2021 August 18

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Contents

Daily news wrap-up

News - Aug/18/2021: Pashinyan's plan: Big railway investment, programs to boost birthrate, higher minimum wage, schools to have engineering labs, high paying tech jobs, army reforms, foreign policy, road & reservoir __ Total transport revamp __ No talks to exchange enclave __ History lesson 4 Aliyev
by ar_david_hh


Your 11-minute Wednesday recap in 2884 words.

Pashinyan unveils 2021-2026 government program

The executive branch will approve it today before sending it to Parliament next week. The core of the program is based on the promises made during the electoral campaign and the general 2050 vision, with some changes.

The program consists of 6 parts: Security and Foreign Policy, Economy, Infrastructure, Human Capital, Law and Justice, Institutional Development.

The full script of Pashinyan's speech is here. Below you will find the major parts.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061087.html

Pashinyan about army reforms & foreign policy:

The first part of our 5-year program mentions the key factors to ensure Armenia's security. The first part is about modernizing the Armenian army. You are aware that a reform process has already begun.

The second is having an active and foreign policy with the initiative to ensure security while working with all countries and international organizations.

The next part is about the Armenian-Russian strategic alliance and Armenia's CSTO membership.

An important part of security is the regional foreign policy, unblocking of communication routes, and managing hostile atmosphere. A developing economy is necessary to have security. We can achieve this only through a high-tech, industry, production, and export-oriented economy that respects the environment.

OSCE will play an important role in contributing to safety by helping to resolve the Karabakh conflict and clarifying Nagorno Karabakh's legal status. The OSCE negotiation process must be restored at full capacity. //

Read more about the planned army reforms here.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061100.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061101.html https://youtu.be/LrkBmfXMdFE https://youtu.be/tgnOYmNLXzA

Pashinyan about using border guards instead of armed forces:

The border troops under the NSS command will be deployed in more areas. In the near future, the border troops must be expanded, transformed, and reformed.

This is in line with our intention to advance peace in the region, because as you know, "border guards" assume responsibility for areas that are considered peaceful zone. //

[It's presumably part of the plan to separate border guards from the planned professional army, which will presumably stay in the rear and conduct routine exercises.]

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061105.html

Pashinyan about negotiations:

We reaffirm Armenia's readiness to resume OSCE's Karabakh negotiations.

I'm glad to see the resumption of AM-RU-AZ working group aimed at restoring communication routes in the region.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061099.html

Pashinyan about forming a new intelligence agency aimed at external threats:

As mentioned in our 2050 vision, we will create a new external intelligence agency within the next five years. // Read more about it here.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061101.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061120.html

Pashinyan about post-war aid to Artsakh:

Work was done to restore the normal life in Artsakh. Programs worth ֏70B ($140 million) were implemented and continue to be implemented.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061099.html

Pashinyan about raising the minimum wage again, reducing poverty and unemployment:

[The minimum wage increased from ֏55k to ֏68 in 2019, or $115 to $140.]

Within the next five years, we aim to increase it to ֏85k. The minimum pension size should be enough to cover the Food Basket. Extreme poverty must be eliminated.

The annual GDP growth rate should be 7%, or 9% if the external economic conditions are favorable.

The targets include increasing the payment fund of the salaries of the non-government sector of the formal sector to 25% of the GDP, and ensuring that the unemployment rate is below 10%.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061104.html https://youtu.be/kiSsGlrENDQ

Pashinyan about creating high-paying jobs in high-tech, and training specialists ASAP:

Jobs are already being created, but having high-paying jobs is especially important. Maintaining the growth rate in the high-tech sector is key.

By 2026, we expect to see 35,000 high-tech jobs with a turnover of ֏500B ($1B), which will be 6-7% of GDP, compared to 4% last year. So, within the next 5 years, we expect to have additional 16,000 high-tech jobs.

To have that many jobs, you need that many qualified workers. Right now we have a few thousand vacant high-tech positions. To address this, we need short and long-term education reforms.

How is "Work, Armenia" program different from traditional education? The traditional system requires a long time to prepare specialists, but to more actively supplement the job market, we need faster retraining programs. In 2019 we implemented the "Work, Armenia" program. Now we need to activate it.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061120.html https://youtu.be/Kf0pBdfR5RA http://www.irtek.am/views/act.aspx?aid=152312

Tags: #specialists #education #WorkArmenia

Pashinyan about building new schools equipped with engineering and natural science labs:

Within the next five years, we plan to build or renovate 500 kindergartens and 300 schools.

