Books on Armenia
Principal ethnic groups
Update No: 299 - (29/11/05)
Good news at last for Armenia
Armenia has a dictator in charge in Robert Kocharian who had the luck to be
re-elected by fraudulent means just before the Rose Revolution in Georgia took
place in Georgia in November, 2003. That revolution undoubtedly inspired the
Orange Revolution in Ukraine last year, which then set an example for the Tulip
Revolution in Kyrgyzstan.
The dominoes are falling in the FSU and Kocharian must be as scared as an even
worse dictator, Lukashenka, in Belarus. He is actually far more intelligent than
Lukashenka. He does not want the ignominy of the fate of the ousted leaders of
the colour revolutions. He is now repeatedly saying that he will not stand for a
third term in 2008, which would require a change in the constitution.
Another consideration here is that he is being heavily influenced by events in
Russia, where Putin is also insisting that he will not amend the constitution to
allow him to stand for a third term in 2008, in an election to be held a few
months earlier as it so happens. Putin now really appears to mean it, as his
reshuffle of the Russian government indictees, (see Russia in newnations.com).
Having been saved by a few months in 2003, Kocharian would be undone by a few
months in 2008. He can perfectly well see that a wave of indignation would sweep
the country if he did not do the same as Putin. It is a tribute to his
intelligence that he is drawing the right conclusions.
Samvel Nikoyan of the governing Republican Party (HHK) was at pains to dismiss
one of the opposition arguments against the enactment of constitutional
amendments sought by Kocharian and endorsed by the West. These do not involve
allowing a third term, he claimed.
The current Armenian constitution bans the president of the republic from
holding office for more than two consecutive terms. Some oppositionists, notably
supporters of former President Levon Ter-Petrosian, maintain that Kocharian
would declare the amended constitution a new legal document and start a fresh
countdown of his tenures. They seemed to have missed the point - or why is the
West backing them?
Nikoyan brushed aside the speculation as he campaigned for the amendments in
Maralik, a small town in the northwestern Shirak region. "Besides, [Kocharian]
himself has repeatedly stated that he does not have such intentions," he
said. "All those political forces that have backed him until now are also
of the opinion that the constitution must be respected and that no president
must have the right to be re-elected for a third term."
Kocharian's spokesman Victor Soghomonian has likewise said that the Armenian
leader will have "no legal grounds" to stay in power after completing
his second term in 2008. "I have been assured by some pretty authoritative
people that that is not a realistic prospect," US Ambassador to Armenia
John Evans told RFE/RL in September, commenting on the possibility of a third
Addressing about 500 residents of Maralik who gathered in a local auditorium,
Nikoyan also pointed out that success of the constitutional reform would give
Armenia an important edge over arch-foe Azerbaijan which has faced strong
Western criticism over its handling of the November 6th parliamentary election.
"With this referendum, we have an opportunity to tell Europe that it is we,
not Azerbaijan, who carry its Christian values," he said.
Kocharian's leading political opponents made totally different arguments as they
toured the neighbouring Lori region in a huge motorcade consisting of about 50
cars. The trip culminated in a rally in the region's administrative centre
Vanadzor that was attended by over a thousand people. Victor Dallakian, an
outspoken opposition lawmaker, read out a statement by two dozen opposition
parties jointly campaigning against the proposed amendments.
"By rejecting the constitutional changes, you will reject the government
that perpetrated barbaric acts against people on April 12, 2004, you will reject
those who rigged the 1998 and 2003 presidential elections, you will reject
Kocharian and his regime," read the statement.
Another opposition leader, Vazgen Manukian, told the crowd to prepare for street
protests in Yerevan planned by the opposition. "If they rig the referendum
and again try to seize the country by force and deceit, you will have the right
to revolt and put an end to this regime," he said.
US Believes in Democratic Reforms in Armenia
The following report by official internet outlet PanArmenian.net shows a
massively important sign of things to come:
"Inclusion of Armenia in Millennium Challenges Account evidences that the
US believes in democratic reforms being implemented by the republic
authorities," Armenian Foreign Minister, Vartan Oskanian, said in
mid-November. "We get large sums from the US as they believe in the future
of Armenia. Only 16 countries receive similar financial support - 16 out of 120
countries that have taken the way of democratization and provide resources for
development of the society," the Armenian FM said.
It should be remembered that during its November 8th session the Millennium
Challenges Corporation Council again named Armenia among countries eligible for
receiving financing from the Millennium Challenges Account in FY 2006. The
Armenian Government expects to receive US$175 million.
Constitutional reforms acquire much importance in that respect and November 27
Armenia will be at focus of world attention. "I urge everyone to say
"yes" to that Constitution, as it will have a direct impact on your
lives," V. Oskanian added. In his turn US Ambassador to Armenia John Evans
was being diplomatic when he said that he did not link the assistance expected
within the Millennium Challenges Account with the reforms in the country.
"The US wants Armenia to be a successful country. Armenia has managed to
make a good proposal over poverty reduction in rural areas," the Ambassador
emphasized, adding that the US has provided US$1.6 billion to Armenia recently,
reported RFE/RL, the lion's share of which (US$118 million) will be used to
restore the irrigation system, while the rest will be spent to repair roads
Iran provides 3.5m Euro for first Wind Power Plant
Sahak Abrahamian, the chief manager of High-Voltage Power Lines company
announced recently that the first ever Armenian wind power plant would be ready
to generate electricity in the near future, New Europe reported.
