2021 June 10

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Daily news wrap-up

News - Jun/10/2021: (1) Pashinyan about Serj's audio leak (2) Levon about 90s negotiations, OSCE, border demarcation, Pashinyan & Kocharyan (3) General Babayan about Shushi battles, southern screwup (4) MFA 404 (4) Gago's wealth (5) Brandy vs cognac (6) Sanctions (7) Unified transport network (8)...
by ar_david_hh

This is your 14-minute Thursday

report in 3666 words.

Pashinyan about "Lavrov's Plan", Serj's audio leak, "land for nothing"

Yesterday Serj leaked an audio tape showing that Pashinyan did not want to "be a traitor" by giving away Artsakh's 7 regions in exchange for merely trusting Aliyev's words that he would not invade the remaining Karabakh.

Instead, Pashinyan wanted clear written assurances that Aliyev would give up on the remaining Nagorno Karabakh territories, which Pashinyan would then present to the Armenian public for confirmation. The deal did not go through. Pashinyan sensed that he was in the same situation as Serj was just before the 2016 war; they were pressured to agree with "unacceptable concessions".

Pashinyan responds to audio leak: Serj was threatening to reveal compromising materials. And yesterday, that so-called kompromat was published. From what I can tell, the public is confused, they can't tell if Serj is trying to harm or help me.

The audiotape fully confirms our position regarding the resolution of the Karabakh conflict, which I expressed publicly on multiple occasions in the past 7 months.

We inherited a gridlock and a deformed negotiation process. The biggest problem was that the Minsk Co-chairs were expressing the same views as Azerbaijan.

It's very important to note that this did not begin in 2018. As I said earlier, in 2016 the OSCE Co-chairs suggested Armenia give up on Karabakh's Interim Status idea. What we had is...

Way Before: lands in exchange for status.

Before 2016: lands in exchange for peace.

After 2016: lands in exchange for nothing.

What we inherited in 2018 was the international community - on which we relied for many years - pressuring us to give lands in exchange for nothing. There is a lot of talk about the 5+2 format. In reality, there was no 5+2 format. The "+2" was meant to provide an illusion for Armenia, to make it appealing.

We had two options: give lands in exchange for nothing or Azerbaijanis' return to Nagorno Karabakh [core Karabakh, not just 7 regions]. I've spoken about this before. Where were Azeris supposed to live? In the forests and mountains? [he earlier said the goal was to repopulate the Shushi region with Azeris and then possibly split it away from Karabakh].

The Azeris would have to live in the areas where they did before the war. Some will say "so what, we would live together and see what happens". Nakhijevan is what happens.

In reality, our diplomatic defeat began in 1998 when Robert Kocharyan decided to remove Karabakh, which was internationally recognized as a negation party, from the negotiation table. Kocharyan sold the blood of 90s war martyrs in exchange for power.

Remember when they were accusing me of having a Dubai bank account and taking $5 billion in bribes from Aliyev? Whatever happened to that? Now they criticize me for not giving away lands.

But the main question is elsewhere. Everything developed in this way but could have been avoided had we possessed quality weapons in 2016 and 2018.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1054959.html https://youtu.be/gelMr9Ywpb8

https://factor.am/380761.html https://factor.am/380761.html

Levon Ter-Petrosyan about leaving Karabakh out of the negotiation table:

Q: Kocharyan's party accuses you of excluding Karabakh from negotiations, and that you held 4 meetings without Karabakh participation in 1997.

So? I had a million meetings without Karabakh representatives. When I go met Yeltsin or Bush, wasn't I supposed to discuss Karabakh? It's a normal thing. Kocharyan is manipulating.

The only body handling the Karabakh conflict was the Minsk Group. Karabakh was recognized as a full member [under my leadership].

https://factor.am/380879.html https://youtu.be/rZdlxcXIJsg

Levon about Serj's audio leak:

Q: the content of the leak received a mixed response. What's your take?

It's trash. What is there to talk about? 90% of these leaks during the campaign will be manipulation. It disgusts me.


Levon about his 2018 meeting with Pashinyan, Minsk Co-chairs, Karabakh conflict:

Q: Pashinyan recently said that two of you met in 2018 and that you told him "you must give the lands".

