Tag Archives: Armenia

Europe & Eurasia Research | Religious & Belief Minorities

Religion and National Identity in Eastern Europe and Eurasia

The Pew Research Center recently conducted a survey on the relationship between religious and national identity in Eastern European and Eurasian countries, noting changes in the way that religious identification has influenced national identity since the fall of atheist fundamentalism with the USSR. For religious and belief minorities—now including atheists—the relationship can be a troubling one, particularly as resurgent nationalism in the region has been accompanied by xenophobia and religious discrimination.

Here are highlights from the findings:

70% (Orthodox-majority) / 57% (Catholic-majority)

Average among countries who believe majority religious identity is very or somewhat important to national identity

82% (Armenia)
81% (Georgia)
78% (Serbia)
76% (Greece)
74% (Romania)
66% (Bulgaria)
63% (Moldova)
57% (Russia)
51% (Ukraine)
45% (Belarus)

Percentage within Orthodox-majority countries who believe Orthodox religious identity is very or somewhat important to national identity

64% (Poland)
58% (Croatia)
56% (Lithuania)
43% (Hungary)

Percentage within Catholic-majority countries who believe Catholic religious identity is very or somewhat important to national identity


Religious Belief and National Belonging in Central and Eastern Europe (Pew Research Center | May 2017)

Armenia Feature | Blind & Visually Impaired

Raising the Voices of the Visually Impaired in Armenia

As the Internet has created new channels for the inclusion of marginalized communities, people with disabilities in particular have looked to the technology as a chance to discover and create new, accessible labor and creative opportunities. In Armenia, government agencies and international NGOs have worked together to promote information literacy and use among blind and visually impaired Armenians. One new program, Radio MENQ, has bridged the technical with the creative, offering blind and visually impaired people the chance to work as presenters and sound technicians for an internet radio station focused on issues and interests of relevance to the visually impaired community. Global Voices sat down with two of the project’s leaders to discuss the history and future of Radio MENQ and how opportunities like the station help combat pervasive unemployment and marginalization in the community.

How is Online Radio Helping to Empower Visually Impaired People in Armenia?” (Global Voices)

(Image Credit: via Global Voices)

Armenia News | Yazidis

Largest Yazidi temple in world in plans to be built in Armenia
  • Funded by a Moscow-based Yazidi businessman, the temple (Quba Mere Diwane, or “All Will Come Together”) is set to be built in the village of Aknalich, near the Armenian capital of Yerevan.
  • Though set to be the physically largest, the most theologically sacred temple will continue to be Lalesh, a pilgrimage site located north of Mosul in northern Iraq.
  • Yazidis are one of the largest ethnic minority groups in Armenia, with their community expanding as the global diaspora has ballooned in the wake of systematic persecution by the Islamic State.

Read more:
Armenia to House World’s Largest Yazidi Temple” (EurasiaNet)
World’s largest Yazidi temple under construction in Armenia” (The Guardian)
Largest Yazidi Temple to Be Built in Armenia” (The Armenian Weekly)

(Image Credit: Maxim Edwards via The Guardian)

Europe & Eurasia Research | LGBTI

The State of LGBTI Security in Europe

ILGA-Europe recently released its annual report on the state of LGBT rights and security across the Europe. Covering developments in individual countries and transnational institutions from 2015, the report notes increasing legal protections for gender minorities and family and partnership rights for sexual minorities in Southern and Western Europe as well as ongoing political exclusion, persecution, and violence in Eastern Europe and Eurasia. Here are some of the highlights:


Rated the most progressive European country, Malta’s groundbreaking law prohibiting surgical intervention into a person’s sex characteristics without consent and inclusive education policies for trans, intersex, and other gender minorities were cited as distinctive policies.

Finland, France, Greece, Ireland

Other countries with significant judicial or policy victories regarding the rights of gender minorities.

Ireland, Luxembourg

Countries extending marriage rights to same-sex couples

Cyprus, Greece

Countries extending civil partnership rights to same-sex couples

Austria, Portugal

Countries extending adoption rights to same-sex couples

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia

Bottom three countries for LGBTI security

Armenia, FYR Macedonia, Slovenia

Countries blocking same-sex marriage rights

Hungary, Montenegro, Russia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine

Countries denying, limiting, or antagonizing organization and assembly rights of LGBTI civil society groups

Annual Review of the Human Rights Situation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex People in Europe 2016 (ILGA-Europe)

Rainbow Europe
Azerbaijan worst place to be gay in Europe, finds LGBTI index” (The Guardian)
Which EU states are out of touch on gay marriage?” (euronews)

Armenia News | Syrian Refugees

A Spice of Home in Yerevan

Despite facing economic and cultural difficulties in integrating into their new home, Syrian refugees in Yerevan have injected new life to the culinary scene of the Armenian capital. Many are ethnically Armenian but have drifted linguistically and culturally from the Armenians of the Caucasus, providing a cultural silver-lining to the tragedy-driven reunion. EurasiaNet reports on refugees’ efforts to acclimate and the unique economic opportunities Yerevan’s restaurant scene offers.

Read more:
Syrian Refugees’ Cuisine Helps Spice Up Armenia” (EurasiaNet)

Additional reading:
Syrians in Armenia: Not just another refugee story” (Al Jazeera)
Aleppo Market: Syrian Armenians bring ‘new flavor’ to Yerevan trade” (ArmeniaNow)

(Image Credit: Emma Grigoryan/EurasiaNet)

Armenia Feature | Mental Illness & Misattributed Identity

Armenia’s Mental Health Problem

Taking the hard tack of institutionalization to handle its citizens with mental illnesses, Armenia has found itself subject to numerous human rights inquiries and accusations from some of the institutionalized claiming false imprisonment. Institutionalization has been wielded in disputes, taking advantage of faults in the legal process that deny those accused of being dangers to themselves or others the right to defend themselves. A condemnation of treatment practices promoting the weaponization of mental health diagnoses, the Guardian‘s report on the defects in Armenia’s mental healthcare system highlights the danger that comes with marginalizing people with mental illnesses.

Read more:
‘They locked me up and left me’: Armenia’s outdated mental health laws” (The Guardian)

Additional coverage:
Armenia: Report Details Psychiatric Hospital Abuses” (EurasiaNet)

(Image Credit: Emma Grigoryan/The Guardian)

Armenia News | Women

Armenian ministry proposes ban on sex-selective abortion along with additional restrictions
  • The Ministry of Health submitted the bill to parliament at the beginning of July, hoping to become the first country to enact the protective measure in the South Caucasus.
  • The ban would require doctor’s consent for all abortions between the 12th and 22nd weeks of pregnancy and would require counseling and a three-day waiting period.
  • One estimate puts the number of sex-selective abortions at 2,000 per year, producing a male-to-female birth ratio of 114 to 100, the third highest in the world.

“Having a son is one of the most important issues for many Armenian families, and I highly doubt that it will be possible to get results [and end selective abortions] by using prohibitions.”

Read the full story at EurasiaNet.

(Image Credit: Anahit Hayrapetyan/EurasiaNet)