2021 April 19

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Contents

Daily news wrap-up

Apr/19/2021: (1) Pashinyan about copper mines, trade routes, negotiations, land use (2) PACE on Saddam Park (3) AZ-RU relations (4) Boris is fired (5) Nuland (6) Nuke reactor (7) April 24 events (8) Scandalous map (9) Grazie (10) Sarkissian's passport case (11) Vanetsyan drops lawsuit (12) Bills
by ar_david_hh


Your 14-minute Weekend to Monday report in 3449 words.

Pashinyan met residents of Vayots Dzor province on Saturday to discuss trade routes, agriculture, borders:

water savings

74% of arable lands are gone unused in Vayots Dzor. This is a major problem. We plan to launch a program to charge $0 on the water bill for 5 years if you install a water-efficient drip-irrigation network in lands smaller than 3 hectares. We must build our country with hard work after the war.

Across Armenia, only 49% of lands are being utilized, while 74% of all arable lands do not have access to water. For every piece of unused land, there is unearned income, unpaid taxes, unpaved roads.

In a similar fashion, we must solve the hail problem. These issues have bothered us for decades.

[reads the list of infrastructure renovation projects in Vayots Dzor since 2018, and upcoming investments worth several billions of ֏.]

border security

We have a unified security system with Russia. An attack on Armenia is an attack on Russia. A question may arise: why didn't this system work the way the public expected it during the war? Because the security system only applies to Armenian borders, the same administrative borders Armenia drew in 2010.

People wonder why there are Azeris east of Syunik's Shurnukh village. Because the 2010 law about the administrative division in Armenia defined Azerbaijan as being east of Shurnukh.

judicial reforms

They say the judicial reforms have failed in Armenia. People wonder why this or that person is still free. I want to remind you that during the 2018 revolution we said that there won't be vendettas.

It's better for a guilty person to walk free than for an innocent person to be imprisoned. You can always catch the guilty and bring them to justice later and justice will eventually be served. But if you jail an innocent for 5 years, you cannot recover their lost time and justice.

If you think we should have sentenced someone but didn't, you can "sentence" them during the snap elections on June 20. I believe the voters will be just.

road construction

Armenia has a future, these children have a future on their land. I was born in a province before moving to Yerevan, but I believe we should build Armenia in a way to allow children to exercise their full potential without detaching from their homeland.

Yerevan-Rind (Vayots Dzor) travel takes 1h45m. Not because of distance but because the roads are bad. We have built and renovated over 1,000 km of roads since 2018 but we still have problems. This travel time should reduce to 1h. I've learned that there are children in Syunik who have never visited Yerevan.

about war and diplomacy

Our boys fell so the Artsakh Republic can remain standing. Artsakh is wounded but alive. The goal of Azerbaijan and Turkey was to capture it as a subject.

Azerbaijan attempted to claim that the conflict has been resolved, but OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs published a message recently about the need to resolve the conflict per principles that are familiar to both sides.

One of those principles is the self-determination of the Artsakh people. Artsakh's right to self-determination was preserved thanks to our soldiers.

The 44-day war was inevitable. As of 2018, Armenia had already reached and crossed the red line [Serj claimed before his departure in 2018 that negotiations stopped because of Azerbaijan's unrealistic demands]. We had no choice but to stand up and defend our rights, and to protect the interests of Armenia and Artsakh.

Moreover, had we given away lands through negotiations, there would still be a war. Why? Because the disagreements in the region and among mediation circles had deepened to such a degree that there could be no resolution, even if Armenia agreed to unfavorable conditions. The war was inevitable.

Nakhijevan Corridor

Trade communication channels are important for helping the economy. But you won't find any mentioning of "Syunik Corridor" or "Meghri Corridor" or any other "Corridor" in the November trilateral 9 statement.

Some will try to scare you about giving Azerbaijan road access to Nakhijevan. Azerbaijan, too, talks about the "Syunik Corridor". Okay then, if they formulate the road as a corridor, we can similarly claim that Armenia will have "Nakhijevan Corridor". [to connect northern Armenia to Iran via railroad] and a North-Azerbaijan Corridor [to connect to Russia].

copper is the new oil

Railway connection with Russia and Iran will allow Armenia to use its biggest wealth. Armenia is one of the richest countries with copper reserves. Copper is considered the 21-st century oil. But today we cannot use it because we produce raw mining stones instead.

