2021 June 2

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Contents

Daily news wrap-up

Jun/2/2021: (1) Kocharyan's corridor document: exchanging Meghri with Karabakh (2) Pashinyan: Putin wants Azeri withdrawal (3) Details about soldiers' body storage: broken fridge & Red Cross bags (4) Don Pipo (5) Electricity (6) National strategy for AI (7) Mil. industrial complex (8) Asbestos (9)..
by ar_david_hh


This is your 11-minute Wednesday report in 2814 words.

Kocharyan-era article about giving away Syunik's Meghri to Azerbaijan

A document was unearthed on February 9, 2008, about giving Meghri to Azerbaijan. It was kept secret for years by the Kocharyan administration but found itself on the desk of first president Levon Ter-Petrosyan.

In the Autumn of 1999, Kocharyan presented this document during the Security Council session. Vazgen Sargsyan and Karen Demirchyan were sharply against it. They left the room, slamming the door behind. A few weeks later the two were assassinated during the October 27 terror attack.

Parts from the document:

For the sake of development and peace, Azerbaijan and Armenia agree...

Article 1) Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, Shushi Region, and Lachin Region join Armenia, while Meghri region joins Azerbaijan.

Article 2) "Aghdam, Fizuli, Jabrayil, Kubatli, Zangelan, Kalbajar, Kazagh, and Shahumyan occupied territories join Azerbaijan."

Article 3) Enclaves join the country that surrounds them.

Article 4) Armenia has 60 days to withdraw from the occupied territories of Aghdam, Fizuli, Jabrayil, Kubatli, Shahumyan, Kelbajar, Zangelan, and Kazagh. The withdrawal will be aided by international observers.

Article 5) Meghri's current population is safely relocated to Armenia within 60 days. [same about the "occupied" territories in Karabakh]

Meghri will be populated by Azeris who suffered from the war.

Article 6) Each state helps its relocated population.

Article 7) Each state removes landmines to ensure safety for civilians and observers.

Article 8) Each state waives its claims on the other state that originated from the war.

Article 9) Border blockades are lifted within 60 days.

Article 10) International observers are invited to ensure the aforementioned is done properly.

Article 11) The international observers cannot be members of the OSCE Minsk Group or countries that have borders with Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Article 12) Immediately work on restoring diplomatic relations.

Article 13) [about movement freedom]

Article 14) All detainees are released within 30 days. Bodies will be exchanged.

Article 15) Cultural and religious sites are respected.

Article 16) Azerbaijan allows Armenia to use the railway to connect to Iran.

Article 17) Resolve future disputes peacefully via international institutes.

Article 18) A referendum is held in each country to ratify this agreement, but before that, each country takes steps to prepare by making necessary legal amendments.

Full: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/215321

Tags: #MeghriCorridor #Syunik

LHK leader Marukyan about the recent security council meeting and MFA Ayvazyan:

Pashinyan's proposal to install international observers on borders could deescalate the situation but there has been no response so far. Neither of the OSCE states has expressed interest in sending groups.

Q: Foreign Minister Ayvazyan was present during the latest Security Council session. Can you comment on his resignation statement in which he said he cannot act against the state?

I'm very surprised by that. Two opposition party representatives were present during the Security Council session. If there was anything anti-state, he would have raised his concern behind closed doors. Ayvazyan was nodding and confirming Pashinyan's instructions throughout the session. He also had a chance to raise his concerns in Parliament. //

Context and full story (Pashinyan rebuked unnamed MFA officials calling them clueless, shortly before the resignations): https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/npcog5/may312021_1_more_mfa_resignations_after/

https://factor.am/377409.html https://youtu.be/pFvKijYFXU0

trip continues: Pashinyan visits Belgium

In Brussels, he met EP president Charles Michel. They discussed the Armenia-EU comprehensive cooperation agreement which went into full effect in March.

Michel welcomed the "reforms launched in Armenia over the past three years and the steps taken by the Armenian government to strengthen democracy." He said EU is ready to expand the partnership."

