2021 June 17
- 1 Daily news wrap-up
- 2 Serj Sargsyan's misleading claim about thousands of "missing soldiers"
- 3 Dutch Foreign Affairs Committee discusses sanctions against Azeri regime, the release of POWs, and more
- 4 Human Rights Ombudsman about the shepherd's cattle and border security:
- 5 fortification of eastern borders continue / Vayots Dzor
- 6 Defense Ministers of Armenia and Russia held a phone conversation
- 7 Russian MFA Lavrov and OSCE secretary Helga will discuss the Karabakh conflict
- 8 Erdogan and Putin will meet
- 9 Armenian MFA responds to Erdogan-Aliyev agreement:
- 10 Russian MFA also responds to Erdogan-Aliyev agreement:
- 11 Russian MFA about AM-AZ border demarcation:
- 12 Azeri soldier drowns in occupied Al Lake near Gegharkunik
- 13 2.7M earthquake 50km south-east of Yerevan
- 14 unified public services branch to open in Gyumri / all paperwork in one office
- 15 update: teachers' attestation program
- 16 the head of statistics department about seasonal workers and emigrants
- 17 police reforms: the new patrol will launch in July
- 18 new judicial reforms: specialized chambers in Cassations Court
- 19 Caritas humanitarian org. will build a $20m school for disabled children
- 20 infrastructure renovations
- 21 $1.5 million agreement was signed to promote nuclear safety culture in Armenia
- 22 housing prices down 6.2% in Yerevan
- 23 electoral complaints
- 24 political campaign expenditures ("official" numbers, without counting indirect aid)
- 25 Kocharyan: I have no broken promises
- 26 Serj-Vanetsyan's Pativ Unem traveled to Shirak province
- 27 Babajanyan-Shirinyan alliance wants an inventory of non-metallic mines
- 28 Pashinyan held a large rally in Yerevan's Republic Square
- 29 Pashinyan is currently participating in Live public debate
- 30 who is Armenia's "Gallup International" (MPG) pollster, and can you trust it?
- 31 Education Minister met Italian ambassador Alfonso Grazie
- 32 Angela Merkel visits TUMO innovative tech center (online)
- 33 COVID stats
- 34 EU and WHO donate another 22 lung ventilators to Armenia
- 35 a novel way to accidentally break your neck
- 36 video: another bear in a cage
- 37 today in history
- 38 yesterday's news
- 39 end of report
- 40 Support David's Daily Armenia News Summaries!
Daily news wrap-up
News - Jun/17/2021: (1) Police & judicial reforms: new patrol & chambers (2) Fake news: 1,065 missing soldiers (3) Who is MGP/Gallup pollster? (4) Foreign affairs & geopolitics (5) Electoral campaign news & complaints (6) Army fortifying Vayots Dzor borders (7) Pashinyan's rally (8) Housing $ (9)...
This is your 11-minute Thursday report in 2769 words.
Serj Sargsyan's misleading claim about thousands of "missing soldiers"
As you may remember from the April 13 news report, the Soldiers' Insurance Fund (aid for disabled soldiers and families) has a different definition for "missing" soldier. For example, a body can be recovered and counted by the Healthcare Ministry but remain listed as "missing" by the Insurance Fund if it's not yet identified. There may be other reasons as explained by the Fund director back in April. Details in the links.
Yesterday, Serj Sargsyan made a misleading claim while citing the Fund's documents back from April, and claimed there are 1064 "missing soldiers".
Soldiers' Insurance Fund director responds: regarding the 1064 number. The published number does not show the number of missing soldiers. It shows the number of families that received aid as part of the Bridge humanitarian program, whose relatives were considered missing at some point because there was no clear information about their whereabouts.
As I've said in my previous interviews, that number has been continuously dropping on a weekly basis because many soldiers' bodies were identified via DNA and were buried, while others were thankfully found alive. //
Pashinyan's aide: we had over a thousand missing soldiers in November. Later, the DNA analysis identified many of them. 800 were buried. The Soldiers' Insurance Fund published the number of ֏300,000 aid recipients who were given aid for the period when their relatives were missing. //
The Investigative Committee published the up-to-date number of missing soldiers: 275.
Dutch Foreign Affairs Committee discusses sanctions against Azeri regime, the release of POWs, and more
Dutch MPs directed questions at Dutch MFA about the POW situation, the Azeri-Turkish aggression against Artsakh, suspending the EU-Azerbaijan cooperation, sanctions against Azeri leadership.
