Saturday, December 30, 2006

Groong and Orbelli

I just wanna take a break from politics and point out an excellent resource for news and other info, Groong news network.

This site is great, it's a news mailing list that covers headlines from Armenia and pretty much all over the world, kind of like google news but it predates it. In addition to news, groong has a lot of topics on history, political analysis, culture, and a databank of treaties including the Armenian Constitution. But I have to say one of my favorite sections is Ruth Bedevian's Armenian House Museum Series

In Armenia most of the houses of famous poets/writers/painters etc.. are converted into museums (kind of like Shakespeare's house in England). Ruth Bedevian traveled throughout Armenia to these houses and wrote about them including the history of such individuals. I checked out her description on the Orbelli Brothers House and I was blown away. Talk about an Armenian version of the Rockefellers or Kennedys, these guys made huge contributions to science, literature, history, and most of all their people. Their family dates way back and one of the family members was even buried at Noravank Monastery in Armenia. They seriously put us on the map with their contributions. I urge you all to read up on these guys and other famous Armenians.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Armenian Educational Relief Fund

A while back I made a post about the Armenian Educational Relief Fund (AERF), an organization that was spawned by the brothers of Alpha Epsilon Omega, the Armenian Fraternity here in Los Angeles. Last summer they went and spent around 6 grand purchasing supplies for Kindergarten #7 in Armavir City and donating it all first hand. This year the organization is gathering up funds to renovate the same kindergarten plus two others. These guys do great work, they are mostly college students who raise the funds here in LA throughout the year and travel on their own expense to help out needy children. You can check out their pics from last summer's journey here

Monday, December 18, 2006


As some of you may heard, there is a petition on cilicia blogs to protest the leniency in a recent ruling to a man who drove over a 17 year old girl in yerevan. He pretty much got off with a slap on the wrist, this said a lot about not only the Armenian judicial system but on the lack of driving laws existing right now. Please sign the petition below so we can do something about this tragic situation:

Saturday, December 16, 2006

No Resolution to Karabakh conflict before 2007 vote

Recent article on here:

Kocharian rules out a resolution to the peace talks until the parliamentary votes in 2007.

While some may see this as Kocharian covering his ass, I see this as a shrewd move not only for him but for Armenia.

Being at the negotiating table is tough as nails. Not only do you have to appease the opposing side, but you also have to please the people (something that Ter-Petrossian failed to do that lead to his resignation). And let's not forget appeasing the Minsk Group while the international community is watching the process.

Aliyev does the same thing, so should every politician, you can't let an issue like this be used as leverage by your political opponents. It'll disrupt things at home and abroad.

Friday, December 15, 2006

New Armenian Lobby

Some news going around about the new Armenian Amerian lobby group by Cafesjian and Vartian (formerly the ED of the Assembly). Interesting, I tried to wrap my mind around it for a while:

1-Do we need another one? Probably not, but I suppose it won't hurt to add another voice in DC. The more groups there are, the better we can have our voice heard.

2-Is this divisive? Well, considering that Cafesjian is a member of the Assembly board and Vartian is the former ED, it seriously brings up some concerns. I'm sure the Assembly is a bit bewildered about this.

3-What are the motives? The fact that Assembly members (past and present) decide to split and form their own organization needs an explanation. Do they want power? Fame? Regardless of the intentions, I still see this move benefiting Armenians due to the increase in voice.

4-Ross Vartian-Man this guy came out of nowhere, wasn't expecting him to show up again. It's good to see him back in action though. I admire his efforts in establishing strong relations with the Republic of Armenia during his tenure with the Assembly. It's good to see Armenian organizations consulting the government of Armenia, will this new organization follow the trend? I hope.

Ultimately I'm stuck between two points to this issue. Either it's too divisive or it will add another dimension to the Armenian lobby. What does this organization have to offer that the ANC and Assembly lack? Perhaps Arman can provide an explanation (this is your cue to comment!)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

AGBU Magazine

I read the latest on blogs in the magazine, which highlighted cilicia and a couple of others and also gave a list of blogs, and I saw that they included our humble blog in their list. Quite exciting, but it made me realize that I haven't updated this thing in a while (Arman you are guilty of this too). BTW, that AGBU magazine is great, I learned a few new things in their articles, and being the Armenian political junkie that I am, I greatly appreciate the journalism that the magazine puts in.

I especially read up on the article by Richard Giragosian on Armenia's relationship with Russia. Again, an excellent article covering a lot of important facets of Armenia's bilateral relations with Moscow, but I had to disagree on a few points. First, the article mentioned Armenia's emulation of Russia's political system and how it serves to the detriment of a democratic Armenia. Granted, the prevalence of corruption is a remnant of the old Soviet model, but Armenia can benefit from Russia's leadership in dealing with this problem. Putin, although consistently bashed in the western media, plays a strong hand when dealing with oligarchs and Armenian leadership can learn by example. Again, I ain't completely supporting Putin (that's Arman's job), but I do believe emulating Russia's government does have its merits.

Also, the article also portrays Armenia's reliance on Russia for security in a negative light. Although Russia greatly benefits from the alliance, Armenia does so too. The Russian base in Gyumri offers protection from Turkey (even though the chance for military conflict is low, it's still substantial to warrant protection from Russia), and although Russia supported Azerbaijan as well as Armenia during the Karabakh conflict, Armenia right now still needs Russia's military support.

There's a lot of Russia bashing going on, and yea the Soviet Union produced was the bad guy in the Cold War, but you know what? It did more to protect Armenia than any western country during the time. While Britain backed the Azeris during Andranik's campaigns in Zangezur and the American Congress overturned the creation of Armenia with its borders in the Treaty of Sevres, Russia offered the best protection against Turkey. Yea, they did screw us with Karabakh, they ain't perfect, but overall give Russia some credit, since the West doesn't do much either.