2020 November 18
Daily news and anti-corruption report
MEGATHREAD & NEWS WRAP-UP --- Nov/18/2020: \\ War in Artsakh (Karabakh) \\ Artsakh's international recognition \\ roadmap for future \\ opposition & pro-govt demonstrations \\ suspects charged over hooliganism \\ Kievyan bridge incident \\ videos \\ humanitarian aid \\ COVID & healthcare \\ more...
Your 12-minute Wednesday report in 2971 words.
November 18 timeline
Nevada's Clarke County (Las Vegas) has officially recognized the Artsakh Republic.
9:37: 1700 Artsakh refugees have returned home so far. The population was around 145,000 before the war. Some 10-20% never left.
10:09 PM Pashinyan presented the roadmap: It is time to talk about methods to overcome the current situation. I have already stated that I consider myself the number-one responsible for the situation. I am also responsible for overcoming the situation and establishing stability and security in the country.
1) Negotiations must resume in OSCE format, with the emphasis on Artsakh status and the return of Artsakh residents to their homeland.
2) Secure Artsakh residents' rights to return home. Fully restore daily life. Repair infrastructure.
3) Social aid for families of fallen soldiers.
4) Repairing infrastructure damaged in the Republic of Armenia.
5) Aid for wounded soldiers, obtaining prosthetics, educational training courses for changing professions if necessary.
6) Returning POWs and aid for their families. Clarification of the status of those who are missing, and aid for their families.
7) Rehabilitation system for those who participated in the war, and for the general public, too.
8) The beginning of reforms in the army.
9) Defeating COVID and overcoming its consequences.
10) Restoration of the environment for economic activity.
11) Activation of demographic programs.
12) Reforming electoral laws [opposition and the govt had agreed to lower the passing threshold to allow more opposition parties to enter Parliament, etc.]
13) Introduction of the Institute of Specialized Judges as the first step in establishing an anti-corruption courts. Launching the process to confiscate illegally embezzled property.
14) Conducting regular consultations with representatives of the Armenian political and civil community.
15) Consultations with diasporan institutes and individuals.
The goal is to ensure the democratic stability of Armenia and to create guarantees that nothing threatens the formation of power in Armenia through the free will of the people. For this, I'll make changes to the government team.
We will need 6 months to launch the aforementioned tasks. In June 2021, I will report to you the progress, and based on the public response, we will decide on what to do next.
11:11: US Senator Bob Menendez called on the US government to impose sanctions on Turkey and Azerbaijan for the military aggression, and to end weapon supplies to them.
He called for a $100 million aid to Artsakh refugees.
11:42 COVID stats: +4,109 tested. +1,589 infected (down). +1,726 healed. +28 deaths. 38,082 active (down).
HealthMin Torosyan: the percentage of positive tests and the absolute numbers are declining, but the healthcare system is still under stress.
We still have 375 patients waiting for beds, 25 of whom are in serious condition. We will likely hospitalize them sometime today. A few days ago the waiting list was 800. The trend can change again with the resumption of schools.
Our main issue right now is oxygen supplies. Without it, the medication is ineffective. We'll soon receive more oxygen stations, followed by four large stations in December. We had purchased many oxygen stations during the first wave but today's large numbers, partly a result of the war, were outside of our predications.
We're negotiating over vaccines. There are agreements. They will likely arrive in mid-Spring.
We have no shortage of COVID test kits. New test labs are opening; two in the past week alone.
11:43: earlier this year, a part of a residential apartment complex collapsed in Yerevan. The govt has issued free housing certificates to the affected residents.
12:05: several soldiers returned from Artsakh and decided to organize a demonstration in support of PM Pashinyan. PM's office and QP party urged them to stay home and not to gather, citing the Martial Law that currently prohibits large gatherings and demonstrations.
