2021 June 15

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Daily news wrap-up

News - Jun/15/2021: (1) Pashinyan about partially nationalizing largest taxpayer Zangezur Copper; shady shares (2) Gen. Babayan about "intentional" slow weapon delivery during war (3) Voter bribery & intimidation reports (4) Pashinyan visits Syunik (5) Bypass-road in Syunik (6) Economy++ (7) Climate
by ar_david_hh

This is your 15-minute Tuesday report in 3763 words.

Interview: General Samvel Babayan talks about Russia delaying the delivery of already-paid weapons during the war, TOR and BUK missiles, army reforms

The full version of this interview is here, parts of it are translated below: https://youtu.be/zuUWIb2H7-Q

Babayan has given several interviews recently. Read here and here.

Samvel Babayan about the delay in weapon deliveries:

Interviewer: you said Armenia took $200 million in loans to purchase weapons from Russia but they weren't fully delivered and that there were faulty ones.

Before Pashinyan came to power, the Armenian experts concluded that TORs were the "saviors" and asked Serj to purchase them. Serj took a $200 million loan and ordered TOR missile units from Russia.

Russia was supposed to deliver ~18-24 TOR units. When the war began, 6 of them were stationed in Artsakh. 4 of those 6 were destroyed with drones. Russia sent another 6 units on November 2nd. The question is, why didn't Russia send all 12 sooner?

Interviewer: why didn't they?

I don't know. Why didn't they? [smirks]

Interviewer: you probably know better.

Armenia contacts Russia on October 21. Russia says they will give Armenia BUK M1 missiles from the [R2?] military base. Armenia sends the documents and prepares to accept the BUK on October 26-27, before learning that 5 out of 6 BUK units were dysfunctional.

Russia promises to send experts from Moscow to fix them but they will arrive on November 3, and the units won't be ready by November 10. [war ended on 9]

I want to emphasize: we contact Russia on October 27. Azerbaijan says they want to enter Shushi... there was a need to delay. Then we learn that Russian experts will be ready by November 3 and we won't have the missiles by November 10. When you analyze everything I said you will understand.

All those who say "why didn't Pashinyan stop the war". Pashinyan had nothing in his hands to stop the war.

Interviewer: did Russia intentionally delay the weapon delivery and repair process?

[smirks] I think if you and I are allies, you should have helped immediately, especially if it was already ordered and paid for. If they did not have the units in the factory they could have taken them from any Russian military base... if you and I are allies.

Interviewer: so was it done intentionally so Armenia will lose?

I think it was intentional. We need Russia to clearly explain in what areas they will stub us in the back and where they will help us. When I say that, some people shout "Babayan turned anti-Russian". I'm not anti-Russian, I'm pro-Armenian, there may not be any more pro-Russian person in Armenia than I am. I just need clarity. I don't care if Russia feels offended.

Interviewer: was Pashinyan afraid of offending Russia?

It doesn't matter. Everyone in this political campaign supports turning Armenia into a Russian province, bring Russian border guards, "they will help us reform the army", etc. Folks, get serious. They've been using you for a century. Have you not learned?

Interviewer: what to do about Azeri intrusion into Syunik and Gegharkunik?

This is why we need to clarify Russia's stance. Those [former regime] who complain about Azeri intrusion now should answer why they were silent for decades about Azeris intruding 3.5km forward from Berd-Noyemberyan-Shamshadin direction [Tavush province]. Azeris have been there since 1992. Why weren't you screaming, boys? Wasn't beneficial?

I don't want Armenian lands to turn into political bargaining. Don't mention lands only when it's beneficial to you. They were forced to spend millions of dollars to build a bypass road in Tavush because Azeris intruded into Armenia and began firing at the road.

Ask every politician since 1992 why they were silent. Now they complain about a hill, no soldiers on a hill, etc. 700km border became 1,500km. They couldn't hold the old border, let alone the new one.

Samvel Babayan about army reforms and alliances:

Interviewer: what's your plan?

After the 2020 war, I created a report and presented it to the leadership. It's about army recruitment, what weapons to buy, how much it will cost in 5 years.

Interviewer: how much?

It's a secret but it can be financed. Stop hiding your income, pay taxes, and we will get it done.

Interviewer: why hasn't CSTO intervened in Syunik & Gegharkunik?

