Armenia Strengthens Defense Ties with India through Anti-Drone System

The 1014
NewZealand – Nov 7 2023

Armenia, a conflict-ravaged nation in the South Caucasus region, is taking steps to modernize its defense equipment by learning from India’s expertise. After importing rocket launchers and missiles from India, Armenia is now set to acquire an anti-drone system developed by Indian company Zen Technologies.

The Zen Anti-Drone System (ZADS) has gained recognition in India, with the Indian Air Force and Indian Army adopting it for their security needs. Now, Armenia has contracted Zen Technologies for the purchase of this anti-drone system, which includes training solutions and the actual system itself. The deal is valued at INR 340 crore (US$41.5 million).

Armenia’s interest in the ZADS is a testament to the system’s capabilities and effectiveness. The system is designed to detect, classify, and track drones using various sensors, such as passive surveillance and camera sensors. It also neutralizes threats by jamming drone communications.

With the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict highlighting the significance of drones in modern warfare, Armenia recognizes the need to enhance its defense capabilities. Drones, like the Turkish Bayraktar TB-2, played a crucial role in the conflict, compelling Armenia to explore advanced technologies to counter future threats.

The establishment of a branch office by Zen Technologies in Armenia further solidifies the defense partnership between the two nations. This move will facilitate business opportunities, as well as provide sales, support, and service.

India’s support to Armenia extends beyond the anti-drone system. In 2022, India supplied PINAKA multi-barrel rocket launchers, anti-tank munitions, and ammunition worth US$250 million to Armenia, marking its first export of PINAKA. The collaboration with India not only addresses Armenia’s immediate defense requirements but also aims to modernize its Soviet and Russian-origin defense equipment.

The Zen Anti-Drone System is developed by Zen Technologies, an Indian company, and is designed to detect, classify, and track drones. It uses various sensors and employs jamming techniques to neutralize drone threats.

The Zen Anti-Drone System works by utilizing drone detection, classification, and tracking sensors, such as passive surveillance and camera sensors. It also employs jamming techniques to disrupt drone communications and neutralize threats.

Armenia is keen on learning from India’s experience in modernizing Soviet and Russian-origin defense equipment. The partnership includes procurement of advanced military equipment and potential joint ventures for local assembly and training facilities. This collaboration aims to strengthen Armenia’s defense capabilities and enhance its readiness in the face of potential threats.

– [EurAsian Times](
– [Zen Technologies Limited](

Armenian Prime Minister meets with South Korean Trade Minister in Yerevan

 16:56, 24 October 2023

YEREVAN, OCTOBER 24, ARMENPRESS. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has met with the delegation led by South Korean Trade Minister Dukgeun Ahn.

PM Pashinyan attached importance to the consistent development and strengthening of trade-economic ties between Armenia and Korea and welcomed the delegation’s visit, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a readout.

The Armenian Prime Minister expressed hope that the negotiations in Yerevan will intensify the economic partnership, expansion of business ties and will contribute to the implementation of investment projects in various directions. PM Pashinyan stressed that Armenia and the Republic of Korea have an active political dialogue and the government of Armenia is interested in expanding the partnership.

Dukgeun Ahn said that his delegation includes businessmen and representatives of various organizations and that Korea is interested in cooperation in the fields of energy, infrastructures and high technologies.

The sides found the fields of agriculture and tourism to be promising directions for partnership as well. Pashinyan and Dukgeun Ahn expressed certainty that concrete agreements will be reached as a result of the discussions.

Lemkin Institute: Statement on the October 1 UN Mission to Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh

                 Oct 28 2023

October 28, 2023

The Lemkin Institue of Genocide Prevention is disappointed with the outcome of the UN mission’s visit to Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) on October 1, which took place after the entire Armenian population of Artsakh had already fled due to forcible displacement following the recent Azerbaijani invasion. It is difficult to understand what the purpose of such a mission was and why there was never more pressure for Azerbaijan to allow a mission into Artsakh during Azerbaijan’s 9-month blockade of the region that led up to the invasion. The Lemkin Institute calls on the UN to prepare a proper mission to the Republic of Artsakh, one that is inclusive of international team members from countries neutral to the conflict to conduct a thorough analysis of the current situation on the ground. In order to ensure the rights of the Armenians in Artsakh, the UN must act with professionalism, impartiality, and commitment to the values presented in the UN Charter.

