Top A.R.F. News Archives January 2008  
Back  

 

Wednesday January 30, 2008                                   

The 5 Leading Armenian Presidential Candidates Foreign Policy Program - 2008

 

Hovannesian Pays Tribute to National Hero Aram Manoukian

Armenian Presidential Candidate Vahan Hovannesian and his campaign manager Armenian Revolutionary Federation of Armenia Supreme Body Representative Armen Rustamian Tuesday lead a procession of students from the ARF Nigol Aghbalian Student Union to the grave of prominent ARF revolutionary Aram Manoukian to commemorate the 89th anniversary of his death.
The ceremony for the national hero took place in Yerevan's Tokhmakh Central Cemetery. Hovannesian also visited the graves of prominent ARF members Hrair Marukhian and Eduard Hovannesian.
Manoukian, who was a founding father of the first Republic of Armenia was born in 1879 in the village of Zeyva (modern day David-Bek) in Ghapan and joined the ARF at an early age. In 1903, he became involved in the ARF led defense of Gandzak and Kars.
Between 1912 and 1915, Manoukian lived in Van as an ARF activist, teaching at schools, writing in the press, and encouraging Armenian youth to organize. When World War I broke out in 1915, he led the successful "Resistance of Van." In 1918, he helped organize Armenian's to fight in the Battle of Sardarabad.
"As the first Interior Minister of the Democratic Republic of Armenia, Manoukian lived alongside the people and personally visited the refugee camps where he was infected with typhus by survivors of the Armenian Genocide," Hovannesian said. Manoukian died from the disease on January 29, 1919."
Also known as "Aram of Van," Manoukian was a unique individual and statesman who endured the hardships of his people alongside them, according to Hovannesian.
"Aram Manoukian was a founder of our first independent country," Hovannesian noted. "There are certain things that just can't be displayed in museums, one is our struggle for national liberation, the other is the establishment of an independent homeland, Aram Manoukian was instrumental in both."
"Our national heroes, most of whom were ARF members, do not belong to our party any more. They are national heroes and their legacy, apart of our national values," Hovannesian said. "Dro, Njdeh, Aram Manoukian and many other prominent leaders in our liberation movement were all ARF members, but they were all Armenian and thus belong to our entire nation."
"We should never forget that we gained independence and won the Artsakh war because national heroes like Aram Manoukian were able to restore Armenian statehood in 1918," Hovannesian added.

 

Tuesday January 29, 2008                                        

150,000 Sign Hovannesian's 'Contract with Voters'

Armenian Presidential Candidate Vahan Hovanessian's campaign office reported Monday that 150,000 eligible voter had already signed the candidate's "Contract with the Voter," which was issued last month as part of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau member's presidential campaign.
Hovanessian's campaign manager Armen Rustamian said that his office anticipated a surge in that number, as there were more signatures coming in daily.
He also announced that more than 5,000 volunteers and campaign officials would be on hand to man the ARF's allotted number of seats on the central, regional and local electoral commissions.
Hovannesian said on Monday that he still hopes to win the backing of two prominent opposition leaders for the February 19 election.
In an interview with RFE/RL, Hovannesian also stood by his view that none of the nine presidential hopefuls, including Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian, can garner sufficient votes to win the election, which is already in its first round.
We are making every effort to talk and negotiate with opposition leaders, he said when asked about the possibility of the endorsement of his candidacy by opposition leaders Raffi Hovannisian and Vazgen Manukian.
"I think real chances of victory must outweigh any kind of ambition or pressure. If that is the case, I think we definitely have a chance to reach such an agreement," added the deputy speaker of
Armenia's parliament.
Manukian, who is also running for president but is not regarded as a major contender, told RFE/RL that he stands ready to form a "united front" with the ARF and Raffi Hovannisian's Zharangutyun party. The veteran politician has so far avoided holding campaign rallies, and his comments may be an indication that he is considering dropping out of the race.
The more popular Zharangutyun leader has been courted by the ARF since his party's relatively strong performance in the May 2007 parliamentary elections. But he has made it clear that he is unlikely to endorse any candidate before the fist round. Also, Raffi Hovannisian has ceded hundreds of seats in Armenian election commissions, reserved for Zharangutyun, to political allies of another leading contender, former President Levon Ter-Petrosian.
But Hovannesian did not approve of the move. "Let Zharangutyun think about its political image and who it is giving those seats to and the fact that it lacks people to fill up those 830 [commission] vacancies," he said.
Hovannesian also expressed confidence that the presidential race will require a run-off vote. "I think that a second round is becoming more and more likely," he said

 