A dozen prominent opposition figures were charged with ignoring the Martial Law and organizing demonstrations earlier. If found guilty, they are facing anywhere between a $415 fine to 2 months of jail.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035208.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035240.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035245.html , https://www.arlis.am/documentView.aspx?docid=69646 , https://news.am/arm/news/614215.html
12:27: Aznavour Foundation and the Armenian Foundation of France have launched a committee to coordinate the aid process from France. Earlier they met President Macron about humanitarian aid and Artsakh's recognition.
Links in the article: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1035213.html
12:38: Parliament Speaker QP MP Ararat Mirzoyan was severely beaten by rioters on November 10th. Healthcare Minister says he will soon recover after one more surgery [which was done today].
12:45: German-Armenian pianist Margarit Hovhannisyan gave a solo performance to collect aid for Armenia Fund (www.HimnaDram.org). She donated $5,000 in proceeds. The German colleagues expressed support for Artsakh and Armenians.
12:49: diasporan-Armenian singer Iveta Mukuchyan went to Artsakh's Dadivank church and performed "Sirt im sasani" (Սիրտ իմ սասանի) religious music.
Mukushyan released a German-language video: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=782524012332940
13:50: The US will donate $5 million to Red Cross and other orgs to help those who suffered from the war.
14:02: the identification of soldiers who died in battles continues. 81 more names were published, bringing the total identified to 1586. Around 800 remain unidentified. Several hundred bodies were exchanged recently. The process continues.
MoD Tonoyan: The list of missing soldiers is shrinking; many soldiers end up being discovered alive and well. We drafted a bill to aid the families of soldiers who're missing.
Update: HealthMin Torosyan: we've examined 2425 bodies. 250 of them remain unidentified.
14:05 Armenia Fund (Himnadram) report: hundreds of thousands have donated. The aid was provided to Artsakh and Armenia from the first day of the war.
Diesel generators, emergency vehicles, medical products, basic consumer products, heating devices, portable gas stoves, mobile fuel stations, beds, etc. were purchased during the war. Simultaneously, 100 tons of aid was coordinated.
Himnadram will help Armenia's budget to pay for social welfare, healthcare, infrastructure repair, etc. The documents are ready. Tens of thousands of Artsakh refugees were aided.
International independent auditors will examine the finances.
During a Parliamentary session, the Deputy PM Mher Grigoryan confirmed that Himnadram has transferred some of the funds for humanitarian work.
In response, former regime's HHK MP Armen Ashotyan, without evidence, claimed the money is being stolen.
[Context: The former regime is mad because they were caught stealing Himnadram's donations in 2018. After the 2018 revolution, the Pashinyan administration busted HHK's Himnadram director with stealing the funds and using them on gambling. The director confessed and returned part of the stolen money. Himnadram then underwent a complete change in administration which raised the trust towards the fund. Now the former regime is sabotaging the diaspora's donation efforts for political gain.]
14:14: there are over 40 suspects charged with mass riots, attempts to forcefully seize power, and overthrowing the constitutional order, after the November 10 attack on the government buildings.
5 are arrested, 5 are told not to leave the country. 70 suspects, some of whom severely beat Parliament Speaker Mirzoyan and vandalized PM's residence, were also identified. They are on the wanted list.
Rioters who physically abused Pashinyan's spokeswoman Mane Gevorgyan
, and broke into Azatutyun media outlet's office, are also wanted by police. Some were arrested.
14:18: Opposition LHK has its roadmap: no elections necessary, PM resigns, the ruling QP party appoints new PM, the new PM appoints ministers from various political parties. [similar to what Pashinyan did in 2018 when he appointed opposition Ministers for a brief period].
14:19: Azerbaijan earlier shot a Russian helicopter in Armenia. Two Russian pilots died and one was wounded. Armenia issued them military service medals.
14:49: video showing more Russian peacekeepers moving to Artsakh:
15:18: Italian community of Viareggio has officially recognized the Artsakh Republic.
15:55: Aurora humanitarian organization will help Artsakh residents. IDeA's first aid program will begin today. They're open to humanitarian program suggestions. Link in the article:
16:27: Aghdam is one of the adjacent regions that's being given/returned to Azerbaijan. Seven villages with a combined 2,000 population will be resettled elsewhere.