The Lemkin Institue of Genocide Prevention is disappointed with the outcome of the UN mission’s visit to Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) on October 1, which took place after the entire Armenian population of Artsakh had already fled due to forcible displacement following the recent Azerbaijani invasion. It is difficult to understand what the purpose of such a mission was and why there was never more pressure for Azerbaijan to allow a mission into Artsakh during Azerbaijan’s 9-month blockade of the region that led up to the invasion. If the United Nations is not going to take genocide seriously, it would be better if it sent no missions at all to regions that have experienced genocide.

According to the UN, “the mission aimed to assess the situation on the ground and identify the humanitarian needs of both the people remaining and those who are on the move”. Despite the complex purpose of this visit by the mission, the assessment itself and the statement on the outcome of that assessment were completed within one day, begging the question of just how seriously the UN mission could have taken the task of an assessment on the ground. It is worth mentioning that this was the first UN visit to the region in 30 years.

Prior to this visit, concerns about the consistent political insecurity of Armenians in Artsakh and threats to the Armenian population within the region had been raised several times within UN bodies. Two UN Security Council meetings were convened on the topic of ongoing threats to the Armenians of Artsakh (on August 16, regarding the full blockade imposed on the Republic of Artsakh by Azerbaijan, and on September 21, regarding the Azerbaijani military attack on the Armenian population in Artsakh). In both meetings, the majority of the Security Council’s member states condemned Azerbaijan’s actions, stating that they posed a threat to the security and well-being of the region’s Armenians and discouraged any peacemaking efforts in the region. In addition to these condemnations, the International Court of Justice has ordered Azerbaijan on two separate occasions (on February 22 and July 6, 2023) to reopen the Lachin Corridor—the humanitarian route connecting the Republic of Artsakh with Armenia. All statements and ICJ orders have been ignored by Azerbaijan.

The Lemkin Institute has issued multiple Red Flag Alerts for Azerbaijan since the Lachin Corridor was blockaded in December 2022, as well as an Active Genocide Alert and SOS alerts indicating an extremely high risk of genocide for the Armenians in Artsakh. Given the UN representatives' clear knowledge of the risks to the Armenian population in Artsakh (as demonstrated by the convening of two Security Council meetings on the topic), it is very surprising to us that the mission would visit this region only after the end of the Azerbaijani offensive and after the exodus of more than 100,000 Armenians from the former Republic. The fact that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev donated USD $1 million to the UN Human Settlements Program on September 30—just one day prior to the mission’s deployment to Nagorno-Karabakh—only increases our concerns regarding the honesty and transparency of the mission.

In examining the mission’s operation and statement, we found numerous controversial points. First, the mission arrived in the region only after the end of the bloodshed and exodus of the Armenians, and it only lasted only one day. In the briefing by Stephanie Dujarric, spokesperson for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, it was stated that “they [the members of the mission] got to see quite a bit”. However, in the context of a full-blockade, followed by military invasion and ethnic cleansing, 24 hours alone is certainly not sufficient to adequately assess the situation on the ground. Second, the information on the number of Armenians remaining in Artsakh (from 50 to 1,000) contradicts the numbers given by the former Ombudsman of Artsakh, Artak Beglaryan, who has argued that there are not more than 40 people remaining in the region at the moment. And third, as for the text of the statement itself, the UN visited certain unspecified parts of the city of Stepanakert, where it “saw no damage to civilian public infrastructure, including hospitals, schools and housing, or to cultural and religious structures”. However, there is verifiable photographic evidence of the destruction of civilian infrastructure in the city of Stepanakert, as it was bombed by Azerbaijan during its military offensive. In addition to this limited access to Stepanakert, the team visited Agdam City—which was under Azerbaijani control and uninhabited by Armenians, and therefore not crucial for the agenda—and the Lachin Corridor, which was surveyed after the entire population had been forced to flee. It is notable that the UN mission failed to include any representatives from the Armenian mission to the UN, and it did not visit the Syunik region to speak with Armenian refugees who were forced to leave Artsakh. The concluding statement is extremely vague and uninformative.

