News and Views (May 28, 2012)
News & Views is a weekly summary of some of the week’s most important stories, links and material of interest to Ararat readers.
— In case you missed it, Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky’s “View of Constantinople and the Bosphorus” (nd) sold for £3,233,250 / $5,215,556 at the April 24th Sotheby’s auction in London. The painting went to “an anonymous buyer on the telephone, following spirited bidding from at least five bidders in the saleroom and on the telephones,” according to Art Market Monitor. It is the highest price ever paid for a work by the famed 19th C. Russian-Armenian painter.
— One of the last vestiges of the historic Kond district of Yerevan will be pulled down. A video (in Arm.) captures some of those remnants that will be no more. The blogger writes:
In many cities of the world that I’ve visited, such historical buildings have been renovated and restored, turned into a main tourism attraction. Yerevan’s current rulers, however, with their lack of taste and understanding of heritage, only seem to think that tall, glass and concrete buildings deserve to represent this ancient city.
Related a historic market on Mashtots Avenue in Yerevan is being torn down.
— Tim Judah reviews Thomas de Waal’s 2012 book, The Caucasus: An Introduction, for The New York Review of Books. The article gives a flavor for the writer’s travels around Armenia and concludes with this chilling line:
Azerbaijan, for its part, poured over $3.3 billion into its military forces in 2011, more than Armenia’s entire state budget. No wonder Thomas de Waal calls Nagorno-Karabakh “a sleeping volcano.”
— The AFP news agency reports on the anti-LGBT violence in Yerevan and mentions:
Worryingly for Yerevan’s lesbians and gays, extremists seemingly untroubled by the possibility of arrest have kept returning to the gutted bar to spit on the walls and throw cigarette butts.
— And possibly related, there have been reports of hate crimes against transvestite sex trade workers in Yerevan but, Unzipped cautiously points out, there are “two positive aspects” to the story:
1. Sex workers reported the incidence to the police (in absolute majority of similar cases in past, crimes remained unreported).
2. Police acted swiftly to identify suspects.
— A powerful explosion today in Yerevan killed two women. The report mentions that the industrial plant in Yerevan is cooperating with the Armenian Ministry of Defense.
— Armenia boycotted the NATO summit in Chicago last weekend. Why? Eurasianet presents two possible reasons:
Armenia is Russia’s economic and military protégé in the Caucasus, and some Armenian wonks believe that President Serzh Sargsyan was a no-show in Chicago as a courtesy move to the Kremlin.
But Yerevan says that the real turn-off for Sargsyan was the gathering’s reiteration of the alliance’s commitment to the territorial integrity of nations. In plain words and as far as Armenia is concerned, this means it should let Azerbaijan take back Sargsyan’s native land of breakaway Nagorno Karabakh.
— The peculiar story of the 60 Armenian diamond cutters in the Canadian north.
— The Armenian Mirror-Spectator has a report from last week’s Heritage Park dedication in Boston, which features a large abstract sculpture by architect Donald Tellalian as a central feature. The article mentions:
The tone was two-fold: celebrating immigrants and their success by making this $6-million gift to the City of Boston, while remembering the victims of the Armenian Genocide.
— US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be briefly visiting Armenia on June 4. Reports suggest Iran and democracy will be the focus of the meeting.
* * *
News & Views is published every week. It is a summary of the week’s most interesting, provocatiove and thought-provoking links to articles, videos, photos and commentary of interest to the readers of Ararat.