All 1,400 schools must have natural science and engineering labs to significantly improve the quality of education. The school shouldn't be just four walls with a roof.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061120.html

Pashinyan about additional programs to boost demographics; monthly child payments:

We plan to pay $100/mo for every 3rd and 4th born child, until they turn 6. This is for everyone, not just the poor. It's a serious step towards boosting demographics.

1,400 more children were born this year than last. I see tangible progress. I think it is a very good time to put demographic programs [free fertility programs and higher child birth/care credits] on an institutional basis so that we can make a significant difference in this field.

All of this is part of our strategy to address demographics. In 2019 we made hospital care free for anyone under 18. We increased the size of monthly child care payments until the age of 2.

In reality, the education, healthcare, and demographics programs are part of the same chain. The next goal is to implement a healthcare insurance system. [he likely refers to the planned universal healthcare, as covered in July 30 news post]

https://youtu.be/LiO_1boPWbQ https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061120.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061107.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061120.html

Tags: #demographics

Pashinyan about massive railway investments:

֏39B ($78M) will be invested in railways by 2024. We held a long and detailed conversation with the operator South-Caucasus Railways. I'm very happy about reaching the agreement. We will have a completely different quality railway by 2024.

At the same time, two new local airline companies are being established right now, with the help of foreign investments. Our task is to promote investments.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061110.html https://youtu.be/Hm2w8gPFrkk

Tags: #railways

Pashinyan about new roads & reservoirs:

We will exceed our 2019 road renovation achievements. First, we will maintain the annual 500km renovation road mark. Second, we're launching the construction of an important section of the North-South highway.

Soon we will start building a 60km section in Sisian-Kajaran. The ongoing construction of Talin-Lanjik-Gyumri is going as planned. Another important section is Ashtarak-Talkin.

All of this requires massive financial resources. I'm glad that we'll be doing it with the help of the EU. You are aware of EU's plans to invest €2.6B within the next four years.

Part of the aid will be used to develop Syunik, Yerevan transport, eco-friendly programs, reservoir construction, etc. As you know, we plan to start the design and construction of 15 reservoirs. This is necessary considering climate change. Even without it, we would need them.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061120.html https://youtu.be/1TxeX-iDWAI

army command went to Parliament to discuss the borders

The session was behind closed doors because it could contain classified information. An army official then answered reporters' questions.

Deputy CoGS Edward Asryan: we discussed eastern and Nakhijevan borders. Our soldiers are standing in their positions and give a worthy response to the opponent's provocations.

The information that often circulates in our public that only we sustain casualties, is false. The opponent is sustaining irrecoverable losses. We control the situation on our borders and we will fulfill the tasks with honor.

Asryan about Azerbaijan's recent failed advancement attempt: not far from Sev Lich (Syunik), the opponent tried to advance in the buffer zone. Our soldiers discovered them at night and opened fire. The opponent sustained losses and retreated.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061118.html https://youtu.be/vfwSH1_qwGQ

there are no ongoing negotiations to exchange enclaves

... announced the Foreign Ministry today. The context was the placement of Russian border guards on Tavush borders, away from Artsakh.

Armenia and Azerbaijan "de-jure" own lands that are under the control of the other side. Armenian government wants each side to maintain control of what they currently have.

When asked about the reason for the Russian deployment in Tavush, MFA said it's part of the 1991 Armenia-Russia military agreement about Russia guarding Armenian borders.

Pashinyan recently suggested for Russian guards to be deployed across the entire Azerbaijan border to prevent any provocations in the future when the official border demarcation begins.

https://hetq.am/hy/article/134681 https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/295034/

Azeri soldiers continue to intentionally set the dry grass on fire near borders

The incident happened last night, this time in Artsakh's southwest borders. When Artsakh sent firefighters, Azeris fired towards the vehicle to prevent it from extinguishing the fire. No injuries. The peacekeepers were notified.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061063.html

the 5th Army Corps conducted exercises

The military units were brought to combat readiness and command centers were deployed.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061039.html

Defense Minister instructed MOD officials to reduce bureaucracy relating to paperwork

MOD Karapetyan said he received complaints that people go through lengths to obtain some documents from their records, while "it should take moments in this day and age."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061041.html https://youtu.be/LiNUzfOXjPw

Pashinyan made new appointments

Rafael Gevorgyan is appointed as deputy Economy Minister. Two deputies were relieved of their duties.

