Back in grandad’s building

Calcutta Telegraph, India
May 22 2010

Back in grandad’s building

– Irene happy to be home in Stephen Court after 57 days

The granddaughter of the man whose name Stephen Court bears is back
home in the blaze-ravaged building after 57 days.

Irene Harris (Martin), whose grandfather was Arathoon Stephen, sat
back on Friday evening in flat No. 27, lit a cigarette, and said:
`It’s definitely nice to be back home.’

She and husband Jimmy ‘ last seen in public the day after the fire at
Stephen Court seated on the Park Street pavement opposite their house
(in picture) ‘ are busy getting their house up and running again.
`When the house is empty, dust settles. And the servant has not come.
So my husband and I are doing our best to put everything in order,’
said the 84-year-old.

Their neighbours have ensured there is water in their second-floor
flat in wing IV, but without the lift the two senior citizens are
confined to their home. `Both my husband and I need canes to walk. We
cannot negotiate the stairs,’ said Irene, between playing gracious
hostess to a guest and rewinding to March 23.

`I was sitting at home that day when a friend who was passing through
Middleton Row called up and said `Irene there is a fire in Stephen
Court’. I said, `What rubbish. There’s never ever been a fire at
Stephen Court’…. You see, the fire was at the other end and we
didn’t feel it inside. But it could have spread.’

>From then on, a tiny quarters in Sir Catchick Paul Chater Home, better
known as Armenian Home, off Park Circus was home for Irene and Jimmy.
`This place is nice and we are very well taken care of but home is
home,’ Irene had told Metro earlier this week.

Back in her sprawling but sparse Stephen Court flat, won’t she be
haunted by all the controversy surrounding the building her
grandfather once owned? `That’s old history,’ she shrugged, before
adding with a twinkle in her eye, `but the building does bear his name
‘ Stephen.’


"Caucasus 2009" International Conference Got Under Way In Yerevan

12:58 21/05/2010


"Caucasus 2009" international two-day conference got under way in
Yerevan. The conference hosted participants from Armenia, Georgia,
Russia and Turkey. The conference was supposed to cover issues related
to Azerbaijan but, was told, that Azerbaijani side rejected
its participation.

The highlights of the conference are political, social and economic
developments in North and South Caucasus, as well as Russian, American
and European policies in the region.

The conference is headed by Alexander Iskandaryan (Armenia), Onno
Simmons (European Commission), expert Vladimir Shkolnikov (Warsaw).

Marching Through Red Square


>From The Economist print edition
May 20th 2010

A pragmatic new foreign policy may be a plus, but it does not mean
that Russia is ready to make any changes at home

ON MAY 9th soldiers from NATO countries, including America, Britain
and Poland, marched across Red Square in Russia’s Victory Day parade.

Beethoven’s "Ode to Joy", the anthem of the European Union, was
played along with the Soviet-era national anthem. Military parades
are symbolic and the Kremlin has long put Russia’s wartime victory
at the centre of its post-Soviet identity. But this parade was meant
to project the image of a self-confident, powerful country seeking
better relations with the West.

A year ago it symbolised Russia’s victory over Georgia and its
American backers. These days Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s ambassador to
NATO, talks of common values and the trustworthiness of America. And
Radek Sikorski, the Polish foreign minister, praises the openness of
the Kremlin in investigating the Smolensk air crash and says Poland
is an ally.

Russia’s foreign policy has changed-and the change goes beyond

After 40 years of tedious talks, Russia has signed a maritime border
agreement with Norway. It is using soft power in Ukraine. Perhaps
most significant is the improvement in relations with Poland,
a centuries-old irritant. After years of exploiting differences
between old and new members of the European Union, Vladimir Putin,
Russia’s prime minister, has realised that EU solidarity is more than
mere rhetoric.

Germany’s Angela Merkel made clear two years ago that, if Russia
wanted better relations with the EU, it had to mend fences with
Poland. That required a shift in the Kremlin’s historical discourse
and its taste for Stalin. Mr Putin has been remarkably flexible. Last
year he went to Gdansk to mark the start of the war; this year he
knelt to commemorate victims of the Katyn massacre ordered by Stalin
in 1940. The importance of Poland in the Kremlin’s eyes has grown
along with the prospects of shale gas in the country. Gazprom is now
said to be sweet-talking the Poles into a long-term gas contract. In
the contest between gas interests and Stalin, Stalin loses.

There is no point sulking or being belligerent with the West, the
Kremlin seems to have decided. As Mr Putin has said, Russia should
present a smiling face to the world. A smile, however, does not
alter nature; the Russian shift has occurred without significant
change inside the country. Russia has not become less corrupt or
more democratic. Russian troops remain in part of Georgia; Mikhail
Khodorkovsky, the former Yukos boss, is still in jail.

