2021 May 21
- 1 Daily news wrap-up
- 2 in case you missed yesterday's news that includes events preceding May 12th Syunik intrusion
- 3 MOD about confrontation near Sev Lake:
- 4 Azeris "sent" back after another border provocation
- 5 interview with a military expert and VOMA combat trainer Vova Vardanov (borders & Azeri propaganda within Armenia)
- 6 what do others think about the demarcation process
- 7 Vladimir Putin's spokesman criticizes Armenian opposition's leaking of demarcation document
- 8 ruling party MP denies rumors about MFA Ayvazyan's resignation and diplomats being intentionally kept in the dark
- 9 the demarcation process will take years,
- 10 government allocated additional ֏2.5b to National Security Services
- 11 foreign military attachés visited Syunik
- 12 balloon picket
- 13 Yerkrapah leader QP MP Sasun Mikaelyan will not seek reelection
- 14 political meetings
- 15 Pashinyan voters were "uneducated"
- 16 first president Levon about fellow opposition parties
- 17 Armenian Foreign Ministry about Azeri encroachment:
- 18 Armenian Foreign Ministry about Artsakh's status and de-occupation:
- 19 May 17: Azeris violated the ceasefire near Artsakh's Shosh village border outpost
- 20 Russian Foreign Ministry about the distortion of Armenian church in Shushi
- 21 Azerbaijan says they will soon invite UNESCO to enter occupied territories
- 22 EAEU trade bloc holds a session to discuss economy, gas, healthcare, and trade
- 23 Privet Rob trial resumes / Kocharyan's bodyguard facing new murder charges
- 24 Shengavit sports school roof will be renovated
- 25 abnormal heatwave engulfs the region
- 26 stats: where do the fires happen?
- 27 young scientists receive grants
- 28 new demographics program: lifetime aid for having 6 kids
- 29 is it true that Gyumri has become a tourism hotspot?
- 30 COVID stats
- 31 top-10 bestseller children's book in April
- 32 today in history
- 33 end of report
- 34 Support David's Daily Armenia News Summaries!
Daily news wrap-up
May/21/2021: (1) Border demarcation: facts, myths, & opinions (2) Putin's office criticizes Armenian opposition's leaking of doc (3) Border mayor: Azeris were chased out after provocation (4) VOMA interview (5) Politics: Levon & "uneducated" voters (5) Privet Rob (6) UENSCO in Artsakh (7) Heatwave
Your 14-minute Friday report in 3564 words.
in case you missed yesterday's news that includes events preceding May 12th Syunik intrusion
MOD about confrontation near Sev Lake:
The situation is overall the same as of afternoon. A video was circulated yesterday showing a confrontation between Armenian and Azeri troops. It was resolved after an intervention by commanders. Sharing such videos does not help with resolving the conflict and unnecessarily contributes to keeping the high tensions.
Armenian Armed Forces fully control the situation and continue to keep Azeri servicemen blocked.
Azeris "sent" back after another border provocation
A report arrived about a similar intrusion near Syunik's Khoznavar section, 10km east of Sev Lake.
Khozavar mayor said the incident took place last night, and that it was resolved after the intervention of Armenian forces and nearby volunteer units. "Azeris went back to their original positions. Or more accurately: we sent them," said the mayor.
The mayor denied rumors that Azeris were in the Khozavar village. "They were in the administrative district." [near the border]
The authorities reported about the incident, which happened in late May 20 when Azeris made two attempts to claim a nearby territory. A hand fight ensured, 11 soldiers were injured, the Azeris were kicked out.
interview with a military expert and VOMA combat trainer Vova Vardanov (borders & Azeri propaganda within Armenia)
Why were Azeris able to infiltrate? Do you agree with official reports that it was due to difficult terrain and snow?
Back on November 16, we [VOMA] made the list of heights that we needed to take before the Armenian withdrawal from Artsakh's Qashatagh region. There was no snow at the time but since the army was in a very difficult situation at the time, perhaps they did not have time to [make engineering work and permanent deployment] before the snowfall. The snow began to melt 1.5 months ago.
