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Where was the outpouring of empathy when my country was at war?

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#1 Yervant1

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Posted 25 February 2022 - 09:55 AM

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  Feb 24 2022
 
 
Where was the outpouring of empathy when my country was at war?

As an Armenian, I feel our pain was ignored. And my trauma means I’m struggling to empathise as I should with Ukraine today

 
 
War is a strange thing – it makes you both empathetic and cold-hearted.
 

As an Armenian, I experienced two huge wars – the first Nagorno-Karabakh War (1988-1994) and the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war. Now in my 30s, I still live in a country where people are praying every night not to receive word about a new war and casualties in the morning.

Unfortunately, this morning, we received exactly that. This time, the war is not in Armenia, but in Ukraine.

Ukraine is not far from my country, but this doesn’t change my reaction to it. Ukraine could be in Antarctica and I would still feel the same sharp emotion – like my heart is being squeezed and I want to scream ‘stop’.

From empathy into heartlessness

As soon as I got the news, I put myself in the shoes of every Ukrainian. I really felt for them. I imagined young people in love, with big plans for the future or for their wedding day, who will not live to see them happen. It is heartbreaking.

But empathy was just the first reaction I had this morning. It was followed by something different: a pang of what I would describe as heartlessness. I suppose this is a product of trauma.

I remembered being in almost exactly the same situation in Armenia, but with a slight difference. The world was not supporting us. It was just watching our pain in silence.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m genuinely happy to see how the international community is supporting Ukraine, how people in different countries are protesting in the streets, how millions are adding the Ukrainian flag to their profiles on social media. But this unity and empathy feels so different from what I experienced in 2020.

Thousands of young people aged 18 to 20 died in Armenia and Azerbaijan barely two years ago. And I don’t recall much international solidarity happening then.

Please, spare me explanations about the differences between wars. War is war. It’s a tragedy. It means being able to smell death. It’s mourning a parent and a partner. It’s an evil that takes away your sleep and your laughter. It’s an invisible pain in your heart. Let’s not talk about geopolitics here.

What really shocks me is the hypocrisy. How can this be the same world, the same society, the same media? Where were they when people in another part of the world were fighting for 44 days during the pandemic?

I don’t care about politics, land, negotiations, economics – I just want to live in a peaceful country where parents don't have to fear that they will not see their children again

I remember feeling so helpless at the time and trying to throw myself into work. I’m not sure it helped much but at least it alleviated my anger towards the world.

My international friends were silent, too. They didn’t change their profile pictures. Most didn’t text me messages of love and solidarity. There were just two friends (one from Africa and one from Europe) who did so, and I’ll be forever grateful to them. Believe me – when you are in pain, every word of support matters to you. It’s a silver lining. These messages remind you that you are not alone, and can even make you smile.

I want to live in a peaceful country

The 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict turned my life upside down. I am not the same anymore.

I might be silent about it, appear happy and back to normal, but every night I think about the more than 4,000 Armenian families who lost their sons in the 2020 war and the 200 families whose sons are still missing in action. I think about Azerbaijani families, too, who also have losses. I’m sure all human beings mourn and love exactly the same way.

For me, it’s all about humanity. I don’t care about politics, land, negotiations, economics – I just want to live in a peaceful country where parents don't have to live in fear that they will not see their children again.

There are times I wish I had not been born in this region, where life is so unstable and fragile, where you don’t have certainty in tomorrow.

I live in constant fear of change – either from ongoing war, an earthquake or political tensions. It’s hard to keep up with it all when you are an ordinary person who doesn’t want to be involved in politics and just wants to live a normal life.

The main lesson I learned from the war is not to expect any help or solidarity from outside. You are alone and you need to live with your permanent wounds as there will always be scars. I guess my scars are too fresh and deep – that’s why there isn’t more room to feel others’ pain.

https://www.opendemo...re-was-empathy/

 
 
 
 

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#2 onjig

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Posted 28 February 2022 - 05:50 PM

It seems as tho we are invisible,,,


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#3 onjig

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Posted 28 February 2022 - 06:56 PM

Tatev.2e16d0ba.fill-200x200.jpgTatev Hovhannisyan

Tatev Hovhannisyan is Europe and Eurasia Editor on openDemocracy’s Tracking the Backlash project. For ten years she has worked in Armenian leading media outlets, six of them as an editor. She is passionate about producing ambitious journalistic pieces and putting women’s rights on the front page. Follow her on Twitter: @tahovhannisyan


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#4 Yervant1

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Posted 07 March 2022 - 09:25 AM

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March 6 2022
 
 
Ukraine Amid Russian Aggression: A View from Armenia
 

Published

 3 hours ago 

on

 March 6, 2022
ukraine-war.jpg
Image source: ndtv.com

Armenia was the sole member of the Council of Europe, which aligned with Russia in voting against the expulsion of Russia from the organization because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Moreover, Armenia, along with 35 other countries, chose to abstain in voting during an emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly on the March 2nd resolution, which denounced Russia’s military invasion into Ukraine.

Armenia’s perplexing support of Russia is unsurprising for the following reasons.

Pro-Russian narratives have been a salient feature of Armenian political discourse during the upheaval in Ukraine. This pattern was particularly demonstrated when the Armenian political leadership hailed the annexation of Crimea as a model exercise of the right to self-determination. Strikinglyformer President Sargsyan went so far as to regard the referendum in Crimea as an exercise of the peoples’ right to self-determination through free _expression_ of will.

