Mar 24, 2017

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Prominent Armenian Test Pilot Stepan Mikoyan Dies at 94

Stepan Mikoyan dies at 95

Stepan Mikoyan dies at 95

MOSCOW, Russia (TASS)—Test pilot, Hero of the Soviet Union Stepan Mikoyan has died at the age of 94, the MiG Aircraft Corporation press office reported on Friday.

“On March 24, 2016, Hero of the Soviet Union, merited test pilot of the USSR Aviation Lieutenant-General Stepan Anastasovich Mikoyan passed away at the age of 94,” the press office said in a statement.

Stepan Mikoyan was born on July 12, 1922 in Tbilisi (Georgia) into the family of Soviet state figure and future Socialist Labor Hero Anastas Mikoyan. Stepan’s father was a brother of renowned Soviet aircraft designer Artyom Mikoyan. Anastas Mikoyan headed the USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium in 1964-1965.

Mikoyan

Mikoyan

Mikoyan graduated in 1941 from the Kachinsk military aviation school and in December that year he went to the front. During the Soviet Union’s Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany in 1941-1945 he fought as a fighter plane pilot.

He fought in the 32nd Guards Aviation Regiment near Stalingrad and on the North-Western Front and then in the 12th Guards Air Regiment of the Moscow Air Defense Force. During World War Two, he learnt to operate Yak-1, Yak-7 and Yak-9 fighter planes and was credited with six combat victories as part of an air group.

In 1951, he graduated from the Zhukovsky Air Force Engineering Academy and started work as a test pilot in the Air Force Research Institute. He tested MiG combat planes for 23 years. In 1975, he was awarded the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union for the state trials of the MiG-25 plane.

Mikoyan performed flights until 1978. Overall, he learned to operate 102 types of aircraft, including MiG-23, MiG-25 and MiG-27 planes. He logged a total of 3,500 flight hours.


Untimely Death Of An Activist

Hundreds attend the funeral of Artur Sargsyan known as the "Bread Taker"

Hundreds attend the funeral of Artur Sargsyan known as the “Bread Taker”

BY HRANT APOVIAN

“When there remains no way out or solution
It is the fools who will find the means
This is the way that rose and shone like the sun
the great battle of Sartarabad.”

Baruyr Sevag

It is very sad. It is disturbing. It shakes the very essence of our collective souls as Armenians. Every life is precious. Every Armenian life is precious and we should safeguard against tragedies. It is enough that we lose young soldiers on the front lines in defense of the homeland. We cannot shed blood at our own hands.

The death of Arthur Sargsyan, “the bread provider,” did not shake the very hearts of the citizens of Armenia, or, for that matter, of those in the Diaspora. Some have said, “It was the death of a criminal conspirator,” others have thought that “he had no business helping the group that took over the police station–the group that took the life of three policemen, whose lives were as precious as Arthur’s life.” The group’s action itself was devoid of any ideological sense of purpose even though it engendered wide popular support feeding on rampant popular frustration with the system.

What is devastating is that the atmosphere of lawlessness, the complete disregard for human life; and especially, the unflinching stance of the authorities in respect to his three week hunger strike, is reminiscent of the British iron lady, Margaret Thatcher’s stance in respect to Irish hunger strikers, who ended up dead as a result. There should be an investigation to elicit weather anyone is responsible for Arthur’s demise. There are credible reports that doctors tried to convince him to no avail, that he needed immediate surgery.

What is even more devastating is that Arthur was a sickly man, an activist dreamer by all accounts and had been a freedom fighter in the great war of liberation of Artsakh.

We do not profess to know about his guilt or innocence. Initially, he may have been accused of aiding and abetting the group that had overtaken the police station. He was subsequently released for health reasons after three months of detention. He may also have had no direct association with the group which would point to his innocence. He might just be an activist trying to help, by bringing food to the occupiers.

