2020 November 19
Daily news and anti-corruption report
MEGATHREAD & NEWS WRAP-UP --- Nov/19/2020: \\ War in Artsakh (Karabakh) \\ the question of Shushi in past negotiations \\ fired general vs Ministry of Defense: accusations, rebuttals & revelations \\ healthcare system: COVID & soldiers \\ humanitarian aid & donations \\ reconstruction \\ more...
Your 12-minute Thursday report in 2946 words.
the question of Shushi repopulation during past negotiations
CivilNet's Tatul: yesterday Putin spoke about an offer made on October 19-20 that would have stopped the war. Aliyev and Putin had agreed to stop the war if Azerbaijan settled its population in Shushi. Pashinyan was against it.
Army chief Onik Gasparyan said yesterday, "On the 4th day I presented our losses and suggested to end the war within 3 days, otherwise, if the intensity of battles remained the same, we would expire our resources quickly and have more unfavorable negotiating leverage."
The question is, why did Pashinyan reject Putin's offer [Azeris in Shushi] if the army gave that analysis?
First possibility. Most likely, Pashinyan hoped that it would be possible to defend Shushi militarily, considering its fortress nature and conviction among Armenians that it's hard to capture. Pashinyan was convinced that not only the army could defend Shushi, but also turn the tide on the Shushi outskirts [gyorbagyor gorge].
Second possibility. Pashinyan preferred to fight, even at the cost of casualties, rather than agree to let Azeris return to Shushi.
There may be other reasons. Only Pashinyan can clarify this. The topic of Azeris returning to Shushi has been an important part of past negotiations. Baku has wanted Shushi resettlement since May-1994.
On Dec-1997 the OSCE proposed a phased resolution which was mostly accepted by Armenia's first president Levon Ter-Petrosyan. The document said the following about Shushi: "the negotiations should clarify the status of Karabakh, and the questions around Lachin, Shushi, and Shahumyan". Although it doesn't directly mention the return of Azeris to Shushi, it's obvious that the "question around Shushi" referred to the Azeri population's return to Shushi.
There was also a suggestion for both sides to remove their troops from Shushi and Shahumyan. Civilians would enjoy all civil rights and connection to Azerbaijan and Karabakh.
On Nov-1998 a document was proposed specifically about Shushi and Shahumyan: all Azeri refugees would return to Shushi, and the Karabakh govt would ensure their full rights. The same about Armenians returning to Shahumyan.
In 2001 in Key West, Armenia agreed for Azeris to return to Shushi. They even discussed a new road connecting southern Fizuli to Shushi.
Later, in the Madrid and Kazan documents, the topic of Shushi and Shahumyan wasn't mentioned because these two documents weren't comprehensive resolution packages, but rather "principles" for resolution. Shushi and Shahumyan were supposed to be discussed during negotiations, based on those principles.
If Armenia was smart since 1997, we would have peace for decades and wouldn't lose Shushi and Hadrut today.
former MoD official Movses Hakobyan makes accusations / Ministry of Defense response
A fired/resigned general Movses Hakobyan accused PM Pashinyan of not contacting Vladimir Putin and not asking Russia for help before September 30th (war began on 27th).
PM's office denied the claim and published media transcripts about conversations held between Pashinyan and Putin on September 27th and 29th.
Hakobyan also accused the army and administration of making wrong decisions, unprofessionalism, and being unprepared.
"The rest of the accusations made by Hakobyan against Pashinyan during Hakobyan's press conference were just as inaccurate. We view it under the context of a deliberate false report against the PM. The latter will address it when necessary," said PM's office
Hakobyan made several other claims:
He didn't like that Pashinyan fired him as the head of General Staff. He considers the new head Artsak Davtyan to be incompetent; Hakobyan had offered another replacement instead of Davtyan. He views the day when Davtyan was appointed as the "beginning of the crumbling of the army".
He claims there was little or no retreat in locations where the regular army defended the borders.
