2021 September 1

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Contents

Daily news wrap-up

News - Sep/1/2021: Armenia & Russia to sign joint air defense agreement __ Subsidized tech education __ MFA Mirzoyan on border demarcation __ Tatul on Armenia-Turkey relations __ Gas vehicles to undergo safety checks __ Artsakh is building water network & homes __ Chess victory __ German tourism
by ar_david_hh


Your 13-minute Wednesday recap in 3327 words.

vehicles that run on gas cylinders must pass safety inspection and certification

... according to a new bill proposed by the government. The new standards aim to raise safety by reforming the requirements for installation and certification. The servicing company employees and manufacturers must meet certain conditions.

The cylinders must undergo routine certification. It will be once every 2-3 years, depending on the type of steel alloy.

The cylinders must come with a valve so the gas flow can be stopped if needed.

A new e-database will be created to keep track of cylinder installations.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062111.html

Aimchess US Rapid chess: Levon Aronian defeats Azerbaijan's Shakhriyar Mamedyarov

Aronian 3:1 Mamedyarov in the first round. The second round was played to choose the winner. Aronian won again, with a 2:1 score, securing his advancement to the semifinal.

https://factor.am/411520.html https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/220017

Azerbaijan violated the ceasefire near Yeraskh village

One Armenian contractor was killed on the Nakhijevan border after sustaining a wound on his shoulder. The enemy used a sniper rifle. Armenian MOD said the incident will not go "unanswered", and that Azeri leadership will bear full responsibility.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062118.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062151.html

Azerbaijan violated international law in 2020 by ignoring the negotiations process and using force

Orbeli research center's Hovhannisyan: the international law did not allow Azerbaijan to use force. It is rejected in the current world order, which was formed after WW2. All sides in the Artsakh conflict were obligated to resolve the conflict peacefully. The lack of powerful international restraining tools is what allowed them to carry out the aggression and remain unpunished. //

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062073.html

Russian MFA Lavrov: the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is not a matter of one day

Lavrov praised the ongoing efforts aimed at resolving the conflict and reopening the communication routes, noting that Russian peacekeepers in Artsakh are also acting as intermediaries for Armenia-Azerbaijan issues.

Lavrov: AM-RU economic cooperation is moving forward confidently. I welcomed MFA Mirzoyan yesterday. We held good negotiations. We have a very rich bilateral agenda with large projects, planned visits, and economic development. //

https://factor.am/411598.html

DW Documentary: German politicians aid the Aliyev regime in Azerbaijan

https://youtu.be/x5SH5ozR0E8

Azeris destroyed a tiny hewn stone bridge built in 1890

... in the Mets Tagher area of Artsakh, which went under their control after the war, per the Caucasus Heritage Watch report.

https://twitter.com/CaucasusHW/status/1432769995755433993 https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062108.html

demining operations continue in Artsakh

Artsakh sappers have been clearing the country since the ceasefire. They have already found >18,000 pieces of landmines, cluster munitions, missiles, etc.

https://factor.am/411634.html

UK will provide £500,000 in aid to remove landmines in Artsakh and its surrounding areas

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062168.html

ban on Turkish product imports to be amended to reduce the negative impact

Armenia banned the import of Turkish products after the war. The raw materials were exempt to prevent damage to Armenian manufacturers who use them to produce products. Only prepared goods were banned.

The new amendment will further relax the ban to allow the import of some prepared goods, which are in practice considered "raw materials" for some Armenian manufacturers.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062139.html

interview with journalist Tatul Hakobyan about Armenia-Turkey relations

I won't translate the full 43-minute Tatul Hakobyan video. The main points are:

Armenia should seek to improve relations with Turkey, even if Turkey actively supports Azerbaijan's acts. Turkey committed the Genocide in 1915, yet only three years later, Armenian leaders held negotiations with them. It led to the Turkish official Khalil Pasha visiting Armenia after establishing diplomatic ties. Khalil Pasha was among those who organized the killing in 1915.

