Armenian American Museum Lease Agreement Approved

GLENDALE, CA — Glendale City Council approved the Armenian American Museum’s Ground Lease Agreement, officially marking Glendale Central Park as the future site of the cultural and educational center. The historic decision marks a major milestone for the landmark project, culminating four years of collaboration and partnership between the Museum and city of Glendale.

The $1 per year Ground Lease Agreement will locate the Armenian American Museum in the southwest corner of Glendale Central Park near the prominent intersection of Brand Boulevard and Colorado Street. The Museum will neighbor the Downtown Central Library, Adult Recreation Center, and The Americana at Brand. The initial term of the Ground Lease Agreement will be 55 years with options to extend the lease tern for four 10 year periods totaling 95 years.

The Museum will rise to three stories with approximately 60,000 square feet dedicated to a Permanent Exhibition on the Armenian American experience. Traveling Exhibitions on diverse cultures and subjects matters, Performing Arts Theater, Learning Center, Demonstration Kitchen, Museum Archives, plus a Museum Store and Cafe.

Museum and City officials held a special joint press conference on August 15, 2018 to celebrate the historic decision at Downtown Central Library overlooking the future Museum site. “It is a proud day for the City of Glendale and we are excited that the Armenian American Museum’s future home is going to be in our Jewel City,” stated Glendale Mayor Zareh Sinanyan. “The Museum is going to be a landmark for our city and a great addition for the entire community, especially our younger generation,” stated Glendale Council member Vartan Gharpetian. “The Armenian American Museum is going to be a jewel in our city and a world class center that we are all going to be proud of,” stated Glendale Council member Paula Devine.

The joint press conference concluded with a signing ceremony to celebrate the historic partnership between the Armenian American Museum and City of Glendale. “The Museum will be a legacy for the next generation and we have taken a great step towards making the project a reality,” stated Glendale Council member, Ara Najarian. “Education is the key in appreciating cultural diversity,” said Glendale Council member Vrej Agajanian in a statement following the joint press conference. “I hope that the Armenian American Museum will promote understanding of the Armenian American experience and strengthen community ties.”

Museum officials will soon announce the next phase of the landmark project and opportunities for the public to get involved with the community project.

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Armenia Recovered $10.8 Million Unpaid Taxes from Aleks Holding

The Aleks Holding LLC, accused by Armenia’s State Revenue Committee (SRC) of tax evasion to the tune of 52 billion drams ($10.8 million in VAT and income tax) has recovered the missing amount completely, SRC said.

The unpaid amount was discovered by investigators of the National Security Service as part of a criminal case launched against the company when verifying the accuracy of mutual settlements with the state budget.

Aleks Holding, LLC belongs to the family of the Armenian oligarch and parliament member Samvel Aleksanyan.

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Lavrov Says Russia Concerned Over Events in Armenia, Referring to Kocharyan’s Detention

Sergey Lavrov, Russian foreign minister said on July 31st, that the recent arrest of former Armenian president Robert Kocharyan, contradict the new leadership’s statement that there will be no repressions against their political predecessors. He is quoted by TASS saying that Russia, as ally to Yerevan, has always been interested in stability of the Armenian state, and therefore Russia is concerned over developments in Armenia.

Lavrov hopes that the matter will be settled “constructively”. “In recent days we have repeatedly voiced our concern to the Armenian leadership,” he said. “We expect that the situation will take a constructive course.”

A Yerevan district court late on July 27, ruled that the Special Investigative Service (SIS) could hold Kocharyan for two months in pre-trial detention pending an investigation. The case dates back to late February and early March 2008, following the disputed presidential election, when then prime minister Serzh Sargsyan was declared the winner, angering the opposition, led by the first Armenian president, Levon Ter-Petrosyan and setting off 10 days of non-stop protests that led to a crackdown on March 1st, in which ten people were killed and more than two hundred injured.

Kocharyan is now charged with toppling constitutional order in collusion with other persons, and the agency has applied to court for a detention warrant.

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Declassified Order Sheds Light on Kocharyan Charges

In an effort to shed more light on the prosecution’s case against former president Robert Kocharyan, Armenia’s chief investigator presented segments of a previously classified order signed ahead of March 1st, 2008 unrest, during which eight civilians and two police officers were killed during a standoff between police and protesters.

On a related matter, a court in Yerevan has decided to hear the appeal of Kocharyan’s remand in Thursday, August 9th. The head of Armenia’s Special Investigation Service, Sasun Khachatryan, said that he hard partially declassified a “highly confidential order N0038″ that was signed by Armenia’s foreign minister Mikayel Harutunyan, who like Kocharyan is facing charges of “breaching Armenia’s Constitutional order” in retaliation to the March 1st, 2008 events. Khachatryan said the order, which essentially called arming of special security forces, was signed at “18:00 [6:00 pm] on February 23, 2008″. He added that the SIS had come into possession of the order the previous month.

