Nikol Pashinyan ruled out possibility of returning to a semi-presidential system of governance in near future

Arminfo, Armenia
Jan 27 2020

ArmInfo. The last 20 years have shown that a semi-presidential system of governance is not the best option for Armenia. This was announced on January 25 at a press  conference by  Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan.

According to him, he was repeatedly advised to return to the  semi-presidential system of government, but, in his opinion, it has  one significant minus – almost all responsibility for what was  happening lay with the prime minister, but the levers of power were  concentrated in the hands of the president. And replacing the prime  ministers, the head of state threw off responsibility. The prime  minister said that, in his opinion, the head of state should not  shift his responsibility to others.  "The semi-presidential system is  an irresponsible system of government. We should not have any semi-  systems in our country. Either the system of government in the  country should be parliamentary or presidential. It seems to me that  the current system of government should not be changed until it  becomes obvious cons. However, now, this model of government  demonstrates its positive aspects, "Pashinyan emphasized.

The prime minister noted that the main goal of constitutional reforms  is to change the country's judicial system and ensure the rule of law  and democratic values.

It should be noted that earlier the Armenian National Congress issued  a statement urging Nikol Pashinyan to return to the semi-presidential  system of government. The statement noted that otherwise, the current  model of government will lead to a political crisis in Armenia.

Representative of Ukraine Ministry of Internal Affairs with an Armenian surname was not allowed in Baku

Arminfo, Armenia
Jan 27 2020

ArmInfo. Azerbaijan refused to allow a representative of Ukraine to attend an EU event in the framework of the Eastern Partnership program in Baku because of the latter's  Armenian origin. This was reported by the publication "European  Truth" with reference to official sources in Kiev. We are talking  about the Conflict Analysis seminar, which was held on January 13-16  in Baku, organized by EU structures, Turan reports.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine informed the organizers  in advance about the composition of its delegation, which was  approved by the organizers. However, on the eve of the departure,  information was received that the Azerbaijani side refuses to accept  the representative of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine  because of her Armenian origin. This was stated in a letter sent by  the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine to the EU mission. The  letter does not mention the name of this employee, however, according  to the "European Truth", it refers to the director of the Department  of International Cooperation and European Integration Mary Hakobyan.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs asks the EU embassy "to recommend to  the European College of Security and Defense to refrain from further  holding events in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan."

At the same time, the Ukrainian government decided not to make this  conflict public, one of the interlocutors of "European Truth" noted.

An attempt to get a comment at the EU Delegation in Baku failed.

Hrayr Tovmasyan asks lawyers to initiate defamation lawsuit against Nikol Pashinyan

Panorama, Armenia
Jan 27 2020

Armenian Constitutional Court Chairman Hrayr Tovmasyan has asked his defense team to initiate a defamation claim against Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan over a statement made by the PM during the recent news conference, his lawyer Amram Makinyan said on Facebook.

"Chairman of the Constitutional Court Hrayr Tovmasyan has read Nikol Pashinyan's 'disproportionate blow' and asked us to prepare the lawsuit,” the lawyer wrote.

Speaking at the big press conference in the town of Kapan on Saturday, Pashinyan stated that Tovmasyan had “repeatedly offered him his services”, which was strongly denied by Tovmasyan in a subsequent statement.

"From now on, I will wait patiently for 20 days for Pashinyan to publish any objective fact or credible evidence substantiating his allegations. In case of a failure to do so, I will ask my lawyers to file a lawsuit against Nikol Pashinyan for slander,” Tovmasyan said.

In a Facebook post later on Saturday, the PM promised to publicize the requested credible proof upon reaching Yerevan. Later he posted a photo of a pen on Facebook, claiming that it was a gift from the top court head to him which proved that Tovmasyan offered him his services. 

