World mass media about Armenia

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Good luck to a new Armenia

Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 18/03/2007Page 1 of 3


It has a tragic past but Douglas Rogers predicts a change in fortune for this fascinating country.

It was after the third glass of 50 per cent proof vintage Armenian brandy that my host for the evening, a garrulous Armenian-American property developer by the name of Vahak Hovnanian, suggested a game of golf. Usually, after a few glasses of top-shelf cognac, I'd be up for a round, but it was 9pm, we were in the basement of his mansion on a half-built residential village on the outskirts of Armenia's dusty capital Yerevan, and the chances of finding a floodlit golf course in the vicinity seemed pretty slim.

I shouldn't have been so sceptical. "We are the Jews of the Caucasus," Vahak told me five minutes later as he smacked a drive straight down the fairway of his floodlit golf course, a short walk from his home. In the distance, the outline of Mount Ararat shimmered in the moonlight, while in a clubhouse decked out with leather chairs emblazoned with the Hovnanian family crest, a dozen members of his family cheered and ordered more brandy. On a barren field of rock and stone in central Armenia, a New Jersey property tycoon was building his own Jerusalem.

It is easy to see Armenia as the Israel of the Caucasus (even though it's actually the oldest Christian nation on earth, having adopted Christianity in AD 310, a decade before Rome). It is surrounded by Muslim countries on three sides - Turkey, Iran and Azerbaijan - and war-torn Georgia to its north. In 1915 Armenia suffered its own holocaust: the slaughter of 1.5 million people by the Turks, a genocide the Turkish government still refuses to acknowledge. From 1917 to 1991 Armenia was part of the Soviet Union, which protected it from the Turks but did little for its independence or devout Orthodox religious observance. Not for nothing is Armenia known as the land of "1,700 Years of Bad Luck".

And yet, partly as a result of this tragic past, Armenia, more than any other country in the Caucasus, is now finding its feet fast. The Diaspora, descendents of those who escaped the genocide, now number three times the 2.5 million population of Armenia itself, and they not only dominate the country's fledgling tourist industry, but the wealthiest of them, men such as Vahak Hovnanian and Kirk Kirkorian, the owner of MGM studios in LA, invest US$1 billion a year in Armenia, funding everything from airports, roads and radio stations, to universities, museums and hotels.

It was because of one of these investors that I was in the country. Two months earlier, I had heard about an Armenian-American interior designer named James Tufenkian, a reclusive 40-something New Yorker who had made his fortune in the luxury Armenian handmade carpet industry. In 1995, four years after the end of Communist rule, Tufenkian had set up hand-weaving carpet factories in his ancestral homeland, reviving the ancient art of Oushak carpet making - finely textured, earth-toned Armenian rugs that had virtually disappeared during 75 years of Soviet rule.

Ten years on, Tufenkian not only had luxury showrooms in New York and Los Angeles, where his exquisite rugs were snapped up by the likes of Dennis Quaid, Donna Karan and Ben Stiller, but he had just branched out into the travel industry. Under a new company, Tufenkian Heritage, he had created Armenia's first design hotels: three properties set in restored ruins or close to religious sites that form a perfect cultural triangle for a visit to Armenia.

History hangs heavy in Yerevan. The starting point of any visit to Armenia, the one million-strong city lies in a dusty valley rimmed by rugged, rock-strewn hills that are more Arizona than Asia Minor. Its potholed streets and drab cement tower blocks were depressing reminders of the Soviet era, and even the spectacular view of snow-capped Mount Ararat, 30 miles distant, had a weightiness to it. It has been Turkish territory since 1915, a permanent, taunting reminder of the genocide.

Yet, sweep away the dust, and Yerevan, an eighth-century fortress town, reveals itself like a lost icon. On the wide expanse of Opera Square in the centre, opposite a new Marriott hotel, the National Opera House had been restored and the Yerevan Philharmonic was performing works by the great Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian.

Nearby, in what looked like a stone church, a handful of French-Armenian tourists queued up at the Parajanov Museum, a monument to the Armenian filmmaker Sergei Parajanov (1924-1990), whose work was banned by the Soviets but inspired Fellini, Antonioni and Godard. Pride in its artistic heritage runs deep in Armenia - almost as deep as memories of the past. Outside the museum I met Gilda, a painter from Paris.

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прикрепил тему- чтобы скидывали сюда материалы


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Не очень интересная статья...скорее даже скучная...Одни овцы, ковры, амбарные гостиници и постухи....


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Armenia aims at key markets with its participation at GLOBE

Thursday, March 22, 2007

European countries, such as Italy, Spain, France, Germany and UK, identified as key markets with a great potential for growth, are at the centre of the promotional activities carried out by the Armenian Tourist Development Agency (ATDA).

The Armenian tourist board is exhibiting with six major Armenian tour companies at GLOBE, the new international trade show in Rome, to promote the country in the Mediterranean and European areas.

Syuzanna Azoyan, ATDA’s marketing director, is presenting news and promotional plans to press and trade operators at the Armenian stand from Thurday 22nd to Saturday 24th March.

Armenia is getting growing attention by international media and tour operators, who observe the country’s rebirth with great interest. After the transition period which followed independence in 1991, Armenia has made important investments in infrastructure and promotion of the economic development. Tourism is one of the industries which are getting major investments.

In fact, Armenia has it all to emerge as a new and important tourist destination: safety, stableness, good structures, affordable prices, geographic proximity, cultural affinity, good air connections, impressive cultural heritage and artistic traditions, fantastic natural environment and a welcoming population. American, French, German, English and Japanese visitors already realized this and represent the largest slice of Armenia’s travel market, thanks also to effective commercials broadcasted on CNN and Euronews.

Armenia is offered mostly within religious and cultural tours focusing on its great cultural and artistic heritage, the ancient sites on the Silk Road, the original Christian architecture of the imposing medieval buildings and UNESCO World Heritage sights, such as the monastic complexes of Sanahin and Haghpat.

According to Syuzanna Azoyan, Armenia has much more to offer: adventure and trekking holidays, nature and sport holidays, bird-watching, camping, farm holidays, cycling tours, horse-riding, rafting and many other activities.

Michael Verikios - Thursday, March 22, 2007


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Movie Reviews

Armenian quest


JOURNEY TO ARMENIA (Robert Guédiguian). 125 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (April 13) at Canada Square. Rating: NNN

Anna ( Ariane Ascaride ) is a brusque French cardiologist whose ailing father ( Marcel Bluwal ) disappears to his homeland of Armenia before he can undergo heart surgery. Anna follows him, visiting the country for the first time.

As quests go, Anna's is vague and unfocused, but it and a subplot involving black-market meds, an exotic dancer and a former general ( Gérard Meylan ) are really just a pretext for gorgeous scenery and history in thistravelogue about beleaguered Armenia.

The dialogue is pretty exposition-heavy. The locals are continually explaining things to Anna (although it's refreshing to hear the merits of communism, capitalism and other "isms" discussed in an even-handed way). Anna is imperious and hard to like, so Ascaride, who also co-wrote the film, deserves credit for making us care about what happens to her.

As the story unfolds, Anna and the audience are drawn in by the history of a country, once the nexus of all the great European empires, that's currently recovering from Soviet-style communism and yet retains its character and language.

Maybe that's the reason for Anna's Gallic version of the ugly American tourist: Armenia and its people seem even more beautiful by contrast.


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На веб-сайте газеты The New York Times открыта посвященная Армении страница

На веб-сайте газеты The New York Times открыта армянская страничка «1915 Genocide Bracelet» ( Страница рассказывает об истории Армении с древнейших времен до наших дней. Особое внимание уделяется Геноциду армян 1915-1923 гг. в Османской Турции. Рассказывается также и о том, какая территория осталась у Армении после Первой мировой войны, когда турецкое правительство, подписав соглашение с Советской Россией, предало забвению план американского президента Вудро Вильсона, по которому Армении должны были быть переданы 6 турецких провинций, включая Карс и Ардаган.

