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COVERS?ORY

RETHINKING CHURCH AND NATION

3 il a I E

16

t

Though still nominally divided, the Armenian Church is once again emerging as a key national institution in the post-independence era. While issues of cooperation and the question of succ€ssion to the Ejmiatsin Catholicosatc are being debated behind closed doors, the

Church is reinventing itself as a powerful political player in Armenia and a symbol of national unity in communities outside the republic.

tItTERVtEW

32

In a candid convenation with AIM. Levon Ter Penossian, hisorian-cum-presidenl discusses the delicate business of holding it all together.

BOOKI

With the publication of The Story of the lnst Thought, German novelist Edgar Hilsenrath brings the Armenian Genocide to world litera-

ttlle,

Edlto/r Notc

6

Lcttcrr

7

Bytor On Fllc

to

Dorrlcr

l2

Caspian Sea oil politics comes to the fore... T\rr{<ey' s communications satellite project gets

off to a bad start... And a postcard from Lillehammer.

Ffcld

Rcport

A

The Armenian President's firstofficial visit to

theU.K.

Soclcty Many in Armenia, among them an alarming number of teen-agers, are turning to drugs.

Gontcrt A month of intense diplomaticjockeying in and beyond the Caucasus.

Analydr

30

The Russian economy maybe in a shambles, but Moscow's geopolitical agenda is in full work-

ing order.

StretcAy

37

will

depend on who gets control of Karabalh's coveted Sarsang reservoir.

Much

The Haifilm studio's animation artists are reshaping the Armenian cartoon. COVER OESIGN BY DICRAN Y. KASSOUNY; PHOTOGRAPHY BY JACOB OEMIRDJIAN

Anr (rssN 105(

(818)24&7979, F Copyrlghl@1994 America, Alrica: $55i Middle East, Al l|lnhittln Bolch. CA90266, U.S.A.

l€oossanry represonl Ea8l, b S. t5o FF ($55); Europ€, Far Ea8r, changos to: Altl, P.O. Bor 3296


THE DREAM ISHERE Armenia is beautiful in the winter. But I can't say that out loud anywhere. Never mind that po€ts from Abovian to Isahakian have been saying so for decades. Today, it's not politically correct. Anyway, how can you answer a question that begins: "So, how bad was it?' Appearances are deceiving. It does look pretty bad, especially since the people who have had, nothing else, certainly a grim sense ofhumor, s€em to have lost it. The most quiet, philosophical, visionary among them are bitter and tired-tired of the daily struggle for everything. They don't want to hear that objective factors appear to have improved over this time last year. All forms of public transport work in Yerevan, from taxis to the metro. They didn't last Match. Schools opened a month earlier this winter. Hospitals and other emergency centers have regular and independent sources of water

if

and electricity. Butlcouldn'tsay thistomyfriends

who had

weeks

gone

with barely an hour's lighteachday.An unscheduled.un-

expected hour wasalmostwone than none at all, And transportation is fine, but wheredoyougo?

To buy food

at

inaccessible prices, or !o work in cold buildings? Armenia's not at war, but as my taxi driver said, we may as well be. The greatest temptation is to turn the outside impressions afforded by distance into a litany of expertopinion. The second-greatesttemptation is to lose perspective of time, Everythingis so hard and there is so much that needs to be set sraight. So, it was sobering to sit in a foezing, cold office and speak with hesident lrvon Ter Petrossian, who, as historian and optimist, has an enviable handle on the past and the future. This rare, public

FOURTH MITIENNIUM SOCIFTY A Noftftr-Prcftt, Public 8arfff Capordim DIRECTORS

VATOUJAN

NAI{AIIT

NOIAIR OgKilNl,lN IAF;I ZINZAIIAN FOUNDING TRUSTEES

OAIIN AVIDIKTAN MM

,IIEGO GODJATANI.AN

cl!FolNI

VAIOUJAN ISK:NDEIIAN AUSTUU

HATOUT KAHYEDJ1AN V€NEruE[

m/rruO K/rPfl:UAN dUNA HAOC'P KOUSHAruNN ttooDA

ZATOUHI MANDKNN P€NSVTVANtr

totrutotNtr tov:t YATOI'JAI{ NAHAIIT

ruffi4

NORAII OSKAN1AN

ruNNA

ZAlrH

SATXTS3IAN

4fonNA

IA'FI ZINZAUAN catitoNI

conversationtookplaceafewdaysafterhisofficialvisittotheUnitedKingdom. There,whilesimultaneously underscoring the symbiotic relationship of homeland and Diaspora, and the naturally dominant role of the stale, Ter Petrossian laid claim to the Diaspora' s potential: if an independent Armeniais the embodiment of the dreams of all Armenians, then all Armenians must share the responsibility of realizing that drcam. Parts ofthatconvenation arc presented in this issue, togetherwith alook atthechallenges facing the Armenian Church and its leaders-all as part of ourcontinuing effort topromote dialogue about

,/.'*'W r/0

thatdream.

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PUBUSHER MlcheolNahabet EDITOF vanan O8kanian

lNNI

/\lNl *

EXECUnVE EDITOR Salpi Haroulinlan Ghazarian I|ANAGING EDITOB lshkhan Jlnbashian EDITORIAL CONSULTANT Minas Koialan EDITOR EIEBmJS Chades Nazarian EDTTOF AT LAROETony Halpin ABT ITIRECTOR Dlcran Y. Ke8souny

ever since-by Western powert in order to secure a strong foothold in the region and dominate the Middle East. This is called geopolitics andhas nothing to do with God giving the so-called Chosen People distinct territories. If Armenianies to claim its ancestral lands. the way Israel does, I wonder how your beloved US of A and its NATO buddy, Turkey,

CO|ITRIBUTING EDITOFS Vickon Babiklan, Kevork lmizian, Helg Koropian, Mark Malkasian, Taline Selamian, Ads Sevag, Ronald Grigor Suny, Jivan Tabiblan, Taline

Voskedlchlan ASSOCI,ATE EDITOR Garins Zeitlian

COiITFIBUTORS Madne Arakellans, Amon Aroyan,

Mlchael ArEhagouni, Artashes Emin, Yvette Harpoolian, llovhannes Harutiunian, Anl Klciian, Lola Koun(laklhn, Gilda Kupolian, Mlcheel Masle.ciyan, Lllllo Morigian, Moorad Mooradlan, Nancy Nararlan, Ara Oshagan, Susan Pattie, Simon Peyasllan, Jan€t Samuelian, Raltl Shoubooklan CORRESPONDENTS Amm.n: Ara Voskian; Amtt td!m: Ar3€nNazadan: Bru.a.h K$,orkOekanian; Bu.noaAha: Sam Serklsslani l.ondon: Ani Manoukian; llorcow: Gayane Hambartzumlan; P.tlt: Khatchik Kechian; Sydn.y: Halg

wouldreact. How come it is allowable for Israel to go back thousands ofyears but it is unthinkable for Armenia. or for other countries like Greece, Serbia or han to go back and claim their historical and ancestral homelands?

w[hlngflon:

Zanku Lepedllan; Vhnn : S€bouh Baghdoyan; Amenlan; Yaravrn: Hakob Asaldan, Armen Baghda8edan, Papkon Gadachlk, ngran Xmelian PHOTOORAPHERSAmman: lGrekin Kelelian; 3.l.utAmo

Jlhanian; Boalon: Lena Sanents, Ail Stamaliou; Lo3 Angrba: Kadn6Amen,Sossi Madzounian, KovorkDjansazian; tlhml: Tony Savino; l{.w Yo.k: Harry Koundakjlan; l,lor'01 Bargrn: Ardsm Aslanian; Prrla: Armineh Johannes, Alins Manbukian; Proyltlanca: Berge Ata Zobian; Srn Fnn. cltco: Armen Pgtrogsien; Yarayln: Mkhltar Khachalrlan, zaven Khaciiklan, Roub€n Mangasarian

A8S|8TA]{TTOTHE EDTTORS Aylin Bahatun PI{OTO ARCHIVISTS Varant Gourilan, Padk Nazedan CIRCULAnON DIFECTOR Thomas Yeledan PFOIIOTIONS DIRECTOR Both Broussalian

ADiIINISTRATIVE ASS|STAilTAsdShig Mazmanian ADVERnSINO DIRECTOR Aline S. Kassablan ADVERTISING nEPRESENTATIVES Ani Azar, Steven Movse3lan, Mellne Ounllan, Hratci Yerknab€llan IilTEBN Tina Jlzmejian, Elda Aghaian, Elsa Aghaian

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POLLS conduclod by Center tor Research on the

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PUBLISHED AS A PUBLIC SERVICE BY FOUBT}I I|ILLENNIUTI SOCIETY. A NOT-FOR.PBOFIT PUBLIC BENEFITCOFPORANON

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Vanan Karaoghlanlan, Shehe Keheian, Kdkor Krikodan, Michael Nahaltet, vatche Oknaian, Vanan Oskanlan, Thomas

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have done an excellent brainwashingjob on Steve Yakoubian (Letters, January). It is a disgrace for an Armenian !o be so nanow-minded and biased. Israel, an anogant, fascist andexpansionist state, was crealed-and has been pampered

Is there alimitto thedouble standards and hypocrisy of US foreignpolicy?

IzonArzownanian

f,lrguldcd Analogy

Ontario, Canada

Tony Halpin is tenibly wrong in drawing parallels betrreen the Karabakh movement and the so-called national liberation strttggle in Abkhazia (Cover Story, January). The latter is nothing elsethan an attemptby Moscow to annex apartofGeorgia and eventually to regain conholovertheentireCaucasianrcgion.

The "liberation" of Abkhazia was achieved through diplomatic blackmail, use of merce-

nary bands from the northern Caucasus, massiveattacks by Russian bombers and the total blockade of Georgian seaports by the Russian navy. For some mysterious reason, "Abkhazian fighters" shown on CNN exchanged orders and commands in impeccable Russian and wore full Russian uniforms. Russia, of course, dutifullyplayedtherole it knows best: that of a charitable big brother, touchingly helping neighbors to settle their

quarrels. Russian diplomacy reached truly Machiavellianheights in August 193, when the Georgians were lulled into a false sense of securitybyMoscow'spromiseof acease-fire on the eve of the final "Abkhazian" attack which brought the fall of Sukhumi. The Armenians of Abkhazia have mostly fled,theirhomes andbelongingspillagedand marauded by victorious "liberators." "Independent Ablhazia" is now a state akin to the pirate-conEolled medieval cities of the Caribbean, being ruled by mafi a bands assembled from all comers of the former SovietUnion.

The description of Abkhazian events by Halpin totally conforms to the Moscow propaganda rhetoric. Such interpretations will only serve to alienate Armenia and Georgia, and, as a result, contribute to the fulfillment of Moscow's divide-and-conquer policy. S.

1-818-2&7979

Mergelian

Lo s An ge le s, Califo nnia

Lct's Splll thc Bcanr The Bytes on File page, a la Harper's Index, is an excellent addition to AIM. It could be a forum for expanding on tantalizing bits of information that are not covered elsewhere

in the magazine. For example, Armenia is crippled internationally because only three of the 200 experienced Armenian careerdiplomats of the former Soviet Union have agreed to work fortheirnativecountry (CoverStory, January). Whatarethenamesoftheo0rer 197, and exactly how are they employed today?

Incidentally, why could they not work for Armenia unofficially, in their off hours, wherever they happened to be? Another possibility: wheredoes Armenia getthemillions of dollars in dues required for membership in the 2 I international organizations to which it belongs?

PierreV. Haig Dana Point, Califomia

FairVisibility

I must commend AM's choice of Kirk Kerkorian as Man of the Year (Cover Story, December). Although I've never met Kerkorian, I've followed his career closely with a great deal of pride and admiration for the past 50 years.

It was a pleasant surprise to read the inspiring story by Mark Arax. It was succinct, informative and well written. The accompa-

nying art enhanced the presentation immensely. During my 55 years as a newspaper editor

and reporter

not escape the

/NNI

llot Quitc Edcn It

seems that the

AIM.MARCH 1994

have always respected

a

limelight.

waspleasedby therecogrition given to my former colleague, Harut Sassounian, I also

Bible and Hollvwood

I

person's request for anonymity, but when it involves a greathumanitarian project such as the United Armenian Fund (UAD, one can-


publisher of Zft e California Courier and director of the UAF. He successfully coordinated the efforts of six Armenian groups with the Lincy Foundation, which was no easy task.

Charles Nazarian VanNuys, California Your cover story was a great piece about great man. Only a man of Kirk Kerkorian's calibercan bring togetherthe church andcivic organizations to create a desperately needed a

organization like the United Armenian Fund.

DearonS. Mazmnnian H av e rtow n, P enn sy lv ania

Let the Beat Go On Itwas very interesting to read aboutCaptain Nazik (Context, December). I am sure there are many brave women like her on the battlefields of Karabakh and in the political life of Armenia, though werarely hearabout their roles or activities. We'd like to know more. Fieda Hovsepian Glenfuile, California

Reviewers On Gall

had seen the film at a gala screening at the Directors' Guild in Los Angeles in August, 1992, and we wondered if it were the same film that Jinbashian was writing about. We wanted to refresh our impressions and made arangements to seethe film again ataprivate screening in December. To our surprise, the film was even better and more entertaining than we remembered. In fact, we came to conclude that the film is a major breakthrough for Bezjian as a film director, and the first ofits kind in the forefront of ethno-cultural arts and entertainment as seen through the eyes of an Armenian. We greatly regret that AIM allowed the publication of such a denigrating article, with gratuitous personal attacks on Bezjian. We have become fond of AIM and we submit to you that it would be appropriate to publish a review of the filmby an independentfi lm critic to rectify the unnecessary personal damage done to Bezjian's reputation.

Ifyou can'tfind

someone to write the review we would be happy to oblige.

Altematively, if you decide to do nothing about it, and just publish a few letters to the editor, we will exercise the only otheroption available to us, and make our strong objection heard by cancelling our subscrip-

Wewereastoundedwhen weread thefilm

review entitled "Exile on the Loose" by Ishkhan Jinbashian (Ideas, November). We

tion. David Hovan and JeanWeaver Vancouver, Canada

lf lt Quacks Like a Duck... I am grateful for what my friend Andy Kevorkian says about my efforts on behalf of the London Armenians (kners, January), but I would be happier if it had appeared in the context of a sunnierview of the achievements of his fellow Armenians. Britainhas since the I 820s (yes, the 1 820s,

the time of the Duke of Wellington's

premiership) had a fairly pronounced proTurkish political, j ournalistic and intellectual culture, so that any achievements, however small, are by UK standards immense. The problems ofthelondon Armenianstoday are the problems of Armenians anywhere: in part, finding a voice to say simple things simply (e.g., "Armenians constitute the overwhelming majority in Karabakh"), and inpartbeing hard-faced enough to look at the issues of strategy and econornic advantage in assessing the Armenian political situation, instead of resting content in comfy old daydreams about common Christianity against the barbarian hordes-a view which ceased to be operational around the year AD 1400. No one actually knows how much Ambassador Armen Sarkissian achieves in confidential high-level meetings in London and throughoutEurope, but I wouldhazard a guess that it is not negligible. His embassy may lack some presentational skills forthe moment, but can't we be a bit more charitable in the meantime? ChristopherWalker lnndon, England Andrew Kevorkian's letter is quite a surprise. His haphazard."interest" in Armenian affairs is quite interesting, to say the least. I wonder how Kevorkian allows himself to criticize the Council and Ambassador Sarkissian when his own contribution has consisted of unfulfilled promises? RoubenGalichian Inndon, England

The Gonstitutional Vacuum

-

It is irrelevant whether the Russian ruble, Armenian dram, Swiss franc oreven the US dollar is designated as Armenia's official cunency. Without a democratic constitution adopted andenforced, there couldnotbetrade, investment or capital markets. Without it, Armenia will never become truly indepen-

9oc11 oir

!",igt$Irr ^t

dent. C e s ar J ac que s C hekij

ian

LivinRston, New Jersey Leters to the editors should be brief and include verifiable name, signature, address and daytime phone number. Mail letters to AIM P.O. Box 10793, Glendale, California g1 209-3793 or fax to

(818) 246-0088 Letters may be edited and/or condensed.

AIM, MARCH 1994


WE NEED DEDICATED YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN TO JOIN OUR VOLUNTEERS ON OUR 1994 SUMMER PROGRAMS

IN ARMENIA AND IN KESSAB

I9 9

m

l'

3

I

Frull treer donated by LCO to lhc vlllagerr of lladrara In lhe rummer ol 1993

The Land & Culture Organization (LCO) is now rccruiting volunteers to work on the land during our annual Summer hograms ranging from construction projercts, to help Armenian refugees resettle in Armenia, to renovating historic monuments, to earthquake rcconstruction work, and agricultural proiects.

