around the world during his lifetime. That includes the Raoul Wallenberg Award, presented to Aznavour in 2017 by Israel’s former president, Reuven Rivlin, in Jerusalem, in recognition of his family’s efforts to protect Jews and others in Paris during World War II.

Aznavour’s son was present when his father, then 93, received the medal from Rivlin on behalf of the singer’s parents and his older sister Aida, who is now 100.

“It’ll be an important part of the exhibit,” he said. “My grandparents, who had fled the Armenian genocide in Turkey, settled in France but ultimately wanted to go to the U.S. And when they saw what was happening to the Jews, they could not stay idle.”

That compassion is what led the family to shelter Jewish acquaintances in their small, three-room apartment at 22 rue de Navarin, in the 9th arrondissement of Paris. The eventual museum will consist of 10 rooms, taking visitors on a journey that begins with the Armenian genocide and continues with Aznavour’s early life in Paris.

“We want to tell the story of their resistance, how they helped not only Jews but also Armenian soldiers who were recruited by the Germans against their will,” said Tatev Sargsyan, chief operating officer of the Aznavour Foundation.

According to a 2016 book by Israeli researcher Yair Auron, “Righteous Saviors and Fighters,” Aznavour and his sister would help burn the Nazi uniforms of Armenian deserters and dispose of the ashes. They also hid members of a French underground resistance movement who were being pursued by the Gestapo — something the modest Aznavour rarely talked about.

“It’ll be more of an immersive experience — something that you feel rather than just see,” Nicolas Aznavour said of the planned 32,000-square-foot museum. Hundreds of artifacts besides the medals and awards will be displayed, including Aznavour’s clothing, his favorite sunglasses and dozens of posters advertising movies in which he starred. (Among them:

“The Tin Drum,” a 1979 German thriller in which Aznavour plays a kind Jewish toy vendor who kills himself after the Nazis vandalize his store and burn down the local synagogue.)
The foundation has formed a partnership with the French government to establish a French Institute within the future center, which will offer a wide range of cultural and educational activities. Among other things, there will be music lessons with hands-on experience in a recording studio. Artists will have the opportunity to perform live on stage.

In addition, experts will teach courses in film, theater and production. These classes will include film screening, featuring some of the 90 movies in which Aznavour himself starred.
Last April, the Tel Aviv suburb of Petah Tikva renamed a municipal park after Aznavour, in the presence of Mayor Rami Greenberg and Arman Hakobian — Armenia’s ambassador to Israel — as well as officials of the French Embassy and the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

“During World War II, the Aznavourian family saved numerous Jewish lives,” said community leader Artiom Chernamorian, founder of a nonprofit group called Nairi Union of Armenians in Petah Tikva. The suburb is home to a sizable Armenian ethnic community. “This gesture symbolizes the unbreakable bond between the Armenian and Jewish people, two nations that have endured unspeakable tragedy.”

Yet the influential singer wasn’t shy about calling out his Jewish friends over Israel’s refusal to officially recognize the Ottoman Turkish genocide of 1.5 million Armenians during World War I. Nor did he hold back criticism of Israel’s growing friendship with energy-rich Azerbaijan, which since 1993 has been ruled by the Aliyev family dynasty and is home to some 15,000 Jews.

“I think it’s a complex situation,” Nicholas Aznavour said. “We have friends who totally support recognition of the Armenian genocide. But more than the Turkish reaction, there’s a political reality, and the reality is that the interests of Israel align with those of Azerbaijan.”

Politics aside, that’s a “dangerous compromise,” he warned. “In the long term, it’s a bad strategy, because when you align yourself with dictatorships, it’s like putting one foot in the grave.”

A Russian ally’s purchase of French and Indian weapons is another sign Moscow is losing influence in its neighborhood

Business Insider
Dec 21 2023
  • Armenia has been ordering more weapons, turning to France and India for air-defense systems.
  • Armenia is a longtime ally of Russia, but it has leaned away from Moscow in recent years.
  • With its focus on Ukraine, Russia has offered Armenia little help in its conflicts with Azerbaijan.

In recent weeks, Armenia has ordered air-defense systems and radars from France and was reported to have ordered anti-drone systems from India.

Those orders come amid heightened tensions with neighboring Azerbaijan, with which Armenia has fought several conflicts, including a short clash in September that ended with Azerbaijan conquering the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, causing its 120,000 ethnic-Armenian residents to flee.

The acquisitions are notable not only for their timing but also because they show Armenia is taking tangible steps to lessen its dependency on military hardware from Russia, a longtime ally that has offered Yerevan little support against mounting pressure from Azerbaijan.

Armenia's six-week war with Azerbaijan in 2020 captured worldwide attention for Azerbaijan's use of aerial drones. At a press conference to announce the sale in October, France's defense minister said air defenses were "absolutely key" and that Paris was aiding Yerevan with sales of three Thales GM 200 radars and an agreement on the future delivery of short-range Mistral air-defense missiles.

"Armenia's choice to order air-defense systems from France is a significant one," James Rogers, an expert on drones and precision warfare, told Business Insider. "Not only does it highlight to Russia that Armenia has options when it comes to defense cooperation, but it marks a major leap forward in Armenia's attempts to modernize its military."

Reports in early November indicated Yerevan was also buying more weaponry from India, including Zen anti-drone systems, which are designed to detect and bring down enemy drones. Armenia previously bought four Indian-made Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launchers in 2022, the first foreign order of that system.

Nicholas Heras, the senior director of strategy and innovation at the New Lines Institute, told Business Insider that Armenia was advancing its foreign and national security policies on two tracks.

"One track is to build defense alliances with more powerful outside actors in Eurasia, and the second track is to improve the Armenian military's ability to defend against Azeri airpower in tactical engagements," Heras said. "India, in particular, is a prized defense partner with Armenia because India has a large defense industry that can also arm and improve Russian weapons platforms which Armenia deploys."

Armenia's military arsenal has long been predominantly Russian, but Yerevan has attempted to change that as its relations with Moscow have soured, especially after its devastating defeat in the 2020 war, during which Azerbaijan used Israeli- and Turkish-made weapons.

Russia has failed to aid Armenia despite Yereven's membership in the Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organization. In addition to being tied down by the war in Ukraine, Russia is most likely irked by Armenia moving closer to Washington and the West under Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who has long questioned the value of CSTO membership.

"Armenia's partnership with Russia is at a low ebb, and Pashinyan is pushing forward, slowly but surely, to bring Armenia closer to NATO, including the prospect of normalizing Armenia's relations with Turkey," Heras said.

Heras added that over the past two years, the US had been sending "a strong signal" that it "would like to test out the prospect for a more strategic US-Armenian security relationship."

Washington and Yerevan seemed to demonstrate mutual interest in closer defense relations in September when Armenia hosted a bilateral exercise focused on training for peacekeeping operations.

Eighty-five US troops trained alongside 175 Armenia personnel during the drill, which was "a testament to our longstanding partnership with Armenia and builds upon decades of successful peacekeeping and security cooperation," the US Embassy in Armenia said in a statement.

Russia, predictably, opposed the exercise, and Yerevan has kept its distance since then. Pashinyan skipped the organization's summit in mid-November, a move Russia accused the West of orchestrating.

Armenia under Pashinyan has tried to move away from Russia "by building a web of strategic partnerships," Heras said. "Fundamentally, Pashinyan does not want to depend on Russia to ensure Armenia's territorial integrity and security, and his effort to build the relationship with the United States works toward this goal."

Acquiring weaponry from other countries serves a similar purpose, but Armenia's recent purchases also reflect the sensitivity of its international position.

The Mistral missile has a relatively short range of 4 miles, suggesting the sale is meant to bolster Armenia's arsenal but was made with potential political backlash in mind. Turkey has criticized French arms sales to Yerevan. (Azerbaijan has also criticized the recent French and Indian arms sales to Armenia.)

Rogers said that "range is important in war" and that it enabled strikes on a wider set of targets. "In order not to destabilize the region or risk an outbreak of hostilities, therefore, Armenia and France have agreed to these short-range yet effective air-defense systems."

Heras said that the main quandary facing Armenian foreign policy was it could not afford to sever ties with Russia despite recent tensions, but it also could not trust Russia to intervene on its side if there's another war with Azerbaijan. The need to strike a balance between Russia and new partners while bolstering its small military with limited resources complicates Armenia's task.