The Dutch MFA reaffirmed the commitment to raise the POW topic during EU meetings. The MFA also criticized Aliyev's "Saddam" Park in Baku, saying "it provokes hostility."
The chamber voted 147-3 to adopt a new resolution, demanding the immediate release of Armenian POWs and civilians, and for the EU to pressure Azerbaijan.
Human Rights Ombudsman about the shepherd's cattle and border security:
Yesterday morning, a group of Azeri soldiers stole a cow and a calf from a border villager in Gegharkunik (the Verin Shorja area where they intruded earlier). They shot in the direction of other cows and the shepherds when they confronted them. The Azeri soldiers committed a crime. It is necessary to create a security layer near the borders.
fortification of eastern borders continue / Vayots Dzor
The army is building new fortified positions in Vayots Dzor, between Syunik and Gegharkunik. Journalists visited the border to film the new positions.
Commander Gegham Martirosyan: it's been only a month since the melting of the snow that we have been able to conduct the engineering work. It's a never-ending and difficult task. The local relief adds to the difficulty.
The distance between AM-AZ positions is 100-1,500 meters in various locations. There are no provocations here. //
Gegham Martirosyan received the Order of the Combat Cross for a successful defense in Qarvachar during the 2020 war.
Defense Ministers of Armenia and Russia held a phone conversation
MOD Vagharshak: we respect our partiers' calls to resolve the issues peacefully but our stance remains the same: Azeri troops must leave Armenian territories unconditionally. //
Shoygu and Vagharshak discussed the placement of Russian border guards in these Syunik and Gegharkunik border sections.
Russian MFA Lavrov and OSCE secretary Helga will discuss the Karabakh conflict
Erdogan and Putin will meet
Erdogan did not rule out the possibility of installing a Turkish military base (an official one) in Azerbaijan. AZ-TR recently signed an agreement.
Armenian MFA responds to Erdogan-Aliyev agreement:
Erdogan's recent speech was hypocritical and misleading. We condemn Erdogan's visit to Shushi, it was an obvious provocation.
The AZ-TR agreement signed in Azerbaijan is also a provocation. Although it has a separate article explicitly stating that the agreement is not directed against a third state, it is obvious that it's against Armenia, and Artsakh's right to self-determination.
We also condemned the phrase "Zangezur corridor" which is a public threat against the sovereignty of Armenia. We also condemned their agreement to combat against the recognition of the Armenian Genocide globally. This agreement violates the 1969 Vienna convention and cannot have international legitimacy.
Russian MFA also responds to Erdogan-Aliyev agreement:
The issue of Karabakh should not involve Armenia's or Azerbaijan's relations with a third state. We view the recent high-level contacts between Azerbaijan and Turkey under this context. We think the [AZ-TR military agreement] should not be based against another state.
Russian MFA about AM-AZ border demarcation:
The tensions have been de-escalating. The consultations for the settlement of the border dispute will continue. Our MFA, MOD, and border guards are in touch with Yerevan and Baku. We think a border demarcation is necessary for lasting peace. We are ready to help. //
Azeri soldier drowns in occupied Al Lake near Gegharkunik
Captain Ilham F. passed away during a recent incident.
2.7M earthquake 50km south-east of Yerevan
The strength was 4 points near the epicenter not far from the Yelpin settlement.
unified public services branch to open in Gyumri / all paperwork in one office
The Justice Ministry has allocated space in HayPost postal office to allow residents to handle documents from 110 various agencies all in one place. Passport, residency, archives, legal, tax, etc.
Yerevan and Ijevan launched a similar office earlier.
update: teachers' attestation program
Today the government made a budget reshuffling worth ֏182 million to proceed with the teachers' attestation program.
Govt: due to the liquidation of the "National Institute of Education" close joint-stock company, no attestation was conducted among teachers in the past two years. We expect that within the next two years, the number of teachers undergoing attestation will double and include the ones who skipped the last two years. That's 7,400 for every two years.
the head of statistics department about seasonal workers and emigrants
Journalist: former president Levon claimed that 70,000 Armenians emigrated out of Armenia in the past 4 months. Can you confirm or deny this number?
No. During my last Q&A, I explained what "emigrant" means. I also spoke about the border crossing and reported a significantly negative number in the arrival vs departure for 1Q21. Our numbers are updated every quarter.
police reforms: the new patrol will launch in July
Last year the government approved police reforms to create a new division with better education, equipment, and salaries.