The turmoil in Ukraine further reinforced the Armenian political leadership’s fears about the repercussions of defying Russia. Former President Sargsyan even raised the situation in Ukraine as a justification for Armenia’s decision to join the Russian-dominated Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). By confirming its allegiance to Russia, the Armenian leadership hoped to avoid angering the Kremlin, and prompting it to take punitive measures against its possible “disobedience.” A closer look at Armenian discourse displays a tendency to treat Ukraine’s “outright defiance” of Russia’s strategic interests as the principal rationale behind the devastating crisis. It is unsurprising that the Armenian leadership has condemned the European Union’s “recklessness” and “interference” in the sphere of Russia’s privileged interests. Sargsyan would even attribute hindrances of the EU-backed Eastern Partnership to its anti-Russian nature. By joining the EAEU, Armenia has clarified that it does not support the EU’s destabilization policy, and wants to refrain from exacerbating the situation.

Despite his promises of revising Armenian-Russian inherently asymmetric relations, Sargsyan’s successor, Nikol Pashinyan, was quick to pledge Armenia’s unconcealed allegiance to Russia. Pashinyan repeatedly declared that Armenia is not going anywhere, while the Armenian-Russian “strategic friendship” would continue to deepen and develop.

At his initial meeting with Pashinyan, Putin stressed the necessity of continued cooperation in the international arena, focusing particularly on the UN, where the two nations “have always supported each other.” It is not a surprise that post-revolution Armenia voted against another UN resolution on the de-occupation of Crimea in December 2018. The resolution expressed grave concerns over the accumulation of Russian military forces in Crimea and called on Russia to end its “temporary occupation” of the Ukrainian region.

In addition to the reasons discussed as to why Armenia sides with the Kremlin, is the country’s mounting dependence on Russia in the aftermath of the 2020 Nagorno Karabakh war.

There has been an ingrained belief among Armenian leadership that Armenia only benefits from Russia’s greater involvement in its “near abroad”. All this comes down to Armenia’s inferiority complex and self-perception as a weak and small state, bound by neighboring Turkish-Azerbaijani hostilities. It is in this context that Russia is broadly perceived as a pivotal security ally in Armenian political thinking and in the public consciousness. 

In the aftermath of the devastation of the 2020 war, Pashinyan stated that it is vital to deepen relations with Russia to ensure Armenia’s security. Moreover, he presented the issue of deploying Russian border guards along its entire border with Azerbaijan.

The Armenian authorities, media, and the intellectual community consistently feed the public with the ensuing narrative; that Russia saved Armenia by deploying peacekeepers across the conflict zone. Thus, the portrayal follows that all Armenians should be grateful to Russia and revere the Armenian-Russian alliance at all costs.

Notably, certain political figures and activists even go as far as fiercely condemning any anti-Russian sentiment, avowing that Russia is the only country that ended the war, while the European Union and the United States, allowed the bloodshed to continue by their inaction. The former Chief of the National Security Service Arthur Vanetsyan stated that there can be no better ally for Armenia than Russia. Several opposition leaders, such as former President Kocharyan and Artur Ghazinyan, a key member of the Armenia Alliance party, contended that considering the war’s ruinous effects on Armenia, it would be a reasonable decision and in the best interests of Armenia’s future, to become a part of Russia and form a united/common state with the Russian Federation.

Overall, there is a broad consensus among the representatives of the Armenian political elite that the acute threats posed to Armenia by Azerbaijan and Turkey warrant its heavy reliance on Russia. Thus, despite some resentment that Russian policy may generate, Armenia must refrain from “provoking” Russia. Otherwise, the latter will cause Armenia to be ‘hit where it hurts’ by arming Azerbaijan, increasing gas prices, or even mistreating the Armenian community in Russia.

The most conspicuous exception challenging these narratives is the National Democratic Pole, which blamed the devastating state of Armenia on Russia. The party achieved less than two per cent of the vote in the snap parliamentary elections of June 2021.

Furthermore, an immense source of fear for the Armenian economy is the crippling effect of western sanctions against Russia. As a result of heavy economic dependence on Russia – its economic downturn significantly aggravates Armenia’s economic crisis. Notably, Russia is the main external trade partner of Armenia. Not only is Russia the destination for over 27 per cent of Armenian exports, but Russian multinational corporations such as Gazprom Armenia, VTB Armenia and MTS Armenia are some of the principal taxpayers in Armenia. Moreover, in October 2021 Russia pledged to invest $1 billion into Armenia’s economy. Besides, Russia is home to more than 2.5 million Armenian migrants, and as of 2019, 45% of money transfers distributed to Armenia came from Russia.

Meanwhile, the depreciation of the Russian ruble means that the remittances sent from Russia will decrease in value. The ruble’s devaluation will inevitably lead to price increases in Armenian exports to Russia, thus affecting trade volumes. The Central Bank of Armenia confirmed that the depreciation of the ruble will have dreadful consequences on Armenian exports to Russia and payments from Armenian migrant workers. 

It is for these reasons that Western sanctions imposed on Russia send ripples of apprehension into Armenia. Armenia currently remains amongst the minority in the international community that do not outwardly condemn the Kremlin’s coercive policies. The Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia Mher Grigoryan even noted that “Russia not only plays a vital role in maintaining peace and stability in our region but also occupies a key place in our country’s economy. Russia is Armenia’s main trade partner.”

Generally, Pashinyan, consistent with his predecessor’s actions, continues to support even the most controversial Russian foreign policy actions, particularly by sending its troops to help squelch anti-government protests in Kazakhstan. The Armenian leadership has placed itself in the situation where it has little to no agency to oppose the Kremlin’s foreign policy agenda. Therefore, it is foreseeable that Armenia has not officially reacted to Russian aggression in Ukraine, while expressing hopes that Armenia’s “friendly countries” will resolve their conflict through “diplomatic dialogue.” As a result, Armenia is the only South Caucasus country that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has not tweeted about since the outbreak of the Russian invasion. 

https://moderndiplom...w-from-armenia/



#5 Yervant1

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Posted 09 March 2022 - 09:02 AM

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March 8 2022
 
 
Silent and uneasy: Armenia’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine
For many, this silence is justified 
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Written byOC Media
Posted 8 March 2022 7:11 GMT
 
 

This article was first published on OC Media. An edited version is republished here under a content partnership agreement.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the world seems to be more united against Russian imperialism than ever. However, in Armenia, people have found themselves lost between deep-seated feelings of trauma and apathy, with analysts suggesting that the country suffers from a case of Stockholm syndrome, in which a captive develops positive feelings for the captor.