We did have troops in those areas at the time [they were stationed without permanent positions]. Right now we have certain quantities of troops near the lake. They receive supplies through the Azeri positions [Armenians are between the border and part of Azeri troops].
It's understandable that they did not have time to build permanent positions. However, they did deploy troops on two of those heights that our mountain scouts and I warned them about earlier.
But our problem is with soldiers waiting for orders instead of acting. They did not open fire because they were ordered not to; various defense rings failed their duties. Otherwise, it's the same soldier who opened fire at Azeris half a year ago. They would gladly shoot again. Our problem is we have a peace-minded population and governments, today and in the past.
A year before the April 2016 war, Seyran Ohanyan ordered the low-ranking commanders to open fire at sight, without having to report to higher-ups in the event of enemy aggression. That order was a "reminder" to soldiers about what they were already supposed to do.
There is an opinion that Armenian soldiers should have fired at the Azeris. But there is also a geopolitical factor here. Wouldn't Azerbaijan use the incident to attempt to connect to Nakhijevan?
The intelligence units should have seen Azeris coming. If they did, they should have deployed reinforcement troops in the rear. Holding backup forces, large movements, or imitating exercises would have shown the enemy that it would encounter difficulties in the event of provocation. The intruding Azeri forces would not be capable to withstand such resistance because they do not have the full backing of their main army. Their troops are part of small units of one or two bridges.
Would it escalate into full-scale war if shots were fired? I don't think so. There could be a battle in that section of the borders.
Why wouldn't there be a war? There is the idea that Azeris always wanted to cut through Syunik and reach Nakhijevan.
Why would they need to do this military if they can connect to Nakhijevan through diplomacy, especially since we agree to regional transport unblocking?
I just don't think it's financially beneficial for Azerbaijan to have a road connection through Syunik. As far as I'm aware, Turkish cargo trains on railways are only 25% full when they travel to Azerbaijan through Georgia. They have a 75% capacity. They don't need a road economically.
The Azeri advancement would likely be about forward-looking military strategic reasons.
So there were Armenian troops in these areas but they did not open fire and did not counter Azeris?
They did counter them, but not sufficiently. They did not open fire to neutralize or warn.
A segment of the May 17 fight between Armenian and Azeri troops was circulated. Pashinyan said that from the 2-hour-long incident, only a few minutes were circulated by Azeris, then spread around "by their agents in Armenia". What do you know about this?
Maybe I wouldn't use the same harsh words, but Pashinyan has a serious point. Our media outlets and social media users who turned into media outlets are often acting so dumb that they become enemy propaganda tools. I agree with Pashinyan on this.
If we don't punish these outlets, that will be yet another mistake of ours. We should revoke their license.
On the other hand, when you see your soldiers in bad shape then you receive conflicting reports, why wasn't it more properly clarified?
I did, on the evening of May 17. [MOD did on May 18 afternoon, the video was then circulated on May 19, then another video was circulated on May 20 showing another picture in which Armenians were kicking Azeris out].
We were anticipating these Azeri videos. They were meant to agitate the Armenian public. We were expecting thousands of Armenian social media users to share them. But we did inform beforehand, wasn't that enough?
That's not the only question. Media outlets should analyze and process information before sharing it. I spoke with three media outlets about sharing the Azeri clip. Two of them said they did have the video but only shared a screenshot; I praised them. The third outlet bragged that they have the video and have already published it. I told them never to call me again; I won't give them interviews.
Do you mean Azerbaijan is trying to terrorize the Armenian public and that we are helping them by doing it to ourselves?
Of course. That's a permanent process. We often unknowingly become their propaganda tools.
Okay. What exactly happened during May 17 fights?
We don't have permanent positions stretching the entire north-south border. There are locations where boys simply stand on the ground and guard. The enemy encircled them. Our boys engaged in an equal physical fight.
It was approximately 10 vs 10 until 50-60 more Azeris joined the fight and tipped the balance. Bruce Lee can only beat many bad guys in the movies. The enemy later stationed armored vehicles on the nearby road, after the fight.
were the Armenian soldier's guns were taken away?
A few units. Obviously, the enemy portrays this differently. If you aren't dumb, don't get terrorized, and don't terrorize others by spreading Turkish propaganda among the population.
