2021 July 8

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Contents

Daily news wrap-up

News - Jul/8/2021: Armenian POW claims he is Azeri spy __ $10m research center __ Bonds & stocks __ New college majors: EV repairs, drip irrigation __ Judge disciplined; 20 new hired __ Kocharyan allies arrested in Syunik; voter bribery; Zangezur factory __ Selective abortion __ Conspiracy theories
by ar_david_hh


Your 12-minute Thursday recap in 2970 words.

ethnic Armenian POW claims he is an Azeri spy who is no longer "needed"

Russian citizen Edward Dubkov has some Armenian roots. He is one of the POWs held in Azerbaijan, currently undergoing a trial. Some of the following information is originating from Azeri sources:

Dubkov earlier: I have Armenian roots. I was interested in VOMA military training in Armenia. I traveled to Armenia in 2018, underwent military training, and was sent to Shushi and Stepanakert on multiple occasions [before the war].

Azeri prosecutors: Dubkov traveled from Turkey to Azerbaijan on January 14 to commit terrorism but was arrested by police.

Alleged witnesses: Dubkov had a bag with Armenian and Russian writings and a cellphone.

Azeri prosecutors: we investigated that cellphone and found a connection with Artsakh. He was in touch with three Armenian men.

Dubkov during the trial: I deny all accusations. I was forced to give a false confession. In reality, I was recruited as an Azeri spy in 2018 while in Belarus, and went to Artsakh under the Azeri instructions. Azeri intel summoned me to Baku this January to pay and give a new mission, but they arrested me instead. //

The next trial is on July 14. Russian consulate was allowed to visit Dubkov.

https://factor.am/391517.html

consistency is key

Be it for gaining muscle, losing weight, learning new skills, or helping your allies in difficult times. The CSTO military bloc has concluded that the situation on the Tajikistan-Afghanistan border does not warrant CSTO's intervention. They will provide some "technical aid".

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1057758.html

Pashinyan meets the new Police Patrol officers

In case you missed Wednesday news, Armenia has a new Police Patrol service with newly recruited officers with high salaries, new uniforms, cars, equipment, and an academy training with the help of foreign experts.

Pashinyan visited the Patrol: congrats. This is one of our most important reforms as part of police reforms. In reality, this is bigger than the police. This is about the citizen-state and citizen-police relationship.

We expect a new quality of service, starting in Yerevan. The People have given us the mandate to establish a dictatorship of Law. This is your duty. It shouldn't be just about punishing. It's about guiding and helping citizens.

It is expected that you will face challenges and problems that will arise in the initial period. We will observe and correct them.

70% of you are new recruits who have never worked in the police, while some of you are experienced. The combination of freshness and experience should bring a new quality to the service. //

Patrolwoman Jr. Sgt. Alabelyan: yesterday was our first day. We recorded several vehicle incidents. Drivers were warned for not wearing seatbelts. By the end of the day, I noticed that almost 90% of drivers had their seatbelts on.

Q: why did you, as a woman, decide to work at Patrol?

Alabelyan: I recently moved back to Armenia. I want to serve my country.

Patrolman Jr. Sgt. Hunanyan: we warned several drivers for not wearing a seatbelt. Some drivers had their children on their lap while driving [color me surprised]. Some drivers were double-parked.

Q: how are your female colleagues doing?

Hunanyan: they went through the same training.

https://factor.am/391300.html https://youtu.be/Gag3XHonTy0 https://factor.am/391294.html https://factor.am/391320.html

government approves recruitment of 20 more judges after Constitutional Court's approval

Justice Minister: we approved judicial reforms on February 3rd to establish a new judicial institute for certain types of trials. It went into effect on June 28 after the Constitutional Court found the bill constitutional.

The law mandates the addition of eight Lower Court judges in Yerevan and one in each province. Another three judges in Appeals Court. The government is paying for the Supreme Court to handle the judicial expansion process.

The Corruption Prevention Commission will vet the judges' background before they undergo more checks in the Supreme Court.

Pashinyan: this is similar to the police reform. We're going to have fresh faces in the judicial system while still relying on the experience of existing judges.

https://factor.am/391344.html

a judge receives a warning

The Supreme Court issued a warning to judge Vardan Grigoryan. The Justice Ministry had earlier asked the Supreme Court to discipline him for allegedly allowing a criminal subculture figure Hayko Astrakhanski to escape Armenia with an unwarranted medical leave petition. It's unclear if this is the same disciplinary case.

