2021 April 20

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Contents

Daily news wrap-up

Apr/20/2021: (1) $400m copper smelter (2) Trade routes (3) Sec. Council publishes audio (4) Diasporans in govt cabinet (5) Free press 2021 index (6) PACE session, delegates speak, Russian votes (7) RUS to tighten migration rules; deportations (8) Yerevan's new 161 buses (9) Poll: women in politics
by ar_david_hh


Welcome. This is your 13-minute Tuesday report in 3339 words.

Security Council publishes parts of audiotape from Onik Gasparyan's report on 4th day of war

Context here. TLDR: After the war ended, the now-former army chief teenager Onik Gasparyan published an "I told you" letter. The teenage government responded with "you didn't tell us jack sh!t" letter.

After publishing Onik's September 30th (4th day) briefing details last week, today the Security Council published parts of the audiotape from the meeting.

In it, Gasparyan gives a positive assessment, saying the overall situation hasn't changed, the enemy has made no advancements, the Armenian army continues to do its duties, and that Armenians organized a successful small counter-attack in Jabrayil.

Onik's side: Onik earlier said that he reported that the war should be stopped within days, if the intensity of the Azeri-Turkish attacks remain the same because the initial attacks destroyed large portions of the Armenian weapons arsenal. Onik is unhappy that the Security Council only declassified the part that fits its narrative.

Government's side: Pashinyan said that after learning that they sustained heavy losses in the first few days, they purchased weapons and ammo to supplement the reserves, which allowed them to keep fighting. The army later reported that the enemy attack intensity subsided down after the initial heavy wave (Onik's concern was that the intensity was heavy in the first days). Onik gave a positive outlook for the Armenian army during the September 30 Security Council meeting, which lead to the decision to continue to fight.

(The truth is likely somewhere in between, with each side presenting only parts of the meeting that backs up their claim.)

Audio: https://youtu.be/LRqnk8dRGAg https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049607.html https://youtu.be/YvueLIdISLU

alternative to 2-year army conscription

During the Vayots Dzor trip on weekened, Pashinyan spoke about the army reforms and a need to hold discussions about the possible changes to army conscription terms.

Ruling QP MP said these are only ideas and that there should be a discussion over various options. The one mentioned by Pashinyan was about 3 months of service every 5 years, instead of one long 2-year service. "It's too early to tell," said the MP.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049593.html https://youtu.be/euyTGDeQKyY?t=70

bill to allow newly-arrived dual-citizen diasporans to hold government positions

LHK proposed a bill to amend the Constitution to relax the citizenship and residency requirement for high-ranking officials, except for the Premier's position. "Any 25yo Armenian citizen, regardless of holding other citizenships, how long they've held Armenian citizenship, or how long they've resided in Armenia, should be allowed to be a government cabinet member."

Currently, only a single-citizen with at least 4 years can be a Minister or deputy Premier.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049595.html

LHK party won't form an alliance ahead of elections

One-party-army. "We will participate with our brand." They won't be joining Kocharyan or others.

LHK insists that Kocharyan and the former regime as a whole should withdraw from upcoming elections so that LHK can absorb never-RoboSerj voters. "Some people vote for Pashinyan only to prevent the former government from returning."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049603.html https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/211810

re: copper is the new oil / in search of investors

Pashinyan spoke about the regional trade unblocking on weekend. If the Armenia-Azerbaijan railway operates and connects to Russia and Iran, Armenia will be able to export (at a lower cost) processed copper instead of raw materials, said some experts, repeated by Pashinyan over the weekend.

QP MP Mkrtchyan: A new factory would require a large investment. Back in 2019, Deputy PM Avinyan's office sent a delegation to China to meet a large investment company. They negotiated over a $400m investment deal to build a copper smelter.

We're talking about a state-of-the-art smelter with a 99.3% reduction in emissions (the one in Armenia's Alaverdi faced major environmental problems in 2019 and had to shut down). In November 2019, the Chinese delegation visited Armenia to conduct examinations. There is still some dialogue today.