‘Hate speech is encouraged by the authorities’: Eduard Sharmazanov

Aravot, Armenia
Jan 27 2020


“As a people who have survived genocide, we say no to genocide and to hate. We wish peace upon our Jewish friends and victims of World War II. We say no to Nazism,” member of the Executive Body of the Republican Party, Spokesman of the Republican Party, and former Vice Speaker of the National Assembly Eduard Sharmazanov said to journalists.

“We are here because this year marks the 75th anniversary of our victory in World War II, where the Armenian people played a large role in the Soviet Army. We had 6 divisions, 106 heroes, 4 marshals, over 100 generals, and over 100,0000 soldiers in the victory against fascism,” Sharmazanov said, speaking about how Ukrainian Marshal Konev liberated Auschwitz on January 27th, 1945. There were 546 Armenians who participated in this effort.

“There are always victims of hate speech and xenophobia. We are here to say no to hate speech, which has spread between nations and in foreign policy in different parts of the world, as well as in internal politics. The hate speech that we see in our own society is encouraged by the authorities, in my opinion.”


Nelly Grigoryan

Azerbaijani Press: Aggressive Rhetoric From Yerevan Drags Nagorno-Karabakh Stalemate Into 2020

Caspian News, Azerbaijan
Jan 27 2020

By Mushvig Mehdiyev

A photo from the "Caucasian Eagle 2019" military drills of the Azerbaijani, Turkish, and Georgian armed forces somewhere in Azerbaijan, September, 2019 / Mod.Gov.Az

The long-running conflict between two South Caucasus neighbors Armenia and Azerbaijan over the latter's Nagorno-Karabakh region has entered another decade, after talks in 2019 failed to bring the issue to a close.

Rhetoric from Armenian officials, such as defense minister David Tonoyan’s “new territories, new war” statement, caused major setbacks in bilateral discussions that marked the past year. Hikmet Hajiyev, the head of the Foreign Policy Affairs Department of Azerbaijan's Presidential Administration, said as long as Armenia pursues a destructive policy on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, negotiations cannot produce a resolution.

“As it was said by my president, unfortunately, last year was a lost year with regard to the resolution of the conflict. We can’t see any particular movement with regard to the resolution of the conflict,” Hajiyev said in an interview with Euractiv, referring to President Ilham Aliyev’s remarks to reporters in December.

“Armenian side has at a very high level said ‘new territories, new wars’, ‘no inch of territory back’ and finally, Armenian Prime Minister in occupied Khankendi city of Azerbaijan said that ‘Nagorno-Karabakh is Armenia'," Hajiyev said, quoting various remarks Armenian officials have made over the past year that indicated Armenia has no intention of withdrawing from the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region, an internationally recognized part of Azerbaijan.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict broke out in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse in the early 1990s, when Armenia's armed forces invaded Azerbaijan and occupied the region, where ethnic Armenians had been living side by side with indigenous Azerbaijanis. A brutal war ensued, which lasted until a ceasefire in 1994.

Over the course of that war, Armenia occupied roughly 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts. More than 30,000 ethnic Azerbaijanis were killed in the war, and around one million more people were internally displaced.

According to President Aliyev, in 2019, Armenia's leaders took non-constructive positions on the issue, coupled with a lack of international pressure, all of which affected negotiations. 

Contradictory statements by Armenian officials made last year, including those by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Defense Minister David Tonoyan, were all but a commitment to political dialogue. Pashinyan fomented tensions with Baku by offering self-styled separatists in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region to be part of the negotiations and then called the region territory of Armenia. For his part, Defense Minister Tonoyan said at a meeting with the Armenian community in New York in March that the “territories in exchange for peace” formula should be replaced with “new war – new territories” paradigm.

“Throughout the year, Armenia's position has been toughened considerably. Several military provocations have been committed against Azerbaijan,” a former foreign minister of Azerbaijan, Tofig Zulfugarov, said according to Azinforum. “Among them was the death of a major and the death of a number of our soldiers by enemy snipers, which showed that the Armenian authorities aggravate the situation in both political and military terms. Their purpose is to exacerbate the situation and to provoke the Azerbaijani side to take action.”

