Tag Archives: Russia

We refuse to pay 150 Dram for transport!- And Other Protests

Armenia is a country of protests; daily protests that take place all around the capital, particularly near the Opera and on the main streets with the embassies and government buildings. Within a few days, I saw 3 protests and took part in 2 of them.

The 1st was in front of the Russian embassy, where we were herded to the side, out of the officials’ view, against the inhumane treatment of an Armenian detainee accused of causing the deaths of 18 and the injury of 48 others. His lorry had experienced problems, possibly with the brakes or possibly with the tires, and turned over before crashing into a bus full of people. The Armenian driver of the lorry was taken to the hospital and given a woman’s robe before being paraded around in this during the court hearing, alongside being imprisoned while embarrassingly still wearing the robe and slippers.

 

The 2nd protest was near the Opera, against the low pensions that war veterans receive today. The amount is truly pitiable, an extremely low step taken by our oligarchical government. War veterans receive 30-50,000 drams, between $75 and $125 a month. Boggles my mind how one can expect another to live with such a measly amount. 20130721_202938 20130721_202957 20130721_202950

The third protest I so enthusiastically took part in began before the parliament building and our march took us from street to street until we were on some of the busiest ones. Here, we stopped the buses, removed any signs that indicated the pay to now be 150 drams, and stuck all over the transports flyers and pictures that condemned the raising of the prices and demanded we all pay the original fare of 100 drams. 100 drams is just about 23-27 cents, depending on the exchange rate. There were buses that had refused to increase the fare and taxis about which would take people to certain places for free. We got honks of support and cheers of approval. We increased our numbers as we walked and cried out at every corner that we, and only we, can protect our own rights. People joined as we walked by, store owners peeked out and stood on their doorsteps to watch or cheer on their support, and the people standing at every stop were encouraged to follow example and refuse to pay the new amount.

Together, with the whole country doing the same thing, we can make a difference. In Armenia, you ride the bus and pay at the end. As such, each and every citizen is encouraged to pay 100 drams before jumping out, encouraging those around them to do the same. Let’s drop this guise of a sheep and stand up tall with head held high. The people hold the power, they just need to realize that it lies in their collective strength!

Artsakh Hero’s Accident Raises Critical Concerns

 

Source: http://asbarez.com/111684/artsakh-hero%E2%80%99s-accident-raises-critical-concerns/

On Saturday, July 13, 46-year-old Artsakh war hero Hrachya Harutiunian set out on his job in Russia as a truck driver transporting gravel. Near the village of Oznobikhino outside Moscow his truck malfunctioned and hit a passenger bus, killing 18 people and injuring 40.

What followed, however, raises critical concerns of racism and xenophobia against Armenians in Russia—an issue that has grabbed many a headline in the past—as well as a closer look at the emigration problem plaguing Armenia and the state treatment of war veterans.

Immediately after the accident the Russian authorities initiated a criminal investigation and charged him with vehicular homicide.

Russian state television and other media outlets were also quick to blame Harutiunian. Some legal experts and journalists in Moscow suggested, however, that technical faults may have caused the disastrous crash. They said the still unknown owner of the old truck, rather than the driver, may therefore be primarily responsible for the tragedy, reported RFE/RL.

Harutiunian was taken to a court in Moscow to face criminal charges on Monday. Television pictures showed him sitting in a cage, clad in a woman’s housecoat and wearing slippers. The 46-year-old was unable to utter any words, having apparently still not recovered from post-traumatic shock. A Russian state TV report derided his “mooing” and accentuated on his ethnic origin.

The images caused outrage in Armenia, with critics accusing the Russian authorities of violating the presumption of innocence and fanning negative popular attitudes towards migrant workers from the South Caucasus and the Russian North Caucasus. The Armenian human rights ombudsman, Karen Andreasian, expressed serious concern in a letter to his Russian counterpart on Tuesday, added RFE/RL.

Meanwhile, Armenian officials have been scrambling to ensure the public that they are on top of things, with the Russian Embassy in Yerevan issuing assurances that due process will be applied in Harutiunian’s case and condemning efforts to “politicize” the incident.

Protesters in Yerevan

Members of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Nigol Aghbalian Student Association and the Yerevan branch of the Armenian Youth Federation held a protest in front of the Russian Embassy in Yerevan, and while waving a woman’s housecoat demanded fair treatment of Harutiunian.

