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I|te Iaunch ol a lllew PntlGe$$ September 22-24, 1 999, Yerevan, Armenia Please send your comments, views and proposals to the Steering Gommittee Ministry of Foreign Aflairs 2 Government Bldg. Republic Square Tel:

37501 0 Yerevan, Armenia . Fax: 37 42-151042

37 42-583978


Pan Armcnian Game$ August-September 1999


Yerev?hn Armenia r/-\\


-.1\ 6r




f* \\.l




fu uet! *) ^


-tel -F' -tt


\;J tl

The World Commiltee of the Pan Armenian Games announces the lirst games with lhe participation of Armenian youth from Armenia and around the world.

Activilies will include loolball (soccer), basketball, volleyball, lennis, table-tennis, track and field, and chess. For participation and more inlormation contact: World Committee ol Pan Armenian Games Republic Square 2 Yerevan 375010 Armenia Iel.lF ax (+37 421 50.52.56 Email: I nternet: http://www.armi games


voL.10, No.



6 Editor's Note 7 Letters to the Editor 10 AIM View 12 Notebook 15 Bytes on File 16 Global Picture

18 Armenia Briefs 20 Diaspora Briefs


73 74 76


Other People's Mail Underexposed Essay



Focus-TANER A three-city tour of the documentary A WALL OF SILENCE serves as a call for dialogue on issues of Armenian Genocide recogntion.

Armenia participates in NATO's Partnership for Peace program. In Apirl, President Kocharian also attended the NATO 50th anniversary summit in Washington DC.


NATO Armenia participated in NATO's 50th anniversary summit in the midst of heavy politicking regarding NATO's future.


- Discover Armenia

From getting into and out of Yerevan's Zvartnots airport, to negoti ating customs, from hotels and restaurants to art museums and night spots, our special tourism section provides a different and

new look at an ancient country. See Armenia as you've never seen

it before. Articles and photos take you beyond Carni, Ceghard, Tsitsernakaberd and Sartaraoad.



Looking Beyond Aliyev Azerbaijan's presiden t is ailing and it's not clear who stands in line to succeed him.

BUSINESS What does a tourist do in Armenia? A 24-page pullout section presents unusual, scenic and urban sights not

to be





Report Card What do the standard economic indicators say about Armenia's economy over the last year and a half. Hard numbers about a inr roh





Vatican-Armenia 2000 A ground breaking exhibiton of political and ecclesiastical relations between Armenia and the Vatican.


What do the numbers say about Armenia's economic development over the last year and a half?

AIM(lsSNrO50l47l)6plblkhedmonthly,t45pe.year byTheFoldhMdennrumSo(ety,2O75o!thBrafdBollevard sute20l Cendale,CA91204 Phone (3r8)2467979 Far t313)245.m$ PerlodicaEPoilaAepa'datcend.le CA3fdaddtonalma nSolfces CanadaPonPubLlcatonsMai Prodlct 05r&57 O Copynght 1ry3 by The Fo!frh Millenn !m So.iety Al flght reserued ArM may n.t b-" repfodlced n any manner, erther in whole or rn pail, w0ou t wrilt.n pemlslon tion the pubbher The edto6 are not responrble lor unso rited manusd pa or ad d.le$ a ilamped, seli addre$ed Salei A€reement No

envelopenendosed OprnroNexpre$ed'nsg.edanlderdonotnec€t3ailyreprete.tthevrMoiTheFouithMrl-onniumSocely.toradvertisingqlerescal 8182467979 Sub(riptonrat€rlor12trrucs U5 t45.For€ign 955 Ponman€E AIM PO Boi10791 6erdae C491209,!5A



Armenian International Magazine 207 South Brand Blvd. Suite 203 Glendale, CA 91204, USA Tel: 818 246 7979 Fax : 8 1 8 245 0088

Discover (a futr) fumenia


Can the words Armenia and fun appear in the same sentence? How about Armenian and fun? It's possible, isn't it? Armenian doesn't always have to be preceded or followed by the words tragedy, victim, unfortunate, difficult or

responsibility. Read our pages on tourism in Armenia. Matthew Karanian and John Hughes, both American as apple pie, approach their subject with joy, adventure and acceptance. The light approach of Laura Gononian, who has lived in Armenia working for the Atmenia Tree Project, has produced the first-of-itskind Best of list for Armenia and Yerevan. And, the exquis-


photography of

Salpi Haroutinian


MANAGING EDITOR Hratch Tchilingirian


A. H. Alexandrian, Yerevan SENIOR EDITOR

Tony Halpin, London DESIGN

Raffi Tarpinian PROOUCTION AND PHOTO MANAGER Parik Naarian

Matthew Karanian.


Khachatrian, Zaven Khachikian and Ruben Man-

gasarian made the



Seta Khodanian

creative work of AIM designer Raffi


Tarpinian's job seem



The result is an introduction to hav-

ing fun in the small museum of a country that has more churches than France has cheese or Germany has beer. Like any other normal country on earth. Armenia has its share of social and economic problems. But you don't find those problems highlighted in tourism articles. Don't look for them here either. You'll get those throughout the magazine all year long. In AIM's Discover Armenia pull-out section in this issue, prepare to be taken in by the beauty, mystery and warmth that makes Armenia so enticing to so many first-time and return visitors.

Karina Avedissian, Dina Hovsepian, Ani Shirinian, Mesrop Simonyan

YEREVAI{ BUREAU 5 Nalbandian Room 24 Tel; 583539 Iel/Fax: 15'1849 E.mail:


Anahit Martirossian ADVERTISING MANACER Cohar Sahakian DESICN ANO PRODUCTION Areg Asatrian, Vahan Stepanian

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS John Hughes, Ronald Crigor Suny, Taline Voskeritchian

In this month's Business & Economy section, you will find a lengthy Report Card on Armenia's economy during the last year and a half, prepared by Associate Editor A. H. Alexandrian who is trained in economics and lives in Armenia. The report card is a rather heavy read, but also a rare find. The analysis uses figures produced by the Armenian government; these are the same figures that the international agencies use to assess economic trends and growth in Armenia. Beginning with the June issue and each month thereafter, AIM will present a monthly digest of economic indicators for Armenia, and where available for neighboring countries as well.

CONTRIBUTORS Artashd Emin, Ye@ani Suen Pattic, London; ldik Balaian, Afa Chouljiai, [os Anteles; Jan€t sanuelian, Palh Spings; Ma* Malkdian, Rhod. lsland; Csrte Boumoutian, lola l(oundaljian, Ne Yoili Myiiam Gauma, Pad,; Matthe Karanian, Moorad M@hdian. Wshington, DCt Vartan Matdrian. Buenor Ai6.

PHOTOGRAPHERS Mkhitar (hachatian, Zaven Khachilian, Rouben Mantaeaian, Y€rcvani Antoine Atoudjian, Aminch Johann6. Aline Manoukian, Padsi Edmond TeEkopian, Londonl Kaine Amen, (cvoil qansrian, Raffi tkm.kji, Edc Ndadan, tua Oshatan, Los Anteles; caro Lachinian, Mesachus.tts; Ardem Arlanian, New


Harry Koundakjian, N.w Yod(; Befge AE zobian, Rhode lsland,




Coktio Mekhitadsta, Virey del Pino 3511 (1426) Bueno! Aies, Phone 5,41 552 36t0. CANAoA; RamitHalimie,5595HeniBou6saW6t,Monkeal,PQ,MR2E1,Phone5143392517. UNITED AMB EMIMTISi GulirdjoniM, PO. Box 44554, Abu ohabi, UAt, Phone 971 2 775 721, Fd 971 2 Z/5 191 . UNITED K|NooOM: Misk Ohoian. 105A Mill Hill Rdd, Acton, London W38Jt, Phone 0181 992 4521 . ITALY Pierc Ealanid, Via Moiac6,51 A4l5, Rome, Phone 995 1235. HONG (ONCI ARCENTINA:

jad Milie,

RM. A2, 1 1/l 8l€t A, 26 Kai Cheung Rd., Kowl@. 8dy, KMldn, Phone 852795c)88f. AUSIR IIA: Vmi bkend.riil, 148 (@la Ave. Easl Kllara NSW 2071 Phone 02.9251 2882; Alfrrd PO. Bor 370, Haris Pa* NSW 2150, Phone 029897 1p45; Vahe Kaleb PO- Box 250, Pod Mdbdme. Vidoda 3207. Phone 03 9794 0009,




We welcome all @mmunication. Although we read all letteB and submissions, we arc unable to acknowledge everything we receive due to limited staffing and resources. LetteE to the Editor may be edited for publication.

AIM MAY 1999

we can capture the magnificence of God in our petty language and concepts. If the poet and artist cannot capture the beauty of a splendid sunset, how can we imagine that we can capture the glory of God and the sacrificial salvation of Jesus Christ in a word so culturally overlaid as that of "nature"? But we must speak some language and utilize some concepts. And so we pick the ones that seem to capture our experience of and faith in the Divine according to our best lights. If the Romans and some traditions of Orthodoxy have to divide Christ to articulate the mystery, so be it. I'm sure that it doesn't matter to him. If the Armenians have to see Christ as one, I'm sure that Christ is not particularly perturbed by that account either.

Aid Armenia In the report on the visit of the British

Ambassador, John Mitchiner,



Region (Global View, February 1999) you

The fact is that we are all struggling to be faithful to the gift of God's grace and the mystery of His love for us. How we tell that story to ourselves is not going to change God. But the humble acceptance of the lim-


mention that the British Government has provided aid to the children's hospital in

Inwrence P. Ulrich. Ph.D. Universiry of Dayton Dayton, Ohio

that region.

The fact is that St. Nareg Pediatric Hospital was built and equipped by Aid Armenia, which is a UK-based Armenian Charity organization. We still help the hospital by providing equipment, spares, consumable items as well as professional train-



the funds were raised in the UK from the British public, not the British Government. In fact it was Aid Armenia that

donated f300,000 to the British Government in order to participate in the construction of Lord Byron British school

in Gumri. Rouben Galichian

Chairman Aid Armenia, London. UK

Christology 102 I am a long-time colleague of Hagop Nersoyan and a recent convert to Orthodoxy (albeit, not of the Armenian variety). I was pleased to read Dr. Nersoyan's comments

on the Common Declaration (Letters, March 1999) and to marvel at the erudition and wisdom that so customarily underlie his

writing. His conclusion, that there may be several viable ways of talking about Christ, the God-Man, is eminently sensible. On my

path to Orthodoxy from


Catholicism, I have often reflected on the arrogance of us human beings to think that

of our language might very well

change us.

There are several problems with Mr. Nersoyan's central thesis, namely, that the joint declaration represents a caving in by the Armenian Apostolic Church. Nersoyan has a problem with the language of the decIaration because the phrases "without division," and "without separation" imply at Ieast two "things." Please, let's put semantics aside. Call them what you will, any orthodoxArmenian theologian will say that Christ's nature has two components, or ingredients-the divine and the human. I particularly like the analogy of a glass half filled with oil, half with water versus two glasses, one filled with oil and one filled with water, the former repre-

senting the vision of these ingredients in Christ according to the Armenian view, and the latter representing the Roman view of Christ. Theologians and men and women who have nothing better to do than to make theology more abstruse can argue that even the example of separated liquids in one glass doesn't accurately convey the manner in which these ingredients are blended in Christ-perhaps they are completely commingled-but this would miss the forest for the trees.

Romans and Armenians agree on the presence of these two ingredients. A charitable and possibly viable view might hold that

AIM MAY 1999

the divine and human components are also natures within a "unified nature," and that speaking of a union of natures might indeed endorse the Armenian view. There is a second, and in some ways, more important issue. While the theology behind the nature of Christ is important because it has implications for how

to consider how they can model them-selves after their leader, there is a housekeeping problem: what Nersoyan Christians are

does not explicitly explore, but Aram I's remarks imply and confirm, based on my understanding, is that we are monophysites based more on a historical difference of pol-

itics than theology. We, of course, should not compromise our principles. But the cost and benefit of every difference within the larger church of Christ must be considered. We can sometimes get mired in the politics and glamour of being different, but while we may not agree to the letter on everything Christian leaders say, write, and do, the spirit of universalism in Christ is to be commended and should be fostered. The non-academic mother

of a friend once casually offered the wisest formula I've heard for resolving ethical dilemmas: ask yourself what Jesus would do in the same situation. What would He say about our debates on Christology?



Definitions and Memories "The DP Story" (Connections, January 1999) is reasonably truthful and informative. However the caption commits a terri-

bly misleading error. There was a huge dif-

ference between "Nazi concentration camps" and foreign workers' "labor camps"! The overwhelming majority, if not all, of the Armenians described in the article were never even near a concentration camp. Some may have been in prisoners of war camps, which is yet another category. As far as I know, the Nazi concentration camps were usually reserved for criminals, homosexuals, Jews and gypsies. As a former displaced person myself, thought this clarification is in order.


M. Hablanian We

lle s ley, Mas sachusetts

Made in Armenia

It was with great interest that I read the article "Made in Armenia" (Business & Economy, March 1999). In our local Sears department store, I bought a garment made


The Founh Millennium So.iety

!f$E R$,.,


an inclependently llnclcd ancl adminis

tered public charity committed to the dissemin{tion ol


in Armenia. How it ever got to the Chico, Califomia store ['ll never know, but my brother, a tailor, commented favorably on this well- made jacket. Perhaps I will be able to t'ind other articles shipped over here, and I will certainly look them over carefully. Name withheld upon request

The Ear of the Beholder I read with great interest the article about the Malakans (Religion, February 1999). The pictures are marvelous, but an otherwise interesting article was spoiled by a number of mishearings or misprints. The group in question are Molokans, who originated from Tambov Guberniia, and not "Dambovi." I have always heard that the word Molokan comes trom moloko, the Russian word for milk, because Molokans drank milk during days when the Russian Orthodox refrained from using dairy products. But more significantly, Molokans



llre purposc

of developing an infi)rmed public. lindcrpinning all our uorl is thc lirrn conviction thal thc \ italil) of an indcpendcnt pre\s i\ llndalncnlal lo t (lcmocraltc socr'

ety in Arnrenir and dcD()crutic in\titulions in lhe Dirspofr' The Fourlh Millenilium Societ) publishes Armenian Internutional MlSrrinc in its ellbn lo contribute


thc national dialogue. Thc direck)rs arc gratetitl to lhe Ecnclucln\.

ollhe Fourth Millcnniunl Socictr rvho are conlnliF wcll being. gr1)wlh rnd (lcvelt)pillent ofArnreilians and Arnrcnir thrrnrch the pr(nnotion ol opt'n discusrion an(l the licr tloN ol inli)nnrlion amrng iodi vitluals and or8xni^tions. Thcir linrncirl conlributioD\ srpport thc worl ol lhe Fourth Millenniunr Socict,r and cnsurc thc indcPcndenct ot AIM.

Ttrrslecs. Prtrons and Friends


ted to the


Michlcl Nahabct. Rnfli



DIRECTORS'99 Shahen Hairapetian, Armen Hampar. Zaven Khanjian, Michael Nahahet.

Alex Sarkrssian. Bob Shamlian. Ratli Zinzalian. BN,NEFACTORS Sarkis Acopian. Albert and Tove Boyajian. Hirair Hovnanian. The Lincy Ftluntiation Louise Manoogian Simone


AUSTRALIA: Heros & Kate Dilanchian: CALIFORNIA: Khachig


George & Flora Dunaians. Georgc & Grace Kay. Joe & Joyce Stein

called the Bible "the milk of the spirit." I

CANADA: Razmig Hakimian. Kourken Sarkissian HONG KONG: Jack Maxian

have never heard of the origin of the name being "malenkii" tsmall). Your readers might like to know that there is a large community of Molokans in the Los Angeles area. Another group of

AUSTRALIA: Varoojan Iskenderian CALIFORNIA: Garen Avedikian. Mardo Kaprielian.

Molokans, for the most part non-Jumpers,

PENNSYLVANIA: Zarouhi Mardikian

FOUNDING TRUSTEI]S Edward Misserlian. Bob Movelt, Varouian Nahabet. Norair Oskanian. Enlmy Papazian. Zareh Sarkissian. Raffi Zinzalian FLORIDA: Hagop Koushakjian

or, as you say in the article, "hoppers," lives in San Francisco and surrounding areas, and are called the "steadfast."

ASSOCIATE TRUSTEES Araxie M. Haroutiniitn. Ralph and Savcy Tule nkian

Ethel Dunn Highgate Road Social Science


Your article which described the Russian sect known in literature as Molokans is educational, particularly to members of the Diaspora. They are called Molokans not because they drink a lot of milk on fasting days, as the article states, but because they consider their interpretation of the Bible as spiritual

milk; pure as mother's milk-your title


Armen rnd Glo iat Hanpar Arpiar rnd Hermine Jdnolan



Wrlter rnd Larrel Krrilhirn

illigirdic and Ani i\'ligirdicl"rn

The other version fbr the sect's nameMalokans derives from the expression Malo Kanuly, meaning "little vanished," i.e. not all of them disappeared from Russia.

Besides Prigouns,

Aman and Nairi Derderyan

Kevork rnd satenig Karajclian


George and Varnruhi Tavoukjian

Nishani and S0na Kazau ian

l-ouis T. l{alopian

Artin Eirneklitn

John rnd Rose KclchoYan

the sect

also small

includes Subotniks, Khlistouny-a group which has virtually disappeared, and Postoyannie (constants) considered


Zaven and Sona Khanjinn

Mihran and Elizabelh Agbabian

Krikor Krikorian

Krik('r and Hilrcul lstrnbulian

Garabed Akpotat

Dorr Scn'iirirn Kuhn

Armand and Nancy Ar.rbian

A\ ik Mrhdesian

I,EBAN()N Kerork flouladian


Vankes and Jean Barsam



Alvan BaAcghun

negative aspects o1' modern society (divorce, alcohol), Molokans remained faithful to their moral principals. However, it is also true that by reject-

Gury- ond Sossi



Ind Erdirnik Mrrkanrn

Harout and Ritu Mesroblan

MASSACHT]SETTS Richarcl Sinronian

Aram and Terez Basscnian

Jasmine Mqrdichitn


Bcrj and Hera tsoyajian

Edwrrd and AIice Nnvr\arsrrn

Gerrgc ('hanrchikiart

Ardrsh and Marian Dcrderian

Dimitri und Tanura Dimilri Lucille Estephanian

['ind] \(]rilr

Rrli Ourlalian

Alcx Manoogirnr' NI.]\AI)A

Michael ancl llcrmine Pirnnirn

l,arry and Seda Brrnes

Kenneih rnd

Hrrtch {nd Helga Sarkts


Manoushag Fermuian

Alcx Sarkissian

Harry and Aida Koundrkiian

Cagik and Knar Calstian Vohan rnd Audre) (irelLor

Robefl rnd Helen Shrntlian

Stevc anrl

Pierrc and Alice Haig


the extreme fundamentalists within the sect. It is true that by rejecting some of the


(;ilro Kcheyiln ITALY


Hagop and Violel Dakcssiiln


Gaidzag and Dro\ ig Zcillian

ARNIENIA Khach{Nr ilnd RouTannr Soukiassian

Research Station

Berkelev. California

Grrinc l':rgl1rn Arcdi: Tuvitiar

Vthc Nishaniani

Pctros rnd


Ara and

l)irrn rnd Su/i Clhrkelirn



The Fourth Millennium Socicty is gratelul 10 thc lirllowrng firr contributing during the last month to ensure AIM's financial independcncc.