Yourinvolvement

will entail4 weeks in fulyand/or August 7994.

Our efforts not only have directbenefits for Armenia,but they also deliver a profound and powerful psychological boost to native Armenians whose morale hasbeen shaken by a harsh

winter and current political events. Our two pro$am venues are Armenia proper and the Armenian villages around Kessab, Syria. Over the last 15 years, more than 500 LCO volunters ftom the U.S. Canada, Franc€, England Armenia and other countries have worked

'------_--.-]-_"_r,^_ YeS, I want to help the LGO 1994 Summer Programs applicatlon.

E

Please rush rn6 a btochura and wlunte€r O t can't go, but I would llk€ to subsldlze the cost of a \olunteer and help support Summ€r Programs. Pl€asa fonvatd your ch€ck wlth thls corpon to N.Y. address belfl.

O

$5o

tr

$1oo tr t2so

B

tsoo

O $1ooo tr

the

! i I

other

hand in hand with villagers on the land to assist the local population and to preserve our culture. The benefits to our heritagp are as important as they are to our volunteers.

Ifyou

are an able

bodied individual, Cnll:2L2 697-5822 i i North & S. America: 138 East 39th Sfeet, l,lew York, NY 10016. Eurcle, Asia, Austnlia: 16 Rue Notre Dame de Lorette, 75009 Paris. Call: 1437592-53 ! !L--------PLEASE RESPIO]ID BY APRIL 15,

1994

1ANII & GUTTURE ORGANEAIII|N

----J

dedicated, adaptable and willingto workon

our land,

WE NEED YOU.


ESONHH Laqgest dowry, in current French fialcs, paid by anArmenian king: 12 million, by Cilician Prince Torcs, 12th century, in marriage of his daughterArda to Baldwin I, King of Jerusalem

Percentage deerease in the number of auto accidents inArmenia between 1993 and 1992: 36

Number ofAbkfiazian families seeking refuge inArmenia nL993: 182 Number ofAzerbaijani embassies and missions abroad: 6 Number of Georgian embassies and missions: 9 Number ofArmenian embassies and missions: I 6 Azerbaijan's production of cnrde oil in 1993:10.55 million tons n 1994: 9.97 million tons US aid to Russia since fi scal 1992: $ I .78 billion; $3l2million; to U}raine: $ 1 83 million

to Armeni a:

Tirkish military budget in 1994: $6.3 billion AmountTurkey will spend fighting Kurdishrebels: $8.2 billion Total Ti*ish government budget for 1994: Ml billion Average monthly wage in Kyrgyzstan in January: about $16

inArmenia: about$2 Amount of military equipment allowedAzerbaijan by the Agreement on Conventional Forces in Europe: 220 tanks, 220 umoredvehicles, 285 artillery installations ; obtainedbyAzerbaijan nl992and 1993: 336 tanl6, 947 arrnorelvehicles, 387 artillery installations

Amountofmilitary

Number of Ernopean counffies where extrajudicial or possible exfiajudicial executions were reportedin 1992:6 (Tirkey, Croatia,Azerbaijan,Tajikistan, GeorgiaandYugostavia) Number of newspatrrrs circulated in 1990 per 1,000 population: inArmeni a, 468; inAustia 445; in the US, 255; in Israel, 357;nAznrbnjan,T3 Percentage ofArmenian-Americans willing to send their children toArmenian Day Schools: 55 percentif foreignborn;Z6perenntif US born AzsEkinttayastaniranraperuninEnbassies"nzafi

g1fr:trJffi#;ffi.?r&,.dffY;?:;##HI#:tPteaseAtmena6,lee4woildAtmanecaNBakol

AM,MARCH

1994


LEAHY COUREN.MAIL

&isbane

AUSTRALIA

DryBonee

AMMEF MENEN Vienna

ZilTUM

AUSTFIA

CAfirOo'f$S AID l$nERS SYI. IC

TE


CEASE.FTRE

TANGO On February 18, Russia's Defense Minister Pavel Grachev summoned Sergei Sargsian and Mametrafa Mametov, the defense ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan respectively, and Bako Sahakiari, the military representative of Karabakh, to Moscow to agree on a cease-fire protocol toward a peacefirl solution to the Karabakh conflict under Russian auspioes. In his opening remarks at the talks, Grachev statedin sftong terms thatMoscow considerdlthe ongoing warthemost important destabilizilrg factor in the Caucasus and that a military solution should not be banked on. The Russian document stipulated apermanent cease-fire to take effect on March 1, the retreat of warring forces and heavy artillery to pre-agreedpositions, and the creation of security zones where joint Armenian, Karabakh and Azerbaijani forces headedby the Russians will be deployed.

Soon after the signing

of the document, both

Karabakh and Azerbaijan retracted their signatures to the Russian-brokered cease-fue. This propelled Russia to send a peace-making team to the area, to ensure

its implementation. Colonel-General Georgi Kondratiev, Russian Deputy Defense Minister and President Boris Yeltsin's special envoy Vladimir Kazimirov arrived in Armenia on February 28 to conduct discussions aboutthis issue. After ameeting with the delegation, Sargsian said that the two parties had agreed on the importance of implementing the Russian docurnent. He also said that he had discussed the mat-

ter in a telq)hone conversation with Commander Samvel Babayan, the Defense Minister of Karabakh, who had guaranteedthathe would order a cease-fire if

Azerbaijani side also committedtodo the samp. OnMarch 1, the agreeddateforthebeginning of the cease-fire, Azerbaijani forces bombed Martuni and the

Hadrut in Karabakh. The Amrenian Defense Ministrv spokeman said that these attacks were to force a new situation on the terrain and to dictate newterms on the discussions. Seyran Ohanian, a commander of the

Karabaki Defense Forces, said that his forces had not responded to ttre fire buq if military operations were to coniinue, they wouldhave to defend themselves. After the arrival of the Russian delegation to Baku, the Azerbaijani govemmentfihally committed itself to the cease-fire. According to Karabakft Foreign Ministry sources, the latest A4erbaijani onslaught was meant to coincide with the CSCE Minsk group delegate lan Eliasson's visittci Baku. Russia's eagemesstoobtain a cease-fire before Eliasson's arrival in the area should also be seen interms of the competition between two

t2

AIM,MARCH 1994

peace brokers-the CSCE and the Russian government.

GarlneZeltllan

THECASPIAN SEA OILRUSH Aninteresting gameof oilpoliticsis currentlybeing played outintheCaspian Sea. This body of waterwhich

joins Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran, and Azerbaijan is redurfacing as an ecbnomically viable resource. Its oil and gas reserves have propelled Western oil companies to seek joint ventures with the republics that conffol its shores. These republics, in turn, bankon this Westem economi0 interestto acqfire muchneeded assistahcefortlieirown economic revitalization. However. more and more Western companies are resorting to government mediation in conditioning aid with the prerequisite to establish stabilty through political reform in order to protect their investrnents. Two cases in point are Kazalfistan and Azerbaijan. Kazakhstan' sPresidentNunultan Nazatbayev metwith US PresidentBill ClintononFebruary 14andsucceeded in obtaining $311 million in aid-+ompared to $91 million his country had received last year. In exchange, Nazarbayev pledged to promote nuclear divestiture and pirlitical reforms. Seventy US companies have already shown interest in Kazakh oil development and gas

pipeline constmction. In parallel developments, the Kazakhstan government has ordered

a

950 mw natural

gas-fueled power plant from a group that includes Germany's Siemens and the Turkish-US company United BMB, in exchange for assigning three undeveloped oil fields to the consortium as paymentforthe power plant's construction. Eager to benefit from this prospect, the Russian government is advocating the re-

habilitation of the pipeline iirfrastructure between Kazakhstan and the Black Sea, which includes a largediameter line that loops around the Caspian Sea from Kazakhstan's Tengizregion to Russia's BlackSeaport of Novorossysk. If the rebuilding plan is pursued, Chevron will become the Westem company with the most to gain as its 5G50 TengizChevroil joint ventrire with Kazakhstan depends on the construction of irn export pipeline. According to Platt's Oilgram News, Kazaklistan's crirdeproductionwilltop 80 milliontons per yearby 2005, once the vast reserves of the Caspian Sea are developedby the KazakhstanCaspiShelf (KCS) consortium, and the Karachaganakreserves for which the British Gas and Agip Partnership are negotiating come on line. In the meantime, the new Kazakfi parliament will seek to adopt foreign invesftnent, pefroleum andtaxationlaws that are so crucial to foreign investors. In similardevel@ments, Socar, theAzerbaijani state


oil compan1, successfully negotiated a $7 billion deawith aWestem consortium, comprised of BritishPetroleirm, Statoil, Amoco, Unocal, Pennzoil, Ramco, McDermott and Turkey's TPAO. According to Oilgram New s, the Russian oil company LUKoil is to take aone-third share ofthe Socarshare inthe exploration artd development of the offshore Caspian fields. tsefmehis anivalinlondononFebruary 22; President Gaidar Aliev of Azerbaijan had been urging Socar to

accelerate the negotiations with the bonsortium. Oilgrarn N ew sreports thatthe World Bankhas no plans to lend money to Azerbaijan to support development of Caspian Sea ciil reserves, because of the republic's ailocious human rights record.

G.Z.

FOVERTYPAYS, AFTER ALL Armenia became the first rqpublic of the Caucasus to receive a loan from the World Bank on February 1. The International DevelopmentAssociation (IDA), an affiliate of theWorldBan\ approved acreditof SDR 20. I

million ($28 million)

to

helpArmeniarecoverfrom

the 1988 eaitlquake. Thecreditis atthe standardlDA terrns with a maturity of 35 years and a grace period of 10 yean. Amrenia's Ministry of Economy will supervise the disbursementof funds. Inproposing Armenia' s request to the Board of Executive Directors, Basil Kavalsky, Director of the World Bank Country Deparfrnen!, praised the Arnienian govemment's efforts toundertakeeconomicreform andreminded the Board

of the Bank's standing coinmitment to assist in the rehabilitation of the Caucasus. h making its final decision, the Board took into cortsideration

that the impact of the earthquake had been further complicated by the dissolution of the SovietUirionin 199 1. the Karabakh conflict. and the blockade imposed

by

Azerbaijan

since

1989 which hampers

Amrenia's access to foreignaid.

In addition to the economic relief it brings IDA credit has immense political rArmenih. the

significance

as

well. Taking into consideration the fact

that democratization is a key prerequisite in the alloca-

tion of funds, this credit legitimizes the Armenian government's efforts in this arena as filr as Western observers are concerned. In the future, this may be used as a precedent to provide much-needed assistance to

Armenia by other international money-lending organizafions. The IDA creditwill enable the Armenian govemmentto provide improvedhousing andliving conditions to residents in the earthquake-stricken zone, to reconsffuct infrastructure which will supportjob development, and to help create a long-term program for the rehabilitation of the earthquake zone. Armenian authorities will be able to use the credit to complete unfinished apartments, repair and renovate damaged apartment buildings, finance land development and construction of serviced plots and starter houses for single families. The credit will also boost municipal services to the earthquake zone: provision of bathhouses for temporary housing areas, completion of selected water supply and sewerage subprojects in Spitak, Vanatsor and Stapanavan. Finally, the credit will provide technical assistance, haining, equipment and research for procurement and consffuction supervision, housing sector reform, regional development of the earthquake zone, andcompletion of factory shells for existing profitable industries in the area. Armenia hadjoined the World Bankin September, 1992 (GeorgSaand Azerbaijan had become members in August and Septemberof the same yearrespectively)

andthelDAin

1993.

ThelDAgivesloanstotheworld's

poorest countries; its requirement of eligibility is a

ACCEPTING THE GOODS:

Rouben Shugarian,

Armenid's Ambassador tothe US, signlng earthquake reconstruction agreement.


maximum annual percapitaincome of $805. In1992, Armenia was ranked as the ooorestcountfv of the former Soviet Union since is GNFpercapitawasestimated at $780. The February allocation was Armenia's secondloan

from the World Bank Group. The first was gfanted in

April of last year. G.Z.

A --PARTLY FREE''

GAFFE On January 2

1,

the firstTurkish telecommunications

satellite,TurksatlA, failedtotake off. Thismishap was amajorblow to Turkey's plans to use telephone to fill its Treasury andto shengthen its influence in the Turkicspeaking republics of the former Soviet Union. Turksat

ARMENIA

was built by France's Aerospatiale and Alcatel and Germany'sMBB.

Freedom House, a Washington, DC-based human rights organization, has recently published its 1993-94 Comparative Survey of Freedom, a report that ranks countries and territories erritories around the world according to promoting or vrol theirtrack record ln merruacK in promonng violating political rights and civil liberties. Based on a two-tier checklist of criteria, the survey evaluates individual rights and freedoms rather than rating govemments orconstitutionsperse. The checklistof political rights gauges the de-

Telecommunication conftol over Eurasia, state security, and economic growth were some of the goals Turkey pursued through the $480 million satellite project. Turksat was supposed to reach 60 million people in Turkey, two million Turks living in Europe, and atleast50million speakers of Turkic languages in theMddleEast, theBalkans, andCennalAsia. Turksat

greeofchoiceindividualsenjoyinshaping thenature of theirpolitical system and its leadership, while the civil liberties list determines the extent of personal autonomy and freedom ofexpression. Applying these rules of thumb to the record of each state orterritory, the survey then rates political rights and civillib-. erties perforuranceonal-7 scale, I being the best. The scale is finally used to nanow down the countries and territories of the world into three categories: "free," "partly free" and "not free." Armenia andtherestof theformer So' vietrepublics havebeenevaluatedinthe Freedom House survey since I 99 I . This

year Armenia is categorized as "partly free" and gets ratings of 3 and 4 on political rights and civil liberties, respectively.

Therepublic'srankingstands atslightlyhigherthan

in previous yeats. Georgia, Russia, Turkey Aze$aijan are also categorized

and

"partly free," with Azerbaijan ranking a 6 on both political rights and civil liberties, while Karabakh, evaluated separately as a territory, is considered "not free," ranking a 7 in both as

categories.

Whichcountries getthebestscore?TheUS, forone thing, which is categorized as "free" andboasts aperfect score by both checklists.

Aylin Bahartan

t4

TURKEY'S OUTERSPACE

AIM, MARCH 1994

would have provided Turkey with a direct access to the Central Asian republics where Ankara wants to con-

solidateitsinfluence, atatimewhen theregionisbeing "discovered" by European investors. In 1991, the state-owned Turkish company, Netas, installeddigital swirches in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, offering them a highly subsidized international connection venue in retum for Turkish control over the enterprise. The following year, Turkey's state tele-

communications company, PTT, installed satellite dishes in each ofthese republics at no charge, with the service fee to be paid by income collected from calls. The arangementwas forall calls to go to Ankaraflrst, where they would be redirected according to the customer's request. This system currently uses an international communications satellite called Intelsat. Turksat was supposed to free Turkey from its reliance onthe limitedspace allocatedto iton Intelsat andto route

all telephone billing revenue from the former Soviet Union to Turkey. Moreover, Turksat was expected to earn $ I billion within the next decade by leasing transmitten at$2.58-M.45 million each ayear. As theownerofthe first satellite overEurasia, Turkey hoped the space program will leapfrog the county's political and geographic consfraints. PTT officials told *is Reuters that Turksat an exfremely important step. Satellites are idealforTurkey as itis a large, mountainous counfiy where cable and radio links me tricky to set upandmaintain." Turkey punued sftategic objectives as well, espe-

ciallyin

the contextof its delicate, if nottense, relations

with its neighbors-Creece, Bulgaria, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Georgia and Armenia. PTT international relations deputy manager Fahri Ozsoy had told Reuters that fighting can cutinternational communication as ithas


done in the former Yugoslavia, "and othercounfries can black out many forms of linkage during political disputes. Satellites are susceptible to none ofthese problems." Twksatwas to obtain its transmission orders in code in order to prevent interception by control centers on the ground. In announcing Turksat's January launching date, Turkey's Transport Minister Mehmet Kostepen had said, "We have made great progress in telecoms in the past two years. Turksat is a consolida-

tion." G.Z.

