2020 December 30

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Contents

Daily news wrap-up

Dec/30/2020 news: \\ commander arrested over negligence: suicide drone deaths \\ Syunik borders: alternative roads to be built \\ diplomacy \\ Russia donates 10 mil \\ political meetings \\ nature ministry sweeps \\ POW & searches \\ humanitarian aid \\ healthcare & roads in 2020 \\ arts & sport
by ar_david_hh


Your 11-minute Wednesday report in 2643 words.

army commander arrested for ignoring suicide drone and ordering soldiers to drive

Prosecutors say: we arrested a deputy commander of a military unit after a report filed by a father of a killed soldier on December 9th.

Father learned that his conscript son was drafted to Artsakh during the war. He used his personal car to travel to Artsakh and aid his son's unit. On October 9th, the soldiers near Ishkhanadzor heard a suicide drone flying above and got out of the car to disperse around. The Father witnessed how the deputy-commander, despite the danger, ordered the soldiers to get back in the car and continue to drive. The drone struck the car, killing his son and several others.

We learned that the army headquarters instructed a group of engineers to move from Horadiz to Tili village. While near Ishkhanadzor, the deputy-commander noticed that the truck carrying engineer soldiers was parked on the road with soldiers scattered nearby, so he summoned the engineering unit leader.

The deputy-commander himself heard the sound of the suicide drone but ordered the engineers to keep driving, suggesting that the drone was there to target air-defense units and not their transport vehicle. The 19 engineers followed the order and drove away. 5 minutes later the drone hit their vehicle. Only one survived.

The deputy-commander is charged with felony Code 375. The investigation continues.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039345.html , https://www.arlis.am/documentView.aspx?docid=69646

foreign affairs & diplomacy

Russian MFA: I'm ready to organize a meeting between AM & AZ to discuss the resumption of the negotiations. Today, the priority is not allowing ceasefire violations, clearing lands from explosives, exchanging POWs, and finding bodies.

There haven't been provocations against Russian peacekeepers. The notable ceasefire violation of December 13th took place at a location that doesn't have a presence of peacekeepers. Our mediation helped to de-escalate it.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039372.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039373.html

Artsakh ArRmy again refuted Azeri social media rumors that have been circulating since December 27th. Azeri sources claimed Armenians opened fire in the Hadrut region; they shared a video allegedly showing several Armenian bodies. The Army says the news about recent fighting is fake, and the video with bodies was recorded earlier in a village that's far from the line of contact, "which means Armenian soldiers would need to cross the line, go deep within the Azeri-held territory and wage battles in their rear".

The Army believes this is a coordinated attempt to find an excuse to delay the POW swap and body search operations. They will take steps to identify the bodies filmed in the video.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039414.html , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203903

National Security Services chiefs of Armenia and Azerbaijan met in Russia to discuss various topics, including POWs and search operations.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039401.html

Russian troops on Syunik borders

NSS says the Russian troops have already been stationed on parts of Goris-Kapan road that serves as the border between Armenia's Syunik province and Azerbaijan. "The road is safe for travel."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039417.html

when will Armenia and Azerbaijan unblock one another's transportation?

Infrastructure Minister: the November 9th statement talks about lifting the transport blockade, so things like the Azerbaijan-Nakhijevan road and Armenia-Iran railways will be possible. There are no specific dates and this is up to negotiations.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039317.html

Syunik will have new alternative roads to bypass disputed Kapan border road

Infrastructure Minister Papikyan: we need to build new roads in Syunik as alternatives to road sections that went under Azeri control. Back in the days, these roads were built where they are because of the geographic relief. Besides that, they allowed travel between Armenia and Azerbaijan during the USSR.

I spoke with the Syunik governor about rebuilding the Tatev-Aghvan-Kapan road. This is an alternative road that leads to Kapan. 12.5 km of it was rebuilt in 2020. Another 6 km construction began in 2016 and was finalized in 2018. We will rebuild the other 21 km in 2021. Currently, we are revising some standards about this road to review its width and other qualities so it can handle cargo trucks.

Another disputed area is a 5 km section of Goris-Kapan border road. We already held discussions to find alternative roads parallel to that. It's complicated because of the mountainous relief. I won't rule out the possibility of building tunnels.

Another disputed part is on the Kapan-Agarak section. There is an alternative road but it's made of gravel. We will lay out an asphalt road here.

As for the Kapan-Chakaten and 21 km of Kapan-Goris sections, they are guarded by Russian troops and there are no issues with access.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039317.html

LHK leader on Syunik tour

LHK Edmon Marukyan and fellow MPs visited Syunik to meet locals living near the borders. They will present a plan of action after the trip.

Marukyan met the Kapan mayor to discuss the drafting of possible bills to address concerns. He then met the mayors of Maghri and Qajaran.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039356.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039374.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039412.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039424.html

president Sarkissian met various organizations and groups

... who were involved in the war. "The war proved that our people are united and there was a will to help each other... I thank all of you... Our development model must be formed correctly. We have lived in a closed model for 30 years. I have always believed in the open model. When I was Prime Minister in 1996, the world was different, it was material, it was a world of natural resources, and in just 30 years, the world became a different virtual world. Our country must have an open model because our biggest advantage is us Armenians... We need to change the model of asking for money instead of inviting diasporans."

