2020 March 30

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Anti-Corruption Daily

March/30/2020 -- Daily News Summary -- TLDR of Today's Major Stories.
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.

Azeri infiltration attempt blocked / child injured

Azeri army tried to unsuccessfully infiltrate Armenia's Tavush region. 2 Armenian soldiers were lightly wounded. Azeri losses are being calculated.

One 15yo Armenian child was injured from a ricochet bullet while in the balcony. The injury is not life-threatening.

BRENT oil is only $25/barrel. WTI is $19.



2019 vs 2018 corruption prosecution stats

Number of corruption investigations on file: +5%

Number of corruption cases launched based on a media outlet's report: +88%

Number of cases when investigators found evidence of other crime: +92%

Number of felony corruption cases: +27%

Number of felony corruption cases sent to court: +59%

Number of people who were taken to court: +35%

Number of people sentenced to jail for corruption: +120%

Number of cases successfully investigated and finished in 2019: +34%

Number of people who got charged with a felony during the preliminary investigation: +31%

Number of actively serving officials who lost their job due to investigation: +18%

In 2018-2019 the prosecutors uncovered 191bln in damages. That's 5x higher than 2009-2017 combined.

They recovered 40bln, which is +90% vs 2009-2017 combined.


Tag: #corruptionstats #corruption

Netherland declares Armenia safe space / asylum decline

Netherlands government believes that the post-revolution changes in Armenia have greatly benefited the establishment of rule of law. "Armenia is no longer a dangerous country". The number of asylum seekers has sharply dropped.

Some European states made it harder for Armenians to claim asylum because of this.


SOC uncovers massive waste at a foundation

SOC audited the govt-funded Rural Economic Development Foundation and found 618mln in taxpayer waste.

The Foundation board illegally gave 35mln to an unqualified firm for some work. The Firm then repaid the cash by using money from the Foundation's 240mln equity investment.

124mln out of this 240mln was spent illegally.

Foundation failed to act on it.

The Firm received another 120mln and wasted 69mln of it.

A series of similar violations. The findings are sent to prosecutors.


Kocharyan lawyers under disciplinary investigation for circus

The president of Chamber of Lawyers launched a disciplinary investigation against Robert Kocharyan's lawyers Alumyan, Khudoyan, and Poghosyan.

They're suspected of unethical behavior. The Supreme Court (not Constitutional Court) chief contacted the Chamber to launch the investigation.


The lawyers were informed that Robik's trial was postponed because the judge was sick. Still, they went to courthouse on that date and created a mockery scene "disrespectful to the court". Each lawyer pretended to be one side of the trial. They held a mock trial.

Lawyer Alumyan himself encouraged the Chamber to launch an investigation against him so the media will talk more about his deeds.


criminal subculture figure arrested in a raid

The SWAT raided a Vanadzor house and arrested 3 people. One of them is the thieve-in-law criminal subculture figure Koko. They're suspected of stabbing, assault, and burglaries. Guns, explosives, and narcotics were found under their possession.


Artsakh elections / Roboserj candidate's adventures in army

Artsakh elections are tomorrow.

The Roboserj candidate Vitali Balasanyan went to distribute his propaganda leaflets at a military education facility. He was asked to leave. The army released a statement saying it's illegal to distribute election propaganda in the army and distract soldiers from doing their duties.

"Balasanyan also broke the quarantine rule by having physical contact with the soldiers. An investigation is launched."


voter claims assault by mayor to vote for specific candidate

An Artsakh voter reported being assaulted and threatened by the mayor of Now Maragha to vote for Arayik Harutyunyan instead of Masis Mayilyan.

Harutyunyan is the frontrunner and the friend of current president Bako. Mayilyan is his main opponent. Roboserj circles view Mayilyan as the "George Soros candidate" or "Pashinyan's puppet".

"I'll vote for whoever I want. It's my vote. It's a free election," said the voter.


Artsakh presidential candidates debate

A big debate was held involving tons of candidates.

A candidate asks anti-Roboserj candidate Badasyan: Mr. Badasyan, how did you win a military contract? How did you get 460mln from the budget? Why did you sit at the table with president Bako? Why did you disperse protests then lie about being the ones to organize those protests? You are a fake opposition.

