2020 December 4

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Contents

Daily news and anti-corruption report

Dec/4/2020 news wrap-up: \\ housing construction & repairs in Artsakh \\ demographic stats \\ political polls \\ foreign affairs \\ war vs agriculture \\ DNA sequencing \\ banking & economy \\ other stories
by ar_david_hh


Your 11-minute Friday report in 2861 words.

Artsakh's official recognition

Armenian MFA welcomed the decision by the French National Assembly that urges the French govt to officially recognize the Republic of Artsakh.

Azeri MFA will summon the French ambassador again to raise a complaint.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036765.html , https://factor.am/317199.html

MFA Ayvazyan to OCSE: Karabakh conflict will be resolved only if the international community recognizes the Artsakh population's right to self-determination. During the war, the international community witnessed what we had been saying for 26 years, that the Karabakh conflict is about the right of the native population to live free in their homeland. The international community now has the perception that Artsakh cannot be under the jurisdiction of Azerbaijan under any circumstances

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036719.html

COVID travel

During an EAEU economic bloc meeting, Pashinyan spoke about the need to lift the ban on the entry of Armenian (and other) citizens to Russia, which was put in place by Russia earlier due to COVID.

"We have been actively involved in all integration processes. These days we have felt the full support of our friends. We thank the Russian Federation for its invaluable assistance in the fight against coronavirus," said Pashinyan.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036746.html

minimum 3-year experience

... will be required to become a director of a government-run ՊՈԱԿ organization if a QP bill is approved by the Parliament. It was approved by a special committee today.

The candidate, who must be an adult citizen with higher education, will also take exams and undergo a multiple-stage job interview.

LHK suggested videotaping the job interview process. The QP author agreed to amend the bill.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036749.html

update: education reforms / optional or mandatory exams? / governing boards

Yesterday the govt introduced a new bill aimed at financing science, bringing postgraduate programs to European standards, etc. It also limited the university board size to 12 (half appointed by the university, and the other half by members of civil society and business). It also prohibits 12 members from being affiliated with political parties.

Several deans at the Yerevan State University criticized the government and opposed the bill because "it will allow the Minister to appoint the rector for 5 years".

They also want the Armenian Language exam to remain mandatory for admission and reverse the decision to make it optional for the 2021-2022 season. The government earlier decided to give the universities the flexibility to decide for themselves whether to require this exam or not, so most universities chose to make it optional. The critics want the universities to be forced to require this exam in 2021-2022.

The Education Ministry invited critics to discuss the bill.

A group of rectors met the Ministry to discuss the process of appointing rectors and directors, which goes like this: universities must form the governing council [presumably the 12-member body] within a year of law's implementation. Before they are formed, the existing boards will continue their duties and the [presumably Minister] will have the right to appoint directors & rectors [so it's presumably a temporary right before the new boards are formed]. Critics also say this is against another law.

Education Minister Dumanyan said they had already discussed it with legal agencies and found no issues, but they will discuss the bill more in the Parliament when it's introduced.

"The founder of state universities is the State, and the State should be fully responsible for the effective operation of each state university. I consider my main mission as the Minister to overthrow the atmosphere of distrust and the unhealthiness," said Minister Dumanyan.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036770.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036793.html , https://factor.am/317023.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036813.html

Russian doctors & peacekeepers

... cleared Stepanakert's southern suburbs from 10 cluster bombs. 40 local residents received medical care in a mobile field hospital. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036730.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036732.html

Russian MoD Shoygu: peacekeepers accompanied 30k refugees to their homes (half of those who returned). 50 hectares and 17.5km of roads were cleared of >1,000 explosives. Lachin corridor and the 28-km road to Stepanakert were cleared so the civilian traffic has resumed. Peacekeepers accompanied 3,500 vehicles.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036814.html

agricultural losses due to land transfers

95k hectares of arable lands were lost, 50k of which were used for grains. In 5 regions of Artsakh, the losses account for 90% according to unofficial approximation.

450 hectares of legume lands were lost, which accounts for 30% of the total.