The plant is being constructed by the Iranian Sanir Company, which will also
install the equipment. It is the first wind-generated electricity plant in
Armenia constructed mainly by Iranian engineers outside their country. This
power plant is located in northeastern Armenia and is comprised of four units
each offering 660 kilowatt of electricity. Abrahamian said the Armenian Public
Services Regulatory Commission is expected to give the plant a licence and will
also set the price of one kilowatt of its electricity. The government of Iran
donated 3.5 million Euro for the construction of the plant. Iran has also
announced that it is ready to participate in construction of the electricity
transmission line of 320 kilowatt from Armenia to Georgia.
Foreign trade up 32% in 3Q
According to Armstat data, Armenia's foreign trade in the first nine months of
the year increased to 32.2 percent from a year ago standing at around two
billion Euro, reported Interfax News Agency.
The data revealed that the negative trade balance was 561.3 million Euro.
Armstat also said Armenian exports rose almost 40 per cent to 687 million Euro
and imports were up 30 per cent to around 1.2 billion Euro. It also said retail
trade volume in the nine months rose 7 per cent standing at 1.2 billion Euro.
Armenia's gross domestic product expanded 11.6 per cent year on year to 1.4
trillion dram in January-September, the country's national statistics service
told Interfax. Armstat also said that Armenian power generating facilities
produced over that time 4.7 billion kilowatt/hours of electricity, a 6.7 per
cent growth from a year ago. Industrial output was up 6.2 per cent to 472.4
billion dram in the first nine months of the year, agricultural production grew
9 per cent year on year to 320.9 billion dram and construction grew 34 per cent
to 263.3 billion dram.
IMF pleased with Armenia's index of economic growth
International Monetary Fund Dutch Group executive director Jerome Kremers
announced recently that Armenia's index of economic growth is going well. He
expressed satisfaction with the index of economic growth registered in Armenia
during the last few years. According to Kremers, Armenia for the fifth year in a
row has achieved a double digit economic growth that is a record indicated on
the world level. He said that a report about the fulfilment of the three-year
long Poverty Reduction Programme will be presented to the IMF Board of directors
in the near future. Kremers is expected to represent Armenia on the Board, New
However, Kremers added that Armenia should not be satisfied with its progress,
and if reforms are continued then the situation here will improve considerably.
The Fund, however believes that the main targets of Armenia's economy remain
increasing tax and customs collections, and especially reducing poverty in order
to put the benefits of economic growth to use for everyone. The IMF will issue
Armenia a preferential loan of 33 million Euro to Armenia in the next three
years to resolve these problems. Commenting on the reliability of official
statistics, Kremers said that the statistical data pertaining to Armenia's
economy fully meet their requirements otherwise they would not be working with
Armenian president visits Greece
Armenian president, Robert Kocharian, was recently on a three day visit to
Greece at the invitation of his Greek counterpart Karolos Papoulias, New Europe
The main aim of the visit was to deepen bilateral relations and outline
priorities of Armenian-Greek economic cooperation, as well as hold an exchange
of opinions on issues of bilateral interest. The Armenian delegation includes
foreign, transport and communication, and agriculture ministers, the chairman of
a parliament committee on foreign affairs Armen Rustamian, Armenian ambassador
to Greece and other officials, Interfax quoted Kocharian's press office as
During the three-day visit president Kocharian met Greek president Karolos
Papoulias, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, parliament president Anna Psaruda
Benaki, as well as leaders of parliamentary parties. Kocharian also met the
mayor of Athens, Dora Bakoyan. The delegations of both sides also discussed a
variety of issues regarding the prospects for expansion of bilateral ties. In
Athens Kocharian participated in the official opening of the new premises of the
Armenian embassy and also met representatives of the local Armenian community.
Armenians in Greece are mainly traders and craftspeople, specialising especially
in jewellery and diamond cutting, also in shoemaking and furniture production.
Armenia, Latvia entrepreneurs sign agreements
Ashot Tovmasian, president of a Latvian TMH company recnelty signed in Yerevan
an agreement with Armenian Menaghik Company on export of Armenian perlite to the
Baltic country and establishment of a plant for processing, Interfax News Agency
The ethnic Armenian president of the Latvian company recently said that 1.5
million Euro will be invested in the Armenian-Latvian-Dutch company for
processing of perlite, which is supposed to produce its first output in January
Consortium required to rebuild railroad link in Abkhazia-Levitin
Russia, Georgia and Armenia should set up a consortium to rebuild the railroad
line in Abkhazia, Russian transport minister and co-chairman of the
Russian-Armenian Economic Cooperation Commission Igor Levitin announced at a
meeting in Yerevan, New Europe reported recently.
Levitin said he would soon visit Georgia to discuss the cost of the
reconstruction and the contribution of each side to the project. "A major
goal of my Tbilisi visit is to receive confirmation of Georgia's consent to
resume railroad traffic in Abkhazia within the framework of an intergovernmental
accord," Levitin said.