UK: Arrnenag Topalian. CA: Misak and Houri Abdulian. Zaven A. Adrouny. Arsine Arukelians. Hrayr and Sona Avedian, Dick Barqrshian, O. H. Bezi{ian. Vartkes Broussalian. Giselle Chamrts. Richard Demirjian. John Kaikanian. Lawrence and Joyce Krains. Haik Marcar. John Martin' Boghos Maseian. Hacik Parunvan. Alexander Ristakian, Movses rnd Michelle Shrikian. Isaac Vartaniiln


ing the same society's achievements, insu-

to underdeveloped countries is not out of

lating themselves within their own communify, not being receptive to those who do not share their beliefs, and distancing themselves from the rich Russian culture. the majority of Molokans became intolerant and significantly devaluated their national identity. All of this occurred as a result of being taught that they and only they are the genuine followers of truth. A similar outcome is already visible within some segments of the Diasporan Armenians, who have separated themselves from the national mainstream through foreign-introduced religious teachings, "indis-

the goodness of their hearts or for a humanitarian reasons, but is based on how much pressure they need to exercise on that country. It seems to me that their main objective to lend money is a political one

Manoug Sarkian Glendale, Califurnia


IMF and the World Bank do not actually "loan out" the funds which thet allocate for u specific countrv or u specific project. In tlrc IMF's case, those.funds rhe

putable" political convictions and archaic

are often in the.form of loan guarantees, not direct loans. In the case of the World Bank, project .funds are used to fund technical experts, transportation, supplies and other

localist mentalities.






from overseas.

Harutiutt Surmenian Pasadena. Calilbrnia

The Editors

Rare Platform Journalist Armineh Johannes consulted local Malakan leaders and specialists in

Armenia, including a Yerevan-based Malakan priest Leonide Marozi, for the information contained in her article. The Editors

More Sports

For the last two years, I have been enjoying the great benefits and joys of a subscription to your magazine. I am firmly of the belief that it is indeed a unique publication. Especially as an Armenian living abroad, I find AIM to be a fantastic way of keeping in touch with the Armenian world, both in terms of events and news from Armenia itself, as well as from other parts of the world. One of the features of AIM that I enjoy so much is the fact that


has a wide variety

of regular sections covering such a broad range of aspects of life as an Armenian.



am surprised that your

magazine does not include a regular segment covering sporting news and sporting


The Olympics 2000 in

Sydney, Australia, is within sight, I am sure

that your readers, both young and old,

Being among those who first joined the

ranks at the time

of the conception and

founding of AIM, we would like to reaffirm support and cooperation fbr the healthy and prospering continuation of AIM, as well as express, once more, deep appreciation and gratitude for the unthankful, yet remarkable effort invested in the maintenance and survival of one of the rare platforms of true Armenianism. Sebouh and Shoghig Baghdoyan Vienna, Austria

Corrections In the "Underexposed" section (AIM, January 1999), the name of Dr. Dickran Kouymjian, Director of the Califonia State

University, Fresno, Armenian Program, Jbunder


of the

newspaper Hye Sharz.hoom [Armenian Action] and its advisor frum 1979 to 1985 was omitted. Barlow Der Musrdechian has been advisor since 1979. In Other People's Mail (March, 1999} the letter noted that Shah Mohammed Pahlevi arul empress Farah celebrated the l700th anniversary^ of the lranian Empire. It was in fttu the 2500th anniversan'in 1970.

Is the perfect guide to natural healing

and herbal medicines written


Roupen Kulkhanjian, regisrered pharmacist in Beirut Lebanon.

A wonderful and thoughtful gift for your family and friends

would appreciate a regular and progressive segment or column dedicated to sports. Shavarsh Bedrossian S1,dne.r*,

To order, please write to:

Aline Donabedian


24 Duff Street, Watertown



Your "Welcome To Globalization" (View, February 1999) troubled me. It was very disturbing to find out how the World Bank and IMF work. As I understood it, the way the World Bank and IMF lend money

Include a check or money order of $29.99. Price includer \hippine and handeling.



Armenian language. The book is beautifully illustrated with full color pictures of the herbs and plants used in the practice of homeopathic healing. It also includes a comprehensive guide with step by step advice on the use of herbal medicine. The book's author is Dr.

When is a finst date not an cngagement Gouilshlp: 2lst Gentury y0ulh slill haue lo llYe


1gth century rules

n Armenia, young people looking for ways to engage in the traditional courting process have one set of problems (See page 76). In the Diaspora, there is a whole other set. The situation in the West's large Armenian communities is particularly acute. On the one hand, no one has quit saying that it's important for Armenians to marry Armenians. No one is (publicly) preaching intermarriage-just yet. On the other hand, Armenian dating and courting rules have not moved into the 21st century and it's getting tougher and tougher to find Mr. or Ms. Right. This should be no surprise. Few Armenian community insti-

tutions (formal or informal) function according to the norms of modern society. Why should dating be an exception? It should be for a very simple reason-the stability of the family and the longevity of the community depend on a tolerant, honest, open courting process. But the Armenian courting ritual seems to have its own rules. Here are the men's complaints: A guy can hold hands with a non-Armenian girl one day, and forget her name three days later; that's OK. Hold an Armenian girl's hand, and he may as well go pick out the ring. Some complaints are quite grave. Those young men who have entered a promising profession and want to share their intellectual and personal interests are constantly up against young women who have fewer, narrower interests: car, house and clothes. At least that's what the guys say. The girls aren't too happy either. Guys say they want modern, contemporary thinking, but what they really want is, well, you know. Beyond that, they want their mothers' lifestyle in a twentysomething body, and a 90s look.

As for Armenian women pursuing a profession? Forget it. Rare is the man who is willing to expand his church, school, work

life to include the wife's interests and commitments. And if she does work outside the home and successfully so? That's fine, so long as she's home by 5. Sociologists say that dating often begins within the family's circle of friends. But AIM's younger readers tell us that dating someone your parents know is especially tough, because already you're confronted with expectations, assumptions and calculations. There is no room to be different or untraditional when everyone remembers your baptism. These are just a few of the classic, consistent complaints. Do these sound like trivial issues? Not according to the young people who regularly express these (and similar) concerns to AIM. Dismissing the above characterizations as stereotypes is too easy. So long as the picture presented here is true enough or pervasive enough to even qualify as a stereotype, there is serious cause for worry. Even those men and women who do not think in the ways described here will not look within the community because they do not want a mate who fits the stereotype, either. They will reject these criteria and look elsewhere. And where they look, they will find. Are these problems insignificant or immaterial given the 'larger' challenges facing the Armenian Diaspora? Hardly. As long as the stereotype continues to have some truth at its core, a whole (and large) group of more flexible-in the old days we would have called them cosmopolitan-individuals will form families outside the community and beyond the reach of traditional structures. How many can we afford to lose?

Tounism ll's lhe answel l0 a hosl of ctuclal questions



hat can a nature-rich and natural-resource-poor country

logical progress on the world stage.

like Armenia do to boost its economy?

We did not skip over the obvious economic benefits of tourism. Those are perhaps the most apparent and easiest to understand.

Promote tourism. How to position Armenia on the world map people's minds in ways not linked with Genocide,

Karabakh conflict, or blockade? Encourage tourism. How can Armenia become more familiar and less "exotic" to the world's educated, curious, knowledgeable masses? Through tourism. What can be done to make others understand, really understand Armenia's small size, vulnerable geographic location and the burden of its history? Facilitate tourism. The list ofquestions can go on. Tourism (See page 29) is the means to mark all sorts of political, social, educational, psycho-


Christian tourism is a large segment of the world's tourism industry. Armenia has hundreds of architectural marvels with deep

religious and Christian significance. This is the Armenian Apostolic church, after all, founded by two of the original 12 apostles, and with historic links right back to the Founder of the church Himself. And the year 2000 is coming up. (No, not 2001-that's the Armenian church l700th anniversary. The original event happened 2,000 years ago.)



Then there are the adventure tourists. the ones who don't look for five star hotels or four star restaurants. That's a good thing for Armenia, since there aren't enough (or any) of those yet. But there are plenty of moun0ains, rivers, gorges, valleys, sunsets, trails, caves, villages, buses, generic bed-and-breakfasts, and all the other attractions that bring adventure tourists, complete with light bags and open minds.

Armenia's complicated geography-a farmer's nightmareis a guide's (and tourist's) gold mine. From birding (with the potential of sighting several hundred varieties) to caving (and viewing millennia-old drawings) to hiking (and enjoying the medicinal qualities of a dormant volcano's still-warm lava), there really is much to tout about this country. Many (especially Diasporans) consider Armenia's obvious attractions old hat. Still, one view of Mt. Ararat and it becomes clear why that image can be found everywhere from restaurants in Germany to taxis in Los Angeles. Just a half hour in Ejmiatsin (or better yet in the.churches of St. Hripsime or St. Gayane near Ejmiatsin) and spiritual revival takes on new meaning. The long trek up to the Tsitsemakaberd Martyrs monument, especially on a hot day, causes the tears of anger and frustration to run down the most cynical of eyes. All this to say that tourism in Armenia has got to be the best

win-win situation for Armenia and Diaspora. Those wishing to visit this ancient land at the edge of Europe and Asia will feel like an adventurous tourist and comfortable local all at the same time. Those ready to invest in Armenia's economy can choose anything from the never-completed shells ofpotential hotels or restaurants along Lake Sevan to a personalized taxi service between Yerevan and tourist spots. The government of Armenia, too, stands to benefit from this situation. If it gets serious. There are some things that can't be explained away by blockade. The "adventure" part of tourism in Armenia should begin in the countryside, not at the airport. We've heard it all before: the airport-airline-customs-immigration services are all distinct, each under different supervision, and therefore difficult to reform. It's an explanation that doesn't sit too well nearly a decade after independence. Armenia either wants tourists to enter and leave the country freely, happily and with dignityor, it doesn't. There is yet another question to which the answer is Tourism. The question is this: What is the single sector of Armenia's development which will best reflect the country's seriousness about its entry into the Westem world and the Diaspora's seriousness about helping it get there?

lllot an l|xymonon Amenlans in Europe Begin lo 0rganlze rmenians, Armenian communities and Armenian organi-

of Europe came

together at the end of April 1999-in the European parliament building no less-to hear academics and specialists talk about Europe at the beginning of the 21st century (See page 20). The venue alone is impressive. Imagine holding a conference on Capitol Hill, in Washington DC, cosponsored by some members of Congress. That's what the Armenians of Belgium had managed to pull off, and that feat alone indicated that both they, and the Members of Parliament, were aware that Armenian minorities throughout Europe could become very active, vocal participants in political affairs which impact them as citizens of Europe, and as Armenians. More impressive was the fact that every country in Europe was actually represented not just at this Conference, but at the two-day meeting which followed. Held at the Armenian Home, which also houses Armenia's Embassy in Belgium, the groundwork was carefully, tentatively, often skeptically laid for a Forum of Armenian Organizations of Europe. Nearly two dozen years ago, the Armenian Assembly of America was formed as a kind of umbrella organization which was tewhat else-assemble Armenian organizations together and become the mechanism for their more effective cooperation and collaboration in the US. It didn't work, exactly. The political parties, specifically, didn't seem to think they needed coordinating. So, the Armenian zations

Assembly evolved into a (still effective) different organization. Not to be put off by this story Armenians of different generations from two dozen countries who did not speak the same language, did not have the same experiences and certainly did not share political perspectives came together to try again, this time in Europe. They did, however, share a common vision. The organizers had done the preliminary leg work well. Delegations had come from Crimea and Latvia, Luxembourg and Sweden. When young Armenians from Hungary--descendants of 13th century migrants to Transylvania-identify themselves as Armenians and want to get to work, something is very right. They had survived. Now, they want to thrive. That's easier done collectively than singly. The organizers insisted that through voluntary association with this new organization, it would be possible to coordinate programs and activities to better focus and utilize the potential of the Armenian communities of Europe. Some of the participants were not sure. Others were not sure how.



resolve these and the myriad other ideological,

structural, financial problems facing them if they have the will to do so. The broad representation of countries and organizations indicates serious interest. The huge potential represented in that one room over two days must not be wasted. The next step seems so obvious: Organize to become more effective.

AIM MAY 1999





"We do not see in any way as contradictory Armenia's closer relationships with, for example, Russia or Iran. They are all very much complementary." Mitchiner. British Ambassador in Armenia

"What NATO is trying to achieve today in Kosovo is what Armenians did in using our own forces, we created a security buffer. . . We did NATO's job at the time." Oskanian, Foreign Minister of Armenia



"Armenia is as pro-Western as pro-Russian. Not least because more than half of our people live in the West." Sargsian, Interior and National Security Minister of

"Gentlemen, your documents do not show Nagorno Karabakh as the territory of Azerbaijan."



Guluzade, Senior Foreign Policy Adviser to Azeri -Vafa President, commenting on the European Parliament's resolution on Karabakh

"Little by little, you [Armenians] have to come into the European world as well. You are really a European [nation], even though you are at thebottom line." Martinelli, Italian Deputy Foreign Minister


These "are signs of the great things which God has done for the Armenian people. They are an invitation to ever deeper self-knowledge and ever greater self-esteem." John Paul ll, at the opening of Rome-Armenia Exhibition


Armenia's "faith in the values and principles of Christ has reinforced its support for the fundamental ideas of freedom, human dignity and the self-determination of free people." Sarkissian, -Armen United Kingdom

'No human being


rmenia's Ambassador to the Vatican and the

"The two nations of Iran and Azerbaijan are actually one nation." Djavadov, Azeri.fbunder of the new OPON party


"The terrible calamities and mass slaughter let loose on the Armenian community were the last, defining act of the Ottoman state, an indelible stain on its record and on the record ofthe Young Turk regime that tried to rescue the empire only to make it more brutal and intolerant than the old order." Ajami, School of Advanced International Studies Johns -Fouad HopkinsUniversity, in a book review in The New York Times



to be warmer here [in Turkey] than in other coun-

tries-it's always manipulated for contemporary purposes." Tirncay, historian, Bilgi University, Turkey


rightto take the life of anotherhuman being." President of Turkey, referring to Kosovo at

has the

duleyman Demirel, the NATO Summit

"We have a great obligation to these people, for us they are a memo-

rial of history. We want them to be able to claim their own lands." CemrTarkish Foreign Ministe\ in reference to Kosovars


"We have to stop this genocide... Wherever there have been human crimes, Turkey has sent soldiers," Ayilin, General Secretary, Nationalist Action Party in -Koray Turkey, referring to the crisis in Yugoslavia

"We should stop bombing Kosovo and start bombing Turkey... There are 25 million Kurds to save with our bombs-more than ten times the number of persecuted Kosovars." Hoppe, columnist, San Francisco Chronicle


"Maybe someone would like to make an air strike against Turkey because the Kurdish problem hasn't been solved yet." Primakov, Prime Minister of Russia, providing an -Yevgeny analogy to NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia l'We are against giving Kosovo independence, but we want the Kosovo Albanians to have self-determination." Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan


Source: Valche Ghazarian Gd\ Amenians in the Oftoman EmDie (Wallham. MA. 1997).





I Ihe A Ir enlife ol a Ministen T T That does a former foreign minister do in a country where there are no think tanks and few teaching opportunities for high-level civil for National and \A/ servants? In Armenia, the first foreign minister, Raffi Hovannisian (left) established the Armenian Centerpublic policy issues "between the current and emerging scholarship and 1994 to serve as a link innovative Y Y International Studies in facing Armenia and the Armenian people." Immediately following President Kocharian's election, he was named head of the government's didn't stay long in that position before he was offered the opportunity to lead the Armenia Fund. He resigned from that position within a few months of his appointment. He continues to fiavel often and participate in various intemational conferences and meetings, Vahan Papazian (center),Hovannisian's successor at the Foreign Ministry served from 1993 to 1996. Papazian then served as Armenia's ambassador to France until the resignation of President kvon Ter Petrossian. Today, Papazian teaches Political Science at the American University of Armenia. He is also a consultant for the French Pernod Ricard company, the new owners of Armenia's brandy factory. Alexander Arzoumanian (right) was Armenia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations under both Hovannisian and Papazian before he became Foreign minister in 1996. He resigned when Ter Peftossian resigned in 1997. Since then, Arzoumanian had been active in the Armenian National Movement and its executive body, for a time as its intemational relations ideologue and spokesman. Recent intemal squabbles within the ANM have caused him to freeze his active involvement for the time being, even as he "continues to work toward the development of liberal-democratic politics within the republic," he says. He and the rest of the ANM boycotted the May Parliamentary elections. Press and Information Office. He

fiemem[Gnin$ Bill illiam Saroyan died 18 years ago this month, at the age of 73. The prolific American writer of short stories, novels and plays had established a foundation in 1966 in his own name. Since his death, the foundation has gathered up the writer's archives, personal papers and books from Paris, Malibu, Fresno and San Francisco, and three years ago, the collection was given to the Stanford University Libraries in Palo Alto, Califomia. Today, the foundation handles two to three dozen requests annually for permission to develop or publish Saroyan's works. For example, the 1976 version of Saroyan's The Time of Your Lift may soon be reissued on PBS. Hello Out There will appear as a new theatrical production in New York. The Foundation is planning a Saroyan Celebration in 2001, to feature his writings, art works and music. It will take place, where else, but somewhere in the San Joaquin Valley. The Saroyan name and image also live on in print and on film. A postage stamp of the US and the USSR, jointly issued in Fresno and in Yerevan, Armenia featured a photograph by Paul Kalinian of Fresno, California. Kalinian also made a film called William Saroyan, the Man, the Writer, which he has taken on tour around the world. Saroyan's niece, his brother Henry's daughter Jacqueline Kazarian, who had disagreements with the Saroyan Foundafion, established and runs the Saroyan Literary Foundation, and the Saroyan House, where he lived on Fifteenth Avenue in San Francisco. Saroyan's son Aram, too, is a writer, as well as father to two little Saroyans-a son Strawberry, and a daughter, Cream.


AIM MAY 1999

Ualuatle ExchanUe hen the Armenian government decided to return to Germany tens of thousands of documents confiscated

from the Nazis by invading Soviet forces in World War II (Nation, May 1998), some people questioned the wisdom of such a move. Better to keep the treasures, some said. Sell, them others said. The Armenian authorities said this was a gesture of goodwill toward a government which stands ready to assist Armenia in its economic development and political goals-in the Karabakh conflict, and regarding genocide recognition. Germany, of course, praised the move which was a first by a former Soviet republic.

In March, the government of Germany took a step which amounted to both reciprocation, and assistance in the process of genocide recognition. Fifty-six volumes of microfilmed documents collected by German diplomats and missions in the Ottoman Empire from 1889 to 1920 were given to President Robert Kocharian by Germany's Ambassador to Armenia Carola Muller Holtkemper (above, left). The German Embassy said the documents will enable Armenia to continue the historical research into the Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Turkish government. Kocharian accepted the German government's move as an indication of continuing good relations between the two countries. Germany, too, has expressed its interest in solid relations with Armenia. On the opening of the new German embassy building in Yerevan in March, Armenians were reminded that the German Embassy in Armenia was one of Germany's first in the CIS. German representatives also pointed out that Germany understands the heavy economic burden of the Karabakh conflict on Armenia, since there have been similar problems in the process of German reunification.





A protocol of intent for cooperation between the Metsamor Armenian Nuclear Power Station (ANPS) and German nuclear power stations was signed in Yerevan as part of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) twinning project. Aimed at increasing the safety of nuclear power stations through an efficient exchange ofexpertise, the twinning program is also being carried out in Eastem European countries and other former Soviet republics. Armenian and German nuclear scientists agreed that the

Armenian side


render assistance


seismic safety and the


Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Valentino Martinelli (below left) visited Armenia as part of a tour of the three Caucasus states. After meeting with Armenian officials, Martinelli stated "I am sure that after the [parliamentary] elections you will be part of the Council of Europe," Martinelli said. During his meetings with President Robert Kocharian and Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian, the development of Armenian-Italian relations as well as the current state of the Karabakh peace process topped the agenda. The upcoming visit of, Pope John Paul II was also disiussed.

German side will provide the necessary equipment. o Jurgen Kremer, director of the German company Tetra, said that the European Union's demands for shut down of ANPS by 2004 are not justified, as a lot of money has been invested in the renovation of the power plant and it will not be profitable to shut it down so soon. "Armenia has neither an alternative energy source nor its own reserves ofnatural resources," Kremer said. . The German government will provide a DM 5 million loan for restoration of infrastructures in Armenia. The projects will be implemented in the Lori, Shirak and Armavir regions.

