2020 December 21
- 1 Daily news wrap-up
- 2 Saturday: three days of mourning
- 3 Sunday memorial events
- 4 parts from Pashinyan speech: past & present, investigation, border demarcation
- 5 borders: fake news, rumors, and rebuttals
- 6 border demarcation continues in Syunik / Pashinyan visits the border settlements
- 7 border demarcation: Shurnukh border village suburbs
- 8 re: Russians will guard parts of 21km Syunik road
- 9 press unions condemn attacks on media outlets / free press
- 10 PRESS casualties during the war
- 11 POWs & search operation
- 12 medals awarded
- 13 felony investigations post-war / SIS launches an investigation to examine:
- 14 lawsuits / Pashinyan's son / army officer / Dmbo Gago
- 15 the cost of Minimum Consumer Basket in Artsakh
- 16 Russian peacekeepers & medics
- 17 Russian sappers
- 18 Turkish sappers
- 19 Russian aid
- 20 housing for Russian peacekeepers
- 21 interview with Artsakh residents
- 22 Spanish city of Santa Pau
- 23 Germany wants to purchase drone missiles
- 24 COVID stats
- 25 electricity prices
- 26 infrastructure repairs
- 27 sports news
- 28 HimnaDram.org / housing for Artsakh civizens
- 29 humanitarian aid
- 30 you can donate to Artsakh & Armenia
- 31 archive of older posts
- 32 disclaimer
- 33 Support David's Daily Armenia News Summaries!
Daily news wrap-up
Dec/21/2020 wrap-up: \\ borders demarcation per 2010 Armenian law \\ Pashinyan visits Syunik: supporters & opponents \\ Russians will guard border road \\ weekend memorial events \\ more POWs return \\ search operations continue \\ electricity prices \\ Russian peacekeepers \\ housing & aid \\ sport
Your 15-minute Weekend & Monday report in 3688 words.
Saturday: three days of mourning
From Saturday to Monday, the country pays tribute to those who died in the war. Pashinyan and other officials participated in the memorial march to Yerablur Pantheon. Some opposition outlets had earlier claimed that Pashinyan would skip the march and use his father's death as an "excuse".
During the march, a group of anti-Pashinyan activists blocked the crowd from moving forward. The police were involved to clear the way. The PM spoke with families of fallen soldiers and laid flowers.
Education Ministry, Labor Ministry, and Cadastre Committee rebutted opposition media rumors about someone allegedly calling state workers and forcing them to participate in the Yerablur memorial. Government bodies called the "fake news" an "attempt to create an atmosphere of division in the public."
The opposition, led by the former regime, held its own rally from the Freedom Square. They marched to St. Gregory Illuminator church. BHK chief Tsarukyan was also present. The theme remains the same: Nikol must go, Vazgen Manukyan must become the new PM.
Yerablur photos: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038352.html
Crowd size from above: https://youtu.be/rbFBDMNoaPI , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038343.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038348.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038340.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038349.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038351.html , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203328
Sunday memorial events
President Sarkissian visited Yerablur on Sunday. "These are difficult days. I hope that with the end of 2020 we will close the tragic page and we will be able to stand up and open a new page. The only thing we will remember from 2020 is the sacred memory of the people who gave their lives to defend the Homeland. All misfortunes should be lessons, not painful memories. We have to start our life again. I look forward to the end of this year".
PM and family paid tributes to fallen soldiers in Tavush province.
LHK and church leadership visited Yerablur Pantheon.
parts from Pashinyan speech: past & present, investigation, border demarcation
We will need a comprehensive evaluation of how and why things developed and ended that way. We must face the reality and admit that we have made mistakes for many years, the mistakes we have made have been systemic, conceptual, substantive. This cannot be a result of one person or events in just a few years.
Did I understand all this while taking office as Prime Minister? Of course. Was I trying to change the situation? Of course. I am now more convinced than ever that there was simply no time to stop the spinning wheel of history.
The borders in the Syunik sector are being adjusted, or rather, the Armenian Armed Forces are being stationed on the internationally recognized borders of Armenia (there were no soldiers here before because Syunik was not bordering Azerbaijan before the war). This process changes certain setups we're familiar with, introduces inconveniences, complications, and emotions. In reality, this is being done to ensure and strengthen the safety of Syunik.