More: https://hetq.am/hy/article/124985

Jalal Harutyunyan

... the former Artsakh army chief who was wounded, has been discharged from the hospital. He'll receive outpatient care. He was allegedly saved by a Martuni resident named Robert, according to reporters.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036731.html , https://news.am/arm/news/617104.html

Artsakh war veteran Jirayr Sefilian:

Could have we prevented the war? No, but we have done nothing since 1994 to build a strong army. We were given an opportunity to build a free and strong country but we sustained our army only artificially. Don't blame the soldiers for politicians' mistakes. After 25 years of negligence, and after PM's resignation, the entire political system needs to unite to build a country.

We certainly have an opportunity to straighten our curved back. We have the will and abilities. The upcoming geopolitical changes will also be in our favor. Yes, our situation is difficult today, but we will come out of it stronger.

https://factor.am/317210.html , https://factor.am/317215.html

PM continues to receive calls for resignation / Kocharyan comments

Pashinyan's critics continue to demand his resignation. A group of diplomats working abroad, and businessmen, called for PM's resignation, saying not enough efforts were put to strengthen ties with Russia, neighbors, and other states.

https://factor.am/317236.html , https://www.lragir.am/2020/12/04/605433/

Masis mayor Davit Hambardzumyan wrote, "It's time to take to the streets and make our voices heard in anger and protest. Pashinyan must resign." [Relevant: the mayor was earlier charged with organizing a masked-gang and attacking anti-Serj protesters in 2018, before allegedly damaging cars so the regime could frame protesters as violent.]

https://news.am/arm/news/617100.html

Robert Kocharyan gave an interview during which he blames Pashinyan for the war and giving bad orders which "led to the destruction of armed corps in the south because they were told to attack instead of holding their ground for 10 days and defending".

"If I were the Prime Minister, Aliyev would not dare to start a war," said Kocharyan, adding that the army was not ready for war the "air war" despite the early warning signs since 2016.

Kocharyan said Pashinyan should have purchased TOR units [the govt argued TOR are too expensive and would be destroyed just as quickly, making them even less efficient]. He said the OSA units were old and ineffective. [the govt argued that the OSAs were modernized and successfully shut down Israeli-made drones in July and October].

He repeated the fired general Movses Hakobyan's criticism that the "supplementation of the regular army was replaced with unit-based recruitment and warfare".

"Pashinyan should have accepted Lavrov's Plan [give away 7 regions without Artsakh's status] in the initial period when Azeris had only captured 4 kilometers in the south," said Kocharyan.

Kocharyan is against holding new elections for at least a year to avoid "emotional" decisions.

https://news.am/arm/news/617176.html , https://news.am/arm/news/617180.html , https://news.am/arm/news/617180.html , https://news.am/arm/news/617184.html , https://youtu.be/alfA_mF6T84

Full: https://youtu.be/05XYSYjVAds

POWs and soldiers

Deputy PM Avinyan met the US ambassador Tracey and discussed the topic of exchanging POWs "all for all".

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036758.html

Artsakh govt says Azerbaijan continues to delay the process of exchanging bodies. Bodies of 693 Armenian soldiers have been recovered so far. The Red Cross has involved the begin search operations in areas south of Zangelan, Fizuli, Jabrayil, and Hadrut.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036759.html

Russian peacekeepers negotiated with Azerbaijan to repatriate two Armenian POWs who were apprehended earlier in one of the 7 regions adjacent to Artsakh.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036781.html

Armenia and Azerbaijan gave the list of POWs to the Red Cross.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036786.html

the joint Turkish-Russian monitoring base

The November 10th Statement allowed only Russian peacekeepers but Turkey can send a group of experts to Azerbaijan to monitor the situation. They will join Russian experts.

BBC says this monitoring base will be allegedly located 15km away from Artsakh near Azeri city Barda, as agreed upon earlier that it wouldn't be in one of the 7 adjacent territories.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202293

lobbying in the US

ANCA has lobbied to remove an anti-Armenian part of a resolution pushed by the Turkish lobby in the US. "The amendment would have called for a one-sided report on the status of selectively identified internally displaced persons in Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, and Azerbaijan."

http://asbarez.com/198969/anti-armenian-provision-stripped-from-fy-2021-u-s-national-defense-authorization-act/