Russia has not abandoned its claim to a privileged interest in the

Dmitry Trenin, head of the Moscow Carnegie Centre, argues that
Russian foreign policy under Mr Putin has always been more defensive
than offensive.

It is shaped more by vested financial and political interests than by
ideology or geopolitics. Russia’s return to business as usual was made
easier by Barack Obama’s reset policy (seen in Moscow as an admission
of past mistakes) and the shelving of NATO expansion. The financial
crisis has also shown up Russia’s vulnerability.

After a decade of rising oil prices and budget surpluses, Russia
is running a deficit and looking to borrow money. The crisis has
exploded a model of economic growth that relied on rising oil and gas
prices. To keep its grip on power, the Kremlin has now come up with
a different idea: modernisation to renew the Russian economy without
changing its political system.

Russia’s new pragmatism is set out in a leaked foreign-ministry
paper. The document is not an example of liberalism and openness,
but it argues that Russia must form modernisation alliances with
leading countries and attract Western technologies while advancing
the interests of Russian companies abroad. In a sign of desperation,
even Armenia is seen as a channel for the transfer of technology to
Russia. Russia’s wish list includes visa-free travel, the adoption
of EU standards and membership of the World Trade Organisation and
the OECD rich-country club.

The EU’s attitude has been cautious and more realistic than many

Progress in EU-Russia relations has been painfully slow. Barring
a few appeasers, most governments in Europe, including Germany’s,
have no illusions left about Mr Putin’s Russia: its weak property
rights, high corruption and the symbiosis of state power with
private financial interests. Yet most EU governments also embrace
the idea of modernisation. A large emerging market with a huge
demand for technological catch-up serves the interests of European
companies. Adopting EU standards would also curb Russia’s ability
to impose arbitrary trade sanctions. And many see Russia’s slogan of
modernisation as a chance, however feeble, to push for its political

Talk of modernisation has not removed basic disagreements. Mr
Medvedev’s November proposal for a new European security treaty
focuses on hard power and implies a veto on NATO expansion which
is unpalatable to the West. It is being discussed as part of the
so-called Corfu process, but one European politician likens it to a
perpetuum mobile that will go on forever without reaching a conclusion.

> > From Russia’s viewpoint, Mr Medvedev’s scheme has helped to divert
> > attention from Georgia. "[They] stopped discussing Georgia and
started discussing this proposal," Mr Rogozin says. Russia has kept
its military presence not just in Georgia but in other former Soviet
republics. It has just agreed an extension of the Black Sea fleet’s
lease in Sebastopol, in Ukraine.

As the foreign-ministry document asserts, Russia needs to consolidate
the former Soviet space by, for example, pushing the customs union
between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Brussels has warned Ukraine
that, were it to join this customs union, it would jeopardise its
partnership with the EU.

Russia itself sees the EU as a source of innovation, but not a model
for democracy. Talk of common values and the rule of law causes
heartburn among such Russian officials as Vladimir Chizhov, a smiling
and impenetrable ambassador to the EU. Asked what Russia wants from
the EU, he starts with what it does not want: to have it as a bossy
patron come to modernise Russia. "We see it as a purely utilitarian
initiative," he says.

The main problem is not that Russia defends its own values (it has few)
but that its leaders think the values gap does not exist and the West
is hypocritical to talk of it. Unlike Mikhail Gorbachev’s policy of
openness, which was inseparable from domestic liberalisation, Russia’s
new detente implies no political change at home. The foreign-ministry
document talks of the need to project the image of Russia as a
democratic state with a socially oriented market economy-but says
nothing about the need actually to become one. Russia’s rapprochement
is fragile since it hinges on an idea of modernisation that is unlikely
to succeed without liberalisation. The risk is that when modernisation

Armenia’s Delegation Participates In Meeting Of Interstate Council O


May 21, 2010 – 18:55 AMT 13:55 GMT

Armenia’s governmental delegation led by Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan
left for Saint Petersburg to participate in the 26th meeting of the
Interstate Council of the Eurasian Economic Community, as well as in
a session of the CIS Council of the Heads of Government.

The session of the CIS Council of the Heads of Government will discuss
over 20 design projects aimed at boosting relations among CIS member
countries in economic, humanitarian and security fields.

Meanwhile, the meeting of the heads of government of the Interstate
Council of the Eurasian Economic Community will be held in
Konstantinovsky Palace, Saint Petersburg, later members of delegations
will join them.

