2021 July 1

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Contents

Daily news wrap-up

News - Jul/1/2021: (1) Security official: army reforms & prof. army (2) Economy is growing faster (2) Artsakh minister: infrastructure, roads, demographics (3) Regarding peace agreement (4) Serj's diesel trial (5) NGOs vent (6) Jeb! vs Erdogan (7) IRS stats (8) Less algae in Sevan (9) Skin anthrax
by ar_david_hh


This is your 14-minute Thursday report in 3614 words.

Armenia responds to Azeri government's statements about the need to sign a peace agreement

Armenia's Parliamentary Chairman of Foreign Relations Committee: Armenia will only sign a comprehensive peace agreement when the Artsakh conflict is resolved.

https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/294043/

update: General Movses "Mosi" Hakobyan was charged with disclosing state secrets

We learned back on May 3 that General Mosi was charged with disclosing state secrets.

NSS reports: Mosi, being the former head of the military control service in MOD, and having access to secret information due to his years of service, disclosed secret information in November.

In particular, it's over long-term weapon and equipment forecast directions, disclosing development plans, disclosing armed forces and civil defense plans, operational programs, combat management, top-secret info about different levels of combat readiness.

He is charged under Article 306.1. The case is sent to prosecutors so they can file court documents.

https://factor.am/388957.html

Serj's ֏0.5 billion agricultural fuel embezzlement trial resumes

In 2019, former president Serj and the owner of Flash fuel company Barsegh Beglaryan were charged with embezzling agricultural aid in 2013. Two other suspects, one of whom was a key associate who testified against Serj, have since passed away.

The trial resumed today and entered the final stage. Serj has pleaded not guilty.

https://factor.am/389133.html https://factor.am/389166.html https://factor.am/389221.html

Parliamentary Security Commission chief Andranik Kocharyan about army reforms

Q: can you give details about the proposed army reforms?

Broadly speaking, new weapons, new intellectual management, professional army. What is a "professional army"? It will be revealed when the Government presents that portion of its program and the Parliament forms the relevant commissions. The commission chief will then open the parenthesis.

But even before the elections, the Government had already presented its reform ideas to Parliamentary commissions. MOD Vagharshak began working on it. We need to make very serious personnel reforms in this journey. We have serious gaps here.

What will the education system be, from Pvt to commanders? We know that after the 90s victory, and after the killing of Vazgen Sargsyan, our army took a completely different turn which lead to the 2020 defeat. People viewed army service as something mandatory instead of being proud of it. The atmosphere of indifference and lack of pride manifested during the 2020 war.

It's unacceptable to have army commander [CoGS Onik] with such behavior. "Stop the war, I can't fight". Your job is to manage the war. Those who were fighters ended up fighting either way. We've been in far worse situations during the Artsakh war but our army leader never behaved in that matter; "we will fight until we reach the goal."

You're young, you might not remember, so study Gen. Samvel Babayan's journey about what we had, and what we achieved. Things reversed in 2020. Now we need to learn the lessons and move forward.

Q: Security Council Chief Grigoryan said they plan to shorten the conscription from 2yr to 1.5yr. Can we afford this considering the border length?

The professional army is very expensive but it solves many problems. Azeris also have the professional units "Yashma" but they haven't given up on general conscription. But if we want to have a Pro army, that means the personnel must be trained and exercised. The length will be determined. From this group, you can selectively collect the personnel to create the permanent Pro army [similar to what Samvel Babayan suggested earlier].

The Pro army is not a "contractor" army. Yes, there is a "contract" with Pros, but they are a permanent institute, they are strictly specialized and with great skills. This will take years to achieve.

Meanwhile, we will change the front's engineering structure, introduce audio-video systems, etc. and they will be backed up by personnel who can respond if needed, and behind them, we will have the permanent chain process to form a Pro army.

Today we have an enormous number of soldiers who gained valuable experience during the 2020 war, from Privates to Commanders. Imagine this, an artillery student used to fire only 3 shots during the 4-month training. During the 2020 war, he fired 1,000-2,000 shots. Firing, guiding, correcting... this is all a system. We need to combine this experience with knowledge and move it over to the Pro army.

Q: is it possible that one day we could recover the lost territories?