If I can analyze and decide what material can be responsibly shared, why can't media outlets do the same?
...for political reasons?
For political reasons, for ratings. If they boost their ratings by promoting Turks then they should just write a letter to Heydar Aliyev Foundation to receive grants.
why exactly in this area?
Why did Azeris intrude in the Verin Shorzha region of Gegharkunik? It's a wide part of Armenia. It's not about reaching Nakhijevan.
They could have done this near Lake Sevan's eastern shores but didn't. They would not stomach that. Being on the narrow strip east of Sevan, they would become the target of Armenian artillery.
So why exactly in this area of Gegharkunik? It's possible that their aim is to have a better strategic position to have observation and artillery points that can target Martuni and Vardenis. That would also allow them to penetrate our artillery that could have been used against them if they were on the east of Lake Sevan.
It's also possible that this was done as braggadocio for Aliyev for internal political reasons.
[He talks about the need for Armenia to defend itself and not to reply solely on Russia, about the need for govt and opposition to work together to secure the borders rather than fighting politically]
About enclaves. Armenia and Azerbaijan both have territories within each other.
I participated in the liberation of the [Azeri] enclaves in Tavush. There are speculations that we might have to return some villages. It's possible. We might be forced to. I don't know. But in any case, it shouldn't be like the POW situation where we released all Azeri POWs but they captured more Armenians and kept them as POWs. Don't believe the Azeri word. We need guarantees.
Armenia has the Artsvashen enclave in Azerbaijan. Its lands are bigger than all of the Azeri enclaves combined.
Is it possible that both sides will agree to leave enclaves as they are?
It's possible. [Note: during yesterday's speech, Pashinyan said that leaving the enclaves as they are can be one of the options during the upcoming demarcation process.]
Don't forget the Mt. Odundagh. It's a dominant height in front of Tavush. On its other side, Armenia has 800 hectares of land, including the tip of the mountain.
Artsvashen is so big that there was a time there was talk about giving it a sub-district status. The only reason it didn't is that it only had one settlement. We must demand what's ours.
Full interview: https://youtu.be/z9Jihk58xho
what do others think about the demarcation process
Others have warned against exchanging Tavush enclaves because Armenia is set to lose more because important Armenian roads and economic routes travel through these areas.
Ruling party MP said there are no other undisclosed agreements (oral/written) that would "give away" Armenian villages to Azerbaijan, besides the presented demarcation document about forming commissions. "The demarcation discussions can begin only after Azeris withdraw from Armenia."
Others believe that the demarcation process should not be mediated by Russia as a brand new initiative, and instead, it should be based on an already-established 150-page document drafted by OSCE 16 years ago, because OSCE's document allegedly takes into account older Soviet maps which include Armenian territories that were later given to Azerbaijan during the Soviet Union period, so it matters "which" Soviet maps are used.
Others have pointed out that the only thing the demarcation documents reveal is what we had already known: the creation of delimitation commissions mediated by Russia, and that there is no word about how exactly the demarcation will be done, whether enclaves will be swapped, etc. "Pashinyan's signature is just the launch of the process. Nothing is final. A referendum and Constitutional Court's approval is needed to finalize territorial changes", said Khalatyan.
Republic (not HHK) party believes the U.S. and France should join Russia as demarcation mediators.
Vladimir Putin's spokesman criticizes Armenian opposition's leaking of demarcation document
Serj's son-in-law Mishik and an opposition media outlet earlier leaked the document that confirmed the creation of demarcation commissions.
Putin's spokesman Peskov criticized the leaks, saying "In general, [demarcation] is such a fragile topic, and so much effort is being made to resolve this situation, that one should be very careful in such publications."
ruling party MP denies rumors about MFA Ayvazyan's resignation and diplomats being intentionally kept in the dark
The former regime outlets leaked the demarcation document and claimed that MFA Ayvazyan decided to resign because he disagreed with the document. The outlets also claimed the MFA officials were kept in the dark and they presented that as something that was being done "behind their back."
