2021 March 25

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Contents

Daily news wrap-up

Mar/25/2021: (1) Police salaries to double (2) "E-verify": foreign worker database (3) Wartime negotiations, "4th day of war" (4) Solar farm (5) Onik's lawsuit fails (6) Who spreads "Syunik invasion imminent" rumors? (7) New parties (8) Treason law amended (9) Geopolitics (10) Economy recovering
by ar_david_hh


Your 11-minute Thursday report in 2893 words.

Security Council chief about the former army chief Onik and "stopping the war on the 4th day", about SU-30 jets, about "blaming the army"

Reporter: did Onik Gasparyan say on the 4th day of the war, during a Security Council session, that the war should be stopped ASAP?

Security Council Secretary Grigoryan: No. The first Security Council discussion about stopping the war was held on October 19th. It was during this meeting that it was proposed to stop the war within 2-3 days because our resources were depleting. By the way, opposition parties took part in that meeting.

[Context: Pashinyan called Putin on October 19th and agreed to give away the lands to stop the war. This was shortly before the fall of Hadrut, as confirmed by an opposition figure who took part in the meeting. Aliyev, however, did not agree to stop because he wanted Shushi.]

Security Councilman continues: ... we attempted to stop the war on at least 3 occasions. The war continued not because of us, but because of intense interference by Turkey, the terrorist groups, and Azerbaijan. Stopping the war cannot be done unilaterally.

As for the topic of SU-30 jets, we purchased the jets but the modern missiles were scheduled for a later date. You can use older missiles on the new jets but they have different capabilities and limited scope.

As for the accusations that the government is trying to use the army as a scapegoat, we wanted Onik Gasparyan to be the one to prepare the comprehensive post-war report about the military events. If we wanted to blame the army, we would prepare that report ourselves.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047115.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047116.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047120.html , https://youtu.be/Rx71bSmErk4 , https://factor.am/352169.html , https://factor.am/352186.html

Tags: #SecurityCouncil

judge rejects one of Onik's lawsuits: cannot sue for something that didn't happen

Onik sued president Sarkissian and Pashinyan for the decree that fired him.

The Lower Court judge found that Onik cannot sue Sarkissian for the signature to fire him, because Sarkissian never signed anything to fire him. "You have 15 days to correct your paperwork and resubmit, or 5 days to challenge this verdict in Appeals Court."

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/209830

who is behind rumors about the immunent Turkish invasion of Syunik? / Azariha Telegram channel

Sputnik outlet recently cited an Iranian Telegram channel Azariha, which claimed that "Iranian outlets report accumulation of Turkish military equipment. Turkey plans to invade Syunik." No mainstream outlets other than Sputnik shared the report at the time.

Researchers found that the Azariha Telegram channel is run by Iranian nationalists and some ethnic Armenians living in Iran, who happen to be a diaspora wing of one of the opposition parties in Armenia. The usual suspect ARF denied being affiliated with Azariha.

A similar "imminent invasion" rumor was circulated by a reporter at the Greek City Times outlet. Research shows that he often posts theses circulated by opposition groups in Armenia.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/209829 , https://civic.am/politics/international/3105--2-.html

President Sarkissian continues discussions with various political parties

He met Heritage Party's Raffi and the "Ազգային-ժողովրդավարական բևեռ" alliance of nationalist figures that includes Sasna Tsrer members.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047143.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047139.html

new political parties are popping up like mushrooms

Former BHK MP Ruben Gevorgyan will register "NATION-ARMY-MOTHERLAND" party. (yes, with all caps)

Former HHK Premier Karen Karapetyan's adviser Mher Terteryan will register "United Homeland". There is a similarly-named party in Artsakh lead by General Samvel Babayan. The new registrar claimed he was unaware of the existence of Babayan's party while registering the name.

Overall, 8 new parties will register next month. "Stability", "Patriots", "Intellectual Armenia", etc.

More: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/209833

bill approved: maximum penalty increased for espionage and treason

BHK proposed a maximum of 20 years to life sentence for the harshest violations, instead of up to 15 years. Parliament voted 112-x to approve the bill.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047089.html

other news from Parliament

The parliament is holding a debate whether to increase the age limit to allow older contractors to join the army, to reform the disability law, to improve road sign standards, etc. The bills need two votes before approval. More on them later.

