2020 February 21
Feb/21/2020 -- Daily News summary from Armenia -- Stay informed about the ongoing Anti-Corruption Busts / Constitutional Court crisis / Politics / Economy / Diaspora / Daily Life / and 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.
corruption survey / ratings / politicians
Transparency International and CRRC survey among 1500 people in Oct-Dec 2019:
25% said unemployment is the #1 problem.
90% said corruption is a big problem, while 81% said corruption is evil and needs to be eradicated. Some participants believe that giving a gift to a teacher on March 8th, or a gift to a doctor, or a gift from a business to a city, is not corruption.
27% believe the main driving force behind corruption is the acceleration of some beurocratic processes, 16% believe it's to do something illegal.
40% said the Healthcare sphere is the most corrupt. Utility services were the least corrupt according to 63%.
84% said the corruption had a mass scale before the revolution, while only 4% said that about post-revolution.
7.5% say there is no corruption at all today, while the rest says some amount remains.
91% believe corruption has reduced since the revolution.
Only 2% said they're willing to use the azdararir.am online platform to report corruption. The majority prefer calling the police or writing a letter to Pashinyan (lol).
37% get their corruption-related info from the news, while 29% from a friend.
30% use Shant TV, 18% use Armenia TV, 14% use H1 public TV.
73% visited a hospital while 8% gave "extra money" to doctors.
87-98% said they haven't given bribes to officials since the revolution.
73% said they would never take or give a bribe.
The biggest obstacle to reporting bribery is being afraid of snitch label, said 75%.
Upon finding a corruption, 19% said they'd contact the police, 11% would write a letter to Pashinyan, 5% to Human Rights Ombudsman.
1.5% of responders said they reported bribery involving an official. 26% of them did it by sending a letter to Pashinyan, 17% to the police.
Only 39% are aware of how the govt fights corruption, but 75% believe NSS is doing a good job.
Only 2% know about the separate anti-corruption body. Only 16% heard about the upcoming anti-corruption reforms.
Those living in Yerevan were over twice as likely to say corruption is a big problem than those living in villages. No age-based trend.
54% said they are interested in politics. Men are more likely to be either very interested or absolutely not interested.
The younger, the less interested in politics. 37% of ~20yo are, while 63% of >61yo.
The poorer the person, the less likely they cared about politics.
The higher the education degree, the more interested in politics.
42% said they actively discuss politics with friends.
(I stopped in the middle of the doc)
https://factor.am/223383.html steps to reduce army deaths
5 soldiers died in the army since January during non-combat service-related disputes that led to suicide or murder.
Pashinyan: soon we'll create a group tasked with examining these issues in the army. I have a theory that it's related to the criminal subculture mindset. We increased payments to soldiers recently. That might have caused more disputes among themselves ("thieves" pressuring others). The new group will find out if this is the case.
Besides those 5 deaths, there were several health-related deaths unrelated to service, and 3 losses from a mountain avalanche. Some Armenian positions are in the mountains.
Defense Ministry says they received an offer from professional mountain climbing tourism experts to help train the soldiers on how to better navigate on mountains and avoid avalanches.
The offer was accepted. It could take ~9 months to train the army experts who would then train the soldiers. New classes will be taught in relevant units, in addition to the existing classes that soldiers already take on how to navigate through mountains.
Several high ranking police officials and generals, including the Military Police, were fired yesterday. Defense Ministry also fired several Military Police department chiefs.
https://armtimes.com/hy/article/181134 Constitutional Court and Constitution
QP chief Lilith Makunts about Venice Commission:
Today, we don't have the Constitutional Court envisioned by the 2015 Constitution amendment, yet the 2015 Constitution amendment was sent to Venice Commission, at the time, and approved by them. There is still time to send the new referendum bill to get Venice's opinion, however. (Yesterday Pashinyan criticized Venice for some of their past decisions that aided the former regime in "hijacking the power").
Besides the referendum to fire judges, there will be changes to the Constitution itself at a later date. A group was recently formed by PM consisted of legal experts, political parties, and NGOs. They held the first session today to launch the organizational work.
is our children getting their veggies?