According to that plan, the construction would last 3 years with 3,000 temporary and 800 permanent jobs. We tried to revive this plan.

If we build a smelter and create pure copper, it will allow us to create a prepared product that will increase its value. Thousands of new jobs, massive tax revenues, reduction in poverty and emigration.

It'll allow us to create cables and engines. It'll also help the military industry. This will be a strategic move and not just an economic one.

ex-BHK MP Bagratyan: it is a realistic project because it would be profitable for the investor. Raw mining grew 11.5% in 2020, reaching $828m.

We export 400k tons of raw copper material annually, with ~$1200 per ton. The processed copper is worth ~$5700.

Our main export destinations are China, Bulgaria, Switzerland, and Canada. This is a realistic project that can interest China, Bulgaria, and others.

Where would the new factory be built? In Alaverdi, where there is already an experienced workforce

It should be close to a major transport hub. If the mining volumes are large, it must be near a railway. Alaverdi (northern Armenia) is close in this regard. Alaverdi is closer to the sea and railway, as opposed to southern Qajaran or Kapan.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/211742

regional trade route unblocking

Turkish Minister said the construction of Nakhijevan-Azerbaijan road has begun. If the trade routes are unblocked, it will travel through Armenia's Syunik.

They also plan to build a railway connecting Turkey to Nakjievan, followed by the Azerbaijan-Nakhijevan section that travels through Armenia's Meghri.

The Turkish Minister said the railway will "ensure a direct connection between Turkey and Azerbaijan by bypassing Georgia." (a gift for allowing Bayraktar trucks through Georgia?)

Ilham Aliyev later threatened to use force to open the Azerbaijan-Nakhijevan connection, presenting the connection as a century-long dream. Armenian MFA condemned the militaristic rhetoric.

https://factor.am/361058.html https://factor.am/361438.html

Reporters Without Borders: 2021 Index

2015: 78th

2016: 74

2017: 79

2018: 80

2019: 61

2020: 61

2021: 63 (with 28.83 score. Georgia at 60th place with 28.64 score, Azerbaijan 167th place, North Korea 180th)

The report states that media diversity has blossomed but the government still hasn't managed to ensure media is independent of their owners. TV channels serve their owners' interests.

There were media restrictions during the state of emergency. There were attacks [by former regime activsts] on Azatutyun outlet journalists after the war and there are concerns about the fight against "fake news" by the state, and lawsuits against journalists. However, investigative journalism is flourishing.

https://rsf.org/en/armenia https://factor.am/361041.html https://factor.am/361382.html

update: several Russian PACE delegates voted against including Armenian POW topic in session, "it was technical malfunction"

Direct the technical questions to the Russian delegation, said Armenian delegate QP Yeghoyan when asked to comment why several of his Russian colleagues sided with Turkey and Azerbaijan by voting against the discussion of Armenian POWs.

Q: What will the PACE discussion about POWs accomplish?

Delegate LHK Marukyan: to this date, this is the highest-level POW discussion that we managed to organize on an international level. The fact that the POW topic is separately considered an emergency topic and will be discussed, is a big achievement. The international pressure will grow on Azerbaijan.

Q: Critics say Armenia should not have brought up the POW topic in PACE and that this was a major diplomatic failure by Armenia.

Delegate LHK Marukyan: the same critics were complaining back in January that the topic of POW wasn't included in PACE. Now we achieved success so they claim it's a bad move.

Q: why did several Russian PACE members vote against holding the discussion? Did the discussion package include an anti-Russian part that prompted them to vote against it?

Delegate LHK Marukyan: the voting for topics was separate. Russia's vote was a surprise for us. The Russian delegation was "hybrid", with them voting from Russia. We contacted them to clarify the vote, and they said there was a communication error.

The Russian delegates have the ability to show they were in favor of the resolution by giving a speech during today's session. Russia has said on multiple occasions that they support the return of POWs.