Two other judges were acquitted. They were under investigation by the Corruption Prevention Commission.

https://factor.am/391549.html https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/fufyqd/apr32020_daily_news_summary_stay_up_to_date_on/

free summer camp for 3,200 children from low-income and war participant families

The Government plans to allocate ֏355m to send 7-13-year-old children to summer health camps that last 20 days. Seven "sanatoriums" across Armenia will receive most of the funds to host the kids. It's an annual tradition that began in the 90s but wasn't done last year due to war and pandemics.

https://factor.am/391336.html

consumper protection agency finds no artificial sugar supply shortage

Some product prices increased during the past year. The consumer protection agency says they found no sugar deficit, therefore no artificially-caused sugar deficit, while responding to a claim made by an ARF official.

The prices in large chains began lowering in May: from ֏386 to ֏366 (packaged from ֏460 to ֏445).

https://factor.am/391333.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1057751.html

update: Appeals Court upholds the pre-trial arrest of Kocharyan-ARF alliance member

HD alliance candidate Charchyan, the director of the Izmirlyan hospital allegedly caught on tape pressuring workers not to vote for Pashinyan, will remain behind the bars for now.

https://factor.am/391360.html

Qarahunj (Syunik) mayor is arrested over alleged voter bribery to support Kocharyan-ARF

Context in Monday post. The court has authorized the pre-trial detention of mayor Lusine Avetyan. She is accused of using municipal funds as bribes to convince residents to vote for Kocharyan.

https://factor.am/391639.html

NSS raided the Zangezur copper factory in Syunik

Armen Andreasyan, one of the department heads, was arrested. Details later. According to Kocharyan-ARF alliance member Vahe Hakobyan, one of the workers testified against the suspect.

During the election campaign, the election observers received complaints about Zangezur factory administrators forcing workers not to attend Pashinyan rallies, and pressure to voting for Kocharyan. At the time, Pashinyan promised to "strike with the hammer" if the election violation complaints are found to be true.

https://factor.am/391494.html

NSS raided the house of Qajaran (Syunik) mayor Manvel Paramazyan today

He is affiliated with the Zangezur Copper factory mentioned above. The full details are unclear.

The following is my news snippet from December 23, 2020:

Qajaran, Syunik mayor Paramazyan was interrogated yesterday. Prosecutors said the mayor is suspected of participating in a kidnapping. The alleged kidnapping is about the incident that hit the news 4 months ago. At the time, there was an incident in Qajaran involving 3 kidnapping suspects, who are the friends of the Qajaran mayor. On May 25th, 2020, Qajaran mayor was implicated in that kidnapping case. He allegedly helped his 3 friends to organize a meeting to settle a dispute with the victim. The victim was kidnapped and beaten, say the prosecutors.

Prosecutors: A Qajaran resident had a dispute with his friend. The mayor invited them to settle the dispute near his gas station. 20 people appeared.

It escalated into a fight. The victim punched back Qajaran mayor's father. The mayor didn't take it lightly and decided to avenge. Later, the mayor colluded with a group of men, twisted the victim's arms in a parking lot, and kidnapped him with an accomplice's car.

The mayor shot the victim in the feet and beat him up while holding him captive in Ajdanak Inc. company territory. The victim was taken to another location with Toyota-Prado before being beaten again. The mayor and 5 others are charged with kidnapping. // [end of December report]

https://factor.am/391346.html https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/218131

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203574 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203583 , https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/gqgfz5/may252020_news_1_qajaran_mayor_implicated_in/? , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203596 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203596

anti-corruption: former Arinj mayor is accused of abuse of power

The mayor is charged under Article 309.1 for allegedly signing illegal land appropriation documents during a dispute between village residents.

https://factor.am/391605.html

Yuri Khachaturov's son Grigori is no longer the commander of 3rd Army Corps

His five-year contract was signed on 7 Jul 2016. It apparently expired today and wasn't extended.

Grigori's father Yuri is a suspect in the March 1st, 2008 events and went on trial with Kocharyan. Grigori himself is an "opposition" general who recently joined now-fired CoGS Onik Gasparyan and demanded Pashinyan's resignation. It lead to an internal crisis with fears of a pending military coup.

https://factor.am/391502.html https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/218101

Pashinyan met leaders of more non-parliamentary opposition parties

He hosted BHK's Gagik Tsarukyan whose party failed to pass the 5% threshold. Tsarukyan looked visibly tired. Pashinyan said just because QP won the majority votes that doesn't mean all the good ideas must come from QP, and vowed to hear BHK if they come up with better ideas. Tsarukyan said just because BHK lost the mandate that doesn't mean they will disappear.

Pashinyan met United Homeland peaker Terteryan and expressed a desire to give a voice to parties who did not cross the entry threshold.