"Armenia needs to purchase weapons that improve its ability to pursue a 'porcupine strategy,'" making itself a more threatening target for Azerbaijan if the two countries go to war again, Heras said.

Buying French and Indian short-range air-defense weapons that could be used by small infantry units is "a potentially cost-effective way to impose higher costs on Azerbaijan's drone airpower," Heras added.

Paul Iddon is a freelance journalist and columnist who writes about Middle East developments, military affairs, politics, and history. His articles have appeared in a variety of publications focused on the region.

Washington, D.C. marks AYF 90th anniversary with a focus on service to community and homeland

A multi-generational packed house at the AYF 90th anniversary program held on December 9 at the Soorp Khatch Armenian Church Arabian Hall

WASHINGTON—The Armenian Youth Federation – Youth Organization of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (AYF) Washington, D.C. “Ani” Senior and “Sevan” Junior chapters rallied support for Artsakh’s forcibly displaced Armenian population at the “Service to the Community and Homeland” event marking the 90th anniversary of the hallowed youth organization.

AYF D.C. “Ani” Chapter “Service to Community and Homeland” emcee Nayiri Shahnazarian

“Ninety years ago, the ARF leadership in North America invited General Karekin Njdeh to travel to communities across the United States and Canada with a mission—to inspire Armenian youth to organize a powerful force for Armenian freedom. A force—built on the pillars of education, Hai Tahd, culture, athletics and socials—which would become a worldwide youth movement building toward the ultimate goal of a free, independent, united Armenia,” stated AYF “Ani” Chair Nayiri Shahnazarian, who guided attendees through an evening of empowering stories of youth activism locally and in the Armenian homeland.

Tsoghig Hekimian offers an alumni perspective on the AYF’s youth empowerment programs

Held on Saturday, December 9, at Soorp Khatch Armenian Apostolic Church Arabian Hall, AYF alumni and current members offered anecdotes of their time in the organization. They regaled attendees with how their participation in the AYF Internship and Homenetmen Jamboree—both in Armenia this past summer—and local activities educated them and motivated expanded community service initiatives.

Offering an alumni perspective, Tsoghig Hekimian shared stories of university activism to ensure proper representation of the Armenian Genocide at Los Angeles’ Museum of Tolerance and how the AYF has served as the foundation to her ongoing service to the ARF, Armenian Relief Society and the Armenian National Committee of America.

AYF “Sevan” Chapter member Alek Tekeyan offered a powerful presentation of Vazgen Ovyan’s “Այս Ղարաբաղն է” (This is Karabakh), after which Maria Stepanyan led attendees in singing “Zartir Lao” while her brother Sevak accompanied on guitar. AYF “Sevan” Junior Chapter chair Karine Najarian and secretary Meghri Aguilian offered an update on an impressive array of junior chapter accomplishments in 2023. A moving presentation on the 2023 Homenetmen Jamboree in Armenia was offered by Mary Markarian, Meghri Aguilian and Sebouh Kassardjian.  Attendees delighted in the musical talents of Alexandra and Lilia Yaralian, who enthralled with their playing of the kanun

AYF D.C. “Ani” Senior Chris Huth discusses how the AYF Summer Internship in Armenia further connected him to the Armenian homeland

The evening concluded with Chris Huth’s overview of his unforgettable moments of connecting to the homeland and cause through the AYF Internship in Armenia and Sune Hamparian’s life-changing summer of service interning with international human rights lawyer Siranush Sahakyan in Yerevan in the ongoing international campaign to secure justice for Armenian POWs and political prisoners held illegally by Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan’s genocidal ethnic cleansing of Artsakh’s indigenous Armenian population, coupled with the corrupt Aliyev regime’s ongoing occupation of sovereign Armenian land and illegal detention of Armenian POWs and political prisoners, prompted Washington AYF supporters to donate over $2,000 to assist Artsakh refugees, bringing the local AYF chapter closer to honoring its annual commitment to raise $10,000 for Artsakh youth-related projects. To support the AYF “Ani” Chapter’s Artsakh-related programs, visit and put “Anniversary Dinner for Artsakh” in the comments.