Several Independent MPs, who recently resigned from the ruling My Step alliance, complained today that the government members showed a "dismissive attitude" and did not answer their questions orally during the Parliamentary debates, instead, asking the MPs to send the questions in a written form to receive a written response.

The Ind. MPs urged the Parliament president to ensure the questions are answered orally. Parliament president QP Mirzoyan referred to some of the suggestions as "constructive".

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047097.html , https://factor.am/352054.html , https://factor.am/352063.html

֏500M to build a new Arthur Alexanyan Sports Center

The government approved a construction plan, drafted 1-2 years ago, to build a new sports center named after legendary Greco-Roman champion Arthur Alexanyan.

The ֏500M project in Gyumri will be "unique in its kind in Armenia". It'll have room for youth and adults, weightlifting, wrestling, gymnastics, entertainment hall, etc.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047135.html

sports centers

Deputy Education Minister Karen Giloyan met sports center directors to discuss conditions at sports centers.

Deputy Minister: we plan to conduct a large-scale study in sports schools and relevant organizations to get a clear picture of the current situation. There are discussions about providing social packages to coaches. Regular retraining of coaches is very important because the sport develops rapidly.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047075.html

COVID stats (snafu)

5228 tested. 1257 infected. 242 healed. 18 deaths. 13427 active.

Healthcare Ministry: please stop taking antibiotics. They don't kill the virus. Thank you.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047084.html , https://factor.am/352324.html

Russia to open tourism floodgates

Travelers from outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg will be allowed to fly to Armenia and several other countries beginning on April 1.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047164.html

economic stats / February shows signs of recovery / prices and salaries

The economic activity reduced by 6.7% in the January-February period of this year, compared to the pre-pandemic period of last year. However, this February saw a 12.4% rise in activity compared to this January.

Industry -8% YoY, but +15% MoM.

Construction +1% YoY, +28% MoM.

Trade turnover -11%, +20% MoM

Services -13% YoY, +4% MoM.

Foreign trade -12% YoY, +25% MoM.

Consumer product price index +5% YoY.

Average monthly nominal salary +0.8% YoY, reaching ֏190.5K ($360).

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047136.html , https://factor.am/352153.html

Economy Minister Qerobyan: the February YoY decline was -5.3%. and February of 2020 had an extra leap day. The economy has almost recovered. That is in the case of near-zero tourism. I reaffirm our goal of double-digit economic growth. (only if Bitcoin traders were this optimistic)

https://factor.am/352258.html

COVID aid: subsidized loan program will continue to operate

Last year the government approved several aid packages. The 2nd one was about subsidizing loans (0%) that are smaller than ֏1M. Its deadline has been extended until October. This aid was meant for farmers and was proven to be widely popular, says the government.

The Central Bank recorded 36.6K loans totaling ֏63.4B last year, from which 26.9K and ֏21.6B were part of this aid package.

These loans do not require submission of collateral by the farmer, which makes it appealing to many low-income farmers who have no expensive property that could be used as collateral.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047108.html

Nagorno-Karabakh: The "mystery" of the missing church

A mini-documentary by BBC about how the Azerbaijani army destroyed an Armenian church. The church in question is St. Mariam in Mekhakavan (Jabrayil).

After seeing the video of Azeri soldiers climbing and vandalizing the church, a BBC journalist decided to go there and investigate. He couldn't find the church at all. The Azeri government accused Armenians of destroying it themselves (and also for making the Earth spin in a way that it gets really cold every winter).

UNESCO office in Armenia: We strongly condemn the latest instance of cultural crime committed by Azerbaijan. As reported by BBC, the church was completely destroyed after going under Azerbaijani control. The destruction resembles actions typical of ISIS.

Armenian MFA: The destruction of the church proves that the cultural vandalism carried out by Azerbaijan is based on its hatred towards the Christian Armenian people. At the same time, the attempts of the Azerbaijani leadership to justify this barbarism are even more disturbing (building up a case for ethnic self-determination, I suppose)

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-europe-56517835 , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047094.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047109.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047160.html

VICE article on Artsakh: This Is What It's Like to Live in a Country ‘That Doesn't Exist’

https://www.vice.com/en/article/pkdjkb/unrecognised-countries-south-ossetia-abkhazia-transnistria-nagorno-karabakh

Kardashyans, Serj Tankian, and others urge Joe Biden to recognize the Armenian Genocide

