2021 May 19

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Contents

Daily news wrap-up

Today's news, May/19/2021: (1) Border update (2) Armenia deploys more troops (3) India joins US/France (4) Kocharyan trial: prosecutors accuse Constitutional Court of ignoring own rulings (5) European Parliament criticizes Turkey (6) Road repairs (7) Political campaign (8) Mass amnesty (9) Byurakan
by ar_david_hh


Your 12-minute Wednesday report in 3133 words.

border update

TLDR: Azeris sent 250 troops into Syunik and Gegharkunik under the pretense of border demarcation. They later withdrew part of the troops and left from some of the areas amid Armenian pressure, which involved contacting the CSTO military bloc. The US and France directly urged Azerbaijan to withdraw, while Russia said it's ready to help Armenia and Azerbaijan to draw the borders in these areas which have never been done before (at least post-independence).

Below is the map of where the 250 Azeri troops were stationed (may not reflect the current setup).

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052781.html

Armenia deploys additional troops to further isolate Azeri troops near Syunik's Sev Lake

MOD: no significant changes in the situation. In all the directions of their provocation, the Azeri troops and their supply roads continue to remain under full Armenian control. In the past two days, additional Armenian troops were stationed in these areas, completely depriving the Azeris of even the possibility of carrying out any action. The only reasonable solution is for them to return to the original positions.

Nevertheless, negotiations for a peaceful settlement are still ongoing. We hope that they will give the desired result and the situation will be resolved peacefully. In the absence of a solution within a reasonable time, we reserve the right to resolve the issue by force.

[Note: a video was circulated today showing a scuffle between Armenia and Azeri soldiers. It took place two days ago. The MOD officially reported the incident shortly afterward. They later denied other rumors that Azeris took POWs. They said the confrontation in Vardenis was resolved.]

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052740.html https://factor.am/371761.html

negotiations are postponed as Azeris are no-show

MOD reports that the 2:00 pm negotiations did not take place because Azerbaijan did not show up.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052769.html

India calls for immediate Azeri withdrawal (without naming names)

India: We call upon the transgressing side to pull back forces immediately and cease any further provocations. Border violations through military movements can destabilize the situation and lead to the resumption of hostilities.

[Indian ambassador met Armenian MOD yesterday and presented India's military and industrial achievements.]

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052776.html https://www.aninews.in/news/world/asia/india-closely-following-border-tensions-between-armenia-azerbaijan-mea20210519155633/

CSTO members held a session today

Armenian MFA went to Tajikistan to meet representatives of CSTO states. The bloc will discuss various global security issues, including the Armenian borders.

MFA Ayvazyan: The infiltration of the Azeri forces into the sovereign territory of Armenia poses a direct threat to the security, territorial integrity, and sovereignty of the CSTO member state, which is a challenge to all of CSTO.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052739.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052785.html

CSTO Secretary Zas:

We are monitoring the situation on Syunik borders. We discussed it during today's CSTO session. We welcome the negotiations that began under the Russian mediation, as well as the agreement to withdraw some of the troops.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052810.html

Security Council Grigoryan about borders:

Full preservation of territorial integrity for the Republic of Armenia cannot be a subject of discussion. Azerbaijan must withdraw its troops before any border demarcation process can take place. We appreciate Russia's effort as a mediator.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052764.html

Putin spoke with Aliyev

Putin emphasized the need to resolve the conflicts diplomatically and offered to help with delimitation and demarcation.

The two also discussed strengthening economic, healthcare, and other ties.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052813.html

Putin spoke with Pashinyan

The two share the same opinion on ways to resolve the border situation and its methodology.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052822.html

Artsakh residents contact peacekeepers over Azeri soldiers' disrespectful behavior

Martuni residents contacted peacekeepers yesterday. They complain that Azeri soldiers drive aggressively on the nearby road and show disrespectful hand gestures. Peacekeepers said they will investigate.

https://factor.am/372027.html

Canada will provide an additional $1m humanitarian aid to Artsakh

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052825.html

US advises against travel to Armenia (COVID) and Azerbaijan (terrorism)

COVID is problematic in some parts of Armenia.

Artsakh borders are restricted so the US citizens in Artsakh might not be able to receive aid immediately.

Azerbaijan has COVID and terrorism issues.

https://factor.am/372038.html

European Parliament has a resolution-report regarding Turkey and its jihadists

It condemns Turkey's militaristic calls during the 2020 war, while the rest were calling for a ceasefire.

It acknowledges and condemns Turkey's recruitment of Syrian militants for the Karabakh war.

It urges EU member-states to investigate the potential classification of the Turkish "Grey Wolves extremist" organization as a terrorist group.

It urges EU states to monitor Grey Wolves' activities against ethnic Armenian, Kurdish, and Greek residents.