Напомним, что на прошлой неделе The New York Times исправила статью, в которой упоминался Геноцид армян. В статье было написано «резня», однако решением редакционного совета The New York Times от 2004 года, события 1915 года подпадают под определение «геноцид» и при написании статей на эту тему, редакция будет всегда использовать слово «геноцид».


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Турция так и не поняла, что, отрицая Геноцид, приковывает к нему все больше внимания

13.04.2007 16:07 GMT+04:00

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ «Более 90 лет назад, когда Турция была частью Османской империи, турецкие националисты осуществили кампанию по уничтожению полутора миллиона армян. Это был первый геноцид ХХ века. Мир знал об этом, но ничего не сделал, и это бездействие стало одобрением для действий Гитлера, лидеров хуту в Руанде в 1994 году и для нынешнего президента Судана Омара Хассана аль-Башира», - говорится в редакционной статье The New York Times.

В статье отмечается, что Турция долгое время пытается отрицать Геноцид армян. Даже в современном турецком государстве, которое не имеет связи с осуществившим массовые убийства режимом, употребление слова «геноцид» является серьезным преступлением. «И тем более стыдно, что официальные лица ООН отложили выставку, посвященную 13-летию геноцида в Руанде, потому что там упоминалось о Геноциде армян. Анкару возмутило то предложение, которым открывается выставка: «После Первой мировой войны, во время которой в Турции был убит один миллион армян, польский адвокат и правозащитник Рафаэль Лемкин призвал Лигу наций признать эти варварские действия международным преступлением». Организаторы выставки согласились изъять слово «Турция» из предложения. Однако и этого оказалось недостаточно для трусливого руководства ООН и выставку отложили на неопределенное время», - пишет The New York Times.

В заключение автор подчеркивает: «Странно, что турецкое правительство до сих пор не поняло, что каждый раз, когда оно пытается препятствовать обсуждению Геноцида армян, оно только привлекает к этому вопросу больше внимания и связывает сегодняшнюю демократическую Турцию с прошлым правящим режимом. Генеральный секретарь ООН Бан Ки Мун и его новая команда вновь показали, что очень многому должны научиться, если хотят с честью служить ООН, которая должна быть гарантом международного права и первой выступать против геноцида».


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На веб-сайте газеты The New York Times открыта армянская страничка «1915 Genocide Bracelet» (

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А чё?..я ничё... :rolleyes:


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Armenia's diaspora funds a religious revival

Armenians from all over the world are hoping to revive a church decimated by decades of communist rule.

By Nicole Itano | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

Page 1 of 3

Lake Sevan, ARMENIA - On a windswept peninsula that juts out into the blue-black waters of Lake Sevan, the ancient meets modern. Cassock-clad young seminarians wander through a sparkling new building wired for the 21st century and outfitted with a contemporary gym.

But the traditions here are among Christianity's oldest. In the corridor, between classes at Vaskenian Theological Academy, two students stop and bow to a bearded man with a large silver cross around his neck.

"Father, bless us," they say, each putting a hand to their hearts.

"God will bless you," replies Father Minas Martirossian, the school's deputy dean, who is helping to train a new generation of Armenian priests to repopulate the country's depleted ranks.

Just a decade ago, the Armenian Apostolic Church was struggling to survive at home after decades of communist oppression. Today, the Church is undergoing a rebirth fueled by tens of millions of dollars from the global Armenian diaspora.

"The first years were really difficult," recalls Mr. Martirossian, a former mathematics professor who helped restart the seminary in 1990 as the Soviet Union was crumbling and Armenia moved toward independence. "There was no electricity, no heating, no proper food for students. It wasn't just the seminary. It was the whole country."

Underdeveloped, politically isolated, and partially devastated by a still unresolved war with its neighbor Azerbaijan that raged between 1988 and 1994 as the Soviet Union collapsed, Armenia depends heavily on support from its ethnic diaspora. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been poured into the country to do everything from rebuild roads to renovate water systems to feed orphans.

A little help from Armenia's friends

But perhaps nowhere has diaspora money played a more visible role than in the Armenian Church, which has been central to Armenian culture for centuries.

Armenia first adopted Christianity in AD 301 and claims to be the world's oldest Christian nation.

But under communist rule, religious life there was pushed into the shadows. Churches were seized and shuttered, priests persecuted and many baptisms were conducted in secret. By the time Communism collapsed in 1991, only about 150 priests still remained to serve a population of about 3 million people, largely because of government restrictions on the number of new priests who could be trained.

The situation abroad was very different. Although the church played a pivotal role in cultural life for the approximately 7 million Armenians scattered around the world – primarily in America, Russia, and the Middle East – during the Soviet period, the practical influence of the mother church, located in the Armenian city of Etchmiadzin, and its highest religious leader, the Catholicos of All Armenians, waned.

"The Church's primary responsibility is to lead people to God, but for many years the Armenian church has had a second burden, the protection of Armenianness," says Father Ktrij Devejian, a Armenian-American architect from Fresno, Calif., who in 2004 became the first American-born priest ordained in Etchmiadzin. "In the diaspora, the Church was involved in every aspect of life."

Now, Armenians outside the country are helping to rebuild the church at home. In the past seven years, diasporans have donated at least $50 million for construction and fund 85 percent of the Church's overall operating expenses.

Across the country, 52 new churches – and a giant new cathedral – were constructed, and 31 have been renovated. Five more are under construction and 10 more are being renovated.

Today, Devejian – who returned to Armenia at the current Catholicos' request to help build the Church's international connections – marvels at the dramatic rebuilding and expansion underway at Etchmiadzin, the Church's historic headquarters. There's a large, bustling seminary, a new administration building, museum, and baptistery. And the original residence of the Catholicos is being renovated.

"Etchmiadzin hasn't seen a building boom like this in maybe 400 years," says Devejian. "There isn't a building in Armenia under the authority of Etchmiadzin that hasn't been built with diaspora money."

'The difference today is freedom'

The revival of a seminary at Lake Sevan is representative of a broader revitalization of the Armenian church in its birthplace. Under Soviet rule, the monastery there was shut down after more than a millennium in existence.

In 1990, the peninsula was returned to the church. A few dozen Armenian students and teachers from New Jersey, including Father Minas, moved to the site to reintroduce religious instruction and a clergy. At first, they lived and worked in a single, unheated building.

Six years later, a wealthy Armenian from Damascus funded the construction of a new seminary building and small church.

Today the seminary houses 72 students and has helped double the number of priests in Armenia to more than 400. For the first time in many decades, Armenia is once again beginning to export priests to the diaspora.

But Devejian admits there is still much work to be done to convince Armenians inside the country to return to the church's fold – particularly those raised under Soviet rule.

Many of those being baptized today are adults, but Armenia's churches are still full of old women and young people born after the end of communism. Many Armenians raised under communist rule see no reason to abandon their secularism.

"The Soviets did a very good job of destroying the role of the church as part of society," says Devejian, noting that Catholicos' main priority is to rebuild parish life by rebuilding churches and returning priests to communities.

David Mangasaryan, a 21-year-old priest-in-training at Lake Sevan, is optimistic that Armenians will return to the church.

"The difference today is freedom," says Mr. Mangasaryan. "Our generation is free. We can choose our God and we can choose our religion."


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Armenia gets a new provider of telecommunications services

New provider Armenian Datacom Company (ADC) appeared on the market of telecommunication services in Armenia. During the opening ceremony ADC General Director Harold Gritten said that the XXI century telecommunication network will operate in Armenia, which provides super modern corporative networks with powerful coverage and access to the Internet.