U]IITED sTATEs . Silk Road-US Senator Sam Brownback and former Secretary of State James Baker welcomed heads of state from the Caucasus, Central Asia and Eastem Europe in a Washington ceremony on Apil 24 to show support for Brownback's Silk Road Strategy Act of 1999. Armenia's Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian attended the gathering (held on April 24) together with the presidents


Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan,

Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Moldova, Romania, and Turkey. Also present were national security advisor Sandy Berger and former national securiry advisor Zbigniew Brzezinsky. During his address, Brownback noted that this was a special memorial day for the Armenians. Oskanian explained that although President Kocharian would have wanled to be present, but it was his moral obligation to join his people in the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide of 1915.

o Ottoman Bank Accounts-In a response letter to a joint request by the Armenian Assembly of America, the Armenian National Institute, and the Armenian Bar Association, the US State Department has agreed to question Turkish authorities on Armenian assets held by the Ottoman Bank at the time of the Armenian Genocide of 1915. Under Secretary of State Stuart Eizenstat wrote: "In meetings with Turkish officials, we will inquire about the availability ofbank records from the period in question and urge that the Turkish Government and the relevant banks meet with you to discuss the matter... I hope that this matter can be resolved in a way that is just and equitable to all involved."

NETHERLAI{D8 The Dutch government is sponsoring a program of assistance in developing Armenia's dairy industry. A Dutch group is currently

conducting surveys

in Armenia's northwestem

regions. About

$80,000 has been allocated for the project.

EUROPEATiI EI{ERGY CHABTER In Brussels, Peter Schuetterle, general secretary of the European nergy Charter, said that a working group of the Charter is considering

the possibility of the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline being laid via Armenia. However, Schuetterle pointed out that unless "outstanding issues" are resolved between Armenia and Azerbaijan the construction of such a pipeline will not be possible. The Charter, signed by Armenia and 49 other states, is designed to protect investments and to create mechanisms for environmental protection in the energy sector.

UIIHRG At the 55th session of the UN Human Rights Commission held Geneva, on human rights violations around the world, Karen Nazarian, Armenia's permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, addressed the gross violation of the rights of the Armenian population in Azerbaijan. Predictably, the Azeri delegation charged Armenia with "occupying 20 percent" of Azerbaijani territory "organizing mass ethnic cleansing" and the displacement of the population. Nazarian refuted the Azeri charges by pointing to the violence against Armenians in 1988-1992 by Azerbaijanis who were never punished.


ltRTTL On the 84th anniversary of the Genocide, Armenia's Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian called on Israel to offrcially recognize the Genocide. a similar history and experience," Oskanian said. He pointed out that Israeli andArmenian interests in the region are "diametrically opposed." Besides its close alliance with Tirkey, Israel is also interested in getting Azeri oil out to the Westem market. "We are trying to have good relations with Israel" Oskanian said and explained thatArmenia's relations with Russia and kan do not "negate good relations with Israel," he concluded. Meanwhile, in Yerevan, the Jewish community in Armenia placed a memorial stone in Yerevan's Oval Park, commemorating the Holocaust of six million Jews during World War II. The memorial stone marks the place of the memorial monument to be built in the same site. On this occasion, Rima Varjabedian-Feller, the president of the Jewish community of Armenia, expressed her gratitude to the Mayor of Yerevan for allocating the site.

"fhere is some discrepancy between their words and their deeds on Genocide. Israel has to show moral authority since we have had



BUTGARIA A joint Bulgarian-Armenian inter-governmental commission discussed the construction of Bulgarian plants on Armenian tenitory and the establishment ofjoint ventures for the production of cigarettes and foods. Currently, Bulgaria's exports to Armenia stand at $ I l.3 million out of the $ 12.6 million overall trade between the two

countries. "Armenia has a key place along the corridor linking Europe with Central Asia," said Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Transport Ilko Milushev and "This is why we are now drafting a joint agreement for combined transports."

AZERBAIJA!I On the sidelines, during NATO's 50th anniversary celebrations in Washington, DC, Presidents Robert Kocharian and Heidar Aliyev met at the US State Department and discussed the Karabakh conflict. President Kocharian (below left) characterized the meeting as "among the most useful in the recent period," which provided an opportunity to the two leaders to better understand each other's motives. This was their second meeting in one month. Earlier in April, Kocharian and Aliyev had met in Moscow ar the Russian Foreign Ministry upon Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov's invitation. The two presidents discussed possibilities of meetings on regular basis.

GREEGE Armenian Minister of Agriculture Vladimir Movsisian led a delegation to Greece at the invitation of Greek Minister of Agriculture Yeorghos Anomeritis. An agreement was signed to set up joint ventures, to provide Armenia with consultative services within the framework of the European Union's TACIS program and to organize an exchange ofexperts and information.

IRAlI Armenia and Iran signed an agreement in Tehran that would allow the two countries to supply each other with 2,400 MWh of electricity daily. Under the agreement, Iran will receive 2,400 MWh of electricity from Armenia daily during the first half of the year (when Iran's consumption peaks) and Iran will supply the same amount of energy to Armenia during the second half of the year (when Armenia's consumption needs are highest).

RUSSTA o Armenia's National Assembly approved the terms of a $20.6

GA]IADA Canadian Trade Minister David Collonate (below right) led a delegation to Armenia to discuss bilateral trade relations between the two countries. The sides also discussed the recent agreement signed by the two transportation ministries with the hope that cooperation in this sphere would lead to further strengthening of trade relations. According to Armenian Transport Minister Yervant Zakaian (below left), Ottawa will provide technical assistance in privatizing and restructuring Armenia's transportation sector. He said the Canadian government will help Armenia privatize the stateowned Armenian Airlines (AAL) and that a "tentative agreement" has been reached whereby AAL will lease several commercial jets from Canada to replace its aging Soviet fleet.

million Russian loan for the Medsamor nuclear plant. To be released in several installments through the year 2000, the funds will largely be used to purchase Russian nuclear fuel. The loan agreement was signed last December between the two governments. Repayment

the loan




2003 and end


in 2008. Meanwhile,

the Armenian government has pledged to permanently close the nuclear plant in 2004, despite the plant management's insistence that the station which cunently provides about 35 percent of Armenia's energy needs could operate for another 16 years.

r Military-Joining their Russian colleagues in patrolling the air space over the Caucasus region, the Armenian Air Defense force

was officially put on combat duty within rhe framework of the Russian-Armenian Collective Air Defense system. The air defense teams of both countries conducted their first drill at a joint command post in the Ejmiatsin district of Armenia. Earlier, the two groups had taken part in joint combat duty as part of the CIS air defense system. The drill aimed at detecting trespassers in Armenian and CIS airspace.


. Chinese Ambassador to Armenia Tsju Tsjaoshun introduced the newly appointed Chinese military attach6 in Yerevan to Defense Minister Yazgen Sargsian. . In another development, Ambassador Tsjaoshun stated that the Chinese corporation MCC is ready to invest $320 million in the construction of a big metal works factory in Zangezur, in southern Armenia.



Sport Planes

Uanadsorrs Ghemical GomPlex

In a rare show of unanimity, the National Assembly of Armenia adopted a project-resolution in its first reading, concerning the revival of Vanadsor's chemical plants. The Vanadsor complex used to be a giant of Armenian industry in Soviet days, but has been sitting idle for the last decade. According to the new resolution, the complex re-groups the Vanadsor Chemical Plant JSC, the Vanadsor Chemical Fiber Plant JSC and the Vanadsor Thermal Power Station. The two plants and the thermal station were formerly put to international tender, without success. Recently, a French firm belonging to the Russian Prometheus company owned by Senik Gevorgian, a Moscow-based businessman, had offered serious guarantees for the privatization of the two plants and of the thermal power station, if the Armenian government met its demands. The National Assembly agreed to forgive all back taxes, as well as obligatory social insurance and the accumulated interest for the three firms amounting

The Russian manufacturer of the Sukhoi fighter jet announced plans to assemble sport airplanes in Armenia provided it is granted a five-year exemption from corporate tax. "We propose to organize

an assembly production line [of the aircratt] in one of Armenia's

industrial enterprises," said Hovannes Ohanian of the Sukhoi Production Company, on a visit to Yerevan. Sukhoi exports sport aircraft to l2 countries, including the US. Armenian law allows foreign companies not to pay the 15 percent tax during the flrst three years of operation. Asked if Sukhoi might also consider manuf'acturing its sophisticated military aircrafi in Armenia, Ohanian said it is not up to the state-controlled company to make such decisions. "Military aircraft is the prerogative of the Russian Ministry of Defense," he said.

Gold The Armenian government is reconsidering the terms of a ctlntract with First Dynasty Mines on the establishment of joint venture fbr the Ararat-based gold processing plant Armgold. Prime Minister Armen Darbinian said that the contract signed by the previous government with Canadian investors in 1993-1994 does not defend Armenia's national interests, since the contract granted foreign investors unprecedented privileges. Meanwhile, Sterlite lndustries, Ltd. of India paid $7.5 million to Canadian First Dynasty Mines tbr the purchase of about 17 percent of shares in the Ararat ColdMining Factory joint venture. The authorized capital of the joint venture, worth $44.2 million was divided equally between First Dvnastv Mines and the Armenian government before the sale.

Logo Disputes approximately to 3.7 billion Dram ($7 million), and to exempt them from all other charges accumulated up to the day of their purchase. In addition, it was decided to exempt the chemical complex from Customs and Value Added Tax on the import of the construction materials and supplies, and the vehicles and equipment needed to boost production. The exported produce of the complex will also be exempt from Customs and Value Added Tax. Against these advantages, the new buyer will invest an initial $1.5 million that will be followed by an additional investment of $40-50 million in the next l5 years. The new complex will provide 4000jobs to Vanadsor residents.


The dispute between the Yerevan Cognac Distillery and the Yerevan Wine Factory over the "Ararat" logo has been resolved. Minister of Economic and Structural Retbrms Vahram Hovanesian announced that an agreement has been signed between the competing tirnts asserting that the two enterprises have equal rights to the Ararat logo. Hovanesian also added that a ban on the use of the phrases "Armenian Cognactt or "Armenian Brandy" applies only to producers outside Armenia and does not extend to enterprises in Armenia. Meanwhile, the Ararat Cognac Plant (owned by the Frettch Pernod Ricard) has asked its Moscow, St. Petersburg and Saratov branches (still legally owned by Armenia's Ministry of Agriculture and Food Products) to stop using the phrase "Arnrenian Cognac", the logo and trademark of the plant, as well as the image of Mount Ararat on the bottle labels.

In early April Jeremy Hunt, the Chief Executive Officer of Midland Armenia Bank announced that following a decision by the London-based head office, the bank was renamed HSBC Bank (Armenia). The decision applies to the branches of Midland Bank all over the world, HSBC Holding being their main owner. The Midland Armenia Insurance Company that belongs to the bank is also being renamed HSBC Insurance Armenia. HSBC holds 70 percent of shares of the Armenia branch, while 30 percent belong to Armenian businessmen from the Diaspora. HSBC has some 5000 offices in 79 countries. In 1998, HSBC Holding's assets totaled $483 billion, while its stock capital totaled $24.4 billion.




ArmenTel Greece's Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE)




announced that its investment in Armenia's national telecommuni-

cations operator has boosted the company's revenues in 1998. ArmenTel's net revenues more than doubled in 1998, reaching $15.909 million


1998, compared with $7.053 million



Despite popular dissatisfaction with ArmenTel, OTE said that "continuing technical and administrative support to ArmenTel over the

last year resulted in significant progress in the digitalization of switchboards, expansion and upgrading of networks and expansion of the GSM mobile telecom network" in Armenia. The company said thlt the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) decided to purchase a lU%o stake in ArmenTel out of OTE's stake and grant the company a $40 million loan.

tlnlng Manes & Valex copper-smelting plant received about $130,000 from the Armenian government as VAT refund. The government still owes the company $450,000 according to plant director Nikolay Feofanov. The government "debt" accumulated because it did not retum VAI collections to the company which exported its entire production. Meanwhile, Manes & Valex has not repaid its own debt of some $1.3 million, since it was at the verge of bankruptcy in 1998. The losses were due to an overall fall in world copper prices and high energy and transportation rates. Manes & Valex enterprise was established by "Manes" company (Armenia) and Valex F.M. Establishment (Liechtenstein) in August 1997 on the basis of the mining-smelting plant in Alaverdy. The shareholders' fund totals $1.8 million with 53.7Vo belonging to a foreign partner. ln 1998 "Manes" sold its share to the Swiss Elecom AG company. The current assets of the company stand at $6 million.


Yuri Gasparian, director of the Group of High


Company, represented Armenia at the meeting of the Board of Directors of the Black Sea Studies Center (BSSC) of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) in Athens. They discussed intfoduction of new technologies and possibilities of implementa-

tion of regional scientific and technical programs through


European Union. Gasparian was elected a coordinator of projects aimed at upgrading of small and medium-sized enterprises of BSEC-member countries.

GE Christian Der Stepanian was appointed Armenia's representative to the Council of Europe (CE) by President Robert Kocharian. Der Stepanian has been involved in Armenia's Foreign Service since Armenia's independence.

Tirrkish Delegation to the Genocide Gommemoration "We are trying to correct the mistakes of our forefathers," declared the president of the Association Against Genocide, in a letter addressed to the Armenian people. "As a Turk, I am ashamed. Today, the same Genocide continues against the Kurds. If it wasn't for the liberation struggle of the Kurds of these last 20 years, we would not have believed or understood you." Ertem headed a delegation of Turks, Kurds and Assyrians which participated in the

Ali Etem,

Armenian Genocide commemoration ceremonies held at the Tsitsernakabert memorial in Yerevan. The members of the delega-

tion were received by National Assembly Speaker Khosrov Harutiunian and met with local journalists and members of minority groups. The Association, founded in April 1998, in Frankfurt, Germany, brings together Turks, Kurds, Assyrians and Germans. Its aim is to inform the Turkish people about genocides organized by the Turkish state against local minorities in the past and to prepare the grounds for their recognition. The members of the delegation had come "to pay their respects to the victims of the biggest crime of the century and to ask forgiveness in their name and in the name of the Turkish people." Ertem expressed his sorrow that "even after 85 years, his government has not sought the forgiveness of the Armenian people." According to the delegation members, their wish is "to remove the black stain on Turkey's history to self-purify, and to liberate Turks from the pillory of murderers." For Ertem, the Armenian Genocide is a crime against humanity. For the delegation, the question of its recognition is not a purely Armenian affair, as "the future of the Turkish society depends on that recognition." "Our mission is to create a bridge of reciprocal tolerance between our peoples," underlined Ertem, but he also asserted that their move stems from a sense of civic duty, and is not politically motivated. The Association has been able to collect 10,000 signatures in Germany on a petition condemning genocide. Ninety pefcent of these signatures are by Turkish citizens, Ertem asserted. "It is true that we are late, we are very late, but we will inform the Turkish

public, we will explain, and through that, we Turkishl Parliament." he concluded.

will act on [the

CFE An international team of military experts from Turkey, England and Belgium inspected the Russian military base at Gumri, Armenia, and concluded that it was in compliance with the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty. Turkish Colonel Yavuz Akgun, the chief inspector, told journalists that the weapoffy deployed at that base does not exceed the limits imposed by the 1990 treaty.






Gennadii Muradian, administrative head of the economically depressed Akhalkalaki region in southern Georgia, addressed the Georgian parliament expressing concem over a possible new flare-

up of separatist sentiment among the area's predominantly Armenian population. Last August a standoff between armed Armenian residents and Georgian army units en route to joint maneuvers at the Russian military base in Akhalkalaki was quickly resolved without major incidents. While an organization called Djavakhk has been campaigning for autonomy, Muradian conceded that the potential for conflict exists in Akhalkalaki given the miserable economic and social conditions of the local Armenian population and their dissatisfaction with the leadership.

r US House BiIl-A group of

60 bipartisan US legislators intro-

a bill called "The US Record on the Armenian Genocide" in

duced the House of Representatives affirming the United States record on the Armenian Genocide and calling for increasing access by the public to the extensive historical documentation of the genocide. The bill includes a series of eighteen Congressional lindings which

document the US and international record on the Armenian Genocide. The resolution reads: "Calling upon the President to provide in a collection all US records related to the Armenian genocide and the consequences of the failure to enforce the judgements of the Turkish courts against the responsible officials, and to deliver the collection to the Committee on International Relations of the House

of Representatives, the library of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and to the Armenian Genocide Museum in Yerevan. Armenia."

r Morgenthau Honored-An international conference was held in Yerevan dedicated to Henry Morgenthau, US Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire in the years during which that govemment perpetrated Genocide on its Armenian population. Morgenthau's grandson, Henry Morgenthau III (below, second from right), along with the ambassadors of the US, Germany, Syria and Armenian government officials participated

in a



events honoring

Ambassador Morgenthau. Soil from Morgenthau's grave in New York was placed in the Wall of Remembrance outside the Genocide Museum in Yerevan, where four other Westerners who had condemned the Armenian genocide are honored: Lord Bryce, Arnold Toynbee, Franz Werfel and Johannes Lepsius. The events were cosponsored by the Armenian National Academy of Sciences and the Armenian National Institute in Washington, DC.


A 10-day festival called "A Look at Armenia" was held in Marseilles organized by the Mayor's Office of the city and Armenian organizations in France. The exhibition was opened by o

Armenia's Ambassador to France Edward Nalbandian and Mayor of

Marseilles Francois Pu h a t


. Despite tens of thousands of petitions from around the world, appeals by Armenian government and civic leaders-including former and current presidents of Armenia-French authorities refused to pardon Varoujan Garabedian, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in France for his responsibility in the explosion ofTurkish Airlines office at Orly Airport in 1983. Armenia has offered asylum to Garabedian upon his release from French prison.

o Some 10,000 Armenians in France marched to the French Senate building on April 24, in protest of the Senate's refusal to adopt an Armenian Genocide recognition resolution, unanimously approved by the French National Assembly last year.

BELCIUT Despite protests by Turkey, the European Parliament was the site and cosponsor of a two-day conference entitled "Armenians in Europe at the Beginning of the 20th Century." Organized jointly with the Armenian Community of Belgium, the conference featured members of the European parliament, academicians and professionals in the media and politics. The Conference itself was followed by a two-day preliminary meeting of the Forum of Armenian Organizations in Europe, a new organization intending to serve as a mechanism for cooperation and collaboration among the Armenian communities in all European countries. The participants to the meeting came from virtually every European country, including England, France, Italy, Germany, Holland, Sweden, Luxembourg, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Ukraine, Hungary, Bulgaria and others.


AIM MAY 1999

Tlffi Patriarch Mesrob II of Istanbul and All Turkey paid a historic visit to the Armenian communities in the Hatay province, Southern Anatoiia. Joined by a group of clergymen and lay members of the church, the Patriarch journeyed from Istanbul to Iskenderun (Alexandretta), where they were met by the members of the local community. The following day the Patriarch met with the Parish Council members of St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church in Kirikhan. The council members informed Mesrob II that Kirikhan Armenians had moved en masse to Iskenderun, leaving behind two families only. They informed him that the roof of the church building had collapsed and it was no longer possible to hold worship services in the church. The Kirikhan Parish Council wished to transfer the ownership of the property of the Armenian Church to the Iskenderun community, in the same Hatay province, since now they live and worship in Iskenderun. Concerning the damaged church building, the council members wished to sell it and transfer the income to Iskenderun for the use of the Armenian Church there. While in the region, Mesrob II paid a visit to Antakya (Antioch)- the ancient biblical settlement where the followers of Christ were first called "Christians". The Patriarch paid a courtesy visit to Hatay's Governor Gokhan Aydiner and the Mufti Hodja Hanif. The meeting between the Patriarch and the Mufti was aired live by local radio. Some 200 pilgrims from Istanbul, Ankara, Kayseri, Yozgat, Elazig, Malatya, Mersin, Adana, Iskenderun and Samandag joined the patriarch for Holy Week. On Palm Sunday, the Patriarch and the pilgrims celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the Vakifli Village in Musa Dagh (below right), in the district of Samandagh. Large groups of villagers welcomed the Patriarch at the entrance of the village, in a full traditional procession (below left). This was Mesrob II's first trip to the region since his enthronement as the 84th Patriarch of the Armenian Church last October.