Candidate Badasyan responds: false accusations. You joined the race with the sole purpose of throwing dirt at the real opposition candidate (me). About the money you mentioned. I took a 400mln loan to build an important water canal in Artsakh that was worth 900mln. When I joined Pashinyan during the revolution, the canal's construction in Artsakh was halted on purpose. 12km out of 18km is built. I worked on it. Yes, the protests you mentioned was organized by me, and I ordered 4 specific people to be removed, there are videos.



Anti-Roboserj candidate Badasyan asks frontrunner Arayik harutyunyan (Bako's friend): this regime is ruling Artsakh for 30 years. Money disappeared. Since 2005 you ruled as Prime Minister. Under your days, demographics worsened.

Arayik: we didn't plunder. We did $1bln worth construction.

Badasyan: the population went from 145k to 125k.

Arayik: you have wrong numbers. We had a small growth. This is why we have a housing shortage now.



Badasyan asks Roboserj candidate Vitaly: you're the Roboserj candidate. Will you worsen the relations with Armenia if elected as president?

Vitaliy: I'll cooperate in security issues without a problem. Rob and Serj aren't actually promoting me. [lol k]



A candidate to Roboserj Vitaliy: the Pashinyan administration obtained some serious weapons in the p.... [debate host to candidate: your time's up].

Candidate: shrugs

Debate Host: ok continue with your question...

Candidate continues:... they obtained tons of weapons in the past 2 years.... [host interrupts again]

Vitaliy: thanks for the question. We aren't really enemies with Pashinyan. We've been friendly for 20 years. We just have some disagreements. He'll call and congratulate me first if I win.



Opposition candidate Khanumyan asks frontrunner and former PM Arayik: you recently said the govt didn't provide money to build hydro-powerplants. I give you this doc. It shows billions were provided. Why are you lying.

Arayik: I didn't lie. The govt aid was a temporary renovation loan and not to build new ones.

Khanumyan: wrong. The loans were long-term.

Arayik: no, you're wrong.

Khanumyan: no u. Bad money management



Candidates debated over diversifying Artsakh economy away from mining.

Opposition Khanumyan to frontrunner Arayik: you didn't diversify. Today, the only reason the share of mining is down is because the copper prices are down.

Arayik: we increased the share of other fields of economy.

Khanumyan: false. Other fields are down. Armenia sent aid to us.



One of the candidates was apparently there just to tell Bako and Pashinyan to suspend the elections due to COVID.


the church goes medieval, displays a dead man's arm

The church marked the anniversary of St. Gregory Illuminator's tortures in the Khor Virap pit. They organized prayer for the public.

They displayed the remains of St. Gregory's right arm during the event. It's one of the holiest items under Catholicos' possession.

"I wish you love and faith. Arm yourself with patience in these harsh times [refers to COVID]. Use the time you spent alone to think about spiritual values, the importance to take care of each other, the defeat of problems faced by humanity," wishes the church.


COVID stats

2200 tested. 482 infected. 30 healed.

14 serious. 1 critical (but getting better). 3 deaths (all had pre-existing conditions). 1 young patient is in a serious condition without pre-existing conditions.

"The overall situation is still manageable. Let's use this week to stay isolated and help each other," said Pashinyan, "we approved 5 aid packages. They'll begin soon."

58 cases were found since yesterday. 56 of them were already either in quarantine or self-isolation due to being in a risk group. The other 2's circles are being identified and isolated. (cat and mouse game, how long can the govt keep up against nature?)








Bill to detect COVID circles through phone metadata

Parliament is discussing a Justice Ministry bill to allow authorities to check whom the COVID patients contacted with over the phone, and their geo-location, in order to better detect a wider number of potential COVID carriers, as part of the identify-isolate tactic.

The gathered data will be attached to data on who has been tested for COVID so far.

The draft bill passed 57-24. The opposition opposed, arguing it'll be ineffective. The bill needs another vote to pass.


The bill applies only under Emergencies caused by a pandemic. It won't allow cops to hear phone conversations or read messages. Only the metadata is collected, things like time of phone call, destination number, location. There is a felony punishment if this data is used for purposes other than to fight the pandemic.

After checking the phone log, the COVID patient can be asked whether they met with a specific person. "Sometimes people forget they met someone in the past 14 days," said Justice Minister.


