Author: Maxim Edwards
Maxim Edwards is an Editorial Assistant at openDemocracy Russia. He has worked in Armenia and Tatarstan and writes on inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations in the post-Soviet space. He was formerly Opinion Editor of the Kazan Herald, and his writing has been published with Al-Jazeera, the Forward, Ajam, and Roads & Kingdoms among others. He tweets as @MaximEdwards.

On September 3rd, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan made a “surprise declaration” – as it is still sometimes referred to – that he would bring his country into the new Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) alongside Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia. Of course, it should have been anything but that. (More…)

“My nation is Yezidi, my language is Ezdiki, my religion is Sherfedin” reads a poster in Cyrillic script on the wall of a Yezidi family home in Zovuni, a village on the outskirts of Armenia’s capital of Yerevan. A portrait of the tomb of Sheikh Adi in Lalish, northern Iraq – a major pilgrimage site for Yezidis – hung on the wall beneath it. (More…)

At the foot of the White Cliffs of Dover, the slogan No Border. No Controlgreets those taking the elevator up the bluffs, or viewing them from the Channel. With inimitable frankness, the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) displays the same such sentiment to the City of London as well, tucked away a little awkwardly on a brick wall along Great Eastern Street. (More…)

Given the current state of affairs in Ukraine, it’s hardly surprising that the Georgian-born Armenian filmmaker Sergei Parajanov should yet again court controversy from beyond the grave. (More…)

“So how are you leaving Armenia?” Levon asked, with a smile. After six months in Yerevan, I was soon to return home. I regretted my decision. Levon, the composite character of Syrian-Armenian refugee and kebab stall owner I had come to know during my stay, was arranging triangular Khachapuri, Georgian cheese pastries, on a baking tray. When tessellated, he grinned at his handywork, then up at me. (More…)

On July 27th, 1983, the Turkish Ambassador’s residence in Lisbon was seized by militants of the Armenian Revolutionary Army, following a failed attempt at storming the embassy. After a standoff with 170 Portuguese riot police, the building was blown up, killing the four ARA fighters inside, one Portuguese policeman and Cahide Mıhçıoğlu, wife of the embassy’s charge d’affaires. (More…)

Du kap unes! (You’re in touch!) So read the adverts for Armenia’s VivaCell-MTS telephone network, one of the country’s major mobile providers. Telecommunications in the south Caucasus republic are dominated by Russian firms MTS and Beeline, which were joined in 2009 by France’s Orange. All three companies have impressive network ranges, shown in their offices as bright red arteries winding through relief maps, from Vanadzor all the way to Meghri. (More…)

There’s been a chilling feeling of déjà vu in Yerevan since the Ukrainian government’s decision to opt out of the EU Association Agreement. Though, as in the Ukraine, many Armenians depend on links to Russia for their livelihood, those who prefer a European course sense that Ukrainian demonstrators are managing to do what Armenians cannot. (More…)

The tourist season had long since left Gosh. It packed its souvenirs and memories and returned to Yerevan, squeezed into a vacuum-packed minibus. At least that’s how I got here. Gosh, a village of just over one thousand people, at the end of a small valley in Armenia’s heavily wooded Tavush Province, is known for its twelfth century monastery of Goshavank, burial place of the founder, monastic scholar Mkhitar Gosh. (More…)

A moustachioed face emerged from a bundle of coats and scarves. Levon, talkative as ever, is warming his hands to the festive glow of a slowly rotating Döner kebab at Café Aleppo, Yerevan. Shwarma can take a while to prepare, especially with numb fingers. Business could be better. Customers don’t hang around in the cold weather. (More…)

Nadya Sadoeva owns Dimitrov. Well, the concrete bust of him anyway. The village of the same name, formerly known as Koilasar, lies in Armenia’s Ararat Province, not far from the regional centre of Artashat. I’ve visited this region of Armenia several times over the past few months in my research into the country’s Assyrian community. (More…)

“I’ve driven to Yeraskh more times than I can count,” says Artash, Yerevan veterinarian and part time tour guide. “It always amazes me.” Mount Ararat, on one of those crisp Armenian autumn days, is visible from the city’s centre. Cynics might, and do, see it as Turkey looming over what remains of the Armenian state. (More…)