The railway will allow us to establish a copper smelter (պղնձաձուլարան) in Armenia. We will export processed metal and copper cables instead of raw mined stones.

The value of copper is increasing because of electric vehicles and green energy sources. I hope we will be able to restore Armenia's [Soviet-era] manufacturing levels.

All Armenia Fund

Some are claiming that the relations with Diaspora worsened after the 2018 revolution. We can cite numbers to prove otherwise. Himnadram received $289m from 1992-2018, and $247m from 2018-2021. Of course, a significant portion of it was during the war. But even during the war, Himnadram collected a sum equalling 70% of what had been collected in 28 years. This wouldn't be the case if the diaspora didn't have trust.

There were failed attempts to question the efficiency of the expenditures. The government has ֏100b ($192m) worth of housing and infrastructure projects in Artsakh. With this one program alone, Himnadram does more or equal work than all of the past projects combined.

Full speech: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=791800211752852 https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049357.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049384.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049386.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049410.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049411.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049412.html

Tags: #railway #copper #corridor

Artsakh housing project: 1,000 in 2 years

President Arayik visited construction sites in Stepanakert to learn about the construction process that began recently. A 157-apartment building is being built on Tumanyan St.

Full: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049533.html

re: Azerbaijan's possible membership with EAEU and CSTO

Belarus's Lukashenko recently said he'll help Azerbaijan to integrate with the Russia-led trade bloc. Armenia is yet to comment whether it will try to "veto" it.

Russian public figure Dugin (pro-Azeri):

It's important how Aliyev builds relations with Moscow and Ankara now. I don't think it's beneficial for him to choose Turkey. He understands that it's not in Azerbaijan's best interests. He will try to remain neutral.

He has to rebuilt Karabakh now. It's a sensitive process. Resolving the question of the Armenian population of Karabakh largely depends on Baku. If the issue is resolved harmoniously, it will be a great achievement.

Things aren't going badly. If it continues like this, the RU-AZ relations will upgrade to a new level. Everything is more or less resolved [in Karabakh]. Azerbaijan's hesitance to join the EAEU trade bloc will lead to misunderstanding.

Putin and Aliyev created the model that lead to such a positive outcome for Baku in Karabakh. The efforts were titanic. Russia has fulfilled its promise. We helped Azerbaijan to restore Karabakh and to establish peace. Now it is Azerbaijan's turn [to join CSTO and EAEU].

https://factor.am/360383.html https://moscow-baku.ru/news/politics/politolog_aleksandr_dugin_azerbaydzhan_kazhdyy_den_dolzhen_dokazyvat_chto_on_pobeditel/

Boris Avagyan is fired

Read this for context about Boris Avagyan, a staunch supporter of Russia who once said it was a mistake for Armenia to vote for independence. Recently he circulated rumors claiming that the British humanitarian de-mining agency HALO Trust was an Azeri spy that allegedly gave the map of Artsakh's landmines to Azerbaijan during the war. Artsakh president distanced himself from the comments. Boris holds a govt cabinet position. (It's unclear why Azeris still blow up on landmines if they have the maps.)

Boris is back in the news. This time it's over the return of POWs. Pashinyan recently visited Moscow and met Putin, followed by other meetings, followed by a trip by the chief peacekeeper Muradov to Baku. Citing the prior record, everyone was convinced that the return trip (Baku-Yerevan) would bring POWs, but there were none. The Russian peacekeeper made political comments against ruling party MPs who "gave wrong expectations."

During a press conference, Boris Avagyan joined with political criticism and praised Russia and chief peacekeeper Muradov. He held a Q&A with reporters and MPs.

Later, the Internal Ministry of Artsakh fired Boris from the position of Emergency Ministry's Deputy Director of the State Service for "organizing a press conference to speak on behalf of the Ministry without authorization, during which he spoke about topics beyond his authority."

The Ministry said they do not share most of the views expressed by Boris, "they are mostly false."

Boris later learned that he won a free trip to the NSS office for a "talk".