When the elephants are born, at some point, they always return to their roots. Artsakh has given birth to many individuals who left the country, became scientists, soldiers, but their genetic memory always pushed them back to Artsakh.

Artsakh should be able to preserve its potential within its borders. I see Robert Kocharyan, Serj Sargsyan, and others as part of that "potential", although they - for some reason - do not want to return to Artsakh and help it even after losing in the elections.

Q: you said earlier that Kocharyan's ballot list contains many oligarchs. Why is [former-MP and current-businessman] Khachatur Sukiasyan on Pashinyan's ballot?

Because Khachatur Sukiasyan, unlike others, did not gain his wealth by abusing the public office. Compare him to Kocharyan's ballot list, the majority of whom became dollar millionaires thanks to their public positions.

Sukiasyan is from a smart family. They will separate business from politics, and if they don't, the party will handle that. Sukiasyan explained his recent entry in politics as "I'm entering politics to defend the interests of those who were [persecuted] by those forces [Kocharyan-Serj] who are trying to achieve a revanche today." [Context: Sukiasyan was one of the businessmen who was forced to leave Armenia during the former regime for not being "loyal".]

Q: will Pashinyan visit Artsakh?

I think he will.

Q: why hasn't he so far?

The ceasefire is still in a complicated transitional phase.

https://youtu.be/oAYEGV00m3I

water reservoir projects in Artsakh / all settlements to have water in 3 years

Q: Artsakh lost significant water reserves during the war. Any plans to improve water and electricity?

State Minister Artak Beglaryan: projects have been drawn. We plan to build several reservoirs for water management. Simultaneously, we plan to resolve all drinking water delivery issues within 3 years. The water quality is also important, we are studying it to ensure high quality.

The infrastructure was all damaged during the war, but very intense repair works were conducted immediately after the war. It's almost fully restored with the exception of some settlements. Alternative solutions were introduced in some others.

https://factor.am/388913.html

Artsakh State Minister about housing & security projects:

To prevent emigration we need two main things: ensuring long-term security and addressing the housing shortage.

Thankfully, unlike during the immediate aftermath of war when everyone was skeptical, it is obvious now that the security guarantees are stronger than many had expected.

Some wonder what will happen in 5 years regarding Russian peacekeepers. I am confident that they aren't here for just 5 years. We will have lengthy peace with the help of peacekeepers, and of course, our defense army which will become more efficient over time. But our goal is to ensure safety diplomatically and we hope Azerbaijan is prepared for that.

After the housing and security, the next major thing is a program to boost the economy and demographics. We have programs to increase the population year by year.

https://factor.am/388920.html

Artsakh's Hin Tagher and Khtsaberd

After the Nov 9 ceasefire, a narrow strip of land west of the Shushi-Hadrut corridor was supposed to remain under Armenian control, per agreement terms. However, the Russian peacekeepers were, for unexplained reasons, not stationed there. It lead to Azeris capturing Hin Tagher and Khtsabert village areas. Artsakh resident wants to know why...

Artsakh State Minister: it's one of the most painful post-war episodes. I myself have many questions without answers. There is one theory that the Nov 9 map did not include these villages as being part of Artsakh, but only officials can clarify that.

The second theory is that Azeris took advantage of the lack of Russian peacekeepers and captured this part of the Hadrut Region which we were able to preserve during the war. We view these territories as forecefully occupied.

https://factor.am/388944.html

Azerbaijan will soon lose access to Shushi-Karmir Shuka road

Artsakh resident complains that Azeris often display aggressive behavior on roads that belong to Artsakh. Azeris [accompanied by Russians] are often allowed to use various Artsakh roads to travel to Karabakh's adjacent regions.

Artsakh State Minister: I have been informed that significant work was done behind the curtain [to reduce aggressive behavior]. Today, Russian peacekeepers are the primary force to ensure safety. For the most part, we can say that it's safe. There have been a few incidents that were addressed, not only by Russians but also by Artsakh authorities. The public is often not informed about such negotiations.

