Thursday, March 26, 2009

Disturbing Audio.

These are the sounds of the world turning upside down in an instant. The audio recording of the Armenian Parliament session on October 27, 1999.

The Resilient Misha.

Pashinian has an op-ed piece today about Mikhail Sahakashvili - the once poster boy of the democratic renaissance in the former Soviet republics. Well, after the August 2008 fiasco I thought that he would resign or would be impeached by the legislative branch.

None of that happened and instead he is now scheming to discredit the opposition. He has turned into a little despot - the same kind of a despot that he replaced or the same kind that are the heads of his neighboring countries.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Itching to Get a Mauser.

Since I was a kid and saw the photo of one of my ancestors posing with his Mauser in Cilicia, I wanted to have one as well. The photo was taken before my clan was driven out of Cilicia - the French disarmed the Armenian militia and abandoned them leaving the civilian population exposed to the Turkish army assault.

The Mauser in question would have been a G98 model which I haven't seen for sale anywhere. I know, nowadays a Mauser is not of much use except to claim its place in my collection.

I have my eye on WW2 era K-98 rifle. It is possible to get one in good condition. My biggest concern is that since these were used by the Germans during the WW2, it is quite possible that the rifle would have killed someone from our side. I would never know for sure but there is always the possibility.

On a lighter note, thanks to Ani, here is an artist's depiction of a mouser:

Music in French.

Never thought I would like songs in French. But have changed my mind after listening to Compagnon De La Vie by Amadou and Mariam.

Still Funny.

The chief of AGBU Setrakian is again in Armenia. As soon as I realized it, I remembered this video. It is still funny after so many months.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Censorship at Armenian Economist.

The Armenian Economist blog has removed a few of my comments on their blog entry for MCA funding freeze. They stayed up for a few weeks since they were relevant to the original post. And then were deleted.

Looks like I will need to remove them from the list of nazarian - Ազա՛տ, Անկա՛խ Հայաստան endorsed blogs.

Any opinions?

Dumbed Down or Really Amateur Writers?

Came across this Azg article about production in Armenia. I don't know if the author has dumbed down the content to the lowest common denominator or does Azg indeed print amateur articles? I think it could have been written in a little bit more sophisticated manner and yet accessible for the average Azg audience. Right now it's just a joke and adds no value to the casual reader.

Here is a sample of disturbing thoughts in the article:
- the implied thought that the investors may make investments through self-sacrifice (that is charity work, not investment);
- the implied thought that the Armenian citizens will buy a used Opel rather than a similar new Armenian made car (they will buy whatever is a better value for the money);
- basing the profit margins of the Armenian processed meat manufacturers on the GDP/budget inflows in Austria (it's so ridiculous that I just don't know what to say about this one);
- registering that the Armenian made raisins will cost more than the imported Iranian raisins and yet suggesting to drive out Chinese made shoes out of the Caucasus region with Armenian made shoes (after restoring the shoe production in Armenia).

What the author could have done was to gloss over some examples of the cost disparities in locally produced stuff and the imported competitors. Why does that happen? Explain to the reader. Then mention protectionist policies, dumping, WTO tariffs, and why it is wrong to have protectionist policies. After that, suggest the solution of having a competitive local industry through technology or knowledge cluster. Suggest a few areas that Armenia might be competitive in the world (pomegranate wine or mulberry vodka made and marketed as premium consumables, for example).

Articles like this should not underestimate the intelligence of the reader - add some value to them while entertaining. Don't insult their intelligence.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Obamas Plant a Garden.

Copyright: Todd Heisler/The New York Times

The Obamas plant a garden. Nation excited.

Actually, it's pretty cool to have a First Lady who is not afraid to get her hands dirty. If growing veggies is going to become a hobby, she needs to wear gloves, though.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Wish Come True.

Twice already Mr. Galust Sahakian, the chief of the Republican Party fraction in the Armenian Parliament, has complained that he is one of the few politicians in the banditocracy that has no nickname. The enterprising decided to organize a grassroots effort to remedy the situation. After collecting suggestions, 10 alternatives were put to vote. I myself voted for Qisachi - a person working in a Turkish bath helping the patrons cleanse themselves. To me, Mr. Sahakian looks like such a person. If the head of the Parliament can look like a mouse and have a nickname Mouse, why not Mr. Sahakian be known as Qisachi?

Well, 550 people voted and Qisachi was in third place. An honorary plaque has been created that will be given to Mr. Sahakian. I am not yet aware of the logistics of the ceremony.

For thos of us interested in the details of the selection and voting process, see press release.

Friday, March 20, 2009


There is a village in the Lori Marz called Hamzachiman. The official name is Margahovit but it's popular name is Bozgegh. It is famous for its yogurt. They have a secret way of making it. The rumors are that they use rennet (used to make cheese) in order to make their yogurt firmer. It's a trade secret and the farmers do not reveal their secret. I myself prefer yogurt without any additives but it is getting more and more difficult to get it in the US. None of the manufacturers do not use rennet to make their yogurt firm. They use pectin - the organic producers use pectin extracted from oranges and the mass producers use pectin of unknown origin, most probably from oranges or apples. There is one manufacturer in Pennsylvania called Erivan Dairy (don't know if Erivan is a derivative of Yerevan). They make fine yogurt but is not widely available in the tri-state area.