With all of this said, the Lemkin Institute considers the operation of the mission to be unsuccessful, as it failed to accurately present or assess the reality of the situation in the Republic of Artsakh. We strongly believe that undertaking the “mission for the sake of a mission” and making a“statement for the sake of a statement” are not adequate responses to situations as serious and as dangerous as what has unfolded in the South Caucasus. We question the scruples and integrity of this mission. The vague operating principles and assessments of the UN mission, which lacked any specific goals, methodology, or recommendations, severely risks undermining the trust that the international community collectively places in the work of the United Nations.

The Lemkin Institute calls on the UN to prepare a proper mission to the Republic of Artsakh, one that is inclusive of international team members from countries neutral to the conflict to conduct a thorough analysis of the current situation on the ground. This reality, which is the result of a conflict that has endured for three decades, cannot be assessed in one day. In order to ensure the rights of the Armenians in Artsakh, the UN must act with professionalism, impartiality, and commitment to the values presented in the UN Charter.

French Minister of Culture commemorates Armenian Genocide victims in Tsitsernakaberd Memorial


YEREVAN, OCTOBER 26, ARMENPRESS. French Minister of Culture Rima Abdul Malak visited on October 26 the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial in Yerevan to commemorate the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

The French Minister of Culture placed a wreath at the memorial and flowers at the Eternal Flame honoring the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

She then visited the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute.

The French Minister was accompanied by the Armenian Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport Zhanna Andreasyan and the French Ambassador to Armenia Olivier Decottignies.

Photos by Eduard Sepetchyan

Canada Urges Azerbaijan To Respect Armenia Sovereignty

Oct 25 2023

Canada's foreign minister Melanie Joly called on Azerbaijan to "respect" Armenia's borders on a visit to Yerevan Wednesday, a month after Baku took control of Nagorno-Karabakh in a lightning offensive.

Tensions are high between the Caucasus foes after the speedy military campaign, which led to an exodus of Karabakh's ethnic Armenian population.

Yerevan fears energy-rich Baku may seek — with Turkish help — to forcibly connect its Nakhichevan exclave with Azerbaijan proper by capturing lands in southern Armenia, along the Iranian border.

Joly urged Azerbaijan to "respect Armenia's territorial integrity", during a press conference with her Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan.

"Canada continues to call on the Azerbaijani government to respect the right of Armenians to return to Nagorno-Karabakh," she added.

Almost all of Karabakh's ethnic Armenian population — some 100,000 people — fled for Armenia after Baku's lightning offensive, sparking a refugee crisis.

Baku has vowed to ensure the rights of Karabakh's Armenians are protected and denied having any territorial claims to Armenia.

But Yerevan has accused it of "ethnic cleansing".

Joly announced the opening of a Canadian embassy in Yerevan, during the first ever visit of a Canadian foreign minister to the landlocked Caucasus country.

Karabakh, internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan and home to a majority Armenian population, was at the centre of two wars between Yerevan and Baku — in 2020 and in the early 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Internationally mediated peace talks between the ex-Soviet republics have so far failed to produce a breakthrough.

‘They Hate Us So Much’: World’s Oldest Christian Nation Faces Ethnic Cleansing As Emboldened Azerbaijan Wages A Silent War;!!LIr3w8kk_Xxm!sfOtm3yW5g6udyweh2Ge7TnKNq5frSYxT9enTnrv_UGixKEz9ZU78507ZxRxSqupKKxYlInhBjZzMZJcDg$

'They Hate Us So Much': World's Oldest Christian Nation Faces Ethnic
Cleansing As Emboldened Azerbaijan Wages A Silent War
By  Michael Whittaker and Zach Jewell
Oct 25, 2023

09/26/2023 Kornidzor, Armenia. Refugees from Nagorno- Karabakh passing
through Kornidzor reunite and embrace one another in both happiness and
sadness. The days continue to be filled with uncertainty and emotion.
Anthony Pizzoferrato / Middle East Images / Middle East Images via AFP
While war and atrocity dominate headlines around the world, a largely
overlooked conflict in the Caucuses has escalated to ethnic cleansing of the
Christian population from the oldest Christian nation in the world.