Full: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039399.html

Pashinyan continues meetings with political parties

Today he met non-parliamentary parties "Hanun Hanrapetutyan" (Ind. MP Arman Babajanyan) and "Qaghaqatsu Voroshum" (Suren Sahakyan) parties to discuss snap elections.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039420.html

HHK party joins its allies and "will not discuss snap elections with the Pashinyan regime". They want their candidate Vazgen Manukyan to be elected as Prime Minister, for now.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203912

cabinet changes

Famous sports commentator Karen Giloyan is a deputy Education Minister now (Education Ministry includes Sports and Culture).

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039354.html

The ruling QP party has been royally "scammed". One of its MPs quit earlier to take a government job. The party appointed another party member as a replacement MP. This member took the MP's mandate and quit the party, but not the Parliament, so QP loses 1 seat.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203867

Lusine Gharakhanyan is Artsakh's Education Minister.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039393.html

opposition angry at Artsakh president for "not sharing power"

Artsakh president Arayik earlier said he is open to resigning in the future, and said he would limit his powers by involving opposition (including former regime) members to hold positions in his cabinet.

As a result, Kocharyan-ally Vitalik Balasanyan was appointed as Security Council chief, and some structural changes were done to the government apparatus.

Today, Vitalik's party "Justice" and ARF party released a message accusing president Arayik of breaking his promise and appointing ministers without consulting with them. The opposition says they can't cooperate with Arayik anymore.

After that, there were false rumors about Arayik deciding to resign.

https://factor.am/325552.html , https://factor.am/325608.html

another opposition leader charged with inciting/glorifying violence

Mihran Hakobyan, the co-founder of the former regime's Qaryak Media news agency, is the latest opposition figure to be charged with "glorifying and inciting violence". During a TV interview, he made references to the execution of Romanian leader Ceaușescu.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039390.html

POWs and searches

22 bodies were discovered in Fizuli, Hadrut, and Kubatlu regions today, bringing total discoveries since the ceasefire to 1133.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039404.html

MoD Vagharshak met family members of missing soldiers to discuss the search operation progress and today's NSS meeting in Moscow which is meant to expedite the process.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039431.html

Writers' Union of Ukraine

..will not print books by Armenian, Russian, Belarusian, Chinese, and authors from several other countries, because these countries usually vote against Ukraine during the UN general assembly resolutions. The exception will be individuals who openly side with Ukraine in the territorial conflicts in Crimea and Donbas, and those who passed away.

The president of Armenia's Writers Union suggested separating politics from culture.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039382.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039392.html

Artsakh's gas monopoly lowers prices after regulator's investigation

Public regulators launched an anti-competitive practice investigation against ArtsakhGas in August for raising the compressed gas prices by ֏20. The case was dropped today after the company lowered it by ֏10, which is within the limits.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039364.html

humanitarian aid

HimnaDram.org met a group of refugees from Shushi to hear their problems and find solutions. 50 families will receive funding for temporary housing.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203897

My Step Foundation has invited 340 children of wounded soldiers to watch theater performances in Dramatikakan. 5,000 kids from Artsakh and Armenia will be entertained across the country.

The Foundation has donated ֏952 million to Soldiers' Fund, disability center, and housing for refugees.

https://factor.am/325623.html , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203882

Russia donates €10 million to Armenia

It's a humanitarian gift to help Artsakh refugees.

The govt says they have so far approved $28 million in aid for various Artsakh programs. (this one is presumably Armenian money; the multiple aid packages)

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203918

2020 wrap-up: Parliament's budget & new transparency audit

Parliament Chief of Staff: we finished the year with ֏1.3 billion in savings, which is 21% of the budget. The savings were due to COVID-related changes in plans and optimizations.

To make our expenditures transparent, for the first time ever, we began inviting independent external companies (KPMG, BDO) to audit us.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203898

2020 wrap-up: all the fights in Parliament

From LHK Edmon and QP Sasun throwing punches, to BHK being against the "RICO" bill and subsequent arguments, to MPs angering opposition with provocative accusations.

https://youtu.be/JeX3LOmUIUQ

Nature Ministry removes dozens of illegal structures near Sevan

Context: The govt had earlier began removing the illegally-built buildings and structures on the shores of Lake Sevan. A database was created. Many structures were built years earlier with disregard to the law. Now the authorities plan to clear the shores to prepare it for the future rise of water levels, which is necessary to keep the lake healthy.

Nature Ministry: we dismantled and removed dozens of illegal structures and gazebos near Dilijan Park and M4 highway forests. The owners were warned. Dozens of contracts were terminated. These areas will return under Hayantar PAOK's management.

We will not sign new forest land lease contracts until we create a complete inventory database and develop clear regulations.

We noticed increased levels of illegal logging during the war because most forest guards were drafted into the army. Don't purchase illegal wood. Forests are our national treasure.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039344.html

2020 wrap-up: road repairs / border villages / highways

Infrastructure Minister: we renovated 550 km of roads this year. Many of them will help boost tourism to Parz Lich, Makaravantq, Haghpat (will finish soon). Ongoing projects in Gyumri that will help tourism.

