2020 November 12

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Daily news and anti-corruption report

Nov/12/2020 wrap-up: \\ War in Artsakh \\ Pashinyan speech about past, present, and future \\ Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov opens the parenthesis; criticizes Armenian opposition parties; comments the agreement \\ foreign response & Artsakh's status \\ political turmoil continues \\ more...
by ar_david_hh

Your 15-minute Thursday report in 3946 words.

Pashinyan' message about past, present, and future

Armenia is living in extremely difficult days. There is sorrow in the hearts of all of us, tears in our eyes, and pain in the souls. The agreement to end the war, signed on November 10, caused public despair and raised many questions, to which I am expected to answer.

Why was such an unfavorable document signed? It happened in the conditions when the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia was reporting that the war should be stopped ASAP, and the Artsakh President was warning that if the hostilities continued, we could lose Stepanakert in days, in some scenarios, even in hours.

Some of you might say that if we already lost Hadrut, Shushi, we could have lost Stepanakert and not much would have changed. The reality is a little different, because if Stepanakert was lost, which, as Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan had already publicly confirmed would happen, then Askeran and Martakert would inevitably be lost.

In the beginning, these regions were located in the rear, quite far from the front lines, and did not have defensive structures and fortifications, and there were not enough fighting forces that could defend these areas.

This would lead to our 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7th defense zones being encircled, along with 20,000 soldiers who would either die or become POWs. Kalbajar and Qashatagh would also fall. There would be a total loss.

The most important function of the commander is to set tasks for the soldier, with a specific tactical or strategic goal. The commander sets these tasks often realizing that their implementation can lead to the death of soldiers. Being de-facto the Commander-in-Chief, I have set such tasks for the army.

But when a situation arises when a soldier can not in any way influence the further course of events, it is no longer the soldier who must die for the sake of the homeland, but the homeland must make sacrifices for the sake of the soldier.

With this in mind, I signed the infamous document. I realized that the probability of me being killed for signing it is very high but the lives of 25,000 soldiers were more important. The encircled soldiers would not have had enough force to make a breakthrough.

The decision had to be made within hours. We had no days and weeks.

Some of you are wondering why I didn't resign instead of signing it. Because that would be desertion on my part. That would mean shifting all the burden on someone else's shoulders, and today you would be calling me a hero and someone else a traitor. Also, the decision had to be made within hours.

The next question is why I didn't consult with the public before signing it. It's simple. I would have to give you the honest details and reveal all our weaknesses, while the battles continued, while the enemy was watching. That would have given them valuable info on how to encircle our troops.

Also, I promised to discuss with the public the options for the settlement of the Karabakh issue. This document does not completely end the conflict, but only a cessation of hostilities. The Karabakh issue was not resolved and is not resolved, and in this regard, there is still work to be done.

Why couldn't we prevent the war, or stop it at the initial phase, if the outcome was going to be similar? Because that would mean giving away 7 regions, including Shushi, without a fight. The second reason is we believed that by involving new military resources and hard work, we could make a breakthrough.

This is why Artsakh President and I had been making speeches with calls to enlist in the army. We had to do this in a way not to spread panic and demoralize our front line soldiers and without revealing our weaknesses to the enemy.

Everyone has done everything possible to save every inch. Our soldiers fought heroically. They fought to win and not give up. They fought against 3 armies.

Unfortunately, as Artsakh president said yesterday, we didn't help the army sufficiently. Volunteer and mobilized troops, of course with many heroic episodes, did not end up being strong enough to solve the problem. There was no other solution.

The agreement is bad for us but there is no need to make it worse. I've seen rumors about giving away Armenia's Meghri region, which is absolute nonsense. It's only about removing the transport blockade on Nakhijevan (Azerb.)

That also means we can connect Yerevan to Syunik province through Nakhijevan. We will be able to connect to Iran via railway, which will have a significant positive impact on our economy. [BTW, Turkey has already announced willingness to build a railway through Armenia to connect to Azerbaijan, so this idea looks serious.]

