2019 October 11
Anti-Corruption & News Summary from Armenia - Oct/11/2019 :: All-Armenia Fund's former director :: Artsakh Republic :: Karabakh negotiations :: Syria :: Women in politics :: Exports stats :: Demographics improvement programs :: Meghri :: more inside
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.
Today's news begins with Prime Minister Pashinyan arriving in Turkmenistan. He was greeted with kids who offered him bread. Obviously he stuffed his mouth with bread, then begun to greet world delegates with a full mouth and bread-y hands.
Former USSR republic (CIS) heads then held a meeting in Turkmenistan.
Ilham Aliyev made remarks about Armenian national hero Garegin Nzhdeh, accusing the Armenian government of installing a statue of "a nazi" who fought alongside with Germans against Russia.
We are against subjective presentation of historical events. Unfortunately we saw one in Aliyev's speech. You get the impression that Hitler was a secondary figure and the Nazi commander was Garegin Nzhdeh.
The truth is, Nzdeh fought against the occupation of Armenia by Turkey, fought against the genocide perpetrators, and even cooperated with some Russian generals during important 1918 war events. It's important to have an objective understanding of history.
Nzhdeh died in a prison that was meant for the enemies of CCCP, but so did many persecuted political prisoners in 1937-1950 who weren't really enemies of the CCCP. It's unnecessary to distort the reality during an important meeting such as this.
Pashinyan and Aliyev then discussed Artsakh issue for 2 hours. They did not talk about Garegin Nzhdeh anymore.
Pashinyan in Russian https://www.facebook.com/nikol.pashinyan/videos/918248225219405/
Pashinyan in Armenian https://youtu.be/RjwXJ7NOvRA
Pashinyan's movie reference https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/171428
Pashinyan gave Putin a book titles "Peace to Karabakh" written by a former OCSE monitor. He called it a "neutral" book written by someone who spent a lot of time examining details, some of which have unfortunately been forgotten. (probably referring to Karabakh reps being part of negotiating process)
Artsakh president Bako Sahakyan: Artsakh's fate cannot be decided without Artsakh's participation in the debates. It's impossible to achieve serious diplomatic results without restoring the negotiating format in which Artsakh is a full participant.
European Parliament MP Eleni Theocharous during a visit to Artsakh: it is time for EU and UN to recognize Artsakh.
Turkish invasion of Syria continues. Turkey says one of their eventual goals is to move the 3.6mln Syrian refugees located in Turkey, into the northern Syria.
70,000 people left their northern Syrian homes since the October 9th attack. Syrian govt accused Turkey of targeting a civilian water distribution facility with the intention of depriving civilians of water.
Turkish authorities arrested 2 journalists for criticizing the invasion of Syria.
Diaspora committee chief Zareh Sinanyan: Armenians living in northern Syrian Qamiscli city are currently safe. The city is functioning, only schools are closed. There are no military actions. Armenians continue to live in their homes. If they decide to go to Armenia, we'll help them. (Later that day a car exploded in the city under unknown circumstances.)
Spain: if Turkey doesn't stop the military actions, we'll remove our PATRIOT anti-air system from Turkey.
Donald Trump: The US has done its job of defeating ISIS. Kurds and Turks have been fighting for 200 years. The US could intervene 3 ways in this conflict: send thousands of troops and achieve a military victory (presumably against Turkey), apply economic pressure on Turkey, or serve as a mediator between Turks and Kurds.
Pentagon chief has urged Turkey to end the military actions in Syria.
Donald Trump has signed an executive order to allow sanctions against Turkey if they "cross the line".
Kim K. thanked Armenia for hosting her and for the opportunity to get baptized in one of the oldest churches in the world. Uploaded pics. Got 6.5mln likes.
Council of Europe says the member-states should ensure that women represent 40% of politics.
Armenia is at 23.5% and is placed at the 115th position in the world. Georgia 119, Paytakaran 137. Compared to 2017, Armenia moved down 4 positions in female participation.