How? In areas outside of the Republic of Armenia, there was a high risk of military actions, which could carry on to Syunik with all their consequences. By doing the border demarcation of our internationally-recognized lands, we are introducing security assurances. Additionally, Russian border guards are already stationed in some parts of Syunik, which creates a whole new situation.
The demarcation can complicate travel on some roads, but these are issues that can be resolved by having an AM-AZ-RU document (specifically about road safety).
Not one millimeter of Syunik or Republic of Armenia land has been conceded. Any claim to the contrary is simply false.
The people, only the people, should decide the fate of the government and not the elite circles. My November 18th Roadmap will address post-war issues and establish internal stability.
"Let's build Armenia anew." I chose this slogan before the war to guide Armenia's transformation strategy. And this formula is useful for our future as well. We have to perceive the world in a new way, we have to look at what we have to do in a new way, we have to re-evaluate our capabilities in a new way, first of all in education, science, technological development, we have to build our dream anew, and we have to dream anew.
Glory to our fallen heroes, glory to our living heroes, and glory to those who will still be heroes on the way to realizing the dreams of our people.
borders: fake news, rumors, and rebuttals
Artsakh president office: the media rumors about giving Karmir Shuka (south) to Azerbaijan is fake news. Moreover, we plan to build new housing there soon.
MoD denied media rumors that two Tavush villages are being handed over to Azerbaijan and that the soldiers were told to leave. "Refrain from spreading unverified fake news," said MoD. Tavush governor called the reports "irresponsible and dangerous".
Sosu Purak is a park in Syunik province, bordering Azerbaijan. The Nature Ministry rebutted the media rumors about half of the park going under Azeri control. *"Sosu Purak, which is managed by Zangezur POAK, has 64.1 hectares of lands, which are located within the Republic of Armenia."
border demarcation continues in Syunik / Pashinyan visits the border settlements
NSS says: border adjustments are being made in Goris-Kapan road sections under the mediation of Russia. (read Friday report for details). The process will finish in a few days. It'll nesure safe passage for cars.
Syunik governor Melikset: don't exit the Armenian border to collect or chop wood. Keep your animal herds within Armenia. The border roads will have info-plates with numbers that you can dial if you have questions.
Pashinyan before visiting Syunik:
I am saddened to learn that my visit to Syunik has ignited certain passions. I hope you will be convinced that my decision to visit Syunik is not intended to inflame everyone. I made the decision to convey my respect and appreciation for the people of Syunik. The second most important reason is to answer your questions, to give the necessary explanations. Not a single millimeter of land has been ceded from Syunik Province of RA and I hope we'll be able to talk about this.
A group of protesters, lead by the city's deputy-mayors, closed the Goris road so Pashinyan couldn't enter the city. The police were involved, there was a scuffle.
Goris mayor ex-HHK Arush Arushanyan was taken to the police station earlier that day and charged with attempting to organize an unauthorized event/protest (Code 34-2251) to prevent the PM from entering the city. HHK and BHK officials gathered outside of the police station to show him support.
2010 border demarcation law, the "GPS" myth
Pashinyan met the crowd in Sisian. One of the opposition's complaints has been "GPS is inaccurate and cannot be used for demarcation", to which, Pashinyan answered, "[the demarcation] is done multiple times, with different methods. There is no issue in this regard."
Pashinyan: There is a lot of talk about *"giving away" Syunik". In fact, it is quite the opposite. When we deploy our border troops in accordance with the Armenian border, our level of security increases because that border also becomes the border of the security system of which we are a member.
The demarcation is carried out following the law adopted in 2010. The issue is that the current borders, the description of the administrative borders of our communities, were clarified by the law on the "administrative-territorial division of the Republic of Armenia", adopted in 2010.
In that law, for example, villages Khndzoresk and Tegh were drawn to include borders with Azerbaijan. The government in 2010 had accepted that demarcation; now we're facing problems here. And today, some of the people, who ask why and how the borders are being demarcated this way, are the same officials who were public officials in 2010, who adopted this law.If what we're doing today is "treason", then what happened in 2010 is even more of a "treason".
"why didn't CSTO get involved during war?"
