2020 December 23

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Contents

Daily news wrap-up

Dec/23/2020 wrap-up: \\ opposition holds rally, calls for Pashinyan to be assassinated; flashmob & tents \\ "Toyota dealership fires non-protesting employees" \\ Qajaran mayor arrested \\ rumors & rebuttals \\ Yerevan budget & projects \\ humanitarian aid \\ business classes to lift poor \\ more...
by ar_david_hh


Your 13-minute Wednesday report in 3224 words.

Pashinyan on Facebook:

Discussions about the future are one of the most important issues today. Every problem has multiple solutions. It's impossible to find the optimal solution unless you have a vision for the future and know what future you want to build. This should be today's topic.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203543

former regime members call for Pashinyan's assassination, arrests are made

Garnik Isagulyan called for Pashinyan to be assassinated and the assassin to be given $1 million in reward, in an online video. He is arrested and charged with 226.2 (inciting and encouraging violence).

Isagulyan, an ally of the former regime, participated in yesterday's demonstrations, during which other opposition figures also made similar calls to murder Pashinyan, saying the would-be murderer would be treated like a hero Sogomon Tehleryan.

Isagulyan was earlier confronted by General Babayan who called Isagulyan a "psycho who needs treatment". Isagulyan was recently charged with making false reports of crime after he claimed Pashinyan and his NSS chief directly helped Azeris to capture Hadrut, gave Azeris 1400 Armenian passports, and received $48 million in bribes. Tthe investigation didn't uncover any evidence to prove that, after which Isagulyan was charged.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203545 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203588

Human Rights Ombudsman: government and opposition officials should not use rhetoric that contributes to the deepening of intolerance and tension. The "new and old" talk is unacceptable. Similarly, the opposition should not divide society into groups and use insulting vocabulary. Authorities and opposition should not use fake Facebook accounts to launch a barrage of slurs.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203550

Ruling QP MPs respond to Ombudsman: Human Rights Ombudsman's "both of you" statements are starting to sound a lot like the statements made by some international organizations during the Artsakh war. I assure you, if Ombudsman gives targeted critique to specific people who called for violence yesterday, that wouldn't make Ombudsman look biased in favor of authorities. The Ombudsman should also prove that authorities, just as the opposition, used fake Facebook accounts for targeted harassment.

Ombudsman responds: I am not authorized to launch a case against an individual who does not hold a public office even if they make threats against a member of the authority. Law enforcement and courts can handle such instances.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203559 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203572

Opposition ARF leader Ishkhan Saghatelyan was also invited to a police station to answer questions regarding a speech he made yesterday. The police warned officials not to incite violence or make physical threats against ruling party members. In his yesterday speech, Saghatelyan said he would share a list with the names of ruling party QP MPs so the crowd could find and force them to do certain things.

Investigative Committee: Saghatelyan threatened with violence to force Parliament MPs to do certain things. We invited Saghatelyan to testify about his speech to decide whether to charge him with Code 301.1 or not.

Code 301.1: Հանրապետության Նախագահին, Ազգային ժողովին, կառավարությանը կամ սահմանադրական դատարանին նրանց նկատմամբ բռնություն գործադրելու կամ բռնություն գործադրելու սպառնալիքի միջոցով, նրանց իազորություններից բխող որևէ գործողություն կատարել կամ չկատարել պարտադրելը, որն ուղղված չէ իշխանությունը յուրացնելուն

պատժվում է ազատազրկմամբ` երեքից տասը տարի ժամկետով:

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203557 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203589 , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038705.html , https://www.arlis.am/documentView.aspx?docid=69646

Former high-ranking police official Sayat Shirinyan was also arrested for making physical threats, says the police. He is charged with Code 226.2.

