2021 June 14

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Daily news wrap-up

News - Jun/14/2021: (1) General Babayan about 1990s and 2020 war; army command; political leadership kept in dark (2) Germany: we would have lost the 2020 war, too (3) Campaign speech: jobs, economy, NPP (4) Rumors & rebuttals (5) More mayors & officials busted (6) POWs & landmines (7) Pro hikers
by ar_david_hh

This is your 16-minute Monday report in 3965 words.

1990s war hero and 2020 Artsakh Security Council chief Samvel Babayan about the 2020 and 1990s wars, military & political leadership, army reforms:

A myth was spread for 30 years that our generals were the saviors, that we had the strongest army in the region. The generals received so many undeserved medals that they were forced to hang them from their pants. Even Zhukov did not have as many.

Question: why do you only blame the military leadership for the failures?

We never blamed or credited the political leadership in the 1990s war after losing or capturing lands. It was the problem of military leadership. ; it was our problem. The political leadership is at fault only when it does not deliver the armament it's asked to. The only other thing politicians do is approve/deny an already-developed operation.

President Levon Ter-Petrosyan did not even know that we liberated Aghdam. The same is true about Pashinyan. The latter finally realized recently that the military was lying to him. The entire general staff lied to him. Everyone. Losing positions but not reporting it, etc.

We wouldn't have difficulty with lying to president Levon. Levon learned about the liberation of Aghdam from Baku. They called Levon and informed him about it.

Armenia's politicians were against liberating Fizuli and Jabrayil in the 90s. I have an intercepted radio communication in which they urge General Manvel Grigoryan for the 5th brigade not to take part in the operation.

Levon was informed about the Shushi and Kelbajar operations, but not about Aghdam. We told them that we were just silencing the Azeri firing points because we knew that the political leadership did not want to carry such responsibility at that time.

Now all the losses are blamed on Nikol. Would you credit all the victories to Nikol if we won the war? Of course not.

Question: I remember a similar talk during July 2020 battles that it was all organized and done by the military, and not the politicians.

Exactly. But we lost today. Army leadership should accept the responsibility so we can learn what happened and prevent dilettantes from holding positions again. You can pick up anyone from the street, give them a uniform, and they will agree to hold a position.

Question: Kocharyan says when he came to power in Artsakh, they began liberating lands. What's your opinion?

Kocharyan's role was organizing troop mobilization and repairs, and he did his part. An order was issued allowing us to collect the mobilization. But organizing operations were done by us. I intervened and advised against the 3 plans to liberate Shushi; I presented my own 4th version. Kocharyan supported my decision. We worked together fine in this regard.

Once again, the political leadership's role is to trust the military leadership and secure the rear. The rest is a myth. No one else besides me had drawn any large-scale liberation operations in Artsakh. Some people brag about achievements while they weren't even in the country at the time.

Question: in 2013 you sent a letter to the Serj administration, and repeated in 2016, about what would happen in the future. Before the war, you said Artsakh should at least go under a Russian "mandate" for security. The former government was sharply against it. Now the army says they are strengthening the army. What to expect?

I did not say Artsakh should be under Russian mandate. Initially, I said it should be under EU mandate, then after Russia got more powerful and increased its regional influence, I said in order not to polarize and create division, Russia could take the mandate.

But since the issue of the mandate is not up to us, we are only suggesting it, let RU/FR/US handle it. But the idea is this: if we don't arm ourselves then we must be under the mandate of a superpower.

This was not accepted by the former administration, the same people who lead the army and people to this condition. All these animals making noise today must face justice. That includes the 20-year leadership of Karabakh and Armenia. They must answer in front of everyone.

They think that by playing political monkey games today they can get away with it. No, boys. Get ready. I have no personal problems, be it Pashinyan, this, or that.

My problem with Serj Sargsyan is what we have today. It was him whom I wrote the 2013 letter. Who are you [Serj] for not even inviting me once to hear me out? Who are you?

You were in Moscow when we captured Aghdam. You claimed, "we captured Aghdam so we can later return it". You weren't even in Armenia. This is about him and the likes of him. This is what treason is.

Now everyone says "Nikol... beat up and finish that poor bastard, it's his fault". Let Nikol answer for his actions, but Serj must answer for his actions for not listening. For hanging countless medals on kolkhoz presidents and lying to people. When you stole 500 million a year in army funding. You will answer for that.