Turkey has arrested two Russian NTV journalists

... for allegedly filming inside Baykar drone producer's facility without permission, according to YeniŞafak outlet. NTV says they haven't heard back from their reporters since December 3rd. They aren't being kept in a civilian detention center. The Russian embassy is investigating.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036822.html

the Grey Wolves extremist-terrorist organization

... was banned in France and could be banned in Germany too after Parliamentarians expressed support for a ban. The GW extremists sent threatening letters to the Armenian community of Germany during the war. Germany Die Welt published an article about it.

https://www.welt.de/politik/deutschland/plus221552028/Tuerkische-Graue-Woelfe-Armenier-in-Deutschland-werden-terrorisiert.html

https://factor.am/317181.html

Azerbaijan's largest weapon suppliers

Russia, Turkey, and Israel are the usual suspects, but they also purchase $339 million Euro weapons from the European states beginning 2013. Czechia and Ukraine supplied artillery units and tanks.

Belarus sold Polonez units. They also purchased stuff from Pakistan, Bosnia, Slovakia, and the South African Republic.

Out of all OSCE countries, only the United States refused to sell weapons to Armenia and Azerbaijan.

https://youtu.be/48Xap0nBQ-0

public office changes continue

QP MP Argishti Mekhakyan will resign and become a deputy governor of Armavir province.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036741.html

Ambassador to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan Gagik Ghalachyan has been recalled.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036830.html

COVID stats

+3398 tested. +1184 infected. +23 deaths. +1762 healed. 21842 active.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036740.html

Central Bank about the economy during COVID and war:

Bank deposit reductions during the pandemic and the war happened at a much lower level than was anticipated [people withdrew savings due to pandemic, then on October many war volunteers withdrew cash for the family before leaving to front lines]. This reduction has slowed down significantly and now has a positive trend.

Risky loans increased during COVID, but the rise was smaller than we had witnessed during economic crises in the past. This is due to banks' prompt action and more responsible behavior by the public.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036726.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036727.html

you think 2021 will be better? :)

F.U., says the United Nations, which predicted a serious humanitarian crisis around the world. 270 million people could die from hunger caused by COVID.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036823.html

anti-corruption: ex-leader of Arabkir charged with embezzlement

Investigative Committee said: ex-leader of Yerevan's Arabkir district made sure that his friend received a 1500 m2 land from Arabkir Park for only $38,000 in 2007. A year later, the friend resold it for $360,000. A felony case is launched over the embezzlement. He is wanted by police.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036776.html

poll: should there be new elections?

46% yes, 42% no, 13% don't know.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036754.html

poll: should Pashinyan resign?

45% yes, 38% no, 17% don't know.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036754.html

poll: have you read the 6-month plan of action published by Pashinyan?

42% yes, 56% no, 2 don't know.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036754.html

poll: should Armenia keep the Parliamentary system or return to semi-presidential?

37% Parliamentary, 33% semi-presidential, 30% don't know.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036754.html

poll: which countries are a threat to Armenia?

87% Turkey, 71% Azerbaijan.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036750.html

poll: is Armenia safer now, from an external threat, than it was before the war?

35% yes, 57% no, 8% don't know.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036750.html

stats: population size, fertility, and demographics

Total permanent population -5,600 (-0.2%) and stood at 2,959,700 in January of 2020 vs 2019.

Natural population change was +9,800 (more births than deaths).

Men lived 73.1 years and for women 79.5 on average.

--

who and where

64% urban, 36% rural.

47% men, 53% women.

Average age 36.9 (34.8 men, 38.8 women)

64% were working age (16-62). 21% under 15. 15% over 63.

1,000 workers take care of 566 non-workers (young and elderly).

--

birth rate

The fertility rate has increased from 1.572 to 1.599 but it's still below the desired 2.150.

12.2 births per 1,000 population, down 0.1.

The average age of women during the first birth was 25.2, and 27.6 in general.

3rd and subsequent births accounted for 25% of all births, up by 2.4% from last year.

32% of births were outside of marriage.

--

death rate

Death rate +1.7%. It's 8.9 in urban and 8.7 in rural areas, per 1,000 population.

75% were from cardiovascular and cancer.

--

temporary workers who migrated

5% of household members left home to find work elsewhere in Armenia or abroad. Between 2014-2019, some 14% of household members left their homes for >3 months to find work.