CSTO = Russia. We reached an agreement involving Russia on November 9 about the return of POWs. Putin personally gives a speech saying "please understand us, we could not intervene in Karabakh". Okay, now Azeris are in Armenia. Could you intervene? Why didn't you then? There is a trade happening [between Russia and Azerbaijan, with Russia attempting to convince Azeris to enter CSTO and EAEU]. Be realistic. You can dream all day about Russia coming.

Interviewer: about Armenian citizens not being allowed to serve in the Artsakh army.

That's not an issue. There is a solution. There is no need to publicly mention it.

Samvel Babayan about Serj Sargsyan "changing the constitution to his liking" and its impact on military command:

Interviewer: the 2015 Constitutional amendment made changes in the military subordination. What would you change here? After his resignation, MOD Davit Tonoyan announced that there were problems between CoGS and MOD.

Serj Sargsyan made the 2015 Constitutional changes to ensure he later stays in power as Premier. The amendments had nothing to do with Armenia. It was about him.

Back to the army... the CoGS and MOD have been mauling each other since day one. Even during the presidential system, Khachaturov (CoGS) and Seyran Ohanyan (MOD) wrote about the conflict between the CoGS and MOD offices. This is unacceptable in the army.

We have a similar problem today. It says the MOD and CoGS are under the subordination of commander-in-chief (Premier) when Armenia is at war. Before a war, they act independently.

The war begins in 2020. The two bodies begin to report to the commander-in-chief. They run to him on the 3rd day and ask him to run to Baku and negotiate a ceasefire. Folks, we did not start this war. The war began in the 1990s. The war ends when one of the sides loses. Just as in the 1990s when we forced Azeris to stop the war, we had to fight in 2020 to force them to stop the war.

They spent 20 years creating an army that had to ask for a ceasefire after only 3 days of fighting.

Tags: #Babayan #TOR #BUK

Erdogan visits Azerbaijan and Artsakh

They landed in Baku before traveling to Shushi to meet Aliyev. Turkey will open a consulate in Shushi.

Artsakh MFA: they are flexing. It's a challenge not only to Armenia and Artsakh but also to Russia and Iran.

Analyst Safrastyan: Turkey and Azerbaijan will sign a new agreement to replace the one from 2010. The "panturkist" integration will deepen. A while ago there were discussions about forming a confederation between TR-AZ. It's just an idea for now, but this new agreement is a step in that direction.

Turkey wants to strengthen its influence in Azerbaijan and the region at the expense of Russia. Azerbaijan will become more dependent on Turkey and less independent. They plan to turn Shushi into a "panturkist cultural hub" with a cultural forum. //

Erdogan promoted the 6-platform idea involving 6 states: Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iran, and Russia. He said the region can have peace when they all cooperate. He signed a new defense cooperation agreement with Azerbaijan. Erdogan said Turkey is ready to normalize relations with Armenia, "if Armenia cooperates".

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055378.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055406.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055419.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055452.html https://factor.am/382812.html

Putin and Biden will discuss Nagorno Karabakh conflict

The "worthy killer" and the "career politician" will meet in Geneva tomorrow.


Armenia sends envoy to USA to discuss ongoing justice and anti-corruption reforms

They met Secretary of State rep. Geroge Kent, Department of Defense rep. Laura Cooper, and others, and presented the ongoing reforms.

US reps.: we welcome the continuation of reforms despite the 2020 pandemic and war, as well as the already-recorded results. We see a strong political commitment by Armenia to have strong democratic institutes.

Joe Biden views corruption as a national security threat. We sympathize with the steps taken by the Armenian government in this area, which are of an institutional and fundamental nature. //

AM reps.: thanks for the cooperation. One of the successful projects was the cooperation in the creation of the Corruption Prevention Commission. [They discussed multi-million dollar programs for judicial and anti-corruption reforms.] //

There were similar meetings with anti-narcotics agency representatives, Congress members Adam Schiff, Jackie Speier, and others.


details emerge from post-November 9 chaos and internal turmoil in the ruling party

Ejmiatsin's mayor held a phone conversation with another ruling party official on November 16 and said it would be best for Pashinyan to step down. This was days after the opposition attacked government buildings and there were calls for Pashinyan's assassination. It was followed by Pashinyan urging volunteers to return home and gather in Yerevan on November 16. The Ejmiatsin mayor expressed her displeasure that evening. The following day Pashinyan publicly asked his supporters to refrain from possible violence.

