2020 March 27

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Mar/27/2020 -- What's going on in Armenia? -- Today's major news on COVID, Anti-Corruption, Post-Revolution Armenia, Economy, Politics, Diaspora, Daily Life, and 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.


NSS busts Ministry officials' bribery

The report says:

Several officials at Labor Ministry's medical exams department took bribes from citizens to falsify their health condition and claim they're disabled, so they can get money from govt.

The officials took bribes from 6 citizens in Mar-2020 alone. The chief of the medical department got caught on Monday during a routine bribery transaction.

The bribe-givers confessed. A felony case is launched. An official is arrested.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/184129

official wins defamation lawsuit against a media outlet

Media outlet Hraparak (anti-Pashinyan) published a hit-piece on deputy Healthcare Minister Alina N., claiming she's colluding with HHK oligarch Lfik Samo. Every now and then, the outlet likes to vent about how "nothing has changed" after the revolution.

The Ministry official sued the outlet for defamation and won. The outlet promptly issued the apology but will challenge it in Appeals Court.

"This is a new thing. Media outlets used to sue officials, but now it's officials suing outlets instead of doing their job. This cynicism began after the revolution," said Hraparak's chief editor Armine Ohanyan.

https://factor.am/234829.html

Artsakh elections / Robik's candidate vs "Goerge Soros puppet"

Vitali Balasanyan is the Roboserj politician running for Artsakh president's office. Earlier he called Pashinyan a terrorist and called for Kocharyan to be freed. He has 8% support among voters, according to survey. (I don't have data on pollster's past accuracy.)

One of Balasanyan's opponents is Masis Mayilyan. The Roboserj circles like to call Mayilyan the "George Soros candidate", "Pashinyan's puppet", etc. Mayilyan has 22% public support.

--

Lragir outlet writes:

Lately, the Roboserj outlets launched a campaign against Mayilyan while glorifying Balasanyan as the only Artsakh-saviour. They claim Balasanyan has taken the lead.

The outlets circulated a document claiming his opponent Masis Mayilyan was barred from entering Russia for 5 years. The purpose was to make Mayilyan look unelectable so he'll drop out. That way, Balasanyan would run against the frontrunner and current president Bako Sahakyan's friend Arayik Harutyunyan (43% support).

The document that alleges Mayilyan's ban in Russia is dated at March-11. However, the rumors about Mayilyan being banned in Russia had circulated in Armenia since March-3.

End of Lragir report.

Masis Mayilyan commented:

On March 3rd, some fraudsters circulated rumors about me being banned from Russia. And today, they circulated some "document" that shows the ban was issued on March 11. In other words, they can't even do a chronologically accurate fake news. Nonetheless, some Armenian and Azeri outlets circulated the rumor. [End of Mayilyan's response.]

--

Should next week's elections be delayed?

43% candidate Arayik Harutyunyan: the Constitution of Artsakh doesn't allow elections to be postponed even under Emergency. There will be legal and other issues if Bako postpones it now.

22% candidate Masis Mayiliayn: I don't mind if the elections are postponed.

Serzh Sargsyan: I urge president Bako to make an informed decision and put the public's safety first.

https://www.lragir.am/2020/03/27/531399/

https://www.lragir.am/2020/03/27/531424/

https://www.1in.am/2725135.html

bank loan vacation stats

Due to COVID, banks are temporarily allowing people not to pay back their loans. Since March 20th, they gave a 200bln-worth vacation to 100,000 people and businesses.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/184134

InecoBank's economic outlook / GDP

InecoBank released their COVID vs Economy study. They predict ~2% GDP growth for 2020, then 4.7% in 2021.

The economy will suffer in tourism, exports to EAEU, remittances, consumer sentiments, etc.

"We estimate the net loss in tourism, exports of goods, remittances, FDIs and imports to total USD 380-450 million."

