2021 June 16

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Daily news wrap-up

News - Jun/16/2021: (1) $1,000 bounty for each video exposing voter bribery & intimidation; dozens arrested & charged (2) Campaign: Kocharyan, Levon, LHK (3) Water reservoirs; irrigation waste (4) Pashinyan visits Shurnukh, Syunik (5) Serj's nephew sentenced after pleading guilty (6) Anti-corruption
by ar_david_hh


This is your 10-minute Wednesday report in 2631 words.

Pashinyan offers $1,000 reward for any whistleblower video that exposes voter bribery:

We recently significantly increased the penalties for electoral bribery. We are now offering ֏500,000 for any video confirming bribery, or pressure by a public official.

As of right now, 15 people have been charged while 40 others are suspects. Law enforcement is going to have a "huge harvest" in the coming days.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055530.html https://youtu.be/TcUaRAB9Hmc

Pashinyan about Gasprom-Armenia gas giant allegedly pressuring voters:

We are receiving many reports alleging that Gasprom-Armenia leadership is forcing workers to attend specific rallies or vote for specific forces. I hope these reports will not be confirmed. If they are, it will have severe consequences.

Any Gasprom employee who pressured voters will lose their job by July 15, I'm not even talking about a felony punishment right now. You will go to court in packs. I don't care what "prom" you are. //

Yesterday he promised to have Zangezur copper factory officials fired by the same July 15 date if it is confirmed that they pressured voters. An election observer had earlier received numerous alleged bribery and pressure reports by Kocharyan-ARF campaign allies within the factory. Details in yesterday's post.

Zangezur copper CEO responded today, denied pressuring voters, and said they condone attempts by any political force to involve their factory in politics. He criticized Pashinyan's harsh rhetoric and said they would contact the authorities for help if they are pressured.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055530.html https://youtu.be/TcUaRAB9Hmc

https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/293626/

update: 8 others are charged with voter bribery in Gavar case

This is about the $14-worth food bags that were distributed to voters in Gavar. In addition to the previous arrest, 7 residents have been charged with accepting bribes.

Authorities report that the raids uncovered lists of voters who were supposed to receive the bribes. Over 30 residents have been questioned.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055543.html

update: 2 arrested over alleged bribery in Yerevan

The court has authorized the arrest of two Malatia-Sebastia residents accused of bribing for an unnamed "alliance".

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055553.html

20-member OSCE delegation will observe Sunday's elections

They will soon meet the members of the press and political forces.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055552.html

Francophonie sent a delegation to observe the elections

They held a meeting with Armenia's TV regulator to discuss election coverage, manipulations, etc. Francophonie invited Armenia's regulator to join their global media regulatory network. The offer was accepted.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055577.html

50 foreign media outlets will follow the elections

... from multiple continents. List:

https://factor.am/383053.html

Kocharyan about the importance of elections:

These are crucial elections to have a dignified peace. We have the power to ensure the security of the country, to improve the economy, and fight poverty. In the past 3 years, the emigration has reached the highest levels in 25 years.

Kocharyan in Gyumri: we are returning to start what we finished. I'm happy that Gyumri is becoming a tourism hub.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055560.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055584.html

Levon Ter-Petrosyan about Shushi and Hadrut:

I wasn't going to give away all of Artsakh in the 90s. It was about a compromise solution. Now we don't have that option.

Kocharyan recently said it's possible to return Shushi and Hadrut. Are Azeris going to collect their belongings and leave? In other words, Kocharyan is promising a new war, new bloodshed for Armenians. Russia won't force Azeris to leave.

There will be attempts to force Armenia to sign a peace agreement in exchange for recognizing Artsakh as legally part of Azerbaijan, and there will be more challenges if you don't.

https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/293609/

Pashinyan about water projects in Vayots Dzor:

75% of Vayots Dzor's arable lands are unused. We plan to conduct the largest water reforms in this province.

