2020 February 4
Feb/4/2020 -- Daily news collection from Armenia -- Stay informed about the ongoing Anti-Corruption Busts, 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.
info about an army bullying and suicide, fuel theft, MP's son
A media outlet Aurora cites its sources to claim there is an "elite" military unit near Artsakh capital Stepanakert, where some officials' children go to serve their duties. The outlet also blames a recent death of a soldier on bullying by the bigshots in this unit.
A bullying atmosphere is created by big shots. The biggest player goes around and collects money from others. He makes the decisions around.
In Jan-30-2020 a soldier shot himself in the chest. The source blames the death on the bigshot, saying he's the decision-maker, and that the high ranking officers aren't taking action against his activities.
A picture from the alleged unit shows the soldiers. One of them is NSS's counter-intelligence unit's chief's son, with the bigshot guy next to him. Another one is a Lt. General's son.
Another one is former oligarch HHK MP Arakel Movsisyan aka Shmays's son. The latter was arrested yesterday as part of the investigation about the aforementioned Jan-30-2020 case in which a soldier allegedly shot himself in the chest. The photo also shows 2 other soldiers who were arrested (Edit: or treated as suspects) alongside with Shmays's son.
The Jan-30-2020 suicide wasn't the only such incident. Approximately 7 months ago a soldier committed suicide. The source claims that it's because he became a subject of pressure and personal attacks because he knew about a fuel theft scheme and wanted to expose it.
In May-31-2019 there was a report of investigators busting an army fuel theft in which a suspect drained fuel from dozens of GRAD missile units and replaced them with water. A felony case was launched. This period coincided with the period when the (whistleblower) soldier was allegedly bullied and committed suicide. The fuel theft suspect no longer serves in this unit.
Artsakh Defense Ministry says the aforementioned barrack (structure as a whole) is indeed "elite" but not because officials' sons serve there, but because it's the barrack that participated in 2016 battles and won important areas. Ministry denied that officials' sons are picked and sent there on purpose, because the soldiers' sorting and distribution process is "done through a lottery".
Armenia's prosecutors received the report and launched an investigation.
HHK MP Shmays's son has been charged with the death of the soldier in the Jan-30-2020 incident. As of writing this post, it appears he is charged with driving someone to suicide through bullying/assault, and not with 1st/2nd degree murder.
Prosecutors asked the court for an arrest warrant. The court provided it. If found guilty, he's facing up to 8 years in prison.
NSS busted military draft officials with taking bribes
The report says:
In 2019, a chief neurologist from a medical center was invited by a military official to examine drafted men's health conditions. The official asked the neurologist to help 4 men avoid service by falsifying their health records. The neurologist took $8,500 in bribes from the recruits.
It was then revealed that the military official took $45,000 in bribes from other cases in a similar fashion. A felony case is launched.
Former oligarch HHK Ruben "Nemets" Hayrapetyan was briefly detained and searched for illegal weapons. His cars were confiscated then returned. Nemets jokingly said they found jets and tanks in his pockets. "I have 3 legal weapons. Why would I need an illegal one? It was done for a show... One day I will lay them on the ground and wipe my feet on them, for sure."
In a separate case, Nemets is currently suspected of embezzling large sums during his years as the chief of the Football Federation (HFF).
https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/179649 https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/179655 https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/179677 https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1003651.html https://www.lragir.am/2020/02/04/514604/
Serj... the other one
A HHK MP criticized the Yerevan municipality for wasting taxpayer money and placing the picture of SOAD rock band's singer Serj Tankian (who supported Pashinyan in 2018, which is why MP is mad) on a billboard tagged as GREAT ARMENIANS.
Yerevan municipality responded saying the billboard was posted in 2017 by HHK.
in honor of...
Yerevan will name one of its streets after the late singer and honorary artist Gohar Gasparyan. The street is near the American University of Armenia.
gas stations... do they cheat?
Economic Competition Committee is after gas stations again. They released an audit report:
Gazprom-Armenia is a monopoly in large-scale transactions but that's natural because of the way gas is purchased.
344 smaller businesses do gas transactions with ordinary consumers.
The current law has no barriers for more players to enter the market.
The existence of identical pricing in numerous stations could indicate collusion and price-fixing.
While the gas was sold per m3 to drivers in the past, some stations would report financial losses to the IRS.
Now that the law was recently changed to require stations to sell gas per KG instead of volume (which used to be manipulated through heat), these gas stations that used to lose money on paper, began to report a profit. This could indicate that they were evading taxes in the past. (or a magic wand)
cancer stats in Armenia
Today is World Cancer Day. Several Ministers, officials, and 1st lady joined a campaign to raise awareness and encourage medical checks. "Cancer is not a death sentence."
A flash mob was organized by 1st lady Anna Hakobyan. 3,000 people shared pics of kids with cancer to raise awareness. The City of Smile Foundation provides free cancer meds and care to patients under 25. Currently, 300 receive care.
8.4k new cancer diagnosis were made in 2018, says the National Oncology Institute. The number is up 1.6x in the past 30 years.
Men's cancer is usually in the respiratory system, stomach, liver. For women in breast, respiratory, intestine, stomach.