20% of adolescents eat chips daily. 50% eat sweets multiple times a day. 30% drink soda daily.
40% eat fruits daily. 26% eat veggies daily. Villagers are less likely to eat veggies.
Ax murderer Ramil Safarov and ECHR
16 years ago an Azeri army officer Ramil Safarov killed a sleeping Armenian officer in Hungary during NATO training.
Safarov served only 6 years from his sentence before Ilham Aliyev purchased him from Hungary and brought him back to Baku. The coward was greeted as a hero and given titles and money.
The extradition to Azerbaijan was protested in the European Court of Human Rights. It has reached the final stage and we'll hear a verdict this March.
ECHR may require Safarov to be sent back to Hungary to finish his sentence. Azeri lawyers say Azeri govt wouldn't comply with such a verdict because Safarov cannot be extradited per law, and he has already been given a pardon.
https://factor.am/223370.html NSS vs Fake accounts promoting terrorism
NSS says they shut down 3 fake Facebook accounts for promoting terror and physical assault against current and former politicians since Nov-2019. A felony investigation is launched to find the alleged perpetrators.
The account owners also shitposted about Levon Ter-Petrosyan, Robert Kocharyan, and Bako Sahakyan.
https://armtimes.com/hy/article/181154 child trafficking suspect pleads guilty in a bribery case
Chief gynecologist Razmik Abrahamyan was charged with two separate counts: helping to steal and traffick newborn children, and a bribery incident. He pled guilty to bribery but insists he didn't steal children.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1005860.html hunters being hunted
The Corruption Prevention Committee launched 55 investigations in Jul-Dec 2019 against various officials for not disclosing personal wealth before and/or after quitting the office.
18 against police officials, 15 investigators, 5 IRS officials, 4 administrators, 3 penitentiary officials, 2 politicians, etc.
https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181181 police accountability / official charged
A decade-old video (now appears from 2008, earlier reported as 2007) was published recently showing how policemen torture a man to get a confession.
Several officers were charged, including the chief of Chambarak branch.
Today the former police chief of Yerevan's Arabkir district was also charged.
https://armtimes.com/hy/article/181170 Kocharyan's media-man to remain in jail
The owner of 5th Channel Tavadyan was earlier charged with financing a group that offered bribes to March 1st victims in exchange for them dropping their claims.
Former HHK deputy-Justice Minister Ruben Melikyan, former HRO Larisa Alaverdyan, former HHK Justice Minister Arpine Hovhanisyan, and few others, offered personal assurances that Tavadyan would behave properly if released pre-trial. The court rejected their petition, finding that at this stage, only an arrest can guarantee proper conduct.
https://armtimes.com/hy/article/181135 guilty verdict for several prison officials
In 2019 the NSS busted the former chief of Artik Penitentiary. He colluded with an inmate to allow him to smuggle illegal items with the help of visitors. The court gave a guilty verdict.
In another instance, 2 employees of Nubarashen prison were found guilty of negligence for falling asleep and allowing an inmate to escape from Erebuni hospital.
https://armtimes.com/hy/article/181136 Police busted a mayor
Ijevan police say Lusadzor mayor rigged 7 auctions in 2017-2019 and sold lands, that had strategic importance for energy projects, to his son and friends. A felony case is launched.
https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181184 universam land fraud busted / HHK official
The police report says:
In 2003 Yerevan city decided to sell a 180mln-worth govt-owned Ajapnyak universam building to a business for 22mln. Later, the city decided to lease adjacent lands to the same business.
Before the lease contracts were signed, the land got more expensive in Yerevan. To get the lease under the old (lower) pricing, the business forged the dates on the documents, causing 35mln in damages to the state. End of police note.
A report says former HHK MP Galust Sahakyan's son Tigran, who was the former deputy-Healthcare Minister, is a relevant party in this story.
a mother and 12 children
Update: a Yerevan mother recently gave birth to the 12th child. 6 boys, 6 girls. Here are their pics: https://armtimes.com/hy/article/181158 coronavirus at the border
4 dead and 18 infected across Iran, the largest death count outside of Asia. Schools were earlier shut down in the holy city of Qom where the first infections were recorded. It is suspected that Chinese workers in Qom infected locals, who then spread the virus across Iran.