It is clear however that his second arrest is a direct result of his ill-conceived calls – after his release – for the citizenry not to go to the polls on April 2nd. The authorities claim that he was detained again for missing his appointment with his parole officer.

***

It is also clear that the so called opposition is using his tragic fate for its own political ambitions, as a convenient tool against the authorities. That is a new low in a campaign atmosphere fraught with threats, intimidation, and assaults on opposing campaigners. We are witnessing a campaign devoid of any serious discussions about alleviating the rampant inequality, the poverty, the lack of justice and corruption.

One would expect all parties vying for seats in the parliament to have a dialogue that is civil, that provides serious remedies to deep rooted ills in the society. Respect for the rule of law, respect for each other, and above all respect for human life are missing in the political landscape. Some coalitions are so convoluted that one can seriously doubt their long term chances of survival as a coalition. It is difficult to be inspired by coalitions based on personalities rather than by campaign platforms mirroring a long standing and proven ideology that has endured the test of time. However, this is an entirely different anomaly that needs to be analyzed. This article is just about a tragedy.

***

Somehow, condolences for Arthur’s death do not sound genuine, they ring hollow. One cannot sense the pain, the shock. Unfortunately, his death will not bring an end to injustice. It will not change this mad rush to occupy seats in the parliament by various parties or coalitions. He will not leave a legacy. His death will only add to the general sense of unease, frustration and hopelessness. The brutality will persist until another “fool” will come along.

For Arthur Sargsyan, he had his moment of fame in life. A lost soul like so many others. His death was in vain. One of many other deaths long forgotten, never elicited. A hero to some, a criminal to others, a “fool” who was looking for a way out. He tried to accomplish his dream and did so at his own expense. For his death to have an impact, for his memory to remain alive and become meaningful, hopefully drastic change will come sooner than later. God bless his soul.


20th Anniversary of Arpa International Film Festival Preparations Underway

Arpa International Film Festival logo

Arpa International Film Festival logo

LOS ANGELES—Arpa International Film Festival is one of the oldest independent film festivals in Los Angeles. On November 3-5, 2017 the festival will celebrate its 20th anniversary at the historic Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, followed by a special Awards Banquet at the Glendale Hilton on November 5.

This year, screenings for our 20th year will bring a diverse tapestry in global cinema, with a stimulating selection of films that cultivate cultural understanding and global empathy. Call for films have been announced and details can be found by checking www.arpafilmfestival.com

We are very proud that our festival has solidified into the leading outlet in Hollywood for international cinema, exploring issues like diaspora, war, genocide, dual identity, exile and multiculturalism, while inspiring our local and global community to connect and advance progressive cinematic art.

One of the reasons of Affma’s 20 year success is our connection to the community as a whole. It is within this wholeness that we are able to form new relationships all around the globe and deliver numerous film openings, inspire many avenues for new projects so that our many gifted individuals achieve their highest goals imaginable.

Our prestigious Armin T. Wegner Humanitarian Award is extended to a special filmmaker for their creativity that fulfills our mission. Our International jury from the professional film community acts as a supportive body to encourage filmmakers to re-examine, explore and concentrate on their own creative development.

Arpa International Film Festival committee members

Arpa International Film Festival committee members

We are also very proud to search for, bring and screen films that are so important to our community. In previous years we have screened hundreds of films that have touched us, and more recently films such as Women of 1915, Crows of the Desert, Hot Country-Cold Winter, Lost Birds, When My Sorrow Died | The Legend of Armen Ra and the Theremin, Sumbat: The Life and Art, and our special screening at our 19th Annual opening night “Behind the Scenes of The Promise” with a Q & A with Dr. Esrailian and producer Mike Medavoy, and many more have created a great insight to the unbelievable imagination and talent of filmmakers leaving many of us in awe of their creativity.