The recent war over Nagorno-Karabakh between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Russia’s presence and influence in Armenia, as well as Ukraine’s support of Azerbaijan during the war, have kept Armenians mostly silent on the events that unfolded following Moscow’s recognition of the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk.

For many, this silence is justified.

During the first week of the war in Ukraine, two small demonstrations were held in Armenia's capital, Yerevan, in support of Ukraine. The first, which took place in front of the Russian embassy on the day of the invasion, was organized by the European Party of Armenia, a minor party with no parliamentary members. The second, held on February 27 next to the memorial of Ukrainian poet and political figure Taras Shevchenko, was organized by the Ukrainian Embassy.

The Armenian government and its officials have remained largely mum on Russia’s actions. Its only statement so far confirmed that Yerevan did not plan on recognizing the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk, and expressed hope that Russia and Ukraine might find a “peaceful solution” to the conflict.

Walking a thin line

On the international stage, Armenia stood alone in supporting its strategic ally and main security guarantor, by voting against suspending Russia's representation in the Council of Europe. But in two more recent votes — to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council and in condemning the invasion of Ukraine at the UN General Assembly — Armenia abstained.

According to Daniel Ioannisyan, a democracy watchdog based in Yerevan, the inconspicuous shift in Armenia’s position in these two cases may be seen as “major progress,” but “only in the context of Amenia’s dependence on Russia.” He continued, “Armenia is in such a sad situation regarding its sovereignty and independence from Russia that this silence is already a good thing.”

Ioannisyan is referring to Armenia’s political dependence on Russia, which includes its membership in the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union and Collective Security Treaty Organization, the country’s main economic and security partnerships. The two countries also have a separate strategic partnership agreement that regulates the presence of Russia's military base and troops in Armenia.

This dependence on Russia grew stronger following the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War, which ended with Russian mediation and the deployment of over 2,000 Russian peacekeepers to the area. Thus, the Armenia-controlled parts of Nagorno-Karabakh appeared to be under de facto control of Russia. In addition, the number of Russian troops in Armenia reached roughly 10,000 with a permanent military base in Gyumri and a military airport in Yerevan, as well as other minor strategic positions. Russian troops are also in control of the Armenia-Turkey border.

“[Armenia has] struggled to maintain a strategic ‘balance’ between its security partnership with Russia and its interest in deepening ties with the EU and the West over the past twenty years,” Richard Giragosian, director of the Regional Studies Center, a Yerevan-based think tank, told OC Media.

However, Giragosian thinks that Russia will likely start demanding greater support and more open loyalty, in which case, “any sense of diplomatic balance may be lost, threatening to push Armenia into a vulnerable and isolated position on the wrong side of history.” He further explained, “Although Armenia’s position, as the only other country besides Russia to oppose that move [silence on sanctions], dangerously isolates it, there was little choice and even less of an alternative.”

Considering Armenia’s middling position between support and condemnation of Moscow’s actions, there’s a fear that the sanctions set for Russia may fall on (or at least influence) Armenia too — although Ioannsiyan thinks Armenia will be affected not by the sanctions themselves, but rather, by Russia’s expected attempts to use Armenia and other countries to bypass them.

“In this case,” he surmised, “there may be bad consequences for Armenia.” In a hypothesised scenario where Russia emerged the victor in the war, Ioannsiyan warned that Armenia may be forced into the process of forming the “Soviet Union 2.0.”

People, weapons, and propaganda

The response of the Armenian people has not differed much from that of its government. Journalist and pro-peace activist Aram Amirbekyan suggested that the reactions among Armenians were “logical”.

“Unfortunately, many were even happy with what was happening,” Amirbekyan said, explaining that people were justifying their apathy because of Ukraine’s support of Azerbaijan during the 2020 war. “I can’t share this kind of response,” he continued, “as [Russia’s invasion] is aggression that should be condemned — but the ‘enemy-ally’ propaganda was so strong in Armenia that a reality was created where people support Russia. Ukraine, in this context, was perceived as an enemy that sells weapons and white phosphorous to Azerbaijan, but so did Russia. Everyone sells weapons to everyone.”

One allegation surrounding Ukrainian support to Azerbaijan was that Kyiv provided Baku with white phosphorous that was used by Azerbaijan during the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War. Film director Sarik Andreasyan, a former friend of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, was one of many to perpetuate such accusations, which Zelenskiy has categorically denied.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Russia provided over 60 percent of Azerbaijan’s weapons between 2011 and 2020, while Ukraine only sold over 1 percent during the same time (although before 2010, that number was significantly higher).

Citing a survey by the Union of Informed Citizens, Ioannsyan posited that Russian propaganda has also played a significant role in the formation of Armenian public opinion, with over 11 percent of Armenians considering Russian state media outlets trustworthy sources of information. “This, among other things, influences public opinion, and unfortunately, its support of Putin’s actions. And Armenia should work intensively against disinformation campaigns,” he added.

Coming on the heels of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, one such “campaign” was the staged draping of a 50-meter banner across one of Yerevan’s largest bridges, the Kyivian, which read, “Russian army.” Though instantly going viral with hundreds of thousands of views, local journalists established that the sign was only hung for nine minutes in order to be filmed before being taken down.

The 2018 revolution and the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War have also changed perceptions in Armenia, Amirbekyan believes. Such recent events made Armenians more “politicized,” he says, “and […] the events in Ukraine are perceived as part of these geopolitical perceptions.” This is also why Amirbekyan called Armenia’s response “logical”: “It’s hard to expect from Armenia […] explicit support for Ukraine, as Russian troops are in Karabakh as the direct guarantor of the security of the people there.”