"The higher spending and the injection of USD 300 mln financial resources into the economy by the government, the supportive monetary policy stance and the grace period on loan repayments in vulnerable sectors will significantly soften the liquidity shortage mitigating the negative impact on GDP growth and employment."

Full: https://armtimes.com/hy/article/184150

Berezovsky about Armenian soccer

Legendary Armenian goalkeeper Roman Berezovsky spoke about legendary midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan:

Heno does 70% of the work on the pitch, but he's already 31. I don't see up and coming young players as good as him.

New coach Joaquin Caparros offered me to stay and train the Armenian team's goalkeepers, and I agreed. I'll be one of his aides simultaneously.

The national league is strange. There are only 9 clubs yet the league is split into 2 parts. There is a big organizational and quality difference between the leader and bottom teams.

My (Pyunik) team's best player ATM is Aras Ozbilis. He has scored several goals in international games and recovered from a recent knee injury.

The league is supposed to begin on April 14th but COVID made it uncertain. The players are training at home.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/184160

COVID stats / new map

329 infected. 28 healed (+10). 1 death.

1 critical. 40 to be discharged and sent to isolation. 1 patient is a two-month baby (doing OK, no symptoms). 3 doctors. 1 emergency rescuer.

Some users spread fake news about 3 deaths. The mentioned deaths were checked and were unrelated to COVID.

691mln Dram donations to Healthcare Ministry COVID hotline.

The Armenian CDC published a map that breaks down infections by each region. Yerevan has 46% of cases (the factory super-spreader).

Map: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/184178

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/184118

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/184127

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/184179

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1010323.html

https://factor.am/234839.html

COVID among soldiers: update

Yesterday the army said that 3 soldiers, who serve away from borders, contracted COVID from one of their relatives.

37 of their comrades were also tested. 2 came positive, 35 negative. The army had earlier isolated their circle.

The 4 out of 5 do not have any symptoms. 1 has a mild fever.

Army spokeswoman visited the dozens of isolated soldiers. "No complaints," they said.

Video: visiting isolated https://armtimes.com/hy/article/184145

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/184139

transport restirctions / China travel

The Emergency coordinator Avinyan issued an order to ban transportation between provinces. Connection with Yerevan was suspended earlier.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/184170

--

The govt decided to extend the suspension of visa-free travel with China until Mar 31st.

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/279561/

more businesses allowed to operate

The Emergency coordinator has allowed flower/pet food stores and car mechanics to operate, by adding them to the "essential business" list.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1010299.html

Emergency Ministry will disinfect

The Emergency Ministry will launch a twice-a-day disinfection campaign of public areas and bus stops across entire Armenia. It used to be done only on a case-by-case basis if "necessary". Separately, municipalities have been disinfecting these areas.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/184189

what about the lockdown violators?

1260 people received a citation for violating the lockdown order and leaving the home without the appropriate paperwork.

"It takes a minute to prepare the papers. It saves you 100k. Please do it," says the police. The paper where you fill out the reason for leaving home is available for free in kiosks, shops, or can be handwritten by you. (but you have to leave the home to get the paper from a kiosk 🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔)

1595 cars were stopped for being overcrowded. The passengers were asked to exit.

The police asked a Yerevan glass factory to shut down. The next day they checked and the factory was still working. The director got a ticket.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/184173

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/184175

Factory https://youtu.be/BZzAFTj0dOw

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/184133

future doctors join the COVID frontline

COVID has been a great opportunity for 500 students from Yerevan State Medical University to gain experience. They're volunteering in Nork hospital (main anti-COVID place), emergency departments, surgery departments, etc.

The university is training the specialists from unrelated fields so they can help with infections, too.

Several students at the most dangerous Nork infections clinic will have their tuitions waived at Yerevan State Medical University, at the request of the rector.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/184084

the president needs you to invent something

President Sarkissian is also a professor, FYI. He's been lecturing classes remotely nowadays.