The sad crux of the situation is that Harutiunian had taken the job in Moscow to raise funds for a proper tombstone for his son, Serob, who died a year ago after completing his service in the Armenian Armed Forces, according to Hrachya’s brother Hayk.

In the last 20 years Russia has become home to the largest Armenian population outside of Armenia with Moscow and Krasnodar serving as centers for Armenians emigrating there. For the past several years, Asbarez has reported on numerous incidents involving racially-motivated hate crimes against Armenians in both cities and Russian intolerance toward Armenians has been chronicled.

Through a controversial Russian government-backed program hastening Armenian migration to Russia, which until last year was sanctioned by Armenia’s authorities, thousands of Armenians have moved to Russia. While there, they have had to endure insurmountable socio-economic hardship in order to survive

While Russia is deemed as a strategic partner to Armenia and endeavors to increase its influence in the region, the issue of treatment of Armenian citizens who are forced to migrate to Russia has not been on the agenda of bi-lateral discussion between leaders of the two countries.

On the domestic front, this roadside accident, as tragic as it is, has also brought to the surface the harsh realities of emigration from Armenia, or rather, the poor socio-economic conditions that cause Armenians to emigrate.

During his presidential campaign Serzh Sarkisian said in an interview with RFE/RL that “in no circumstance can a country be a prison for its citizens,” pledging to create conditions in Armenia that are compatible with the countries to which Armenians move. In another interview with broadcast media affiliates in March, Sarkisian blamed Armenia’s woes on what he called “rampant cynicism” among the population and condemned the “forces” that were fueling the flames of the cynicism.

During Sarkisian’s fist term, reports indicated that emigration from Armenia rose with Sarkisian not making any strides in creating “conditions in Armenia that would be, if not like, then at least close to the conditions that our citizens seek abroad,” as he said in the aforementioned interview.

Hrachya Harutiunian fell victim to the skewed policies of the Armenian government which is unable to provide its citizens with adequate jobs and an opportunity to thrive in their own country. What is even more sad is that those who fought for our country in the Karabakh war are also not immune to the disastrous policies of the Armenian government.

Civic organizations in Armenia should protest Russia’s ill-treatment of Harutiunian and others, while the foreign ministry must make the plight of Armenians in Russia a priority discussion point with Russia.

At the same time, the same civic and political organizations must ramp up their advocacy on behalf of Armenian citizens and must demand from the government to take concrete steps and halt the outflow of Armenians from the homeland.

Who are the Hamshen Armenians?

In the 8th century, under threat from Arab invasions, the Armenian Prince Shabuh and his son Hamam Amadouni leave their lands in Northern Vaspuragan and head up the Khatchkar Mountains on the Black Sea. Upon reaching the destroyed city of Tambour, Prince Hamam has it rebuilt and named Hamamshen, later to be shortened to Hamshen in Armenian and Hemshin in Turkish. The princes and their men settle in the valley overlooked by Hamamshen, known as the Firtina Valley. Over the next few centuries, the people would spread around the Black Sea, such as Trabzon, Samson, Sakarya, etc. The Hamshen Princedom survived and thrived between the 8th and 14th centuries, the people now known as the Hemshinli who spoke a dialect of Armenian called Hemshintsi (Homshetsna).

The Princes of Hamshen include:

  1. Prince Hamam (c. 700)
  2. Prince Arakel (c. 1400)
  3. Prince Tavit 1 (c. 1425)
  4. Prince Vart (c. 1440)
  5. Prince Veke (c. 1460)
  6. Prince Tavit II (last prince)

The city of Hamshen was destroyed in 1489 by the invading Ottoman armies, sending Prince Tavit into exile. The people were forced to convert to Islam under Ottoman rule. It is said that the Firtina river ran red with the blood of those who had refused to give up their Christianity. The Churches were converted into mosques, surnames were changed to their Turkish counterparts, . Many were deemed heroes as they fought off the Ottoman influence and desperately clung to their own beliefs, refusing the dictations of a foreign army. Der Garabed Hamshentsi from the Toroslu village was one such hero.

