Save Us from Our Amateur Experts Team Editorial, 1 July 2010

‘’It’s easier to be critical than to be correct.”—Benjamin Disraeli

There is a tiny, remote, ancient, impoverished and landlocked country which is blockaded by two of its long-time foes. One of these enemies has the second-largest army in NATO, while the other is spending billions of petrodollars to buy weapons like there is no tomorrow. For exports/imports, the stamp-sized country is largely at the mercy of a capricious and untrustworthy neighbour which persecutes fellow nationals of the pocket-sized country. The only reliable neighbour of this hapless, diminutive country has become, in recent months, increasingly friendly with one of the embattled country’s major antagonists. Team Editorial, 1 July 2010

‘’It’s easier to be critical than to be correct.”—Benjamin Disraeli

There is a tiny, remote, ancient, impoverished and landlocked country which is blockaded by two of its long-time foes. One of these enemies has the second-largest army in NATO, while the other is spending billions of petrodollars to buy weapons like there is no tomorrow. For exports/imports, the stamp-sized country is largely at the mercy of a capricious and untrustworthy neighbour which persecutes fellow nationals of the pocket-sized country. The only reliable neighbour of this hapless, diminutive country has become, in recent months, increasingly friendly with one of the embattled country’s major antagonists.

This constricted, mountainous country, where winters can be bone-chilling cold, has little arable land but is home to some 3 million souls.
In the past quarter century the country has gone through tumultuous times: it has experienced a massive earthquake (25,000 killed and many more injured and left homeless); it has witnessed the collapse of the 15-member union it was a part of; has been dragged into war; has provided sanctuary to fellow nationals who had fled persecution and worse by a war-mongering neighbour. Another shock this venerable country has undergone is the forced 180-degree turn in its political-economic-cultural orientation as it has switched from communism to capitalism.

The above tribulations have so far failed to shake the country’s determination to move forward. Luckily, it’s not all doom and gloom in this land where God, according to religious tradition, decided to give humanity a second chance by navigating Noah’s Ark to land on a nearby majestic mountain.

Among the blessings of the country are its bright, educated, sophisticated, and hard-working citizens who are immensely patriotic. Another boon is its Diaspora of nearly 6 million people. And more importantly, the overwhelming majority of Diasporans retain an abiding love for their motherland and help her financially, politically, morally, and in the knowledge industries.

However, in recent years there has materialized in Diaspora a tendency to throw indiscriminate darts at the motherland. The motivations of the Diasporan “Let’s Bash Armenia” crowd are not difficult to fathom. They are mostly well-intentioned people who want to see an affluent, accountable, corruption-free, democratic Armenia ASAP. Others rightly believe a lagging Armenia is detrimental to the well-being of its citizenry and impels many to emigrate. A third group identifies with Armenia so strongly that seeing a less-than-a-perfect homeland is a personal affront to them—resulting in uncalled for bruised egos. Seemingly minimizing the impact of the hits Armenia has absorbed even before its independence in 1991, these critics claim that two decades are more than sufficient for Armenia to have shaken off the cobwebs and miasma of the “bad, old, desultory” Soviet days.

Predictably, the “Let’s Bash Armenia” group suffers from the “sky is falling” Chicken Little paranoia. In their wisdom, these chattering classes also accuse Diasporans supporting Armenia of blind patriotism.

To borrow the title of immortal Khachadoor Apovian’s masterpiece—“Verk Hayasdani” (Wounds of Armenia), the “verks” of our motherland are many. We all know what they are. But rather than incessantly slamming their Lilliputian homeland, these armchair diplomats, politicians, economists, generals, human rights promoters… should consider some facts.

It’s easier to find the proverbial needle in the haystack than to find an instance when Diasporan critique had a crucial impact on the government of Armenia. To criticize Serzh Sargsyan and Co. is pointless, if not self-defeating. Since Yerevan is obdurate about conceding to Diaspora criticism, it’s a waste of breath to dispatch unsolicited advice to Armenia from 8,000 miles away.