He also met the Free Democrats leader Qoqobelyan.

https://factor.am/391510.html https://factor.am/391554.html https://factor.am/391610.html

U.S. ambassador met Kocharyan-ARF alliance leaders

ARF and Lynne Tracey discussed US-Armenia relations. The ambassador emphasized the need to have a constructive opposition, rule of law, and democratic processes in Armenia.

https://factor.am/391613.html

two Azeris blow up on landmine after sneaking into occupied Fizuli region of southern Artsakh

One of the men had already been arrested for a similar trip in the past.

https://factor.am/391529.html

two small earthquakes were recorded in northern Armenia

https://factor.am/391632.html

births may be up, but selective abortions of girls is still a problem

Yesterday we learned that Armenia recorded more childbirths this year than in 2020 and 2019.

HR Ombudsman says selective abortions are still a problem despite some improvement in recent years due to targeted measures.

Ombudsman believes the traditional stereotypes are a major factor behind selective abortions. There were instances when women were criticized for not giving birth to boys. It can drive women to abort a girl to prevent issues in the family.

2000 was the worst year with 120b/100g birth ratio. By 2020 the ratio was down to 111/100. The normal is 103/100.

Gender selection becomes a bigger issue during third and fourth births. The ratio coefficient for each child: first 1.04, second 1.07, third 1.27, fourth 1.26.

However, there has been a significant reduction in selective abortions for the third child: from 1.40 to 1.27 in recent years.

https://factor.am/391357.html

$10 million investment to establish a research center in Yerevan

The Government has authorized the Scientific Innovation & Education center to use a Yerevan facility free of charge for the next 25 years.

The center will be renovated and equipped with new tech to conduct scientific and industrial research, to create sample products, etc. The foundation plans to invest $10 million.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1057720.html

colleges will have new majors: electric vehicle repairs, drip irrigation, robotics, etc.

Education Minister Dumanyan signed a decree to establish several new programs in several colleges as a pilot program. Students will specialize in water-efficient drip irrigation installation and utilization, robotics, organizing farming, repairing EV vehicles, etc.

More about broader education reforms in yesterday's post.

https://factor.am/391540.html

bonds and stuffs: the Government wants to develop capital markets and attract alternative finances

Government report: Armenia almost completely lacks alternative financial sources for businesses, such as private equity funds, the institute of listing on the stock exchange, etc.

Today, the primary source of finance is a bank loan, which has its ups and downs. Businesses often cannot finance their expansion because of unpredictable revenue flows, high interest rates, etc.

One alternative financial source is the EU-Armenia SME fund, managed by the Amber Capital, launched in January 2020.

It has so far attracted $31 million. The Dutch development bank (FMO) plans to invest another $7 million under the condition that the fund's overall size will reach $45 million by Jule 20 of this year.

This is why the Armenian government made a decision today to invest another $7 million into this fund, so when the Dutch invest their $7 million, the total will reach $45 million.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1057719.html

Armenian web hosting company raises $10m from venture funds

10Web received cash from Sierre Ventures and AI Fund. They deploy WordPress sites.

https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/294177/

Lake Sevan shores will be cleared of submerged trees as part of the latest ֏208m program

... approved by the government today. The goal is to prevent the trees from damaging the water quality and causing algae to bloom.

The cleanup has intensified since 2019. The Nature Ministry audited a recent work done by a contractor and found the quality insufficient, so they decided to do it themselves.

Additionally, the EU has donated $60,000 to purchase necessary vehicles.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1057703.html

a modern facility of electric cables

The government gave a 5-year tax waiver to Լիեն քոմփանի as an investment incentive. Founded in 2019, they specialize in cable production for electricity, etc. They plan to found a modern center in Armenia with a ֏1.45b investment and 20 new jobs.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1057689.html

Yerevan will have 60 new professional social workers

Municipality says: Back in 2019 we made structural reforms in the capital. 2020 proved that we need experienced Social Workers to help citizens in need. We are introducing a new social protection system with continuing education. 60 applicants underwent two months of (re)training to become Social Workers.

Just as residents with physical issues contact doctors, residents with social issues should be able to contact social workers.

It's co-financed by Labor Ministry, USAID, and World Vision Armenia.

https://factor.am/391442.html https://youtu.be/_Biu20BV_CQ

video: Yerevan municipality is still demolishing illegally built structures

It's no longer just shopping kiosks (budka). They've been bulldozing permitless buildings.

https://youtu.be/hD4PVjxdPiM


Artsakh will have a Digitization Council

President Arayik signed a decree to establish a body to work towards the digitization of the economy and the management system.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1057710.html

infrastructure repairs across Armenia

Asian Development Bank is rebuilding the Ohanavan school. The 1959 building has never seen major renovations. It'll have seismic resilience.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/218122

Vedi's 3-kilometer water canals adjacent to streets are being replaced.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/218139

Margara streets will have sensor-enabled LED light poles serving 1,300 residents.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/218143

6km of Yerevan-Garni-Geghard road is being renovated.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/218144

update: alternative Syunik road and tunnel

Two months ago the Infrastructure Minister spoke about digging new tunnels through mountains and building alternative roads in Syunik, by bypass the one close to the AM-AZ border and to improve the Armenia-Iran connection.

