2021 May 5

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Contents

Daily news wrap-up

May/5/2021 news: (1) Army to retrain commanders; reforms (2) Pashinyan about pre-war negotiations (3) April 2016 war report (4) LTP + Koch + Serj (5) Bills pass: disability categories, written court trials to reduce load, house arrest, gambling ads (7) The cursed statue (8) Free healthcare (9) ...
by ar_david_hh


Your 13-minute Wednesday report in 3270 words.

Parliament is discussing the April 2016 war report results / What did Khachaturov negotiate in Moscow?

Yesterday we learned that the Parliament decided to hold the session behind closed doors because the report contains state secrets. The report was prepared by a bipartisan commission formed in mid-2019. Its goal was to uncover shortcomings that lead to the 2016 losses. Former leaders Serj Sargsyan, Karen Karapetyan, and other officials were questioned.

Investigative Commission chief QP Andranik: we managed to get the answers to the main questions and to examine important documents, but the picture is not complete because Yuri Khachaturov [army head at the time] refused to testify. He is the only invited person who refused to appear. We need to know what he negotiated while in Moscow.

The Commission's goal was not to find traitors. We wanted to understand the reason behind our 2016 failures. Not just issues on a surface level but in full details. Weapon shortages are normal during the war. The purpose wasn't just to find out why fuel or food ran out in certain locations.

The work done by our Commission is unprecedented with its volume. Although the report is secret, anyone with clearance can read it fully. Over time, parts of it will be declassified and made public. Parliament President Mirzoyan suggested publicizing the parts that aren't classified.

The next step is for the military and prosecutors to examine the report. It contains very important parts about armament, management, political decisions, shortcomings, and their causes.

I believe the 2020 war was the continuation of the 2016 war.

(Q: Serj claims that Armenia won the 2016 war) Serj says that he defeated Aliyev but the result of that "victory" is a violation of the 1994 ceasefire by Azerbaijan and territorial gains by Azerbaijan. So, which side won?

The reason for the defeat in 2016 was indifference, corruption, and sponsorship.

Commission member LHK chief Marukyan: those of us with security clearance already knew the root causes of the 2016 war. The Commission did extensive work but with some flaws.

The army chief CoGS Artak Davtyan was one of the culprits responsible for 2016 losses, which was repeated in the interviews given by [commission chief QP Andranik, aforementioned above]. Artak Davtyan should not be a CoGS, otherwise, this examination won't be considered impartial.

I'm using publicly available information presented by [commission chief Andranik] during interviews to claim Artak Davtyan is guilty. I'm not citing the classified war Report. Commission chief Andranik recently expressed his opinion that Artak Davtyan played a negative role during the 2016 war while serving as Operative division's chief.

[Sidenote. The head of the military's Operative department Karen Abrahamyan (deputy CoGS) was fired by Pashinyan yesterday. Unclear if it's related to the Report's findings.]

The Report itself is classified. I will only comment on the parts that are published. We are lobbying for that to happen. The public should have access to it and see whether military officials that support the government are treated favorably or not. //

More: https://youtu.be/oCGdk_GStYU https://youtu.be/LJpDBg5uKOc https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051288.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051314.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051334.html https://factor.am/367016.html https://youtu.be/P5GDZZgwyeM

Tags: #AprilWar #2016War

Armenian army command staff will undergo training in various countries

MOD Vagharshak: we plan to create an opportunity for the army command staff to undergo training in military units of different states. We have a task to adapt today's army to modern standards.

We will also retrain the teaching staff of military universities and will train students how to use modern weapons.

We have an agreement with Russia, according to which, Russia agrees to accept an unlimited number of staff for retraining.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051351.html

Pashinyan about army reforms during his administration:

We were preparing for war but we did not publicly announce it because the opponent also analyzes it.

[Pashinyan believes the post-2018 reforms in the army forced Azerbaijan to begin the war sooner "before Armenia has a chance to develop further", an idea he circulated in the past, too.]

Between 2018-2020, the number of fortification structures rose by 1.8 times, reinforced concrete shelters 55 times, structures for housing soldiers 2.7 times, modular basements 5.9 times, four-winged basements 55 times, reinforced concrete basements 64 times, protective soil-hills 1.3 times, rifles 1.8 times, artillery (հրետանային միջոցներ) 7.3 times, optical devices 3.5 times, surveillance cameras 2 times, copters and UAVs 6.8 times. //

More: https://youtu.be/AvsRRgC6_vg

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051365.html

Pashinyan about the 7 regions of Artsakh, Serj's plans, and questions around referendum:

(He was asked by an MP to clarify some information about negotiations)

On November 17 of 2016, Serj Sargsyan gave an interview to Rossiya TV saying he was ready to give away the 7 regions but Azerbaijan refused because they wanted more; every time they changed the demands.