Unlike brickbats, positive Diaspora contributions do have an impact on Armenia. So why not invest our energies in these beneficial efforts?

When the last Armenian kingdom expired in 1375 (by then shrunken to a city-state called Sis and ruled by a monarch who had more French than Armenian blood in his veins), our nation had to wait 600 years to have a state again. Let’s support our precious and imperiled Armenia.

Let’s support it because it’s our homeland.

Let’s support it because it needs our support.

Let’ support it because our support does make a difference.

When we incessantly criticize the Yerevan government, we also hurt the morale of the citizens of Armenia and Artsakh. When we criticize Armenia, our words bounce back and demoralize Diasporan youth—our children who, like us, do daily battle to remain Armenian in these “odar aperoun” (foreign coasts). What kind of example, encouragement, message, and inspiration do we provide to our young when we viciously, virulently attack the Armenian government and even Armenia’s citizens for their shortcomings?

The bête noire of the “Let’s Bash Armenia” subscribers is the corruption of the RoA government. They are correct in perceiving corruption as an obstacle to the well-being and advancement of Armenia. But to lend some perspective to the corruption issue, critics should consider these numbers. According to Corruption Index, Armenia is number 88 among 159 countries.’s index is based on data from the CIA World Factbook, the United Nations, and the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development. Apart from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia (all in Western Europe), Armenia has the lowest corruption standing among the former Soviet republics.

Among the former Soviet republics, Kazakhstan is the closest to Armenia, holding position number 107. The Russian Federation is a distant 127; Georgia and Kyrgyzstan, 131; Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan, 138; Tajikistan, 145. At 156, Turkmenistan is near the bottom.

Meanwhile, the influential American "Foreign Policy" magazine recently ranked Armenia 101 out of 177 in its Failed States Index 2010. The study, done in cooperation with The Fund for Peace public organization, placed Norway, Finland and Sweden 177, 176, 175 respectively as the most stable countries. Azerbaijan, Georgia and Iran ranked 55th, 37th and 32nd, respectively among countries in danger. Uzbekistan (36th) and Tajikistan (38th) were the most vulnerable countries among the former Soviet republics. The Fund for Peace uses its Conflict Assessment System Tool to compile and measure its data.

During the Vietnam War, some Americans used to wear “America—Love It Or Leave It” pins. Sometimes we are tempted to snatch that extreme slogan, turn it around, and tell our amateur consultants, “If you care so much about Armenia, why don’t you pack up and move to Armenia?” But most of the time we restrain that temptation.

Although Armenians have been around for at least 4,250 years, RoA is a young country. It is not strong, affluent and secure like America, Australia, Canada or France, where so many Diaspora Armenians live. It can’t afford the luxury of 24/7 criticism, which for most developed nations, is a fact of life. As well, nation building–while ones existence is threatened–is no job for boys or for intellectual dilettantes, or people who use the Internet as free therapy.

If you can’t help Armenia in these difficult times, keep your counsel. Please don’t pick the scabs of Verk Hayastani.

  1. What to do

    Although I admired your editorial (as I admire nearly all of them) for its balanced reasoning, its positive action-mindedness, its opposition to “let’s bash Armenia” and its lighting a candle tendency; and though I am one of those who take personal affront from the bashings, yet there are quite a few points where I have to disagree, namely:

    Blockades by Turkey and Azerbaijan are, in fact, one of the smallest woes of Armenia, blown out of proportion by successive governments to cover their shortcomings.

    To criticize Serzh Sargsyan and Co. is not pointless. Even if they choose to ignore the views of Armenians (of Diaspora, as well of Armenia), they at least should be aware of it. To suffice it to a single (mildly) unfavorable adjective and then giving in, is actually joining the conspiracy of silence — and advertising for it. After all, what are we saving our precious golden breath for?

    If as you say, people in Armenia are bright, educated, sophisticated, and hard-working citizens who are immensely patriotic, then how do you expect them to confuse a criticism of the government with bashing the nation or the state as a whole, and how can we also hurt the morale of the citizens of Armenia and Artsakh when we would be saying what many (if not most) of them are saying.