Monday January 28, 2008                                       

Wales Genocide Memorial Vandalized

   A memorial in Wales, dedicated to the 1.5 million Armenians massacred in the 1915 Genocide was vandalized ahead of a service for all the victims of genocide, news reports from Wales, UK, said Sunday.
The memorial in the Temple of Peace, Cathays, Cardiff, made of sandstone and Welsh slate, was struck with a sledgehammer on Saturday night, smashing the cross off it. The sledgehammer used to damage the monument was found close to the scene Sunday.
Sunday was Holocaust Memorial Day in Wales. The service went ahead as planned, despite the

vandalism and protests.
Many people at the service yesterday were close to tears when they saw what had happened, said Caerphilly Councilor Ray Davies, who campaigned for the Armenian monument to be erected.
The desecration of the monument reminds us that we must always be vigilant against racism and hatred which is never far from the surface," he said.

 "It was particularly saddening for the Armenians present that this happened on the day of the Holocaust Memorial Day. This service wasn't specific to the Armenians. We were trying to be all-inclusive about all those historical events where people have been massacred," said Director of the Welsh Center for International Affairs Stephen Thomas. "It wasn't very helpful in terms of trying to create a bridge and links between Turkey and Armenia that this was carried out. People were upset when they turned up and saw what had happened."
The Turkish community released an official statement condemning the action and Hal Savas, a member of Committee for the Protection of Turkish Rights, was present at the service.
"Whoever has done it should be ashamed of themselves," Savas said. "We would condemn any damage done to any religious monument."
The memorial was unveiled in November to remember all the Armenians murdered by Ottoman Turks between 1915 and 1923. Members of the Turkish community protested the erection of the memorial.

 

Friday January 25, 2008                                           

Clinton team's experience with Turkey is seen as a plus, while Obama is viewed as unpredictable

Armenian matters

  Those Turkish officials favoring Clinton believe that under her presidency Ankara is unlikely to encounter bad surprises.

  On Turkish-Armenian matters, both Clinton and Obama have backed some initiatives calling for U.S. recognition of World War I-era killings of

Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire as genocide.

  Clinton is among 32 cosponsors of a genocide resolution pending in the 100-seat Senate, but Obama is not. However, three years ago he signed

a letter to President George W. Bush calling for the recognition of the "Armenian genocide."

  But despite her co sponsorship in the dormant Senate legislation, Clinton was criticized by the Armenian National Committee of America, an influential U.S. Armenian group, for "voicing reservations" in October about the adoption of the latest House resolution on Armenian genocide claims.

  Some analysts say concerns by many Turkish officials over Obama's potential presidency are baseless.

  "Before the 1992 elections, then President Turgut Özal was close to then President George H.W. Bush, and was openly backing Bush. The Turks then had similar worries about Clinton," said Bulent Aliriza, director of Turkey Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank here. "But the Turkish U.S. relationship flourished to an unprecedented degree during the Clinton presidency. The same may happen with Obama."

 

Thursday January 24, 2008                                       

Hovannesian Campaigns in Shirak Province

     Armenian Presidential Candidate Vahan Hovannesian Wednesday met with residents of Shirak Region in the towns of Sarnaghbyur,

Pemzashen, Artik, and Akhuryan.
    Speaking in Sarnaghbiur about the country's tax policies, Hovannesian, who is also an A.R.F. Bureau member and Deputy Speaker of the

National Assembly, told residents that people are often misled about taxes. Small businesses, he explained, pay taxes more promptly than large ones, who sometimes don't pay taxes at all.
    He also spoke about the practice of vote buying, which has been a major problem that has plagued Armenia's past presidential elections.

Hovannesian assured that his election campaign will not tolerate vote buying or the intimidation of voters by people looking for political favors.
    Hovannesian also discussed serious economic issues such as poverty reduction, investment, and development.
    According to Hovannesian, there has been little economic improvement for the average family. Inflation has been rising along with family aid, leaving people in the same circumstance of poverty, he explained.
    Armenia's welfare system should be revamped, because its failure to address poverty is contributing to the system of vote buying in Armenia. People, who consider themselves poor and destitute, are more willing to sell their votes for immediate relief, he explained.
    Lack of any real investment in areas of the economy that will benefit the average citizens of Armenia is also a problem, Hovannesian said. The other regions of the country should be developed as well, not just Yerevan, he added.
    "Money is invested to set up saunas, restaurants, casinos and to build elite buildings," he said. "Businessmen are afraid to invest in other sectors to avoid pressuring tax and customs policies."
    In Artik, A.R.F. member and Deputy Science and Education Minister Bagrat Yesayan explained to hundreds of rally goers why the A.R.F. nominated

