2020 December 2

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Daily news and anti-corruption report

Dec/2/2020 wrap-up: \\ airport in Artsakh \\ "de-criminalizing" HIV \\ govt lifts Martial Law ban \\ asset forfeiture investigations \\ NEW anti corruption committee \\ opposition vs PM \\ new aid for refugees & soldiers \\ POWs \\ Putin; USA; Belgium respond \\ drugs for research \\ COVID news
by ar_david_hh


Your 10-minute Wednesday report in 2345 words.

206 asset forfeiture cases

Context: Since 2019, the Govt has been working on law, aimed at former/current/future officials, to confiscate their large-scale properties unless they can show the receipts and prove it was purchased with legitimate money. No felony case will be launched if they cannot prove it's legal; only asset forfeiture. This was needed because Armenia had rampant corruption in the past. Many ex-oligarchs are accused of embezzling public resources. The law went into effect in September.

General Prosecutor's office says 206 causes were prepared in August and launched recently. These cases are being handled by the newly-formed group of prosecutors and economists who only hear corruption-related cases and underwent vetting before being hired.

405 properties were submitted for investigation. Prosecutors found 206 of them suspicious and began investigating.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202086

new Anti Corruption Committee

Corruption Prevention Committee (audits officials), Anti Corruption Courts (asset forfeiture & felonies), Anti Corruption Prosecutors' Division (asset forfeiture & felonies)...... the latest proposal is the Anti Corruption Committee.

It'll organize and carry out corruption-related investigations. Right now, this job is handled by multiple agencies: Investigative Committee, SIS, NSS, and IRS. The Govt believes it'll be more efficient if one body handles the pre-and-post-investigation.

The chief of the new Committee will be elected under the watch of the Human Rights Ombudsman, the Judicial Branch, Govt, Parliament, and three international experts as advisers.

https://factor.am/316727.html

NSS identifies November 10th rioters and shares details:

18 people were arrested, and others were told not to leave the country, for allegedly breaking into the Parliament building and causing damage. Some items were stolen. 250 rioters were identified in total.

The rioters were mostly members of the ARF party, members of Kocharyan's close circle, Kamq group [extremist group], Aylentranq NGO members, HHK allies, and people who had felony cases against them in the past.

NSS believes that the aforementioned is indicative of an attempt to forcibly overthrow the constitutional order to seize the power and that the Artsakh topic was just an opportunity.

NSS has also learned that the vast majority of participants did not participate in the 2020 war and have never served in the army in general. [this is a direct shot at Kocharyan folks who often portray Pashinyan's allies as "deserters".]

Kocharyan's office responded saying Rob has many patriotic followers and that NSS should be busy going after "traitors who signed the capitulation" instead.

https://youtu.be/0bQ66dnSm0s?t=13

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202083

https://factor.am/316610.html

prosecutors investigate the ruling party office over weapon claims

When the November 10th riots happened and the audio was leaked showing how opposition figures wanted to "hit" Pashinyan, the internal turmoil reached its peak. There were concerns of a violent confrontation.

Opposition BHK MP Iveta Tonoyan (Tsarukyan spokeswoman) had claimed that the ruling QP party was distributing weapons to its allies. She was concerned that the opposition could be attacked. Thankfully neither side was "hit".

Prosecutors finished examining the BHK MP's weapon claims and did not find evidence of weapon distribution from QP's office.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202113

the government lifts restrictions under Martial Law

A military situation was declared on September 27th. Among other restrictions, the law barred demonstrations. Opposition parties complained, saying it suppresses their right to protest. Today the government lifted the restrictions.

What will be allowed: demonstrations; no gag regarding sharing the location of Armenian troops, movements, losses, spreading unofficial rumors, etc.; no restriction on entry and exit from Armenia.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202116 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202119

https://www.arlis.am/DocumentView.aspx?docID=146652

opposition holds demonstration

ARF party organized a demonstration again with demands for Pashinyan's resignation. They were joined by BHK and allies. They'll present their nominees for a new government tomorrow.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202128

You've been invited to join the December 5th opposition rally in Freedom Square, organized by 16 opposition parties. "Participate, if you are not indifferent ... For the salvation of Artsakh and Armenia," said BHK MP Iveta Tonoyan.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036526.html

Orinats Yerkir opposition leader Baghdasaryan denied the rumors that he joined the rest of the opposition with demands for PM's resignation. Says he never met Arthur Vanetsyan.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036487.html

Television and Radio Commission has asked the police not to apply force against reporters. Yesterday, during a scuffle between cops and demonstrators, ARF's Yerkir Media outlet journalist was pushed into a vehicle before being released.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036536.html

Artsakh president begins forming a coalition government

Opposition Vitali Balasanyan (Artsakh war veteran, Kocharyan ally) has been appointed as Secretary of the Security Council. The seat was recently vacated by Samvel Babayan.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202090

