"Our Founders chose democracy over autocracy on #ConstitutionDay 1787. For generations, we have protected and defended that choice. Today, from the US to Ukraine to Taiwan to Armenia, the world faces a choice between democracy and autocracy — and we must, again, choose democracy." - Nancy Pelositwitter.com
News Digest Nov/8/2022: __ Washington negotiations __ Armenia will have medical ethics board __ STATS: Import & exports; Traffic incidents; Construction __ Investments & startups __ Silicon Valley begins paying taxes in Armenia __ Sports news __ Georgia vs EU __ and more
12 minutes, 3014 words.
in Washington, Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to expedite negotiations and hold another meeting soon
FMs Mirzoyan, Blinken, and Bayramov discussed elements of a possible peace treaty and the issues that still need to be addressed. They reiterated the commitments undertaken in Prague and Sochi. They agreed to expedite negotiations and meet again in the coming weeks, and they expressed their appreciation to the U.S. for hosting the peace talks.
FM Anthony Blinken: Direct dialogue is the best way to a truly durable peace. The U.S. strongly supports the sovereignty and territorial independence of Armenia and Azerbaijan. The 1991 restoration of independence was a vitally important moment of guaranteeing the rights of all countries.
It's also fair to say that 30+ years of conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh have had tremendous human and material cost. But what we are seeing now are real steps and courageous steps by both countries to put the past behind and work toward a durable peace. I applaud you for showing the determination to get to that destination. //
EU's Toivo Klaar: Important meeting took place yesterday in Washington. It is encouraging that Ararat Mirzoyan and Jeyhun Bayramov are engaged in a substantive process of negotiations for a bilateral peace treaty.
lands for peace
A segment from opposition co-leader Vazgen Manukyan's interview with the Russian outlet "Moscow Komsomolets".
Reporter: In Valdai, Putin spoke about the 5 Azerbaijani regions that Moscow was urging the Armenian side to return to Azerbaijan. He said Armenia refused. Can you explain what happened?
Manukyan: Karabakh wanted to give those regions to Azerbaijan in exchange for the recognition of its right to self-determination and a corridor to Armenia. Azerbaijan refused to recognize it, and Armenians refused to just surrender the lands. It would have been naive to return the lands without getting anything in return, and hope that Azerbaijan wouldn't demand more. //
Flashback to May 2018. Newly elected leader Pashinyan is approached by Putin, Nazarbayev, and Lukashenko. They begin to convince him to agree to the deal by using his popularity in Armenia. But Pashinyan wanted the Karabakh status to be clarified in exchange for the lands. The 3 leaders began convincing Pashinyan that Aliyev has accepted that Karabakh won't be part of Azerbaijan anymore so it was not necessary to address the status. Pashinyan wanted Aliyev's "promise" to be written somewhere and used as a basis for the resolution, but Aliyev evidently refused.
Back to Manukyan...
Reporter: In other words, Serj agreed to give the 5 regions, but in exchange for Karabakh independence or recognition of the right to self-determination?
Manukyan: Yes. This was at the center of every negotiation, but it didn't give any results.
Reporter: Was Russia insisting for Armenians give up the lands for nothing?
Manukyan: It was assumed that Russian peacekeepers would be deployed, and the surrender of the regions would ease the tensions. Karabakh could have de facto, but not de jure independence. This was a very difficult negotiation process that entered a gridlock.
Manukyan: Aliyev refused to accept independent Karabakh because he knew he would be overthrown. Any solution to the Karabakh status would inevitably lead to the ousting of a leader, either in Azerbaijan or Armenia. So the idea was to delay the Karabakh status. Karabakh could maintain de facto independence from Azerbaijan, while Azerbaijan wouldn't accept its independence.
Turkey starts paying for Russian gas in rubles
25% of the transactions, for now. Turkey will layout a roadmap by the end of this year and may hold a conference for suppliers and buyers to discuss Putin's offer to turn Turkey into a major gas hub for Europe.
Georgian ex-president Saakashvili diagnosed with dementia and tuberculosis, attorney says
Halva Khachapuridze: Dementia is one of the 34 illnesses that Mikheil Saakashvili possibly has. I received the news about his tuberculosis an hour ago from the German doctors. He doesn't even know it yet, this is the first time I'm saying it publicly.