IN LIEU OFTHE MEDAL Armenia's flag flew high at the Winter Olympics at Lillehammer, Norway. So did the spirits of the Armenian athletes in the team. Their stories are uniquewhether they came from Armenia or New England. Two second-generation Armenian-Americans, Ken Topalian, 30, of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and Joe Almasian, 26, from Framingham, Massachusetts, participated in the Armenian team. Theirs is a fascinating tale of coincidence, luck, discipline, dedication, will power and self-assumed service to Armenia. Neither athletehadbeen in abobsled until two years ago when the idea was fint proposed to them. They were discovered during the 1992 Armenian Olympics, held annually onLaborDay, by Paul Varadian, a directorof these games and a former member of the United States Bobsled Federation. Encouraged by Varadian to go to

I,illehammer, they immediately left for Calgary,

bobsledding school with athletes from Ireland, Japan, Greece, Trinidad and Tobago, and American Somoa. The Armenian athlestes picked the Canada, to enroll in

a

bobsled because it was the easiest way to get Armenia into the Olympics. In order to qualify, they needed to

satisfy three criteria: practice or compete on three dif. ferent fiacks; compete in five competitions; and compile 20points on eitherthe European orAmericanCup circuit, both of which are a step below the World Cup level. For two years, they trained regularly in Lake Placid, New York. They paid all expenses, some $20,000, themselves. They then obtained dual citrzenship and qualified since their grandparents were bom in Armenia. In November 1993, they qualified for the Olympic team at an event in Calgary. Topalian was the

driver, Almasian the brakeman. Even though they placed 36ttr,justahead of sixothernations, Topalian and Almasian said they will remember the beginning: "In the opening ceremonies, to walk out of the tunnel into

the stadium behind the Armenian flag, while 50,000 people are screaming for you-words can't express the

feeling." Another Armenian story fromlillehammeris Arsen

Aroutiounian's, amember of the Armenian teamfrom Armenia. He practiced in the most dire circumstances: the lack of heat at home, the lack of gasoline to drive anywhere, the lack of elecficity which meant no working ski lift. Despite these difficulties, he trained everyday. He'd pick up the skis he bought two years ago for $120-more than three year's pay for his physical education teacher-he then would climb 120 yards up the village'ssnowboundmountain... in 15 minutes, andthen ski down. He would repeat the exercise 20 times each day. However, Olympic offrcials told him he could not participate, determining that he was not one of the top 60 skiers. This crushed the young Armenian who had "dreamed of the Olympics all my life." However, residents of his village miraculously received three hours of electricity and watched him come out of the tunnel into the stadium holding Armenia's fl ag.

G.Z. ALMOST MADE lT: The Armenian Olympic team in Lillehammer, left and top.

AIM,MARCH 1994

l5


RETHINKING GHURGH ANDNATION By SALPI HAROUTINIAN

GHAZARIAl{

ith Armenia's independence came high expectations for the speedy elimination of political differences and divisions in the Diaspora, and especially in the church. Threeyears later, the sidesremainas

distant and confrontational as ever. The church is still divided. So are discussions about unity. The two sides have engaged in the process, each side through its own commiffee, for nearly half a century. Still, no unified Unity Committee exists where direct dialogue can take place. The individual committees of the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Church of North America (affrtated with the See of Cilicia, based in Antilias, I*banon) and the Eastem Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church of North America (affiliated with the See of

Ejmiatsin, based in Armenia) occasionally meettogether.

"Armenian independence did help to cut some of our problems, like the issue of the color of the flag," is the sardonic observation of Nazareth Emlikian, a member of the Prelacy' s Unity Committee. StartedinNew York, the unity movement does not seemtohavebeen moved by either thepolitical euphoriaof independence northe resultant warm and conciliatory relationship between the two heads of the Armenian

church--{atholicos

of All

Armenians.

Vazgen I of Ejmiatsin and Catholicos Karekin

IIof Cilicia. Whatmayhavebegunas agenuineattempt toclose an explosive andhighly emotionalrift does not seemtohavebenefitedfromchanged circumstances. This has been most pronounced on the West Coast of the US, where the Diaspora's largest community does not partake in any discussions about unity. Recentjoint appearances by both the Diocesan and Prelacy heads on an ARF-sponsored telethon forKarabakh

may pointto the beginnings of a thaw.

Although the two Catholicoi have blessed the idea of unity, 'ttrey are leaving the detail to the geographic areas to resolve. This mat-

Ejmiatsin and Antilias. In form, it was religious and ecclesiastical but, in essence, political circumstances were the dominant fac-

ter must be resolved internally," explains Emlikian. That's where the problems begin. Internally, there are decades of passionate confrontation and mudslinging which still weigh in more heavily than the Cold War's demise andArmenia's birth as an independent state. "Independence didn't hurt the process, but itdidn'tchangeltmuch, either," accordingto Rt. Rev. KrikorMaksoudian, Directorof the Krikor and ClaraZohrab lnformation Center

tor. In orderto pursue its anti-Sovietpolicy and

at the Diocese. "Rapprochementbetrveen the sides and the Catholicoi hadbegun along time

ago. It did not start with independence. The dialogue between the Sees on the issue of church unity inNorth Americahadbegun in 1945, stopped in 1948 because ofthe Cold

War, and, the second phase, which continues today, began in1969." It was with the assassination of Archbishop Ghevond Tourian in New York in 1 933 thatthe political roots of the problem were hansplanted to the rehgious stage. Tourian's refusal to accept the Armenian fticolor fl ag was claimed as the reason for the assassination for which the Annenian

sfiengthen its position, the ARF took confiol ofthe Cilician See so that the ecclesiastical

organization could become

a

support mechanism for the execution of the party's

policies." As an extension of the simplistic "antiSoviet therefore anti-Armenia" versus "proArrrenia whatever its form" argument, which definedthe political debate in the Diaspora for decades, churches andparties quicHy became synonymous. The ARF's apparentcontinued confiolovertheCilician Seemovedthe other political parties to exert greater influence on Ejmiatsin to balance the powerequation. And the situation continues. As one highly-placed cleric observed, "No one wants tochangetheunity situationhere, although the raison d'efre for the division is sone."

-+-"1.!rt:i

Revolutionary Federation (ARF) was

irl'

blamed. The resultant political and social tension caused the emergence of aparallel religious structure. The complex situation which exists today was formalized when, intheheatoftheColdWarwiththe help of the United States, the ARF maneuvered into a position of power over ilre Cilician See and encouraged a confronta-

l:,!

tional stance toward the Soviet-based Mother See in Ejmiatsin, including an expansion of Cilicia's influence beyond the historical boundaries of its jurisdiction, and formally incorporating those North American churches (see map). lndeed, what onthe surface appears to be a religious split has, at its core, fundamental political differences. In an inter-

view with AIM (see box), His Holiness Vazgenlexplainedthedivision: "Politics was at the root of the conflict between AIM,MARCH 1994

,t;


church because its bylaws give power to lay participation. Since the 1820s, the Ejmiasin Church has been governed by a synod arrangement which places dominant power with the bishops. I would guess that until that is changed, the ARF would resist merger." While the parties are blamed for their attempts to preserve their power bases in the Diaspora, itis ttre ARFthatcomes in for most

of the

passionate and howling criticism,

a complex, political game. However,beyondtheclich6turnednuism

come

of party control, there are sometimes subfle, sometimes overt expressions of clerics and church councils rebelling against and oufright rejecting the heavy-handed encroachment of political parties in church affairs. It is tough to find church orparty leaders willing to go on record on issues ofchurchparty relations. "When party members are

His Holiness Karekln ll In Antllias, far left; Hls Holiness Vazgen I in Ejmiatsln, left; the Cathollcoi in Zangezul, above.

whereas the Armenian Democratic Liberal Paay's (ADL) clinging to the communities

duly elected to church boards and wish to

andchurches inits sphere of influence seems

closest one gets to an acknowledgment

tobe takenforgranted.

pmtyinfluence. In spite of the symbiotic relationship between church and party which has, the ARF

These differing premises ofpower are atthe heartoftheproblem. Thefeelingonthehelacy side is thatthese negotiations are among equals seeking a new status. At the Docese, however,

there is the conviction ofundisputed historic right. In talking aboutthe unity process, these conffadictory approaches are clearly reflected. In orderforunityto take place,'ttrcPrelacy

wouldbeeliminated, andtheEastemDiocese ndeed, the collapse

would be one Diocese," says Maksoudian. It is not these differences that are seâ&#x201A;Źn as the problem, however. Instead, it is the ARF

of communism

seems tohave eliminated the reason for the intâ&#x201A;Źrnal sbrggle, butthe struggle has

that is regarded as the obstacle to progress to-

wardunity.

taken on a new spirit. The Diasporapolitical parties have moved to the independent homeland and engaged in a natural quest for

Nubar Dorian, former chairman of the Diocese Unity Committee, echoes the feelings of many. "The ARF doesn't want unity, becauseitwill lose its power. ff tomorrow the ARF wanted unity, it would happen the next

power there and increasingly relied on the Diaspora power base which they had cultivated through their own political and organizational stuctures-andrespectivechurches. There is no doubt that the preservation

day."

of

FortheDiocese side, the discussions about churchunity invariably come to ahaltwiththe invocation of the ARF's name as a bigger-

power is clearly a universal concern. Ac-

cording

to Khachig T0l0lyan, editor of

Diaspora,'"The ARF has a stake in continuing the way of governance of the Antilias

,

than-life, all-powerful, manipulative, uncompromising shadow player in what has be-

AIM.MARCH 19%

servethecommunity,thatistheirright," isthe

of

building of shong communities with healthy and active institutions, there is the institutional hierarchy ofthe churches themselves to be reckoned with. There are power bases to be protected and turf to be defined. The church clings to its preeminentrole as national institution andto thehistoric role ofclergy as leaders ofthe nation. As such, neither political party nor the state can easily push them aside. *What I don't know is whether there have been two-track negotiations, between the clergy themselves. After all, Antilias must chafeunderthepressureofthelaity, whoever theymaybe, notjusttheARF. Towhatextent are Antilias clergy perhaps conducting double ftack negotiations, indeed willing to become part of a more clerically confrolled system like Ejmiatsin, in ieturn for a share of the power, is an interesting question," explains Tololyan. Furthermore, "this is not like the merger of corporations. You, are not dealing with businessmen. There are sentiments, feelings, has argued, fostered the


to be considered. Real estate is involved." continues Maksoudian.

hereas

the Soviet regime

made every effort to subdue the church and undermine its influence among the people, the current administration will certainly be interested in developing church-state relations which promote the policies of the adminis-

tration.

"I assume that whoever controls Armenia

will try to co-opt

the church for his purposes

:

noonewhoknowsArmenia'spastandpresent and the Diaspora's continued attachment to the church can afford to neglect ways of controlling and using the church. Even in the days of Armenian kings, everything in our history points to the king trying to use the church, andthechurchtryingtousetheroyalty

nobility," observes Ttiltilyan. "All homeland governments seek ways of

and

confrolling thetdiasporas. Whetherthe ruling

administration is the Armenian National Movement or the ARF, it will seek ways of reaching the elite institutions of the Diaspora," he continues.

Forneady 40 years, the communistregime mandated a merely symbolic role for the church, but to his credit, Catholicos Vazgen I was able to balance between the expectations of the communists and the ftaditional aspirations of the nation. Those who have known Yazgen Catholicos say that he prefers to be

thoughtofnot as courageous, but as resilient. Indeed, well-known and long-admired by church watchers as a masterfully flexible player with the hardest of Soviet officials, today, as head of a newly-emergent church, he is faced with completely new challenges. First, there is the purely spiritual work whichneeds tobedone inArmeni4 within the CIS, and even in the Diaspora. The influx and success of cults within Armenia in the last several years have highlighted the religious vacuum which is waiting to be filled-and fhus far the Arrnenian Apostolic Church has not made significant inroads. Constitutionally, there is the relationship between church and state which will have to

How will an ostensibly religious people that have historically looked to the

be defined.

church for national guidance combine its Western secular outlook with tradition and forge new

policy?Afteralong

absence,

how

will the church retum to its role of national institution, even within the framework of separation ofchurch and state? Internationally, active participation in the

ecumenical community affords yet another

political opportunity for a nation with few visible internationally recognized assets. Regionally, the realmof Eastem Orthodoxy is ripe for entry by an Arrnenian Church with solid Western contacts. Finally, there is the obvious challenge of fostering unity fora coordinated Diaspora. Certainly, the next Catholicos will have

lifeof Armenia and Diaspora. While itis difficultto speakpublicly of the aging of a loved and popular church leader whohascometorepresentthenation'sinstinct for survival and endurance through trying times, it is imperative that the period of ransitionbetweentheend of his historic reign and thebeginning ofthe nextbecome the subject of consideration and debate. Ironically, those who object most to such special significance in the

public discussions have already begun to engage in quiet political maneuvering to determine who will lead the Armenian Church into the fourth millenniumof Armenian his-

tory. There are several obvious and not-so-obvious candidates. In fact, all of the more than 40bishops and archbishops ofthe Armenian Apostolic church, within either See, can be nominated. A simple majority of the National Ecclesiastical Council elects the Catholicos. Delegates to the Council consistof one-third clerics and two-thirds lay members, elected at the Diocesan level within Ejmiatsin's jurisdiction, on a representational vote based on every 25,000 population. The Cilician See participates with two delegates. The best-placed among the candidates is the Chancellor of the Catholicosate, Nerses Archbishop Bozabalian. The senior cleric,

nearing 60 years of age, is an insider to Ejmiatsin. Althoughheworkscloselywiththe Catholicos, he is not considered a favorite. Other local prelates considered in the running include the head of the Diocese of Shirak, Bishop Krikoris Buniatian, 45, considered among the more ambitious of the newly visible clergy. His peer, the Prelate of

the Ararat Diocese, Archbishop Karekin Nersesian, is said to be supported by the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) andthe ADL. Another ADl-backed candidate is the

helate of Artsakh, Bishop

Barkev

Martirosian, who is highly visible in the Diaspora and Armenia, due to his active role the

in the self-determination struggle of

people of Mountainous Karabakh, during which he has shown passion and corffnifrnent. Ofcourse, there are the seniorprelates of

the

Diaspora. Archbishops Torkom

Manoogian, Pafriarch of Jerusalem, and formerly head of the Eastern Diocese of North America, and Vatche Hovsepian, head of the

Western Diocese in North America, with many years of experience administering Armenian-American churches and communities, are simultaneously quite popular and quite confroversial. It is difficult to imagine

theheadsofthetwomostchargedanddivided regions taking on the role of Catholicos of All Armenians. And even if they could put aside their experiential baggage, it would be tough for ttre public to sidestep its own accumulated

perceptions. Given the challenges facing the next patriarch of the world's oldest Christian church, Karekin II, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia, appea$ the natural candidate, given his background, vision, charisma and proven organizational skills. At the same time, he is politically the most unacceptable due to his position as the head ofthe Cilician See. The election rules make it unlikely that delegates from the Diocesan assemblies will electtheheadoftheCilician SeeasCatholicos of All Armenians. He stands a chance only if


DIALOGUES FR{)MTHEGREAT DIVIDE VAZ:GEN I Interview by ARTEM SARGSIAN AIM: Didn't you have to be a skill-

ful diplomat in order to success. fully steer national-spiritual life

thrcugh political upheavals ouer a period of more than three and a half decadesof Gommunist rule? ]lts I{OLINESS VAZGEN l: I don't think that I'm a diplomatic person, because no matterwhatl'vedone, saidorwritten, I've always been sincere. In my opinion, the best

diplomacyforaclergymanis sincerity-and sometimes the audacity to act sincerely. Ihave always been sincere in the course of my activity here duringthe Sovietperiodbutl have also remained silentin many situations, having understood that more was not possible. In my work" I have kept within the bounds of that

ditions in such a way as to prevent it from sinking." During my reign as Catholicos under communistrule,I, too, tried to follow his ex-

which was permitted, thereby accomplishing what was most possible.

There's another principle which I've learned from Malachia Ormanian, who was Patriarch of Constantin-ople from 1 896- 1908

ample andderive

r'There #iil*"?ff i)"if,T; is no longer '{:'f^;#^'T"::lP; any neasolr-

31ffi'#ffll',iitrJ, ffi

HT'#JL,1?'TJ:T pol

itical

Of natiOnalpolicy as follows: "Every fOf US moment, our ship of state r r rs rn cianger or oe,ng nOt tO

reality,thatisexactlywhat he was. He described his

as

muchbenefitas possible

in order to defend our church's interests and improve ecclesiastical life. I am not deceiving

ffil1fr:if#*ffi',rf,fi: to carry out ecclesiastical scale.

work on a large

Manyofourchuichesand monasteries (the Mother See included) were in a state of semi-ruin. I be-

haved quite fearlessly and did not sing the praises of the regime or the leaders of that period, neitherhere nor during my trips abroad. I admit that I was

ll3,lffi cooperate.tt

*ff,'#t""rt,'J" sea. My task was not to

calm the storm that had swelled flre

seas-that

I

wasbeyondmypowers-rather. Iattempted lobligedtobearfful.Andinallfairness,Imust to navigate our ship under those stormy con- | say that I met communists who understood

rvhilbthe$eeof suQiect to Turkish

domination.

tlrc Unitcd


ofthepast.