Pashinyan: why didn't CSTO act during the war? For the same reason: our 2010 law states that this is what our official Republic of Armenia border is and that anything beyond Tegh village is Azerbaijan. CSTO, naturally, couldn't act beyond our official borders. We have received assurances that in the event of action within our borders, the bloc will act.
army & people
Resident: our army did not lose the war.
Pashinyan: Our army and the people are heroes, there can be no two opinions about it. That doesn't mean there weren't issues, or some soldiers and generals didn't complete their tasks. We must build our self-confidence and optimism one by one, we must rebuild Armenia and Artsakh.
meeting in Sisian
Pashinyan visited Sisian city Pantheon. He then met a crowd in the main square and thanked them for "for such an understanding, for such an acceptance". During a speech in Sisian, Pashinyan said he will avoid confrontation with those who closed the road to Goris city. He said there were families and supporters who wanted to meet in Goris, and that one of the reasons the road was closed to possibly prevent that from happening.
Father of a fallen soldier: Pashinyan still has 8 months to go. He must and will answer all the questions. Tomorrow, ARF Ishkhan Saghatelyan and those guys [ex-regime] must also answer. Tomorrow they [ex-regime] will say "go ask Nikol if you have questions". So Nikol should do his part and answer the questions, so others can answer theirs.
Pashinyan: please try not to politicize today [about giving ARF Ishkhan's name].
Father of a fallen soldier: we must give their names. The same names and their parties are gathered in the public square today. Today you [Nikol] must enter Sisian and elsewhere with your head held high and without bodyguards. Let's get rid of pain and sorrow then we will know what to do next.
Residents spoke about various border and social issues.
Pashinyan: I came to look at Syunik residents in the eye. I know that I'm guilty in many ways. Our citizens deserve more. Unfortunately, not a single government, including ours, has been able to deliver what our citizens deserve. I apologize on behalf of all governments.
priest vs Pashinyan
While in Syunik, Pashinyan entered a church and lit a candle in memory of the fallen. Upon exiting, he came across priest Pargev Zeynalyan. Pashinyan raised his hand to greet but the priest let it hang in the air
. Pashinyan left.
A church representative said the priest had the right to express his political beliefs.
That didn't prevent the crowd, angry at the priest's conduct, to march to the church and block its entrance. They wanted to kick the priest out. The police told the crowd not to enter. The priest refused to meet the protesters. The protesters left and promised, "not to allow the politicized priest to enter that church again".
The priest denied subsequent false rumors about police allegedly raiding his house over the incident. (of course, gotta throw a couple of fake news here and there for "political persecutions" illusion)
Pashinyan was supposed to travel from Sisian to Goris, but the road was closed, as mentioned earlier. He decided not to confront the group and returned to Yerevan. "Now I am convinced that the road was closed so that it does not become obvious that the atmosphere in Goris, Kapan, Kajaran, Meghri was the same as in Sisian *[generally welcoming]. We will not resort to force, especially on the day of mourning. We are returning to Yerevan. I owe one visit to Goris, Kapan, Kajaran, and Meghri. Peace to our martyrs."*
https://youtu.be/asPPVNg_k0Y , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203410 , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038442.html, https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038422.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038401.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038396.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038408.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038414.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038426.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038428.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038444.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038456.html , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203407 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203415 , https://youtu.be/4pqY2hmff68 , https://youtu.be/M9wP9e_UoBA , https://factor.am/322943.html
border demarcation: Shurnukh border village suburbs
Mayor of border village Shurnukh, Syunik: The 12 houses in the lower suburbs, which according to rumors were supposed to go under Azeri control, will stay under Armenian control, according to the latest updated information. The army and Russians came and began working on border installation beyond the village area. I'm not entirely sure this is the final status, it could change, so stay tuned.
There will be a demarcation process but I don't know when. Our local volunteers guard the borders. Women and children were evacuated from the area for now, just in case.
re: Russians will guard parts of 21km Syunik road
MoD says: some of the 21km Goris-Kapan road goes through disputed areas. We have an agreement for Russian border guards to monitor Goris-Kapan and Goris-Davit Bek sections to ensure safe passage. Armenian and Azeri troops will be stationed on opposite sides of the road. More info in the coming days. (if you look at the map, the road is the exact border)
press unions condemn attacks on media outlets / free press
First incident. Former regime's activists attempted to prevent Pashinyan and tens of thousands of participants from marching to Yerablur Pantheon on weekend. During the incident, they identified a journalist from "Azatutyun" (pro-western) and began assaulting him. (Azatutyun office was also raided by supporters of former regime on November 10th).