Arpa International Film Festival committee members spend countless hours working selflessly to make one of the most important forms of art–film, reach our community, through these amazingly talented individuals from around to world, to inform, enrich and bring awareness to our community via their art. Yet, in order to continue growing our festival and its positive impact on the multinational film community, and to promote our own filmmakers in their creativity, we need the support of our community. Let us join in to bring this branch of the art to amazing levels. It will only happen with togetherness, support, and hard work which we are ready to undertake.

Let us remember what William Saroyan has said:

“Film is the best medium by which to acquaint non-Armenians with the Armenian people and culture. This is the only tested and proven means which other people use to familiarize the world about themselves. Why shouldn’t we do the same?”

Arpa Foundation for Film, Music and Art (AFFMA) a non- profit organization, encourages our community to support the upcoming film The Promise especially on the very first day of its screening in theaters on April 21, 2017.


Memorial Service: Dr. Edward Vartany

Edward Vartany

Edward Vartany

A memorial service on the occasion of the 40th day of the passing of Dr. Edward Vartany will be held on Saturday, April 1, 2017, at 11 a.m., at St. Leon Armenian Cathedral, 3325 N. Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank, CA 91504.

He is survived by his,
Wife, Anik Vartany
Daughter, Melineh and Mark Momjian and children, David and Gregory (Pennsylvania)
Son, Dr. Armen and Alina Vartany and children, Stephanie and Eric
And relatives and friends

Following the service, a memorial luncheon will be held at the Armenian Society of Los Angeles, 117 S. Louise St., Glendale, CA 91205

Donations in memory of Dr. Edward Vartany may be made to the Armenian Eye Care Project, eyecareproject.com.


ANCA-WR Urges Support for Zimmer in May 16 LA Elections

LAUSD President and ANCA-WR Endorsed Candidate for LAUSD D4 Steve Zimmer Discusses Importance of Armenian Genocide Education in Public Schools at ANCA-WR Armenian Genocide Education Awards Luncheon

LAUSD President and ANCA-WR Endorsed Candidate for LAUSD Steve Zimmer Discusses Importance of Armenian Genocide Education in Public Schools at ANCA-WR Armenian Genocide Education Awards Luncheon

LOS ANGELES—On Tuesday, March 7 voters took to the polls and placed ANCA-WR endorsed candidate and current LAUSD Board President Steve Zimmer in first place in his re-election bid for the school board’s district 4 seat.

“More than ever before the impact of the Armenian vote may tip the balance of the Board of Education. I have been proud to stand with the community for many years on the most important issues. We share values and we share a commitment to strong public schools. The endorsement of the ANCA Western Region means the world to me and solidifies our long standing relationship. All of this is on the line in the May 16 general election and I ask the community to vote on behalf of our students, their families and our schools,” stated Zimmer.

Zimmer’s landslide victory came despite vicious distortions against him and over 2 million dollars poured in by the California Charter School Association and other independent expenditures, resulting in the most expensive school race in the history of this country. Earning 28,186 votes at 47.5% against Nick Melvoin who came in second with 18,532 votes, Alisson Holdorff Polhill 8,581 votes, and Gregory Martayan 4,056 votes, Zimmer will face a run off in the LA General Elections set for May 16, 2017.

“The May 16 Elections will be a critical turning point for our cause. When all is said and done, those who show up at the polls on Election Day will decide the fate of our city, our schools, the future of our students and how the Armenian Cause progresses within the nation’s second largest school district. The ANCA-WR calls on every eligible community member to get active in the campaigns, to mobilize, to register to vote, to educate their family and friends about President Zimmer and add their crucial vote to our collective voice at the ballot box,” stated ANCA-WR Executive Director Elen Asatryan.