About 150 pilgrims from Armenia who were to participate in a large pilgrimage to Jerusalem (below) on the occasion of the l700th anniversary of the Armenian Church were denied Israeli visas and could not embark on their trip which was organized advance. No clear explanations were give as to why the pilgrims were not granted visas. o An antique pitcher (dated 1753) and a bowl (dated 1793) with Armenian inscriptions and belonging to the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem turned up at an auction in Brisbane, Australia. The objects were spotted by a Sydney Armenian and purchased and later handed to Archbishop Aghan Baliozian, Primate of the Diocese of Australia. The two items---originally donated to the Armenian Patriarchate by pilgrims in the l8th century-will be returned to Jerusalem.

DlocEsAN u]$w After 30 years of trying, the unity negotiations between


Ejmiatsin-affiliated Diocese and the Antelias-affiliated Prelacy of the Armenian Church have apparently come to an end. The Diocesan Unity Committee, in a public statement said, "The collective feeling of the Committee, based on 29 years of experience with the Prelacy is that there is no genuine desire to achieve administrative unity" in the US. "It is our opinion, however," continued the statement, "that unity is not an immediate imperative of the leadership of the Prelacy nor is it a priority with them." Last year, the National Representative Assembly of the Prelacy, meeting in Watertown, Mass., passed a resolution saying that "future unity meetings should follow agreement on [existing] issues between the Holy See of Ejmiatsin and Antelias." Meanwhile, Catholicos Aram I had stated that "Antelias came [to the US] not to divide the people, but to serve the people," and that it is up to the "people" to resolve the problem of jurisdictional unity in North America.

DIASPORAAID The Physics and Mathematics School of Stepanakert was recent-

ly opened through the efforts of the Canadian and Argentinean chapters of the Armenia Fund and with major donations by Antranik

Berberian (USA) and Alen Manoukian (France). Karabakh President Arkadi Ghukasian, high ranking Karabakh offtcials and representatives of the Fund from France, Switzerland, Sweden, England, Holland, Uruguay, the US and Canada participated in the opening ceremony. The new school will house 250 students.

AIM MAY 1999


BGUlnnlnU a l|lalouue Doroth6e Forma and Taner Akgam address the Armenian Genocide he North American premier of A Wall



a Dutch documentarY,

played to sold-out audiences in Los

Angeles, San Francisco


Montreal in late April. The programs, organized by Armenian International

Magazine (AIM), raised some eyebrows, brought on some tears and generally caused a

great deal


soul-searching among Armenians, Turks and others who were exposed to the film and its content. Directed and produced by Doroth6e Forma, A Wall of Silence (AIM Cover

Story March 1999) introduces the

of Genocide

recognition, from



new perspective-through the nanative of two

individuals-Taner Akgam,



scholar, and Vahakn Dadrian, an Armenian professor-who through their own personal

and professional lives attempt to bring down the "wall of silence" and denial that for over eight decades has existed between Armenians and Turks.

During the several showings, Forma herself explained her motivation. "It was important for me to make a film that both Turks and Armenians could watch so that they could each begin to find ways to reconcile with their history," she said. While historians and experts have established the incontestability of the facts of the Genocide, the Turkish state has turned denial into an "industry." In this context,

lished in Turkish in Ankara, I 999) to a large audience of the Organization of Istanbul Armenians in Van Nuys, California. In San Francisco's Public Library and at the University of Montreal in Canada, the

Forma's film and Akgam's message presented a new way of looking at an old scar. In Los Angeles, the screening was held

calling upon the Turkish people to deal with the crimes in history, not just for moral or ethical reasons, but for Turkey's own politi-

at the Los Angeles Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 1000-seat

cal benefit.

Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Subsequently, the film was shown at the University of California, Los Angeles where both Forma and AkEam participated in a discussion with students and faculty after the screening. Akgam also gave a lecture in Turkish on the subject of his most recent book, Human Rights and the Armenian Question, (pttb-

film was received very well by varied audiences.

One of the most significant aspects of the flrlm is the discourse being proposed for the

first time by a Turkish intellectual who


"Turks are weary about talking about history because they are atiaid of being accused of guilt," says AkEam. But, "If a society cannot put a distance between itself and those who have committed murders in its name, then that society cannot be free from being accused," he states. Akqam underlines that his generation is not guilty of the crimes,

however, "we have moral and political

American Turkish Association-who attempted to discredit Akgam's scholarship

and his points-and Rouben Adalian, Director of the Armenian National Institute in Washington DC . Forma stated that when the film was shown on Dutch national television, the reaction of the Turkish community in

Holland was "fifty-fifty." "Many Turks watched the film with an open mind and appreciated it, while others, predictably, dismissed


Although there were some skeptical

responsibility towards our history and ourselves," he adds. The Armenian Genocide is "a taboo" subject in Turkey, as Akgam states repeatedly throughout the film, but "each taboo creates other complexities around it." Akgam believes that one of the important reasons that there are human rights and democracy problems in Turkey today, as well as a Kurdish Question, is the unwillingness to discuss the past openly. "And for this reason," Akgam says, "we have to be able to dis-

cuss the Genocide

in order to establish

Armenian viewers, as well, viewers were generally receptive. "The film provided a clear insight into a buried issue that the world knows too little about. I'm delighted with Forma's attention to detail and creativity in producing and directing such a complex documentary. I am also very inspired by Akgam's courageous search for the a

democratic and free republic of Turkey." Akgam's views found an audience in the

wider media as well, "Admission of

buried truth about the Armenian Genocide," said Julie Lane of California. Varouj Vosguian of Canada said,


have witnessed

Massacre Creates Stir," was the title of a Ins Angeles Times article about Akgam and his work. In early May, he was featured on the respected National Public Radio program Which Way L.A. on the Los Angeles-based radio station KCRW. Also on the panel were

a historic moment. A simple message presented with great audacity." At the end of the century which began with the Armenian Genocide, A Wall of Silence introduces a new dialogue with the aim of coming to terms with the past, both

David Erbas-White, chairman

individually and




's; '1i




Armenia Juggles between East and West



rmenia appeared to be a reluctant

bride last month in Washington, DC. It had always been contented-reassured but not impassioned-with it century-old courtship with the Russians. Now Armenia was finding itself wooed by a wealthy suitor. Increasingly, it seemed that Armenia could not be close to both Russia


President Robert Kocharian

and the West.

The intervention by NATO in Serbia,



between Russia and

Balancing the allure of the West against

the US, was driving this pressure to pick sides. The untimely NAIO summit April 23-25 in Washington only made things

the bear hug of Russia is just business as usual, says Kocharian. "It's not difficult,"

and the

rift this created



it all, however, Armenia's AIM MAY


he told AIM during an interview


Washington last month. "Everything is much simpler, much clearer" than it might





seem, he said, sounding as much like aZen master as a politician.

Kocharian was


Washington with

Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian to participate in the NATO summit. Armenia is not a member of NATO, but it does participate in the alliance's Partnership for Peace program.

For the past two years it has been developing stronger links to NAIO while simultaneously coordinating defensive strategies with Russia, and permitting Russia

to renovate the military



maintains in Armenia. Russia had also been developing ties to

NATO, at least until March, when NAIO started bombing Serbia. Russia has stood by Serbia, a country with which it has historic ties, and a related, but not identical, heritage. Kocharian says he doesn't see any contradictions in his policy of balancing East and West. "Some people said Armenia shouldn't come to NAIO this weekend," he said on April 25 to a group that had gathered at the Armenian Embassy in Washington. But. he says, the critics are wrong. "We have taken a clear, independent Armenian stand that would best serve only Armenia's interests." Kocharian paused for emphasis. "This is very serious." Much of the criticism about Armenia's attempt to play both sides, and to be friendly with both East and West, originates. nei-

ther from Russia nor America, but from Azerbaijan and Turkey. Indeed, Heidar Aliyev, the president of Azerbaijan, used the NAIO summit as a

bully pulpit from which to lash out


thetic to the Armenian position


Armenia. Comments pertaining to NATO, if he made them at all, were an afterthought. Aliyev accused Armenia of being a puppet of Russia, and of receiving illegal shipments of arms from Russia. He used each of his speaking opportunities to speak about Azerbaijan's conflict with Armenia, and he complained that Russia was sympaKarabakh.

During the summit, Azerbaijan distributed to reporters a slick, 100-page booklet

outlining its case against Armenia,


embassy representatives from Azerbaijan distributed to the US Department of State a

54-page document, complete

with color

maps, detailing its version of the "Armenia-

Azerbaijan Conflict." Azerbaijan's oft-repeated line was that Armenia had already chosen sides. It had

AIM MAY 1999


NATION aligned itself with Russia, against the West. By this logic, NAIO or Turkey should set up military bases in Azerbaijan, to counter

the purported threat from Armenia



The perspective from Armenia was a bit different. In Armenia, there was talk that Kocharian's participation in the NAIO summit was a betrayal of Russia and a sell-out to the US. According to a report by the BBC, Armenia's Communist Party leader

Armenia's military ties


the Armenian nation." Russia did not seem to think so however. since official Moscow never cofilmented on Armenia's presence in Washington DC. Russia boycotted the NAIO summit as a protest against the alliance's bombing of Serbia. Only Belarus joined Russia's boy-


for Peace program. Kocharian has also appointed an official representative to NATO, and a military attach6 to the US. Armenia's NAIO Representative is Vigen Tchitechian. The military attach6 to the US is Colonel Haik Kotanjian. The links do not stop here.

"People at the Ministry

Sergei Badalian said that alignment with the

West 'Jeopardizes the future

to the

today include its membership in the EuroAtlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) and its participation in the EAPC Partnership



Affairs have close ties to their counterparts in the US," says Kocharian. "There are links, connections, and they're quite serious," he told AIM. Kocharian understands, however, that he must restrain his enthusiasm about ties to the US when speaking publicly. At a private meetine at the Carnegie Endowment


must consider Russia, lran. We must consider the peculiarities of out past, and also ol our present. We cannot be like Europe.r, cott. Armenia and Ukraine joined Russia

for International Peace in

only in its condemnation of the air assaults. Confronted by its relative isolationArmenia and twelve other former Soviet

shortly after the summit had wrapped up, Kocharian explained Armenia's position. "We must consider Russia, Iran. We must consider the peculiarities of our past,

states attended the summit-Russia used the language of diplomacy. "Each state will act on its own," according to a statement released by Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov. At the us capitol building onApril2T, after the close of the summit, Kocharian met with several members of Congress, and received their support for his participation.

Representative Frank Pallone told Kocharian that he understood the contortions that Armenia was undergoing in its efforts to remain friendly with East and West. Participation at the summit "may have been perceived by some of you as difficult,"

he said, during a closed session with Kocharian. a handful of other Representatives and several invited guests. Pallone didn't let Armenia off the hook, though. Instead, he tugged further. "It's important for Armenia to have more defense ties with the US. This is very important for all the Caucasus," he said.



and also of our present. We cannot be like Europe." Kocharian unintentionally demonstrated this point during the meeting. First,

he read from a prepared statement in English; Then, when an AIM correspondent asked a question in English, he responded in Armenian. Finally, when a BBC reporter from Russia asked Kocharian a question in Russian, Kocharian responded in fluent Russian. He


linguistically, as well as politically,


The US seems to understand the "peculiarities" of Armenia which require it to be flexible in its foreign relations. And so the courtship continues. The US woos Armenia, Russia helps defend it against Turkey, and Armenia sits on the fence, enjoying the view from both sides, but also unable to get down from its sometimes uncomfortable





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-[-r -( \ rttI r /\


!-JI :f':f _ll t l1--rt ID .(EI-E /\ lt O tit iD r\t V |\l -r tl

Annenia a f'ew years ago.

Text and Photo by MATTHEW KARANIAN



There are still no movies, no f'requent l'lver rniles. and no coml-ruterizecl seat reser-

But I clidn't *'ant the Cokc. I wanted the Fanla. which was orange-flavored, ancl

r aliorts. Btrl lhc irtrprrrr cmt'rrl. in re lr ir'e and eqr"ripment during the past l-ew years hlit e tter clthcles' becn tllirmirlic. Ditto fol tlansportation services else-


Cocn-Cola by a l1ight attendant.

The chickcn lcg must havc becn l'r'csh-

liom-the-micro-w:lve ancl still pasty-whitc when it was laicl prostrate on a bed of u'ltitc rice. inside a plastic serving tray. It u'asn't rnuch to look at. It rvasn't nrucl.r to eat either'. ol sir thought the airline passenser who hncl bcen nudged awake b1' the stcwardess who ploppecl the tral' doun in trtut ol'hinr. Seasonccl travelcrs slv that one shor-rld ncvcr eAt airline fbocl. They also caution a-uainst consurning alcohol or cal'f'einc during lon-e I'lights. But the nrost savvy travclcrs also knou that you can sonretinres get cclible ftrod hy ordering a spccial rreal r.r'hcn 1,or-r book yor,rr' flight. This passenser was onc o1'the slvvy oncs, and he had oldeled a vegctarian nreal.

w'hich I figured had no caffeine. Shc hacl Fanta. and I knew



was no clenl,ing it. Surc. the tlay she was carryin-u had 10 plastic cr"rps. tillecl only u'ith Cokc. But it uscd to have se veral plastic cups lllled with Fanta. too, belore the gleecly passengers up tl'ont _el'abbecl thcm all.

I wasn't shy. "l want Fiinta." I told the stcr.vulcless. "l don't rvanl Coke." Svetlana (OK. it's probably not hcr real

narne) turned and qave me a lebuke

"First you



yoLrl Coca. then you

can have the Flnta." she said. I clrank mv Coke. I also kept nt1, r'nouth shLrt ftrr thc rest of the I'light.


Tlri:- thc .Lrrl) rclr ite . rrot rny reti cence is Lrnlikelt, to happen today on

taking any special-meal nonsense! howcver. Atter hearing the passcnger"s conrplaint. the steu'ardcss looked down at thc ofl'ending lcg of chicken and scooped it up into her hand, lcaving behind only rn enrpty becl of rice. Now. she krlcl the passe n_uer. the

Artrtenian Airlines. lbr a couple of First, thc t'light attendants uow arc as prolessional and flicndly as ur.ry in the West. They generallv speak Russian ancl English in addition to Armcnian. Thev cnlirrce the No Smokin-u signs (this is sorlrcthing new) and

meal was vegetarian.

Stories like this are legion among

they also recluile that all lu-ugage be sal'ely stowed. r'ather than scattered about the

Aeloflot travelers. But thev're not',r'r.t on Armenian Aillincs. either. On one of n'r1' tirst tlights honre 1t'orr

aisles, as was sorretinres allowed in the past. Second. I clon't ask for the Fanta anynrore.

This steu'arclcss wasn't ilbollt to



;\ll\,1 i\{AY 1999

where in Annenia. Travcling around Arrrenia is still not as sinrple or as conrfil'table as lruying a train ticket ancl sitting in r first class conipartment. But corrrpared with just a fuw vears ago. gettin-s into, out o1', ancl arouncl Arnrenia is rriuch easier.

fisltin$ inln ftnmenia E,ntrlr to Armcnia is not conrplicated. First, you need a passport that rvill still be vaiid when you retum honle. Thtn. vou rrlllst obtain a visa trr gain entry to Armenia. A three-week tourist visa costs about $70 liom any Arrnenian Embassv or Consulate. Business visas are also availlblc for longer stays.

International fliehts anivc at Zvartnots

Airport, on the outskirts of Yercvan. This airport is only about a 20 rr.rinute clrive frorn the ccuter of torvn. and a cab lide. fbr which you will pay Sl0. is about the only way to get there.

Be plepared for the llenzied sales pitch. which yoLr'll get in Russian or Arrnenian, but not in E,nglish.

The airport does not make carts available at the baggage claims area, so you have to either cany all your luggage by hand, or hire a porter. Don't be startled by their persistence. The porters aren't trying to steal your luggage. They just want to earn some money. After having traveled halfway around the world. this is not the time to save a buck. Hire a porter, and pay him at least a dollar or two for each bag that he helps you load into your cab. Pay more


he helps you at customs. Pay less if he's a jerk. US dollars are always acceptable for these transactions. Eening artlund hnevan Travelers with a hotel room in central Yerevan will find that they can walk just

about everywhere they will want to go. Yerevan's core is laid out wiihin a circle. or belt-way, with its streets radiating outward. And there are so many parks in town, that there should always be a cool place to rest within just a few blocks of wherever you Benches are not as plentiful as the parks, but resting at a cafe is also an easy prospect.

Still, there are some spots in Yerevan that you will want to go to with a cab. Places like the Genocide Memorial.

which sits atop a hill on the perimeter of town, and Victory Park and Cascade, of steps which overlook the city and offer a

you'll certainly want to at least experiment with the Yerevan subway that runs daily until midnight. In the summer, the subway

of all Yerevan, require hefty hikes to reach. Unless you are in good shape and you want some exercise, take a

is also the only place to beat the heat. Cabs don't have air conditioning, and sometimes the windows don't even roll down. Subway fare is only 40 dram6roughly eight cents6-

magnificent view


The cab you take, by the way, will not have a meter. How will you know how much to pay? Offer the driver some money. He will usually tell you it's not enough, and then you can agree upon the fare. As with most transactions, this one requires a bit of haggling. Within the central city, a fare of 1,000 Dram is common, especially if there are two or more of you sharing the cab. You'11 prob-

ably pay 1,500 Dram for a taxi to the Genocide Memorial or to Victory Park, from Hotel Armenia on Republic Square. Fares are modestly higher late at night.


you want a driver for an hour or more, just ask. These cabbies need work, and they won't ignore an opportunity to earn $20 for spending two or three hours in Yerevan with you. To avoid disagreements, negotiate the fare in advance. For longer trips, figure on paying about 100 Dram per kilometer-or about 30 cents per mile. But even if you can afford to hire a cab for every trip of five minutes or five hours,


making it the best bargain in town. Tokens are available at each station. But don't take the subway to save money. Take the subway because it's fun.

The three stops you will most likely use are the stops at Marshal Bagramian, Republic Square, and the one in-between those two stops. Bagramian is the subway stop closest to the Arnerican University of Armenia, the US Embassy, and the barbecue stands of Proshian Street. The Bass Hotel




The station at Republic Square is convenient to the Hotel Armenia and to the shops on lower Abovian Street. This is also the stop to take for the Vernissage, where artisans and vendors hold a crafts fair and flea market each weekend.

In between, the stop at Yeri-tah-sardah-gahn, (which is why I always refer to it as the stop in between Bagramian and

Republic Square) is the stop to take if you're planning a stroll through the green park that surounds half of the city, or fbr a



and the

and each of them canies up to 12 passen-

inviting. But not warm. This is not

Inside many of the stations, you'll find vendors selling everything from newspapers to bootlegged audio tapes. If you're tempted to make a photograph of the station, do

beach in the south ofFrance. Drivers are easy to find. Unemployed

makes this an inexpensive alternative to a

stop at one

of many outdoor

cafes and

so quickly and discreetly.

Photography within the subway is prohibited, and a guard

may confiscate your film. But this is likely to be your biggest risk in the subway. Sure, a purse got snatched a couple of years ago, but violent crime is unheard of.

Mini vans, buses and trolleys


make frequent runs through town. Hop on one, and see where it takes you. Wherever you end up, you won't be too far off course, any you will not have spent much more than 20 cents to get there.

lsaum loum There's plenty to see and do Yerevan, but that shouldn't prevent you from venturing out into the countryside.

