2020 February 26

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Feb/26/2020 --- Daily News & Anti-Corruption summary from Armenia / March 1st witnesses, borders, murder, bribe / Disability protection bill / Foreign Affairs & Trade / Lots of trolling / Coronavirus / Women in army / Sports victories / Education reform complaint / Nature / Wages++ / & much more...
by ar_david_hh

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.


March 1st murders / aArmy frontlines left unguarded / witness testimonies

On Monday we learned about a March 1st suspect's version of events on how people were shot. He told a story about a Russian sniper Kachak (who was later murdered). Read the full story here.


Today a former March 1st evidence collector and a current March 1st victim attorney (who is suing Kocharyan) Seda Safaryan spoke about March 1st, saying:

The reason the list of actual murderers is hard to find is because of an elaborate coverup. The forces fired irregular shots. Murad Abrahamyan was one of the leaders who gave an order to shoot. It was a result of a discussion by higher-ups.

Khachik Avetisyan was fired later because he was against shooting at people under any circumstances. One of the higher-ups, who was present at this meeting, informed Kocharyan's wife's security chief that Khachik Abrahamyan is against shooting at public. He was then fired for not being loyal. The masked shooters knew that no one would testify against them.

Shots were also fired by forces towards balconies and people near their windows. There are bullet holes on walls on Leo St. and Paronyan St (as seen in a post from last year). There are witnesses, whom I won't name to protect their identities, who testified about the army's involvement.


Q: 180mln was distributed to the pro-Kocharyan armed groups that were used against the public. Any updates?

A: BHK chief Dodi Gago and former MP Lfik Same were named. There were others involved too, but not enough evidence.

Q: SIS chief said when the army was pulled from frontlines in February and brought to Yerevan, the borders were left vulnerable, which resulted in Azeris taking advantage. However, recently an army official denied this.

A: An army official did deny it, but another general confirmed it. There are also soldiers who testified on how they were told to return to frontlines to retake a lost position captured by Azeris after they took advantage of the Armenian pullout. We don't know if those positions ended up being retaken back or not, but those testimonies exist.

Q: Kocharyan is saying the prosecutors are hiding some docs from him because the evidence shows he's innocent.

A: He's lying. Kocharyan has everything we have. There are multiple docs about Feb-Mar events because there are multiple separate crimes involving other officials whose cases aren't related to Kocharyan, therefore don't need to be attached to Kocharyan's case.


Russian sniper Egveniy Kachak, who was later murdered, was offered $200,000 to take the murder blame on him.


Today, Kocharyan's team is delaying the trial with tricks. For 4 days they spoke about the same thing. Then a session about recusing. Then a complaint about not recusing. Then petitions to release him on bail. I think he should have been charged with more crimes, not just for Constitutional Court toppling.

Q: Several former Prime Ministers want to petition to release Kocharyan while guaranteeing his good behavior in freedom.

A: If they could guarantee his good behavior, they wouldn't let him do March 1st, to begin with.

End of Safaryan's interview.

https://youtu.be/vs83XBNXpx8?t=408

Tag: #March1st #MartiMek #MarchFirst bill to penalize lack of disability access

Labor Ministry has a draft bill that would issue a 50k fine to some businesses for not providing access to wheelchairs or not having a sign language translator (e.g. TV networks).

Important buildings or construction firms would be penalized 250k for lack of disability access/ramp.

Building and transport system design process would also be altered to secure disability access.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181548 EU-AM comprehensive agreement

22 EU countries have so far ratified the comprehensive cooperation agreement between EU-AM. The other 5 are very close.

https://factor.am/224528.html EAEU tariff hike waiver extended

Armenia joined the Russian-led EAEU trade bloc in 2014. Serj negotiated a 5-year delay for tariff hikes on 607 items and 293 cars to prevent damage to the economy. The waiver ended as of 2020.

Armenia has now negotiated another 1-year waiver for those products except for 87 types of vehicles.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1006446.html Update: soldier Permyakov found

ArmTimes outlet was earlier trying to find out the location of a Russian soldier who, several years ago, left the military position in Gyumri and killed a local family. At the time, many Armenians complained that he was transferred to serve the sentence in Russia (per law). Later, a Russian agency refused to provide his location, citing privacy laws. This was challenged.

Russia has provided his location. He's in a special needs unit at Yamalo-Nenetski N8 Siberian prison, with satisfactory health.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181542 bololavirus at borders

Healthcare Ministry sent a team to Iran. They will examine the 52 Armenian citizens who want to return to Armenia before they board a plane. They will be monitored at home upon arrival. (Update: they jet landed in Armenia)

139 infected and 19 died in Iran.

