2020 December 15

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Daily news wrap-up

Dec/15/2020 news wrap-up: \\ General Samvel Babayan reveals details from war \\ Azeris unblock a road in Hadrut region \\ opposition holds a rally \\ investigations & results \\ daily fake news report \\ soldiers receive awards \\ POW exchange \\ Central Bank about economy \\ iGorts \\ high-tech
by ar_david_hh

Your 17-minute Tuesday report in 4151 words.

Part 2: General Samvel Babayan reveals details from war / Weapon supplies / Shushi / Army command / South & North / $5 billion offer

Last week, Artsakh opposition official [non-former regime] General Samvel Babayan gave an interview and expressed his opinion about shortcomings, inefficient management by commanders, refusal to follow orders, General Movses not wanting to command the southern front, etc. Here is the second and final part of that 70-minute-long interview.

Q: you sensed the pending war and wrote letters to Serj in 2013 and to Pashinyan in 2018 with suggestions. How did they respond to them?

A: what I wrote in those letters ended up becoming reality. The letters hadn't received enough attention. I met Pashinyan and he said he accepted 80% of my suggestions and added them to the list of planned actions. I warned that we only had a year before the war. Azerbaijan had been preparing for 10 years.

Some people believe that had we exercised proper diplomacy we could avoid this war. It's the power of our army that prevents wars; diplomacy comes second. We had to strengthen the army and display our strength.

Q: tell us about the initial attacks.

The attacks began on Mataghis (north-east) and south-east. In the Mataghis area, military experts advised the withdrawal of the entire 7th Defense Division for better defense, but army general Jalal Harutyunyan rightfully rejected the advice and organized defense on Mataghis outskirts. They were able to hold it.

The cracks formed in the south-east (Araks flat plains). 4-5 cracks formed in different directions within 5 days. The 1st Corps's 2nd echelon failed to defend itself, then counter-attacked and failed, before retreating. Azeris moved along the Araks plains. The defense became harder in an area that's completely open; the line went from 11km to 60km. The army was unprepared for it.

Why wasn't the army prepared in the south? I'll talk about it soon. Today some generals blame others, they say "higher-ups are at fault". The blame-game is a thing since 1992. [talks about things already mentioned in Part 1]

70% of high-ranking officers weren't "in place". There were some who routed. Officers shared lies with each other. Jalal Harutyunyan was forced to appoint 19-year-olds as high-ranking officers as a substitute. [talks about things mentioned in Part 1]

Anyone who served as the General Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces in the past decade was supposed to observe weapon purchases by Azerbaijan and make counter-purchases. It's not the soldier or people that lose the war, it's the commanders. The prosecutors should investigate what the officers reported about Azerbaijan in the past 10 years. Our kids did what was impossible.

Q: what's the deal with the mobilization?

There is a regular army (conscripts etc.) and mobilization forces (reservists etc.). I was against the idea of sending the mobilized troops to Military Units. 15 days before the war we [Security Council of Artsakh] decided that in the event of war, Artsakh needed 17,500 mobilized troops. They would form 8 brigades, 4 of which would go to the south (Jabrail area).

Some army commanders and other higher-ups decided that the mobilized troops should go and join the regular army. This was a mistake. As you see now, their merger introduced panic. Mobilized forces could only merge with regular ones if the regular army officers were highly trained, with high morale and skills. That wasn't the case. The regular army couldn't properly manage the mobilized troops.

The army kept sending several military units in the south. They were inefficient and unprepared. That's where our main losses are, in the Jabrayil region.

General Movses Hakobyan

I advised the creation of a new command unit in the south-west which would be lead by General Movses "Mosi" Hakobyan [Mosi recently got fired and blamed everything on Pashinyan]. Mosi has a record of leading 1st, 3rd, and 5th units. He had experience with them, not me. Had I been familiar with these units, I would personally go and lead the proposed command unit in the south.

General Mosi refused to go to the south, citing "old personal problems". We need to understand why he refused to go there. During his interview, Mosi said he refused because I [Babayan] was the one who offered him to go there. [personal beef]. I met Mosi 10 times yet he never expressed any issues. Had we installed this command unit in the south-west, it could coordinate defense with the command center in the south-east.

[Babayan talks about his plan to cut off Azeris with tank assault. Jajal personally goes to the south and organizes the offense. The initial operation is successful, confused Azeris leave 150 dead and can't understand what's happening for 3 hours. One Armenian tank brigade goes all the way to river Araks, but commanders of the second tank brigade don't go further to secure the area.]