Hundreds of recruits were admitted to a police academy in January. They will graduate in a few weeks before patrolling Yerevan streets.
new judicial reforms: specialized chambers in Cassations Court
Today the government approved a bill, yet to be approved by Parliament, about forming two new specialized chambers within the Cassations Court. The existing structure with two chambers (civil and administrative) will be repealed and replaced with two separate specialized chambers (again civil and administrative).
It also gives the Supreme Court more flexibility over creating the list of candidates, their promotions, etc.
Caritas humanitarian org. will build a $20m school for disabled children
Caritas's Armenian branch received 25 hectares of land from the government to build a "Children's town" in Ararat province. It's a disability-friendly environment where >14yo children can receive tutoring for handicraft and other life skills.
The $20m project will be finalized by 2026. "We had a very long conversation about this. Our concerns about issues relating to inclusiveness were addressed," said Deputy Premier Avinyan.
500 houses and farms in Gegharkunik's Gusan Havasi and Grigor Narekatsi settlements will have a new waste-free water delivery as part of a govt-subsidized project.
21 streets and alleys in Gegharkunik's Noratus will have new energy-efficient lighting or asphalt this year.
Getq settlement's middle school has new 30kW solar panels on the roof, financed by Lithuania.
$1.5 million agreement was signed to promote nuclear safety culture in Armenia
... between EU and the government.
housing prices down 6.2% in Yerevan
The cost of Yerevan apartments in large complexes is -6.2% year-over-year (-4.3% across Armenia), but +0.5% from last month.
Center District -9% (most expensive, 610,000 drams per m2)
Nubarashen District -8.4% (least expensive, 175,000)
The number of property transactions rose. 31% of transactions were in Yerevan.
Human Rights Ombudsman asked Pashinyan not to use rhetoric about slamming corruptionaires against the walls or "cutting the hands of those who try to separate Syunik from the rest of Armenia", because children often attend his rallies. In one instance, students asked a school director for permission to leave the classes so they could join Pashinyan's rally; the director agreed. The HRO's complaint is that it was done during school hours.
HRO also received complaints from Goris (Syunik) schools that the directors were forced to attend Kocharyan's rallies. One kindergarten director gave an interview.
Authorities received 50 complaints by campaign participants about alleged vandalism against their propaganda posters. 13 cases were dropped, 24 are being investigated, 4 lead to felony charges.
Healthcare Minister Avanesyan denied rumors about ordering doctors to participate in the ruling party's rally and said that any complaints should be submitted to the police. "The medical facilities are required to submit information about patients so they can have the ability to vote," she explained when asked why some documents were collected from patients.
Election observers from OSCE held a meeting with President Sarkissian and discussed several topics including de-escalation of a hostile environment.
political campaign expenditures ("official" numbers, without counting indirect aid)
Pashinyan ֏257m collected, ֏168m spent
Kocharyan ֏220 collected, ֏166m spent
Serj ֏215m collected, ֏133m spent
Tsarukyan ֏56m collected, ֏55m spent
LHK Marukyan ֏48m collected, ֏26m spent
Levon ֏41m collected, ֏34m spent
Kocharyan: I have no broken promises
Kocharyan: check people's records to see if they are liars or not. You all know who is a liar and who is not. When I came to power, the Sotk gold mine was not functioning. I brought it back to life within 7-8 months.
We have three issues today: security, economy, and internal. If we win, the burden will be heavy but our team is capable of resolving these issues.
Serj-Vanetsyan's Pativ Unem traveled to Shirak province
...visited church and military cemetery. Pativ Unem believes the opposition will form a "50+1 coalition and make a 2nd round of elections unnecessary."
Babajanyan-Shirinyan alliance wants an inventory of non-metallic mines
Shir-Bab: the non-metallic mines must serve the interest of the people. Armenia has 3,000-years worth of basalt reserves.
By processing travertine and tuf, our factories can work for decades and produce insulators.
In terms of non-ferrous metals, Armenia has unique mines but they aren't without issues. They must be state-owned (50+1 share). We need an inventory to understand how many we have, and what types.
Pashinyan held a large rally in Yerevan's Republic Square
Ararat Mirzoyan: In the past 3 years, during the first year we did not have control over the Parliament, followed by the pandemic and war. We had limited time to focus on reforms.
Nevertheless, we launched the judicial reforms, passed the law on confiscation of illegally-obtained property, reformed the electoral system code. State budget taxes rose 26%. The minimum salaries were raised....
