2021 May 31

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Contents

Daily news wrap-up

May/31/2021: (1) More MFA resignations after Pashinyan's recent rebuke of Foreign Ministry (2) Panama Paper suspect's Moscow univ. documents (3) Border villagers with guns (4) Polls: border blockade (5) Media literacy (6) Avg. wages rise (7) Rob and Levon won't debate? (8) $6.5 million obsidian bust
by ar_david_hh


This is your 10-minute Monday report in 2531 words.

the proposal to deploy border monitoring mission

LHK leader supports Pashinyan's proposal to deploy a border monitoring mission. Pashinyan earlier proposed for Armenia and Azerbaijan to pull back their troops simultaneously so OSCE and/or Russia can install observers in several locations, particularly the Gegharkunik section where the tensions recently increased.

Makuryan: if the offer is accepted by all sides, it can significantly reduce the tensions. //

Azerbaijan said they are open to de-escalation measures "if it respects territorial integrity" of Azerbaijan. Russia sent a military envoy to the borders yesterday. They spent only an hour there.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053889.html

Azeri army retracted their own false claim about capturing Armenian soldiers today

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/215087

the army held exercises

The 5th military unit conducted training to use weaponry and communication tools.

The 4th military unit held training for commanders. They were given various scenarios.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053976.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053974.html

Armenian and Russian Defense Ministers held a phone conversation

... as a follow-up to the in-person meeting last week. They spoke about the ongoing army reforms, peacekeeping, and borders.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053902.html

shepherds are given weapons in a bordering village

Syunik's Tegh village has a pasture near the border. The mayor says there are occasional confrontations with Azeris but the herd has no problem accessing the lands. The villagers were given weapons to "patrol" the herd.

https://news.am/arm/news/646378.html

update: Foreign Minister Ayvazyan's resignation

Ayvazyan's earlier resignation (followed by his spokeswoman and deputy) came amid the capturing of six soldiers, ongoing displeasure with the inability to convince CSTO to act, the border demarcation process, and the recent Security Council meeting attended by opposition leaders.

LHK leader Marukyan criticized Ayvazyan's decision to resign, saying "this isn't the right time to spend a single day without an MFA. A new acting MFA cannot be appointed until the elections. He could have waited three more weeks."

Q: was there any disagreement between Ayvazyan and others during the recent Security Council meeting?

LHK leader Marukyan: nothing was discussed about Ayvazyan. Pashinyan and Ayvazyan seemed to agree with each other and Ayvazyan was nodding to Pashinyan while the latter was talking about instructions. //

Q: was Ayvazyan against Pashinyan's proposal to withdraw troops and install border observers?

QP leader Lilith Makunts: No. The two had a conversation and Ayvazyan did not object. The United States and OSCE Minsk Group have so far positively responded to Pashinyan's proposal. //

Context: before Ayvazyan's resignation, Pashinyan rebuked the Foreign Ministry during a Parliamentary speech, in which he indirectly and sarcastically described unnamed MFA officials as clueless regarding the border demarcation process/document. This was during the period when the demarcation document was leaked before it reached all Foreign Ministry officials, and was deceptively presented as a "land giveaway" plan by the opposition. In reality, the Russian-made document was about the earlier-announced plans to form a commission tasked with legally clarifying the Armenian-Azeri border. When asked about enclaves, Pashinyan said Armenia does not want to exchange Armenian and Azeri enclaves, and that they will propose to keep them as they are.

ex-MFA Ayvazyan about his resignation: It was an easy decision for me to accept the challenge when I was offered the job, despite the times being difficult. Diplomacy was and is not defeated. Many disagree with me but we proved that we are capable of promoting Armenia's interests. I think our international colleagues have understood that Armenia is not defeated, Artsakh is not defeated. Our enemies also understood this.

The institute of foreign ministry must unwaveringly defend our sovereignty, independence, and national interest. I decided to resign so that there won't be any suspicions that this foreign ministry can agree to any ideas that are against our national interests. I'd like to thank my colleagues and wish them to continue working in the same spirit. //

Pashinyan's spokeswoman: we thank Mr. Ayvazyan for his work. Nevertheless, we think that our national interest obliges Mr. Ayvazyan to publicly explain who, when, where, and how was going to make a decision that would contradict the national interests. We expect Mr. Ayvazyan to publicly clarify this. //

https://youtu.be/PQgvm7bxYh8 https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053887.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053893.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053891.html Ayvazyan: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053900.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053913.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053929.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053943.html https://youtu.be/qciaE2utn1M

https://factor.am/376439.html

Tags: #Ayvazyan

expert groups analyze the unblocking of regional communication routes

Deputy Premier Mher: the restoration of Soviet-era railway and road routes is the most probable scenario. We will discuss this when the negotiations resume.

Question: what did Ilham Aliyev mean when he recently said there is progress regarding the "corridor"?

Mher: Once again, there is and will be no word about giving any "corridor".

The expert groups, formed after the January 11 statement, have done extensive exploratory and analytical work, regarding railways and vehicle transportation, while taking into account security and customs issues.

