2021 June 11

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Contents

Daily news wrap-up

News - Jun/11/2021: (1) Pashinyan about how enclaves were removed from November 9 document; his private conversation with ex-army chief Onik; army's politicization; shady stuff in Shushi (2) Border news (3) Polls (4) Multiple bribery busts (5) Mining transparency (6) "Caste system" (7) Trade routes
by ar_david_hh


This is your 14-minute Friday report in 3473 words.

Pashinyan opens up about his relationship with now-fired army commander Onik Gasparyan, a secret meeting in Kond, Onik & Serj BFFs, the removal of enclaves from November 9 document

[the context of Pashinyan's speech was the former regime and their allies in the system, and the rule of law]

Onik was a Lt.Gen and the First Deputy CoGS when I became a Premier. I later promoted him to Col.Gen. When I promoted him to CoGS, I told him that I was afraid of only one thing: him having very close relations with the former administration.

Onik responded that I had nothing to worry about. I trusted him like my own brother, and never questioned his words. During the war, we came to the conclusion that I must listen only to him. I agreed to it because he was essentially in charge of forces.

But later, on November 20 [after the war], while Onik was in Syunik, he met certain circles and had a conversation with Serj while on the road. They call me every bad word imaginable, before agreeing to meet [are we going to listen to tapes soon?]

Onik invited me to meet that evening in Kond, where he urged me to resign. I asked how many days he hasn't slept. He said 4-5 days. I urged him to take a sleep, relax, and forget about this conversation. I told him that I want to trust him regardless of anything.

After that, I sensed that there are political influences on the Army Command. Then certain things were revealed, making me believed that they did not report me properly and that problems arose as a result. [unclear if he meant during the war]

I urged Onik to once again snap out of it but it later became evident to me that the Army Command was gradually joining the opposition ranks.

I listened to Onik's words during the war. He advised me to give now-former deputy CoGS Tiran Khachatryan the title of hero because "he is currently organizing a counter-attack on the battlefield", I did not even question Onik's advice, I gave Tiran the title to encourage him.

enclaves

Lately, they circulated rumors claiming that on November 9 I was eager to sign a [Azerbaijan's version of the] document to give away enclaves (Barkhudarlu, Khremlu) to Azerbaijan, and that allegedly it was Onik who stopped me.

The truth is the opposite. In the presence of 10 people, Onik Gasparyan said I must sign that document. Even then I did not blame him, I thought that's just his opinion. Today I blame him for another thing: for lying that it was I who wanted to give the enclaves. Why is he doing that now? I said I will cut off my hands but I will not sign that version of the document [to give enclaves on November 9].

In the hindsight, now it makes me think Onik wanted me to sign the worse document so it would cause even more political uproar. I don't rule out now, but at the time it did not cross my mind.

There is a similar episode with Shushi. Aragatsotn governor briefly mentioned this a few days ago. He was there, reporting about the Azeri column with 150 cars, while we were saying "hit them, hit them". Do you know what they [presumably army command] were telling us? Russians have a saying "fear has big eyes", as if a few Azeri cars were being incorrectly reported as many.

November 9 document

They began circulating legends after November 9 and claimed that I was signing documents to give away enclaves, and that allegedly some people stopped me at the last moment. Fairy tales. There are witnesses who know who was in favor of the document, who was against it, how we removed the topic of the enclave and other unfavorable parts from the November 9 document.

Every enclave that's currently under our control should remain under our control. At the same time, we have thousands of hectares of land belonging to Armenian villages in Noyemberyan, Ijevan, and Berd sections that are currently under Azerbaijani control. For example, 99% of Berqaber village's arable lands are under Azeri control. The village has almost none.

The topic of the enclave has been on the negotiation table since 1998-98. Our stance is this: whatever enclave Armenia holds now stays in Armenia, whatever Azerbaijan holds now stays in Azerbaijan.

[Onik Gasparyan says he urged Pashinyan to sign the November 9 statement but he urged to negotiate to remove the enclave giveaway.]