While he says he would like to “see Armenia in such a geopolitical situation to be able to directly condemn this aggression and colonial-imperial policy,” Amirbekyan says he is “happy that it was able to keep some sort of neutrality.” He also noted, “At the same time, […] we should notice that there’s compassion in Armenia towards the people in Ukraine. After all, there are many Armenians in Ukraine; relations between the countries and people were quite warm. The sight of Kyiv or Lviv shelled is painful for Armenians too.”

Ready to receive refugees

According to estimates, there are almost 400,000 Armenians and people with Armenian roots in Ukraine. Officially, Armenians in Ukraine number around 130,000. Russia, on the other hand, has the largest Armenian population — 1.2 million.

Both Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the head of the Armenian community of Ukraine, Norik Grigorian, have said there is no exact information on how many of these Armenians living outside the country have fled the war, or how many have re-entered Armenia. However, the ministry has expressed a willingness to not only receive ethnic Armenians and Armenian citizens, but also to accept foreign refugees.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Economy has established a group to help Armenians, Russians, Belarusians, and Ukrainians intending to move to Armenia. This includes a simplified procedure for relocating companies registered in those countries to Armenia. Minister Vahan Kerobyan confirmed that about a dozen Russian companies have already relocated to Armenia. He said that the government was trying to make the country a “pleasant environment” for foreigners who may decide to move, part of which entailed the provision of an appropriate business environment.

https://globalvoices...ion-of-ukraine/



#6 Yervant1

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Posted 15 March 2022 - 07:32 AM

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March 14 2022
 
 
OPINION
The world failed to act in 2020 when Azerbaijan attacked Armenia. Now history repeats itself in Ukraine. What’s happening to Ukrainians is similar to what happened to Armenians. These are not mutually exclusive events. The parallels could not be starker.
By Stephan PechdimaldjiUpdated March 14, 2022
 
 
 

A country led by an authoritarian launches an unprovoked war claiming sovereignty over historical lands. Thousands of innocent lives are upended. Fathers leave children behind to defend their country. Churches and hospitals are bombed. War crimes are committed.

Sound familiar? While this might depict events currently unfolding in Ukraine, it also describes what happened to Armenians living in their ancestral homeland of Nagorno-Karabakh when Azerbaijan started a war in the fall of 2020.

But unlike Ukraine, where worldwide condemnation of Russian aggression has been swift and severe, the world stayed mostly silent when Armenians were desperately asking for support and help. For millions of Armenians living around the world, this story is all too familiar. As victims of the first genocide of the 20th century, when more than 1.5 million Armenians were systematically exterminated by the Ottoman Turks, an event Turkey denies to this day, Armenians have come to expect that their suffering and pain is not worthy of comparable attention.

The events taking place in Ukraine and the imbalance of coverage that the Nagorno-Karabakh war received has only crystalized those feelings of frustration and exasperation. Wars are not a competition. And the people of Ukraine deserve all the help and support that the world can give them to stop Vladimir Putin’s quixotic campaign to revive the Soviet Union. But focusing on just one group undermines what other countries have endured in similar conflicts, wars, and wanton acts of violence. It gives despots cover to commit acts of violence at will and without restraint.

Strongmen like Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan share contempt for the rule of law. Had the world acted on behalf of Armenia in 2020 — or, for that matter, during the Armenian genocide in 1915 — then maybe that would have sent a stronger message to autocrats like Putin whose actions demonstrate that they believe they can carry out acts of aggression against other nations with impunity. What’s happening to Ukrainians is similar to what happened to Armenians. These are not mutually exclusive events. The parallels could not be starker.

Taking a page out of Putin’s playbook, President Aliyev used the pretext of historical revisionism to launch his unprovoked war against Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020. Claiming that large parts of Armenia’s territory were Azerbaijan’s “historic lands,” Aliyev defended this belief through incendiary language in numerous speeches leading up to the war and even went so far to say that Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, belonged to Azerbaijan. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is one of the reasons why he has embarked on a campaign to erase Armenia’s history and existence in the region by defacing, vandalizing, and destroying Armenian heritage and cultural sites, including churches and monasteries that have stood for hundreds of years.

Already we are seeing Russian forces try to engage in similar efforts. For instance, Moscow drew international condemnation after an airstrike hit Babyn Yar, a Holocaust memorial site where Nazis killed thousands of Jews during World War II. Whether or not it was intentional, the ultimate message that Russia sent was clear. Similarly, images surfaced during the Nagorno-Karabakh war showing a memorial dedicated to the victims of the Armenian genocide in Shushi being razed by occupying Azeri forces.

Despite these parallels, the world responded much differently to each event. While Russia has rightly been sanctioned economically and labeled a pariah, Azerbaijan didn’t even get a slap on the wrist. FIFA and UEFA, the world’s largest governing body for soccer, banned Russia but rewarded Azerbaijan by allowing it to host the 2020 European Championship games. Those same games were held next door to Azerbaijan Military Trophies Park, which glorifies and extols Azerbaijan’s victory in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War with Armenia, which basically represents a blatant disrespect for human rights as it celebrates its war crimes.

The park features a display of hundreds of helmets taken from Armenian soldiers killed during the war and wax mannequins of captured soldiers portrayed through exaggerated caricatures based on Armenian stereotypes and tropes like crooked noses and bushy eyebrows. Many of these mannequins are of people shown in their dying moments or chained to jail cells.

War should not be a zero-sum game when it comes to awareness. It is evil and represents the very worst of humanity. That is why all conflicts deserve attention. Human lives should not be measured by the size of a country or the natural resources it may have. In many ways, the Nagorno-Karabakh war in 2020 was a harbinger of Russia’s war in Ukraine. As with the lessons of the Armenian genocide, the world failed to learn from history. Sadly, that history is repeating itself once again.