Ejmiatsin mayor: it is no coincidence that my November 16 conversation was leaked during the electoral campaign. They are attempting to mislead the public and cause internal divisions.


Ruling party accuses former govt-affiliated construction companies of intentionally suspending roadwork in Syunik:

Infrastructure Minister: Here are the road construction projects for this year: 125.6km in total, Tatev-Aghvan's two sections are underway, we will have alternative Syunik road leading to Yerevan by the end of this year.

There is a nuance here. Some construction contractors, which are connected with the former regime and their settlement mayors, participated in auctions and won construction licenses to build roads. However, they are not building the roads today. They stopped 20 days ago so you will drive in the holes that formed under their administration. //

https://factor.am/382835.html https://youtu.be/YvYiutfxXkw

two more arrested for allegedly bribing voters for an "alliance"

Investigators report: two residents of Yerevan's Malatia-Sebastia district (VV and SD) distributed bribes to local residents between June 3-11, in exchange for voting for an "alliance". They have been arrested and charged with felonies. Another person is a suspect.

[Overall, there are 5 defendants and 9 suspects accused of bribery.]

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055430.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055441.html https://factor.am/382670.html https://youtu.be/wZVRA23D6X0

election observer reports instances of alleged bribery in favor of Kocharyan-ARF alliance

observer Informed Citizens: we received the following reports:

Mayors of Lori's Gyulagarak and Odzun promised bribes to residents in exchange for the Armenia Alliance vote [Kocharyan-ARF].

Deputy mayor of Ararat's Masis settlement and a police official promised bribes in exchange for the Kocharyan-ARF vote.

Vanadzor city's shared housing workers and Kocharyan-ARF party issuing bribes in exchange for not voting for the ruling QP party.

Hamatirutyun workers in Yerevan's Khorenatsi St. distributing bribes for the Kocharyan-ARF alliance.

Kocharyan-ARF alliance paying for voters' utility bills in Yerevan's 15th district. //

observer: the vast majority of bribery reports are about Armenia Alliance and Pativ Unem [Kocharyan and Serj]. There are also reports about BHK and Democrat Party but significantly fewer. Most reports are from Armavir and Lori provinces.

In Syunik, we received a report that the Zangezur copper factory workers were intentionally released 2 hours late, and the second shift workers were asked to come 2 hours early, so they wouldn't be able to attend Pashinyan's rally today. This is just a small instance of reported interference in Zangezur. More here. //

https://factor.am/382765.html https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/216256

Tags: #bribery

Pashinyan about the alleged election pressure by Zangezur copper factory / reveals ongoing negotiations to nationalize some shares

Read context about alleged election interference here. Zangezur factory is the largest private taxpayer in Armenia.

There was an investigative report by CivilNet about Serj's ally Arthur Vanetsyan and his family allegedly running an offshore scheme to control factory shares. The factory is associated with foreign investors, as well as Armenian investors associated with the former regime. More about it here and here.

Pashinyan while in Qajaran, Syunik: there are reports that Zangezur factory workers were threatened with terminations if they participate in our rally. I promise you that none of those who threatened you will be working at the factory by mid-July.

Enough with the certain bashi-bozuk shareholders. Armenian public will have its share in the factory. I'd like to open a secret. There are ongoing negotiations. Hopefully, it will be constructive.

If not, the public will take back its own share, even if it's through nationalization. I'd like to emphasize that it's not about the foreign investors. //

https://factor.am/382850.html https://youtu.be/t0Ru8w4Lui8?t=38


Kocharyan's trial was delayed again

Kocharyan and others could not appear for the trial today, mostly due to the election campaign.


Kocharyan met former Premier Karen Karapetyan

He plans to invite Karapetyan to Armenia and give a position if he wins. Karapetyan endorsed Kocharyan.

https://factor.am/382550.html https://ru.armeniasputnik.am/politics/20210615/27925705/Kocharyan-gotov-predlozhit-eks-premeru-Karapetyanu-dolzhnost.html

Pashinyan responds to Kocharyan promising a job to Karapetyan:

Karen Karapetyan is Мальчик на побегушках. The young pensionaire is talking about distributing positions to Karapetyan and others. You won't be distributing jobs. You will be carrying bricks to build 500 preschools, 300 schools, and 2,600km of roads under our administration.


