2021 May 30

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Daily news wrap-up

May/30/2021 news: (1) Pashinyan discusses Karabakh negotiation history, "Meghri Corridor", Karabakh's interim status, and Shushi (2) Political parties prepare (3) Polls: party support, highest-rated officials, Armenia's top friends, economic polls, most popular news outlets, ... (4) Gyumri expands
by ar_david_hh


Your 12-minute weekend report in 3134 words.

Pashinyan welcomes OSCE Minsk Group's proposals:

I'd like to thank our international colleagues for following the events carefully. The logic of the steps they suggest is in principle acceptable to us.

OSCE called for immediate steps to de-escalate. It has been offered for both sides to withdraw troops have OSCE help with border clarification. We are ready to pull our troops if OSCE agrees with Azerbaijan for a simultaneous withdrawal.

In particular, it's about the Sotk-Khozavar section. We are ready to launch the border clarification process from this area.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053802.html

foreign officials continue to respond to border escalation

Canadian MFA expressed concern over the capturing of six Armenian soldiers. They said any disputes must be resolved peacefully through OSCE.

Luxemburg MFA urged Azerbaijan to release all Armenian POWs and detainees.

US embassy in Azerbaijan: We call on Azerbaijan to release immediately all detainees. We call on both sides to peacefully resolve this incident.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053823.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053799.html https://twitter.com/USEmbassyBaku/status/1398150142998499328

Pashinyan says Karabakh negotiations and ARM-AZE border demarcation must be separate topics:

We have an agreement with Russia on a joint military group and air defense system, and we must go through the necessary procedures as part of this cooperation. CSTO is our main defense system and should continue to be.

We also welcome OSCE's activation regarding the borders.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053803.html

Pashinyan about the state of Karabakh negotiations in 2018, Karabakh's interim status being removed, package vs phased:

On Apr/17/2018, Serj Sargsyan -- the Karabakh negotiator for 10 years -- announced that the negotiations had stopped and he wasn't optimistic and that it could not be ruled out that Azerbaijan would start a war.

In other words, what we inherited was a failed negotiation process and a pre-war condition. We made constructive offers to get out of gridlock, and we did everything possible for Armenia to prepare for war.

As of September 2020, Azerbaijan had been preparing for war for 16 years, while Armenia prepared for only 2 years. [he recently cited numbers saying the army began building fortifications and buy certain equipment at vastly higher rates after 2018 because they knew a war could come soon].

Our administration is blamed by a former official for not giving hope to Azerbaijan that they could achieve what they wanted through negotiations. Question: has Azerbaijan given us similar hopes? They kept insisting that all of Karabakh is theirs. They spent billions purchasing weapons.

The former regime's tactic was to convince Azerbaijan that they could have what they wanted through negotiations: all of Karabakh and 7 regions.

The former regime must be transparent and disclose to the public what they have been negotiating. What hope did Azerbaijan give to them? Meghri in exchange for Karabakh?

There was no negotiation paper that was more or less acceptable for us in 2018. It was the culmination of these hopes given to Azerbaijan for years. Neither Kelbajar nor Lachin would remain under Armenian control in 2018 offers. Azerbaijan would keep demanding more, while Armenians would keep giving more hope.

But for how long can you give hope until the other side demands actions instead of words? At some point in the past, it wasn't just Azerbaijan that began expecting things from Armenia, but also the international community [OSCE co-chairs].

The only reassuring thing would be an interim status for Karabakh [after Armenia gives the regions], but they offered Armenia to give it up in January 2016. Armenia refused, so the April 2016 war began, and by the summer of 2016 the Karabakh interim status was no more.

This was followed by a negotiation process in which the Armenian side essentially agreed to give Kelbajar and Lachin regions in exchange for returning the Karabakh interim status. But Azerbaijan rejected this.

Do you understand what the negotiations were about? One side kept feeding more hope, while the other side kept expecting more. And when everything has been promised, the time comes for action.

what would happen if the Karabakh interim status was accepted?

First of all, Kocharyan and Serj Sargsyan organized the change of government in 1998 because they were against the phased resolution [supported by president Levon]. They supported a packaged method.

But as late as 2018, they had a document on the table that was about a phased resolution. The political trick here was that in order to avoid being called hypocrites, they wrote in the document that it's a "packaged" resolution. That phrase was added in the document at the request of the Armenian leadership.

But even if the document was signed, would that be the resolution of the conflict? No, because it stated that it would be done only after the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan resolve all the other issues first. It was phased.

Full: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053815.html

Pashinyan about the need to unblock regional trade routes

He said it's important in order to develop the industry. He recalled the latest India-Iran trade memorandum that envisions a trade corridor stretching through Iran-Armenia-Georgia-Black Sea. He again denied rumors about "Meghri Corridor" being given away to Azerbaijan.

