Russia believes Armenia should consider its long-term interests in the rapprochement with NATO


YEREVAN, JANUARY 31, ARMENPRESS. Russia believes that Armenia should be guided by long-term interests  in the rapprochement with NATO. 

The  spokesperson of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova said when asked to comment on the words by NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia Javier Colomina,  who in an interview with Armenpress mentioned that Armenia has decided to politically and practically activate cooperation with NATO.

“Someone seeking rapprochement, should understand how dangerous it is and what consequences it will lead to. We have already seen what the rapprochement with NATO has led to for many countries: involvement in conflicts, loss of sovereignty and independence, submission to the will of a foreigner in all senses of the word and in all spheres, and most importantly, the lack of opportunity to realize one's own national interests,’’ said Zakharova.

The official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry noted that each country, including Armenia, should analyze its national interests, open the map, and see "in which region and between which neighbors" they are. Zakharova emphasized that sovereign countries can make their own decisions about whom they want to get closer to, but it should be taken into account whether this implies a break in relations with regional countries and neighbors.

"It is necessary to study all this and understand what is Armenia's national interest, what is beneficial, what brings short-term benefit, what—medium-term and  what brings long-term benefit, and proceed from that, not from promises," said Zakharova.

According to Zakharova, "the West makes promises to everyone," but these promises "never come true."

The Director General of Ucom delivered a lecture at the School of Ethics


YEREVAN, JANUARY 26, ARMENPRESS. Ralph Yirikian, Director General of Ucom, shared practical business management skills and successful case studies with students at the School of Ethics. Professionals from various age groups and occupation had the opportunity to attend the lecture, focusing on the utilization of effective business tools. Participants included lawyers, human resource management specialists, doctors, and other professionals who engaged in this hands-on session.

"Today, business in Armenia is highly valued and operates according to established rules, contributing to the country's economic stability. Success is attainable through the adoption of a systematic business mindset and adherence to fair competition regulations. Effectively managing business requires a thorough understanding of market demand, competition dynamics, and the integration of global trends into the Armenian context. Furthermore, it is crucial to set a precedent by establishing a business model and ethical standards, fostering positive relationships with both employees and partners. Upholding the regulations outlined in the established strategy stands as a fundamental tool for success in business," stated Ucom Director General Ralph Yirikian.

Ralph Yirikian discussed strategic thinking, goal-setting, and the mechanisms for achieving them, using Ucom, the national communications operator in Armenia, as an illustrative example. He emphasized the importance of embracing mistakes without fear and encouraged the exploration of unconventional solutions to address challenges.

In summary, Ralph Yirikyan emphasized that initiative is a crucial prerequisite for success in all business endeavors. Following the lecture, the General Director of Ucom engaged in a question-and-answer session, fostering a group discussion with the participants.

The School of Ethics is unique in the region and in Armenia, offering students the opportunity to delve into the realms of national and international ethics, etiquette, and communication skills enhancement.


Ucom is the fastest fixed and mobile services provider in Armenia. The company is the absolute leader of the local IPTV and fixed internet market, as well as occupies the key position on the Armenian mobile internet market. With modernized 4G+ and own fiber optic networks meeting the best international standards, Ucom provides a complete set of fixed and mobile communication services to more than 700,000 subscribers.

Ameriabank is the Largest Taxpayer Among Armenian Banks


YEREVAN, JANUARY 26, ARMENPRESS. Ameriabank is the largest taxpayer among Armenian banks for the sixth year in a row. According to the data for January-December, 2023, total taxes paid by the bank to the state budget amounted to AMD 25.7 bn., Ameriabank said in a press release.

This indicator has more than tripled Y-o-Y, total taxes paid by Ameriabank in 2022 amounting to AMD 8.2 bn.

Ameriabank ranks 7th on the State Revenue Committee’s Top 1000 Taxpayers list vs 24th in 2022.

Ameriabank CJSC

Ameriabank is a leading financial and technology company in Armenia, a major contributor to the Armenian economy, with assets exceeding AMD 1 trillion. In the course of digital transformation, it has launched a number of innovative solutions and platforms going beyond banking-only needs of its diverse customer base, thus creating a dynamically evolving financial technology space. 

Ameria was the first in Armenia to create ecosystems for both businesses and individuals, which give one-window access to a range of banking and non-banking services, among them -,, 

As a truly customer-centric company, Ameria aims to be a trusted and secure financial technology space with seamless solutions to improve the quality of life.

Asbarez: ARS Prioritizes Assisting Artsakh Armenians as its Main Objective

The ARS Central Executive held a plenary session from Jan. 9 to 13

The Armenian Relief Society Central Executive held its third plenary session from January 9 to 13 at its headquarters in Watertown, Mass. The meeting extensively discussed ARS’ organizational and public relations efforts and reevaluated its current and future programs in the homeland and Diaspora.