President Zimmer at the 2016 Rally for Justice Commemorating the 101 Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide with ANCA-WR Executive Director Elen Asatryan, ANCA-WR Advisory Board Member Karo Khanjian and Glendale City Clerk Ardashes Ardy Kassakhian

President Zimmer at the 2016 Rally for Justice Commemorating the 101 Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide with ANCA-WR Executive Director Elen Asatryan, ANCA-WR Advisory Board Member Karo Khanjian and Glendale City Clerk Ardashes Ardy Kassakhian

“President Zimmer has demonstrated time and again his commitment to our community, to the advancement of the Armenian Cause and a deep care and concern about the students and the schools in LAUSD. We have a large Armenian-American community in Los Angeles, and It is the absolute obligation of every community member to do his or her part in ensuring the re-election of Zimmer to the LAUSD School Board and in electing the second Armenian-American representative, Karo Torossian to the Los Angeles City Council,” added Asatryan.

The ANCA-WR along with its local chapters of ANCA Hollywood and San Fernando Valley West announced a very early endorsement of Zimmer for the primary elections. Leading up to Election Day, the organization and its activists took to the phones, streets and social media to educate and inform voters about Zimmer and help get out the vote.

Zimmer’s close relationship with and understanding of the needs of the Armenian community dates back to his teaching days at Marshall High School, which has always enjoyed a large Armenian student population. Since taking office, Zimmer has worked closely with the regional ANCA and its local chapters in Hollywood and San Fernando Valley West in addressing many needs of the Armenian American community, including promoting the hiring of Armenian teachers and administrators in LAUSD, ensuring a full audit of the Magnolia Charter schools tied with the Turkic Gulen movement, which resulted in revoking the charter agreement from two Magnolia schools.

As President of LAUSD, he initiated and saw through the unanimous passage of a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and committing to teach district wide on the subject matter. As a follow up to the resolution, Zimmer also personally communicated with all principals in the district requesting that all schools engage in the training and teaching of the Armenian Genocide.

As the community and the world marked the Armenian Genocide Centennial, Zimmer motioned for all Armenian instructors to have the day off and for the Armenian Genocide to be observed as a religious holiday, so not to affect their sick leave. He had the same exception made for all Armenian students, allowing them to participate in the historic March for Justice in Los Angeles. In the same year, Zimmer also co-hosted the launch of the ANCA-WR America We Thank You documentary – encouraging all social science chairs and school board members to attend the event and panel discussion, which highlighted the unprecedented response by the US, through the 1st congressional sanctioned humanitarian organization, the Near East Relief that helped save the Armenian nation from annihilation during and in the aftermath of the Armenian Genocide.

Currently, the ANCA-WR, Gen Ed and UTLA are working closely with Zimmer who will be hosting a professional development seminar to train the social science teachers on the Armenian Genocide.

The Los Angeles General Elections will take place on Tuesday, May 16, 2017. In order to vote, you must be registered. To register to vote online visit www.lavote.net or call 818.500.1918.

The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.


Artsakh, Armenia Foreign Ministries Hold Consultations

Armenia's Deputy Foreign Minister Ashot Hovakimyan (left) meeting with Artsakh Deputy Foreign Ministers Armine Aleksanyan and Felix Khachatrian (Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Artsakh)

Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ashot Hovakimyan (left) meeting with Artsakh Deputy Foreign Ministers Armine Aleksanyan and Felix Khachatrian (Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Artsakh)

STEPANAKERT, Artsakh—Regular consultations between Artsakh and Armenian Foreign Ministries took place on March 24 in Stepanakert. Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) Republic Deputy Foreign Ministers Armine Aleksanyan and Felix Khachatrian, as well as staff-members of the relevant departments of the Foreign Ministry took part in the consultations, while Deputy Foreign Minister Ashot Hovakimyan represented the Armenian Foreign Ministry.

During the consultations, the sides discussed a wide range of issues related to the expansion and development of the existing cooperation between the Foreign Ministries of the two countries.

Issues related to conducting a coordinated policy within the frameworks of the international organizations and further expansion of the cooperation in this direction were a subject of special discussion.

The sides also spoke of the peaceful settlement process of the Artsakh-Azerbaijani conflict, exchanged views on different regional and international issues.