Vahan Hovannesian as the party's presidential candidate. While, Artashes Shahbazian, the secretary of the A.R.F. faction in parliament, explained that

the A.R.F.'s decision to field its own candidate stemmed from the party's belief that everybody in Armenia should prosper and not just a small group."
    Hovannesian pledged that if elected, his first task will be to make sure elections in Armenia are conducted in a free and fair manner.
    Hovannesian also spoke to the residents of Shirak about monopolies, and heavy taxes
    Migration, one of the A.R.F.'s key issues, was also addressed during Hovannesian's visit to Shirak. "We should find ways to bring people back to Armenia," Hovannesian said.
    During one of Hovannesian's question and answer sessions, in Akhurian, a Karabakh war veteran asked Hovannesian what his stance is on the Karabakh issue. "Armenia's policy on the Karabakh issue is a little too soft, while Azerbaijan is not ready for concessions. Azerbaijan too should be ready to make concessions,"

Hovannesian answered.

 

Wednesday January 23, 2008                                     

Hovannesian Pledges Systematic Changes as He Kicks Off Presidential Race

    Armenian Presidential Candidate Vahan Hovannesian questioned the legitimacy of Armenia's leadership and pledged to end the country's culture of electoral fraud as he campaigned in the southern Armavir region on Tuesday.
    Addressing a crowd gathered at the regional capital, Hovannesian, who is an A.R.F. Bureau Member and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, explained why the country's rulers have failed to deliver on their promises to the electorate.
    "The government does not consider itself to be the servant of the people," Hovannesian remarked. "We cannot ensure real progress in our country

under such conditions."
    "Presidential or parliamentary elections always create a situation in Armenia in which those who have come to power owe their success, their victory not to you, but to criminal or semi-criminal clans, wealthy individuals, oligarchs, senior government officials, who bring them votes on a plate by trampling on your rights, by crushing, deceiving and bribing people-by playing lip service to democracy."
    The authorities neither benefit nor become healthier from playing such lip service to democracy, Hovannesian said.
    "They have become used to eating from this plate, but we will break that plate," he exclaimed.
    It is impossible to build a paradise in a sea of poverty, where only one segment of the country is developed, while the others are left in ruin,

Hovannesian added.
    "Our program therefore demands and proposes systematic changes in all sectors of Armenian life," Hovannesian said. "There is only one mechanism

to carry this out and that is the restoration of justice."
    The rally was initially to be held in the town's main conference hall. But Hovannesian had to rally supporters outdoors after being controversially denied permission to use the premises by Armavir Mayor Ruben Khlghatian, who is a member of Sarkisian's Republican Party of Armenia.
    "The conference hall must be returned to the people because the mayor has [effectively] privatized it." said Artur Aghabekian, an A.R.F. parliamentary faction member and the chairman of the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Defense, National Security and Interior Affairs.
    Hovannesian's campaign faced a similar problem in the nearby village of Mrgashat whose Republican mayor, Manvel Danielian, also refused to let the A.R.F. candidate use the village club.
    "Unfortunately, they fear any new thing in our country," Hovannesian told villagers. "There is one new thing which we shouldn't fear, which we should aspire to and succeed in bringing about. That new thing would be to elect a president that represents the people."

 

Bulgarian Lawmakers Reject Armenian Genocide Resolutions

    Bulgaria's parliament announced it had rejected Thursday four proposals by opposition lawmakers to officially recognize the Ottoman massacre of Armenians during World War I as genocide.
    Legislators voted against three draft resolutions and against issuing a declaration "condemning the genocide against the Armenian people within the Ottoman Empire," the parliamentary press office said.
    The proposals, tabled separately by the Ataka party, the Bulgarian People's Union and Union of Democratic Forces were rejected by the

Socialist-led ruling coalition.
    The coalition also includes a Turkish minority party, Movement for Rights and Freedoms, and the centrist NMSP party of former king Simeon

Saxe Coburg.
    Almost a third of the lawmakers present in the 240-seat legislature abstained from the vote.
    "I do not believe that there is a deputy in this hall who is not aware what the physical destruction of over one million Armenians means, but the

historical truth is one thing, and politics completely another," Socialist deputy Alexander Radoslavov said after the vote.
    A number of countries and official bodies, notably the European Parliament, France, and Canada have labeled the killings as genocide.
    But Bulgaria has, on several occasions, refused to pass a genocide resolution for fear of sparking a diplomatic row with neighboring Turkey.
    The Balkan state of 7.6 million people has an 800,000-strong Turkish minority population and is also home to over 10,000 descendants of Armenian refugees who fled the killings.

 

Tuesday January 22, 2008                                         

BARACK OBAMA CALLS FOR PASSAGE OF ARMENIAN GENOCIDE RESOLUTION

" America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully
about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides.  I intend to be that President."