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055132.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055115.html https://factor.am/381344.html https://youtu.be/2KN6iHk8Gwo https://youtu.be/wUPoPtoYilg https://factor.am/381482.html https://youtu.be/5n4bWGV4UVY?t=75

https://hetq.am/hy/article/132053

Tags: #OnikGasparyan #OnikSerj #PashinyanOnik #enclaves #PashinyanSpeech

Armenian army opens fire at Azeri equipment conducting illegal fortification work within Armenia

Armenian MOD: Azerbaijan circulated false information. We did not open fire at Azeri units located on Azeri lands. In reality, we took measures against the Azeri engineering work that was being conducted illegally on Armenian territory.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055130.html

the 4th and 5th army unit conducted shooting exercises involving combat vehicles and air defense

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055128.html https://factor.am/381536.html

MOD Vagharshak met Armenian drone designers

Engineering students and the military discussed cooperation avenues.

https://factor.am/381519.html

MPG polls: whom would you vote for?

(Poll by MGP on June 6-10, 1103 participants, 3.3% error rate.)

Kocharyan-ARF 24.1% (+3.5% from last week)

Pashinyan 23.8% (+1.4% from last week)

(Refused to answer) 9.5%

(NONE) 9.2%

(Undecided) 8.7%

Serj 7.4%

BHK Tsarukyan 3.7%

LHK Marukyan 3.1%

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NU8A3k2rbNg

ruling party says their polls show a 3.5x lead over Kocharyan's alliance

Arayik Harutyunyan: when [MGP] began systemically reducing our numbers, we were warned by experts that the numbers will be reduced every month ahead of the elections, while the client-party will overtake the ruling party. [he is implying that MPG is biased]

Since we were also interested in numbers, we ordered a poll to be conducted for June 7-10 and learned that QP has 3.5x more votes than [Kocharyan]. You could tell this by observing the size of our rallies. //

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/216008

MPG poll: personal rating of officials

HRO 3.8

Pashinyan 2.5

President Sarkissian 2.3

Kocharyan 2.3

Tsarukyan 2.1

https://youtu.be/NU8A3k2rbNg?t=253

poll: do you plan to vote?

53.9% definitely yes [likely turnout], 10.3% yes, 35.5 no.

https://youtu.be/NU8A3k2rbNg?t=332

police: ex-mayor of Armavir is arrested over a scheme to distribute bribes

Report says: ex-mayor of Armavir (Ռ.Խ.) planned to distribute bribes to residents of Janfida so they would vote for a certain alliance. ֏9 million were to be transferred to a middleman for distribution to residents.

The ex-mayor and the middleman were arrested during a raid of the middleman's house, during the 9-mil transaction. Upon seeing the police, they threw the package with money out the window. Both were arrested.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055061.html

bribe receivers also face felony charges in a case involving BHK candidate

Context in yesterday's post. BHK's candidate in Gavar is facing bribery charges for allegedly distributing bags of food as a bribe. Today the Electoral Commission authorized the felony charges against the BHK candidate. The candidate's aide is also charged.

Felony charges are also pressed against six bribe receivers. It's against Article 154.2 to receive electoral bribes, punishable between ֏500k fine to 3 years.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055090.html http://www.irtek.am/views/act.aspx?aid=150015 https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055121.html

BHK does not rule out a coalition with Kocharyan

BHK MP Arman Abovyan said they will never form a coalition with Pashinyan but they don't yet have any comments about a possible coalition with Kocharyan-ARF.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055080.html

Kocharyan discusses his plans and personal reputation:

First. Restore the country's security. This is a lot of work.

Second. Stop the economic crisis and ensure rapid growth with proactive investments, dozens of thousands of new jobs.

Third. We are coming to bring peace to the people. It is not possible to create in this environment.

Why should you choose us? Because we have experience, knowledge, determination, and will. No one can argue with us on these points. Add patriotism to the list.

My life was very well arranged until 2018, and I did not have plans to come to power. It is a great commitment to take the helm in this situation. My reputation is at stake. This is a question of "to be or not to be" for my team. //

Kocharyan was speaking about closed factories and infrastructure being in poor shape, when a woman interrupted him saying that the factories were "destroyed and stolen years ago" [referring to his rule]. The heckler was removed from the room.