“Everybody knows that unless the occupied lands are liberated, and hundreds of thousands of displaced people return to their homes, the tension between Armenia and Azerbaijan will continue and I would say that it will gradually increase.”

Zulfugarov said that an increase in tensions, as well as a resumption of military operations, over the next year is not entirely implausible.

“If you look at the Armenian propaganda, you will see that this propaganda especially focuses on military rhetoric, real and fictitious weapons. They are trying to create an image that as if they have grown militarily. They want to show that they are preparing for war, not for the negotiation process. They do not accept other options. They also understand that Azerbaijan will never agree with such a situation.”

Book: Hear story of ceramicist David Ohannessian

Jan 25 2020
Hear story of ceramicist David Ohannessian
The community is invited to hear the story of David Ohannessian, the renowned ceramicist who founded the art of Armenian pottery in Jerusalem, from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30, at the International House Davis Community Room, 10 College Park. Ohannessian’s work and that of his followers are celebrated throughout Jerusalem.
Sato Moughalian, Ohannessian’s granddaughter, weaves together family memoir, art history and biography in this lecture, based on her book “Feast of Ashes: The Life and Art of David Ohannessian.”
The book was longlisted by the PEN America Literary Awards for the 2020 PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography. Copies will be available for sale.
This free event is sponsored by UC Davis Human Rights and the art history and Jewish studies departments.

Music: Ruzan Mantashyan To Sing At Dresden Opera Ball

Opera Wire
Jan 27 2020
Ruzan Mantashyan To Sing At Dresden Opera Ball
By Francisco Salazar
Ruzan Mantashyan is set to perform at the Dresden Opera Ball.
After reports alleged that Yusif Eyvazov refused to perform the singer earlier this month, the Semperoper released a statement confirming the participation of the soprano.

Semper Opernball stated, “the 30-year-old soprano, born in Yerevan, will sing Tatyana’s great aria from the opera ‘Eugene Onegin’ by Peter Tchaikovsky in Dresden.

Hans-Joachim Frey, first Chairman of the Semper Opera Ball added, “The Semper Opera Ball follows its general philosophy of speaking the language of art, bringing artists and cultural workers together and building bridges between nations, cultures and perspectives. I am pleased that Ruzan Mantashyan has finally been able to accept a role in Dresden and that all other artists and colleagues who appear at the ball also support this. Mantashyan will be with the MDR Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Kristjan Järvi together with performers such as the tenor Yusif Eyvazov, the violinist Pavel Milyukov, the soprano Julia Muzychenko, the pianist Alexander Kashpurin etc.”

The soprano Mantashyan also released a statement noting, “I was convinced that culture knows no borders and I’m glad this belief is shared by so many people who supported me with their words and deeds these past few days. I am pleased to inform my listeners that on Feb. 7th, I will sing Tatiana’s aria at the Dresden Opera Ball.”

Music: Faculty brass quintet group celebrates Armenian culture and tradition through music

Faculty brass quintet group celebrates Armenian culture and tradition through music

       By Will Meyer

Across generations, various groups prefer certain types of music over others. Whether trying to relax independently or enjoy a social party, people create their own culture and identity through music. But for the Armenian diaspora who has experienced continual oppression and genocide, the cultural element is magnified. On Feb. 2, the faculty brass quintet from the music department will be performing a selection of Armenian diaspora music entitled “A Story of Tragedy, Resilience, and Renewal.” 

“As a brass musician myself, I was familiar with some music by Armenian composers, and I was trying to think of music that I was familiar with personally that came from cultures and peoples whose home country or home people had a unique story,” said Dr. Zach Buie, professor of trumpet in the school of music. 

Buie said that recognizing the great tragedy of the Armenian genocide which occurred at the beginning of the 20th century, he felt that celebrating the music of the Armenian culture was particularly relevant for the larger event that the Hemingway Center is holding called “Exile Refuge Home.” The event will revolve around discussion and celebration of narratives about immigration and diaspora. 