A special thank you to our AYF “Ani” Seniors and “Sevan” Juniors who served the evening’s delicious buffet dinner catered by Vache Abkarian and his family-owned Sasun’s Cafe

Additional video from the AYF “Service to Community and Homeland” event will be posted to the D.C. chapter’s social media channels.

Anie Shahnazarian grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and is currently a member of the AYF-YOARF Greater Washington, DC "Ani" Chapter. She began working as a statistician at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services after the completion of her statistics and English literature degrees at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Additionally, she volunteers as an assistant teacher at the local Baltimore Armenian School.

Armenia and Azerbaijan exchange prisoners at border – Reuters

Dec 13 2023

AZERBAIJAN-ARMENIA BORDER, Dec 13 (Reuters) – Azerbaijan and Armenia traded prisoners-of-war at their border on Wednesday in a step towards normalising their relations after Azerbaijan achieved a decisive breakthrough in their decades-old conflict.

The exchange involved the release by Azerbaijan of 32 Armenians mostly captured in late 2020. In return, Armenia handed over two Azerbaijani soldiers held since April 2023.

Russia's TASS news agency reported earlier on Wednesday that Armenia and Azerbaijan were also discussing the withdrawal of troops from their shared border, though it said no decision had yet been taken.

"Thirty-one personnel from Armenia's armed forces captured in 2020-2023 and one serviceman captured in Nagorno-Karabakh in September have crossed the Azerbaijani-Armenian border and are on Armenian territory," Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan wrote on his Facebook account.

The South Caucasus neighbours have fought two wars in the past 30 years over Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous area that is part of Azerbaijan, but where ethnic Armenians had broken away and established de facto independence in the 1990s.

Azerbaijan recaptured Karabakh in a lightning offensive in September, prompting most of its 120,000 ethnic Armenians to flee to Armenia.

Announcing the planned prisoner exchange last week, the two sides said they "reconfirm their intention to normalise relations and to reach a peace treaty on the basis of respect for the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity".

The agreement was welcomed by the European Union and the United States, which have tried for decades to persuade the two countries to sign a peace treaty to settle outstanding issues including the demarcation of their borders.

AUA and Washington State University launch partnership to create Center for Excellence in Journalism

YEREVAN—The American University of Armenia (AUA), in partnership with Washington State University (WSU), has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to establish a Center for Excellence in Journalism and create a new master’s program in journalism education. The $1.3 million, four-year university partnership initiative is funded by the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan to support Armenia’s media sector.

Through the U.S. Embassy’s support, 90-percent tuition scholarship will be provided to approximately nine graduate students per year to study in the Master’s in Journalism degree program, with a select number of students also having the opportunity to compete for a summer internship in the United States, where they will acquire hands-on reporting skills in a U.S. media outlet.

“We are proud and grateful to be the recipient of this important grant from the U.S. Embassy,” said AUA President Dr. Bruce Boghosian. “Since the University’s inception, the U.S. government and USAID/ASHA have supported the American University of Armenia in various ways, and this marks another milestone in our longstanding relationship. We look forward to working alongside our colleagues at WSU to implement this project and eventually launch a Master’s in Journalism degree program. We are convinced that this new program will be of great benefit to Armenia and the region at large.” 

The Center for Excellence in Journalism will serve as a hub for journalism education and leadership in research, training, best practices and collaboration with leading experts and policymakers that advances knowledge of how quality journalism can serve as a bulwark against misinformation and improve networking within Armenia’s journalism ecosystem. The Center will also offer professional development programs serving the wider media community.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Rafik Mansour traveled to Armenia to inaugurate the new university partnership. U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Kristina Kvien, as well as Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport Zhanna Andreasyan, also attended the launch event.

“This U.S.-Armenia relationship is based on shared values, including press freedom and the critical role of education in building a strong, democratic society that is resilient to disinformation,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary Mansour at the inauguration event. “The United States is proud to invest in this university partnership initiative, which will support Armenia’s democratic development and invest in the next generation of journalists.” 

“This project aims to support current and future journalists with the knowledge and skills to have a positive impact on the journalism sector in Armenia and beyond,” says Dr. Hagop Yacoubian, dean of the AUA College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS). “The project will contribute to further diversifying the academic portfolio of CHSS and thus providing new possibilities for us as we prepare students to become civic and professional leaders.”