It urges Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

It urges Turkey to refrain from anti-Armenian rhetoric and hate speech.

It urges Turkey to protect the Armenian cultural heritage.

It urges Turkey to protect ethnic and religious minorities in Turkey, including Armenians and Christians.

https://factor.am/372362.html https://www.facebook.com/ArmEmbBelgium/posts/2986094761712120

anti-corruption: a plot twist in the recent scuffle in Yerevan municipality

Recently the municipality merged some departments and laid off several workers. The director of one of the departments, Manuel Margaryan, refused to leave his office. Another employee, who was presumably supposed to take the space, decided to throw fists.

Police reports: the head of Ketron district's Urban and Land Department (Manual) intentionally ignored his duties for personal gain. To keep the utility bills low for his mother's and wife's hotels on Isakov Avenue, he failed to make necessary changed in their registration documents.

They also sold alcohol without a license and caused 1.8 million in damages to the state.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/214167

March 1st: prosecutors accuse Constitutional Court of contradicting its own earlier ruling (to protect Kocharyan)

Constitutional Court recently struck down Article 300.1 itself, thus clearing Kocharyan and co-defendants, who were charged with March 1st abuse of power and using the military against civilians.

Prosecutors wanted to charge them with an alternative Article instead, but they complained that the way the law is written does not allow for charges to be filed, and that this restriction is unconstitutional, so they asked the Constitutional Court for permission to charge Kocharyan & Co with another article.

Constitutional Court recently rejected hearing the prosecutors' petition, finding that prosecutors do not have the right to file such petition during a trial.

Prosecutors respond: the Constitutional Court's decision is baseless. According to Constitution's Article 169.1.9, the General Prosecutor is allowed to contact the Constitutional Court regarding the constitutionality of provisions of normative legal acts related to specific proceedings by prosecutors. [more legal jargon in the article]

Moreover, in its own ՍԴՈ-934 decision, the Constitutional Court had found that there are instances when the prosecutors do not need the Lower Court to petition the Constitutional Court, and that prosecutors themselves can contact the Constitutional Court if there are changes in charges.

Moreover, the Constitutional Court made the aforementioned ՍԴՈ-934 ruling during a similar case, in which prosecutors had attempted to change the charges against defendants.

This should be enough for the legal community to realize the unconstitutional nature of the Constitutional Court's decision, but there are other examples of precedence. [lists some old cases].

This is an unprecedented act by the Constitutional Court to devalue the constitution. It not only contradicts its previous rulings, but it also contradicts its own ruling regarding the same Robert Kocharyan trial.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052815.html

Tags: #March1st #ConstitutionalCourt #Article300.1

police are preparing for election campaign

Kocharyan's alliance complained that some police officers entered their election campaign office without authorization.

Police respond: These visits are part of the functions of the police. They visit all political parties' offices, introduce themselves, then requirest the contact information of the office administrator so they can cooperate in the future if there is a need. We will investigate individual complaints.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052770.html

elections will be observed by OSCE's Democratic Institutions and Human Rights

... announced the head of the monitoring delegation Owen Murphy. Eleven experts will represent nine European states. 274 others will join later. Their actual number will depend on the pandemic conditions.

Murphy: The observers will monitor the legal framework, its implementation, the campaign process, the work of the electoral bodies, the relevant state bodies, including the registration of voters, and the settlement of electoral disputes. Media monitoring will be an integral part of this mission. //

Reports will pre presented during and after the elections. The final comprehensive report is expected two months after the election date.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052749.html

media expert Samvel Martirosyan about the current state of media:

The media continues to remain consolidated in a few political circles' hands. It will get worse if the pandemic reduces the financial independence of outlets.

It's easier for editors to receive funds from a single political party to serve their needs, rather than attempt to struggle to find independent sources of revenue. Armenians do not want to pay for news.

A significant portion of the population got tired and stopped reading the news.

Nowadays, the media is influenced by multiple channels. From Telegram to Facebook, from Facebook to media outlets, or vice versa. Recently, the Russia-based Armenian community became more active in the media field. Unfortunately, Armenians also consume lots of Azerbaijani propaganda.

Tik Tok is also politicized. Activists crop clips with politicians' speeches and upload them with a music background.

full: https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/214114

let's recap: who is running?

Prosperous Armenia (BHK), headed by Gagik Tsarukyan. [<-- probably your top pick /s]

Shirinyan-Babajanyan Alliance, by Ind. MP Babajanyan.

Civil Contract (QP), by Pashinyan.

HHK and Hayreniq alliance, by ex-NSS Arthur Vanetsyan.

Bright Armenia (LHK), by Edmon Marukyan.

ARF and Reviving Armenia alliance, by Kocharyan.

