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August 03-31. Carriers of Criminal Subculture to Face Criminal Liability

On August 29 the Government approved a draft law designed to bring carriers of criminal subculture to criminal liability. The draft amendment is directly related to “thieves in law”, “crime lords” or those forming groups with a similar culture making use of their official powers. On this purpose amendments will be made to “RA Criminal Code” and “RA Procedure Code.”

“People of that subculture think of prison as their home, therefore, they all need to be sent home,” said RA Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan during the Government session. He also noted that there will be resistance, but the Government should act decisively, in the toughest way.

Amulsar in the spotlight

The most discussed topic of August was exploiting the Amulsar gold mine. On  August 14, the Investigative Committee of Armenia submitted results of the Lebanese consulting company  “Earth link & Advanced Resources Development” (ELARD) on the Amulsar project and its environmental impact.

On August 29, a trilateral Skype-conference was held with the experts of “ELARD” in the Government. PM Nikol Pashinyan, summarizing results of the conference on his Facebook page, wrote that during the Skype-conference a number of new circumstances arose that need to be examined and assessed.

“Yesterday’s discussion was full of essential information to answer the question whether exploiting of Amulsar gold mine needs extra EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) or not,” wrote PM.

The Ministry of the Environment should submit a conclusion on the need for a new EIA by Spetember 4.

Armenian Armed Forces’ Positions Advanced

On August 17, the Ministry of Defense officially announced that Armenian Armed Forces had improved their position in the north of the Armenian border. According to the spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense Artsrun Hovhannisyan these actions and advance of the Armenian Armed Forces were unexpected for the adversary. The Ministry does not inform exactly which parts have taken under their control.

523 mln drams to acquire sports equipment

On August 29, RA Government made a decision to allocate 523 mln drams (US$ 1.1 mln) to acquire sports equipment for secondary and sports schools. According to PM Pashinyan, the sum is from the benefits of the budget revenues.

In his Facebook post Nikol Pashinyan noted that since 2012, the total amount of money allocated on this purpose has made 420 mln drams (about US$ 219.000).

“Train with spirit, our dear future champions,”wrote Pashinyan.

CCM 

Early in August, a criminal case launched against former State Revenue Committee (SRC) high-ranking officials who used their official powers to cause substantial damage to the state on the basis of obtained facts. In particular, in 2017-2018, 25.000 unit cash control machines (CCM) supplied by a Chinese company, were presented to have a higher price than the real ones have.

In August it was reported that SRC fines those legal entities which do not have CCMs or use old ones. The fact was that recently 9 companies received the licenses to sell new CCMs but they are going to sell them only starting from September. The SRC was aware there are no new CCMs in the market, yet fined.

As “My Step” faction MP Sisak Gabrielyan reports, the problem has been solved and an agreement has been made with the SRC authorities not to fine the entities not having CCMs in the near future if they have applied for new CCMs. The SRC, however, will continue to monitor the market.

Former SRC chairman Gagik Khachatryan detained

On August 27 National Security Service (NSS) reported that they made a search in the territories belonging to ex-chairman of the State Revenue Committee Gagik Khachatryan and some of his affiliates. Gagik Khachatryan headed the State Revenue Committee in the period from 2008-2014; later, until 2016 he was the Minister of Finance of Armenia heading the united SRC and Ministry of Finance.

According to NSS, Gagik Khachatryan and his nephew Karen Khachatryan were arrested on the same day being accused of abuse of official powers. They are charged, and detention is planed to be applied as preventive measure.

Karen Khachatryan also worked in SRC. First the Court made a decision to arrest him. And on August 30 during court hearing, the Judge decided to arrest Gagik Khachatryan as well. The latter was present at the hearing. After the hearing Khachatryan’s lawyer, Erem Sargsyan said detention was illegal and unlawful.

New Acting Rector in ASUE

On August 22, acting rector of Armenia’s State University of Economics (ASUE) Ruben Hayrapetyan was relieved of his post. Hayrapetyan, who was appointed to his post in December 2018, is accused of plagiarism in his PhD dissertation. It was voiced by a group of lecturers who were dissatisfied with the reforms initiated by the acting rector – particularly, they considered illegal the competition for a new faculty. In June, they filed a lawsuit against Hayrapetyan.

The rector himself considers the dissertation noise an expression of injustice and discrimination, noting that he is “ready to be the only person taking responsibility in the history of Armenia.”

Commenting on the situation, RA Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport Arayik Harutyunyan noted that during the meeting they came to mutual consent over Hayrapetyan’s resignation from the post, because as a Minister he aims at ruling out such phenomena in the scientific system.

On August 22, according to the decree of the Minister, Diana Galoyan, ASUE vice-rector for Academic Affairs, Doctor of Sciences, Professor, was appointed ASUE acting rector.

Salaries of Rescuer-firefighters, to be raised

On August 27, RA Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan informed on his Facebook page that salaries of rescuers and firefighters will be raised starting from October 1, 2019. The scales for raising the salaries will be announced later.

Before that, during the working meeting, Minister of Emergency Situations Felix Tsolakyan had announced he would do his best to raise salaries.

On August 28, Prime Minister announced that salaries of foresters and forest chiefs will be raised as well starting from October 1.

New level of Armenian Football

The acting Premier League champion of Armenia – Yerevan’s FC Ararat-Armenia came out to the Europa League Playoff for the first time in the history of Armenian football.

It was just one step away from the victory, but on August 29 during the return match of the final qualifying round of the Europa League with Luxembourg’s champion Dudelange, the team lost the match.

Commenting on the defeat, head coach Vardan Minasyan noted that although it was just one goal away the victory, the team was in a high level showing cohesion and determination. “We have a national team which we can be proud of, and that’s Ararat-Armenia,” said the coach.

Translated by Mary Grigoryan

Ampop Media

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First Published: 02/09/2019