    You offer a statistics on corruption as a condolence, saying we are worse off than only most of the world!

    It is sad to see Keghart stating that criticism is a luxury reserved for certain countries. That is swallowing the time-tested bait used by all despots (and mini-despots). In fact we “not well offs” need a 24/7/53.

    Yes, these are hard times and the Diaspora should keep on helping the motherland, morally as well as economically (including financially), but it should not be done through people who will pocket all privileges for themselves.

    By the way, I did move to Armenia. I am out of the country on business. I hope I will have a reentry permit.

    Finally, I wish the epilogue were somewhat more tolerant towards noise makers – it would be more Keghart style.

  2. Of course, criticism only for

    Of course, criticism only for the sake of criticism is not a good approach especially in Diaspora – homeland relations; on the other hand, Diaspora should point to some shortcomings in Armenia regarding the activities of government. There should be a clear line between current government and Armenia as a homeland. Diaspora can and should sometimes criticize the Armenian government which does not mean to criticize the Armenian statehood. If Diaspora will merge these two things and see no difference between current Armenian government and Armenia as a homeland or statehood, I don’t think it’s a right option.
  3. Save us from these crooks

    NO, I can’t agree when you say don’t bash Armenia, the fact of the matter is that all Armenian governments deserve severe bashing from the people for the mess they have put the nation in, from social justice, oligarchs charter, treacherous protocols which are still on the table not withdrawn, selling of our mother language to foreign language schools, Foreign policy which is so weak and  pussy footing issues where by all our rights are being tread upon, and rampant corruption at all levels from top to bottom.
    NO, I can’t close my eyes to all these sins and say everything is ok just because they are the government of the day, they need to be responsible and accountable which is not the case, or else we might say to all despots its ok continue your theft.
    NO, don’t expect people to swallow what is going on in Armenia, its totally out of order, they just pay lip service to the Diaspora in reality there is nothing tangible, they want to control the Diaspora its their real aim.

    They are a bunch of corrupt crooks hiding behind patriotic slogans.

    1. Amateur Experts
      Dear Mihran, the editorial didn’t ask that we close our eyes to the misdeeds of the government of Armenia. Neither did it say that we should swallow what’s going on in Armenia. The editorial, I believe, said that rather than tossing futile stones at the government of Sarkissian, we should assist Armenia–the country. When commenting on Armenia, we should differentiate between the current government with the state of Armenia.

    2. Why should Armenia be different?

      I totall agree with you Mihran.  If the people will consider the president as the supreme commander and put all their trust in him and he is corrupt, then who should change this ‘dictatorship’ if not the people?!

      We should be able to use the power of revolution to correct a situation that most of the population is against it.  That will be total democracy that doesn’t even exist in USA.

      Also what you are describing Mihran is the exact situation of USA – "close my eyes to all these sins and say everything is ok just because they are the government of the day".  That’s how they treat the Commander-in-Chief, no matter whose puppet he is. They forget how he became a president on false promises and ‘paid’ campagns.

      Actually all governments of the world "are a bunch of corrupt crooks hiding behind patriotic slogans", so why do you think Armenia should be different?

  4. Save us from Amateur experts

    I agree with some parts of all of the comments you are making but it is essential for those of us of the Diaspora to offer criticisms even though it may be distressing to the powers to be. It is essential that the leadership shake off many of the inequities and defects of the communist system as it moves toward capitalism but  there must be caution that we not duplicate or emulate the evils of capitalism as we are seeing it in the U.S. right now.. There is a middle road which is best described as Democratic Capitalism, as espoused by Ray Carey, in which the worker gets a significant piece of the apple as they toil in the system. Carey puts it well when he states that Karl Marx and John Stuart Mill had it right in their diagnosis of the wrongs of the society in the 19th century but Karl Marx's solution was egregiously wrong whereas John Stuart had it right with his gradualism.