Question: what to do next?

Strengthen the army. When Russia will realize in 4-5 years that its ally Azerbaijan is not an "ally", we must be strong to defend our borders.

Question: Army says it's difficult to secure long borders and we don't have enough troops.

If you don't know how to resolve the problem that doesn't mean it cannot be resolved. Here is my plan: organize recruitment every 3 months. You may have served in the army in past but never used weapons and never liked the morale.

Today we tell you to voluntarily come for professional service. You will obviously remember your poor experience and feel discouraged. But if we make the [yeramsyakayin] recruitment mandatory, we create the necessary conditions for you [only 20-30-year-olds] to train for a month.

When you get to know the weapon and protect the border for 2-3 months afterward, specifically the border areas with gaps, after this mandatory period we will choose volunteers for the army. They will undergo a 6-month training for a professional service. That's 4 x 25,000 recruits every year.

I sent the offer to military leadership today but I doubt their qualities. I doubt they can organize it, install normal officers, create a warm and friendly atmosphere.

Full: https://youtu.be/F5VMyMXL75M?t=1379

Tags: #SamvelBabayan #ArmyReforms

Pashinyan about the 2020 war:

Azerbaijan knew that if they waited any longer after 2018, Armenia would only get stronger and it would be more difficult to defeat us. In 2018-2019 we increased military expenditures by 48%, and the budget revenues by $1 billion. Armenia had the biggest economic growth in the Eurasian bloc sector in 2019.

We told businesses to pay their taxes so the state could resolve the problems. We did not have time to finish this work because Azerbaijan realized that if 10 years ago their best bet was to wait for Armenia to get weaker and weaker, then after 2018 it realized that time would not work in their favor.

The military purchases in 2019 alone accounted for 62% of all purchases between 2010-2020. The 75% of the past decade's arms purchases were done in 2018-2020. Then came the pandemic.

Azeris realized that 2020 was the right time for war. They witnessed the decline in our ability to resist between 1998-2018.

We purchased 2x as many weapons as Robert Kocharyan did, and $1 million more than what Serj Sargsyan purchased in his 10 years of rule. //


Germany believes their army would have lost the 2020 war, too

German GIDS analyzed the Karabakh war and the extensive use of drones and believes that the German army would not have a chance to carry out its missions.

GIDS Michael Karl: Если бы бундесвер гипотетически должен был выступать в конфликте в Нагорном Карабахе против Азербайджана, то у него не было бы практически никаких шансов, указал эксперт GIDS. //

Germany is unable to defend itself from such air attacks and they could be vulnerable to terrorist attacks, says the assessment.

https://www.dw.com/ru/jeksperty-germanija-ploho-podgotovlena-k-atakam-bespilotnikov/a-57880651 https://factor.am/382202.html

ex-mayor of Armavir also arrested over alleged bribery involving Serj-Vanetsyan alliance candidate

This is over the alleged ֏9 million distribution to a local Janfida resident to distribute bribes. Two were arrested yesterday "during the transaction".

The SIS says they have also arrested the former Armavir mayor in connection with the case. Another 8 have the status of a suspect.

Serj's alliance referred to the arrests as "political pressure".

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055256.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055305.html

Pashinyan about election bribery arrests:

The fight continues against bribery givers and tasovshiks. The latest arrests were made in Yerevan's Malatia-Sebastia district. Any business or organization that attempts to illegally influence the voters will meet the "steel hammer" and face the asphalt.

The velvet ends on June 20. Don't say you were not warned. This isn't about whether our party will remain in power, it's about whether you the people will remain in power. //

Pashinyan held a march in Malatia district. A confrontation was recorded between his and Tsarukyan's supporters.



UCOM denies pressuring workers to vote for a specific party/alliance

UCOM: false rumors were circulated on the media claiming that we pressured employees to help a specific political force. We do not discriminate based on religion, political views, etc.

[UCOM is partly owned/run by Serj's former IRS chief Khachatryan's family. Khachatryan is under felony investigation.]


update: Goris mayor Arushanyan is charged with assault and abuse of power

Read December 22, 2020 news for context. Goris mayor Arush Arushanyan [team Kocharyan] was earlier charged with abusing land in 2017 for personal gain, registering a company, conducting unlicensed activities that harmed nature, assaulting an employee after a financial loss, etc.