Second incident. 5TV is owned by Kocharyan's friend. It has a record of manipulating interviews and information in general (e.g. the March 1st documentary). Some people don't like them for this reason. 5TV reporter was cussed by Pashinyan supporters, while QP MP Andranik Kocharyan refused to take questions from him.
Third incident. Opposition activists cussed Azatutyun reporters and tried to prevent them from doing the work.
PRESS casualties during the war
HR Ombusmn: Five foreign and two Armenian reporters received severe injuries during the war. One reporter was killed. They were targeted by Azerbaijan intentionally. They were wearing PRESS uniforms, which are visibly different from army uniforms. Azerbaijan prevented reporters from working in front lines and launched a felony investigation against some international reporters (Semyon Pegov) for visiting Artsakh.
POWs & search operation
62 Armenian soldiers remain encircled/captured near the Khtsaberd village after the previous weekend skirmishes in the narrow strip of land held by Armenia west of the Shushi-Hadrut corridor. "They are alive and well."
Azerbaijan has acknowledged their presence. Work is being done with Russian peacekeepers to repatriate them. 70 others had returned a few days ago. One volunteer guard said it began after over a thousand Azeri troops moved forward and told them to leave a position; some did while others didn't. This area did not have Russian peacekeepers until the incident.
Six POW soldiers returned home on Sunday. They were captured during the war. President Arayik thanked Putin for mediating the transfer.
Two more POWs returned on Monday.
Since the ceasefire, 1039 bodies of soldiers have been recovered from battlefields. The searches continue in the Shushi region, Martuni, Hadrut, Fizuli. 22 found today.
Four Emergency Ministry employes received medals posthumously.
felony investigations post-war / SIS launches an investigation to examine:
1) Reports of officers disobeying commands during the war, and desertion. 882 cases are being examined. Dozens have been charged.
2) Several civilian and military individuals intentionally spread alarming information to create panic among soldiers in the front lines (Vitalik's friend's incident, possibly), and claimed that the war was already decided, it was a conspiracy, and that it was pointless to fight. There are multiple felony cases regarding this. Investigation continues.
3) A felony case is launched against an officer who refused to do his duties in the southern part of Artsakh. (if this is General Movses Hakobyan, expect him to cry "political persecution" because he was the first one to give a press conference to create a narrative, a-la Dodi Gago).
4) Investigations over claims made by General Movses Hakobyan on November 19th. We're investigating a group of high-ranking officials for possibly violating protocols set by the Defense Ministry, which lead to reduced performance, which impacted the outcome of the war.
We are also examining the reports, submitted by various political parties, to investigate the $5 billion offer that was made to Pashinyan by Aliyev (the offer Aliyev made to Serj and Pashinyan to give away 7 regions without a fight).
5) A felony investigation was launched [to investigate Pashinyan] after [former regime figure] Garnik Isagulyan claimed that Pashinyan took a $48 million bribe from Turkey and that his NSS chief Qyaramyan gave away 1400 passports to Azerbaijan, and helped Azeris to invade Hadrut. Isaghulyan was invited to SIS to provide evidence; he refused. The examination found no proof of these claims. A felony case was launched against Isagulyan himself for making false reports.
6) There were multiple reports in mid-November that Shushi was "sold" and an order was given for soldiers to deliberately retreat so Azeris could take it. This was investigated by SIS and NSS, courts were involved, reports from various media outlets are being investigated, including Arayik's leaked phone call and General Samvel Babayan's "post-mortem" interview.
Additionally, there is an investigation of the embezzlement of property belonging to the army.
Besides investigating these claims, we will also investigate their impact on the final outcome of the war.
lawsuits / Pashinyan's son / army officer / Dmbo Gago
Volunteer soldier Mikael Mikaelyan is suing pro-Kocharyan blog "Politik" over an alleged defamation.