Hire a driver to take you to Lake Sevan for the day, for about $25 to $35. Don't expect the climate to resemble that of Yerevan, however. On many sunny 100 degree days in the city, the weather at the


is cloudy and cool. Or

sunny and

breezy. The water

is beautiful, clear

physicists, musicians and lawyers are all out driving cars for a living. You can start by finding a cab driver who has a good car and who drives safely.Trips to nearby sites like Geghard, Garni, Ejmitasin and Khor Virab are easier to make with a private driver than with a bus or mini van. Any of these sites can be reasonably viewed in one half day. A trip to the ancient monastery of Khor Virab, in the Ararat Valley, can be hot and uncomfortable in the summer. You may therefore wish to travel late in the day, when the sun is lower. The gates to the monastery grounds are locked at 5 p.m., however, so you may not be able to have everything your way. Most cab drivers will agree to drive you there, wait about an hour, and drive you back to Yerevan, for

gers. The fare

is only about $10, which

private driver, who would likely charge $150 or more for a round trip journey of two or three days.

The most up to date van and bus schedules are available from the bus station on the Admiral Isakov Road just outside Yerevan, near the Kilikia Brewery and the Ararat Distillery. This is the same road that connects Yerevan with the airport and with Ejmiatsin. If your cabbie doesn't know the name Isakov Road-6and many drivers don't know the names of Yerevan's main arteries-just call it the Ejmiatsin road.

From this bus station you can also travel by van to the city of Goris, in the south, and to the earthquake stricken cities

of Gumri and Spitak. There are two daily buses to Tbilisi, Georgia, as well as buses to points throughout Armenia. If all of this independent travel over-

about $20. Vans do have their role, however. A comfortable mini van makes a daily run to Stepanakert, the capital of Karabakh, each day at about 8 a.m. The vans that began

whelms you, there are a handful

running last year are modern and clean,


good or bad depends upon your point of


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the name chanse to Marriott Hoter

Sampat's mission

is to do for


Armenia what he has done at I I other places, most recently in Warsaw, Poland. Bringing Westem-infl uenced management to Soviet-trained properties requires a soft touch and considerable patience.

In the

beginning, there was the Hotel

Armenia. And by Western standards of efficient business management, perhaps nowhere was

change more needed. The over-staffed and under-used hotel had become more a state job pool than a money-making enterprise.

A staff of 650 employees-nearly two employees per room-ran the hotel. Since Marriott Intemational, Inc. was hired by a USbased investors group to manage the hotel, staff has been reduced to 600. Still, the overload is obvious.


March. Armenia's former restaurant

was reopened as the city's newest chic disco and bar and has become a magnet for expatriots and local govemment and business officials. Other changes come nearly daily, under the direction of manager Anil V. Sampat, who has the considerable task of spearheading a


itixorrfigured to make it more convenient and effrcient.

Other changes are more subtle, such as electric vacuum cleaners to replace the traditional brooms over which maids stooped to sweep carpets each morning. Upon completion of its renovation project,

Hotel Maniott Armenia will have four new restaurants and an American-style sporls bar.

And with the upgrade of facilities will

"We are very sensitive to local culture," Sampat says. "For many people this was a

come higher prices for guests. Prices from about $ I 00 to about $200.

showplace for what Armenia was all about. The facade will remain the same. but what will change is that it will match the international standards of a world-class hotel." As recently as this winter, guests requesting a double bed were instead given two single

Recently Hotel Armenia began serving a weekend brunch buffet that is perhaps a forecast of the clientele it expects to attract. The brunch, excluding drinks, costs $25 per person.

beds pushed together. New beds, queen-sized, will be among the purchases included in the

$22 million investment. Room sizes will be doubled or tripled, including some suites that


by l20 ft.). Already, cosmetic changes are reshaping the hotel's image. Warm-toned, modern furniture has replaced the black imitation leather measure 4O by 40 meters ( 120

sofas and glossy lacquered tables that were the lobby's only fumishings. There is a baby grand

piano in the lobby and the reception desk has


will range

In the old days there were a trio of major hotels for foreigners-Armenia, of course, then Ani, just a few blocks from Armenia, and the Hotel Dvin. The


is now closed for ren-

ovation, having been purchased last year by another group of Diasporan investors. Its 12 floors of rooms is expected to become functional by 2001 (although they will be open for several months beginning this August 10.)

lldl lhh

was renovated for the The Chess Olympiad held in Armenia last year. Its 225 rooms go for between $30 and $ 120. It is a

folk music, intemational phone/fax, dry cleaning and taxi service. Each room has satellite TV for an additional $1.60 per day. One frequent traveler says it's worth staying at the Bass Hotel

just for the quiet and the privacy.

Arma (58.18.43) in the hilly Nork district offers just four rooms ranging from $60-120 including breakfast. Services include restaurant with live music, cafe, drycleaning, taxi service, arrangement for translators and a ticket service for cultural events. Just above downtown Yerevan, Arma's rooms all come with a view of the city, the motntain, and the sunset. The outdoor restaurant offers excellent service on a cool, tree-lined patio. A private sauna can be rented by the hour.

short taxi ride----or a good brisk walk-from the hustle and bustle of central Yerevan. After independence, the first new hotel on the scene was lltBusfrpes Stdbg which rose out of a need to provide a new breed of visitor effi-

The newest addition to the Yerevan hotel AYiafats which opened in March in a

scene is

cient, comfortable living and working space. Conceived and built by US businessman Vartkes Barsam, HyBusiness Suites is a fourfloor success story. Barsam began to visit Armenia regularly after the 1988 earthquake as part of the Armenian Church of North America Western Diocese relief efforts, and he found he needed a place more comfortable and conducive for a long stay. So, like a good Western entrepreneur, he bought the land and designed the 30,000 foot space and built it in four years. Now, US State Department delegations, individual businessmen, consultants and others call HyBusiness Suites their home away from home. Many of the clientele are repeat customers who have become accustomed to the centrally located convenience. You'll hnd no



quiet nook off Abovian Street. Heavy

The dark, five-story building has 16



These are the major Yerevan establishments. There are others-less expensive and of varying levels of comfort and service. Outside Yerevan, too, there is now a large number of rooming houses. Small and large

decorative luxuries here.

ofthe 20 plus rooms.


ranging from $75 to $150, breakfast included. Services (most at additonal fees) include international telephone/fax, satellite TV, complimentary transport to Zvartnots Airport, laundry, restaurant and concierge accomodations that include arranging business transportation and translation services.

towns have become host to personnel from intemational agencies whose long and short stays have to be accomodated. As a result,

Instead, large, comfortable double beds, with fitted sheets, night lamp, large living room with a desk and telephone, comfortable chairs and couches


chrome and glass, it is of modern design and aimed more toward businessmen than families.

tourists, too, can benefit. The warm, local, hos-


pitality makes up for missing services.

the most interesting feature, though, and one most appreciated by Westem businessmen, are the little kitchenettes complete with microwave and refrigerator, sink and dishes. The pleasure and comfort of bread, cheese, wine and coffee in your room, at any hour, was a welcome relief especially in the cold, dark days when electricity was a luxury. Today, it is still a pleasant lxuury, as is the easy homestyle breakfast served downstairs by a friendly staffeager to please.

Ihe Bass llotel in the neighborhood called Aigedzor just across the street from the American University of Armrenia is a very comfortably styled small hotel with 30 largesize rooms and apartments ranging from $l 17165, breakfast included. Services include sauna. a restaurant with Armenian cuisine and




Yerevan is teeming with places to eat. Ambience is not necessarily a category for most of the places which have been around for a long time. The taxi driver and hotel doorman willl tell you all about the ob./ious places, includin-e some Western inspired fast food outlets like Queen Burger or Smak. Here is a look at some of the newer, untraditional restaurants which have enlivened the Yerevan food scene. Don't forget, when all else fails. there are the wonderful, colorful open-air or closed bazaars where lavash bread, soft, herbed cheese. Areni wine are easily al'ailable" Get some fish or pork to barbecue and you're all set.

It is a city where the best dish at a place calledPizza H.U.T. is chicken kievsky. Maybe that says something about ethnic dining in Yerevan. But it doesn't say it all, as in the past year three legitimately un-Armenian restaurants have considerably upgraded the culinary experience. Still, at a restaurant on Pushkin Street, the Russian

waitress somehow conveys her customers' orders to the Chinese cooks and it is little surprise that what results in the "Oriental" dining experience is something like a Russian meat pastry bathed in soy sauce. At a restaurant named Acapulco, the menu promises a burrito with salsa. What arrives on the plate resembles a blintz, stuffed with dried crumbs of chicken and topped

with an icing of mayonnaise and ketchup-the "salsa." There ain't enough tequilla east of El Paso to turn what's on that plate into what a person ought to expect in a restaurant named Acapulco. Compared to kebob or dolma, yes, a rolled up piece of

lavash adorned with mayonnaise and ketchup might pass for somebody's idea of a burrito. Like much else here, ethnic dining in Yerevan is often a matter of relativity. But with the recent openings of Bangalore (Indian), Al Leoni (Italian) and Eastern Cuisine restaurants, in addition to the well established Peking Chinese restaurant near Hotel Armenia, eating out in Yerevan has become less of a mystery.



Mashtots, around the corner from Nairi

Theatre, Bangalore opened last summer under Indian ownership, which, like the other new foreign food places run by non-locals, probably accounts for its authenticity. It is a cozy, downstairs eatery with two booths and a few tables. Dishes -- tandoori. butter chicken. etc. -- are appropriately heavy on curry and rice and the three kinds of Indian bread could be a meal in themselves. Dinner for two, including a bottle of Armenian wine, about $20.

Also near Mashtots, on Tumanian, Al Leoni opened last fall and is one of the toniest and largest of the new restaurant additions. It is two-floored, with a well-appointed deli and large tables for group dining downstairs, and smaller tables above.

It is categorically European in style and dishes are typical Italian pastas, and as close as you'll get to the real thing in this city. To complete the experience, there is an over-priced list of wines. The list at first included Armenian vino by the bottle, but it seems Areni has been deleted in favor of imports, beginning at about $30 for what ought to be a $10 chianti.Favored by ex-pats, you'll hear more English than Italian or Armenian. Dinner for rwo, excluding drinks" about $25.

of perfumed hand cleaner. Refuse it, unless you want to smell like urinal deodorizer. Dinner fbr two, includi4g a bottle of Armenian wine, about $ | 5.


Peking, just north of Hotel Armenia, isn't a new addition to the list of ethnic dining selections, but it is among the best. Get past the




in place of Sing Tao and this could be any of the Chinese experience, including the

Westernized version lanterns.

Eastern Cuisine restaurant is on Komitas, an easy walk from Barekamutian metro station. Although it would be potentially disastrous to advertise as such, it is decidedly Turkish and is in fact serviced by a Turkish chef. Kebobs and pilaf dominate the menu in the sparse, but attractive restaurant that recently opened sidewalk dining, and is popular among foreigners and locals alike. Barbecued chicken here is juicier than its khoravats cousin and appetizers include a soup that is an herbal delicacy. Tea is served in the hour-glass shaped glasses customary of Turkish style, and when you leave, your waitress might offer a dash

Kung Pao or Cashew Chicken has believable amounts of spice and the sweet and sour soup will light up your carpusles. Another expat hangout, maybe because of its proximity to the hotel. But privacy is guaranteed behind one of several curtained booths. Dinner for two, including a bottle of Armenian wine, about $30.

is a wonderful blend of else-a little French, a little Armenian. Good wine, excellent food-and healthy, true to its name-all cooked and Sante, on Nalbandian, past the park,

Lebanese and something

served up by expat Mike Kazanjian. Dinner for two, including wine, about $20.





The gallery can display about l.(XX) itcnrs at a tinrc: the lcnrairttlcr rests in fbur stolage facilities whcre until rcccntll' fecolds ol itll thc' holclings r'r'erc little rnore than hand-written notes on indcx cultls. But Khachatrian says that u,ithin a 1"ear'. iill the works llill bc catalogLrcd thanks kr tlrrec computers donated by philanthropist rnd A(illLl Prcsident L,ouisc Manoogian Simone. \\tolkers are also bLrsy. lic says. trurrslltirtg titlcs into h,nglisli to nrake the art more zrccessible to li)rcigncrs. It is a fil'nridable structure and the r.uost prominent. hor-rscd in l.nrttt ol thc liruntains ol'RepLrblic Square. And like much herc. its potcntial is balcly reillizecl cluc to f inanciiil shortcomings. There is little heat in 1hc winter lncl in thc pcak ol'sunrnrcr. u'indot's are thrown open exposing invaluablc art trl runcontrollcd clinratc antl dust. Lightin-u is insulTicienl to capturc thc subtletics of sonre works and is too halsh on picccs hur-rg ncar thc tall windows only barcly shar-lcd. lrxpanding collcctions is the lifcblood of sLrc-



On a Yerevan sLlnrner day that rcclctincs hot. thc pcnsivc oil on canvas of Soulcnianls' "Salorne" falls across the rvidc roonr ol' thc Nirtiortal

(llrllcn,ol'Arnrcniatofirrcl apanof ',"atersittin_qanxrnglhe uorks()l nrasters. 'l'hc tlishparr as hLrrniclificl is not somc attcnlpt lrt nlodcrn art. but is fathcf a trag,ic clcuronstr;rtion o1'Armenian ingenuitl. a u cak ei-lirrt to provirlc l)fol)er lcconlnroclation tirr lhcse grcat riolks that thenrselves have sulvrvccl hultlships lcllcctctl in thc flces ofthc subjccts thcv purtlav. In l counllv uhcr-c highli skillecl ploltssionals go nronths witllout salalies. Prcselvation ol ar{ is not high or.t ccoltort.tic prioritl, lists. "Evcr-vthing is rlone hcic trr shc-er r-rttl.tusiasm.'' says Shalrcn Khachetrran. gallcrv tlircctor. uhorc arrnLrrrl burlget of about SI().(XX) i\ or)c tr'nth llre rllLrc oi u singlc rvork bv the Rus:ian irrti\t r\i\ ivo\ skv u ho loanccl ee* 6-j piece s to lhe sillle lr.


ccssl'r.rl nruse ums. IlLrt the Nlitional Callclv o1' Ar-nre nia hirs not bccn ablc to bu.v a nes' picce sincc l99f . lrr a plucc: still wuiting firr a sponsor to install ail conclitiuning. purchasing ne$' afi is an unfathorlablc luxury.

hrr i: ulso clilcctot ol

thc llaltiros Sarian nruscunr. has hcatlctl thc Nutional Girllc'r'r ibr erght vcars. Hc cllls lhe nluscullr "()ur rlxtion's





rs a church


il,ith mor-c than 10.0(X) picccs ol

irrt. c()llectcd since its opening in l92l wht-n its lirst inslulInrcnts \\'e re the riorks ot Marliros Salian. Originrllr, 1u'o lloors. the rnuscunt/gitllcr\ cxpantlccl to


cilht llools



ilcnrs ancl tlre gtx,ernrlent *'ould pa)' lix it. Norr. thc !o\e nrnrr: nt is rrot cstcd in culturc. Culturc rnd alt ale not profitlblc.

(above) l:t-IVIUSeUIII Museum lifUUVU, ...-.


irrte r'

Vluscunrs onc lirr ncurlr c\L'r\ rnodcnr u'riter and arlist who contlibutctl 1o llli.slLir'l\.|i,'r,,11,1 llttrr'. ltilrrL'rt't.lltttr'iltcthe'pccirrlllltt\r'lttl)\. 1\r'r\(,lrr' Illtll lrrrolitc. .):lllillill,il(l llil\ l.l\rrllll. lror I rrl \('llll ll is l\ tlrc lllL Fltlrnographic Llllll():lall,llll lvltl\stllll ill hu; tlrcir somc.. it MLrseurn at Surtliluplrl. .tbout u -10 nrirrutc rllirc lirnr thc cilv. Fol others iL is tirc l'alajrrnur

- @"



pLrblishcri ir 1(rl-plgc' clitalog

rrusculn sclls only about two pcr rnonth. "Whcn sponsors want to nrakc cionations to Arnrcniir." thc r[rcctru' slrlts" "nlusoums are not a priority. Befort'. ue uoulcl to un cxhibit. picli orrt



ol thc NluseLrnrs

ol lhe rluseunr's holdings. uith tcxt irr .\rrrrcnian. Irlcnch ancl linglish. It is a hanclsomc rnd inlirrrniiti"c hook. Still. ut Sl0 pcr lrook. the

l97li. Thnrur:h cxchmgcs with the Hcnritagc in St. Pctelsbtrlg anil othcr' nr:rjor rruscunrs thc Nlttional Glllery no'"r'has thc lirirrth lar-gcsl eollcction ol llusrien painlirrgs rn thc lirrntel Soriet l-'nion in ackiition to uorks by ('hlglill. Kurrtlirrsky untl l'ive 1-lours of sculptulcs. paintings. ucurings bv '\r'nrcniln

1992 thc Fricncls

-.h fr.

National |t** i * * Garery0rArt, ..,,' tIXri .5 i;.;...';,-;,,,,,;;,,''il;,, "",,E,J,o:i'",,,;i2F-'.*%'*,.;,Jl.i':ill,.$;:l.:]]i:"l;,l$:illjl';:lilT;i:.,:J.:.'.",.u,.,.

and the



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tu b

it is I snrall nruscunl thlt cirrr bc qLricklr lal\cr) ill. but onr'thilt lcil\ c\ loll!-lil:litt! itttltti "i"tt'



-'-:; ;'; 'N'!r llt:'; ;



"::;::ftq:-*T {:




t ffi

you are Fly British Airways or rheir alliance partners and one ticket is all you need to get to Armenia, wherever

in America. With more transatlantic flights from more states to London Heathrow, then non-stop to Yerevan, website at there's no easier way home. For full details contact your local travel agent, the British Airways or call British Airways anytime on Free phone 1-800-AIRWAYS' Ltd. Services from Heathrow operared by the independent carrier British Mediterranean Airways



The world's favourite airline

llrr rt l|rrrt In town-in front of St. Sarkis Church Out of town: Khor Virab.


Iill TOWN-the

Parajanov Museum- a

jewel. It's worth getting lost trying to find OUT OFTOWN-Sardarabad

it confection:

IN TOWN- The second vendor in the

Ethnographic Museum: the structure is in disrepair, but the exhibits and collection

second aisle from the right in the main shuka, on Mashtots


Of TOWN-Women

vendors ar

Garni (if you're there in the summer get some strawberries too!)

lrmlllrr Street vendor----corner of Pushkin and


lr||rnplr Noor on Masdog. You won't believe you're not in Paris

lrrml iltlrr llmr

il'ttt til lt tttto




ok J azz c af e

h'rhrr llr Inl'

Armenia Hotel----outdoor cafe

thn Chicken Coop-try the plain cheese with a cold Coke. You'll almost think vou're

Yum Yum Donuts*the donuts aren't bad either

lrleErr Vendor just next to the hand sculpture near Victory Park

tlrsr tt stt*i yr$




Khorenatzi Street-just before Hanrapetutian (believe it or not you get a fishing pole, baited with bread and you


tilrlcl String cheese and herbs in lavash on the road from Yerevan to Spitak at the "rest stop" in Lori. A woman with a full set of gold teeth strings the cheese over six feet) Have something to drink, cause the cheese is

really salty.

?lnr tr-riil tlr tmrdi Inn milW lffi rrel

[m] Lavash, cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers and a beer

?thf Which is not a staple in Armenia: Ararat Restaurant

lrlll Some call it sujukh, but it has no meat; it's just grapejuice and nuts done up as an

exotic, healthy, incomparably delicious 42

AIM MAY 1999

Cascade Steps-run or walk up them...sure to get your heart pumping (hey the view at the top is worth the effort)

iltcr tt lrrl lllr r lmil Fountain in Republic Square on a summer

evening-or just take the bus anywhere

;rt lr u ililrl

On foot for sure, but for a experience take the subway, you won't believe it!