Republic, by Aram Sargsyan (Vazgen's brother)

Armenian National Congress (ANC), by Levon Ter-Petrosyan.

Citizen's Decision (QO), by Suren Sahakyan.

European Party of Armenia, by Tigran Khzmalyan and Ruben Hakhverdyan.

Democrat Part of Armenia, by Aram Sargsyan and ex-MP Tigran Arzakantsyan.

Ardar Hayastan, by lawyer Norayr Norikyan.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/214177

BHK again denies rumors about joining other parties

We are headed for victory, said a BHK MP.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052792.html

sad news: Gevorg Petrosyan is leaving politics

BHK MP Petrosyan was the most staunch supporter of Armenian traditional values (against gays and various conventions about protecting women and children). He recently quit BHK because of its refusal to join Kocharyan. He is a strong Kocharyan supporter.

As an Ind. MP, Petrosyan attempted to join Kocharyan's new alliance but was rejected.

Today he announced that he is leaving politics after the end of his term. "I no longer consider it expedient to be politically active, while of course, preserving my constitutional right to express my opinions."

He criticized the political opposition for being "non-decisive and faceless".

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052801.html

ruling party leader Lilith Makunts receives approval from the US to become ambassador

She confirmed a few months ago about ongoing discussions within the ruling party to appoint her as the Armenian ambassador to the US. According to her, the US has finished the approval process. Her possible departure will be discussed after June 20 elections.

Who is Makunts?

Born in 1983. Graduated from Yerevan State Romano-German faculty with a Master's Degree. Tutored in Armenian-Russian University since 2005. Worked in the US Peace Corps since 2016. Former Culture Minister of Armenia. More bio in the article:

https://www.civilnet.am/news/607929/լիլիթ-մակունցի՝-ամն-ում-դեսպան-նշանակվելու-ագրեմանը-եկել-է/

how it works: mass amnesty for men who evaded military service

The law goes into effect today. It applies to those who turned 27 as of this May 19, or reservist officers who turned 35.

If there is a warrant for your arrest then you must visit Armenia by December 31st. Upon entry, the authorities will take you into custody temporarily to ensure you visit the relevant office.

The relevant office, in a short period of time, will file your amnesty documents and you will be free again. Once it's confirmed that you meet the amnesty requirements, it will be officially applied for you.

[more scenarios and exception are explained in the article, mainly for those who were already arrested or had a pending trial]

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052807.html

bill advances: some businesses will pay less towards Insurance Foundation for Servicemen

In December the Parliament adopted a resolution to increase fees collected from paychecks towards the soldiers' insurance fund because the 1000-Dram collection was no longer enough.

Progressive brackets were set, ranging from 1.5k to 15k for individuals (instead of flat 1k), and 18k-180k for businesses.

QP MP Papoyan believes the recent amendments were too harsh on self-employed and small businesses and proposed reducing the fees.

The individual entrepreneurs earning ֏1.2m currently pay ֏18k. To pay that sum, after the amendment you would have to earn twice as much. Those in the sub-֏6m bracket would pay ֏24k instead of the current ֏66k. And so on...

MP: this will not endanger the Fund's ability to pay soldiers and their families. The amendment is necessary to ease the burden on individual entrepreneurs during this phase of economic recovery. //

The relevant Parliamentary committee gave it a green light to advance for a vote.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052757.html https://arka.am/en/news/society/armenian_parliament_raises_monthly_payments_to_military_insurance_fund_/

bill rejected: require the government to purchase some farmers' products

Several Ind. MPs (formerly ruling alliance) proposed a bill to require contracts for the government to ensure that farmers in border areas have their products sold. It's meant as an additional aid for those who lost some arable lands and income.

The government rejected the bill saying it does not clearly define how the process would work, it would likely require a problematic purchasing quota system, etc.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052758.html

proposal: diversify universities' source of revenue

Education Ministry held discussions with university representatives about their finances.

Education Ministry official: The basis for the development of the sector is the development of new financial models. The current model is not enough for training qualified and competitive specialists and does not meet modern standards.

Today, 90-95% of the funding comes from student tuitions: free slots (paid by the government) or paid slots (paid by student or sponsor).

As a result, universities are directly dependent on the number of students they have. This can have a negative effect on the quality of education. Universities need alternative sources of income allowed under the law. //

During the meeting, university representatives presented their financial ideas.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052771.html

Tags: #UniversityFunding

Byurakan Observatory is cooperating with UNESCO

Byurakan director: Byurakan's spectral circumspection was registered in UNESCO's Memory of the World International Register. These photo plates are so valuable and unique with their information that UNESCO accepted our petition.

This is Armenia's only scientific object in UNESCO. It turns out, there aren't many science objects in the world that are included in such international lists.