Projects to assist the forcibly displaced Artsakh Armenians, who are at the forefront and special focus of the Central Executive, were prioritized during the meeting, which spent most of its agenda addressing them.

Based on the resolutions of the73rd ARS International Convention and emphasizing the national imperative to ensure the return of Artsakh Armenians to their ancestral home, the Central Executive unanimously adopted a decision to provide housing for displaced Artsakh Armenians in villages in Armenia.

The meeting also decided to sponsor a project by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau’s Youth Office aimed at securing jobs and training for young Artsakh Armenians, in the second phase of the program that is called “uplift.”

The ARS Central Executive had the opportunity to meet with members of the ARF Bureau, Khajag Mgrdichian and Mgrdich Mgdrdichian, who were joined by the ARF Bureau’s liaison to the ARS, Raffi Donabedian.

Central Bank of Armenia: exchange rates and prices of precious metals – 24-01-24


YEREVAN, 24 JANUARY, ARMENPRESS. The Central Bank of Armenia informs “Armenpress” that today, 24 January, USD exchange rate down by 0.36 drams to 404.76 drams. EUR exchange rate down by 0.40 drams to 439.97 drams. Russian Ruble exchange rate down by 0.01 drams to 4.59 drams. GBP exchange rate down by 0.46 drams to 514.57 drams.

The Central Bank has set the following prices for precious metals.

Gold price down by 23.40 drams to 26307.76 drams. Silver price down by 0.25 drams to 288.90 drams.

Iran claims responsibility for blasts near US consulate in Iraq

NATO envoy concerned over Aliyev’s latest statements about Armenia


YEREVAN, JANUARY 19, ARMENPRESS. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has received Javier Colomina, the NATO Secretary General's Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia.

PM Pashinyan and Special Representative Colomina discussed Armenia-NATO cooperation, as well as regional and international security issues.

“The Prime Minister spoke about the security situation in the South Caucasus, the latest developments in the process of the Armenia-Azerbaijan normalization of relations and the peace process in accordance with the pre-agreed, well-known principles,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a readout.

The Prime Minister and Colomina “expressed concern on the latest statements made by the President of Azerbaijan, which contradict the entire logic of the negotiations and aggravate the tension in the region.”

“In this context, the Prime Minister attached importance to the international community’s targeted reaction and need for action aimed at stability and peace in the South Caucasus,” the Prime Minister’s Office said.

Armenian American Business Leaders Meet with Supervisor Kathryn Barger

Supervisor Kathryn Barger (center) with Armenian American business leaders

Armenian American corporate and business leaders on Wednesday met with Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger to express their gratitude and appreciation for her years of commitment and support to both the Armenian American and business communities of the region. The event was hosted by businessman and community activist Peklar Pilavjian at his residence in Encino.

“Supervisor Barger has been an ally of our community and has never wavered in her resolve. It’s important that we recognize our friends when they do amazing work and when they represent the diverse nature of their constituency,” said Pilavjian in his address to guests.

During the evening gathering Supervisor Barger addressed the group and met with guests one on one. 

“I’m honored to be joining you all this evening and your outpouring of recognition has been very touching. I know that daily we impact lives in such tremendous ways and to hear your stories directly from you all really makes it come full circle. Your kindness means so very much,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger. 

“On this auspicious evening filled with leaders who represent every sector, we continue to express and acknowledge our resounding recognition of Supervisor Barger’s commitment, dedication and support of the Armenian and Business communities,” said event emcee Greg Martayan.

Barger’s re-election bid has been endorsed by the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region.

Supervisor Barger represents the 5th District of Los Angeles County, which is home to nearly two million people. The district covers 2,785.21 square miles and touches the Ventura, Kern and San Bernardino County lines. The 5th District includes 20 cities, 63 unincorporated communities, 15 neighborhoods in the City of Los Angeles.

Mop-mop-swoosh-plop it’s rug-washing day in ‘Bábo’

Jan 13 2024

A whole book about a bunch of kids washing rugs with their grandmother? Author Astrid Kamalyan says she'd understand if you heard that pitch and thought, "Huh?"

But — of course — it is so much more than that.

"It's actually a book about Armenian joy and the beauty of Armenian family," says Kamalyan. "It has so much of what made our childhoods so happy."

In Bábo: A Tale of Armenian Rug-Washing Day, a little girl named Tato steals some cherry plums before grabbing a brush. She joins friends and siblings outside, where they soak, soap, and wash the rugs.

"We scrub. Brushes bop-bop-bop," Kamalyan writes. "Until our hands are warm. Until our knees and toes tingle a little. Until it's time to clear the foam. Time to slide!"