As for the part of Karabakh that will remain under Armenian control, we can connect to it via the Lachin corridor, including in the area near Shushi. Peacekeepers will also guarantee civilians security. It's important for refugees to return to their homes now. The government of Armenia and Artsakh will do everything to quickly recover the damage.

The issue of the final settlement of the Karabakh and the status of Artsakh is of fundamental importance. Artsakh's recognition is becoming an absolute priority and, in fact, there are more weighty arguments for the international recognition of Artsakh.

Within Armenia, we must have a stable environment. At this moment, we must ensure, first of all, that the people fully master their inalienable right to form a government, to have power. The government will not tolerate the violent provocations by the groups sponsored by the former regime. Many organizers are already under arrest. Others are in hiding.

I call on all our compatriots not to give in to provocations, and to unite around the government that is determined to help bring the country out of this situation, while guaranteeing that no one will seize power to plunder and return the country to a whirlpool of corruption.

We are reaping the bitter fruits of that robbery and corruption today. When for decades, the country's wealth had flowed into the pockets of familiar people and not to the development of the army.

Dear people, our country has a future, and we must do everything we can to make this cruel ordeal of ours an important cornerstone of that future. We as a nation will learn from the mistakes we have made.

Many will ask if we can talk about a good future after this brutal war. Yes, because there are some countries in the world today that have undergone the most brutal capitulations of the 20th century, but today are among the most powerful countries in the world.

They developed with an emphasis on education, science, industry, and democracy, and this should be our next step. And I urge all of us to focus on what we can do to strengthen our country. This will be our best service to the memory of our martyrs, our wounded and disabled servicemen and their families.

Of course, the families of the victims have to ask us a question: why did their relatives die in the end? The answer to this question is one: to save the people of Artsakh from genocide, to protect the right of the Armenian people to live. Our homage to them is the daily creative work and education that should improve our country.

Long live Freedom, Long live the Republic of Armenia, Long live the Republic of Artsakh. And long live our children who will live in a Free and Happy Armenia. I bow to our martyrs.

Video: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034658.html , https://news.am/arm/news/612956.html

few things from earlier

Artsakh president explained yesterday that, at some point, desertion became a big issue due to low morale among non-regular troops (volunteers, reservists, etc.) and commanders leaving their positions.

A Facebook user Arbak Akopian uploaded a video showing desertion by at least 150 soldiers. Date and location unclear. Their commander allegedly ordered them to leave.

The uploader, without evidence, claims that it's the incident when someone approached the troops and told them "the whole war was a conspiracy and Pashinyan was just giving away the lands, go home."

There was such an incident that led to one person (allegedly a friend of Vitaliy Balasanyan) being arrested. No evidence this video is related to that arrest. There are reports of low morale in the south and northern fronts. It has been reported by MoD that the battles were very heavy.


Chief of General Staff of Army Onik Gasparyan: PM Pashinyan signed the agreement upon my proposal after a comprehensive evaluation of the situation. The Agreement was urgently needed.


Video: Armenian soldiers and ANNA reporter providing medical aid to two Azeri captured soldiers after the ceasefire:


Video: Interview with the members of SOAD. They collected $600,000 during the charity event:


A French doctor has confirmed that an Armenian soldier suffered from burns caused by a phosphorus weapon. This is the first instance of an independent party verifying that Azerbaijan used this weapon against soldiers.


peacekeepers & troops in Artsakh

Russian peacekeepers will use Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters besides surveillance drones to monitor the activities. They were flown to Armenia with a cargo jet yesterday.

414 soldiers have been stationed so far, out of 2k. More have arrived in Armenia's Goris city for future deployment. The first troops arrived in Stepanakert today.

The troop rotation will happen at least twice a year. "They have peacekeeping experience in Syria and elsewhere."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034643.html , https://news.am/arm/news/612891.html , https://news.am/arm/news/612972.html

"We are in the north-eastern border. The 'Yerevan' and 'Red Berets 5165' detachments continue to stand in their positions," wrote Yerevan mayor Marutyan. The troops are waiting for peacekeepers before a withdrawal.


about the Russian helicopter shot by Azerbaijan

Azeri official: In war, as in war, anything can happen. (պատերազմում, ինչպես պատերազմում, ամեն ինչ կարող է պատահել)

Russian MFA: That's a big mistake. If we adhered to that principle, our response would have been crushing. We hope Azerbaijan won't allow itself similar ambiguous statements regarding this tragic incident anymore. Russia has accepted Azerbaijan's apology and confession. We expect a speedy investigation.


the political turmoil continues

00:35 ruling QP party about calls to cancel the Agreement: The war began due to geopolitical events, which led to the collapse of several ceasefire deals. Accepting the Agreement was the only solution to save the rest of Artsakh and thousands of lives.

