2020 September 2

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Daily news and anti-corruption report

Sep/2/2020 news: \\ Armenia resolves railway dispute w/Russia \\ geopolitics: Syrian fighters, AZ, TR, RU \\ USA & EU help with police reforms & laboratory \\ LTE & lower fees in Artsakh \\ ex-police chief's Sevan mansion \\ corruption busts \\ Kond \\ YSU tuition & salaries \\ renovations \\ ...
by ar_david_hh


Reports about Azerbaijan recruiting Syrian mercenaries / Anti-Russian protests in Baku

Russian Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper writes about 500 Syrian fighters in Azerbaijan and a de-facto Turkish military base in Nakhijevan.

The outlet cites Telegram channels (accuracy not guaranteed) about 500 Syrian-Turkmen fighters collected from Sultan Murad battalion, Free Syrian Army, and Hamzat group, already being located in Azerbaijan.

--

A few days ago Azeris held a pro-Turkish protest calling to free Azerbaijan from Russians and Armenians. They called for the establishment of a Turkish military base and revenge for Tavush losses in July.

Russia largely ignored the protest, which was covered by the Turkish media.

--

Some Russian analysts believe Turkey already has a military base in Nakhijevan because they left behind some jets and soldiers after the joint exercises.

The Russian outlet notes that hired groups of mercenaries usually accompany Turkish forces, so the news about 500 fighters could be true.

--

"Baku does not rule out the military scenario with the help of Turkey.

Russia isn't happy about NATO member Turkey expanding its activities in the region."

Azeri govt has officially denied both rumors about Syrian mercenaries and having a Turkish military base.

https://www.ng.ru/armies/2020-09-01/5_7952_armenia.html

https://factor.am/280459.html

MFA comments the reports about 500 Syrian mercenaries:

We're checking the accuracy of this concerning report. It could be true considering Azerbaijan's history of involving religious extremists in this conflict, and Turkey's record of supplying terrorists to other regions.

MFA about ignoring some statements made by Turkey and Azerbaijan:

We don't always comment on nervous statements by Azerbaijan and Turkey. Turkey has issues with all of its neighbors.

Lately, they've been acting like a gas-seeking queen of seas [😂🍿]. They should follow their obligations. By closing borders with Armenia, they're breaking said obligations.

As for Azerbaijan, they're acting as Turkey's junior colleague; we won't respond to every statement made by them. MFA about Turkey blocking German NATO airplane that was supposed to pick up Armenian peacekeepers:

It's reprehensible that Turkey is already obstructing NATO's and UN's peacekeeping operations because of its anti-Armenian policies. We're in touch with international colleagues.

MFA about Turkey acting as part of Karabakh conflict:

With its behavior, Turkey seems to want to present itself as a party to the conflict, which is another manifestation of Turkey's destabilizing policy.

The impression is that the country that's blockading Armenia, a country that doesn't recognize and even justifies the Armenian Genocide, is trying to act like a victim.

MFA comments AZ's complaints about RU delivering weapons to AM:

It appears the July Tavush battles had a heavy toll not only on their military but also the diplomacy. Armenia and Russia have been cooperating in the military industry since the 90s. It's strange that Azerbaijan has just remembered it.

MFA about resuming Artsakh peace talks:

We are ready to resume peace talks with Azerbaijan. As stated by Pashinyan on July 23rd, we expect the end of hate speech and the use of force. This is also what OCSE wants.

MFA about Chinese "smart city":

We don't have any official info about a $15b Chinese investment to build a smarty city in Armenia. (a private business earlier said they struck a deal).

MFA about sending aid to Syrian-Armenians:

Our Ministry used its savings to send $100k aid to 300 low-income Armenian families in Damascus, Syria. Another 4,700 to receive aid soon.

--

All the MFA-related sources:

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026508.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026512.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026499.html

https://factor.am/280398.html

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=emb_title&v=1yoLEcD-FuA

https://factor.am/280410.html

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=emb_title&v=oOLqyVoQTH8

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026523.html

Today is Artsakh Day

Pashinyan: Artsakh got its independence from USSR on this day in 1991. Congrats, free Artsakh!

