“Family Values” Group Pickets French Embassy in Armenia

News from Armenia:

 A picket in support of the French fighting for family values was held in front of the French embassy in Yerevan on Wednesday.

…The picket “against preponderance of gay propaganda” has been organized by the all-Armenian parent committee.

A couple of photos from the picket can be seen here; it looks like about 30 to 50 people attended, holding banners of the same kind that were seen at the large-scale anti-same sex marriage demonstrations that took place in Paris and Lyon earlier this month (in particular, signs claiming that equal marriage is “familiphobie“).

The protests in France (a nascent “French Tea Party”, according to Interior Minister Manuel Valls) were also against the teaching of gender theory in schools, and the “all-Armenian parent committee” was formed last summer with a similar concern about a gender equality law. Armenian news-site Tert reported at the time:

The Law on Gender Equality poses a threat to Armenian families, publicist Lia Avetisyan, Assistant Professor at the Department of Divinity, Yerevan State University, Vardan Khachatryan, priest Grigor Hovhannisyan, and Coordinator of the all-Armenian parental committee Arman Boshyan told a press conference on gender equality.

Grigor Hovhannisyan has links with opposition forces; when Heritage Party leader Raffi Hovhannisyan ended a hunger strike amid anti-government protests in 2011, his clerical namesake was on hand with some consecrated bread with which he could break his fast in a suitably theatrical manner.

Avetisyan, meanwhile, is known for some eccentric opinions: according to reports, she has claimed that “Armenians saved the humanity from cannibalism” (apparently in response to a claim that some Armenian dishes may have their origins elsewhere), and that the materialism of Valentine’s Day has led to a situation in which “one has a beautiful wife but buys a rubber girl.”

Boshyan followed up with another press conference a couple of months later, this time with pro-Russian Finnish “dissident” Johan Bäckman. According to Aysor, Backman told journalists in Yerevan that

“The gender policy is a war against humanity, with fascist methods being used… Unfortunately the main ideology of the EU consists in homosexuality, which has become a specialty for many European officials”

He and Boshyan “signed a memorandum on cooperation on the fight against gender policy”.

Bäckman is better known for his fulminations against “anti-Russian” forces in his home country and in other Baltic states, and in 2009 he took part in a demonstration in Helsinki with members of Nashi, the Russian “Putin Youth” group. One of his targets at that time, a political scientist named Iivi Anna Masso, has some background context here.

Bäckman’s twin obsessions come together in his concern for the alleged plight of Russian women who marry Finns, which is a theme I’ve previously seen in Russian anti-gay rhetoric. His most recent thoughts appeared last week in Pravda, where he explained that people become gay as “a profession”, and that Europe, like Sodom and Gomorrah, is on course to become “the Dead Sea”.

An article from September in the Armenia Weekly by Samson Martirosyan has some more general background: “The ‘Gender Equality Law’ Hysteria in Armenia“.

(H/T to this forum post for some of the links)

Name variations: pan-Armenian parent committee; all-Armenian parental committee; Arman Boshoyan; Արման Բոշյան

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