Stephan Pechdimaldji is a communications strategist who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

https://www.bostongl...itself-ukraine/


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#7 Yervant1

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Posted 16 March 2022 - 07:52 AM

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March 13 2022
 
Media Manipulation: Putin’s Ukraine Invasion Evil but Warring on Israel and Armenia OK
It’s automatic to feel a bond with Italians and — especially — Armenians.
 
 
 
 
 

About my love for Armenians.

I grew up in Brooklyn, in mostly ethnically Jewish neighborhoods. There were kosher restaurants galore; Irv’s Knishery in Canarsie was my favorite. There was Tina’s Bake Shop, who made the best chocolate cream pie ever. In time, I stopped patronizing them as I learned they baked on Shabbat. There was Appy’s Deli. What can I say? I miss Appy’s.

Jews everywhere. On Friday nights, a middle-aged guy down the block would wheel his television outside to his front yard, and a dozen of his buddies would congregate to watch the Yankees game. I never missed it. As soon as Sabbath meal with my Mom and sisters had ended, and we had recited grace, I hurried down the block. The men looked forward to my participating because I knew more baseball lore and data than a “walking encyclopedia.” I would have made a great baseball announcer, synergizing the best of Mel Allen, Tom Hamilton, and Vin Scully. We Orthodox Jews may not engage in employment on Shabbat, but I woulda called ’em for free. Ah, but we also may not engage electricity on the L-rd’s day. So I became a rabbi, an attorney, and a columnist.

I attended yeshiva (Jewish parochial school) for twelve years until college. “Some of my best friends” were Jews. Also all my worst enemies.

I found that I love Italians, too. Their heritage and culture, at least as practiced in America, are so similar to Jewish culture that you almost can’t tell Lucky Luciano from Bugsy Siegel. During the 1940s — think On the Waterfront — Italian unions ran the Manhattan and Jersey City docks, and they helped Jews illegally run guns to the nascent country of Israel when Harry Truman invoked his inner Joe Biden and imposed a full ban on allowing any weapons to the Jews as they were being attacked by seven Arab countries intent on murdering the Jewish country before it even birthed. Ethnic Italians, like ethnic East European Jews, are loud, emotional, hug and kiss, what-you-see-is-what-you-get. We eat starches. We respect Mama. They do the construction stuff in Joyzee — Bada bing! Bada boom! — and we represent them in court and with the IRS. Walk softly and carry a big attaché case.

I have continued expanding my cultural horizons and ethnic fascinations. Probably my best non-rabbinic friend is an American-born attorney of Formosan (Taiwanese) descent who is depressed that his beloved Seahawks suddenly are bereft of Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner. I try to console him by reminding that, when I followed the NFL until Kaepernick ruined it for me, my team was the Jets. The Jets have been rebuilding since the 1970s. The Biblical Jews got through the Sinai and into the Promised Land sooner. Divide the Red Sea? The Jets can’t even pierce through a four-man defensive front line.

 

My dear friend is unaware how much he has expanded my horizons as we enter the Year of the Tiger. Like all Jews, I love Chinese food. It’s a Jewish thing. Also, it’s equally crazy — if you think about it — as Jackie Mason observed: “No Chinaman ever asks a Jew where he can find a good matzo ball.”

And then there are the Armenians.

 

I have come to value Armenians deeply. As a law professor of twenty years, I have taught more than two thousand students; many of Armenian descent. I love their sense of tradition, family, religious devotion, and overall ethnicity. I cannot eat their foods because of kosher rules, and I have not attended their worship, but I love their devotion to heritage. A particular divorced Armenian lady and her two grown daughters became very close to my family and to my wife, Ellen of blessed memory. Among my law students, I connect warmly with everyone: blacks, whites, Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Arabs, Hispanics, Asians, Indians.

Despite my edgy writings and my humor that always risks offending, never once in twenty years and among 2,000 students has anyone ever expressed umbrage. I somehow have side-stepped cancel culture, except for two Jewish rabidly leftist professors who would destroy me if they could because I wrote that Kamala Harris leveraged her immorality to rise in California Democrat circles. Rush Limbaugh read the whole article on his radio show, and it thus got a gazillion hits, made me famous, so those two Jewish leftists tried going after me. The score is:

• For Dov — 2,000 non-Jewish students of every imaginable background.

• Against Dov — 2 whining knee-jerk bleeding-heart Jewish rabidly leftist professors for AOC and Black Lives Matter and against yarmulkas.

(Oh, and by the way: Kamala Harris rose in California Democrat circles immorally.)

In my gaining a deeper appreciation for Armenian Americans and their culture, I learned about the Medz Yeghern, something too close to the Shoah (Holocaust) that Nazi Germany inflicted on Jews. In light of Turkish dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s extraordinary anti-Semitism (until last week, as it happens), my affinity towards Armenia only has increased. I always devote time in one of my last Spring Term classes to speak about April 24 and the Medz Yeghern. Armenian American students often have come to me after class or written me, even years later, that they were emotionally touched during those moments when the Orthodox rabbi with the yarmulka spoke about the evil Ataturk perpetrated and how Turkey to this day will not at least admit they sinned grievously a century ago.

It is outrageous that that the world, which now appropriately condemns Putin for disrupting the social order and sympathizes with Volodymyr Zelensky and Ukraine, never offered sympathy for Armenia as the Artsakh region faced horrific destruction only recently at the hands of Azerbaijan during the 2020 Second War over Nagorno-Karabakh. During the Soviet Union years, the region was deemed an autonomous oblast and was known as Artsakh. It is an enclave geographically within Azerbaijan, but approximately 80 percent Armenian ethnic and religiously Armenian Apostolic. In a 1991 referendum, as the Soviet Union collapsed, the population voted overwhelmingly to unite with Armenia. However, Azerbaijan launched war to assert sovereignty. The thing is, Putin and Iran — very bad players, but Armenia’s main energy suppliers — supported Armenia in the conflict while Turkey backed Azerbaijan. Amid the conflict, the Armenian Apostolic Ghazanchetsots (Holy Savior) Cathedral in Shusha, the main seat of the Artsakh bishopric and a landmark of Shusha and of Armenian cultural and religious identity, was attacked and damaged to the degree that Human Rights Watch declared it a possible war crime. Azerbaijan now has altered its historic construction. It was Azerbaijan who launched war to change the map.