For fear of their lives, more than 100,000 Armenians have been forced to
flee their ancestral home in Nagorno-Karabakh after Azerbaijan seized total
control over the region in September. The 1,700-square-mile mountainous
slice of land has been inhabited by Armenians for thousands of years, but it
is surrounded by Azerbaijan, a majority Muslim nation that says the region
is its territory. 

Though the fight is over territory, experts say that at its core, the
conflict stems from ethnic and religious differences between Armenians and

"Ethnicity and religion are intertwined. Azerbaijanis may say they do not
hate Christians But, when it comes to Armenians - the indigenous population
in the region - the Azerbaijanis show no tolerance," explained Dr. Michael
Rubin, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and expert on
the region. "Azerbaijanis recognize deep down that had it not been for
Joseph Stalin, they would have no claim whatsoever to Nagorno-Karabakh. The
Azerbaijanis realize they have no legitimacy and so target with special
animus those who do."

Yana Avanesyan, a doctoral researcher who is originally from
Nagorno-Karabakh, says the religious difference between the two countries
plays a major role in the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. 

"When we say Armenians, we are speaking about us being Christians,"
Avanesyan told The Daily Wire. "We know they hate us so much that they will
just destroy everything." 

Many refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh are sick and malnourished - Azerbaijan's
military began blockading the region in December of last year, cutting off
access to food, electricity and water from the outside. Some are also
exhausted after fleeing into Armenia on foot - and Armenia has expressed
concern that it may not have the resources to care for such a massive influx
of people.

Her family was among the more than 100,000 who fled the region without a
place to go. The estimated population of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh is
roughly 120,000, meaning nearly the entire population have decided to flee.

"War started in Nagorno-Karabakh, and people were forced to flee, and more
than 100,000 people - including my entire family, my parents, my sister, my
grandma - they were forced to flee their homes," Avanesyan said. She was
finally reunited with her family around a month ago, but they are now
struggling to find a place to live after being uprooted from their home. 

"There are not enough resources in Armenia and people try to solve their
issues by themselves. So we are trying to find apartments or houses for me,
my family, and my relatives," said Avanesyan. "I'm currently trying to find
an apartment for my family before we will know what's going on because the
situation now is very uncertain."

"No one from the displaced people knows what is going to happen to us," she

Ethnolinguistic distribution in The Caucasus Region in 2007 via Wikimedia

Armenia has existed in some form or another for nearly three millennia, and
became the first nation to adopt Christianity as its state religion in 310
AD. While it has historically been in the political orbit of Russia, since
2018 it has made significant anti-corruption and pro-democracy reforms, and
has been distancing itself from Moscow. It is currently home to about 2.7
million people.

Azerbaijan traces its roots back to the Old Azeris, who were conquered by
and intermarried with the Seljuk and later the Mongol Turks between the 11th
and 13th centuries. It is predominantly Shia Muslim, although its culture is
comparatively secular. Despite its historic and ethnic ties to Iran (more
ethnic Azeris live in Iran than Azerbaijan) it is most closely aligned in
global politics with Turkey. While it is nominally a republic, it is in fact
an authoritarian state controlled by de facto dictator Ilham Aliyev, who was
preceded by his father, Heydar Aliyev. It is home to 10.3 million people.

Azerbaijan's claim to Nagorno-Karabakh, as explained by Rubin, can be traced
to Stalin and the Soviet Union, which absorbed both nations.

The Soviets nominally advocated for a universal communist model that would
transcend ethnicity and language barriers, but in practice, they often found
it prudent to administer regions and subregions based on ethnic divides -
the Socialist Republic of Armenia and the Socialist Republic of Azerbaijan
were both members of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and the
Armenian-majority region of Nagorno-Karabakh was given autonomous status
within Azerbaijan.

In the late 1980s, as the Soviet Union began to collapse, the people of
Nagorno-Karabakh petitioned to leave Azerbaijan and unify with Armenia - but
Azerbaijan refused. What started as a political dispute became a military
dispute between the newly independent nations in 1992, in which tens of
thousands of people were killed and hundreds of thousands of ethnic
minorities in both nations were expelled from their homes.