-- Barack Obama, Democratic Presidential Candidate

 

Presidential candidate Barack Obama shared with the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) a strongly worded statement today calling for Congressional passage

of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 & S.Res.106), and pledging that,

as president, he will recognize the Armenian Genocide.

In his statement, the Presidential hopeful reaffirmed his support for a strong “U.S.-Armenian relationship that advances our common security and strengthens Armenian democracy.” 

He also pledged to “promote Armenian security by seeking an end to the Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades, and by working for a lasting and durable settlement of the Nagorno Karabagh conflict that is agreeable to all parties, and based upon America ’s founding commitment to the principles of democracy and self determination.”

“Armenian American voters welcome Senator Obama’s powerful call for real change in how our government addresses the core moral and foreign policy issues that hold such great meaning for our community,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian .  “After decades of White House complicity in Turkey ’s efforts to block American recognition of the Armenian Genocide, most recently in the form of President Bush’s personal efforts this past October to delay the Armenian Genocide Resolution, the time has clearly come for a President who will personally lead – not obstruct – the commemoration of this crime against all humanity.”

As a Senator, Barack Obama has spoken in support of U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide and cosigned a letter urging President Bush to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide.  He has forcefully called for the adoption of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, but has yet to formally cosponsor this legislation.  While visiting Azerbaijan in August 2005, Senator Obama was asked by reporters why he cosigned the letter to President Bush.  Obama defended his decision by stating the genocide was a historical fact.  The Illinois Senator publicly criticized the firing of former U.S. Ambassador to

Armenia John Evans, who was dismissed for speaking truthfully about the Armenian Genocide.

In recent weeks, the ANCA has invited each of the candidates to share their views on Armenian Americans issues, and to comment on both the growing relationship between the U.S. and Armenian governments and the enduring bonds between the American and Armenian peoples.  Questionnaires sent to the candidates have invited them to respond to a set of 19 questions, including those addressing: affirmation of the Armenian Genocide, U.S.-Armenia economic, political, and military relations, self-determination for Nagorno Karabagh, the Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades, and the genocide in Darfur .

Armenian Americans, in key primary states and throughout the country, represent a motivated and highly networked constituency of more than one and a half million citizens.  The ANCA mobilizes Armenian American voters through a network of over 50 chapters and a diverse array of affiliates, civic advocates, and supporters nationwide.  ANCA mailings reach over a quarter of a million homes, and, through the internet, updates and action alerts reach well over 100,000 households.  The ANCA website, which features election coverage from an Armenian American point of view, attracts over 100,000 unique visits a month.  The ANCA also has broad reach to Armenian American voters via a sophisticated media operation of newspapers, regional cable shows, satellite TV, blogs, and internet news sites.

To learn more about the Obama campaign, contact:

Obama for America
P.O. Box 8102
Chicago , IL 60680
Tel: (866) 675-2008
Website: http://www.barackobama.com/

 

 

Friday January 18, 2008                                           

A.R.F.  Leader Giro Manoyan's interesting paper; presented at the "Wider Black Sea" conference

During January 14-15 the Armenian International Policy Research Group, AIPRG, organized a conference in Armenia on "Wider Black Sea:

Perspectives for International and Regional Security." At this conference unger Giro Manoyan presented a paper representing, International Secretary, Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), Yerevan , Armenia . We are providing the link to unger Giro's interesting analysis of the political relationships of Armenia with respect to Turkey , Azerbaijan , Georgia , Russia , EU etc.

http://www.aiprg.net/UserFiles/File/black_sea_conf_papers/Giro_Manoyan_paper.pdf

 

City of Glendale - Protest Meeting - Tuesday, January 22, 2008 @ 6:00 PM

 

 

Thursday January 17, 2008                                        

Vahan Hovannesian Responds to Readers’ Questions

 

Armen Hosepian -Dear Mr. Hovannesyan,
How do you expect to have an aggressive campaign against Serge Sargsyan who supports and is supported by most corrupt figures in Armenia 's government, while in the meantime Serge Sargsyan is your in-law through marriage of your kids?

Also would you be in support of a new law that would cause parliament members who are rarely present in parliament, to lose their seat? As you know Serge’s brother who is a parliament member, is very busy with real estate development in Los Angeles and is unable to attend Parliament sessions.

Vahan Hovhannesyan - It seems to me, that when people have nothing else to criticize about our campaign, they come up with this question even though I have answered it so many times. Serge Sargsyan is my in-law’s brother, my daughter is married to the son of one of his brothers. If so far you have not grasped from my public announcements and speeches how aggressive my campaign is going to be, then there’s nothing I can tell you that will make you change your mind. I suggest you follow my campaign closely and see for yourself how aggressive it is.