I(AREKIN II

What is your undorstanding of the church:state issFe?

ANd ISHKIIAN JINBASHIAN

ters. I no longer find that there's any reason for either of us to be guided by the mcntality

Interview by SALPI HAROUTINIAI{ GHAZARIAN

I thinkrqlations between the church and the govemmentarequitenormal. Iunderstand

that the Arrnenian Apostolic Church is anational church, and that the government defendsuswithinthe limits ofthelaw. Iarnvery pleased and consider it my obligation as Catholicos to support the independent gov-

enrment of Armenia. The issue is not one of persons, or political parties for that mattgr; rather, it is one of government or statehood. One of the historic ideals of the Armenian Church has been the realization of ttrc political independence of the Armenian people. The church, in turn, was able to maintain the concept of independence and of self-awareness for centuries; in effect, it was able to maintain that spiritual independence as well, during bottr tlrc periods of Persian and Tsarist rule.Andnow, w.henourpeople and our government exist in conditions of independence, . we are seeing our church's dream realized even more completely, so we are endeavoring to support our govemment with ourfeeble forces in these very difficult and hard times.

llow hac tho matteroJ propaletion of priests been handled over the decader? Don't you feel the lieck of new rccruits? Unfortunately, ourrecruits are quite few in number. We didn't think that there would be $ucha suddenchange. Duringthe p'revious

regime, the preparation of new priests was limitedby law. We could only have 20 students. Working churches were few in number (altogether 20-25 churches and monasteries). Now, however, if we wish, we can open all the monasteries and churches ; many ofthem have opened already. The existing cler-gy are notsufficient, andthrcrearen't any abroad, unfortunately, whom we can adopt. Norrwehave 10G 120 studentshereand atthe serninary on the Sevan peninsula. We' re preparing new priests buttheir education is avery difFrcult task, requiring at least six years. It's

beenbarelytwoyears since we started. Presently we fi ni ounelves in a tight situation fr om thatpointof view. Butwe are hopefrrl that we shall soon fullill our plans. We shall establish anewcenterintheMotherSee-aChris$an resources center to govern, direct, and improve the work of propagating the Christian faithmore extensively among ourpeople, as well as to stop the spreadofvarious sectarian, even non-Christian, creeds thathave invaded the country. Frankly, I'm amazed at how Armenians-possessorc of a centuries-

oldspiritualculhre-arefollowing such sects as those. That doesn't bring honor to our people. Tranelated from tlrc Armenian by Aris

9evag. 22

Allft WIth Armenia's

indepen-

dence, mort Diacpora institutions

have entered a podod of reassessment and eelf-reckoning. Where does the Ghurch stand in this process? HIS HOLIIIESS XABEKII{ lh Inaddition to its spirinral and moral mission, the ArmenianChurchhas, throughout ourhistory, also played a fundamentally national role. Ours is a 'hational" church, that is to say, an institution that is totally at the service of the nation. Now that we have recovered our independence, when the Republic of Armenia is in the process of consolidating its resources and sftuctures. ttre church

must stand, with all its mears,by the side ortr,'

newly born, or reborn, nepuutic and direcr

Gan we talk about these chal. lenges? As in most countries of the former Soviet

Union, Armenia seems to have become a virgin land for the penetration of all sorts of cults andreligious sects. Ourpounbry is not a tabula rasa, a clean slate for religious experimentation. Ihadbeen to SovietArmenia threetimes andtherelhadseen,withmyown eyes, the faith alive-not openly expressed, not publicly practiced, yet deeply present in the hearts of the people who experienced this inner agony of notbeing able to give Angible, concrete expression to theirfaith. We have to

rebuild that faith which emerges from our history. We have to give it a more corporeal expression, a more orga-

rfllllGt[e gQt

iti tO gO OUt,

whole missiontowards the

formation of the kind of people which will be an

issetrorttrereconsn'crion orindependeptArmenia'

meet the

peOple in ingii homes,

their "'Ift:"ltlil5,l3 the resoulce$ of Anririas wtrh rhose

ofEjmiatsin?

Frstanotoremoslme church itself has to go

workshops, r - rrIn lne

Village$, in structuring; not to alter actual structures and sys- the CitigS"t tems, but to improve the

throughakindorinnerri-

education of the clergy and to elucidate what I call the Concept of the Apostolic. Whatis the particular mission of the clergy? I think this is at the crux ofthe new order. Therefore, collaboration between all the hierarchical Sees of the Armenian Church is of top priority at this time. We have to engage ounelves in a process of consultation, cooperation and exchange of experiences with an open-hearted approach. We must stop thinking selfishly of this See or that See, since all of them, are paft andparcel of the one undiwided and indivisible church. Adminisfrative differences and conflicts of jurisdiction in the church have always been there. But the Armenian Church has, throughout history, over-come these obstacles with a basic sense and consciousness ofbeing one and inseparable.

Now is the time to re-create the infrasfiucture of our church in order to meet the spiritual challenges facing ourpeople, especially in the motherland. AIM.MARCH 1994

nized manner of operation for the benefit of the spiritual and national life of our country. The church has to go beyond opposing or condemning thenew sects and cults. It must till the field.

ln practical

telms, how do you till that spiritual field?

Our clergy have to redefine theirpublic role. No

more waiting for to come to

people

the the

church. The church. the churchmen harre to go to the people. This is the out-

reach, outgoing type of mission that we have

to undertake. Seventy years of Soviet rule have surely left amarkontheattitudesofboth the clergy and the people, we have to eman-

cipate ourselves from that inherited apathy. We've got to go ouI, meet the people in their homes,theirworkshops, inthevillages, inthe cities.

Wemust also develop acertainpolicy on Christian literature and means of communication and education. I'm talking about audio-visual material. books and other media which will help relate the Christianfaith to the existential condition of the people and the problems they live with. And, finally, we must reorient ourselves along the path of fiue social service-not only words, not only preaching or visiting, but helping in concrete ways. However, we shouldneverdo socialworkasremedybutas

encouragement

of the individual's and

community's efforts. Youhavetorespectthe person and respecting the person is not

only


expressed by giving him food and medicine butby enablinghimtohelphimseH, tobecome seH-reliant.

It is from this perspective that the organization took note of the Armenian Genocide and in 1983 made a resolution and published a

vey to the Christian world the true and authentic image of the Armenian Church and nation, because so far we have been inter-

What you eay makes such

booklet under the title of The Continuing Tragedy-which, incidentally, turned out to be one of the bestpresentations of Armenian culture in international circles.

preted through either the Armenian Catholics or the Armenian Evangelicals or others. W9 have nothad directaccess totheintemational Christian scene. Personally, I have beenvery

Unlted Stater? The activitles and

Similarly, when Karabakh erupted, the World Council of Churches responded with sensitivity, trying to address the question fairly while notin such away thatits efforts would

people'r daily lives that what you aro proposing ls nothing short of rovolutlonary.

be interpreted by the Azeri people in terms of religious prejudice. In addition, several World Council of Churches delegations have gone to Armenia and Azerbaijan to become more closely acquainted wittr the roots of the conflict and they

much involved in The World Council of Churches. For 14years, Iwas amemberofthe Executive Council and the Cenftal Committee, and for the last seven ofthose 14 years I

simple aenae. That is what Ghris.

tlanity has preached and that ls what our ehurch hae traditionally done, particularly In the tiddle East. 3o what happened in the

the mirsion of the Armenian Ghurch In Amedca seem to haye gone to lan from impacting

served as vice-moderator

ls unitywith Ejmiatsin at hand?

Are we on a path of conc;ete steps in that direction? Or are we living a kind of parallel existence?

thinkthere aretworeasons forthis. tlp US, church and nation are so separated. Many of the social functions that I referred to are assumed bythe sate becausethis is awelfare state !o a large extent. The otherreason is thatthe Armenian Church in this country has become so involved in the preservation ofnational identity thatthe social dimension has all butreceded from its mission. I

Ibelieve we areon apath. And by unity I mean an organic kind of unity and not only unify of spirit. Having the last 500 years of church

One is that, in

I ask myself, philosophically, why we should have the sortof administative diversity that we've had in our church? The only answer I can think ofis that the church has to adapt its service to the local and changing geographical, linguistic, political and social conditions of the people. You cannot have a monolithic type of service when history in mind,

ls what you have iuet said perlrapc an explanation for why the church throughout the Dlerpora has articulated pollcies on natlonal matters and not gocial lcsuee sueh as abortion, homosexuality, di. vorceandAIDS?

the conditions of the people' s fives in Armenia and the Diaspora ale so

different from one another.

The unity of the Armenian Church is not only a unity of spirit, but aunity of church order, dogma, liturgy and the kind of hierarchical system in which unity is expressed by the coming together of all these

You are right in saying that the church has not sufficiently and adequately concerned itself with social problems. This is how I see it: as a church, wedohavetobeconcernedwith moral principals, but are we really entitled to go into such details or techni-

diverse administrations.

man being the Catholicos of Citcia, we would have ideal unity. We are trying to reach such a stage in which the haned and mis-

cialpolicy. Thechurchisnotascientific center but it respects the freedom of

wellknowninthe

world as an institution that gives orrecognizes freedom of thought, and we don't impose on our followers dogmatic principles onp'ra.cticalissues such as abortion orhomooexuality. We have not come up with any official declaration or statement on this or that social issue, although, conceivably, we might give certain "directives" orrecommendations.

What about political issuo$, es.

peclally tholo which you have brcught up in the context of The World Gouncll of Ghurches?

The World Council of Churches is not a

politicalbody, butitis concerned withpolitical matlers thathave bearing on human rights.

If

we could have one Ecclesiastical National Council, the Chairman of which being the Catholicos of all Armenians and the second Chair-

calities which the church has neitherthe capacity nor the means of addressing ? We cannot repeat the mistakes of the Middle Aies when the church almost superseded the State and legislated so-

science. Ourchurchis

of both bodies.

il/lxmiH8ilx

havemadenotonlypublic statements butalso extended help to the victims of the war.

What is the import of out lrtâ&#x201A;Źtrr. bership in The Wodd Gouncil of

Ghurches?

The World Council of Churches is a quorum of churches. It's not a supra-church, nor an authority above the member churches. By actively participating in the organization, our church will gain two benefits: first, our church will be more integrally and directly in communionwithwhatisbeingdone andachieved in different countries. Secondly, it's an excellent opportunity and means for us to con-

AIM.MARCH 1994

undentandings can be dispelled so that the vision of one church with one organic expression can be

achieved. Today, when people are so distrustful of one another, it would be an artificial actto come togetherifyou don'tprepale the ground. The collaboration of the two Catholicoi is not an end in itself, but a step towards a better country and a more integral expression ofthe unity ofthe church.

So

the Ecclesiastical llational

Gouncil is, in

towards...

a way, an

intedm step

... It is the expression ofchurch unity, an organic expression in which the clergy and the laity participate fully. Our church is a church

ofthepeople.

I

23


-

ENGLISH HOURS Levon Ter Petrossian Gets the Royal Tt'eatment By SALPI IIAROUTINIAN GHAZARIAN PHOTOS BY EDIIOND TERAKOPIAN

he British Foreign Office Media Services officers who had worked together

with the Armenian Embassy in the UK to organize President Levon TerPetossian's visit atthe inviation of Her Majesty's Gov-

emment were visibly surprised. "It is interesting that so many reportgs came," one of them said. 'They don' tuzually come. I gwss this is all new to them, too."

It was new to everyone in-

A medievalist turned president, still uncomfortable with the formal nappings of his position, Ter Petrossian stood stiffly alongside a media+onvolved.

scious Archbishop of Canterbury

who grinned for the cameras. IJter, TerPetrossian, onbehalf of "our Armenian allies in the last

a red-blue-orange wreath on the Tomb of the Unwar," laid

known Wanior in Westminster Abbey, as Japanese tourists milledaround. Armenia's Ambassador to the

UK, Armen Sarkissian, repeatedly pointed out during the February8to I I visitthatthismarked the finttime in 600 years that an Armenian head of state visit€d

Great Britain. No doubt King Levon V's retinue in 1385 was larger. The 1994 delegation included First Lady Lucine Ter Petrossian, First Deputy Prime Minister Vigen Chitechian, State Minister Sebuh Tashj ian, Foreigt

Minister Vahan Papazian, Fi-

nance Minister Barkhudarian, Chief AIM,MARCH 1994

Levon

of

Staff

_.


i

Shahen Karamanukian, Armenia' s

Ambassador

to the US

Shugarian, Armenia' to the UN,

s

Rouben Ambassador

AlexanderAnoumanian,

Dr. RadikMartirossian, President

of

Yerevan State University. Seven

journalists from Armenia representing the hesident's press office, Armenian Television and its news program, Lraper, the newspapers Azg and Hayas tani Hanrapetutiun also accompanied ttrc delegation.. Just days after reports that British mercenaries maybe involved on

the Azeri side in the conflict over Mountainous Karabakh, and knowing full well that three short weeks later PrimeMinister John Major was to meet with Azerbaijan' s hesident Gaidar Aliev, TerPetossian ried to press Britishofficials andnews media to commit to peace-forthe sake of a healthy economy (remember

Britishoil interests?) if not forlives. Following talks with British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd, a luncheon at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and a visit to Parliament during the raucous Prime Minister's Question Time-where he couldn't help but wonder atthe behavioral similarities betrpeen Armenian and British parliamentarians-Ter Petossian, who had spent his former life at the

Matenadaran, Armenia's Manuscript Library, visited the British Library and Museum, and Cambridge Univenity. "Itis customary forheads of state tobetakento culturalcenters and these two sites were chosen at TerPeffossian'srequest "explained the Foreign Office representatives, who togetherwith Embassy saff and volunteers from the Armenian community coordinated nearly 100 private and public meetings.

Itwasafirstforthe Armeniancommunity of the UK as well. Dozens joined political scientists and analysts to listen to the President's address at the Royal Institute of Intemational Affairs,

at

Chatham House, one

Gothic sanctuary; a teen-age girl cried along with her teary-eyed father, and a patient wellbundled baby and his youngish parents all

strainedforalookattheofficialentourageand "the President of all Armenians"-as they

the analysis of international issues. Hundreds more came to attend the Benefit Concert for the Children of Armenia, fea-

called him--on the last night of his stay. Wherejust two days earlier the Armenian

turing world-renowned artists.

with Queen Elizabeth II, this audience sang the old, familiar Mer Hairenik tentatively,

Over 800 greeted Ter PeEossian at St. Peter's

haltingly, almost uncertain of their part in this new order.

of the world's leading institutes for

ArmenianChurchinLon-

entered Buckingham Palace for theiraudience

The hesident was preceded and followed

by community leaders whose emotional

don.

A grandmother,

sup-

ported by her daughter and

granddaughter, climbed onto a church bench in this cavernous, fipezing mock-

AM.MARCH

national anthem had rung clearly by Her Majesty's Guard as President and Fint lady

1994

speeches featured a record number of dictionary adjectives, and a program that did not dare leave outtherequisite musicalnumbers,

demonstrating that all is changed, and noth-

ingischanged.

I


THESCARSI DISENCHAN TErTANDPHOTOSBY

ltAlilKoNnil

vosKAN

33lif I I

Ir#*",i,Txfl:;1,'trffi'J

impotent in two or three years,"

saysAshotTavakalian,headof

1.5 kg of raw powder, which would have pro-

duced 1 million ampules. The scientists had

theNarcotics and Narcotics Sales Deparfrnent

received laboratory-

of Armenia's Interior Ministry. This might appeartobe a gross exaggeration, if it weren't

quality, locally produced promethol, andusedthe state laboratory facilities; three employees of

born out by sobering detail. "The number of substance abusers has been growing daily, especially over the last

Yerevan's

Organic Chemisty Institute prepared the drug for sfreet

three years, 80 percent over last year," Tavakalian explains. "It is this alarming growth rate that makes me say that, in afew

use. The operation was

years, Armenianmen willbecome impotent." Tavakalian says thatthe coredruguseris be-

chemist

tween 18 and 35, but he is quick to add that the category may soon expand into the 15-to45 or even 13-to50 range. The cheapest stuffgoes for $50 a gfilm. The most expensive, $85-90. It is these high figures that more than anything else are holding back potential usen. Butnotenough. Even intellectuals and professionals, the ones wittr no other access to money and who are not prone to stealing, get stuck in a dangerous spiral of borrowing, until one day they simply disappear. Substance abuse is not an ill-

ness that discriminates, according to Tavakalian, who says he knows attorneys,

policemen and scientists who are addicts. Scientists are not merely addicts. A December, 1993, anest of a group of chemists resultedin the seizure of 7,500

masterminded

by

Gevorg Hairapetian, who is now

awaitingtial.