Full: https://factor.am/360730.html https://youtu.be/_zcNC90IBkg

https://factor.am/360748.html https://factor.am/360756.html https://factor.am/360768.html https://factor.am/360853.html https://factor.am/361019.html

US Secretary of State official Victoria Nuland about the conflict

She was nominated for US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political Affairs (3rd highest rank) and went through Q&A in Senate.

Senator Menendez: do you plan to work on returning Armenian POWs and providing humanitarian and demining aid to Armenia?

Nuland: We should secure the release of the captives and resume the humanitarian aid. We must ensure that Armenia's territorial integrity and sovereignty are being preserved, so the country can make its own decisions independently. We must speak with our ally Turkey.

https://www.amerikayidzayn.com/a/5856223.html

ARF will participate in June 20 snap elections

The party made an official announcement today. The elections "will be crucial for our national identity and statehood." The office stated that it's "one of the ways" to remove the government.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049507.html

access denied

During the Vayots Dzor trip, Pashinyan attempted to lay flowers on a soldiers' grave when a man, presenting himself as the soldiers' brother, stopped him from doing it.

The soldier's upset uncle later apologized to Pashinyan saying the man should not have acted that way, and that "he was fulfilling the orders of [explicit] 17 opposition parties."

https://civic.am/politics/armenia/4693--.html

Canada's Alberta province recognizes the Armenian Genocide

The resolution declares April the month of Genocide remembrance and prevention. As for the federal government of Canada, it recognized the genocide years ago.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049394.html

April 24 Genocide memorial events

Events begin on April 21 with a presentation in Genocide Museum at 12:00. It will operate until September.

Հիշատակի եռերգություն event scheduled at 23:00 on April 23. Giuseppe Verdi's Requiem will be performed.

More: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049481.html

Russian-Armenians will organize a concert dedicated to Genocide victims in Rostov city on April 24.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049485.html

Genocide Memorial will be open to public this year

Tsitsernakaberd was closed last year because of the pandemic. No such restriction this year.

https://factor.am/360660.html

search operations in adjacent territories

One more body was discovered during searches in the southern Fizuli region.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049406.html

An Azeri shepherd loses a leg after a landmine explosion in the occupied Akna (Aghdam) region.

https://factor.am/360519.html

Italian company denies rumors about taking part in construction of Saddam Park

Company "120 Grammi" denied participation in the construction. Grazie.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049432.html

Armenian representative to UN sends a letter to Secretary over Saddam Park

Aliyev opened the Saddam Park in Baku last week and drew international criticism. Armenia sent a letter to UN's Antonio Guiteras with complaints about Azerbaijan's "promotion of hatred, genocidal intentions, and celebration of death."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049376.html

PACE discusses POWs and Saddam Park

Armenia's PACE representative BHK Zohrabyan said she presented information about POWs to PACE colleagues. "Fierce" discussions within various groups were held. "Azerbaijan's claim that those who were captured after November 10 are not POWs is a shameless and brazen lie, a violation of international law."

In the end, PACE held a 93-21-18 vote and decided to discuss the topic of Armenian POWs during the main session tomorrow. Ind. MP Babajanyan says several members of the Russian delegation joined Turkey and Azerbaijan to vote against its inclusion.

Delegate Zohrabyan urged PACE to send a monitoring mission to Armenian settlements that went under Azeri control to prevent destruction of Armenian religious and cultural monuments. She mentioned Ilham Aliyev's Armenophobic rhetoric.

Delegate LHK Marukyan compared Aliyev to Hitler and Saddam Hussein over the "park" in Baku that features mannequins of Armenian soldiers and a wall of helmets taken from deceased soldiers. "This happened not in some unknown state but in a Council of Europe member-state."

In other news, Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok described Aliyev's images from Saddam Park as "very unpleasant images."

During a Euronest meeting, delegate QP Yengibaryan emphasized the need for the Artsakh people's right to self-determination.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049483.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049488.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049544.html https://youtu.be/NQgjTdu7LXE

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049537.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049527.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049518.html https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/211754

Azerbaijan is part of Armenia?

A Turkish TV show Akıncı aired an episode during which they presented a map that clarifies that Azerbaijan and Artsakh are part of Armenia.