Claims there were big problems during war preparations.
Claims the government stopped the army replenishment on the 3rd day and instructed volunteers to go to front lines without proper equipment. "This led to 1,500 troops routing by the 5th day of the war."
Claims Iskander weapon was used but won't say when.
Claims Polye-21 weapon was imported which jammed Bayraktars for 4 days but Turkey found a workaround by tweaking control.
Claims Artsakh president Arayik Harutyunyan is correct about NSS forces refusing to help to protect north-eastern borders, but agrees with the soldiers' decision not to help, saying they weren't prepared for trench warfare.
Hakobyan refused to take questions from the Azatutyun media outlet, calling them bad for Armenia.
Hakobyan's nephew is Armen Grigoryan, who is Pashinyan's Security Council secretary. "In the past, when I was a public official, Armen was leading a campaign of an opposition [anti-Serj, presumably] politician. I couldn't change his mind at the time. He is an adult, I don't want to interfere with his decisions," said Hakobyan.
The Ministry of Defense released a statement accusing Hakobyan of making statements some of which are false, while others containing top-secret information including about Armenia's international arms contracts, "revelation of which puts national security at risk".
MoD statement: // Hakobyan, who served as MoD's head of Logistics Department for a brief period, who had placed his signature under international weapon contracts that were formed as a result of agreements between governments of Armenia and other states, is now attempting to create the impression that the weapons which were effective during this war were purchased only while he was in charge.
That is false. Even if his signature is under some documents, that doesn't mean the negotiations to obtain those weapons started under his command. Moreover, some of the weapons mentioned by Hakobyan are being purchased regularly and aren't one-time contracts.
Hakobyan is making extremely dangerous statements by revealing the armed forces' structure and peculiarities of military units. This is top secret information, the revelation of which is a felony per Code 23.
Hakobyan criticized the decision to purchase Su-30 jets, calling it an ineffective decision. When making such claims, one should always keep in mind that the Defense Ministry of Armenia makes purchases not only for Artsakh security but also the security of the Republic of Armenia, against possible enemies who possess many modern fighter jets. Hakobyan had the opportunity to ask MoD whether the jets were used during this war, but he didn't.
Hakobyan lied about Su-30sm jets not being equipped with missiles. The process was carried out before the war and concluded during the war. [the jets were purchased very recently and the army earlier said they needed some time to train pilots and bring them to fighting state]
Hakobyan claims that OSA air defense units purchased by Armenia weren't used and they were ineffective, and that had we purchased TOR units instead, we could resist the Turkish drones better.
This claim is also further from the truth. First, we had TOR and OSA units but they were both destroyed by enemy drones, regardless of how modern they were. The problem is, the Bayraktar drones used against us were manufactured in recent months so the tools against these drones were still in the process of making.
Hakobyan incorrectly claims OSA air defense units weren't used. In reality, OSAs shot 62 enemy drones [Israeli-made ones, presumably]. Hakobyan should have remembered that it was this OSA weapon that shot Israeli-made Hermes-900 in July. Hakobyan focuses exclusively on OSAs yet we have other air defense tools, too, that are being continuously resupplied.
Hakobyan lied about the army mobilization process stopping on the 3rd day of the war. This is a complete lie and doesn't bring honor to a military man. Thousands of citizens can confirm that they were drafted later, appeared in local military offices, underwent training, and went to the front lines.
Moreover, in parallel with the proper replenishment of the troops, completely new military units were formed consisted of reservists. This was also recorded and presented by the media.
It's unacceptable for Hakobyan to claim that "100% of what MoD said during the war were false". Being a high ranking military official during the war, he never complained during the war. The MoD gave information in a way not to harm the ongoing military actions.
Hakobyan tries to deny catching COVID during the war, yet there are documents proving that he did. [it was reported that Hakobyan had an issue with the first lady so he left Artsakh. Artsakh official later claimed he left Artsakh due to COVID.]