As President Arayik said yesterday, Azeris will lose access to Shushi-Karmir Shuka road in the next few months. Efforts are underway to improve road safety, including nighttime lighting, observation points, etc.

https://factor.am/388925.html

Artsakh State Minister Beglaryan about fake news and info warfare from Azerbaijan:

Azeris have always conducted informational warfare against Artsakh residents. People must be prepared psychologically to withstand attacks. Azeris spread fake news while our media often takes the bait and recirculates it. Artsakh state apparatus needs to improve to combat this. There are occasional responses and rebuttals, but we have room for improvement.

https://factor.am/388944.html

when will there be elections in Artsakh?

Artsakh State Minister: when it's possible to hold them.

https://factor.am/388944.html

Artsakh MFA welcomed the recognition of Artsakh's independence by the U.S. state of New Jersey

https://factor.am/389063.html

forests are burning in the occupied territories of Varanda (Fizuli)

Azeri firefighters were unable to extinguish or isolate fires that broke out in the Fizuli region because of landmines, reported the Azeri media. The helicopters were unable to help.

https://factor.am/389043.html

John Bolton, Jeb! Bush, and ex-MFA of Italy Giulio Terzi launch an anti-Erdogan will launch a platform to promote democracy in Turkey

The platform is called the Turkish Democracy Project.

https://www.dailysabah.com/politics/former-us-officials-launch-anti-turkey-propaganda-platform/news https://factor.am/388964.html

IRS publishes tax collection states for 1H21

Collected ֏750.2b ($1.5b), or 7.5% above the expectations.

IRS refunded ֏83.8b ($169m) to taxpayers.

1H18: ֏573 billion

1H19: ֏713 billion

1H20: ֏680 billion

1H21: ֏750 billion

https://factor.am/389003.html

$4.2 million textile investments

Businessman Lfik's "Alex Textile" factory plans to invest ֏2.1b to import equipment and raw materials from Italy, Turkey, and Russia for clothing production.

Today the government gave them a ֏106m tax waiver as an incentive. There will be 80 new jobs with an average ֏167,000 salary.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1057118.html

the government will no longer provide tax waiver incentives for certain types of imports

Last year Pashinyan asked the cabinet to study how effective these tax waivers are when a business asks for border tariff or VAT waiver in exchange for investments.

Economy Minister: the government has recently severely restricted the procedure for granting waivers. From now on, the waivers will be given primarily for importing equipment or the types of raw materials that are meant for exports.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1057125.html

Pashinyan: we expect the economy to grow by 6% instead of the earlier-projected 3.2%

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/217529

Serj alliance member sues ruling party MP for calling her an idiot

Former ruling alliance MP Taguhi Tovmasyan, who recently joined Serj Sargsyan's PU alliance, is suing QP MP Lena Nazaryan over alleged defamation. The latter called Tovmasyan "idiotka" on a hot mic.

https://factor.am/389311.html

NGOs and free media representatives discuss institutions, Armenian Pablo Escobars, etc.

Boris Navasardyan: the media is very polarized. The criticism that has to originate from media directed at the government either does not exist because the media supports the govt, or the media spreads fake news to attack the government. We don't have healthy criticism. Not everyone, but mostly.

The revolution inspired the NGOs but they are currently in crisis because the NGO field used to be based on being strongly anti-government.

The government isn't eager to give more importance to NGOs because NGOs were artificially discredited in the past 3 years by the members of the former authorities. NGOs do not have a strong influence on ordinary citizens, so the authorities consider them secondary.

A political will is necessary to give more importance to NGOs. Government can resolve some of the issues only if they listen to NGOs.

Helsinki Group's Armenian representative: institutional problems remain even after the 2018 revolution. Regarding these elections... the most important thing is that we did have elections. Don't forget the events that unfolded before the elections. There was a movement for changing the govt without elections. There were calls to do it violently. The public rejected that option and the institute of governance was formed with the use of elections.

There were those who were against holding elections. They were saying "Who is going to organize these elections? It's pointless. There will be many violations" etc. but the public opted for elections and reaffirmed that only democratic mechanisms must be used in Armenia.

Elections are the first step towards democracy. It needs to be institutionalized. NGOs must be given more influence and the authorities should hear them out. Pashinyan administration did not make the necessary Constitutional reforms and did not solve the issue of government branches being hijacked. Pashinyan administration believed that if the executive branch has changed post-2018, then the other branches would change themselves.

As a result, the new Parliament will have forces that are responsible for the aforementioned unpunished hijacking of the government branches that took place for years.