They shared an image on social media, calling for their followers to join and urge Job Biden to recognize it.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047082.html

bill approved: Russian becomes one of the official languages in Artsakh

Artsakh Parliament voted 27-0-2. The authors say Artsakh residents were already fluent in Russian [from the Soviet-era], the decision will strengthen cooperation in various fields, and that it'll pave the way for developing stronger legal cooperation.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047125.html

Russian peacekeepers deliver humanitarian aid to Stepanakert

50 pieces of medical equipment were donated to Stepanakert hospital as part of "Dr. Lisa" and other Russian humanitarian missions. Schoolchildren received books and board games.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047096.html

General prosecutor meets Russian ambassador to discuss the return of POWs

Other topics were also discussed: mutual legal assistance, criminal justice, exchange of experience.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047153.html

Armenia votes against a UN resolution on Syria

As usual, Armenia sided with Russia in a UN Human Rights Council vote critical of the Syrian government. "The resolution was severely one-sided." The bill was authored by Turkey, Qatar, Jordan, the EU, and the UK.

47 members: 27 Yes, 6 No, 14 Abs.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/209822

diplomatic 3+3 format: Georgia won't cooperate with Russia

Earlier this year, Iran and Turkey proposed a 3+3 regional format: Iran, Turkey, Russia + Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan.

Turkish MFA: We are planning cooperation in a 3+3 format with the proposal of President Aliyev, with the support of Mr. Putin, Mr. Erdogan, and other leaders. Peace and stability in the south Caucasus are for the benefit of everyone, but Armenia and the people of Armenia will benefit the most. //

Recently, Georgia spoke against the 3+3 format, saying they won't cooperate with Russia in such regional topics for "as long as Russia occupies Georgian lands." Instead, Georgia proposes a Georgia-Armenia-Azerbaijan format.

It remains to be seen whether Armenian leaders will support the proposals.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/209850 , https://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/ankara-hopes-us-returns-to-iran-nuclear-deal-162018

Armenia takes up 4-month chairpersonship in OSCE Forum for Security Cooperation

The US passed the torch to Armenia. "Violations of the OSCE commitments lead to a violation of international security systems, a decrease in predictability and transparency in the military sphere, which, in turn, directly jeopardizes human rights, in particular the right to life," said Armenian delegate Papikyan.

http://arka.am/en/news/politics/armenia_takes_up_4_month_chairpersonship_in_osce_forum_for_security_cooperation/

Armenian weapons are presented to Iraqi Defense Minister=

Juma Saadoun visited Armenia and met High Tech Minister Arshakyan. The latter gave him a tour to show the latest weapons made in Armenia. The Iraqi MOD said Iraq intends to strengthen military industry ties with Armenia.

Pashinyan met the Iraqi MOD. "Armenia sees Iraq as a reliable partner based on strong historical and cultural ties.

An Iraqi Defense Ministry expert group will visit Armenia soon.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047163.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047158.html

Defense Ministries of Armenia and Italy held a meeting

They expressed readiness to resume the implementation of cooperation that was suspended because of the pandemic.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047172.html

Greeks mark 200th anniversary of independence from Ottoman Empire

Greece was congratulated by Armenian leadership. A group of Armenians went to the Tsitsernakaberd Genocide Memorial to lay flowers for Greek victims.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047151.html

Artsakh post office receives equipment

The government took computers and another tech from the Labor Ministry and donated them to ArtsakhPost as compensation for property lost during the war.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047093.html

120,000 people currently live in Artsakh

... with up to 30,000 residing in Armenia, said Artsakh president Arayik, who visited Yerevan today to co-chair a government session with Pashinyan. They discussed aid packages for Artsakh residents. Artsakh plans to build 5.5K houses new in 3 years.

https://www.civilnet.am/news/574713/մոտ-120-հազար-արցախցիներ-այսօր-բնակվում-են-արցախում․-արայիկ-հարությունյան/

80,000 Artsakh citizens received $10.4M as part of a recent aid package

Each non-able-bodied-male Artsakh resident receives a ֏68,000 check from the Armenian government.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047101.html

aid package extended for landlords who house Artsakh refugees

One of the packages provides ֏45,000/mo aid to homeowners who agreed to house refugees. It went into effect in December and was meant to be for 3 months. Today the government extended it by another 3 months.