Talish operation

In the north, I had a plan to retake Talish. We would send a unit from west to east towards Talish, while the main army would attack from south to north. Army chief Jalal agreed and prepared the attack but he was wounded.

The new army chief came but due to complicated reasons, such as the need to withdraw troops from north to station in the south, this plan wasn't executed. It was a mistake. We should have attacked in the north because Azeris had earlier withdrew 50 armored vehicles to move them to the south. Azeris had left the north ill-defended. Our successful attack would then prompt Azeris to pull troops from south to north. Azeris would also have 80,000 more refugees in the north-east.

Shushi operation

We had a plan on November 5th to encircle Azeri troops who reached Shushi [so there was, indeed, a hope to turn things around until the last moment]. A few units were supposed to be deployed. They'd capture a hill and cut Azeris off. At night, we get the news that all three of our units refused to do their duties after meeting the leader of the Martakert region.

During the meeting, soldiers apparently said that they only wanted to serve in the place of their original service. An investigation needs to uncover who and what the region leader's role was during the meeting. A lot of people were hindering Jalal Harutyunyan's work during the war instead of helping him.

There were diversionary groups who would go meet army officers and tell them "this isn't our war, we've lost anyway, you're losing men pointlessly." The military prosecutor needs to investigate them. I said exactly what happened. An investigation needs to find and question them.

Jalal Harutyunyan

It's fake news that Jalal was wounded after an assassination attempt. He was wounded by enemy fire. I don't know who and why spread the assassination rumors, perhaps for political reasons.

air defense: TOR & BUK

We had no air defense. Some people talk about TOR missiles today. We had ordered 18. We had 6 of them during the war, 4 of which were shot in Artsakh in the first two weeks. Then we imported 4 more TOR units during the war but they were insufficient. It's false that Armenia didn't give weapons to Artsakh. Everything was shared.

6 BUK units were supposed to be sent to Artsakh on October 19th. It turns out 5 of them were dysfunctional. They had to call Russian experts to come and fix them. They were supposed to be ready by November 10th. Basically, everything was delayed as much as possible.

We didn't have weapons. It's a myth that we were provided with sufficient weapons. Russia wasn't obligated to give us weapons during the war. We were supposed to buy them before the war.

there was no conspiracy around Shushi

The rumors about Shushi being given away intentionally are false. We just didn't have resources. Azeris didn't have many resources, either. I want to emphasize that. Azeris were in a nervous state. Aliyev was "quiet" for some time. He didn't know how it would all end.

"Nikol should have stopped the war"

About people who called for Pashinyan to stop the war. As of October 19th, we would have to give Shushi to stop the war. Do you agree? No? Then we had to continue the war. Today they [presumably opposition] present the events, saying that they asked Pashinyan to stop the war for 10 days. Okay. The condition was we would have to give away 7 regions and Shushi. No? Then the war continues. As far as I know, the war was supposed to end with the capture of Shushi and Stepanakert would not have been captured. [Aliyev had stated publicly that Shushi was their main goal]

about weapon supplies from Russia

At some point, I suggested either giving away 7 regions because we didn't have enough weapons to defend, or to receive more weapons from Russia if Russia agreed.

Today some say Russia supplied weapons with jets. I want them to publish the content of those jets. Show me what weapons were supplied. If we had enough weapons, then we could continue. The only other option was to withdraw from 7 regions. Today Russia came and protects us. [is Babayan hinting that Russia intentionally didn't give weapons to force Armenians to withdraw to achieve Lavrov's Plan? You decide, it's at around 54:00 mark]

Garnik Isagulyan

Garnik Isagulyan is a clown who needs treatment.

Q: is the former govt correct about the Pashinyan administration being traitors?

We were in worse shape in 1992. Everyone was looking for traitors. "Levon gave away Shashumyan, Levon gave away Martakert, it's all a conspiracy", etc. all this traitor talk is very familiar to me. It's the same scenario now. No one wants to accept responsibility for the defeat. I gave you the military situation so you draw conclusions.

The investigation chain should open everything that happened in the past 10 years.

$5 billion offered by Azerbaijan

Today some talk about $5 billion offered by Azerbaijan [to Serj, leaked on secret audio recording]. I spoke about it two years ago and HHK MP Ashotyan called me crazy. Who is crazy now? They [Serj admin] discussed and negotiated over $5 billion. Pashinyan administration doesn't talk about it but will eventually mention those discussions, too.

