2021 February 2
- 1 Daily news wrap-up
- 2 court allows Kocharyan to travel abroad / "you're young, think about your future"
- 3 update: court arrests infamous arms dealer Mr. Davo / bad artillery / Russian ORSIS & Armenian Generals
- 4 LHK party wants to form a committee to investigate war events, before/during/after
- 5 conscript Levon Sahakyan's story in south and Shushi
- 6 anti-corruption: hospital accountant busted after a ֏345M transfer
- 7 felony cases dropped against ex-Syunik governor Liska's associates
- 8 Nrnadzor: Armenia's furthest south-eastern settlement
- 9 rumors and rebuttals: army denies firing at Azeri direction
- 10 rumors & rebuttals: Artsakh army is here to stay
- 11 first major interstate complaint filed against Azerbaijan at ECHR / property and non-property damage
- 12 PACE session / European officials urge Azerbaijan to release POWs / "follow Helsinki principles"
- 13 search operations and POWs
- 14 statistics about teachers: certification levels / age / salaries
- 15 Aladina - Spanish charity foundation
- 16 COVID stats
- 17 Sputnik flew over Armenia
- 18 COVID vs real estate transactions
- 19 minimal consumer basket price in Artsakh
- 20 what about individual product prices in Artsakh?
- 21 Economy Minister meets Netherlands ambassador
- 22 Central Bank about the economy, product prices, markets, $750M eurobonds
- 23 infrastructure repairs
- 24 project to build 730 new houses in Artsakh
- 25 Artsakh wants to repay the citizens' mortgage and other loans fully or partially
- 26 earthquake-resistant school renovation
- 27 CRRC and CivilNet's energy consumption research for 2020: are is you wasting energy?
- 28 this day in history
- 29 donations to Artsakh & recovering soldiers
- 30 archive of older news
- 31 disclaimer
- 32 Support David's Daily Armenia News Summaries!
Daily news wrap-up
Feb/2/2021: (1) Arms dealer Davo's arrest trial. General responds. (2) Kocharyan trial (3) Conscript's war story (4) Anti-corruption busts (5) Border village Nrnadzor: railway & road (6) Rumors & rebuttals (7) PACE statement & ECHR lawsuit (8) Teacher stats (9) Economic stats (10) Mortgage subsidy
Your 15-minute Tuesday report in 3706 words. It's already February?
court allows Kocharyan to travel abroad / "you're young, think about your future"
Former president Kocharyan and co-defendants were charged with "March 1st" events. Their trial continues amid defendants' attempts to delay the process for as long as possible. The court is once again hearing another petition by defense relating to the same judge's recusal.
Kocharyan said the charges against him are political persecution. His co-defendant Yuri Khachaturov accused the judge of illegal conduct, promised to help her if she gets in legal trouble in the future, and told the judge: "you're a young and beautiful girl, think about your future, think about your health." The judge said she will read the verdict tomorrow. (this is the judge who was earlier chased down and harassed by pro-Kocharyan activists who broadcasted it Live on Facebook)
The judge had decided to allow Kocharyan to travel abroad between February 3-8. The prosecutor complained that the judge hadn't informed the prosecutors about the reasoning behind the verdict. The judge gave the copy of the verdict to the prosecutor and ask him to file an appeal if he disagrees. The prosecutor argued that Kocharyan was a "flight risk".
update: court arrests infamous arms dealer Mr. Davo / bad artillery / Russian ORSIS & Armenian Generals
Context. Mr. Davo (bullet Davo) is charged with embezzling army funds in 2018 by delivering the wrong type/diameter of artillery that was old and useless.
Mr. Davo said: NSS is wrong. The weapons were not made in the 1970s. 1977 was the serial year. The units were produced at a later date. //
The court is hearing whether to arrest him pre-trial. Davo's supporters gathered outside the court to show support. Among them was Serj Sargsyan's former bodyguard boss Vachagan Ghazaryan (that guy who got arrested in 2018 and returned the cash). Vachagan said he has known Mr. Davo for 15 years.
LHK] leader Marukyan: Davo was an important ring in military purchases and a "non-replaceable" figure who continued his activities even under Pashinyan's administration. I don't think he is being used as a scapegoat right now. We need an investigation around this. Tonoyan should be questioned. //
The court found Mr. Davo's and his co-defendant's pre-trial detention to be justified. He will remain arrested.
