Weekend Update: New Armenian Church opens in Moscow; Yerevan hosts EXPO 2013; police’s statement over attacks on civil activists

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan will take part in the ceremony of the consecration of the new Armenian Cathedral, a complex of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Moscow, Russia, on September 17.

The construction of the Cathedral, the largest outside Armenia, started in 1996. After a long-term break, caused by the lack of financing, the construction was resumed in 2008. The height of the cathedral is 50 meters; the complex includes the Cathedral, the Holly Cross Chapel, the residence of the Bishop Yezras Nersissian – the Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Russia and New Nakhijevan, as well as an educational complex and a museum.

The case on Hrant Dink’s murder has not advanced but regressed, one of the lawyers representing the Turkish-Armenian journalist said, as the retrial is set to start next week, writes Hurriyet Daily News. “We are currently much further behind of the starting point of the trial,” Fethiye Çetin told reporters, explaining that the Supreme Court had defined the motive of the organization as “political” rather than “terrorist” in its verdict that led to the retrial of the case. (Earlier this month Çetin published a book about the unknown facts of the case). Dink, the renowned editor-in-chief of Agos, was shot dead in front of his office in Istanbul in January 2007. The Supreme Court of Appeals had overturned the acquittals of top suspects, including Yasin Hayal, who was charged with being the instigator of the assassination and the “leader of a terrorist organization.”

Armenian police issued another statement in which it called groundless the accusation of inaction leveled at law-enforcement bodies on the disclosure of the recent attacks against the civil activists by unknown people. “Such an accusation does not correspond to reality,” says the statement, which represents a report of the works done in this direction. The statement says that immediately after the incidents all necessary measures were taken. The investigation on the crimes against civil activists is directly under the control of the Chief of Police. “Police are doubly concerned about the repetition of these criminal acts,” reads the statement.

According to Armenian Education Minister Armen Ashotyan, there may be unrecognized states on the map of Europe’s education, but the people who live in those states also have the right to be engaged in international educational programs. “Political problems should not affect the fundamental human right to education. I think this issue should be the subject of a special discussion on the international arena,” said Ashotyan during the meeting with Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. Vassiliou, noting that the EU-Armenia cooperation is effective, emphasized that the political processes should not affect the cooperation in the field of education. “Strengthening ties in the field of education was and remains a priority for us,” she said, expressing hope that Armenia with its registered successes and experiences in the Bologna process will be useful for the countries of Eastern Partnership as well as for other countries.

According to the Armenian Sociological center "Sociometer” most of the Armenian population has always had pro-Russian sentiments and only 25 percent are oriented to the West. Aharon Adibekyan, the head of the center, explains the pro-Russian sentiment in the society by the traditional ties with Russia and its significant investments in Armenia. “If Europe really wanted to strengthen friendly relations with Armenia over the past 10 years, it could have made investments in Armenia, some 50 billion euros and thus change the public opinion,” said Adibekyan. According to the sociologist, Europe was shocked by the news on Armenia’s entry to the Customs Union, but now Europe accept the reality as it has realized that Armenia did not have an alternative and is ready to find new ways of collaboration with Armenia.

“Armenia EXPO 2013", the 13th regional trade and industrial exhibition was held in Yerevan September 13-15. It was organized by the Union of Manufacturers and Businessmen of Armenia and the LOGOS EXPO Center. The Armenian president and prime minister visited the exhibition, where more than 100 companies from Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Russia, Belarus, Iran, Germany and other countries were presented. “This regional exhibition has already become a nice tradition. We see it as a platform that will enable our country to open new ways of economic growth, since here are the companies with new ideas, which look for new business partners and want to establish ties with international companies,” said Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan.