November 29, 2018


The event marked the 30th anniversary of the devastating earthquake of 1988 in Armenia.

On November 28, 2018, an event entitled Chronicle of Compassion Gratitude Ceremony organized by the Armenian Embassy in Russia, Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and Aznavour Foundation took place at the Maxim Gorky Moscow Art Theatre. The event marked the 30th anniversary of the devastating earthquake of 1988 in Armenia.

Politicians, diplomats, public and cultural figures, participants of the rescue operations of the 1988 earthquake, Armenian and Russian businessmen took part in the event. Anna Hakobyan, wife of the acting Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan; Rector of the Moscow Aviation Institute, Mikhail Pogosyan; Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, Nikolai Ryzhkov; photographer Evgeniy Zhilyaev, who in 1988 was Deputy Commander of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology Rescue Squad; Spitak Script Writer, Marina Sochinskaya; Mikhail Kusnirovich, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Bosco di Ciliegi Group and Aurora Humanitarian Initiative supporter, attended the Ceremony along with many others.

Bowing to the memory of the victims of the earthquake, Armenians do not forget the dedicated people who have extended a helping hand to those affected, providing the means necessary at the time, just like in the years of Armenian Genocide. Through its history, the Armenian nation has not forgotten and has a special chronicle, referring to the people who helped others with their life. Russian people are among the highlights in that chronicle.

Through this memorial evening in Moscow, the Aurora Initiative, the Embassy of Armenia to Russia and the Aznavour Foundation aimed to express their gratitude to Russia and the whole world on behalf of the people of Armenia. “Gratitude in action” is the idea at the heart of the Aurora Initiative. Those who had benefited at the time continue the chain by extending a helping hand to those in need, embracing more and more people. 

“Armenia has never forgotten the people and nations that responded to the tragic days of Armenian history. Beginning from the Armenian Genocide to the Spitak earthquake, our history is replete with unique examples of catastrophe that elicited humanity and compassion. By expressing our gratitude to the Russian people, we not only convey our acknowledgement to the whole world, but announce our willingness to stand for those in need”, said Vardan Toghanyan, Armenia’s Ambassador to the Russian Federation.

“During World War II, my father’s parents hid Jews and adversaries of fascism in their house. Even the threat of death didn’t prevent them from helping people. My father was among the first to respond to the tragic events of 1988 and take action. On that very same night, together with Georges Garvarentz they wrote the song Pour toi Arménie (“For You, Armenia”), bringing together artists from France, USA, Italy; later many more joined. Individuals who can assemble compassionate people are guarantors of the development of our future,” said Nicolas Aznavour, co-founder of the “Aznavour” Foundation.

“This event can become a universal symbol inspiring social transformations and support. In the words of the great writer Elie Wiesel, “the opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.” One can be dead because of indifference before actually dying. If we want to change our society and are steadfast to do everything to ensure better conditions for the future generations, we need to show to the world the importance of compassion, that inspires and moves forward the heroes of our time. That’s Aurora’s mission,” co-founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative Ruben Vardanyan noted.


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