“When I started looking into the local area, I found that there is actually a thriving Armenian community here in Boise, and they have regular social events, they have a church and they have dinners that they go to together,” Buie said.

After doing research on the music he hoped to perform, Buie reached out to Boise community members with an Armenian background. Two of them, Rachel Emenaker and Jo-Ann Kachigian, will be speaking about Armenian experience and history at the event. 

“Putting on an event like this is kind of saying, ‘We’re still here, we’re still dancing, we’re still listening to our music, we’re still speaking our language, we’re still worshipping in our churches,’” Emenaker, who works with the Idaho Museum of International Diaspora, said. 

By concentrating specifically on music made by people of Armenian heritage, the event will not only bring light to the tragedies the people have faced but also show that they are a thriving community, according to Emenaker. 

“Of all the many many issues to talk about in terms of exile and refugee status and diaspora, the Armenian genocide remains hugely problematic in terms of the silence that surrounds it,” said Dr. Cheryl Hindrichs, director of the Hemingway Literary Center. “So I was very excited to create some sort of programming around that.”

Hindrichs said that after the English department planned the event, they reached out to other departments to try and collaborate, and the music department expressed interest. Hindrichs said having Emenaker and Kachigian speaking at the event will hopefully illuminate the multifaceted and distinctive subcultures within the larger Armenian community. 

“There are Armenians from very different places, so the group’s cuisine, the culture, the rituals are different, but there is a very very strong sense of a shared identity,” Hindrichs said. “My hope is that through the storytelling of Jo-Ann looking at differences within but also between cultures with Rachel, and then the storytelling that the music itself does will help us make connections for us that we maybe didn’t have our eyes and ears open to.” 

The speaking and musical performance will be held in the Hemingway Center Gallery at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 2.

Azerbaijani press: Yerevan pursues policy of armenization of Azerbaijan’s historical monuments: statement

25 January 2020 15:03 (UTC+04:00)

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Jan. 25

By Samir Ali – Trend:

Armenian authorities and the illegal regime in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan have been recently conducting the armenization policy under the cover of reconstructing Azerbaijan’s historical and cultural monuments on the occupied territories, reads a statement by the Azerbaijani community of Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region, Trend reports Jan. 25.

“The puppet regime having “rehabilitated” the Yukhari Govhar Agha Mosque in Shusha city considered an architectural pearl of Nagorno Karabakh and naming it as the “Persian cultural center” some time ago, currently is going to “rehabilitate” Shusha fortress founded by Panah Ali Khan Javanshir, the builder of Karabakh Khanate in the 18th century,” reads the statement. “According to the information disseminated by mass media, it is not ruled out that in the future the same vandalism will be applied to the historical monuments in Aghdere and Lachin districts.”

“It is well known that thousands of our cultural, historical and religious monuments on Azerbaijan’s occupied territories have become victims of Armenian aggression,” the Azerbaijani community said. “Some part of these monuments has been completely erased from the earth, and the remaining monuments have been brought into unfit condition.”

“Along with occupying our lands, exposing our people to genocide and displacing thousands of people from their native land, Armenia also destroys our historical monuments,” the statement said. “Armenia hypocritically calls these processes “repair and rehabilitation work” in order to erase this stain from itself.”

“Not only us, but also international organizations should think of the outrageous purposes of Armenia under the cover of “rehabilitation” of these monuments, as spread of this tendency jeopardizes cultural-historical heritage of the world,” reads the statement.

“All the monuments, situated in occupied territories, were erected by our forefathers, they bear handprints of our ancestors,” the Azerbaijani community said. “Vitalization of these monuments, which were inherited for us, will be one of our main duties after the return of the Azerbaijani lands.”

“All these along with being in contradiction with the obligations undertaken by Armenia to UNESCO, are also the manifestation of this country’s hypocrite trait and the attempt to deceive the international community and to give a cultural and civil veneer to its vandalism actions,” the statement said.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from Nagorno Karabakh and the surrounding districts.