The renovation of Herher reservoir began last year. The water will be directed to Vayots Dzor. We will construct the new Yelpen reservoir in the coming years, in addition to the planned construction of Khondzorut, Vernashen, and Khachik reservoirs.

Reservoirs are part of the solution. We must switch to a drip irrigation network to conserve water. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055544.html

Pashinyan about spending ֏100 in water to earn ֏30 in tomatoes:

The farmers pay ֏11 for irrigation water. In reality, it costs ֏22; the government subsidizes the rest.

But the irrigation water is not metered. It's approximate, based on each hectare. For certain types of lands in the Ararat plains, farmers have to use 5x more water to keep it moist. Our farmers grow tomatoes on these lands.

As a result, ֏1m is spent on the water to grow ֏300k worth of tomatoes. It would have been better if the government just gave a free ֏300k to the farmer so they wouldn't grow the tomato. The state would save ֏700k.

But we can't do that, so we must help the farmer to grow higher-value foods to make it worth it, with the help of drip-irrigation system. //

https://youtu.be/fMISVVZ_v30

https://factor.am/383218.html

LHK's Marukyan about their chances to win Parliament seats:

We conducted surveys in large cities. LHK is currently in 3rd place. We've traveled a lot and shared our message. To our surprise, it was accepted more widely than we anticipated. Our message of internal peace has resonated.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055508.html

Pashinyan expects 60% of votes

The ruling party official recently said that they ordered a pollster to conduct a survey for internal consumption, and claimed that the ruling QP party has 3x support over Kocharyan-ARF alliance. He cast doubt on the accuracy of MPG pollster's last week's numbers which show neck and neck fight, although with a large undecided voter base that could place one party significantly above the other.

Pashinyan during today's rally: the results of the past 9 days show the following: at least 60% of the voters will vote for Civil Contract (QP). Our goal will be the establishment of non-violent but this time "steel revolution" instead of velvet, so we can quickly move on to working on vital issues. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055579.html

Pashinyan about the electoral campaign:

The primary purpose of this campaign is to look people in the eye. The campaign showed that the false news had no effect on society. We are convinced that there is a strong connection between us. Let the public decide who wins.

There are many things I cannot say publicly today, but I'm sure people can read it on my face and in my eyes.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055522.html

Pashinyan about some construction companies "intentionally sabotaging" road repairs during the campaign:

Some of the construction companies that won the auctions to repair roads are affiliated with the [former regime]. They are intentionally refusing to do their duties during the electoral campaign.

They have to repair 400-500km roads. They will have problems if they don't. We are giving them a few hours to bring their equipment and begin the road repairs. If they don't, they will face the "steel" mandate after the elections.

After the "velvet" revolution, we knew that these companies were connected with the [former regime]. Almost every company in that field had some connections with them. They were our only option, we wouldn't be able to repair any roads otherwise.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055535.html

Pashinyan met the residents of Syunik's border village Shurnukh / "why aren't the lands privatized?"

He met several families who were recently displaced after border changes. The state is building new housing for them. One farmer asked to include him in an aid program. Pashinyan said he couldn't promise anything so it won't be a "campaign bribe" but mentioned an earlier-formed team that travels around to gather border residents' problems.

Pashinyan: all 34 families will have what they need to have a normal life.

Resident: let me tell you what's been happening in the village in the past few months. A lot of aid was sent here. The village mayor and secretary [are mishandling aid]. Is there no one to oversee where the aid is going to?

Pashinyan: I will be dealing with them personally.

Resident: a priest brought ֏500,000 in donations a few days ago but [presumably the mayor] did not give a penny to some of the families. [something about them no longer living in the village after being displaced]

Pashinyan: I got it. We will organize a large meeting in Shurnukh and discuss what needs to be done, who took what, etc.

Resident: I'm afraid they [local authorities allied with the opposition] won't give you a venue for the meeting.

Pashinyan: we will organize it.

Third resident: Mr. Premier, we have another problem. Our village's lands are not privatized.