As for the second part of your question, our party has supported not only what you suggest, but even to adopt an law lifting the parliamentary immunity of all members of the National Assembly for their non-parliamentary activities. All members of parliament, regardless of their political or other affiliations, should be equally subject to these measures.

Hovik - Hello Mr. Hovhennesyan,
As a member of the present ruling government, do you agree with the regime's "non-policy" regarding the territories of Kashatagh and Karvachar? If elected, what would your program be regarding these areas?

Vahan Hovhannesyan - I am not a member of the government, our party has a cooperation agreement with the ruling coalition and we have three cabinet ministers as a result. As for your question regarding Kashatagh and Karvajar, our party’s policy has been and is that they, along with all of liberated Artsakh should be developed and populated.

Richard ( Boston ) - Does the ARF favor the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border? If so, what would the benefits to Armenia be?

Vahan Hovhannesyan - The ARF regards Turkey ’s blockade against Armenia as an act of hostility according to international law. We have raised and continue to raise this issue in all accessible international forums and during our relations with other political parties. Turkey should lift the blockade not because it may or may not benefit Armenia , but in order to demonstrate that it is not hostile towards Armenia . All states should have open borders with neighbors. Open borders can have both benefits and threats for the economy and national security of any country. Armenia should be prepared to increase the benefits and decrease the threats.

Setrak - If you win the presidency what concrete steps will you take to convince the citizenry of the ROA that they have a real stake in an ARF-lead government? Do you think it will be difficult to overcome the "political fatalism" that afflicts a large segment of Armenia 's populace today?

Vahan Hovhannesyan - For me to win the presidency, we have to overcome the “political fatalism” in the public. We have to convince them that each of their votes counts and they are the real rulers of our country. We have to convince them that we guard the sanctity of their votes and that in order to change their lives for the better, they have to be political active at least during elections.

Garo Armenyan - Sir, Is it true that the ARF Minister of Education of Armenia Mr. Mkrtchyan owns de-facto brothels in the city of Yerevan ?

If you (and the other ARF members) can't demonstrate any definitive evidence of your ability to fight corruption within the ARF, how may any of the voters be sure that you'll fight corruption in Armenia once you become a President?

In case your candidacy gains less public support than necessary for presidency, how may voters know that their votes won't go to Mr. Sargsyan?

Vahan Hovhannesyan - The answer to your first question is no, it is not true. Your second question is making an accusation that there is corruption within the ARF without giving a shred of proof. The answer to your third question is that all votes for me are votes for me, whether I am elected or not, I can not give my votes to anyone else.

Masis - Mr. Hovhannesyan, what will you do to address the anti-ARF and effectively anti-Armenian rhetoric propagated by elements in Armenian society who seek to color everything the ARF does in a negative light? I am confident that these people, such as ararat, are operatives of Turkish intelligence or Mossad. Because only a foreign spy or someone manipulated by those wishing the ruin of the Armenian people and nation would attempt to seed such divisiveness in the Armenian people. Also, what do you make of the fact that Ter-Petrosyan's wife is a Jew and his son has spend many many years in Israel instead of his homeland Armenia. Can we really discount that he is a tool of the US-Turkish-Israeli alliance?

Vahan Hovhannesyan - In a democratic society everyone should have the right to speak out their mind no matter how we perceive their ideas to be. I trust in the wisdom of our people to correctly judge the veracity of whatever is being said. As for your second question, I find it totally wrong to accuse someone of anything because of their nationality or religion or association. If you have any proof to substantiate what you are accusing, then you should put that proof forward. Otherwise, you accusation of Ter-Petrosyan or anyone else is as divisive as you accuse others of being.

Ararat - Mr Hovanessian How do you propose to change the economic situation in Armenia ?
How do you justify your party members ministerial positions in the current government?
A governement that has followed on from the der petrosian's presidency and a government that is very unjust and backward?
Your parties opportunistic methodes in accepting power is not a good advertisment for you and your party.
Your party is party of decrimination in Iran , In Europe and US, and from what we know of your party you will do the same in Armenia .
Your party and it manifesto believes in national socialism, in otherwords FASCISM.
Do you forsee a change in the manifesto i.e. removal of national socialism?
How do you propose to remedy the socio political situation in the country?
Do you and you party forsee a change of policy in recognising Ejmidzeen as the true sit of the armenia and remove antilas which came about at the soviet times?
Do you or your party forsee a time for appologising to the whole of the Armenian's all over the world for the anti armenia stance you had during the soviet times?
Would your party remove its monopoly from Armenian education all over the world and start using what is being used in Armenia ?
Would you use gharabagh as a card in the game of chaos the same way this government and the one before has done? or would you go for a refrendom for Armenian's to decide how the relationship should be?
Would you supress the progressive forces and individulas the same way as this government is doing?