In the aftermath of the 1994 ceasefire, the 'Republic of Artsakh' was
allowed to exist as a de facto independent state within Azerbaijan, though
no other nation, including Armenia, formally recognized its independence.
The uneasy truce persisted for decades in what was widely regarded as a
"frozen conflict."

But that conflict rethawed in 2020 after years of border clashes, and ended
with Azerbaijan seizing large portions of the Republic of Artsakh. Russia
stepped in to negotiate a truce, and sent peacekeepers into Artsakh, as well
as the Tachin Corridor (the only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to the
outside world) to ensure the continued independence of the region.

The situation changed in February 2022 when Russia invaded Ukraine. As the
war dragged on, it became clear that Russia was bogged down and could not
commit its forces to another theater, and the Russian peacekeepers who
remained in the region did not intervene when Azerbaijan blockaded the
Tachin Corridor and cut Nagorno-Karabakh off from the outside world.

"We cannot tolerate any longer having such armed forces on our territory and
also a structure which, on a daily basis, challenges the security and
sovereignty of Azerbaijan," said Hikmet Hajiyev, foreign policy adviser to
President Aliyev.

A coalition of global organizations called 120,000 Reasons launched a
campaign in September that seeks to end the Azerbaijan blockade on
Nagorno-Karabakh, and bring attention to what it says is an attempted
genocide of the region's entire Armenian population.

Gev Iskayjan, a resident of Nagorno-Karabakh who recently fled to Armenia,
told 120,000 Reasons that "over 99% of the ethnic population of Artsakh has
left the area. 

"That land that we were on, that Armenians lived on for thousands of years,
now, only a handful remain," Iskayjan said.

Timeline of the flight of the ethnic Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh via
Wikimedia Commons

Azerbaijan has denied claims that it is pursuing genocide or forcing
Armenians out. Its claims were undermined after it captured Stepanakert, the
capital of the region, when it renamed one of the city's streets in honor of
Enver Pasha, a military officer for the Ottoman Empire who is known as the
architect of the last Armenian genocide, which killed more than a million
people in the 1900s. 

That sent a clear signal to the city's Armenian population.

"Azerbaijan did not order any Armenians to leave," Amberin Zaman wrote from
Armenia for Al-Monitor. "Yet it ensured that life was so miserable that few
would opt to stay. Indeed, even as Azerbaijani authorities rebuffed claims
of ethnic cleansing, insisting their forces had struck 'legitimate military
targets,' eyewitness accounts of rape and indiscriminate shelling that
wounded and killed children began to emerge."

Various Western nations, including the United States, condemned Azerbaijan,
and as recently as last month senior U.S. officials said they would not
tolerate any action against the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. But in the
aftermath of the invasion and dissolution of the Republic of Artsakh there
has been no meaningful response. Even Armenia stayed out of the conflict, to
the outrage of many of its citizens.

"It is amazing that an ethnic cleansing happened in the 21st century and
there is absolutely no reaction from the international community," political
analyst Tigran Grigoryan told NPR. "If this happened somewhere in Europe, I
believe [the Azerbaijani leadership] would already be on international
wanted lists."

Iskayjan told reporters that while he and many other Armenians feel
"betrayed" by the international community, the incident raises broader
questions about the influence of the United States and its allies overseas.

"Policymakers in the United States have to ask themselves, Does our word
mean anything?" he said. "If a state actor like Azerbaijan can, at any time,
willingly disregard what we say, what does that say about the strength of
our State Department and the strength of our foreign policy?"

It's possible that Azerbaijan believes it has too much leverage to be cowed
by Western condemnation - the country is rich in natural gas, and since
trade sanctions against Russia have cut Europe off from Russian energy
exports, Azerbaijan has stepped in to cover some of the shortfall, with
tentative plans to double its gas exports to Europe. 

Now that Azerbaijan has secured Nagorno-Karabakh, many observers fear that
an emboldened Azerbaijan could push into Armenia proper to seize control of
the strategic Zangezur corridor, which would create a direct land route from
the Caspian Sea to its close ally, Turkey. Armenia had promised Azerbaijan
access to trade throughout the territory as part of the 2020 truce but has
since walked back that promise, arguing that Azerbaijan's presence in the
area would effectively mean military occupation.