Vahe Hovhannisyan is a deputy Finance Minister. His colleague recently became a deputy Defense Minister to oversee arms purchase expenditures.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061058.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061059.html

unified public transport network will be implemented in Shirak / bus will replace microbus

Government: All provinces should have a common transport network with one service operator. It's already operational in Armavir. The operator in Shirak will handle transportation within and between provinces.

Shirak government: the new route network has been developed. Right now we have 14 operators servicing 51 routs within Shirak and 16 connecting to other provinces. None of these companies meet the new requirements about the bus size and minimum service length.

After the reforms, only buses with 18-25 seats will operate. The micro-buses will be eliminated. The unified transport network will resolve the transportation issue in all settlements. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061044.html

Parliament dedicates special areas for journalists to hold Q&A with MPs

The access to the core section of the building, where MPs' private offices are, was earlier blocked for security reasons. Metal detectors were installed for anyone entering the assembly room.

Under the new rules, journalists will have a special hall for Q&A in front of the assembly room, in the lodge, and at the building entrance. Journalists will be able to enter MP's private office only after obtaining explicit permission.

To prevent just about any YouTuber from entering Parliament as a "journalist", the internet news network must have a daily 2,000 viewership to qualify.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061092.html

anti-corruption: several tax inspectors are charged with bribery

Police reports: In April 2020, two tax inspectors from Yerevan took a $140 bribe to ignore the business's tax violations, lack of sales receipts, and unregistered workers. They agreed to a monthly $40 bribe to keep ignoring the violations.

The inspectors were busted after receiving a total of $340 in bribes. It turns out, one of the inspectors had taken bribes from seven other businesses. Both inspectors have been arrested. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061093.html

California assemblyman wants California and Syunik to establish a "sister-state relationship"

The resolution was introduced by Chris Holden.

https://massispost.com/2021/08/assemblymember-chris-holden-introduces-resolution-establishing-sister-state-relationship-with-syunik-province-of-armenia/

earthquake aftershocks continue on Armenia-Georgia border

The 3.3M shaking registered near Bavra village is among the several dozen aftershocks after a relatively big one that struck several days ago.

https://factor.am/406370.html

COVID stats

7219 tested. 504 infected. 157 healed. 3 deaths. 6593 active.

Neighboring Georgia recorded 5.9k infections and 49 deaths.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061054.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061086.html

most COVID infections in Armenia are Delta strain

Healthcare Ministry took 64 samples. 51 were Indian, 9 British.

Ministry: do not place the lives of your loved ones at risk. Get vaccinated, be healthy, be protected.

https://factor.am/406422.html

200,000 more vaccines arrive in Armenia

These ones are Chinese-made Sinofarm, for 100K adults.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061061.html

number of imported vehicles sharply dropped while tax revenues increased after last year's customs changes

New EAEU bloc rules were implemented last year to tax vehicles imported from non-EAEU states.

H1 2020: 5721 imported, ֏4.9B taxed.

H1 2021: 2810 imported, ֏5.3B taxed.

This is for imports from non-EAEU states. Most of it came from the US, Japan, China, Canada, Germany, Georgia, and UAE.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061047.html

migrant workforce and tourism flow in Russia

In H1 2021, Russia saw 5m visitors, from whom 4.8m were from CIS republics. Only 64.6k declared the purpose for arrival as "tourism". In comparison, the same period of 2019 saw 3x as many visitors (15m).

From the 64.4k tourists, Cubans accounted for the largest 20.5k group, the first in history. They were followed by citizens from UAE and Turkey.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061082.html

Yerevan will not organize a fancy Erebuni birthday celebration this year

The capital will use the resources to help built housing in Artsakh and develop cultural facilities in Yerevan.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061051.html

VIDEO: Japan shows interest in Armenia's high-tech potential

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) studied the high-tech in Armenia and two other states to learn about the development prospects in this sector. A video was prepared (in Japanese) to describe details in each country.