"We are the first company in Armenia which has a license for providing public telecommunication services in accordance with new laws and regulating orders," he said.

He said that the founders of the company considered of priority the development of infrastructures in accordance with Armenia's economic growth.

"Telecommunication services are of vital importance in the implementation of business aims and government orders, which will provide Armenia with equal terms with all the partners in the availability of modern telecommunication solutions in the commerce sector," he said.

In his turn, RA Minister of Trade and Economic Development Karen Chshmarityan pointed out that the arrival of the ADC to the Armenian market is a happy event for the country's population, and it testifies that the policy of assigning priority status to Armenia's IT-sphere showed its results.

"The coming of a new company to Armenia is a result of consistent policy that was directed to encouraging foreign investments and creating favourable conditions for them in the country, particularly, work of improving systems of electronic communication in the IT-sector," he said.

Chshmarityan said that Armenia's Government is interested in the investment project and will salute any similar initiative.

"I hope that the ADC will become one of the leaders in Armenia by providing services and assistance to effective work of economic infrastructures, as well as stable communication of local enterprises with foreign partners and worthily introducing Armenia to world markets," he said.

Armenian-Norwegian Armenia Datacom Company LLC was founded in Armenia in 2006. The company's authorized capital makes EUR 1mln. The share participation is not announced. - Source: Arka News


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Armenia's artistic bridge from East to West

By Souren Melikian

Published: April 27, 2007

PARIS: It is not easy to display the art of a major culture left in tatters by organized physical destruction over centuries that reduced its territory to a tiny fraction of its historical dimension. What mostly survives is the art of religion, the hard-core to which the persecuted cling and carry away if portable. Otherwise it is fragments collected from ruins. Hence the title of the Armenian art show on view at the Louvre until May 21 - "Armenia Sacra."

The exhibition book is as much about history as about art, a necessity when introducing a culture known to few other than specialists.

It might have been worth mentioning that Armenia had a very long past when King Tiridate made it the first country where Christianity was declared the state religion around 313, when Byzantium only made its worship permissible.

The origins of Armenia are steeped in mystery. How the Armenians, whose language is Indo-European, substituted themselves for the non-Indo-European inhabitants of the preceding kingdom of Urartu around the 7th century B.C. is unexplained. If there was a fusion of two groups, history says nothing about it.

Armenia was included in the empire founded by the Persian Achaemenid dynasty in the mid-6th century B.C. and from the beginning had close links to Iranian culture while maintaining an utterly different identity. Some magnificent silver wine horns in Achaemenid style, excavated in Armenia after World War II, are usually described as Iranian and yet they can be seen at a glance to be aesthetically different from the vessels excavated in Iran. This Iranian connection persisted through time. Linguists say that well over a third of words in the Armenian vocabulary today are of Iranian origin, ranging from Parthian Pahlavi of the late 2nd or 1st century B.C. to present-day Persian.

The other part of the world to which Armenia had ties was the Roman Empire - the land was split again and again between Iran and Rome, later replaced in the East by the Byzantine Empire.

This twin connection with East and West remained perceptible throughout Armenian history.

It was the case with the first art spawned by the advent of Christianity of which the earliest surviving fragments do not predate the 5th century A.D. However disparate these look stylistically, they mostly share a monumental quality and an austere gravity maintained even when startling irony creeps in. Figural art, sometimes rough, invariably explodes with vigor. On one capital of starkly geometrical shape from Dvin, a Virgin and Child carved in low relief stare hypnotically at the viewer. It has a Romanesque feel to it but is not later than the 5th or 6th century A.D.

The stem of a stone cross also from Dvin is topped by the head of Jesus in a style strangely reminiscent of the human masks found in early 1st millennium B.C. bronzes from Luristan, in western Iran.

This aesthetic diversity was maintained into the 7th century A.D. if the datings suggested by art historians are right. Sacred art and irony continued to be paradoxically associated. In a roundel carved in sunken relief, Jesus ascends into heaven, standing in a mandorla held up by two angels while worshippers below raise their hands in prayer. All have incongruous goggle eyes - again these call to mind the art of Luristan with its funny human heads topping bronze ensigns. No archaeological context throws light on this intriguing sculpture.

But even a documented context does not necessarily resolve enigmas. On a huge stone capital nearly two meters, or six and a half feet, long recovered from the church at Zvartnots, an eagle spreads its wings horizontally. This is a distant offshoot of Roman iconography, with some input from Sasanian Iran. Its meaning in a church remains open to speculation.

Iranian reminiscences kept surfacing in early Armenian art as they do in two 6th or 7th century folios inside a 10th century Gospel from Echmiadzin. Syria, inspired the triangular tops flanking the rounded arch of a niche, but the outfits of the Magi are borrowed from late Sasanian conventions, as the art historian André Grabar noted long ago.

Riddles continue to stake out the evolution of Armenian art well into the 9th century. Wooden capitals from a church at Sevan, which were published long ago, induced one of the contributors to the exhibition book, Yvetta Mkrichian, to characterize their shape as "singular." They actually relate to models found later in the domestic architecture of Iranian Central Asia. The carved pattern draws its motifs from the repertoire of contemporary Iran and transforms them aesthetically. Again one wonders what meaning these had in the context of an Armenian church. One of them, hitherto unrecognized, reproduces the eagle wings of the Sasanian royal headdress as seen by artists from Islamic Iran. The key to such riddles surely lies in Armenian and Persian literature.

One of the great masterpieces in the exhibition, the A.D. 1134 wooden doors and their frame removed from the Monastery at Mush (pronounced "moosh") shows that the link with Iranian art kept being renewed at intervals. The commentator in the exhibition book appears to be unaware that the figural scenes featuring two jousting horsemen and two other mounted heroes on the lintel deal with Iranian literary themes, as do the two rounds of animals carved on each side. The geometrical patterns in the main areas could again be seen as part of an Iranian rather than Arab influence.

Aesthetically, the transformation is as obvious as the consummate mastery. This is a masterpiece in isolation that bears witness to an otherwise vanished school of architectural woodwork.

The confidence with which Armenian artists, from stone or wood carvers to painters and goldsmiths, borrowed from the outside world and recast the loans on their own terms is a feature shared by all powerful cultures from Iran to India to China. What makes Armenia astonishing is its eclecticism and its aptitude at welding together seemingly incompatible components.

A striking case is offered by the incorporation of formal Islamic patterns into Christian art. The early 13th-century cornice of one of those tall stelae with crosses carved in sunken relief known as "khachkar" is carved in the center with the figure of Jesus enthroned under a polylobed arch. On the book that Jesus holds open on his lap, the verse from John: 8.12 reads in its Armenian version: "I am the Light of the World." On either side, dazzling patterns of swirling scrolls have a rhythm and a complexity that makes them utterly different from those of Iran to the east or of the Arab areas of Iraq to the south.

This aptitude at creating afresh, however hybrid the mix, comes out most astonishingly in the manuscripts copied and illuminated in Cilicia along the Mediterranean shore of present-day Turkey.

A Franco-Armenian kingdom came into existence in the area following the wedding in the late 11th century of a French nobleman and an Armenian princess. By the 12th century it had a large population of Armenians driven away from their homeland by incessant warfare. For a century and a half or so, Cilicia became a second Armenia, leaving astonishing castles and ramparts that still stand at Yilankale or Anavarza and giving birth to an art of the book that blends Byzantine iconography, the color scheme of French medieval manuscripts and formal ornament from Islamic Iran.

A lectionary copied in 1286, perhaps in the town of Sis, offers a remarkable example of this blending of artistic syncretism.

Cilicia thus became the first true meeting ground of East and West, relatively immune from the violent antagonism that characterized it in Sicily and Spain. The Cilician experience probably paved the way to the easy transition that some Armenians made to the West, creating an even more hybrid art of the book in places such as Perugia in Italy.