Kocharyan visited Vedi:

The irrigation subsidy program will change for 3 years. The calculation is not finalized yet, but you will have symbolic funds for irrigation for 3 years. It's difficult to pay out loans due to the recent economic decline.

If we don't have mass sports, we won't have professional sports. At least 8-10,000 children must train in the same sport to achieve professional results. Mass sport means public health.

We have experience, knowledge, and determination. If you trust us, we will break these declining moods. We will move the country forward very fast. We will not disappoint you. //


update: Panama Paper suspect can run for elections under Serj-Vanetsyan alliance

While the police investigate Mihran Poghosyan's suspicious education documents sent from Russia, the court instructed Electoral Commission to allow him to run under the Serj-Vanetsyan alliance.

An election observer says there were two candidates with similar registration issues. "Poghosyan received a favorable treatment by the court, while the other candidate was rejected with a similar case."

https://factor.am/382832.html https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/216278

Pashinyan visited Syunik

He thanked the residents for housing Artsakh refugees. "Every resident and hotel opened their door for the people displaced by the war. We will not leave you alone in difficult times. We owe it back to you."

Pashinyan about a car rally: today we organized a car caravan for unity for two reasons. First, to show that we won't allow anyone to pit Syunik against the rest of Armenia.

Pashinyan about agriculture: only half of Armenia's 1 million hectares of pasture is being used. We need to manage those lands appropriately. One reason for under-utilization is the lack of roads. We will work on this. The farms that have pasture shortages in Syunik will receive aid.

Pashinyan about border security: we recently allocated ֏2.5 billion for the protection of the Goris-Meghri border section; checkpoints will be installed. Soon, the protection in this section will be in full condition. The process could have been faster if it wasn't for the laws about holding auctions; I advised them to bypass auctions to expedite the process but they decided to do everything the "legal way".

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055410.html https://factor.am/382462.html https://youtu.be/uyDa3vb51Js


Pashinyan visited Sisian, Syunik

He addressed reports about local businesses and other circles allegedly pressuring residents to vote for Kocharyan-ARF alliance.

Pashinyan in Sisian: various thieves visit Syunik these days with attempts to pin Syunik against the rest of Armenia as if Syunik and Armenia are different things. They "divide and conquer" for the sake of their pennies. We are against that division. Armenia's strength is in its unity. We will break any hand that attempts to stoke divisions between Syunik and the rest of Armenia. //

One of the residents gave Pashinyan a dog as a gift. He dropped it while holding it.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055392.html https://factor.am/382579.html

Pashinyan visits Kapan, Syunik / talks about Joe Biden and the Turkish-Azeri-Pakistani alliance:

The Turkish genocidal policy has not changed in the past 150 years. There are legends about why the US president recognized the Armenian Genocide. It was a direct response to the 44-day war. We keep forgetting that we did not fight only against Azerbaijan: it was the Azeri-Turkish-Pakistani alliance.

We must counter the aggressive Azeri policies by using international restraint tools, obviously, while strengthening our army, and deepening the relations with our strategic partner Russia, while continuing the strategic dialogue with the US and OSCE.


Pashinyan about ARF party and the murder of "Privet Rob" villager by Kocharyan's bodyguards in Paplavok:

On June 20, all the honest Dashnaks and Armenian people must give their answer to the beating and murder of Dashnak Poghos Poghosyan in Paplavok. The Dashnaks who vote in favor of the murderer swindlers will have no right to carry the honor of their hero ancestors. By doing so, they will be burning the ARF flag instead of the Turkish one.

https://factor.am/382591.html https://youtu.be/ebA0CZnZYYQ

Central Bank revises economic growth estimates / services & industry accelerate

They now predict 4.6% economic growth this year, up from 1.4%.

Services to grow 6.1% instead of 1.2%.

Industry to grow 4.5% instead of 0.7% (mainly from more mining).

Central Bank: we're also receiving signals from the outside that the year is more positive than we previously predicted. We expect a positive change in private consumption throughout the year, while private investments remain weak.

We are raising the refinancing rate by 0.5%, to 6.5%.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055424.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055396.html

Central Bank about inflation and the global product price increase:

In the short term, the inflationary impact will remain high due to foreign and internal factors. The inflation will then gradually reduce to within the 4% target.