Kocharyan met supporters.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055074.html https://youtu.be/ODhDaTwQ5Sc https://factor.am/381498.html https://youtu.be/Bif-KV__624?t=80

LHK's goal is to ensure no one receives 51% votes:

We expect that no power will gain 51% of the votes and that forces that want to establish internal peace will enter Parliament. We will force the formation of a solidarity government.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055062.html

Pashinyan about fighting and stopping the 2020 war:

We fought for as long as it made sense to fight. Hundreds of mothers have since thanked me for signing the November 9 document. I can't say I'm proud of taking that responsibility, but it had to be done under those circumstances. Dozens of thousands of lives were saved.

Security remains our top priority. Foreign policy and diplomatic relations with strategic partners are important in this regard.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055115.html

Pashinyan about the rule of law:

The second phase of revolution must be carried out in the upcoming elections. It will still be democratic and non-violent, but it will no longer be "velvet". It will be a "steel".

That means the strengthening of institutions that uphold the law. That means the dictatorship of law in Armenia. We must continuously strengthen the state institutes.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055057.html

Pashinyan about the "caste" system, political "elites", and harassment against his son:

A "caste" management system was developed in Armenia in the past 30 years. 30% of children under the age of 10 are illiterate, while another 30% received a poor-quality education. This means we had a caste system in Armenia, which has not been removed yet.

In this system, there was a ruling elite that was continuously reproducing itself. If there was a job place, it would be for the representatives of the elite. The purpose of the Public Office was for the representatives of the elite...

They hate the fact that people are the decision-makers today. "What do the people even know and who are they to make decisions?"

My son Ashot works as a cashier at a regular beer shop. I don't even know the name. Half of the so-called opposition is today after my son. You know why? Because he breaks the elite's rules. How can the Premier's son be a beer seller? How can the Premier's son serve as a regular soldier in an outpost and almost die during a war? They hate this because he is not լկտի. The end has come for the fake elites. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055057.html https://factor.am/381514.html https://youtu.be/s4DBYvmD9K4

ex-High Tech Minister denies being beaten during a campaign

QP Hakob Arshakyan: False rumors were circulated claiming that I was injured. What happened was we were campaigning in the Arabkir district when some people physically obstructed our campaign activities. We will resume the campaign today. //

The authorities launched a felony investigation over a campaign obstruction "that lead to an argument and fight".

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055119.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055129.html https://factor.am/381450.html https://factor.am/381525.html

Fair Armenia party promises to change the anthem and coat of arms

We want a strong state that lacks corruption, said Ardar Hayastan chief Norayr Norikyan. Other campaign promises in the link:

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/215972

remote voting begins for diplomats and soldiers residing abroad

They get to vote early but the results will be published with the rest, on June 20.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055031.html

will there be a second stage?

The Parliament has 105 seats. If no party wins at least 53 seats, the top-3 parties will try to form a coalition.

If they fail, there will be a second round between the top-2 forces.

Any party that crossed the entry threshold in the first round has already secured seats regardless of the second round.

https://factor.am/381398.html

top-2 parties schedule large gatherings

Pashinyan submitted a document to receive a permit to hold a gathering in Yerevan's Republic Square on June 21-24. They expect up to 200,000 attendees.

Kocharyan will hold one in Opera Square starting the election day. They expect 25,000 attendees.

https://factor.am/381645.html

court verdicts

The court has upheld a May/6/2020 decision to arrest Serj's fugitive son-in-law Mikael Mishik Minasyan. He is accused of financial crimes.

https://factor.am/381511.html

The court has found that Pashinyan defamed the former IRS chief Gagik Khachatryan and his sons for the "mafia system" comments. He has to apologize.

https://factor.am/381522.html

Czech committee urges Azerbaijan to free Armenian POWs ASAP

Czechia's Committee on Foreign Relations of the Chamber of Deputies adopted a resolution. It applies to people captured during and after the 2020 war.