Remember? Neither do most anyone else — because the media decided not to manipulate sympathies on that one. Walter Duranty of the New York Times had manipulated news of Stalin’s 1932-1933 Holodomor mass murders in Ukraine, so they passed unnoticed here. Again, the Times chose mostly to ignore the Shoah, assuring Hitler almost free rein there.

The media pick and choose “good guys” and “bad guys,” then proceed to tug at heart strings to manipulate public opinion. Similarly, they align towards Israel’s haters and therefore present the only country in the world with a Jewish majority dishonestly as “apartheid.” Consider: Jews cannot even set foot in Mecca or Medina. There is no synagogue in all of Saudi Arabia. By contrast, Arab Muslims in Israel engage in all aspects of daily public life, receive the same government benefits Jews do, hold political office, even comprise a critical component of the present governing Israeli political coalition. Arab Muslims are included among Israeli university professors, graduate students awarded government fellowships, high-ranking judges, and even receive monthly government stipends aimed at encouraging large families. When Arab terror groups strike at Israel with murderous rockets, they base launchers on rooftops of residential apartment buildings, on hospital grounds, and in school yards. Then, when Israel strikes defensively to obliterate those rocket-launch sites, the photos look awful, and the media choose not to explain. So no Ben & Jerry’s.

The left media are at war with conservatives. They manipulate others to hate DeSantis, Pence, Cotton, Pompeo, Cruz, Tucker supporters, Trump supporters, populist conservatives, Israel supporters, Armenia supporters.

Like Zelensky, we won’t roll over.

https://spectator.or...and-armenia-ok/



#8 Yervant1

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Posted 03 April 2022 - 07:06 AM

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March 12 2022
 
 
Opinion: Armenia is stuck between the West and Russia

Armenia is balancing between Russia and the West

Armenia has found itself in a difficult situation stuck between Russia and the West. The Ukrainian crisis has further exacerbated this situation. Taking sides for Armenia is an excessive luxury. Such a step for it, according to most local experts, is deadly. And the authorities of Armenia still prefer to remain neutral.

At the same time, the situation in the region has worsened again. A soldier has been killed on the border of Armenia, and in Nagorno-Karabakh, peaceful settlements are being shelled along the entire perimeter of the line of contact. In addition, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces play a recording in Armenian through loudspeakers, calling on their residents to leave their homes in order to save their lives.

How can events develop, what kind of support can Armenia expect from the West or Russia? Comments by political observer Hakob Badalyan and chairman of the NGO “Free Citizen” Hovsep Khurshudyan.

Hakob Badalyan, political observer: "Between a rock and a hard place" Maintaining neutrality

“Armenia has always found itself in a difficult situation, when the West and Russia entered a regime of tough resistance. Now the main task for Armenia is not to be on anyone’s side in terms of conducting practical politics. It is clear that Armenia is a member of the CSTO military bloc and the EAEU economic union [both operate under the auspices of Russia – JAMnews], that is, by default, it is already on this side.

But we are talking about a practical policy that can be adequately perceived in the West, even if they see some steps towards Russia.

The West understands that Armenia has many problems, including security, so no one is pushing it to take any action that could provoke an aggressive reaction from Russia.

That is why Armenia should strive for active neutrality, but in such a way that its policy is understandable to both Russia and the West.

Moreover, Armenia should work not only with Russia and the West, it should continue the dialogue with Turkey to improve relations, at least maintain the communication that has been formed today. This is important given the increasing political role of Turkey in the Ukrainian issue.

I would especially single out Georgia in this situation, for which, just like for Armenia, a stable situation in the region is very important, and it is very important not to get drawn into this the tension that exists between Russia and the West. And if we combine even the behind-the-scenes diplomatic efforts of both countries – Armenia and Georgia – then the neutral policy in the current situation will become even more effective.

From the point of view of economic risks, Armenia should try to intensify work with the Arab countries, offer them projects that are attractive for their capital in order to neutralize the risks that may arise as a result of the sanctions imposed against Russia”.

Society is in a free float

“The authorities are behaving optimally so far, which cannot be said about the public, which, due to the lack of institutional leaders, elites, is subjected to both external and internal manipulations. Various rallies held in the country are proof of this. Moreover, manipulations are carried out both in support of Russia and in support of Ukraine.

But both pro-Russian and anti-Russian manifestos are dangerous for Armenia.

I doubt that this is being done at the behest of the Kremlin or the West. I see no reason to think that someone wants to drag Armenia into the Ukrainian crisis. These provocations come, most likely, from different groups from the same Russia, as well as from Russian satellites in Armenia, who are interested in selling their manipulations to political actors. And, unfortunately, our society is vulnerable in this regard – they succumb to these manipulations, they spread them on social media”.

In negotiations with Turkey, Russia usually concedes something

“Against the backdrop of a large-scale war in Ukraine, the situation in the Caucasus can become a tool for Russia. It can “play” with the situation in the Caucasus region if any political projects from the West are used against it. On the other hand, this situation may become a tool in the hands of others to put pressure on Russia itself.

Russia absolutely does not need instability in the Caucasus today because of its own serious problems in connection with Ukraine.

Russia does not need to get another instability behind its back and be forced to deal with it. Therefore, any instability can be viewed as a means of putting pressure on Moscow by those who have influence on Azerbaijan, who are able to force Azerbaijan to escalate by encouraging it to resolve some issues.