    Dick Bozian

  5. SS should put house in order
    Dear Vrej,

    First and foremost SS should put his house in order, stop all the criminal activities within his government, and then people will help him — not before.

    As far as helping Armenia I do by supporting poor people. That is the only way it gets in the hands of the needy. This lot can’t be trusted; it will sell everything and anything in order to stay in power.

    God help us all.
  6. We Need ALL Armenians
    Sir, Instead  Please  Advocate the following:

    1-Criticism  and  Unity — It  was  Healthy  Criticism  and   Unity  of   all  classes  of   Diaspora  Armenians (including Amateurs )   which  Caused    to  freeze   the  "ominous   protocols"  or  at  least  changed  the tone and  the policy of surrender of our  officials  in Yerevan.
    2- Without exception  every Armenian has the right to express his or her opinion
    3- Remember  in Avarair  the "Zealous" in  Sardarabad  the "Khents" and in  Artsakh  the "Amateur  Peasants" said the last word.
    4- Sir, If  our  President  Mr. Sargsyan  and  his administration  stop  corruption and oligarchy, and start selflessly  and courageously to defend  Armenia and Artsakh  people’s  full   rights, then be assured that all groups of Armenian people will support and admire him. 

    Armenians are very grateful people.

    Thank you,
    Dr. Babajanian, USA

  7. Armenia’s Constitution
    It’s a masterpiece. When does it go into effect?

  8. I agree with Mihran
    I agree with Mihran Keheyian.

    There is a saying attributed to Stephen Decatur: "My country: right or wrong," which is meant to denote loyalty to the last.

    This saying was later modified by Carl Schurtz into: "My country: right or wrong. If right, to be kept right. If wrong, to be set right."

    The latter is what I hope any good person anywhere, Armenian or not, would say if and when his/her leaders did things that were not in the best interest of the nation.

    In a democratic country, that is called "healthy dissent." In despotic regimes, it is called "treason."

    1. Amateur Experts
      Dear John,

      Since you are quoting American heavyweights, allow me to introduce you to a Canadian and international literary heavyweight–Prof. Northrop Frye of the University of Toronto. Not only was he a prominent Canadian literary figure, he was also internationally recognized as a master and original literary interpreter of the Bible, poets John Milton and William Blake. Although he was an authority on world literature, Frye rarely commented on the new-born Canadian literature. Frye said that he would never apply the same high standards he used to judge world literature to evaluating the literature of Canada. The author of the classic "Fearful Symmetry", said if he were to judge the nascent Canadian literature according to international standards, it would be a "huge debunking project, leaving Canadian literature a poor naked alouette plucked of every feather of decency and dignity."

      We all know that the Serge Sargssian regime is corrupt. But considering the dangers Armenia is facing, is it constructive to publicly tear apart Sargssian and his gang? As you probably know, the previous administrations were corrupt, too. They were criticized, just as Sargssian is being criticized now. Did the criticism achieve anything? I doubt it. Not criticizing SS and his gang at this time doesn’t necessarily mean we are being complacent.

  9. Stop, I’ve heard enough!

    Stop, I’ve heard enough! Stop talking!!

    If you truly want to make a difference, go to Building homes, communities and a homeland! Navigate the site and join a team. If not this year, then next.

    Your participation will provide the incentive for one more family to remain in Armenia. Maybe their children will help bring about the change that we all know the country needs. Criticizing, or criticizing those who criticize, does nothing but satisfy the petty psychological needs of armchair thinkers and wannabe diplomats. If you believe that your health doesn’t permit, then send your children, or grandchildren. Next to providing them with life, it will be one of their greatest experiences you can give to them. 

  10. Our relationship with Armenia

    Thank you for raising such an interesting and important topic. For most Armenians in the diaspora, we have lived with a very romantic notion of Armenia. It is the land (in my case) of our grandparents and is the country that our righteous and long suffering people have nurtured for over 3000 years. This perception was developed further by our frustration over the genocide and one of its major effects …. the creation of the diaspora.  Armenia in our hearts was the land of the successors to Tigran, Mesrob Massdots and Khrimian Hairig.

