2020 November 17

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Daily news and anti-corruption report

MEGATHREAD & NEWS WRAP-UP: Nov/17/2020: \\ War in Artsakh (Karabakh) \\ Vladimir Putin & army commander reveal details on war & negotiations \\ 15 French cities recognize Artsakh; Spanish and Dutch resolutions \\ Artsakh refugees return; free utilities & cash \\ TV outlets compete \\ salaries \\ ...
by ar_david_hh


Your 13-minute Tuesday report in 3333 words.

15 French cities have officially recognized the Artsakh Republic

15 mayors released a joint statement of their recognition of Artsakh and urged the French government to follow suit.

The message: Azerbaijan involved Syrian jihadists and caused a humanitarian crisis in Artsakh, in violation of international conventions. The capital and other settlements were bombarded. Civilians were killed. Thousands had to flee.

Although the November 10th agreement isn't favorable, it put an end to the bloodshed. Artsakh's land losses can lead to critically bad conditions for Artsakh's historical-cultural monuments from the 4th, 8th, and 10th centuries.

France cannot hide behind a neutral stance anymore. That would mean supporting the Azeri aggression. We need to reaffirm our full support to the friendly people and support their return to their ancestral lands.

Artsakh held elections in 1991 and chose independence and has ever since been able to provide internal stability with institutes and democratic processes. Having completed all the components of a state recognized by international law, Artsakh must be recognized as a sovereign state that belongs to the Artsakh people.

List of 15 cities and full message: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035156.html

UN about the terrorists hired by Azerbaijan

"UN Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries" released a statement. They are concerned about the mercenaries hired by Azerbaijan and called for their removal. Armenian HR Ombudsman's office has been in touch with the UN office since October 3rd to provide evidence about mercenaries.

The UN office is also concerned about Turkey's role in recruiting the mercenaries from Syria, noting that these mercenaries are likely linked to groups with a record of human rights abuses in Syria.

The UN office sent a letter to Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Syria.

Armenia's HR Ombudsman's office believes it's important to have international bodies acknowledge the fact of the hired mercenaries' presence and the crimes committed by them.

https://news.am/arm/news/613895.html

European Parliament MP calls for international tribunal over AZ-TR aggression

European Parliament MP Ivan David: a genocide was committed in Karabakh. I've seen a video recorded by Azeris themselves on how they killed civilians and POWs. They also destroyed civilian infrastructure, which is a war crime.

Europe looked and did nothing. Some European states supplied weapons to the barbarian wing to secure its victory, all in the name of petrodollars. Europe kneeled before Azeri oil.

The youth will eventually wonder why they should answer for the dirty actions of today's administration. They will decide what Europe's mission is in this world.

Thankfully, there are many in Europe who realize the situation. They understand that Turkey's ultimate goal is to conquer Europe.

There should be an international tribunal to investigate Karabakh events. Let's see how the European Parliament responds to it. Our Identity & Democracy party members also support it. If none of the major three parties vetoes it, it will be discussed in the European Parliament.

[Goes on to talk about how Coca Cola has a longer history than Azerbaijan]

Full: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035073.html

Dutch Parliament resolution

The Dutch Parliament approved a resolution to suggest the Dutch government to impose 5 sanctions against the leaders of Turkey and Azerbaijan, against AZ-TR war crime perpetrators, and a suspension of weapon sales to Turkey.

The authors took into account a report by "Genocide Watch" which recorded the war crimes by AZ-TR armies.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035158.html

Spanish Congress will discuss a resolution

Spanish MP Jon Inarritu was in Artsakh during the war and risked his life to shed life on the events. Upon his return, he introduced a resolution to terminate the arms supplies to Azerbaijan and to provide humanitarian aid to Artsakh. The Congress accepted his petition for discussions.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035085.html

the army general gives context and details before and during the war

Armenian Army's General Chief of Staff Onik Gasparyan released a statement [he, along with Artsakh's army commanders, were in charge]: the soldiers fought selflessly from the very beginning. Certain public figures claim that the army command mislead the government with wrong analysis by under-estimating the opponent's capabilities. This is false.

I took the office on June 8th and presented the Security Council and the PM my analysis of the regional military-political situation. I suggested improving the army. This was my analysis:

1) Azerbaijan is no longer our only opponent. Turkey is involved. We cannot resist their combined aggression. We need political steps to prevent a war.

2) The government accepted my advice and asked "If we cannot avoid a war politically, what can be done?". My answer was "we'd need to deal a heavy blow on the enemy troops as quickly as possible and force them to end their hostifilites". I noted that Armenia needs to avoid lengthy wars due to a lack of resources. We discussed many ways to improve our army; the suggestions were accepted.

3) We also discussed the plans to create the new Volunteer Army consisted of 100,000 people.

