July 6-12. Big Failure of Energy System

On July 10, there was a massive electricity disruption in Armenia. It started from about 12:30 p.m  and the news about the entire restoration was shared at 19:00. During that period of time, phone and internet connection was also being interrupted. The subway stopped working. In some communities there was no water supply either.

The Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure reported that the frequency fluctuation was in the whole system. Firstly, the 5th energy block of Hrazdan Thermal Power Plant (TPP) was turned off, followed by the Yerevan TPP and smaller producers. Causes of the accident are not known yet. Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure Hakob Vardanyan noted a few hypotheses according to one of which the frequency fluctuations may be the result of fluctuations in Iran power which synchronically passed to the Yerevan power system.

EC President Tusk’s visit to South Caucasus

On July 10, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council (EC), was in Armenia on a regional visit. EC President had meetings with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and President Armen Sarkissian during which he emphasized EU’s (European Union) readiness to assist Armenia in establishing an effective and accountable judicial system and a specialized anti-corruption commission. He noted that EU is ready to provide expertise and other assistance.

Tusk added that EC will allocate some amount of money to Armenia for carrying out infrastructure and environmental projects, including the sphere of water resource management. In the joint statement of RA Prime Minister and EC President, they also touched upon position of EU on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which is as follows: the conflict should be solved politically based on the principles of international law with a fair and long lasting solution.

It is worth mentioning that RA Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan noted that EU is going to allocate 65 mln euros assistance which “has abruptly increased as compared with 2018  and 2017.”

Pensions will increase by 10%

On July 11, RA Government adopted the 2020-2022 state medium-term expenditure program of Armenia, according to which pensions will increase for a total of 560.000 citizens starting from January 2020. To make the decision come into effect 25 billion Armenian drams (more than US$52 mln) will be required.

Teachers’ salaries will also increase from September 1. By the decision of the Government 3 billion drams (more than US$6 mln) will be allocated to resolve the housing issue of the citizens who have lost their homes as a result of the 1988 earthquake.

Media fined for defamation

On July 3, the court partially approved Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan’s claim against Boris Murat Tamoyan, editor of website. The court obliges Tamoyan to publicly deny (within a week after the verdict comes into effect) data existence in the articles of website with literally those headlines: “Deputy PM Avinyan has used marijuana in the Government” and “Avinyan has got into trouble because of marijuana,” as well as, in favor of plaintiff Avinyan to confiscate 1 mln drams (more than US$2000) as compensation for defamation. Anyhow, Tamoyan does not agree with the court decision.

Tourists spend more money in Armenia

According to the Central Bank (CB) of Armenia statistics in the first half of 2019, tourists have spent more than 120 mln drams (more than US$251000) in Armenia. According to Arthur Javadyan, President of CB, in the first six months of 2019, as compared to the same period of 2018, the amount of transactions with foreign cards has increased by 75% at food points and by 32% in hotels.

The number of tourists has increased by 85 thousand reaching to 776 thousand. According to CB Head, this is the way activation and offer in the foreign exchange market is explained.

Translated by Mary Grigoryan

Ampop Media

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First Published: 14/07/2019