Serj was prepared to take the deal, give the 7 regions, and finish it. But the government changed in 2018 and it didn't happen. Aliyev had offered the same deal to Pashinyan. I know what Pashinyan's answer was. If Garnik Isagulyan [anti-Pashinyan] wants to know Pashinyan's answer, then he has to stop spreading his lies first.

what's next?

No need to cause panic in the public. Everyone must realize that we must pay our taxes to build a professional army. The professional army would have 18-year-olds serve 1 year in their city instead of being deployed in borders. I'm ready to do my part.


Tag: #ArtsakhWar #SamvelBabayan #ShushiBattles #Shushi #Jabrayil

Samvel Babayan will sue Garnik Isagulyan

Read above for context. Garnik is another opposition figure. The two had a spat. Garnik made some claims about Babayan and Turkish drones. Babayan is suing for alleged defamation and lies. Babayan has also filed a petition with prosecutors to investigate some of the more serious accusations by Garnik.


SIS is looking for tapes mentioned by General Movses

Anti-Pashinyan general Movses Hakobyan [mentioned in an interview by Babayan above] had earlier claimed that Pashinyan allegedly gave an illegal order about the military draft and that someone recorded it for legal purposes.

The SIS launched an investigation since the accusation of crimes were made. SIS says no one came forward and no audiotape was presented. Pashinyan had earlier said, "we [cabinet] spent a while looking for the illegal order that [Mosi] was talking about and couldn't find such orders issued by me."

[It appears there was disagreement on the draft process. Some wanted volunteers/reservists to join the regular army while others were against?]


opposition holds rally with optimistic message for the future

Vazgen Manukyan [Team-16, former regime candidate] met representatives of several media outlets to discuss the situation in Armenia, about possible ways to negotiate better terms based on the November 9th statement signed by AM-AZ-RU, improving ties with allies, economy, etc. He vowed not to repeat the mistakes made by Armenia post-independence.


The Team-16 resumed the demonstrations today. They demand Pashinyan's resignation.

Vazgen Manukyan: I am fighting for the memory of the boys who dreamed of having a strong country. We will win, there is no question there. We will stand again. We are a little disappointed now, we are disappointed in ourselves, but we are a strong people, we will stand up again, we will be the most powerful and influential country in this region, we will ensure a prosperous and happy life. There is a small obstacle [Pashinyan, presumably], we will get rid of it. Everything we have been fighting for for decades must be achieved.

ARF Ishkhan Saghatelyan: We will continue the rally tomorrow from the Circus area to the law enforcement buildings.

The 2800-member demonstration ended in the evening under the chants of "Vazgen, Prime Minister. Vazgen, Prime Minister."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037906.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037931.html , https://factor.am/321224.html , https://youtu.be/6qPM1Kf52b4

re: metro demonstration

Prosecutors filed charges against one of the demonstrators who shut down the Yerevan metro on Friday. A video was released showing dissatisfied riders berating the activists and complaining about "running late to work" and being unable to "deliver medicine".


former police official's claims are investigated

HHK MP Hrayr Tovmasyan's relative, police official Seroj Gharibyan, had recently resigned and claimed he was given illegal orders by police administration. The investigation didn't find evidence to back up his claim. The former regime has been trying to convince police to join the opposition.


misinformation about border incident near Agarak

A Canadian reporter wrote that he spoke with Kapan mayor and that the latter allegedly confirmed a border shooting on December 13th. "About 50 Azeris moved towards the Armenian border, Armenians made warning shots in the air, Azeris made similar shots. No injuries."

Several Armenian outlets presented it as a "border shootout". One outlet went as far as to claim Azeris shot at Armenian positions for half an hour. Pashinyan would later cover this incident while criticizing the media for "information terror".

The Canadian reporter decided to issue a correction hours later, saying "The Armenian side fired shots in the air when Azeris decided to come close, but Azeris didn't return fire. Azeris demanded Armenians to leave, but no action was taken."

Kapan mayor confirmed that there was no shootout.


how big is the Hin Tagher-Khtsaberd village area

That's the area that Azeris captured last weekend. Peacekeepers were stationed later. The area is 122km2. Yerevan is 223 km2 for comparison. Some outlets had incorrectly claimed the area was 3x Yerevan.