They spoke about the 2020 war and border conflict. Michel welcomed Armenia's decision to resolve the issue diplomatically.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1054176.html

EU ambassador visits Meghri border checkpoint

EU is funding infrastructure renovation in Meghri customs. Wiktorini and Armenian IRS hope the construction works will begin soon.

https://factor.am/377292.html

Pashinyan reiterates that Putin wants Azeris to withdraw from Syunik, urges him to say it publicly

Pashinyan repeated today that during his most recent May 31 private conversation with Putin, the latter agreed with Pashinyan that Azeris must withdraw.

Pashinyan about Russia: Russia is our top security partner and the strategic ally. We're in constant touch with them. The AM-AZ border in this section was clearly delimited and demarcated during USSR. Russia also possesses these maps. Armenia expects Russia to express this position clearly.

Azerbaijan must withdraw from our territories. If they do not, that means Article 4 of CSTO goes into effect. As a first step, we expect both Russia and the CSTO to express a clear, public position on this issue.

Pashinyan about France: during my conversation with Macron, I learned that he is interested in pursuing an active initiative so that international organizations, including the OSCE Minsk Group, are more involved in ensuring stability and security in our region.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1054108.html

MOD denies Azerbaijan's claims that Armenian soldiers entered Azerbaijan

MOD: Azeris spread misinformation claiming 40 Armenian soldiers crossed the border and were forced to return. The purpose of misinformation is to create an impression for the international community that they aren't the only ones violating borders.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1054163.html

Netherlands MFA: Armenian POWs must be immediately released

She sent a letter to Parliament regarding POWs and the need to ensure UNESCO's access to cultural sites in occupied territories.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1054122.html

medical staff fired over improper storage of bodies / broken refrigerator, "coldest place was the basement with insulated walls" / medical bags from Red Cross

Context here. There are hundreds of bodies of killed soldiers that are yet to be identified via DNA or picked up by families for funeral. It was revealed that the facility in Abovyan was not keeping the bodies in proper environment after a recent transportation; they are supposed to be in refregirators but were being stored in a regular room.

The branch manager and two staff members at the Abovyan forensic center have been fired. The director of the organization has received a warning. The prosecutors launched a felony investigation.

As for the bags, contrary to the rumors about them being "potato bags", the Healthcare Ministry clarifies that they are special medical bags given by the Red Cross. The bags have markings about the individual case, where the body was founds, etc.

Director explains: On May 28, the bodies were brought to Yerevan. We could not return them back to Metsamor because the mobile refrigerator broke. We did not want to keep them under 40c temps. There was no room in Yerevan so we decided to take them to Abovyan facility. Its morgue is currently undergoing renovation to install a new refrigerator in the basement. The basements itself was the Soviet-era refrigeration room and thermal insulated walls. Although the temps were not as low as in refrigerators, they are 10c with the closed doors. It was better to keep them under that conditions that under 40c in the Metsamor's damaged refrigerator. We did not take them to Martuni (Armenia) because it's too far and would be inconvenient for family members to visit. Now they are all in Martuni; there is none in Abovyan. There are hundreds of identified bodies that are yet to be picked up by parents for funeral.

https://factor.am/377412.html https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/215256 https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/nq50hs/jun12021_1_verdict_in_trial_of_serjs_nephew_2/ https://www.civilnet.am/news/610147/զոհվածների-դիերի-պահման-պայմանների-հետքերով/ https://factor.am/377634.html

Kocharyan is suing the electoral commission over his book ad

The electoral commission ruled that the advertisement of Kocharyan's book, which includes his zoomed-in face, and another similar poster, fall under the regulations of electoral campaign, and are in violation of rules because they exceed the size. They cannot be placed wherever they want during the campaign. Kocharyan is suing.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/215270

is Don Pipo's gang being wiped out? / assassination outside Moscow Theater

Criminal subculture figure and businessman Don Pipo's bodyguard and brother were killed within the span of few months. Before that, years ago, there were other incidents involving kidnapping and torture. The police raided dozens of houses.

Today a man was killed near Moskva theater in Yerevan. There are reports that he was Pipo's friend.

The victim was working as a bodyguard of another criminal subculture figure named Qyavartsi Rafo. The latter was questioned by police today. It is believed that he was the main target of the hit. There was another failed hit against him in United States in 2018; he survived multiple gunshot wounds. The other failed assassination attempt was in Moscow.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1054174.html https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/215259 https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/215266

utility commission chief about the cost and source of electricity:

The nuclear plant is currently under a 141-day renovation. The production gap was filled with Hrazdan thermal plant; the cost was calculated. But then we had an opportunity to import cheaper electricity from Georgia.