“The order, in fact proves that the Armed Forces of Armenia participated in the incidents of March 1st,” said Khachatryan, adding that he has declassified certain portions of the document, which have been shared with Khocharyan’s defense team. “After the international community recognized the presidential elections of Armenia as open and transparent, some political foes did not accept that and tried to destabilize the situation by illegal actions. The Armed Forces of Armenia, being the guarantors of the state’s security are prepared to ensure stability in the country based on the Constitution and laws and to prevent any group of people to hinder the natural development of the country,” said the declassified order, which was read by Khachatryan to reporters.

“For the fulfillment of the Constitutional obligations by the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia I [then defense minister Mikayel Hrutyunyan] order to confine to barracks the entire personnel of the Armed Forces starting from 18:00 February 23 until receiving a special command, to set officer groups in the departments of the central apparatus of the Defense Ministry and separate divisions and arm them with government-issued weapons,” said Khachatryan quoting from the declassified report. He also said that then Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Khachaturov was responsible to fulfill this task. Khachaturov, who currently is the Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, has also been charged with “breaching Armenia’s Constitutional order,” and was freed on bail and allowed to travel to Moscow to continue his duties, pending a court appearance order.

“The heads of departments of the Defense Ministry and Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia, the Commanders of Army Corps and separate regiments have been ordered to set combined mobile units able to act effectively in difficult conditions,” said the order.

“The 10th point of the same order says that these units should be comprised of the best trained, psychologically stable officers, non-commissioned officers, contracted servicemen and conscripts,” said Khachatryan citing order and calling this point the most incriminating part of the 2008 document. “I don’t know what impression you got from this, but I have the impression that special groups were set up and tasked to conduct some diversionary acts against the adversaries,” Khachatryan said.

The previous week, Khachatryan said that detaining Kocharyan was the proper course of action to ensure the unimpeded continuation of the investigation, explaining that his office did not deem Kocharyan a flight risk, but feared that if he is set free he could influence others involved with the investigation. His attorneys contend that the prosecution does not have enough evidence to hold Kocharyan.

Before detailing the 2008 order, Khachatryan expressed hope that the court of appeals would not change the initial terms of the indictment and will keep Kocharyan remanded until his trial. “This is my personal opinion, and I think that the preventive detention is the only measure that can ensure the proper behavior of the defendant during the investigation,” said Khachatryan who explained that Kocharyan has refused to provide any testimony. “He just did not participate and left the room without any explanations,” said Khachatryan.

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Arsene Tchakarian, Last Survivor of the French Resistance Group Dies at 101

The last surviving member of a group of immigrant workers who courageously resisted the Nazi occupation of France during World War II has died at the age of 101, his family said.

Arsene Tchakarian, a tailor of Armenian origin, died at a hospital near his home in the Paris suburb of Vitry-sur-Seine, AFP reports.

He was a member of a small group of foreign resistance members led by Armenian poet and fellow communist Missal Manouchian that carried out attacks on German forces and acts of sabotage in Nazi-occupied France in 1943. In 1944, the group, which included a number of Jews, was put out of action when 23 of its members were rounded up and sentenced to death by a German military court. The collaborationist Vichy regime later tried to discredit the group and defuse the anger over the executions in an infamous red poster depicting the dead fighters as terrorism.

Tchakarian, who was born in Turkey in 1916, managed to avoid arrest and escaped to Bordeaux, where he remained active in the Resistance until the war ended. He received multiple medals for his bravery but had to wait until 1958 before being granted French citizenship.

After the war, the father of six became a tireless campaigner for the recognition of the mass killings of Ottoman Armenians during World War I as genocide. In 2012, he received the Legion of Honour, France’s highest distinction.

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Former President Robert Kocharyan Detained

The court of Yerevan’s Shengavit district decided on Friday, July 27 to detain Robert Kocharyan, a former Armenian president, said Kocharyan’s lawyer Aram Orbelyan.

He said nothing else and declined to answer questions from journalists, but invited them for a news conference to be given the following morning.

Ruben Sahakyan, Kocharyan’s other lawyer, confirmed that the former President is detained and added that the latter took the court decision well.

On Thursday, the Special Investigation Agency of Armenia has filed a motion in court for authorization of detention of Robert Kocharyan. Earlier, Kocharyan had been summoned to the agency and was questioned as a witness. He was grilled for three hours. After the inquiry, he was released, but a little later it became known that he was already charged with toppling constitutional order in collusion with other persons, and that the agency has applied in court for a detention warrant.

Kocharyan had been summoned for questioning over the 2008 bloody events. After the 2008 presidential election, Armenian opposition headed by the first president Levon Ter-Petrosyan, who was defeated by Serzh Sargsyan in the then presidential race, staged protests saying the elections had been fraudulent and the results had been rigged. the rallies ended in clashes between protesters and law enforcement.

As a result, ten were killed and more than 200 injured. Many were arrested.