EU is discussing similar laws. South Korea has already applied this tool, and "it has seen better results than European countries."

(Earlier the Healthcare Ministry complained that some COVID circles deliberately hid whom they had contact with.)





Tag: #COVIDphone #COVIDwiretap #COVIDsurveillance

Armenians are optimistic about defeating COVID

GALLUP surveyed 26 countries.

61% of Armenians believe things will get better next month. (<-- press doubt)

18% believe the worst is still ahead of us. (<-- take your stocks advice from them)

11% said it won't change.


87% of Armenians are ready to sacrifice some of their freedoms to defeat COVID. (<-- the ones who will survive)

4% said no (<-- get those curfew tickets ready)

5% don't know (<-- Jared Leto fans)


construction complete / hospital expands

1-2 weeks ago the govt began building an extension to the Norq infections clinic. 14 quarantined rooms with air ventilation, heating, etc. are almost ready for COVID patients.

PIC: https://factor.am/235255.html

lockdown violators get tickets / online app

50 public transport drivers were ticketed for passenger overcrowding.

2620 people and 2107 drivers were caught and issued citations for violating the Emergency order to stay home and only leave after filling out paperwork.


The paperwork can now be filled out through an ac19.am app without involving paper and pen. "It's great especially for delivery workers who travel frequently."

The app was originally made in Iran. "We took the code, changed it, and made it secure before publishing it. Iranians don't have access to the data added by Armenians."

The app can send the geo-location of users and inform the authorities if too many people are detected all in one place. The geo-location and camera access can be disabled, the app doesn't track the geo-location 24/7 (sends only when submitting a form).

The app also asks for the user's symptoms to check if they are a COVID-risk.



notable COVID patients

An Armenian boxer and another team member tested positive after returning from an international tournament in UK.


75yo French-Armenian politician and former French Minister of Industry Patrick Devedjian died from COVID in France. Pashinyan sent his condolences, calling his death a big blow to the French-Armenian community.


14 of the infected are members of the Armenian CDC.





how are neighbors doing?

Georgia has >100 confirmed cases. They believe they're on the brink of uncontrollable spread. A full-blown curfew has been declared. Leaving the home after 21:00 is illegal. Gatherings with more than 3 people is illegal. The army will help the police with enforcement.


Azerbaijan has >245. COVID is causing other major problems in Azerbaijan. The number of blood donors has plummeted. As a result, 1500 patients with thalassemia disease (a genetic blood disorder) are left without blood. 2 donors are needed to give enough blood for 1 patient.

There are >1 million carriers of thalassemia disease in Azerbaijan.

Some have criticized the Aliyev regime for covering up the true number of deaths caused by COVID's 'side-effects'.







High Tech Ministry & ventilators

The High Tech Ministry wants to get more lung ventilators. They launched a program to collect ideas to design and produce ventilators in Armenia.

"If you happen to have info about broken ventilators, let us know... We've already repaired 1 machine since yesterday... I urge engineers with experience in dealing with these machines to contact us."



rapid test kits by a private clinic

Healthcare Ministry does the 5-hour-long COVID detection test that involves the active sample of the COVID virus. They're the only ones who can do it in Armenia. Only patients with multiple symptoms or having a known contact with COVID patients qualify for this test.

Recently, the Vardanants clinic began offering [inaccurate] 15-minute tests to anyone who has $50. It's so simple it can be done at home. It detects things caused by COVID, not the COVID itself, which is why it's fast and inaccurate.

The govt also gives these kits in certain situations, but for free.


it's time to wear masks

WHO says COVID19 is not airborne. It doesn't stay in the air. It's transmitted through large heavy droplets when the person sneezes/coughs. These droplets fall on the ground almost immediately. Move away when someone coughs or sneezes, and don't touch your face.


dafaq is this coronavirus anyway?

St. Petersburg professor Alexei Potekhin about COVID19 (I add the cussing and stuff...):

COVID-19 is an ordinary coronavirus. It's milder than the 2002 coronavirus which caused even more severe pneumonia.

The number of people who die from non-COVID pneumonia daily is greater than the number of COVID19 deaths so far combined, "but we don't fixate on ordinary death numbers." (needs a fact-check)

It's very contagious. More contagious than regular flu but less than measles and rubella (karmrakht).