Salt Sack on Abovian

lHlhl lnilrrl

The Maran at Armenia Hotel. Not to be beaten. Sometimes it's the only thing I'd

trtlu$3Imr*n ilmlr

Maran Restaurant at the Armenia HotelDuduks (possibly the best Komitas in town)


David of Sasun at the train sta{ion (but you'll get arguments on this one, there are so many)

?hcr tf

ltt trmntr (rldlrrlrl)

Armenian Crafts Project (unbelievable children's sweaters and wood crafts too)

Irnlr Crrrlr

Ararat Tennis Club (ust across from Yerevan State University Library)

HrrlD Frnrr The Noyan Tapan Highlights


Itulr| mll Victory Park or around Yerevan State University campus

thoo tt

$l I lm.l lrm llr lnt

SwissAir offices, I Bagramian Street (killer air conditioning)

Plrcf tr crlcl rr

AIM Magazine (available

at Salt Sack, the

best gift store)

lrlrrlrl Prrl Until Armenia Hotel builds theirs - Youth Palace (cold, but nice)

larrlcrr roulr

U.S. Embassy (Where else can you view Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery)

Tsavet damen can be used for please, come

on, what I wouldn't do, believe me, you've got to be kidding, what the heck, dude, what's up



Vernissage craft market-don't miss this near Republic square!

lrundrl trtrlct

tlll lr lrrf h IUF molrt

Ani Hotel


lll-?$tr$ $rrEt

1000 Dram


lrrrt trlrctlu

"supermarket" closest thing to Costco/ Sam's Club (with no membership fee)

Voskehats (across from Queen Burger)

llrm l: lorl trlrlotlG Sardarabad Monument and Museum. Sing the song as you walk up to the monument

AIM MAY 1999


"*S t1'5f


sr .lL.:rr



'",", -".. .'*.*""*,";j "





Bars, Casinos, Cafes and Arcades By MAIIHEW XABAl{lAl'l

If you think there's no night life in Armenia, then you don't know Armenia. Sure, just a few years back, Yerevan faded to black every night. But things have changed. Visitors in 1999 should expect to find not just city lights at night, but also an assortment of arcades, casinos, bars, and even coffee houses. There are now so many nightclubs that touiists can finally decide


themselves whether they want to

become regular customers somewhere. The

bar at the American Embassy is no longer the only game in town. The quality of the offerings, of course,

you buy a shot or a beer. Most of these shops don't close until sunrise, so plan your evening accordingly.


Several of these clubs are within a short walk of the Ani Hotel on Sayat Nova

Just next door is the Pullman Baq an upscale restaurant and nightclub that was extensively remodeled in December. The clientele is older, and wealthy enough to afford the expensive drinks and dinners. The best of the bunch for a tourist on Sayat Nova is probably the Manhattan City Bar, (top, left) which is located across the street from the Opera House. The flashing neon sign on the marquee belies the quiet interior, where guests can enjoy an informal evening at any of about 20 privately


or night clubs of of course. Indeed, at some


If you're looking for a night bar that seems vaguely Soviet in both its atmosphere and in the demeanor of its barman, you won't need to look far or wide.

Spots along Proshian Street-which

arranged tables and booths.

everyone calls


season, to gulp down between shots. The tomato, they say, deadens the pain. The entertainment is typically Russian pop music, blaring distortedly loud, from a small speaker that always seems to be just inches away from your good ear.

Expect to encounter only native Armenians at these locales. You should also expect, almost always, to get change back from your 500 Dram bank note when 44


Western-style clubs, the patrons are mostly

One doesn't need to be homesick to

enjoy the new bars


tomato wedges,

to arrive early


Go to Proshian Street last, and go there with a sense of adventure.

is uneven.

Grill Street in recognition of the businesses that flourish there-will offer a bottle of cheap vodka, and a plate of

visitors should plan

weekend nights. Eight large booths frame three of the walls of this small club, and a bar hugs the fourth. When these booths are filled, usually with the young twnetysomething crowd, a surly maitre de turns patrons away and tells them to return later. Reservations are not accepted, and the idea of selling a drink to a customer who isn't seated at a booth is anathema to the man-

The lounge is clean and softly lit, and

The Crystal Bar and Cafâ&#x201A;Ź, 24 Sayat Nova Street, features a basement bar and a ground-floor caf6. Each weekend, there's live music in the bar, and a powerful sound system that belts out loud music nightly. A singer who sounds like Carol Channing is a frequent performer. The private booths would have made the Crystal a good place for a dare, but the deafening music makes this a better choice for the young and the hearing impaired. Across the street, at the Luxor Caf6,


in a City thatAlmost Never Sleeps the recorded music is unobtrusive. Don't be

fooled by the doorman

in formal attire.

This is a casual place, with friendly servers, and an all-ages crowd. Beers are only a dollar or two, for domestics and imports,

and there

is a menu of light food


snacks. This is the place to go for conver-

"This is a club for meeting interesting people," says Karakhanian. The emphasis is on seeing and being seen.

The prices, however, are nothing to boast about. Although you might get a dinner entree for only $12, you should expect to pay more than $20 if you intend to have

sation and relaxation. Ifyou move off Sayat Nova Street and walk down Abovian Street toward Republic Square, you'll see Yerevan's premier shop-

ping region. You'll also walk past


newest Western-style caf6 in Yerevan.

Rembrandt's (top, center),



Abovian Street, opened in August and takes its name from the legendary Dutch painter. Replicas of Rembrandt's paintings are dis-

played in the dining room, and the outfir ting of the caf6-everything from the glassware and furniture to the wood moldings

and the wood , staircase-is from


Netherlands. Much of the money that was invested in this caf6 is also Dutch: this is an Armenian-Dutch



The food is Armenian and EuroPean,

with specialties such

as T-bone steaks and

pork ribs. The beef is imported from Argentina, the Prosciutto from Italy, and the Heineken from-well, you get the idea. Here you'll find a traditional bar, with

(half beer and half tomato juice) is only about $1. But a shot of the locally distilled Ararat Brandy in a snifter is a hefty $6. As a result, the patrons are mostly business people and families. The waitresses are Armenians dressed in red skirts and red vests with frilly white blouses that are supposed to look Dutch. This is the place to visit if you want to hear English, Dutch, German or French spoken, and if you want a taste of something that's not Armenian. If you take a five minute stroll south of Rembrandt's you'll land in Republic Square. This is the large public area that hosted the military parades of years past, and where Yerevan celebrated its 2,780th anniversary with fireworks and live music last October. The massive stone edifice of the Hotel Armenia helps frame the square. The square, by the way, is actually an oval shaped traffic circus around which sit the Hotel, the Government building housing the members of the Cabinet, the National Art Gallery and the Foreign Ministry. If you're staying at the Hotel Armenia, or one of the other hotels near this square,

you're just a short walk from a cluster of dark bars on Mesrop Mashtots Avenuewhich many locals still call Prospekt, a carryover from the days when this wide avenue was known as Lenin Prospekt. Try the Lady Bar on Tumanian, near the intersection of Sarian street, or Dina Bar at 40 Tumanian. Both feature jazz, blues and

comfortable stools and small tables for the

drinking guests. Manager

a drink or coffee. At the bar, a bloody beer


Karakhanian estimates that 90 percent of the clientele are foreigners, either from the US or Europe. And, unlike so many of the

Armenian night bars, this club does not have private rooms or booths where guests can hide from the world.

some pop. At Dina Bar, domestic beers and hamburgers are sold for about one dollar. A



is warm and hospitable. There's music, but it's not loud, and the lighting is what you might expect in a restaurant, and phere

not a bar. The patrons are

mostly Armenians. This is a night spot, as is the Manhattan City Bar, that you'll want to visit more than once. All ases will feel welcome.

$lots and Uideos

If you are looking for someplace with video machines that you can pour your money into, you have your choice of video games or casinos.

There are four video arcades in Yerevan, two of which are centrally located-on Abovian Street and on Mashtots. Here you'll find video games that accept

tokens that are sold

for 100 Dram.


arcade on Abovian Street is the largest in the city, and it also features a caf6 where genuine espresso is available.


are more


merous in

Yerevan, and because of this, they seem to be empty on most nights. There are just too many of them for the meager demand.

The Argishty Casino and Bar,


Mesrob Mashtots Street, is one of the more lively spots, which is open 24 hours. Live jazz music will be offered, beginning in summer, to supplement their assortment of slot machines and video games. There are

no card tables, roulette wheels or craps. Argishty opened in December. For card games and roulette, try the Gloria Casino on Tumanian Street, across the street from the Lady Bar. Here you'll find four black jack tables, roulette, and a pool table. The interior is quiet and clean, unlike the chaotic casinos of Las Vegas or Atlantic City. Indeed, none of the casinos in Yerevan even vaguely resembles anything from big gaming towns or even the growing number of US casinos operated by Native Americans. The Yerevan casinos are small and jackpots-if they have them-are tiny. Only last year, several casinos began offering new cars as top prizes. Grand prize

sturgeon dinner is available for $7.

The Red Bull Caf6 sits next to the Pecan Bdr on Sarian Street. If the Pecan looks like something out of the old movie Animal House, the Red Bull bar is reminiscent of an upscale Ponderosa Steak House. The house specialty is Khash, a goulash of gamy beef and garlic, which is served with vodka on weekend mornings. The beef in


this stew is boiled until its rubbery, and the broth is made from cow hooves. This is not a meal for the weak of heart, and this may explain why the locals insist that it be consumed with vodka. Order one serving, which costs about $4, for the adventure. But make sure you've had a good breakfast, first. The staff is friendlv. and the atmos-



winners were offered Nivas and Volgas, two Russian-manufactured cars, which sell for about $7,000 to $10,000. The Argishty stood apart from the crowd. They offered a Ford Mustang.

llancing Perhaps the oldest operating dance club in Yerevan is the Cascade, located at the base of the Cascade Monument. at the

foot of Tamanian Street (named for


architect, as opposed to Tumanian Street named for the writer.) This club has been attracting a youthful crowd of cutting edge dancers since 1996. There's usually no cover charge to get in the door, but single men are not welcome. This is a club for couples, and unless a man brings a date, he'll be refused admission (See Essay, page 16.) Some other dance clubs that were hotjust

a couple of months ago include the Relax Dance Club, 31 Moscovian Street (No cover charge, no live music, couples only); the Youth Palace dance hall, located on the top floor of the Youth Palace at the top of Terian Street (No cover charge, no live music, singles welcome); and the 2X2 Club, located near Republic Square (No cover charge, no live music, couples only.)

Goflee lloures

a quality coffee house in is a challenge. Cafes selling

Finding Yerevan

Armenian Coffee, sonletimes for as little as eight cents, are just about everywhere in the summer. Armenian Coffee, by the way, is indistinguishable from the Greek Coffee that is sold in Greece and the Turkish Coffee that is sold in Turkey. But they don't sell Greek or Turkish Coffee in Armenia, so don't ask for it. For genuine cappuccino or espresso. you

will likely need to go out of your way. Al Leoni Restaurant, on Tumanian Street across from the Gloria Casino, offers the finest selection of specialty coffees in Armenia. Here, you will find Italian style espresso ($1.80) and cappuccino ($2), served

up in a traditional Italian atmosphere. They also offer biscotti. The coffee bar opens at 8 a.m. seven days a week, and stays open until about midnight. The clientele is international, and draws many Europeans.

Swiss style gourmet coffee is also available from La Maison Suisse, a caf6 located on

Bagramian Street, near the intersection with Orbeli Brothers Street. The crepes can't be beat by anyone in the Alps, and the service is

always warm and friendly. This location is convenient to the American University of Armenia, and the prices are comparable to

Al Leoni. You won't find entertainment at either of

those at

these coffee houses, however. These are places to visit for a quiet dessert, before going home, rather than as a destination for partying.


nothing from this sampling



life appeals to you, ofcourse, you can always go to the movies. But remember to bring your American passport. This is one form of entertainment in Yerevan where the American Embassv is still the onlv same in town.

..t .;1. -' rlii.!.,,! I


If you've

been to Armenia, chances are you

have a story to tell about gefting through customs at the airport. Tales of traumatized havelers are many.

AnAmerican with two cameras, one of them a cheap disposable model, was told by a customs officer that tourists are only allowed to bring one camera into the country. He paid a $20 fine for the unlawful second camera. which was twice its value. There is no such law, of course, and photographers often pass through customs with three or more cameras, and dozens of lenses. kaving the country can be stressful, too. An American scientist was stopped by customs after officers noticed that he was carrying dozens of small, and apparently empty, plastic bottles. The bottles contained samples of air that he planned to analyze for contaminants when he returned to the US. Exporting air is illegal, said the customs officer. After a heated debate. the frushat-

scription narcotic which might have street value

looks salable.

to a drug abuser, you should bring a copy of

The law doesn't specify exceptions for

your prescription and the original bottle. The import of coffee, cigarettes and alco hol is limited. Each traveler may hansport no more than one kilogram (2 lbs.) of coffee, 20 packs of cigarettes, and two liters of alcohol. Karapetian, the legal expert at customs, says these restrictions are intended to protect local vendors and to hinder the development of a black market. The US also limits imports of these items, for the same reasons. You must declare the amount of cash that you bring into the country, and you may not take out more than you brought in. In any case, you may never export more than $10,000 in cash from Armenia. Bank fansfers in excess of this limit are permitted, however. If you need less than $200 each day in Armenia, use your ATM card at the Midland Armenia Bank.

humanitarian goods. So according to the letter of the law, expect to pay a duty ifyou bring over more than $500 worth oi say, aspirin, even ifyou plan to distribute it for ffee. But you'll likely avoid the duty if provide a reasonable explanation to the offrcer, and if you have some identification from a relief

You must pay a duty on the import of goods valued in excess of $500 unless they are for your own personal use. This means that if

you are bringing over two VCRs, each of which is worth $500, you will pay a duty on the second one, especially if it is in the factory box and if it


You cannot export items of antiquity or historic artwork, unless you have first obtained an export license. This means that you will need spe-

cial papers to get an old rug or antique vase past customs. Licenses are available


Yerevan, and

may often be obtained with the assistance of the vendor. The Ministry of Culture determines whether export is appropriate. Within this prohibition is the greatest potential for abuse by customs officers. Officers will sometimes scrutinize a watercolor painting that is just 24 hours old. Get export papers for the items you care about. Offrcers have the authority to seize antiquities that are not declared by the traveler. Come prepared to laugh and cajole. And as an extra precaution: carry small bills and be prepared to deal.

ed scientist suggested a bribe.

But by now, there were onlookers, and the bribe was rejected as untimely. "You should have thought of that earlieq" said the officer. The bottles were seized, and three months work was lost when the curious officer opened each bottle. Karen Karabetian, a lawyer who works in the law department of the customs office in Yerevan, defends the conduct of the airport officer. "I'm not sure you have the right to take air out of the country," he said during an interview last December. He wasn't joking. The incident had occurred in 1996. Haven't reforms been made since then? Well, yes. Five customs officers were fired several months ago for "inappropriate behavior," says Karabetian. But, comrption has not been eliminated and stories continue to be told. The people in charge of customs in Yerevan say that the reason travelers complain about customs is because these travelers don't know the law. If they knew the law, their argument goes, they would simply comply with the commands of the officers. So

just what is the law? Here's what the aver-

age tourist or visitor to Armenia needs to know:

You cannot import or export firearms, explo. sives or weapons. You cannot import or export pornography. Standing alone, this restriction appears to prohibit Playboy magazine. Customs officers frequently thumb through magazines in search of offensive material, regardless of their title. Expect to have your copy of Indies Home Joumal flipped through. You cannot import or export contraband drugs or narcotics. This means that


1..]'].':.i:'..A'feV'.!e!:of:the]1bruAmdaGo1dCD-RoM ed

TourArrenia Gold is a CDROM which offers an impressive amount of quality infonnation raources on Armeaia for around $30. In additisn to thâ&#x201A;Ź typical information you would expect from a navel guide (including ptnne numberq ticket prices and guided tour data), the TourArmenia CD packs a largerttian-irsral'*ectiqn"og hiStw culture, the environment and even the econo my, But that's not all: You also-get a smaU language guide and tlre 'a very pe6otral myel notes fum Arnenia. The Desdnations


$ectiotr'covets' major attractions from the'excavation site of

,Mqkhm6ur to'the heart of Abovian Sfieet, with helpfrrl descriEion and tips. Where to stay, what to eat, how to bargain, and which jazz gu1 are all qpclled out with varying levels of detail. ;ctub !o seo-h ,Whedrer you arer looNng for 'the other side of Garni" or the attaction$ of thc Milano shop in Yerevan, you will find it in this guide with someetrort. And here comes the bed news, Neither the interface design nor the editing of this CIROM do jus tice to its contenls. hodueed in the format of a Web site. TourAnnenia suffers from ttre limitations of both the Web and digital media in generat, but enjoys very few,of tbeq advarages, The dragramr and images are beautiful but caption-less and unnecessarily conrpressed",Tlp map of Armenia is well-drawn but does not ft on even the largest of computpi @ens. The audiO files which teach the pronunciation of Armenian letters are a usâ&#x201A;Źfirl resource but each one appears in an annoying linle window which has to be closed irdividually. bo noc get TsurArnenio as'wi{.eneg, of the country's btridht futwe in multimedia*there are plenty of other places to tum to for those. Get it because of the wealth of valuable infmmation it con$11 and because of tlp lovg and dedioation thdt have obviousfl Sore ino it. Ovenill, TowArmenia is definitely worth having and its design poblems are overlooked, given the excel-


lent resource that



By pegor papzian

are taking a pre-

AIM MAY 1999


AWalk in the Highlands By RICK NEY

The volcanic lake region of Armenia and the upper reaches of Aragats are two of the most historically and naturally spectacular areas in the countrv. From the top of Mt. Aragats--or the Geghama Mountain range-both the fertile

Ararat Valley and

the aquamarine

Sevan can be captured


in one vista. Here,

side is coated with a thin sheet of ice, the Sevaberd side is warm enough for a bracing dip. A lonely shepherd may be heard singing while idly watching his flock. Masses of butterflies and lake birds populate the area from which the first real view of Ararat and Aragats can be gotten.

Hikers can continue on to the lower

Mt. Azhdahak (alt, 3597 meters)on the second day, camping just below the side of

there are four areas which should be on everyone's "don't miss" list:

Kari Lich, Gridsor Lake,

Lake and Paitasar. Vank Lake and Paitasar were inhabited as far back as the Stone Age, but beginning

in the sixth millennium BC a series of Vishaps (or Dragon Stones) were erected in the area. The stones average 10 to 15 meters ( 30 to 45 ft.) in height, and are carved in the shape of a fish. Some are detailed with oxen and human figures. No one is exactly

sure about the significance



Vishaps, although they may be part of a water cult, since they are placed


and Vank Lake. Seeing

Little Spitakasar (alt. 3473 meters)to Vank


near the source of springs and lakes.

involves camping, moderate hiking and climbing and horseback rid-

At Paitasar (about a four hour hike from the Sulema Pass Road). the first evidence of writing in Armenia can be found- pictograms going

ing. The less-than intrepid nature lover can follow part of the same path by car to Kari Lich on Mt.


the Paleolithic Era (15,000 The earliest pictograms are of animals-wild deer, rabbit and the first signs of domesticated dogs and goats, water and simple outlines back


Aragats; Gridsor Lake by Sevaberd; and PaitasarAy'ank Lake via the Sulema Pass on the road between Yeghegnadzor and Martuni.

of dwellings, pointing to either

territory), or perhaps a cave. since there is only one entrance drawn. They concem the most important parts of people's lives: staying together, protecting from the elements, and finding things to eat.