From those who had left and haven't returned yet: 19% migration was between Yerevan & provinces, 12% between Artsakh & Armenia, and 69% moved abroad (90% of whom to Russia).

From those who had left and already returned: 9% were between Yerevan & provinces, 11% between Armenian & Artsakh, 80% from another country.

Between 2014-2019, some 85,000 migrants moved abroad for work, 32% of whom stay abroad for over a year. The average annual number (միջին տարեկան թվաքանակը) of those who haven't returned yet is 16,000.

3.7% of household members expressed a desire to move abroad for work within a year, 0.5% to move to Yerevan, 95.8% didn't want to move.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036728.html

300 new apartments in Artsakh capital Stepanakert

... are being built right now. They'll be ready by 1H21. Stepanakert's hotel will be renovated soon and house 100 people. The reconstruction of 25 apartment complex buildings will complete soon.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036807.html , https://factor.am/317226.html

DNA analysis and sequencing in Armenia

Education Ministry said: lately you've been asking about Armenia's DNA-analysis capabilities for legal and medical purposes. In December-2018 we purchased the first genetic sequencing "Applied Biosystem 3500" device. It's being used by the Forensic Scientific Center. We're in the process to purchase the second device.

The device studies short tandem segments specific to the human genome that can find relatives if a blood sample is provided. Lately, we've been using it to identify deceased soldiers; 260 cases so far.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036824.html

new road repairs in Armenia

Yerevan municipality says now you can drive from Tbilisi Street to Davtashen or Zovuni in 10-15 minutes because of a new road that was repaired for the first time since the 1990s. It bypasses Komitas-Davtashen traffic.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202251

Qarakert's three roads were renovated. They connect to an interstate highway and serve 15,000 locals.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202283

entrance to Jrvej Forest Park could become free

And all businesses should undergo nature-protection examinations, said Nature Minister Romanos during a visit to the park. "We need a well-kept and well-maintained city park without the current trash that you see at every step."

Photo: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202286

soccer coach

Armenian national team's coach sporting director [as corrected by readers] Himenes won't extend the contract when it expires. Under this watch, the Armenian team advanced to League B in Nations League. He will continue to act as an adviser and help develop the sport in Armenia.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036796.html

new modern soccer stadium

Soccer Federation still plans to build a new modern stadium that meets UEFA standards. "There were investors interested in the project. They held a meeting with us and the govt, but the COVID and the war brought uncertainty. We need to restart the work and find new connections," said Federation chief Melikbekyan.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036800.html

no grant for you!

Soccer Federation chief says someone mistranslated something which resulted in false rumors claiming that UEFA gave a 2.25 million Euro gift to the Armenian soccer team for winning the Nations League group.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036812.html

boxer Gor Yeritsyan

Spoiler alert: he won the 14th consecutive fight by KO-ing Mexico's Montes in the 6th round.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036733.html

Johny the dog traveled from Artsakh to Armenia

... and has been waiting in front of a hospital entrance for his wounded owner, for 20 days. Visitors bring him food and water. He is your valet. Some people visit the hospital just for meeting and petting Johny.

Johny runs towards the hospital door every time someone opens it. Maybe this time it's Romik Aghekyan, his accomplice?

Romik found him in an abandoned destroyed house. He was treated and fed during the war. The dog had gone through a minefield.

https://youtu.be/6v_5FrvHrjM?t=6

top-5 bestselling documentary books in October

5) The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, by Sharma Robin.

4) Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman.

3) "Explosions in Turkey and ..... Not Only. ASALA, from Inside", by Karo Vardanyan.

2) 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, by Yuval Harari.

1) Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Harari.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036472.html

humanitarian aid

The Red Cross has so far donated 4350 parcels of aid, 17,000 pieces of hygiene items, 14,000 bedding items, and 1,400 kitchen appliances to Artsakh refugees.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036772.html

The My Step Foundation is financing a buffet in Stepanakert to make the food free for locals.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/202277

The "Armenian-Artsakh" foundation has collected $15m in aid in the past 5 months. The largest donors were AmeriCares, Direct relief, and MAP International.

Full: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1036833.html

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/k66lnz/dec32020_wrapup_artsakhs_official_recognition/?

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/k6v9s8/dec42020_news_wrapup_housing_construction_repairs/

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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