We can have hundreds of projects in UNESCO if we put effort. For example, petroglyphs and out calendars, etc.

Lately, we've been inviting international experts to attend our internal seminars. A Nobel prize winner astrophysicist Reinhard Genzel, and another Nobel winner, have registered to give a speech in June. They will be joined by Xavier Barcons, the director of the European Southern Observatory.

Armenian science functions more efficiently than the economy. The economy is ranked 136th in the world while science is at 50th place (Scopus ranking, 2019). Armenia was 31st in 1996. We need more funding. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052774.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052782.html

4 MW solar farm with the help of EU

The EU is helping a local investor to build a 4MW station in Aragatsotn province. It will be ready this year. The annual 7.5 GW/h production will cut 3,200 tons in carbon emissions. Dozens of new jobs.

https://factor.am/372126.html

Gyumri is also revamping its public transport fleet

Later this year, with the help of the EU, the city will import five electric buses with 20 seats each. It will be accompanied by the introduction of a unified ticket system with cards.

With another government-subsidized program, they will obtain 63 Gazelle Next

vehicles, with some being equipped with disability accommodations. "These Gazelles are 5-10 times cheaper to service than the Chinese alternatives."

https://factor.am/372196.html

re: Swedish online gaming giant EVOLUTION to open office in Armenia

On March 23rd we learned that the Evolution worked with the govt to resolve some issues and entered the Armenian market. The facility in Yerevan will have live gambling tables with dealers broadcasted for international casinos. A Q&A with representative Jacob:

Who are you?

A Swedish company founded in 2006 with the goal to transfer the casino experience online. We have 10,000 employees in 20+ cities.

Why Armenia?

We chose Yerevan in particular for having a desirable workforce and for the continuous development of the city. We have long-term plans in Armenia.

We can offer young Armenian workers to make their first career step in an international company. No special experience is necessary. We train our workers. English knowledge is necessary because the audience is international. For now, we expect 100 job positions in Yerevan and the suburbs.

Full: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052768.html https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/mbm0bd/mar232021_1_march_1st_judge_sanctions_kocharyan

18km bypass road connecting Ararat to Kotayk provinces

... is being renovated. It's the Garni-Lanjashat section. First renovation since USSR. It allows bypassing the North-South highways and reducing traffic in Yerevan.

Tourists will have an easier time reaching Dvin, Garni temple, Azat River, and Khor Virap.

The ֏2b project is co-funded by the government and World Bank.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/214211

Union of Banks provides banking sector details for 1Q2021 vs 1Q2020:

The total capital of the Armenian banking system grew 1.8% (֏17b). This is an important metric that ensures the system's stability and the ability to withstand stress.

Banks made ֏19.4b in profit (-16.9%).

Total deposits -0.2% in the first quarter, but +4.9% in March.

Bank deposits were steadily increasing until the pandemic. Most of the recent deposit decline was due to foreigners withdrawing funds.

Among Armenian residents, the deposits grew by ֏253b (+9.9%), while non-residents withdrew ֏126b. The same is observed around the world.

We observed a trend of customers consolidating their funds into one bank: close the account in the second bank, and create the second account in the first bank.

There were over 3.2 million accounts.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052754.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052763.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052765.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052772.html

COVID stats

3591 tested. 229 infected. 286 healed. 11 deaths. 6436 active. >20K vaccinations.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052744.html https://factor.am/372303.html

COVID scandal: how the scientists got its transmission wrong from the get-go

Half a century old scientific battle that slipped through the cracks. Which cough droplets hang in the air: 5 or 100 microns? World Health Organization plans to formally review its definitions for describing disease transmission.

https://www.wired.com/story/the-teeny-tiny-scientific-screwup-that-helped-covid-kill/

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanres/article/PIIS2213-2600(20)30323-4/fulltext

Armenian wrestlers win silver and bronze medals

European under-23 competition was held. Armenia won two silver and two bronze medals.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/214212

today in history

1712: tsar Peter I moves the Russian capital from Moscow to St. Petersburg.

1928: Sergey Mergelyan is born. At the age of 20, he became the youngest doctor of mathematics in USSR's history.

1953: swimmer Shavarsh Karapetyan is born. He is the most famous Armenian on Reddit. A lot more famous than Alexis Ohanian for sure. Shavarsh saved passengers of a drowning trolleybus in Yerevan (but you already knew)

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1052712.html

yesterday's news

https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/nfjncl/todays_news_may182021_1_us_russia_want/?

Все Новости за 18 мая 2021

Translated by Impossible-Ad-

www.reddit.com/r/ArmDailyReports_RUS_/comments/nfwhtz/все_новости_за_18_мая_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/nggacj/todays_news_may192021_1_border_update_2_armenia/

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