Armenian Pablo Escobars have found themselves in Parliament. Not one, but several Pablos. They gained a mandate just as the famous narco Barron in Colombia...

The issue of the quality of past governance must be discussed in the new parliament and in the public. Russians did not address their Soviet-era governance issues, which lead to Putinism. Those ex-Soviet states, which were able to assess their past, were able to rebuild the state governing system and achieve success.

We can accuse the Pashinyan administration of everything but not when it comes to hijacking state apparatus/branches. The problem with them is they did not dismantle the mechanism that was used to hijack the system. The fact that Pashinyan held protests in front of courts shows that he did not hijack them. But he doesn't have to hold protests. He has the mandates to fix them.

We've made numerous proposals during the previous administration. They ignored us. Moreover, they told us to sit quietly. They shut down media outlets and committed repressions. That's why during the previous administrations, the NGOs' main goal was to resist the repressions.

If the Pashinyan administration is not suicidal, they will listen to NGOs and make certain reforms.

Our main complaint against the Pashinyan administration is not intentional violations, but rather lack of certain reforms which lead to non-systemic violations. Judges who have their verdicts overturned in international courts should not have a place in the system. Get rid of the bad judges while also implementing an institutional approach for hiring new ones.

Full: https://factor.am/389231.html https://factor.am/389187.html https://factor.am/389204.html

Aram A catholicos met Pope Francisco in the Vatican

Այսօր Հինգշաբթի, 1 Յուլիս 2021-ին, Վատիկանի Պապական ժողովասրահին մէջ ընթացք առաւ քրիստոնեայ հոգեւոր պետերու ժողովը, ներկայութեամբ Նորին Սրբութիւն Ֆրանչիսկոս Պապին։ Ժողովէն առաջ հաւաքական աղօթք տեղի ունեցաւ Սուրբ Պետրոս Մայր Տաճարին մէջ

Pics: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/217590

algae growth in Lake Sevan is lower than in 2018

The lake turned green in 2018 due to climate change coupled with decades-long pollution. The Nature Ministry says this year's algae growth has begun but it's not as intense as in 2018. It normally intensifies in late July and ends in the first half of August.

This year, too, the temperature is high in the bottom of the lake, while the oxygen concentration is low.

Compared to 2018, this year the feeding materials do not have the same high levels of concentration. As a result, so far the 2021 growth is milder than in 2018. It's about the same as in 2020.

https://factor.am/389189.html

water quality is being tested near the borders

The government allocated ֏38 million to purchase equipment and install new observation points to check the water quality, including the presence of radioactive materials, in the water that's near the new AM-AZ borders. "No negative water quality changes have been observed so far."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1057148.html

startups are now able to patent their software in Armenia

The new law goes into effect today. The report says Armenia becomes the only other country after the U.S. to allow this, but I'm not sure what that means. In any case, the government believes this will boost investments in the tech world.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1057066.html https://www.e-draft.am/projects/1905 https://en.armradio.am/2021/07/01/armenia-second-after-the-us-to-patent-software/

Discuss: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/obis6l/armenia_second_after_the_us_to_patent_software/h3o0u7x/

video: Yerevan's bulldozers are now leveling the illegally built structures in the Davtashen district

https://youtu.be/DAD6bnSgrDo?t=4

the next batch of brand new elevators in Yerevan

... will be installed in apartment complex buildings resided by war participants who became disabled, announced mayor Marutyan. Ready in a few months.

https://factor.am/388954.html

cutaneous anthrax [least dangerous skin type] is recorded in a village

Three residents of Gegharkunik's neighboring Vanevan and Torqavan villages (3km west of Vardenis) were hospitalized with anthrax.

Healthcare Minister Avanesyan: the residents' conditions are mild to medium. They are receiving care. The experts have been traveling and examining suspicious cases in the past 3-4 days. We published their findings yesterday, stating that 3 residents were confirmed with the infection. It's important to note that they all have the "skin" variant.

Preventative measures are being taken. The entire settlement will be closely monitored. Experts are currently taking soil samples. The source is still unknown. //

The cows in Vanevan village began dying on June 22. A resident says the authorities came and collected dozens of dead animals for presumably burning.