    There was no room in our dream state for problems like corruption or discord. In our perception, all Armenians got along and our incredible initiative was enough to overcome all problems.

    Somewhere along the way, we forgot that 70+ years of Soviet control has altered the work ethic and value system of our people. Survival in a centralized system was critical. To do that , new "skills" were acquired.

    When we "bash" Armenia, we forget the big picture that it will take a generation for new methods to be firmly in place. The church, a vital element in Armenian life fro over 1700 years was minimalized by the Soviets. Its resurgence will bring our traditional values back in the mainstream.

    Our job in the diaspora is to help; not control. It’s a long term project that needs our assistance. We have a chance to see the Armenia in our diaspora dream, but it will require us helping….even when we may not agree.

  11. Who is the author of this editorial???

    Does the author(s) of this editorial have a name?  Before I make a comment, I want to know who wrote this editorial and what facts and/or statistics they used to draw their conclusions.

  12. Our Purse in Equal Measure to Our Mouths

    Much like the rest of the readers, I also have read criticism of the government of Armenia. I have read them almost exclusively at our home, mostly while sitting comfortably on a couch or laying there, I have read them during the four seasons of the year when the air conditioning or the heat in our house have been on to provide me with the comfort that I now have grown to consider my God given right.

    Throughout these readings, my car has been in our garage at my disposition to use it at a moment’s notice. Oh, yeah, the refrigerator has been full to capacity and I am always remindful that I should not head there to break the monotony of my reading and be tempted to gulp soda, ice cream or maybe a beer. But I have always wondered what would I have done if I were in Armenia and unable to have ends meet and provide for my family the necessary sustenance and shelter. I bet I would have let the devil take me to bed, let alone Turkey.

    I am not against criticizing the Armenian government. However our purse should be in equal measure to our mouths. The late Senator Robert Byrd, the long-standing chairman of the Appropriation Committee said “The basic power, which is probably more fundamental than any other power in the Constitution, is the power of the purse. That power of the purse belongs to the people, and that is where it is vested.” Without vesting our purse in the people of Armenia, our words directed at their elected officials will remain hollow and inconsequential and so will the aspirations of the citizens of Armenia of fair and just governance will remain inconsequential to its elected officials.

  13. What is an Amateur Expert?

    If you are going to write an editorial that you want people to take seriously, then be less critical and more correct.

    I agree that criticism that does not correspond with reality would be inappropriate, although the criticism that I’ve been hearing from the Diaspora for the most part echoes that of the native population.

    Let me first start by stating that I am probably one of the most outspoken critics of the present and past Armenian governments today. I was not like this before moving to Armenia and at that time had such a positive outlook on life and the future that waited Armenia. I did just as you suggest in your editorial an Armenian who moves to Armenia should do. At that time I believed that good or bad, it’s ours and we have to support and protect it.

    What I came to realize after living in Armenia and Artsakh for a couple of years is that supporting something that is wrong is not helpful, but hurtful. I didn’t learn this just from my observations, but more so from the countless natives who told me to tell my fellow Diaspora Armenians to stop helping Armenia as it is not helping them but making some very powerful people who are suppressing them more powerful and more dangerous. I even have video of one such message that if you like to hear it for yourself I can send it to you.

    Our blindly supporting the criminal Armenian governments (starting with LTP), who I can say without a doubt in my mind are the worst criminals the Armenian nation has had to deal with since independence, was a really bad move on our part. I can say that they are not only thieves, but also cold blooded murderers who will not stop what they have been doing for decades to increase their power and influence until we cut them off and make it clear to them they have been cut off. Anyone who supports them also supports everything they do.

    If you want a dose of some well documented Armenian reality, backed up by facts, figures and NOT opinion, you can visit  Policy Forum Armenia and download report after report that documents what is really going on in Armenia today and was written by experts.

