Metropolitan Museum of Art revises information on Aivazovsky to reflect his Armenian heritage

Armenia – March 3 2023

The world-renowned Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has revised the way it identifies famous seascape painter Ivan Aivazovsky to reflect his Armenian heritage, following complaints from community members, Asbarez reported..

Along with many community members, Taleen Setrakian also chronicled her efforts to address the mis-characterization of not only Aivazovsky’s heritage but also that of Arshile Gorky, who is listed as an “American, born Van Province, Ottoman Turkey,” on the website of New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

The Met told Setrakian in an email shared with Asbarez that it was “undertaking a review” of how Aivazovsky was identified.

“We are currently undertaking additional revisions to our cataloguing of Ivan Aivazovsky, in order to ensure that his Armenian identity is duly recognized on our website,” the Met’s European Paintings Department said in an email in response to Setrakian’s inquiry regarding Aivazovsky’s misidentification.

“The Met regularly researches and examines objects in its collection in order to determine the most appropriate and accurate way to catalogue and present them. This includes the best way the complex national and cultural identities in this region during the nineteenth century,” the Met explained.

Originally, the Met had identified Aivazovsky as Ukrainian, including in the biographical notes that he was “born into an Armenian family.”

In the revised iteration, the Met has added his Armenian birth name next to his professional name and has amended the “Ukrainian” moniker with “Armenian, born Russian Empire [now Ukraine].”

In his biography, the Met has also emphasized Aivazovsky’s Armenian heritage by writing, “As a member of the city’s longstanding Armenian community, Aivazovsky had a rich cultural and linguistic background. He worked and exhibited widely, including in cities in present-day Armenia, Georgia, Italy, Russia, Turkey, and mainland Ukraine.”

Parliament holds moment of silence in honor of 2008 Yerevan unrest victims



 10:14, 1 March 2023

YEREVAN, MARCH 1, ARMENPRESS. Lawmakers held a moment of silence in commemoration of the victims of the 2008 post-election unrest in Yerevan.

Speaker of Parliament Alen Simonyan asked MPs to observe the moment of silence at the March 1 plenary session.

Eight protesters and two police officers were killed in the violent suppression of anti-government street protests that followed a disputed presidential election held in February 2008 which saw Serzh Sargsyan take office. Former President Levon Ter-Petrosyan, the main opposition candidate in the ballot, rallied his supporters to protest against alleged vote rigging.

Ter-Petrosyan's supporters held nonstop rallies in Liberty Square until they were forcibly dispersed by riot police early on March 1, 2008.

Artsakh President chairs Security Council meeting




YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 28, ARMENPRESS. On February 28, President of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) Arayik Harutyunyan chaired a meeting of the Security Council.

The humanitarian situation resulting from the blockade of the Lachin Corridor, as well as steps taken by the authorities to overcome the problems were on the agenda, according to a read-out issued by Harutyunyan’s office.

Checkpoints not envisaged in Lachin corridor, says Russia




YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 28, ARMENPRESS. The functioning of the Lachin Corridor must comply with the 9 November 2020 trilateral statement, it does not envisage any checkpoints, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a joint press conference with his Azeri counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov, TASS reports.

“[The Lachin corridor] functioning mode must be in full compliance with the 9-10 November 2020 trilateral statement, which means the need to ensure the free movement of exclusively civilian and humanitarian cargo and civilians. That’s what we are striving for, first of all through the Russian peacekeeping contingent. It is not envisaged to create any checkpoints there,” Lavrov said.

Armenian Deputy FM receives Deputy Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of Luxembourg




YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 27, ARMENPRESS. On February 27, Deputy Foreign Minister Vahan Kostanyan met with the delegation led by Djuna Bernard, the Deputy Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of Luxembourg, ARMENPRESS was informed from MFA Armenia.

The parties commended the high level of political dialogue between Armenia and Luxembourg, and touched upon the prospects of expanding cooperation based on democratic values, common perceptions and mutual trust. Vahan Kostanyan highly appreciated the principled stance of the Chamber of Deputies of Luxembourg on issues of vital importance for Armenia, which was reflected in the motions adopted by the Parliament.

During the meeting, the parties discussed issues of regional and international security.

The Deputy Minister presented the efforts of the Republic of Armenia towards establishing peace and stability in the region. The imperative of addressing the humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh resulting from Azerbaijan’s blockade of the Lachin Corridor was underscored. The parties touched upon the latest developments in the normalization process of Armenia-Turkey relations.

Armenpress: President Khachaturyan, Prime Minister Pashinyan and other government officials commemorate victims of Sumgait pogrom




YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 27, ARMENPRESS. On the occasion of the Sumgait pogrom commemoration day, President of Armenia Vahagn Khachaturyan, together with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Speaker of Parliament Alen Simonyan and other government officials, visited the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial in Yerevan to pay tribute to the memory of the victims of the massacre, the parliament’s press service said in a press release.

