2021 January 18

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Contents

Daily news wrap-up

Jan/18/2021 news: __ Russian MFA Lavrov about Artsakh's legal status, it joining Russia, POWs, secret agreement, etc. __ "Universal healthcare" stats: how many free cancer, heart, stroke, surgeries & subsidized medical visits? __ Police reforms: academy training begins __ Artsakh residents __ more
by ar_david_hh


Your 11-minute Monday report in 2740 words.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov about POWs & Hadrut strip incident:

We want to close the issue of captives. We want the return to be organized based on the all-for-all principle. The topic of POWs took up a significant portion of the January 11th negotiations between leaders of Armenia-Azerbaijan-Russia.

The Armenian side faced more challenges. Both sides had to form a list of missing people. Azerbaijan provided a small list and they were all found a returned. In the initial period, the list of missing people provided by Armenia was not provided immediately and was incomplete.

The main issue now is the December event in the Hadrut region where 62 Armenian soldiers were captured (Khtsaberd village incident). Azerbaijan claims that since those soldiers were stationed in Hadrut after the ceasefire, they aren't POWs and should go through different legal procedures in Azeri courts. The Russian government, nevertheless, wants to discuss this topic as part of the all-for-all POW swap process.

We spoke with Armenian MFA to clarify the final list of POWs and there appear to be more than 62. The three parties are currently clarifying the names and locations of people one-by-one.

(Context: unknown number of people were being held captive by Azerbaijan after the war. Then 62 more soldiers were captured during Hadrut skirmishes. It's unclear how many POWs Azerbaijan holds. They intentionally delay the process, while Armenia has already agreed to an all-for-all swap.)

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040519.html , https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/289515/

Deputy PM Avinyan was asked to comment: Armenia approaches any issue of POW responsibly, refraining from formulations that could harm the process of quick and safe repatriation.

As for the list of POWs submitted by the Armenian side, they were submitted regularly in several stages. We submitted the full list to Russia and Red Cross in December.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040567.html

Russian MFA Lavrov about Artsakh's legal status & "Artsakh joining Russia":

The issue of Karabakh's legal status is left to be resolved in the future because there are disagreements by Armenia and Azerbaijan today, so the three states decided to leave it for later. OSCE Minsk Group should take part in that process. The co-chairs are in touch with both sides and they are preparing to make visits.

The sooner Armenia and Azerbaijan express readiness to regulate daily life between the two people, the sooner Karabakh's status issue will be resolved.

The idea that Karabakh can be part of Russia is "exotic". We have no such intentions. I'd like to remind you that not even Armenia has officially recognized the independence of Karabakh.

The area where the peacekeeping mission is located is the area of responsibility of the peacekeeping contingent. We're discussing humanitarian and transportation topics.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040528.html , https://youtu.be/HJ0vmeKELT4

Russian MFA Lavrov about rumors of "secret agreements":

There were no secret protocols in the November 9th and January 11th statements.

https://factor.am/329054.html

Russian MFA Lavrov about Azeri complaints over Armenian govt officials' visit to Artsakh:

The November 9th statement states that a connection between Armenia and Karabakh will be provided through the Lachin corridor. No one has ever denied a connection between Karabakh and Armenia. The issue of separating Armenia and Karabakh has never been raised during the past decades of negotiations. Armenian politicians are involved with providing humanitarian aid to Artsakh, and it would be strange if Azerbaijan responded to it negatively.

A similar reliable connection will be established between Azerbaijan and Nakhijevan, as stated by the November 9th Statement.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040536.html

search operations

The search crews discovered the bodies of three soldiers in Jabrayil and Kubatlu regions today. Two of them will need DNA analysis for identification. 1238 bodies have been found since the ceasefire. Many are yet to be identified.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040459.html

official calls for sanctions against Aliyev

Tigran Balayan, an MFA official and ambassador to the Netherlands said, "Two months ago, the Council of the European Union released a statement, urging both sides to take steps to strengthen ceasefire in Nagorno Karabakh. To this day, the Aliyev regime is doing the opposite. The only option is sanctions against Aliyev."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040475.html

