On November 20, the founder of VETO public and political movement Narek Malyan organized a rally in front of the office of the Open Society Foundations (OSF) under the name “Freedom to Nikol Pashinyan”. During the protest action, he made a number of statements that do not correspond to the reality.
About the performance “Emotions and the Bell”
Referring to the performance “Emotions and the Bell”, Narek Malyan noted that according to their information, the OSF office has also funded it.
The performance was funded by a grant from the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports. According to the contract, the ministry provided about 2 million 700 thousand AMD for the performance. The Fact Investigation Platform also contacted the OSF office to find out whether OSF also funded the performance. Larisa Minasyan, Head of the Open Society Foundation Office in Armenia, denied the information.
Thus, Narek Malyan’s statement was disinformation. The Foundation has not provided funding for the performance.
About the meeting of the transgender person and Arayik Harutyunyan
During the protest in front of the OSF office, Malyan also stated: “Transgender prostitute Karbina has demanded from Minister of Education and Science Arayik Harutyunyan more rights for transgenders in schools and has stated on her Facebook page that she is satisfied with the meeting. That is to say, it can be assumed that transgenders are already allowed to enter schools.”
Fip.am studied the Facebook post of the citizen mentioned by Malyan (Garik Amolikyan). He really writes that he is satisfied with the meeting with Arayik Harutyunyan, but does not provide details on the meeting. However, in an interview with one of the news websites, the citizen explains that she turned to the Minister for the restoration of her violated rights. “I have no interest in education-related issues. It is disinformation that I went to the minister and voiced some issues. I told the Acting Minister that my right to education has been violated and I need my secondary education certificate. I was curious about where, when and what exams I shall take. I did not raise any issue to demand a solution, and Arayik Harutyunyan did not make any promises to me”, the citizen told Tert.am. Thus, Malyan distorts information about the real reasons for the meeting between the Minister and the citizen.
About financing the film called “Mel”
Referring to the film about the Champion of Europe Mel Daluzyan currently residing in the Netherlands, financed by the Armenian government, Malyan distorted a number of facts.
Thus, he notes that the duration of the film is 22 minutes, and that the taxpayer has paid 1 million AMD for each minute. “The state is allocating 20 million AMD of your money for co-financing a 22-minute film, i.e. you, as responsible taxpayers, as proud citizens demanding receipts in the stores, have paid 1 million AMD from your pockets for every minute of that movie.”
However, according to the information released on the official website of the film production company, the duration of the film is not 22 minutes, but 70 minutes. In fact, Malyan is also lying about the length of the film.
About the subject “Armenian Language”
Referring to the suggestion of the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports to make the teaching of the Armenian language at universities optional, Malyan calls it a campaign against Armenian language and Armenian history. “Just a few months ago I was looking at the government program, where it was clearly mentioned in the section referring to education and science that necessary conditions for the operation and development of the Armenian language as a modern science language shall be created”, says Malyan and continues, “… Do they create the necessary conditions for making Armenian the language of modern science by removing Armenian language from the list of subjects at universities? What a monstrous lie. Such attitude of the state towards the Armenian language endangers public health.”
In reality, the Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports Arayik Harutyunyan has stated several times that Armenian language subjects are not being removed from universities. The package of amendments proposed by the Ministry offers to leave the teaching of Armenian language and Armenian history subjects at the discretion of universities. Only the draft version is still available, which has been sent to universities for feedback.
Consequently, Malyan’s claim that the Armenian language is being removed from the list of university subjects is misleading.
About the series of letters called #thevoiceofviolence
Speaking about anonymous letters sent by people who have been subjected to sexual harassment and published by journalist Lucy Kocharyan with the hashtag #thevoiceofviolence, Narek Malyan says they were false. “The police officially denied the authenticity of the letters, meaning that the letters were officially false,” Malyan says.
It is not the first time Malyan has made this statement. The Fact Investigation Platform has once addressed this statement. We noted that the letters published by Lucy Kocharyan were anonymous, and according to Article 177 of the Criminal Procedure Code, anonymous reporting cannot serve as a basis for initiating a criminal case.
The police said in a statement: “If women are subjected to violence, they need to provide verbal or written information to the Police about the circumstances of the crime in order to identify the perpetrators and solve the issue of their responsibility.” That is to say, the police did not initiate a criminal case because of insufficient data and not because the letters were fake.
About the Istanbul Convention
Speaking about the countries that have ratified the Istanbul Convention, Narek Malyan stated that 13 countries of the Council of Europe have not ratified it. “… The Convention has not been ratified by the 13 member states of the Council of Europe. These countries are Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Liechtenstein, Hungary, Great Britain, Moldova, Czech Republic, Ukraine, and Bulgaria has declared it unconstitutional.”
This statement is partly true. With the exception of Poland, other countries have not ratified the Convention, and Bulgaria has indeed recognized it as unconstitutional. Poland, unlike these countries, has both signed and ratified the Convention. Accordingly, we can state that Malyan’s statement is largely true.
Thus, the statements made by the leader of the VETO public-political movement Narek Malyan during the protest in front of the OSF office are largely false and manipulative.