On June 27, Mikael Minasyan, former RA Ambassador to the Vatican and the son-in-law of the third president Serzh Sargsyan, published the last part of the video messages entitled “The End of Lies”.
In the video titled “What do we want – to live well or to live in the Live broadcast mode?”, in addition to making a “revolutionary” borscht, Minasyan made some false and manipulative statements.
In particular, he noted that the fines for violating traffic rules have increased, and that students are asking to postpone the payment of tuition fees, but the authorities do not meet their appeals. According to Minasyan, the “most important” statement he has made so far on the 2,000 hectares of land going under the control of Azerbaijan has not been discussed, and so on and so forth.
The Fact Investigation Platform singled out Minasyan’s problematic allegations and presented the real facts about them.
Minasyan’s source of information on the Armenian territories passed to the enemy is Azerbaijan
Minasyan’s statement that the Yerevan-Goris strategic road is in danger refers to the information spread by the Azerbaijani side in June 2018, according to which Azerbaijan occupied an area of about 11,000 hectares on the border with Nakhichevan. At that time, Artsrun Hovhannisyan, the spokesman for the Minister of Defense, denied the information, noting that Azerbaijan had made progress, but in its own territory, changing only the location of its own outposts.
Minister David Tonoyan also mentioned that these are only movements in the territory of Nakhichevan, and there is no need for concern for the Armenian side.
Moreover, in June 2018, the Ministry of Defense organized a visit for a number of journalists and bloggers to the front line on the border with Nakhichevan, where they were shown the rearrangement of positions.
Pointing to the new positions of Azerbaijan and the Armenian settlements, Artsrun Hovhannisyan stated: “You see that no firing range will be enough for them to harm the farthest houses of Areni … Moreover, the interstate road they were showing is farther from the village and more inaccessible for any of their firearms.”
It should be noted that positionings and shifts by Azerbaijani and Armenian forces take place regularly. And as a rule, the Azeri press presents such shifts as a victory, and some Armenian media outlets are in a hurry to spread the “news”. In early June of the same year, for example, Azerbaijan described the permission received by the Armenian side to visit graves in the neutral zone as “occupation of territories.”
About speed cameras and fines
Mikael Minasyan claims that the taxi drivers, who hoped that the speed cameras would be removed during the revolution and the fines would be reduced, were disappointed with the revolution. “As a result, the number of speed cameras increased, the fines increased,” Minasyan concludes.
It should be noted in the first place that the number of speed cameras has not changed since the revolution, and this has been stated by a number of officials on various occasions. According to the data available on the website of the Police, in the summer of 2018 and in December 2019, there were about 230 speed cameras on the roads of the republic.
Minasyan’s assertion about fines does not correspond to reality. In December of last year, according to the bill on point system adopted by the National Assembly, the fines set before that were also reduced. The maximum fine under the point system is 29 thousand AMD instead of the previous 500 thousand AMD.
Banks did provide “credit vacations”
Mikayel Minasyan also spoke about loans, accusing the authorities of not providing credit vacations.
However, Minasyan’s statement is not based on facts. First, after the state of emergency was declared, the Central Bank called on commercial banks and credit organizations to take an individual approach to borrowers.
The banks operating in Armenia are private and it is up to them to decide whether they will provide a credit vacation or not. However, most Armenian banks not only expressed a willingness to take an individual approach, but also provided credit vacations. Among those banks were “Araratbank”, “Ameriabank”, “Evocabank”, “Byblosbank” and others. The terms and approaches of these vacations vary according to the policy adopted by the banks.
Universities did not force to pay tuition fees during the state of emergency
According to Mikael Minasyan, higher education institutions in Armenia did not allow students to postpone the payment of tuition fees.
Minasyan’s statement is belated and without any justifications. After the state of emergency was declared, the Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports Arayik Harutyunyan appealed to higher education institutions, urging them to change the tuition payment schedules, not to demand fees from students until the state of emergency is over. “After the end of the state of emergency, a schedule for the payment of tuition fees should be set. At the same time, students who are willing to pay tuition fees online will be provided with the necessary information on the terms of payment. I want to ask and urge students who can afford to pay the tuition fees to do so right now. They are crucial sources of funds for universities, and salaries are paid from tuition fees,” the minister’s statement said.
It should be noted that universities have an individual approach for the students who have difficulties in paying tuition fees. The Fact Investigation Platform will address this issue in more detail in the near future.
What outcome cases of fertilizer and diesel fuel abuse had
In his speech, Mikael Minasyan also touched upon the criminal charges brought against Serzh Sargsyan, the father of Minasyan’s wife and former president of Armenia. “The supplies of fertilizer and diesel fuel received as subsidies from the state were suspended because it was announced that there were abuses. The process of abuses had an unclear outcome, but the subsidies were not restored,” Minasyan said.
As for the abuses concerning diesel fuel, it should be noted that in December of last year, third president Serzh Sargsyan was charged with large-scale embezzlement. The charges relate to large-scale embezzlement within the framework of the state support program for the sale of diesel fuel at affordable prices to those engaged in agriculture. And the amount of abuses is about half a billion AMD.
A trial is currently underway. By the way, the court hearings have been postponed for the last few days due to the motions of Sargsyan’s defense.
It should be noted that Minasyan’s assertion that after the mentioned processes the subvention programs for providing fertilizers have not been restored is true. At the beginning of 2019, however, the Ministry of Agriculture announced that instead of these “economically inefficient” programs, other programs for agricultural development and state support will be introduced.
Thus, we can state that, as in the case of the previous video messages, this time too former Armenian Ambassador to the Vatican Mikael Minasyan resorted to manipulations and made false statements.