legal action against Armenophobia in Azerbaijan

Vladimir Vardanyan, the head of Parliamentary State & Legal Affairs Committee said, "The topic of POW is a priority for us. The government has started legal proceedings in connection with the atmosphere of hatred that is spreading in Azerbaijan. These legal processes have been talked about in professional platforms for more than 10 years. This government has finally found the courage to launch these processes while realizing the complications associated with it."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040477.html

army published names of soldiers who committed acts of heroism

Driver-medic Sgt. Hovik Sergeyi Musayelyan endangered his life in difficult conditions to evacuate wounded soldiers.

Cpt. Davit Hovhannesi Sajhumyan secured his combat unit with radio communication tools and cameras.

Major Lendrush Norayri Khachatryan skillfully lead his unit and caused heavy damage to the enemy.

Several Pvts and Sgts were praised for stopping enemy advancement in the north.

Full: https://factor.am/329165.html

Parliament held a session

The ruling party voted against the LHK bill that would discuss the "legality of Pashinyan's signature under November 9th statement". They also voted against a bill about PM's resignation.

https://factor.am/328883.html

Ind. MP Babajanyan: Aliyev recently claimed he would wage another war and win if Armenia planned revanche. Armenia should stop all political discussions with Azerbaijan until Aliyev apologized to the Artsakh population for its genocidal behavior.

Meanwhile, the [former regime's] 16 political parties rushed to give interviews to Russian outlets claiming that "Armenia isn't planing a revanche". Dear government, don't be afraid of the word "revanche", and not-so-dear 16 political parties, do not be terrified of the word "revanche". Armenia will have a revanche but it will be in the form of Armenia strengthening its economy and sovereignty with the help of new partners.

https://factor.am/328916.html

BHK MP Zohrabyan believes the Parliament should not discuss any resolutions for now. "The only topic should be Pashinyan's resignation." BHK MPs gave speeches with demands for PM's resignation.

QP MP criticized the opposition LHK and BHK for leaving the room "after staging a show".

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040470.html , https://factor.am/328990.html

The Parliament discussed several bills about establishing new anti-corruption investigative committees and courts, new transparency requirements for officials to disclose large transactions, penalizing businesses for repeatedly ignoring IRS agent's instructions, etc.

These bills are yet to be finalized and approved. Details about some of them can be found in my older posts. More on them later.

https://factor.am/328996.html , https://factor.am/329079.html

trial resumes for Hrayr Tovmasyan, ex-chief of Constitutional Court

Context: Hrayr Tovmasyan served as HHK's Justice Minister before joining the Parliament as HHK MP. In 2018, HHK appointed Tovmasyan as Constitutional Court judge, in a process that prompted a felony investigation by the Pashinyan administration, amid accusations that HHK falsified documents to change dates to allow Tovmasyan to be appointed as a judge under Old Constitution's terms, so he would serve lifetime (new constitution would severely limit the term). Tovmasyan was later charged with a case relating to his time as Justice Minister. He and his subordinate godson Panosyan were charged with pressuring notaries to legalize properties allegedly stolen by Tovmasyan and registered under someone else's name.

The trial for Tovmasyan and his godson Panosyan resumed today. The defense asked the court to dismiss the prosecutor for "unprofessional lexicon". The court rejected the plea.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/204597

Joe Biden appoints another Armenian official to his cabinet

Jeff Marutyan has been appointed as US President's Special Assistant for Human Resources at the Climate and Science Agency. He was helping Biden to win LGBT votes during the presidential campaign. He had previously held other positions under the Obama administration.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/204525

Arthur Abraham has left the server

Armenian-German world boxing champion Arthur Abrahamyan has decided to end his professional career.

He started as an amateur boxer and became the Armenian champion three times. Unable to win tickets to international games as an Armenian boxer, he moved to Germany where he launched his professional career in 2003.

47 wins (30 ko) - 6 losses.

Full: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/204577

Armenian church is put for sale in Turkey

A church in Bursa is for sale for 6 million Turkish Liras. Turkish-Armenian MP Garo Paylan called it a shameful act. "How can the government and society allow this?"