Artsakh Foreign Minister receives Hovakimian in Stepanakert on March 24, 2017 (Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Artsakh)

Artsakh Foreign Minister receives Hovakimian in Stepanakert on March 24, 2017 (Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Artsakh)

In the frameworks of the consultations, Hovakimyan was also received by the Artsakh Minister of Foreign Affairs Karen Mirzoyan. The Foreign Minister noted with satisfaction the high level of the current cooperation between the Foreign Ministries of the two countries and expressed confidence that it should be developed and deepened through joint efforts.


End of Transition: Armenia 25 Years On, Now What?

USC conference to take place on April 9 and 10 to ask “Now What?” after 25 years of Armenia's independence

USC conference to take place on April 9 and 10 asking “Now What?” after 25 years of Armenia’s independence

LOS ANGELES—Twenty-five years after the Soviet collapse, citizens of Armenia, as well as observers and scholars are asking “Now What?” In an effort to better understand the past quarter century and to look for ways forward, the USC Institute of Armenian Studies is presenting a two-city conference entitled “The End of Transition: Shifting Focus a Quarter Century After the Soviet Collapse.”

To be held at USC, on Sunday, April 9 and Monday, April 10, the conference brings together notable names in media, government, academia and the arts to explore regionalisms of Armenia, demographic changes, transitions in social and economic policy, the development of formal and informal political and social institutions, bottom-up social change and civil society formation. Speakers will look at the transition from the Soviet sphere to other foreign and regional alliances, and the evolution of Armenia’s bilateral relations with its immediate neighbors and other major powers. The conference will continue in Yerevan, Armenia on May 23-24.

“Armenia, like all Soviet successor states, has undergone its own unique transition process. The transition concept presupposed a fairly linear trajectory from authoritarianism to democratization, from the Soviet world to the European world, from a controlled economy to a free market. This was everyone’s assumption. Where else could a new country possibly go, we thought? Yet, we’ve all seen that Armenia’s path towards democracy and a market economy has been non-direct, non-linear, inconsistent, at best. This conference will unpack those assumptions and demonstrate what really happened,” explained Salpi Ghazarian, director of the USC Institute of Armenian Studies.

On the afternoon of Sunday, April 9, Professor Robert English of the USC School of International Relations will open the program with a conversation with Ambassador Jack Matlock, the last US envoy to the USSR. They will be followed by Amberin Zaman, a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington DC. Until recently, she was the Turkey correspondent for the Economist. Ms. Zaman will describe the evolution of the Turkey-Russia-West triangle over this quarter century. Hans Gutbrod, a Georgia-based Caucasus analyst with a Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics, will address civil society and attitudinal evolution since the Soviet collapse in the three Caucasus republics. Dr. Gutbrod currently runs Transparify, an initiative to increase the transparency of policy research and advocacy. Another major figure in the study of countries in transition is Professor Daron Açemoglu of MIT, whose book Why Nations Fail analyzes the role of institutional development in democratization and economic success. Finally, Khachig Tölölyan will talk about the Diaspora-Armenia relationship – how it evolved over these years and how the perceptions of that relationship changed the relationship itself. The Sunday afternoon program will last from 2:00 to 5:00 pm, with livestreaming beginning at 2:30 pm.

On Monday, from 9am to 6pm, 18 scholars will present their research on the transition period. They will be divided among three panels – global and regional processes; governance and economic transitions; and civil society and social change. Specific topics include how memory impacts relations with Turkey; the Karabakh conflict, how it evolved during and after open warfare, and how war changes demographics; the diminishing importance of Armenia to US foreign policy; power, institutions and values; the demographics of transition; factors of democratic transition; transformation of informal economic institutions; good governance; comparative trust in the three republics of the Caucasus; migration patterns; the transition from egalitarian poverty to unequal wealth; and artistic transitions.