The Armenian delegation includes Chief of Staff of the RA government
David Sargsyan, Minister of Finance Tigran Davtyan, Deputy Foreign
Minister Shavarsh Kocharyan and other officials, the press service
of the RA government reported.

BAKU: Edward Nalbandian Dissatisfied With EU’s Resolution


May 21 2010

Baku. Lachin Sultanova – APA. Armenian FM Edward Nalbandian acutely
commented on EU’s adopted resolution at the European Parliament
connected with South Caucasus, APA reports quoting Armenian press.

Nalbandian stated that this resolution didn’t correspond neither with
Moscow resolution, nor Madrid Principles, nor L’Aquila Declarations.

To him, person who prepared the resolution was not aware off Nagorno
Karabakh conflict enough: "That person likely never has been in
Nagorno Karabakh and in the region and hadn’t conducted consultations
with French co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group. And that is why,
this resolution is contrary to EU’s position which it demonstrated
several times".

Nalbandian also noted that EU’s position which it sounded in Athena
in December, last year was harmonious with Armenian position.

Remind that, calls for importance of withdrawal of Armenian Armed
Forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan were reflected in
the yesterday’s resolution which was adopted by European Parliament.

FIDH To Continue Monitoring Situation In Armenia


May 19, 2010

On the occasion of the Universal Periodic Review of Armenia, which
took place in Geneva, International Federation for Human Rights
(FIDH), its Armenian member organisation Civil Society Institute
and the Helsinki Committee of Armenia welcome the numerous important
recommendations addressed to the authorities and call on Armenia to
implement them rapidly.

"We nevertheless deeply regret that the Armenian authorities consider
more than half of the recommendations made by the delegations as being
already implemented instead of recognising certain shortcomings in
their human rights record and pledging to remedy them," noticed FIDH
president Souhayr Belhassen.

Our organisations welcome the fact that a number of countries condemned
the March 1 and 2, 2008 violence and recommended that Armenia fully
investigate the events and bring perpetrators to justice. After the
2008 presidential elections, continuous demonstrations, lasting for
nine days, were organised by the opposition in Freedom Square. On
March 1 and 2, the authorities violently dispersed the demonstration
and used unjustified force, which resulted in 10 deaths and more than
130 injuries. Our organisations regret that the Armenian delegation,
instead of demonstrating their willingness to investigate fully those
cases, merely affirmed that there was no evidence of violations
committed by the police and considered these recommendations as
already implemented.

The lack of independence of the judiciary was also criticised by a
number of States. Germany and Hungary recommended that Armenia invites
the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers.

The review of Armenia was further dominated by the issue of freedom
of expression and assembly of citizens, journalists and human
rights defenders. Many delegations expressed concerns about the
ongoing limitations to the right of peaceful assembly following
amendments to the Law on Meetings, Rallies and Demonstrations in
March 2008. Armenia was also repeatedly urged to set up transparent
criteria for broadcasting licenses. In the case of Meltex LTD and
Mesrop Movsisyan v. Armenia the European Court of Human Rights
had found a violation of Article 10 due to unlawful denial of a
broadcasting license. Police violence against journalists since the
2008 elections was further denounced.

A number of countries were also concerned about the working conditions
of human rights defenders. The US underlined that civil society
activists should be able to work normally. Norway stressed that
attacks against them should be investigated and perpetrators be
brought to justice.

Serious concerns were expressed regarding the rooted practices of
gender-based violence, particularly domestic violence against women,
their misrepresentation in decision-making processes and the lack of
specific legislation on discrimination against women. The relevance
of strong protection for women at risk of being trafficked, as well
as broad support and shelters for the victims was also emphasized.

Our organisations welcome the recommendations that were formulated and
will continue monitoring the situation and promoting genuine reforms.

However, the result of this exercise will only be achieved if the
Republic of Armenia follows the recommendations closely and makes
all necessary efforts to improve the situation on the ground.

Eurovision: Apricot Stone Composer Says Armenia As Close To Win As E



Less than a week remains till the start of the 55th Eurovision, and
the Armenian team is already in Oslo, Norway, the venue of this year’s
popular pan-European song contest. The first semifinal in the Norwegian
capital is scheduled for May 25, followed by the second semifinal
featuring the Armenia entry on May 27 and the grand finale on May 29.

Armenia representative Eva Rivas will present the song Apricot Stone,
currently a leader on internet charts and an increasingly popular
tune among listeners in and outside Armenia.

The song’s composer Armen Martirosyan, a well-known jazzman and
conductor of the State Jazz Orchestra of Armenia, has shared
with ArmeniaNow his impressions about the Armenian performer and
expectations from the upcoming contest.