The vaccinations began in April. The first cases of disease were reported in late May. The veterinarian agency denied one resident's claim that a vaccine dose was administered improperly. The vaccination campaign resumed recently.

A villager lost two of his sheep, presumably to anthrax. He says no deaths were reported after the vaccination. The veterinarian agency says the issue is 90% resolved.

https://factor.am/388981.html https://factor.am/389320.html

COVID stats

3920 tested, 126 infected. 104 healed. 3 deaths. 2722.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1057068.html

age restriction lifted on Sputnik V vaccine

Up until now, Sputnik was reserved for those in risky groups, while AstraZeneca was for everyone. Healthcare Ministry decided to open up Sputnik for everyone beginning July 1st.

https://factor.am/388885.html

Healthcare Minister Avanesyan about vaccination rates and Armenia producing its own Sputnik-V:

Vaccination numbers are increasing but it's still not satisfactory. We had fewer vaccinations during the election campaign because peoples' priorities were different. After the elections, this week we've already recorded a day with >3,000 vaccinations. We need herd immunity. It needs to be done in a short period of time.

Q: why are you still wearing a mask?

We said a month ago that vaccinated people like myself can take off their masks outdoors and soon indoors, but due to the emergence and rapid spread of new COVID strains in recent weeks, especially in Russia and lately in Georgia, we are concerned. We are sequencing various batches of viruses, and if we do find new strains, we will inform you. It's too early to take off the masks while indoors.

Q: any news about Armenia producing Sputnik-V?

Samples have already been produced. They will undergo testing. If it's successful, it'll enter serial production.

https://factor.am/388988.html https://youtu.be/olP-hOeJvSo

latest news from anti-vax corners of social media (brought to you by steel nerves)

Urologist Gevorg Grigoryan, who is an opposition activist/member, circulated rumors claiming that Healthcare Minister Avanesyan did not actually receive a vaccine. The activists circulated a carefully angled screenshot from a video to claim there is no needle/syringe. The actual full video shows another picture, shared a fact-checker.

Members of the government have been vaccinating in public to promote the safety of vaccines. Deputy Premier Avinyan criticized conspiracy theories and said globally only a dozen out of 200,000,000 vaccinations ended badly.

https://fip.am/16349 https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/5050/us-money-armenia-misinformation-covid-vaccines https://www.facebook.com/grigoryangev/posts/10220680687994938

Yerevan will have a theater in Western Armenian dialect

As part of the Education Ministry's grant program to promote Armenian culture and language, the Aleppo NGO will perform "Voices of Conscience" by Grigor Zohrap, specifically the "Postal" [The prostitute?] novel.

It's about the morals and unjust situations during the author's era. The premier was attended by many young and diasporan Armenians. The feedback has been mostly positive with some issues relating language barrier.

Project manager Avetis Aposhyan: the issue with language is that only two of the actors are from Western Armenia: Mrs. Tukhik Karapetyan and myself. The rest are from Armenia and had only 3 months to study the Western Armenian dialect. Obviously, they couldn't master it 100%.

In the near future, we plan to found the Grigor Zohrap Theater in Yerevan. It'll be in Western dialect. The headquarter will be in Yerevan but we will travel to provinces to make Western Armenian accessible at every corner.

http://www.hayernaysor.am/en/posts/804/2021-06-15/ https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/217495

everyone knowns Syrian-Armenian cuisine is the best (sorry Beirut)

The Syrian Armenian Union and the Education Ministry launched a project to promote Armenian traditional cuisine. It will "digitize" participant women's cooking skills. 40 women will cook 12 types of food, while the videos and recipes will be made available on various platforms.

The Syrian Armenian Union was formed by diasporan repatriates who moved to Armenia during the Syrian civil war. The union's "Women's Council" has been cooperating with Education Ministry since 2019 to promote women's intangible cultural heritage. Hundreds of Syrian-Armenian and local women have taken cooking and sewing classes.

https://factor.am/388882.html

yesterday's news

https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/ob62pc/news_jun302021_1_asset_forfeiture_property/?

Перевод на русский by Impossible-Ad-

https://reddit.com/r/ArmDailyReports_RUS_/comments/obexbv/новости_из_армении_за_30_июня_2021/

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/obvaw5/news_jul12021_1_security_official_army_reforms/

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