Russian delegate Sergei Pakhomov: there was a technical malfunction among our members. We don't believe in coincidences. We contacted PACE about it. (he is one of the delegates who allegedly voted against the Armenian resolution)

https://factor.am/361109.html https://factor.am/361222.html https://factor.am/361268.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049677.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049673.html

PACE session begins / Armenian POWs topic discussed

Backstory in yesterday's post.

Armenian delegate BHK Zohrabyan: PACE should condemn Azerbaijan's Armenophobic policies. It is puzzling that PACE, which has apparently evolved into an anti-Russian club, is choosing Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny as the top priority every time. Meanwhile, terrible things happen in some PACE member states. [mentions Aliyev's Saddam Park in Baku.] It's great that we can finally discuss Armenian POWs during today's session. [talks about their illegal imprisonment.]

Armenian delegate QP Vardanyan: This organization was formed to prevent WW2-like tragedies and to protect human rights... My Azeri colleague mentioned that they launched a war because they want peace... We have over 200 Armenian POWs. Their lives are at risk.

Armenian delegate BHK Melkumyan: what would you do if those POWs were French or German? Concrete steps are necessary to return the 200 POWs. Armenia has returned all Azeri POWs.

Armenian delegate QP Rubinyan: Azerbaijan has done something that no European state has done in 80 years. Aliyev called the Armenian nation "dogs" who were "chased out of Karabakh", and that Armenians are mentally ill and need treatment. He incited hatred towards another nation.

Austrian delegate Schennach: Azerbaijan holds POWs who are considered missing, and a large number of soldiers. Peace is needed. I ask and urge Azerbaijan not to "trade" on when and how they were captured. They should return home.

French delegate Alexandra Louis: Armenia respected the agreement, while Azerbaijan still refuses to return POWs. This is a violation of the Geneva Conventions. There are reports of torture. ECHR asked Azerbaijan to clarify their condition but Azerbaijan refused.

Portuguese delegate Paul: Armenia kept its promise while Azerbaijan hasn't. Where are Turkey and Russia today? Are they only partners in war but not in peace? Azerbaijan not only violates the agreement but also series of Conventions.

Full: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049616.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049641.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049666.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049667.html https://www.facebook.com/100000364090706/videos/4089469491075147/ https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049671.html More: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049676.html https://factor.am/361279.html https://youtu.be/yRLkP1EagMk https://youtu.be/aRt9ee7DOa4

Armenian delegation speech in EuroNest

Parliament President Ararat Mirzoyan spoke about Azerbaijan's violation of international law (UN resolution) about not using force, Artsakh's right to self-determination, POWs, and the EU-AM comprehensive cooperation agreement that went into effect recently.

https://youtu.be/q7yPOxEwZmY

https://factor.am/361265.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049657.html

POWs spoke with relatives over the phone

The Red Cross organized the event.

https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/292224/

search operations

Armenian crews canvassed the Hadrut region and found two bodies.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049636.html

Aliyev throws a temper tantrum over Armenia's use of Iskander missiles

He said that officially Armenia owned only the Iskander-E model, "how come they fired the M model? Was it smuggled into Armenia?"

The E model travels 280km while the M goes 500km.

Russia responded saying "no Iskanders were fired during the war."

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/211880

Russia to tighten immigration rules, microchips with GPS trackers, "pledge of allegience" to Putin, stay times & work database

Armenian experts: unauthorized immigrants from CIS republics must leave by June 15 due to changes in rules. This will apply to at least 61,000 Armenian citizens, possibly 3x more. These are people who violated the migration registration period or entry permit.

Neither of CIS republics has the tools to intervene in this process. We can only inform people about it. The citizens must be aware that they can be deported.

debt

Additionally, beginning on July 7, if cargo truck drivers have unpaid fees in Russia, they could have entry problems. This will later apply to passengers as well.

stay

More severe laws will be implemented soon. Per existing rules, CIS republic citizens can reside in Russia for 3 months during a 6-month period. After amendments, they will only stay 1 month during a 1 year.