The soldier says: Earlier I wrote that on October 1st I was yelling at deserting soldiers not to leave positions near Jabrayil. Then a similar story in Kubatlu; I wrote that I witnessed how Pashinyan's son Ashot was yelling at deserting soldiers; he was asking them to stay and help.
My post received a lot of attention. It's clear that these two were separate incidents on separate dates, right? They [former regime] began calling me a liar because I could not have seen Pashinyan's son on October 1st because he was sent to the front lines on the 5th. They wrote an article "Yet another chatlakh who says everyone routed except Ashotik".
Deputy Army General Chief of Staff Tiran Khachatryan is suing BHK MP Naira Zohrabyabn over an alleged defamation.
BHK chief Gago's casino "Onira Club" (Shangri La) was in legal trouble over alleged financial crimes. It also lost the license on July 9th over not paying the necessary fees. The casino is now suing the Finance Ministry to have its license back.
the cost of Minimum Consumer Basket in Artsakh
... was AMD 58,801 as of December, or +0.4% YoY. The Food Basket costs AMD 33,221.
Russian peacekeepers & medics
306 refugees returned to Artsakh on Sunday. 1.6km of roads were cleared of explosives, and 1 house was renovated. The peacekeepers have so far renovated 23 houses and rebuilt 8km of electric lines in Martakert. 35 patients were given medical care in Chartar settlement.
Russia's Emergency Ministry presented a new de-mining vehicle that's being used in Artsakh's east. Robots play a big role in these operations; they reduce casualties.
Turkey will send 64 sappers to join the existing 135 experts to help Azeris clear the Azeri-controlled areas.
Seven more trucks with humanitarian aid arrived in Artsakh from Russia.
housing for Russian peacekeepers
Modular housing blocs were built for 250 Russian envoy members in Stepanakert. It has apartments, a gym, a medical office, and other accommodations.
interview with Artsakh residents
Spanish city of Santa Pau
... has officially recognized the independence of the Republic of Artsakh. The resolution condemns the Azeri aggression, Turkey's active involvement.
Germany wants to purchase drone missiles
... after analyzing their use in the Artsakh war. Israeli-made Heron TP will be purchased in the coming months.
digit 3: exists
Germany: mhmmm 🤔
+2563 tested. +652 infected. +14 deaths. +604 healed. 18011 active.
In Artsakh, 2585 tests have been done since October 1st. 1130 were positive. 70 daily tests nowadays. 232 people have been treated in hospitals; 129 have been discharged. 30 deaths.
The Public Utility Commission decided to keep the electricity prices the same for low-income families, and 90% of those who consume less than 400 kW/h. The large-scale consumers will see AMD 3 increase. The rate will go into effect in February. (the nuclear plant will be closed for much of the year for the final big renovation; there were talks that it could impact prices)
7km of roads and water drainage were repaired and installed in Horbategh, Vayots Dzor. It's a tourist area. Locals hope the renovations will improve their economic status. Smbataberd, Tsaghatsqar complex, and St. Hreshtakapetats are located nearby.
Armenia's Sambo team has won 5 medals (2S, 3B) in the world cup.
Arthur Davtyan won 4 gold and 2 bronze medals in the Voronin Cup athletics competition. One was won by Armen Petrosyan.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan gave a goal-pass in the third minute. That didn't stop his team Roma from losing to Atlanta 4:1.
HimnaDram.org / housing for Artsakh civizens
All Armenia Fund met Artsakh govt to discuss housing for refugees and the homeless. They plan 9 new buildings with 236 in Askeran, 132 in Martuni, while the assessment for capital Stepanakert and elsewhere continues. Contracts were signed with construction firms. Artsakh govt thanked Himnadram for continuous help.
Aurora humanitarian foundation has doubled its aid to Artsakh to $400,000. It'll be spent on 46 projects, including on HALO de-mining efforts. Aurora invited charity organizations to visit Artsakh.
The Red Cross has provided construction materials to renovate 500 houses in Artsakh.
My Step foundation has donated $13,500 in household appliances to Artsakh families.
you can donate to 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
Armeniapedia's archive of my daily news threads:
All the accused are considered innocent unless proven guilty in the court of law, even if they "sound" guilty.
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/khs377/dec212020_wrapup_borders_demarcation_per_2010/
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