"Purely theoretically, Armenia has never been so close to victory
as it is now," says Martirosyan. "Her chances are quite high. The
guarantee of success is in the ability to present the highly artistic
work. As a professional musician, I find that the song is well ahead
of all others both in terms of its contents and quality of material."

The composer himself will join Team Armenia in Oslo on May 26 to take
part in the final rehearsal and make his last-minute remarks.

Martirosyan speaks warmly about the performer of the song. He calls
Eva Rivas a modest beauty who is very easy to work with.

"Working with her is as easy as pie. You can yell at her, scold her.

She’s got no arrogant attitudes, at the same time she has an
extraordinary will for victory. Perhaps it all comes down to her
genes. That she has Russian and Greek blood in her in addition to
Armenian only supports my idea that our people has long been in need
of a little bit of mixed blood," Martirosyan says.

Martirosyan says Armenia has already scored her first victory –
beating stereotypes. For it is the first time that a Diaspora person,
22-year-old Rivas from Rostov-on-Don, Russia, will represent Armenia
at Eurovision.

The author of the lyrics, Karen Kavaleryan, is also an Armenian from
Russia, who has translated into the song the history of his life and
nostalgia that an apricot pit symbolizes.

Next to Rivas on stage as backing vocal will perform Mariam Mehrabova,
a promising Russian jazz vocalists, as well as Gor Sujyan (soloist
of one of the best modern rock bands in Armenia – Dorians) and Tigran
Petrosyan (a well-known Armenian singer).

"We are sending the strongest vocalists, because the idea of the
song is to get an ‘anthem’ sound. The song is about the Diaspora,
about getting back to the roots. One person cannot express all the
emotions," says Martirosyan.

Nevertheless, one of the surprises embraced by all Armenians will be
the presence of Jivan Gasparyan, a world-famed master of the Armenian
duduk, who will perform along with the Armenian team. A dancer invited
from Russia will be the sixth participant (according to the Eurovision
rules, the number of performers on the stage is limited to six).

"We’ve met a lot of obstacles on the way to Eurovision that were mainly
of the same nature – we are a small country with a small budget and
limited possibilities. But now we have all become one and this keeps
us going," says Martirosyan.

The composer believes that the song will conquer the hearts of
non-Armenian listeners as well and says that this is the main mission
of the song that will be broadcast live to audiences in more than
50 countries.

"I am sure that if someone not familiar either with our culture or
history sees this beautiful girl singing this tune and gets what
she sings about at least by 20 percent, he will become ‘our man’. We
should give this person a thrill and let him listen through – this
is our chance."

Armenia’s Delegation To Boycott PACE Subcommittee On Nagorno Karabak


May 18, 2010 – 20:38 AMT 15:38 GMT

Member of Prosperous Armenia parliamentary group Naira Zohrabyan
said that Prosperous Armenia party is against restoration of the PACE
subcommittee on Nagorno Karabakh, as the Karabakh conflict should be
resolved within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group.

There is no sense in restoration of the PACE subcommittee on Nagorno
Karabakh, as the previous committee had not yielded positive results
that was admitted also by its Chairman Lord Russell-Johnston, Zohrabyan
said in the RA National Assembly.

"Even if Cavusoglu succeeds in "reviving" the subcommittee on Nagorno
Karabakh, the Armenian delegation to PACE should boycott its activity,"
said Zohrabyan.

Zaman. Erdogan Escapes From His Country


Turkish opposition forces condemn PM Erdogan’s foreign policy,
particularly Ankara’s mediating roles in this or that regional
conflicts. Turkish Zaman writes oppositional deputy of MHP Mehmet
Shandyry stated at news conference that Erdogan in fact tries to
escape from his nation traveling from country to country.

"Starving, unemployment and poverty are unbearable any more. The PM is
responsible for it. Turkey is governed by AKP – Erdogan headed party.

Without solving Turkey’s problems, Erdogan runs here and there.

Conflicts of Iran, Armenia and Syria and other international issues
aren’t put on Erdogan’s shoulders. He’s the PM of this nation; hence
he is to take care of this people first."

Five Armenian Archers To Partake In World Archery Championship


MAY 17, 2010

YEREVAN, MAY 17, ARMENPRESS: 5 young archers from Armenia- Arshak
Petrosyan, Hovhannes Petrosyan, Nune Vasilyan, Gohar Shahnazaryan and
Vasil Shahnazaryan- have departed for Milan to take part in the World
Archery Championship, which will be held May 18-23 in Milan. Head of
the Armenian sports delegation is Andranik Shahnazaryan.