Georgian government: There are all the conditions necessary to protect Saakashvili's health [in jail]. He is in the appropriate clinic.
Georgia is fed up with Europe
President Zurabishvili: We are disappointed that Moldova and Ukraine have already received the status of a candidate for membership in the European Union, while Georgia was promised only a perspective...
There is a deep polarization in Georgia today, in the political parties, media outlets, and even in the church. One side believes the other is a traitor and an enemy, while in fact, the enemy is on our border. At such a moment, polarization becomes a crime against the nation, because it weakens the state. This is what the enemy exploits, without the need to use force.
Georgia's exclusion by the EU is a bad message to others. Georgians are Europeans and should join the European family without wasting time. Give us the candidate status. //
Georgian Parliament Speaker: The Council of Europe is not the body that should assess Georgia's progress. [in response to a report about deteriorating media freedoms and the need to review human rights-related policies]
ranking Foreign Ministry officials from Israel visited the Armenian Genocide memorial in Yerevan
Simona Halperin and Michael Hershkovits visited Tsitsernakaberd and the Genocide Museum on Tuesday.
"vaccines will damage your gene and give you a heart attack so don't take them" = lose your license to practice medicine?
Health Ministry will have a new medical ethics board to investigate the conduct of medical workers.
National Institute of Health: The commission will investigate, and if there are multiple violations by the doctor, the case can be referred to the relevant authority for disciplinary action.
It became necessary to form this ethics board after legal reforms in the medical field. Up until now, each medical facility had its own ethics rules.
The Code will regulate doctors' relations with patients, colleagues, and third parties. Some of the things doctors must respect are the privacy of patients' data, obtaining permissions from the patient or a caretaker, etc. //
The Ministry is cooperating with the Council of Europe to organize free classes for doctors. The classes can be used as a credit toward their continuous education balance.
anti-corruption: ex-rector of Medical University is charged with embezzling ֏40 million
Authorities: Rector Mikael Narimanyan conspired with the president of the university's "Heratsi" labor union to embezzle ֏39,660,000. They used Heratsi's resources to acquire properties from a company owned by a friend, at a price significantly above the market value.
Both are charged with multiple crimes. The ex-rector is wanted. The investigation continues to uncover other participants of the scheme. //
anti-corruption: Labor Ministry officials are facing criminal charges over alleged financial crimes
Prosecutor General office: In 2017 the Labor Ministry acquired several medical items and vehicles worth ֏95M for "Երևանի թիվ 1 տուն-ինտերնատ". The investigation has uncovered ֏18M in embezzlement or waste during the transactions.
In 2018 the "Երևանի թիվ 1 տուն-ինտերնատ" administration embezzled ֏2.4M from the food budget.
In 2020 the "Երևանի թիվ 1 տուն-ինտերնատ" was supposed to return ֏10M to the budget but instead distributed it to administration in form of salary bonuses. //
European Court of Human Rights rules against Armenia over a police torture incident 12 years ago
Armenia has to pay €50,000 to Vahan Khalafyan's family because he was tortured at a police station in 2010. He was arrested under the suspicion of burglary and died at a police station hours later. The official version was that he committed suicide by jumping out of the window. The family insisted that he was tortured and killed at the station. Several cops were charged with crimes, and there were witnesses, but the police chief Alik Sargsyan insisted his officers never tortured anyone. Nevertheless, the court found two cops guilty [of something] and acquitted another two. The former two late had their sentences reduced after an amnesty.
public outcry leads to a criminal investigation against a horse carriage operator in Gyumri
The social media did not appreciate the fact that a carriage operator was using a horse with an open wound on its chest. The police launched a criminal investigation over possible animal abuse.
suspect bites a cop's hand during an arrest attempt in Yerevan that turned into a massive bolola
Authorities: Last evening a group of young men disturbed the public peace in a condo backyard by throwing rocks and using slurs against another group.
Noticing the approaching police officers, they entered a Toyota Camry and attempted to flee. The driver drove the vehicle straight toward the officer to run him over, but it hit a stone on the sidewalk and stopped.
The driver bit the officer's hand while being dragged out of the vehicle. He and one of the passengers were arrested and taken to a station, while the others fled the scene.
It all began after the aforementioned group assaulted another group during which one of the men was stabbed. A gun was fired in an unknown direction. Rocks were used to damage a Honda vehicle.