The military purchase was made in 2018 but NSS hasn't specified the month. There were two General Chief of Staffs who served in 2018: General Movses Mosi Hakobyan and General Artak Davtyan. The latter was asked to comment. He said weapon purchases are examined and accepted by special commissions.
You may remember the news from 2019-2020 about a scandal in Defense Ministery. Someone purchased weapons from a Russian "ORSIS" company. Investigators claimed the weapons were useless. Then ORSIS filed a counter-lawsuit. The full details aren't clear.
Reporter: we have info that you (General Artak Davtuyan) had disagreements with former Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan over weapons purchases from ORSIS. Did you also disagree over purchases made by Mr. Davo?
Gen. Artak Davtyan: we had no such disagreements with Tonoyan. The purchases were made according to laws and regulations. ORSIS has filed a lawsuit. Let's wait for the verdict.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1042152.html , https://youtu.be/PUYXcUEf318 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/205680 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/205694 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/205698 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/205710 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/205723
LHK party wants to form a committee to investigate war events, before/during/after
Opposition LHK leader Marukyan: we want to investigate why the diplomacy failed and which side was responsible for it, who gave orders during the war, and many other things that we - opposition parties - were made aware of during the war. These are state secrets. The hearings will be held behind doors. BHK, ARF, and Menq Alliance agreed. HHK and QP parties opposed the idea. HHK says it shouldn't be done while the Pashinyan administration is in charge.
(Ruling QP party MP had earlier stated it's too early for this type of investigation. Another MP said the committee format suggested by Marukyan, which would involve non-parliamentary forces, could be Unconstitutional.)
conscript Levon Sahakyan's story in south and Shushi
I woke up on the morning of September 27th. The war hadn't begun yet. The commander entered and began assigning tasks to each one of us. That's when we heard the first explosion. It was unusual. Then the second, third, and more. The commander shouted, "A war has begun, everyone take shelter in basements." Boys read prayers.
We went upstairs to receive weapons and uniforms. When we exited the building, our immediate facility area became the target. We were told to take cover again. This repeated 7 times. We asked our commander to finally allow us to leave and aid others in the front lines.
We were told to exit and run with zigzag to another location 2km away. We had only been in the army for 2 months and hadn't had a chance to see the front lines yet. Our commander Davit Ghazaryan died during the 3-day battle. We needed men like him.
By November 4th, we retreated 60km towards the Martuni-2 military base. We found ourselves encircled. We were told over the radio to break the encirclement at any cost if we wanted to survive. We broke it and reached Martuni-2. We spent a day in a forest.
Those who had served for over a year gave their weapons and uniforms to those of us who were new. We climbed to Shushi. I was stationed on a hill in Shushi alongside a Lieutenant. Our position was attacked by a numerically larger opponent. We couldn't defend it with 9 men so we decided to retreat. My friends and I decided to protect the hill while others retreated. We lost a friend during the battle. As we retreated, we heard a drone. We [unintelligable] and sat down. The drone filmed and struck us. I received a wound and rolled down the hill and find myself next to the bodies of my comrades.
Then I heard the sounds of our boys. They told me to get up. I told them I couldn't because I couldn't feel anything. Sahak carried me away. They took me to Stepanakert hospital.
I'm writing a book about the war and my friends. I'm proud of them.
anti-corruption: hospital accountant busted after a ֏345M transfer
NSS report says: chief accountant at Healthcare Ministry's "National Center for Infectious Diseases" hospital has been charged with large-scale embezzlement.
Between 2019-2020, the accountant transferred ֏345M worth of funds belonging to the hospital to his personal bank accounts before cashing it out and spending it (Level-1 Crook with Level-0 tech literacy). He confessed and agreed to return the cash. The felony investigation continues.
felony cases dropped against ex-Syunik governor Liska's associates
Report said: the mayor of Akner received an order from Syunik governor Liska to falsify a land auction and give land to Liska's associate Ashot. The 0.43-hectare land was given to the latter for ֏70K ($140). The mayor and the buyer have their felony charges dropped because they qualify for Pashinyan's 2018 amnesty.
The land's eventual owner was supposed to be Liska's brother "Hopop". The felony case against him and another man were also dropped because they passed away earlier. The investigation continues.
Nrnadzor: Armenia's furthest south-eastern settlement
Journalists spent 7.5 hours traveling 400km south to reach Nrnadzor (pop. 151). As you might have guessed, it's called nrnadzor because it's in a "dzor" where "nur" grows.
