2020 January 27
Jan/27/2020 :: Daily news collection from Armenia :: Stay informed about the 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.
In case you missed the Sunday news. 100 changes in Armenia under Pashinyan administration (2019 edition): https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/euic1c/jan262020_what_has_changed_in_armenia_under/
Pashinyan about Constitutional Court (CC) chief and former HHK Minister Hrayr Tovmasyan:
HHK is going around the world, meeting various foreign institutes, and trying to convince them that there is a persecution against Hrayr Tovmasyan (former HHK Justice Minister charged with embezzlement and abuse for 2013 events). They do this to harm Armenia's reputation as a free and democratic state.
When we formed the govt in May-2018 we didn't ask for Tovmasyan's resignation. Why? Because we had an institutional approach, if an official is elected more or less legitimately then there won't be issues, and that we would value that over our personal preferences. Speaker Mirzoyan even said he doesn't think Tovmasyan should resign, at the time. For this, we were criticized (by anti Roboserj crowd who wanted Tovmasyan gone).
However, a group of lawyers and experts would meet me and explain that Tovmasyan wasn't elected legitimately and that his appointment wouldn't be possible without a forgery by HHK (currently there is a felony case against HHK MPs about this).
We didn't have time to examine this in the beginning because this was 2018 and things were chaotic. When I did learn the details about his appointment, I had no doubt the concerns were legitimate and it had to be investigated. That's when we received hints from here and there that we shouldn't touch this subject. This is also when Tovmasyan was pledging his allegiance to us by saying he can us help because he is the one who wrote the Constitution.
Then a future CC judge Vahe Grigoryan published a letter saying the CC was illegitimate and occupied. Then more info began to arrive. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/179003
When Tovmasyan realized we don't plan to cover up his falsifications, he began to take political steps to build insurance for himself, which reached its peak in April-June. These insurance steps were harming Armenia's interests internationally.
Eventually, felony cases were launched and I can say with confidence that it was proven that CC chief was elected with forgery. It was a falsified election.
(HHK MPs falsified document dates to rush the removal of previous CC chief so they would have enough time to appoint their fellow HHK MP Hrayr Tovmasyan as the new CC chief, before the newly amended Constitution came into power. Had they not rushed the process, Tovmasyan would be elected under the new Constitution, which would limit Tovmasyan's powers and years as CC chief. If he got elected before the new Constitution's activation he would serve a lifetime, which is what ended up happening due to doc forgery, say investigators as part of an open felony case.)
We had two options: use this forgery situation and take CC under our control, or pick the legal route. The pen that I mentioned earlier appears to be a small detail but, in reality, tells a story about how we could have (accepted Tovmasyan's offer and) taken over the CC, and essentially do what has always been done.
We chose a different route. When Tovmasyan realized this, he became an opposition figure. Can you imagine, the CC court chief is a political opposition now. He is part of the "hybrid coup". They met and colluded with each other. Perhaps this needs to be investigated as a national security matter.
That is the 1.5-year-long story around the CC.
Only 3 people have the full details of this story, two of whom today are not only opposition figures but are openly hostile towards me (referring to former NSS chief Arthur Vanetsyan who recently called for Pashinyan to resign). They became opposition because they themselves were a subject of a corruption investigation (Vanetsyan's offshore mining, hydro story?).
I hope the pen's story makes sense now. Read what I said earlier to get the full story.
End of PM's speech.
Tag: HrayrTovmasyan ConstitutionalCourt ArthurVanetsyan
You think THAT was bolola? Wait until you read this...
Pashinyan earlier said he received info from someone that Tovmasyan is offering Pashinyan help because he wrote the Constitution and knows its inner working, and that together with Pashinyan they can achieve things.
QP MP Alen Simonyan says the person who sent the message from Tovmasyan was the former NSS chief Arthur Vanetsyan.
MP Alen Simonyan says:
Vanetsyan called me and said Tovmasyan is willing to help and offer support, but he wants you to talk less about him publicly. I could sense there was someone next to Vanetsyan while he was speaking. I couldn't tell if it was Tovmasyan or not.
A few days later someone hugged me from behind near Tumanyan Street's Nor Zovq market. I was surprised to find out it was Tovmasyan. With a big smile, he asked if 'everything was normal'. I was surprised. I said yes, it's normal. Only after that I realized he was referring to the phone conversation.
Recently Tovmasyan made 6 trips abroad. Only 2 were registered as work visits. I think such a high ranking figure should be transparent and explain why and where he traveled. NSS should be concerned about this.
To me, Tovmasyan has turned into a political figure long ago.
One thing has always allowed the former regime to stay in power: money. They buy media, analysts, online activists. But today their hybrid-coup attempts will be defeated.