It evolved into a major scandal in Azerbaijan and Turkey media sphere. The TV show authors are yet to comment. See for yourself:

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/211728

Human Rights Ombudsman dislikes your likes

HRO has contacted prosecutors to file a report against a ruling party MP for "insulting and showing open disrespect" to HRO.

HRO also wants an investigation against officials who do not remove insults or threats from their social media comment sections, written by others. HRO also believes that by "liking" such posts, the public figures violate Article 226.2 ("hate speech" law).

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049354.html

opposition co-leader Arthur Vanetsyan drops the defamation lawsuit against Pashinyan

The former NSS chief had earlier filed a lawsuit against Pashinyan and his spokeswoman over a Facebook post. He demanded 2 million and an apology. He recently dropped the lawsuit saying he doesn't need an apology from "someone like Pashinyan."

This was the post that lead to the lawsuit: Serj's son-in-law Mikael Minasyan concealed his illegal share in SPAYKA trade company, Yerevan Mall, Shant TV, Armenia TV, Zangezur copper-molybdenum factory, and elsewhere.

He rushed to sell most of these shares after the 2018 revolution. For example, his share in the Zangezur copper-molybdenum factory was illegally purhcased by former NSS chief Arthur Vanetsyan, while a company belonging to the latter's father became a major transport operator for the factory. //

https://factor.am/360529.html https://www.civilnet.am/news/194733/the-secret-owners-of-armenias-largest-enterprise/ https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/gd30zz/may32020_todays_news_stories_armenian_airlines/

SIS drops the felony "passport" investigation against president Sarkissian

After president Sarkissian's refusal to challenge former CoGS Onik Gasparyan's firing in Constitutional Court, opposition parties officially declared Sarkissian a "traitor". Onik's supporters gathered to support Onik. The head of Chamber of Lawyers Ara Zohrabyan was among them.

Shortly afterward, 53 "opposition lawyers" asked SIS to investigate Sarkissian over the alleged passport violation. Details here. It's about an accusation that Sarkissian hadn't met the minimum 6-year residency requirement when Serj appointed him as President in 2018.

SIS closed the passport investigation today, citing "lack of felony." The head of the Chamber of Lawyers Ara Zohrabyan said they will challenge the decision by filing a case with General Prosecutor's office. "If they reject, too, we will file a lawsuit."

https://factor.am/360819.html

President Sarkissian won't sign the Electoral Reform law but won't challenge it either

In a now-routine practice, the president refused to sign a law passed by the Parliament. But since he isn't challenging it in the Constitutional Court, the law will automatically go into effect soon.

The law in question is about replacing the "pro-oligarch" Rating system with a Proportional system. It was a bipartisan draft by NGOs, govt, and opposition. Lately, LHK wanted further amendments to the reforms to change Closed Proportional with Open Proportional.

The rest of the electoral reforms, such as the lowering threshold to help smaller parties to enter Parliament, are yet to be approved. LHK is against making those amendments now because the "elections are right around the corner" so "it's too late to make such major changes now."

Full: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049398.html

QP MP responds: https://factor.am/360612.html

President Sarkissian and HRO Tatoyan visit Syunik borders

video: https://youtu.be/FD9n1EdkQYg

photos: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049524.html

bill approved: contractor age requirement is loosened

LHK proposed raising the contractor age limit from 40 to 63 to allow the recruitment of more soldiers. In response, the government suggested an amendment to raise it "progressively", the higher the rank the older a solder can be. LHK agreed.

Today the Parliament voted 102-0-3 to approve the bill. The age limit is increased by ~5 years for each "bracket". 40 becomes 45, 45 becomes 50, etc.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049444.html

bill approved: postpone army draft for some students

LHK proposed postponing conscription for students studying in the last year of their secondary vocational education program before they turn 20. Details here. The ruling party agreed and the committee chairman indicated there could be wider reforms in the future to postpone students' draft in general.

Today the Parliament voted 103-0-2 to approve the bill.

explained: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/211740

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049447.html https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/mnps2i/apr92021_1_bakuyerevan_plane_arrives_without_the

parents of several war-participant conscripts want their sons to serve a shorter period

2 years is too long for someone who participated in the war, said a group of parents who gathered in front of the government building with the hope to reach an agreement with MOD and Govt.