When the officers launched the investigation, they approached a 60yo resident who agreed to share the videos recorded by him. Meanwhile, another resident scolded the man for agreeing to cooperate with the police. The man changed his mind, took his phone away from the officer, and smashed it on the ground in an attempt to conceal the evidence. Both were detained.
what did Armenia import and export in the first 9 months?
Exports: Total $3.509B (+64%), to EAEU $1.5B (2.4x), to EU $0.6B (+24%).
(1) Minerals: $785M (+4.2x)
(2) Ready-to-eat food: $605M (+45%)
(3) Precious stones/metals & items made of them: $597M (+2.7x)
(1) Machinery & equipment: $1.110B (+85%)
(2) Minerals: $858M (+33%)
(3) Transport vehicles: $511M (+2.7x)
construction sector grew 14.6% in September
September: ֏57B (+14.6%), around 41% of it was carried out through state and local budgets.
Construction in January-September: ֏300B (+14.3%)
traffic incidents drop by 27%
September: -55%. There were 178 incidents and 14 deaths.
January-September: -27%. There were 2503 incidents and 196 deaths.
government has doubled the expenditures on the modernization of scientific infrastructure and logistics
Education Minister Dumanyan: We will end 2022 with ֏2.9B allocated for the modernization of scientific infrastructure and material-technical base; the tender was announced in June.
In comparison, during the 2021 auction, the sum was ֏1.4B, and prior to that, the largest allocation was ֏0.3B.
This year the recipients will be 15 organizations. The newly acquired devices will be stored by them but should be shared with other scientific organizations.
what else is in the 2023 Education budget?
QP MP Sisak Gabrielyan: Next year's budget will be ֏250B. This will include:
▶︎ Free food for elementary students in all provinces.
▶︎ Opportunity for 10,000 teachers to triple their salaries through voluntary attestation process.
▶︎ Avg. 20% raise for all STEM teachers.
▶︎ Launch the construction of 24 schools and 53 mngos.
▶︎ Launch the next phase of the construction of Arthur Abraham Sports Complex in Yerevan.
Pashinyan forms a committee to reform Armenia's universities, strategy, and curriculum
It was announced earlier that up to 8 new state universities will be created, including through mergers. The government wants to merge underperforming state universities to cut the administrative overhead, and is considering their merger with scientific-research institutions.
The new working group will work on the list of new universities, their orientation and content, new curriculum, gather statistics about the current state of universities and admission stats, their activities over the past decade, scenarios to move the merged universities to the new Academic City in Yerevan suburb, mergers with research centers, improvements to physical infrastructure standards, and the creation of a new military academy that will produce officers for the army.
Armenia will open a school to train foreign intel. agents and hire them for the new foreign intel. agency that'll be separate from "KGB-linked" NSS
The Security Council, led by Armen Grigoryan, has drafted a bill to create a new intel agency, citing unsatisfactory performance by the department during the 2016 and 2020 wars.
Pashinyan plans to establish it in 2023. The agency's leadership will be appointed by the Premier. Pro-Western NGO chief Arthur Sakunts welcomes the decoupling from NSS but wants the new agency to be under parliamentary oversight.
Ruling MP Khachatryan says a partial oversight by Parliament is possible but 90% of the stuff at the agency will be classified and likely inaccessible to most MPs.
There will be a new intel school that will train the agents. Armenia currently relies on Russian intel school, notes the reporter. In 2020 a Russian opposition organization "Dossier" published a report claiming/exposing that Russia has agents in almost every state agency in Armenia.
Arthur Sakunts hopes the new school won't use KGB's curriculum and won't accept existing NSS agents with sketchy records. Russia's spy chief Naryshkin has offered Yerevan assistance with the formation of the agency, drawing complaints from pro-Western circles in Armenia.
MP Khachatryan said the agency will be created without foreign interference, and that no specific country has been contracted by Yerevan for assistance, but they are open to cooperating with various international organizations.
Arthur Vanetsyan for president?
aerial photos showing newly built roads on the Yerevan-Meghri-Iran section
74% of Diasporans are ready to invest in Armenia: "Alternative Investments in Armenia" conference launches in Yerevan
Hundreds of participants from Armenia, U.S, UK, and Curaçao are in Yerevan for the international financial conference. The goal is to create opportunities for the growth of alternative investment sources.
