Saturday, March 23, 2019
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Russian President Vladimir Putin visited his country's military base in Gyumri, Armenia, while unprecedented protests against Putin took place in the capital, Yerevan. Protesters objected to Armenia's plan to join the Russia-led Customs Union - which they say Putin bullied their President, Serzh Sargsyan, into - and Russian pressure generally. But one key element of the Russian-Armenian relationship remains relatively unquestioned in Armenia: Russia's military role in the country.
After Russia scored some remarkable successes in getting ex-Soviet republics Armenia and Ukraine to suspend their work toward integrating with the European Union, it has faced a fierce backlash, most notably in Kiev. But even the much smaller protests in Yerevan were remarkable given Russia's role as Armenia's traditional protector against neighboring, hostile Turkey and Azerbaijan. So it was probably no coincidence that Putin chose as his entry point to Armenia the most potent symbol of Russia's protective role, the military base at Gyumri.
"We believe that the presence of Russian troops on Armenian territory helps strengthen stability and security in the South Caucasus, and increases the level of practical cooperation between Russia and Armenia – both CSTO members – in military and technical spheres," Putin said during his visit.

Putin's visit took place against the backdrop of a notable expansion in Russia's military presence in Armenia. Just in the last couple of weeks, Putin announced that Armenia would be more tightly integrated into Russia's air defense system and news emerged that Russia plans to add a helicopter squadron to its air forces in Armenia. And the commander of the Gyumri base for the first time seemed to suggest that Russia would fight Azerbaijan in the case of a renewal of fighting in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. (Though Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu later appeared to walk back those remarks.) During his visit, Putin promised that Armenia would get weapons supplies at domestic Russian rates, though it's not clear how this differs from current practice.
Armenia's halting attempts to move toward the EU this summer were an attempt to "divide the military-security dimension with Russia from political-economic integration with the EU and decrease the dependence on Russia," Sergey Minasyan, a Yerevan-based analyst, told The Bug Pit. That proved untenable when Russia started to press on its ex-satellites' EU ambitions, he said. The decision to join the Customs Union was based on a variety of factors, including the military ones listed above, as well as economic ones like natural gas supplies and dependence on Armenia diaspora remittances from Russia. So, Minasyan said, "if Armenia escalated with Moscow on EU/Custom Union issues it could damage or at least endanger all these issues."

And thus, unlike the Ukraine, Armenia really does depend on Russia for its security. Which explains (in part) why you have a million people on the streets in Kiev and 1,000 in Yerevan - and why those 1,000 don't raise objections to Russia's military presence in their country. This is a sensitive issue for Armenians - and their numbers seem to be increasing - who want to reduce their country's dependence on Russia.
"As for the Trans-Caucasus region, Russia will never leave this region. On the contrary, we will make our place here even stronger," Putin said in Gyumri. "We will strengthen our position here." In the current context, it's not clear whether that was a threat or a promise.


AYF Youth Plaque 1 1024x768 AYF Participates in First BDP Youth Congress in Diyarbakir

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey - On Saturday November 30 an AYF (ARF-Dashnaktsoutiun Youth Organization) delegation comprised of Sarkis Degirmenjian and Rupen Janbazian participated in the first youth congress of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). The congress was organized by the Youth Assembly of the BDP and was held in Diyarbakir’s Seyrantepe Sport Hall. The invitation was extended to the AYF as well as all other member youth organizations of the International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY).
The conference was attended by more than 30,000 BDP members and supporters, as well as several representatives of socialist youth organizations from around the world. The AYF representatives addressed the crowd, outlining their views on a number of regional and international issues faced by both the Armenian and Kurdish people. The speech, which was delivered first in Armenian and then in Turkish, focused on the shared history of the two peoples and how cooperation based on mutual respect and understanding can be instrumental in today’s changing Middle East. After the address, the AYF representatives presented the BDP Youth Assembly members with a commemorative plaque. The following day, on Dec. 1, the delegation participated in a forum organized by the BDP Youth Assembly with representatives of all the invited organizations, during which a number of issues pertaining to socialist youth were discussed.
Two other high-level meetings between delegations representing the ARF and the BDP were held over the past few weeks in Washington and Istanbul, on Oct. 29 and Nov. 12, respectively. The Nov. 29 meeting was the first time since 1923 that an official ARF delegation visited Istanbul.
Turkey’s BDP, which was founded in 2008, has observer status in the Socialist International, and publicly urges the government of Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

And now, almost unmentioned in the media, their holy places are also being desecrated