Besides the hot topic of Coronavirus & Middle East, in which the students were asked to provide their analysis on the current situation, the President asked them to think about ways to solve the global lung ventilator shortage issue by inventing new technologies.

"I'm taking your citizenships away unless I have an invention on my desk by tomorrow morning," never said the President.

Full https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1010311.html

remote education / PC shortage

80% of kids are enrolled in remote learning courses that replaced the face-to-face classes. The majority of the remaining 20% are in provinces who don't have a PC or internet.

21,000 PCs are needed. It can be a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone, as long as it meets the UN's standards.

UCOM, Rostelekom, Beeline, ShantTV, H1 TV and other tech giants are cooperating with the Education Ministry to deliver the classes to students.

Details: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1010318.html

telecoms provide entertainment & network

UCOM installed additional equipment in hospitals and areas where people are held isolated, to provide them free WiFi and TV.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/184166

khorovats & ànánâs / study hard party harder

80 people are isolated in Writer's Union (groghneri miutyun) building in Tsakhkadzor. Today the Healthcare Minister Torosyan visited the area.

Some donors are sending food every day: BBQ, pineapple, homemade plain yogurt, and milk. Some of them want to extend their stay by another 14 days.

Minister visited several similar facilities. The one owned by Yerevan State University is housing parents, children, and even their teachers. Kids are getting their education remotely.

Some of them spent there several weeks, already. Samples will be taken today to see if they have COVID.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/184147

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/184154

PACE not happy with Ilham

Azeri govt says they have 165 COVID cases and 3 deaths. President Aliyev recently told the political opposition to "isolate themselves", after calling them traitors and yadda yadda.

PACE rapporteurs criticized Aliyev for using the pandemic "as yet another opportunity to attack the opposition."

https://hetq.am/hy/article/115145

Update: financial aid for businesses

Yesterday the govt approved an aid package to provide loans to businesses earning 24-500million/year.

No payments required in the first 6 months. 0% interest for year-1,2, and 12% interest for year-3.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/184165

--

More details are available about the agricultural aid if you need it: https://factor.am/234759.html

plenty of fish

Something happened. Or as Microsoft likes you say, SOMETHING WENT WRONG. The fish in the Sevaberd reservoir died on a mass scale. The Nature Ministry took samples to find the cause. Not the first or last case.

https://youtu.be/5i2kxE4OcCg

hell hath no fury

Kim Kardashyan further destabilized the Arab world by uploading a video in which she talks about "Armenian pizza called Lahmajoun".

https://www.facebook.com/myarmeniangrandmothersrecipes/videos/2556491601339104/

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/184177

Pashinyan the prank-caller

PM would visit random people in their homes every week. This time he would get arrested for doing that, so a phone to the rescue.

He called several random people to chitchat about COVID, how restrictions affect their daily routine and finances, problems with employers not paying during leave, pensions, etc.

--

Pashinyan: alo... alo... iStepan send some masks from Glendale!

iStepan: ghillirizzz ghoulough gezzig m'jahel

(Note to self: remove this part before publishing because mods are not heterosexual [confirmed by their ex] and might be offended by strong Armenian traditional language.)

Video: https://armtimes.com/hy/article/184148

female cops break expensive ceiling, get promoted instead of facing penalties

Pashinyan said:

A historically unprecedented thing happened. We have 2 female officers as department chiefs.

Lieutenant Colonel Meline E. is the new Gugark police chief, while Captain Joanna S. is the Tsakhkadzor chief.

Our administration has a goal to increase female participation in public life. I hope this will encourage other women.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/184114

Nature Ministry's bill to require catalytic converter in cars

Cars have a catalytic converter that reduces toxic gas before it comes out of the exhaust pipe.

Many drivers remove it from their cars to sell it for ~300k.

Nature Ministry drafted a bill to issue a 300k ticket to any driver who drives without this part. "It'll significantly reduce toxic emissions in the air and improve nature."

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/184153


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/fq37yg/mar272020_whats_going_on_in_armenia_todays_major/


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