Lebanon recorded their first coronavirus case brought by an Iranian visitor.
Armenia has tightened the land and air arrivals from Iran. The visitors get their temperatures checked (with inaccurate industrial-grade IR thermometers from a 2-meter distance?).
Moscow began producing face masks to curb the shortage. More locals were quarantined for 2 weeks. They're losing $16mln/day due to decreased trade with China.
In China, on a daily bases, there are now more people who get healed and discharged than new patients who are admitted with the virus. 81% of case are mild. The death rate is 2.3%, much higher than the regular flu. Not surprisingly, the older the patient the higher the death rate, with >80yo dying at 14.8%.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1005767.html --- https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181200 --- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1005832.html --- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1005831.html --- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1005804.html --- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1005791.html --- https://www.isna.ir/news/98120201077/%D8%A7%D8%BA%D9%84%D8%A8-%D9%85%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AF-%D8%AC%D8%AF%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D9%85%D8%A8%D8%AA%D9%84%D8%A7-%D8%A8%D9%87-%DA%A9%D8%B1%D9%88%D9%86%D8%A7-%DB%8C%D8%A7-%D8%B3%D8%A7%DA%A9%D9%86-%D9%82%D9%85-%D9%87%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%86%D8%AF-%DB%8C%D8%A7-%D8%B3%D8%A7%D8%A8%D9%82%D9%87-%D8%B3%D9%81%D8%B1 protests in Artsakh ahead of elections
A group of protesters drove cars with horns and demanded Artsakh President Bako Sahakyan and police chief Levon Mnatsakanyan to resign.
The police stopped and demanded horns be turned off. 8 people were detained and released. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/181125
103k Artsakh citizens can participate in the upcoming elections. 38% live in capital Stepanakert, 17% in Martuni, 4% in Shushi.
https://hetq.am/hy/article/113567 licensed slaughterhouses
The govt earlier decided to postpone a new law that would require butchers to slaughter the cattle in a certified environment that meets sanitary norms and has lab access.
Farmers complained that there aren't enough butcheries nearby. The govt launched a subsidy program to help build permanent and mobile butcheries.
Economy Ministry says there are 18 butcheries for large cattle with at least 36 more being needed. There are 272 pending requests to build one.
Transferring the cattle from a farm to a butchery will be free for 30 kilometers. The new butcheries will be built in areas to fill the 30km gaps.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1005825.html sportsmen got rewards
Yesterday the govt decided to establish a new funding system to pay Olympic and international medal winners, as well as the 10 best Armenian athletes annually.
The award ceremony took place today: https://youtu.be/l1FhIdTYq6U?t=78
Pashinyan about the economy:
The processing industry rose 12% in 2019. For the first time since 2008, it has the highest share in the industry with 12.1%.
The fastest-growing sector was the Food & Accommodations industry with 27.2%. The second fastest-growing was Finances & Insurance Services with 22%.
https://armtimes.com/hy/article/181124 Lavash festival / eat, drink & compete
Armenian Lavash bread was added to UNESCO's heritage list in 2014.
The Lavash celebration event will take place on August 1st in Tsaghkunq, Gegharquniq Province. Tourists will witness how the bread is baked, will get to taste it with local village produce. There will be lots բրդուճ's.
A competition will be held to pick the most beautiful lavash, the fastest lavash eater, etc. Winners get prizes.
It isn't all about lavash, though. This year's official guest is Serbia. They'll bring their national pogacha bread and cuisine.
There will be an alcohol zone where the guests will witness how vodka is being distilled. Fruit vodka on the spot. Small quantities will be sold. Armenian wine and cognac will be presented.
While parents party, the festival's babysitters will entertain the children in a special playground.
Modern, vinyl, and Armenian traditional live music will be played. There will be stage performances. Serbian musician Emir Kusturica and his No Smoking Archestra band will perform for the guests.
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/f7hb09/feb212020_daily_news_summary_from_armenia_stay/
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