The ex-police official had written: If I were the leader of the opposition movement, we would take concrete steps, although I do not criticize the organizers, they try to avoid bloodshed. But it's more than clear that without bloodshed it's impossible.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038737.html

opposition Team-16 resumes demonstrations, calls for Pashinyan's resignation

Members of the opposition 16 parties, allied with the former regime, resumed the demonstrations today. A flash mob was organized to shut down several streets. An angry driver drove through the demonstrators who close the Tigran Mets Avenue. Protesters marched to Republic Square to participate in the 4 o'clock meeting.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203580

A few of them had never left the square. They put tents last night. Today is a big day. Team-16 said Pashinyan will be gone within a few days.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038643.html

The tents in the public square. Demonstrators explained the small number with the raging weather.

https://youtu.be/uWIz14fhAvI

The demonstrators plan to encircle the government building tonight so the government cabinet won't be able to hold a session tomorrow morning. "Tomorrow will be Pashinyan's last session. Close the building from all corners," urged ARF Gegham Manukyan.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038727.html

"Kocharyan's business fires employee for not joining anti-Pashinyan demonstrations"

The "Toyota Yerevan" dealership in Yerevan is co-owned by former president Robert Kocharyan's son Sedrak, a pro-Kocharyan H2 TV outlet owner Natalia Matinyan, and Kocharyan's friend and another media magnate Samvel Mayrapetyan.

Yerevan resident Gayane Hovhannisyan: // there was a work meeting in Toyota Yerevan on the morning of December 21st. Workers were instructed to use their cars to participate in the [anti-Pashinyan] demonstration. They were asked to park the cars in front of a hotel then join the marching protesters.

My husband Gor interrupted the meeting and asked "what if we don't?". He was told, "you wouldn't be able to work with us".

6 out of 70 workers refused to participate. Director Vahe Gzraryan summoned every worker, who had refused to participate, in his office to demand an explanation. Gor told him he doesn't want to talk about the topic. The director asked Gor to write a letter of resignation.

Gor refused to resign. He just left the building. He later learned that the co-workers who refused to join the protests were also fired. We don't have plans to sue the employer right now. I just wanted to raise awareness of what's happening.

My husband is an expert, he can find a way to put food on the table, but there are many workers today who are forced to participate in protests so they won't be left hungry. They are powerless. They have loans to pay. //

Toyota Yerevan's phone numbers were unavailable for comment. Eventually, a lower-ranking employee answered the phone and said no one from management was available.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203512

what about non-former-regime opposition?

Ind. MP Babajanyan criticized the ruling and opposition parties of Parliament, calling both inefficient, and criticized the placement of Russian troops on Syunik borders "instead of focusing on strengthening the army".

LHK leader Marukyan, on the other hand, supports the presence of Russian troops in Syunik. "We need to sign a new security agreement with Russia."

Babjanyan urged President Sarkissian to hold talks about the trilateral November 9th statement, identify parts favorable to Artsakh, and to work on it.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203563 , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038647.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038740.html

LHK leader Marukyan says LHK and BHK decided to hold a Parliamentary session to lift the Martial Law. They urged the ruling QP to participate to secure enough votes. LHK and BHK want the Martial Law lifted so they can launch a vote of no confidence against PM Pashinyan. In any case, they would need the ruling party's support to succeed in no-confidence.

(Pick one: 1. Syunik is under attack & Khtsaberd is encircled. 2. There is no military situation anymore.)

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203564

Marukyan: No one can come to power through street protests anymore. The people have elected a legitimate Parliament, and the Parliament has to elect a new Prime Minister. Today I see that the ruling party is uniting. This is a problem. We need to convince our QP colleagues to join us.

https://youtu.be/leTp-1XtZck

Marukyan: we need to amend the Constitution to allow diasporan Armenians to hold high-ranking positions. It will open the door for 7 million diasporans. With a dual-citizenship, they would be allowed to become a Minister, which they cannot do today.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038668.html

Qajaran mayor Paramazyan is charged with kidnapping

Qajaran, Syunik mayor Paramazyan was interrogated yesterday. His allies gathered in front of the police station to show support. They believe it's political persecution for his opposition to Pashinyan.