Accordins to Tavakalian, a great deal of narcotics enters through customs points beginning in Central Asia and reaches Iran, Turkey and Europe. Armenia is a convenient transit point. "Last year, we confiscated 1.5 kg of heroin headed for han," he says. To Tavakalian, Armenia's judicial system has been aconstant source offrusnation and disillusionment. "We turn the suspects over to them, but convictions don't necessarily materialize," he complains. "I-ast year, one seller was convicted, and, according to the law. he shouldhavereceived a sentence of six to 15 years. Buthe gotonly two." Often the drugs reach the market

street-ready ampules and an additional

AIM.MARCH 1994

through health care workers who divert medications prescribed to patients and sell them to addicts. Physicians and nurses keep fictitious patients on file, prescribe up to 20 sedativeampules aday, andthensellthedrugs to addicts, while real patients are denied treatment.

THEVOUI{G Marijuana is the drug of choice of the youngestusers. Teen-ageboys, withno source ofincome, siphon gasoline out ofcars, sell it and use the money to buy drugs. Ashot Arevshatian is a statistic.He's27years-old, but, by the looks of him, could eas-


Many inArmenia, lncluding an Alarming Number

ENTffiIffffS rM 'F ily be in his 40s. He's been using

daughter was too much for her to

drugs forovereightyears. He says

take.

it started when he had too much time on his hands while serving as a Soviet soldierin Central Asia. It started with hashish, but did not

THESELLER

stop there. He got manied, started a family, but that just seemed to

to 60-year-olds, men and women, even pregnant women. His merchandise comes mainly from Cen-

He's 50-years-old, and his customers come in all

make matters worse, especially with the still birth of his child. He

ages-from

15

tral Asia, but a considerable portion ofhis supply isproduced locally. He doesn' t offer any addresses, but his explanation isconvincing-ttratthe

became more despondent and began using a needle. The drugs got stronger, too; he now uses sedatives like Efedrein, Promedol and

purest, cleanest stuff can be prepared in Armenia, and the supply still won't meet the demand. Like drug dealers in most cities, he's not a user himself. He considers himself aprofessional, and says

Omnopon. Arevshatian refu ses to say how he gets the stuff. He doesn'texplain how he fi nds the money, either, but

it's nothardto guess. He'sdivorced now, and has just sold his car. He has a degree in radio engineering, but has never worked at it a day in

he needs a clear head to do

hisjob.

He may or may not know the young "botanist" who lives in one of Yerevan's high-rise apartment buildings, and who has cultivated over 100 hemp plants in his courtyard. "Just a way {o getrich quick,"

his life. lnstead. he eams commis-

sion from selling second-hand furniture. The rich, beautiful woman who sold all her possessions to support

he explains.

tistic. There are more. There is the wife who turned in her husband after he tried to induce their

To date, there is no concerted govemment effort-such as a public education campaign-against substance abuse in Armenia. A frustrated Tavalakian explains that he will need much more than his corps of I 0 offi cers and a dwindling

daughter to try the stuff. The wife had already submitted to his pres-

crew of district workers to effectively fight the tide of substance

one-and-half-yearhabit, and tlrcn tumed to prostitution when she had nothing left to sell, is another staa

sures

for her to try, but

abuse in the country. He adds that

the

various individuals and groups from tfuoughout the former Soviet Union, having heard of the work of Yerevan's Organic Chemistry Institute, are now coming to

Armenia to study the chemical laboratories that have for decades been at the forefront of Soviet science, and, specifically, the set-ups

beingusedtoacceleratenarcoticsproduction. "We're it!" he exclaims. ilo{tr8YX:f,

Transl ated f rom the Armen i a n

byArcine Arakelians. AIM,MARCH 1994

27


THE SI{IFTING ENSEMBLE

A Month of Diplomatic Jockeying In and Beyond

the Gaucasus By GARINE ZEITLIAI{

he Caucasus and Central Asia seem to take shape as one defi nable

prompted a visit by the Russian President to Georgia on February 3. The two leaders signed a treaty offriendship and cooperation. Georgia had signed a similar fieaty with Turkey in January. In preparation for Yeltsin's

visit, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev met with the leaders of the three

Caucasian republics and reiterated Russia's

economic, political, and sfiategic interests. It is interesting that the "identifying" of this new region came from han which sits at close proximity. On January 17, Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani addressed the

willingness io perform "the difficult yet noble" role of arbitrator in the conflicts

three-day "Seminar on the Progress of Development in Central Asia and the

peacekeeping force in Georgia, ifpeace talks bet'weenShevardnadze's govemmentandthe Abkhaz separatists point to a political solu-

tion. White House officials have expressed hope that such an undertaking would help decrease the need for the Russian froops al-

ready stationed

in

Georgia,

despite

Shevardnadze's recent commitment to Yeltsin to increase theirnumber. As far as Armenia is concerned. the message carried to the outside world through the

diplomatic offensive is that sustained politicalreform, economic growth and apeaceful resolution to the Karabakh conflict are in fact one andthe same andthatthey canbe achieved

geopolitical entity with its own

I

7 and secured a $70 million technical and humanitarian assistance. US hesident Bill Clinton has also decided to seek support in Congress for a potential United Nations

plaguing the region. He discussed the issue of increasing the numberof Russian soldiers in Georgia, repeated Russia's commitrnent to

and protected in the context ofcontinued re-

gional cooperation, stability and Western economic assistance. This resiliently assertive tone of the Armenian govemment was evident in the diplomatic language used by Babgen

Ararktsian, the President of the Armenian Parliament, during a short stay inParis in midJanuary. Ararktsian declared thatthe solution to the Karabakh conflict was the key to solving most problems plaguing Armenia, specially the economic crisis that is aggravated by the Azerbaijani blockade of the country.

In his speech at the European Parliament, Ararktsian referred to this linkase once more

Caucasus" held in Tehran, where he expressed his hope to establish economic, political and cultural relations between these trvin regions and argued that there

was "no altemative but regional cooperation." This new geopolitical game unfolds as, on the one hand, the Caucasian and Cenfial Asian republics solicit

Western economic investrnent to reinvigorate their economies and, on the other, they seek Russian military aird

diplomatic assistance to solve their ethnics crises. In either case, these republics counterbalance potential dependency on eitherforeign powerby sigling treaties of regional economic cooperation. In orderto fu rtherreinforce their nation-building process, the Caucasian and Central Asian republics are

initiating

independent foreign policy, economic

growth, political stability and legal structures. The recent foreign policy offensives of these republics should be seen in this context.

Georgian President Edvard Shevardnadze

Georgia' s territorial integdty, while simulta-

illustrated this process when he declared, duringhis January visitto France, thatunless

neously acknowledging Georgia'spluralism.

Westem aid was forthcoming, Georgiahad no

rived in Washington on February 14 with

other option but to rely on Russia, whose president he praised for his role in the 1991 putsch and in the storming of the Russian White House last October. Shevardnadze's

pledge 28

of

allegiance

to Boris Yeltsin

Kazakhstan's Nursultan Nazarbavev ar-

similar concerns: to avoid continued dependency on imports of Russian cmde oil andto seek economic independence by attracting

foreign investments (see

Dossier). Shevmdnadze cameto Washinston on March AIM.MARCH 1994

when he said "the European Community's refusal to negotiate on signing partnership agreements with Armenia [because of the ongoing Karabakh conflictl may be decisive

for the reform process in Armpnia. We also believe thatthe European Community hasthe capability of assuming a more active role in seeking a solutionto the Karabakh conflict." Ararktsian criticized the European Commu-


nity for not having adequately rewarded

lowing Ter Petrossian aroqnd" to France,

Armenia's demonsfrated record of democratization, economic r-eforrns, human rights and fundameital freedoms lesislation. "Unfornrnately, the European Corimunity rejects

England, and, perfraps soon enough, Georgia. In turn, A4erbaijani Foreign Minister Hasan

a

diff. erentiated approach toward the Caucasus

countries," concluded Ararktsian. It is clear that Armenia's govemment is intent upon negotiating from a position of sbength, even if that's the perception. President lrvon Ter Petrossian's recent visits to England and Georgia reinforced the same message and demonstrated Armenia's delicate and subtle formulation of its assertive standonthe Karabakhconflict Inaninterview

with the Associated Press in London, Ter Petossian pointed out that while Armeniaand

Karabakh had accepted the peace plan brokered by the Conference on Secung md Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), Azerbaijan had rejected it. Ter Pefrossian said he believes the CSCE and other mediators will not succeedinthe long run and "the UN will have to" becorhq involved-an issue ttre organization has comfortably ignored. By responding to.Shevardnadze's invitation to visit Tbilisi on February 14, Ter Petrossian canied the same message of unwavering advocacy on behalf of a peacefu I resolution to the Karabakh conflict as the stepping stone of Amrenia's nation-building Focess. The two leaders discussed the conflicts in Karabakh and Abkhazia as well as the security of nansportation routes and pipelines linking Georgia and Armenia. At the end of the talks, Ter Pefrossian said that such high-

level meetings should be held more frequently, adding thatthereis no altemative but to find a peaceful solution to these conflicts. Georgia's hime Minister Otar Patsatsia expressed confidence that the Georgian Interior

Ministry forces will be able to ensure the safety of gas pipelines running from Turkmenistan to Armenia via Georgia. However, on February 28, the railway overpass on the river Khram in the Azeri-populatedMemeuli region in southem Georgiawas bombed. In an att€mpttoprevent Armenia'

s

energy

vulnerability, Ararktsian discussed German assistance to the reopening of Armenia's nuclearpowerplantduring his European tour. While in London, Ter Pehossian told Platt's

Oilgram News that the reactivation of Metsamoristheonly wayArmeniacan overcome its energy crisis and avoidpipeline de-

pendency.

In turn, Jirair

Libaridian, Armenia's First Deputy Foreign Minister, visited Turkey where he met with his Turkish counterpartHikrnet Qetin before fl ying to han on March 2-4. Libaridian held meetings wift PrresidentRafsanjani's economic advisor andForeign Minister Ali AkbarVelayati re-

garding the construction of the MeghriNortuzbridge. Armenia's foreign networking has triggered an'bffensif de charme" by Azerbaijani President Gaidar Aliev, who has been 'Tol-

ANMENIA}I TEI.EUI'ION PRODUCIOI\|S, D{C.

Hasanov visited Germany, in Ararktsian's footsteps. Following Shevardnadze's visit to

Ankara in January, Aliev was in Turkey in early February. In a press conference before his arrival rn the Turkish capital, Aliev presented the Azerbaijani perspective on the Karabakfi conflict'the liberation of occupied Azerbaijani territory should be the cornerstone of the peaceful solution to the ArmenoAzerbaijani conflict." He declared that "the guarante€ of our victory is the legendary heroism ofthe Azeri people" and expressed his governmenJ' s comrniffnent to solving the Karabakh conflict in the context of UN and CSCEresolutions. He immediately followed this announcement by saying "Azerbaijan believes in its armed forces and will always retain its independence." The bellicose and self-assured diplomat spoke a different language inLondon whichhe visitedon Febru-

ary22,wh4gagreementon

a $7

ffit

billion oil

development deal with an eight-company Western consortium-of which British Petroleum is a (ey member. This brings a new significance to the politics of oil unfolding in the Caspian Sea. The powers on the periphery of the Caucasus-Central Asia geopolitical entity are

watching these developments carefully.

CHAI{NEL

iF) KSCt.f

Lor'^ntat..

Ankara's attempts atestablishingitself as the telecommunications center of Central Asia throughits expensive satelhte project and its participation in the upcoming surirmit of ttre Turkic republics of the Caucasus andCentral Asia are significant maneuvers. Russia's recent parliamentary upheaval has led to the reinsertion in its foreign policy language of perennial Russian interests in southeastem Europe and the Caucasus. The Russian delegates' attempts during the last CIS summit at Ashkhabad to station Russian toops along theCIS borden, inadditiontothehrequestto protect the rights of Russian minorities in various republics, are indicative ofRussia's renewed interests in areas immediatelv outside its borders In this context, Armenia'sparticipation

V

"

ttttioto"

t'tstwoRr (A'''N')

r3645 Vcmowen Steet, Vcur Nuys, Ca 91405 PHONE:

(8r8r7824944

FAX:

(8r8) 782 5360

in

the emerging geopolitical entity is essential in terms of its national securify. It is interesting

to note that the diplomatic offensive of Armenia's President was launched at a time when Russia was competing withthe CSCE fortherighttobrokeracease-fire in Karabakh; when the fronts in Karabakh had all fl ared up again; and when the routine sabotage ofgas pipelinesrunningtoArmeniawas worsening Armenia's economic crisis. Ter Petrossian's

attempts at securing economic self-sufficiency orof preventing economic dependerrcy

through the peaceful resolution

of

the

Karabakh conflict-which. in tum. will ensure

the permanence of democratization, economic growth and political stability in the country-€an be seen as steps in this

direction.

AIM,MARCH 1994

I

Cal[ 1{X1.7:'63216

orwdle: AIM POBOX 3296 MANTIATTAN BEACH, CA 90266. 9830

/NNI 29


AIM / MKHITAR KHACHATFIAN

By SARKIS SHilAVONIAN

I fl I-l Ff

ttemptstoanalyzehoweconomic

andpoliticalchangeinthetbrmer Soviet Union alter the course of

po[ticaldevelopmentinArme-

nia show that what had been a trend toward interdependence in I 92has expedited instead Moscow's dominance throughoutthe region. An enhanced role for the Russian Army has been one of the outcomes of that dominance. Inconsequence,political independence in

therepublicshasbeenconstrictedthroughthe resurgence of communist factions among the nationalists; nationalist forces have captured a large sectorof Parliament and several ministries in the dominant Russian Republic; the tension between political and economic motives has brought the reforn movement to a

standstill. Russiaalone still controls theFSU oil and gas industry, the electrical grid, and the transportation network. lnfact, hime Minister Victor Chemomyrdin is the former Soviet oil and gas chief. He has gained the organized support of the powerfu I indusfrial and military

managers and rendered the Civic Union headed by Arkady Volsky pretty much a redundantbody. This alignment among the wealthy oil and gas sector, the vast but inefficient industrial enterprises, and the Russian Army has been

*Former Soviet Union

successful because all these factions have concentrated their efforts on strategic issues, notjust aspects of general economic planning. In fact, they are not answerable to Parliament or to any other ministry, and conrol of their resources is today a matter of state security. They arestateproperty in theold Sovietsense. At the same time, it is unclear as to how this alignment affects the Russian posture toward Armenia and Azerbaijan. One diffrculty confronting analysts is that

there is more than one Russia today laying

claimtothe name. At fust look, October's storming of Parliament indicated that, at last, true political

reform, fiscal restraint and economic privatization were coming, and the deadwood of reaction, bureaucracies and legislatures, riddled with communists, hadbeen cut away. Then in December the workers and peasants, underthe guidance of Russian nationalists and

former communists, returned the same hostile Parliament that Yeltsin hadjustdispersed

in October.