Ex-LHK MP Mane Tandilyan will be Artsakh's new Labor Minister. She had served in that position in Armenia in 2018, during the coalition government formed by Pashinyan.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202100

political appointments & events in Armenia

Ruling QP MP Alexey Sandikov was elected as deputy head of the Eurasian Integration Committee. His nomination was also supported by opposition parties.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202082

Parliament Speaker Mirzoyan was discharged from hospital after being attacked by rioters on November 10th. He participated in QP party meetings then met Catholicos Garegin B.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202095

Ex-Defense Minister Tonoyan described the rumors about him moving to Vienna as fake news.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202115

SOC auditor agency will undergo "key changes", said its new leader Ulikhanyan, revealing that 10 agents were recently resigned/fired. The agency was created in 2018 by the Pashinyan administration to audit any organization that receives half of its budget from the taxpayer. The agency has since found numerous instances of embezzlement done in the past.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202049

POWs / soldiers / casulaties / all for all

Artsakh Human Rights Ombudsman says they have counted 60 POWs and 40 missing civilians who were presumably taken forcefully.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202075

Healthcare Ministry has so far examined the bodies of 2718 soldiers. The names of 1746 have so far been identified.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036533.html

The Human Rights Watch confirms that Azerbaijan mistreated Armenian POWs. "The faces of perpetrators were visible, which indicates that they aren't afraid of being held accountable. The government of Azerbaijan must take steps to prevent this."

Azeri govt has pressed bogus "terrorism" charges against two Lebanese-Armenian POWs, as part of their campaign to claim Armenians "hired foreign mercenaries". It's in response to the fact that Azerbaijan hired terrorists from Syria.

https://factor.am/316701.html , https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/288309/

Conscripts began receiving vacations. A large group has already returned to Armenia to take a rest.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202098

Two soldiers died from an explosion while transporting explosive materials from a military outpost.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202087

The army has identified the names of 34 more soldiers who died fighting.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202112

Deputy PM Avinyan met RU ambassador Kopirnik and said that Armenia supports the "all for all" principle for exchanging POWs. Additionally, any new POW revealed at a later date should be repatriated without preconditions. Azerbaijan also agrees to the "all for all" swap.

Avinyan and MFA Ayvazyan met representatives of the Red Cross to discuss POWs.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202114 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202129 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202132

900 terrorists recruited by Azerbaijan have returned to Syria

... according to the Syria-based SOHR agency that has been monitoring the events. They were promised $2,500 and received $1,300 so far. 2580 militants were sent to fight for Azerbaijan according to this agency.

https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/288308/

Vladimir Putin expresses support for Pashinyan, discusses aid for Armenia

During a CSTO military bloc meeting, Pashinyan spoke about the war, the humanitarian mission, and the ceasefire. Putin said CSTO and CIS republics will discuss the topic of the humanitarian crisis in a member-state (Armenia) and their possible participation in providing aid.

Vladimir Putin: The Prime Minister of Armenia made a very difficult decision [signing the November 10 document], which was a necessity at the time. It was unavoidable. The decision required great personal courage from the Prime Minister.

He has taken on that responsibility, and our task now is to support the Prime Minister and his team in creating the conditions for a return to a peaceful life, in implementing all the decisions that have been made, and in helping the people who have found themselves in difficult circumstances.

Armenia is going through difficult times. The Russian side is ready and does its best to provide assistance and supports Prime Minister Pashinyan and his team.

Pashinyan: we're ready to intensify the process of exchanging POWs and searching for missing soldiers.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202096

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202099

Video: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=288958582550241

Foreign Affairs Committee of Belgian Parliament

... approved a resolution that condemns "Azerbaijani aggression against Karabakh, aided by Turkey and hired mercenaries." It calls for Azeri withdrawal from Karabakh. It calls for Turkey to stop meddling in the conflict. It calls for the Belgian govt to provide humanitarian aid. It calls for the punishment of those responsible for war crimes.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202140

no Christmas Tree in Yerevan this year

The capital had earlier donated the budget meant for festivities to Artsakh.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202126

second aid package for Artsakh residents

... will begin distributing 300k ($600) to each Artsakh refugee who had to settle in other parts of Armenia during the war. Multiple family members can receive $600 each. Applications at օոliոe.ssa.am

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202092

third aid package: soldiers & families

Tomorrow the Govt will discuss the third aid plan to give 3mln Drams ($6,000) to soldiers with a 1st-degree disability, 2mln for 2nd degree, 1mln for 3rd degree. Children who received disability will also receive $6,000.

Families of fallen soldiers will receive $12,000.

https://factor.am/316735.html

fourth aid package: individuals who helped refugees

The Govt has drafted a bill to provide compensation to those who helped Artsakh refugees at their own expense. $60 per housed refugee per month.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036584.html

news from Martakert city

50% of the population has already returned. 90% of nearby village residents did. 80% of buildings were damaged, mostly roofs and windows. The % of completely destroyed apartment buildings is smaller.

360 families, whose homes were in the adjacent regions given to Azerbaijan, have resettled in Martakert. Another 500 families came from Talish and Mataghis; they'll need housing.