Moreover, Serj Sargsyan decided to give more than 7 regions to Azerbaijan. He was ready to give half of Karabakh to Azerbaijan but Azerbaijan still refused.

How? Serj Sargsyan used the term "resident" while saying the "residents would take part in the referendum". [Pashinyan disagreed with the wording, saying it should have been "Population" (or The People) instead of "Resident"].

So I asked whether "resident" means Serj supported allowing Karabakh's [pre-war] Azeri population to also take part in the referendum. HHK responded saying Azeris would take part based on Armenian/Azeri population proportions in the Soviet era.

But there are two questions. During Soviet, 40K Azeris lived in NKAO. When these 40K Azeris gain the status of "resident", my question is, where were these 40K Azeris supposed to live?

When I say Shushi was always part of negotiations, they always denied it. But where were those 40K Azeris supposed to reside? The same place where they used to? [he means Shushi would be repopulated with Azeris]

Second question. Let's say 130K Armenians and 40K Azeris vote in a referendum for self-determination. Armenians declare that they want independence. Question: could those 40K Azeris say that "we, too, have the similar right to self-determination"? Could they? [means parts of Nagorno Karabakh such as Shushi could physically break away]

How would the outcome be decided? The minimum number of voters needed, "Yes" votes to pass, etc. these details were never clarified.

Offering all this to Azerbaijan and their refusal is why Serj Sargsyan gave the speech in 2018 [before the revolution] saying that Azerbaijan's expectations are unrealistic and unacceptable for us, that "the negotiations have stopped", and that "we can no longer assume that Azerbaijan won't attempt war to resolve the conflict."

And today they accuse us of inciting war. We started negotiations from where they left it. Was our administration supposed to say that Serj wants to give 7 regions and [Shushi], so we are ready to offer even more just to avoid war?

This story began in 1998 when Karabakh was kicked out of the negotiation process by the Armenian leadership and the Armenian leadership voted in favor of a document stating that minority's self-determination should strengthen its host state's territorial integrity.

So let's figure out who the traitor, capitulant, and land-giver is. I say it's you: Robert Kocharyan and Serj Sargsyan. We fought against your treason and your nature of being a land-giver. You continued your treason during the 2020 war.

The fact that your candidate for Premier [Vazgen Manukyan] admitted that he was calling army generals during the war and telling them that their enemy was in Yerevan and not on the battlefield [referring to Vazgen's efforts to convince the army to organize coup during the war].

More below:

https://youtu.be/d08ryk-c4eg

https://factor.am/367229.html

Tags: #negotiation #ArtsakhWar #Karabakh #PashinyanSpeech

MOD Vagharshak about the Republic of Armenia borders:

The [internationally] recognized borders of independent Armenia are fully preserved. That's the borders of Soviet Armenia and independent Armenia's recognized borders.

In some locations, we are 50 meters forward, while in others the opposite. This is because sometimes it's impossible to build a secure position at a specific location.

These questions will be addressed during an official demarcation process. Importantly, today we don't have incidents that result in deaths or injuries.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051352.html

Tags: #borders

rumors & rebuttals: Syunik borders are back on the menu

Syunik governor's office: false information was circulated claiming that Azeris have full control of the Black Lake area and that they entered Syunik. Azerbaijan hasn't even installed positions on their side.

The Commander of the First Army Corps Poghosyan spent the last two days in this area. As during the Soviet times, today the state border passes through the lake area. Each country controls its side. //

The army reported no incidents across the border.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051372.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051379.html

first president Levon Ter-Petrosyan urges Serj and Kocharyan to form a 3-way alliance

Former presidents of Armenia and Artsakh met on March 25th. The details were not published until now. LTP suggested a plan for him, Serj, and Kocharyan to run under the "Alliance of National Accord" alliance "regardless of our differences in the past."

Kocharyan immediately rejected the offer at the time citing "moral" reasons that joining the aforementioned alliance would be a betrayal to his "Salvation Moment of Armenia" (Vazgen Manukyan) alliance.

Each party went their separate ways after that meeting. Today, LTP offered again for the trio to unite.

Kocharyan office: we already picked a different format to participate in elections. Details will be published very soon.

Serj office: it is surprising that LTP published the meeting details without informing the other parties in advance. LTP's offer could be effective only if all parties [Kocharyan] agreed to the format. HHK has already announced that it will participate in elections [under an alliance with Arthur Vanetsyan].

While in Parliament, Pashinyan criticized LTP, saying he wants to organize a "bandit" revolution. "During his time as opposition, LTP made two attempts for revolution. One in 2008 that failed, and the other was the bourgeois-democratic revolution the fate of which you know very well. LTP decided to try again, and this time to organize a bandit revolution," said Pashinyan.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051371.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051375.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051397.html https://factor.am/367411.html

March 1st suspect Mikael Harutyunyan will be re-charged under different Article

Prosecutors said that Armenia's Criminal Code had two Articles (300.1 and 309) regarding abuse of power and toppling constitutional order that are relevant to March 1st, 2008 events.