President Arayik: congrats to Armenians around the world. We achieved this together. The ultimate goal is union with Armenia.

President Sarkissian: Artsakh is the spark that ignited the independence across the Armenian world. People stood up to defend their rights and their place among the families of modern nations.

Armenian MFA: since independence, Artsakh was able to organize its socio-political life, protect its citizens, assume international obligations especially towards improving human rights.

Ex-deputy President of Bascue Parliament: I join my colleagues who returned from a trip to Artsakh, and congratulate the independence of this oasis of democracy located at the gates of Europe.

https://factor.am/280350.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026463.html

http://arka.am/en/news/politics/artsakh_president_says_ultimate_goal_is_union_with_armenia_/

https://factor.am/280338.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026492.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026517.html

ex-police chief Vladimir Gasparyan / Illegal buildings near Lake Sevan / Azatutyun attack

A few weeks ago the police launched a felony case against Gasparyan after he allegedly attacked Azatutyun journalists who were filming his mansion on the shores of Lake Sevan.

The media's interest in the mansion was over the information that it was built illegally. That wouldn't be surprising considering that over 3,000 buildings were allowed by the former govt to be built too close to the lake.

--

Now the investigators have a new felony investigation around Gasparyan's mansion. They say the complex has 2 unregistered illegal buildings, and the fences near the shores are unauthorized.

--

This is in addition to the Property Management office recently declaring that the mansion was built below the 1905-meter mark. Buildings aren't allowed to be below that mark because they could hinder plans to raise the lake's water levels.

Gasparyan allegedly colluded with officials in 2017 and January 2018 to fabricate and claim that the mansion was above 1905m.

A felony case is launched, including against officials. https://factor.am/280483.html

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=emb_title&v=9Cj2K5gqAX8

NSS busts a mayor

NSS says the mayor of Parakar registered his friends and relatives as fake employees and embezzled dozens of millions in salaries since 2013, then embezzled funds meant for low-income residents.

A felony case is launched. Https://factor.am/280363.html

NSS busts a national park chief

The report says that the now-former chief of Dilijan National Park took charity funds from Caucasus Nature Fund NGO to purchase trucks to use for nature-protection tasks, but he purposely rigged the purchase auction with a single buyer to spend several times more money on trucks so he could embezzle the excess.

A felony case is launched https://factor.am/280363.html

officals busted over elderly housing fraud

Prosecutors said: we worked with Labor Ministry to investigate media reports about corruption in the "Emergency One Person" program which gives small houses to the elderly.

The govt gave $56k to Labor Ministry for each house. The Ministry created a Committee to organize an auction to find a builder and deliver the houses.

--

The Committee held an auction and declared a specific construction Company a winner for 2 houses. The Company signed a contract in 2019 to deliver the houses with specific accommodations.

The Company built crappy houses with a leaky roof, plastic bag instead of windows, and lacking other accommodations, yet the Ministry Committee officials forged documents and signed the job as complete.

A felony case is launched against Ministry Committee officials for the $112k corruption.

https://factor.am/280439.html

Alaverdi school director...

... is charged with embezzlement. 'nuff said.

https://factor.am/280477.html

Redditors reading David's daily anti-corruption quickies:

https://youtu.be/1jWpyNn9TSE?t=11

look how they massacred my booooy

Yerevan accused a former official of running an illegal advertisement operation. They removed a giant "adjarabet" gambling billboard from the roof of an apartment complex building.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/194807

A group to explore tourism plans in old Kond district

Deputy PM Avinyan created a group to examine tourism ideas in Yerevan's old Kond district, part of which was scheduled to be demolished for a new project after compensating residents a while ago.

Kond is the last remaining district of Old Yerevan, neighboring the Center. Some of the streets can be only 4 feet wide between the old and sometimes crumbling buildings.

Recently there has been a push to preserve its architecture by canceling the replacement plans.

https://hetq.am/hy/article/9025.

https://factor.am/280360.html

https://hetq.am/hy/article/9025

Yerevan will spend festival funds to repair theaters instead

80% of this year's Erebuni-Yerevan festivities budget will be rerouted to renovate Frunzik Mkrtchyan and Patani Handisates theaters.

