2019 May 15
Anti-Corruption & News - May/15/2019: Day 3 of Kocharyan trial; March 1st case witness testimonies; Serj.... 26 felony invstg of Shirak officials.... 4th municipality votes to ban mining.... Yerevan municipality, Cascade, chopanughi, subway, attics.... Armenian kid... Pashinyan approval stats.. more
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.
Rob Kocharyan's detention trial enters the 3rd day. I won't go into the boring legal stuff, some notable events:
The court is hearing details about how one of the former Kocharyan officials testified against him, after the Defense Minister signed the infamous Order 0038 to involve the army in politics. Here are some details from the testimony by the official:
"On February 23, 2008 the entire elite gathered to figure out what to do about the looming protests [after presidential election vote]. Rob spoke with NSS and the police, then the Defense Minister and the army people entered. Serj Sargsyan [then Prime Minister and president-elect] was also present.
During this meeting, they raised concerns that Manvel Grigoryan [at the time high ranking Defense Ministry official] and his Yerkrapah veteran union had defected and joined opposition Levon Ter-Petrosyan. They were also concerned because Manvel's people had weapons as being military people. Defense Minister didn't know where Manvel was, for which he was scolded.
Rob said he will declare a state of an emergency at 12AM [February 23rd լույս 24th].
Then Serj Sargsyan suggested for a separate military unit to be formed, to be headed by Yuri Khachaturov. [so the 0038 was Serj's idea according to him?]. Some of the officers that were present at the meeting weren't happy about the army being involved in the events in Yerevan.
Rob declared the emergency the on February 23rd, but he told the public about the decision only on March 1st. The official whose testimony we're reading says it was Rob who instructed the Defense Minister to bring the forces to the emergency state."
Rob's defense team is complaining that they weren't aware of many of the testimonies that the investigators had in their hand, until the court trial was set. They blamed the prosecution of delaying the flow of data on purpose.
Serj Sargsyan was also questioned [all these testimonies were done long before today's court trial]. He said he doesn't remember much details from the meeting because it's been a long time. Serj does remember that there was a meeting during which the officials were warned that Manvel Grigoryan and Yerkrapah defected to the other side and they could be armed. They also wanted to warn and prevent the rest of the military from defecting.
[Basically, they say Rob and Serj wanted to make sure Manvel doesn't join Levon. There is a 2008 video in which Levon says he spoke with Manvel and the latter promised not to go against the protesters or allow the army to be brought against the protesters, but there is no word about Manvel actually joining Levon to overthrow the authorities. As the history confirms, he didn't.
In past, Rob's defense team misleadingly cited Levon's speech to claim Levon actively urged the military to come to his side and be involved in politics. The extended video shows the opposite: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSOxDVG0Epo
Kocharyan's staff member and former deputy Prime Minister Armen Grigoryan (also charged) had also testified. He said the purpose of the meeting was not to involve the military into politics. Grigoryan says he doesn't remember if Rob ordered a state of the emergency, or instructed the army to be used, on that of February 23rd.
Former defense minister Seyran Ohanyan (also charged in the case) testified that during the meeting they were trying to make sure the military is alert about possible Azeri aggression at the border.
Another official testified that Kocharyan was trying to make sure Manvel Grigoryan doesn't defect to the other side, and that Kocharyan ordered the police chief to find Manvel and instruct him to stay in his house. http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/161476
It was testified by one of the witnesses that the army was brought to Yerevan in the following days of the February 23rd meeting. https://hetq.am/hy/article/103699
Anti-Kocharyan protester Vardges Gaspari was eventually allowed to enter the courtroom after being denied entry due to police claiming they can't guarantee his safety. Gaspari was earlier struck - either by hand or a water bottle - by Kocharyan supporters. "Լակո՛տ, թափթփուկ" https://youtu.be/GgPTI1iz63o?t=287
Small Pro-Kocharyan crowd https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FK3oMj9SkQc
Small Anti-Kocharyan crowd https://youtu.be/s_Jp1O7u3tE?t=12
The trial will continue tomorrow.
2019Q1: Shirak prosecutors are examining 26 felony cases in which various officials are suspected of corruption, worth 85mln. 9.3mln recovered so far. The numbers are up 3x over 2018Q1.
Areni (and several villages that are part of its management) becomes the 4th settlement since 2018 to pass an ordinance that bans mining activities on its territories. 2,900 residents had signed a petition. The municipality approved it unanimously.
Yerevan municipality hopes to begin the construction of the new subway station by early 2020. A bridge connecting two sides of a gorge, used by the train, will be built first. General architect and singer Arthur Meschyan says this will be a tough job.
As for the areal tramway (chopanughi), it'll connect Nor Norq 2.0 to Center, near Abovyan gardens. In future it will stretch to Hakhtanak park. It'll serve as an alternative transportation, too.
Both projects will be built by private investors. They will be compensated by being allowed to build and operate malls and hotels near the stations (one of them near TUMO).
The architect has asked the legislative to relax some laws, so the city administration can do construction on the street-facing parts of the apartment complex buildings. It's specifically about the attic roofs at the top. The city wants to improve them, but the law currently requires that 100% of the building households must give a permission for the city to being a construction. The proposal is to lower the limit to 2/3rd of the residential approval.
Municipality says they get blamed for not doing things fast enough, but there is only so much they can do without the laws being changed first. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/974887.html
The architect also complained that his workers aren't being paid enough. Some of them work until 11PM. It's not sustainable unless the municipality salaries rise. (Last week the municipality opposition and some internal QP opposition prevented the mayor from raising the salaries by 30%. They're still working on the plan.)
The architect says the construction work of an arts museum (with surrounding area) at the edge of Cascade should be finished ASAP; it's been years already. There is a problem with the ownership of the area. The city wants to help the owners to find a buyer if they don't want to spend money to finish the construction. The city has some ideas on what could be build near Cascade in future.
Earlier, the city begun enforcing street trade ban more strictly, citing health and other reasons. Some low income residents, who make money through small street sales, complained about it. They were offered a temporarily subsidized spots in major bazaars in the city, but some of them refused.
The city now plans to create mobile mini-markets for them. Some areas across the city will be dedicated to it. There will be basic movable tents and tables.
An Armenian kid in Turkey accidentally converted to Islam on Turkish TV, without knowing what was going on, says his mother. The woman says the kid goes to Christian church. He was trying to have fun with his friend by participating in the show, and later bragged about getting all the attention on the TV. The show didn't have the mother's permission to convert him, but apparently a family friend was involved in this whole ordeal.
MP Garo Paylan of course had a few words to say about this. He said the kid was used and his rights were violated.
(Kardashyans 🍑 finally have a worthy competitor?)
Gallup International study shows PM Nikol Pashinyan has a 84% approval rating among the public. 30% fully, 54% mostly satisfied. This is an expected 10% decline from the revolution days when the public was still in the state of euphoria, say analysts.
When asked whether his work has fully or partially met the expectations, 77.6% said yes. The 20.4% said fully or partially didn't meet the expectations.
Other members of the government don't have as much popularity as Pashinyan. The government body as a whole has a 57.3% approval rating.
If there were Parliamentary elections tomorrow, whom would you vote for? QP 60%, BHK 12%, LHK 4.6%, HHK 1.6%, ARF 1.6%, Sasna Tsrer 1.1%, etc.
(Gallup International had accurately predicted Pashinyan's numbers during the 2018 Parliamentary elections.)
Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/bp3ie2/anticorruption_news_may152019_day_3_of_kocharyan/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|