Khalil Pasha visited Aram and Khajaznuni's house; he received a warm welcome there. Aharonian visited Istanbul and thanked the Ottoman Sultan for allowing for the creation of the Republic of Armenia. Aram asked Khalil Pasha for food, and the latter sent food as an aid to Armenia.

MFA Alexander Khatisyan, while in Istanbul in 1918, asked the genocide perpetrators Enver and Taleat Pashas to contact Azerbaijan and ask them to end the massacres of Armenians on the eastern front.

The important part is to negotiate with neighbors. If you don't speak with them, someone else (RU/US/EU) will speak on your behalf, but they will pursue policies beneficial to them, and not you.

If we do nothing and only say "you closed the border, so it's up to you to open it", then it will forever remain closed. Some people argue it's best for the communication to remain closed, but I disagree. Take steps so Armenian businesses won't be harmed if borders are opened, instead of doing nothing but complaining. Face the reality: we have a 300km border with Turkey. You can't forever ignore that.

Ottoman Turkey was the first to recognize the first Armenian Republic. Our first diplomatic relations were with Turkey. We signed a friendship agreement with Turks in Batumi in 1918, just three years after the Genocide.

Those [likely ARF] who today criticize us for supporting the establishment of relations with Turkey should go read who signed the 1918 agreement. Kajaznuni and Khatisyan stood above the primitive "patriotic" behavior and placed the statehood above else. The signing of that document led to the establishment of the Armenian Republic, including the one we live in today.

Had the fake patriotism that we have today won in 1918, we would not have any country at all.

Right now, the Russian military presence is the only reason why Turkey and Azerbaijan don't attack Armenia. Armenia and Russia have the same interests. That doesn't mean we should not talk to Turkey.

Armenia should also take advantage of any disagreements between Azerbaijan and Turkey. They are not the same country. They have different interests. This is why we must speak with Turks. This isn't about being BFFs with Turks.

Erdogan's recent reconciliatory remarks towards Pashinyan are nothing new. It's the same policy of conditional improvement of relations. Turkey has always wanted the following from Armenia: recognize Karabakh as Azerbaijan, recognize Turkish borders, Armenia does not play a direct role in international efforts to recognize the genocide.

Turkey and Azerbaijan say that the Karabakh part has been resolved. The other two are still on the table. If we know that 5 years from now we will be forced to sign a worse deal, then it's better to sign the one we are offered today. But if we are confident we will be stronger in 5 years, then don't sign it.

This isn't about what you want. This is about what you are capable of today.

Even the not-one-inchers, who never supported any land concessions, understand very well that what we were offered in 1997 was ten times better than what we have today. There is no "treason" in making concessions. I could call you a traitor for not wanting Armenia to stretch from Istanbul to Baku. This is far away from politics. This is Armenia's tragedy, when the world has changed around us, but they don't see what's happening around Armenia.

There is always something worse than a "bad". Your "red line" should not be what you want, but rather what you can realistically have.

Did ARF Kajaznuni and Khatisyan give up on Hay Dat by signing the agreement with Turkey in 1918? What was the right thing to do? Sign the agreement and establish a state, or follow the dream of Wilsonian Armenia that had blinded us and made us do wrong calculations. Maybe we could have saved Kars, had we properly evaluated our capabilities. We lost Kars, a 30,000 m^2 area the size of modern Armenia, within just 6-7 weeks. Last year we lost 8,000 m^2, for comparison.

The opposition will always accuse the government of "treason", just as they did in 1918-1920. The government should do what's right. Armenia will preserve its statehood regardless of how bad the government is. We just need to assess our abilities properly.

Those who call for another war will be the first to flee Armenia with their families. They won't do anything to save Armenia. Don't cave to false and irresponsible patriotism. Those who were calling for Big Armenia did not show up last year. They are all alive today. They did not go and fight. It's good that they are alive, but they still continue with the same rhetoric. We should work hard and not become disheartened.