Cilician art also traveled back East. It left its imprint on the Gospel illuminated in 1323 at Glajor in the Siunik Province to the northwest of Iran. But the painter, Toros of Taron, owes to Syrian book painting from the time the baroque rockery and plants - which the exhibition book does not say.

Internationalism began centuries ago and few practiced it with greater alacrity in art than the Armenians.


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OMX lands Armenia

OMX Group has signed a letter of intent to buy the Armenian Stock Exchange. Armex, based in Yerovan, is assumed to be a relative minnow in the the pan-Nordic exchange’s expansion plans.

Yet on this historic occasion, it is well worth a closer look at OMX’s newest acquisition. The website informs us that it is the only stock exchange operating in Armenia and there are 37 listed companies. These range from the alluringly named “Selena” to the more prosaic “Cascade-Credit Universal Credit Organisation.”

But OMX might have its work cut out: in Armex’s latest newsletter, the exchange announced that “the total number of trades [on the equities market] in January, 2007, was 21 with total value traded of AMD 3,639,227 ($10,127). Compared to January, 2006, the number of trades, number of stocks traded and total value traded decreased by 70.83%, 94.71% and 99.67%


Nevertheless, compared to December, 2006, “the total value traded increased by 160.02%.”

OMX descibes its Armenian project as “long term”.


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Tribeca Movie Review:

A Story of People in War & Peace

Posted on Monday, April 30th, 2007 at 6:37 am by: Francisco Saco

The following movie was reviewed at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival.

A Story of People in War & Peace

World Documentary Competition

2006, Armenia

Dir: Vardan Hovhannisyan

In 1994 a truce was arrived at between Armenia and neighboring Azerbaijan, ending a bloody confrontation that had swept both nations after the fall of the Soviet Union. These two former satellites of the Soviet empire were newly independent and both desperate to claim land they both believed pertained to them. During the war, photojournalist Vardan Hovhannisyan followed a small platoon of men, and one female nurse, through their harrowing ordeal. Twelve years later and Vardan realizes that the memory of the incidents is slowly being forgotten by the younger generations. The reasons why the war was fought are being disregarded and overlooked.

So Vardan retraces his links to his fellow soldiers and decides to search for them so as to gain a better comprehension of what they as a people lost and won as a consequence of the war. He wants to see how his fellow men live in peace, opposed to how they lived in war. What he encounters is beyond him. He finds one of the men had an ugly divorce from his wife and is now on bad terms with his children. Another one of the men is in jail, and still another is locked up in a mental institution, haunted by nightmares of the battlefield.

He is able to converse with every member of his unit, and comes to the startling realization that not only were these people victims of war, but they were also victims of peace. The stories of unquantified loss are tear-filled and confoundedly real, as each person struggles with the recollection and retelling of the events during the war. Yet, with such a horrible moment of time burned into their minds, all the soldiers continue to foster a great love for their country and retain ultimate pride in having fought for their nation. For them, it was an honor to serve their homeland, and no matter how many hard times they face, they will never forget that.

The film is short and concise. It knows what its aims are and accomplishes them thoroughly. But perhaps it is a bit too short. As soon as you start caring for the men and women interviewed and establishing some emotion for their agony, they are gone. The film leaves one with the up-close knowledge of a horrible event, yet leaves the person as detached as it did before it had been shown. But then again, Vardan maybe realized that this subject was too hard to dig up and that making his fellow Armenians remember those days of combat and upheaval was something quite difficult, but at the same time utterly necessary.


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Clash of civilisations

May 17th 2007 | KARS

From The Economist print edition

Beleaguered Armenians in Turkey—and a closed border with Armenia

FOR a seasoned diplomat, Hasan Sultanoglu Zeynalov, Azerbaijan's consul-general in Kars, eastern Turkey, is unusually indiscreet. He openly complains about Naif Alibeyoglu, the mayor, who is promoting dialogue between Turkey, Azerbaijan and their common enemy, Armenia, just over the border. “I don't believe in dialogue,” Mr Zeynalov snorts. He recently ordered his compatriots to boycott an arts festival organised by the mayor after finding that “there were Armenians too.” Like his masters in Baku, Mr Zeynalov is unnerved at the thought of his country's biggest regional ally suddenly making peace with Armenia.

He will have been cheered by the victory of Serzh Sarkisian, Armenia's nationalist prime minister, in a general election on May 12th. Mr Sarkisian is said to have engineered a last-minute ban on Turkish observers of the election. “I think it would be unnatural to receive observing representatives from a country that does not even wish to have a civilised official dialogue,” he commented.

Mr Sarkisian's hawkish views are echoed by Robert Kocharian, the Armenian president, whom he is tipped to succeed in a presidential election next year. Both men hail from Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous enclave wrested by the Armenians from Azerbaijan in a vicious war in the early 1990s. This prompted Turkey to seal its border (but not air links) with Armenia in 1993. The effect on Kars's economy has been disastrous, which is why Mr Alibeyoglu is so keen to reopen the border.

Ethnic Azeris, who make up a third of his city's 80,000 residents, are less enthusiastic. They are likely to vote in droves for the far-right MHP party in Turkey's parliamentary election on July 22nd. The party's fortunes have risen on a tide of xenophobic nationalism that has engulfed Turkey. Dismissing opinion polls that give Mr Alibeyoglu's AK party a big lead over its rivals, Oktay Aktas, the local MHP boss, confidently predicts victory. He would like Turkey to invade northern Iraq and to hang the Kurdish PKK rebel leader, Abdullah Ocalan. He also says there is no question of easing the blockade on Armenia—certainly not until it stops referring to his region as western Armenia and calling the mass killings of Ottoman Armenians in 1915 a genocide.

The sensitiveness of the genocide issue was reflected in January in the killing of Hrant Dink, an ethnic-Armenian newspaper editor in Istanbul, who had talked openly about it. The killer was a school dropout from the port of Trabzon. Mr Dink's lawyer, Ergin Cinmen, says there is compelling evidence that the Istanbul police were given warning of a planned attack at least a year ago, but they did nothing to protect Mr Dink. This week Istanbul's Armenians were shocked once again by a letter sent from Trabzon warning them to defend Turkey against the genocide claims or “face the consequences”. It was delivered to an Armenian primary school.

Such threats have dispelled the surge of goodwill that followed a huge turnout at Mr Dink's funeral and the reopening in March of an old Armenian church restored by Turkey's AK government. Etyen Mahcupyan, who replaced Mr Dink at his newspaper, says some of his kin are now talking of leaving Turkey for good. The border may stay closed for many more years.


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Fitch revises VTB Bank (Armenia)'s outlook to positive

Fitch Ratings has revised the Outlook on VTB Bank (Armenia)'s ("VTBA") Foreign and Local Currency Issuer Default ratings ("IDR") to Positive from Stable. Its ratings are affirmed at Foreign and Local Currency IDR 'BB', Short-term Foreign and Local Currency 'B', Individual 'D/E' and Support '3'.

The revised Outlook reflects the recent change in the Outlooks of Armenia's Foreign and Local Currency IDRs to Positive from Stable. The IDRs were affirmed at 'BB-' (BB minus). Were the sovereign ratings to be upgraded, this would be likely to signal a reduction in Armenian country risks, in particular transfer and convertibility risks, which at present constrain VTBA's ratings.

VTBA is one of the largest banks in Armenia with about 10% of the banking system's loans and retail deposits at end-2006. VTBA (formerly known as Armsberbank) has a long history of operations in Armenia and traces its origin to a branch of Sberbank of the former USSR, established in 1923. The bank services both corporate and retail clients, supported by an extensive branch network consisting of 100 branches located all over the country. The bank is majority-controlled by Russia's VTB (IDR 'BBB+').

Re-disseminated by The Asian Banker


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SOURCE: Global Gold Corp.