The Committee heavily relied on Human Rights Watch report about human rights violations by Azerbaijan.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055099.html

algae are expected to bloom in Lake Sevan again

The hydro-meteorology center has learned that the water visibility is 2-2.7 meters as a result of blooming. The Big Sevan section has stronger green coloring, which is observed near the shores, too.

Dissolved oxygen concentration was 4.8-9.6 mg/L.

Small Sevan temperature was 3.8c in 60m depth. Big Sevan was 5.5c in 30m depth.

Algae bloom is caused by two main factors: warming temperatures and the pollutants dumped into the lake for decades.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055094.html

Sevan high school is being renovated

It underwent a seismic retrofit, had its facilities renovated, got a new roof and windows. The project is co-subsidized by the government and World Bank.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055102.html

illegal mining busted on River Araks shores

Prosecutors said: illegal mining was conducted on Araks basin in Ararat and Armavir provinces.

Eight companies had a license to mine in certain areas. They conducted illegal mining in neighboring areas, too, stealing 312,000 m3 sand and sand gravel, while violating soil removal regulations.

Nine felony charges are pressed for damaging nature and theft of ֏153m.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055112.html

transparency reforms: Armenia receives the highest score in the implementation of Ownership Disclosure requirement / mining sector

Justice Minister: since 2018, as part of the anti-corruption campaign, we've been working towards revealing "true owners". We cooperated with World Bank, OGP, OpenOwnership to create an open electronic register, which was tested in 2021.

The EITI praised efforts by the government, mining companies, and civil society towards ownership transparency.

Four states underwent a ratification process yesterday. Armenia and Germany received the highest "satisfactory" rating while Norway got an "inadequate" score. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055135.html

Swedish Bombardier Executive Charged for Azerbaijan Bribery

OCCRP report: A former manager at the Swedish branch of Bombardier Transportation, a major engineering company, has been indicted on Wednesday on charges of aggravated bribery in what is one of Sweden’s biggest-ever corruption scandals. //

The Swedish agent allegedly paid a $100m bribe to an Azeri railway official to win a $350m contract.

Full: https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/14593-swedish-bombardier-executive-charged-for-azerbaijan-bribery

President Sarkissian met prominent diasporans / Ida Kar photo collection

Sarkissian hosted diasporan-Armenian movie producer and benefactor Virginia Davis, and benefactors Andranik Gasparyan and Raffi Danielyan.

The guests discussed their humanitarian programs in Armenia and Artsakh. They plan to visit Artsakh soon.

They want to organize an exhibition of legendary Ida Kar (Karamyan)'s photos. Virginia passed a collection of her 1950s images to Sarkissian.

Ida Karamyan was born in Russia before moving to London and becoming one of the most prominent British photographers. She visited USSR and photographed Martiros Saryan, Avetik Isahakyan, Tigran Petrosyan.

Most of her collection is kept at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Sarkissian thanked Virginia for the photos and promised to hold an exhibition in his residency on Independence Day.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055125.html

EAEU could ban non-smokable nicotine products / chewing tobacco banned in Armenia

Russia's Healthcare Ministry will soon present a document for EAEU approval. It will ban the sale of snus nicotine pictures in member states.

Russian Ministry: over 100 internet sites conduct illegal sales of nicotine products. Since EAEU is a common market, we should place the ban on the EAEU level. Snus is highly addictive and can lead to overdoses, especially among youth. Snus ingredients can be carcinogenic, poisonous, and cause mutations. //

Armenia's parliament adopted a strict anti-smoking bill in February of 2020. It banned the sale of chewing tobacco, but the non-tobacco nicotine products were not regulated. The EAEU ruling would close the "loophole".

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055073.html

deputy-Premier of Russia: the key to unlocking the region is to lift the blockade on Armenia / Armenia could use Azeri Caspian ports / Persian Gulf / Russian experts paid a visit

Alexei Overchuk: A substantive discussion on the unblocking of the region is taking place within the framework of the tripartite [involving deputy Premiers] working group. The key is to unblock Armenia, which has de-fact been under blockade since its independence.