Vahan Hovhannesyan - To answer your questions regarding our policies on the economy, social and political issues, as well as Karabakh, I suggest you read my pre-election platform and my party’s pre-election platform during the parliamentary elections. I also suggest that you read our party programme, you will notice there is nothing there that resembles “national socialism” or “fascism”. Your question regarding our party’s cooperation with the current ruling coalition does not warrant an answer, because it is not honest nor genuine, since you have already judged us without getting my response. No one questions the ???? of Holy Ejmiadzin in the structure of the Armenian Apostolic Church . For this and for you claim that the Holy See of the Great House of Cilicia, what you refer to as “Antilias”, “came about in Soviet times”, I suggest you do some reading. I am not responding to your unfounded accusations and judgments of our party, because you’ve already made up your mind. I just want to state my conviction that any party would have been proud for the positions and policies our party had regarding Soviet Armenia. And finally, in response to your last question, I suggest you ask the “progressive forces and individulas” you refer to about their opinion about myself and our party, and I assure you they do not share your concern about us.

Shant Tagvoryan - I had the opportunity to hear Mr. Hovhannesyan speak at various events in Los Angeles over the weekend and I must say that I was impressed by his grasp of the issues facing the Armenian nation, his competence to address them, and his resolve to lead Armenia into the future.

My question to Mr. Hovhannesyan is: Why has not Levon Ter Petrosyan been tried in a criminal court for the political and economic crimes he committed against the Armenian people and do you forsee a scenario where he will be brought to justice in front of the Armenian people?

Vahan Hovhannesyan - Trying a president for what he has done politically as a president actually means impeaching him. In 1998, Mr. Ter-Petrosyan resigned. The next National Assembly formed an ad-hoc committee of inquiry to inquire into the several alleged irregularities in the economy and the energy sector during his presidency. The committee was chaired my party comrade Davit Lokyan. According to law, the committee passed on all of its findings to the prosecutor general’s office, which has the sole authority to bring such cases to the court. Some cases have been pursued by the prosecution and some have not, because of lack of sufficient evidence to stand in court. As for a scenario for Mr. Ter-Petrosyan to brought to justice in front of the Armenian people, well, the presidential elections are such an opportunity, because Mr. Ter-Petrosyan is running as a candidate and the people have the opportunity to give their opinion about him.
 
Gurgen - Please refresh my memory - who was it that stated that....Dashnaktsutyun@ aylyevs anelik chuni....?

Vahan Hovhannesyan - Hovhannes Kajaznuni, the first Prime Minister of the first Armenian Republic . If you haven’t read his book, first published in 1923, you should read it, you might really learn something about his honest, genuine, although misguided patriotism and our party history. You should also read other related books published following Kajaznuni’s said book, to see how the party disagreed with his assessment that Soviet Armenia was the culmination of the Dashnaktsutyun’s liberation struggle. Time and the existence of liberated Artsakh and the present Republic of Armenia also proved Kajaznuni was wrong in his assessment. You should also read the evidence in memoires of his contemporaries during his years in Soviet Armenia that how, on each May 28th, he would mark the anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Armenia .

Dikran ( Anjar) - I have always found the Dashkanktstiun to be very secretive and aloof from the people here. If you come to power how will you attempt to create lines of communication and contact with everyday people in the ROA?

Vahan Hovhannesyan - I don’t agree with your characterization of our party in Anjar or in Lebanon in general. The public support the Dashnaktsutyun enjoys in Lebanon, and elsewhere for that matter, bears witness that it is not aloof from the people, that the public appreciates all the services the Dashnaktsutyun has provided the community and the Armenian people at all times. As for your question, let me assure you that in Armenia the party has already created open lines of communication and contact with the people. The most recent example of that is the unprecedented exercise that the Dashnaktsutyun carried out while choosing its candidate for the presidential election; regular people on the street were given the chance to express their opinion on the two choices the party had put forward. So, whether I am elected president or not, we will continue our dialogue with the people, because we believe that alongside our ranks, the people are the only power base we have.

Harout Sislian (Paris) - Would you say that the Tashnak Party is "Socialist in Content and National in Form", or the other way around?

Vahan Hovhannesyan - I would say what our party programme says: the Dashnaktsutyun is a national, revolutionary, socialist and democratic party; both in content and form, I would add.

