On August 28, Former Head of the National Security Service Davit Shahnazaryan said during a program on Sputnik Armenia radio that the funds created by Prime Minister’s wife Anna Hakobyan are not transparent.
“They are not open, they are not transparent. The fund operates in a state of absolute secrecy about which the public has no idea” the former NSS chief said.
The Fact Investigation Platform has fact-checked this statement, as well as a number of other statements made during the interview. It is noteworthy that Sputnik Armenia also distorted facts in the Russian translation of the interview, which we will also address.
On funds created by Anna Hakobyan
Thus, David Shahnazaryan notes that after the revolution, the former corruption systems have not only declined but also made progress. He identifies three corruption mechanisms created by the new administration and mentions the funds created by Pashinyan’s wife.
However, it should be noted that “My Step” Foundation created by Anna Hakobyan regularly publishes information on its activities and donations on its official website. Official reports have also been published on azdarar.am. And the City of Smiles Foundation, which is chaired by Anna Hakobyan, publishes the reports on its official website. The latest report published by the foundation covers the months of April to June, and includes both expenses and donations.
Therefore, Shahnazaryan’s assertion that the funds created by the Prime Minister’s wife are not transparent does not correspond to the reality.
On Soros supporting the Velvet Revolution
During the interview, David Shahnazaryan also notes that the government-funded organizations (Union of Informed Citizens, Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center) have long been funded by Open Society Foundations-Armenia, the head of which said during a press conference that they actively supported the revolution.
However, the Director of the Foundation Larisa Minasyan has repeatedly denied rumors that the fund has assisted or had any connection with the revolution in April-May 2018. “The revolution was carried out by the people, and the people so definitely stood by these changes that no rational person could fail to see it. If some people try to see Soros, they are acting against obvious realities. It is not possible to tell hundreds of thousands of people that they have come out because George Soros has told them to go out.
On the silence of the NGOs
Shahnazaryan also notes that more than 60 NGOs condemning protests against the Soros Foundation made no statement when Nikol Pashinyan called for blocking the Armenian courts on May 19, 2019. This statement is not true, since Arthur Sakunts, Head of the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor office, made a statement criticizing that action.
Manipulation by Sputnik Armenia
It is noteworthy that in the Russian version of the interview with Sputnik Armenia Shahnazaryan mentions that one of the organizations that received a grant from the Armenian government to conduct election observation in Artsakh, Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center, has “no connection whatsoever” to election observation activities.
However, Transparency International Anticorruption Center has been conducting election observation activities in Armenia since 2004. And even David Shahnazaryan recalls during the interview that in 2017 the same organization received a grant of 55-56 million AMD to carry out an observation mission during the parliamentary elections.
Thus, both Davit Shahnazaryan and Sputnik Armenia have made misleading statements and spread disinformation.