Second resident interrupts: ... it's because they [local authorities] wanted to give the lands only to whoever they want as election bribe.

Pashinyan: No. Shurnuk's lands have not been privatized only because the former regime knew that they would give those lands to Azerbaijan [it's about the 1996-2010 law that drew Armenia-Azerbaijan state border through Shurnukh]. How do you explain lands being privatized in all of Armenia but not Shurnukh?

Now we're going to clearly define where the border is, understand how much land we have, how many residents we have, before privatizing the lands.

More: https://youtu.be/Lf02GmS2lQ4

ex-president Serj Sargsyan's nephew "Franklin Gonzalez" is sentenced to 5.5 years

Serj's brother Alexander's son Narek fled Armenia after the 2018 revolution after prosecutors pressed charges. He was later caught and extradited from Czechia while using a fake "Franklin Gonzalez" passport.

Today the court sentenced him to 5.5 years. He will serve 3.5 years after a 2-year credit for time served.

He is found guilty of violating Articles 235 (illegal weapon, ammo, explosive), 266 (narcotrafficking), 131 (kidnapping as part of a group while causing life-threatening harm with a weapon for personal profit).

The prosecutors wanted 7 years while the defense wanted the charges dropped. Gonzalez eventually agreed to plead guilty to expedite the trial. The court gave a lenient sentence as a result. The defendant's brother Hayk's assets have been unfrozen.

Pashinyan in Jermuk city: I often criticize our judicial system but I'd like to give them credit where it's due. One of Serj's nephews was recently freed (statute of limitations), while the second was sentenced today. That doesn't mean one judge is bad while the other is good: both are good.

Survey shows that the public believes the courts depend on the former governments. But I think very serious changes are happening in our judicial. That doesn't mean there are no corrupt and dependent judges, but we know that there are many independent ones.

Many of you complained that Serj's nephew was freed recently, but often, the legal rulings do not and don't have to coincide with political expectations. We should reach a point where we can trust the course with closed eyes. The judicial will eventually clean itself. Let's clap for the independent judges [public claps].

https://youtu.be/DEnb84luCCc https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055523.html https://www.arlis.am/documentview.aspx?docid=69646 https://factor.am/382731.html https://youtu.be/Y0Hz2-F5irk?t=7

pervert posed as an Azeri soldier to prey upon relatives of soldiers

Investigators report: a resident of Goris changed his Facebook name from "Arman Khachatryan" to "Aziz Muradov" to claim he was an Azeri soldier. He then targeted vulnerable female relatives of missing Armenian soldiers.

He found a 14yo girl, who was looking for her relative on Facebook, and contacted her via Messages, claiming he knew where the relative was. He did this with several women. Some ignored it, while others believed him.

He promised the relatives to organize a video chat with the captives. As "proof", he used Magicut and Cupace apps to photoshop the soldiers' faces. Some relatives believed him. He demanded naked videos in exchange for not harming the "captives".

The 40yo man is arrested and charged with multiple felony counts. The investigation is over. The case is sent to prosecutors for court filing. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055541.html

anti-corruption: state property sold for 5x below market price in 2017

Prosecutors report: recently we examined whether public officials respected state interests during property transactions in 2016-2020. In some cases, they did not.

State Property Management officials, without a license or legal grounds, asked a property valuation company to check a property's value in 2017. The company filed dozens of bogus reports and claimed that a $735k property was worth only $263k. In the end, the property was auctioned for $154k, causing large damages to the state.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055542.html

29th anniversary of Shahumyan occupation

Artsakh MFA released a message about Shahumyan's occupation by Azerbaijan in 1992. The message mentions the war crimes, murder of civilians who were fleeing, illegal occupation, 20,000 IDPs. It draws parallels with the 2020 war.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055537.html

Russian sappers clear Martuni lands ahead of water pipe installation

2,500 residents of Artsakh's Taghavard and Karmir Shuka will soon have drinking water after the installation of a 20km pipe.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055512.html

Armenian and Swiss demonstrators gather in Geneva ahead of Biden-Putin meeting

They want the condemnation of the military aggression by Azerbaijan, and more efforts towards the recognition of the Armenian genocide.