Schools have re-opened in almost all settlements in the region. 1.4k students attend the classes, versus 3.4k before the war.

80% of Martakert's gas network is functional now. Almost all of the electric network is. The communication networks are still in poor shape; almost no internet, difficulties with phone calls.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036519.html

news from Martuni city

1,038 buildings were damaged, from which 20 were completely destroyed. Civilian infrastructure was damaged.

Gas delivery has resumed at 60% capacity; partially in the city and fully in suburbs and nearby villages. The city needs construction workers. 2,000 have returned to their homes. The rest are waiting for repairs to finish.

12 schools have reopened in the region.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036535.html

Russian mobile field hospital in Artsakh

... was installed yesterday to treat soldiers. It is also aiding 70 civilians with health complaints unrelated to war. 100 doctors, surgeons, and nurses arrived from Russia.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202080

rumors about Russian language becoming 2nd official in Artsakh

WarGonzo Russian reporter claimed that the Artsakh government could soon declare Russian as a second official language. Putin's spokesman Peskov welcomed the idea, saying it's already widely spoken in Artsakh, Armenia, and in post-Soviet republics.

Artsakh Parliamentary official said "there is no such bill in Artsakh Parliament, at least not yet. Certain bills were recalled earlier for amendments; they were unrelated to this topic. Such a proposal would have to come from the government before we [Parliament] can discuss."

ArmTimes outlet contacted the Artsakh government. President's press-secretary denied the claims that it's being discussed.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202103 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202138

US Senators call for action against the humanitarian crisis

"The fighting may have stopped, but the damage it caused will continue to cost lives without robust action by the international community,” said Senators Memendez and Portman.

https://www.menendez.senate.gov/newsroom/press/menendez-portman-call-for-funding-to-address-humanitarian-disaster-in-south-caucasus

Armenia and Austria sign a cooperation memorandum

The Austrian Development Agency and Armenia's Economy Ministry will cooperate to help the agriculture industry, reform relevant laws, and boost the Green industry.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202118

Gyumri Friendship Park

... will have new "Recreational Infrastructure" buildings. IDeA charity foundation organized an auction to find the best designs. "IND Architects" won two licenses. They'll use Armenian traditional-style design for the outdoors handicraft market

More: https://factor.am/316558.html

settlements to generate revenue through ads

A Parliamentary committee gave preliminary approval to a bill introduced by the Govt and the ruling party. It could allow settlements to install ad billboards on nearby major roads and pay fewer taxes from the generated income.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036493.html

psychotropic & narcotic drugs for scientific research

Parliamentary Healthcare and Social Affairs Committee held a meeting to discuss a bill introduced by the government. The bill wants to re-introduce permission, which was in place years ago, for research institutes to use "heavy" drugs for scientific research.

https://factor.am/316527.html

HIV transmission risk could become a civil offense

A parliamentary committee is discussing a government bill to de-criminalize acts by HIV patients about them unknowingly endangering others' health [e.g. HIV mother gets pregnant; baby gets HIV].

The ruling party MP wants to amend the bill to remove loopholes to ensure dangerous acts remain illegal but as a civil offense. Intentional transmission of HIV will remain a felony.

https://youtu.be/CdOtAGwnFkY

https://factor.am/316530.html

Stepanakert airport could resume its operations soon

Stepanakert has a mini-airport built in 1974. It used to receive flights from Yerevan and Baku. It went unused after the war due to threats by Azerbaijan.

Artsakh president's adviser Davit Babayan told RIA Novosti outlet that the airport "will reopen very soon".

https://ria.ru/20201202/aeroport-1587262497.html

https://factor.am/316451.html

subsidized infrastructure upgrades

99 kilometers of roads were repaired in Gegarquniqiq this year.

The surrounding area of the kindergarten in Baghramyan village no longer looks like բոմժանոց.

Mayisyan settlement's main road has asphalt now. It'll serve 1450 people.

Astgadzor (Gegarquniq) had two of its major streets renovated with asphalt and 75 light poles.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202145 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202144 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202143 , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036538.html

COVID stats & vaccines

+3375 tested. +1264 infected. +1430 healed. +35 deaths. 22641 active.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202085

Vladimir Putin said the Russian "Sputnik V" vaccine will be available to CSTO bloc countries, and they might produce it together. CSTO countries are Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzystan, Tajikistan.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202104

you can help Artsakh & Armenia

www.1000plus.am (soldiers' medical help)

www.HimnaDram.org (for Artsakh & Armenia)

www.ArmeniaFund.org (U.S. tax-deductible)

archive of older posts

Yesterday: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/k4um4a/dec12020_wrapup_new_anticorruption_court_new/

Armeniapedia's archive of daily news threads:

http://www.armeniapedia.org/wiki/Daily_Anti-Corruption_Reports


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/k5igws/dec22020_wrapup_airport_in_artsakh/

Disclaimer: All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law, even if they may sound as being guilty. Currency in Armenian Drams ֏ unless specified otherwise. Helpful overview of Armenia's media ownership and leanings.

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