    May I also add that when I moved to Armenia, I was not a human rights activist, nor did that kind of work interest me. I became one after I realized that Armenia had a shortage of such needed interventions. I’ve been providing this service for the last 10+ years in hopes that I could help to level things out a bit and give the native population hope that all is not lost. And it would be safe to say that my being outspoken and pro-active in setting things straight in the way you suggest we should not, has had a positive effect on peoples lives and influenced change in laws and policy in Armenia.

    I have to tell you that after reading this editorial a couple of times and know what I know firsthand about Armenia and the issues that your editorial is trying to address, it sounds to me like this editorial was written by one of those amateur experts you think we need to be saved from.

    Ara Manoogian is a human rights activist representing the Shahan Natalie Family Foundation in Artsakh and Armenia, as well as a member of the Washington-based Policy Forum Armenia (PFA)


    1. Ara, you have earned the right to be an outspoken critic

      Ara Manougian, this editorial does not pertain to you or the likes of you. I read with fascination and much appreciation of your move to Armenia over 10 years ago. I read about the Shahan Natalie Foundation and your bio in the internet. You have earned the right to be “the most outspoken critics of the present and past Armenian governments”.  You have lived by the spirit and the challenge of the editorial. After all, you care so much about Armenia that you did pack and moved. This editorial is directed to the easy armchair critics of the ROA from the comfort of their surroundings  “8000” miles away.
      1. Vahe, I really don’t think


        I really don’t think that I have more of a right than those who have not done what I have in Armenia to speak out and voice their opinions.  As long as factual statements are being made and they are not inaccurate for the sake of causing harm to our nation, then everyone should and in fact does have the right to be heard. 

        I encourage everyone, even those who have never steppped foot on Armenian soil, but are in tune with what is going on in Armenia, to scream at the top of their lungs if need be, to denounce what is going on in Armenia and demand that it be stopped and those behind it, be it SS, RK and LTP be tossed in prison now. 

        The reality is that Armenia is not just the property of natives that live there, but it represents the identity of every Armenian in the Diaspora too.  For this reason, I think everyone and I mean everyone, especially those who know but keep quite, have an obligation to stand up and be heard.  Those who try to prevent this are doing a disservice to themselves and our nation.

        If you want to help people like me and respect what we have been doing, then stand behind us and collectively let us be heard.

        BTW, reading this editorial for the 3rd time, I feel that it really is not the opinion of the writer(s), but just a document that was written to see what people are thinking.  I say this as many things just don’t add up.  If this is the case, then I really feel that the writer of this editorial needs to apologize to us all, as this topic is so absurd and a waste of our valuable time that we could be using on better things.  On the other hand, there really could be people out there who are so misguided (possibly the writer(s) of this editorial) that this is a very serious issue that need to be addressed if we are going to be successful in building our nation on a stable foundation.

        I would ask that the author of this editorial chime in and do some explaining and refute what has been said if they don’t want to discredit themselves further.

        Also, on the topic of refuting and setting the record straight, I invite you to visit The Tuth Must Be Told  read and then if you agree, sign the petition that is posted there.

  14. Without exposing

    Without exposing, talking and debating these issues and than rectifying them don’t ever expect Armenia to go forward with any genuine positive results for the masses. We have accumulated a debt-mountain and rising. You can bet your last dollar that a big chunk of that debt has been pocketed by ministers, as they don’t know any better.
    Justice must be seen to prevail in the eyes of the public. We are nowhere near that; sadly we have become a banana republic. I go further and say that these criminal lot will give most of our liberated lands to the Azeris in the very near future, in order to look good in the eyes of US, and EU so that they can close their eyes to the fundamental human rights violations taking place now in Armenia. This will be treachery and they must be put on trial.
    Backing these lot means to back all these criminal activities and give them more appetite for more of the same.I have pointed the rest of the issues in my previous comments.
    The choice is yours.
  15. We’re “on the ground,” not in armchairs!