[see video]
The top leadership placed a wreath and flowers at the cross-stones commemorating the victims of the Armenians who were killed in the pogroms organized by the Azerbaijani authorities in the cities of Sumgait, Kirovabad and Baku.

In late February 1988, Azerbaijanis began a state-sponsored massacre of the Armenian population in Sumgait, which became known as the Sumgait pogrom.

TIME: How Azerbaijan Weaponized Environmentalism to Justify Ethnic Cleansing

Feb 22 2023


FEBRUARY 22, 2023 12:07 PM EST
Maghakyan is a visiting scholar at Tufts University and a Ph.D. student in Heritage Crime at Cranfield University. He writes and speaks on post-Soviet memory politics and cultural erasure, and facilitates global conversations on protecting Armenian heritage

Blocking the only highway that connects 120,000 people of Nagorno-Karabakh with the outside world, a fur coat-wearing woman held a dove in one hand and a megaphone in the other as she yelled that the besieged region “belongs to Azerbaijan.” But instead of flying once released, the strangled dove dropped dead. This was meant to resemble an environmental demonstration.

Masqueraded as activists protesting the environmental impacts of ore mining operations, rotating affiliates of the authoritarian regime of Azerbaijan have blockaded the Armenian-populated mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh since December 12. This has left the disputed region, which is still recovering from the 2020 war launched by Azerbaijan, in the cold and on the brink of starvation.

The mining operations, along with much of Nagorno-Karabakh’s economy, have since halted, but the illegal blockade that violates the 2020 ceasefire has not. On Feb. 22 the International Court of Justice ordered Azerbaijan to end the blockade. But without an immediate enforcement mechanism, Azerbaijan may try to buy some extra time. Food and fuel are in such low supply in Nagorno-Karabakh that the local authorities now distribute coupons to ratio key groceries. Only vehicles belonging to Russian peacekeepers and the Red Cross have been allowed through, bringing in small quantities of vital supplies for the most vulnerable. But, according to Amnesty International, that’s not enough. On Feb. 9 the human rights watchdog reported that “access to healthcare has become the most pressing issue in the blockaded region”—a cardiologist sees only five or six patients per month, down from the typical 30 to 40, due to insufficient stent supply.

Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan’s dynastic president—whose 20-year recipe to remain in power has consisted of cultivating anti-Armenian hatred and weaponizing Azerbaijanis’ trauma of losing the first Nagorno-Karabakh war in the 1990s—makes no secret of the blockade’s ultimate goal. Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh are free to leave: “the road [to Armenia] is open,” he says, suggesting ethnic cleansing as the resolution. It’s not the first time that his regime blends ethnic cleansing with environmentalism: Azerbaijan celebrated the 2020 war victory against Armenians with a stamp of a biohazard remediator fumigating Nagorno-Karabakh.

At the ICJ on January 30 Azerbaijan’s lawyers argued that there is no blockade and that the protesters are engaged in grassroots environmental demonstrations. Never mind that oil-rich Azerbaijan—one of the most repressive regimes according to Freedom House, and home to “the ecologically most devastated area in the world,” including a city dubbed “an ecological Armageddon”—doesn’t tolerate public protest. To science-wash the blockade, as a prominent academic exposed last month, Azerbaijan sought out professors abroad to rubber stamp the ongoing “eco-protest” in media outlets.

This weaponization of environmentalism sets a dangerous precedent for other dictatorships to hijack vital causes.

A man holds fruit in an empty market in Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, on December 23, 2022.


Davit Ghahramanyan—AFP/Getty Images

Scholars have diagnosed such bad-faith goodwill as “sharp power,” a term proposed in 2017 by the National Endowment for Democracy to describe authoritarian states’ efforts to influence the world’s perception of their actions through manipulation and distraction. While the term is new, the phenomenon is not. Exploiting fragile Western institutions and using popular causes is an ongoing authoritarian practice. In environmentalism, Azerbaijan has found a convenient, universal cause. Since losing the first Nagorno-Karabakh war to Armenians in the 1990s, it has long claimed “ecocide” in territories Armenians controlled until the second war in 2020.

But neither private nor public criticism has stopped Azerbaijan from weaponizing environmental movements. Even now, as international bodies and Western governments condemn the blockade, Azerbaijan doubles down on its messaging. It recently announced a “historic” environmental legal action against Armenia under the Bern convention over forest loss and other delinquency in the areas Armenians controlled until 2020. The announcement explicitly justified the blockade, stating that “these protests were not orchestrated by the Government of Azerbaijan.” Commenting on this move, a forest watchdog noted that satellites tell a different story: “between roughly 2000 and 2020, the region had gained more tree cover than it lost.”

More recent forest loss is connected with Azerbaijan’s activities, such as its use of white phosphorus against Armenian forces in 2020, as analyzed by the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, along with the ongoing “victory road” construction. The 63-mile highway follows the military attack route of Azerbaijan’s capture of a key city in late 2020, during which the entire south of Nagorno-Karabakh was ethnically cleansed of Armenians. As a U.N. environmental assessment report requested by Azerbaijan notes, this construction “is also having a significant impact on forest cover.” Satellites show oversized swaths of greenery gone for good.