The conference will focus on the global capital market, private capital, and venture funds.
Aleksandr Shaghikyan, BDO Armenia: Armenia’s financial market today consists of around $10.3B loan investments, $3.6B state bonds, $1.1B corporate bonds, $670M issued shares, and the funds distributed by the private capital funds into the economy are less than $200M.
Economy Minister Kerobyan: The research conducted jointly with Diaspora Office shows that 74% of Diasporans are ready to invest in Armenia. The goal of our government is to change the structure of the economy and transition from a consumption-based growth model to an investment-based model, reaching the total volume of investments to 25% of the GDP [up from 17%?], and the volume of foreign direct investments to 6% of the GDP [up from <1%?]. All preconditions exist for private investment funds to operate successfully in Armenia.
a branch of the international "Impact Hub" network opens in Syunik to support local startup ideas
The Goris branch, launched with the help of ACBA Bank and the EU, will help develop social entrepreneurship in the southern province.
There are 100 such Hubs around the world, including one in Yerevan.
At Impact Hub, we make collaboration happen. We connect entrepreneurs and innovators to large organisations, partners, investors, and the public sector. Why? To build a more just and sustainable society.
ACBA's rep. Poghosyan: It is very important for us that young people stay in their communities and develop their ideas, making their community stronger. We started this project a year ago. The idea to help and develop startups in Goris excited us.
National Geographic Kids magazine featured the "Robin the Robot" made by an Armenian company to entertain hospital patients
This month’s issue presents the robot made by the Armenian company "Expper Technologies".
Days can feel long and stressful for kids in hospitals. That’s why Robin the Robot was designed to crack jokes, play games, and answer questions on children’s wards.
About as tall as an eight-year-old, Robin uses artificial intelligence to analyze facial expressions and speech to react to kids’ moods and conversations.
The Robot has already been a big help during the COVID-19 pandemic, when family and friends couldn’t visit young hospital patients
Silicon Valley tech giants begin paying VAT taxes in Armenia
Last year the government adopted a law to tax online services. An "easy-to-use" online platform was created for registration.
IRS: During the first three quarters of 2022, over 40 international companies [Google, Netflix, Facebook, etc.] have registered in the multi-language e-VAT platform and declared ֏1B in taxes. They can pay in one of the 5 accepted currencies, without the need to open a bank account in Armenia, which were some of the requirements raised by the companies during our discussions.
the goal scored by Pyunik player could be the best in UEFA Conference League's group
Pyunik's Yusuf Otubanjo scored a goal against Slovan Bratislava on September 15. It's competing for the #1 spot. Original link where you can vote. (need to scroll right or left to find it)
national soccer team is gathering Armenian players from around the world to prepare for two upcoming matches
Coach Caparros recently left after a poor performance by the team. The temporary coach is the Armenian team's ex-goalkeeper Roman Berezovsky.
He has invited 25 players, including 3 newcomers: Arthur Galoyan from Russia's "Alania", Arman Ghazaryan from Armenia's "Urartu", and Avetis Avetisyan from the Dutch "Go Ahead Eagles".
Coach Berezovsky: We have decided to allow some of our experienced players to rest, while a few others can't play due to injuries. The upcoming friendly matches against Kosovo and Albania are a great opportunity for newcomers to shine. //
Kosovo-Armenia: November 16
Albania-Armenia: November 19
In the meantime, Armenia's soccer federation is trying to un-retire Henrikh Mkhitaryan. TAKE HIS XBOX AWAY.
world champion gymnast Arthur Davtyan is greeted in Zvartnots airport
Armenia Airways launches Yerevan-Kazan flights
Armenian superstar Rosa Linn's "SNAP" is now a platinum song, says Sony Music Italy
Earlier we learned that SNAP is one of the 5 most listened songs in the history of the Eurovision song contest.
if you missed
The accused are innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law, even if they "appear" guilty.
Falsification/propaganda / Կեղծում/քարոզչություն Damn, Azerbaijan doing its neighbors dirty? Not surprising.
Question / Հարց Non Armenian here, is the fact that Armenia is The First Christian Nation a source of pride for you?
I want to buy my best friend Armenian-made jewelry for Christmas. Could anyone point me to a website or instagram account of an Armenian artist who sells it? I’d really appreciate it!