Jun 20, 2007 12:28 ET

Global Gold Holds Annual Meeting

Provides Update on Operations; Board Approves Additional Good Governance Standards; Announces Personnel Changes

GREENWICH, CT--(Marketwire - June 20, 2007) - Global Gold Corporation (OTCBB: GBGD), an international gold mining, development and exploration company with mining properties in Armenia, Chile and Canada, held its annual shareholders meeting as noticed last Friday. With almost 80% of all outstanding shares represented in the voting process, shareholders re-elected the current Board of Directors by an over 99% favorable vote. Re-elected as directors were Van Z. Krikorian - Chairman and CEO, Drury J. Gallagher - Chairman Emeritus, Treasurer and Secretary, as well as independent directors Nicholas Aynilian of NJA Investments, Ian Hague co-founding principal at Firebird Management, and Retired Ambassador Harry Gilmore. The shareholders also voted to confirm Sherb and Co., LLP ( as the company's outside auditor.

In addition, there was a review of Global Gold's current and planned operations, especially of its expansion into uranium exploration in Canada. Global Gold Uranium LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Global Gold Corp., is engaged in the exploration for and development of uranium deposits in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. In southwestern Newfoundland, airborne and prospecting work is planned at the Cochrane Pond property in which Global Gold shares interests with Commander Resources and Bayswater Uranium.

Global Gold Uranium is also commencing an exploration program this season at and around the Grand Lake and Shallow Lake uranium prospects in Labrador. Exploration of the company's uranium projects is being managed by Hrayr Agnerian, Senior Vice President and Ted Urquhart, Vice President, both seasoned uranium experts. This summer, the company will be opening an office in Toronto headed by Mr. Agnerian to focus on Canadian projects.

Global Gold's current production, exploration and development focus in Armenia primarily revolves around the North Central Armenian Belt, where it is integrating the Hankavan molybdenum, copper and gold deposit, Toukhmanuk mine, and at least thirteen other adjacent exploration sites. Global Gold has been conducting a drill program there to confirm the historical data and develop mining plans. Announcement of the results and analysis is now expected in the third quarter of 2007. Issues arising from the outside Laboratory have delayed these announcements, and the company has invested in its own international class laboratory facility at Toukhmanuk with control checks done outside Armenia. In addition, the 2007 drilling and exploration programs are underway at Getik and Marjan properties, with results anticipated by the fourth quarter of 2007. The company also owns royalty and participation rights in the country, and reaffirmed its long-term commitments there. Its royalty and other interests in Iberian Resources projects there have passed to Tamaya Resources ( following the successful merger of those two companies and its shareholdings in Iberian have now become twenty million shares of Tamaya's common stock. This year, Global Gold expanded its awards of shares to local employees in Armenia substantially, and has seen positive reactions.

Global Gold has an office in Santiago, Chile, and engages in exploration and development. It currently has a royalty interest in the Santa Candelaria copper/gold property in the Chanaral District III in Chile, recently added a local geologist to its local staff, and is actively engaged in reviewing exploration and production options in Chile.

Van Krikorian, Chairman and CEO stated, "We are pleased with the commodity and sovereign diversification the company has put together, our management, employees, and our short-, medium-, and long-term prospects. The last year has seen us make progress on a number of acquisitions and operations challenges and we have done so by maintaining the highest of standards. We are not satisfied, of course, and we know we need to do more work in partnership with our investors and partners to move to the next level. This year's plans are aggressive, but well underway, and we thank everyone who is helping us improve the company."

Following the annual shareholders meeting, the Board also adopted a nominating and governance charter which emphasizes the role of independent directors, consistent with the company's commitment to best practices in internal operations, environmental responsibility, and social responsibility. The charter can be accessed through the Global Gold website, and includes the following: Communication with Directors. The Board believes that it is important to offer stockholders the opportunity to communicate with the Board about Company issues and developments. Stockholders who wish to communicate with the Board may do so by sending written communications addressed to the Board of Directors, Global Gold Corporation, 45 East Putnam Avenue, Greenwich, CT 06830 or by email at

In personnel changes, Global Gold announces that Mike Mason has stepped down as President for personal reasons and will be a consultant to the company. Mr. Mason's resignation as President is effective as of Monday June 18, 2007, and Senior Vice President Agnerian will be assuming his duties on an interim basis. Mr. Agnerian, with the Board's approval, has substantially increased his commitment to Global Gold, and his employment contract was amended accordingly. The company's Chief Financial Officer and controller have also switched positions. Jan Dulman, the former controller, has become a full time employee and was named CFO. Lester Caesar, the former CFO, will now serve as the company's controller on a part time basis.

Mr. Krikorian concluded, "We all appreciate everything Mike did for us at some very critical times in the company's growth. He is a quality person, we wish him well in the future, and we are glad he will still be available to us. We also thank Les Caesar for his time as CFO and continuing to serve as controller, while Jan Dulman steps up to the CFO position. Jan is familiar with all of our operations, including in Armenia where he spent time last year, and we appreciate his increased commitment to Global."

More information can be found at

To the extent that statements in this press release are not strictly historical, including statements as to revenue projections, business strategy, outlook, objectives, future milestones, plans, intentions, goals, future financial conditions, future collaboration agreements, the success of the Company's development, events conditioned on stockholder or other approval, or otherwise as to future events, such statements are forward-looking, and are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The forward-looking statements contained in this release are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the statements made. Former Soviet country estimations are presented for historical reporting and to provide a basis for assessing Global Gold's choices for its business activities and not to be understood as indicating the existence of reserves or resources.


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New airport terminal opens in Armenia

12 June 2007

Armenia is one of the top emerging economies in the Caucasus. With its strategic geographical location, this country is the historical gateway between Asia and Europe, a bridge between the East and West. In the last few years, Armenian economy has grown spectacularly, along with the number of business opportunities. Moreover, thanks to its rich historical and cultural heritage, the country has become a popular tourist destination with a higher growth potential within the region.

In 2002 Armenia International Airports decided to start the renovation and extension works of Zvartnots International Airport, in Yerevan, the country’s capital. After less than 40 months, the new terminal has just been opened, with the intention of becoming a link for tourism and commerce between Asia and Europe.

Armenia International Airports, the company in charge of the management, aim to turn Zvartnots into an international centre connecting Armenia with the world and opening the country to foreign visitors. Road infrastructure in Armenia is currently being surpassed by the ever-increasing trade traffic within this region of the Caucasus. In spite of the efforts made by the Armenian government to improve their national road network, the country’s short-term business goals will depend mainly on air transport.

Improvements at Zvartnots will involve a total investment of €164 million for the next 30 years. Armenia International Airports has already allocated over 70 million to the first phase, which included a 19,200 sq m extension of the premises and a refurbishment of around 45,000 sq m.

Now, the first phase is complete, the airport boasts a 54,000 sq m runway and 45,000 sq m of building. In addition, a new terminal was created that occupies a 25,000 sq m area.

After completing the project, the company expects that the airport will achieve a passenger-traffic of over 2 million people in its first year. In order to adapt to the forthcoming increase in visitors, new parking has been created, with capacity for 1,000 vehicles. In terms of freight transport, Armenia International Airports has fitted-out a new cargo terminal, which can house a variety of cargo and has capacity for 100,000 tons per year.

34 international airlines will now operate from Zvartnots, connecting Yerevan and Armenia to the world’s most important cities, including London. Altogether around 60 routes will be scheduled to fly from Zvartnots.

High security, technology, and comfort

In order to comply with the international air regulations, Armenia International Airports has made a great effort to improve security at Zvartnots. Among other measures, 150 surveillance cameras have been installed in the premises, both inside the buildings and in open spaces.