It's located between Iran and Azerbaijan. The settlement gave two casualties during the war. 2.9km away is the Iranian border. To the east, it's now Azerbaijan, with the Zangelan borders.
Armenian and Azeri border patrols stand in front of each other here, separated by Russians. The reporter shows the Azeri positions. The mayor is concerned that villagers could be kidnapped while taking the animals to a field. "We need serious guarantees for safety here."
The new Azeri position is visible without binoculars. It's near a road that Armenians used to use to travel north through Artsakh. Today, the area is guarded by Russian troops stations between Armenians and Azeris.
That's also the area where Heydar Aliyev had intended to build a road to connect Azerbaijan to Nakhijevan decades ago, but Armenian leader Karen Demirchyan opposed it at the time. (could this be the new road project location when the regional trade is unblocked?)
With a straight line, there is a ~5km distance from the border. The 12km road that connects to the village is located on the place of the former railways that connected Armenia to Azerbaijan. Today they are looking for alternative roads amid the news about the possible resumption of the railway. Unless a new road is built, the only alternative is a dangerous gorge passage.
[Reporter shows Nrnadzor railway station building]. One local resident said she does not want the railway to operate because Azeris could settle in the village and become a majority (is this a shout out to fine folks who were trying to convince Shushi residents to become a 10% minority within their city?). Eight families in Nrnadzor had migrated from Azerbaijan during the 90s war. The rest from Meghri, Kapan, and Qajaran.
Another resident said he isn't afraid of Turks on the nearby borders. "As long as I have my gun... I've lived with them during Soviet. I've eaten and drank with them. They are equally afraid of us."
Pomegranate farmer Simon Simonyan says the harvest collection didn't stop even under the sounds of drones. He personally doesn't imagine living next to Azeris for as long as they teach Armenophobia since the preschool age.
Donors plan to build a new district with 30 houses in Nrnadzor. The planning project has begun. It will house Artsakh refugees.
rumors and rebuttals: army denies firing at Azeri direction
The army denied firing shots on Tavush borders, in response to a complaint by Azeri border guards.
rumors & rebuttals: Artsakh army is here to stay
Rumors originated from Mishik claimed that the Artsakh army will soon be dissolved at the orders of Nikol.
An Artsakh security official denied misinformation surrounding the rumors, saying the army is going through structural changes but it's here to stay and will continue to guard the borders. "The Security Council is currently conducting practical and organizational work in this direction."
first major interstate complaint filed against Azerbaijan at ECHR / property and non-property damage
Armenia filed an interstate complaint against Azerbaijan over the war crimes during and after the war, mistreatment of civilians and POWs, property loss sustained by refugees, targeting of journalists. They provided extensive evidence and will soon attach more materials at the request of ECHR.
"The volume of violations is very large, so the information is presented in meticulous detail. The final expectation is a certain compensation for the violation of the rights. It is about property and non-property damage," said Yeghishe Kirakosyan, Armenia's representative to ECHR.
The move will also counter a similar petition filed by Azerbaijan against Armenia earlier. "The petition filed by Azerbaijan contains many legal shortcomings and could be used against Azerbaijan itself."
The overall property damage sum will be calculated at a later stage after the Court hears the case.
PACE session / European officials urge Azerbaijan to release POWs / "follow Helsinki principles"
PACE was unable to include the Armenian POW topic in the main session today; they heard Russian opposition figure Navalniy's case instead, said an Armenian delegate, who noted that PACE members felt uncomfortable for excluding Armenians. "I have nothing against hearing a case about [Navalny], but he is one person, while there are hundreds of POWs in Azerbaijan."
European Parliament MP Marina Kaljurand, who handles Southern Caucasus affairs, joined by rapporteurs who report on Armenia and Azerbaijan, released a joint statement about POWs:
More needs to be done for reconciliation. The legal clarifications in the region are more necessary than ever. Both sides should agree to the restoration of the Minsk Group format and to respect Helsinki Principles about non-aggression, territorial integrity, and people's right to self-determination.
The implementation of the November 9th agreement is the first step and it's regrettable that the POW swap hasn't been done fully yet. We welcome the release of several Armenian POWs and urge Azerbaijan to release the rest, to restore the trust. //
"We achieved what we wanted. We needed a statement, we got it. We already knew that our petition to hold a debate on the floor would be rejected," said LHK leader Marukyan, another Armenian representative to PACE.
search operations and POWs
The crews discovered 9 bodies in the southern Fizuli (Varanda) district. They were likely reservists or volunteers. The searches continue in the Hadrut region today. Hundreds of bodies are yet to be identified; 116 names were published today.