Thenotionwhichisextremely difficultfor Westemers to grasp about the FSU today is its chaotic sffucture-not total disorder, but chaos in the physical sense of a system which bodes mutual influenceofone position upon another without attempting integration, much less achieving it. Andcommon causemadeby

indusrial enterprises coordinated by Chemomyrdin and the Russian Army guarantees, forthetimebeing, thatchaos does not tum into something much worse. the large

There are three other components to the chaos (in no order ofrelative strength): gov-

AM.MARCH

1994

BRING THE BOYS BACK HOME: Yeltsin wlth leadere of the "near-abroad."

ernment ministries and executive bodies which rule mainly by decree; the December Parliament; and the patronage networks in the provinces. These are the basic power sfructures which coexist in the FSU. All are vertical; they have little to do with one another except to form opportunistic aliances. There is no legal system to moderaterelations among them. And only the army keeps the political friction from decaying into aHobbesian war of all against all. The October events showed that. The executive branch under President Boris Yeltsin, with whatever shreds of effective power the minisries hold, survive to this day thanksto theRussian Army. To gain the support of the army in the desperate October days of 1993, Yeltsin had to make numerous deals, most important being the handing over ofa large part ofRussian policy toward the bordering FSU republics to the general staff. Herestoredthe army's huge state subsidy; military funding again lies outside the normal budgetary channels as it did in the Soviet times. Moreover, any diplomatic move not cleared beforehand through the general staff has no chance of success, whatever the outside advantages or pressures. Foreign

Minister Andrei Kozyrev and Defense Minister Pavel Grachev saw their chance to ally with Chemomyrdin and expand their own pordolios while distancing themselves from Yeltsin. Henceforth the Russian Army was chargedformally withdefensenotonly of the

actual Russian frontier but of the "near-


abroad," the neighboring republics where Russia's security interests lie. That was a concession exacted to permanently neuftalize executive andparliamentary power, and its implications go very far. One tacit army docnine---cvident in the favorable stance toward Armenia-is that no civilian policyto secureeconomic gaintotheRussian state can counter the security interests ofthe state as determined by the army. The matteris not absolutely settled, however; for the moment it has been subsumed under the general rubric of security issues to be addressed

withinthe currentpower align-

ments. For Armenia, how Moscow handles thematterof oil and gasreserves, now outside Russian control, in the Caucasus will be a crucial test of this doctrine. After these enonnous concessions,

Yeltsin'svictoryhrrnedpyrhic. December 12 elections to the lowerhouse of Partament, the Duma, sealed the fate of fiscal resraint and

economic reform. The circumstances were desperate. To save what he could after dis-

banding the old "communist" Parliament, Yeltsin called elections quickly in order to use the good will garnered from victory to retum a legislature better disposed to him than the former one had been. Instead, Yeltsin got the same Parliament he had just thrown out because none of the tensions and problems affecting internal cohesion in Russia had been addressed during October. The problems just came to a head, and then settledback again to what they had been. The strain of Yeltsin's

miscalculation has exhausted his political assertiveness. On February 23, this "new" Partamentcalledforan amnesty of the Octoberrebels, pretty much aconfirmationthatthe new body is setting itself up for another run at the executive forces, perhaps this time with better preparation. Then, thereis thepmasiticpafronage network in the provinces which runs local affairs largely heedless ofcentral ineconomic sense. fluence

and

Chernomyrdin and the army retain regional loyalty through credits and sub-

Russian armed forces on the type of interdependence evident today inthe FSU.

So, which Russia, which FSU, affects Armenia? Part of the answer has to be the RussianArmy. Today, the army's assessment is paramount in Moscow's attitude both toward Armenia and Karabakh, but the change is not obvious. The army doesn't often give

interviews. General Mikhail Kolesnikov announced February 28 that the Russian Army has, to date. secured 30 bases in the near-abroad: understated but clear-cut news (see chart be-

low). Having proposed this militarized political context, does the new role of Russia's army hint at the kind of independence Armenia can achieve?Itdoes. Independence inthestrange world around Russia means freedom to ally with one neighbor or another, at one's peril, not to exercise a national policy that seeks to balance competing interests among those neighbors. And whatever one thinks of the Russians, alliance with them is the only possible course. That alliance, through the bases and arms supplies of the Russian Army, has assured Armenia wide political and economic latitude. Along the way, Armeniahas been the perfect client state through which the Russian Army can anchor its control of the Caucasus. All in the face of an obvious truth-alliance with Armenia does not confer significant economic advantages to the Russian state. But does this matter? If there existed a reform Russia today driven by market forces and enjoying a free economy, Azerbaijan would gain enotmous advantage in Moscow's deliberations on the

settlement of the conflict over Karabakh. Near-abroad issues would be economic at

RUSSIAN ARIIY TROOPS IN FORMER SOVIET UNION

sidies to enterprises that employ 90 per-

cent of all workers in factories and agrarian collectives.

And what a world of paradox! As a result, hyperinflation ravages workers' wages-the bugbear of attempts at eco-

nomic reform; yet the threat of hyperinflation--defined as price increases of more than 50 percent Per

the shield that managers of large economic enterprises use to guard against tampering with the indusfial infrastructure both of Russia and of the near-abroad. Almost all of the principals in this network are ex-co[lmunists who havefound anovelwaytopreservetheir hold on power by keeping open the workplaces at all costs. Thus what has changed since October is the preponderant influence of the

month-is

10,000 t. ARtEI{ta 2. AZERBEIJAN 1,OOO

BELARUS 4. ESTONTA 5. GEORGIA 3.

30,000 2,500 10,000

6. KAZAKHSTAII 10,000 7.

LAW|A 8. ilOLDOVA

12,000

TAJTKISTAI| 10. uKRAll{E

20,000

9.

7,000

55,000

their core. Moreover, under such hypothetical conditions, ministerial and parliamentary efforts would be the ones to pursue. That Russia does not exist, if it ever did. Yet there is today an analog to such bodies as would favorAzerbaijan in areform Russia-the oiland gas industry at the center of power in Russi4 aligned withthe same armedforces that support Armenia. While both are agreed that strategic measures take precedence over economic ones, each has its own version of the strategic importance of the Caucasus, and these venions are not yet reconciled. The ambiguity in Moscow's current pos-

ture weighs more heavily on the war in Karabakh than do issues of national self-determination and inviolability of fr ontiers---the contraries thrown up against each other by Armenian and Azeripolitical representatives. No matter. Armenia has always understood that the meaning of independence in the context of the FSU is that a republic is free to choose Russia for a military ally. So as regards Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the bloody war in Karabakh, the army's influence is not sufficient to give a final answer about which Russia is engaged in this region. Because of the alignment of the military with the oil and gas industry, there remains an economic context, even if thatcontexthas beenconverted fromtheplay ofmarket forces to a strategic mission. A huge mistake in perception would be for the West to measure economic alliances and motives as somehow exercising countervailing influence to perceived security concems. This may be true in the West, where armies regularly protect capital invesfinent. But not in this region. The $9 billion British Petroleum deal with Azerbaijan, whether or

notRussianLukoilhas a stakeinit. will not carry any weight at all in Moscow if, at any time in the future, Western

Europe (or Twkey) develops any 'tnterests" in protecting that investment. In Azerbaijan in particular, because that state is actively courting Westem oil and gas companies as a balance against Russia, Russia's sfiategic control of those resources is being challenged. If matters come to a head, the attending ministers orheads of state of that time will consult with the Yeltsins of that time, while their contemporary

Chernomyrdins and Grachevs will pursue what they determine from their own counsels tobe the means of maintaining permanent confr ol.

Again, since this is the Caucasus, Armenia will be the state to execute Russian imperatives, and its own, at a stroke.

Sarkls Shmavonlan, Ph.D., rcceived his advanced degres ln hlstory wlth speclaltzatlon ln Armenlan nationalism under the Russlan Emplra. He flrat wrote about the FSU ln AIM,D&ember

AIM.MARCH 1994

1992.

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By SALPI HABOUTINIAI{ GHAZARIAN Photos by ROUBEN MANGASARIAN

AIM: How do you explain thc still tontativc Diaspora.Armenia rela. tionship, replete with misunderstanding and distrust? Levon Ter Pctrossian: Given the na-

and goals are fundamentally the motivating forces behind its activities. But the concept ofnational political par-

Armenians in the French Socialist party, 500 in the Gaullist Parry, how helpful that would be to us. Or in the US State Department, or in the media, or in the financial world. I don't mean to say that the larger kind of

political involvement could have

been

planned. But even if the public didn't realize this and plan for it, the parties should have.

litical, analysis.

ties which exist and function outside their country is unnatural. There will always be a mutual lackof understanding andtust so long as the Diaspora leadership does not come to terms with the reality thatpolicy is determined

ines with the Armenian

here, on this land. There is noquestion that, evennrally, all of the Diaspora's active political forces will be pulled toward the homeland

Diaspora-the

the remaining Diaspora in-

preted, and you know thc rest.

90 percent who are genu-

stitutions will then become transformed into truly na-

But that l0 percent is history, they're an anachronism already. And we must not be afraid to speak the truth.

ture of your magazine, it seems appropriate to conduct an intellectual, rather than a po-

In this respect, let's first make sure we understand what we mean by the word Diaspora. We don't have misunderstandpeople of the

inely concerned with homeland.

The other

the

l0

percent, however, which consists of the representatives of the Diasporan institutions-the

Diaspora's nomenclature, with its attitudes and misconceptions- is, unfortunately, the organized l0

percent, consisting of the political, cultural, religious, benevolent, athletic institutions, all finally reduced to a partisan status. Even those which are by their nature apolitical, are defined by their stance regarding the parties. This, I think, is the reality of Diaspora institutions. And, naturally, wherever there areparties, there is political ambition, A parfy's interests

tional institutions, without distinct political agendas.

Those among the 9O porcont who have, over the ycars, said somc aspcct of what you arc say. ing, will agrce with you. The othcr I O percent, thc louder I O perccnt,

will cry out that once again, theytc

been misunderstood, misinter.

Political parties will be born, will live and will die in Ar-

How do you explain today's do. mestic politieal etruggle?

menia. Andwemustcometo terms with this reality,

Let me attempt to explain its roos. When the Armenian national movement began sixyears ago, itwas truly national, The term was no exaggeration. At first, the Diaspora kept its distance from that movement. Forquiteawhile, theydidn'tunderstand

The other unfortunate reality about the parties in the Diasporais that they have

remained within the confines of the Armenian community, in a manifestation of the ghetto mentality. The Diaspora, today, couldhave

been much more helpful politically, economically and in the public relations sphere if Armenians had adapted themselves to the society in which they live, and participated in the political life of those

-counffies. Imagine if inFrance, there were 500 AIM. MARCH 1994

it, didn'tparticipatein itcertainly, andfinally adopted a negative stance. All this, ofcourse,

pertains to the Diaspora leadership, again. Among the people, there was always sympathy and support. But from the leadership, we received ice-cold ffeatment, even before we came to the forefront to assume leadership. The Diaspora institutions did not accurately evaluate the movement and the developments in the Soviet Union, but they're not


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to be faulted. [US President George] Bush even made incorectjudgments. When we

old

Bush and his people that Gorbachev's time was limited, he wouldn't listen. A month later we wereprovenrightandhe had to deal ri!r'ii, ,t,:iit:;,t' ;l''.;' '

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with

us each

individually. Theydidn'tunderstand,

and it's not surprising that the Diaspora parties didn't understand either. In any case, we were elected and came to powerthrough legitimate means, despite the

most stubbom opposition, evenin armed provocation. We won.

ffi*A

.

thefaceof

The day immediately following our victory, the day after I was elected President of Parliament, IlrairMaroukhian [Chairman of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) B ureaul came to me and, the next day, announced the ARF's presence in Armenia. The same with the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (ADL), and the others. Atfirst, theADL was awarm, supportive ally. The ARF was colder, but not directly opposed to us. When they were all finally convinced that the changes were real and that therewasnoneedtobeafraidofMoscow. thev became more active. Over time, many of thepeople who were

electedontheArmenian NationalMovement (ANM) slate, but who were marginal to the movement, moved away,joined otherparties and formed the opposition. The root ofthe problem is that, today, the opposition feels that it has been deprived of itsjustplace ofpower. They look atus and say we are not much different from them. So. whv us and not them, all the while forgetting thit we were the ones out front, before the people, when they were nowhere to be found. They appeared afterwe were released fromprison and everything was safe. They say we do not deserve to serve because we came to power on a wave of spirited rebellion, that there was no objective voting because the people were so emotional, and not

thinking politically. And, truly, those were emotional times. The elections were not objective.

Today, the power relationship

has

changed, theopposition says. Wehaveabused

JJ

+:J ;sd,.


the people's rust, ruined the country's economy, sold Arsaktt (Mountainous IGrabaktr) to Azerbaijan, we have forgotten our allies, the Russians, and become brothers wittr the Turks, and so forth. They can fix all this in a moment, just give them the levers of power. Therefore, they demand that the current forces in power should move aside and

letthemin. Weagree,butnotinthewayinwhichthey proPose.

Theypropose thata coalition government be qeated, that that would certainly be better than this one. Thirty-seven ministers, I sup pose, with each party reprcsented by one ininister, no doubt the most capable and de-

What about thc stylc ol dcbatc ordlscourre?Wlry ls it ro pclaonalt ]ethcrthan polltical? lr lt because wc're ruch a $nall nation, whcla cvcryonc ls a formcr nclghbor or coucln? To most Armcnlansr In Ar' mcnla and thc DlarPonr You a]â&#x201A;Ź not Ut. Prosldcnt' but Lcvon. Thc pcoplc put no dlstancc bctwccn thcmrelver and t/oq cvary/onc comfortrbly advltes and crltlqucs you. Thcrc ir littlc allowancc made

for the factorc' fectr' rcalitlcs

serving. Idon'tknowhow suchagovemment wouldfunction.

In any case, ttrat too can be done, ifthey are able to do so legitimately. Even with today's laws, if they hold a majority in government, they can demand the resigration of one or all ministers and force me to appoint those individuals whom they desired. I would then ei0rer agree with their suggestions, or, if

I

found their suggestions unacceptable,

I

would resign. If they wanted a coalition government,itispossible, today.Whoisstopping them? Even if I made l0 different nomina-

I'm suggesting something else: that we adopt a new Constitution, after which we'll holdnewelections, first forPresident, then for Parliament. ff, as they say, they now rePresent a greater powerbase among the people, then letthemproveit the only legitimate, conclusive way-through elections. They don't want this, saying that the Constitution proposed by the hesident-a bad Constitution at that-is certain !o be accepted. So, I've said, then let' s put both variants-the one I support as well as the one drafted and proposed by the opposition-to a popular referendum. ttre people choose to accept the opposition's version, then I will resign for reasons I will explain during the referendum campaign, sincel thinktheopposition's constitution is an unacceptable document. If, instead, the people accept the version which I supporq I will call for general elections, and the opposition will have yet another chance to demonstrate its real power. The opposition doesn't wantto do this either.

harder. And although the sitr'ration in Karabakh, today, is good, tomonow ittoo may get worse. There will always be oppornrnities toexploit. This we won'tallow. Wewill not allow Armenia to be transformed into a

Georgia, Tajikistan or Azerbaijan.

Irvon,I'mhappy. That relationship evolved until August 4, 199G-+tre day they elected me to the presidency of Padiament. Then, the people rested' After that day, there has not been a single sizeablerally in Armenia. The opposition has riedandfailed. Wehaveriedandfailed. The peopledidtheirjob. They electedoneof their own. That is why today, they feel they have the right to speak as they did then. Demand an accounting. Address issues or problems. There isn' tthatpolitical distanceof which you speak. There is no political debate. It's quite personal. And here, the Diasporan parties bear some responsibility, because they brought wittr them to Armenia a journalistic style that does not promote discussion, but that reduces dialoguetocheaptalk Forme, ontheconfrary, words are most priceless and invaluable.

whcre is thc Prcsident,

whY doeon't he say romcthlng? In both hemlspherct, tiou ars blamed.

For me, it is not just that words are to be expendedcarefully.Timing, too,iscritical. Ir ourpolitical and mediacides, words havelost theirvalue.

If

want!oassumePoweron the sheets, ratherthan through the electoral prccess. They tied. They attempted to hold womass rallies andfailedbottttimes. They'll try again, because the country's internal situation today is so grave, and may even get

leadenhip inpower, then, orby evaluating our abilities or values. The fundamental psychological factorwas thatthepeople believedthat by pushing us forward, they were pushing themselves forward. We were considered part of them. And so, when the people call me

which you rtlate to tho nationr in thc way in which you chooso to communicatc. In thc West' where wc anc accustomed lo daily sound blter of our lcadcrc rhaking hands' stroklng dogs, etc., your rttlcence ls quite notlceable. ln Armcnia' where the people wcre used to seeing you dailyr theY now askt

that.

Orcy

Whydid

That's very obvious ln the way In

ftey couldreject all 10, and force me to accept their candidates. They choose not to do

tions,

Simplyput

we were all the same, notdifferent.

ttre people struggle for us to take the reins of power? Not because they compared us to the

Watching you ln London, it was qulte apparrnt that you aro least comfortablc shaking handsr and most comfoilablc In dialogue. Butt erpeclally of later what the pcople scc ir thc first. Thcy aPParentlY want to see thc last. Do You try to meet thcir need?

which arc not In Plain vicw' but which rhoutd bc conrldcratlonc In a polltical dcbatc.