The Volcanic Lake district in


Geghama Range



described as a lunar landscape gone fertile: the mountains are actually a




enclosed area (symbolizing land or

llohanic Lakes and Dragons

dormant volcanoes that

spewed millions of tons of lava on the valley floor as they sealed off Sevan on its Western side. From the air, the craters of some of the larger mountains can be seen even though

Fifteen thousand years ofhisto-


are inscribed on the rocks

at Paitasar and Vank Lake, evidence of

a civilization that



domesticated animals, including camels, farmed and irrigated the

From the city of Abovian, just north of Yerevan, the road begins an

land, one that was aware of the heavens-swastika shapes that some

from below they are hidden from

think are meteors or comets-and

ascent and passes a series of villages

before arriving at Sevaberd. Native poppies, goldenrod, blue, yellow and red straw flowers and deep green clover cover the mountain meadows from Sevaberd on up, making prime grazing for Yezidi villagers and their flocks of sheep. From Sevaberd begin a 10 kilometer hike for the first overnight camp near an upper spring by Gridsor Lake. Gridsor Lake is set into the side of Mt. Azhdahak, and up until mid-June, the mountain edge of the lake will still have snow on the ground while the lower side is covered with wildflowers and mountain grass. The lake itself is divided by seasons: while the mountain


crater. At night the stars seem close enough to touch, and a pair of binoculars provides a spectacular display of falling stars. Campers have reported seeing Aragats' own


of the Northern Lights from


began to trade with neighboring culfures. Add the 7,000 years since then, uncovered Metsamor, Karahunj and Lechashen, and you have the evidence of a


22,000-year history


habitation in


From Vank Lake the safari continues

is one of

from the source of the Azat River at Mt.

nature's jewels: a crystal clear lake formed at Azhdahak, the hike is on top of the spine of the Geghama Mountain Range, which can

Geghazar through the Khosrov Nature Preserve to Kakavabert, a 9th-l3th century fortress). The fortress was built on the canyon trail between Martuni and Dvin. The hike descends to the Goghi River canyon,

Inside Azhdahak crater

from melting snow. Beginning

be followed south to the crest of Mt. Spitakasar (alt. 3556 meters), Pokr or

AIM MAY 1999

and ends at the Garni temple.






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7 \

Expanding on our popular AIM Publisher's Forums, we invite you to our monthly dinners. Dinner will be followed by a short briefing by AIM editors on the news events and developments of the month. A featured speaker will make a presentation n a critical topic of concern as we approach the millennium. Presentations will be followed by a question and answer period.

t .1S..


llUano llanitunians

I*rrDrritrtinrr Durruurr Gnand PFoiects" re Vano Haritunians is the architect-engineer who put Frank Gehryb fM, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and the Disney Concert Hall on the map. E



June z, tgee

John Hughes "Hulng in Tnansilion"

Mr John Hughes, an experienced American journalist, has lived in Armenia for one year written for AIM. His insights and observations as a non-judgmental but curious outsider have struck a nerve with readers around the world.

illonday, July 12, 1999 ar BRANDVIEW COLLECTION 109 East Harvard Street, Glendale, Califomia

Dinner 7:30 p.m. Briefing 8:00 p.m. Speaker 8:30 p.m. Donation: $25 for AIM subscribers; $27.50 for non-subscribers FOR RESERVATIONS & INFORMATION CALL (818)246-7979







tt|t|IflNc BEYI|ND


Azefi Ptesident's Failing Health Stirs llebate on the lssue of Succession ix

months after Heidar Aliyev's



Azerbaijan, the country's

future is looking distinctly less rosy than it

did a year ago. The anticipated oil boom, which many

cutting back their presence in Baku. Two of the dozen or so international consortia cre-

ated over the past five years to develop Azerbaijan's offshore Caspian oil reserves have halted operations after drilling three trial wells apiece that failed to yield oil in

Azerbaijanis hoped would galvanize the

commercially viable quantities. The

tottering economy, has failed to materialize. On the contrary, spurred by rockbottom oil prices and growing doubts over the actual amounts of oil and gas the Caspian will ultimately yield, Westem oil companies are

Operating one international

Azerbaijan International Company (AIOC)-the

consortium that


already exporting

Azerbaijani oil to the Russian port of Novorossiisk and the recently opened Georgian terminal at Supsa-has still not committed itself to funding the US administration's pet project of an oil export pipeline from Baku to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan. The AIOC argues that, given cunent world prices for crude, the proven oil reserves discovered in the Caspian do not warrant the $3 billion costs involved.

Although GDP



by l0 percent in 1998,

deterred by endemic comrption that one US businessman recently described as the worst he had ever encountered.

But the single most serious source of concern is Heidar Aliyev's failing health. Having on his own admission failed to consult a doctor since his retum to Baku in 1993 to assume the powers of head of state, the 75-year-old president was flown to Turkey in mid-January for treatment at the Gulhane military hospital in Ankara, reportedly suffering from acute bronchitis precipitated by influenza. Doctors steadfastly rejected Turkish media speculation that he was in fact suffering from heart problems. Aliyev returned to Baku after two weeks, professing to be in tip-top shape-but had open heart surgery


reelection for a second term as presi-

international investors are increasingly


growth has had minimal impact outside Baku. Industrial enterprises in other cities remain idle. In Ganja, the second largest city in Azerbaijan, almost the entire workforce is unemployed. The city suffers from chronic shortages of water, gas and electricity. And





moment's thought. "Successors

don't grow on trees, after all," he told


Russian TV station, "they have to emerge." Ilham is nonetheless perceived as gathering his own team around him, possibly in preparation for his nomination as chairman

of Yeni Azerbaycan, the political

party Heidar Aliyev founded in 1992 as his personal power base. (Ilham's emerging "faction" is just one of several within Yeni

Azerbaycan. Others are headed



party's deputy chairman Ali Nagiev, Health Minister Ali Insanov, and Baku mayor Rafael Allakhverdiev.) Other observers predict that Ilham may be appointed parliament chairman, replacing former academic Murtuz Alesqerov, who is currently under a cloud as a result of the arrest of one of his close relatives on charges of corruption and suspicion of involvement in the 1997 murder of prominent historian Zia Buniatov. Under the constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic, the powers of the president devolve on the parliament chairman if the

president should become



in the US in

immediately following the NATO summit. Since Aliyev's illness, speculation that he intends his son llham. 37. who is vice president of the state oil company SOCAR, to succeed him as president has intensified, despite llham's repeated protestations that he has no desire to do so. Aliyev for his part had claimed shortly before the presidential poll last October never to have given the






N ed abolition of media censorship, two independent newspapers found guilty of insult-

ing the honor and dignity of members of Aliyev's family or of his close entourage have been fined sums so large that they now face bankruptcy.

The opposition is, however, in

possession of one trump card that gives it a certain leverage over the president: most

of them take a harder line on Nagorno Karabakh than he publicly does. In Paradoxically, the possibility of the president's demise at some point in the near future has served to deepen divisions both within the ruling elite and between opposition parties. Rather than close ranks andjoin forces in anticipation of preterm presidential elections, most factions in both camps have opted to play a waiting game rather than jeopardize their chances by moving too soon and too precipitously. As a result, the Azerbaijani opposition now appears less united than during the presidential election campaign. True, the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party did prepare a draft " Agreement

on the Basic




Legitimate Power," which obliges signato-

ries to coordinate preparations to contest new elections, to work together to maintain political stability, and to avoid any actions

that could lead to confrontation between different groups or regions. Representatives of the dozen opposition parties united in the Democratic Congress bloc signed that document in late March. Several weeks later, seventeen parliament deputies, some representing opposi-

tion parties and others "defectors" from Yeni Azerbaycan, formed an opposition fac-

only I I percent of the vote. But the five prominent party leaders who jointly boycotted last year's presidential poll rather than endorse less than wholly democratic election legislation are now at odds. Those tensions are partly a reflection of disagreements over tactics-former parliament speaker Rasul Guliev, who recently became co-chairman of the Democratic Party of Azerbaijan, advocates increasing pressure on the authorities by conducting mass popular protests and boycotting the

municipal elections to be held later this

year. The Musavat (Equality)


Azerbaijan Popular Front Party, by contrast, intend to field candidates in those elections. Guliev has stated publicly that he would not join a ruling coalition of those two parties-

an event that both Musavat chairman Isa Gambar and his Azerbaijan Popular Front

Party counterpart Abulfaz Elchibey term unlikely. The Azerbaijani authorities, too, have sought to sow animosity between opposition leaders, not without success. The National Security Ministry recently accused Guliev of having conspired to assassinate Abulfaz Elchibey, who has declined to com-

between the various opposition groups, faction members argued for weeks over whom to appoint as chairman before coming to a compromise agreement whereby that office should rotate on a weekly basis.

ment on those specific allegations while affirming that there have been four attempts on his life. Ifpreterm presidential polls take place, all five of those who boycotted the poll last year would likely take part, and they would be joined by several of last year's defeated

And perhaps most significant of all, Azerbaijan National Independence Party chairman Etibar Mamedov, whom many obseryers had long regarded as the "loyal

candidates and by Yeni Azerbaycan's candidate-assuming that party survives the demise of its founder. For the moment, Aliyev's ongoing and

tion within the 124-person parliament. But in a reflection of the deep-seated rivalries

contrast to the silence of the Azerbaijani leadership, opposition parties across the political spectrum denounced the March resolution of the Council of Europe endorsing the most recent draft peace plan

Karabakh proposed by the OSCE Minsk Group and advocating making


further EU aid to Armenia and Azerbaijan contingent on tangible progress on human

rights and

democratization. The

Democratic Congress laid the blame for that resolution squarely at Aliyev's door, terming it the direct consequence

of last year's "falsified"



That trump card, may, however, become at least temporarily irrelevant, as the Kosovo conflict continues to occupy the attention of the international community and eclipse the Karabakh mediation process. And while Aliyev himself

-and of the country's intellectual eliteif affront would consider it a major


Armenia, but not Azerbaijan, were accepted

into full membership of the Council of Europe, the populace at large is almost certainly too preoccupied with day-to-day survival to take to the streets to protest such a decision.

Assuming that Aliyev's health does not suddenly deteriorate, the status quo could persist for months, and any attempts to pre-

dict what new political alliances might emerge during that time would be purely hypothetical. But there is no doubt that in the minds of the would-be beneficiaries, the


to the

post-Heidar era


already begun. And there is no guarantee that it will be markedly more democratic

that what went before. As Liberal Party

demonstratively aligned himself with the radical opposition after failing to coerce the Central Electoral Commission to acknowledge that the out-

seemingly arbitrary revision of the rules of

deputy chairman Rashad Rzakuliev recently observed, "Tolerance has never been a hall-

the political game places the opposition at a major disadvantage, given that the parame-


come of the presidential election had been manipulated to up the number of votes cast in Aliyev's favor by some 600,000. Mamedov has refused to accept the official results which showed him as having polled

remain blurred. Several opposition party members were arrested and tried for participating in a demonstration last November that had been sanctioned in advance by the authorities. And despite the much-trumpet-


to Aliyev,


of what is politically




of Azerbaijani politics in



Liz Fuller is editor of Radio


Europe/Radio Liberty's Caucasus Report. The views expressed in this article are her own and not those of RFE/RL. 59





Amenia's economy in I gg8 and First Quafler of 1999 By A. H. ATEXANDRIAN

TT Tith a total output of 951.9 billion Dram in 1998, the Armenian l/\/ Y Y economy showed a 7.2 percent growth of its GDP (Gross Domestic Product) relative to 1997. This year started with a similar trend: GDP has increased by 6.5 percent in the first two months of the year relative to the same period of 1998, while the growth planned by the budget for the first quarter was four percent. For the first time since the early 90s, the consumer price index


at the end

reach a healthy stage. On the other hand, in spite of the 1.2 percent growth in the total GDP, many important sectors of the economy recorded decline instead of growth. The

sis continues in 1999 to have its impact on both the supply and demand sides of the

industrial output was by 2.5 percent lower

of the Russian market; thus, local consumption has itself shrunk because of the fall in the purchasing power of the population due to the fall in private transfers from Russia. With the decline in industrial production, most of the L2 percent increase in the 1998 GDP was due to the 13.1 percent and I percent increases in the agriculture and construction sectors respectively. The

than in 1997, and the downward trend con-



the first months 1999. Consequently, the volume of exports has fallen in 1998. too. and the first two months of 1999 (3.9 percent and 11.5 percent respec-


of the year by 1.3 percent rel-

($143 million in the first nine months of 1998 against $51 million for the whole of 1997). However. international loans to the govemment have decreased. On the surface, these figures-particularly the performance of the GDP-indicate

signs of a healthy economy undergoing a steady growth. In fact, many countries-

including some Western ones-would have liked to have registered similar numbers. Beneath the surface, however, the reality appears much less bright. On the one hand, a single digit rate of growth isn't enough to provide Armenia with the oxygen it needs to breathe freely in the economic and social domains. (In 1998, the annual per capita income was below $500 and in 1997 output was still 40 percent lower than in 1990). The country needs to register double digit annual growth rates for several consecutive years to


at a low level because-among

other reasons-of the shrinking


ative to the end of 1997 (it had increased by 21.8 percent in the previous year), while the average annual rate of inflation was 8.7 percent (13.8 percent in the previous year). The national currency ended the year at 518.9 Dram against the US dollar and its depreciation was 2.9 percent on the average, which is surely a good performance in face of the exchange rate turbulences around the world. Finally, the ratio of the budget deficit to the GDP represented 3.2 percent against 4.7 percent in 1997.' On the other hand, according to the olficial figures, investments have increased by 25.2 percent. Foreign direct investments have increased by more than four times

Armenian economy, where production remains

Armenia Azerbaijan Belarus Georgia Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Moldova Russia Ukraine Uzbekistan $urce: Russiil


-5.27c +2.47o +1.2Vo -2.4Vo -5.3Vo




increase in agricultural output was mainly the result of favorable climatic conditions. With the slump in the level of industrial production in the 90s, the share of the industrial sector in the GDP f'ell sharply (27.3 percent 1998 against 44.-5 percent in 1990) and that of agriculture and servrces rose corespondingly. In 1998, the agricultural sector was the fargest contributor of the GDP (42.2



percent against 12.6 percent in 1990). Armenia, howeveq is not basically an agri-


cultural country and-for the time being at


least-is far from approaching self-sufficien-


cy in food production. On the contrary, it heavily on imports fbr its fbod consumption: Thirty-three percent of the total volume of imporls in 1998 consisted of tbod


tively), while imports have


increased, thus deepening the trade balance deficit (minus two percent in 1998). The decrease in the industrial output and exports was primarily the result of Russia's financial crisis of August 1998, which had a negative effect on its trade partners in the CIS. In fact, both industry and exports had improved in the first half of the year (by 3.2 percent and 29.8 percent respectively) but fell sharply in the second half. The Russian crisis also sharply affected the volume of private capital flowing into the country as many

in Russia were no longer able to make money transfers to their relatives back home. Exact figures are unavailable, but it is estimated that prior to the August crisis, Armenia used to receive around $200 million annually through this unofficial, private channel. The Russian criArmenian expatriates working




The last factor is another indication that

Armenia's economy remains highly dependent on the outside world. The 'openness index' formed 80.8 percent during the first nine months of 1998 (89.6 percent during the corresponding period in 1997). But more than a sign of integration to the world economy, this is an indication of how large the fbr-

eign components

of the economy are-

including, for example, irnports, international loans, financial translers of expatriates. foreign grants and aid-relative to the size of the Gross Domestic Product. The deterioration of the overall economic situation since August I998 had its impact on the labor market. Although oflicial unemployment statistics account only fbr the reg-






5.4 5.3 6.6 -178.4

6.9 2.4 6.7 -403.4

s.2 -565,5





tm4 Agriculture and forestry


Industry Construction Services



Real GDP

Industrial production Unemployment (% of hborforce)z Trade Ealance (million US$) Current account (% of GDels Foreign debt (% e On1











0.9 10.6 -660,8 -26.1

-25.2 \")








388.5 339.4 116.5 381.4



361.3 274.0 82.4 267.9

120.5 469.5

370.3 333.5 64.8 303.5









31.7 27.7 9.s 31.1

30,2 28.8 8.4 32.6


lPercentage change on previous year unless otheMise stated; 2otficially regislered; 3Net of otticial transters; (*)





- soptsmber

Source: Armenia Economic Trends. fourth 0uarter 1998.

istered unemployed and are thus generally believed to be an underestimation of the real

figure, they, neveftheless, make it possible to

fbllow the trends in that area. Thus, according to those statistics. at the end of December 1998 133,779 persons were officially registered as unemployed (8.9 percent of the labor fbrce,

According to official sources, the 'hidden'or 'shadow'economy has accounted, at different times, for between 30 to 40 percent of the GDP. Others put that figure at 70 percent or more. State revenues in the form of


against I 1.4 percent a year ago).

Three months later, on


April I,

1999, that number had jumped by

Industrial production

19.4 percent, reaching 159,721 (10.5 percent of the labor force). More than two-thirds of the regis-

registered since 1993, though the sector has not been in enviable shape since the early 90s. The total industrial output amounted to 260. I billion Dram (around $520 million) and represented 27.3 per-

In January 1999, the consumer price index increased by fbur percent relative to December 1998. It remained stable in February and registered even a fall increase

in March, The January is mainly the reflection of the


increase in the electricity tariff which became effective with the new year.


Armenia fell by two percent in 1998. This was the first decrease

tered unemployed are women.

of 0.4

tightening of the tax collection process has contributed to a proportional decline in the hidden economy and has helped toward the stabilization of tax revenues relative to the GDP- eight percent in 1990, 3.1 percent in 1994, up again to 9.3 percent in

tax collection lose mostly because of this phenomenon. According to official data, the



the economy in 1998 fell by 6.7 percent relative to 1997. The



cent of the GDP. Yet, the year had started on an optimistic

note. Production was up by 3.4 percent in the

first quarter and by 3.2 percent in the first


SAVE 40o/o'7 0o/o EVERYDAY




semester. Some major agreements with Russian partners-which, if realized, would have boosted the production of a few big fac-

tories,. such as the Kanaker Aluminum Factory-were just about to be signed when the Russian financial crisis last August stalled everything. Industrial enterprises oriented towards the Russian market were hit most, affecting the overall level of industrial output, The index of industrial production in August-December 1998 relative to the corresponding months of 1997 was the following: August; 94.8 percent, September: 91.8 percent, October: 85.8 percent, November: 90.1 percent, December: 91.4 percent. The downward trend affected the pro-

duction levels of the 20 major industrial enterprises of the country. The cumulative production level of these enterprises has fallen from 60.1 billion Dram in 1997 to 31.8 billion Dram. This decline of more than 28 billion Dram corresponds to 11.8 percent of the total industrial production of 1998. Some of those 20 major enter-

prises are traditional suppliers


Russian market, while the products of the others are consumed on the local market. Chemical enterprises started the year with a big jump, only to finish it in a crash. Their production level in the first quarter was 92 percent higher than that of the previous year; in October it had fallen to 85 percent of the corresponding period of the previous year; at the end of the year, it represented only 75 percent of the production of 1997. Except for the dramatic rise in the first quarter, the situation was more or less the same in other sectors: heavy machinery, electrical and electromecanic equipment, electronics and precious metals and semi-precious synthetic stones.

The fall in the production level of those enterprises whose production is directed towards the local market is mainly due to the ongoing decentralization


those sectors. This trend concerns

mainly bread production and grain processing enterprises, where the production level of the big bakeries, for example, has fallen

percent (short

in 1998 by almost 50

of 7.4 billion


1997), and that of the grain reprocessing factories by 42.5 percent (short of 10.2 billion Dram). Many smaller size private plants have appeared



in part, the larger enterprises. Most of these, however, work in the

in this field, production




of the

'shadows', and remain outside the scope of the statistics and taxation departments.