3 Azeris stepped on a mine in the southern Fizuli district. One of them died.
Russian sappers looking for landmines in Artsakh:
MoD Vagharshak met the British ambassador and the military attaché to discuss the topic of POWs.
statistics about teachers: certification levels / age / salaries
age & experience
40% of teachers have >25 years of experience. 12% are over the age of 60. Only 2% of teachers entering school are new. Education Ministry wants to see a higher number.
The certification of teacher's "tier" is on a volunteer basis. It encourages them to improve their skills and salaries. It's regulated by a 4-tier system. The highest tier-4 teachers must have at least 9 years of experience; they receive 50% higher wages.
There are 37,500 teachers in Armenia. 2226 are tier-1. 122 are tier-2. Only 1 is tier-3. That means only 6% of teachers are below tier-4.
salaries based on tiers
During the tier certification process, if the teacher scores 90%, they earn +50% higher extra wages. 80% means +30%. In both cases, the salary will become close to Armenia's average salary.
Those who score 60-79% will not see a salary change. Scoring under 59% will require a mandatory re-certification within a year.
new exams for tier placement
The time has arrived for another round of tier certification. 56% of teachers will soon be able to take their tests. It'll be done through multiple rounds, with teachers from higher classes and certain subjects going first. Education Ministry says the process will undergo digitization and other reforms.
Aladina - Spanish charity foundation
... is helping Armenian children with cancer by paying for their treatment for the next 2 months. The $160K aid came at a time when the City of Smile Foundation, an Armenian charity that subsidizes care, saw a sharp decline in funding during the 2020 pandemic and war. The flow of donations began to slowly resume after the war.
City of Smile spends $1M annually to treat residents of Armenia, Artsakh, and Javakh under the age of 25. 370 recipients so far. Director Esther Demirchyan says 70% of patients defeat the illness.
1921 tested. 143 infected. 535 healed. 5 deaths. 5035 active.
COVID was confirmed among 39 out of 1971 (1.98%) penitentiary inmates as of Feb-2. They have all recovered.
Sputnik flew over Armenia
Healthcare Ministry has registered the Russian Sputnik-5 vaccine in Armenia, based on the results from the 3rd stage analysis done in Russia. Armenian doctors haven't done additional studies in Armenia and will rely on the Russian results instead. They had earlier tested it on dozens of volunteers who reported no complications.
COVID vs real estate transactions
4Q2020: 36,165 (lowest number in a decade)
62% of transactions were in Yerevan. Within Yerevan, the most active was Arabkir, and the least active was Nubarashen district.
61% of all transactions in provinces were about land.
842 out of 36.1K transactions were done with the participation of a foreign citizen. 550 of them were selling it.
Lease contracts are down -46%.
minimal consumer basket price in Artsakh
The cost of the Minimal Consumer Basket in Artsakh is currently ֏59K ($115). It rose by +1.5% from last year.
The minimal food basket costs ֏34K.
what about individual product prices in Artsakh?
56 product prices were monitored in shops. 25 more expensive, 12 cheaper, YoY.
Gasoline -9%, at ֏390/L. Diesel -18%, at ֏370/L. Pressurized gas +7%, at ֏235.
Milk, yogurt, sour cream +11%. Locally produced cooking oil +40% (֏854). The aforementioned products are sold by companies with dominant market share, so the economic competition commission asked them to explain the price increase.
Economy Minister meets Netherlands ambassador
The Netherlands ambassador has been very active lately. There have been numerous meetings with various agencies. Today he met EcoMin Qerobyan to discuss possible investments and cooperation in agriculture and tourism.
Central Bank about the economy, product prices, markets, $750M eurobonds
Central Bank: We observed a 3.4% product price increase in December, mainly because the imported products are more expensive. By the end of 2020, the inflation increased significantly, reaching the target value of 3.7%. We are raising the refinancing rate to 5.5%. We expect inflation to remain around 4%.
As we predicted earlier, the economic activity and resumption of demand are increasing in our main partners USA and Russia. As for the EU, it's recovering slower than expected, as a result of COVID restrictions. Product prices continue to rise in partner countries, which affects Armenia.
