Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Tip for the day: How to fight corruption

There are many unpleasant places and people in institutions that sometimes you just have to deal with. One of those unpleasant places for me has been OVIR. I absolutely dread going to this place. So don't many Armenians as well. For those of you who are not familiar with this place, I'm actually not sure as to what the acronym spells out to but I know that this is the place where Armenians and foreigners must go in order to receive visas, residence visas, passport renewals and such documents. It is extremely bureacratic and the first time I went to this place, I left the building crying. Let's just say this place is not very freindly to its "customers."

I've decided to apply for the 10 year Armenian passport which would allow me to come back and forth to Armenia without needing a visa each time. Thus, I'm going through the process and getting the required paperwork to do this. There is one document they require which is a letter which explains what I am applying for and to whom and for what reason. Many of the Armenians have also told me about this. In fact, a lawyer friend of mine said that they ask for 1,000 trams (about $2-3) for writing a letter on a blank piece of paper by hand. It's really not very difficult, all I had to do was write in Armenian (which I can do, also to my advantage) that I am seeking a 10 year passport and the reason. Some Armenians have become smart about this and realized that they can do this themselves and were asking who they should write the letter to and actually writing the letters themselves.

But what my lawyer freind also told me was that they do not have the right to ask for this 1,000 trams because they do not have a machine in which they can print receipts. Thus, this person who cannot print "receipts" or "checks" or even place a stamp on a hand-written document, does not have the right to ask for money. So her advice was to ask for a receipt every time I pay money.

I took her advice and it worked. The woman asked for the 1,000 trams and I said, that's fine I just need a receipt. She said, well I can't really give you a receipt this and that. I explained, well I can't really pay you unless you can provide me with a receipt. She gave up really quickly and gave me the letter and told me to go up to the second floor.

So if there is one hint I can give to you all, it's this. If you feel like you are doubting whether or not you should be paying money for something, ask for a receipt or "check" or a stamped document that shows that you paid this money.

Really, the 1,000 trams is not much but it's just the principle. I am just not willing to support the corruption in the system and in these not-so-pleasant places.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Che wants changes

Hi to everyone!
Tamar has done another good thing and invited us to contribute ArmYouth blog. ArmYouth blog gives us another chance to express and share our ideas and thoughts concerning our reality. I would like to say that my English is not excelent and would like to make excuses for that, but I will try my best though I think that the most important is not how but what I am writing about. I look forward to writing about interesting things and share my ideas with all of you.

Ché

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Armenian Volunteer Blog

Anoush Tatevossian, Exec Director at Armenian Volunteer Corps has informed me of a blog they are keeping at AVC.

"We established this blog because it's important for the outside world to know what type of work and progress our volunteers are involved in. Armenia is a developing country and the presence of each volunteer leaves a footprint in the country's malleable future," explains Anoush.

To view the AVC blog ...

Armenian Volunteer Corps Blog




[ All photos are from Armenian Volunteer Blog website ]

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Armenian youth writing...




for those of you who are interested...
Right now I'm in the process of talking and inviting Armenian youth living in Armenia to become contributors to this blog. Occasionally you will have noticed that I had invited Armenian youth to write articles and they were very pleased to do so. However, I am now seeking to "get this party started" as they say.

There is now a Contributors section added to this blog. I, myself, will be posting as Akhtamar from now on.

I'm working on inviting the Armenian youth living in Armenia now and then my next step will be to invite Armenian Diasporan Youth to also contribute to this blog. So in the end, I am seeking to start a conversation not only among the Armenian youth here in Armenia but also with Armenians living in the Diaspora.

Should you be interested, kindly let me know. My email is tamarpalandjian@yahoo.com

So as the new contributors to this blog become established, I would like to preliminarily welcome you and say happy writing.

Cheers!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

AIPRG Dual Citizenship Conference

The Armenian International Policy Research Group (AIPRG) is pleased to invite you to attend an international conference on “Dual Citizenship: Alternative Arrangements, Economic Implications, and Social Dimension.” The conference will be held on June 17-18, 2006 at the American University of Armenia in Yerevan, located at 9 Alex Manoogian Street.

The conference will gather academic and policy specialists from a variety of fields and countries to discuss legal, economic, and social aspects of dual citizenship arrangements around the world and their alternative models. The conference agenda is attached for your information. This large international event is co-sponsored by UNDP-Armenia, Armenian Revolutionary Federation, Armenian Bar Association, Birthright Armenia, and American University of Armenia and will be held in collaboration with relevant government agencies and civil society groups.