Putin = Soros = Bill Gates

To stay for longer periods, the migrant has to undergo a medical evaluation, submit fingerprints, provide proof of health insurance, take Russian language and history classes, get an ID card and a microchip with a GPS tracker in it.

work

Changing work will become difficult. Foreign citizens will be required to register in a special database with vacant jobs for migrants. The employer must also register. The work permit will be given through this system.

If a construction worker has a problem with the employer, and they want to change the job, it will become very difficult. You cannot apply to work at a convenience store across the street because you did not apply to work there in the registry database. Changing the region where you work will also become impossible.

Currently, when you enter Russia, they give you migration paperwork at the border. If you do not check the "coming to work" box, you aren't allowed to work upon entry. After the amendment, you can "check the box" later while inside Russia, instead of having to leave and return.

However, the long-term migrant will have to sign an agreement that they are loyal to the policies of the Russian government.

More: https://youtu.be/lBt5BRwXj-c https://youtu.be/nrLFHh8Bgq8

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049620.html

Tags: #RussianLaw #immigration #IllegalImmigration #microchip

Russian peacekeepers demine 5ha lands near Karmir Shuka

It'll allow farmers to take care of mulberry trees.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049572.html

peacekeepers accompany residents to Dadivanq and Amaras monasteries

A group of believers were safely accompanied to border regions yesterday.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049577.html

British Halo Trust deminer neutralizes explosives in Stepanakert and Martakert

https://factor.am/361034.html

White House responds to Armenian historians' letter about recognizing the Genocide

We will think about it.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049635.html

Lebanese delegation arrives ahead of Genocide memorial day

Lebanese Youth and Fizkult Minister Vardine Ohanian leads the delegation.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049649.html

cops bust the mall gang

Two men were arrested after a joint NSS-cops sting operation today. The authorities learned that they recruited women and children who were equipped with devices that remove security tags.

They were arrested immediately after one of the shopliftings. Video of arm-twisting:

https://youtu.be/CP9ZjFgj8dc

suspect turns himself in after marshutka murder

Last week an argument ensued in public transport over a mask. A man was stabbed and killed. The suspect fled. Today he turned himself in and was arrested.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049604.html

photos: this school badly needs a renovation

A school in Ararat's Hayanist settlement has been "on the brink of collapse" for a week now. There were strong winds two weeks ago which aggravated the situation. The wind ripped away the roof and collapsed part of the wall shortly after the classes ended. The director contacted the governor's office.

Officials said this school was already in an emergency state and was placed on a renovation list. The Infrastructure Ministry was contacted to receive funding for a total revamp.

Parents also want the nearby road to be renovated to include a sidewalk. "Children have to walk along the highway shoulder. The school director and another resident were struck and killed in 2017 while walking."

Built in 1971, the school was added to the emergency repair list in 2019. It serves 400 children.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049569.html

diasporan family donates $500,000 to rebuild a school in Yerevan

Agop and Ludovica Aintablian are prominent donors to projects in Artsakh and Armenia. The family recently donated half a million to renovate School No. 87. It will be renamed after them.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/211834

businessmen-donor Vardanyan brothers renovate a Masis road

The ֏920m project fixed a 3.2km road and sidewalks. It was renamed after their father Hrant Vardanyan.

https://youtu.be/qIvaH04aRH8

Sevan city street lighting expands

The municipality is installing 34 LED lights on streets and residential backyards in the Gomadzor district.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049582.html

update: Yerevan-Stepanakert free bus rides

Yerevan launched free bus rides from Armenia to Artsakh to help refugees repatriate after the war. Initially, there were several dozen daily trips.

Nowadays it's just a few, since most of the population has already returned. Some residents recently complained about the buses not following the schedule. Yerevan will investigate.

https://factor.am/361117.html https://youtu.be/336Eelt48c4

Yerevan to fight against climate change

Municipality: the city joined the Global Covenant of Mayors in 2014 and agreed to reduce greenhouse emissions by 20% by 2020. With the latest decision, Yerevan will join the initiative "Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy" and agree to reduce emissions by 30% by 2030.