Despite Pashinyan bragging about having more female officials in various PM-run offices compared to previous governments, the situation is different in the Parliament. 31 out of 132 are women. (In 2017 there were a total of 105MPs, in 2019 there are 132 due to legal changes.)
When it comes to female representation in governing bodies within each party, QP has the fewest 11% of women being bosses. LHK has the highest 23%.
Armenian law says one gender cannot have over 70% representation. QP fraction boss Lena Nazaryan suggests to lower it to 60%. One other suggested reform is to provide extra aid to political parties with higher number of women.
Meghri city is in the south of Armenia, near the border with Iran. Gas pipeline from Iran goes through Meghri to feed the rest of Armenia, but Meghri itself has no network.
The govt did some works in 2011 but never finished it, due to "lack of willingness and $500,000". Iran gave $2mln to help install a gas network, but the Armenian government couldn't spend $0.5mln to finish it.
Meghri mayor Mkhitar Zaqaryan says the heating issue is bad in the winter. The lack of pipeline is a result of legal and financial challenges. Recently, the deputy PM, governor's office and Gazprom begun works to install a pipeline in Meghri and nearby suburbs of Agarak and Lehvaz. The bordering villages that are further away will have solar energy.
Next month they'll finish assessing how much the gas project will cost.
Exports rose 4.6% for January-September 2019vs2018.
Below are the dollar value of exports, and the biggest (but not the only) reason for the export change:
Russia 452mln (up 6% due to metals & cognac)
Swiss 281mln (up 31% due to raw gold and copper)
Bulgaria 134mln (down 17% due to copper)
China 119mln (up 59% due to copper)
Holland 106mln (up 39% due to molybdenum)
Iraq 104mln (up 25% due to cigarettes)
Iran 53mln (up 16% due to electricity)
Germany 47mln (down 55% due to aluminum)
Georgia 46mln (up 16%)
Italy 41mln (up 24%)
Raw mining product exports' increase has seen a decline. Prepared products have seen an increase. The imports were higher than exports by $1.5bln, same as in 2018.
The industrial output increased by 9.5%
1990s kids are becoming parents. Due to war and emigration, it is expected that the birth rate and natural growth will be lower. Armenia currently has a natural growth, with more births than deaths.
The govt earlier decided to increase aid for the 1st child by 6x (to 300k), and 2x for second child. They are now working on another program to help parents obtain housing.
If you have 2 kids: govt subsidizes 10% of housing cost if you live in a village, 5% if in a city, 0% if in Yerevan.
If you have 3-4 kids: subsidy is 50% in a province and 25% in Yerevan.
big if true https://news.am/arm/news/538368.html
Last year the now-former director of popular All-Armenia Fund charity organization, which collects donations every Thanksgivings day, was charged with embezzling donated money and wasting it on gambling. He returned the stolen funds. At the time his arrest was lifted after he posted bail.
Few days ago, former director Vardayan released a statement saying he is being "persecuted for his political activities", because NSS made a decision to arrest him again, despite him being free on bail for over a year and proving that he isn't a flight risk.
NSS denied persecution allegations, revealing that the reason for changing bail to arrest, are the new charges that were recently pressed against Ara Vardanyan after finding proof of 149mln embezzlement.
Last year Vardanyan was charged with Code 214.1 only. Now he is facing additional 179.3.1 and 325.2.
214.1: Առևտրային կամ այլ կազմակերպությունների ծառայողների կողմից լիազորությունները չարաշահելը (firm reps abusing their powers to cause harm)
179.3.1: Յուրացնելը կամ վատնելը առանձնապես խոշոր չափերով (large scale embezzlement)
325.2: Փաստաթղթեր կեղծելը (forgery)
The best crime of the year award goes to...
The police has busted an official working at the Ministry of Emergency for using a Ministry-owned Boaty McBoatface to organize illegal private cruise trips for Lake Sevan visitors, causing 15mln damage to the state between 2016-2018.
Varazdat Hakobyan from Gegharquniq achieved a Guinness World Record by pulling a 23 ton train wagon.
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/dgkdrt/anticorruption_news_summary_from_armenia/
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