Hin Shen road has been unblocked / rumors about 100+ captives

Artsakh prez. spokesman: Azeris have removed the blockade on one of the villages. Earlier they tried to install a military post on the road leading to the village but Russian peacekeepers told them to leave.

There was misinformation [by a former opposition politician] about Azeris allegedly telling the Armenian population of Hin Shen to leave within 12 hours. There was a similar ultimatum to Armenian soldiers earlier.

We are investigating reports of 100 Armenian captives in this area. We have not confirmed it. It's possible Azeris are intentionally circulating rumors to create internal tensions here. We're still investigating those claims. [Armenian MoD said they're waiting for details from Artsakh army.]

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037942.html , https://factor.am/321243.html

Azeri journalist blocked

Russian peacekeepers did not allow Azeri journalist Eynul Fatullayev to enter the Armenian church Dadiank, which is located in one of the 7 regions that went under Azeri control.


Artsakh govt warns about Azeri fake news

... that was circulated earlier, claiming to show a document alleging the planned evacuation of Artsakh residents. The document was created by Azeri special services, says Artsakh.


Kocharyan & Co trial

... has been delayed again because one of the defendants' lawyers was a no-show again. The next trial date is December 22nd.


The Guardian article about Azerbaijan's war crimes

"Two men beheaded in videos from Nagorno-Karabakh war identified"


posthumous medals to soldiers

22 soldiers received medals for acts of heroism and providing medical aid under dangerous conditions.


exchange of POWs

Yesterday, Armenia and Azerbaijan began exchanging persons who were captured before the war. 44 Armenians and 12 Azeris returned to their homes.

26 out of 44 Armenians who returned were subjects of the ECHR court petition filed by Armenia. The govt will continue to petition the European court to secure POWs' rights.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037824.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037847.html

One of the POWs, who returned yesterday, is from Ejmiatsin. His family is among the families of 40 missing soldiers who had been gathering outside of Ejmiatsin military station for weeks in hopes of news. "I'm glad he returned. Now we have to struggle for the other 40," said a relative.

The families of other Ejmiatsin soldiers gathered for news again. They wanted to speak with the General Chief of Staff. They want faster search operations in the southern Zangelan region.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037853.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037848.html

Pashinyan met families of POWs and missing persons to brief them on the progress.


Narek Sardaryan is an Armenian civilian who got lost and crossed into Azeri border in July. He was returned to Armenia today, separately from the other 44.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037869.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037904.html

Two Azeri prisoners, Guliyev and Askerov, were serving prison time in Armenia for infiltrating and killing a teenager during a spy mission. They recorded the hostage teen on video before killing him. They spent 6 years in prison and were swapped yesterday as part of the all-for-all swap, after receiving approval from the murdered teenager's parents.


The next group of Armenian POWs will arrive within days, says QP MP Nazeli.


refugees, peacekeepers, and humanitarian aid

566 people returned to Artsakh today. 40,000 have done so through the Lachin road since the ceasefire.


400 apartments are being rebuilt in Martakert and nearby villages. It includes properties damaged during the war and those that were vacant well before the war. The construction is aided by the Artsakh govt, Russia, and the Red Cross.

90% of Martakert has electricity, gas, and water. All schools except for one are operating.


Russian peacekeepers have neutralized 5,000 explosives from 189ha of land since the ceasefire. Today they cleared 1.5km of roads and 189 bombs.


Video: Концерт для российских миротворцев

Russian military ensemble visited the Lachin corridor to perform songs and dances for Russian peacekeepers.



COVID stats

+1905 tested. +438 infected. +26 deaths. +1486 healed. 18513 active.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037834.html Central Bank discusses economy / pandemic impact / inflation / loans

Armenia saw the largest GDP decline among EAEU trade bloc states this year. The GDP stood at $8.844 billion in the January-September period, down by 6.6% from last year.

EAEU's combined GDP shrank by 3.4% in this period. Russia -3.5%, Belarus -1.2%, Kygyz -6%, Kazakh -2.8%.


Central Bank kept its prediction: -7% GDP in 2020.


In 3Q20, the economy shrank by 9.1% compared to last year's period. The Services sector was hit the hardest. This trend is expected to continue in 4Q20 results because of the war and the current second wave of the pandemic.


Central Bank made $60 million worth of financial interventions to stabilize markets. "For the first time, we announced this kind of intervention ahead of time, which set a new standard for transparency."


Central Bank predicts an increase in non-performing loans because of the pandemic, the war, and the period of uncertainty after it. Study shows that the share of bad loans could rise from 6.7% to 10%.