"I think it's the most favorite activity in Armenia," says Anait Semirdzhyan, who illustrated Bábo. Both Kamalyan and Semirdzhyan are from Armenia — they moved to the United States within three years of each other — and they both grew up washing rugs with their grandmothers.

Semirdzhyan says her grandmother would usually set it all up, and then leave her and her cousins to it. "And then she would come back and check if everything is done properly," she says.

"There is no formal rules or ways," Kamalyan explains. "You kind of just do it and have fun with it."

"Swoosh. We glide. Swoosh. Droplets splash," she writes. "We twirl. Bubbles pop-pop-pop."


Illustrations © 2023 by Anait Semirdzhyan

Kamalyan wrote Bábo in 2020, right before conflict broke out in Armenia. She says it was important to have her book illustrated by someone who shared her background. She recommended Semirdzhyan, whose work she had long admired.

Semirdzhyan was thrilled when she got the manuscript. "I never, ever expected that I will illustrate a book about my childhood," she says. Plus, here was a story she could draw from memory — she didn't need to research what the buildings or streets would look like, or what Armenian kids would wear. Kamalyan says she recognized so much of her own childhood in the illustrations, it was almost like they had communicated telepathically.

That balcony that Semirdzhyan based on her grandma's house? "The balcony looks so much like my mom's balcony," says Kamalyan.

The gata — an Armenian pastry — on the table at the end of the story, when all the kids sit down for a treat? Kamalyan hadn't even told Semirdzhyan about her grandma's favorite gata recipe.

Even Semirdzhyan's rendition of a chicken coop rang familiar to Kamalyan's dad, who grew up in an Armenian village. "Apparently, what you have there is the classical — the right — way of doing a chicken coop," Kamalyan says.

One thing both author and illustrator had to research in order to make this story ring true? The rugs.

"Because we never pay attention to what colors and patterns are used on the rugs," says Semirdzhyan.

So Astrid Kamalyan met with a carpet weaving expert — and learned about pattern sizes and color combinations. One of the rugs in her story has a dragon motif — it's red, white, and blue — a red curve weaves up and down and forms an S-shape. "If it were green, brown, and purple you would know something is a little off," Kamalyan says she knows now, after looking at thousands of carpets.

Another assist came from her grandmother — who caught one crucial omittance: in an early version of the story that Kamalyan was relaying, Tato and Bábo forgot to wash both sides of the rug.

"I felt like a five year-old girl again," says Kamalyan. "You know, when parents say, 'Don't forget to wash behind your ears.'" So she added it to the book.

"'Areg, help me turn this one over?' Sevan asks. The pale mysterious backs of the carpets are like behind our ears. We must wash them, too."

Anait Semirdzhyan illustrated Bábo digitally — she said the hardest part was that most of the action in this story centers around a single activity that takes place primarily in a single location. How to keep it from becoming boring?

"I realized, oh God, this is so difficult to illustrate," Kamalyan says. "How do you show all the beauty?"

Semirdzhyan used perspective and angles. Some scenes zoom in on Tato's feet, as she walks down stone steps to meet her grandmother. Other illustrations zoom out on a scene of the whole neighborhood chasing escaped chickens. There's a bird's eye view of the carpets as the kids roll them up — "Figures and patterns all shine bright — dragons, eagles, diamonds and crosses, leaves and flowers in wondrous weaves."

After the rugs are clean, the kids roll them up and lay them on a bench. Once the water drips off, they'll open them up to dry. Meanwhile, everyone hurries off for treats — gata, fruit, apricot pie, walnut preserves.

"What you see on the table is what I usually would eat at my grandma's house," says Semirdzhyan.

Illustrations © 2023 by Anait Semirdzhyan

Even though Kamalyan has very faithfully and accurately described the process of rug-washing, she does have one word of caution for readers: Do not try this at home!

"If you have heirloom carpets, have them professionally cleaned," Astrid Kamalyan says. "You have to be careful with the dyes and everything. You can spoil the rug."

But if you choose to ignore this advice, at least listen to Anait Semirdzhyan.

"When the rug is soaped, it's very slippery," she cautions. "So be careful running on that rug."

Central Bank of Armenia: exchange rates and prices of precious metals – 08-01-24

 17:19, 8 January 2024

YEREVAN, 8 JANUARY, ARMENPRESS. The Central Bank of Armenia informs “Armenpress” that today, 8 January, USD exchange rate up by 0.01 drams to 405.23 drams. EUR exchange rate up by 1.18 drams to 443.44 drams. Russian Ruble exchange rate up by 0.01 drams to 4.46 drams. GBP exchange rate up by 2.12 drams to 514.89 drams.

The Central Bank has set the following prices for precious metals.

Gold price up by 219.53 drams to 26791.04 drams. Silver price up by 0.26 drams to 299.39 drams.