Let him publish the audiotape of our conversation. Here is what I told Pashinyan: your first job should be to record on paper the Karabakh negotiation process you inherited from Serj.

I offered to help him write a letter to MFA Mnatsakanyan for the latter to prepare a report and explain the negotiation status as of April/18/2018. I said that whatever you bring to the table after this, will either bring you honor or disgrace.

I did this myself in 2008. I wanted to record the situation as of the date when OSCE Co-chairs presented the last document because after Kazan a few things had changed...

So I invited the US consulate and told them: "Minsk Group announced that regarding Madrid principles, the first plan, both sides had a 99% agreement. Please ask Matthew Bryza to present on paper what this 99% agreement was about, and to write it as an official document and send it to both sides."

During my administration earlier, Minsk was working differently. The Co-chairs would come with prepared documents. They were not negotiating with us. If either side disagreed with the document then the Co-chairs would leave and amend their proposals.

But after the Madrid Principles came into play, this methodology changed. [so he wanted Co-chairs to present a document in 2008, old style]

The US consulate asked me why I needed it. I said it's needed for me and Serj if either of us is elected, so we will know where we begin the negotiations.

The consulate's letter was leaked by WikiLeaks. A month after this, Bryza presented the document. I offered the same process to Nikol.

Q: you are accused of being unable to secure the victories diplomatically after the 90s military victory

I passed those victories to the next authorities. At the time, Vazgen, Kocharyan, and Serj did not want to allow me to proceed with the Karabakh resolution [concessions]. Had I proceeded, there would be civil war. I resigned to prevent that.

Q: but was Azerbaijan ready to accept your offer?

They were a lot more ready for concessions 23 years ago than today.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1054973.html https://youtu.be/05BCJ5JBlso

Levon about people who understand the Karabakh conflict:

In 1996 I said that there were six people who were knowledgeable experts in the Karabakh conflict: me, Kocharyan, Arkadi Ghukasyan, MFA Oskanyan, Alexander Arzumanyan, Vazgen Sargsyan.

Today, not even three people understand the conflict in-depth. Pashinyan does not; they know something on a surface level.

Russia's Kazimirov was another brilliant expert. Another was from the United States.


Levon about Serj not signing Lavrov's Plan in 2018:

The time was not working for us. I realized this after the oil consortium in Azerbaijan in 1996-97.

I tried everything to convince Serj to accept Lavrov Plan in 2018. Aliyev's resistance was also weaning and the world was tired of the conflict. Russia, the US, and France were pressuring Aliyev to accept the plan. But Aliyev slipped away because we were slow and did nothing. Serj should have signed and moved over.


Levon about AM-AZ border demarcation:

Border demarcation is mandatory. Even friendly neighbors clarify their borders. Armenia should have done this sooner. There is no risk here. We must do it.

The international community and UN have recognized the independence of former USSR states with their USSR borders. Nothing can be changed here. The AM-AZ border is the Soviet border.

These border conflicts will continue unless the two states sign an agreement.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1054984.html https://factor.am/380911.html

Levon about Russian peacekeepers:

There is a misconception that Russians will leave Karabakh in 5 years. Why are you stoking panic? We should help the Artsakh population to stay and return to their homes. In this area, Armenia and Russia have similar interests.


Levon about forming a coalition:

Serj and Kocharyan earlier rejected my offer to unite our parties and defeat Pashinyan [in exchange for not taking an office themselves]. That cannot be done anymore.

It's another thing if Pashinyan, Kocharyan, and I enter parliament with no clear majority. We would have to form an alliance. I support a solidarity coalition, but it would be shaky. We would become a country where they change a government every year. If there is no other option, we should try. We will try not to make mistakes.


Levon is looking for a technocrat:

If we enter Parliament, we will do everything to ensure that none of the top figures themselves become a Premier. We need a crisis manager: a technocrat. This is a principle for us. Appointing a divisive public figure will lead to street fights and the destruction of Armenia.


CSTO military bloc secretary Zas about the border conflict:

We monitor the events in Syunik and elsewhere. We welcome the intention to resolve the conflict peacefully. We see an opportunity for long-lasting peace. At the same time, the risks of aggravation of the situation still remain.

Positive changes are observed in the settlement of the situation in the South Caucasus, six months after the Karabakh conflict. The peacekeepers and international efforts can establish lasting peace.