The modernisation effort has been significant, including the implementation of an innovative flight information display system (FIDS) as well as new automated and biometric-identification systems for baggage check-in and passenger control. Also all buildings are now equipped with Wi-Fi Internet connection.

In addition, the company has focused attention on improving visitors’ comfort within the premises. Arrivals hall capacity has been doubled to reach a volume over 1,000 passengers per hour, and passenger management will be streamlined between three and four-fold thanks to a substantial extension of the customs points.

Finally, the renovation of the airport’s relax areas and restaurants has been extensive, together with the enhancement of the Duty Free shops’ product offering.


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Russia: smaller Armenian apricot import

Warsaw - Russia can remain without Armenian apricots due to the bad harvest there. This year crop in Armenia will be reduced 2-3 times in comparison with 2006 (harvest of apricots in Armenia in past year was estimated at about 50 thousand MT.) These days should be the season when green apricots are abundantly for sale on the streets of Yerevan. This year it is not so, and a kilo of the fruits – which usually would cost about 500 drams on the street (about $1.45) – is selling for 3000 drams ($8.65).

According to the Garnik Petrosyan, head of the department for plant cultivation and protection at Armenian Ministry of Agriculture the bad harvest of apricots is caused by pouring rains during the period of flowering. Garnik Petrosyan noted that the bad harvest of apricots will naturally affect the prices, but it is difficult to say how much at the moment - "prices on the internal consumer market are formed taking into account the index of export, volumes of purchases by the processing companies, and it is thus far difficult to say, what will be the price of one kilogram of apricots on the market".

The representative of the Ministry of Agriculture reported also that the processing companies buy about 5 thousand MT of apricots yearly and next 9 thousand MT is exported. However, according to him, the index of export is sufficiently relative, since large amount of apricots is exported to Russia by the passenger cars or by tourists. Russia is the basic export destination for Armenian apricots.

Publication date: 6/19/2007

Author: FreshPlaza Correspondent Poland


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The Armenian Appeal

Building on centuries of solid bilateral ties,Armenian President Robert Kocharian visitsEgypt to ink new economic, political, educationaland cultural cooperation protocols

By Nadine El Sayed

Although the Armenian community has for years meshed seamlessly with Egyptian society, with Armenian jewelers, businesses, schools and clubs found throughout the nation, very few people actually know that Egypt’s history with Armenia goes all the way back to the days of the Pharaohs, and that some of the most influential figures in Egypt’s history were in fact Armenian.

With such a strong history of friendly relations between the two countries and their peoples, Armenian President Robert Kocharian’s first visit to Egypt last month was expected to further enhance the cooperation between the two countries, in areas economic, political, educational and cultural.

“The visit of the president is the best proof of the existing cooperation between Armenia and Egypt,” Armenian Ambassador to Egypt Dr. Rouben Karapetian tells Egypt Today. “This is the current president’s first visit to Egypt and it is an official visit for negotiations and talks starting with President Mubarak and then Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, the speakers of the Parliament and Sheikh Al-Azhar. It’s a dialogue of civilizations.”

Karapetian adds that the president’s meeting with Arab League Secretary Amr Moussa and the Arab ambassadors “reflects the level [of cooperation] between [Armenia and] not only Egypt, but also the Arab world.”

The visit also saw the signing of eight agreements in different fields including tourism, economy and education, with an agreement inked between Cairo University and a medical university in Armenia, according to Karapetian. The two nations also agreed to increase cooperation between their respective ministries of interior in terms of exchange of criminal suspects and other matters of justice.

The agreements signed are only a few of many pacts and treaties between the two countries since the beginning of diplomatic relations in 1992, a year after Armenia was declared a free state. Egypt was one of the first countries to recognize its independence and since then the two countries have been initiating mutual cooperation in several fields.

“During these 15 years, we succeeded in establishing excellent levels of political relationships and close cooperation in practically all fields,” notes Karapetian. And when it comes to “assisting each other in international organizations, we can claim to be exemplary for others.”

A Marriage of Civilizations

But the history between the two countries goes back significantly further than 1991, with the Armenian heyday in Egypt peaking during the Byzantine and Fatimid times, when Armenian politicians reached prominent positions during the reign of Mohammed Ali.

Armenians have thus always been part of the Egyptian community, influencing it as much as being influenced by it. “There is a [long] history between Armenians and Egyptians and as citizens of Egypt, [we contributed to the history and society of Egypt],” notes Karapetian.

Ahmed Ibn Tulun, who built the Ibn Tulun Mosque, and the three architect brothers who erected Bab El-Nasr, Bab El-Fath and Bab Zuwayla, all important historical Egyptian monuments, are examples of Armenians who came to Egypt and left imprints on its culture and history.

But Armenian influence goes far beyond building monuments. Armenians have had a particular impact on Egypt’s educational system, with Ya’cub Artin Pasha Cherakian, known as El-Ustaz El-Kabir (the Great Teacher), developing education and establishing the first school for girls in Egypt as well as the first kindergarten.

The first school in Egypt was established with the help of an Armenian called Boghos Bey Yusufian. Under the rule of Armenians including Badr Al-Gamali, a prominent military leader commanding an all-Armenian army, and his son Al-Afdal, Egypt saw the creation of the Dar El-Wizarra Palace as well as two public parks boasting exotic gardens. Armenian-born Shagaret Al-Durr also became the first woman to sit on Egypt’s throne in the Islamic era.

And what few people know is that Armenian Nubar Pasha, Egypt’s first prime minister, had a vision of creating Heliopolis. He managed Cairo’s Water Company, which introduced piped water — this led to the creation of Heliopolis later on by his son, who invited Baron Empain to build the district. Nubar Pasha also designed an irrigation plan and is the only Armenian to have both a lake and a type of long-staple cotton named after him. Despite his valuable contributions to agriculture, it was Nubar Pasha’s shrewd legal reforms and his decision to establish mixed courts that were considered his greatest achievements in Egypt.

With such deep historical roots, it’s no surprise that the relationship between the countries only grew stronger after Armenia declared its independence. “When Armenia became independent, we had a good base for developing relations and it was much easier because for years Armenia was a part of the Middle East region,” says Karapetian. “Although in 301 AD, Armenia became the first country in the world to officially adopt Christianity and [while] it is a European country, it is also part of the Middle East. Thus it has a historical mission of [interpreting], of creating the link in different areas with its knowledge of the East and European background. Our relationship with Egypt and the Arab world is based on other historical experiences too.”

A Stronger Future

Today the Armenian community in Egypt remains one of the oldest in the world, comprising some 8,000 nationals living mainly in Cairo and Alexandria. Although the number was much higher in 1915 when a forced migration followed the Armenian genocide in Turkey and Egypt opened its arms to Armenian refugees, it drastically decreased with the Nasserite movement and the nationalization of their businesses.

“Armenians have been welcomed in Egypt and were given an opportunity to contribute while in other countries they were forced to leave,” notes Karapetian.

At present the community has consolidated ties with the social and religious organizations nationwide. The Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church serves to guard the community’s assets, and many other organizations provide support to the Armenian community in Egypt. There are several Armenian schools still functioning and although once restricted to just Armenians, they have, for financial reasons, been forced to accept students from other nationalities. There are also four cultural clubs in Cairo and two in Alexandria, providing activities for youth, such as dancing and choirs, three sporting clubs in Cairo and two in Alexandria. The ambassador notes that over the years, Armenians have smoothly integrated into the Egyptian culture and there has been a noticeable harmony between the two cultures.