ROBERT FISK - Just over 30 years ago, I dug the bones and skulls of Armenian Genocide victims out of a hillside above the Khabur River in Syria. They were young people – the teeth were not decayed – and they were just a few of the million-and-a-half Armenian Christians slaughtered in the first Holocaust of the 20th century, the deliberate, planned mass destruction of a people by the Ottoman Turks in 1915.
It was difficult to find these bones because the Khabur River – north of the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zour – had changed. So many were the bodies heaped in its flow that the waters moved to the east. The very river had altered its course. But Armenian friends who were with me took the remains and placed them in the crypt of the great Armenian church at Deir ez-Zour, which is dedicated to the memory of those Armenians who were killed – and shame upon the “modern” Turkish state which still denies this Holocaust – in that industrial mass murder.
And now, almost unmentioned in the media, these ghastly killing fields have become the killing fields of a new war. Upon the bones of the dead Armenians, the Syrian conflict is being fought. And the descendants of the Armenian Christian survivors who found sanctuary in the old Syrian lands have been forced to flee again – to Lebanon, to Europe, to America. The very church in which the bones of the murdered Armenians found their supposedly final resting place has been damaged in the new war, although no one knows the culprits.
Yesterday, I called Bishop Armash Nalbandian of Damascus, who told me that while the church at Deir ez-Zour was indeed damaged, the shrine remained untouched. The church itself, he said, was less important than the memory of the Armenian Genocide – and it is this memory which might be destroyed. He is right. But the church – not a very beautiful building, I have to say – is nonetheless a witness, a memorial to the Holocaust of Armenians every bit as sacred as the Yad Vashem memorial to the victims of the Jewish Holocaust in Israel. And although the Israeli state, with a shame equal to the Turks, claims that the Armenian genocide was not a genocide, Israelis themselves use the word Shoah – Holocaust – for the Armenian killings.
In Aleppo, an Armenian church has been vandalised by the Free Syrian Army, the “good” rebels fighting Bashar al-Assad’s regime, funded and armed by the Americans as well as the Gulf Sunni Arabs. But in Raqqa, the only regional capital to be totally captured by the opposition in Syria, Salafist fighters trashed the Armenian Catholic Church of the Martyrs and set fire to its furnishings. And – God spare us the thought – many hundreds of Turkish fighters, descendants of the same Turks who tried to destroy the Armenian race in 1915, have now joined the al-Qa’ida-affiliated fighters who attacked the Armenian church. The cross on top of the clock tower was destroyed, to be replaced by the flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Nor is that all. On 11 November, when the world honoured the dead of the Great War, which did not give the Armenians the state they deserved, a mortar shell fell outside the Holy Translators Armenian National School in Damascus and two other shells fell on school buses. Hovhannes Atokanian and Vanessa Bedros, both Armenian schoolchildren, died. A day later, a bus load of Armenians travelling from Beirut to Aleppo were robbed at gunpoint. Two days later, Kevork Bogasian was killed by a mortar shell in Aleppo. The Armenian death toll in Syria is a mere 65; but I suppose we might make that 1,500,065. More than a hundred Armenians have been kidnapped. The Armenians, of course, like many other Christians in Syria, do not support the revolution against the Assad regime – although they could hardly be called Assad supporters.
Two years from now, they will commemorate the 100th anniversary of their Holocaust. I have met many survivors, all now dead. But the Turkish state, supporting the present revolution in Syria, will be memorialising its victory at Gallipoli that same year, a heroic battle in which Mustafa Kemal Ataturk saved his country from Allied occupation. Armenians also fought in that battle – in the uniform of the Turkish army, of course – but I will wager as many dollars as you want that they will not be remembered in 2015 by the Turkish state, which was so soon to destroy their families.