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/204528

police academy begins 5-month training for new police forces

In February 2020, the government drafted a plan to reform the police forces to have a highly-trained and more trustworthy taskforce with better tools, uniforms, vehicles, salaries, and knowledge.

2,500 people applied. Exams were held, interviews were conducted. 770 passed: 496 civilians, 274 existing cops.

Today the police academy began the 5-month-long training. The new police will speak multiple languages, learn proper behavior, take shooting practice, etc.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/204598 , https://youtu.be/Wlf5h4ptGlA

environmental damage during the war

Nature Minister Romanos sent a letter to the executive secretaries of various environmental conventions to bring to their attention Azerbaijan's use of banned cassette and phosphorus weapons during the war, and their negative impact on the environment.

"It should be noted that the Azerbaijani aggression was not limited to Artsakh. It extended to the territory of the Republic of Armenia. Artsvaberd and Syunik forests were damaged."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040463.html

healthcare system during the war

Healthcare Ministry provides stats: the death rate among wounded soldiers in hospitals was 1.65%. Air and land transport was used. 40 medical centers and 3,000 doctors were involved. 76% of wounded soldiers were treated in state-run hospitals.

2,000 various types of life-saving pieces of medical equipment were sent to Artsakh.

DNA devices were used to identify 427 soldiers.

More: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040568.html

cabinet changes

Healthcare Minister Torosyan has resigned and will serve as Prime Minister's Chief of Staff.

Anahit Avanesyan is the new Healthcare Minister.

Gagik Isakhanyan is appointed as an assistant to the PM.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040499.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040527.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040514.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040546.html

stats: government-subsidized healthcare / free cancer, heart, stroke, reproductive, poverty, and under-18 care

Beginning in 2019, the government made cancer and stroke surgeries free. In 2020, some 9960 surgeries were conducted to remove tumors. 746 patients used stroke-related services.

In mid-2019, hospital care, surgeries, and the use of specialized expensive equipment became free for anyone under 18. To this date, 243,215 children received this subsidized care.

In late-2019, heart surgeries became free. 4340 surgeries have been conducted since then.

Beginning mid-2019, some 400,000 low-income citizens became qualified for an "improved subsidized healthcare package", including 18 types of modern expensive procedures.

2019 also marked the launch of a new helicopter medical service that connected rural areas to Yerevan for faster travel for patients. 216 flights were conducted.

Beginning in 2019, some 15,000 medical workers qualified for subsidized care. Another 620 ambulance workers joined the list in June 2020.

In 2019, the govt spent ֏500 million to increase ambulance capacity, improve the speed of response, and its reach in rural areas. 29 new brigades were added. The ambulance budget rose 16% this year.

In late-2019, the government subsidy applied to outpatient palliative care services. In 2020 the program was extended to 7 medical centers in Yerevan and provinces.

In late-2019, the govt launched a fertility program to provide free care for infertile couples. 508 couples have received the "assisted reproductive technologies" services so far.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040564.html

free breast cancer screening in Vanadzor

Vanadzor women between the ages of 50-69 can schedule a free appointment. It's part of a program to detect cancer at an early stage.

https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/289528/

Russian peacekeepers in Artsakh

Sappers continue their de-mining operations. They use the URAN-6 robot to clear mines in the Martakert suburbs. over 23,700 bombs have been found since the beginning of their mission in Artsakh.

Russia also sent sappers and tech to Azerbaijan to clear the Aghdam region.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040469.html , https://factor.am/329076.html

Artsakh residents met Russian peacekeepers

... to hand over a complaint regarding provocative behavior by some Azeri soldiers. There was an incident where Azeri soldiers showed hand gestures mimicking throat-cutting while Armenians were traveling on the road. The peacekeepers heard the residents' complaints and left.

The residents also closed the road as a sign of protest after they were prohibited from using it. The incident happened in the north-western Artsakh borders.

https://youtu.be/vkKIPmxXuf0

Artsakh refugees continue to repatriate

189 have returned to their homes today, bringing the total to 49,827 via the Lachin corridor.