Pashinyan: It is very important for us to gain a railway connection with Iran [through Nakhijevan] and Russia, which means a connection with the whole world. //

He said the railway would allow Armenia to export larger quantities of prepared copper products instead of the raw materials exported today.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053810.html

Kocharyan + ARF alliance met their supporters

They presented their development plan. It's titled "365 days: the future begins today". They presented it during a meeting with supporters from Ararat province.

They promised to involve the diaspora to resolve Armenia's issues, to prevent emigration, boost repatriation, reform the army, cooperate with Russia, etc.

The alliance plans to travel to provinces to present their plans.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053827.html https://factor.am/376328.html

Pashinyan met supporters in provinces

He visited Aparan and spoke about the ongoing agricultural reforms that provide subsidies to farmers, drip-irrigation programs to save water, the upcoming hemp legalization law to raise the value of crops per square meter.

He joined Kocharyan and urged the public not to be afraid of a border demarcation process in general, and again dismissed rumors about giving Meghri to Azerbaijan.

He said Azerbaijan's current actions are meant to help the former regime's candidates in the elections and urged his supporters to vote.

Full: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053841.html

Pashinyan then visited Spitak and spoke about ongoing road repairs, "we built more in the past 3 years than what was done in the past 10 years", and mentioned the recent government funds to buy housing for the remaining 1988 earthquake survivors. He spoke about "increasing healthcare expenditures by 80% since 2018". An attendee jokingly noted that she got two surgeries since then. [cancer and heart surgeries were made free]

Full: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=319880523034455

He traveled to Lori's Katnajur settlement and met residents:

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1124125068073465

Pashinyan: Vazgen Sargsyan and Karen Demirchyan saved Meghri at the cost of their lives

Pashinyan: Our primary concern today is security. To ensure security we need internal unity. The external forces want to aid my opponents with their actions. We made an offer to resolve the border crisis and it was accepted by our colleagues. We are taking steps to resolve this diplomatically without military clashes.

Now they [former regime] want to scare you with the demarcation process. Do not be scared of demarcation. Every country eventually goes through this process. It's a difficult task but we must do it because our past 30 years show that we cannot leave it unaddressed.

My opponents claim that they preserved peace while we came and failed to do the same. In reality, Armenia has never been in peace since 1991. We have given thousands of deaths since the 90s ceasefire.

Today Kocharyan's election placards say "peaceful borders". Here is how they "preserved the peace": between 1998-2008, Robert Kocharyan gave everything that Azerbaijan wanted on the negotiation table:

1) Karabakh was removed from the negotiation process. It was the Azeri dream and goal. After forcefully taking over power, Kocharyan excluded Karabakh.

2) Under the context of exchanging territories, Kocharyan created a negotiation logic that allowed Azerbaijan to achieve its second goal: Shushi was viewed separately from Nagorno Karabakh in the negotiations process.

3) Exchanging Meghri. Robert Kocharyan held a Security Council session and discussed giving Meghri to Azerbaijan. Vazgen Sargsyan and Karen Demirchyan saved Meghri at the cost of their lives.

One option was to give Meghri and take Karabakh. Would that resolve anything? It turned the Karabakh conflict primarily into a territorial issue and changed the entire logic of negotiations.

In 2006-2007 they formed the Madrid Principles that eventually lead to the war. What were these disastrous principles about? Armenians give 7 regions, and Shushi and other regions are repopulated by Azeris at best. They would give away everything through negotiations.

We fought against this. This is what they call "treason" now. What they gave away through the negotiation process is not "treason", but us fighting against that, is "treason"?

https://factor.am/376342.html https://youtu.be/Llw6m6HsQlw

Pashinyan about army's involvement in politics and corrupt generals:

We had 2 years to prepare, while Azeris had been preparing for 30 years. Instead of building the army, they [former regime] politicized and broke the army's spine. People who once again involved the army in politics in April [CoGS Onik Gasparyan] once again broke its spine.

We have never asked the army to show us political support. For the first time, the government did not have political expectations from the army. We were always honest with them regardless of their political loyalty. But here is where people say "place the pig's head on a carpet and it rolls over and falls into a mud."

The person whom I gave the title of Lt. Gen. [Onik Gasparyan] and supported throughout the entire war, is now distributing Robert Kocharyan's electoral booklets in villages. You have found your place. You have found your place very well!

I accept my mistake that in 2018, after becoming Premier, I did not punish the generals who were stealing the soldiers' food. But the time has caught up with them and now they are distributors of Kocharyan and Serj booklets.

That is your highest title you will ever have in your life. The people will not forgive you, sellouts.

https://youtu.be/M5SYF26Tobo

https://factor.am/376345.html

Pashinyan about replacing velvet with iron:

You gave us a velvet mandate in 2018. Time has come for an iron mandate. We will use that iron to strengthen Armenia's spine and sovereignty.