The leaders spent several hours together. Putin was satisfied with the discussions over "strategic stability, cybersecurity, regional conflicts, trade."

The two published a joint message about - despite their differences - cooperating to ensure predictability, reduction of armed conflict risks, nukes, etc. They will soon launch direct meetings over these topics. Recently-expelled diplomats will return to the U.S. and Russia.

https://www.facebook.com/100004707753194/videos/2056095404557365/

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055565.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055580.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055581.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055585.html

High Tech Minister attended international cosmos exploration conference

Chobanyan traveled to St. Petersburg for GLEX-2021 'Space exploration' conference. He met Russian space agency Roscosmos chief Rogozin to discuss possible cooperation and presented the tax waivers available for perspective Russian investors.

Rogozin was invited to attend the STARMUS science and arts festival scheduled in September of 2022 in Armenia.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055527.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055451/

Lithuania is sharing road safety tips with Armenia

The next phase of the "Safe transport system in Armenia" project has begun, as part of the EU-Armenia comprehensive cooperation agreement.

The Infrastructure Ministry hosted Lithuanian experts to receive advice on road and air safety, vehicle inspection, hazardous material transportation, certification of transport operators.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055538.html

IRS refunded more over-collected taxes that accumulated years ago

29k additional businesses and individuals had ֏4.1 billion refunded to their accounts after IRS made tweaks last month to pay back the debt that was accumulated before Jan/1/2018.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055578.html

Armenia appoints a trade attaché in Iran

Vardan Kostanyan will serve for 3 years.

https://factor.am/383295.html

how did students fare in foreign language exams?

Recently we saw the stats about foreign language choices. We now have stats about how well they performed in exams:

English: 8% failed, avg. 14.5pt (out of 20)

German: 14% fail, 13.8pt

France: 8% fail, 14.7pt

Spanish: 0% fail, 12.1pt (small group)

Persian: 0% fail, 13.5pt (small group)

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055547.html

the first Armenian-Yezidi cultural exchange center opens in Armenia

Yezidi diasporans helped to create a new center that features Armenian and Yezidi cultural pieces. Attendees will teach each other arts, self-defense, etc. The center will host the only Yezidi theater in Armenia.

https://youtu.be/6ccBGi-iVNI

COVID stats

3666 tested. 99 infected. 78 healed. 1 death. 2787 active.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055501.html

looking for a vaccine but don't want to deal with clinic appointments?

Here are the locations and hours of mobile vaccine booths on the streets:

https://factor.am/383153.html

Almast-Shorja train will operate for tourists headed to Lake Sevan

Fri-Sun. A one-way ticket from Yerevan is $1.2 to Sevan, $2 to Shorja.

https://factor.am/382933.html

first post-pandemic train travels from Armenia to Georgia

80 passengers went to Tbilisi and Batumi.

https://sputnik-georgia.ru/economy/20210616/252038289/Pervyy-passazhirskiy-poezd-iz-Erevana-pribyl-v-Gruziyu.html

Armenian wrestlers win 2 Gold, 1 Silver, and 4 Bronze medals in European youth championship

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/216354

today in history

1723: Adam Smith is born, the father of modern economics. "In his first book, Smith proposed the idea of an invisible hand—the tendency of free markets to regulate themselves by means of competition, supply and demand, and self-interest."

https://www.investopedia.com/updates/adam-smith-economics/ https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1055481.html

yesterday's news

https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/o0mfh1/news_jun152021_1_pashinyan_about_partially/

Перевод на русский by Impossible-Ad-

www.reddit.com/r/ArmDailyReports_RUS_/comments/o0yh30/все_новости_за_15_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

Donations: soldiers' families, humanitarian aid, US tax-deductible donation.


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/o1dr89/news_jun162021_1_1000_bounty_for_each_video/

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