They decided to charge Kocharyan and co-defendants with Article 300.1 because, according to prosecutors, they did not have the right to use Article 309 because 300.1 was legally prioritized over 309.

Now that Article 300.1 is struck down by Constitutional Court, prosecutors want to charge Kocharyan with Article 309 instead, since it is no longer constrained by 300.1.

However, prosecutors complain that the law does not provide a way to smoothly transition from 300.1 to 309. That's why they asked the Constitutional Court for permission to re-file charges under Article 309. The aforementioned was about Kocharyan, ex-Defense Minister Seyran, and military chief Yuri Khachaturov.

Another March 1st defendant is the former Defense Minister Mikael Harutyunyan. He was charged with 300.1. Prosecutors decided to refile it under 309.

(Harutyunyan resides in Russia. When Armenian authorities asked for his extradition, it turns out he was a Russian citizen and the extradition was impossible. Questions were raised about the lawfulness of his tenure as Armenia's Defense Minister if he was a Russian national.)

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051304.html

bill approved: disability system reformed / ranking replace categories

Parliament voted to approve the Government bill to reform how the disability system is ranked.

Copy-paste from my February 4 post: after the reforms, the disability assessment commission will analyze the person's level of functional impairment while taking into account surrounding conditions.

Today, the system is run under a 1993 law that does not do a comprehensive assessment of the surrounding environment, a person's ability to function in public life, says the govt.

The draft bill will repeal the 1-3 Categories and Disabled Child category. A person's functionality impairment degrees will be one of these four: light, medium, heavy, or deep. Disability will no longer be considered a permanent health condition.

Healthcare and Social Ministries, NGOs, the UN, and the EU worked to create the methodology.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1042365.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051285.html

bill approved: imprisonment as last resort, alternative punishments

Parliament voted to approve the Government bill to reform the Criminal Code. It aims to reduce the prison population by adding types of punishments that are less severe. The goal is to help violators better re-integrate with society.

For example, a house arrest with remote electronic monitoring instead of jail. In the military, low-ranking violators would be kept in special disciplinary battalions.

The size of the monetary penalty will depend on the income.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051282.html

bill approved: reduce court overload by handling some trials in written form

Parliament voted 75-0-1 to approve the Government bill that aims to reduce the load on the judicial system to cut the wait times.

A large share of trials is about minor traffic cases. The government believes a full-fledged oral hearing is unnecessary and a speedier written trial can result in a double-digit reduction of backlog. [judge or trial participants could still request oral trial].

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051290.html

bill approved: refugee and asylum regulation

Parliament voted 78-0-1 to approve a bill that aims to clarify the process relating prisoners with foreign citizenship requesting asylum, the deadlines, proceedings, appeal process, etc.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051283.html

bill approved: gambling ads limited by time of the day, instead of size

Parliament voted to approve the Government bill that amends the law about restricting gambling ads.

News websites will be allowed to display gambling ads of any size but only between 22:00-07:00. Under the old rules, the ad couldn't be larger than 20% of the page.

One of the reasons behind the change is the inability to regulate and monitor the size of ads.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051286.html

Russian peacekeepers in Artsakh

... continue to distribute aid to locals. Several villages received dozens of first-aid kits and medical devices.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051284.html

Pashinyan believes Azerbaijan will attempt to sabotage regional trade unblocking efforts

Pashinyan: Opening the communication channels and the border blockade should be a priority for Armenia. The dialogue continues. I think by adopting a destabilizing position Azerbaijan will try to prevent the unblocking of the region.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051376.html

Putin and Erdogan discussed the Artsakh conflict

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051378.html

Caucasian Heritage Watch reports that Azerbaijan destroyed a cemetery in Artsakh

...the 19th-century cemetery in Mets Tagher village. The Armenian Church criticized the Azeri regime for the "barbaric acts" against monuments.

https://twitter.com/CaucasusHW/status/1389639754602491904?s=19

https://factor.am/367099.html

US Secretary Blinken about POWs:

I welcome the release of the POWs on May 4th. It is necessary to release prisoners of war and follow the requirement of humanitarian treatment of detainees.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051377.html

100 Spanish officials urge their govt to pressure to release POWs

40 members of House and Senate and 60 municipality officials sent a letter to the Spanish government about releasing Armenian POWs. It accuses Azerbaijan of violating agreements and criticizes Aliyev for the Armenophobic rhetoric.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051386.html

Azeri dissident is found dead in Istanbul

He was earlier jailed for painting "F--- the system" on Heydar Aliyev's statue in Azerbaijan. His body was found in a sea.

https://factor.am/367142.html

Azerbaijan suspends gas delivery to Turkey

The AZ-TR gas delivery contract has expired, leaving Azerbaijan without its biggest gas buyer. It faces revenue cuts.