16:42: food prices in October YoY rose +0.6%. Consumer price index +1.3%.
16:44: the head of Military Control Service Movses Hakobyan had resigned on November 10th. It was announced today.
17:04: will Germany follow France and ban the Turkish extremist-terrorist "Grey Wolves" organization? German Parliament will hold a discussion tomorrow. Two bills were proposed. One of them appears to be bipartisan.
17:05 Healthcare Minister Torosyan: we need to build a new 250-bed center for wounded soldiers and their rehabilitation. We need to maximally use the existing resources; some of them require upgrades. This will cost approximately $5.2 million.
17:09: Legatium Prosperity Index 2020 has ranked Armenia 55th in the world. That's a 23-step improvement over 2010. The strongest point was the business & investment atmosphere, with the environment being the weakest point.
Georgia 53, Armenia 55, Azerbaijan 78, Iran 120.
17:58: My Step charity foundation will double the number of wounded soldiers they help. The center will provide therapy, dental, and other services for 600 former soldiers.
14:57: it's SNOWING in Gavar and Jermuk cities, and roads near Sevan and Aparan! Georgian roads are also snowy; the Lars transport hub with Russia is open only for large cargo trucks.
17:38: Pashinyan was in Parliament to discuss various topics and answer questions. The opposition BHK and LHK parties boycotted and left.
Ind. MP: do you support forming a government of national accord, which could be one of the ways to find a solution out of the current situation?
Pashinyan: our task is to create an atmosphere of agreement in the country. No government can stay in power without the permission of the people. At atmosphere of agreement is not always achieved by forming [aforementioned type of govt consisted of various parties]. There is a need for agreement around two points: security and stability, and to guarantee democracy.
Ind. MP: will there be changes in the government?
Pashinyan: we are discussing it. Structural changes aren't being discussed right now.
17:58: another video from November 4th showing battles on the outskirts of Shushi. [still believe it was "given away" without a fight? 🤔]
Hovhannes Avagyan, one of the deputy Artsakh army commanders, was killed during Shushi battles on November 7th. He received the Combat Cross medal posthumously.
18:18: the 16 opposition parties resumed their demonstrations. They demand the government's and Pashinyan's resignation. The police urged them to respect the Martial Law and not to gather.
They will also hold a demonstration on Saturday and present a document, presumably their own roadmap.
18:21 Police: body of the 27-year-old Garnik Petrosyan was found under Kievyan Bridge on November 13th. A medical examination was carried out and an investigation was launched.
The examination revealed that Petrosyan was among the rioters who broke into the govt building and caused destruction on November 10th. A felony case was launched against him and he was arrested shortly afterward.
On November 13th he was charged with multiple felony counts. The same day, at 8 pm, his 3-day detention period had expired so he was released from the police station. The same day, prosecutors asked the court to arrest him for 2 months before his trial.
Petrosyan was questioned until 9 pm. The tragic incident happened at 10:04 pm. Social media spread rumors that he was allegedly murdered and it wasn't a suicide by jumping from the bridge.
Investigation revealed a witness who was walking nearby and saw how a man grabbed a flag pole and climbed at the center of the bridge at around 10 pm. By the time the witness picked up the phone to call 911 it was too late. Immediately afterward, two other people and the witness looked down the bridge and saw the body laying on the road below the bridge.
The police arrived. The witnesses were questioned. The victim was there alone.
CCTV footages were examined. It showed how the victim went there by himself, climbed on the edge, and jumped.
It was revealed that the victim had attempted suicide in 2010 by overdosing on medications. He was registered at a special center up until 2019, where he was taking special medication. He stopped taking them in January 2019 at his own will.
[Media outlets run by the former regime, and a Telegram channel called Mediaport, had earlier circulated rumors, without evidence, that the rioter was murdered by a ruling party member Hayk Sargsyan. The latter often finds himself the target of rumors]:
18:22: Ara Ayvazyan is the new Foreign Minister. He is a graduate of YSU eastern studies Arabic faculty. Served in the Soviet army. Graduated from Beirut's Haykazyan college. Worked in MFA since 1995. Served as ambassador to several states in 1996-2018.