We were unable to avoid the war which led to a much larger enemy's aggression on September 27th. We were dealing heavy blows and repelling the opponent, but we were also sustaining heavy casualties.

On the 4th day, I presented our losses and suggested ending the was within 3 days, otherwise, if the intensity of the battles remained the same, our resources would expire quickly and we'd have worse negotiation terms.

Our attempts to stop the war were rejected by Turkey and Azerbaijan. and we were forced to continue the war. We attempted to cause heavy damage to the enemy to convince them to stop and to return to the negotiation table.

The unfavorable Document was signed after a comprehensive assessment of the situation. We had to choose between "very bad" and "tragedy". We chose the lesser of the evil.

We shouldn't be depressed now, knowing that we saved part of Artsakh and the army's main potential. We need to regroup and prepare to continue the struggle.

As the general commander, I carry responsibility for all successes and failures of our army. We were forced into a brutal war but our soldiers fought until the end despite the unequal forces. The nation should be proud of its soldier.

---

OP David's personal analysis: back in June, even before the July battles, Azerbaijan was already boasting about importing Turkish Bayraktar drones. The Armenian army knew that Turkey was plotting something. Onik Gasparyan predicted Turkey's possible involvement even before the drone news reached the media.

When the war began, the army told Pashinyan that they’ll try to force Azeris to stop by inflicting heavy casualties. Pashinyan made multiple public speeches reflecting the army's strategy, saying "we must stop this war by forcing Azeris to return to negotiating table".

The army was concerned about the severity of the war in the first week, and wanted to stop within 3 days, but possibly revised the decision when the intensity subsided down afterward. The army has stated many times that the battles weren't as heavy anymore. The army decided to keep fighting to force Azeris to stop and return to the negotiation table.

At this time, Armenians could have accepted a defeat and give 7 regions to Azerbaijan, but they thought they could force Azeris to be the ones to stop first, so Armenia would have a better negotiating power.

When Armenians realized they can't succeed, they decided to give the regions, but by then, Azerbaijan also demanded Shushi, so Armenians said "if we're gonna lose it all then we might as well fight and try to keep Shushi". Fast forward to Shushi. Armenians lost the city and were forced to sign the ceasefire to prevent further loss.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035102.html

Vladimir Putin gives more details about Shushi / negotiations / Pashinyan

While the war was happening in the south, Russia asked Pashinyan if it's OK to [essentially repopulate] Shushi by bringing the Azeri refugees who used to live there [Shushi area was heavily populated by Azeris during USSR]. Shushi would de-jure remain under Artsakh control but Azeri civilians would be settled there. Pashinyan rejected the offer on security grounds. Putin and Aliyev were in favor of that deal.

"Pashinyan told me that he sees a direct threat to Artsakh interests [with Azeri population in Shushi] although I don't understand what the threat would be," said Putin.

--

"The agreement was drafted and signed within a day. Every word and every comma was being debated." [there goes all the conspiracy theories that Nikol knew ahead of time, Nikol already brought peacekeepers x days ago, yadda yadda]

--

Putin denied the claim that he has bad relations with Pashinyan and that it lead to this situation. "I haven't noticed any problems with relations with Armenia in recent times, including in the period when Pashinyan became the Prime Minister."

--

"If Armenia walked back the signed document, that would be a suicide."

"Allegations of treason by Pashinyan are baseless," he added.

--

"The status of Nagorno Karabakh hasn't been clarified. Moscow preserves the status quo. If good relations are established between Armenia and Azerbaijan, it will be possible to solve the Status issue."

"When the Georgian government attacked our peacekeepers, Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. We also recognized the fair aspiration of the Crimean population to join Russia, so we recognized it, we supported them openly. We did that for the best interest of the Crimean residents and Russia. In the case of Karabakh, this did not happen, which certainly had a significant impact on what has happened," said Putin. [does Vlad want Karabakh?]

https://panarmenian.net/m/arm/news/287819 , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035167.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035177.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035181.html

November 17 / political turmoil continues

10:48: oppo BHK party wants today's Parliamentary session to be only about Pashinyan's resignation and the suspension of the ongoing Martial Law. Oppo LHK wants to hold a new session specifically for lifting the Martial Law.

There were very few ruling QP MPs, too, so no voting was held despite some Q&As. The Finance Minister spoke about dedicating funds for Artsakh refugees.

--

During the session, ruling QP MP Andranik Kocharyan called for Defense Minister Tonoyan's resignation, criticizing him and another defense official who has already been fired. The MP listed several "mistakes by the military between 2016-2020".

The MP has been heavily criticizing certain army officials since yesterday. He was asked to clarify if he recently "terrorized" a Colonel during a meeting. The MP responded:

"Terrorize who? That so-called Colonel Koryun Yeghiazaryan, whom I refer to as Serj's Koryun, who used to be Vazgen Manukyan's chauffeur and used to terrorize the public? President Serj Sargsyan liked them so much that made them part of his administration.

