On March 5, 2019, Channel 5 hosted blogger Tigran Kocharyan who is better known to the online community under the nickname Pigh (Elephant). Both Kocharyan and interviewer Agnessa Khamoyan made a series of unsubstantiated statements during the interview. We would like to refer to them below.
About the march on March 1.
During the interview, Kocharyan stated that according to the police, 12 thousand people participated in the march on March 1, 2019.
However, there is no such information on the police website or on their official Facebook page. Ashot Aharonyan, head of the Information and Public Relations Department of the RA Police, informed that the police did not publish any information about the participants of the march.
Moreover, by examining the photographs made by the Union of Informed Citizens, the march was attended by approximately 25-30 thousand people, the length of the march was around 2 kilometers, and when its first participants reached the statue of Myasnikyan, the back row of the rally was still in Liberty Square.
About Pashinyan’s Facebook page.
According to Kocharyan, the number of “likes” and “shares” of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s Facebook page publications have dropped because the factory of the so-called “trolls” that were dealing with it before, now “do not manage” to do it.
It should be noted that the phrase “troll factory” (Russian: фабрика троллей) is used particularly when referring to the Internet Research Agency, which spreads Russian state propaganda. It is assumed that this organization had an active role in the US presidential elections in 2016 and had an influence on their outcome.
Using this phrase, Kocharyan hints that Pashinyan or his team had a “troll factory” that liked and shared Pashinyan’s publications.
The question, however, is why Pashinyan or his team would have to keep a “troll factory” if Pashinyan’s rating was higher than 80 percent in the summer and fall of 2018.
In any case, it should be mentioned that before this neither Kocharyan nor anyone else had ever published any information about the so-called “troll factory”.
Kocharyan insists that the Ministry of Diaspora and the Ministry of Culture said “good-bye” to some of their employees on the first day of the month.
This cannot be true because the draft law on the Structure of the Government has not been adopted yet (is not even included in the NA agenda yet) and it is unknown when will it be adopted. No one can dismiss these ministerial staffs as long as the parliament has approved the reorganization (optimization) of these ministries.
About delayed pensions
Interviewer Agnesa Khamoyan, speaking about pensions, insists that this month, in March 2019, the pensions were delayed and have been paid from March 5 onwards. The State Social Security Service issued a statement about this and mentioned that under the current legislation, the pension is paid out from the third working day of the month. The 3rd working day of March 2019 was March 5.
About the City of Smile Foundation
Talking about Prime Minister’s wife Anna Hakobyan’s City of Smile Foundation, Kocharyan tried to find a connection between the money transferred to the foundation on behalf of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and the fading of the protest against Catholicos Karekin II.
Thus, according to Kocharyan, on July 14 Catholicos was attacked in Gndevank and then the protests ceased after Mother See transferred 43 million drams to the foundation on July 31.
First, it should be noted that, although the above-mentioned amount has been transferred to the foundation under the name of the Mother See, the actual transferor is Father Mambreh Kuzuyan. The latter was a priest of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Cambridge, near the US city of Boston, and the mentioned amount was due to the fundraising carried out at his anniversary.
Accordingly, the 43 billion dollars mentioned above have been transferred not by the Mother See, but by Kuzuyan.
As for Kocharyan’s suggestions that there is some connection between the protests against the Catholicos and Pashinyan, they remain purely at the level of assumptions.
It is also worth mentioning that, in spite of blogger Kocharyan’s statement that the rallies against the Catholicos faded on July 31; similar protests were also held in October and December.
Talking about billionaire George Soros and his “Open Society Foundations”, Kocharyan repeats Russian conspiracy theories, particularly that Soros is destroying countries to do business.
Interviewer Agnesa Khamoyan, in turn, mentions that Soros has once said in this regard “he does not do anything bad, he only thinks about his business.”
There are no English-language sources found for this kind of announcement by Soros, but it should be noted that there are numerous publications demonizing Soros in the Russian-language domain of the Internet.
P.S. According to the investigation carried out by our partner CIVILNET, the “Channel 5” belongs to Armen Tavadyan, one of the close friends of RA second President Robert Kocharyan arrested in the scope of the criminal investigation into the March 1 events.