In May, we observed a 0.4% de-flation, which resulted in the 12-month inflation reducing to 5.9%. The nominal inflation rose to 7.4%.

Because of the vaccinations and global policies, the economies are growing faster than predicted. Because of rising product demand and supply shortages, product prices are increasing. Armenia will be influenced by this.


Central Bank about financial transfers and Armenias seasonal workers in Russia:

A large monetary inflow is observed. It has a positive effect on the economy. The inflow activated from the United States. It's possibly due to stimulus checks distributed to Americans. Part of it is sent to Armenia.

Transfers from Russia have also activated. Many Armenian seasonal workers traveled to Russia in February-March.

Non-commercial money transfers in March increased by 145% and in April by 190%.

Private money transfers to Armenia in 1Q21 increased by 15% (reaching $406m).

$154m Russia

$118 USA

$15m Germany

$13m Kazakhstan

$12m France

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055439.html http://arka.am/en/news/economy/armenia_s_central_bank_expects_private_remittances_to_armenia_to_grow_this_year_by_15_17/

beloved cartoon character Winnie the Pooh exposed as an aspiring serial killer

The health authorities "raided" the child development center "Winnie the Pooh and Friends" after reports of food poisoning among dozens of children. They were given spoiled sour cream and cottage cheese.

The dairy producer "Biokat" recalled the products manufactured on June 7-8.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055435.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055462.html

thousands of preschool tutors were retrained / education reforms

Education Ministry: with the financial assistance of the World Bank, the Step-by-Step Foundation organized a program to address child care and education quality under emergency situations.

If in the case of higher grades we were able to more or less ensure the continuation of education with the help of remote learning, the situation is more difficult in preschools at the early developmental stages of the child.

Therefore, there was a need to develop preschool tutors' skills. 1350 were retrained. This is great because routine retraining in this field has been absent.

As part of last year's education reforms, 1/5th of such workers are required to undergo retraining annually.

Full: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055387.html

update: UEFA overrules Azerbaijan's veto against two Armenian soccer officials, they will attend Euro-2020


video: former POW Narek Sirunyan returns home


COVID stats

3784 tested. 82 infected. 227 healed. 1 death. 2767 active.


Belarus has eased the entry restrictions for Armenians

Armenia is removed from the Red List. No need to quarantine for 10 days upon the arrival.


Civil Aviation invites EAEU investors to manufacture aviation parts in Armenia


helicopters launched an aerial assault against pests and forest diseases

... in Kotayk and Aragatsotn provinces, announced the Nature Ministry and ArmForest today. They had earlier examined the forests and identified 11,575 hectares of infected areas.

Entry to these forests is prohibited for 25 days to prevent chemical poisoning.


Armenia signs anti-climate change agreement / major forest expansion in Europe and Central Asia

Nature Ministry: climate change poses a major threat to Armenia. We are expanding forests in Armenia, reducing carbon from forests, and reducing demand for firewood.

This is part of a program financed by the UN and Green Climate Fund, the first major project in Europe and Central Asia. The goal is to expand forests by 2.5%, reduce villagers' need for firewood by 30%, promote climate-friendly forest management, equip villages with tech. //

Nature Ministry signed the agreement today. The 8-year-long project has an $18.7m budget.

UN rep.: The program is a key milestone in the implementation of nationally defined actions under the Paris Agreement, as well as in solving the problem of poverty and sustainable energy consumption. //

Lori and Syunik provinces will be prioritized considering forest types, population density, poverty level, etc. 377,000 residents will be direct beneficiaries.

It is estimated that 20 million tons of carbon dioxide will not reach the atmosphere within 20 years, thanks to the forest-energy interconnected approach.


forests are being restored near Tsitsernakaberd genocide memorial

Yerevan municipality: a mass greenification campaign began on an 8.5 hectare land on the western side of Hamalir sports complex, near Tsitsernakaberd. Rocks and trash are currently being removed ahead of the forest-park works. It'll be ready in 4 months.

The park will have evergreen trees and bushes. They will use the new irrigation network the city installed last year. New trees will be planted in the Autumn.

The entire project will take 2-3 years. It's the largest project since Armenia's independence. //


today in history

1899: artist Yervand Qochar is born

1935: "Pepo" is premiered, the first Armenian movie with a sound

1954: soccer body UEFA is established


Monday 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.

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Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/o0mfh1/news_jun152021_1_pashinyan_about_partially/

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