Full: https://youtu.be/Z7Jbhrh5wag

Foreign Minister Mirzoyan's interview with Russian outlet

Reporter: what will the new government's foreign direction be? Was there a period of distrust between Armenia and Russia, and did you overcome it?

MFA Mirzoyan: our foreign policy is stable and predictable. We have displayed a willingness to develop AM-RU ties on multiple occasions, through words and action. Through mutual effort, we will develop our political and trade relations.

Reporter: How realistic is the signing of a peace agreement with Azerbaijan in the foreseeable future? Could it include mutual recognition of state borders?

MFA Mirzoyan: Armenia is ready to resume Karabakh negotiations based on the known principles of non-use of force, people's right to self-determination, and territorial integrity. We welcome OSCE's calls to resume negotiations. We view that as the roadmap for peace. Azerbaijan's actions (POW, borders) do not contribute to this.

Armenia will continue to promote Artsakh people's right to self-determination.

Reporter: when will the border demarcation begin? Will it be done with the help of Russia, OSCE, or UN?

MFA Mirzoyan: there are no demarcation talks at the moment. There are some negotiations right now, which will show the level of Baku's ability to come to an agreement, and their willingness to stop the policy of initiating artificial and unconstructive agendas.

If Azerbaijan agrees to be constructive and remove its soldiers from Armenia's sovereign lands [Gegharkunik and Syunik] and return them to pre- May 11 positions, then the necessary conditions will be created to begin the border demarcation. Russia is taking part in these negotiations.

Reporter: do you expect the extension of Russian peacekeepers' 5-year term in Artsakh?

MFA Mirzoyan: according to the Nov 9 statement, the 5-year term is automatically extended unless one of the parties objects. Armenia supports the Russian presence, while Azerbaijan not only has not signed under the peacekeepers' mandate, but also conducts strong anti-peacekeeping propaganda. They intentionally cause border provocations in Artsakh to discredit the peacekeeping mission.

Reporter: Azerbaijan blames Armenia for the delay in UNESCO's visit to Artsakh's captured areas.

MFA Mirzoyan: UNESCO said in December that Azerbaijan is blocking their visit.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062167.html

Armenia and Russia will sign an agreement to form a joint air defense system

It's part of Russia's wider plan to include CSTO bloc states, including Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. Tajikistan had signed the agreement on April 27.

https://www.civilnet.am/news/631270/ռուսաստան-ու-հայաստանը-հակաօդային-պաշտպանության-միավորված-համակարգի-ստեղծման-համաձայնագիր-կստորագրեն/ https://tass.ru/armiya-i-opk/12263025

Artskh is building a new pipeline to connect the Patara river to capital Stepanakert's water network

The construction will help resolve the water shortage, which left a third of the capital without drinking water, amid unprecedented heat and the larger population.

President Arayik visited the site to learn about the construction progress. It's expected to finish by mid-2022. "It's one of the largest and most important projects in Artsakh right now."

The construction will also bring irrigation water to nearby settlements.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062113.html

large-scale housing construction continues in Artsakh

Arayik Harutyunyan visited the 644,000 m^2 construction zone near Astghahshen settlement. The new housing will be for IDPs from Askeran Province.

He then visited Ivanyan settlement, where the All Armenia Fund is building two residential districts with adjacent infrastructure. Ready by 2022.

Another district is being built near the Hovsepavan settlement. Families of war victims will have 92 single-family houses here. It's financed by Russian-Armenian benefactor Sergey Hambardzumyan.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062113.html

Moody's maintains Armenia's rating: Stable Ba3

This is the first rating after the 2020 pandemic and war. Armenia's credit profile is based on strong GDP growth potential, accompanied by more diverse economic drivers, stable economic and financial management, which increases the country's economic flexibility and resilience. Growth potential remains constrained by demographic pressures and the small scale of the economy.