I remembered about this when I looked at Google maps today - shows the village as Bozigekh.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What Else Can You Say?

Eduard Nalbandian, the foreign Minister of Armenia, said this yesterday in the Armenian Parliament about the recent State Department annual report on Armenia. He was answering a question about the phrase 'occupied Azerbaijani territories':

"If you mean the territorial integrity [of NKR], meaning the core idea in the report that was there, multiple times it has been declared, before this [report] and after, and you can find it on the web site of the US Embassy in Armenia, that the US approach is based on three principles. They are: ruling out use of force, right to self determination and territorial integrity. And the passage in the [State Department annual report], in my opinion, does not reflect their approach on the conflict resolution for Karabakh."

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Armenian FM does not think that the annual report from the US State Department reflects the US approach on NKR. I don't know who is he trying to BS. Below are his words in Armenian. Pardon the Engrish of the translation - I tried to remain true the way he was answering the question.

«Եթե Դուք նկատի ունեք տարածքային ամբողջականության մասին, այսինքն՝ շեշտադրումը այդ զեկույցի մեջ, որը կար, ապա բազմիցս հայտարարվել է, դրանից առաջ եւ դրանից հետո եւ այսօր նաեւ Դուք կարող եք գտնել Հայաստանում ԱՄՆ դեսպանության կայքէջում, որ Միացյալ Նահանգների դիրքորոշումը այս հարցում հիմնված է երեք սկզբունքների վրա: Դա է՝ ուժի չկիրառում, ինքնորոշման իրավունք եւ տարածքային ամբողջականություն: Եվ համապատասխան այդ զեկույցի մեջ տեղադրված այդ ձեւակերպումը, չեմ կարծում, թե արտահայտում էր իրենց դիրքորոշումը հենց Ղարաբաղի հարցի կարգավորման վերաբերյալ»:

Prisoner Death.

Today they found the hanged body of a prisoner in the attic of the Erebuni prison in Yerevan. The prisoner is Armen Khachatrian - a political prisoner jailed because he is a Jehovah's Witness and refused to carry arms.

The powers that be say that there are no signs of force on his body and they say it's a suicide. But anyone who knows the Jehovah's Witnesses knows that suicide is one of the big sins. What makes me even more suspicious is that the body was found in an attic.

While there is no way to be sure that Armen Khachatrian did not break while being imprisoned, the history teaches us that the Jehovah's Witnesses can be very resilient. They face discrimination and threats throughout the world and even Hitler used to execute them for treason as they refused to take part in his war crimes.

I just hope that when the regime collapses and law and order returns to Armenia, we can restore the Article 14 of the Constitution and no longer have people imprisoned for their faith, political views and what not.

Երգ հոգեխանգարմունքի...

Yesterday Mher Manukian was granted the annual "Tigran Hayrapetian" prize for his contributions to the development of democracy. This prize is usually given to political analysis during each year and he received it for the political and analytical nature of a group of his songs.

Here are links to some of his songs (not the ones that won the prize):

LAV ELI - Self-Sale (lyrics)

LAV ELI - The Blind Manifesto (lyrics)

LAV ELI - She Said (lyrics)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

«Ինձ էլ, ինձ էլ նկարեք»:

Can you guess why such title for this post? source

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Who Would Have Ever Thought.

2+ years ago I wrote about Serj Sargsian and Robert Kocharian inspecting a Yugoslavian made sniper rifle the Karabakh army had acquired. It was a large caliber rifle compatible with 0.5 caliber Browning MG cartridge.

Never in my life I would have imagined that these two would use these rifles to kill the citizens of Armenia on March 1, 2008. It seems now that this was part of their pre-election campaign.

Been Meaning to Write.

I've been meaning to write about the latest events in Armenia, notably the latest physical assault on journalist Gagik Shamshian.

I do not know him personally. He works for Chorrord Ishkhanutyun, a newspaper that is against the authoritarian rule in Armenia under Serj Sargsian and under Robert Kocharian before him. Mr. Shamshian periodically gets physically assaulted by the banditocracy minions - police, the thick-headed posse of the oligarchs, etc. This latest assault was done by the security forces of the Bryusov University. Yes, now even the universities have their own bandits. Bryusov is run by a buddy of Kocharian - a certain Zolian who hails from the same place as both Kocharian and Sargsian.

One thing is still unclear to me. It looks like messrs Kocharian and Sargsian have brought all the filth from Karabakh to Yerevan. Have the lives of the Karabakh people improved as a result or do they still have filth left to govern them?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Valueable Resource.