It's unclear how other global or regional powers would respond to such an
invasion, given the muted response thus far to the seizure of
Nagorno-Karabakh. The escalated conflict could produce strange bedfellows,
according to foreign policy analysts.

Russia could pivot into Azerbaijan's camp out of a simple desire to side
with the stronger party and minimize its own involvement. Turkey, formally a
U.S. ally, is very close to Azerbaijan, and Israel has a strategic
partnership with the Azerbaijanis based on their mutual enmity with Iran.
India, meanwhile, has been strengthening its ties with Armenia, while Iran
is also backing the Christian nation against its regional rivals.

It's also possible that Armenia could pivot further into the Western camp
now that it no longer sees Russia as a reliable protector.

Former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for international religious freedom, Sam
Brownback, has called for greater U.S. support to Armenia and blasted the
Biden administration for sending U.S. aid and weapons to Azerbaijan. He also
expressed concern that the mass exodus was part of a broader pattern of
anti-Christian discrimination around the world.

"We're seeing another ancient Christian population being run out of the
region," Brownback said. "Most of the Middle East and North Africa, the
Christians have all been run out."

Read more in:
Armenians,Christian,Europe,Foreign Policy,Religion

Central Bank of Armenia: exchange rates and prices of precious metals – 23-10-23


YEREVAN, 23 OCTOBER, ARMENPRESS. The Central Bank of Armenia informs “Armenpress” that today, 23 October, USD exchange rate up by 0.75 drams to 402.21 drams. EUR exchange rate up by 1.55 drams to 426.50 drams. Russian Ruble exchange rate up by 0.05 drams to 4.25 drams. GBP exchange rate up by 2.20 drams to 488.89 drams.

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

Gold price up by 499.06 drams to 25713.99 drams. Silver price up by 4.82 drams to 300.20 drams.

Armenian women, politicians visit for cultural exchange

Oct 22 2023

at 12:30 a.m.

FITCHBURG — Fitchburg and Lancaster recently hosted an international group from Armenia, as part of the Open World grant program which focuses on advancing women’s leadership at the local government level.

Five young women working in city and town government spent a week in Washington, DC, and then a week in the Cambridge and Boston area, where they were hosted by the Cambridge-Yerevan Sister City Association (CYSCA).

“We wanted our delegates, most of whom work in small communities in Armenia, to experience town and small city government,” explains CYSCA President Roxanne Etmekjian. “We thought Lancaster and Fitchburg, where our organization has members, would be a great way for these extraordinary women officials a chance to see more of Massachusetts.”

The visit began at Lancaster Town Hall with Rep. Natalie Higgins, Rep. Meg Kilcoyne, and Town Select Board member Alix Turner, whose first question to the delegation was “what is your biggest challenge as an elected official?”

Meri Harutyunyan, Deputy Head of Development and Investment, Programs Department for Yerevan Municipality said, “If we met in September, and you asked what our challenges were, we would say climate change, gender roles, needs of youth.”

But everyone said their answer changed after September. That is when 100,000 Armenians living in Artsakh were forced to evacuate after a 10 month blockade, and then violence from the Azeri army. Armenians have been living in Artsakh (known as “Nagorno Karabagh” since 1918) for thousands of years.

“Now, we have lots of Armenians from Artsakh,” said Harutyunyan. “Armenia has had a painful page, of territorial loss, and loss of soldiers.” This is the second war that has devastated the country; two years earlier, Azerbaijan soldiers invaded the border, and took the town of Shushi.

“Many people were forcefully displaced. The government tried to help them to buy a house. But the prices on houses started going up. And students traveling to Yerevan to study – they could not afford a place.”

“Right now, everyone is working on a volunteer basis to provide shelter and food,” said Shushanik Danielyan, member of Yeghegis City Council. “The government started the process to give a one-time stipend to get settled, and then for six months.”

In Armenia, many women are in government, but out of 12 ministries in the country, only two are led by women. “But the majority of deputy ministers are women,” added Harutyunyan, Deputy Head of Development and Investment Programs Department for Yerevan Municipality.

In Armenia, there is passive voter registration. “Everyone automatically is registered when they turn 18.” But the turnout is still low – 28% for a recent city council election.