There are 3,000 landlords who house 7,000 refugees. Additionally, there are refugees who are staying in subsidized hotels. The families gradually return to Artsakh whenever a new housing unit becomes available; there is a project to build new houses in Artsakh villages.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047102.html

Nature Ministry rejects Lydian gold miner's petition to drain more water from Arpa river

They asked to drain 4 times as much water to mine golden Bitcoins in Amulsar. The Ministry said they can't let that happen because of water regulations in Ararat basin reserves.

The miner is currently suing an earlier similar decision that prevented extra water drain.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047133.html

banks reach a deal to finance Armenia's largest solar panel project

International and Armenian banks concluded the discussions around funding a solar project.

55MW Masrik-1 solar farm will produce clean energy enough for 20,000 households. It'll reduce CO2 pollutions by 40,000 tons annually.

Annual production is 128GW/h. They signed a contract with the Electric Networks of Armenia. The latter will purchase the electricity at a favorable price of $41.9 per MW/h.

The Masrik-1 farm will be located in Gegharquniq's Mets Masrik settlement. It's a project by FRV company, which is part of Abdul Latif Jameel Energy company. (I suspect Armen Sarkissian's մատը խառնա in this).

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047144.html

Tags: #SolarEnergy #RenewableEnergy #Masrik #MetsMasrik #energy

raising the bank guarantee requirement threshold for state purchases

... will bring economic activity, said Premier Pashinyan during today's government session. The guarantee threshold will increase from ֏10M to ֏25M. No guarantees from banks will be necessary from participants if the contract is under ֏25M.

Additionally, small purchases can be insured by private insurance agencies besides banks.

For purchases in the ֏25-֏75Mrange, the bank guarantee will reduce from 100% to 15% of the sum. For >֏75M purchases the 30% must be insured.

There will be additional exemptions for businesses that have high ratings issued by Fitch and Moodys.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047104.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047108.html

20,000 new high-tech jobs are projected for the next 5 years

Minister Arshakyan: the high-tech industry grew by 30% in 2018-2019, and by 20% in 2020 despite the pandemic. We project that it'll continue to grow at 20%, with the labor market growing by 15%.

I urge our future students to choose the path of natural sciences, and for experts to supplement their knowledge in the tech sector.

Graph: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047074.html

there is a strong demand for workers in these sectors

Labor Ministry has a database of 1,674 vacant job positions submitted by businesses. The healthcare industry is the largest seeker of the highly qualified specialists in that database. The demand increased during the pandemic.

Overall, not counting just the Ministry's database, the IT sector has the highest demand.

There are 63,023 unemployed residents registered in the database.

Union of Employers of Armenia: we lost some manpower in the workforce because of the war. Many businesses face worker deficits now. The gap should be filled. Second, we have higher unemployment caused by the pandemic. Third, not all workers were ready to work remotely; this is why changes to the education system are necessary.

The education system does not always respond appropriately to the labor market demand. Young people often do not go to specialize in the industry. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047069.html

new: a unified electronic platform for hiring foreign workers

The government approved a proposed bill to create an electronic database, which will be used by Armenian businesses to obtain a permit before hiring a foreign worker.

The reforms will allow the government to better understand how many foreigners work in the country, and to better regulate the field.

The "Work Permit" term is being modified. A foreign worker can legally stay in Armenia temporarily after obtaining an electronic "temporary residence" permit from a relevant agency.

EAEU trade bloc citizens (including many Armenians who are Russian citizens living in Russia), will not be given "temporary resident" status and instead, will receive a certificate confirming the legality of their stay, as long as they plan to stay in Armenia and work for >180 days.

The list that regulates the foreign citizens who have lost the permit to work in Armenia will also undergo reforms. In some instances, foreigners will be allowed to work in Armenia with their short-term 21-day visa, if their job is short-term. For example, a foreigner receives a short-term visa to visit Armenia and organize a concert event.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047108.html

police reforms: salaries will double

Hundreds of applicants are currently studying at a police academy as part of police reforms to create a patrol with modern uniforms and equipment. They'll be ready by July.

Today the government approved a resolution to raise their salaries. New low-ranting applicants with little experience will receive ֏320,000 ($605), an increase of 69%.

The lieutenant with some experience will earn ֏402,000 ($760), an increase of 98%.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1047126.html , https://factor.am/352447.html

why won't Davit shut up about Bitcoin?

Some prophet wrote this 3 years ago, making Davit believe in God and Holy Spirit:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/68szym/im_humble/dh17aff/?context=3

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/md6eh5/mar252021_1_police_salaries_to_double_2_everify/

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