Russia is just entering the initial stages. The numbers will get worse soon, as in other countries.

The quarantine measures seen in China and now elsewhere, are unprecedented. The urgent goal is to slow down new cases so the hospitals can keep up.

Infections numbers are unreliable because not everyone is getting tested.

COVID19 isn't man-made. It jumped from an animal to a human because some filthy mother---ker kept wild animals in cages and cook them all on one table, without hygiene, in front of customers, in wet markets full of other animals.

COVID won't go away. There will never be a cure, just as in the case of other coronas. Managing symptoms is the only solution.

There will be a vaccine later this year. The herd immunization applies here. Most humans will eventually face COVID19. Those who get it will develop immunity from this, so there won't be a double-infection.

COVID19 isn't like the flu. It doesn't mutate too much. It's good. It won't keep us under lockdown forever.

Future strains of COVID19 might not defeat the immune system after the person has already encountered the original strain. The virus gets weaker the more it infects. Eventually, COVID19 will become your little bitch and you'll ignore it and go on with your daily life.


large supermarkets temporarily shut down / inspected

Emergency coordinator Avinyan instructed several supermarkets (CITY, SAS, VOVQ, etc) to close for 6 hours, and for the police to enforce it.

The supermarkets were audited. Some employees didn't have masks, special trash bins for masks, and other gear as required by Emergency Order.



Yerevan workers on paid leave / Mayor redirects funds

Yerevan municipality will pay the workers who work in institutes under the city's control, during the COVID leave.

Mayor Marutyan won't issue 130mln-worth Q1 salary bonuses to ordinary workers. The money will be distributed to 1,800 medical workers instead.



USA to provide $1.1mln aid

US State Department has announced plans to give $1.1mln to Armenia to improve healthcare, labs, COVID detection, research.


175,000 missing tourists in 1Q

Tourism Committee says 175,000 tourists won't arrive in Armenia and won't spend $770 each due to COVID in the 1st quarter alone. That's ~$135mln in losses. The 2nd quarter is expected to be worse.

The hotels that currently house quarantined people will be safe for tourism in the future. "Not only will we disinfect them before general use, but they're being disinfected now before each new group is brought for temporary isolation."



new COVID financial aid for pregnant women

The govt approved a package, lobbied by Labor Ministry and Human Rights Ombudsman, to give 100k aid to unemployed pregnant women whose husbands lose their jobs due to COVID.


financial aid for workers of impacted businesses, entrepreneurs

Financial aid about the size of the average wage will be given to workers of tourism, hospitality, barber, etc. industries that were hit hard by COVID.

Individual entrepreneurs will receive between 1x-2x of the minimum wage, depending on their 3Q19 turnover.

No taxes will be collected from the aid.

100,000 people will qualify.


monthly financial aid to other unemployed

The govt has several aid packages.

Another aid package has been approved to help laid-off workers who got employed between January 1 - March 13 and were laid off after March 13. They'll receive monthly aid equaling minimum wage.

Those who used to earn >500k, or currently have a second job, don't qualify.


opportunity to fight the grey economy

Pashinyan: we want to help workers, but those who chose not to register with IRS and pay taxes, will not qualify for this aid. Nonetheless, if you contact IRS and register now, they might be able to help you. (NICE B8 M8)


world fuel price ranking

Armenia has the 35th most least expensive fuel prices in the world, per liter:

1 Venezuela (~$0), 2 Iran ($0.1), 13 Azerbaijan ($0.47), 25 Russia ($0.58), 30 USA ($0.55), 35 Armenia ($0.71), 36 Georgia ($0.75), 165 Hong Kong ($2.20)


another military unit joins the food program

Another military unit in the north-eastern section of the border joined the program that hires a private company to feed the soldiers with high-quality food.

PICS: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/184282

female soccer team is ranked

The female soccer team was re-created in 2019 and played their first match a few weeks ago. FIFA ranks them at 126th after 1 loss and 1 draw.


Link to original report and comments: https://old.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/fry35w/march302020_daily_news_summary_tldr_of_todays/

2018 Daily Armenia Reports














2019 Daily Armenia Reports
























2020 Daily Armenia Reports