Armenia Politicians in Toronto to Court Investors

Reporter, Toronto, 26 June 2018

Armenia’s deputy prime minister Tigran Avinyan and a number of deputy ministers are in Toronto to inform the local Armenian community of recent policies initiated by the government led by Nikol Pashinyan. The Canadian Armenian Business Council (CABC) will host a luncheon in honor of the delegation on June 27 while Avinyan will be the keynote speaker at an Armenian Community Centre gathering later in the day.

Today VHL Developments president Varoujan Lapoyan hosted sixty community leaders at his mansion in honor of the diplomatic delegation. Also present were actor and activist Arsine Khanjian and the newly elected Ontario MPP Aris Babikian. It was a unique opportunity for the members of the delegation to interact with the representatives of the Toronto Armenian community.

The reception was followed by Q&A session which was conducted by the host. A great many of the attendees’ questions related to investment opportunities in Armenia. Members of the delegation provided exhaustive information at times. They also stressed that the new government will initiate programs to encourage Diaspora Armenians not only to invest but to repatriate given the new democratic environment in Armenia. Attendees were advised to use the Business Armenia site as port of entry for questions related to investment, presentation of projects and arranging meetings with relevant representatives. “The best way is to visit Armenia; we are all waiting for you in new Armenia,” said one of the delegates.

To the question as to whether Armenia is considering the expropriation of the oligarchs’ assets, Avinyan said no such policy is contemplated but that anyone who has criminally abused the system will be prosecuted under the laws of the country. He stressed that the judiciary has been instructed to function independently of the government thus the relevant judges are free to make independent decisions.

Towards the end of the gathering, attendees mingled and chatted with the members of the delegation on a one-on-one basis. A feeling of camaraderie  was palpable.

  1. Fact Check

    Many Western Armenian Diasporans have visited, studied, worked and invested in Armenia since independence.

    What successive Armenian administrations do not understand is that even in a so-called New Armenia no major investments will occur as long as authorities do not extend Armenian citizenship to Western Armenians and give them a chance to participate in Armenian political life.

    1. False Fact Check

      Dear Vicken,

      Firstly, I wish you show respect towards the historical achievement realized by Armenia People's Velvet Revolution and New Armenia which you describe "so-called' in a dismissive way.

      Secondly, your claim is totally false. Right now you can  visit the nearest RA Embassy/Consulate in your location and present your application to attain Armenia Citizenship, the confirmation to which you will receive during a 6-month period.

      I am not sure what exactly you mean by "a chance to participate in Armenian political life". Does it also mean by the relevant age group to fulfill the national duty to serve in the ranks of the Armenian Forces? To my knowledge the vast majority of Diaspora Armenians avoid this crucial factor. We act as opportunists. Let's beware of what we wish for.

      All the best!

      1. Ճիշտ ես ասում, և լաւ ես ասում
        Ապրիս Ընկեր Ասրապեան։
        Ճիշտ ես ասում, և լաւ ես ասում։

  2. In response to Fact Check

    Dear Armenian Fact Check,

    If you want to become Armenian citizen, then follow the rules. Apply for citizenship, wait a short while and go and live in Armenia. Then you will become a citizen. It is very simple basic process.

    I don't understand your implication! Remember, corruption took place in the past. Now things have changed. Now we have a new prime minister. Let us do our job. Let us support him. Let us work with him and follow his decisions.

    Remember, he is the de facto president; a  ship with two captains, will sink!  and in a democratic society there is only one president. That's it. He needs your help, so show him that you are really an Armenian and a good one I might add. Go, yes, Go to Armenia, become a citizen, help out. Give and stand behind your country, our country, our people our only homeland. Unite, support, encourage, give and fight for your people. We are few, but we are Armenians.

    I send you my love and hope to meet you and hopefully we do that when you and I travel to Armenia, to any village, and breathe the air of our mountains, Ararat, Aragats and OH YES, Sevana lidge.

    Keep in touch, we need you and we need every Armenian to recover what we have lost. Time is of the essense, Now is the time. Getse hay Azke. United we stand, and Divided we fall. Amen.

    I love you.


    1. What a positive way to use comments!
      Dear Mr. Benilian:
      I appreciated your positive attitude in your reply to "Fact Check". 
      We often get into heated debate over important issues, but what should remain on our mind is that we always learn from one another and we remain loyal to our Hayrenik, even though we all know it has warts and other unpleasant features.

  3. Setting the Record Straight

    The existing Armenian citizenship statutes that the two respondents refer to discriminate against non-resident Armenians, who by law are unable to serve in political office and vote at diplomatic missions.

    Such citizenship is at best a symbolic permanent visa meant primarily to keep Western Armenians at arms length in most critical fields, including service in the RoA Armed Forces.

    Since independence in 1991, very few Western Armenians born, raised and educated in the West have served in government, and there has been zero Western Armenian representation in the National Assembly.

    The Armenian government has acted as if no horrific Armenian Genocide has taken place and that it as a state has no special obligation towards Western Armenians scattered worldwide.

    Moreover, no Armenian administration has ever conducted a high-profile Diaspora tour to promote Armenian citizenship, which should entail near equal rights and obligations for all Armenians.

    Nobody should have to accept second-class citizenship simply to feel more patriotic and nostalgic, and many will certainly not invest or donate under these discriminatory conditions.

    Unless major policy and legislative shifts occur in this field, today's Armenia will remain the same "Old Armenia" that for decades was Eastern Armenian-centric, stagnant, corrupt, oppressive and uninspiring.

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