Hrazdan's electricity costs 33 drams, while Georgian import is 24. Hrazdan's production reduced, as a result.

Before the war, Artsakh was exporting electricity that was comparably significantly cheaper.

We have no shortage of electricity production capacity. 1,200MW is our peak, while the capacity is 3,000MW. The cheaper electricity is being prioritized: nuclear, hydro, and only then thermal (most expensive station). //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1054166.html

national strategy for Artificial Intelligence in Armenia / university degrees & venture fund

Deputy Premier Avinyan wrote an article about AI and the need to form a strategy to develop it in Armenia. Segments form the article:

By the end of 2022, the AI will kill 75m job and create 133m.

It plays a pivotal role in the ongoing 4th industrial revolution. It can detect breast cancer with a 90% accuracy, boost global productivity, develop "killer robots", etc.

AI can help boost Armenia's economy. We have a great potential in the sphere of complex mathematical algorithms. It doesn't require very large investments: a stable internet and sometimes a supercomputer for neural network training.

Sadly, Armenia's natural science potential is not yet being used to develop AI. Although bachelor/master degree programs have been launched in a number of universities in recent years, it is still in infancy. Armenia lacks doctoral and postdoctoral programs. This can lead to brain drain.

[Graph shows the number of scientific publications in Armenia. Physics and Astronomy are the king, followed by medicine, etc. The computer science is still small.]

30 others states have joined Canada with a national strategy for AI since 2017. Armenia also needs one. The state, private, and scientific circles should cooperate. It should address the following:

1) Doctoral and Postdoctoral programs.

2) Use the diaspora's potential to form international research labs.

3) Organize inflow of highly qualified researchers.

4) Create a venture fund run by state-private to invest in AI startups.

5) Digitize the collected data.

Full: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1054049.html

High Tech Minister Chobanyan about developing Armenia's military industry:

In 2020, for the first time, the High-Tech Ministry placed an order for the development of a military-industrial complex product. That means the Ministry asked domestic companies to create specific types of weapons. This was due to the strong demand due to war.

The military industry is intertwined with High Tech industry. The orders we place can be for military, but the companies do not necessarily have to be from the military industrial complex.

We should talk less about the military industrial complex and focus on the development of high-tech industry. The latter will ensure the development of mil.ind.complex.

The 2020 budget initially did not envision public funds under the "development of military industry" paragraph but we ended up spending ֏3.4 billion.

Our budget for science and equipment research (?) has been increasing:

2020: ֏2.8b

2021: ֏4.5b

2022: ֏5.5b

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1054123.html https://factor.am/377330.html https://youtu.be/GmnVRxwzmRY

Ministry wants universities to be financially independent from government

Education Ministry continues the discussions with universities to find alternative sources of revenues for them. Today's meeting was with institutes specialized in arts.

Deputy Minister Trchunyan.: The current financial model does not allow unis to develop. If 70% of the budget goes towards wages and the rest for upkeep, the uni cannot develop and prepare experts. //

Unis presented their ideas.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1054114.html

diasporans and locals can now register their marriage faster and without fees

Justice Ministry reformed the marriage registration system to remove the need to wait 10 days and pay $2 during the application period; it can be done the same day.

Foreign nationals will no longer need to pay $290 for an expedited service.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1054113.html

a new website will list the ongoing reforms, ensure transparent governance

Justice Ministry and NGOs worked to create a site reforms.am that lists the reforms (some ongoing) in various fields, such as education, justice, disability, etc. "The general population are not informed what has changed, what is changing, why, when. We created the website to make the info more available so you won't have to read thousands of pages."

The USAID representative welcomed the website saying it can help ensure open and transparent governance. "The US government supports the colleagues in Armenia."

https://youtu.be/c4BneTAhkWo https://youtu.be/9nLoJeDIcb4 https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1054155.html https://youtu.be/corz1W6R-Rk

settlements are replacing their carcinogenic asbestos water pipes

You can still find many pipes and roofs with asbestos in Armenia. They come mainly from the Soviet-era installations. The global industry began rapidly using the material in the 19th century. France banned it in 1997, followed by 2005 in EU.

