Commentary: Squandered Opportunity?: Armenia, Georgia, Abkhazia, Russia, and the Sochi Olympics

The 2014 Sochi Oympics in Russia are due to start just a week from this Friday. Yet, when I was in Yerevan recently, I was somewhat surprised to see a total absence of discussion on the upcoming games. After all, Yerevan is located only 500 miles away from Sochi. Would not the Armenians stand to…

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

From all of us here at the Abovyan Group, merry Christmas and happy holidays! It should be noted that Armenian Christmas is typically celebrated on January 6, though New Year’s is generally a bigger deal in Armenia, Georgia, Russia, and much of the former USSR.  An annual viewing of the 1976 Soviet comedy film Ирония…

A Lost Soviet Armenian Film

During Soviet times, the cinema industries of Georgia and Armenia proved to be veritable powerhouses not only within the USSR but internationally as well.  Great filmmakers such as Tengiz Abuladze, Sergei Parajanov, Artavazd Peleshyan, and Otar Iosseliani and performers like Sofiko Chiaureli and Frunzik Mkrtchyan effectively put the Caucasus on the map as a major…

The Mother of All Statues

“Heavy Metal Motherland.” Historian Nina Tumarkin coined this term in The Living and the Dead to describe the woman-as-nation statues that rose across Soviet republics during and after World War II. Best known and often recalled are Kiev’s “Mother Motherland” (1981) and Volgograd’s “Motherland Calls” (1967), two gargantuan figures crowning memorial centers to the Great…

40th Anniversary of an Armenian Soccer Victory

40 years ago today in 1973, history was made in Armenian soccer/football. On that day, in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, the Armenian football team Ararat smashed one of the strongest teams in the entire USSR – Dynamo Kiev from Ukraine. Levon Ishtoyan kicked two goals and Armenia won the Soviet Cup 2:1. The monumental…