    Sireli Leo Manuelian and fellow ungers: many of us (who read Keghart and comment here) are critical of the ROA government and its policies travel to Armenia regularly and work or volunteer there, to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. We take offense that some may simply assume that anyone who speaks out in the Diaspora must be a fat cat who sits in judgment while not doing anything. Did it not occur to you that we who go to Armenia might see the rampant corruption up close and feel even more obligated to blow the whistle?

    1. We’re “on the ground”, not in armchairs!

      Haroutiun aghper –

      I assume that you are not speaking for all Keghart readers. You then, should not be offended by my comments. I welcome all others, who are offended by my comments, to become "part of the solution".

  16. Forget it, this country isn’t
    Forget it, this country isn’t moving forward.  I’ve lived here for over a year and EVERYONE lies and steals money.  That is all they think about.  A contract to Armenians means nothing, I worked and worked and they did not pay me, come to find out a lot of people are in the same boat as me.  They get their asses worked and not get paid.

    I don’t care for this country nor these people anymore since they don’t care for this country themselves nor their people.

    One life to live and it isn’t worth fighting for the most part a scumbag nation that thinks only about stealing money.

    The so called "Amateur Expert" is the one who sits home halfway accross the world and roots for Armenia in everyway and makes a donation of 100 a year to Nagorno Karabagh.  The real expert is the one who moves here and finds out the dirty reality.

    I’m sorry, but our race is not a good race.

    1. You are right
      Dear Sarkis,

      I have never met and I do not even know who you are. For ALL Ex-Soviet nationals any foreigner is a good cow to milk. I am indeed sorry to hear what you endured and appreciate the anguish. It is the same with Russians and Ukranians and they would simply do anything to save a penny or even kill you for a few more pennies.

      But think the other way round, living in a country that has not seen plenty, and I mean by plenty not just dollars and a few cars but plenty in the sense of financial and economic security. You were unfortunate to meet nasty people but as much as there are nasty people there are good people as well. The way around this stupidity is to work as foreign Armenian conglomerates and not to run into trouble yourself, because as I said you are a good bait and they just used you.

      Do not despair as our race has an Armenian honest face and a soviet corrupt face which still needs a lot of time to change.

    2. Amateur Experts
      To Sarkis Karapetyan.

      I have been to some 100 countries and seen what poverty can do to a society–no matter the religion, ethnicity or history.

      Poverty can drive people  to lying, cheating, stealing, prostitution, crime, and even to murder.

      Your broad-brush condemnation of the citizens of Armenia is cruel, infantile and unrealistic.

      I see you emailed your poison-pen letter from Georgia. I hope you are enjoying living in that treacherous state which, according to international surveys, is far more corrupt than your homeland.

    3. I’m sick of your …

      I’m sick of your … Stop pretending that you are an Armeinan….

  17. About the text

    I only want to say that I am proud to get my Armenian citizenship. I received my Armenian passport in the past month, June, in Yerevan. I am Armenian, despite being born in Sao Paulo, Brasil.

  18. Leo, remove your rose colored glasses

    Dear Leo:

    Over the course of 10 years, I volunteered my summers to work with a building organization (not Fuller) in rural Armenia. Diasporans worked closely alongside paid natives who, in turn, took advantage of our brotherly love. They stole anything that was not nailed down, including our building tools and belongings (we brought very little that was flaunt-worthy). Many lied with great finesse.

    These episodes were among the most disturbing of my life.  After many failed attempts on my part to ‘lead by example,’ I have concluded that Armenia needs the kind of rehabilitation that a penal system professional (and not I) can provide. My days there are done. I refuse to reward bad behavior and become sick in the process. I have watched the system in Armenia even those corrupt reformers who have tried to change it from within. 

  19. New war, any actions from the army?
    Dear all,

    There are some dramatic concentrations of forces in southern caucasus in preparation to strike Iran. Obviously they have come from Georgia and passed all the way to Azerbaijan. In analysis of recent events of the latest attack on Armenian land, I wonder what the armenian army is doing or planning to do?