We continue to examine how international trade and customs could be handled in our region. We are examining the CIS legal framework and conventions. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053899.html

polls: what do Armenian businesses think about lifting the border blockade?

January-February, among 400 businesses.

How will lifting the border blockade affect business in Armenia?

32% good, 44% bad, 24% no difference.

How will lifting the border blockade affect Armenia?

34% good, 57% bad, 9% no difference.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053911.html

Book: The Valley of Death: 44-day catastrophe

Journalist Tatul Hakobyan published a book about the 2020 war. I have not read it and this is not a solicited promotion.

http://www.aniarc.am/2021/05/31/published-death-valley-english-paul-shahinyan/

media literacy classes for Artsakh students

President Arayik's office helped to organize classes for high school students to learn how to distinguish fake news from a real one. Thousands of students participated. This will be a continuous project.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053898.html

opposition school official complains about being pressured over social media posts

Ararat province's Chorak school director Tigran Babakhanyan has opposition views. He complains about being silenced for publicly expressing his opposition views on social media. He said a secretary from the local governor's office approached him to warn against his activities. He's been making online posts for a while but "it wasn't a problem until April".

He denied being fired, saying he chose to resign. He also denied receiving any orders from the government to conduct pro-government activities.

When asked about it, Ararat governor Razmit Tevoyan did not clarify who or why monitored the official's social media posts.

https://hetq.am/hy/article/131539 https://hraparak.am/post/4c6b00464ec2e24f28f7b60351dd6326

TV regulator warns outlets ahead of elections / fake news and insults

The TV and Radio Commission reminded TV outlets about existing laws that regulate the content and provide a platform for all candidates during an election season.

Commission: there is an unhealthy atmosphere in the media sphere. Too much misinformation and insults. Information has become a tool of deliberately condensing the existing defeatist-panic moods to further irritate the public. The media field has turned into lawless martial art where the primary goal is to defeat the opponent, and not the free circulation of ideas. We advise media outlets not to promote divisiveness and become attachments to political forces or financial groups.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053905.html

there are more political parties than expected

... announced the Electoral Commission chief today. They will have to increase funding to print more ballots. "I haven't seen so many parties since 2012." They printed 40 million ballots but need 70 million according to the latest estimates. Every voter is given access to choose from 26 ballots, with each representing one party.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053952.html

lottery drawing decided each party's position on the ballot, here are the popular ones:

1) ...

2) Levon Ter-Petrosyan's ANC

3) Pashinyan's QP

6) Serj and Vanetsyan

9) Marukyan's LHK

11) Vazgen's bro

14) Tsarukyan's BHK

23) Singer Ruben Hakhverdyan

24) Kocharyan and ARF

26) ...

https://youtu.be/oPmMMp80P5A

https://factor.am/376638.html

Pashinyan's top opponents are hesitant to debate in public

Kocharyan's campaign official said Kocharyan is a "land liberator while Pashinyan is a land giver" so there should be no debate between the two.

Levon Ter Petrosyan's campaign official said they have not made a decision yet.

Ruling QP party official said, "If they have nothing to fear, they should accept the invitation to debate instead of organizing secret press conferences behind closed doors." [refering to Kocharyan]

The H1 Public TV has already begun preparations to hold a debate between party leaders. The date and time are TBD.

https://www.azatutyun.am/a/31282472.html https://factor.am/376651.html

electoral commission publishes voter lists

Voters can verify their names are present on the authorized voter list before the election day. If not, they can register beginning today.

[URL 404]

how many registered voters are there?

2,581,093.

There has been criticism that this number is exaggerated because it includes people who are not permanent residents anymore. Representatives of opposition, government, and civil society groups are discussing the purging of outdated lists.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053884.html

how many drug addicts live in Armenia?

There are 7.4K, including 4K cannabinoid users. The National Center for Addiction Treatment is currently treating 439 addicts.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053890.html

drug addicts will receive social-psychological counseling

Today was the opening ceremony of a renovated Addiction center that comes equipped with new tech. The center will also provide a new service for addicts and their families: social-psychological aid.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053890.html

US Justice Department envoy visits Armenia

Armenian IRS and American DOJ signed a cooperation memorandum to fight narco-trafficking. The two agencies will cooperate more closely against trafficking and money laundering.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053896.html

Kocharyan's March 1st trial is delayed again

The prosecutors and March 1st victims are appealing a recent Lower Court verdict that suspended the case against Kocharyan & Co-defendants because Article 300.1 was struck down. Prosecutors want to refile charges under another Article.

Today the Appeals Court delayed the trial because Kocharyan aide's lawyer is on a vacation. The next trial is on June 24th.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053897.html

Kocharyan is against a deep "vetting system" for judges

Pashinyan administration and civil society groups have been working on ways to check the judges' past to find the bad apples. A system to vet judges was proposed, with LHK saying "it's not deep enough".