These and several militarymen were ruling the country. We've seen videos of HHK MP Shmays, along with the said Colonel, choking demonstrators. They have no quality. They weren't sent to retirement because of 'connections'.

Yesterday I met the Colonel. He was asked about the weapons under his possession. I asked him which positions he commanded during the war."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035088.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035096.html , https://news.am/arm/news/613970.html , https://news.am/arm/news/613974.html , https://news.am/arm/news/613985.html , https://youtu.be/ez6bwbpLqRA

, https://www.aravot.am/2020/11/17/1152695/

11:39: the police told everyone to calm down and not to provoke each other.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035095.html

12:42: oppo ARF party leader Gegham Manukyan said that several ARF members were detained and taken to SIS station for questioning yesterday, but the investigators allegedly told them "there are no questions, we just need to keep you here for an hour so you won't participate in the rally".

The SIS responded: Gegham Manukyan told his supporters during a rally that our agents allegedly kept them in a station just for the sake of not allowing them to participate in a rally. This is false. He and several others were invited for questioning. They were asked questions about their ongoing case.

We urge media outlets not to spread misinformation. For example, hayeli.am [Roboserj] uploaded photos and claimed 13 investigators resigned. In reality, the agents continue to do their duties.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035103.html

13:05: Pashinyan's office published a surveillance video of the rioters who broke into his residency and govt buildings on November 10th, to "find" Pashinyan and others. Parliament Speaker was heavily beaten. Some of the riot participants have been identified as:

ARF members and pro-Kocharyan activist Sergey Kharatyan.

BHK party leader Gagik Tsarukyan's son-in-law Karapet Guloyan, the former governor of Kotayk. Another one of Tsarukyan's son-in-laws Davit Manukyan, who is a BHK MP.

BHK's Youth Wing leader Ashot Andreasyan.

Narek Mantashyan and Hovhannes Harutyunyan, leaders of a pro-Kocharyan movement, and former leaders of Economic University's Student Council.

BHK MP and Tsarukyan's son-in-law Davit Manukyan responds: I only went there [govt building] to calm the crowd. I did not participate in vandalism.

CCTV footage: https://youtu.be/CIctSS_tGv8

https://m.facebook.com/lurer1tv/videos/837585520341366/?refsrc=https%3A%2F%2Fm.facebook.com%2Fstory.php&_rdr

13:08 ruling QP MP Sargsyan: two of BHK Gagik Tsarukyan's son-in-laws, one of whom is an MP, removed the license plates from their luxury vehicles and drove to the government building on the night of November 10th [riot night].

As stated by witnesses, they brought with them a large group of people who vandalized the building.

https://news.am/arm/news/613911.html

15:05: the army denied social media rumors about 200 Armenian soldiers being encircled and taken hostage near Uryan hill.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035123.html

16:52: recently-resigned army spokesman Artsrun Hovhannisyan says he's been receiving threats since November 9th and that two people physically attacked him yesterday.

"I'm not afraid of anyone and I don't consider anyone my enemy, but since the threats continue, and I'm occasionally being followed, I have contact the police."

https://www.facebook.com/arcrun/posts/3528804483821801 , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035131.html

17:56: a fight broke out between a member of "Adekvad" pro-Kocharyan street gang and one of his neighbors.

Police said: we received a report from a hospital. Konstantin Ter-Nakilyan had a tear/cut to his lip and ear. We learned that an argument had ensued between him and one of the neighbors. It turned into a physical fight which led to the injuries.

The [neighbor] was taken to the police station where he testified. Konstantin Nakilyan refused to file a report and testify. The neighbor will also undergo a medical evaluation. The investigation continues.

[Yesterday a pro-Kocharyan lawyer wrote "unknown people attacked Nakilyan for political reasons and stabbed him with a knife."]

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035143.html , https://news.am/arm/news/613840.html

20:51: Emergency Minister Tsolakyan has resigned.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035161.html

doctors during the war

Healthcare Minister Torosyan has thanked all the doctors, "Your direct participation and contribution to the maintenance of the physical and mental health of our soldiers is invaluable. The medical community has shown a strong unity these days, consolidating all the potential under one idea - to save the Armenian soldier, volunteer, and civilian."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035099.html

casualties

The army has identified 71 more soldiers who died fighting, bringing the total identified to 1,505. A few days ago the total body count (identified and yet to be identified) was 2300, followed by news that 350 more bodies were recovered from Shushi battles. The process continues. Today the Red Cross said they helped both sides to exchange 200 bodies.

https://news.am/arm/news/613990.html , https://news.am/arm/news/613934.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035145.html

geopolitics & foreign response

Russia sent more sappers to clear roads and structures. Dogs will also be used. The 28-kilometer Lachin road is clear.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035093.html , https://news.am/arm/news/613991.html

Artsakh president Arayik and RU peacekeeper chief Muradov visited the Lachin road near Lisagor "to confirm that the road is safe". This road will continue to connect Armenia to Artsakh.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035121.html

The US has asked Russia to clarify Turkey's role during the peacekeeping mission. Russia agreed to discuss.