The public should receive the answers to their questions, but we won't join the committee suggested by the opposition parties because that would endanger lives on front lines.

Before we discuss the topic of the legality of this Agreement, we demand that the opposition parties publicly announce that they:

1) Support the cancellation of Russian mediation.

2) Support the withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers.

3) Support the resumption of war.

After they publicly state this, the opposition must then present their ideas on how to win the war upon its resumption.


"We have nothing else to lose. We will continue this struggle until we can shed a light of hope in this darkness," said an opposition ARF member.

"We are not against peacekeepers. We come to find a way out of this situation," said another ARF member.

Other opposition parties also criticized QP's message, saying "the party is deepening the crisis by refusing to use constitutional methods [Parliamentary session to revoke Agreement] to resolve the crisis."

https://factor.am/308451.html , https://news.am/arm/news/612960.html , https://news.am/arm/news/612957.html

1:06: ARF and other allies of the former govt have urged the law enforcement to release the members who were arrested yesterday. The police had warned against organizing demonstrations during Martial Law.

Among the detained are BHK Tsarukyan, Garnik Isaghulyan, Gegham Manukyan, Davit Hambardzumyan, Arthur Vanetsyan, Edward Shawarmazanov, Ishkhan Saghatelyan, and few others.

They are told not to leave the country as part of the ongoing investigation. [meaning at least some of them will be released for now]

A new demonstration will be held today at 5 pm. The opposition believes the internet will be shut down today to stop them [later update: there were no reports of internet shutoffs].

https://factor.am/308441.html , https://news.am/arm/news/612862.html , https://factor.am/308477.html

10:09: RAK Ramkavar party once again call for the "society to avoid serious political upheavals, to refrain from unconstitutional actions, and emotional decisions."


10:53: traffic jam was formed coming from Ejmiatsin and Abovyan. The police installed roadblocks on the highway with Yerevan. The opposition says it's done to suppress demonstrations.

Yesterday the police began checking vehicles to ensure weapons weren't being smuggled by those returning from Artsakh.


, https://news.am/arm/news/612932.html

11:17 MoD: the rumors of a Turkish drone flying over Yerevan yesterday were false...

Armenian and Russian air bases have closed the air for all flights except military and pre-approved Civil Aviation.


11:43 "The ruling QP party should take steps towards civic solidarity. They should appear in Parliament and take part in sessions. Right now de-facto we don't have a government," said LHK leader Marukyan. Another MP called for Pashinyan's resignation.

https://news.am/arm/news/612920.html , https://news.am/arm/news/612906.html , https://news.am/arm/news/612993.html

11:45: Artsakh's Justice Minister, from an opposition party, has resigned. The head of the Security Office followed the suit. Two other officials resigned later.

https://news.am/arm/news/612922.html ,

11:50: President Sarkissian separately met PM Pashinyan and members of various political parties.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034649.html , https://news.am/arm/news/612984.html

12:54: opposition BHK MP has called for law enforcement bodies to disobey the govt orders. She claims the ruling party members are arming themselves and that weapons were distributed yesterday.

https://news.am/arm/news/612940.html , https://news.am/arm/news/612936.html

14:54: over a dozen people were arrested over rioting and breaking into the govt building on Tuesday. Three more arrested today over burglarizing PM's residence that day.


15:59: ARF party believes that since the transport link connecting Nakhijevan to Azerbaijan goes through Armenia, that means it needs approval by the Parliament and the Constitutional Court.