“I always say if you want to give an example of exact and real dialogue between Christians and Muslims, you can give the example of Armenia and Egypt.” et

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June 26, 2007 07:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

Virage Logic Key Participant in Inaugural Armenian Technology Congress

Semiconductor IP Leader Helps Promote Strength of Country’s Engineering Talent

ArmTech Congress 2007

FREMONT, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Virage Logic Corporation (NASDAQ:VIRL), the semiconductor industry’s trusted IP partner and pioneer in Silicon Aware IP™, today announced its participation in the inaugural Armenia Technology Congress (ArmTech Congress 2007) to be held July 4–7, 2007, at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. The company boasts a significant presence in the Southwest Asian nation and has contributed the time and talents of key executives – including President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dan McCranie, who will deliver a keynote address, and Vice President and Chief Scientist Dr. Yervant Zorian, who serves as Program Chair – to help define and execute the conference program.

“Virage Logic’s extensive participation in ArmTech Congress 2007 reflects our deep commitment to Armenia as a center for world-class engineering talent and a region in which we expect continued expansion,” said Dan McCranie, president, CEO and director of Virage Logic. “We are proud to support this inaugural conference and I trust that anyone who attends will come away with a profound appreciation for the wealth of intellectual resources Armenia has to offer.”

Virage Logic in Armenia

Recognizing a vital source of technology engineering talent, Virage Logic established its research and development center in Armenia in 1999, three years after the company’s founding. Today the company’s more than 100 employees in Armenia account for nearly one-quarter of its worldwide workforce and contribute to several important product development initiatives. The Armenian research and development (R&D) organization is central to the company’s groundbreaking Self-Test and Repair (STAR) Memory System™, the semiconductor industry’s first integrated embedded test and repair memory system and the first of the company’s Silicon Aware IP solutions. In addition to development of the STAR Memory System, the Armenian engineering team is involved in the development of the company’s software, NOVeA® non-volatile embedded memory product, I/O products and overall memory design.

“Our Armenia R&D center was largely responsible for the STAR Memory System, a significant product that has enabled customers to improve their semiconductor yield by up to 250 percent,” said Dr. Zorian. “Based on the consistent innovation and results our Armenian engineers have produced, we see our growing investment in the region as offering substantial dividends for our products and our customers.”

About ArmTech Congress 2007

The inaugural ArmTech Congress 2007 is expected to draw several hundred attendees – from the United States, Armenia and around the world – from various disciplines including technology, investment, government and academia. The conference program will offer tracks on Education, Telecom, Software, Digital Media, Semiconductor Design and Test, Renewable and Alternative Energy, Research and Development, Investment, Bio Tech, and Fine Chemical Technologies to showcase the breadth of opportunities in Armenia. For more information or to register for the conference, please visit

About Virage Logic

Founded in 1996, Virage Logic Corporation (Nasdaq: VIRL) rapidly established itself as a technology and market leader in providing advanced embedded memory intellectual property (IP) for the design of complex integrated circuits. Today, as the semiconductor industry's trusted IP partner, the company is a leading provider of embedded memories, logic, and I/Os, and is pioneering the development of a new class of IP called Silicon Aware IP™. Silicon Aware IP tightly integrates Physical IP (memory, logic and I/Os) with the embedded test, diagnostic, and repair capabilities of Infrastructure IP to help ensure manufacturability and optimized yield at the advanced process nodes. Virage Logic's highly differentiated product portfolio provides higher performance, lower power, higher density and optimal yield to foundries, integrated device manufacturers (IDMs) and fabless customers who develop products for the consumer, communications and networking, hand-held and portable, and computer and graphics markets. The company uses its FirstPass-Silicon Characterization Lab™ for certain products to help ensure high quality, reliable IP across a wide range of foundries and process technologies. The company also prides itself on providing superior customer support and was named the 2006 Customer Service Leader of the Year in the Semiconductor IP Market by Frost & Sullivan. Headquartered in Fremont, California, Virage Logic has R&D, sales and support offices worldwide. For more information, visit


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“ARARATBANK” and Izmirlian Fund signed an agreement on co-funding of business-credits at the whole sum of $4mln

Yerevan, June 26 /Mediamax/. “ARARATBANK” and Izmirlian Fund signed an agreement in Yerevan today on co-funding of business-credits at the whole sum of $4mln.

Mediamax reports that the Chairman of the Board of “ARARATBANK” Ashot Osipian noted that the volume of co-funding will make $2mln from each side.

The minimal sum of the credit will make $250 thousand, the maximum - $1mln, the credits will be allocated in Armenian drams and U.S. dollars, the term of credit - 5 years, interest rate - up to 14% per year. The credits will be granted to representatives of all branches, basically in the field of production, with the exception of agriculture.

Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank of Armenia Artur Dzhavadian stressed that the decision of Izmirlian Fund on realization of a joint program with “ARARATBANK” is justified – the fact that the bank assets grew for 43% from the beginning of the year is a good proof. According to Dzhavadian, due to its potential and inner reserves, “ARARATBANK” will manage to stand the growing competition, related to the expected arrival of new players on the Armenian banking market.

Vice-President of Izmirlian Fund Jacques Sarkisian stressed that the main priority of the credit programs realized in Armenia is the establishment of new workplaces.

Starting from 1999, about 4-5 thousand new workplaces were established in Armenia at the expense of the realization of Izmirlian Fund credit programs.

Jacques Sarkisian also informed that the Fund financed the construction of three buildings, the electric power station and the kitchen complex of the Defense Ministry’s Military Institute after Vazgen Sarkisian, the reconstruction and modernization of the library of Yerevan State University.


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24 June 2007

Armenia’s diamond manufacturing industry will soon benefit from Alrosa's rough diamonds. Russian mining company Alrosa is expecting to establish a diamond manufacturing joint venture in Armenia with local diamond manufacturer DCA. According to Russian media sources, the Russian rough, the first shipment of which is planned for as early as this autumn, will be cut and polished at the Alrosa-DCA joint venture, but other Armenian companies under DCA patronage may also receive some of the diamonds for further processing. The diamonds will then be sold in the Russian market.

Alrosa President Sergey Vybornov is expected to sign the joint venture agreement during his upcoming visit to Yerevan. Sources say that a final agreement concerning the joint venture was already reached in Moscow. In addition to talks of the venture, DCA Chairman and Chair of the International Association of Armenian Jewelers Gagik Abramyan, Armenian Ambassador to Russia Armen Smbatyan and Alrosa delegations also discussed the jewelry industry in Armenia and ways to develop it.

Cooperation between Russia and Armenia will benefit both countries, sources say, as processing of Russia’s diamonds, especially small ones less than one carat, is more profitable in Armenia than in Russia. Moreover, with manufacturing prices increasing in India and China, where Alrosa currently sells its diamonds to and then buys the finished products from, Armenia is a good alternative.


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Vera Arutyunyan - Simone Cappa

Armenian-born, Los-Angeles-based artist Vera Arutyunyan combines primary colors and an aggressive brushstroke style toward a decidedly contemporary version of Abstract Expressionism. Although the masters of the 50s like Pollock and de Kooning created a similar aesthetic 40 years prior, Vera’s emotionally charged paintings appear forever in the moment. The artist’s vigorous and defined brushstrokes are charged with the very energy of her technique—the very motions of her wrist. In total, they are primary color-infused visions of action painting forever frozen in time. If every element of the artist’s application process is clearly readable upon her finished canvas, Vera means it that way. Highly conscious of all those masters who have tried their hand at the blank canvas before her, Vera paints on, and with a vengeance that brings the viewer up-to-date. Somewhere between the mist of Turner and the drips and splashes of Rauschenberg, Vera stands tall on today’s contemporary art scene for her reinvigoration and renewal not only of a painting style, but also a frame of mind.

Simone Cappa: Can you name or describe some of your influences as a painter—whether they are other artists, concepts, styles, techniques, etc.?

Vera Arutyunyan: I am influenced by all that is created by God. Aren’t we all? Every leaf on the tree, every cloud in the sky, every insect or animal, every footstep in the sand—aren’t they an inspiration enough to make one’s mind fly so high into the world outside of ours, the world where you have an answer for everything and it feels wonderful?