The 1800’s saw another threat that forced the people to flee, settling into areas where they were free to speak their own language and remain Christian. Samson, Ordu, Krasnodar and Abkhazya became safe havens and the people were now known as the Northern Hamshenlis. Those who fled to the Artvin province of Turkey were forced to convert to Islam, even though they were able to retain their language. These are known as the Hopa-Hemshinlis (Eastern Hamshenlis). Those who stayed on their lands in the Rize province in Turkey lost both language and religion, though they speak hemshinji, a Turkish dialect with many Armenian words. They are known as the Western Hamshenlis, the Bash Hemshinli.

1895 saw the Trabzon Hamshenlis massacred. In 1915, the last Christian Hamshenlis from Ordu, Samson, and Trabzon were massacred.  Those who managed to survive joined their Northern brothers in Krasnodar and Abkhazya. Bands of survivors also joined in the fedayee movement and took to the mountains. The converted hamshenlis were not spared either and many fled to Batumi in Georgia. In 1944, they were exiled from Batumi and sent to Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

Currently, the Northern, Western and Eastern groups still exist. Upt to 750,000 are estimated to be living on the black sea coast. In the 1980’s a group moved into Armenia and are currently full citizens of the state.

Famous artists include:

  • Kazim Koyuncu
  • Gokhan Birben
  • Altan Civelek
  • Harun Topaloglu

A lovely blog about Hamshen Armenians can be found here: http://sanahine.wordpress.com/hamshen-armenians/

As Armenians, we should not let the memory and the very reality of the Hamshen Armenians be forgotten, but instead offer a hand and embrace them as the family they are. They are as Armenian as we. Their story should not simply gather dust in long forgotten pages of history.

This is in tribute to the hundreds of thousands of Armenians that are hidden or lost through the turbulent history of the descendants of the Hamshen Princedom.

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Hto_Ri0bH0&feature=related]

Armenian Painters: Rubik Kocharian

Rubik Kocharian is a fine artist living and working in California. To date in his prolific career, he has produced over 1,000 original oil paintings and drawings.

Rubik was born in 1940 in Yerevan, Armenia. His family was exiled to Siberia in 1946 during Stalin’s regime. Rubik studied under Ivan Pavlov, a Russian artist in exile. In 1953, his family returned to Yerevan where he entered the Terlemezian Art School, studying under several well known Armenian artists. In 1955, Rubik entered Moscow School of Art and had the opportunity to study Old Masters at the Pushkin Museum. He returned to Yerevan in 1959 where he worked with leading influential artists and received his Masters Degree in Fine Arts from Yerevan State Art Institute in 1968. Rubik participated in many shows in Armenia and throughout the former Soviet Union.Rubik emigrated to the United States in 1974, arriving in this country with no money and no paintings, which he was forced to leave behind in Russia. During the hardship of his early years in America, Rubik managed to establish a studio on Madison Avenue in New York City and filled his studio with newly created paintings. He exhibited in numerous galleries in New York and Washington, DC.

From 1980 to 1982, Rubik created a series of paintings in Greece on a commission by a collector. In 1986, Rubik relocated to Los Angeles where he was represented by Heritage Gallery and other venues.  He has been living in Clovis, California since 1996. Rubik’s paintings are in private collections and have been featured in museums in Russia and America.

You can follow his creations on his official Facebook page!

Bellow a small selection of his wonderful art.

Chariot Race by Rubik Kocharian

Chariot Race by Rubik Kocharian

 

Bowl of Pomegranates by Rubik Kocharian

Bowl of Pomegranates by Rubik Kocharian

 

Akhtamar (Based on Armenian Legend),  2002 by Rubik Kocharian

Akhtamar (Based on Armenian Legend), 2002 by Rubik Kocharian

 

Incense Burner 2005 by Rubik Kocharian

Incense Burner 2005 by Rubik Kocharian

 

Golden Chalice 2005 by Rubik Kocharian

Golden Chalice 2005 by Rubik Kocharian

 

Mithradates VI Greeted at the Shrine of Goddess Anahit 2010 by Rubik Kocharian

Mithradates VI Greeted at the Shrine of Goddess Anahit 2010 by Rubik Kocharian

 

Girl with Shield 2010 by Rubik Kocharian

Girl with Shield 2010 by Rubik Kocharian

 

E-World 2004 by Rubik Kocharian

E-World 2004 by Rubik Kocharian

 

The Apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew in Armenia 2010 by Rubik Kocharian

The Apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew in Armenia 2010 by Rubik Kocharian

 

Pomegranate Dance 2010 by Rubik Kocharian

Pomegranate Dance 2010 by Rubik Kocharian

 

Lady of Urartu 2005 by Rubik Kocharian

Lady of Urartu 2005 by Rubik Kocharian

 

White Elephant 1990 by Rubik Kocharian

White Elephant 1990 by Rubik Kocharian

 

Collectibles 2005 by Rubik Kocharian

Collectibles 2005 by Rubik Kocharian

 

Sacrifice for Shedu 2002 by Rubik Kocharian

Sacrifice for Shedu 2002 by Rubik Kocharian

 

Urartian Sculptor 2008 by Rubik Kocharian

Urartian Sculptor 2008 by Rubik Kocharian

 

Mithradates & Tigranes 2008 by Rubik Kocharian

Mithradates & Tigranes 2008 by Rubik Kocharian

 

The Mithridate Wine 2009 by Rubik Kocharian

The Mithridate Wine 2009 by Rubik Kocharian

 

Tigranakert in its Glory 2003 by Rubik Kocharian

Tigranakert in its Glory 2003 by Rubik Kocharian

 

Welcoming Queen Sheba 2004 by Rubik Kocharian

Welcoming Queen Sheba 2004 by Rubik Kocharian

 

Oedipus in the Temple of Apollo 2002 by Rubik Kocharian

Oedipus in the Temple of Apollo 2002 by Rubik Kocharian

 

Pomegranates & Grapes by Rubik Kocharian

Pomegranates & Grapes by Rubik Kocharian

 

Cherubs with Zvartnots Cathedral Eagle 2012 by Rubik Kocharian

Cherubs with Zvartnots Cathedral Eagle 2012 by Rubik Kocharian

 

Mortar and Pestle 2000 by Rubik Kocharian

Mortar and Pestle 2000 by Rubik Kocharian

 

Cherubs with Goddess Anahit 2012 by Rubik Kocharian

Cherubs with Goddess Anahit 2012 by Rubik Kocharian

 

Cherubs with the Vase 2006 by Rubik Kocharian

Cherubs with the Vase 2006 by Rubik Kocharian

 

Self Portrait 2011 by Rubik Kocharian

Self Portrait 2011 by Rubik Kocharian

 

Evening Ride 2011 by Rubik Kocharian

Evening Ride 2011 by Rubik Kocharian

 

Daisy Tiara 2009 by Rubik Kocharian

Daisy Tiara 2009 by Rubik Kocharian

 

Seven Dates 2008 by Rubik Kocharian

Seven Dates 2008 by Rubik Kocharian

 

Artist's Muse 2003 by Rubik Kocharian

Artist’s Muse 2003 by Rubik Kocharian

 

Finding Venus 2004 by Rubik Kocharian

Finding Venus 2004 by Rubik Kocharian

 

Phaeton's Chariot Struck by Zeus 2011 by Rubik Kocharian

Phaeton’s Chariot Struck by Zeus 2011 by Rubik Kocharian

 

Girl in Blue 2002 by Rubik Kocharian

Girl in Blue 2002 by Rubik Kocharian

 

Peppers and Mugs 2006 by Rubik Kocharian

Peppers and Mugs 2006 by Rubik Kocharian

 

Pomegranates on Tree by Rubik Kocharian

Pomegranates on Tree by Rubik Kocharian

The Armeno-Tat language

Armeno-Tats are a distinct group of Tat-speaking Armenians that historically populated eastern parts of the South Caucasus. Most scholars researching the Tat language, such as Boris Miller and Igrar Aliyev, agree that Armeno-Tats are ethnic Armenians who underwent a language shift and adopted Tat as their first language. This is explained on one hand by the self-identification of Armeno-Tats who stated during Miller’s research that they consider themselves Armenian as well as by some linguistic features of their dialect.