Bedros R. ( Cyprus ) - As a "member" of the Socialist International, why does the ARF totally refrain from even using socialist rhetoric in the diaspora? If socialist parties expound their message in various European countries, why doesn't the ARF feel comfortable in doing the same?

Vahan Hovhannesyan - I think for some reason your information is incomplete. In the Diaspora, in New York city and in Buenos Aires to be exact, in 2006 and 2007 respectively, the Dashnaktsutyun Central Committees of the respective regions organized public conferences titled “Armenians and the Left”, where ARF and AYF members and other progressive Armenians together and openly discussed many issues, mainly from a socialist perspective. These issues included national questions, i.e. Armenian-Turkish relations, Artsakh, etc., as well as social issues, i.e. women’s public and political role in Armenian society. As for other regions in the Diaspora, in France for example, in 2004, the region’s ARF Central Committee signed a cooperation agreement with the French Socialist Party and supported that party in the 2007 presidential elections. So there is no issue of the ARF shying away from expounding its socialist message in the Diaspora. If nothing else, then at least the reporting in the party’s Diaspora media of its activities, campaigns, pre-election platforms in Armenia is “using socialist rhetoric”, as you put it.

John ( New York) - Dear Sir, Perhaps you could explain wht the ARF, in the Diaspora, was so opposed to and worked against the ASALA and its supporters during the 1980's when there was an opportunity for a mass national rebirth vis-a-vis the Armenian Question? If your Party claims to be "Revolutionary" and "Socialist", why was the ASALA, an anti-imperialist and left-leaning, so antithetical to the ARF?

Vahan Hovhannesyan
- Leaving an in-depth response to this question to another, more appropriate time, I will give a brief response now. The ARF was opposed to the ASALA being used as a tool by this or that force for causes and interests having nothing to do with the Armenian Cause. A mere reading of the list of operations carried out by ASALA from 1975 to 1985 is enough to see that most of those operations had nothing to do with Turkey . Furthermore, the ASALA even targeted ARF members. In the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s in the Diaspora, mainly because of policies and activities by the ARF, and in Armenia because of mass events, there was a national reawakening, which I guess you choose not to see. 

Mher - Mr. Hovanisyan - What is the ARF's conception of socialism in general and how do you and the party envisage putting socialist policies into practice in Armenia today? What benefits will "your" brand of socialism to the masses of people in the ROA?

Vahan Hovhannesyan - I hope you realize that within the confines of an online interview, my response to your questions can not be exhaustive. Besides referring you to my and our party’s pre-election platforms, both for the presidential and parliamentary elections, <http://www.arf.am> and http://yerkir.am/news/?id=292 , let me say that our concept of socialism envisages a set of economic, political and institutional reforms, that would dismantle and prevent private monopolies, create a really competitive market where everyone is equal and subordinate to the law, develop a society where the rights of workers and the interests of business owners are protected in a cohesive manner, where the villagers and farmers are equipped with the means to work the land and bear its blessings, where the young can get a decent education and a helping hand to form new families, where healthcare is freely provided for all in need, where culture and the arts are supported, where the retired and those social groups in need are looked after, a social structure which is fair, a society in solidarity, where a citizen can live really free. Finally, an Armenia of which every Armenian can be proud of and desire to live there. For details, please do visit the above websites. 

Sako - Mr. Hovanisyan as a member of Dashnak party what is your stance on Artsakh issue? And do you think Armenia should demand our ancestoral lands like Naxichevan from azerbaijan ?

Vahan Hovhannesyan - For the Dashnaktsutyun, the resolution of the Artsakh issue can be summarized like this: gaining de jure recognition to the de facto existence of Artsakh. Populating the liberated Artsakh is a priority in that direction. Armenians should bring to the international community’s attention the activities Azerbaijan is carrying out in order to destroy every material witness and proof that Nakhijevan is Armenian.

 

Wednesday January 16, 2008                                     

Aztag Building Unharmed After Fresh Beirut Bombing

        BEIRUT--The site of Tuesday afternoon's bomb blast in Beirut was extremely close to our sister publication Aztag's offices and the Tekeyan

Armenian day school.
 Asbarez contacted Aztag colleagues, who reported that the Shaghzoyan center, which houses the Aztag editorial offices, the Vana Tsain radio station, the Pakin periodical center, the Hamazkayin printing plant and the offices of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Central Committee of Lebanon,

as well as the adjacent school were unharmed after the bombing.
 Aztag also reported that the Armenian-owned and operated Vanlian factory nearby did sustain severe damages.