It's true that for me, dialogue is the most interesting. I don' tparticularly like the formal aspects of the position which calls for much diplomacy. But Ihavenochoice. Today, Iam

That feeling of closeness was created during the movement. When one million

calledupontoconductdiplomacy, morethan deal with reality. I don't want to play the dip lomat with my people, however.I have tobe the diplomat with ourparfiers, with our allies and the rest, but not with thepeoPle. Our strength from the Karabakh Committee days until today has been based completely on thefactthatwehave neverlied. If I

people were in the smeet with these I I men,

ian't tell

That immediate intimacy which exists around the President is not due to our being a small nation. Noris itthatllnowmanypeople.

Personally, friends.

I've

had a very small circle

AIM,MARCH 1994

of

ttre people the whole

ruth, then it's


betterthatlnot say anyttring. Today, it's much easier to talk to my biggest opponent than to talkwiththepeople. Ithas happenedthat['ve walked into Parliament and the same people

whohadbeencursing me on the stneets suddenly losttheirvoices andhad nothing to say. Because in closed session, I can present tlie whole nuthand make the opposition see why

ohchs

certain things are happening. But there have been some leaks, and now I'm cautious of doing that, as well. In countries with a tradition of stalehoo4 there are understood aboo issues relating to matlers of national security which cannot be exploited. We don't yet have an understanding of the distinction between political interests and statâ&#x201A;Ź interests. But, intime, wewillhavethat too. There

will develop

Los ANaELES Saturday,

N

an awareness of issues

of greater national interest, which will be Andcertainly, publicly, Ican't sayevery-

shouldthey?

llow do t/ou want hlrtory to ro. mombc? you and thlr first prc.l. doncy? llow conlclour arc you thet your cech dcclrlon and actlon b e procodont? I have only one guiding principle: to try to complete the passage from a collapsed eco. nomic system and security strucfure to a new one, and on this mostcomplex road toward the creation of a new society, to optimally utilize existing opportunities ahdprotectournation's security and economy-while reducing to a minimum the unavoidable losses on the path to this transformation. In other words, the principle of "damage confrol." Others were

unable to accomplish this without major losses. We are still surviving. If I can succeed such,

aftersixyears ofinvolvementin realpolitics, Ican comfoilably declare that hisory is a false science. But thatis something no historian can understanduntil he p:uticipates in the making

ofhistory. Iamadaily witness tothisprccess. Somethinghappens here, aroundthis desk, andthe ways in which that act is interpreted outside take orl fantastic proportions.

When I look today at the history that I knew, which we were all told to rea4 I now know that it is nothing. All the major, com-

plicated political sleps

in Armenia,

in

Karabakh, in ourrelations with Russi4 Turkey, the US, are often dependent on very simple realities: How many tons of wheat there are in our slores, how many bullets we have, how many cisterns ofdiesel are availabletoouranks. This is thekind of information that history generally does not record, and I can tell you that my decisions, very critical decisions, aredependenton those realities. No

oneknowsthisandwon'tknowthis.

April23,

Bpm

Mlnvl

thing. But without explaining ttre whole picture, what I say is not convincing. The people maylisten once, butnotd second time. Why

as

8: 30pm

ew Yonr

Saturday,

sacrosanct and untouchable for all. In time.

in this, my conscience will be clear. Don'tforget,I'mahistorian. And,

April 15,

I

AIM,MARCH 1994


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THE SARSANG BLOODLINE

lluch Will Depend On Wlro Gontrols the Reseruoir dnd the Surrounding Heights By IIOORAD ilOOBADIAN he Sarsang reser-

voir and

hydro-

elecficpowerplant Karabaltr shetches to about nine miles long ahd is no morp than two

in

miles wide. While most news media attention is concentrated

on the strongholds of Shushi

and Sepanakert, and while cartographers ignore Sarsang's

existence or reluctantly outline its shoreline as though it were an afterthought, Sarrang and its environs are one ofthe more important racts of real esta0e in the Karabakh war zone. In fact. some of the most

serious fighting

in

the

Karabakh conflagration has taken place in efforts to dominate tbe villages and the heights

that surround the reservoir. PoSsession

of the Sarsang

heighs is necessary for safe use of the road that connects a huge portion of westem Azerbaijan wiilr the eastern part

of the country. The Sarsang hydroelecnic power plant was considerably damaged during the six-month period in 1993 when it was under the contr'ol of the Azeri

forces; however, Karabakh's power specialists have already renovated it and the plant is presently functioning. The insallation of telegraphic poles is all that remains to be done. Of rhe 172 such poles that arc necessary for full operation,

123 have' already been installed. The trvo reasons for the slow pace of work are the onset of winter and lack of resources. Karabakh auttrorities haverepoitedly raised $250,000, but twice that amount is needed to

AIM,MARCH I99I

3t


complet€ the project Despite tbese diffi' culties, ttre Sarsang hydroelectric powerplant continues to supply elecnicity o20villages inthe Martakertdistict. The reservoir, atthis uniting, is underthecontrol of Karabakh.

Iocated

in the northern

region of

lvlartakerq Sarsanghas immense geopolitical and snategic significance. The reservoir and hydroelecric powerplantare vitalto the security and funue prosperity of Karabakh and much ofits surrounding countryside. Each of its nroblocks is capableof generating 24 mw of electricity, wherpas Karabakh's demand doesn'texceed 32 mw. Considering the conditions q€at€d by the energy crisis, the operation of the powerplant would greatly ease matt€$ in the region, particularly since the

quantities of elecricity being made available to Ikrabakh ftom Armenia havebeen sharply curtailed. With the construction of the Sarsang reservoir, Soviet authorities crcaterl the largest inlandbody of waterin Aze6aijan. They took advantage of the east-west flow of the Terter River that draws from the melting snows in ttre Kelbajar mountains. The reservoir also draws from the water rush of the Murovdag MountainRanga whichrises to 12,215 ftet. Once the Terter River exiB the reservoir on its east€m side, itcontinues tluough Bardaand

terminatesintlreKuraRiverwhichflows from the north !o the Caspian Sea in the southeast.

the Terter River manifests the mutual interde. pendence betrreen the Sarsang Reservoir and ttre teniories into which it flows and feeds its generatedelecricity. Thus, geopolitical

Its wat€rs ar€ used for agriculture and hydroelec-

ric energy and are the prime source of drinking water for the majorcities

in

Karabakh. Midway between Kelbajar and Barda, Sarsang was the ideal spot for a dam that would release its waters into Azerbaijan's irrigation ditches in the east.

clout belongs o the party

gions rely upon its added push of water. Theirini-

that manipulates the levers at the gates of the Sarsang dam and commands the Martakert region's Armenian villages that ring the reser-

Five Azeri farming regation ditches, particu-

voir+uchasMedschen

larly around Mirbashir,

on the eastern edge of the

farming efficiency with-

Azerbaijan-Karabakh

walers, and Charektarin the west, along the

Barda, Agdam and Aghjabedi lose peak

out

coordination and

border through which the

managed flow contfol at the Sarsang dam. The possibility of expanding the potential of

TerterRiverpasses. Charektar has additional saategic auibutes. The Martakert region separates Barda and Mirbashir in easlern Azerbaijan from Kelbajar along Armenia's

forelecticity and inigation is limited by capital investment, availability of rcchnical expertise and the imagination of

the waters

govemment planners. However, because the Soviets had not foreseen a problem of coordination between Karabakh and Azerbaijan prcpe[ the efftcient use of the rpservoir and

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point of Martakert, shadowed by the commanding heights on which the reservoir sits and within the circle of Armenian villages. The road passes through the city of Martakert and the villages of Moldratagh andCtarel*ar. There is no other overland route that can handle large wheeled-vehicle ransportation which is necessary for the economic development of the Kelbajarregion. From the military perspective, the highin thenorttprn area. Kelbajarisjust

Audio-Fonrq now in its 22nd

El

border. Thebestoverlandroutebetweenthese eastern Azpri cities is an improved roadway. It travels east-west, almost through the mid'

cl

AIM,MARCH 1994

06437

Kelbajar, commerce in the region will wither. Cross-country naffic fromtherail headto the north at Dashkesan in Azerbaijan, almost 15 miles away, ispossible, butnotas effrciently as when commercial wheeled vehicles use roads desigred for mechanized traffic. Many of the north-south secondary roads arebestdescribedas fipacherous, unimproved mountainpasses. Even ifonechose tohazard the rip, without peace in the region the traveler faces the risks of surviving a gauntlet of long-range Armenian guns. The question ofcontrolling the Sarsang Reservoir and is heights has emerged as another equation in power politics. The significance of Sarsang's dominationexplains why both sides have elevated it to a major aspect of their military and political strategy. Whomevercontnols thereservoir and its villageshas a virnral lockon substantial geopolitical assec.

WIth rcportlng by Armen Baghdasarlan ln Vercvtn


THEARMENIAN GENOCIDEAS FAIRYTALE: By IIOVHAililES HARUTIUNIAI{

If you're lucky.

If you'rc not, you die again when everything connected

with

you dies, too: your family, culture, language, even yourname. The second

kindofdeaft isasortofresunectioninreverse. It stamps yourusually unidentifi able remains with the message thatyou needn'thave gone !o all the trouble of being born. Ifyor'reparticularlyunlucky, youdieyour seconddeathfint. Thovma Khatisian, the hero of Edgar Hilsenrath's novel-length fairy tale aboutthe Armenian Genocide, is one of the unluckiest among the particularly unlucky. He dies his second death even before he sees the light, on

blood-spauercd back road somewhere in Anatolia in 1915. "If I'm not mistaken," the Secretary General of the United Nations is delighted to rcmind him 60 years later, '!ou never knew any of your own family, not even yourownmother. Forwhenyou cameintothe world, Mr. Khatisian, in 1915, they were all a

ecratedby theThrks?"' "Desecrated, Thovma. They desecrated

it..." he Meddah, the Oriental storytellerin Thovma's head, sails out

with Thovma's last thought in search of his murdered past And into aTurkish prison in Bakirin 1915, wherc

an Armenian--call him Vartan, call him

Edgar Hilsenrath's The Story ofthe hst7hought

ou only die once.

"ToHayastan..." "To fte holy land of the Armenians, des-

from all these stories I've put my own story together. And so one day I had a family history. I knew my roots. I had a father and a motheragain, andlhadmanyrelatives. I also had a name with a tradition, one that I could pass on to my children and grandchildren." But Thovma doesn't quite find his father and mother again. He invents them, as he invents himself and his name. In the process, he

creates-or re-creates-the once real "old counEy" that has since become as unreal as his make-believe parcnts. So unreal, in facl to return to it Thovma has to leave the real world behind for a never-never land. That is, hehas o die. Hilsenrath's novel begins, then, the mo-

ment before Thovma

Thovma's father-has been stmng up by the heels, tortured to the point of losing consciousness, and then casually raped by one of his torturers. One of the two strands in the tale the Meddah slowly weaves is a series of variations on that scene of routinized horror. The other is Vartan's life story. It is also thehistory ofan obscurelittlecornerof westem Armenia from the middleof the I 9th century to the Genocide. The Meddah gives us a superbly researched, endlessly evocative recreation of the pre-World War Armenian villageits customs and rhythms, sounds and sights and smells, its humiliating,

center of this group portrait, the sovereign the Armenians glorified all the more effectively by pretending so hard not to: sex. And more sex.

Slowly, masterfully, the novel's two strands are knotted together. The village is increasingly haunted by intimations of its

gives up the ghost. He

E

hasjusttimeenough to

t

tell himself one last

B

I

bedtimestory.

day+oday

struggle against Ottoman officialdom and petfy Kurdish warlords, with, squarely at the

approaching annihilation. Sexgivesplace

to death, modulates

bawdy

into

the blackest ofblack hu-

"Iamthesory-teller in your head. Call me

mor.Andblackhumor modulates into geno-

either dead or had disappeared." The Secretary General is not mistaken.

Meddah."

cide; ttre unspeakable,

There is, properly speaking, no Thovma Khatisian. The world in which he might genuinely haveexisted hasbeen effacedbythe united nations, which collectively dicate the Tirkish version of history to their apprcpriately named secretary general. And, as there is no alternative secretary general to take dictationfromtheunitedex-nations, Thovmahas to dictate his own history to himself. Inotherwords, hehas to makehimselfup. It is the only way he has of undying his sec-

Thovma

Meddah?' "Thestoryofthelast thought. Itwas there in

onddeath.

your last cry of fear,

'Tor 60 yean," he explains to the Secretary General, "I've been gening survivors of the massacre to tell their stories, stories about Hayastan, which is also called Turkish Ar-

hiddenthere." "Why,Meddah?" "Well, why do you think, Thovma Kha-

npniaorAnatolia-whicheveryou like.+nd

tisian?... It had hidden there to sail out into the open with your last cry

Hilsenrath's Das Marchen vom letzten Gedanken ispu blislwd by P iper P ress, Municlr" 1 989. The English transhtio4 by Hugh Young, is published by Scibner's, London, I 9m, arrd distribwed as an Abacus Book

"Andnowbequiet,

obscene,outrageously absurddesnucdonofa people and a way of life is narrated obscenely, absurdly,

Khatisian.

Quitequiet. Foritwill notlastmuchlonger.

It

willsoonbeover. And then... as your lights gradually go out... I will

ouhageously, as ifit wercawickedlyfunny

tellyouastory." "Whatsortof story,

Meddah juxtaposes

cosmic joke.

painfully

accurate

history with wildly improbable historical farce, mixes the lyric with the grotesque, slips from sentimen-

tality into pomography and back again, turns a chronicle of holocaust into a fractured, pseudo-Oriental fairy tale such as

offear... through your gapingmouth."

might have

"Where to.

Meddah?"

The

Edgar Hlbâ&#x201A;Źnrath

AIM,MARCH 1994

been

invented by

a

psychotic Shehe39


razade. Itis,perhaps,

theonlywaytomakeart

outof mass murder: withthekindof desperate laughter that can take the measure of the mass murderer' s cynicism.

miliar with. Born in 1926 a aLnipdg family withEastEuropeanroots, hefledtoRomania in 1938. Three yean later, he and part of his

family

will have to serve. Here is a

were deported to the Jewish ghetto of a

Tirkish police lieulenant organizing a round-

bombed-out Ukrainian city under fascist occupation. Many ofhis fellow deportees were executed, or died ofdisease, exposure, and malnutrition. Hilsenrath survived. After the war, he emigrated to Palestine and then to France, wherche, his mother andhis brother were reunited with his fatherafter l0 years of forcedseparation. In 195 l,Hilsemathmoved again, this time to the US, where he was to remain for 25 years. He returned to his native G.ermany in 1975, and has lived there ever

One example

up of Armenian men just before the deporta-

tion.

31V7;iltffi::'?rr#*.t. anunderlingl,"andhave I I

them tortured-the no-

tables withthem, ofcourse. Dowhateveryou

ttrinkright." 'Theusual Bastinado?" "The bastinado, if you like."

smce.

"We'veriedpulling outtheirbeards. But that isn't a very effective method."

Hilsenrath's autobiographical first novel, Nrgfu, depictsthedehumanizationoftheJews

"No, it isn't eslrcially effective."

"We've chopped the hands and feet off some of them... but even that didn't work much. Your Armenian just won't talk if he doesn't want to tdk." "We've torn some tongues out too," said the Mudir [police lieulenant], "but then, of course, they talkeven less."

This is the language genocide

speaks

throughout The Story ofthc LastThought. lt is a language Edgar Hilsenrath is all too fa-

penned in the hell of the war-time ghettos. Published inGermany in 1964, in amini-edition of 1,000 copies, the book was ignored. Some l0 years latercame another novel,The Nazi and the Barber, about a brain-damaged SS manwho, inorderto surviveafterthewar, assumes theidentiry of a Jewhewentto school with and later helped gas.The Nazi made

Hilsenrath'sliteraryreputation,firstinfteUS and then, belatedly, in Germany. Four widelyread novels onJewish themes followed.

THENilAKIl{G .OFALITERARY EVElIT h f F I

similarmix-up, does aTurk. Along

several Jews. The souls of the Armenian and the Jews fly up the smokestack and into heaven. It is not quite clear what becomes of tlte Turk.

"Often,"theMeddahremindsus, "there's nothing else one can do but lookforthe final truth in one's imagination."

I

,

.htion.

