Sunday, November 19, 2006


photos by Onnik Krikorian

November 17th, 2006.
Ministry of Foreign Affiars, YEREVAN.

My fingers are numb and my nose is bright red from the cold, and I recall that last time I was standing here it was so hot outside that fellow protesters were complaining about the heat and trying to reassemble our picket line to fall within the shade of the trees.

We’re still speaking out about the same thing- 7 months later.

However, this is no tirade or complaint. I’m happy to see that there are young people here in Yerevan that WILL organize and protest again, and again. I answered to so many passers-by who said “this is useless,” “they aren’t going to stand up to Russia,” “they’re not going to listen to you,” “the government doesn’t care,” that we aren't necessarily here for immediate results, but voicing your concern is the fist step.

Encouraging widespread civic participation and convincing citizens of the efficacy of that participation is a large task, and I’m not expecting it to happen any time soon. But with every one, two, or dozen, of those passersby who were convinced by the pleas of our picketers to stop and sign the petition, we are making progress.

Pictured above are two of the organizers: Isabella, an articulate local activist with the Helsinki Committee, and Tamar, a good friend from Providence who has been doing research on youth and civil society the Fulbright for the last year and a half.

RFE/RL: Published on November 17, 2006


About three dozen young men gathered near the Armenian Foreign Ministry building on Friday to denounce the recent killings of ethnic Armenians in Russia and call for Yerevan’s official response to what they believe to be crimes committed on ethnic grounds. They said their previous protest actions near the Russian Embassy in Yerevan were followed by more murders of ethnic Armenians in Russia with clearly ethnic motives that they said had been covered up by Russian law officials as hooligan actions. This time around the young activists addressed their appeal to Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian.

“The Year of Armenia in Russia is being accompanied with brutal murders of young Armenians,” a letter addressed to Oskanian reads. “We are full of grief and anger with the criminal inaction under the pretext of the so-called complementary policy.” The letter was originally signed by nine activists. About 200 passers-by also joined in the demand by putting their signatures to the appeal.

One of the activists, Izabela Sarkisian, cited statistics according to which some 3,000 Armenians have been murdered in Russia in the past ten years. “All those murdered are qualified as hooliganism and not as murders on racist grounds. We call for Armenia’s clear stance on this matter,” she told RFE/RL. “We believe that under the constitution the Republic of Armenia has the obligation to take care of its every citizen and do everything for our compatriots to feel more secure in foreign countries.”

Head of the Ministry’s Russia Division Marina Balayan accepted the letter from the protestors and promised them to forward it to Minister Oskanian.

Also check out a short release printed the very next day:
Russian MFA Will Attain Detailed Investigation of Armenian Teenager Murder

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