History / Պատմություն Language map of 500BC, coloured by whether the language has a living descendant [partially OC][784 × 533]
Neighbourhood / Հարեւանություն Senior Nakhichevan official arrested by Azerbaijan’s State Security Service
Politics / Քաղաքականություն In a statement yesterday, the Azerbaijani leader said that Armenia’s independence was “symbolic” and that talks with Russia would take place to deliver on the demand for a ‘sovereign corridor’ between mainland Azerbaijan and its exclave, Nakhichevan.twitter.com
Interestingly Aliyev’s rhetoric became more provocative right after the CSTO meeting.
We will be spending Christmas with my best friends' dad this year. I'd like to buy a gift to the $50-$100aud range (something I can get online)...
The Danes have 'Hygge' and Greeks have gods and goddess etc. What do the Armenians have that I could turn into a thoughtful gift?
Books, vinyls, homewares etc?
Thanks in advance.
"Azerbaijan will help Ukraine to supply electrical equipment to restore the energy infrastructure after Russia’s attacks, reports the press service of the Ministry of Energy"
What proof is there of this being a real flag during Lusignan Dynasty? This looks like it was made in Microsoft Paint. Cannot find anything on google.
Համոզված եմ՝ Հայաստանը դուրս է գալու ՀԱՊԿ-ից․ ճիշտ ժամանակը հիմա է․ Արամ Սարգսյան | I am sure that Armenia will leave CSTO. the right time is now. Aram Sargsyan
Of Armenian descent, Sir Khatchik Paul Chater was a very successful businessman who helped shape Hong Kong in its early days. Known as the “Father of Hong Kong”, there are numerous memorials in HK named after him like "Chater Park", "Chater Road", "Chater Street", etc.
Some time ago, I have seen music clip by someone who looks like Aram Asatryan (I'm not sure). In the clip, there's a young guy who play basketball (I think) and a girl cheering him. In another scene, they dance like tango or something. Anyone knows this clip?
Tourism / Զբոսաշրջություն What are some things that I should know as a U.S. tourist visting Armenia for the first time?
I'm planning on visiting Armenia during summer of 2023 while also visiting spending a few days in Turkey and Georgia. However, I have a few questions such as: What are the best places to visit in Armenia from a local's perspective, is it safe to travel from Armenia to turkey and from Armenia to Georgia, what should I avoid out there, and should I get a tour guide or just do the experience myself.
Environment/Շրջակա միջավայր Ecological Volunteering Opportunity In Yerevan This Sunday, November 27, 12:30
I would like to share a volunteering opportunity for this Sunday on behalf of Green Green, an ecological group found by Russian emigrants with help and support of local Armenian activists. The group has already performed 30+ events to clean notorious and not-so locations from trash, mainly in Yerevan but also in the countryside, engaging Russian immigrants and Armenians alike, even minister Kerobyan visited on occasion.
This Sunday they have big plans that require 100+ participants (usual attendance is 50-70). Below is the English version of the event description, Armenian text and link to posts in social media are in the comments.
"We require at least 100 people 🆘
This weekend we will be challenged by both the weather and the location.
It was long since we were planning to go there, and finally it is happening. The Admiral Isakov Avenue, it's horrifying (from the amount of garbage!) slopes, the neighboring Tairov street, and the Victory Bridge. These places have heartbreaking look today. This locations are challenging, but that makes things just more interesting.
Friends, bring warm clothes, raincoats, and hot drinks this Sunday for the cleanup.
We need a lot of people of clear all these garbage. Please, invite your friends, their assistance will be highly appreciated.
Meeting time and date: 👋 🗓 November 27 (Sunday) 🕧 Gathering at 12:15, Event starts at 12: 30 (You can join half-way) 📍 Gathering at: 40.17540, 44.49870 (https://goo.gl/maps/rW61yeSXk9thsFdA9)
Iranian team's assistant coach Markar Aghajanyan. He was the first Christian to captain the Iranian national team. Like most Iranian Armenian footballers, he began his career with Ararat Tehran FC.
Please kindly share your experiences with the best home heating system for a 2 bedroom flat. Which works with electric and gas. The current one in our house is always breaking down need to replace with a good reliable one.
Thanks for all 🙏