Speakers include Gregory Aftandilian of Northeastern University; Serouj Aprahamian of York University; Dr. Karena Avedissian, Fellow of the USC Institute of Armenian Studies; Dr. Laurence Broers of Chatham House; Dr. Khatchik Der Ghougassian from Argentina; Phil Gamaghelyan of George Mason University; Dr. Arman Grigoryan of LeHigh University; Garik Hayrapetyan of the United Nations Yerevan office; Eric Nazarian, filmmaker; Dr. Anna Ohanyan of Stonehill College; Emil Sanamyan, editor of the USC Institute of Armenian Studies FOCUS ON KARABAKH; Social anthropologist Nona Shahnazaryan; and Karine Torosyan, of the International School of Economics in Georgia.

The event is free and open to the public. Reservations are not required. Lunch will be served midday and refreshments will be available throughout both days.

About the Institute

The Institute of Armenian Studies promotes research, scholarship and programming that address national and global challenges and seek to contribute to policy that impacts the development of Armenian communities and the Armenian Republic.


Armenian-American Drummer Sib Hashian Passes Away

Hashian was of Armenian and Italian ancestry and lived in Lynnfield, Mass. Born on August 17, 1949, he was best known as a drummer for the rock band Boston.

Hashian was of Armenian and Italian ancestry and lived in Lynnfield, Mass. Born on August 17, 1949, he was best known as a drummer for the rock band Boston.

LYNNFIELD, Mass. (Armenian Weekly)—Sib Hashian−the Armenian-American former drummer of the band Boston−died after collapsing onstage on the night of March 22, aboard the Legends of Rock Cruise in the Western Caribbean.

Emergency CPR was performed and a defibrillator was used to no avail after Hashian suddenly collapsed mid-set, according to celebrity news website TMZ. He was 67.

Hashian was of Armenian and Italian ancestry and lived in Lynnfield, Massachusetts. Born on August 17, 1949, he was best known as a drummer for the rock band Boston.

Sib is survived by his wife Suzanne, his son Adam, daughters Aja and Lauren Hashian, and several grandchildren.


Georgia Hasn’t Confirmed Alleged Weapons Transfer to Armenia

Samvel Babayan, former Defense Minister of Artsakh (Source: ArmInfo)

Samvel Babayan, former Defense Minister of Artsakh (Source: ArmInfo)

TBILISI, Georgia (ArmInfo)—The Georgian Interior Ministry has not yet confirmed the Armenian National Security Service’s information about the attempt of illegal transportation of Igla systems to Armenia in transit via the Georgian territory.

Samvel Babayan Former Defense Minister of the Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) Republic and two more citizens were detained on suspicion of smuggling Igla systems. Babayan’s lawyer said that during the interrogation, Babayan fully denied his complicity in smuggling the Igla systems. The Ohanyan-Raffi-Oskanian bloc, whose coordinator is Babayan, considers his arrest as political persecution.

Georgian Interior Minister Giorgi Mghebrishvili said that this information is currently being analyzed. “We are investigating the details and then we will inform the public of it,” he said, adding that the Armenian and Georgian law enforcement keep in contact.

The ruling Republican Party of Armenia says that Samvel Babayan’s arrest should not be politicized.


Armenian Community of China Organizes Online Chess Championship

Armenian Community of China organizes online chess championship from March 12-24

Armenian Community of China organizes online chess championship from March 12-24

BEIJING, China—The Armenian Community of China organized from March 12-24, its first Online Chess Championship. Armenians from different Chinese cities, such as Nanjing, Hong Kong, Xian, Dalian, Beijing and Shanghai, participated in this event.

During the intense and spectacular championship, Albert Voskanyan (Hong Kong) won first place, second was Ruben Galstyan (Dalian) and third was Rosa Babayan (Beijing).

“Using modern technologies, it was possible to organize the first ever Online Chess Championship of the Armenian Community of China,” said President of the Armenian Community of China Mher Sahakyan. “Thus, many Armenians who are living thousands of kilometers away from each other were united with this intellectual game. We Armenians have a special attitude towards chess, and this can be used as a unifying factor as well.”


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