Click here for more images of the event

Click here for more images of the event

Click here for more images of the event

Click here for more images of the event

on Sunday 8 December

An Armenian church in the city of Raqqa has been taken over by militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria. The Al-Qaeda affiliate has turned Martyrs’ Church into a proselytizing center and replaced a cross above the church with an ISIS banner.
Official Ankara has prepared a road map on establishment of peace in the South Caucasus, particularly, on normalization of relations with Yerevan, Sabah newspaper writes referring to its diplomatic sources. The paper writes that following the visit of Turkish Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to the USA and the discussions between Prime Minister Recep Erdogan and the Presidents of Russia and USA, Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama, official Ankara prepared a road map on establishment of peace in the South Caucasus, which implies transfer of two regions under control of the Armenian parties to Azerbaijan in exchange for normalization of Ankara-Yerevan relations.
Egypt on Saturday expelled the Turkish Ambassador and downgraded diplomatic relations with Turkey, prompting Ankara to declare Cairo’s Ambassador a “persona non grata” in a tit-for-tat reaction. Egypt’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said his country took the step due to Turkey’s continued “interference” in Egyptian internal affairs. The spokesman also accused Ankara of backing unnamed organizations bent on spreading instability, in an indirect reference to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. Turkey was “attempting to influence public opinion against Egyptian interests, supported meetings of organizations that seek to create instability in the country,” said Abdelatty on Saturday.
The Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that Armenian citizen Naira Grigoryan was among the victims of the collapsed supermarket in the Latvian capital, Riga last Friday, taking the death toll to 32, with others feared buried in the rubble.
The remains of Armenian soldier Sergey Aghasayn (born 1925) have been found in a mass grave during excavations near the village of Klevets in Ukraine’s Volinsky region.
Sergey Aghasayn lived in Yerevan before World War II. He was drafted to army in 1944 and was killed in the Battle of Kovel in July of the same year. The Armenian Police ask all those who have information about Aghayan’s relatives, to call 56-48-21.
A major milestone in the history of Cypriot football was reached at FIFA headquarters in Zurich today with the signing of a provisional arrangement for the organisation of football in Cyprus, between the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) and the Cyprus Turkish Football Association (CTFA).
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu announced on Dec. 5 that he would be visiting Armenia next week, marking a first diplomatic push since the protocols between the two countries signed in 2009 which foresaw the development of relations, including a decision on opening the borders, was shelved. Davutoğlu said he accepted Armenia’s invitation to attend a meeting of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) in Yerevan on Dec. 12.
Armenia and Russia may launch the first satellite in three years, if they reach an agreement in 2014, Sergey Savelyev, Deputy Director of Roscosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency. “Russia is ready to help Armenia join the club of space powers,” Savelyev said, adding that Armenia has a great experience in the field from Soviet times.
Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan attended the inauguration ceremony of a new Hyatt Place Yerevan hotel, worth approximately $15 million and
built in accordance with international hotel standards.
Foreign-backed militants operating inside Syria have kidnapped 12 nuns from a convent in the Christian town of Ma'loula.
On Tuesday, the militants took the nuns to the nearby town of Yabrud after they stormed the convent on Monday.


Click here for 108 Images of the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Cyprus Chapter

Click here for 108 Images of the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Cyprus Chapter

Visit to Nareg school: Click here

Click here for more images with the meeting with Archbishop Varoujan Hergelian

Click here for more images of the dinner in honour of ungerouhi Liza Avakian

Cypriots bid Clerides final farewell

Cyprus Mail - Thousands of people gathered at the funeral service of former president Glafcos Clerides who died at the age of 94.
People lined the road leading to the church, applauding and shouting “axios” (worthy) and “immortal” as the gun carriage carrying Clerides’ casket rolled by slowly, flanked by military police (MP) officers.
MPs carried the casket, draped in the Cyprus and Greek flags, inside the church as a military guard of honour presented arms and a band played the national anthem.
In his eulogy for Clerides, President Nicos Anastasiades said he was a politician who was sought by history and not one of those who persistently sought a place in history.
Anastasiades referred to the most important chapters in Clerides’ life, starting with his choice to interrupt his studies and volunteer to fight with the British Royal Air Force in the Second World War, during which he was captured after his plane was shot down over Germany.
The war left an indelible mark on Clerides, as from its ashes his vision of a united and peaceful Europe was born, said the President.
He went on to defend EOKA fighters during the liberation struggle against the British in the late 1950s and worked hard to avoid division of the country post-independence.
In 1974, he served as an honorable politician, who under difficult and chaotic circumstances managed to keep the state together, Anastasiades said.
Referring to his term in office as President of the Republic between 1993 and 2003, Anastasiades said Clerides undertook a multifaceted effort to enhance relations with Greece, reach a viable and functional solution of the Cyprus problem and achieve the great national and strategic goal of EU accession, despite Turkey’s threats and international hesitation.

President Glafcos Clerides was a great friend of the Armenian people. Pictured in 1993 at the Presidential Palace with Hrair Maroukhian, leader of one of the traditional Armenian political parties, the ARF Dashnaktsoutiun

Gibrahayer Calendar

- Sunday 8 December - Armenian Relief Society (HOM) Cyprus Sosse Chapter's Christmas Bazaar. Details to follow.
- Saturday 4 January 2014 at 9:00 pm - Christmas Ball organised by Homenetmen AYMA. Details to follow.

- Saturday 05 April, 2014 -
Sourp Asdvadzadzin Armenian Church choir concert in memory of Choir conductors Vahan Bedelian and Hayrabed Torossian. Details to follow.
A Little Night Tennis Anyone? Tie Break Tournament Under 16 Doubles Tournament




Homenetmen - A.Y.M.A. Bowling Team was formed two years ago and started participating in the Nicosia Bowling Association. In their first year of championship play, they were crowned 3rd Division Champions.
Last year, they were crowned Champions of the 2nd division.
Now they are playing in the first division of the Nicosia Bowling Association. They have already played 5 games and are in the 3rd position with a 1-point difference from the 2nd-ranked team and a 4-point difference from the leaders.
In a memorable match last month they defeated APOEL 4-0.

Click for 134 images from Crafts and Activities for kids

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