The video mentions Armenia's tech potential and Soviet-era achievements. It's meant to raise interest among the Japanese private sector.

https://youtu.be/pxeZkH7st_M?t=15 https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061097.html

anti-hail missiles were installed in Shirak

Five more settlements will have anti-hail missile stations as part of a local-federal subsidy program. Over 1,000 hectares of agricultural lands will be protected from damage.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061049.html

government allocates ֏100M to begin the construction of a modular school in Kirants (Shirak)

Another half a billion will be paid gradually. It's part of a program to build 20 modular schools and 10 kindergartens across Armenia, for small settlements with few students.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061109.html

benefactors are helping to revamp infrastructure in Yeranos (Gegharkunik)

Robert Shahinyan and Henrik Gasparyan financed the construction of a new 1km power line, 2km drinking water network, and a road that leads to St. Hovhannes chapel. Additionally, they'll revamp the areas surrounding a historical monument.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061069.html

Geghahovit (Gegharkunik) will have new irrigation and lighting network, two renovated roads

Water losses will be reduced in some parts of the settlement. Roads will be protected from a flood.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061091.html

the renovation of Sevan-Martuni-Getap interstate road is complete

It's near Chkalovka village. Two sections of the road had to be raised 3.5 meters because of the threat posed by Lake Sevan's rising water levels. Gegharkunik governor thanked the crew for "implementing the very important project in a short time". (four months)

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061070.html

director of National Academy of Sciences responds to Ilham Aliyev's history falsifications

Director Ashot Melkonyan: Aliyev made blatantly false statements to portray the region as historically Turkish-Azeri. He claims that Syunik, Sevan, Vardenis, and Yerevan are "historical Azerbaijan", while...

1) The modern-day Azerbaijan territory has nothing to do with historical Atropatene in northern Iran, from which the Turks stole the name in 1918 while creating the artificial state.

2) Before the 14-15th centuries, when Turkmen tribes entered the region, and especially before Seljuk's entry in the 11th century, it is laughable to speak about any Turkish toponym in the region that includes Eastern Armenia, Georgia, Eastern South Caucasus, and Northern Iran.

Baku, Atropatene, Shaqi, Shirvani, the entire Armenia Eastern Կողմանց, were all Armenian provinces named Mets Hayk Utik, Artsakh, Paytakaran. Speaking of any Turkish element before the 11th century is laughable.

Turks began appearing in the region in small numbers in the 9th century when Arabs hired them as soldiers. For example, the famous commander Bugha, who marched across Armenian regions of Vaspurakan, Syunik, and Artsakh in the 9th century, before being crushed near Artsakh's Ktish fortress in 854.

The Turkification of location names in Eastern Armenia and Eastern South Caucasus began in the 14-15th centuries when Turkmen tribes established their rules there. The Iranian-speaking people in northern Iran gradually became Turkish-speaking.

This Turkic-speaking population later, in the 15th century, established the Iranian Safavid state. This phenomenon happened in Eastern Armenia, too, but that doesn't mean that the geographic locations were not in Armenian before.

Turks used basic tactics to change Armenian names. They would name the area after its physical characteristics. For example, if they saw cloudy water, they would name it Kara-Su. Or the three churches would become Uch Kleesa [Uc kilise?]. Four churches would become Dort Kilise, etc.

What Ilham Aliyev claims today is pure falsification and manipulation. The scientific community knows very well that Azerbaijan's entire histography is falsified, but Azerbaijan is using its financial resources in an attempt to spread the lies.

The majority of intellectual circles in Europe, the US, and Russia know this very well. For example, the Russian intellectuals always find it ridiculous to talk about the "ancient culture of Azerbaijan" because it is a falsification based on the Turkified Iranian element.

Today, Azerbaijanis and their state are in a search for identity because they pocketed their neighbors' history, from Armenians, Georgians, Lezgins, Iranians, and even other Turkmens. This mess has reached the point that on one hand, they consider themselves as descendants of the Caucasian Aghvank, Indo-Europeans, and on the other hand Turkic because they are related to the peoples of Central Asia and Ottoman Turks.

The correct name is "Caucasian Tatars". The word Tatar stood for "nomad". //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1061071.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

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Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/p6yt4c/news_aug182021_pashinyans_plan_big_railway/

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