“We are delighted to formally establish this flagship partnership in journalism education between AUA and WSU,” said Dr. Lawrence Pintak, professor of communications at Washington State University. “This program represents a new milestone in the development of Armenia’s media sector and will support the professional development of Armenia’s journalism community for years to come.”

In addition to this program, the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan also announced an award to AUA to implement a two-year English program for journalists aimed at equipping the participants with English-language skills through courses tailored to their professional needs.

The event was live-streamed through the AUA Media Lab.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.

Portantino Honors ANCA-WR Board Member Anahid Oshagan with Senate District 25 ‘Woman in Law’ Award

Sen. Anthony Portantino presents award to ANCA-WR Board Member Anahid Oshagan

Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region Board Member Anahid Oshagan, Esq., was honored with the prestigious “Woman in Law” Award at the 2023 California Senate District 25 Women in Business Awards, presented by Senator Anthony Portantino on December 6.

This accolade recognized Oshagan for her exemplary contributions not only within the legal realm but also for her active engagement in various community-building efforts.

Serving a commendable eight-year tenure on the ANCA Western Region Board of Directors, Oshagan has passionately engaged in a wide range of both regional and local community endeavors.

Her unwavering commitment extends to her roles within the ANCA Western Region Education Committee, where she has been a valuable contributor to the committee’s efforts to advocate for initiatives such as the inclusion of Armenian Genocide education programming and community representation in educational institutions.

Additionally, her involvement with the ANCA Western Region Community Outreach Committee has underscored her ability to foster unity and garner support across diverse communities–both Armenian and non-Armenian–to advance Hye Tahd (the Armenian Cause).

Oshagan’s service extends beyond the ANCA Western Region, encompassing over six years of dedicated commitment to the Glendale Library Foundation Board. In this capacity, she has championed the representation of all communities and amplified diverse voices throughout Glendale.

Oshagan’s distinguished work was also previously acknowledged in 2009, when she was presented the “Women in Law” Award by the Armenian American Chamber of Commerce.

“As a valued member of the ANCA Western Region Board of Directors, we take pride in the well-deserved recognition bestowed upon Anahid for her noteworthy contributions,” said Nora Hovsepian, Esq., Chair of the ANCA Western Region Board of Directors. “Anahid, as a legal professional and lifelong advocate for the Armenian-American community, exemplifies an unwavering commitment to justice, proving instrumental not only to the advancement of Hye Tahd but also to the community at-large.”

“I have known Anahid Oshagan for two decades and have always appreciated her commitment to the community, her talent as a lawyer and her passion for the arts,” Portantino remarked. “I was pleased that she was nominated and excited to honor her.”

“I am truly humbled and honored for this award,” said Oshagan. “I know that Senator Portantino had a tremendously long list of outstanding and deserving nominees to choose from. That makes this award so much more special.”

The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian-American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian-American community on a broad range of issues.

Russian MFA questions deal between France, Armenia on Bastion armored vehicles

TASS – Russia
Dec 6 2023
It was reported that France will supply Armenia with a total of 50 Bastion armored vehicles manufactured by the Arquus company, while keeping the door open for a deal to supply Caesar artillery systems

MOSCOW, December 6. /TASS/. The Bastion armored vehicles that France will supply to Armenia will not help Yerevan, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing.

"As for France and these Bastion armored vehicles – they are illiquid. This is obvious even from the situation unfolding in the context of the special military operation, I commented on this in detail at the briefing on November 22," she said.

"By the way, if a lot of mass communication and information media, close to the current authorities in Armenia, would not twist this information and would not engage in anti-journalistic activities, but would give an opportunity to the people of their country to see the quotes and the direct speech, it would be clearer that, unfortunately, the people of Armenia are being misinformed by the West. Why misinformed? Because this hodgepodge of military equipment produced by different countries has never contributed to improving defense capabilities. This is clear," Zakharova added.