The situation is gradually stabilizing. What's important is that they no longer shoot.


MOD reports shots fired on Gegharkunik border:

Azeris attempted to conduct engineering work again. Armenian army applied counter-measures, forcing them to stop. In response, the Azeris opened fire towards Armenian positions. No injuries on the Armenian side.


update: the resignation of the Foreign Minister and his deputies

Ayvazyan resigned earlier and said the MFA institute will always work in the best interests of the state. Pashinyan's office asked Ayvazyan to publicly explain what he means by that, and to clarify what he believes could be things that are not in the "best interests" of Armenia. Ayvazyan has not clarified. NSS decided to launch an investigation to find out what he is talking about.

Deputy MFA Ghevondyan continues to serve as a deputy MFA, "not all resignations were accepted." He said the MFA continues to serve Armenia's interests when he was told "diplomats leaving during difficult times instead of staying and helping."

Some reporters noted that Ayvazyan's resignation came after Pashinyan's offer to withdraw Armenian and Azeri troops to involve Russian troops and OSCE experts for border clarifications. The reporters wanted to know if Ayvazyan was against this proposal.

Multiple officials, who were present during Security Council sessions, including LHK leader Marukyan, said that Ayvazyan did not express any disagreement over the proposal during the closed-door meeting.

Deputy Premier Avinyan: we've had numerous Security Council sessions with the presence of Ayvazyan.

Q: did Ayvazyan express disagreement with Pashinyan's border resolution proposal?

Avinyan: let Ayvazyan himself comment whether he had a disagreement or not. Before each decision, whether anyone disagreed or agreed, there were Council discussions as a bare minimum. //

Security Council chief Grigoryan yesterday urged Ayvazyan to come forward and explain why he resigned. He believes this could be an "Onik version 2.0" situation.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1054954.html https://youtu.be/8Pluy0qA_0g?t=138


Philip Reeker in Armenia / regional issues / democracy / sanctions

Pashinyan met US Department of State official Reeker and thanked him for Biden's genocide recognition.

Pashinyan: The recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide is an important factor for regional security, as the security challenges of the Armenian people have not changed in the last 100 years. The same actors who were involved in the Armenian Genocide were involved in the 2020 Artsakh war.

Reeker: this is my first visit to Armenia. Blinken sent his greetings. We value the processes aimed at the development of democratic institutions in Armenia. The 2018 elections were exemplary. The US is willing to continue to aid with reforms.

Pashinyan: the Karabakh conflict should be resolved with the help of OSCE Minsk Group, based on the principles offered by them. [he spoke about the need to return POWs]


LHK leader Marukyan passed Reeker a letter that offers sanctions against Azerbaijan for their war crimes, violation of sovereign territory, refusal to return POWs.

The proposed sanctions are against high-ranking Azeri officials with involvement in the war: Ilham Aliyev, Mehriban Aliyeva, Zakir Hasanov, Najmeddin Sadigov, [and a dozen more].


Reeker reiterated the US stance that Azeris should withdraw their troops from the border back to May 11 positions.


BHK leader Tsarukyan declares his property ownership

$52 million, €5 million, and ֏877 million.

€250,000 worth curtain.

€305,000 worth of living room furniture.

17 luxury vehicles.

Diamond and gold rings ranging from $100,000 to $1 million a pop.

Shares in 54 companies.

More: https://factor.am/381047.html

details about the arrest of a campaign official accused of distributing bribes

The context in yesterday's post. This was the first public bribery bust in this campaign. The defendant Aramayis Aproyan (A.A.) represents Tsarukyan's BHK party and is an MP candidate. He is accused of distributing $14 bags of food in exchange for votes.


Democrat Party members are questioned by police over accusations of forcing people to participate in their rallies


not-so-trustworthy pollster

A Ukrainian analyst presented the results of their first-ever poll in Armenia. A fact-checker was unable to find their in-depth methodology and learned that it's a lobbying firm. Nonetheless, here is what they published:

Pashinyan 21.8%

Kocharyan-ARF 17.8%

Serj-Vanetsyan 9.5%

BHK's Tsarukyan 5.1%

LHK's Marukyan 4.1%


Freedom House wants political parties to chill the F down

Too many slurs and hate speech, says the organization. A confrontation was recorded between pro-Kocharyan and Pashinyan activists.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1054944.html https://factor.am/380980.html

Armenia's "Adolf" drops out of elections

The "Armenian Eagles: United Armenia" party told the Electoral Commission about their plans to suspend the campaign.