.,',. Hil&Jra&'s

novel cgntinres to m*ke waves five years aft€rits publicatiur. A stage version-aone-wanan show by the$viss actrss Erica Hanssler<pened in Zurich last fall. In December, Hilsenrath was given the Galiuky kiza aJewish4erman award, in recogrrition of his life's work Over the past nro yeart dre Armenian prress in Europe, ircluding the Armenian-language daily

fued

: Itlsenrath,,publishinginterviews,essaysonhiswork,andexc€rpb

tqm Tl* Story in Armenian. A piece on the writer is forficoming n Critiquc, oneof Fram's rnost respecrcd literary-philosophical journals. And a fi lm dspg6on is expected before long. Armenia has also sat up and taken notice of this second rnqior

/z Morde

review in

Ter-Minassian, an experienced ranslator who has produced Ar-

in connast, the novel has so far gone largely unnoticed.

received glowingreview's inthelocal and nationalpress, notablyin Der Spiege\ the Gennan?lme. Paperback sales zoomed. And the book won tre Alfred Doblin Prize, one of thp German*peafting world's most prestigious literary honors, ' :, --Ilg nowlhas beentranslated ino a halfdozen ad moreEuroBpqnlangnsges, including Spanish, Ialiae,EnglishardFrench. The 1992 Frenchfranslation w&r gr-noted withan admfuing revierv in le *tg1dc,Flrrrrr's ledirrgdai$; Hugh Ylirng's l990English mns.latiorr wonrhe Schlegel-Tieck hizp fsr outstanding lltornry uaris-

40

a

with-but not as tlre result of a mix-up-

Armenian. The book itself is being ranslatedinoEastern Armenian by Lili

flrougt andthreadingpublicinEuropeandAmrenia. IntheUS,

has

resultof

reprinted tln

in 1989, The

Hamtch and the monthly lzs nowellcs d'Armlnie,

hopes of saving some Jewish friends. He ends his days, as the result ofa bureaucratic mix-up, in a Nazi oven. So, as the

mittee,publishedanarticleonHilsenrathin Yerevm' s GraleanTert shortlyafter?lreflory wasreleased. The samepaperhas alsopublished a long, rnovlng interview with Hilsenrath. Anottnr quickly

TheGennanpactionrrasnotlonginco*ing. Hilsenrath's,Story

"

apartment for seven months and let his imagination go to work. The result was The Story of the last Thought-a story born of the Armenian Catastrophe, and of the Jewish Holocaust as well. The story's ending befits its mixed parentage. Vartan Khatisian, Thovma's father, doesnotdieonttreroadtoDerZor: heescapes, miraculously, eventually settling in Switzerland. Withtheonsetofthe SecondWorldWar and the century's next major genocide, he travels to Warsaw with his Swiss passport in

novel abouttheGenocideby aGerman-speaking Jewishwriter(the first, of course, was tlre Austrian Franz Werfel' sThc Forty Days of Musa Daghptblisbed.in 1933). The educatorAshotManucharian, betterknownintheDiaspora forhis workwith the KarabakhCom-

Story o!the l-ast t has atsact€d csnsidorable attontiorr from ctitics

ubtished in Gcrsr,any

But Hilsenrath had long taken an interest ragedy, too. It culminated in fouryears of intensiveresearchinAmerican, Ausrian and German atchives, and a trip to what used to be western Armenia. Then the researcher locked himself into his Berlin

in the Armenian

menian versions of Goethe's Werther, Werfel's Verdi, and other German and Russian clas-

sics. The first volume of Thc Sfory's translatisn was released in Yerevan lastfall; afaithful, elegant rpndition of Hilsenrath's vigorous Geman, it is marr€d only by the translator's penchant for bowdlerizing the racier passages. (Rumor has it that Armenia's First Lady, a German literanre buff, has beenquietly carnpaigning to hold such censorship !o a minimum. If so,one wishes sln woild step up herefforts). Ten thousand copies of the Armenian translation have been printed, and another 10,000 are projecteLan extraordinary print runin thoeetoaghtimes. There areplan's to financetlp translation of theremainderof thEnovel withpoceeds from the sales of PartI. ThatThc *ory of tln Last Tlwughthas auacted li$le noise in the US to.datemay be due o ttle financial difficulties is Britishpublisheriscumently in. ltremains obe seen whethersome enterprisingAmericanbookmanwill finda way torectify thesituation.

AIM,MARCH 1994

I


WRITTEN

But their anitude isn't shared by the average Jewishreader.

You'Ye travclcd In what war oncc wcstcrn Anncnle. What did pcoplc thcre havc to ray about what happcned to thc Anncnianr?

ONTHEWALL OFSILENCE

In former western Armenia-now called "Anatolia"--dp word"Armenia'' is taboo. In

thegroupl wastravelingtherewith,someone had a copy of the [German] magazine Stem with an article about the Armenian Genocide in it. Our Turkish tourist guide immediately confi scated the magazine.

Edgar Hilsenrath Talks About the tlonologue of Despair

We would be shown old Armenian

By HOVHANNES HARUTIUNIAN

Alt:

Thovma Khatislan, the hcro novcl 7he Story oJ the Last Thought, sayc somcwherc that hc rir tclling thc dlcncc of the rtory ol thc Gcnocidc." What purpotc docr talklng to thc dlcncc rewc? EDOAR HILSENRATH: If people don' t of your

want to listen, then those who have been

How do you crplain thc fact

that, as a.f cw who writes about thc

Armcnian Gcnocldc, you ero, though ccilalnly not alonc, onc of a Y.ryt small mlnorlty? Why haln't thc dostructlon of wcrtem Armc. nia during thc Firlt World War at.

tractcd thc kind ol attcntlon from

driven to despairby the general indifference will rail at the walls, if ftey have to, to break the spell of silence,

whetherornotitserves apurpose. Not everythinghas tomake sense, afterall, as Thovma says in the last sentence of

nians wemetintheregionhadTurkishnames; they didn't live openly as Armenians.

Arc thcrc any planr to transfatc The Story lnto Turk lsh? [Thcro lr a hugc Turklrh rpcaking immlgrent popule. tion in Germany.l No. I don't think that's possible, for practical reasons.

thebook.

fn

churches and told that they had belonged to Christianminorities whohad sinceemigrated. In Van, we climbed up to the famous citadel. Our guide pointed out the ruins of the old city of Van down on the plain. An earthquake had desnoyed the city, he said. When we asked where the former inhabitants were, he answered that they had emigrated. The Arme-

Onc hcarr a grcat dcal, Gcnrunn about Vergang-

Lct'r rhift thc locur to the what do you rttrlbutc thc fact that thc novcl het yct to find a US publirhcr, and US. To

enhelt sbew alJI g u ng< oming to tcrm. with thc past. But can you Gomc to tarmr wlth a part that har rimply and suddcnly ccarcd to ex-

hasn't cYcn lound much ol an ccho ln thc Armcnlan.Amcd. can pros? Skulklng Armcnlan

anti.Scmltlsm? Suroly w.

lrt?

There's nothing about coming to terms with the past in my book. The hero of the novel tells himself his own story, that's all. There's no need to

can't pln thc blamc for thc ru. stralncd Armonian.Amcrlcen nrsponlc on Turkish infl ucncc.

explain that.

blame this time. I think stupidity and

But your novcl 7he Nazi andthc Batbr rccmr to try to explaln thc Jcwirh Holocaurt by polntlng to thc ca3c with which vlctlm and victimizer changc rclcs. I don't ftnd anything likc that In 7he Story ol the Laxt fhought. The main theme of The Nazi isn't role reversal between theexecutioner and his victim.

Iwas tryingtodepictGermanhistoryfromthe point of view of a brain-damaged hero who isn't really brain-damaged at all, but, rather, uses his supposed condition as an alibi. The idea was to tell the same story from two differentpoints of view-theJews' and the Na-

No, I don't think the Turks are to in-

difference arc. Thebookhas simplybeen overlooked.

thc rlcwr, In lcracl end clrcwhcro, that onc might cxpcct lt natually would? For my part,I write about the Armenians it makes me furious that the 1915 Genocidehasbeenburied in silence. When I finttoldmy US agent, Max Becker, aboutthe "Armenian novel" I was planning, all he said was, "Sixty years after Werfel's book, it's abouttime someonewroteamodemnovelon the subject." because

As to whylsraelortheJewishcommunity elsewhere haven't reacted, I really can't tell

In any case, The Nazi is drfferent from all my otlrerbooks . Tlv S to ry cetanly isn' t about

you. I assume ttatThe Srory hasn't gotten enough publicity. An Israeli publisher who rejected the book argued that it would thrust the Jewish Holocaust into the shadows. I

the interchangeability of victimizer and victim.

circles-are against

zis'.

42

suppose influential Jewish

circles-political

the book for that reason.

AIM,MARCH 1994

As to anti-Semitism among Diasporan Armenians, it well may exist in individual cases, but I don't think that's had any impact on the book's success or failure.

What do you think thc futurc holdr forthc Armcnien pcoplc? The Armenian people<onsidered as a nation, at any rate-is in a very dangerous situation, and can't expect much help from Europe in getting out

ofit.

Do you havc any planr to travcl to [Eartcmt Armcnia? Now that my book has come out in Armenia, I'll probably go there next year.

Translatedlrom the German by Hovhannes Harutlunlan


UNBUTTONING THECARTOON

Russian emigrant aristocrat to her former housekeeper back home. The housekeeper lists a catalogue of disasten which have befallen the ancestral house of the noblewoman

Armenian Animation Films

Supreme Council gunned down, gloatsover hisNobel Peacekizp. "Ever5/thing is fine,"

The Haifilm Studio ls ReshaPing By

lllKHAlL BAGRATUNI and

ARTINEII.IOHAIINES PHOTOS BY AFf,IT{EH JOHANNES

process of a ruler who launches cruise missiles, levels cities and unleashes earftquakes whenever he presses anything resembling a button: an elevatorbutton, ajacketbutton, the

nippleof amistress. ike most aspects of popular culture during the Soviet era, Armenia's

cartoonindustry tookits lead from the state-mandated vision of social realism. Since ttre innoduction of animated movies by Lev Atamanov, a Russian-born Armenian, in the late 1930s, the country's cartoon makers wererestricted to safe subjects which spawned pure entertainment or moralityales deemedconduciveto the socialist cause. Children's stories, suchas Hovhannes Tumanian'sA Drop of Honey andThe Dog ond thc Cat, produced forchildren

and adults alike, emerged

Sahakiants, 44, was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, andmovedwithhisfamilytoYerevan in 1964. Hedroppedoutofuniversityin 1970

and entered Haifilm, and within two years became directorof the prestigious studio. His first cartoon, Ulit, was produced in 197 2; it

drew from Biblical motifs and the work of novelistAvetiklsahakian. Since then, Sahakiants has made23 cartoons, mostly literary adaptations that deal with questions ofgood and evil. However, with the advent of the Glasnostyears, Sahakians relied onhis own

as

popular favorites. And while animation techniques improved in the 60s and 70s thanks to increased state sponsorship and the workof a number of highly accomPlished master artists. non-conformist experimentation and risk-taking had to wait until the late 80s.

Today, Armenia's animation industry is faced with a paradoxical situation that affords it unlimited fieedom of expression but also funding and manpower shortages so acute that the continued Production of cartoons is cause for wonder. Many of Armenia's star cartoonists, among them Robert Sahakiants and his wife, Ludmila, and Stepan Galustian still live and work in the country, and the quality of their work does not se€m to have suffered from six years of economic crisis and wartime living conditions.

ThcAntl-Hcto

scripts and produced a sring of works that critiqued the socio-political climate of an empire in shambles. In 1987, he made The lzsson,his last "abstract" work. Set to John Lennon's Imagine,The lzsson depicts astronauts visiting a newly discovercd planet; as they shoot down strange birds and other living things ontheplanet, they suddenlyfind

year, Robert Sahakiants produ cd The Wind, one of the fint satirical cartoons made in the Soviet Union that protest€d against communist totalitarianism. The film was released in the aftermath of theZvartnots airportincident, when scores of Armenian democratic move-

Union. "I could no longer dwell on abstrac-

Nineteen+ighty+ight changed the face of Armenian animated films overnight. That

ment demonsfiators were beaten by Soviet noops. The following year, Sahakiants expanded onhis theme with anotherreleare,The Button,prhaps the most important achievement ofhis career. A cautionary tale about dicatonhip gonehaywire, tlrc film depicts the

frighteningly arbitrary decision-making

themselves inhabiting the bodies of the hunted creatures, so that killing becomes tantamount to self-destnrction. After the release of. The /zsson, Sahakiants, who still heads Haifilm, declared he was through wittt philosophical speculation; from then on, he would nrn his attention to thepolitical climate of the Soviet tions

whilemillionsofliveshungonlife-and-

deathdecisions madeby somebastald sining

inMoscow,"he says, Sahakiants' critique of the Soviet r€gime reached its peak with Everything Is Fine, Madame Marquise, which was released in 1991 and revolves around a phone call by a

AIM,MARCH 1994

followingamilitarycoup, alwaysconcluding withttre refrain "Everytlingis fine, my lovely lady." The film closes with a chilling scene where Gorbachev, after having the entire heconcludes. Sahakiants' films, particularly those that dealt with political themes, have received

considerable international exposure. Ifte Button won prizes at the Barcelona and Annecy fi lmfestivals, and it was shown, along withThe Le s s o n and Ev e ryhin g I s F ine, atlast

year's Armenian Film Festival in Paris' PompidouCenter. One of Sahakiants' recent projects was a commission

by ttre Royal Academy of

Encyclopedia and the BBC for a cartoon adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Sahakiants is cunently

working as technical director for

an

American cartoon that is being filmed in Moscow.


SymbolsAway Metaphors are Ludmila

1964.In 1975, shejoined her husband at Haifilm as an assistant director, and three

Sahakiants' preferrcd cartoon

years later made her first cartoon, Derenik

stock. The lush symbolism of her films serves to explore the

Demirchian's The Meeting of the Mice.lt'rc film won First Prize at the Animation Film Festival of Ukraine. Ludmilahas since made five more cartoons, drawing from literary

limits of morality, while her latest effort, enti tldThe G ifi , is an

intensely personal vision of individual destinies with

fu sing

thatofanation.

Born in Tbilisi in 1950, Ludmila moved to Yerevan in

works and herown material. Bo ok of D reatns, arecenteffort that was inspiredby the fables of the Armenian philosopher fr{dritar Costr, is an impassioned plea to re-establish basic moral virtues. It won First Pize at the Film Festival of Kiev and was featured at

the Pompidou's Armenian Film Festival.

"Armenia's present situation is actually a source of inspiration to me," says Ludmila. "So much so, in fact, that I entitled my new project, which is a different reading ofour current plight, The Gr"1t." While drawing sketches forthe frlm, Lud-

mila decided to complement the work with live acting. For this, she hired the Lithuanian actor Regimantas Ardomaytis who, Ludmila says, expressed much surprise at the way people in Armeniacontinue tocreate works of art despite tenible difficulties.

A Dublous Frocdom Stepan Galustian's The Corridor, released in 1989 and sold in more than countries, addresses the gradual loss

a

dozen

ofcom-

munity, andtheattendantethnic andrcligious animosities, that were made manifest bv the collapseof the SovietUnion. "Ourwholilife now resembles those corridors in communal residences where we all meet," says Galust-

ian.43.''this fi lmhas no endbecause wedon't know what will happen to us inthe future." Galustian's stylized remembrance of the pastalsobearssomepracticalconcems. "Even though we have gained the right to work as independent artists, wehave losttheold ties," he says. "[Before the collapse ofthe Soviet Union] we would gather once a year and exchange viewpoints and talk about ourprojects. This was an enriching experience and we re-

ally miss it." Galustian heads Haifilm's animation department. Sincehis firstcartoon was released

in 1977, he has made five more films, mostly adaptations of literary works, including some by Tumanian. Galustian is currently working on a new cartoon , entitlelThe Perspective. But his project, like those of Ludmila and Robert Sahakiants and other animation artists

working in Armenia, faces daunting financial A frame

lrom

gutton, a

lhe

Bathlcal

cafioonbyRobert

woes. Despite international interest in Armenian-made cartoons,

bft; funding is becoming Halfllm'sanlmatlon :-^, diffi cult'

Sahaklanb,far

i.Jdliln1i14iiil"" lffi'"u'ingtt ,, e're constantly Ludmlla Sarriiiints, top left; scurrying for loqs and

StepenGalugtian, sponsors," Galustian top

rlght.

says.

I


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v Cheuron

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Rethinking Church And Nation - March 1994