Lastly, during his press conference, Hakobyan made statements about our international military cooperation agreements that are completely unacceptable and false, and there are documents that prove his claims are false. Hakobyan's motives to deny obvious facts are unclear.
The fact that Hakobyan no longer works in the system doesn't mean he should create new problems for the MoD that's already busy working 24/7.
MoD acknowledges that there were issues during the war, and is analyzing them in detail. Former GCS Movses Hakobyan bears some of the responsibility for these issues. //
The SIS is investigating the claims made by Hakobyan. He was questioned for 40 minutes.
LHK party suggests the creation of a fact-finding Parliamentary group, led by the ruling party, to examine how the war was handled.
https://youtu.be/KkVFomZ2vqE , https://news.am/arm/news/614356.html , https://news.am/arm/news/614357.html , https://news.am/arm/news/614368.html , https://news.am/arm/news/614368.html , https://news.am/arm/news/614387.html , https://news.am/arm/news/614411.html , https://news.am/arm/news/614437.html , https://news.am/arm/news/614443.html
November 19 timeline
COVID stats: +3,796 tested. +1,520 infected. +8,319 healed. +31 deaths. 31,243 active. 475,956 tested.
9:00 Healthcare Minister Torosyan about COVID and soldiers: the healthcare system remains overloaded due to COVID. However, we've been able to provide sufficient care to almost everyone. The death rate has been 1.5%; it's significantly lower than in some countries with 4-10%.
Many international doctors visited Armenia for COVID and soldier treatment. Some are still here. We agreed with the WHO to send a new COVID team.
There are talks about the 3rd virus wave. Our doctors have been struggling for 8 months.
Some residents believe rumors and rush to purchase unnecessary antibiotics and "COVID medicine". This could lead to a shortage for those who actually need it. Fortunately, we have no issues with importing or locally producing more supplies.
36 medical centers have been able to provide aid to 100% of the wounded soldiers. Ambulance vehicles and helicopters worked around the clock during the war to transport the wounded to Armenia. 15% are in serious/critical condition. Around 1% of wounded soldiers died in hospitals. All hospitals are controlled by the govt under the military emergency law.
We're entering the rehabilitation phase. A new center with 250 beds will be built. Other centers will maximize their utilization. It'll be funded by the govt and diasporan aid. The govt will dedicate $5.2m every year for continuous care.
We're currently building a new prosthesis center for soldiers who lost limbs. We'll build prosthesis in Armenia and make it available quickly.
We received large quantities of medical aid during the war, thank you. Nowadays the best help would be for diasporan experts to visit Armenia and help with their experience.
The increase in the Healthcare budget for 2021 will be small due to COVID economics, but it's still larger than a few years ago.
9:46: Manvel Grigoryan, a 1990s war veteran, has passed away. He's been suffering from poor health since 2018. He was a prominent General who was charged with large-scale embezzlement and financial crimes after the 2018 revolution. He received the nickname "tushonka" after the NSS conducted raids in his mansion and found food and vehicles stolen from the army.
10:42: Aurora's IDeA foundation will provide $40k financial aid to help the resettlement of residents from several villages, feeding hundreds of refugees, repairing Stepanakert's central market, and medicine for the elderly.
10:56: 2,600 Artsakh refugees have returned home so far. They are accompanied by military police and Russian peacekeepers.
10:58: opposition and ruling parties continue to "boycott" each other. Now the ruling QP won't appear for the session that's meant to vote on the removal of the emergency/Martial state. QP says they'll vote to end it whenever the government finds it no longer necessary.
11:44: cargo transport between Jan-Sep period declined by -0.9% year-over-year. Railway transport +4%. Vehicle transport -10%. Air transport doubled.
12:00: Ara Ayvazyan was appointed as new Foreign Minister yesterday. Today he was officially presented by PM Pashinyan. Ex-MFA Mnatsakanyan was also presented; the PM thanked him for his service during the difficult times. "The diplomatic wing will be the most important with lots of work to do."
