Former Armenian Ambassador to the Vatican and third president Serzh Sargsyan’s son-in-law Mikayel Minasyan posted a video message on his Facebook page on May 18, in which he spoke about the plane that left from Yerevan to Voronezh. According to Minasyan, the plane was loaded with about 18 tons of smuggled cigarettes, which was the basis for its confiscation by Russian law enforcement.
Mikael Minasyan, however, made a number of false statements in his video message “The End of Lies 5”. The “Fact Investigation Platform” refers to these statement, presenting the facts of their falsity.
No government decision needed on flights
According to Minasyan, in case of emergency, all planes that depart from Armenia or arrive in Armenia must have the permission of the government.
As proof, Minasyan’s video message shows a shot from the explanatory guide distributed by the guardhouse, which mentions the restriction for the citizens to enter and exitthe country through the land border.
It should be noted, however, that Minasyan talks about the plane, therefore, it is not appropriate to quote this part of the decision on the state of emergency. Moreover, this action is manipulative. Let’s dwell upon the regulations about air borders.
Thus, according to Chapter 5 of the Annex to the Government Decision on Declaring a State of Emergency in the Republic of Armenia, other restrictions on land and air communication across the RA border may be applied by the decision of the guard.
However, there is no decision of the guard that will restrict air cargo transportation or the departure and arrival of cargo planes, or assume that a special permit is required for that. Both this and other flights require the permission of the General Department of Civil Aviation, and the procedure for obtaining which, as we were informed by the Department, has not been changed in the state of emergency.
In other words, no permission was needed from the government or the guardhouse for Yerevan-Voronezh flight on May 9th. Moreover, many flights (mainly cargo) are operated daily from Zvartnots Airport without the permission of the government or the guardhouse.
There is no such a product as “Common consumption goods” (Товары народного потребления)
In his speech, Minasyan mentions several times that the 18 tons of cigarettes on the plane were labelled “common consumption goods”( «товары народного потребления»).
Meanwhile, for the purpose of customs declaration and statistics, in Armenia (and throughout the EEU) the EAEU Commodity Nomenclature of Foreign Economic Activity is applied. This means that each product has only its own product code and name. The Commodity Nomenclature lists all possible products: 97 groups and more than 11 thousand products.
However, no product out of those 11,000 has a name at least close to the term “common consumption goods ” mentioned several times by Mikael Minasyan. This means that the transported goods could not have been registered under the so-called “common consumption goods” that does not even exist in the Commodity code list.
No information about the flight was “deleted”
According to Mikayel Minasyan, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan is “starting to clean up the traces just like a mafioso, and thus they are starting it from all Armenian registers…. According to Armenian registers, there has never been such a flight and there has never been a flight from Yerevan to Voronezh on May 9th. You can ask and see.”
First of all, it should be noted that following the advice of Serzh Sargsyan’s son-in-law, the “Fact Investigation Platform” sent an inquiry to the General Department of Civil Aviation, however the received answer diametrically contradicts Minasyan’s promised expectation. It is clear from the Civil Aviation Registers that on May 9th there were flights from Yerevan to Minsk, Voronezh, Lynchping and Erbril. According to the Civil Aviation Registry, the Yerevan-Voronezh 9240 flight was a cargo.
However, the mentioned flight is simply missing from the schedule of “Zvartnots” airport, and there is nothing surprising in this, as our colleagues of “Hetq” news outlet have already found out that there are many flights missing in that schedule.
In fact, the schedule includes only non-charter (regular) passenger flights. There is no logic in having a cargo plane flight in this schedule.
False proof of smuggled cigarettes
Minasyan continues his thesis of the “deleted” flight, noting that Pashinyan is a “provincial-minded childish mafioso, who forgets that there are also registers of international flights, where this flight exists and one can see that on May 9th indeed a plane landed in Voronezh from Yerevan, which carried smuggled cigarettes. ”
Minasyan’s statement is based on a photo taken from FlightRadar24, which shows the above-mentioned Yerevan-Voronezh 9240 flight.
Not referring to Minasyan’s qualifications addressed to Pashinyan, and in addition to the fact that the information about the flight in the civil aviation registers is not deleted, it should be noted that although there is information about the mentioned flight and some other flights on FlightRadar24, nothing is mentioned about the plane’s load or its legitimacy.
FlightRadar24 provides information on each flight, the airline, departure and landing points, flight number, as well as the location of the aircraft by time and date of production of the aircraft and the state it was registered in. The site receives information from dispatching services, therefore it does not receive and never contains information about the content of aircraft.
Thus, in the video message “The End of Lies 5”, Mikael Minasyan resorted to misleading, manipulative tricks, presenting information that did not correspond to reality, and, based on this information, created an illusion that the authorities, abusing administrative levers, carried out illegal actions.