Iranian drivers are accompanied and monitored during their presence in Armenia upon entering the southern Meghri border.

Georgia recorded its virus infection. The person traveled from Azerbaijan to Georgia.

Armenian Defense Ministry decided to temporarily prohibit relatives from visiting soldiers, or vice versa, in order to ensure proper health and security on the borders.

BRACE FOR IMPACT!

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181507 --- https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181526 --- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1006354.html --- https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181584 --- http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/278312/ Azeris were trolled in a jet

Armenian movie SPITAK was displayed in jets during the Baku-Dubai-Baku flight operated by FlyDubai. Some Azeri passengers didn't appreciate it.

https://factor.am/224442.html QP was trolled / YES campaign logo stolen / Plot twist

Next Monday the QP Party will begin the campaign across Armenia to urge voters to vote YES on the April 5th referendum. Pashinyan will join the marches on March 10th. They collected 205mln in donations yesterday.


They also picked a new logo for their campaign, submitted by a company called Garun Agency, which is set to receive 3mln as a prize.

It turns out, QP got trolled. The logo was simply copied from the 1991 independence referendum magazine. "We're looking for the creator of the original logo now," said 1st deputy PM Avinyan.

They found him. Evening Yerevan newspaper chief Norayr Yengibaryan says his late friend Styopa Naroyan created that logo in 1991. "At that time 2 people were working in our office, Stryopa and someone else. Styopa has passed away. The other one is a painter and denied being the painter, so it has to be Styopa. We didn't have cameras so everything was hand-drawn," said the newspaper chief.

ArmTimes attempted to contact the Garun Agency that submitted the plagiarized logo. The company's phone wasn't picked up. Another number led to the co-founder, who said the founder is currently in Russia but will arrive in Armenia tomorrow.

Garun Agency designer company was created <2 years ago and never received complaints.

QP now has to decide whether to give the money, keep the logo, or not.


Update: QP discussed the story with the co-author of the logo, the aforementioned painter, and they decided to keep using it. The 3mln reward, however, won't be given to the Garun Agency. They'll give it to the original creators and their predecessors.

"It's interesting that earlier we subconsciously picked a logo that had an importance in the independence of Armenia in 1991. Today we're in another important period," said the YES manager Papikyan.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181506 --- https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181511 --- https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181531 --- https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181549 --- https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181581 diasporan voter registration

Are you a diasporan Armenian citizen who wants to participate in the April 5th referendum? You'll have to be physically present in Armenia that day. But before that, you need to make sure your name is on the voter list.

For that, contact the passport office by Mar-26 to have them temporarily add your name to the list. Tell them which district you will be located in so they'll add your name there.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181566 Sports news

Armenian female runner-shooter team won Bronze in the European championship.

Gor Khacahtryan became the European youth champion.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1006308.html --- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1006409.html tech institutes & Phili Morris

A group of Armenian universities and tech institutes sent a letter to Pashinyan and Parliament, praising tobacco giant Philip Morris for their investments in the tech, bio, lab, R&D work. "Many students have high-tech courses and access to labs for R&D thanks to Morris' projects. Please help us expand this project," said the institutes.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1TQMXDU6Vtb5NQWifAfIOIvS5j-CV2DVL/view?fbclid=IwAR0SBciTYqTj7hYOAmnIhF2Vm4JvjJRQSCNX8nM6R7h42yhnIsN1sPRBRDc education reforms & student board

The proposed Education Reforms envision reduction of the university's management board size from 32 to 12. (see Monday post)

Yerevan State University student council is unhappy that the share of students in the management board will go from 21% to 9%. They plan to protest.

They want to increase the student share at the expense of govt-appointed members' share.


Under the proposed changes, 50% of the management board will be from the university, while the other 50% will be appointed by the government aka Education Ministry (which subsidizes the university).

Some students have incorrectly claimed in the past, that since 50% are appointed by the govt therefor "Ministry is trying to hijack the board and control universities".

In reality, the 50% appointed by govt will include people from non-govt NGOs, private businesses, education experts, and none of them will be allowed to be a member of a political party.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181559 Nature Ministry's recultivation database & fines

Update: earlier Nature Ministry said they'll work on restoring lands in an abandoned mine in Syunik Province to make it arable and safe again.

The Ministry has examined 49 such former mining areas across Armenia. 10 were identified as high-priority. Many hectares of forests will be restored.