The diplomat also commented on the statement of the republic's Deputy Defense Minister Hrachya Sargsyan that Armenia is not going to sue Russia for not receiving purchased weapons, as the two countries should work the problem out together. "Now regarding that statement of the Armenian Defense Ministry that you quoted about the need to solve problems in concert, we can only welcome this. As [we] understand, the Russian Defense Ministry has a similar mindset," she said.

France will supply Armenia with a total of 50 Bastion armored vehicles manufactured by the Arquus company, while keeping the door open for a deal to supply Caesar artillery systems, the Armenian state news agency Armenpress reported earlier, citing an internal document from the French Senate. According to the agency, 24 armored vehicles have already been delivered to Armenia, 26 more are being produced and will be delivered later.

Parliament war commission subpoenas former NK official Samvel Babayan


YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 29, ARMENPRESS. The parliament select committee probing the 2020 Second Nagorno Karabakh War has subpoenaed the former Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army Commander Samvel Babayan.

Babayan will participate in a meeting of the committee on November 29.

He told reporters he was ready to answer all questions.

“I was invited, I agreed to be present and answer questions. Why would I avoid it if I am ready to answer all questions? I will answer all questions honestly,” Babayan, a former Secretary of the Security Council of Nagorno-Karabakh, told reporters in parliament.

Armenpress: "Gardman-Shirvan-Nakhijevan" responds to Baku’s systemic hysteria regarding the protection of Armenian cultural heritage


YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 29, ARMENPRESS. "Gardman-Shirvan-Nakhijevan" Pan-Armenian Union has reacted to the Azerbaijan’s systemic hysteria over the issue of preservation of Armenian cultural heritage noting that over the century of its existence, Azerbaijan has managed to become famous not only for its impeccable practice of ethnic cleansing, but also for cultural genocide and similar crimes, and its willingness to deftly refuse responsibility for these crimes.

The statement issued by the Union reads as follows:

"Since the creation of the Azerbaijani state, the Armenian cultural heritage in the territories of historical Gardman, Shirvan, and Nakhijevan has faced an ontological threat. Unfortunately, over the past decades, we have witnessed the appropriation, mutilation or destruction of Armenian Christian cultural heritage using the most brutal methods. This is a consequence of the deep racial and religious discriminatory consciousness that Azerbaijan possesses at the state level.

Azerbaijan regularly makes groundless accusations against Armenia to deny its share of the crime and responsibility. Meanwhile, a significant question arises: Is Azerbaijan ready to answer where more than half a million Armenians from historical Gardman, Shirvan, and Nakhijevan are? "What happened to their property?" Why and how the Armenian cultural heritage is constantly being distorted or destroyed?

"In the period from 1998 to 2006, with the direct participation of units from the Azerbaijani army, thousands of unique cross-stones and tombstones from the Armenian cemetery in Jugha, which were exceptional examples of material art, were destroyed, and the territory of the cemetery was turned into a shooting range. If Azerbaijan does not admit its crime, why does it not allow international organizations to study the situation on the ground? The answer is simple: when it is impossible to deny reality, dictatorial methods of prohibition and falsification come to the rescue."

The International Court of Justice on December 7, 2021  decided to apply provisional measures, requiring Azerbaijan to take all necessary measures to prevent and punish all acts of vandalism and desecration committed against the Armenian cultural heritage, including churches and other places of worship, monuments , natural objects, graves and other artifacts.

However, even after such a decision, Azerbaijan persists in its actions unhindered. This is evident in the distortion of identity through the 'reconstruction' of Shushi's Ghazanchetsots Church, the vandalism of Kanach Zham (Saint John the Baptist Church), and the construction of a road through the historical Armenian cemetery of Shushi, resulting in an unknown number of tombstones being damaged or simply destroyed."

The list could be continued for a long time until Azerbaijan overcomes its ethnophobic policies and adheres to global standards of humanity and mutual respect."

Armenpress: Armenia wins bronze at European Team Chess Championship

 10:02, 21 November 2023

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 21, ARMENPRESS. Armenia’s Men’s Chess Team has won bronze at the European Team Chess Championship in Budva, Montenegro after defeating England 2.5-1.5 in the last round.

Armenia’s Shant Sargsyan defeated Michael Adams, while Hayk Martirosyan, Gabriel Sargsyan and Samvel Ter-Sahakyan had draws.

Serbia won gold and Germany won silver.