Investigators finalized the investigation: being the mayor of Goris since 2017, Arushanyan decided to launch a mining business in Syunik's Verishen settlement area. At first, he took a piece of land meant for agriculture and registered it as part of Goris city. The municipality employees then placed the land for auction.

Meanwhile, Arushanyan used his relative's name to register a business in 2019. For "formality", he then placed the land auction ad on the website. A month later his relative himself won the auction.

Then, without a mining license and authorization from relevant nature agencies, he conducted illegal mining until 10 March 2021, causing ֏28m in monetary damages.

Second case. In early 2020 his family business lost money so he assaulted the employee and forced him to hand over his Nissan vehicle, and the apartment belonging to the employee's wife.

Third case. In August 2020, a Goris resident was driving when he was forced to overtake Arushanyan's vehicle. It angered the mayor. The driver was told to pull over and explain his "aggressive driving". The mayor's friends held the driver while the mayor hit him in the nose and body, before damaging the driver's license plate.

Mayor Arushan Arushanyan and his friends are charged with multiple felony counts. Bail was set for him. Some assets have been frozen. The case has been sent to prosecutors for court filing. //

https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/kifeqj/dec222020_wrapup_engineering_city_issues_licenses/ https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055338.html https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/216169

Kocharyan about extending nuclear plant's lifespan:

I promise to do everything possible to extend the NPP's lifespan. By 1998 we accumulated massive debts in exchange for gas. We brought the entire energy sector to a healthy state in about 1.5 years.

Armenia was obligated to close the NPP back in 1995. Hrazdan's 5th bloc was being financed under the condition that the NPP would close. I suspended that process, we conserved the 5th bloc, and we negotiated with the EU and Chinese for NPP not to close.

Armenia can export lots of energy. Our system was working only at 50% capacity. Hrazdan's 5th bloc is not being fully utilized today only because the new electric grid has not been built between Iran-Armenia. Only now the government is making attempts to advance that project.

The infrastructure is the backbone of the economy. //


BHK's Tsarukyan about his "$20 billion loan":

After 2018 I brought $20 billion in investments at only 1% interest but the govt did not accept it. Ask the former Central Bank chief. It was for 10 years with no need to repay loans for the first 2 years.

[Flashback: It's unclear what's included in his $20 billion calculations but there was a story in Dec/4/2019 when the Yerevan mayor refused to give luxury lands to Tsarukyan's royal Arab "sheik" friends who wanted to "invest in a project". UAE embassy later denied royal sheiks visiting Armenia, it was someone else.]

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/216183 https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/175407 https://armenpress.am/arm/news/997716.html

update: public H1 television agrees to air problematic campaign videos

H1 refused to air some campaign videos, citing "promotion of violence". An opposition party complained about bias. H1 consulted with the TV regulator and ultimately decided to air the videos while emphasizing that they do not carry responsibility for the content.


LHK's Marukyan about amending legislation before unblocking regional trade routes:

I see no alternative to unblocking Armenia. Everyone must use each others' roads without losing sovereignty over the land.

Before unblocking, we must review our legal code. We cannot simply allow Turkish or Azeri citizens to purchase property, land, or other products that could impose security threats to Armenia.

Armenia said, for years, that it is ready to unconditionally open the borders, but these necessary legal amendments have never been done.


Azerbaijan sentences POW Vigen Euljekyan to 20 years

After the November 9 ceasefire was signed, Maral Najaryan decided it would be safe for her to visit a settlement in the Lachin corridor (near Shushi) to pick up her personal items. Vigen Euljekyan decided to drive her there; he was essentially a taxi driver.

Azeri soldiers arrested the two. Maral Najaryan was recently released, while Vigen Euljekyan was hit with bogus "terrorism and organized crime" charges.

Today the court sentenced him to 20 years. 5 in a prison, 15 in correctional facility.


Pashinyan responds to claims that Armenia is keeping landmine maps secret from Russia:

There are some forces who were upset about the return of 15 POWs. They've been circulating rumors claiming that we hid the landmine maps from our Russian partners. It's complete nonsense. I even sent copies with MFA Lavrov to Baku.