It was later revealed by his lawyer that the interrogation was related to the kidnapping of a man. Prosecutors want the mayor's arrest.

The alleged kidnapping event is about the incident that became news 4 months ago. At the time, there was a large incident in Qajaran involving 3 kidnapping suspects, who are the friends of the Qajaran mayor. On May 25th, Qajaran mayor was implicated in the kidnapping case. He allegedly helped his 3 friends to organize a meeting to "settle" a dispute with the victim. The victim was kidnapped and beaten, say prosecutors.

The 3 suspects were arrested and received injuries. Those injuries were photographed and presented as "police brutality"; the police said the injuries were caused because suspects resisted the arrest. The injuries prompted a protest by family members of the 3 suspects.

Update. Prosecutors published the mayor's charges: A Qajaran resident had a dispute with his friend. The mayor invited them to settle the dispute near his gas station. 20 people appeared.

It escalated into a fight. The victim punched back Qajaran mayor's father. The mayor didn't take it lightly and decided to avenge. Later, the mayor collided with a group of men, twisted the victim's arms in a parking lot, kidnapped him with an accomplice's car.

The mayor shot the victim in the feet and beat him up while holding him captive in Ajdanak Inc. company territory. The victim was taken to another location with Toyota-Prado and beat again.

The mayor and 5 others are charged with kidnapping.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203574 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203583 , https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/gqgfz5/may252020_news_1_qajaran_mayor_implicated_in/? , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203596 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203596

rumors & rebuttals: Iran-Armenia-Artsakh gas pipeline

Infrastructure Ministry says "media outlet "Politik" circulated false information about Azeris blowing up Iran-Armenia gas pipeline. The gas delivery continues uninterrupted". The false reports first originated from Azeri sources which claimed that it was blown up in the Lachin corridor yesterday.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203554 , https://fip.am/14323

video form Kapan road that became the new border

https://youtu.be/rBFFyZ6CiNM

POWs and search operations

Artsakh Ombudsman Beglaryan: 60 Artsakh civilians died during the war, 39 of whom were targeted directly. 21 civilians were killed after becoming POWs; several incidents were filmed on video. The numbers could be updated later. 40 civilians are missing; some are likely dead while others are confirmed to be in Azeri jails. Two POWs were killed in Azeri jails.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203560 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203571

14 soldiers' bodies were discovered in the Fizuli, Jabrayil, and Hadrut regions.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038642.html

40,000 Artsakh residents became homeless because of the war. The majority has already returned to Artsakh.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038653.html

soldiers receive awards for acts of courage

Pvt. Arsen Terteryan evacuated wounded soldiers and bodies from a battlefield.

Major Davit Mavri Sargsyan lead his unit, shot 2 drones, and neutralized 200 enemy troops near Hadrut.

Pvt. Karen Galstyan received a wound while repelling an attack in the south-east.

Full: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203594

5G is coming to Armenia

UCOM ISP will revamp its cell towers in 2021-2022 to prepare them for 5G deployment after 2023. They promise a significant LTE speed improvement next year.

As for the cable internet, you could see a boost within 2 months. UCOM says they're working with international colleagues.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038713.html

French city of Sarcelles adopted a resolution

... recognizes Artsakh population's right to self-determination, condemns the Azeri-Turkish aggression, acknowledges it was a campaign for an ethnic cleansing of Armenians, says parts of Artsakh were occupied by Azerbaijan, urged the French govt to provide aid.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203544

French city of Issy-les-Moulineaux adopted a resolution

... urging the French govt to officially recognize Artsakh.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038648.html

French province of Occitània adopted a resolution

... urging the French govt to officially recognize the Republic of Artsakh. It talks about the Azeri-Turkish aggression, their attack against the Republic of Armenia proper and Artsakh civilians, loss of lands.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203570

Spanish city of Torremolinos (Andalusia) adopted a resolution

... recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203576

Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute exhibition

... marked the 25th anniversary of the museum's operations.