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Italy Will Support Armenia and Be Friendly, President Mattarella States

The relations between Armenia and Italy are on a high level and there is readiness to further deepen bilateral cooperation in various spheres, President of Italy Sergio Mattarella, who is in Armenia on a state visit, said in a briefing, on July 30th.

“I am grateful for the very warm reception. I am happy for these visits that take place in a period when Armenia marks the 100th anniversary of the first Republic of Armenia and the 2800th anniversary of Yerevan. The links between our peoples date back to ancient times and are based on trust. My visit is a good opportunity to further develop the bilateral relations and deepen friendship,” Armenpress reports the Italian President as saying.

He mentioned that Italy will support the peaceful settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “We will do everything so as the peaceful negotiations resume and will try to find ways for a political settlement but not a military one, which will be lasting, only through the OSCE Minsk Group and based on all the principles of the international law”, Sergio Mattarella said.

The Italian President noted that Armenia and Italy successfully cooperate in a number of directions, particularly, the servicemen of and Italy work together in Lebanon. There is active cooperation in the spheres of trade, economy, culture, and science, but, according to the Italian President, there is potential to further develop them. “I am glad to note that tomorrow the opening ceremony of Armenian-Italian heritage protection center will take place. It will foster the strengthening of cultural relations and will be a support to Armenia for preserving historical heritage,” the Italian President said.

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Armenia-Russia Relations Should Not Have Dark Corners, Says PM Nikol Pashinyan

The Armenia-Russia relations must not have any dark corners, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in an interview to Echo of Moscow on July 25th.

Pashinyan mentioned that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a lot franker than he could have imagined. “It was a very pleasant surprise for me that he [Putin] is a frank and honest man. In our relations, I like that we speak about everything frankly and honestly. After my latest visit to Moscow, I said that our relations with Russia must be without dark corners. This doesn’t mean that we will always agree in everything, this means that we will always be honest. It is the greatest friendship that two states, two peoples look into each other’s eyes and speak directly and honestly,” Pashniyan said.

Pashinyan mentioned that Armenia, being a CSTO member, aims at making its membership to the institution a lot more effective.

Asked whether or not he and Putin have discussed the arms supplies to Azerbaijan at the meeting, Pashinyan said indeed they did, but didn’t give any details.

Addressing the activities of the 102nd Russian military base in Armenia, the PM emphasized that the base is an important part of Armenia’s security system. “The military base has clear duties. This doesn’t that we don’t have issues with the base’s activities, but the existence of the 102nd Russian military base in Armenia complies with the national interests of Armenian,” Pashinyan said.

Speaking about the operation of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant, Pashinyan said that Armenia is working to extend is lifecycle. “Having nuclear energy is important for Armenia. We require to extend the lifecycle of the nuclear power plant by 2040, by trying to build a new nuclear power plant by then. We are hopeful that Russia will assist us in this matter, because unfortunately, at this moment we don’t have sufficient financial resources to start the process on out own,” he said, adding that if Russia were to offer help, Armenia would cordially accept it. “We aren’t planning to shut down the nuclear power plant,” he said.

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OSCE Says Ready to Assist Armenian Government in Anti-Corruption Reforms

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan held a meeting on July 19, with Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson in Office on Combating Corruption, Paola Severino.

The meeting attached importance to the further development of cooperation with the OSCE in various platforms, including in combating corruption.

Pashinyan emphasized that combating corruption is one of the priorities of the Armenian government and they will continue coherent steps in this direction. At the same time, the PM added that Armenia find exchange or practive and possible assistance from international partners to be necessary in this sphere.

Paola Severino welcomed the actions of the Armenian authorities in combating corruption and expressed conviction that the steps will be productive. She stressed that the OSCE is ready for active cooperation with the Armenian government, including with the justice ministry for providing assistance in implementing reforms in the anti-corruption area.

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PM Pashinyan Says He is not Surprised that Every Day and Every Hour There is a Corruption Revelation

While investigations are going on, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said: that during the past few weeks, last days, every hour, every hour, every minute, he does not cease to be surprised by new facts about corruption. “I think that I will stay in this state for at least four more months,” he said.

According to the prime minister, every time at the beginning he refused to believe in the information received, until the entire evidence base was laid out. “That day, I stopped one of the heads of the state department, asking him not to continue, because he began to fear for his psychological state, and he took out photos, videos, proofs.” It is impossible to imagine the scale of the arrogance of some citizens,” he stressed.

At the same time, as the prime minister noted, some citizens intensified their criticism of the new government. They say that some offenders are punished and some escape law enforcement. Meanwhile, as Pashinyan said, no is punishable selectively. All searches and detentions are carried out on the basis of operational information and concrete signals of citizens. “By virtue of my position, I am now aware of such facts, that sometimes I’m not even sure that the public is able to digest such a large amount of information, and I do not know to what point we have the right to disclose the truth so that the citizens of the country do not come to a state of full disappointment”, he pointed out.

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