The Ghaplanyan Drama-theater was recently renovated with new lighting and audio and is ready to resume performances.

https://factor.am/280387.html

Art at an altitude of 3,300 meters

For those of you who like archeology and nature:

https://youtu.be/KNnWixtpOm4

Police catch artifact thief

The man is accused of entering a historical site near Voskevaz and using a metal detector to find and steal artifacts.

https://factor.am/280646.html

Yerevan State University...

... will raise tuitions by $145-$270 (depending on department) for Freshmen and Masters students. That's around 28% of all students. It was planned last year.

As a result, all professors' and deans' salaries will +5%.

--

Additionally, they saved resources by optimizing the university's annual purchases. This allows them to give professors another +5% raise, bringing it to +10%.

The acting (and soon departing) rector listed the achievements since 2019, such as the implementation of hands-on practice for Masters students: https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=emb_title&time_continue=25&v=QUIYBXZrT58

https://factor.am/280421.html

http://arka.am/en/news/society/rector_explains_why_yerevan_state_university_raised_tuition_fees/

Amulsar miner Lydian released surveillance footage...

... allegedly showing how environmental activists slashed the company's truck tires and threw rocks at the windshield. They accused activists of threatening them.

https://youtu.be/PnpRJFQPK2M

This is Hrazdan city. Its roads are being renovated

Video: https://www.facebook.com/nikol.pashinyan/videos/678775136329086/

Gyumri's renovated Kumayri museum

The newly renovated Kumayri museum, which houses 6000 historical artifacts, will open soon, during the Gyumri Day festival.

Photos: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/194859

COVID stats

+197 infected. +3 deaths. 4291 active. 209389 tested.

Any Artsakh citizen, who paid $15 to get a COVID test at the border to enter Artsakh, will receive a refund.

https://factor.am/280353.html

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/194845

update: Armavir alcohol poisoning

11 12 people died after a man sold an illegal toxic alcohol yesterday.

--

He claims he purchased a regular wheat spirit from someone else before mixing it with water and lemon. "The Consumer Protection Agency made a rushed statement when they said the alcohol contained methyl spirit," said the lawyer.

--

The man is under arrest. The comprehensive lab exam results will arrive next week. Two more people were arrested today.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/194862

Telecom in Artsakh / 4G and 3G coverage to expand

President Arayik dismissed the idea that Artsakh's 2002-onward telecom monopoly Karabakh-Telecom is preventing others from entering the market.

"I sent invitation letters to Armenian and Russian telecoms but they rejected. More telecoms could actually cause more problems."

--

"Next week Artsakh will have higher-quality 3G coverage. 4G will arrive in major cities in 2021. We'll see drastic fee reduction beginning 2021, regardless of competition," said Arayik.

https://factor.am/280551.html

Russia and Armenia settle disputes over railways

Russian Transport Ministry says they signed an agreement with the Armenian Infrastructure Ministry to solve the disagreements over South-Caucasus Railways operations.

"Both sides accepted an independent auditor's report about the railway investments made since 2008. No disputes."

--

"The agreement will play an important role in solving several issues faced by the railways. Its capacities will expand, and the equipment will modernize. This will improve trade between RU-AM," said the Russian ministry.

--

Context: the Russian railway operator was accused of breaking contract terms with insufficient investments after the Pashinyan administration came into power in 2018. Additionally, railways are facing tax-fraud charges. It's unclear if that was also settled.

https://factor.am/280576.html

U.S. helps with upcoming police reforms

Parliament earlier approved the police reforms to retrain new officers with much higher salaries and better equipment.

Justice Ministry is working with the U.S. embassy and the U.S. Bureau of Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

A $1.75m agreement was signed, bringing total investments (equipment, etc.) to $7m.

--

U.S. ambassador comments reforms: https://youtu.be/8d5PwDOJkUw

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026460.html

Armenia will have a high-precision radiation laboratory

The EU will donate Armenia equipment to open a new radiation lab to take accurate radiation measurements. Armenia's existing mobile devices are inaccurate.

The new lab's sensitive equipment will allow an in-depth examination of soil and water.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1026455.html

--

You've read 1905 words.


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/ilcor1/sep22020_news_armenia_resolves_railway_dispute/

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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