Political parties dominate the scene – and in 2016 the country passed a law requiring 30% of all candidates (in a political party on the ballot) would be women. However, there are “many pressures on women” not to serve when elected. “Women get elected but then party pressure, family pressure, so women drop out. And when a woman drops out, a man moves up,” said Shushanik Danielyan, a member of the Yeghegis City Council.

Arusyak Avetisyan, who was the youngest attendee and had recently been elected as a member of the Vardenis Local Council said, “There are a few times when my opinion was not heard at council meetings.” She started a Facebook page, and said “members are pretty active following me on Facebook.” After one meeting, “the leader said, “come talk at the meeting, don’t post on Facebook.”

Younger members of the delegation reported that older government candidates would ask them to post on Facebook “because people know us.”

“You have to educate the women to run,” one commented, “But you also have to educate the men.”

The Delegation visited seniors at the Senior Center, took a tour of downtown Fitchburg, and were impressed by the professional studios at FATV. Apart from Yerevan, there is no community television in smaller towns.

At City Hall, they met with Mayor DiNatale, City Councilor Amy Green, Fitchburg City Councilor Claire Freda, Fitchburg, and FATV’s George Mirijanian over a lunch from Espresso’s (the first time the Armenian delegation had tried U.S. pizza). Mirijanian presented the delegation with a copy of “Around the World In Fitchburg” which has a chapter on the Armenian emigrants to Fitchburg.

Councilor Amy Green asked whether women were oppressed in Armenia. Hartyunyan explained, “the main challenge we face is gender discrimination.” However, all agreed that in Armenia the biggest threat is security – Azerbaijani troops are stationed on the borders.

Mayor DiNatale asked about their visit with members of Congress in Washington, DC. Lilit Hajatyan, member of Artik Local Council said, “When we were having meetings in DC, they were talking about Israel and Ukraine, and I said, ‘Why do you only speak about those countries – in Artsakh it’s genocide too, they are killing children.

They said, “we are not talking loudly about that, but we are working on it. They are asking Azerbaijan not to do that, but they are also sending money to buy arms.”

Shushanik Danielyan explained, “we have churches that have been there [in Artsakh] for thousands of years, and they are destroying them. They are eliminating national treasures – songs, and carpets and the arts.”

Lilit added, “They are trying to persuade the world that Lake Sevan is in Azerbaijan, and they are lying and the world is listening.”

As many delegates come from rural areas (70% of Armenians live outside of Yerevan), everyone enjoyed their visit to Hollis Hills Farm at the end of the day. Owner Jim Lattanzi spoke to the group about how the Farm is a tourist destination, with weekend music events, a partnership with Fitchburg Library for a  warm-weather reading program, restaurant and food items for sale, as well as apple and fruit picking.

“Everything is farm to table in Armenia,” said Lilit Antonyan, political assistant in the US Embassy in Armenia. “These are all great ideas!”

The day concluded with the group enjoying a visit with the goats and cows and Lattanzi observed, “What a pleasure to host this Armenian women’s delegation at our family farm. To share our experiences as farmers, share our business model and discuss opportunities we have pursued as we provide good food for our community was exciting. No matter the language barrier, food brings people together and we enjoyed our time with them.”

Sally Cragin serves as a City Councilor-At-Large in Fitchburg.

Central Bank of Armenia: exchange rates and prices of precious metals – 17-10-23


YEREVAN, 17 OCTOBER, ARMENPRESS. The Central Bank of Armenia informs “Armenpress” that today, 17 October, USD exchange rate up by 0.41 drams to 401.63 drams. EUR exchange rate up by 1.36 drams to 423.88 drams. Russian Ruble exchange rate up by 0.01 drams to 4.13 drams. GBP exchange rate up by 0.78 drams to 488.34 drams.

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

Gold price up by 139.44 drams to 24767.21 drams. Silver price up by 6.94 drams to 291.76 drams

Armenpress: Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights to visit Armenia


YEREVAN, OCTOBER 16, ARMENPRESS. The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, will visit Armenia and Azerbaijan, including the Karabakh region, from 16 to 23 October 2023 with a focus on the human rights situation of people affected by the conflict, her office said in a statement.

The Commissioner will hold meetings with State officials, representatives of international organisations and civil society.

A statement will be published at the end of the visit.