Since sitting is limited, please confirm your participation by June 15 by calling (010) 52 87 23 or e-mailing Naira.Harutyunyan@armpolicyresearch.org. We will be happy to answer your questions.

For more information, please find attached the agenda of the conference and please check our website at AIPRG for more information about AIPRG and the upcoming conference.

We look forward to meeting you soon.


Yours respectfully,
AIPRG Team

Monday, June 05, 2006

Armenian Youth protest against murder of young Armenian man in Moscow



YEREVAN
Armenian youth gathered in front of the Russian embassy today to protest against yet another young Armenian man murdered in Moscow last week.

“A 19-year-old ethnic Armenian man was knifed to death on a Russian passenger train last week by a group of youths shouting "Glory to Russia", Ekho Moskvy radio station reported yesterday…A wave of killings and beatings in cities across Russia has raised concerns about the rise of racist groups in the country.”
– Reuters, May 31 2006

The Armenian Helsinki Committee and For Science Development Initiative Group organized the demonstration which began at 1pm.




There have been a few murders and racially motivated acts of murder committed against Armenians as of late. As this article on Groong points out, on April 22nd, Victor Abrahamiants was killed by these so called skinheads in Russia that would like to see "the Russian nation purified of all other peoples." Thus, this isn't something new that's happening and none of the authorities have come out with a statement condemning such actions. This was one of the purposes of the protest.

Organizers of the event signed and presented a statement to the Russian embassy and then after that protesters headed to the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to present a letter as well. The goal is to at least get the authorities to present a statement condemning such ethnically and racially motivated murders and to hold those who are guilty, responsible for their actions.

Statement

" The repeated occurrence of virulent racism and xenophobia in Russia in recent years is of great concern. In 2005 alone, 28 persons from ethnic groups other than Russian were murdered and another 402 such persons were assaulted and battered by racist groups. Targeted predominantly are persons who come from the Caucasus and Central Asia, with Armenians constituting a large number among those. Nationalist groups make anti-Armenian pronouncements. They committed ethnic hostility-motivated murders of six Armenian young men in 2006 in Moscow alone. Yevgeny Baghdassarian, Hayk Dolukhanian, Harutiun Galstian, Robert Feroyan and Vigen Abrahamiants were among their victims as was Arthur Sardarian, the most recent victim murdered on May 25.

The fact that racist and fascist groups operate in an unimpeded fashion and that criminal acts and murders go for the most part unpunished gives grounds to believe that the said groups operate under the patronage of certain State structures of the Russian Federation. We, the representatives of the Armenian non-governmental organizations and the citizens of Armenia, condemn strongly the actions of the racist groups raging in Russia and inadequate steps taken with respect to them and demand that the Russian Federation authorities should take prompt action to detain the murderers and to bring them to justice.

Helsinki Committee of Armenia"



MOSCOW
A1+ News
ARMENIANS OF MOSCOW ARE COMPLAINING
[02:09 pm] 05 June, 2006
The Armenian community of Moscow has started a series of rallies in memory of the victims of the skinheads. The organizers of one of the rallies were young people from the Armenian community of Moscow and the nearby areas.

Students and lecturers of the Moscow State University, representatives of NGOs and members of the Armenian Intellectuals' Union participated in the rally. By the way, the Union of Armenians in Russia refrained from participating in the June 3 rally saying that it was not allowed by the authorities, newspaper «Yerkramas» informs.

Let remind you that on May 25 19-year-old Arthur Sardaryan was killed. The experts think that the murder was committed at the present of at least 20 eyewitnesses/ On April 22 Vigen Abramyants was killed in the Moscow Underground. No one has been arrested up to day.


For other articles related to ethnically motivated killings in Russia:
30 RACIST MURDERS COMMITTED IN RUSSIA THIS YEAR - ARMENIAN DIASPORA LEADER

ANOTHER ARMENIAN YOUTH MURDERED IN RUSSIA

MURDER OF ETHNIC ARMENIAN IN MOSCOW: "BLOW ON RUSSIA'S IMAGE ON THE THRESHOLD OF G8 SUMMIT"

NATIONALISTS MURDER ETHNIC ARMENIAN IN COMMUTER TRAIN NEAR MOSCOW

UPDATE:

I was just informed of another fellow Armenian youth blogging about the event today
http://mkdotam.livejournal.com/156337.html