They will not break us by finding a nobody and paying him 5,000 Dram to call us a "Turk". Where were we when they were being called "Turk"?

https://factor.am/376380.html

the ruling party expects to win 60% of the election day votes

Pashinyan: this victory is necessary for us to open the era of peaceful development because we do not need other scenarios. We need the elections to take place, so we can fully return to address our security, economic, educational, and social issues. Citizens can guarantee this. To prevent disputes, it's important that we win 60% of the votes.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053807.html

Pashinyan invites Kocharyan and Levon to have a public debate

The Premier wants the former leaders to join him for a Live debate on June 18. "You will come and explain why the Karabakh representatives were excluded from the negotiation table in 1997. It's been several days since I've been revealing facts from the negotiation process and they have not provided any substantiate counter-arguments. These elections are a great way for the public to have revenge for every election that has been rigged since 1996."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053846.html

polls: what are the top issues concerning the public?

31.9% security

28.1% not starting another war

25.2% clarifying the borders

13.3% stabilizing the economy

13% returning POWs

6% political instability

5.7% army restoration

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053824.html

polls: do you plan to vote?

73.4% yes, 25.1% no, 1.6% don't know.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053824.html

polls: which party would you vote for? (Gallup pollster)

22.9% Pashinyan's QP [IRI pollster gives them 26%, update: IRI poll is from early May, while Gallup is newer]

17.5% Kocharyan + ARF alliance

15.2% (NONE)

14.5% (refused to answer)

11.5% (difficulty answering)

3.8% Tasarukyan's BHK

2.8% Aram Sargsyan's Republic [Vazgen brother]

2.7% Serj + Vanetsyan alliance

2.3% Edmon Marukyan's LHK

1.7% National Democratic Party

1.6% Babajanyan + Shirinyan

0.5% Levon Ter-Petrosyan's ANC [RIP]

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053824.html

polls: politicians with the highest favorable rating

Nikol Pashinyan: 45% good, 33% bad

Ararat Mirzoyan: 40% good, 33% bad

Tigran Avinyan: 30% good, 34% bad

Armen Sarkissian: 28% good, 43% bad

Gagik Tsarukyan: 25% good, 53% bad

Edmon Marukyan: 23% good, 52% bad

Lilith Makunts: 23% good, 34% bad

Robert Kocharyan: 20% good, 58% bad

Naira Zohrabyan: 16% good, 62% bad

Levon Ter-Petrosyan: 11% good, 64% bad

Serj Sargsyan: 10% good, 69% bad

Ishkhan Saghatelyan: 9% good, 47% bad

Arthur Vanetsyan: 7% good, 67% bad

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053783.html

polls: how will the situation change within the next year?

33% improve, 27% the same, 22% worsen, 17% don't know

https://www.iri.org/sites/default/files/wysiwyg/armenia_ppt_final.pdf

polls: how has the economy changed in the past 6 months?

9% improved, 16% same, 72% worsened, 4% don't know

Have you received any COVID aid in the past year?

20% yes, 80% no

https://www.iri.org/sites/default/files/wysiwyg/armenia_ppt_final.pdf

polls: would you consider leaving Armenia permanently?

22% yes, 75% no.

https://www.iri.org/sites/default/files/wysiwyg/armenia_ppt_final.pdf

polls: what are the top priorities? (this is a poll by IRI, it differs from Gallup above)

12% political instability

11% POWs

11% unemployment

9% risk of military attacks

7% national security

6% cost of living

23% other

Full: https://www.iri.org/sites/default/files/wysiwyg/armenia_ppt_final.pdf

polls: how satisfied are you with their job performance?

Parliament: 39% good, 34% bad

Courts: 39% good, 35% bad

Army: 39% good, 36% bad

Premier: 37% good, 35% bad

More: https://www.iri.org/sites/default/files/wysiwyg/armenia_ppt_final.pdf

polls: about democracy

Is democracy the best form of governance?

48% yes

18% No, there are other forms of government that could be equally good for our country

18% No, there are other forms of government that are better than democracy

16% don't know

Are you satisfied with the state of democracy in Armenia?

30% yes, 63% no

https://www.iri.org/sites/default/files/wysiwyg/armenia_ppt_final.pdf

polls: are people afraid of expressing their opinions?

23% yes, 74% no.

https://www.iri.org/sites/default/files/wysiwyg/armenia_ppt_final.pdf

polls: will the elections be free and fair?

48% yes, 42% no

https://www.iri.org/sites/default/files/wysiwyg/armenia_ppt_final.pdf

polls: are these actions acceptable or unacceptable?

Authorized demonstrations: 50% good, 44% bad

Blocking roads: 19% good, 75% bad

More: https://www.iri.org/sites/default/files/wysiwyg/armenia_ppt_final.pdf

polls: how do you prevent war in Artsakh?