67% of diagnoses are made at later 3-4 stages. Only 9% of lung cancer patients live >5 years, while it's 20% in the world. Armenia has one of the highest death rates in the world.
The National Oncology Institute saw a 32% rise in cancer surgeries due to the surgery being made free recently.
They do chemotherapy for free, as well. Cancer medication is also co-paid. The institute pays 30,000 Drams towards each course (60k for disabled patients).
Update: 1 more Armenian citizen will be evacuated from Wuhan, China, in addition to 1 who was earlier transported to Kazakhstan. 9 citizens refused to leave. 200 returned voluntarily in the past ten days. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/179626
2 Chinese patients were discharged from an Armenian hospital after bololavirus tests came negative. 4 Armenians were tested. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/179636
A group of Armenians living in China sent a letter to Armenian govt asking for help to leave China because the flights are blocked and "things are getting worse there." https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/179699
2019 stats from Emergency Ministry:
1.8mln calls were made to 911 (down from 2mln in 2018).
21k emergencies, with 427 deaths (+6%) and 12.5k (12%) injured. 363 lives saved.
16.4k firefighter dispatchings.
12k rescuer dispatchings.
28k dispatchings for other emergencies.
1,437 fake calls. (<-տխմարներ)
64 schools and kindergartens were examined for seismic reliability.
Budget: 12.6bln in 2019, and 15.3bln in 2020.
money & borders
Do you plan to transport $100,000 in or out of Armenia? You'll have to disclose the money's origins, as part of a new EAEU rule that begins today. https://factor.am/218791.html
post office bribery & embezzlement
The investigative Committee finished a 2012 investigation of a case involving bribery and embezzlement in post office locations.
In 2010, three suspects organized a scheme to defraud the state of 167mln while paying 3.5mln in bribes to post office employees.
The scheme was about defrauding the system which gives bonuses to businesses related to their sales receipt printings. The suspects forged documents and presented fake info to post office to claim 167mln in bonuses they didn't earn.
A felony case is launched against 1 suspect. The 2nd one charged back in 2012. The 3rd one is missing.
sales receipts missing
PM Pashinyan's story about a restaurant visit and sales receipt:
On Sunday, I went to Artsakh to visit my son in the army. We went to a restaurant. The waiter didn't bring a (IRS-visible) receipt in the end. I asked him why, and he wondered if it's "necessary". He went to bring it but it was taking too long so I walked to the counter to find out why. A few employees were trying to figure out how to make the machine function. This is because they weren't used to printing the receipts.
Meanwhile, a group of patrons wanted to discuss something with me. I went outside and chatted with them. I went back and the receipt still wasn't printed. They brought explanations that "receipts were just changed recently" etc.
I asked them if they ever watch the TV. People talk about the importance of printing receipts all the time. Those who don't print receipts are stealing from the soldier (taxes paid towards the army).
I called the IRS to report the incident. All businesses that don't print receipts should be penalized to the full extent of the law.
Although food businesses in Artsakh pay a fixed tax, the printing of sales receipts is still required because after a certain turnover there is a re-counting of taxes and it needs to be verified with receipt records.
Now the restaurant owner is complaining that I contacted the IRS for the incident. I'd like to say officially that I will do this every single time and I encourage all Armenian and Artsakh citizens to do the same.
P.S. the restaurant has a 10% discount policy for soldiers, and my son got one too. This is patriotic, but my friends, let's not help the soldier at the expense of the soldier.
P.S. Since some people going to start writing fake news about "elite" tables I dined on, I'd like to mention that the bill was 39k ($80). Let them (fake news) try to figure out what exotic dishes they can add to that budget. Also, my son Ashot got the few-hour-long permit to leave the barracks legally, with all the documents. I verified his docs personally.
It turns out the owner of the Ari Resort restaurant is the famous guy Arshak Zakaryan who used to go to frontlines and record real combat footage. He has a YouTube channel where he receives and distributes aid to soldiers.
Zakaryan responded to the story saying that since the business pays the fixed tax, the receipts don't change much per Artsakh law. His claim is disputed by Pashinyan and a fact-checker.
NO RECEIPTS = MORE TREES IN AMAZON
tourism in Armenia
UN's UNWTO agency says Armenia's tourism is the 12th fastest growing in the world, with a +14.4% YoY.
Myanmar +40% at #1
Iran +28% at #3
Armenia +14% at #12
Azerbaijan +11% at #17
Kazakhstan +10% at #20
Armenophobia & Azerbaijan
Ethnic Azeri goalkeeper Balayev (best Kazakh goalie of 2019) quit the Kazakh team Tobol because the new coach is Armenian, brags Balayev's father.
Father says: the Armenian coach approached my son while in Dubai and told him "You're my main goalie, I want you to stay and play. I was born and raised in Kazakhstan and don't have negative views towards Azerbaijan."
Father continues: "My son said he'll think about it. Thankfully he quit. Even if they gave $1 million to my son he wouldn't stay and play. We have pride. He rejected a $20,000/mo contract."
Electronic Arts responded: the intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment.
բուք ու բորան
The snow caused a chain-accident and a jam on Yerevan-Sevan freeway: https://youtu.be/ZHTSGOWtf7Q?t=8
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/eywkwn/feb42020_daily_news_collection_from_armenia_stay/
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