Ayvazyan vowed to use his 30-year experience to make sure the diplomatic wing uses its full potential.
12:19: All Armenia Fund will hold the annual charity telethon in the US on November 26th. A phone-thon will be held in Europe on Nov 19-22.
Himnadram director Haykak Arshamyan dismissed rumors by former regime allied about wasting charity funds on salary bonuses. "It's simple manipulation. The Fund money isn't used on salaries or bonuses. There is a contract that clearly defines how the money should be spent. Finance Ministry will soon publish the report and we'll place it on our website."
"We cannot purchase weapons. Our funds are spent on healthcare, social welfare, so the govt can save money on those programs and [use its resources to buy weapons instead]."
Himnadram is cooperating with Artsakh and its regional branches to identify the top priorities. The first package is for Artsakh residents who need humanitarian aid, and the restoration of Artsakh infrastructure. The second package is for soldiers who need medical aid, therapy, mental health support.
The number of individual donors has significantly increased. 260,000 in the US alone, a similar number in Armenia. $60m out of $170m was collected in Armenia. When Himnadram encouraged monthly recurring donations, some 2000 people signed up within a week.
12:42: the transport link that Azerbaijan gets with Nakhijevan is not a "sovereign" passage, the land remains Armenia's property, it's just permission for Azerbaijan to have a civilian transport link, clarified ruling QP MP Eghoyan. "The construction of any transport link will need to be approved by both sides."
13:27: a group of opposition protesters shut down two streets in Yerevan. They demand PM's resignation. 24 people were detained for violating Martial Law.
The police received a report about a car running over one of the demonstrators. They found and detained the driver. The driver hit the gas with people in front of the van. Luckily it pushed them to the sides instead of driving over them.
13:55: six groups have been formed in Artsakh, consisted of the Artsakh govt, Armenian construction firms, and Russian humanitarian envoy. They'll travel around and assess damage to civilian infrastructure. Russia will send construction materials to help with repairs. Some repairs have already begun.
13:58: the volunteer group consisted of Yerevan municipality officials has returned home. They went to Artsakh on Nov 1 and were deployed on Nov 7. Mayor Marutyan thanked his colleagues.
Many troops and volunteers remain in their positions.
14:16: the EU will provide additional 3 million Euros to civilians who suffered from the war. Earlier they donated 0.9 million.
15:27: a group of Azeri soldiers left Shushi and moved south, accompanied by Russian peacekeepers.
15:39: the army has identified 23 more soldiers who died fighting, bringing the total identified to 1,609. The Healthcare system has 2425 bodies some of whom are yet to be identified.
16:56: the army issued medals presented more acts of heroism during the war. Three officers worked together to shoot 3 enemy drones.
Major Hakob Poghosyan shot 7 tanks.
A group of soldiers installed cameras and secured a proper communication channel between units.
17:39: some US officials complained that Russia ignored the other two Minks Group members and resolved the case by itself.
Russian MFA Lavrov said that wasn't the case and that the US and France had their fair share throughout the negotiations, but the November 9 document had to be signed "because things were unfolding literally within minutes and it was a matter of human life and death. No time to call Washington or Paris to negotiate."
18:03: German Parliament approved a resolution urging the govt to ban the Turkish extremist-terrorist movement "Grey Wolves". It has some 11,000 members in Germany.
23:01: Pashinyan and Macron discussed Artsakh.
National soccer team coach Joaquin Caparros has set a new record for the Armenian national soccer team: 5 consecutive international matches without a defeat, with 3 victories. The team has won the Nations League group and advanced to League B.
Midfielder Tigran Barseghyan has the highest number (4) of goal-passes in the tournament.
The Armenian youth team has secured at least 5 medals in a European boxing competition by advancing to the semi-finals.
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/jxawp1/megathread_news_wrapup_nov192020_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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|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2020 Daily Armenia Reports|