Ministry also has a draft bill to regulate the mines; what exactly must be restored upon abandoning a mine, how much security deposit should the miner make. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1006292.html


Nature Ministry will penalize the Zangezur Copper factory for polluting the waters after tests revealed excessive copper and metals in nearby river.

https://hetq.am/hy/article/113786 former oligarch Lfik's business penalized again

Fire and safety inspectors audited Alex Holding belonging to former MP Lfik Samo, and several other food and oil firms belonging to others, and found violations.

Doors didn't open the proper way, no fire alarm system, no sprinkles, oil tanks too close to nearby houses, oil tanks not shielded properly, wooden walls lack fire-proof material.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181546 Pashinyan about anti-corruption

PM during a meeting with law enforcement:

The anti-corruption results are obvious, the public appreciates it, the international community has seen it, but you're still doing a poor job at returning the money. The ~$150 million money that you recovered doesn't match what has been stolen in the past decades. Ramp it up.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181521 --- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1006358.html Serj & Co trial verdict

Update: the court denied Serj's petition and decided not to replace the prosecutor.

The court also decided to keep the travel ban against Serj.

The next session is on March 26th.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181504 --- https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181545 bail denied for former IRS boss

Former Finance Minister HHK Gagik Khachatryan's 7.5 billion bail offer has been denied. He'll spend another 2 months in jail pre-trial. His nephew was re-arrested yesterday.

https://hetq.am/hy/article/113784 high-tech verdict by a court

Election monitoring NGO chief Daniel Ionessian sued a Kocharyan supporter for defamation on Facebook and won. 1mln assets were frozen until the defendant pays to the plaintiff. The defendant also has to issue an apology on his Facebook account.

In what appears to be an unprecedented verdict, the court also prohibited the Facebook user (defendant) from deleting or locking his own account, so the apology will actually be visible to people. "There were concerns that the user could issue an apology then immediately lock the account to make it invisible."

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181524 fake bomb callers busted

NSS busted 3 kids for making fake phone calls about bombs in Zvartnots airport.

They saw an ad billboard for a loan company, called the company from a street pay-phone, and told them there is a bomb in the airport. The loan firm then contacted the airport and police. A felony case is launched.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181525 ladies in army's Special Taskforce

Female soldiers held a fighting exhibition with knives and tricks in the army today. Pervy little Defense Minister Tonoyan went to watch them 👀.

They were celebrating the fact that, for the first time, the army's special brigade accepted female recruits.

"We're physically and psychologically ready to overcome any barrier side by side with men, and to carry out special operations on the field," said the squad.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181537 --- http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/278340/ Ararat province / projects / proverty aid

Ararat Governor Garik Sargsyan said:

9km important Zangakatun road will be renovated soon. An 18km road connecting to Garni will be renovated. Not many people are aware of this road because of its current poor shape.

A new museum will be built on the Dvin archaeological site. The existing items, which are under open air and subject to damage, will be housed there.

1km road leading to Khor Virap will be renovated. The Monastery will have a new parking lot.

Several schools and preschools will be renovated.

2.5bln worth 77km irrigation system will be installed for 31 settlements. The water losses will be reduced.

The shortage of certified cattle slaughterhouses will be resolved by July. We have 17 business agreements with investors. (farmers earlier said they need more butcheries so they can travel less)

Compared to 2017, we have 1027 fewer poverty aid recipients now. Some aid abuse still exists by aid recipients who own expensive cars and houses registered under a relative's name. There is a committee tasked with addressing this. We've already somewhat cleaned up this list and used the saved money to donate cattle to 60 low-income families.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181509 --- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1006355.html --- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1006387.html --- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1006404.html average nominal salaries rise

Average monthly nominal salary for Jan-2020 vs Jan-2019 broken down:

Overall: +5.9% at 183k

Public sector: +8.6% at 155k

Private sector: +3.8% at 197k

http://arka.am/en/news/economy/average_monthly_nominal_salary_reaches_amd_183_030_drams_in_armenia_in_january_2020/ 1 million people

Pashinyan: Since the May-2018, one million people received salary/pension/aid raise.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181558 new flight routes

12 new flights will launch towards Armenia in 2020, mostly from Europe, said Economy Ministry's tourism committee.

Rome, Milan, Memmingen, Berlin, Paphos, Sallonik, Athenes, Larnaka, Vienna, Vilnius, etc.


Tourism Committee invited 50 reporters and bloggers to Armenia in 2019. They created 30 mini-documentaries with 5 million views online. Articles were written in newspapers and Facebook.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/181543 --- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1006386.html


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/f9zwao/feb262020_daily_news_anticorruption_summary_from/


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