Your vote means continuing these reforms. You may be disappointed in us, but you cannot be disappointed in your ideas of having a better country, and you cannot endanger your freedoms and democracy.
Option one. Give up, be broken, and return to the past.
Option two. Break through the chain of despair and psychological deadlock and build Armenia's future step-by-step.
Pashinyan: The last 8 months were hell, but despite the threats and insults, the people accepted us a relative returning from an exile. Thousands of mothers gave their strength to us to continue. Now it's time to secure it de-jure.
All the POWs will return very soon. Armenia will not lose sovereignty over any territory if regional communications are opened. Within the next 5 years, we plan to build 2,600km roads, 15 water reservoirs, establish a railway connection with Iran and Russia, all without losing sovereignty over our lands.
Pashinyan is currently participating in Live public debate
... which I will not translate because his main opponents refused to come.
who is Armenia's "Gallup International" (MPG) pollster, and can you trust it?
MPG/Gallup was among the two widely-used pollsters during the 2018 campaign. The other was published by the IRI agency. Both of them got the 2018 results with a 3.5% accuracy.
Lately, there have been questions about their independence, raised mostly by the ruling party's members or supporters. They claim there was an intentional systemic reduction of ruling QP's numbers ahead of the planned campaign season.
Parts from CivilNet outlet's investigation:
Years ago the Nouvelles D’Armenie outlet wrote an article about how Serj Sargsyan allegedly dumped tons of money to manipulate polls. Armenia's Gallup is also mentioned in the article; it was misleadingly perceived as the "real" Gallup.
Gallup Inc. is the real Gallup. The "Gallup International Association", used in Armenia, is the "copycat" Gallup. The two had a legal dispute over intellectual property. As of right now, Armenia's Gallup has a section on their web page saying they are unaffiliated with the big Gallup.
Copycat Gallup recently conducted a survey in the Philippines and claimed that 80% of residents praised the government's handling of COVID. News outlets from Philipines had to mention that this Gallup International Association was not the real Gallup.
In 2017, the former Bulgarian ambassador in Russia spoke about the Bulgarian presidential elections and complained that Gallup International Association did not disclose its methodology and financial sources. He claimed the Russian media strategists used Gallup International Association to dupe the public.
who is the Gallup International Association?
Its Armenian office is called MPG. Its sole shareholder and the director is Arman Navasardyan. He has other businesses, too.
Between 2009-2018 he owned 33% of Karam Ltd. It represents a German appliance firm in Armenia. In 2018, this firm's sole shareholder became Karen Bezoyan, the son of Robert Kocharyan ally Edward Bezoyan.
Aram Navasardyan transferred some of his other shares to his brother Ara Navasardyan. Aram Navasardyan is also the president of the Armenian Marketing Association.
Education Minister met Italian ambassador Alfonso Grazie
The Ministry recently increased the funding to promote the Armenian language and culture abroad by cooperating with foreign universities.
Minister Dumanyan: our budget is funding Armenology programs in 12 foreign schools, including in Rome's Sapienza and Venice's Ca' Foscari. Let's expand it and include Armenian universities so they can have joint research and education with Italian ones.
What's also important is the pilot program of advanced Italian language training in seven Armenian schools that began in 2019. Let's exchange professors. //
Alfonso: I propose launching the Armenology classes in Nepali university, too. It's great that Italian is being taught in Armenia, Italian is becoming more popular around the world these days. Let's promote it in Armenian schools and musical schools.
Exchanging IT experience between our universities is also important. //
Angela Merkel visits TUMO innovative tech center (online)
It was part of a digital education campaign.
2760 tested. 96 infected. 122 healed. 1 death. 2760 active.
EU and WHO donate another 22 lung ventilators to Armenia
EU: Together, we will be stronger, we will overcome the pandemic faster.
a novel way to accidentally break your neck
Yerevan has a new rock climbing gym in the State Institute of Fizkult. It's open for non-members. It's quite popular among professional rescuers who want to train climbing.
The existing wall will soon expand to accommodate amateurs and rescuers. The idea is even you break your neck, the rescuer is right next to you.
video: another bear in a cage
International animal rescuers raised an alarm over the living conditions of a bear in a Hanqavan resort.
today in history
1765: St. Petersburg's Hermitage is founded
1885: France ships the Liberty statue to the U.S.
1929: chess world champion Tigran Petrosyan is born
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.
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/o27ce0/news_jun172021_1_police_judicial_reforms_new/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2020 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2021 Daily Armenia Reports|