It should be noted that the situation in the region is escalating in parallel with the activation of Turkey in the Ukrainian issue. For a long time, Russia tried to reject Turkish offers of mediation, hoping for direct negotiations with the United States. But after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, America does not want to talk to Moscow, instead increasing the mediating role of Turkey.

It is possible that the aggravation of the situation in Artsakh is the very tool in the hands of Turkey to put pressure on Moscow in order to obtain a mediation mission in the Ukrainian issue. When Russia sits down with Turkey at the negotiating table, as a rule, it concedes something. For us, this is a very disturbing signal. That is why we must continue to work not only with Russia and the West, but also directly with the Turks, so that once again we do not become the subject of trade and be more flexible”.

Turkey disturbs France too

“The meeting between Nikol Pashinyan and Macron [took place on March 9, the French President invited the Armenian Prime Minister to Paris to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations] is not accidental. Any activity of Turkey puts strain on France as well.

France is already concerned about the whole situation in terms of the role of Europe and its sovereignty in the context of the Ukrainian war. France is concerned about the increasing role of Turkey in one of the key areas for Europe.

Against this background, Armenia, with all its problems, becomes a political tool for France to contain Turkey.

But Macron wants to solve his own problem at the same time. During the pre-election period, the Armenian community is an important factor for the President of France. The Armenians of France are too integrated into French life, the Armenian community has a high rating, and so much so that it can affect the position of the French themselves”.

What can the West give the Armenians, what Russia is not ready for

“Now we see what the West can give Ukraine. It provides weapons that Ukraine resists more strongly, but these weapons do not solve all problems. Ukraine asks to close the sky, but the West does not agree to this, so as not to enter into a direct confrontation with Moscow.

The significance of Armenia and the significance of Ukraine or the Ukrainian game as a whole for the West are incomparable. Therefore, in the event of a new war in Nagorno-Karabakh or Armenia, significant assistance from Western countries, in particular, the closure of the sky, can not be expected.

Talking about the inclusion of Russia in this case is completely pointless.

Russia does not have the resources to fight a war on two fronts, in addition, there is no desire to enter the war against Turkey.”

Russia is an ally on paper, but in reality it is not and never will be.

We do not have an alternative security ally, and there is also no possibility of acquiring one. In our case, war is the most undesirable development for Armenia, which can instantly turn into one ruin.”

Hovsep Khurshudyan, Chairman of the NGO "Free Citizen": "The Kremlin's plans for Armenia, how will the West respond" Kremlin plans

“In terms of civilization, Armenia is Europe. It was enough just 3 years of democratic development after the Velvet Revolution of 2018, as in all international rankings, Armenia began to catch up, and in many positions even surpass the countries of the Eastern Partnership associated with the European Union in 2013.

Another thing is that the constant existential threat of 30 times the population and resources of Turkey and Azerbaijan and the zero military presence of the West led to the fact that Armenia has long linked its security with Russia.

April war in 2016 and 44 day war 2020 in NK showed that the Kremlin’s kleptocratic elite can not only betray, but simply sell any, even the closest ally.

Now the people of Armenia, even in terms of security, have less and less hope with Russia and more and more with the West.

But the question here is not only that Armenia is between the West and Russia. Much more dangerous is the Kremlin’s strategic plans for Armenia.

It is clear that before attacking Ukraine, Putin intended to create something like the USSR-2. Without Ukraine, such a project was obviously doomed. But if the Kremlin’s adventure in Ukraine had succeeded, there can be no doubt that Armenia would have been the next victim.

Moreover, Putin would act in close cooperation with Aliyev: Azerbaijan would attack Armenia, and Russia would begin to “save” it. As a result, we would lose another part of our territory, the return of which, of course, Russia would not provide. But as a “salvation” from the genocide, the rest would demand to join a new alliance, and with the worst conditions.

Therefore, Ukrainians are now fighting not only for their independence and the right to self-determination, but also for Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.”

Against the backdrop of the Ukrainian war, Baku took an aggressive stance
“Aliyev is again acting in cooperation with Putin, as was the case in 2020 during the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as in May 2021, when the Azerbaijani armed forces invaded the territory of Armenia and occupied, according to my estimates and information, about 100 square kilometers territory [the Armenian authorities announced the figure of 41 square kilometers].

Russia and the CSTO [a military bloc under the auspices of Russia, of which Armenia is a member] not only did not stand up for their military and economic ally, but did not even condemn the Azerbaijani provocation and invasion, as did France and the United States.

The Kremlin put pressure on the leadership of Armenia not to boldly turn to the UN Security Council.

Despite the fact that French President Macron openly stated that he was ready to submit a special resolution to the UN Security Council if Armenia turned to it with this issue.

Therefore, the containment of Aliyev from further provocations can be effectively organized only with the help of the West.

On March 9, we saw the almost unanimous (with 635 votes in favor, 2 against and 42 abstentions) adoption of the resolution of the European Parliament “On the destruction of cultural heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh.”

The resolution condemns the anti-Armenian policy of Azerbaijan and emphasizes that the elimination of traces of the Armenian cultural heritage is carried out not only with the intention of harming, but also with the aim of falsifying history and erasing the traces of Armenianness.

Everything goes to the fact that the West is inclined to decide the fate of Nagorno-Karabakh according to the Kosovo scenario.”

The West has something to offer Armenia

“Pashinyan’s meeting with Macron during this period is not at all accidental. He invited Nikol Pashinyan to a meeting in Paris before the latter is due to meet with Vladimir Putin [the meeting with Putin is scheduled for early April].

So the French President clearly makes it clear that the West has something to offer Armenia, including in terms of security.

The West today is more consolidated than ever and has the greatest power to solve many regional problems. Especially after the failure of Putin’s aggression against Ukraine, and also after the achievement of a nuclear agreement with Iran, which I do not doubt for a minute, the West will have much more influence both on Turkey and Azerbaijan, and on the South Caucasus and the Middle East regions as a whole.” .

https://jam-news.net...est-and-russia/



#9 Yervant1

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Posted 06 May 2022 - 08:28 AM

Panorama
Armenia - May 5 2022
 
 
Expert: Ukraine cannot have any expectations from Armenia in legal and moral terms
 
 

The Defense Intelligence of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense has accused Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan of negotiating with Moscow over the re-export of Russian products to international markets.