Pashinyan said during his Parliament speech that the document had only recently been transferred from the Russian embassy to a relevant deputy MFA, who then transferred it to Pashinayn, and that it was normal that some MFA officials weren't aware of its existence yet.
QP MP Ruben: I have spoken with Ayvazyan. The rumors about his resignation are false. The MFA has several deputy Foreign Ministers, with each being tasked with their own duties. One deputy MFA may not be up to date about the curation of another deputy MFA's work. That's normal.
the demarcation process will take years,
... said Security Council chief Armen Grigoryan, saying there is no word about anything specific regarding enclave exchange. "Can't deny or confirm anything." There aren't even discussions about demarcation yet and that we are in the initial stages of forming commissions, he said.
government allocated additional ֏2.5b to National Security Services
foreign military attachés visited Syunik
The MOD organized a trip for foreign embassy military attachés to visit near Sev Lake and observe the positions of Azeri and Armenian soldiers. They were briefed about the escalation that began on May 12.
A small group of Artsakh refugees gathered in front of the Russian embassy with complaints that CSTO is an "empty air" just as the balloons they were holding, and that it serves Turkish interests.
Yerkrapah leader QP MP Sasun Mikaelyan will not seek reelection
BHK administration visited Moscow to meet their sister-party United Russia. They discussed diplomatic and other cooperation.
Premier Pashinyan and President Sarkissian met to discuss border demarcation. Pashinyan repeated that a demarcation commission must be formed only after Armenia's demands are met [Azeris must leave Armenian territories].
Pashinyan voters were "uneducated"
... believes Robert Kocharyan, who expressed regret that he wasn't able to create high-quality schools during his times. "If the level of schools in our time was high, in 2018 so many people would not vote for such a person."
He spoke about how he had to focus on the economy instead of education because that was the top priority at the time.
first president Levon about fellow opposition parties
Levon believes Azerbaijan is trying to snatch "as much as possible" from the Pashinyan administration, and that the opposition's protests only help Azerbaijan by weakening Pashinyan in this process.
Levon said the opposition's main goal should be to defeat Pashinyan in upcoming elections. Otherwise, it would mean that opposition is protecting their political ambitions instead of state interests, he believes.
Armenian Foreign Ministry about Azeri encroachment:
The use of force with an intention to improve conditions is a gross violation of international law. Armenia will not give in to such pressures.
There are no "disputed territories". It's a false agenda introduced by Azerbaijan and can set a dangerous precedent for justification of the use of force in other parts of the world.
Armenian Foreign Ministry about Artsakh's status and de-occupation:
The delimitation and subsequent demarcation of Armenian and Azerbaijan borders should be part of a comprehensive peace process, in which the issues of de-occupation and the final status of Artsakh are a priority.
May 17: Azeris violated the ceasefire near Artsakh's Shosh village border outpost
On May 17th, a villager was conducting engineering work near Shosh village border positions when a couple of bullets whizzed through his tractor. The ceasefire violation lasted 7 minutes. The authorities launched a felony investigation and contacted the peacekeepers. A similar incident happened earlier this year.
Russian Foreign Ministry about the distortion of Armenian church in Shushi
Azerbaijan had earlier removed parts of the Ghazanchetots church under the pretense of "renovation".
Maria Zakharova: Russia is in touch with Armenia and Azerbaijan. We are in favor of the immediate organization of the UNESCO mission in the region. The OSCE Minsk co-chairs released a message in April.
Azerbaijan says they will soon invite UNESCO to enter occupied territories
Azeri official claims they have been delaying UNESCO's entry for cultural monument observation mission due to steps they [Azeris] were taking to make UNESCO's mission safer [demining, etc.], and that they are ready to host UNESCO. The negotiations between Azerbaijan and UNESCO are "in the final stages", said the Azeri official.
They also criticized UNESCO for being pro-Armenian and having caved to "Armenian lobbying."
EAEU trade bloc holds a session to discuss economy, gas, healthcare, and trade
Pashinyan took part in the meeting and repeated that Armenia encourages the establishment of a common gas market in the bloc. He said that's important in order to have a fair payment and tariff system within the bloc [related to dollar vs ruble inflation that can affect gas price].