The services industry did poorly in Armenia in 4Q20 due to war and uncertainty. The banks are issuing fewer loans. We believe 2020 ended with a -7.8% economy, instead of the earlier predicted -7.2%.
At the same time, in recent months there has been an improvement in the assessment of Armenia's risk premium in the international financial markets.
Armenia has issued $750M worth of 10-year eurobonds at 3.875% rate. The demand for Armenian bonds has never been higher. Multiple reasons: investors have accumulated lots of cash and they're looking for investment opportunities, Armenia has seen an improvement in risk premiums (was 600pts in April, dropped to 300pts in July, rose to 600 again during war, and now it's dropping again).
If there was one thing that would strongly concern us it would be the underperformance of capital expenditures. The underperformance in prior years was concerning. The state must be able to do quality capital investments. It would help the private sector. Imagine this scenario: an agricultural business is located in an area without a road. By building a road and water network, the state allows the private sector to do business.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1042112.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1042145.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1042147.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1042174.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1042164.html , https://factor.am/334439.html , https://youtu.be/V18jH4aUzLw
Byureghavan has a new 3.5km water network as part of a government subsidy. The worn-out pipes were replaced for safety and efficiency.
The Nature Ministry began emphasizing the need to clean up lake Sevan shores in 2019. The works expanded. It's needed to remove submerged trees and illegal structures to improve the lake's water quality, reduce algae growth, prepare the lake for water level increase in the future.
Today the Ministry launched an auction to purchase more equipment to resume the cleanup at a wider pace in Spring.
project to build 730 new houses in Artsakh
The Artsakh Ministry of Urban Development has ordered new projects to build housing for internally displaced people and refugees.
100 houses in a new district in Martuni's Varanda village.
150 in Askeran's Astghashen village. The process has begun.
246 in Askeran town, 130 in Martuni, 100 in Aknaberd.
Artsakh wants to repay the citizens' mortgage and other loans fully or partially
President Arayik summoned a meeting to continue discussions around social aid packages for citizens. A bill is drafted. If approved, it will help those who took out personal/business loans before the war.
Mortgage loan payments between Sep-2020 and 2023 will be paid by the government, up to ֏30M, under the condition that the house won't be sold within 5 years.
Businesses will receive favorable repayment dates and terms. Individuals will receive ֏3M compensations.
Full details: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1042149.html
earthquake-resistant school renovation
Infrastructure Ministry continues its program to improve schools' seismic resistance. School N111 will be rebuilt from the ground up with the help of a ֏1.436B funding from the government and the Asian Development Bank.
It will withstand 9M quakes and come equipped with solar panels to reduce electricity costs. There will be disability access, sports center, elevators, etc.
12 other schools are being renovated as part of this program.
CRRC and CivilNet's energy consumption research for 2020: are is you wasting energy?
92% of Armenians said they would like their utility bills to reduce (who are the other 8%?). However, only 42% said they tried to reduce the energy consumption.
51% of those who tried reducing it, did so by replacing the windows, 36% replaced lighting, 35% replaced the door, 33% replaced household appliances with modern efficient ones, 28% improved HVAC, 18% insulated the walls.
60% of utility bill goes towards heating. Only 15-25% is for lighting. However, 60% of people wrongly believe that most energy is consumed by electric appliances. This is why half of the participants believe that unplugging unused appliances can save significant energy.
Only 10% pointed out that the money spent on energy is high because the heat escapes through windows and walls.
Experts believe the average apartment complex building loses 35-60% of electricity delivered to it. Try insulating your walls and windows, folks (said the OP without doing it himself).
this day in history
1709: sailor Alexander Selkirk is found alive on an inhabitable Pacific Ocean island. Writer Daniel Defoe writes the famous novel Robinson Crusoe inspired by the story. The island is later named Robinson Crusoe, after the novel. It's near Chile, in case you were preparing to Google it.
1848: US-Mexico war is over.
1885: Armenian writer Kostan Zaryan is born.
donations to Artsakh & recovering soldiers
www.1000plus.am (recovering soldiers & their families)
www.HimnaDram.org (for Artsakh & Armenia)
www.ArmeniaFund.org (U.S. tax-deductible)
archive of older news
All the accused are considered innocent unless proven guilty in the court of law, even if they "sound" or "appear" guilty.
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/lb6ioy/feb22021_1_arms_dealer_davos_arrest_trial_general/
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|2021 Daily Armenia Reports|