    …Nowadays it is all about correct timing, timing which can come once every 50 years or even 100 years. In fact our neighbours who are big giants are going to pass through a big storm and all we have to do is steer the wind in our direction to profit ourselves.

    I sincerely hope that our army will eventually plan a massive attack and gain land in the aftermath of a storm cloud because this policy of defensive attrition does not work and in the end we will have to face a far bigger challenge.

    I hope to hear some comments, especially from the military.


  20. Correction
    My prior comment on this thread was intended to read:

    I have watched the system in Armenia even corrupt those we thought were incorruptible reformers who tried to change the system from within. 

  21. The Church and Corruption

    On this website I keep reading about GROSS corruption of Armenian government officials and of the general population.  If such is the case, and since the Armenian Apostolic Church plays a major role in Armenian life, what are clergy, especially primary church leaders, saying and doing about it?  Is the Church daringly prophetic against corruption … or is it submissive and compliant?  


  22. Church and Corruption


    Whether church leaders are submissive and compliant to corruption, the answer is a BIG YES..YES..and again YES….Not only they are compliant they are also practising corruption and thievery.

    I know a few wealthy individuals who have donated extremely big amounts to Etchmiadzin for specific purposes. Nothing has happened and the money has just vanished and no accounting is given. The church nowadays , instead of taking care of the poor, the needy, the sick, is trying to enlrage its real estate holdings….for what….Why build new churches in Yerevan when the country needs schools, hospitals? Why built a 15 million Church complex in Los Angeles when that money could be used for Armenian orphans?

    I am disgusted…..

  23. Re Eli Takesian’s Question

    Let me give you an example: The open air hall of Cinema Moscow (Kino Maskva) in Yerevan, an extremely popular edifice with residents, which had fallen into "seldom" use (whether or not out of any intentions, I frankly do not know), and which sits on, probably, THE MOST PRICEY lot in Armenia, was lately omitted, by the government, from the index of protected monuments, bypassing all legal procedures. The official explanation was ‘so that the holding company can give it as a “gift of no compensation” to the holy see for the purpose of building a church’ (obviously after demolishing the existing building).

    It was also announced that the site was chosen by The Donor (whose identity is carefully being kept secret). An additional explanation, much repeated, is that in pre-Soviet times a church used to stand nearby (with no mention of the mosque next to it).

    Many think that the alleged building of a church is just a pretext and soon facts like the lot’s disorientation, a shortage of funds for the other new church some 250 meters away, or something of the sort will pop up and the property will end up a business place (for the benefit of the “donor”).

    Some have actually voiced it over the TV. The cabinet took its decision despite a report by the ministry of culture to the contrary; and government insists upon it, ignoring the professional views of most specialist and signatures of some 70 000 Yerevaners, petitioning The Catholicos, the President, and just about anyone, to spare the hall; and even the vote of the Public Forum (a nonbinding yet highly prestigious, elected, social body) against demolishing.

    Some very high ranking officials of the church publicly called the (mostly young) activists “enemies of God” whereas all they say is ‘please build churches where there is a shortage (most of Armenia’s settlements) not in Yerevan’s CBD, where there are 5 (Surb Grigor Lousavoritch, Catoghike, Zoravor, Kond and Surb Sarkis) in a radius of less than 1200 Meters.’ It sounds very much like excommunication except that excommunicating 70 000 is not all that easy. Yet a property on Tumanyan and Abovyan streets is worth a try.

  24. Reply to Tsolin

    Tsolin- I am truly disturbed to hear of your experiences. I have volunteered with Habitat, and now Fuller, for six of the last seven years. I am presently sitting in the Moscow airport waiting for my connecting flight to Yerevan. This will be the sixth team that I have led. My experiences have been very fruitful and gratifying. There are other U.S. based team leaders who have shared my experiences. It might be the fact that the Armenian Fuller affiliate is beholden to a U.S. based organization who audits their books. Each team member also fills out an evaluation at the conclusion of the trip. If you ever recover from your experience, please, please try siging up for a Fuller team. -Leo

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