>The fiscal profile, in particular, has proven resilient and will stabilize over the medium term, with debt consolidation expected from 2021 onward as growth and revenue rebound, and as the government adjusts expenditure downward in line with fiscal rules

>The 2020 ceasefire agreement with Azerbaijan and the June snap parliamentary election have reduced near-term political risks, supporting economic recovery.

>Armenia's local and foreign currency country ceilings remain unchanged at Baa2 and Ba1, respectively. The four-notch gap between the local currency ceiling and the sovereign rating reflects a balance between the government's small footprint in the economy and strong institutions, and geopolitical tensions with neighboring countries and external deficits that expose the economy to external shocks. The two-notch gap between the foreign currency ceiling and the local currency ceiling incorporates Moody's assessment of Armenia's policy effectiveness and transfer and convertibility restrictions in times of stress

More: https://www.panarmenian.net/eng/news/295200/Moodys_affirms_Armenias_rating_at_Ba3_maintains_stable_outlook Original: https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-affirms-Armenias-rating-at-Ba3-maintains-stable-outlook--PR_452360 https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062079.html

anti-corruption: Artsakh authorities recover ֏194M

... as part of an investigation of abuse of power and forgery by a group of people. Not many details.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/219989

VIDEO: a criminal subculture "vor v zakone" gang leader is arrested in Byurakan

His gang had allegedly kidnapped and extorted victims.

https://youtu.be/zBjYiwvil4w

Nature Ministry vows more inspections in small hydropower plants, after discovering river abuse

A hydro was penalized yesterday after it was discovered they used an illegally high amount of water.

Minister Romanos about another instance: I'm located in one of the cozy corners of our country. This river is on the verge of an environmental disaster. These photos [in the link] are taken five minutes apart.

The first photo shows the dehydrated riverbed, next to a mini-dam belonging to a small hydro, which was built with obvious standards violations. The second photo was taken after the hydro owners learned about my visit.

The inspectors will be here soon. We will fight relentlessly to protect the environment. //

https://factor.am/411677.html

High-Tech Ministry is offering tech education with up to 80% co-financing

Ministry reports: we have a university-private sector cooperation program, as part of which, eight education centers will provide courses in 16 subjects (programming, cybersecurity, etc.) with up to 80% co-financing. It's for beginner and intermediate level.

3,479 people have applied so far. The government will subsidize 30-80% of the education fees, based on the entrance and graduation exam scores. Applicants from provinces and Artsakh will receive larger subsidies.

www.edu.hti.am

More: https://youtu.be/GGOQqIrKZDc https://factor.am/411684.html

Knowledge Day: School year begins / What are the priorities?

Kids received congratulations and speeches from public figures. The main topic was the need to study well so they can be competitive, develop themselves and their country.

Artsakh capital Stepanakert's N10 school reopened after being bombed during the 2020 war. State Minister Beglaryan congratulated children and said it's necessary to sow values that will lead to the acquired knowledge being used to develop the Homeland.

Aznavour Foundation and the French diaspora donated backpacks and supplies to thousands of students in Artsakh's Martuni Province.

Elsewhere, public officials and teachers marked the opening ceremony of newly rebuilt school buildings.

Central Bank president urged students not to shun complex math and foreign language classes.

Nikol Pashinyan: in Vision 2050, we declared it a strategic goal to make education a national way of life because education is the only tool by which the person recognizes problems and finds solutions.

I emphasize the role of secondary vocational education, which helps form a complete system of state and economic development, together with primary/general/postgraduate education.

We have a high unemployment rate but also a lack of specialists to fill the vacancies. Our labor market has difficulty finding quality experts in a wide range of fields. This highlights the problems in the education system. This is why reforms in this area are a top priority for us.

We've already approved the new state standards in preschools and public schools, and are taking steps to increase the quality of pedagogical staff while raising their wages. We have reformed the system of financing science. One of our most important tasks is to reform military education.