The Constitutional Court says they'll discuss issues only if someone initiates a proper legal process to submit a dispute.

https://news.am/arm/news/612991.html , https://news.am/arm/news/612969.html

16:12: a ruling QP MP threatened to retaliate "if the [former regime allies] appear in front of my house and threaten my family again. You're lucky I wasn't home."


17:00: Prime Minister's office staff will return to work tomorrow.


17:18: now-former acting chief of NSS Mikael Hambardzumyan, who resigned a few days ago, has urged Pashinyan to go easy on opposition members and not arrest them despite the Martial Law violations, reminding him about an internal agreement they earlier had about going easy on the opposition.

The ex-NSS chief urged the opposition to calm down, saying he knows Pashinyan and the position he was in, and that "he is an honest and patriotic person, and so is his family, and so are the people protesting on the streets."

He called for new elections that will decide whether the public agrees with Pashinyan or not.


17:30: the police found large quantities of weapons brought from Artsakh while searching vehicles on roadblocks installed in various cities.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034684.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034709.html

18:07: the opposition parties and demonstrators are holding a rally. They marched between different buildings with different demands.


18:15: First president LTP spoke with Russian ambassador Kopirnik.


18:18: PM Pashinyan met his QP party colleagues to discuss the events before, during, and after the war.


19:49: Army spokesman Artsrun Huvhannisyan was having blood pressure issues on November 9th and skipped the usual 22:00 briefing. It turns out he resigned the same day.

"I was tasked with doing my part of the war, in the information field. Professional researchers will study my performance over time. No one is perfect. The information I gave to the public came from the Armenian and Artsakh armies.

Yes, I was confident that we would win, also based on the warfare led by many of my military friends. I left the position on November 9th. I will continue to work in the scientific field."


20:04: Opposition parties have ended their rally. 20 participants were detained. They'll gather again tomorrow.

2 anti-opposition activists were detained for confronting the opposition officials during the demonstration.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034703.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034705.html , https://factor.am/308854.html

20:57: opposition Arthur Vanetsyan was released from detention. He was arrested earlier for organizing a rally during the ongoing Martial/Emergency Law. He is among those who are told not to leave Armenia.

Opposition Ishkhan Saghatelyan was also released, per court ruling.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034706.html , https://news.am/arm/news/613085.html

21:39 wounded QP MP Sasun: over 3,500 of my Yerkrapah colleagues defended the borders. Unfortunately, we have 69 deaths, 79 wounded, 2 missing, 1 POW. I bow to their mothers and thank them for raising brave men.

We are still in a war. Internal provocations will increase our losses.

I ask Artsakh residents to return to their homes and continue to build it. We have never and will never abandon our Artsakh.


Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov's comments about the agreement and past negotiations

The current phase of the conflict began after, for a long period, negative and emotional statements were accumulated. It would have been better if the conflict was resolved a lot sooner based on OCSE Minks Group principles.

If we went with that OCSE suggestion, that would still return 7 regions to Azerbaijan, but it would be done without shedding blood and it would be a final political solution.

At one point in the past, both sides had agreed with the measures that would establish physical safety, but more recently, the safety was questioned. There were complaints that the measures would not establish enough safety if 7 regions were returned to Azerbaijan. Both sides began making emotional and aggressive statements. Clashes began on the borders.

Karabakh's Status depends on the steps we are yet to take to restore the ethno-confessional agreement, as it was years before the 1990s war. The Status will be clarified only after it's clear what rights will past/current populations have. For now, we need to rebuild trust and inter-ethnic peace. We need to rebuild the churches and mosques and allow residents to live peacefully.

We see the demonstrations in Yerevan. We see how the opposition is trying to speculate on this situation. Undoubtedly, there are sincere people for whom it is insulting that everything ended at this stage.

It was illusions that the 7 regions of Karabakh should have remained for centuries in that state. Responsible [Armenian] governments should have explained to the public that, at some stage, the conflict was supposed to be resolved based on the documents that were on the table. These documents pave the way for security for Armenians living in Artsakh.

Of course, the removal of the transport and economic blockade on Armenia will positively affect Armenia's development. It suffered more from the blockade than its neighbors did.

This agreement restores those communication channels. The economy should get a breath of fresh air. There should be transport communication with Armenia's partners.