SC: Are your creations completely abstract or do they stem from reality in some way? In other words, how do your works relate to the visible world as we see it on a daily basis? Could these works also represent the dream world?

VA: My creations stem from comprehension of everything that I envision in my own spiritual and emotional world. My own encounters with the philosophical content of life and the emotional resonance of all that surrounds me led me to incorporate colors that emerge in words sometimes more powerful than those of spoken out loud. Is my art abstract? It is as abstract as my dream world.

SC: How do you see your style of painting as having evolved during the course of your artistic career?

VA: Over the years, my form of expression, through mind and words, melded with the very brushes I used, and became one.

SC: Do you believe this evolution complete?

VA: This evolution is not just one that deals with art but has become part of myself—in essence, as grows my art so does my soul. I plunge into my subconscious world when I paint. If only I can regain the ability to draw upon super-consciousness, this would therein never cease to evolve until I cease as well.

SC: How often do you immerse yourself in the world of painting? Is it a daily process, or do you give yourself a little time in between each canvas?

VA: The world of painting is the primary plane on which I live. Though I may not be physically in front of a canvas, in my mind I am always surrounded by a play of colors.

SC: Can you briefly outline the general process and technique that you employ for each of your vibrant paintings?

VA: The technique I employ is one of blind creativity, beginning with brushes, then using my very hands as the medium. In a whirlwind of empty paint tubes, with the drumming of a familiar symphony in the background embodying the tempest of my own emotions, coming to life.

SC: How does your Armenian background figure into your unique creations?

VA: You can tell a lot about an artist by their painting. As for my own, I feel that my culture does not scream but whispers in the very palette of colors I use. The rich textures unwittingly carry through my ancient culture, with its vibrant history and strong faith. It is not a byproduct of my culture, but an instinct that brings it to life.

SC: In your paintings on display at Broadway Gallery this past spring, I discovered a primarily red-based palette. Is there something to your predominant incorporation of this strong color into your works, or was this choice of color completely arbitrary?

VA: If anything, the predominant incorporation of the red-based palette has chosen me. I have no control over which color the eye of my mind sees. It is the same with a musician who writes a symphony and not once stops to analyze the notes with which he plays, but only hears the melody.

SC: In addition to your use of vivid colors in your works on view in New York recently, your brushstrokes are similarly strong and even aggressive in affect. Where is all this power coming from and what do you hope the viewer will see here?

VA: The trials and tribulations of everyday life have only spurred me to find strength and passion through my faith and my art. I paint to deliver myself quite spontaneously of a spiritual world, which I carry within myself. I am hoping to be understood and for my paintings to obtain identity and significance, for them to become securely existent.


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Armenia’s Vanishing Udis

Small community is slowly losing its ancient language.

By Tatul Hakopian in Dedebavan (CRS No. 398 28-Jun-07)

Seda Kumsieva, a teacher for 36 years, lives in Armenia although she used to teach Russian language and literature in the village of Vardashen in Azerbaijan.

The crisis of the late Eighties that led to the Armenian-Azerbaijani war over Nagorny Karabakh forced her to flee her home and resettle in Armenia.

Seda is an ethnic Udi – a Christian group with its own unique language – but her husband is Armenian, a fact which sealed her fate. Her family is now scattered across the Caucasus.

“Some of my relatives stayed in Vardashen, others settled in Tbilisi. I am completely Udi by blood, but my husband is Armenian and we and other families who had mixed marriages left Azerbaijan,” she said.

Eleven Udis from Azerbaijan resettled in Dedebavan and many more have found homes in other villages. In conversations with IWPR, the Udis made it clear they feel quite secure in Armenia, but are worried that their unique culture is dying out.

The head of the village community in Dedebavan Georgy Babayan told IWPR, “We don’t make any distinction between Armenians and Udis. During the emigration from Vardashen in 1988, several Udi families came with the Armenians. Later on, many of them emigrated to Russia. We are the same as the Udis – we share our joy and grief with them.”

Hranush Kharatian, an ethnographer who has written extensively about the Udis, says that there are only around 200 of them in Armenia.

“The community does not have the status of a national minority,” he said. “Today there isn’t a single regulatory document on this issue. Only those groups which systematically try to preserve their ethnic identity are recognised as minorities.”

Kharatian said that the Udis had fled Azerbaijan not just because of mixed marriages with Armenians, but because they were a persecuted minority.

“Udis who were persecuted in Nij have resettled in the Georgian village of Oktomberi. Until the recent deportations from Azerbaijan there were not just two but five whole Udi villages. We don’t know much about three of the villages, because although the Udis living there were Christians, they spoke Azeri. These villages were called Jourlu, Mirzabeilu and Sultan Nukhi. Several people from there emigrated to Armenia.”

Seda Kumsieva uses her cousins in Tbilisi – who now go by the surname Kumsiashvili – to get information about relatives who stayed behind in her home village. She still badly misses Vardashen – now renamed Oduz.

“Although our way of life and traditions are Armenian, Udis have their own specific festivals,” she said. “As a child, I remember how in May they used to tie multi-coloured threads round the hands of little children and then hang these little bundles on the branches of trees. Everyone used to make a wish to have their dream come true. The festival was called Dimbaz.”

Forty-five-year-old Zanna Lalayan is married to an Armenian and her family is also scattered. “My brother Oleg and other relatives live in Nij. My other brother and other relatives live in Ukraine – his children don’t know the Udi language. Our generation of Udis based in Russia and other countries doesn’t know our language.

“Our nation is gradually dwindling.”

Seventy-year-old Arshaluis Movsisian, an Udi whose late husband was Armenian, lives in the village of Bagratashen and left behind a large part of her family, a whole troop of nieces and nephews. “My heart is breaking, I want to see their faces,” she said, holding back the tears.

“Like the Armenians, we recognise the cross and the church,” she said. “We didn’t marry our girls off to Azerbaijanis and we didn’t marry theirs, because we are people of the cross. Like the Armenians, our brides come out in white clothes, with uncovered faces , we dance Armenian dances and bury our dead according to Armenian customs. Apart from the language, we are no different to them.”

Armenian historians, like their Azerbaijani counterparts, say that the Udis are the descendants of the Caucasian Albanians. But Armenians say the process of assimilation happened much earlier - that the Albanians converted to the Armenian church in the 5th century and at the same time began to adopt the Armenian language, customs and names.

The Udis alone, the historians say, survived as a tiny remnant of a once much bigger culture. They point out that the Udis’ language has nothing in common with either Indo-European Armenian or Turkic Azeri.

Some unique Udi customs also seem to date back to pre-Christian times.

Arzu Dargiyan recalls how in Azerbaijan they used to pay homage to sacred trees. “We would choose a fruit tree in the garden and performed an act of worship in front of it,” she said. “We lit candles and sacrificed animals. It was forbidden to climb the sacred tree or pick its fruit. You could only eat them if they fell from the tree.”

Oleg Dulgarian is an Udi also from Vardashen, although he left as a small child. He runs a non-governmental organisation for refugees, and is passionate about trying to preserve the culture of this ancient but tiny community.

Dulgarian says that he wants to create an organization called “Aghvank” (the ancient name for Caucasian Albania) that will aim to preserve traditions and engage in academic study of the Udis.

“It’s not a problem to be an Udi in Armenia; no one forces us to renounce our ethnicity. The main problems that Udis who have emigrated from Azerbaijan face are the same as those facing the Armenian refugees.”

Dulgarian wants to get government help for his project but the main element of Udi culture – their language – is now in apparently terminal decline.

“My sons don’t speak Udi at all,” lamented Alexei Kazarov, who also fled from Vardashen. “Our nation is gradually disappearing. There are only eight or ten thousand Udis left in the whole world.”

Tatul Hakopian is a political observer for Public Radio in Armenia.


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