Many roads in bordering villages Aygepar, Berqaber, and Berdavan were renovated for the first time since the USSR.

We could have built more in rural areas but due to pandemic and budget problems, we had to shift the priority to major highways, especially to Iran and Georgia. This will be true for 2021 as well. We will rebuild roads within rural settlements only by co-subsidizing them with local authorities, rather than the full federal subsidy.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039317.html

North-South highway construction

Infrastructure Minister: we will soon organize an auction to find a construction company for the North-South highway's Trans-2 Ashtarak-Talin section. It was delayed in 2020 because of delays by international banks and financial organizations (COVID and war).

We allocated ֏21.6 billion for the highway this year but ended up spending ֏32 billion because we found extra money.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039317.html

road repair quality

Infrastructure Minister: some contractors will have their contracts terminated and added to the blacklist for poor quality road repairs. Some of them did not understand that we were serious about quality control. We always give them an opportunity to fix issues.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039317.html

2020 wrap-up: archaeological discoveries

16 projects were done this year. We've been working on Karnut's early Bronze-age settlement and cemetery. There is another one near Ararat's Hayanist settlement where some works were done in the 1960s but never publicized.

We studied the "Dragon" stones.

A massive amount of digging was done in Artashat where we found a complex with mosaics and baths.

Full list: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039407.html

2020 wrap-up: Healthcare Ministry about wounded soldiers & COVID:

saving the soldiers

Thousands of lives were saved during the war by improving the efficiency of evacuation and transportation of wounded soldiers. The death rate among wounded hospital patients was 1.65%. This is an unprecedented low % compared to Afghan, Chechen, Syrian, and any conflict in the past 30 years.

40 hospitals run by us treated 76% of wounded soldiers. We thank all the doctors for their dedication.

COVID fight

160,000 people were diagnosed with COVID. Throughout the year, we converted 30 hospitals to treat 36,000 patients. Thousands of lives were saved thanks to heroic doctors and quick equipment upgrades with emergency govt funding. The death rate was 1.76%, compared to worldwide 2.18%.

maternal death

Mother's deaths during childbirth was cut in half this year, after some reforms. Unfortunately, we had 7 deaths, 5 of which were due to COVID.

Bill Gates, 5G, and lizard people

The healthcare system functioned and ignored the sentimental criticism by experts, speculations, conspiracy theories.

mergers

We had to make tough decisions, painful to some, to shut down some birth clinics in provinces to merge them with others to improve the quality and reduce the death rate among the newborns.

free subsidized care

For the first time in 30 years, medical centers received the 2021 contracts for the free and subsidized medical services before the beginning of the year. For comparison, before 2018, the year's contracts were signed during 1H of the said year.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039396.html

Գրիգոր's new emergency department

St. Gregory Illuminator hospital has a newly rebuilt emergency department. It is the largest in Armenia with 120 beds. "In the last year, the medical center has re-established itself as a place with kind treatment and high-quality medical care. Now, it is presented to you with a new look," said Minister Torosyan.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039421.html

COVID stats

+3508 tested. +582 infected. +10 deaths. +902 healed. 13548 active.

Ministry believes another wave of COVID is possible in the second half of January because of social activities during these holidays.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039362.html , https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/289100/

COVID vaccines

Healthcare Minister Torosyan earlier took a shot of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine.

"Although the Sputnik V vaccine met the safety requirements and efficacy during clinical trials, it was not yet registered back in November, so the Healthcare Ministry leadership decided to take it first to reassure the public. No sudden side effects have been reported. We thank Russia for the help against the pandemic."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039384.html

arts news

Frunzik Mkrtchyan's personal archive was transferred to Y. Charents museum. It is open to the public until March-2021. You will find 800 pieces of letters, personal items, photos, etc.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039389.html

chess news

Levon Aronyan is in Airthings Masters quarter finale, where he has to play 7 matches against Nakamura. Three matches were played: 2.5:1.5 in favor of Levon.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039340.html

soccer news

Roman legionnaire Henrikh Mkhitaryan is named the club's second-best striker of the year.

1) Edin Dzeko: 36 games, 16 goals

2) Mkhitaryan: 36 games, 14 goals

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039341.html

Turkish NBA player Enes Kanter

... , a critic of Recep Erdogan, wrote "I love you all" in Armenian on his social media account.

https://www.panorama.am/en/news/2020/12/29/Enes-Kanter-Armenian/2428704

daily life in Kaghnut, a border village in Syunik

https://youtu.be/zGU8Anrwocg

https://www.civilnet.am/news/2020/12/30/Կաղնուտ․-կյանքի-ու-Ադրբեջանի-սահմանին/414919

documentary from war: soldiers tell their stories

https://youtu.be/mBD8TNuXKUU

donations for Artsakh & recovering soldiers

www.1000plus.am (recovering soldiers & their families)

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:

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

disclaimer

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/knae41/dec302020_news_commander_arrested_over_negligence/

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