2019 January 10
All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law. Currency in Armenian Dram unless specified otherwise.
The Parliament staff has saved 404mln on 2018. The funds will be returned to the budget.
Parliament also saved 114,000 liters of fuel.
Government has dissolved another gov-funded organization - "Youth Festivals Organization" - and will transfer its duties to the Ministry of Sports and Youth. The move will save 30mln annually.
Prosecutors had earlier asked the presiding judge in Kocharyan bond hearing case to recuse herself because she has a record of recusing herself in the past during another March 1st related lawsuit, in which one of the sides was her family friend.
The judge has agreed to recuse herself. The hearing has been delayed. (Kocharyan wants to post bail and walk out.)
Former March 1st investigator Vahagn Harutyunyan, who is facing criminal charges for evidence tampering and assault, is facing more accusations by a Levon Ter-Petrosyan ally Vardan Ghavalbabunts (Վարդան Ղավալբաբունց). (LTP, Pashinyan and Ghavalbabunts were allies against Serzh's election on 2008).
Ghavalbabunts was arrested on March 16th for allegedly participating in a hooliganism and beating a cop (not during March 1st shootings, but earlier that day).
He claims he was trying to stop the crowd from hitting the cops after Pashinyan told the crowd to calm down, but the crowd continued to chase the cops. He allegedly helped the cops get inside a building. According to him, the cop later mistook (or purposely lied) that he was one of the assailants. He presented a video recording that would show he was helping the cops, but the judge refused to accept the tape. He was sentenced to 4 years in prison based on a single testimony by one police officer, before being released next year as part of an amnesty.
The day he was arrested, he told the law enforcement agents to watch the videos where he helped the cops. They did, and the same day decided to release him free. But then someone received a call, and he was taken to prosecutor's office, where March 1st investigator Vahagn Harutyunyan and few others allegedly begun to beat him and demand a false report about his immediate boss, who was a close LTP ally.
The doctor at the time recorded finding evidence of body injuries on him. Ghavalbabunts hopes the new authorities will re-open the case.
At least two persons have sued the Armenian government in EU Human Rights Court European Court of Human Rights for abuse of power on 2008, and won.
Last year Pashinyan promised to look into the suspiciously cheap land lease contracts to oligarchs and others near Lake Sevan. A new group has been formed today to investigate the issue and report to PM's office.
Education Ministry is working on a new draft document that will establish Code of Ethics for all teachers. Mainly about appropriate behavior, no abuse, no bribery, proper clothing, willingness to improve knowledge over time, etc. Full text is here..
Ministry of Transport held talks with the Russian counterpart around Russia's policy of modernizing its points of entry. Russia-Georgia border crossing was also discussed. The talks around building a substitute for Lars point of transit is continuing. Armenia is participating as a 3rd party in the negotiations.
Lars often gives problems to large trucks, especially during the winter, and isn't in a good shape to handle large traffic.
(personal blog of a traveler) http://pineappleexplorer.com/2016/08/12/georgia-russia-verkhniy-lars-border-crossing/
The Central Bank and the government cooperated to prevent large consumer price increase on 2018. The expected rise was 4%, but it ended up being 1.8%.
SOCIAL MEDIA WARFARE!
One of State Pedagogical University's new board member, who among others was appointed by Pashinyan, is accused of secretly running a social media campaign to boost high ranking HHK politicians' online status. Screenshots of the coordinated campaign are leaked.
An NGO "Civil Consciousness" has released a report suggesting Pashinyan's Facebook page has 2,000 fake followers which boosted his ratings and helped him during the revolution.
FIP has attempted to verify the claim by looking at the data provided by the NGO, and discovered that 72% of those 2,000 presumed fake accounts belonged to real users. The NGO only provided 625 examples of alleged fake accounts, while the article claimed 2,000.
Overall, 175 fake followers were confirmed by FIP. Some of these accounts were critical of Pashinyan and shared anti-PM materials, while some others had a primary goal of promoting paid products unrelated to PM. Only 47 of these 2,000 accounts were fake and had a record of routinely posting pro-PM comments under posts.
Because the NGO's article provided misleading data, directly accused Pashinyan of using government resources to operate accounts without providing evidence for the claim, and accused him of directly instructing accounts to attack opponents without providing evidence, FIP labels the NGO's article as "fake and defamatory".
Pashinyan has 593,862 Facebook followers.
103 year old Bavakan tatik grants the first MP mandate after the elections. The new Parliament enters session next Monday.
3 government members are headed to Parliament: Ararat Mirzoyan (from 1st Deputy PM to Parliament Speaker), Mkhitar Hayrapetyan (from Minister of Diaspora to a new Parliamentary committee chief tasked with Diaspora relations), Lilit Makunts (from Culture Minister to MP).
The old Parliament had 18 female MPs. The new one will have 32. The total number of MPs in Parliament will increase by about third.
Artsakh TV has signed a contract with an American satellite company to broadcast from Central Asia to Europe. The network plans to translate it into Russian and English to reach a wider audience.
Strengthening of local channel is also a symbolic move for Artsakh. During USSR, the Soviet Azeri regime purposely neglected the infrastructure in Artsakh and Nakhijevan with the intention of making the living conditions worse to encourage the Armenian population to leave. As part of the repressions, Soviet Azeri government also prevented Artsakh population from watching Armenian TV from Yerevan.
FLASHBACK 1990. Newly independent Armenia. Karabakh War report by Horizon. Azeri and USSR troops have launched an attack against 3 Armenian villages.
Turkish prosecutors have launched a criminal case against ethnic Armenian member of Turkish Parliament Garo Paylan for "offending the authorities and the state". The authoritarian regime has a history of using the 301th clause of the Penal Code to prosecute critics, including late Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. Paylan could lose his Parliamentary immunity through a vote.
He is suing the country after being jailed for a year for visiting Artsakh Republic. Belarus president Lukashenko agreed to deport the blogger to Azerbaijan on 2016, as part of a wider economic oil/bond agreement between Azerbaijan and Belarus.
Azeri opposition journalist Khadija Islailova has won a $16,750 lawsuit against the sate of Azerbaijan for violating her human rights. This is her second similar victory.
Belarus' Lukashenko warns that Russia could lose their only ally to the west because of disputes around oil and gas negotiations. Says the Belarus-Russia "merger" isn't happening and was never going to happen, and that they have agreed on that with Putin. He also talks about buying more oil from Baltic countries.
Edit: Added a link to PM's Facebook page.
Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/aeoqqw/anticorruption_jan102019/
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|