If there is goodwill, transport communication will be opened, the trade will start to develop, the economies of the two countries will receive a new strong impetus for development.

We are discussing all possible railway and road connections. That includes transport communication between Azerbaijan and Nakhijevan, the Armenia-Nakhijevan-Iran railway, etc.

Additionally, Armenia could gain the right to use Azeri ports on the Caspian Sea for cargo trade with Central Asian states.

Armenia has very few connections to the outside world. It's a bottleneck for development. The regional trade unblocking is important for Russia, EAEU, and all other neighbors.

Armenia will not only turn into a major trade route hub between the Persian Gulf and the Black Sea [presumably via Nakhijevan railway], but also be part of the Russian network connecting Baltic and Pacific Ocean trade routes.

With increased export potential, Armenia would be able to develop its manufacturing. Such opportunities have never been opened in modern history.

The opening of roads and railways are examined from the technical and legal point of view. We are reviewing every international document that applies to both Armenia and Azerbaijan. For example, both are part of CIS. In the past, some documents were approved but Armenia and Azerbaijan made reservations against each other. Such reservations must be lifted.

Russian Transport Ministry and railways agents visited Armenia-Azerbaijan borders in Spring. They examined every road and railway to assess the potential. That includes the road, bridge, and underground pipe quality. Sadly, almost all routes have turned useless, so the restoration requires large investments.

Thanks to this assessment, AM and AZ were able to outline the next steps towards opening routes. A large part of the work was related to legal aspects. AM and AZ do not have diplomatic relations, border checkpoints, customs, etc. which you usually see between neighboring states. They've done everything possible in the past 30 years to make any movement impossible. These painful issues must be resolved.

It is difficult for people because they bear the history of their past and the relations between their countries. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055063.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055078.html

Tags: #TradeRoute #communication

COVID stats

3866 tested. 95 infected. 141 healed. 4 deaths. 2983 active.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055049.html

Air Arabia will launch Yerevan-Sharm El Sheikh flights on Jun 25

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055071.html

Nordwind airlines will have direct Yerevan-Crimea flights starting next week

https://factor.am/381467.html

most common foreign languages in schools?

Stats are available from 33 of the provincial and Yerevan exam facilities where students will give joint exams: 4250 English, 85 German, 74 French, 2 Spanish, 2 Farsi.

In Yerevan, French is more common than German.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055037.html

exam failure rates (data from 15 exam facilities)

Geography: 10%

World History: 24%

Biology: 20%

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055114.html

QS Word University Ranking 2022

Yerevan State University becomes the first Armenian university to make it in the top-1000 list. It's in the 801+ category.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/216013

top-10 bestseller Armenian books in May

4) Baku, by Վահան Թոթովենց. About a poor family, their son, and capitalism.

3) Երկրի հակառակ կողմը, by Nikol Pashinyan. Written in 2008-09 when he was on the run from political persecutions. Someone approached Pashinyan in 2018 and offered to turn the articles into a book. "Reading them 10 years later turned me be upside down. A real storm brew inside me. I realized that the time had come for the people to win," recalls Pashinyan.

2) Երկա՞ր, by Եր Կար. A collection of over fifty poems written recently.

1) The Master of Secrets, by Աշոտ Աղաբաբյան. It's about the odyssey of Ivan Aghayants, a legendary Soviet spy and nat-sec official. Writing about him was prohibited for 90 years. The author "cites archives and facts to tell the unbelievable story". Aghayants was the former head of the Soviet spy network in Paris and Tehran, and the head of the "disinformation department".

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1054934.html

today in history

1770: sailor James Cook discovers the Great Barrier Reef

1910: French oceanic explorer and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau (Ժակ Կուստո) is born

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055026.html

yesterday's news

https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/nwx7gn/news_jun102021_1_pashinyan_about_serjs_audio_leak/?

Перевод на русский by Impossible-Ad-

https://www.reddit.com/r/ArmDailyReports_RUS_/comments/nxf1dg/все_новости_за_10_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/nxos6p/news_jun112021_1_pashinyan_about_how_enclaves/

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