Pashinyan also called for having clearly defined transparent rules and non-discriminatory pricing for the transfer of gas to/from non-member states.
The leaders discussed steps that should be taken to improve public health in the EAEU bloc. Pashinyan mentioned the need to ensure the states have supplies of important medicine and the ability to manufacture within the bloc.
Putin: Russia created three successful COVID vaccines. The fourth one, called "Sputnik Lite" is in the works. Belarus and Kazakhstan have already begun producing Sputnik-V. We are discussing the launching of production in Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. Russia is the only state that shares vaccine technologies.
Pashinyan: given that the EAEU currently has limited regulatory tools in the education field, I propose the creation of an academic platform for industry and agro-industry.
Putin: we should create a carbon footprint database in EAEU. It will make data accessible to EAEU-based environmental organizations. All members are interested in the development of renewable technologies and have innovative programs. This project, of course, should not be used as yet another restriction tool [presumably against fossil energy].
Pashinyan about work migration: on Jule 1st, the bloc will implement the first joint digital project of the search engine "Work without Borders". This will give EAEU citizens broader abilities to find work not only in their home countries but in the five states. Employers will have more tools to find workers.
Privet Rob trial resumes / Kocharyan's bodyguard facing new murder charges
President Kocharyan's bodyguard killed Kocharyan's co-villager in Paplavok restaurant in 2001 because the villager greeted Kocharyan with "Privet Rob" (hello Rob). The bodyguard received a "slap on his wrist."
After the revolution, a British tourist (now apparently resident) came forward as a witness and gave more details about the bathroom beating and said the murder was an "accident".
Prosecutors relaunched the case against the bodyguard after the Appeals Court found there is enough evidence for a new trial. Yesterday the judge, who handles the case, refused the defense petition to recuse himself.
Shengavit sports school roof will be renovated
Built in the 1970s, the complex houses four sports schools for 800 young athletes.
Its roof began leaking 30 years ago and was only partially renovated. Students are forced to skip training if there is heavy rain. Because of a flat roof, the accumulated water drips for over a week after the rain.
The municipality decided to fully renovate the roof and install curved materials and a drainage system. There are discussions for broader renovation work.
abnormal heatwave engulfs the region
The Emergency Ministry and firefighters scrambled to get their tech ready to respond to fire incidents. 96F (36C) temps are expected in Yerevan.
The Ministry reminded picnic-goers that abandoned glass bottles and improperly extinguished khorovats fire or cigarettes can cause fire. "90% of fires are caused by humans."
stats: where do the fires happen?
38% of recorded fires are in nature zones
13% in garbage
12% in houses
10% in apartments
10% in transportation
This year there have been fewer fires so far, but April saw a major spike.
young scientists receive grants
HOF Fund issued $5,000 grants to young Armenian scientists in the field of biotech, chemistry, physics, astronomy, etc.
Out of the hundreds of applicants, 28 were selected as winners (majority female), including 6 who will be funded by the Education Ministry.
The scientists will use the grants to study intestinal microflora developments among children with cancer, before and after chemotherapy. "This field has not yet been properly studied in Armenia."
new demographics program: lifetime aid for having 6 kids
Labor Ministry wants to give a lifetime ֏100,000/mo aid to parents who have 6 kids. Currently, only awards and occasional aid are being provided. The bill requires the government's and Parliament's approval.
is it true that Gyumri has become a tourism hotspot?
Tourism boomed in 2019. The pandemic killed it. Now it's picking up pace again. You can spot some foreigners in the city but the majority are still local tourists. Yerevan is the top source.
2932 tested. 140 infected. 484 healed. 7 deaths. 5792 active.
top-10 bestseller children's book in April
5) Շունն ու կատուն, by Hovhannes Tumanyan
4) Շաղգամը, by Atabek Khnkoyan
3) Ով է ապրում տնակում, by Vladimir Suteev
2) Պույ-Պույ մուկիկը, by Derenik Demirchyan
today in history
1904: world soccer authority FIFA is founded in Paris
1921: Soviet nuclear physicist and dissident Andrei Sakharov is born
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/ni0orf/may212021_1_border_demarcation_facts_myths/
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