18:56: despite being told to stay home, Pashinyan supporters gathered in front of the govt building, urging him not to resign.
"I came from Martakert outposts. I have participated in war since 1992, and so did my family members. They [former regime] should have purchased weapons instead of private islands and mansions," said one demonstrator. "By hitting the Parliament Speaker Mirzoyan you're hitting me."
PM's aide met the demonstrators and said his resignation isn't being discussed.
Pashinyan went outside to meet them and asked them to go home, "I know that there are tens of thousands of you who are ready to gather in Public Square if necessary. Thank you. I bow to all the volunteers, fallen soldiers, and their families. Go home now. If necessary, I will invite you."
The police began telling the gathered crowd to leave, citing the Martial Law.
Pashinyan goes outside: https://youtu.be/ueXhEKJhcwA
18:56: Russian humanitarian envoy will help Artsakh authorities to travel around and document the damage to civilian infrastructure.
19:01: the army published names of soldiers who committed acts of bravery during the war.
Lt. Colonel Ryurik Semyonov blew up 2 Kamaz trucks full of ammo, 2 anti-tank equipment, 3 tanks, 8 cars, 1 TR artillery unit.
Lt. Colonel Arthur Qaramyan destroyed 3 and captured another 3 tanks. He helped to save 600 soldiers from encirclement.
Private Suren Gabrielyan shot 6 armored vehicles and 2 tanks.
Lieutenant Tigran Petrosyan shot 6 tanks.
19:04: a soldier uploaded a video from trenches saying the army wasn't properly prepared and that the trenches have been in poor shape for 30 years. "Not deep enough to defend against explosions."
He says this Martakert position was defended during the war despite the poor condtions.
20:54: the opposition ended today's demonstration and promised to return at 2 pm on Saturday. They called for PM's resignation again. HHK Shawarmazanov said, "we won't engage in active politics if he resigns".
Opposition Arthur Vanetsyan announced plans to participate in elections if they take place now.
21:05: the City Council of Paris has a resolution that urges the Paris mayor to ask the French MFA to officially recognize the independence of the Artsakh Republic.
It takes into account a recent push by 15 French mayors to recognize Artsakh, Azeri-Turkish aggression and the use of hired jihadists, war crimes against Armenian civilians, destruction of 80% of infrastructure objects in Stepanakert (including schools and clinics).
21:11: Azerbaijan's opposition National Front criticized the govt for placing Russian peacekeepers on the borders with Artsakh. They held a demonstration and chanted "Putin, leave. Turkey, come."
21:57 photos: these boys defended the borders:
Here are the tankists: https://hetq.am/hy/article/124452
22:02: the government of Armenia and Artsakh formed a joint committee to coordinate humanitarian work. 1) Social issues 2) Education 3) Healthcare 4) Business environment 5) Infrastructure repair.
22:50: Nations League Soccer Spoiler Alert! The Armenian team defeated Northern Macedonia 1-0, after winning the match against Georgia a few days ago.
For the first time ever, the team, led by Spanish expert Joaquin Caparros, is the leader in its group.
What does this victory mean?
This tournament has four tiered Leagues: A, B, C, D. League A contains the "best" countries who compete for the champion's cup. The teams in lower leagues compete to climb up to higher leagues, with the ultimate goal of making into League A and winning the cup.
Armenia has just advanced from League C to League B.
23:40: A1+ outlet wants to restore its TV broadcasting rights. They were suspended by the Kocharyan regime. They insisted it was politically motivated for their opposition views. The media outlet was targeted for covering the March 1st, 2008 events.
Several outlets are currently competing for public airway licenses. The winners will be known in January. The TV regulator said those with the best programming will receive the license.
23:47: The French Senate will discuss the need to recognize the Artsakh Republic. Presidents of the five largest parties supported the idea to hold a discussion.
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/jwoc1d/megathread_news_wrapup_nov182020_war_in_artsakh/?sort=new
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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