The free buses traveling from Yerevan to Artsakh will continue to operate indefinitely. The flow isn't as big as it was during the initial days when dozens of buses would travel daily, but hundreds of people still return on daily basis.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040484.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040504.html

housing subsidy for Artsakh refugees

Residents who were displaced after their homes were captured or damaged, will receive a government subsidy to rent housing. ֏40,000/mo for a one-bedroom apartment, with an extra ֏10,000 for each additional bedroom, up to 5 bedrooms.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040486.html

book publishers and HayPost meet to discuss shipping fees

HayPost says all these years they've been operating with losses while shipping books abroad, so they had to raise the fees. Book publishers weren't happy so they asked the Education Ministry to organize a meeting to prevent business closures.

HayPost said that despite the regular fee hike, the World Postal Union has a special "M" service which has reduced pricing for book shipments weighing under 30kg. Additionally, HayPost will provide a 20% discount to Armenian publishers who sign contracts.

The Education Ministry will schedule another meeting. They could discuss some form of aid for HayPost or publishers.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040559.html

you get a book, everybody gets a book

Education Ministry sent out 26,000 books to diasporan schools in 11 countries. There will be an initiative titled "An overview of the history of Armenian culture" which will be printed and distributed after consultations.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040468.html

COVID stats

+842 tested. +90 infected. +292 healed. +6 deaths. 7885 active.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040460.html

Healthcare Ministry: 9225 people were quarantined between February-May of 2020 when the COVID broke out. 33% of them were later confirmed infected. They were kept in 30 quarantine zones and taken care of by 400 people.

As of December 31st, some 593,903 tests were done with 159,409 positive results. The new COVID-hotline phone number was contacted by 83,092 people with symptoms.

The lab capacities were increased in 2020. They went from 300 to 2,000 daily tests.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040566.html

President Sarkissian will be discharged soon

He was infected with COVID earlier and went through a heavy case. He'll be discharged from the hospital in a few days and continue his care at home.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040495.html

agricultural exports during the pandemic

.. increased by +48% (have you been binge-eating?). 2020 saw an unprecedented high yield for grapes, up by +30%. Canned foods +25%. Export of juice increased by 2.2x. The export of wine and cognac, on the other hand, decreased by 20-28%.

Armenian food producers tried to find new markets. "Studies were conducted and an export manual was developed for each country, including the requirements, what documents are needed, what the contacts are," said Deputy Economy Minister. The main target as a new market was the Middle East.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040457.html

earthquake in Armenia

3M quake struck 10km west of Jermuk city. It was felt in several villages in Vayots Dzor province.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/204612

update: the RENKO thermal power plant in Yerevan

Italian RENKO signed a big contract in 2019 to build a 250MW thermal power plant in Yerevan. It uses gas to produce electricity. RENKO agent Giovanni met Deputy PM Avinyan to discuss the construction progress.

The 2020 pandemic caused some complications but RENKO believes it can finish and launch the factory in the Autumn of 2021.

The two agreed to discuss the possibility of new investments by RENKO. A group of Italian businessmen plan to visit Armenia.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040558.html

"How to Succeed in Business? Famous people dined at restaurant of Syrian-Armenian businessman"

https://youtu.be/_an3S-q6F6I

old elevators in Yerevan apartment complex buildings

520 Soviet-era elevators were replaced last year. As of today, 70% of the remaining elevators are over the age of 40, despite the limit being 25.

The municipality is examining "a handful of complaints where elevators were reported working only intermittently." Yerevan mayor decided to replace 300 elevators this year, instead of the planned 100.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1040538.html , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/204594

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)

news archive

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

disclaimer

All the accused are considered innocent unless proven guilty in the court of law, even if they "sound" or "appear" guilty.

The idea that Karabakh can be part of Russia is "exotic". We have no such intentions.

Press F for Telegram channels with sources.


Link to original report and comments: https://old.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/l0448b/jan182021_news_russian_mfa_lavrov_about_artsakhs/

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