նույնը թողեցին

ՀՀ վերաքննիչ քրեական դատարանը երեկ նույնն է թողել "Մարտի 1-ի գործով" քաղբանտարկյալ Աշոտ Մանուկյանի դատավճիռը: Հիշեցնենք, որ երկու ոստիկանների սուտ ցուցմունքների հիման վրա Մանուկյանը դատապարտվել էր հինգ տարվա ազատազրկման, իբր` մարտի 1-ի առավոտյան Ազատության հրապարակում ոստիկաններին դիմադրություն ցույց տալու համար: Իսկ իրականում Մանուկյանի նկատմամբ ՀՀ իշխանությունների նման սեւեռվածությունը պայմանավորված է այն հանգամանքով, որ նա ՀՀ առաջին նախագահ Լեւոն Տեր-Պետրոսյանի Վանաձորի նախընտրական շտաբի պատասխանատուն է եղել:

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Jeff Beacher Collapses on Stage.

While performing as Britney Spears, Jeff Beachers collapsed on stage and had to be taken to the hospital. Only in America. Gotta love this country.

No, it is not photoshopped.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Not Accepting Applications.

Yesterday I had a 500+ mile trip and one of the destinations was a hospital in Elkhart County in Indiana. Elkhart County is heavily populated with the Amish and Menonites. Amish reject the corruption of the modern world so it was quite amusing to see a horse driven carriage in the parking lot among cars. Fortunately for the horse, the weather was quite pleasant even though s/he was wearing a jacket.

Elkhart County was made famous about a month ago when the President pitched his stimulus package in a speech there. The county has a double digit unemployment rate nearing 20%. Above is a picture I took with a cell phone - usually these signs say 'Now Accepting Applications'. They have changed the 'W' to 'T' and the sign now says 'Not Accepting Applications'.

Another stop was in Lake County, Indiana. The town of Gary always reminds me of Kirovakan (or any decaying post-Soviet industrial town) with its crumbling infrastructure and industrial districts. This time it looked festive and bustling at first. That is, until I realized that the festive atmosphere was caused by the plastic bags flying in the wind (the area is known for windy weather hence the nickname 'The Windy City' for the nearby Chicago).

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Child Beater as a Mayor.

Chorni Gago, aka Gagik Beglarian, an alleged child beater, has been appointed as the mayor of Yerevan by the bandit number one. According to the Constitution, the mayor will need to be elected. The 'elections' are set to be in May.

By appointing this thug, SS makes sure that when the elections are falsified, the Yerevantsi will not protest too much since they will be used to this man. Also, it gives him a chance to bring in people loyal to him to do the dirty work.

Why Not to Mess With Markets.

Looks like the exchange rates for Dram have stabilized at 400 AMD per USD. During the past 3-4 months the Central bank wasted about $800 million to keep Dram strong. For a small and poor country like Armenia, this is a major cock-up. This is the Armenian people's money that has been lost.

With such a SNAFU, heads would be rolling if it was done in a normal country. In a banditocracy, heads don't roll. Some select people simply line up their pockets at the expense of the nation.

To make up for the shortfall, now they have to go around hat in hand and borrow money from Russia or the Europeans. Makes my blood boil.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Dram Going Down the Drain.

The Armenian currency lost its value against the Dollar by 20+% today. During the past 1 month the Central Bank had been propping it up by auctioning its strategic reserves (that consisted of Dollars). Looks like they have either run out of money or have realized the futility of fighting the market.
The Central Bank has been making all the wrong decisions since at least 2003. They sold off the gold reserves just as the prices of gold started going up and Dollar losing its value. They encouraged the strengthening of the Dram against the Dollar thus killing the exports. Then they squandered these same Dollars trying to keep Dram strong.
The underlying motive, I suspect, was to keep inflation low and show rising government budget in Dollars while the transactions were in Dram (you can thus show a large budget in Dollars while in reality it remains the same in Dram - just another 'smart' trick they use to paint pretty pictures).
So, the Armenian people who had started to trust Dram will now be screwed. Hopefully, not a lot of wealth will be lost. And hopefully this will affect the volume of imports and help jump start local production for export - from the tourism industry to actual product exports.
In the mean while, the CNN claims that the market is rallying while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (a market indicator for the top 30 publicly traded companies) is down by 0.2%. I guess any drop that is less than a percent is now considered to be a rally.
I am sticking to cash for now. In Dollars and not Drams.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

March 1 Victims.

ArmeniaNow pays tribute to the memory of the victims of the March 1, 2008 act of violence towards the Armenian people. The victims will not be forgotten and their blood was not spilt in vain. The law and order shall return to Armenia: it may take time and a lot of effort but it will return.

March 1 Demonstration: No Serious Incidents.

The demonstration took place without serious incidents today. The cops were still cops and misbehaved as usual but there were no serious altercations with them.

UPDATE: Here is the Radio Liberty coverage of the event.

The Latest Drivel.

The Armenian PM Tigran Sarkisian wants Turkey to be part of building a new nuclear power station in Armenia. His vision is that two parties, Russia and Turkey, would build and own it.

Don't they see that they become less and less credible with each of the fantasy they utter? Whatever happened to making the town of Dilijan a center of world finance or Gyumri a center of regional tourism?