In spite of the warm political ties between the two states, Ankara appears in no great hurry to renew the contract, believing it holds the upper hand, says the report.

Full: https://eurasianet.org/azerbaijan-faces-revenue-cuts-as-gas-exports-to-turkey-halted

https://factor.am/367140.html

pre-election party shuffling continues

Ruling My Step alliance MP Anna Grigoryan will run under the ballot of the "Reborn Armenia" party founded by the former governor of Syunik HHK Vahe Hakobyan.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/213040 https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051333.html

anti-corruption: Stepanavan city officials charged w/embezzlement

Prosecutors said: we received a report from Infrastructure Ministry and examined 2016-2020 property and service transaction documents in Lori's Stepanavan city. A felony case is launched against municipality officials.

We discovered that the city failed to submit ֏9.4m in vehicle taxes to state coffers in 2018-2020. Another ֏12.7m from garbage collection fees collected between 2016-2020.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051363.html

two quakes were felt 40mi south-east of Yerevan

The ~3M quakes in Vayots Dzor province were near Yelpin village.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051298.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051320.html

update: Garegin Nzhdeh's statue in Artsakh's Martuni

Rumors began circulating last year that Russians are unhappy with Nzhdeh's statue in Martuni. The local municipality denied plans to remove it.

Yesterday, Artsakh's security councilman Vitali Balasanyan went to Martuni and offered the city to remove the statue due to headaches associated with it. The city officials complain that Balasanyan did not present a "valid reason for the removal", but they are ready to remove it "if it will harm Artsakh."

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/213064

COVID stats

3954 tested. 493 infected. 452 healed. 13 deaths. 11134 active (stable). 5.8K vaccinated.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051296.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051370.html

public officials continue to promote vaccination

Vice President of Parliament Lena Nazaryan took the Chinese CoronaVac (Sinovac) vaccine and shared the photos.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051310.html

trailer-vax: doctors travel around to vaccinate residents

Healthcare Ministry and Yerevan municipality placed a mobile vaccination unit in the busy Northern Avenue area. "Many citizens have already applied and received the vaccine."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051321.html

Pashinyan met healthcare officials to discuss COVID

They spoke about the need to get vaccinated to defeat the pandemic and recover the economy and tourism. "There are already small signs of activation in the tourism sector."

He dismissed alarming reports about vaccines saying benefits greatly outweigh risks. He said Armenians could have an app showing that they are vaccinated. The government views vaccination as an economic and healthcare tool.

He felt no significant side effects after vaccination. "Many residents believe vaccines are paid. We need to raise awareness that it's free."

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051317.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051318.html

free healthcare for families of conscripts / army morale / fizkult

Pashinyan and Healthcare Ministry discussed broader topics relating to healthcare, including the expansion of public health insurance to cover mandatory conscripts' families.

Pashinyan: the purpose of expanding health insurance isn't just about healthcare, but to increase the combat readiness of the army. When the soldier isn't worried about finding means to take care of his parents' health, it changes the psychological situation.

Our earlier decision to provide free hospital care to anyone under the age of 18 also helps the army. Unfortunately, we learned that the vast majority of 18-year-old men had health issues uncovered during their pre-military-service mandatory medical checkups. We're talking about the vast majority having issues. Healthcare was our state's biggest failure.

We need proper physical exercise classes (fizkult). Even the best-equipped schools do not necessarily have a proper program. I made several visits recently about which the school administration was made aware of, and what I witnessed was kids wearing jeans and doing irregular movements instead of training.

We need to be outspoken about health issues. We've been avoiding this and other topics for obvious reasons but we must recognize that we have serious health problems among the youth.

The development of healthcare infrastructure is important. Recently we saw the opening of Artashat and Sevan medical centers. Martuni center is being built. Six others are under renovation.

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=3892039560888542 https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051331.html

Tags: #healthcare #YouthHealth

women's national soccer team is back after 10 years

They will play the first official match after a 10-year break. Details and opponents are known about the 2023 World Cop qualification matches. They begin this September and end next year.

The team was revived two years ago with efforts to invite diasporan players.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051294.html

today in history

1821: Karl Marx was born (speaking of free healthcare and progressive penalty brackets)

1821: Napoleon Bonapart dies

1921: Coco Chanel introduces No. 5.

1994: Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Artsakh declare ceasefire

2004: Pablo Picasso's "Boy With a Pipe" is sold for $104m

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1051267.html

in case you missed yesterday's important news

https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/n4uwrh/may42021_1_labor_reform_min_wages_easier_strikes/

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/n5opp8/may52021_news_1_army_to_retrain_commanders/

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