One parent complained that soldiers are being taken to the front lines without being notified where exactly. He doesn't know if they are deployed in Artsakh.

A mother said she understands "there is a need to find substitutes in order to release them sooner, but it should be done. My son has been serving for 8 months. The conditions in military stations are good but on the front lines, it's difficult. They have to use shovels to dig trenches. Sometimes they don't have time to cook food."

https://youtu.be/BxZKxn-wX14

https://factor.am/360675.html https://factor.am/360706.html

Armenian nuclear experts examine Russian experience in extending reactor lifespan

Russia's Novovoronej has a nuclear plant with the same ВВЭР-440 reactor model. They were able to modernize it by extending the lifespan twice.

Armenia's N1 reactor stopped operating decades ago. The N2 reactor is currently undergoing a renovation to extend its lifespan until 2026, then 2036.

Russians decommissioned one of their unused reactors and used its parts to extend the lifespan of the other. Armenians are discussing a similar scenario. "After the modernization, the other unit began to meet the most modern safety requirements, despite being designed to last 60 years," said the Russian NPP director.

Read more about Metsamor NPP here, and about plans to build a new one..

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049522.html https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/mq9ncn/apr132021_1_new_nuclear_power_plant_discussions/

COVID stats since Saturday

11,344 tested. 1,715 infected. 2,817 healed. 60 deaths. 14,924 active (down)

Despite the reduction in active cases, the hospitals have run out of beds and some patients find themselves waiting in lines. The Ministry earlier said the ongoing wave is more severe and causes more hospitalizations.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049360.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049417.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049460.html https://youtu.be/16hF_SoxeHQ

UAE distributes COVID aid to 830 provincial families

... as part of an annual Ramadan charity campaign held by Red Crescent.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049548.html

wear a protection

... for many things, including while spraying pesticides, reminds the Emergency Ministry. "Wash your hands and face with a soap before smoking or eating food." There were 94 poisonings in 2020, down from 120 YoY.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049500.html

operation "You Have No Future With Criminal Record"

That was the very creative name of a sting operation in Yerevan that detained over 50 members of the criminal underground subculture figures including Katsin, Kaghni, Pnduk, Qyartu, Tzbekh, Dushesh, Ikbir (Is this a meme? They arrested every backgammon piece and nut known to humankind.)

Photos: https://m.shamshyan.com/hy/article/2021/04/19/1184596/

շաբաթօրյակ on Lake Sevan shores / thousands of trees are planted

Volunteers and Nature Ministry organized a cleanup of Sevan shores on Saturday. They also planted 10,000 trees, mostly poplar and pine. It's part of a 10-million campaign.

The planters said they chose the location in a way to ensure the trees aren't abandoned after planting.

20,000 units will be planted on April 25.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049388.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049396.html

Ararat brandy wins gold award in UK

Yerevan Brandy Company's famous ArArAt won the London Spirits Competition iV competition. Founded in 1967, the product line has won over 30 gold medals around the world.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/211744

global news

The existence of the most prestigious UEFA Champions League soccer competition is under threat after 12 of the most famous teams declare an intention to break away and form their own "European Super League" competition.

The 12 "founders" announced that the competition will have 20 teams, from which 15 will be permanent members who are "known and beloved by fans."

The move drew sharp criticism from the global FIFA soccer body and its branches, as well as British and Italian political leaders. Most teams are British and Italian.

US bank JP Morgan will bankroll the new championship with a $5b deal. The teams say the move is necessary to make soccer great again.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049477.html

Week 10: new books from Armenia publishers

Armenian: Հայոց դարձի պատմությունը, by Aghatangeghos. (a 5th century story)

8Translated:* պիեսներ, by Florian Zeller. (modern problems require modern solutions)

Children's: the bold hedgehog, by Nune Sargsyan. (hedgehog is born without pricks so parents take him to doctor)

Documentary: The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg (about how habits form and evolve)

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049437.html

end of report

The accused are innocent unless proven guilty in the court of law, even if they "appear" guilty.

News archive: http://www.armeniapedia.org/wiki/Daily_Anti-Corruption_Reports

Donations: soldiers' families, humanitarian aid, US tax-deductible donation.


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/mu9ung/apr192021_1_pashinyan_about_copper_mines_trade/

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