Top asbestos producers are Russia, China, Brazil, and Kazakhstan. Armenia imported 126 tons of asbestos from Russia in the past 12 years. There is also a local production of asbestos sheets in Ararat.

40% of Vardenis water network contains asbestos pipes. Another 20 nearby villages used such pipes until 2019. Some 50km of asbestos was removed in 2018-2020, per recent study. The replacement in this area is expected to finish in two years.

Artsvanist has also begun removing asbestos.

As for capital Yerevan, the pipes built after 1960 were of metal. In the past 3-4 years there has been an effort to replace them with polyethylene pipes.

Full: https://hetq.am/hy/article/131229

iՎարպետ: handyman-on-demand

Վարպետ platform is a new smartphone app that lets you hire workers in 600 fields.

https://youtu.be/cPQ_YTFU-7I

https://www.1lurer.am/hy/2021/06/02/«Վարպետ-հարթակ»-նոր-հավելված-որով-կարող-ես-գտնել-ցանկացած-մասնագետի/486784

COVID stats

2916 tested. 92 infected. 149 healed. 1 death. 3763 active.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1054119.html

global food prices continue to rise, Armenia no exception

Regulator says sugar prices have stabilized but haven't not decreased. Butter prices are expected to rise in two months. The imports from New Zealand will cost 50% more before possibly reducing in November.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1054171.html

free flow in fuel market

Regulator believes the oil and benzin prices will not significantly decrease within the next 4 years. They want to know how a cheaper fuel ended up in Armenia. "Serious changes were observed in Armenia. The fact that importers can freely enter and leave from various states means there is no artificial barrier. I don't remember the brand name of this year's importers to be honest, they are not 'traditional' companies."

Airlines in Russia are paying 7.5% more to refuel, compared to earlier this year.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1054171.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1054172.html

where did 2020's tax revenues come from?

1) VAT ֏472b

2) Income tax ֏412b (30% of total)

3) Profit tax ֏149b (11%)

4) Excise tax ֏124b (9%)

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1054117.html

United Nations to provide $230m assistance until 2025

Armenian govt and UN signed an agreement as part of UN Partnership in Sustainable Development program for 2021-2025.

http://arka.am/en/news/politics/un_will_provide_armenia_with_230_financial_assistance_/

Armenia invites China to take part in new investment programs / industrial parks / chemical production / direct flights

Economy Minister Qerobyan met the Chinese ambassador and invited China to participate in the design and construction of a newly proposed "innovative city" on Yerevan-Gyumri road, and industrial parks in Meghri, Ararat, and Gyumri.

Armenia wants to copy the industrial park called Great Stone, a joint economic project between China and Belarus.

They discussed the creation of a unified irrigation network in Armenia as part of agricultural reforms to boost productivity.

They spoke about resuming chemical production and metallurgy in Armenia.

Qerobyan emphasized the need to open direct flights between AM-CN, for tourism and cargo. "The Armenian government is ready to subsidize, if necessary."

The Chinese mabassador said they intended to send an expert group to Armenia to examine direct flight idea in 2020, but the pandemic canceled it. They are ready to resume the work. China is interested in the aforementioned projects and requested detailed documents.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1054135.html

IRS to traders: do not try to import the banned Turkish products through GEO-ARM border while disguised as "personal" products

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1054138.html

Artsakh will pave the Karmir Shuka-Taghavard road with asphalt

President Arayik visited Shosh, Taghavard, and other settlements in the south to discuss with locals the planned construction works. Additionally, inner-settlements roads will be renovated in Shosh and Surashen.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1054140.html

Urartian-era dice is found in Western Armenia

The 2,600 dices were found in Aghori Bayazet (Arshakavan) by Turkish archaeologists. They are made of terracotta. About the same size as modern dice.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/215317

in case you missed Tuesday news

https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/nq50hs/jun12021_1_verdict_in_trial_of_serjs_nephew_2/?

Перевод на Русский by Impossible-Ad-

www.reddit.com/r/ArmDailyReports_RUS_/comments/nqdjau/все_новости_за_1_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/nqtnm4/jun22021_1_kocharyans_corridor_document/

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