At the time, a redditor wanted to know more details. /u/CrazedZombie has shared the links with images and details.

https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/mrmr4j/apr152021_1_13b_syunik_roads_tunnels_2_sec/h4i5uv9/?context=3

https://www.esteri.it/mae/resource/doc/2017/10/sisian-qajaran_tunnel_ppp_presentation.pdf

https://unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/trans/doc/2016/wp5-eatl/WP5_GE2_14th_session_Mr_Jeyranyan_Armenia.pdf

video: Thomas the Train will entertain tourists in Gyumri

Gyumri has a locomotive, made in 1899, that was collecting dust in a train parking station. They decided to move it to an open area as a tourist attraction center.

https://www.facebook.com/100005553797803/videos/110641614521250/ https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/218150

COVID stats

5093 tested. 186 infected. 78 healed. 5 deaths. 2966 active.

The number of daily COVID tests has recently increased.

https://factor.am/391323.html

vaccination rate is finally increasing

98k have been vaccinated. Over 5k yesterday alone, up from the usual 2k that was observed weeks earlier. Healthcare Ministry is still working on importing other types of vaccines.

Pashinyan: 5k vaccination on Wednesday was a record number. Let's agree not to go lower than this so we can meet our year-end goal. The trust towards vaccines is increasing around the world.

As Avinyan said earlier, 98k vaccinations have killed 0 people, while 98k COVID infections have killed 2k.

https://factor.am/391326.html https://factor.am/391330.html

too many foreigners are traveling to Armenia and getting a vaccine?

Healthcare Minister said that many tourists visit Armenia and want to get a free vaccine shot, which is currently available at any clinic regardless of citizenship.

As a result, the lines in Yerevan Center are long, which discourages citizens from scheduling appointments, she said.

The Ministry decided that clinics will only serve Armenian citizens and residents from now on, while the visitors can choose one of the several vax-booths located on the streets.

Moreover, tourists will qualify for a shot only if they spend more than 10 days in Armenia.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1057686.html https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/218083

Healthcare Minister responds to latest AstraZeneca conspiracy theories

Social media users claimed that the AstraZeneca used in Armenia is a "bad type" not accepted in the EU. Healthcare Ministry denied the rumors saying Armenia is using the same AstraZeneca, but the EU has strict rules about the vaccine's certificate admission from non-member states, so Armenia has to work with individual EU states to ensure they accept Armenia's vaccine certificates. The MFA is working with foreign states.

https://factor.am/391386.html

Glendale, California will have a new Armenian history and culture center

The construction begins on Sunday after 7 years of preparations [still faster than the high-speed rail]. The nearby park will undergo an $18.5m renovation.

The architect is Alajajian Marcoosi Architects. Glendale municipality signed a 55-year lease agreement (can extend to 95 if you don't litter it on the opening day).

https://www.sfvbj.com/news/2021/jul/07/glendales-armenian-american-museum-break-ground-ju/ https://factor.am/391453.html

Turkish Parliament MP honored the memory of dudukist Jivan Gasparyan

Gasparyan passed away on Tuesday at the age of 93. HDP MP Meral Danış Beştaş gave a speech in parliament then wrote "we remember him with respect and gratitude".

Meral Danış Beştaş: Civan Gasparyan, bugün 93 yaşında hayatını kaybetti. Yaşamı acı ve özlemlerle dolu olan Gasparyan, hüznünü duduk sesine kattı, bizlere yaşamı anlattı. Saygı ve minnetle anıyorum.

https://twitter.com/meraldanis/status/1412409813544361992 https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1057743.html

Armenian film industry is participating in Cannes Film Festival with an online booth

Cannes is operating in hybrid mode. Some countries are allowed to participate remotely. The National Cinema Center of Armenia presented its page in Marche’ du Film online booth. It'll allow foreign experts to learn about Armenian cinema (73 pieces) and establish connections.

https://factor.am/391291.html

yesterday's news

https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/ofrmb2/news_jul72021_education_reforms_stem_labs/

Перевод на русский by Impossible-Ad-

https://reddit.com/r/ArmDailyReports_RUS_/comments/og07dj/новости_армении_за_7_июля_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/ogge6q/news_jul82021_armenian_pow_claims_he_is_azeri_spy/

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