“The supply is planned to be made in the form of Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaijani products and export them to third countries,” the Defense Intelligence said on May 1.

Panorama.am has spoken with military expert and reserve colonel Hayk Nahapetyan over the matter as well as the legal and moral aspects of Ukraine's expectations from Armenia in the process of imposing sanctions on Russia.

Hayk Nahapetyan: We should look at things from the legal perspective. Ukraine is complaining that individual entrepreneurs or legal entities engaged in economic activities have opened such enterprises in Armenia under domestic laws, isn’t it? That is, what law has been violated? No law has been broken. It is no coincidence that such a statement was issued by the Defense Intelligence. Because if the Armenian side had undertaken some commitments and had violated them, the Ukrainian diplomatic corps and political institutions would have reacted somehow apart from the intelligence office. But Armenia has not violated any agreement. Georgian Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili has also demanded explanations from the Ukrainian authorities over the country’s accusations, asking it to provide evidence. If the Ukrainian side had substantiated evidence, I believe it would have used it first for propaganda instead of just making a statement.

The world has seen such precedents when the intelligence provided inaccurate information to the military and political leadership, as a result of which an entire country and its people suffered, with hundreds of thousands of casualties. Take, for example, the display of a small bottle by first black U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell when Iraq was actually invaded by NATO, and then it turned out that Colin Powell and the U.S. military and political leadership had been provided with inaccurate information about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq by intelligence. That is, intelligence reports cannot serve as a basis and are not enough. But there is a moral aspect of the issue. From the legal terms, they can't substantiate that Armenia or Georgia have violated any verbal or contractual commitments.

The moral aspect is that Ukraine dares to interfere in the internal affairs of our country. It is for Armenia to decide what kind of relations to establish with a specific country in accordance with the agreements Armenia signed about 30 years ago.

Ukraine, no less, is laying out demands for Armenia, when Armenia has not made such a commitment. Armenia and Georgia did not join the sanctions [against Russia] and it is up to the authorities of the two countries to decide on the matter.

Ukraine would be better off dealing with its internal problems, rather than pointing fingers at who and why did not join the sanctions. As if the planet Earth now moves around Ukraine, and they believe that any state that does not help them, at the very least, is not their friend, if not an enemy.

In essence, I understand that the rule of the Nazi authorities in Ukraine is coming to an end, it is not far off and they are already in agony. They are blaming everyone, including NATO, the U.S., EU countries, and now some allegations are made against the three South Caucasus countries. This state of mind makes them look for others to blame for their own woes and defeats. I understand their feelings; we Armenians are also living through such times. Instead of acknowledging their mistakes and correcting them, our authorities are looking for the guilty outside the country. This is also the case in Ukraine.

Panorama.am: Against the background of the position on the Artsakh issue expressed by Ukraine for decades and especially during the 44-day war, does Ukraine have any moral right to expect Armenia to take a position in its favor? Moreover, after all this the Armenian authorities seem to have taken a neutral stance on the conflict.

Hayk Nahapetyan: Ukraine’s military and political leadership, law enforcement authorities and Security Council still stick to their position. When Azerbaijan occupied certain heights on Karaghlukh and Khramort, the Ukrainian top leadership was excited by the fact that Azerbaijan was about to start military operations against Artsakh, which would entail military actions against Russia, because the guarantor of the Artsakh people’s security is the Russian peacekeeping mission. They hoped that if such operations began, they could escalate into an Armenian-Azerbaijani war, thus a second front would open for Russia. They were extremely enthusiastic and made statements at the level of the heads of security agencies as well as members of the Rada.

Ukraine adheres to the following principle: the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Obviously, during the 44-day war and up to present Ukraine is trying to support Azerbaijan. Incidentally, before the well-known events of February 24, the Azeri president visited Kyiv and held a meeting with Volodymyr Zelensky. A memorandum was signed, according to which Azerbaijan and Ukraine, to a certain extent, mutually undertook obligations to each other in case of violation of the territorial integrity of the two countries. They recognized each other's territorial integrity when they joined the UN. Azerbaijan also recognized Crimea as a part of Ukraine in principle, let alone Donetsk and Luhansk. In the same way, Ukraine recognized the Republic of Artsakh as a part of Azerbaijan. An agreement was also signed on military and technical cooperation. They are allies and have common handlers in the person of Turkey, UK and the United States. Naturally, Ukraine’s stance on the self-determination of the Artsakh Armenians and the independence of Artsakh is extremely negative.

Panorama.am: Some reports suggest that Ukraine also provided Azerbaijan with banned weapons which were used in the 44-day war. How would you comment on it?

Hayk Nahapetyan: I can neither confirm nor deny the reports that the cluster phosphorus weapons were supplied [to Azerbaijan] by Ukraine, but it has not been disproved. It is a fact that after Ukraine declared its independence in 1991 it inherited the lion's share of the military-industrial complex of the USSR. It was clearly in its interest to arm a state that was at least in unfriendly relations with Russia. Such military and technical assistance has been provided for years.

Military and technical cooperation is not prohibited by law, but the problem lies with weapons of mass destruction, phosphorus and cluster munitions banned by several international conventions, while the countries using them could face sanctions, just as Iraq was accused of developing chemical weapons and punished by NATO.

Here we have to look at whether such prohibited weapons that Ukraine had were sold to Azerbaijan. Some say that the phosphorus munitions were provided [to Azerbaijan] by Ukraine. At least there is no production of these weapons in Azerbaijan, otherwise other sources would have spoken about it.

Interview by A. Vardanyan

 

https://www.panorama...Armenia/2676536






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