Adam Olearius travelled through the historical region of Shirvan (present-day central Azerbaijan) in 1637 and mentioned the existence of a community of Armenians in the city of Shamakhi, who “had its own language” but also “spoke Turkic, as did all people in Shirvan”. Archaeologist Vladimir Sysoyev, who visited Shamakhi in 1925 and described ruins of a mediaeval Armenian church, held interviews with local residents who dated the first settlement of Armenians in Shamakhi and its vicinities to the late sixteenth or early seventeenth century. Historically mountainous Shirvan was an area of mixed Tat-Azeri settlement with the former slowly assimilating into the latter.

Olearius, Bakikhanov and Miller noted a high rate of assimilation among Shirvan Armenians, with some adopting Muslim faith and diffusing in the majority (which went on well into the eighteenth century) and others shifting to the Tat language, while remaining Christian. By the early twentieth century, there were only two villages where Tat-speaking Christian Armenians continued to live: Madrasa and Kilvar. With regard to the origin of Armeno-Tats, Miller quotes bishop Mesrop Smbatian in stating that at least some groups of them were eighteenth-century migrants from Karabakh. Armenians of Kilvar claimed descent from mediaeval migrants from Edessa (present-day Şanlıurfa, Turkey). Comparing southern Tat dialects and Armeno-Tat, Miller concluded that Armenians of Madrasa may have been early migrants from the Absheron Peninsula where the presence of a Christian community was historically attested. Interestingly, some Armeno-Tats who had earlier switched to Tat as their first language, such as residents of Garajally, went on to switch to Azeri by the end of the eighteenth century.

In 1796, after a Russian incursion into the South Caucasus, most residents of Kilvar and Talabi and some residents of Garajally, about 50 families altogether, chose to leave with the troops and founded the village of Edissia (after the city of Edessa where they believed their ancestors had come from) in the present-day Stavropol Krai of Russia. In 1926, they still retained good knowledge of Tat and were referred to by the local population asmalakhantsy (from the Tat mal xan, i.e. “of the khan”, meaning they were subjects of the Quba Khanate). According to other sources, Armenians of Edissia, along with those living in the suburbs of Kizlyar, spoke a Turkic idiom they referred to as bizimja (“our talk”) which they adopted while still in Shirvan.

The remaining Armeno-Tats lived in Madrasa and Kilvar until the Nagorno-Karabakh War, when they were forced to leave for Armenia. Initially Armenians of Madrasa had planned to undergo a population exchange with the residents of the Azeri-populated village of Shidli in Armenia, but the Spitak earthquake in Armenia which destroyed the village made the plan unrealisable. In 1989, they collectively moved to the Aragatsotn Province of Armenia where they founded the village of Dprevank. There are 6,000 Armenians living in Edissia.

Armeno-Tats of Madrasa and Kilvar referred to their language as p’arseren (“Persian”), while Armeno-Tat migrants to the North Caucasus and Astrakhan called it keghetseren (“village talk”) and used it within their own community as an in-group language. Armenian researcher Armen Hakobian identifies the eighteenth century as the time when Tat was first mentioned as a mothertongue for some groups of Shirvan Armenians. Boris Miller likened their dialect to central varieties of Muslim Tat, which Armeno-Tat was mutually intelligible with, rather than to Judæo-Tat. Residents of the Absheron villages of Balakhany and Surakhany – considered speakers of southern Muslim Tat – also reported ease at understanding Armeno-Tat.

With the exception of Kohna Khachmaz and the extinct Armenian community of Garajally, where the Armenian population was Azeri-speaking, Armeno-Tats spoke and used Tat to communicate with residents of other Armeno-Tat villages. Armeno-Tats of Kilvar were often bilingual in Tat and Azeri and historically used the latter to communicate with Armenian-speaking Armenians as late as in 1912. The introduction of public education in the early twentieth century led to Armeno-Tats acquiring Armenian, which however they used only in communication with outsider Armenians or as a written language. This process intensified in the Soviet times, leading to Armeno-Tats’ almost complete shift from Tat to Armenian by the late 1980s.

The Christian dialect of Tat displays typical Tat rhotacism (mutation of Persian /d/ into /r/), but differs from other Tat dialects in lacking pharyngeal consonants /ʕ/ and /ħ/.

Today the Armeno-Tat dialect is considered nearly extinct, with most Armeno-Tats having switched to Armenian and Russian. In 2002, only 36 Armenians in Russia spoke Tat either as a first or second language. There is an unknown number of speakers in Armenia, all of whom, however, are over 50.