Photos: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038683.html

fight against criminal subculture

The government recently passed a law to ban the Soviet-inherited "thieve in law" criminal subculture participation. Several so-called "vor v zakone" figures were arrested.

Another one nicknamed Allo Shahumyansky and three friends were charged today with organizing and participating in a criminal gang.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038729.html

Yerevan municipality salaries could rise 30-100%

Yerevan municipality has slashed the workers' salary bonus fund by 49% in 2021. It went from $3.8m to $1.9m. No bonuses have been issued to workers in the past 6 months, except to war participants.

Member of ruling QP party proposed removing salary bonuses altogether and to increase base salaries by 30-100% instead. (insert a "same thing, but different" meme here).

Deputy Mayor Nersisyan: in that case, we would need whole new legislation to regulate the salaries. Everyone knows Yerevan municipality has the lowest base salaries in the public sector while being the "hardest worker".

QP councilman: workers are waiting. We will draft a bill by February. (Context: the city didn't pay a salary bonus recently which prompted several rank-and-file workers to protest; they were expecting the bonuses as part of a regular salary.)

Mayor Marutyan: we can draft legislation. If my salary increases as a result, I will donate the excess to some charity.

https://factor.am/323445.html , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203573 , https://factor.am/323576.html

Yerevan to install disability accommodations in soldiers' buildings

The money that was saved from Yerevan municipality salaries this year will be spent on installing elevators, disability ramps, and other accommodations in buildings where the wounded soldiers live.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038701.html

Yerevan approves the 2021 budget / transports / elecators / green zones /

$7.7 million to revamp the public transportation fleet.

$2.3 million to purchase 100 more elevators to replace Soviet-era death-traps.

$7.2 million to improve the green environment.

$7.3 million to renovate the roads.

$1.1 million for social aid to residents.

Capital's own budget income will increase by $7 million in 2021. The deficit is $16 million. Total budget $177 million.

Budget revenues are expected to rise by 41% because the Property Tax law goes into effect in 2021.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203579 , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038675.html

Yerevan's elevator replacement project

Yerevan mayor Marutyan had promised to replace Soviet-era elevators in high-rises, even if they are privately owned. What's the progress so far?

304 replaced, 175 ready and will be installed in coming weeks, 25 to be installed in mid-January. That totals 500 units, which concludes the 2020 plan.

An auction was launched to purchase 100 more elevators for 2021. Mayor Marutyan said if all goes well, they will double that number.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203581

Yerevan to modify two streets in Arabkir

An area between Mamikonyants and Aram Khachatryan streets was declared as հանրության գերակա շահ by Yerevan city today. They plan to build a connection between the two streets for an extra transport route to reduce traffic on Komitas street.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038749.html

Diana Galoyan

...has been appointed as rector of the Armenian State University of Economics by the government order. Her appointment process was rocky, with lawsuits, accusations of plagiarism, and sponsorship earlier this year. Several students and staff held a protest and demanded her immediate approval recently.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203556

EU4Business is available for Armenian businesses

Report says: COVID and war emphasized the need to develop local Armenian businesses and exports. To find new markets, one of the best options has been product expos abroad.

EU4Business has been helping many Armenian businesses with learning European markets since 2018. Dozens of Armenian firms participated in the "United Fresh" conference this year.

More: https://factor.am/323487.html

COVID news

+2953 tested. +838 infected. +18 deaths. +1052 healed. 16451 healed.

The church donated food to 50 low-income families affected by COVID.

Around the world, 1-in-100 people have been infected. $13 trillion has been spent to fight COVID (Chinese economy would like to know your location).