37% better army

16% union with Russia and Belarus

13% peacekeepers

4% stronger relations with the United States

More: https://www.iri.org/sites/default/files/wysiwyg/armenia_ppt_final.pdf

polls: is the judicial branch dependent on former or current governments?

Depended on former government? 79% yes, 9% no

Depended on current government? 52% yes, 34% no

https://factor.am/376197.html

polls: if COVID vaccines were available, would you get them?

18% yes. 71% no. (men, elderly, married, and rural population are more likely to get vaccinated)

why wouldn't you get a vaccine?

37% side effect concern

25% don't need it

15% how well do they work?

13% I never get vaccines

3% don't have my favorite vaccine

https://www.iri.org/sites/default/files/wysiwyg/armenia_ppt_final.pdf

polls: how would you evaluate the relationship with foreign states

France: 79% good, 6% bad

Russia 70% good, 15% bad

USA: 65% good, 15% bad

China 64%

Iran 62%

EU 54%

https://www.iri.org/sites/default/files/wysiwyg/armenia_ppt_final.pdf

polls: which TV outlets do you get your news from?

28% Public TV

22% Shant

22% Armenia

8% ArmNews

2% Yyerkir Media

2% TV5

2% Kentron

2% all

https://www.iri.org/sites/default/files/wysiwyg/armenia_ppt_final.pdf

polls: which media sources are the most trustworthy?

47% don't know

13% Public TV

10% other

9% Shant

6% Azatutyun

5% Armenia TV

3% ArmNews

The elderly, urban, and educated voters are more likely to trust Public TV.

https://www.iri.org/sites/default/files/wysiwyg/armenia_ppt_final.pdf

polls: most popular social media websites for news

Facebook by far. YouTube half as popular. Instagram and Telegram ~10% of respondents. Nobody gives a shet about Twitter.

Women are slightly more likely to use Facebook. Youth are significantly more likely. Same usage in urban and rural. Those with degrees and higher salaries use it more.

https://www.iri.org/sites/default/files/wysiwyg/armenia_ppt_final.pdf

the art of fake news

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/214996

how can an Armenian citizen residing abroad vote in elections?

Send a letter by June 10th to Armenia's Passport Table and tell them what your residential address will be in Armenia on the election day. They will select your nearby polling station and add your name to the voter list. You must be in Armenia to vote unless you are on a diplomatic mission.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053806.html

Joe Biden offers $24 million in post-war aid to Armenia

Various US legislators and Armenian groups were hoping for $100 million in aid. $600,000 of the $24 million will go towards fighting narco-trafficking.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053794.html

Turkish ultranationalist party cancels plans to build a school in Shushi

The MHP party leader said they will not build a school. The funds will be refunded to donors. It was announced earlier this year that the supporters of the Turkish terrorist movement "Grey Wolves" had plans to build a school.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053828.html

Azeri sambo team is expelled from the European championship

The Azeri player lost the match to a Russian athlete and could not take it lightly. The Azeri team members stormed the scene with unsportsmanlike conduct.

The Armenian coach instructed Armenian players to leave the hall so they won't get caught up in the fight. Azeris got expelled and had all their previous match results annulled.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053796.html

Armenian chess champion defeats Turkish opponent and wins ticket to World Cup

Hovhannes Gabuzyan joins Hayk Martirosyan and Shant Sargsyan.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053838.html

Armenian female weightlifter wins Gold medal in the youth world championship

81kg Liana Gyurjyan.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053826.html

Gyumri is expanding with new housing units

A construction firm began the works on a new "elite" housing district in Gyumri with 350 apartments. Local construction workers are using locally-made materials.

Mayor Balasanyan: Gyumri has a housing shortage. Those who want an apartment will undoubtedly qualify for the assistance program that has existed in the past 2-3 years.

One such program is about the government-subsidized downpayment for families who give birth to a child after July 2020. Many have applied for housing already. //

The buildings, which are connected to each other in a rectangular shape, will be white and black and come with a garden in the shared backyard. It'll be ready in two years. The architect says 1m2 begins from $650,

https://factor.am/376311.html

Pashinyan about the ongoing kindergarten reforms:

Our goal is to ensure that every child has access to kindergarten within the next 5 years. Every settlement must have a facility. To ensure quality education, the tutors must undergo certification. Those who fail will get two chances to qualify. If they fail again, the state will help them find another job.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053804.html

COVID stats over the weekened

5,855 tested. 123 infected. 415 healed. 9 deaths. 4142 active.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053793.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053832.html

friday news

https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/nn4m1a/may282021_1_bombshell_revelations_and_allegations/

Перевод на Русский by /u/Impossible-Ad-

www.reddit.com/r/ArmDailyReports_RUS_/comments/nnid83/все_новости_за_28_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

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Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/nokstb/may302021_news_1_pashinyan_discusses_karabakh/

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