Armenian Bloggers initiate boycott of Vneshtorgbank

Armenian bloggers have initiated a boycott of VTB Bank Armenia and are inviting everyone to join the action. Better known as “Savings Bank of the Republic of Armenia” (Armsavingsbank) was founded

in 1923 and was the pillar of Soviet Banking system and law obedient Soviet citizens were encouraged to hold their savings there – which was one of the reasons, why after the collapse of the USSR and downfall of the Soviet Ruble it had huge depts to Armenian citizens. In fact it ows me, personally – about 2000 Soviet Rubles. In Kocharyan era the bank was sold to Armenian oligarch of Karabakh origin – Mika Baghdasaryan for a ridiculously small amount of money, to be soon resold to Russia’s Vneshtorgbank.
The couse of blogger discontent lies in the fact, that as part of it’s bid for acquiring the Azerbaijan’s AF-Bank, VTB have forced their Armenian subsidiary to close down their branch in Nagorno-Karabakh. Clearly – this is politics intruding into business, so bloggers are urging everybody to close their accounts at VTB.
Yet another cause of the action is the fact, that VTB is providing loans to the Armenian Copper Program (ACP), which plans to clear-cut over 1,500 acres of Teghut’s forest in order to establish an
open pit strip mining operation for copper and molybdenum ore.
The bloggers are urging everyone to also write letter to VTB indicating these two as reasons for their frustration with bank’s activities, as well as avoid making utility payments via VTB, which is so far one of the prime choices for making water, electricity and communication services payments in Armenia.
The Armenian Observer blog is joining the action and is urging everyone to do so as well.

New Year and Christmas Are The Favourite Holidays of Armenian Bloggers Too

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Yerevan, Republic of Armenia © Onnik Krikorian / Oneworld Multimedia 2008
Hundreds of greetings and congratulations were written on the Armenian blog pages this New Year and Christmas, and flew into html browsers and RSS readers – to be read and understood and taken for granted.
The Armenian Patchwork and Oneworld Multimedia have met the New Year with photos of festive Yerevan.
The complaints were all forgotten: about New Year expenses and the obligation to visit all relatives and friends, even those you don’t really want to visit. The Armenian blog-nation sounded well fed and drunk and generally happy.
Apart from reciprocal courtesy visits and spending noisy New Year’s Eve, Armenian Bloggers also like spending the first night of the year watching TV – so they can have something to discuss at A1plus blog 😉
Armenian blogger Simon Blogian reports, that during his official address to the Azeri nation, the president of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliev has said the following about the Karabakh Armenians: “If the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh want to self-determine, they should do that within the framework of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. If they don’t want that, they should leave Nagorno-Karabakh and create their second state elsewhere.” In response Blogian has wished, that the grave of I. Aliev’s father – Heidar Aliev “is bulldozered and reduced to dust”, as a reminder of the destruction of Armenian cemeteries in Nakhijevan and elsewhere in Azerbaijan’s territory. According to the blogger, Azerbaijan’s president I. Aliev will only be able to perceive what Karabach means to Armenians and understand, that “as far as there is one Armenian alive in this world Nagorno-Karabakh will never become part of Azerbaijan.”
JLiving notes blog wishes everybody a happy new working year, while Nm_work complains on Christian SPAM – having received an SMS message from The Holy See (religious centre of all apostolic Armenians) with the following content: “Christ was born today.” While the blogger notes, that in a predominantly Christian country it is OK for the Church to send out such messages, he still finds it unpleasant to be awakened at 9:17 on a holiday by an apparently unsolicited message.
At any rate New Year and Christmas holidays are over, and I happily join JLiving notes and wish you a happy working year.

Serge Sargsyan Responds to Levon Ter-Petrossian

Prime-Minister Serge Sargsyan responded to some of the points made by Levon Ter-Petrossian during the opposition rally on November 16, 2007.
Speaking of the 3 year time period, Levon Ter-Petrossian said he needed to put things in normal and then resign from politics, Serge Sargsyan remarked: “Perhaps he thinks, that 3 years are enough to surrender Karabakh. For me the thoughts pronounced in his speech were very strange, but then, it is up to each one of us to decide, what to say and what suggestions to make“.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s a pity that Serge Sargsyan decides for himself “what to say and what suggestions to make”, because when he does it, it’s usually not coherent (remember the lapse about Armenians being the easternmost Christian nation in the world?).
We were just discussing the recent speeches with my collegue, Ashot Melikyan, the Chairman of the Committee to Protect Freedom of Speech, and he was remembering, how, Levon Ter-Petrossian spoke about freedom of speech in the times of his rule, whereas ARF-Dashnaktsutyun 13 media outlets were shut down during his time for their political orientation.
Similarly, Serge Sargsyan, Prime-Minister, a political figure who should be best prepared to answer with facts, figures and political prognoses, prefers to respond by claiming, that Levon Ter-Petrossian will “surrender Karabakh”, which is a dirty trick, to say the least, because at this point we haven’t yet heard Ter-Petrossian’s new proposals about Karabakh, and nobody has any ideas, what exactly LTP will propose as regards the Karabakh issue, as to the old suggestions, which were stated in the article “War or Peace”, I can state, that concessions and compromise do not necessarily mean “surrendering Karabakh”.
It really is a pity, that the quality of political debate is so low in Armenia, and it seems, that issues will once again be the last thing on candidates minds when campaigning for the 2008 Presidential election.

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