Some people are trying to drive a wedge between Armenia-Russia relations. They won't succeed. We are thankful for our US, Georgian, EU but I'd like to remind you that before that it was Russia that worked with great efficiency. The return of over 50 POWs prior to this was with Russian efforts.

I held dozens of phone conversations with Putin last year and met him twice this year. The primary topic has been the return of POWs. Putin is personally working on it.

Azerbaijan may sentence some of the POWs to prison time but that was also the case with Karen Ghazaryan, who has recently returned home.


LHK's Marukyan about the return of POWs:

Azerbaijan continues to hold Armenian POWs while imposing various preconditions on their return. It is an act of a terrorist country. Only terrorists take and hold hostages while setting preconditions for their release.

The solution of the issue is in the sphere of international law, the Armenian side should make emphasis here. We can return POWs if our foreign diplomacy wing is strengthened. Our party will be able to strengthen MFA.

We welcome the return of 15 POWs. Under no circumstances should their return be manipulated for internal politics. Everything can be manipulated, but the release of a person from captivity should not.


Parliament president Mirzoyan cooperated with NSS / "Turkish spy" rumors & rebuttals

Serj's fugitive son-in-law Mishik Minasyan claimed that Ararat Mirzoyan is a "Turkish agent". He published a document to "prove it". The document suggests that Mirzoyan was working with Armenia's NSS.

Ararat Mirzoyan: NSS contacted me and asked for assistance since I was a national archive and Genocide museum employee who was writing various articles. Obviously, regardless of who was the government at the time, as a patriot, I agreed to help NSS. This is the whole story. The rest are a myth added to the story. Those who defame and discredit my reputation will answer for it. //


Pashinyan about agricultural procurement volumes, exports, and loans:

The procurement of fruits, vegetables, and grapes increased by 76% since 2018. A few things contributed to this...

First. The reduction of the shadowy economy.

Second. We implemented restrictions on the import of cognac spirit, reducing it from 20m to 400k liters a year. This allowed for the procurement of additional 80,000 tons of grape.

We lowered the cognac spirit export duties from $29,000/year to $100/year.

Agricultural refrigeration volumes increased by 44%.

The size of intense gardens grew by 792 hectares. We are not satisfied. We aim for 5,000 within the next 5 years.

Drip-irrigation farms increased by 2.7x to 3,000 hectares.

Hail-protected farms increased 3.7x or 413 hectares.

We implemented first-ever 0% agricultural loans and leasing programs to obtain equipment for farming automation, so farming won't be torture. Not all loans are 0% today, but many are. Since 2018, the state has distributed ֏100 billion ($193 million) in such loans.

To promote greenhouses, we issue loans and organize classes for farmers. We subsidize 30% of the construction costs. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055268.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055297.html

Pashinyan about forming agricultural "unions":

I think farmers should gather and form Associations so they won't have to individually negotiate with factories. The farmers, collectors, and producers can have their Associations negotiate at the beginning of the year about planned production, collection volumes, and pricing.

We should avoid a situation when a farmer harvests the grape then sits in the factory's backyard for days while waiting. Millions are being wasted this way. //


Pashinyan about the October 27 terrorist attack on Parliament:

In these elections, the citizens will have the opportunity to force the organizers of the "October 27" case to answer for their actions. The October 27 investigation was reopened in February of 2020 at the request of widow Anahit Bakhshyan (wife of Yuri Bakhhsyan) but it was paused due to the pandemic and war.

The NSS investigation is open. Your June 20 vote can place a special obligation on our judiciary-investigative system, telling them that the case should be thoroughly investigated, that all possible measures should be taken to solve the case. //


Pashinyan about the economy, minimum wages, pensions:

about past accomplishments

In 2019 we recorded the largest 7.6% economic growth since 2000. Compared to 2017, the exports grew by 27%. State revenues rose 40% thanks to the fight against the shadowy economy.

Registered employees...

April 2018: 541,000

April 2020: 626,000

Average salaries...

April 2018: 166,000

March 2021: 212,000

In 2019, the processing industry's share in GDP rose 6%, accounting for 12.4%. The highest share in 8 years.

about future plans

Increase avg. pension from ֏43,500 to ֏61,000.

Minimum pension from ֏26,500 to ֏37,000.