We plan to build or renovate 500 kindergartens, 300 schools, and equip all 1400 schools with modern natural science and engineering labs, within the next five years. Quality education must begin from kindergarten, and be available to every child from every rural village. They must have a continuous path to higher or vocational education. I wish you success and remember to follow the anti-pandemic rules. //

Masks will be required in schools, and the rooms will be routinely sanitized. Although vaccination is optional for teachers, Education Minister hopes the rules will be tightened to convince more teachers to take the vaccine. Either get a vaccine or face a frequent testing requirement.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062074.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062075.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062078.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062103.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062105.html https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062127.html https://factor.am/411565.html https://factor.am/411628.html

COVID stats

7462 tested. 615 infected. 267 healed. 13 deaths. 9443 active.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062086.html

are vaccines worth it if I'm young and healthy?

Yes.

>In the young and generally healthy 16-29 year old age group, the amount of suffering that could be avoided through more vaccinations is staggering. [graph in the link]

>For every million doses administered of Pfizer's vaccine, 9,980 people under 29 could avoid hospitalization from COVID-19

https://www.yahoo.com/news/cdc-shares-8-charts-show-205132634.html

Healthcare Ministry warns about rising hospitalizations:

14 hospitals are treating patients across Armenia.

87% of 1798 beds are in use.

700 serious, 125 critical, 53 connected to lung ventilation.

Ambulance crews are extremely overloaded, with daily 2,000-3,000 calls.

https://factor.am/411451.html

public servants can be fired unless they get the vaccine or submit a PCR test

The government proposed amendments to the employment law to allow the termination of the employment contract if the public worker refuses to comply with the requirements twice in a raw (legally 30 days in a raw, and since the PCR is required twice a month, so you can be fired for refusing to test twice in a month).

The requirement will also apply to private-sector employees who are working as part of a contract with the public sector.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062147.html

Gyumri is renovating the Vardanants Square

The ֏120M project is co-funded by the local and federal budget. The asphalt will be removed and replaced. The city says it'll be better than repeatedly patching the holes.

Gyumri's central square was last renovated 8 years ago. In the following years, two of the nearby roads were covered with slabs, while another two were asphalted.

The square was not built with water removal in mind, therefore there will be no drainage system. The water uses natural curves.

Sidewalks will have an 8-meter width, covered in slabs.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062109.html

Yes, Armenia's new national airlines will be named "flying dick"

Fly Arna(նդամ) is apparently what you guys suggested, so the unholy board went with that one, out of over 500 options. You did this, so deal with it. Have your seat on Arna and enjoy the ride.

Arab co-investor: Նոր անունը, մեր համոզմամբ, արտացոլում է Հայաստանի ժողովրդի ձգտումները և հանդիսանում է ազգային մասնակցության արդյունք. [Japanese-style mass orgies incoming?] //

Officially, Arna stands for 'Ar'menian 'N'ational 'A'irlines. They will apply for the official license in coming weeks.

Read more about the national airlines here and here. It's co-founded by the Armenian government's ANIF fund and Air Arabia. I guess it was a dick move.

https://factor.am/411536.html

a large German group will promote tourism to Armenia

70 members of the German tourism and aviation industry will visit various places of interest in Armenia, as part of the "Fvw DRV Destination Forum" project, said Economy Minister Kerobyan.

Kerobyan: Germany is our largest partner in the EU, with strong tourism ties. Beginning in 2019, tourism from Germany grew at the fastest pace. We continue to observe this trend despite the pandemic. //

The Fvw DRV Destination Forum will be held until September 2. Upon returning from the trip, they will hold a business meeting with Armenian colleagues.

Conference: https://youtu.be/NHlWjZ2FijQ https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1062140.html

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/pg15l2/news_sep12021_armenia_russia_to_sign_joint_air/

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