And as Caucasus Heritage Watch’s satellite reports show, the “victory road” and another highway construction are often accompanied with the flattening of Armenian villages and sacred sites, despite the IJC’s December 2021 provisional order to the contrary. Most ironically, there is also ongoing deforestation caused by the blockade: Nagorno-Karabakh, whose gas supply, electricity, and imported fuel are under Azerbaijan’s siege, is utilizing firewood to survive the winter.

Before the ICJ’s Feb. 22 decision, President Aliyev bragged that nothing would stop his efforts in the Lachin corridor, and he had reason to believe so. The European Union is repeatedly courting him as a “reliable partner” in substituting Russian gas supplies, and the U.S. has continued to waive Section 907 sanctions, a U.S. law meant to stop Azerbaijan’s aggression against Armenians. “No one can influence us. There may be some phone calls and some statements, but we do not need to pay attention. We take those phone calls simply out of political courtesy,” he states, “but this will not change our position.”

The remarks primarily target the U.S. and France. During the U.N. Security Council hearing in December and in subsequent statements, both countries, among others, called on Azerbaijan to end the blockade. Russia—the third mediator of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict along with the U.S. and France—has been largely silent on the situation.

Read More: History Suggests This Winter Could Be Dangerous for Armenians

There is something brazenly cynical about a repressive petro-aggressor weaponizing environmentalism in 2023. Not only does it make a mockery of the existential crisis we face as a species, it serves to further corrode Azerbaijan’s civil society. By undermining the credibility of what is likely the most important cause in the world, Aliyev is setting an example for fellow dictators to pursue “sharp power.” He sends a message that there is no cause too sacred to exploit and no lie too absurd to pronounce if it allows the leader to stay in power.

When Aliyev’s activists transported doves to the blockade, the stunt was in line with a new tradition in Azerbaijan that reimagines the birds as victory symbols of war. But instead, the strangled dove symbolized the blockade’s methodology: choke the besieged people of Nagorno-Karabakh until they have no choice but to flee—an ethnic cleansing strategy of strangle-and-release, sugar-coated as environmentalism.

Armenia sends 32 tons of humanitarian aid to quake-hit Syria



 11:39, 23 February 2023

YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 23, ARMENPRESS. The Armenian government is sending a third batch of humanitarian aid – over 32 tons – to the quake-hit Syria.

Photos by Hayk Manukyan

The aid is being sent by the order of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

The 32 tons of aid includes food and medication.

Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan is traveling to Syria to supervise the delivery.

The transportation of the cargo was organized by the ministry of emergency situations.

The aid was sent on board an IL-76 aircraft from Yerevan’s Erebuni airport to Aleppo.

Putin, Pashinyan talk situation on Armenian-Azerbaijani border

Russia – Feb 23 2023
The sides discussed issues of implementing trilateral agreements between the leaders of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan with the goal of ensuring stability and security in the region

TASS, February 23. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan discussed over the phone on Thursday the implementation of agreements between the Russian, Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders on stabilizing the situation in the region, the Kremlin press service said.

"The sides discussed issues of implementing trilateral agreements between the leaders of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan with the goal of ensuring stability and security in the region. They also touched upon the current situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border," the statement said.

Baku’s reaction to UN court ruling: Azerbaijan will continue to do so after relevant Court order as well
Armenia – Feb 23 2023

Head of the Press Service of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Aykhan Hajizada commented in his Twitter account on the decision of the UN International Court of Justice on on the application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Azerbaijani media reported.

As might be expected, the essence of the commentary boils down to the fact that Azerbaijan is not going to do anything.

The International Court ruled on the second request for interim measures on the applications filed by Azerbaijan and Armenia on the application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (the rulings are not a decision on the merits of the case).

"The Court has rejected 2 out of 3 provisional measures request by Armenia, concerning allegations on Azerbaijan orchestration and support of protests’” and on “immediate full restoration and refraining from disrupting the provision of natural gas"…

On 3rd measure, contrary to Armenia claims, the Court didn’t order what Armenia wanted: 1) Court excluded wordings “free” and “all” and 2) Added two important wording such as “pending the final decision in the case” & “take all measures at its disposal.

Since Azerbaijan never blocked or impeded the Lachin road, and took all measures within its power to ensure safe movement along the road, it will continue to do so after relevant Court order as well.

The Court has reaffirmed its call for Armenia to refrain from any action, which might aggravate or extend the dispute between 2 nations. Per Dec 2021 Order, Armenia remains obligated to take urgent action to prevent the incitement & promotion of racial hatred agns Azerbaijanis.

Azerbaijan will continue to hold Armenia to account for its ongoing and historic grave violations of human rights of Azerbaijanis." Hajizada wrote.