In contrast, Kocharyan is against a vetting system. He believes the government could be doing it to get rid of "unfavorable" judges. He says Armenia is a new republic and such a system would not work well here. He supports "judicial reforms" but gave no specifics.

https://news.am/arm/news/646420.html

police: former official exposed by Panama Papers presented falsified Russian university documents to gain access to elections

Serj administration's Compulsory Enforcement Service chief Mihran Poghosyan (Panam Papers guy) fled to Russia to avoid money laundering and abuse of power charges after the revolution. The Armenian authorities were working with Switzerland to get his banking details at some point. Russian authorities had refused to extradite Poghosyan back to Armenia. This was back in 2019.

Recently he registered as a candidate under Serj's and Vanetsyan's "Pativ Unem" alliance. To qualify, he had to prove that he did not spend 2 out of 4 previous years abroad, unless his absence was for education or public work.

As Poghosyan claims now, he was in Moscow to receive an education. He presented a 2020 document from a university in Moscow, allegedly showing that he was taking classes that qualify as higher education courses.

The Armenian Passport Department rejected his petition. Poghosyan sued to require the Department to give him papers that state he has been an Armenian resident. The court sided with Pohosyan.

Poghosyan was given a reference document but it was found invalid by the Passport Department. Poghosyan sued in Appeals Court again and asked to reverse the decision that rendered his document invalid.

The Appeals Court apparently dropped Poghosyan's case at the request of Poghosyan's lawyers.

Passport Department gives details: we contacted the university in Moscow mentioned on Poghosyan's papers to find out if it's authentic. Before we heard back, Poghosyan sued us to give him a certificate of residency. The court sided with Poghosyan and we gave him the documents.

Then, we received a response from the Moscow Polytechnic University denying that Poghosyan was in the preparatory class. Two other documents were also revealed as false.

We immediately contacted the Electoral Commission and Poghosyan. The latter presented another education document, this time issued in Russia's Belgorod city. We asked the Belgorod university to verify but have not heard back yet. //

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/215073

anti-corruption: kid gives a bribe to correctional officer

Report says: an Armavir prison inmate called his adolescent son and asked him to bribe the prison CO to smuggle a cellphone and other prohibited items. The CO, with a Major rank, accepted the bribe from the kid and completed the transaction. Three people are facing felony charges.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053864.html

anti-corruption: obsidian miner busted with $6.5 million tax evasion

The report says that a company purchased land in Aragatsotn province in 2017 and mined 27 million tons of obsidian materials but told the IRS they only mined 0.7 million tons.

A felony case is launched over ֏3.4 billion in tax evasion.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053961.html

criminal subculture dealings: Don Pipo's brother is killed

Don Pipo is a known "mafiosi" and a businessman. Earlier this month, the police raided houses belonging to Pipo and 13 others, in connection with the murder of Pipo's bodyguard.

Today Pipo's brother was shot and killed in a vehicle. The assassins torched their getaway car and left it on a roadside a kilometer away. The gun was in the car.

https://shamshyan.com/hy/article/2021/05/31/1188116/ https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/n9ffm5/may102021_news_1_parliament_dissolved_2_pashinyan/

smoking kills 5,500 Armenians every year

Half of them are under the age of 70.

http://arka.am/en/news/society/smoking_kills_5_500_people_in_armenia_every_year/

COVID stats

2655 tested. 34 infected. 227 healed. 6 deaths. 3942 active. 33.5K vaccinated.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053879.html https://www.civilnet.am/news/609736/մայիսի-30-ի-դրությամբ-կատարվել-է-33-529-պատվաստում/

Yerevan continues to revamp the public bus fleet

Part of the hundreds of new buses arrived earlier and are already servicing several routes in Yerevan. Two more routes will have the new buses soon. The N47 line has been extended to connect Babajanyan St. to Yerablur.

Drivers still keep a change in case you don't have a 100-dram coin but it will soon be mandatory. There will be an electronic payment system soon. Don't explore your nostrils, there are cameras.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1053936.html

==average monthly nominal salaries increase 8%

April 2021 vs April 2020:

Overall: ֏197,600 ($380) +8%

Public: ֏167,100 ($321) +2.5%

Private: ֏212,200 ($407) +9.8%

When comparing the entire January-April period, the growth was 3.5%.

https://factor.am/376521.html

video: intense gardens are gaining popularity in Armenia

Farmers receive agricultural subsidies from the government to establish intensive gardens with drip irrigation systems; they produce up to six times as much yield. In 2020 the farmers created nine times as many as in 2019. "The overall size is still small but there is more interest."

The Economy Ministry anticipates an 8 million tons of fruit deficit in the EAEU trade bloc. They hope the new gardens will help Armenian farmers to capture new markets.

Farmer: I no longer have to worry about hail, irrigation, and trees breaking under their own weight. These gardens come with hail nets. In the hot months of Ararat valley, when the temps can exceed 40c, the drip irrigation helps to keep the trees hydrated without waste. Pesticides and fertilization are automated with equipment.

https://youtu.be/n29WKXFYVH4

https://factor.am/376602.html

don't miss the weekend report

https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/nokstb/may302021_news_1_pashinyan_discusses_karabakh/

Все Новости за 30 мая 2021, translated by /u/Impossible-Ad-

https://www.reddit.com/r/ArmDailyReports_RUS_/comments/novxrw/все_новости_за_30_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/npcog5/may312021_1_more_mfa_resignations_after/

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