Minimum salaries from ֏68,000 to ֏85,000. (we raised it from 55k to 68k in 2020)

By 2026 we plan to increase economic growth to 7%.

Increase GDP per capita from $4,269 to $5,900.

The share of the non-public salary fund should increase from 16% to 25%.



Pashinyan plans to introduce another birth aid program to boost demographics:

Pashinyan: we recently increased the aid for the first child six-fold, from ֏50k to ֏300k. For a second child, it doubled to ֏300k.

Beginning in 2022, the family will receive ֏50,000/month for each 3rd and subsequent newborn, until the child turns 4.

This will be active until 2025. We will analyze the results. If the 3rd and 4th are born by 2025, everyone will be a beneficiary.

For the first time in the last decade, in 2020 we saw a modest increase in the birthrate. We need to ensure population growth. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055284.html https://factor.am/382130.html https://youtu.be/xuMneJ8Aak4

mother and accomplices are facing child trafficking charges

Investigators report: in the Spring of 2018, a pregnant woman and her mother decided to sell the child when she is born. They contacted a 45yo woman (Client) who had placed an ad about her desire to become a surrogate mom. They asked ֏1.2 million for the child.

The Client agreed. The child was born on 20 August 2018. The mother deceived the child's father, telling him that the child died during birth.

A few days later, the Client's husband and the child's mother went to a state registration agency, where they lied and claimed that the Client's husband was the father.

To finalize the bogus adoption process, the Client and her husband, with the presence of the mother, went to a Notary office, where they told the notary that the mother and the Client's husband are the real parents, and that they agree to give their child for adoption to the Client.

Meanwhile, the child's real father and grandmother learned about the scheme and took the child back. The child's mother and her mother, the Client and the Client's husband, are charged with felonies.


Anatole France inaugurated a new educational complex in Armenia

French embassy and Armenia's Education Ministry took part in the opening ceremony of a new Anatole France school. It's part of a French global network: 540 schools in 139 states.

Established in 2007, it is the only French educational complex, accredited by France, that houses students between the ages of 2 to 18.


Yerevan tunnels get new efficient LED lighting

Yerevan municipality: we want the tunnels to be safe. The lighting revamp began last year. The difference is noticeable. This year we have installed 400 LED lamps in 10 locations. The cables were enclosed in special pipes for safety.

Before the upgrade, the Heratsi-Saralanj tunnel was using 25,000kWh energy or ֏1 million per month. The upgrade reduced the energy consumption 5 times.

For years, several tunnels were only lit partially. Now they are fully lit 24/7. Up next: Yerevan's gardens and parks. //


140 state agencies and orgs switch to digital communication

Deputy Premier Avinyan: on April we launched the full digitization of communication system between citizens, state agencies, and organizations.

e-request.am allows you to contact 140 state agencies and orgs. This will save citizens' time and money.


graduation attestation documents will be digitized

Gone will be the days of losing your "atestat" during the graduation party. This year a pilot program will switch to hybrid mode: paper and electronic. Each student will have a code to enter in e-verify.am to get the attestation copy.


Azerbaijan's unsportsmanlike conduct continues

Recently the Azeri soccer federation, one of the host countries of Euro-2020 soccer, refused to accredit an ethnic Armenian-Russian sports commentator. The ban was soon lifted amid an international uproar.

Today two Armenian soccer officials, representing Armenia, received a similar letter about being "vetoed". They plan to file a complaint with UEFA.


madman hikers to take on Transcaucasian Trail

To mark the success of the hiking route, expert hikers will spend 40 days and travel 832km in Armenia.

The trip began today in the furthest north-western Lake Arpi and will finish in southern Meghri.

Transcaucasian Trail is 3,000km and includes the Lesser and Greater Caucasus mountain ranges, dozens of national parks. It's a project formed in the United States, with the participation of Armenian and Georgian hiking associations.

More: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055351.html

COVID stats

2353 tested. 41 infected. 33 healed. 4 deaths. 2913 active.

> 55k vaccinated (citizens and foreigners can call any clinic Mon-Sun for a free vaccination)

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055263.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055264.html

in case you missed weekend news


Перевод на русский 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/nzv4vw/news_jun142021_1_general_babayan_about_1990s_and/

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