The Commission disqualified Democrat Party MP candidate Tigran Arzaqantsyan after learning that he was not a permanent resident in Armenia for the past 4 years.


politicians meeting residents on the streets

Tsarukyan met Tavush residents and kissed little children


Pashinyan used his dirty COVID hands to eat beard in Spitak


Residents took selfies with Pashinyan in Gyulagarak


LHK explained the "lack of attendance" in their meetings by saying "our voters are busy and working people, we would rather travel around instead of holding large meetings."

https://youtu.be/owocRQV9yIU?t=91 https://youtu.be/eE8fe9u17a8

ARF held a mini-protest in front of govt building

ARF's youth wing activists held signs reading "traitor" and critiqued the government's inability to return the remaining POWs.

The activists blocked a road and dumped some objects on the ground, before being warned by the police. 16 people were detained.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1054952.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1054955.html

pensions will be paid electronically

A law was approved last year to gradually move away from cash pensions. Next month, Armenia's three largest cities will begin to distribute the funds through banks or other local certified offices.

There are exemptions for the elderly and disabled.


Horasis Global Meeting

The world's leading decision-makers from business, government, and civil society get together every year to discuss things. This year it was held online. President Sarkissian participated as a distinguished speaker.

He raised awareness about Armenian POWs still being captive. He said their return is necessary to move forward with establishing stability and trust in the region.

Sarkissian: Armenians and Turks cannot try to live together for another 100 or 200 years without realizing that each other's rights must be respected.

More: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1054948.html https://youtu.be/meUXP7GowYE

brandy vs cognac

EU will provide €3 million to Armenia as part of the EU-Armenia comprehensive agreement that went into effect recently.

Report: The purpose of the financing agreement is to promote the smooth, effective cessation of the use of the Cognac geographical indication, as well as to support the export of the Armenian brandy under a new name and to maintain its competitive position in foreign markets.

https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/293493/ https://m.armeniasputnik.am/economy/20210610/27873067/emn-patrast-e-3-mln-evro-tramadrel-hayastanin-konyak-anvanumic-hrajarvelu-dimac.html?mobile_return=yes

Armenia gets caught up between US-Russia sanction war again / aluminum

Armenia's Armenal aluminum exporter is part of the Russian Rusal. The US will prohibit Armenal's exports to the US. 75% of Armenia's exports are currently for the US.

ANCA wants the Biden administration to give a waiver, considering financial hardship in Armenia, caused by COVID and war.

https://www.civilnet.am/news/620154/ամն-ն-արգելում-է-հայաստանից-ալյումինի-փայլաթիթեղի-ներկրումը/ https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/293491/

transport reforms: unified bus network in provinces

Infrastructure Ministry is holding a competition for the selection of companies that will carry out regular passenger transportation in Ararat, Kotayk, and Lori provinces (and Armavir separately).

Report: such competitions are being held for the first time. The winners will serve the unified route networks in provinces. All settlements in these provinces will have regular transportation, which will be properly regulated. 20% of vehicles must have disability access.


eminent domain vs historical-cultural buildings

Today the government decided to remove some addresses in Yerevan from գերակա հանրային շահ list to protect cultural-historical buildings.

Urban Development agency: in these several locations, the property rights were legally seized by the state so the construction in these areas would allow putting an end to irregular/mixed construction in Yerevan Center, and the seismically dangerous structures. In its place, they planned to build multi-functional structures, underground parking lots, parks, etc.

The process to alienate the property from existing owners with fair compensation was supposed to begin no later than in January 2015. The law mandates for the construction to being no later than 7 years after the properties are declared of great public importance. The process began in 2013, so it's been over 7 years.

The [construction company] that was supposed to obtain these properties already owns some of these properties. At the same time, some of the addresses in these properties had been declared as historical-cultural monuments. Therefore, we had to re-evaluate the property alienation.