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203552 , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038641.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038657.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038707.html

EAEU trade bloc inflation stats for October

Armenia +1.3% (lowest)

Russia +2.6%

EAEU total +4.5%

Belarus +6.2%

Kazakh +7.1%

Kyrgyz +7.2%

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038625.html

regional kerfuffle

The European Court for Human Rights has ordered the immediate release of the prominent Kurdish politician HDP Selahattin Demirtaş from prison in Turkey, finding that his detention goes against “the very core of the concept of a democratic society”.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/22/human-rights-court-orders-turkey-to-free-kurdish-politician-selahattin-demirtas

1000 Dram from each paycheck: what are the proposed changes?

Armenian workers pay 1000 Dram per month to 1000plus.am (Soldiers' Fund) to help wounded soldiers and families of those who died. To cover the thousands of new recipients, the government planned to raise it to 3,000 for everyone, but recently decided to implement a progressive scale and charge it based on the worker's salary. Here are the proposed brackets:

1,500 if you earn <100k

3,000 for 100k-200k

5,500 for 200k-500k

8,500 for 500k-1m

15,000 for >1m

Full: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203608

World Bank's aid program for low-income residents

The Labor Ministry and Social Services Association launched a 3-year aid program financed by the World Bank (Japan, more specifically). It aims to promote the self-sufficiency of the poor and vulnerable groups and their participation in socio-economic life.

700,000 residents are below the upper poverty limit. This $2.7 million program aims to significantly improve 11,200 lives.

Hundreds of small businesses (40% run by women) will receive $4,000 each. 3/4th of them will be self-sufficient by the end of this program.

1,400 recipients will receive training to launch a business.

3,300 will be involved in similar projects.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038664.html

Triangle génération humanitaire

... organization plans to aid Artsakh residents with reconstruction, mental health services, etc. Discussions were held with Artsakh Labor Minister Tandilyan.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038716.html

EU will provide €24 million COVID-relief aid

Govt: this is part of the proposed €92 million aid from the EU. It will help to solve economic and financial problems caused by the pandemic.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203582

Russian humanitarian aid

60 Russian medics continue to treat Artsakh citizens. 800 patients to this date.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038651.html

Russian sappers are almost done clearing Stenapakert's north. Across Artsakh, the sappers have so far discovered 8600 explosives, cleared 280 hectares, 100km of roads, 434 buildings.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038665.html

Christmas Miracle: rare պուպուշ կատու appears out of nowhere

Otocolobus manul is an extremely rare animal in Armenia. Matter of fact, none had been spotted in the past century, until today. The hidden camera recorded it:

https://youtu.be/EHshrl82APQ

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203561

actors to entertain children

Aram Khachaturian Grand Concert Hall will resume its operations after a long pause due to COVID and war. The philharmonic ensemble, actor Hrant Tokhatyan (forever Mer Bak), actor Sergey Sargsyan and others will read tales for children between Dec 23-26.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203586

IDBank joins the Secret Santa initiative

You can be a Santa for a random Artsakh child. Children wrote letters to Santa. You can read some of them in IDBank branch locations. You can donate >$10 to make the dream come true. You can also purchase $20-worth food packs for kids.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203590

American "Paros" foundation

... is offering housing in Tavush province to Artsakh refugees who lost their homes. This isn't "temporary" housing. Families with multiple children, who will agree to do farming, will be prioritized. The houses are in villages. Each house will come with up to 1,000 m2 agricultural lands. Applicants can also receive help with finding agriculture-related jobs. So far one Hadrut family has applied.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038626.html

Hadrut residents

HimnaDram.org provided temporary housing to over 100 Hadrut refugees who became homeless.

Artsakh residents will be exempted from paying notary and other residential status-related fees.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203567 , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1038699.html

How to donate to Artsakh & Recovering Soldiers

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:

http://www.armeniapedia.org/wiki/Daily_Anti-Corruption_Reports

disclaimer

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/kj1ww5/dec232020_wrapup_opposition_holds_rally_calls_for/

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