I'm confident that if we all follow the agreement, everyone will come out in a favorable position.

Yesterday Vladimir Putin spoke with PM Pashinyan and today with MFA Mnatsakanyan. I'm sure the Armenian govt understands the responsibility and will respect the signature in the interest of its people.

In any case, I see many political forces in Armenia who understand what is happening and draw the right conclusions from it.

There won't be Turkish peacekeepers in Karabakh. The Turkish-Russian joint monitoring center will be away from Karabakh and work remotely. They'll monitor to make sure neither side violates the ceasefire.

https://news.am/arm/news/612980.html , https://news.am/arm/news/612977.html , https://news.am/arm/news/612966.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034681.html

foreign response

Vladimir Putin's spokesman Peskov: Vladimir Putin praised the constructive approach of Tayyip Erdogan, which will resolve the disagreements. Initially, we had disagreements over the peaceful settlement of this conflict but our cooperation showed effectiveness in solving various regional problems.


US Congressman Bred Sherman: Russian-Turkish conditions aimed at ending Azerbaijan's aggression against Artsakh and Armenia are unfair. The inaction of the Trump administration has led to catastrophic consequences for the people of Armenia.

Who made this ceasefire agreement? None other than Putin and Erdogan. This is the result of the absence of US leadership. We must not stand by this catastrophic deal that has been imposed on Armenia. We should not consider it a final settlement.


MFA of Canada: We are working with international partners to study the terms and consequences of this agreement. We continue to support the Armenian people, with whom we have strong human ties.

We expect Azerbaijan to respect its commitments and permanently end hostilities. Turkey must refrain from participating in the conflict. All parties must negotiate a lasting and peaceful agreement within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs.


Hadrut is one of the southern cities in Artsakh captured by Azerbaijan. Hadrut refugees gathered in front of the French embassy and asked for action, reminding that France had acknowledged the presence of terrorists brought by Azerbaijan.

French embassy welcomed the gatherers, accepted their letter, and said "Our priority is to support the people who have suffered as a result of this conflict. We will take into account what French President Macron said yesterday about defending Armenia's interests."

The refugees then went to the U.S. embassy and handed over a letter that calls for the U.S. to "de-occupy Hadrut from terrorists". They'll meet ambassador Lynne Tracey.

They also went to the Russian embassy with a similar message.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034665.html , https://news.am/arm/news/612970.html , https://news.am/arm/news/612945.html

French MP Valerie Boyer criticized the govt and accused it of being too passive throughout the war.


US Representative Frank Pallone: The International Community must finally recognize the right to self-determination for the people of Artsakh and their role as negotiators. Without that, they will continue to face future assaults by Azeri and Turkish forces without any option of formal redress.

Any future negotiated settlement supported by the U.S. must ensure the people of Artsakh can reconstruct their communities and rebuild their lives without fear of further bloodshed. The terms laid out in the current ceasefire are untenable for Artsakh's long-term security.

The ceasefire signed earlier this week regarding Nagorno Karabakh isn't a long-term peace settlement. There are many critical issues that must be resolved before this conflict can come to a lasting resolution. @StateDept must immediately reengage with @OSCE to address them.



German BILD article: We have watched this war happen – and stood idly by


COVID stats:

+4583 tested. +2132 infected. +1794 healed. +32 deaths. 40452 active. 453033 tested.


schools to resume

Education Ministry: studies show that COVID has significant negative effects on education. It leads not only to irreversible gaps in the development of children but also reduces their social protection.

University/college students will take online classes only, except for hands-on classes.

Some of 5-12 graders will attend physically, others do it online.

Preschoolers, 1-4 graders, and Arts students will attend school, because online classes create some difficulties with efficiency.


You can help Artsakh & Armenia

www.1000plus.am (soldiers' medical help)

www.HimnaDram.org (for Artsakh & Armenia)

www.ArmeniaFund.org (U.S. tax-deductible)

Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/jt2vqb/nov122020_wrapup_war_in_artsakh_pashinyan_speech/?

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. Helpful overview of Armenia's media ownership and leanings.

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2020 Daily Armenia Reports