In contrast, a few industrial sectors did show some improvement in 1998. Metallurgical production, for example,


rose by 60 percent, wood processing and paper making by l5 percent, light industry by 13 percent. The increase was mainly felt in the textile and sewing industries (see AIM, March 1999) in their various forms. Armenia-along with other countries-is playing the role of a production and export center in this field due to the availability of cheap and skilled labor. In the food processing industries, production of processed meat, ice cream, beer and cigarettes have shown big increasesthe latter two items have also been exported in big quantities. On the other hand, fish, canned food and alcoholic drinks (other than beer) have seen a rather sharp fall. The drinks category has seen a fall in the production and export of brandy to the Russian market.. In general, the produc-

sruction contributed by almost eight percent to the 1998 GDP. This figure represents a 17.5 percent increase in relation to the previous year. Construction work worth 33.3 billion Dram-or 44 percent of the total amount-was completed in the private sector, and the rest by the government, as well as international and human-

With 75.7 billion Dram, capital con-

itarian organizations. According to the Ministry of Statistics' official figures, a little less than half of the total amount (34.2 billion Dram) has been spent on the construction of facilities related to production. Foreign investors' share in this last category was 7.1 billion Dram, or 9.38 percent of the total amount of construction.

A total area of 302,000 square meters (approximately 3,000,000 square feet) of

tion of alcoholic drinks, including beer, has fallen by 23 percent (14.2 billion Dram vs. 18.6 in 1997). All in all, 105.7 billion Dram ($210.4 million) in food products have been produced, while food imports amounted to $294.5 million (+40 percent relative to

housing has been built in 1998 (18.7 percent more than in 1997). Out of this total, 76.2 percent (230 thousand square meters) was built by the private sector, 14.7 percent by the government, 4.6 percent by the World Bank, 0.9 percent by the Armenia


percent by the Russian government.

AIM MAY 1999

Fund, 1.5 percent by the UNHRC,



BUSINESS More than half of new housing construction is in and around Yerevan: 32.2 percent in Yerevan (57.4 percent more living space built than in 1997),9.9 percent in the region of Ejmiatsin and 9.1 percent in Ashtarak. The earthquake zone's share of housing was a third of the total built in 1998. Almost 40 percent of the housing construction in the earthquake zone has been through by private means.

rmnruRr The 7.2 percent increase in the total 1998 GDP level is mainly due to the l3.l percent increase in the agricultural sector. The increase was mainly felt in the production of potatoes, vegetables and grains.



Together with meat and milk, potato and vegetables account for more than 60 percent of Armenia's agricultural production, while grain accounts for less than l0 percent.

The average productivity of cultivatin money terms from 711,000 Dram (about $1,370) per hectare in 1997 to 803,000 Dram ($1,550) in 1998 (+13 percent). The highest productivity Ievel (more than 1.4 million Dram or $2,700 per hectare) is in the plain of Ararat, where the administrative centers of Armavir and Ararat supply 30 percent of the agricultural produce of the country on only l6 percent of the cultivated lands. Fruit production has increased too, but grape output has fallen by 1.7 percent. This is due to the continuing trend among ed land has increased

the farmers of the Ararat plain to transform their vineyards to wheat fields. They do this they say because, on the one hand, maintaining the vineyards and marketing the grapes is very difficult, and at the same time, wheat production is so easy. Farmers are also quite aware that by producing wheat they will always be able to provide their own families with as much bread as is necessary. However, Pernod Ricard, the French firm that purchased the Yerevan Brandy Factory, promised to increase the amount of grapes purchased from local farmers, and this effectively doubled the total quantity of grapes sold in 1998from 21,000 tons in 1997 to 48,000 tons. Although grain production increased by 26.1 percent in 1998, the purchased quantity dropped by 21.7 percent. This is explained partly by the fact that besides being a produce that is being exchanged for other goods on the marketplace, for many Armenian farmers, agricultural activity has

become simply a means to sustain their own needs, and does not translate to economic activity. In 1998, the livestock count officially decreased by 13 percent, but part of that decrease was due to a deliberate attempt by some farmers to conceal the real value of their possessions in order to be able to benefit from the newly-established system of familly allowances. Nevertheless, part of the official decrease in the count is due to a genuine fall in the number of heads of sheep, because of the difficulties encountered in marketing the wool. Agricultural output is widely expected to fall in 1999, mainly due to climatic changes, but also because of financial difficulties that many individual farmers face. The total area of cultivated land in autumn 1998 (86.3 thousand hectares) was l0 percent less than that of 1997. Small






farmers have a great deal of difficulty finding the financing for seed, fertilizer and other needs. This, together with a very dry autun and winter last year, means that 50 percent of the harvest is already considered spoiled. The difficulties of a society living the transition from a planned to a market

economy, from an integrated network of suppliers and markets throughout a huge


to a

self-reliant economy



small, landlocked, blockaded country, from state-supported to individual entrepreneurship, all become a little bit clearer by an examinatin of these numbers-and the trends they represent.


AIM MAY 1999


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l(':t !.ii)rr)r1\ii:,\ our

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li Slii il

ll,.\N Rt:.CORI)S





:jifilll iUjljjil A

favorite prol.-essor of Dr. Hrayr Shlhiniln': lrke: to tell his medical students that for e\ierv one pioneer there are a thou-

snnd settlers. Il's a line that stuck in Shahinian's mind, challenging him to bccomc a pioneer in brain surgery. "l guess

teritory. TMay precision instruments


ence. Surgery.can now relieve the intense shock-like pain caused by a pinched nerve at the base of thc skull. "thc prilr ue arc trlkin; about is ercruciating. and left untleated tencls [(] worsen ovcr time." Shahinian cxplainctl. Shahinian came to the US in l98l ancl became a citizen 10 years ago, "Peopie ask mc about this all thc tilne rnd I :11 r.r ell mlyhre I wutclred too many Mareu' Wclbv shorvs on TV!" hejoked, "but in the US the

Armenians make good jewelers, good watchnrakers. I don't know maybe it's the precision work that appealeri to me. The bigger

the challenge the bigger'the reward," noted

sky is tlre limit and thar's the type of artitude yotr need to do this kind ol uork." Shahinian saicl ercn hclirre he drcanrcd ()l moving to Ihc L S hc hld a very Anrcricarr

fhev're nrit the easiest people to get along with." Shahinian stated in his signature mattcr-()l-lilrt illilnuer. Tlrc Lcbrrnese-born specialist, 40. is :rir()ng an elite group of surgeons who specialize in the emerging field of skuli base rurscr]. Shlhinian. vr htl nray be the only

can-du mcntalitl irrstilletl

to l0{} dclicate and Iife-

chlnginr: plrltcdules per year. Skull brrsc \urgcly wa\ clr emerging


rvhc-n Shahinian decided



involvr'd. Ten years ago the base of the skull \\ ir\ e()nun{)rrly leferred to as "no-man's llnd" becrur:e il was essentially unnrapped

in hirrr hy


firther. Karrrig Shahiniarr dror'e hi' onll sorr to exsel in every realil. including education

and athletics.

"lf it

weren't for my fathel I

rvould neler be wbere l am today. He pusbed nie in such a way that it worked," Shahinian s:rid. Krrnig and Mrlo Shahiniirn nou livc in Puns anrl trirvel to thc US lrl visit thcil sun once a year. Shahinian has two ycunger sis,

Arnre nirrn irr thc iield, is dirr,-clor of the presliuirrLrs Skull Birsc Institute at Cedars-Sinai N{edical Centel in Los Angeles. Shahinian irt cepted thc tlircctorship t\i,o years ago after scr\ inr: l. r.'tr-director of the Skull Base

pcrlorrrr: trp

the n:ost painl-ul

ly-trained surgeons to perfbrrn dciicate ploon the base of the skull. "They say


inlcrr:c. r cry precise. mostly direct. and



atliction adnll men and wcxnen can experi-

it's a personality thing, I know most of the 30 lo 50 people around the world who are ia my lrt';r irnd tlrr'y're all a lot like me. They're all

ln:litrrte irt tllc State Uruversity of New York. Bcfore that he was a medical student who studiecl in the US. Beirut and Zurich. Today

is widely considered to

operate on a microscopic lei el allow special-

Shahinian who poinfs out there is no room t'or errerr in this kind of work. In rhe early days, the chances of a patient not surviving surgery were one in fir'e. Today Shahinian says the success rate is much higher and worth the risk to the patients. Tngeminal neuralgia ir rrns cs11cli1i6'1

conrrnonly misdiagnosed

but lreuruble

through skull base suryery. The condition affects thousands of patients every year antl

ters, Houri and Lara. rvho still like to givc their Llig brtrther a hard timc despite hrs accor npl i ih rneuts.

Shalrirriln sl1 s he tloes rrol havc nruch inr.olvement with the Arnrenian conrmunity in Los Angeles br-rt is pnrucl to be 100 percent Alrnenian. Beyond that he'is proud to be a surgeon r,rlro is helping hundred* ol pcrrple e\eD yeaf li\c beller lives. ''lt's taneihle the difl'erence you rnake in people's livqs" Evcry sutcesslul sur!cl\ is l rtew lease on lilt-"

$TRUINO |JP $ATI$ilCTION Zov's Bistfo is one ()i tlte bcst resteutitnts in SoLrthcrn ( alilirrnia. I)olt't take iltis w'r'iter's u'orcl Ibr it. listen tO [)elin Kttontz. The bcst-sellin-s authol ol'Antcricun udvcnturc novels is a retr"rlal patrorr ancl pr()nloter o1 Zor"s. In tact hc dedicatccl his novcl l-he Dark Rilels of thc lJertrt to Zov and (iuibis Kararlaldian. Koontz clainrs to huve c[nccl lt Zov's with l.ris rl'ile nror-c than 1.0(X) tirnes sincc its ope:ning in l9fJ7. He rlvctl about its Arntenian and Nleditermnean ctri sinc in an issue of -[-he IIoilr ri ood Repot'icr'. w'hrcl'r rnav cxplain u hr, othcl cclebritics such as Bettc Midlcr ancl ChLrcl. Norris halc be en knolt n to r.rosh at oLlt of thc-wav Zor"s. Ironically. it r.','as ncvel Klranturclian's intention to run a rcstaurant. but hcr sntall home-hased cateling busincss ltad becontc \t\1 \1.\\'199e

\uch a \Llcccs\ rt \\ils clthct erltanrl or t'rpli.lile. "lt \\'it\ gcttillg to() big.''

Kararrrarclian e rpltiirrerl. "l coulrlrr't lr.Lnc tion unyrrrolc tl'ont thc lroLrsr:." ,,\i thlit tLlrl tn-t point in l9l{7 KarantaniilLn clcciclcrl to

gire lhe restlLlrlrlt birsirress I trl,. (iirrbis hlitt lctirccl alter' -lf \ c:it'\ l\ urt cngirrecl tor HLrghcs iurcl har,:ketl lris ri ifc's tlr,'cisrrn i.r






good ntove.



Bistnr is open sir ti;.tr s u r.r ccli. oflcri r.rpcr'ating ilt its nlLrirrrurir caplLcitr ol l()ii i:ustonrers ancl 70 crrplovccs.

afteil (iar'bis

Il is a lltliii

Itiurr.lles murry ol' thc tltrsincss

thcil f 7-r eirl nlrl son r\rnti:n is (ienr:ral Matrasr-r. encl 25-r eal olrl ci:rLrghtcr 'lalrren l1glp5 out as a ltosl 0n(l u lrt pcrson.







foorl-r'cla1cr.l ol tlre

lulthough shc no longcl does rnr.rclt

Restaurant Writers group. In 1997 she was honored by two industry groups for women, and 1996 Gourmet Magazine named

actual cooking.

Bold colors and fresh flowers donning every tabletop. But, it's the menu that motivates locals and people from miles around

Zov's the "Best Bakery

Tustin, California to eat at Zov's (or to check out the website at

Califomia." Karamardian's energetic style and excellent reputation earned her an invi-

"I'm Armenian and I will always have the flavors of my heritage which are things that

tation to teach cooking classes on board a Crystal Cruise ship during a l2-day excur-


step further," Karamardian explains. "For example basterma. I take a plate, dress it with baby green lettuce, put on a few slices of the spicy, cured beef and a few slices of romano cheese, dizzle olive oil over it and serve it with a slice of lemon. That's how I bring my heritage to the food, but it's not an She says for shish kebab and pilaf there are plenty of Armenian restaurants one can find. "It's not about food. it's about art. It's about presentation. It's about taste."

Those words are echoed

Karamardian's contemporaries


by the

restaurant industry. Although she is not professionally trained in the culinary arts, Karamardian has done and continues to do


September. In order to prepare, Karamardian traveled to Istanbul where she bought spices at a bazaar. She was then able to give the cruise guests some history about the ingredients which made the experience more interesting for them. Karamardian, 54, is happy to have

those ingredients that we're used to, I take a



sion through the Mediterranean

we've grown up with: olive oil, cheese, mint, garlic, sausages and eggplant. All

Armenian restaurant," Karamardian


found her calling. She credits her mother extensive research

in her field. And


teaches. "I teach them techniques so they'll have fun and hopefully someday I can hire

the ones I see who have


Karamardian said.

Her hard work has earned her more just a loyal following, Karamardian has received numerous awards including the than

1998 "Restaurant

of the Year"


judged by the Southern California



Araxi Soghomonian with giving her the courage to chase a dream. "We call her the rockl" Karamardian recalled with a laugh. Her two brothers and sister still live in San Francisco near their mother, but Zov has to

rely on long-distance phone calls for most of her motherly advice. "When I asked her whether she thought I could open a restaurant she said, 'Yes you can do it, of course you can do it. Is that even a question'?"


Fnom mner











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Hey D, Days gone


days to



does not go to the English club but she is working for the Red Cross. So with that I will close-Oh and one piece of bad nsws-l'vs been told there are two attorneys living a few floors above me.

Sorry for taking so long to get to you

I had terrible jet lag, there has been no Admininstrative officer here for four

in Yerevan. But from what

How are you doing, D? I'm a reporter for a community newspaper here now, and have been since last June. I cover the wealthiest area of St. Louis County. It's


to take the politics


remembering the big issue in the mayoral race in my little Armenian town of Agarak just before I left was which candidate could help the village get running water. What the city of Town and Country should do with its $16 million surplus is a "problem" debated

here four days late. And I've been eating

some kartoJil (potato) peroshkis and of course lots of bread. And today I called

states are all crammed together, aren't they?

was his birthday and last week I called Armine and Mary in Vanadsor. Mary

Take care,


The world is very small

by that Board of Aldermen. My relatives from Ukraine are in the US, in Manhattan, with green cards. I'm not sure how they're surviving. I had a long conversation in my pidgin Russian with them on the phone. If I can get the money (and vacation time) up, I'd like to go see them. If I do, I'll let you know: how far is it



throughout my 27 months in Armenia. It's MATSUN! That yogurt stuff prevented me from getting contaminated by nuclear radiation. So, it must be some pretty powerful ban eli.


round. The hospital which you are

seen so far. the town is much the same as Yerevan except the traffic lights work and the drivers are a little more courteous and not quite as color blind- they do stop on red. But the policemen still check car registration except if you have red plates. I went

few of my shots. But while I was in Washington I got the flu and then had a tooth abcess so had it taken out. Then there was a problem with my medical clearance and also visa so I got

Yes, believe it or not, I heard about the heard

wonder drug from Armenia,

Dear S,

I have

to Gorky Park last week (bY accident) and it was great-like Victory Park in Yerevan with all the rides working-it was Women's Day. And I've had a


Hi D,


months and trying to learn these new systems has kept me quite busy. It is Saturday afternoon here and the sun is shining but don't let that be misleading-it is 38 F outside. I asked for something the other day and was asked will it be OK in about an hour or I can start on it right now if you want? And another person said this is the way we do so and so but if you do not like it-we can do it whatever way you want. Can you believe this? My apartment is quite nice and only a block from the Embassy. But the Embassy is not as nice as the one

I've never made it there. Hajo. Mi kich K'geres.

from where you are? All those


There is a certain irony in the fact that my Ukrainian relatives are in New York, and

AIM MAY 1999

asking about is in Yerevan and they have very good staff t last year my sister had surgery there). The letter, which you forwarded to me, was written by me; that's the one I sent to You in an envelope via H and you mailed it to Texas. And now it came back to me. Is this funny? The story is, that the doctor A S (who did surgery) is a good friend of my brother's and he asked me to help him to prepare a letter fbr his friend in Texas. Their hospital is doing a nice job, but they also have a lot of needs and no support from the Government. So, the letter did a round trip around the world, because the doctor in Texas wants to help the hospital here.

Big hugs to you and familY, G










AIM MAY 1999









Holocaust Memofial The tiny Jewish community in Armenia placed the foundation of a memorial dedicated to the Holocaust of six million Jews during World War II (see page 16). Yerevan Mayor's Office has allocated a site for the monument at the Oval Park of the city.

AIM MAY 1999






Sleepless in




A friend recently asked me a question that is usually easily answered.

"Are you dating?" And I think she might have added "over there." Meaning: Are you going out with any Armenian girls? "I'm not sure," I said. She laughed.

It's hard to know, here. Is a "date" a walk through Victory Park, appropriately spaced one from the other? Is it attending an art opening? Is it an invitation to dinner with the whole family, including grandmothers and cousins?

It is a quandary, made complex by a complex place. Or maybe I'm just more odar than I thought. But that's probably not possible.

Here's part of my confusion: In Armenia, I've kissed men. So, out.

No, wait:


I was


as speechless as the time a friend here said to me:

do Americans call

it "football" if they don't



use their feet?,'

I said to Single Female Doctor Babe, "you know,] entertainment." "Well,"


"I don't know,"

I wasn't kidding.


She was. I

And she said: "Fun? What is this word,

It is an Armenian

custom, and a good one. And, unlike the over-used air kisses of Hollywood affliction, these are actually meaningful.

But in a place where same sex walking arm in arm is common, if I take a woman's hand does it mean I'm being gentlemanly on a dark street, or have I "made a move?" And kiss a girl on the cheek the way I might a man, have I done something different with one than with the other? Is a cup of coffee just a cup of coffee? In a social form where nearly every mode of entertainment

she said. "Go to discos, maybe?" That she answered with a question should have told me some-

thing. Still, I went to a disco. Put on my best black and rubbed the Aramis off a page from an American magazine and headed for Hotel Erebuni, where the] big sign atop the building says "Discotek."


HW;;; I could not have no breasts. else, he was saying I could not go in because I didn't have a girl with me. I think it was the latter. research: He was saying

go in because

if I

is family-centered, it is a bit of a mystery to me to learn how those families became families in the first place-if you know what I mean. And I'm not sure I do. Maybe this: Past the age of attending school, where do single Armenians meet? If not already acquainted by family connection, how? And, suppose a guy or girl has "made a move." Here, where nobody lives alone, where do they go to make the next one? I've never considered myself an investigative reporter, but I have done some digging on the issue. I figure if you've made it to the back ofthe magazine, you ought to get your 1000 Dram

worth. So: "What do single people do here for fun?" That was my first question, posed to a single female, a doctor, who fit the requirements. What requirements? There is a long-standing practice of male-dominated journalism: If you have a general question, you'djust as well ask it to the prettiest girl you can find.


In any case my visit ended quickly I could still smell the Aramis in the elevator on the way back down into the world of the girlless. Let's recap this theory: If single people want to meet, they to discos. Howeveq single guys are not allowed in without a girl Therefore, in order to go meet a girl, a guy must have already one in order to get into the meeting place. This conundrum shouldn't be surprising in a country that a national stamp but no mail carriers. From what I can tell from careful investigative reporter sur veillance, "dating" here centers around conversation. As an American male, this prospect horrifies me. It has in fac been conversation or rather the lack of it that has ended whate relationships I ever began in my country where the definition dating is simpler: You go to a movie (where silence is required), to a bal or hockey match or the horseraces (where a guy can talk endlessly), to a rock 'n roll concert where the music is too loud to talk e if you had something to say. But conversation is the centerpiece of socializing in Armenia. Now a new question; Is the language of love universal? This will require more research.









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Discover Armenia - May 1999  

Armenian International Magazine | Discover Armenia - May 1999

Discover Armenia - May 1999  

Armenian International Magazine | Discover Armenia - May 1999