However, there is no significant danger to financial stability. The capital is currently sufficient to absorb potential risks.


The inflation in November YoY was 1.6%, which is below the acceptable 4% mark. Given the expected acceleration of inflation under the expected inflationary effects of the foreign economy, the Central Bank decided to increase the refinancing rate by 1.0% to 5.25%.

Monetary position continues to remain stimulating, which in the near future will need to be gradually reduced, ensuring inflation stabilization around the target 4%.

Amid uncertainties, in the short period, there are risks of inflation deviating from the forecast, therefore the Central Bank will continuously monitor the trends and act to stabilize inflation in the medium term.


Certain imported product prices rose in Armenia because of price hikes abroad. This trend will continue for now. In Russia, the grain prices +21%, in Georgia +11%, worldwide +34%. In Russia, sugar prices +65% and sunflower oil prices +40% [Is this why Putin was talking about capping the prices a-la-Venezuela?].

In Armenia, after a lengthy period of low egg prices, it began to climb because chicken food is getting more expensive.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037893.html , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203020

soldiers to receive high-tech training

Those who were wounded, and their families, will be able to receive free IT training, said the Union of Advanced Technology Enterprises. 100 registrations by January. 3D modeling, printing, web technologies, programming, cyber-security, etc.

A similar program was launched after the April battles. It helped 168 people to find jobs at Optym, Instigate Mobile, Synergy International Systems, etc. Others became tutors in ArMath to train the next generation.

The 3-6-month program will work in cooperation with the High Tech Ministry's "From Army to IT" program. Some 13,000 have applied for the Ministry program. It has 1100 active students.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1037820.html high-tech cooperation with Russia

High Tech Minister Arshakyan met Russian colleagues to discuss the work by Alyans free economic zone and Russian RAO Mars company operations. They discussed the possible expansion of innovative companies operating in the free economic zone.


high-tech cooperation with businesses

Minister Arshakyan met Russian-Armenian entrepreneurs to discuss investments in high-tech, manufacturing of drones, the establishment of education programs to develop the high-tech military industry. Some agreements were made.

He visited Sokolovko business school in Russia to get familiarized with its innovations center. The director gave a tour. They discussed possible cooperation in Armenia.


PayPal in Armenia WHEN?

The Economy Minister and MFA diplomats met the US ambassador Tracey to discuss US-AM relations. They thanked the US for aid to help with institutional reforms. They discussed trade, GSP, TBT, SPS programs.

Another topic was the availability of the PayPal payment platform in Armenia and the development of venture funds and capital market in Armenia.


iGorts program: diasporan expert Onik wants to reform education

The govt has a program called iGorts that invites diasporan Armenians with education and experience to work at the govt. One participant, Onik Bayramyan from Lebanon, will implement his education reform plan in 250 schools. Titled "School management", it'll last until September 2021.

Onik has a 32-year of experience in Lebanon, the US, and the UAE, where he founded and managed several schools, held 700 seminars, retrained 1000 teachers, authored 12 books, etc.

The main task of this program is to improve the work of all school management circles with new reforms, to provide methodological and professional assistance in Armenia and Artsakh.

Onik considers it a great honor to be entrusted with the opportunity of educational reforms in the homeland. "The educational program and approach I propose are based on my experience in international education. I have personally developed the program and it is already being implemented in many schools around the world."

"Not only school principals but also deputy principals and teachers are involved in the project. The number of participating schools is more than we expected, which is a very positive sign, which once again proves that the teachers and management of our schools always want to acquire the latest educational and pedagogical strategies for quality education."

Full: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203046

infrastructure upgrades

3,200 hectares of land in 13 settlements will be better and more efficiently irrigated after a water network renovation project subsidized by the government and Eurasian bank. 8,158 consumers will benefit.


Several Hrazdan city roads will have new LED street lights that save energy. The 1.2km road between Hrazdan-Tsakhkadzor will have lighting for the first time.


they run and jump

Surprise. A herd of Bezoar goats was filmed climbing a rocky hill.


Grandmaster Karen Grigoryan

... won the Barcelona chess competition with 8 out of 9 points. +15pts to his FIDE ranking. A few weeks ago the madlad won the Barbera del Valles competition.


you can donate to 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

Armeniapedia's archive of my daily news threads:



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/kdudpr/dec152020_news_wrapup_general_samvel_babayan/

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