The full interview is here: https://www.facebook.com/azatutyuntv/videos/242435316746325/
Vanetsyan denied MP's claims, calling him a liar who is being used by QP, and that he wouldn't discuss something like that with the MP over a phone. (Yesterday Vanetsyan called for Pashinyan to be removed from PM's position.) https://news.am/arm/news/556935.html
QP MP Alen Simonyan:
I don't take former NSS chief Arthur Vanetysan's Tweet about replacing Pashinyan as PM seriously. If he wants he can organize protests in front of Opera building to achieve that.
I suggest Hrayr Tovmasyan write a letter accusing QP of all sorts of wrongdoings, then resign from the Constitutional Court, if he truly loves Armenia.
(I bet you $10 swampiddy Vanetsyan recorded that conversation too just like in 2018 and was willing to post it online but Pashinyan did a pre-emptive.)
Armenia its celebrating the Army Day. Pashinyan and President gave promotions to dozens of soldiers and officers. Several generals were appointed. US Kansas state's National Guard will participate in the celebrations.
Army spokesman: expect more surprise weapon purchases in 2020. We have big achievements in the Made in Armenia drone program.
Yerevan municipality's QP councilman wrote an angry Facebook post and posted Hrayr Tovmasyan's daughter's photo saying "you know what to do" (directing online harassment).
Yerevan QP party held a meeting and asked the councilmen to resign. He apologized and resigned.
(There are reports that he posted a wrong user's info and not the one belonging to Tovmasyan's daughter.)
HRO welcomed the decision to sack the councilman and urged people to refrain from targeting families.
The Personal Data Protection Agency chief gave an interview:
People are more aware and protective of personal info these days. We had 6x as many investigations in 1H2019 vs 1H2018.
Media outlets sometimes post questionable info and a question arises whether they had the right.
Q: How protected are people's personal info these days, by the govt?
A: Far better than years ago. When the law was amended in 2015, it ensured the govt is involved in the protection, so our agency was formed. We still face challenges because technology complicates things.
Q: What problems do you have today?
A: When the 2015 law was passed, it was based on the best EU practice. It was a sharp jump from 0 to 60. The society and regulators had little time to adapt. We educate the public today.
Q: Do media outlets break the privacy laws often?
A: In 2016/17/18/19 we had 11/20/30/80 cases (not clear whether specifically about media outlets). Numbers are rising sharply because people are becoming aware.
In recent times, complaints against media outlets increased. We advised the media. Journalists must think whether the personal info they're about to publish is necessary.
Q: What are the most common violations?
A: No specific stats. We examine each case. When a media publishes private info it's usually because it's necessary for the story, but sometimes it isn't.
Q: Any successful enforcement incidents?
A: A fine is envisioned for violations but we have yet to issue one because they agree to fix their mistakes. Sometimes they take the case to courts. We've had a few big disputes between govt and the private sector.
Q: The court system publishes the personal info of plaintiffs and defendants. Is this not a violation?
A: Not a violation if it's done with the permission or required by law. The court system has to publish this data to ensure justice and transparency. It's also not illegal if it has a valid purpose.
President Sarkissian is still in Israel. He went to the famous tech institute Technion, met chiefs, students.
Prez: Today The world is a big startup and the youth has the ability to invent. Ideas are what's important. I invite you to cooperate with ATOM (Advanced Tomorrow) tech initiative in Armenia. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/179008
Interview with Israeli media: https://youtu.be/8PnVp2fiHDc
Artsakh produced 25% more electricity YoY. The average rise in the past years were 13%. This brings 2bln/yr to state coffers and provides 500 jobs.
Artsakh govt held a meeting about this and discussed hydro-plants' environmental impact. They decided to create a committee tasked with examining the nature impact. Nature Ministry is tasked with organizing it. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/179037
Thousands of people around the world have been infected with the Chinese bololavirus pneumonia. Armenian MFA advises Armenians not to visit China for now, and for China-based Armenians to stay in touch with the embassy. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/179032
LHK chief Edmon Marukyan has been elected as PACE's First Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Legal Affairs, with the help of the ALDE party.
BHK Naira Zohrabyan during a PACE session: it's time to launch Baku's Nuremberg trials for the massacres of Armenians 30 years ago. The international community should address the events. The actions in Azerbaijan were as cruel as during WW2.
Yerevan will have a new road and a bridge in the suburb. Argavant and Shirak streets will be connected with a 2.7km road.
A 9km road will connect Argavand to Babajanyan. North and south entry points will be connected.
Hrazdan river will have a new 250m bridge equipped with filters that will filter rainwaters before pouring into the Hrazdan river.
Today drivers spend 25 minutes to travel from Malatia Sebastia to Shengavit. It'll be reduced to just 2 minutes.
Mayor Hayk Marutyan: this is of strategic importance, especially due to a rising number of cars. Simultaneously we have to improve public transport.
Construction began late-2019 and will finish mid-2021.
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/eut8ie/jan272020_daily_news_collection_from_armenia_stay/
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