Deputy Premier Avinyan: we're talking about Abovyan-Pushkin to Sakharov Square area. A few buildings were declared monuments. We decided to remove them from the alienation list. We advised the municipality to draw a new architectural plan in this area. We cannot alter the cultural monuments. //

One of the buildings that will be preserved houses the popular Dolmama restaurant.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1054947.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1054949.html https://youtu.be/hNLb-OcwSMg

Armenia and Iran discuss North-South highway, chemical and pharma industry, tourism

Economy Minister Qerobyuan met the Iranian ambassador Abbas. Iran created a cooperation roadmap and defined its priorities, timelines, etc.

They spoke about the possibility to cooperate in the chemical industry, pharma, tourism. Armenian pharma companies will send an envoy to Iran to make agreements.

They discussed ways to boost tourism. Qerobyan emphasized the need to launch direct Yerevan-Isfahan flights. The two countries could soon form expert groups tasked with creating tourism packages for European tourists.

Abbas said Iranian construction firms are interested in the North-South highway project's Sisian-Qajaran (Syunik) section. Qerobyan expressed readiness to help with the Persian Gulf-Black Sea trade corridor.


TUMO plans new science-engineering complex in Yerevan / student + startup + business

High Tech Minister visited TUMO creative technology center. Director Papazyan presented the arts and tech classes. There is a "42 Yerevan" international programming school in TUMO with over 100 projects.

TUMO has its own research center. A new 25,000 m2 science-engineering complex will be built next to their Yerevan branch. It will unite students, startups, and businesses.

Mobile mini-TUMO's will be built in Koghb, Masis, and Sevan. They expect to increase membership from 1,900 to 60,000.

TUMO is working with French experts to 3D-scan Armenian monuments, which would allow for their restoration if it's needed in the future. Minister Chobayan offered help with the aforementioned projects.


COVID stats

3291 tested. 76 infected. 167 healed. 4 deaths. 3033 active.


tourism agencies qualify for additional aid

Today the government amended the 25th COVID aid package that it passed last year. The already-qualified tourism agencies will qualify for more loans.

Those tourism agencies that were disqualified from aid for being "too new" at the time of the aid package's approval last year, will begin to qualify.


former Armenia chess team player Hakobyan joins US team

Grandmaster Vladimir Hakobyan has been living in the United States for two years. He will play under the US flag.


update: ethnic Armenian soccer commentator receives accreditation

Azerbaijan recently blocked Arustamyan from being accredited for a European tournament. It raised the ire of Russian sports experts, who called it an ethnic discrimination. Arustamyan is a Russian citizen.

Armenian and Russian Soccer Federations, joined by Russian MFA, successfully worked with UEFA to accredit him.


Russian peacekeepers in Artsakh

... have so far cleared 2,120 hectares of lands and 650km roads from 25.6k explosives.


France sends a second statue of liberty to US

A mini version of the world-famous national symbol will sit in the garden of the French Ambassador to the US


Pashinyan about the fall of Shushi:

[Pashinyan responds to Kocharyan's idea that Shushi was given away intentionally.]

Of course it was surrendered deliberately. Instead of defending it, they besieged the government building [Nov 9 riots]. Two of those who left Shushi are now part of Kocharyan's team. Ask them who surrendered Shushi.

Seyran Ohanyan was one of the people in charge. The former Chief of Staff [Onik Gasparyan] is also their team member. Let them speak. Did anyone order them to surrender Shushi? Did I give such an order?

The former regime has been calling me a land-giver since May 2018. Why? Because they drove the negotiation process to the point that lands had to be given. We desperately fought to prevent that because we did not see the end of the process; the next stage was the return of Azeri IDPs to Nagorno Karabakh while the Karabakh status was to be left undecided.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055015.html https://youtu.be/FD2ctg5xfCU

[Interview] Lt.Gen. Samvel Babayan about the aid provided by Russia during the war, faulty BUK-1 missiles, the battle for Shushi which lasted until November 8, air defense, the Azeri & Armenian army morale, army chief Onik Gasparyan, General Mosi's Lele Tepe "confusion", southern front losses.

Translated to English: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/nweuez/interview_ltgen_samvel_babayan_about_the_amount/

Перевод by /u/Impossible-Ad- can be found here.

Tags: #Babayan #Shushi #war #RussiaAid #BUK1 #TOR

ICYM: Wednesday news


Translated in Russian by Impossible-Ad-


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/nwx7gn/news_jun102021_1_pashinyan_about_serjs_audio_leak/

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