 

Tuesday January 15, 2008                                          

Bush Visits Bethlehem, Reminded about Armenian Genocide

     President George Bush was asked to reconsider the Armenian Genocide Resolution by Primate Aris Shirvanian of the Jerusalem Diocese

of the Armenian Apostolic Church last week during the presidents working visit to Israel and the Middle East.
    After talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Bush attended Chapel at the Church of the Nativity of Christ where he met with

the Christian religious leaders of the community. Primate Shirvanian reminded President Bush that the Armenians were the first nation to adopt

Christianity as the state religion. He also requested that the American President reconsider his stance on the Armenian Genocide resolution (H.Res. 106).
    President Bush told Shirvanian that he spoke about the issue with the Turkish President and is thinking it over it.

 

Monday January 14, 2008                                           

New High School Genocide Course Angers Turkish-Canadians

     A new course about genocide to be offered in Toronto high schools this fall has sparked anger among Turkish-Canadians for including the Armenian Genocide, the Toronto Star reports.
    The 11th grade history course, the only one of its kind at a high school in Ontario and possibly Canada, is designed to teach teenagers the consequences of a government's decision to set out and destroy people of a particular nationality, race or religion. The course examines genocide with three examples: the Holocaust, which exterminated 6 million Jews in World War II; the Rwandan genocide of nearly one million Tutsis and moderate

Hutus in 1994; and the Turkish genocide of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923.
    "These are very significant, horrible parts of history, and without sounding hackneyed, we hope we can learn something from them so we can make a better world for our children's children," said Gerri Gershon a trustee of the Toronto District School Board. Gershon proposed the course after a moving

tour in 2005 of the Nazi death camps in Poland.
    "This isn't a course to teach hatred or blame the perpetrators," said Gershon. "Our goal is the exact opposite: To explore how this happens so we can become better people and make sure it never happens again."
    But the Council of Turkish Canadians has gathered more than 1,200 signatures on an online petition opposed to the course for calling the Armenian killings a "genocide" and inciting anti-Turkish sentiment.

 

Denmark Refuses to Recognize Armenian Genocide

     Denmark does not officially recognize that Ottoman massacres of Armenians during World War I constitute genocide, Danish Foreign Minister

Per Stig Moeller said Thursday.
    "In the government's opinion, this is a historical question that should be left up to the historians," Moeller wrote in a written parliamentary answer, indicating that Denmark would not follow the lead of some 20 other countries, including France, that have labeled the killings genocide.
    Moeller's note came in response to a question from parliamentary member Morten Messerchmidt, of the far-right Danish People's Party, on whether "Denmark had officially recognized this genocide."
    "It is unfortunate that the Danish government refuses to join other countries in recognizing this genocide," Messerschmidt told AFP. "It is as if they

fear Turkey's reactions."
    Copenhagen's decision "to not recognize this genocide shows that the government indirectly supports Turkey's cowardly refusal to take responsibility

for its history the way the Germans did after World War II," he said.

 

Wednesday January 9, 2008                                         

 Vahan Hovanessian Launches Presidential Campaign Website

   Armenian Presidential Candidate Vahan Hovannesian's official campaign website has been launched and can be visited at

   http://www.vahanpresident.am
   The website features Hovannesian's biography, with sections also dedicated to major news, interviews and media. The interview section

   of the website allows people the opportunity to submit their questions to Hovannesian, which will be answered and posted in the section as well.
   The website also features a side section that allows visitors to mark issues of importance to them.

 

 90th Anniversary of Sardarapat Battle to be Celebrated in Armenia

    The Republic of Armenia will officially mark the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Sardarapat this year.
    Armenia will also be celebrating the 124th anniversary of the birth of General Drastamat Kanayan (Dro), and the 75th anniversaries of the

    Opera and Ballet National Academic Theatre and the Armenian State Architectural University.

 

Tuesday January 8, 2008                                              

 Armenian Christmas Service in Paris Disturbed by Bomb Scare

    A bomb scare disturbed the Christmas Day mass of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Paris Sunday when police,

responding to the threat, evacuated the church during mass to conduct a full-scale search for the premises.
    The anonymous call came from a phone booth located close to Avenue des Champs Elysees Sunday morning, police reported.  Police arrived at the church at 11:35 AM and called for a complete and immediate evacuation. Primate Norvan Zakarian, who was conducting the mass, initially refused to comply but was eventually persuaded to evacuate the church.

Mass resumed after the police search revealed no signs of explosives on the premises.
    On October 24, a mob of Turkish ultranationalists destroyed an Armenian Cafe in Brussels during riots triggered by the adoption of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106) by the influential Committee on Foreign Affairs of the US House of Representatives.
    Sunday's scare also occurred at a time when the French Senate is set to consider a bill criminalizing the denial of the Armenian Genocide.

Karapetian also stated that the presidential elections will advance into a second round.