"The most valuable thing achieved by this agreement is that the weapons are silent and people are not being killed," said Putin's spokesman Peskov on another occasion.

Mike Pompeo referred to Turkey's actions in Artsakh and elsewhere as aggressive and spoke with the French president about the need to counter it.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035083.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035086.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035116.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035119.html

UK House of Lords Baroness Caroline Cox and Human Rights Ombudsmen visited Artsakh to document Azerbaijan's war crimes against civilians.

https://youtu.be/qCC7FSIeb6o?t=85

telecom and airways reform in Armenia / TV outlets competing for slots

Earlier this year, the government approved a law to regulate hateful/gore content on public TV, to require news outlets to present both sides of the story, etc. It also prioritizes Armenian-language content broadcasted over the free public airways.

In order for foreign outlets to continue to broadcast foreign-language content for free, they have to negotiate on certain terms. Today the TV regulator negotiated with Russia and signed an agreement to allocate 1-2 public airway slots for Russian channels.

Foreign TV channels do not have to compete. They receive a fixed slot per interstate agreement.

Overall, Armenian TV outlets are competing for 25 airway frequency slots: 12 outlets are competing for 6 countrywide slots, 4 are competing for 9 slots in Yerevan, 13 competing for 10 slots in provinces.

The winners will be known in January. "The process is apolitical and those who provide the best programming will win the slots," said TV Regulator Tigran Hakobyan.

Today six outlets will present their programming: TV5, ArmNews, H2, Kentron, Armenia, ATV. [Most, if not all, are either fully or partly owned by the former regime's oligarchs].

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035115.html , https://news.am/arm/news/613884.html

telecom & utilities in Artsakh

Artsakh has fully restored the communication networks in the country; final steps are being taken. Water, electricity, and gas networks were also targeted by the enemy. The agency reported progress in their restoration. A few Stepanakert districts still need some work before gas restoration.

Hospitals are returning to regular duties. De-mining operations happen day and night; today the Russian sappers joined the efforts.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035097.html

humanitarian aid for Artsakh / free utility / cash money

Artsakh president Arayik: gas, electricity, water will be free for a year. Cellphone and internet will also be free, as long as it's used in reasonable volumes.

Families, where the per capita income is less than $125, will also receive financial help.

The renovation of damaged houses will begin soon. Each homeless person will receive an additional $623. The permanent housing issue will be resolved within a few years, while they stay in government-funded hotels.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035120.html

Artsakh govt will continue to give free food and basic items to refugees who return home. Those with disabilities will have it delivered.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035138.html

Artsakh govt published the map showing the active grocery stores, pharmacies, etc. in the capital Stepanakert.

https://news.am/arm/news/613870.html

Artsakh president Arayik: today my family returned to Artsakh. Artsakh must live despite the ordeal, regardless of the situation. We will build the future of our children.

https://news.am/arm/news/614006.html

1,207 Artsakh refugees have returned to Stepanakert so far.

https://news.am/arm/news/613991.html

Kim Kardashian is selling pomegranate-stone jewelry. The proceeds will be donated to www.HimnaDram.org

https://style.news.am/arm/news/74822/hayastanin-u-arcakhin-ajakcelu-hamar-qim-qardashyani-hraparakumy-nakhadzerutyan-masin.html

French President Macron met Nikola Aznavour and other French-Armenians. He promised humanitarian aid for Armenia.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035082.html

"Shine a light for Artsakh". A charity concert by Armenian and foreign artists on December 17th at St. Yeghishe church in Cranley Gardens.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035104.html

Iranian model Lilly Ghalichi wrote on Instagram that she supports Artsakh and doesn't want to go to Turkey.

https://style.news.am/arm/news/74823/chem-cankanum-turqia-meknel-es-ajakcum-em-arcakhin-iranci-model-lili-galichi.html

COVID stats

+2,530 tested. +984 infected. +2,487 healed. +23 deaths. 38,253 active.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035090.html

average nominal salaries

The average nominal salaries increased +4.7% in Jan-Sep period, compared to last year. It is now 187,000 Drams ($386).

It grew +7.4% in public sector ($345), and +3.2% in private sector ($409).

The highest nominal average salary was in the Information & Technologies sector, at $987.

Education +7.1% at $264.

Healthcare & Social sector +9.1% at $381.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1034959.html

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/jw1gl6/megathread_news_wrapup_nov172020_war_in_artsakh/

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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