The EU has approved €8m in grants to build a new waste landfill and €1m for solar energy projects.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049626.html

legalization of illegal construction in Yerevan

There is an old law that allows people to build an illegal structure then legalize it by paying a legal bribe. Many people complain about it being a tool to ugly-fy the city.

Mayor Marutyan: shortly after becoming a mayor, I drafted a bill and sent it to the government to repeal the legalization law that applies to federal and municipal lands. From a certain day onward, the legalization of illegal buildings would become impossible. Unfortunately, the government has not yet addressed it yet. Our Parliamentary colleagues drafted another bill that will partially resolve the problem.

https://factor.am/361133.html

update: Yerevan is revamping the public transport fleet

35 new buses entered into circulation recently. They are serving 3 new routes in Yerevan. The 4th new route will open in May.

Mayor Marutyan: spoiler alert, we are expecting good news this week. A new batch of new buses will arrive. There will be many. More routes will be covered with higher quality service. //

During the session, Marutyan signed an agreement to purchase 161 units of medium-sized 8.6-meter buses. They will be delivered within 6 months. The manufacturer is the Chinese CNG Green line company with "internationally qualified European standards."

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/211843 https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049664.html https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/211883

mass tree-planting events across Armenia on April 25

As part of the 10-million tree project, the Nature Ministry will help plant 300,000 trees in all provinces on Sunday. "You can be part of the campaign by planting a tree in your backyard."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049633.html

National Museum launched an expo about Haghpat and Sanahin monasteries

Photos: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049660.html

Armenian Soccer Federation joins others in condemning the creation of breakaway "Super League"

The top 12 teams in Europe want to create their own league. More here. Many are against it.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049679.html https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/mu9ung/apr192021_1_pashinyan_about_copper_mines_trade/?

COVID stats

4398 tested. 667 infected. 671 healed. 24 deaths. 14896.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049573.html

COVID deaths by age and gender

57% male 43% female.

One death under 18yo.

76% of deaths among >63yo.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/211872

vaccination campaign begins in Artsakh

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049566.html

vaccination expands to Gyumri

1500 Astra and 400 Sputnik will be distributed to Shirak residents for now.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/211789

poll: why do you believe women aren't active in politics?

Most men and women believe it's because women are busy raising children and household work.

The family doesn't support it: believe 59% woman and 44% of men.

Women don't have enough supportive environment: 58% women 46% men

Politics is a dirty thing: 59% women 55% men

Men are born with political skills: 58% women 53% men

Women don't have enough funds for political campaigns: 58% women 50% men

Female politicians are often the target of hate speech on social media: 57% women 47% men

Even if women participate, they don't get elected: 55% women 47% men

Cultural norms prevent women from participating in elections: 51% women 51% men

Women don't receive enough support from their political parties: 50% women 40% men

The survey by IRI.

https://youtu.be/eR4CfHUUa6k

LADANIVA music band will visit Armenia

The French musicians often perform Armenian traditional music in modern style. The female vocalist Baghdasaryan is ethnic Armenian. The concert is on May 29 in Hamalir.

https://youtu.be/GXWXhXoFBWY

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049574.html

today in history

1889: Adolf Hitler was born. He was an illegal immigrant from Austria who was allowed to join the Bavarian Army due to a clerical error. The most fatal sausage-finger error in history.

1954: Andy Sarkis(ian) is born. Narrated the Gollum in the Lord of the Rings; owns one of two rings. Narrated the king ape from the Planet of the Ապե-s.

1994: Russian Parliament debates the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

http://www.armeniapedia.org/wiki/Andy_Serkis https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Serkis http://www.armeniapedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Varoujan https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1049553.html https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_career_of_Adolf_Hitler

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/muyteg/apr202021_1_400m_copper_smelter_2_trade_routes_3/

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